Vol. XX. June 1, 1899. No. 11.
View from the Watch Tower.........................131
The Influence of Education in
"Los Von Rom"--Away from Rome.................131
Poem: A Visit to the Heavenly Court...............132
"Now is Christ Risen from the Dead"...............132
The New Life in Christ............................137
Conventions the Coming
"Pilgrim" in the West...........................130
SUBSCRIPTIONS AND BUSINESS COMMUNICATIONS
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CONVENTIONS THE COMING SEASON.
It is urged that we have a Convention of WATCH TOWER friends this year in Indianapolis, Ind., during the session of the Epworth League in that city in the latter part of July; and another in St. Louis, Mo., in October, during the time of the St. Louis Exposition.
It is proposed that these conventions shall last for about three days each, and be rather local than general. At the dates chosen there will be specially low railroad fares to these cities.
This is merely a preliminary notice. Particulars later.
A "PILGRIM" IN THE WEST.
Friends in Kansas, Missouri, Nebraska and Iowa who desire a visit from one of the "Pilgrims" will please report to us at once that we may make up the route accordingly.
WHAT SAY THE SCRIPTURES ABOUT HELL?
This is the title of a pamphlet in which every text of Scripture containing the word hell is cited and examined in the light of Scripture and reason, together with other Scriptures and parables supposed to teach eternal torment. Price 10 cents, postpaid; 50 cents per doz.; $4.00 per hundred.
ALLEGHENY CHURCH MEETINGS.
Preaching and divine worship every Sunday afternoon in Bible House chapel, No. 610 Arch street, at 3 P.M.
Cottage meetings for prayer and testimony on Wednesday evenings; and Dawn Circles for Bible Study on Thursday, Friday and Saturday evenings--various localities, Pittsburg and vicinity--inquire at WATCH TOWER office.
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VIEW FROM THE WATCH TOWER.
AUSTRIA-HUNGARY is called "the dual kingdom," but really it represents three distinct races:--Germans (Austrians), Czechs (Slavs, Bohemians) and Hungarians (Magyars). The Germans occupy the northern Austrian provinces nearest to Germany. The Slavs are most numerous but have long been subservient to the Magyars or real Hungarians, who are in the minority as compared with both the others. All are Roman Catholics, tho the Slavs have quite a sympathy for the Greek Catholics or Church of Russia, to which most of their race residing in Russia give adherence.
The progress of education during the last twenty-five years has had a great influence upon the subject race--the Bohemians, giving them new ideas of their "rights," "liberties," etc. This has caused no end of trouble to the government, precipitating bitter race-contentions in their Parliament, the Germans and Hungarians being unwilling to concede the demands of the Czechs who are in the majority. Seemingly only the loyalty of all to the Emperor has prevented a civil war; and serious results are feared in the event of the death of the now aged ruler. He is nearly seventy.
Once the Papacy had so firm a hold that to be a Protestant meant death--this being the land of John Huss, the martyr; but a change of sentiment came gradually with greater enlightenment. The Czechs were first to discuss the wisdom of leaving the Church of Rome and affiliating themselves with the Greek Catholic Church. This led to Roman concessions to the Czechs to placate them. This however has gradually led to a coolness toward the Church of Rome on the part of the Germans, and it is this that specially interests us now.
The German Catholic element looks with admiration toward the German Empire to the North and West, where German influence is supremely dominant, and annexation to these their brethren is earnestly craved--leaving the balance of Austria to the Hungarians and Bohemians. But Germany has already so many Roman Catholics that they trouble her in her Reichstag or Parliament as an opposition party, and more are not wanted: it was for this reason that Bismarck ignored and declined these pro-Catholic provinces of Austria when forming the Empire.
The new move of the Germans of northern Austria is to renounce adhesion to the Church of Rome and become Protestants, with a view to making themselves acceptable to so-styled "Protestant Germany." The movement has been in progress only a short time, but is spreading rapidly and means some awakening at least amongst these people long bounden under priestcraft and superstition; later it may mean the disintegration of Austria, and points to growing race prejudices the world over.
What influence this may have upon the impending "time of trouble" and distress of nations is hard to say; but surely it marks decline of despotic Papacy-- as in France, Italy, Mexico and Spain's colonies. The extent of this Austrian movement may be judged from the following extracts from foreign newspapers:--
"LOS VON ROM"--AWAY FROM ROME.
The Schwaebische Mercur says:--
"The 'Los von Rom' movement is increasing, especially in German Bohemia, where it occasions no little worry to the authorities. The Government has nowadays no means at hand to prevent this wholesale desertion, as the Protestant churches, or rather the Evangelical church, has legally the same status with the Church of Rome. In Eger 1100 Catholics have joined Protestantism, in Carlsbad 100, and another 1000 will become Protestants together. Within a short time half of German Bohemia will be Protestant."
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The Tageblatt of Vienna says:--
"The Germans on the whole will not renounce their right to make use of their intellectual powers. This the church will not and can not permit. The Slavs, as the case of Russia shows, are patterns of submissiveness, hence the church prefers that Slavs should have all power. For a long time the Slav clergy has preached the doctrine that German is synonymous with Lutheran. 'Very well,' say now the Germans, 'we will become Lutheran to emphasize our nationality. Los von Rom!' How much the church is responsible for this, the case of Bohemia shows. In the mixed districts only 23 priests are German, 262 are Czech. In the purely German districts 618 are German and 562 Czech."
The London Outlook says:--
"The Pan-Germanic movement is one of the disintegrating forces at work upon Austro-Hungary. The events of 1871, says one of its leaders, were but a step in the right direction, and the movement will not be complete, the Altdeutsche Verband will not have achieved its aims, until all the members of the Teutonic race on the continent of Europe have been welded into one state. Not until this is accomplished can Germany assert herself with success as a world power."
The London Saturday Review referring to Baron Schonerer, the head of the new movement, says:--
"His last theatrical stroke of organizing secessions, ten thousand at a time, from the Church of Rome, while naturally exasperating to his opponents, emphasizes his strength beyond previous belief."
The Roman Catholic Bishop of Linz said, at a recent church conference in Austria,--
"In open meetings and in the press our holy faith is attacked in the most violent manner; openly and secretly the people are solicited to desert our holy church."
Herr Wolff, a leader among German Austrians, with his entire family, was recently baptized a Protestant; and in consequence he is now denounced as "a servant of Satan," by the Catholic press, which is extremely bitter on the entire subject.
In a time of such shaking up there should be some with ears for the present truth, and any who have the opportunity should be prompt to use it in serving the King and his "brethren."
A VISIT TO THE HEAVENLY COURT.
--INVITATION TO THE SAINTS.--
Come, dear saints, and let us visit at the court of heavenly grace,
For Jehovah deigns a welcome to prepare.
He has bid us leave our earth-cares for the pleasures of his face,
And recruit in Heav'n's salubrious atmosphere.
He has spread a "feast of fat things" that will tempt our appetites.
O the daintiness and richness of his fare!
He will cheer our drooping spirits with the vintage that delights
Every honored guest his benefits to share.
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Let us lay aside our burdens, and our sorrows leave behind,
While we hasten to that glory-lighted scene;
Let us purge our hearts of evil, and put on the willing mind,
Lest our eyes be holden by a veil between.
Clad in spotless robes of righteousness, by faith received and kept,
We may safely pass stern Justice' sentry-post;
While our Guide-book, studied carefully, will make us all adept
In the customs and requirements of our Host.
By his grace brought nigh, and joying in his countenance of light,
We may greet the loving Father face to face;
We may learn the hidden mysteries of wisdom, love and might,
Proving the "exceeding riches" of his grace.
With his signet in our foreheads we may wander leisurely
Through the palace gardens, by the river Peace;
We may scale the heights of Happiness, and overlook the sea
Of Content, whose grateful murmurs never cease.
We may saunter through the orchards where the Spirit's fruits are ripe,
Plucking hope and love and kindness as we go;
And their fine, delicious flavors from our memories shall wipe
Every trace of bitterness and earthly woe.
We may change our weariness to vigor and perennial youth,
At the living fountains near the palace-door;
And with newborn energy and zeal explore the mines of truth,
Adding gem on gem of knowledge to our store.
And the feast of his providing! Who can tell, without a taste,
What shall charm our palates at that episode?
Come, dear saints, and visit long and often! Come with seemly haste!
For the King says "Welcome" to his high abode. --R. B. H.
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"NOW IS CHRIST RISEN FROM THE DEAD."
--JUNE 11.--`JOHN 20:11-20`; `1 COR. 15:20`.--
UNDER divine supervision most elaborate proofs are furnished us of the death of Jesus--even tho the disciples and friends saw no necessity for this particularity, and indeed would have regarded all such proofs of his death as so many contradictions of their hopes and so many proofs of their disappointment. But the death of Christ was an all-important event, and hence it was necessary, from the divine standpoint, that the proofs respecting it should be indubitable. Let us note some of these proofs:--
(1) His side was pierced with a spear, and from the wound flowed blood and water--a positive proof that death, dissolution, had taken place.--`Jno. 19:34,35`.
(2) The centurion who had charge of the execution undoubtedly was a man of large experience in such matters,. And the record is that he was convinced of our Lord's death, and so reported to Pilate, the governor. --`Mark 15:39,44,45`.
(3) The corpse was buried in Joseph's new tomb, which contained no other corpses, and hence there could be no question respecting the body of Christ and its burial.
(4) The chief priests, anxious to prevent any spread of the doctrine of Jesus, remembered his words respecting his resurrection; and, while they placed no confidence in the matter, judging Jesus' disciples by
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themselves they surmised that they would be tricky and attempt to steal away the corpse and to claim the resurrection of their Master in harmony with his previous declarations. As a precaution against thus they requested Pilate to seal the tomb and place a guard of Roman soldiers there; but Pilate refused to act officially in the matter, nevertheless giving them, as was probably customary, the privilege of hiring some of the soldiers as watchmen--much the same as anyone to-day can employ and pay a policeman for extra service as a watchman; thus the Pharisees appointed the watch and sealed the stone, and had full cognizance of Jesus' resurrection. --`Matt. 27:62-66`.
(5) The friends of Jesus were fully convinced of his death, and wrapped his body in linen clothes, with spices. (`John 19:40`.) Apparently his declaration that he would rise from the dead on the third day was not appreciated by his followers until after he had risen. Their minds were intent upon the promise of the Kingdom; they were amazed at his arrest, conviction and crucifixion, and, it would seem, forgot for the time many of his precious words. Indeed, we are to remember that our Lord's teachings were almost wholly in parables and dark sayings, and they may have misinterpreted his reference to a resurrection. (`Mark 4:13`.) After his resurrection they remembered his words, and particularly after Pentecost--after they had received the holy Spirit, which, according to promise, brought to their memories the things which he had spoken unto them while he was with them.--`John 14:26`.
If it were well that the facts respecting our Lord's death should be clearly set forth as a part of the Gospel, it is well also that all of the Lord's people should fully recognize the fact of this death, and the necessity of it, and its value as the offset or corresponding price for the redemption of Adam, and indirectly the redemption of all those who were in Adam when the sentence of death came upon him,--all redeemed by the one sacrifice, offered once for all. Strange to say, very many Christian people speak of our Lord's death and of his resurrection, and yet really do not believe in either. To believe that our Lord arose from the dead on the third day is to believe that he was dead from the time of his crucifixion on Friday afternoon until the time of his resuscitation or resurrection, early on Sunday morning, the first day of the week. And if he "was dead" (`Rev. 2:8`) during that period (parts of three days) and did not rise from the dead until the morning of the third day, it means that our Lord Jesus was not in any sense alive during the interim, a period of about thirty-eight hours. It seems strange that it should ne necessary to emphasize a pont so emphatically and repeatedly set forth in the Scriptures. The necessity is twofold:--
(1) Because, through a false, unscriptural theory, many Christian people hold that there is no such thing as death;--that what appears to be death is merely a transformation to a larger degree of life;--that the real being cannot die, and that merely the body dies, and that so our Lord Jesus did not die for our sins, but merely shed off an outer covering of flesh.
(2) It is important to the true Christian's faith that the fact of our Lord's death be not only fully established by the statements of the Scriptures, but that the Christian's faith therein be fully and thoroughly grounded; because only those who realize that our Lord's death was for the time an extinction of his being can realize how his death was the payment of father Adam's penalty. Father Adam's penalty was death, extinction, and this penalty fell by inheritance upon all his posterity; "Christ died for our sins"--he suffered the death penalty for father Adam (and incidentally for all those who had come under the death sentence through Adam's transgression).
Nor should t be understood that the penalty upon father Adam was an extinction of life for merely thirty-eight hours: it was perpetual, the everlasting extinction of life and all the privileges of life he had received from his Creator. Our Lord's sacrifice--the death of the man Christ Jesus--was an everlasting death also, a death which fully off-set the penalty upon father Adam, and as Adam's substitute the man Jesus could never be released. The release of the man Jesus from the death penalty would be as impossible as the release of Adam himself without a substitute: for, man's substitute, "the man Christ Jesus" took upon himself the entire penalty of Adam's transgression, and must bear to the full the death-curse which rested upon Adam and indirectly upon his race. Hence, faith grasps firmly the thought that our Lord Jesus did not take back man's ransom-price--did not take back the sacrifice for sins, the human nature--in his resurrection.
In order that he might offer this, the only proper and acceptable ransom for man, our Lord left the glory which he had with the Father, left the higher nature, and was "made flesh," "that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man." (`John 1:14`; `Heb. 2:9`.) If he could pay man's penalty by remaining dead thirty-eight hours, then man could have paid his own penalty by remaining dead thirty-eight hours, and there would have been no necessity for a sin-offering, a ransom-price, to be paid. Indeed, Adam would have overpaid his penalty thousands of times. But since the penalty was death in the absolute sense, unlimited by time; and since this penalty would never permit a restoration of life to Adam, therefore it was necessary that a ransom should be paid for Adam;--that another life should be substituted for Adam's life;--that another,
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a perfect man, should die and remain dead everlastingly, that Adam and the race condemned in him might be released from death by a resurrection.
It was just this work, in harmony with the divine plan, that was accomplished by the man Christ Jesus, and finished in his death; and according to divine promise that ransom-sacrifice will never be abrogated, will never be taken back: and consequently all who are trusting in the merit of the great sacrifice of atonement may have full confidence that there will be a resurrection of the dead (of humanity), both of the just and the unjust; because Justice has been paid the full price, and because God has promised through the Gospel of Christ an opportunity for return to everlasting life, which shall eventually be offered to every member of Adam's race.--1 Tim. 2:6`.
In view of these facts, how and why do we speak of the resurrection of Jesus as essential to man's salvation? We answer that neither we nor the Scriptures speak of the resurrection of Christ Jesus as a man. s his coming to our low estate of manhood was merely for the purpose of effecting our ransom, and as the taking back of manhood by a resurrection would undo the entire work of redemption, it is preposterous to think of our Lord's resurrection as a restoration to human nature.
Quite to the contrary, all the evidences of the Scriptures, rightly and carefully arranged before our minds, show conclusively that our Lord was resurrected a spirit-being--not only higher than man, but higher also than angels, archangels, principalities and powers, a partaker of the divine nature. As such he was indeed a "new creature," and not in any sense of the word did this imply his taking back our ransom price. The Scriptures declare that he was "put to death in the flesh, but quickened in the spirit"--a spirit-being and the Apostle Paul declares our Lord's resurrection of the Church which is his body. (`Rom. 6:5`.) He declared that we with him will constitute the first (chief) resurrection; and then he explains our resurrection, and that explanation, therefore, must be equally an explanation of our Lord's resurrection, for he is the Head, the Firstborn from the dead amongst many brethren: and the experience of the :brethren" in resurrection will only be a duplication of the experiences of their Lord. With this in mind, ley us note the Apostle's statement respecting the first resurrection and its operation upon the Church, assured that the same description, in general features at least, apply to our Lords; resurrection. He says, "Thus is the resurrection of the dead: It is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption: it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory: it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power: it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body."--`1 Cor. 15:42-44`; `Phil. 3:10,11`.
From this standpoint, and from no other, can the facts related in the Scriptures respecting our Lord's resurrection be harmonized with each other and with the object for which he came into the world and suffered death.
Our Lord's resurrected being was a direct gift from the Father, and not something which our Redeemer held over from a previous existence. When he left the glory of the spiritual condition and became the man Jesus, he had a right to life, under the divine law, because he had always fulfilled the conditions of life. In harmony with this the Scriptures assure us that his degradation from a higher nature to the human nature was not as a punishment, but of his own volition; not in obedience to a command of the Father, but in obedience to the will of the Father. As a man also he had a right to life, because the divine law guaranteed life to all who obeyed it; hence in no sense of the word was his human life forfeited. On the contrary, he gave it, he sacrificed it, he offered it, in harmony with the Father's plan, as man's ransom-price But there he lost all right to life: that was the very thing which he surrendered or "offered" on man's behalf. And having surrendered on man's behalf his rights to life he had no such rights remaining, and consequently could plead no right to a future life by a resurrection o that score--he had given his rights for Adam and his race.
But while the rights of our Lord were gone--paid to Justice as Adam's ransom, nevertheless the heavenly Father's power and right to re-create on a higher plane were in no sense of the word abridged. Justice might properly object to the re-creation of Jesus as a man, but would have no ground whatever for objecting to the creation of a new creature--of a nature higher and superior to all others of God's creatures--of the divine nature. And this is that the Apostle tells us did occur; after describing our Lords; humility and obedience to the Father unto death, even the death of the cross, the Apostle declares, "God hath highly exalted him and given him a name which is above very name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."--`Phil. 2:9-11`.
While it doth not yet appear what we shall be, when we are changed by a share in the first resurrection to the same divine nature, and while consequently it does not yet appear to us clearly what our Lord is in his very high exaltation, we can nevertheless appreciate the fact that amongst all who are honored with the title of sons of God upon the different planes or natures there is a measure of identity. Thus, for instance, our
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Lord, in his prehuman condition as Michael, the Logos, could be transferred to a lower condition, the human, and yet could preserve a good recollection and appreciation of his previous experiences, and did so, as the Scriptures relate. (`John 8:58`; `17:5,24`.) And similarly it was possible for the perfect man Jesus, the image of God in flesh, to be so duplicated as a still higher image of God in the divine nature, "the express image of the Father's person," that his identity is absolutely assured. The Scriptures clearly indicate that our Lords; experiences as a man, and the lessons of patience and obedience and sympathy which he then learned, are present with him now as experiences, altho no longer flesh, but spirit of the highest order. Only from this standpoint can we rightly appreciate the various facts set forth in this lesson.
Woman's love and tenderness, specially endearing charms of the sex, are well illustrated in this lesson-- in the coming of Jesus' female friends "very early in the morning," "while it was yet dark," and the :dawn." They came with no thought of the Lord's resurrection, but to embalm his body more elaborately than there had been time and opportunity for doing on the evening of his burial. They ad bee hindered from coming the previous day, because it was the Jewish Sabbath (the day now known as Saturday), the seventh day of the week. It does not appear that they all came together, but rather that Mary Magdalene was the first to arrive; but before her arrival there had been an earthquake, the keepers were affrighted, and fled to the chief priests. (`Matt. 28:2,11-15`.) Mary's perplexity respecting the events connected with the crucifixion was evidently intensified by the finding of the stone tolled away from the sepulcher, and full of the thought that the Lord's enemies were still pursuing him, and had even removed his body, she ran with haste to make the matter known to Peter and John, saying, "They have taken away the Lord out of the sepulcher, and we know not where they have laid him." Meantime the other women arrived, and sw the two angels, who explained to them that Jesus had risen as he had foretold, and they also returned to the city to report to the apostles. --`Luke 24:2-10`.
Peter and John were immediately interested by Mary's narrative, and hastened to the sepulcher; John, the younger and more active one, arriving there first, looked in and saw the place vacant, and the linen clothes lying; but Peter, the courageous, coming up, was the first to enter the sepulcher. Now they began to think of he words which our Lord had spoken respecting his resurrection to he third day, and John tells us of himself that looking at these evidences "he believed"--yet no doubt with much confusion of thought at first. The two disciples went to their home, but Mary remained at the sepulcher, weeping, and looking in she saw what Peter and John had not seen--two angels. They were doubtless there when Peter and John went into the sepulcher, but as we have heretofore seen from the Scriptural testimony, angels are invisible to human sight, except as a miracle may be performed. Such as a miracle was performed in this instance, and the two angels assumed human form and white raiment, and asked Mary why she wept. While she told them that she was weeping because some one had taken away the Lord's corpse, she heard as a footstep near her, and turning saw what she took to be the gardener, the keeper of Joseph's garden in which this tomb was.
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She did not recognize him as the Lord, but asked him if he had removed the body to tell her where, that she might take charge of it--her thought seeming to have been that Joseph was unwilling to have his tomb cumbered longer, and had therefore ordered that our Lord's body be removed, and that probably the gardener had attended to the matter.
It will be noticed in this case, and in the various instances of our Lord's appearances after his resurrection, that his nearest and dearest friends did not recognize him. He appeared in various forms and under varying circumstances. He spoke to them only briefly on each occasion, and during the forty days of his presence from the time of his resurrection to the time of his ascension was seen of his disciples only as a few times, and all of his conversations together probably did not occupy over an hour. These appearances, nevertheless, were for the purpose of teaching them very important lessons. (1) They were to recognize the fact that he was no longer dead, but alive. (2) That he was no longer the man Jesus, and subject to human limitations as before his crucifixion, but with the same loving disposition and characteristics was to as a "new creature," not subject to earthly conditions and limitations --able, as the angels, to appear and to disappear, to go and come like the wind, as he himself had explained that all "born of the spirit" in resurrection can do.--`John 3:8`.
In this view of the matter we are not surprised that Mary did not know her Lord until he revealed himself by speaking her name in as a familiar manner. Then how quickly her faith surmounted every obstacle; with as a woman's intuition she stopped not to inquire why there were no marks of the mails in his hands and in his feet but crying, "Master!" she clasped him by the feet with as a fervency that meant, Now that I have found you again I will not let go of you! Her love, her devotion, her persistence, gained for Mary the great honor of being the first to whom the Lord revealed himself after his resurrection. She had been forgiven much, and she loved much, and our Lord manifested his appreciation
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of her devotion. Nevertheless, he must tell her that she was neglecting a great privilege and as a great duty, for under divine providence it had fallen to her to be the first to announce to the disciples positively that the Lord was alive again. Instead of holding the Lord tightly by the feet, and thinking never to leave him, she should rather gladly become the servant both of the Lord and the apostles, and carry the good tidings.
And this in substance is what our Lord said to her. Our common translation "Touch me not," is faulty: the passage should rather be rendered,--Cling not to me, but go to my brethren, and say to them that I have not ascended to my Father, but that I am to ascend to my Father and your Father, to my God and to your God. Announce to them the fact of my resurrection, and that I will be with them awhile before I go to the Father: thus you will do as a work of preparing them for my subsequent manifestations. And having the true love which manifests itself in obedience, Mary immediately undertook the mission assigned her. According to `Matthew's account (28:1,9`) "the other Mary" must have been near by, and have come forward by this time, and received as a commission with Mary Magdalene to tell the disciples.
We will not stop to call special attention to the words of our Lord, in which he declares that our heavenly Father is his heavenly Father, and our God his God, for the expression is simple enough for all unprejudiced minds. We pass on to notice that the second appearance of our Lord was in the afternoon of the same day, toward evening, when he overtook two of the disciples going to Emmaus, as a suburban village: one of these was Cleopas, and the other evidently was Simon Peter.--`Luke 24:13-32,34`.
The third appearance was in the evening of the same day. While Simon and Cleopas (who immediately returned to Jerusalem to tell the disciples) were relating their experiences Jesus himself appeared in their midst. The disciples were nervous from the experiences of the preceding days, and were fearful of what the rulers of the Jews would do against them as the followers of Jesus, and were together in conference, "the doors being shut,"--barred and bolted, we may reasonably suppose. What could be more astonishing to them than that as a stranger should appear in their midst? And altho he said, "Peace be unto you," no wonder they were affrighted. They thought of this as the manifestation of an angel in their midst, for who but as a spirit being could appear while the doors were shut? They had not yet learned the lesson that our Lord, in his resurrection, was a spirit being and no longer a human being, and that like the angels he now had power to appear and disappear--to assume a human body with clothing, etc., and to dissipate the same at will. This lesson they must learn, and must needs be taught it by practical illustrations. Simon, who had been at Emmaus, and who had noted how the Lord vanished out of their sight as soon as they recognized him, would undoubtedly be prepared, better than the others, for this miraculous appearance while the doors were shut. He would know that he one who could disappear and vanish out of their sight at Emmaus would similarly have power to appear in any place.
Our Lord's interview was not a lengthy one; it was a first lesson, and the disciple would get the more good of it by reflection after he would leave them. He wished them, however, to be at ease in his presence, and to now that they were not seeing a spirit being, for, as he explained, "a spirit hath not flesh and bones." What they saw was not spirit, but matter. This does not mean that our Lord was not a spirit being at this time, as is clearly set forth by other Scriptures (`1 Pet. 3:18`; `2 Cor. 3:17`; `Phil. 3:21`): it merely means what it says, namely, that what they saw was not spirit, and hence that they had no cause for affright.
In our Lord's appearance to the Marys and on the way to Emmaus there is no suggestion that he appeared in a body scarred with the marks of the nails. Can we suppose that Mary would have clasped him by the feet and not have noticed the great wounds made by the nails? Can we suppose that the two gong to Emmaus, and looking curiously at their companion, asking hi, if he were a stranger to those parts, would to have noticed if his hands and his feet had great wounds in them? The evidence, therefore, seems conclusive that in neither of these manifestations did our Lord appear in bodies bearing wounds and thus resembling his crucified form. But now, at this third showing wishing to emphasize the identity of his risen self with the crucified one, he appeared to his followers in a form exactly like the one that was crucified, and showed them the spearmarks in his side and the nail-prints in his hands and feet. And while they still wondered and feared that what they saw was merely an apparition, he asked them to give him food, and ate some fish and honeycomb in their sight.--`Luke 24:39-43`.
Nothing in this implies of necessity that the flesh which they saw was the identical flesh which had hung on the cross. On the contrary that flesh, like all other flesh, was subject to the laws of nature and could not have been brought into the room while the doors were shut, nor subsequently caused to vanish out of it. The body of flesh which our Lord displayed to the disciples, was evidently created, and its clothing as well, in their presence, and dissolved when he vanished from their sight after the interview. Such powers are beyond human comprehension, but quite within the range of divine power.
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What became of the body of flesh that was crucified, and that laid in Joseph's tomb, and that disappeared therefrom, we are not told, except that the Apostle and Prophet declare that, "His flesh saw no corruption." (`Acts 2:31`; `Psa. 16:10`.) We incline to the opinion that the flesh, which was man;'s ransom-price, will never see corruption, but that it will be preserved by divine power as an everlasting testimony of the grace of God and of our Lord Jesus Christ in man's redemption, and will thus be a witness and a testimony to the divine love throughout eternity. Where God may have that body in preservation we know not. He who could hide the body of Moses, who was only a type, surely could hide the body of his Son--the antitypical redemption price.--`Jude 9`.
These various appearances of our Lord under peculiar circumstances were continued at long intervals during the forty days. Apparently he appeared in all some four or five times after the appearance above noted, which were on the day of his resurrection, and the Apostle Paul assures us that at the time he wrote his Epistle to the Corinthians over two hundred and fifty witnesses of our Lord's resurrection were still living, and this epistle was written about twenty-four years after the crucifixion. When we remember how close a reasoner the Apostle Paul was, and how logical were all his conclusions, we may rest assured that he did not receive this testimony respecting our Lord's resurrection upon any slight evidence, but had full confirmation of it. Moreover, he attests as a witness to the resurrection himself, saying, "Last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born before due time."--`1 Cor. 15:6-8`.
The Apostle Paul did not see Jesus under a vail of flesh, as he appeared to the others before the spirit dispensation began. To Paul he manifested himself in the glory of this spirit being, "shining above the brightness of the sun at noonday." The effect, as is well
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known, was disastrous to the eyes of the Apostle, because, altho he saw the Lord as one born before the time, yet not having been thus born himself by a resurrection change to the newness of nature, the sight was a calamity to his flesh.
It surely is a great relief to us to understand correctly respecting our dear Redeemer's resurrection, for several reasons:--
(1) It permits us to see how he arose without taking back our ransom price.
(2) It shows us that, altho, in obedience to the Father's arrangement, he willingly and gladly left a higher condition in order to be made flesh and to give a ransom, nevertheless he has not been permitted to be a loser to all eternity by this arrangement--he is not hampered by the lower or fleshly organism, but has, in his resurrection, attained to the highest form of spirit nature, the divine nature.
(3) It is a comfort to us to know that he does not bear now, in glory, the scars of the thorns, the spear and the nails; nor any of the evidences of the things which he suffered on our behalf: but instead his is an "excellent glory"--"the express image of the Father's person."--`Heb. 1:3`.
(4) It comforts us also to know that the Church, the body of Christ, will not to all eternity bear the marks of imperfection, the blemishes of sin, nor the marks of the wounds endured for righteousness' sake. No, the promise to the Church is the same as the promise to her Lord, that in the resurrection the Father will give (not the body that died, with wounds and imperfections, but) "a body as it hath pleased him," a glorious body, a likeness of the Lord. "We shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is"--not as he was.-- `1 Cor. 15:38`; `Phil 3:21`; `1 John 3:2`.
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THE NEW LIFE IN CHRIST.
--JUNE 18.--`COL. 3:1-15`.--
"Let the peace of God rule in your hearts."
FOLLOWING our consideration of our Lord's death and resurrection, it is appropriate that we apply to ourselves the two-fold lesson therein taught:--
(1) The lesson of man's depravity through the fall and his consequent need of a redemption and restitution. As we have seen, the death of Christ was man's ransom-price, and the resurrection of Christ was God's attestation of the acceptableness of the sin-offering, and preparing of the way for the blessing of mankind by raising up to superhuman life, divine glory and power, the Redeemer,--constituting him "Lord of all," and thus fitting him for the great work of blessing Adam and his family in due time--after the establishment of his Millennial Kingdom.
(2) We should note God's purpose to select from mankind a "little flock" on whom to confer Kingdom power in due time, making them his representatives and agents in the work of blessing the world of mankind with all the favors secured by the ransom sacrifice. The Scriptures show us that this plan or purpose of God was foreknown, forearranged, by him before the foundation of the world. They show us also that in the divine purpose our Lord Jesus was the Head, the First, the principal One, the Lord of this little flock, and that God's dealings with him and the method by which he was prepared for his present high position were an illustration of the method by which his Church is to be prepared for joint-heirship with him in his
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Kingdom.--`Eph. 1:3,4`, `4:15`; `Col. 1:18`; `1 Pet. 1:20`.
It is with this latter feature or lesson that we now have to do. In the Scripture under consideration the Apostle is addressing, nor mankind in general,--not even believers in general,--but a specific class, namely, "the saints and faithful brethren in Christ." (`Col. 1:2`.) He is addressing, therefore, those who have taken the two steps of grace:--(1) The step of justification from Adamic sin and death to reconciliation with the Father through faith in the atonement accomplished by his dear Son. (2) Having thus been justified reckonedly, or by faith, lifted out of the condition of sin and condemnation, these, according to the Lords; invitation, have consecrated themselves in the fullest sense and degree to the Lord for obedience and service "even unto death." ` This full consecration of every talent and power and opportunity is Scripturally called death--because the will has died, self-will has gone, and the Lord's will has been accepted in it stead. And since the will is the real ego, the real person, the thought is that the old ego, will or person has died, and that the new creature, having no will of his own, but being wholly under subjection to the divine will as expressed in Christ, who is the Head of this body, has come into control. Let us not lose the thought-picture here conveyed. We are not new individuals or persons, for it was individually and personally that we ceased to be when we gave ourselves over by full consecration to the Lord: our new condition is that of members or parts of the larger corporation or body of which our Lord Jesus is the Head. Whoever has a will of his own is properly to be considered an individual; but whoever has dropped his own will, and accepted instead of it the will of another, has creased or figuratively has died as an individual. And this is the picture which the Apostle presents in this and in various other presentations of this subject. For instance, in `1 Corinthians 12` the same writer declares that the entire Christ is not in the members but in the Head. To whatever extent, then, the Lord's people have fully consecrated themselves to him as members of the body of Christ, they should be in absolute subjection to the will of God in Christ; and so far as their own wills are concerned they should have none, but in that respect should be "dad."
This is the Apostle's thought in this lesson; but he carries it further, saying that as our own wills, ambitions, aims and hopes were consecrated and reckoned dead, so we should reckon ourselves as members of the Christ, risen from the dead: new creatures, possessed and controlled buy the new will, the mind of Christ. It is this class that the Apostle addresses, and from this standpoint that he declares, "If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God."
The thought is that all of this class have, as justified earthly beings, desiring and hoping to attain jointheirship with Christ in his Kingdom, been taught of God and inspired by the exceeding great and precious promises of his Word to come to this position of self-consecration. We are to note how our Lord Jesus laid down his earthly life, and was by the Father exalted to a heavenly condition and the right hand of power, --as a criterion for our course as followers in his footsteps. We are to remember continually that joint-heirship with the Lord in that spiritual condition and in his heavenly power and Kingdom are the hopes set before the Church of this age, and we are to "seek those things"--"seek" chiefly the Kingdom of God"-- seek to make our calling and election sure to participation with our Lord in the Kingdom honors and glories to which he already has attained as a reward for his faithful sacrifice.--`Verse 1`; `Matt. 6:33`; `Rom. 2:7`; `2 Pet. 1:10`.
The Apostle wishes us to understand how we are to "seek" those things. We are not merely to seek them in prayer, altho prayer is an excellent aid in the seeking. We are to seek them by setting our affections on those things, and by lifting our affections from earthly things.
Comparatively few realize to what extent we have the forming of our own characters--to what extent our minds, our affections, are gardens, in which we may plant either the thorns and thistles of sin, or plant the merely moral and practical qualities corresponding to the useful vegetables, or plant those seeds which will produce the fragrant and beautiful flowers which more particularly would represent the heavenly and spiritual graces. That which a man soweth he shall also reap in kind, whether he sow to the flesh or to the spirit. Whoever, therefore, seeks for the heavenly things, joint-heirship in the Kingdom etc., Must plant or set out in his mind, in his affections, those qualities and grace which the Lord marks out as essential to the development of characters such as will be "meet for the inheritance of the saints in light." --`Col. 1:12`.
Thus the Lord throws upon all those whom he calls to this "high calling," this "heavenly calling," and who accept the call and covenant thereunder, the responsibility of their success or failure in attaining it. Through his Word he tells of their own natural weaknesses and imperfections, and shows them how he has provided a full off-set or counterbalance for these imperfections in the merit and sacrifice of the Redeemer: he shows them also what re the fruits and
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graces of the spirit which they must possess, in heart at least, if they would be joint-heirs with Christ: he shows them also in the Redeemer's life as well as in his teachings the copy which all must follow who would reach the same glorious station and be his joint-heirs. We might look at this matter merely from the standpoint of the responsibility which it throws upon us, and might well feel over-awed thereby; rather, however, we should view it from the standpoint of divine grace, and consider what a blessed privilege has been granted us, not only of being transformed by the renewing of our minds, that we might come more and more to know and to strive for the good, acceptable and prefect will of God, but in addition to all this God has set before us the grandest reward imaginable for the doing of that which is merely our duty and reasonable service--the doing of that which would bring us the largest measure of joy and peace, aside from a future reward.--`2 Pet. 1:3,4`.
There is a natural attraction to earthly things for all mankind: even tho the earthly things, during the reign of evil, be blemished and in many respects distasteful to those who have learned to love righteousness and hate iniquity, there is nevertheless still a strong attraction to the marred and blemished earthly things. Like weeds, earthly affections and desires spring spontaneously from seeds which come we know not whither. The Christian, therefore, who would keep his heart in the love of God must not only keep planting out or setting his affections on heavenly things, but he must keep rooting out the weeds of earthly desire and attraction.
As the Apostle intimates, our new life is not manifest to all, nor upon all occasions; it is a life of new desire, new aims, new aspirations,--which the world can neither see nor fully appreciate, tho it see some outward manifestations of the new life in our daily conduct. Even the "brethren" may not be able to appreciate the progress of the new life in us; and even ourselves may at times be somewhat perplexed respecting the rapidity and strength of its growth, and we may need to look back over weeks or months, or perhaps years, in order to determine unquestionably that it is growing. Our new life, represented by our endeavors to follow the new will of Christ, is hidden thus in Christ and in the Father.
It is in harmony wit this thought that the Apostle Paul declared in one place that neither the world nor the brethren were capable of judging him--that only the Lord, who could read the heart and know all the conditions and testings an weaknesses to be striven against, could properly judge him. He even declares, "Yea, I judge not mine own self." (`Rom. 14:4`; `1 Cor. 4:3`; `Jas. 4:12`.) It is an excellent plan neither to condemn others who claim to be walking conscientiously as children of the Lord, nor even to condemn ourselves under similar circumstances. We should simply press along day by day, doing the best we can to cultivate the heavenly graces and to serve our Master, leaving all the results with the Lord. He careth for us, and so long as our hopes and aims and objects of life are centered in the heavenly things, and our lives thus hid with Christ in God, we need fear no evil, present or future. Fr the Lord, will be with us and bless us and keep us from falling and ultimately present us blameless.--`Psa. 23:4`; `Jude 24`; `Col. 1:22`.
This condition of things is to last throughout the entire Gospel age, and is to apply to all the members of the body of Christ. All are to be dead to the world and all are to have their ambitions and hopes or life hidden with Christ in God. As the Father has done for our Lord, so he wills of or all those who are truly untied to him; and the time for bringing these blessings to the Church is, the Apostle states, at the second coming of the Lord. Then the Lord's people will n longer be misunderstood by each other nor by the world; then the faithful will all appear with the master in glory, and then will begin the work of blessing all the families of the earth with a knowledge of the truth and with an opportunity for full restitution to all that was lost in Adam.
Having thus set forth the proper course of the Church in the line of aspirations, hopes, etc., the Apostle turns to the other side of the question, and gives us particular and explicit directions how we should proceed to carry out our consecration vow of deadness to earthly things and life only toward the heavenly things. It will be noticed that he does not counsel retirement from the world and its busy cares to cloisters, monasteries or nunneries, but taking the Lord's consecrated people where they may be, he advises respecting the methods by which they can best accomplish the desired results of mortifying of deadening their appetites, desires, etc., which are rooted and grounded in their fallen flesh or earthly nature. He mentions these besetments, commencing with the more gross and ending with the most subtle.
Fornication was very prevalent in the Apostle's day, and he would have the saints recognize this gross, prominent evil, and then in connection with it notice others which they might be much mor likely to overlook. First of these in order is "uncleanness." What a searching thought is in that word! It means anything that is not pure, not chaste, not holy not clean. If a good many of the saints might feel that it was useless to mention to them so gross an evil as fornication, they would be forced to admit that in their imperfect condition they required guarding, counseling,
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on the score of "uncleanness." This reminds us of our Lord's words to the disciples on the night before his crucifixion. He said to Peter, when proposing to wash his feet, "Ye are clean, but not all." So the saints consecrated to the Lord are clean of heart, pure of heart; yet they re not all clean--the members which touch the earth, their sensibilities and passions which come in contact with the defiled human nature, need cleansing, need "washing with water through the Word." All filth, all uncleanness, every "spot and wrinkle," needs attention, and the "precious blood: is the antidote for every stain.--`Eph. 5:25-27`.
"Inordinate affection" is one of the things mentioned as needing attention and correction but the saints: this signifies earthly or animal passions. The saints are to mortify these, that is, to deaden them--not only to seek not to cultivate, not to enliven, not to arouse, such passions either in themselves or in others, but on the contrary they are to seek to deaden these as well as to cultivate the higher and nobler joys and sentiments. The deadening or mortifying of these, and the self-denial according to the flesh thus implied, is a part of the antitypical fasting in which all of the Lord's people should seek to engage, each according to his zeal, opportunities and possibilities.
"Evil concupiscence" (or, in more modern language, desires for forbidden things) is a step higher in the Apostle's list of evil tendencies that should be rooted out and mortified, deadened. It is not sufficient that we acknowledge sin in its various forms to be evil, and that we resolve that we will strive against it because it is under the Lord's ban: in addition to this we are to root out of our hearts every longing, every desire for every thing not thoroughly approved by the Lord. Oh, what a cleansing this would mean in the hearts and lives, and especially in the thoughts, of many who have named the name of Christ! Many who fail to note this point, who fail to follow the Apostle's admonition, find themselves continually beset by temptations, because, while outwardly avoiding gross immoralities, they secretly harbor sympathies for things condemned,--desiring that they might have them, if only they were not forbidden. Under such conditions comparatively little progress can be made in the higher life. The Apostle would set before us the proper course to be pursued, if we would win the great prize, --namely, the high standard of bringing the very thoughts, wishes, desire, of our hearts into full conformity to the perfect will of God: and only those who do so are properly making progress, running the race set before us in the Gospel.--`2 Cor. 10:5`.
The Apostle concludes his list of things against which the "new creature" must war to the death by naming covetousness," and declaring it a species of idolatry. In other words, if the hearts of the Lord's people are running after any earthly thing )even if it be not an evil thing of itself_, if they are centering their affections upon even good things of an earthly kind, and are neglecting to set their affections upon the heavenly things, they are failing to run the race successfully. This is amongst the most seductive trials of the Lord's people. Some will set their affections upon a wife or a husband, or upon parents or children, or upon a good name before the public, to such an extent that when testings come as to whether or not they love these more than they love the Lord, their conduct proves that they have given to these earthly good things a degree of love beyond that they accorded to the Lord.
Frequently the Lord's people do not at the time realize that this is the case. They love the Lord, and they love their families and friends, and a good name, which is to be preferred to great riches; and they do not realize that they love the Lord less than they love these other things. The Lord, however, will test everyone whom he will receive to the high calling along just these lines; he declares in advance that whoever loves father, mother, children or any other thing more than him is not worthy of him--not worthy to be counted as a member of the body of the Christ in glory, --the overcoming Church. The overcomers must all be proven to be such as would sacrifice every other thing for the Lord; such as would sacrifice the love and fellowship and approval, if necessary, of every other being, in order to retain the love and favor of the Lord. We believe that this test is coming daily closer and closer to the Lord's consecrated people, and it behooves everyone of us to remember that this is one of the elements of our trial, and to set our affections on the heavenly things accordingly, and to mortify or deaden all such affections toward earthly beings and things as would bring these into competition with our
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Lord in our affections, service. etc.
The Apostle sums up this list of evils to be deadened by saying that it is in the seeking o these earthly things, because of such things growing in their hearts, that the Lord's wrath is to come "on the children of disobedience." Are they the wicked the worldly, the unregenerate? No, none of these; for they are to ;children" at all. The reference evidently is to those who have become children of God by his legitimate arrangement of (1) justification and (2) sanctification through faith in Christ. He is referring to those who are of the class "called to be saints," but who fail to make sure their calling and election to jointheirship with the Lord, as members of the kingdom "little flock." He refers to those who do not properly set their affections
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on heavenly things, but allow their affections to centre chiefly in earthly things. He refers to the "great company" who, because of loving father or mother, houses or lands, or something else, to such an extent that they fail to keep their covenant of sacrifice, will be accounted unworthy of a share in the Kingdom, and instead will be subjected to the great time of trouble --"the day of wrath."--`1 Cor. 3:15`; `Rev. 7:9-15`.
This does not signify, however, that such persons have become exceedingly corrupt in their lives, but merely that they are continuing in the course of life in which they were before making their covenant to the Lord. This is clearly expressed in the `seventh verse` of our lesson.
Coming down to a particularization of the change which should take place in those who have consecrated themselves wholly to the Lord, the Apostle enumerates certain alterations of disposition which should be attempted, and, so far as possible, accomplished; namely, the putting away of all the following--anger, wrath, malice, evil-speaking, impurity of language, and falsehood in its every form. At first thought such correction of life might seem to be unnecessary to mention as being too coarse and entirely opposed to every true Christian principle; but as we scrutinize the matter we find that the Apostle has really taken into his list nearly all the weaknesses of the flesh which beset those who have' become "new creature in Christ.' What is more common with Christian people than to become angry? How many there are who have named the name of Christ who have malicious or at least unkind thoughts respecting others, and who harbor these, and sometimes permit them to influence their conduct! How many there are who indulge in evil speaking, that is, slander (here translated "blasphemy")! This is often done in such a manner as not only to deceive the hearer, but also to deceive the speaker as respects his real intention in speaking of others discreditably, unkindly.
What a wonderful world this would be if all the evil or impure language were avoided! Every Christian should see to it that henceforth every word which proceeds from his mouth shall be such as will minister grace to the hearers--such words as wills only good and be edifying. Finally, how much need there is, not only of having good intentions in the heart, but also of expressing those good intentions truthfully one to another--without deception, without hypocrisy. But it requires that a heart be very pure and very full of love if it would be very truthful, otherwise it would lad into trouble continually. If the unloving, ungenerous, unkind hearts, full of evil surmising, malice, hatred and strife, were to express themselves frankly it would add immensely to the trouble of the world. The Apostle therefore urges first, the purifying of the heart, and then general candor.
These corrections of life are urged as the reasonable and proper outcome of our transformation from the Adamic and fallen nature, reckoned dead, to the new nature of Christ, of whose "body" we have become reckonedly members, controlled and renewed in knowledge through our new Head, Christ Jesus.
And the Apostle then shows that in this new condition, as members of the body of Christ, we are to remember that previous differences of man are ignored, for whoever is accepted of the Lord as a member of his body is a fellow-member with every other member thus accepted,--whether, according to the flesh, they were Greek or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, Barbarian or Scythian, bondman or freeman; because all who come into Christ are reckoned dead to their previous condition, and alive to the new conditions which are life for all. Thus, a slave being set free is dead to his former slavery, and may figuratively be said to have started on a new life. Thus also a citizen may renounce his allegiance to the land of his birth and may swear allegiance to another country, and become a citizen of it, and thus be reckoned as dead to the nation of which he was a citizen by birth, and to have become alive as a citizen of the new nation to which he has been adopted. Thus it is with all those who re in Christ: they may have been Welshman or Spaniards, Britons or Gauls, blacks or whites, Indians or Malays, but as soon as they are accepted of the Lord as new creature through faith and consecration they are to reckon themsevles dead to all their former relationships and obligations, and as having come into new conditions as citizens of the Heavenly Kingdom, and reckonedly heirs of God, joint-heirs with Jesus Christ.
This does not mean, however, that the white man will become a black man, nor the black man a white man; it does not mean, necessarily, a change of language either, nor a revolution in all the tastes and peculiarities wherewith one was born; nor does it mean a full release, according to the flesh, from obligations to the land of our birth, nor imply that we should not be subject to the powers that be, except as their demands might conflict with the positive commands of our King; nor does it imply an ignoring of the differences of sex and the proprieties which belong to each sex, and which, according to the Scriptures, are to be continued and preserved during this age. It does imply, however, that in thinking of each other as new creatures in Christ Jesus. All are to be considered as on a common plane or level--none are to be disesteemed as "brethren" because of color, speech or sex.
With this thought before our minds,--of the oneness
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and equality of those who have been accepted into the body of Christ, the Apostle urges upon out attention the necessity, not only of putting off the evil dispositions of our fallen flesh, but the necessity also of putting on, cultivating, the various graces of the Spirit exemplified in our Head, Christ Jesus. He specifies these: (1) Bowels of mercies, or, in more modern language, compassionate sentiments; a disposition toward largeness and generosity of heart toward everybody and everything--toward the saints, toward our neighbors and friends and relatives, toward our enemies, and toward the brute creation. Amplifying, he continues, showing that it would imply (2) kindness toward all; (3) humbleness of mind, the reverse of boastfulness, headiness, arrogance; (4) meekness, or gentleness of disposition; (5) long-suffering, or patient endurance with the faults and weaknesses of others. It implies that we should bear with each other's peculiarities of temperament and disposition, freely forgiving one another, if there be cause of offence found in each other--learning the meanwhile to correct ourslves, as we see our own blemishes more or less mirrored in others. Ad the standard for all this course of conduct is found in the Lord's course toward us, for he surely has been generous, kind, forbearing and forgiving.
The Apostle wishes us to notice that he is not attempting a reformation of the world along these lines, but merely a transformation of those how have entered into a special covenant with the Lord, namely, the Church: "the elect of God, holy and beloved." Nevertheless, all whoa re thus covenanted to the Lord, and hope to make their calling and election sure to membership in the glorified Church, will not only seek to have these fruits of the spirt in their own lives, but will seek also to cultivate the same a they may have opportunity in their friends and neighbors: above all will such seek to exercise such a good influence upon their own families--that as their children receive from them, as parents, the natural life and the necessary instructions and start therein, they may also if possible receive from them their start in the new life, and the necessary instructions and equipment for the same.]
But the Apostle, as the mouthpiece of the holy Spirit, is a thorough instructor: not only does he tell us what dis-graces to put off and what graces to put on, but viewing the Lord's body arrayed in these glorious qualities of heart,--compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, patient endurance, forbearance and forgiveness, -he adds, "And above all these put on love, which is the bond of perfectness." Love is thus pictured as the "girdle" which binds and holds in place the folds of the robe of Christ's righteousness, with its various graces. In other words, the Apostle would have us see that forbearance, meekness, patience, etc., must not be matters of courtesy merely, or matters of policy merely, but however much they might partake of these qualities at the beginning, the wearers will not be perfected in heart, not be fit of the kingdom, until they have reached the place where these various graces of their wills, or intentions, are bound to them by the cords of love--love for the Lord, love for righteousness, love for the "brethren," ad sympathetic love for the whole groaning creation. Love is indeed the bond of perfectness, the very spirit of the Lord.
How forceful in its place is the `last verse` of this lesson, "And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body [one corporation, one Church--the body of Christ], and be ye thankful." Not until God's people have reached some measure of what the Apostle has here outlined can they know experimentally the blessedness of having divine peace rule in their hearts and lives, controlling their relationship with every member of the body of Christ under the bond of love, and producing more and more in them the spirit of gratitude and thankfulness to God, for mercies and blessings enjoyed. Ad sch gratitude will find its natural and proper outlet in endeavors to serve the Lord: endeavors which the Lord will be sure to accept form such hearts, reckoned holy and acceptable through Christ Jesus, the head and Redeemer.
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DEAR BROTHER IN THE LORD:--It is with pleasure that I report an increased sign of interest in the truth by some more of the Lord's people. Since the loss of our dear brother Nicholson (who will doubtless be profitable for the truth wherever he may settle in the States) we have unmistakably entered a new era in our Christian history. At the point of his leaving and for a few weeks later the lowest ebb of the tide was reached; but at the darkest hour of future prospect, a revival of interest set in which has increased steadily. Our work is altogether in the interest of the "household of faith"--seeking to be used of the Chief Reaper in supplying the present truth. The interest is marked in the saints who, realizing the great need of separation from what tends to compromise with Christendom and having a desire to be of the sanctuary class, follow the Lord outside the camp.
Our Dawn Circle (every Tuesday evening) is exceptionally successful compared with the past year, and the work on Sunday is at last bearing fruit. All the helpers are in our midst, and all who speak the truth are known to be sound in the faith. Thus we are able to avoid the inevitable consequences of the warning of Scripture, "Sow not the field with mingled seed." As far as lies in our power the truth (unadulterated) is proclaimed.
Some years ago I wrote you upon the seeming discrepancy of the 400 and 430 years of the Israelites' sojourning and afflictions, and since have come across what is a very helpful solution of the matter, and a further indication of the reliableness of the Bible dates.
This distinction between affliction and the bondage of the Israelites (the former including the latter, but not confined to it) throws light upon the difficulty which is often experienced respecting the period of 400 years here mentioned. The actual bondage in Egypt was of comparatively short duration (one-half of 430 years); but the affliction of the seed of Abraham commenced in his son, Isaac. The interval between Isaac's birth and the Exodus was 405 years; and if we place the predicted affliction of the seed to commence in Isaac's 5th year, when he would begin to feel the effects of Ishmael's mockery, we then have the afflictions enduring 400 years, and including in the last period of it the bondage. What is said (`Exod. 12:40`) about the sojourning of the people 430 years before the Exodus presents no difficulty in the way of this solution, but rather confirms it; because it is evident from `Gal. 3:17`, that this period of 430 years is to be reckoned from the giving of the promise to Abraham, which was first done 25 years before the birth of Isaac. This corresponds exactly, and was the whole period of sojourn, including the other two periods, which are more actually characterized as, first, the period of affliction, and finally, the period of actual slavery.
I remain, Yours in the Kingdom hope,
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--Inclosed is a draft for __________dollars which I wish to deposit in the Tract Fund for its use as a loan. It is the earnings of the past two years above my daily necessities. I gathered it with the thought of giving the interest for the Tract Fund, and later the principal. I do not need it; and, judging from the past, I will not need it. The Lord has always provided ways and means to enable me to earn all things needful in the past, and since he has permitted me to come into the wonderful light and knowledge of the present truth, I can trust him much more fully, for I understand his ways better. I did think of donating it entirely, but as I am not quite clear in regard to the difference between tempting and trusting, I will wait until I have more knowledge; meanwhile the Society can use it as its own. It is but little to help others into the knowledge of our dear Lord's plans, but it is all he has given me, and the only way I can find now to serve, outside of sending out tracts.
Some of the people of the world seem to like to hear the truth, and so long as they do, is it not best to tell them of God's wonderful provision for all that will obey him? I have wondered what was best to do when they do not work on what they hear, and yet come where they will hear more. They do not seem to be worse since they learned that God does not intend to roast them forever. Eagerly we look forward to the time when the blind eyes and deaf ears shall be opened.
It is such a wonderful joy to know the Lord's ways. I thought when I first read the DAWNS that I was full of joy (and so I was: all I could hold), but that was three years ago, and I have learned so much since of heart culture and head knowledge that my heart is singing all the time. When in the M.E. Church, I never was at rest; everything seemed mixed and hazy. I was never sure of anything, except a desire to know the Lord. No one could tell me why it was necessary for Christ to die, or how to present my body a living sacrifice, or how to keep the first commandment. Now an understanding of God's character enables me to keep the first commandment; now my eyes are opened, and the way seems easy. It is so easy that I am fearful that I may lack in some way and be blind to it, for I see so many warnings in the Word; yet while the Word teaches that the heart is very deceitful, I know that I love the Lord and his ways above all things. Yours in our dear Redeemer's name,
DEAR BROTHER:--I am waiting here for the afternoon train to D__________. Five meetings have been held here, in the opera house, all of which were unusually well attended. Brother Fairbrother advertised the meetings most thoroughly, having notices in the papers for two weeks, beside having sent 75 or 80 invitation cards to persons who purchased DAWNS from Brother Kent. The results were very satisfactory--from the standpoint of numbers at least. The two largest meetings were those of Sunday afternoon and evening. I judge that about 100 persons attended the former and between 200 and 300 the latter. The Baptist minister attended the Saturday evening meeting (when we presented the Plan of the Ages) and was so pleased that he closed his church Sunday evening, so that himself and congregation could go to the opera house to hear a discourse on "How God can be just and the justifier of him which believeth on Jesus."
The people took tracts quite freely, and a goodly number ordered sample TOWERS.
With much love, Yours in Christ, FRANK DRAPER.
MY DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--I thank God that he offered me the opportunity of reading MILLENNIAL DAWN. Never in all my life of Scripture reading have
I found so much comfort and peace. Thanks to his holy and righteous name, I do not see as I used to see, since I have been led into the glorious light! I love God better; I love my fellow man better. No more fears are haunting my mind of a life of eternal misery in the future. To acknowledge that I have lived a long time in total darkness, is but mildly expressing my extreme blindness pertaining to God's plan. Now the mystery is solved. I have often wondered, and asked the question, What will become of those millions of souls who have died in innocent ignorance of the plan of salvation? and received the answer, My brother, they must live forever and ever in a flame of fire, which God has prepared for all who do not become Christians before they depart out of this life. Oh! to think that I ever charged such atrocities to One who has created and cared for me, pains my heart sorely. But glorious light fell athwart my gloomy pathway, and I read in beautiful lines--
"Good will to men; blest echoes that thrill
His first-fruits with rapture grand--
Shall be to all, when, on Zion's hill,
The Bridegroom and bride shall stand."
W. M. P. DEVINE,--Ind. Ter.
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DEAR MR. RUSSELL:--The undersigned, ex-captain of the Salvation Army, has recently, on account of the light God has sent him through your work, M. DAWN, left said organization.
I have read VOLS. I. and II. twice, and have just received VOL. III. God has, through furnishing me with this volume, plainly shown his will in regard to me; I recognize his voice. Glory be to his name! Even before I received the truth I was fully consecrated to the Lord's service, and am determined, by God's gracious help, to spread further the great light he in his wonderful graciousness has counted me worthy to receive. Should be very grateful to you for some advice on how to act in the matter. Could no doubt get a situation in some worldly business, but, as I have said, being consecrated to the Lord's service, and believing that God has work for me to do, I much prefer to turn my talents into the service of our King.
I am twenty-five years of age, have no worldly possessions, can only speak or read Swedish. If you so desire, I shall be very glad to go into the colporteur work here in Sweden; but if you think I could do more good in any other country, I have no objection to go anywhere you may suggest.
Yours, devoted and grateful,
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--Please find draft for One Thousand Dollars, a thank-offering to the Lord for his many blessings given to me. Please use it in the harvest work, and, if you think best, I would be pleased to have you use it to assist in defraying the expense of the "Volunteer" service, mentioned in the April 15th TOWER.
Please do not publish my name in the TOWER in connection with this. I am thankful that I can help a little in this way.
Your brother in Christ, __________, Wisconsin.
[The zeal of the Lord's dear people as "Volunteers" in the various departments of the King's service is very encouraging. Altho we have appropriated the name "Volunteers" specially to the public tract distribution now in progress, it is a fact that all who serve this harvest message in any capacity are really volunteers. The important financial part of the work is all volunteered--never begged, never urged, but always, as in the above case, done freely "as unto the Lord." The "Colporteur" service is similarly done by volunteers: and all these efforts are owned and blessed by the great Chief Reaper, we are sure.
The friends will be glad to know that the call for "Volunteers" for Sunday work amongst church-goers --circulating gratuitously the pamphlet, The Bible vs. Evolution--met with prompt and cordial responses from every direction. We send portions of each order in its turn and not all at once: and yet many orders are waiting for the pamphlets from the binderies. We have already sent out over 100,000 copies and are pushing the matter along as fast as possible: meantime fresh "Volunteers" are constantly reporting and the proposed half-million booklets may not be near enough; but if Providence so indicate, we are ready to issue more. The topic is apparently a very timely one, as many are in danger of "stumbling" on the subject of Evolution.--EDITOR.]
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--You will be pleased to have a brief account of our first two Sundays' experience in distributing the Bible verses Evolution pamphlet. Last Sunday we served six churches, and to-day we served five. Six of the brethren and four of the sisters in the truth are in the "volunteer" ranks at present. We have still over two hundred churches to be served. The average distribution to a congregation thus far has been about 125 of the pamphlets; as we are now working chiefly on the outskirts of the city among the smaller churches.
The common people receive them gladly and often with hearty thanks. One lady this evening was so favorably impressed by a hasty scanning of its pages that she walked back and tendered twenty-five cents to the sister who handed it to her, but the money was politely declined.
Another, a gentleman, stepped to the light to examine
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what it was that had been handed to him. In a moment he returned and said, "This is just what I have been seeking and did not know where to send for it; I am so glad to have it. Had I known you were outside to hand out these, I should have taken your supply inside and passed them out to our people." Others declared that we are certainly accomplishing a good work and wished us Godspeed. At one church, where we served this morning, the minister's sermon was on "Evolution," and he preached against that theory; our pamphlets at the door capped the climax.
I trust our effort will show for itself in the inquiries you will receive from here and requests for further reading matter along these lines.
We exercise great care in handing out the pamphlets so as not to pass them to any except such as we deem worthy of receiving them. We much appreciate our privilege of cooperation in spreading the Gospel to others. The Lord bless you and all the dear ones engaged in the harvest work!
Your brother "Volunteer,"
J. A. BOHNET, Washington, D.C.
--THIS IS-- THE GENERAL TITLE OF A SERIES OF BOOKS BY THE EDITOR OF ZION'S WATCH TOWER
VOL. 1., The Plan of the Ages, Gives an outline of the divine plan revealed in the Bible, relating to man's redemption and restituion: 358 pages, paper bound 25 cts., in leatherette 35 cents.
Vol. II., The Time is at Hand, treats of the manner and time of the Lord's second coming, considering the Bible testimony on this subject: 370 pages, paper bound 25 cts., in leatherete 35 cts.
Vol. III., Thy Kingdom Come, considers prophecies which mark events connected with the "Time of the End," the glorification ofthe Church and the establishment of the Millennial Kingdom; it also contains a chapter on the great Pyramid, showing its corroboration of the dates and other teachings of the Bible: 384 pages, paper bound 25 centss, in letherette 35 cents.
Vol. IV., The Day of Vengeance, shows that the dissolution of the present order of things is in progress, and that all the panaceas offered are valueless to avert the predicted end. It marks in these evetns the fulfilment of prophecy, noting specially our Lord's grat prophecy of Matt. 24, and that of Zech. 14:1-9: 660 pages, paper bound 35 cts., in leatherette 50 cents.
In cloth binding-VOLS. I.,II.&III. are 50 cents each, plus postage 10 cents each: VOL. IV., 75 cents, plus postage 12 cents.
MILLENNIAL DAWN is published in foreign languages as follows: In German and in Swedish., VOLS. Il,II.&III In Dano-Norwegian, VOLS.I.&II. In French VOL.I Bound in cloth and paper uniform with the English edition; prices the same as above. WHOLSALE RATES TO WATCH TOWER SUBSCRIBERS
Namely, one-half above rates. In the United States and Canada add postage on cloth-bound: to foreign countries add postage on all editions.