VOL. XXXIII APRIL 1 No. 7
A.D. 1912--A.M. 6040
"Ye Were Bought with a Price"....................107
Moses as a Mediator..............................109
Beware of Pride in the Heart.....................110
Why Pride Is an Abominable Trait.............110
The Mortal Body the Servant of the New
Good Intentions Not Sufficient...............111
Apostolic Succession Unscriptural................112
St. Paul to Succeed Judas....................112
"A Crown of Twelve Stars"....................113
The Palace of Blessedness........................113
The Rich Man in Hell.............................115
Loving Our Neighbors.............................116
"This Is a Hard Saying"......................117
"Owe No Man Anything"........................117
Christianity and the Law.........................117
Fulfilling the Prophets Also.................118
The Pharisees' Standard Lower................118
God's Inheritance (Poem).........................119
Berean Questions in Scripture Studies............119
WATCH TOWER BIBLE AND TRACT SOCIETY
CHARLES T. RUSSELL, PRESIDENT
"BROOKLYN TABERNACLE," 13-17 HICKS ST.,
BROOKLYN, N. Y., U. S. A.
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INTERNATIONAL BIBLE STUDENTS ASSOCIATION MEETINGS
AT WHICH BROTHER RUSSELL WILL BE PRINCIPAL SPEAKER
FRIENDS FROM NEARBY PLACES ARE CORDIALLY INVITED.
BROOKLYN, N.Y., APRIL 7
Morning Rally for Praise and Testimony at 10:30 o'clock in the Brooklyn Tabernacle. In conjunction with this meeting an opportunity will be given for symbolic Baptism in water. Robes, etc., will be provided. Any desiring to make use of this opportunity will please give us timely notice. The evening Question Meeting at 7:30 o'clock will also be in the Tabernacle. Discourse for the Public at 3 p.m. in the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Lafayette Avenue and St. Felix Street.
BALTIMORE, MD., APRIL 14
Morning Rally for Praise, Prayer and Testimony at 10:30, and evening discourse for the interested at 8 o'clock. Lehman's Hall, 856 Howard Street. Service for the Public at 3 p.m., Academy of Music, North Howard Street.
MONTGOMERY, ALA., APRIL 20
Public Discourse at 7:30 p.m., Grand Theatre. For additional information write local friends.
NEW ORLEANS, ALA., APRIL 21
At 10:30 a.m. Praise and Testimony service, followed by Discourse for the interested; Public Discourse at 4 p.m. All meetings will be held in The Athenaeum, corner St. Charles and Clio Streets.
BIRMINGHAM, ALA., APRIL 22
Public Discourse at 7:30 p.m., Jefferson Theatre. For additional information write local friends.
(Continued on last page.)
BETHEL HYMNS FOR MAY
After the close of the hymn the Bethel Family listens to the reading of "My Vow Unto the Lord," then joins in prayer. At the breakfast table the MANNA text is considered. Hymns for May follow: (1) 333; (2) 299; (3) 8; (4) 91; (5) 196; (6) 273; (7) 60; (8) 222; (9) 74; (10) 229; (11) 279; (12) 7; (13) 50; (14) 145; (15) 67; (16) 47; (17) 119; (18) 4; (19) 313; (20) 167; (21) 46; (22) 54; (23) 259; (24) 249; (25) 105; (26) 27; (27) 176; (28) 307; (29) 113; (30) 112; (31) vow.
"The Handwriting on the Wall" is the leading article in PEOPLES PULPIT, Vol. IV., No. 1, which is being used as this year's regular Volunteer literature.
Only two million copies have been requested by the friends thus far, and these have been sent out. Those who have not yet ordered their supply, and others who require more, will assist us by advising at once how many are required.
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"YE WERE BOUGHT WITH A PRICE"
(`I CORINTHIANS 6:20`.)
IT WILL BE noticed that the Apostle refers, not to the world, but to the Church in the statement, "Ye were bought with a price, even the precious blood of Christ." Other Scriptures tell us that "Jesus Christ, by the grace of God, tasted death for every man" --that He redeemed the world. We are to remember, however, that this work of redemption covers centuries. Promises respecting it were made long centuries before Jesus came. He accomplished a certain portion of the work--the all-important part of giving Himself a Ransom price for all--laying down His life.
But while His life was thus laid down, to be the price of the sins of the whole world, it has not yet been applied for the world's sins. If it were, then the world would no longer be under Divine condemnation, "children of wrath," but would in some sense of the word be back in fellowship with God. The price laid down by the Redeemer at Calvary is eventually to be made applicable to the sins of the whole world, but not yet. It will not be made applicable to the whole world until after the gathering out of the world--of all nations, classes--the Bride of Christ, the "elect."
In harmony with this we read that our Lord Jesus after His resurrection ascended up on high, there to appear in the presence of God for us--for the household of faith--not for the world. Hence any blessing, and reconciliation with God, any arrangement of Divine favor and everlasting life, is not open to the world, but merely to believers, the "household of faith": "To us who believe He is precious"; "We have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ, the Righteous." Unbelievers have no Advocate with the Father, and consequently have no forgiveness of sins, no reconciliation, but are still under the condemnation of death. "We have escaped the condemnation that is on the world."
How fully these different texts of the Divine Word dovetail with each other and with the facts! We have peace; the world has no peace. God is our Father; the world is under condemnation, and are "children of wrath," under sentence of death, and not recognized by the Creator in the present time, although the Scriptures show us that He has very gracious plans and arrangements for mankind in general by and by--during the Messianic reign of Jesus and the Church, His Bride. Then, in this class, the Seed of Abraham (`Gal. 3:29`), all the families of the earth will be blessed.
THE WORLD IS NOT YET BOUGHT
Would it be right, some one inquires, to say that the world is "bought with a price"? We answer that it would not be strictly right to say, but we need not quarrel with those who fail to state the matter in exactly the proper language. Rather, we might surmise that they are speaking of things that are not yet accomplished as though they were already finished. God assures us that in due time the price which our Lord laid down at Calvary will be made applicable to the world under the gracious terms of the New Covenant, which He will make first with Israel. Nevertheless, the point stands out clearly and distinctly that thus far the Ransom-price has not yet been applied to any members of Adam's race except the household of faith--believers. All things belong to these. Nothing belongs to the world as yet.
The privilege granted to the Church through her great Redeemer and Advocate is that His merit imputed to her permits her to share with Him in His sacrifice of the earthly nature, and to become joint-heirs with Him in His glorious arrangements of glory, honor and immortality on the Divine plane.
When we speak of the Church of the First-born we are to remember that the words carry us back to the typical first-borns, who were delivered from death on the occasion of the first typical Passover. There the first-borns of Israel were passed over or spared when other first-borns perished. Subsequently, they were all
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exchanged for the one tribe of Levi, which thereafter was the tribe of the first-borns, and as such was set apart for Divine service in connection with the Tabernacle, and later the Temple. They were not all priests, though this was the priestly tribe. Only a few out of the whole number were selected for the priesthood. So it is with the Church of the First-borns; they will all be overcomers, they will all be loyal and faithful to God, but only a "little flock" will be found specially saintly, holy, acceptable unto God through Christ, and these will be the antitypical Priests: "Ye are a Royal Priesthood." --`I Peter 2:9`.
Hence James declared (`1:18`), "Ye are a kind of First-fruits unto God of His creatures." Of course, our Lord Jesus was primarily the First-fruits of all God's creatures. Secondarily, the Bride class will be a part of that First-fruit company. Then there will be a large company of saintly people who will come through "great tribulation," "will wash their robes and make them white in the blood of the Lamb," and attain the spirit nature. These
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also will be a part of the First-fruits of God to the spirit nature--all on the spirit plane. Then will come God's favor to mankind in general--the after-fruits of His earthly creation--a great company, gathered during the Millennium. All of the evil doers and corrupters of the earth will be destroyed, but those in full perfection will be a glorious fruitage unto God.
St. Paul writes respecting the resurrection of "every man in his own order"--his own band or company. The first of the earthly nature to experience resurrection--that is, a full resurrection, or raising up completely out of death and imperfection--will be the Ancient Worthies, but they will not be part of the First-fruits unto God of His creatures, for they will be, with the remainder of mankind, regenerated by The Christ, the Giver of everlasting human life, secured at the cost of His own sacrifice. With all the remainder of humanity, they will come under the terms of the New Covenant. Indeed, they will be the first to be blessed by that New Covenant arrangement. But since the Divine Programme deals with the world as a whole, Messiah will not deliver up any portion of the world, even those perfected, until the end of the thousand years of His reign of glory and restitution. Consequently, the Ancient Worthies will belong to the "after-fruits"--the human fruitage of the Divine Plan connected with our earth.
At the close of the thousand years, when Messiah shall have completed the work of restitution for all the willing and obedient, and shall destroy in the Second Death all refusing to make progress toward righteousness, then the Mediator steps out from between God and men and leaves the world exposed to the full demands of Divine Justice in letter and in spirit. This will not mean their injury, because in perfection humanity is quite capable of being and doing all that Divine Justice requires. The whole world then being perfect there will be no excuse necessary for any of them, and hence no mediation on behalf of any will thereafter take place.
It will be at that time, after the Mediatorial Kingdom shall have passed, and Jesus shall have delivered up the Kingdom to the Father (`I Cor. 15:27`), that Satan, the personification of evil, will be loosed from his prisonhouse for a little season--to tempt, to test, to try, to prove all those that dwell upon the face of the whole earth.
In the thousand years of Messiah's Kingdom they will be shielded from all outside temptations and will be helped over and forgiven the imperfections of the flesh, while attaining the fleshly perfection. But at the close of the thousand-year period, having attained the perfection of the flesh, and having had large experience with sin and righteousness, good and evil, it is as proper that they should be tested as that Adam was tested in the beginning --tested to see whether or not the lessons, blessings, experiences and opportunities have fully committed them as lovers of righteousness and haters of iniquity. If these have then the trials that will come upon them through the permission of sin and temptation will be met accordingly, with loyalty to God, to the truth and to righteousness. All such will gain the victory over the temptations.
But such as really at heart still love sin will be entrapped and ensnared and manifested. Then the trials or judgments from Heaven will destroy them and Satan, that the world may be cleansed of all who love sin, and be enjoyed thereafter only by such as love righteousness and hate iniquity.
True, God knowing the heart, could judge all of those people without any testing by Satan, but many of His creatures, unable to read the heart, might wonder respecting the Divine Justice which would smite down some of their fellows who outwardly were righteous, and they might consequently be continually in fear and trepidation lest they should thus be smitten down; hence the Almighty has adopted the method of making this temptation open and above board, to be witnessed by angels and men. Thus it was with Adam in his trial, in his sentence, and in the execution of the penalty. Thus it will be at the close of the Mediatorial reign of Christ. Those who then sin wilfully will be violators of the New Covenant and will die accordingly, just as Adam violated the Covenant under which he was placed, perfect, holy and with the promise of everlasting life.
The fact that this testing of mankind will be after the end of the thousand years of the Mediator's reign, when He shall have delivered up the Kingdom to the Father, does not prove that the glorified Jesus will have nothing to do with the destruction that will come upon Satan and those obedient to Him. Quite to the contrary. As Jesus was the Divine Agent, Instrument, Word, Mouthpiece, Logos, in all the work of creation, and prior to undertaking the Mediatorial work, so, highly exalted now in honor, next to the Father, and at His right Hand of Power, He will undoubtedly be the Father's Representative in that judgment upon the wilful sinners, who with Satan will be consigned to the Second Death.
Here the question may arise in the minds of some, What did the Apostle mean when he said in `I Corinthians 15:25,26`, "He must reign until He hath put all enemies under His feet; the last enemy that shall be destroyed is death"?
The Apostle is speaking of those things which are against or contrary to mankind--those things which hinder men from keeping the Divine Law, and thus being in full harmony with their Creator. Every such thing is an enemy, and is to be destroyed and be put out of the way --ignorance, superstition, vice, human weaknesses, are some of the enemies of righteousness, and, therefore, enemies to the best interests of humanity. Death is such an enemy, because it is death working in us that causes all of our difficulties.
All the imperfections, whether moral, or physical, or mental, are the workings of death. Because death is thus working in humanity, therefore the righteously intentioned cannot do the things that they would. The work of Messiah's reign will be to put down, to put away, not only other oppositions, but this opposition of the workings of death. Gradually mankind will be lifted up, up, up, out of all that weakness, out of death, to the full perfection of his being. Then death will be destroyed-- the Adamic death, which came upon all men through one man's disobedience, and which is to be canceled, done away completely, because of Christ's obedience, even unto death.
Only toward the close of that thousand years of the reign of the great Mediator will this work of completely overthrowing death be accomplished. Then all mankind will have been delivered, not only from the tomb, but from every shade and degree of death--the whole world will be alive in the same sense that Adam was alive before death passed upon him, or he was affected by the sting of sin.
Then the Kingdom will be turned over to the Father. Those who will die during the thousand years, as wilful evil doers, will die the Second Death. It is not an enemy of man; it is the righteous sentence of a righteous God in the interest of His creatures--those who wilfully prefer sin shall be destroyed from amongst the people, because their influence will be to corrupt the earth. The Second Death, therefore, is not included amongst the enemies, and is not the death that Jesus will destroy.
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Neither is Satan one of the enemies whom Jesus will then destroy. He was an enemy before man sinned, and his rebellion was not brought about by man's sin. He was subject to Divine authority before man was created, and will be a subject of Divine authority after man shall have been redeemed and restored. It will not be for the Mediator to deal with him, but for Divine Justice to determine his deserts. Besides, it is said that he will be destroyed in the Second Death, in the death from which there will be no redemption, no resurrection, no recovery.
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MOSES AS A MEDIATOR
THE LAW COVENANT instituted at Mount Sinai was not made with Moses, but with the people of Israel, as Moses declared: "And Moses called all Israel, and said unto them, Hear, O Israel, the statutes and judgments which I speak in your ears this day, that ye may learn them, and keep and do them. The Lord our God made a Covenant with us in Horeb. The Lord made not this Covenant with our fathers, but with us, even us, who are all of us here alive this day."-- `Deut. 5:1-3`.
Moses was merely the mouthpiece of that Covenant. The word Mediator signifies, go-between; as Moses said, "I stood between God and you." (`Deut. 5:5`.) The terms
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of the Covenant and the arrangements of the Mediator place the responsibility upon the Mediator as the representative of the people, and as the representative of God to the people.
Correspondingly Christ is the Mediator of the New Covenant. He is not yet completed. The Head has finished His work, ascended to glory, and has become the Advocate of those who desire to become members of His Body, and for eighteen centuries God has been receiving the members of the Body of Christ, the Mediator, into relationship with Himself. Soon the last member of the foreknown and foreordained number of the elect will have been called, accepted and found faithful; and then this Age will end, because the great Prophet, Priest, King, Judge and Mediator will be complete. And more than this: He will have finished His sacrifice--the sacrifice of the flesh, the merit of which is to go to Israel and the world, under the terms of the New Covenant: "They shall obtain mercy through your mercy."--`Romans 11:31`.
So it was in the type. Before the Law Covenant was inaugurated, Moses took bulls and goats and slew them and used the blood thereof for the sprinkling of the Tables of the Law, representing the Almighty and His obligations to the Covenant, and then he sprinkled the people, bringing them under the obligations of the Covenant. The antitype of this is that immediately after The Christ is glorified beyond the veil, He will apply the merit of His sin-atonement of Calvary for the satisfaction of the whole world, and as the basis of the New Covenant which will be inaugurated with Israel, as promised.--`Jeremiah 31:31`.
TO THE JEW FIRST IS THE DIVINE ARRANGEMENT
The sprinkling of Israel will come first--"To the Jew first" is the Divine arrangement, as the offer of the privilege of becoming members of Spiritual Israel was first offered to the Jews. But it will not cease with them. Many nations will be sprinkled--all who will. The knowledge of the glory of the Lord will fill the whole earth, and many nations shall say, "Come, let us go up to the house of the Lord; He will teach us of His way, and we will walk in His paths, for the Law shall go forth from Mount Zion (the heavenly or spiritual Kingdom) and the Word of the Lord from Jerusalem" (the earthly phase of the Kingdom, represented by the Ancient Worthies, whom Messiah will make Princes, or rulers, in all the earth).
It will be seen that while it took but a moment to sprinkle the Tables of the Law, it must have taken Moses a considerable time to sprinkle all the people, numbering millions. And, in the antitype, that work lasts for a thousand years. During the entire thousand years of the reign of Christ upon His Mediatorial Throne the work of sprinkling the people--the work of justifying them, making them acceptable, cleansing them from sin, and bringing them into relationship with the Covenant and its demands of perfect obedience--will be in process. At the close of the thousand years, when all the people shall have been sprinkled--when all who desire to avail themselves of God's gracious arrangement through Christ shall have done so--the Mediatorial Kingdom will come to an end; having finished its intended work the disloyal and disobedient will be destroyed in the Second Death. Thenceforth the New Covenant between God and men will remain a perpetual Covenant. Through all eternity it will be true that Jesus was the Mediator of that Covenant, but His mediatorial office will not continue.
"STILL BELOVED FOR THE FATHERS' SAKES"
So it was in the case of Moses: The Law Covenant which he mediated was binding both upon God and Israel for a time whether Moses lived or died. Long after his death it was still spoken of as the Mosaic Law Covenant, and Moses was referred to as the one who mediated that Covenant. Since the people could not fulfil the demands of the Law, they could not have the everlasting life which it promised, but instead received its curse or condemnation of death. The atonement day, year by year, took knowledge of this fact and typically made satisfaction for the sins of the year, and gave the Israelites another year's opportunity in God's favor, to try whether or not they could obey the Law and gain everlasting life. But since the Temple has been destroyed, and the Jewish Priesthood lost, they have had no further repetition of the atonement day sacrifices for now more than eighteen centuries, and hence, for all this period of time, they are completely cut off from manifestations of Divine favor. The Apostle, however, assures us that they "are still beloved for the fathers' sakes," and that in the Divine Plan a blessing is yet to come to them.
That blessing will come to them under the New Covenant, established by the Better Mediator. All who will accept Him and the gracious arrangements of His Mediatorial Kingdom will attain the highest blessings promised to their nation, and become associated in the Kingdom, which for a thousand years will bless all people with the gracious opportunity for returning to Divine favor on the same terms--obedience to the extent of ability and faith in the Redeemer.
"Bride and Bridegroom, then appearing,
Shall illuminate earth's gloom;
And the nations will be shouting,
'Lo! our King! make room, make room.'
O! the times of glad refreshing,
Soon shall bring a sweet release,
Through the glorious reign of blessing,
Through the mighty Prince of Peace."
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BEWARE OF PRIDE IN THE HEART
"Every one that is proud in heart is an
abomination to the Lord."--`Prov. 16:5`.
PRIDE IS VERY DECEITFUL and frequently cloaks or covers itself with humility. Because of our own imperfections it is well for us not to become judges of others, but merely limit our judgment to the outward manifestations. The Lord says, "By their fruits ye shall know them." (`Matt. 7:20`.) We are to judge the outward conduct, but we cannot go beyond and say what is of the heart. Errors of judgment are not an abomination to the Lord. He may look upon mistakes with sympathetic eyes. People are not responsible for those qualities which have come down to them by inheritance. Without judging individuals we may see certain conduct sometimes which may seem to be pride, yet is not pride.
We have seen people who have a great lack of self-esteem, a great lack of vanity, but who may have large approbativeness. They do not think so much of themselves as they wish others to think of them. They say, "If people knew me as I know myself, I would simply be a cypher in the world." There is a certain amount of truth in this. People with small self-esteem are often taken to be proud, when it is really not the case. In trying to look as though they were somebody they will carry themselves as though they thought they were everybody. Such persons are simply laboring in an unfavorable condition in which they were born. We cannot think that the Lord would abominate them. They are very often little to themselves and very humble with the Lord. Yet they try to make themselves appear in as favorable a manner as possible. We must admit that there is a propriety in this to a certain extent. It is wise for them to try to overcome their weaknesses of nature. They should try to think soberly of themselves (that is, to be of sound mind), and they should try not to overdo matters. They must act with meekness, as well as feel and think meekly.
There is another class who have a large amount of self-esteem, yet who think, "I do not wish others to know that I have this high opinion of myself, therefore I will cloak it. I will endeavor to speak very humbly. The Scriptures say that we should be humble, therefore when I speak of anything I will try to speak from this standpoint." Such people very frequently get a gloss of humility of an outward kind. Some people really think that this course is right. If they are sincere in their conduct, we cannot suppose that the Lord would abhor them.
Our thought, then, is that in this text "The proud in heart" are the haughty-minded--those who feel haughty toward others and are not sympathetic, who think of themselves more highly than they ought to think, who despise others. The heart of such a one is not that which God could love or that anyone could love; it is an abomination in the Lord's sight.
WHY PRIDE IS AN ABOMINABLE TRAIT
An abomination is that which is extremely displeasing --that which is repulsive--that which a person should not wish to entertain--should not harbor--must reprove. There must be some reason why God declares Himself thus in opposition to pride. We perceive that no one really has anything whereof to be proud. As the Apostle suggests in one place (`I Cor. 4:7`), "What hast thou that thou didst not receive? Now, if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory as if thou hadst not received it?" What have we that we have not received of the Lord? If whatever we have received is a gift, where is our right to be proud of it? Evidently, such would be a very wrong condition of mind to be in--to be proud of things not our own, not of ourselves, but a gift.
There is, therefore, no reason for any to be proud; but there is every reason to be thankful to the Great Giver of all good. And that which is true of us is true also of the angels. Hence, there is nothing in all the Universe for any of God's creatures to be proud of.
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Whatever conditions they are in are not of themselves. God seems to have arranged the conditions for humility, so that there could be no ground for pride.
Pride is merely selfishness, self-laudation; and selfishness is another name for sin. Sin and selfishness, therefore, are in opposition to the Divine Character and the Divine Plan--totally in opposition to it. It is, therefore, the right and proper thing that God should have the proud in detestation. Not having used His blessings aright, they could not have His favor. Whether they be proud of mental attainments, proud of physical strength, proud of wealth or ancestry, or proud that their "ancestors were monkeys," matters not. It is all pride, and an abomination to the Lord.
THE MOST DETESTABLE FORM OF PRIDE
But evidently the most detestable form of pride is pride in the Church--as though we had made the Plan and could boast in it! We do, indeed, see that anyone making the Plan might justly feel proud of it. But when we remember that none of us made the Plan, but that we are privileged to see it, we should be filled the more with humility, and should try day by day to better glorify His Name for the blessings which He has provided for the whole world.
We cannot suppose that any kind of pride would be more detestable in God's sight than pride of the Truth. If anyone should continue in such a course, manifestly it would lead him out of the light. We see this principle illustrated well in the case of Satan. Noble, grand, he allowed pride to enter his heart and said, "I will ascend above the others; I will have an empire of my own." And this pride made him the opponent of God. (`Isa. 14:12-17`.) He is known in the Scriptures as the Adversary, Satan, the Devil.
All those who have the spirit of pride fail to recognize that "every good and perfect gift cometh down from the Father of Lights." (`Jas. 1:17`.) Every such one, therefore, has the spirit of the Adversary instead of the Spirit of God. If it be allowed to grow and bring forth fruit, it will lead eventually to the Second Death. It is appalling to see the nature of the temptations that come to God's people! But we are not to judge their hearts, to determine whether it is a pride of heart or not; for it may be merely a deception for a time. And even though they may miss the "high calling," they may get a place in the "great company." And when we see that the conduct is not at all in accord with what we should expect in those blessed with the Truth, it should make us all search our own hearts to see to what extent we have the same traits of pride.
Perhaps this quality of pride is nowhere more manifested than in some of those who have been in the Truth for quite a while. Sometimes it is on the part of the sisters. Sometimes they are very proud of what they know and very domineering in their manner, seeming to think that they know it all. Sometimes it is on the part of the brethren, in whom a spirit of pride appears. They have been placed as Elders. They see that they themselves are right and others are wrong. Sometimes this leads to an attempt to override the liberties of the congregation and to hold power in their own hands.
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"BE NOT MANY TEACHERS"
It may not always be our privilege to mention such a matter. Such things may be matters that belong to a class. But, as one Pilgrim brother remarked some time ago, "Brother Russell, I sometimes think that, when we get beyond the veil, we shall be astonished to find how few of those who have exercised positions of prominence in the Church will be amongst the elect." It behooves us all who are associated in the Lord's work to watch ourselves closely, that if we find the slightest tendency in this direction of pride we may stamp it out as we would some contagious disease, knowing what the effects are upon others. We should be sympathetic with those who are beset, but not with the difficulty. We are reminded of the Apostle's words, "Be not many teachers, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation." Those who have seen the Truth clearly and have some talents and opportunities will have the severer trial on that account.
Recently we have heard of some trials in the Class Extension work. The opportunities of Class Extension have resulted, in some cases, not advantageously. Some of great self-esteem have felt that they should be in the work, determining that they would tell the Class what to do. Some good brethren may have done this; some noble men may have done it. But in doing it, they were not acting wisely, we believe.
As we said at first, it is not well for us to judge the heart. Everyone is privileged to preach as he may have opportunity. He may go forth entirely at his own expense and opportunity. He may preach all that he can. Good men have done so. There is nothing in the Scriptures to prohibit it. But to try to coerce a Class--trying to recognize the Class in some sense and to ignore that Class in another sense--is not the right thing. If the Class is supposed to express the Divine will, the individuals should acquiesce in what the Class decides.
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THE MORTAL BODY THE SERVANT OF THE NEW MIND
"I keep my body under, and bring it into subjection, lest that by any means...I myself should be a castaway."--`1 Cor. 9:27`.
ST. PAUL was a most successful soldier of the cross; and from his Epistles we gain much information as to how to fight our own weaknesses successfully. In our text the Apostle speaks particularly of himself, with the evident intention of teaching a lesson to all of the Lord's people whom he addressed at that time or who would receive his word subsequently--including ourselves.
The thought is not that we are to keep each other under, nor that the Lord is keeping our bodies under, but that a special commission is given to us in respect to our own bodies, and that we ourselves will be held accountable for their conduct. This statement, "I keep my body under," would be true only of one who has been begotten of the Holy Spirit, and who has become a New Creature in Christ Jesus. But although the individual is reckonedly a member of the Body of Christ, adopted into God's family, and called a son of God, he has not as yet, of course, received the spirit body promised him, but is waiting to receive it in the resurrection.
GOOD INTENTIONS NOT SUFFICIENT
Meantime God calls upon all spirit-begotten ones to demonstrate their loyalty to righteousness and their faithfulness by practising upon their mortal bodies. When coming into Christ, they made a full consecration of themselves, of their bodies and all that is theirs, to the Lord's service. It was on account of this Covenant of sacrifice that they were counted as members of the Body of Christ and begotten of the Holy Spirit--sons of God. It is not sufficient, however, to declare our intention; but God allows the difficulties and trials of life to prove our faithfulness to the sacrifice we have made. And while making provision for the blemishes of our mortal body, He, nevertheless, holds us responsible for our bodies, for our words and our actions. He calls us to be New Creatures; and we must develop our characters to such an extent that the New Creature will fight down, to the best of his ability, everything opposed to the new will. The first part of the text declares, "I keep my body under," that is to say, in subordination, under restraint.
Those who deal in horses tell us that all horses must be broken; and that to break a horse is difficult of accomplishment and requires a great deal of force. The object in thus dealing with the horse is not to continue to break the animal every day, but to break him once for all, that he might be put to some service. This illustration seems to fit the Apostle's thought.
As a New Creature the Apostle had a mortal body which was rebellious against God's will, and thus must be dealt with in a firm manner, in order to bring it under the control of its master--the new mind, whose Head is Christ. If the body be taught this lesson of submission, it may be a good, useful servant of the new master and serve unto death, just as a horse may be broken in and serve his master well. This is the thought in the Apostle's words, "I keep my body under." In substance the Apostle says, "I must break in this human nature, force it into harmony with the new will, and bring it into subjection, making it a servant to myself, the New Creature. This I do because this is the Divine will and the very thing to which I have been called.
As a New Creature I wish to show that I am loyal to the principles of righteousness and truth everywhere. But this old body is more or less in rebellion against God and against the principles of the Divine arrangement. And it is my duty to see to what extent I can carry out this proposition--the bringing of the old mind into subjection to God and to righteousness. And in proportion as I make myself a servant of righteousness, God will use me, and to that extent I shall grow and become an overcomer. By doing these things an entrance will be administered to me into the everlasting Kingdom of Jesus Christ. But if I fail to carry this out, I shall fail of the character-development which all must have who would be accounted members of the Body of Christ."
As St. Paul says in another place, God foreordained that He would have a Church, and that all who would be of this Church should become copies of His Son, Christ Jesus. (`Rom. 8:28-30`.) So, if St. Paul would remain a member of this Body of Christ, he must keep his human body under, must subordinate his earthly nature, not merely bringing it into subjection to things which would be for righteousness and truth, but also bringing it into subjection as regards natural things. So must all do who would come off "more than conquerors" in the good fight; it is necessary that we should carry out this fulness of service; that we should be faithful unto death, and that we should show this consecration, not only in our minds, but also in our mortal bodies.
When the Apostle says here that he would be in
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danger of being a "castaway" if he did not bring his body into subjection, and thus prove to be an overcomer, it is tantamount to saying that he would fail to make his calling and election sure. He was called to become an heir of God and joint-heir with Jesus Christ. If, therefore, he should fail to perform his part of the contract of sacrifice, he would become a castaway in respect to this election. He would not gain the election. He would lose in the race in which he had started.
HABITS MAKE CHARACTER
It is our duty to watch ourselves that we do no harm, that our body does good service and not injury to ourselves. A man or a woman or a child who goes through the house slamming doors, and merely says, "I was in a hurry and could not help it," is not gentle. He is not a gentleman, or she is not a gentlewoman. Whoever fails to cultivate gentleness is failing to cultivate the fruits of the Spirit. He is losing a glorious opportunity of practising upon himself--of keeping his body under, of getting himself into the way of doing things in a sensible, reasonable manner. The person who bangs doors and goes about noisily is one who does not think of other people and their interests. When we talk about ourselves all the time and think about ourselves all the time, it is an evidence of selfishness. In all these things the Lord expects us to keep our bodies under, and to show carefulness in keeping our bodies under, in the little things of life as well as in the great things.
If our Lord Jesus were here, none of us would expect Him to go about noisily, slamming the doors of the house, or to be wasteful. Our Lord was most economical in the two cases where He fed the four thousand and the five thousand. Although there was plenty of food to feed the multitude, He told His disciples to "gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost."--`John 6:12`.
Thus did God's dear Son view matters; and we desire to be copies of Him. In building character we must wilfully and intentionally do right. The person who practices in the little things will be also careful in the larger matters. Even the pins, the needles and the paper we should use carefully. Not that any should be miserly-- not willing to give one a pin if he wants one--but do not think to waste even them, saying, "Oh, the pins cost only a trifle, anyway!" The Lord was always generous, but He was economical. So we should all be. We should keep the body under the new mind. The new mind should be looking out for these matters and keeping the old body in service.
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APOSTOLIC SUCCESSION UNSCRIPTURAL
--`MARK 3:7-19`; `MATTHEW 5:13-16`.--APRIL 21.--
Text:--"Ye did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you, that ye should go and bear fruit."--`John 15:16` (R.V.).
TODAY'S LESSON shows the particularity with which the twelve Apostles were chosen. Many were the Redeemer's followers at times, both men and women, but only The Twelve were specially deputized as His mouthpieces and representatives among men. Some of the things said to and respecting them are equally appropriate to every one of Jesus' followers, but other things said to The Twelve and respecting them apply to none others of their day or since--for instance, the Savior said to The Twelve, and to none others, "Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."--`Matt. 16:19`; `18:18`.
The import of these words clearly is that the persons indicated were assured that they would be so specially guided of Divine providence in all their efforts that they would set forth as the Divine will amongst men nothing to which Heaven would not assent. And, on the other hand, they would declare not binding upon the followers of Jesus only such things as in God's sight would not be binding. In those twelve men, therefore, we recognize a plenary inspiration, or special guidance not accorded in this particular degree to others of the "brethren."
We do not forget that Judas was one of the original Twelve and that, proving traitorous, "He went to his own place." We remember also that he was specifically referred to by the Prophet David, through whom the Divine message came, that another would take the Apostleship which Judas forfeited. What we do claim is this: that the announcement was prophetically made of a successor to Judas, so as to teach us that the appointment of his successor was exceptional and not the rule; that aside from this one case there would be no successors.
Surely there is no intimation in the New Testament that as one after another of the Apostles died other men were recognized as succeeding them. On the contrary, the Scriptures repeatedly refer to the "Twelve Apostles of the Lamb." Moreover, as the Jewish Dispensation began at the death of Jacob, in the recognition of his twelve sons, so the Christian Dispensation began at the death of Jesus, in the recognition of His twelve Apostles. And as one of the tribes of Israel was cut off, and is not mentioned in the enumeration in the Apocalypse, but the tribe of Manasseh substituted, so amongst Jesus' Apostles Judas is dropped and a successor is appointed.
ST. PAUL TO SUCCEED JUDAS
In the past we may have read too carelessly the account of how the eleven faithful Apostles exceeded their authority in the selection of Matthias to take the place of Judas. It was proper enough that they should scan the prophecies, and that they should note, as they did, God's declaration of the unfaithfulness of Judas, and that another was to take his special place in the Church; but they should have remembered that they had not as yet qualified as Apostles themselves. They should have remembered that whatever Apostolic or special power they exercised during Jesus' ministry came to them from Him and not from the Heavenly Father--that Jesus endued them as His representatives. They should have remembered that the Master specifically told them to do nothing until after receiving the Heavenly benediction, saying, "Tarry ye at Jerusalem until ye be endued with power from on high."
Accrediting them with the very best of heart intentions, it was, nevertheless, effrontery on their part to select two names and to determine that one or the other must be the successor of Judas. They had no authority for so doing. As for the one upon whom the lot fell, Matthias, we hear nothing further of him. On the contrary, in God's due time, He Himself brought forth Saul of Tarsus, an Israelite indeed, a Pharisee of the Pharisees, who, however perverse in his conduct, was thoroughly conscientious, and verily thought he did God service.
St. Paul himself tells us that he was not one whit behind the very chiefest of the Apostles, and that in respect to visions and revelations he had more than they all. He
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goes back to the time when Christ appeared to him on the way to Damascus and when He declared to Ananias, "He is a chosen vessel unto Me, to bear My name unto the Gentiles and to kings, and to the people of Israel." St. Paul tells us that he found evidences that God had chosen him for a special service, from his mother's womb. And such special preparation and supervision we doubt not was applicable to all of The Twelve, even as also with John the Baptist in his work.--`Acts 9:15`; `Gal. 1:15`.
"A CROWN OF TWELVE STARS"
The Lord's specialization of the twelve Apostles is variously referred to. He said: "Have not I chosen you twelve?" and again, "Ye shall sit on twelve thrones." In the symbolical book of Revelation He pictures the Church as a woman, clothed with sunlight, standing over or near to the moon, which symbolizes the Jewish Law Covenant; and upon her head was a crown of twelve stars, representing the twelve Apostles of the Lamb.
Again, later on in the same book, we find pictured the Church in glory beyond the veil, the Bride--the New Jerusalem. Of this City we read that it had twelve foundations, all precious stones; and in the twelve foundations were the names of the twelve Apostles of the Lamb. We believe that we need no better evidence on the subject.
The recognition of successors to the Apostles was one of the first errors after their death. Every bishop was recognized as one of the successors and hence as possessing Apostolic authority. It was not long until the words of the original Twelve were neglected. The living bishops were acknowledged as speaking with the same Divine authority--up-to-date. Later great Church Councils were called, in which these bishops, as claimed successors to the Apostles, decided what should and what
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should not be allowed by the Church, what was and what was not orthodox.
It can be readily seen that this exaltation of false apostles (`Rev. 2:2`), contrary to the Divine arrangement, opened a flood-gate of error, however well intentioned all concerned may have been. It is surprising that so many still hold to the creeds thus formulated by pseudo-apostles. The need of the hour is a recognition of these facts and an abandonment of all those creeds and a return to the words of Jesus and the Apostles and the Prophets. Only thus can we hope to regain the position lost. Only thus can we extricate ourselves from the multiplied errors represented in the six hundred divisions of the church of Christ, and of their six hundred variations of the original Gospel Message. Only thus can we return to the "one Lord, one Faith, one Baptism," one Father, one Savior, and one "Church of the First-born, whose names are written in heaven."--`Eph. 4:4-6`; `Heb. 12:23`.
GOOD OMEN FROM ROME
If it is surprising to find the head of the Church of Rome leading the way back from this error, it should all the more be a cause for rejoicing, and this is just what is taking place. The Pope, realizing that the public no longer have reverential confidence in the bishops as inspired men, the successors of the Apostles, realizes also the need of some great publicly acknowledged standard of Divine truth. Undoubtedly it is this which led "the holy father" to send a circular letter to all the cardinals and bishops urging upon the Catholic public to study the Holy Scriptures--the words of Jesus and the Apostles, and their explanation of the Law and the Prophets.
Alas, that Protestants should be laggards at this moment! that many of the great and learned of them are today inclined to make sport of the entire subject of Divine inspiration! Alas! Protestants are being told by the Higher Critics that Jesus and the Apostles were undoubtedly deceived when they made quotations from the Old Testament Scriptures and accredited them to Moses, Isaiah, etc., for the Higher Critics are wiser (?) than Jesus and the Apostles.
The latter portion of our study, from St. Matthew's Gospel, does not refer particularly to the Apostles, but chiefly to all who become followers of Christ, and believe on Him through their word.
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THE PALACE OF BLESSEDNESS
--APRIL 28.--`MATTHEW 5:1-12`.--
Text:--"Blessed are the pure in heart,
for they shall see God."--`Verse 8`.
OF THE GREAT TEACHER we read, "He spake as never man spake." He was the Man Christ Jesus, but He was not a fallen man, not a sinner. His life was transferred from a heavenly to an earthly condition; hence, as a Man, He was "holy, harmless, undefiled and separate from sinners." (`Heb. 7:26`.) More than this, at the time of His consecration to death, He entered into a covenant of sacrifice with Jehovah, and thereupon He received His anointing of the Holy Spirit --this was the power of the Highest. What need have we for wonder, then, when we read that He taught as one having authority--as one who knew, who understood clearly and positively the things which He presented!
The eight Beatitudes illustrate the difference between the teachings of Jesus and all other teachings from every other quarter. He had a new view of what to present. His is a different Message from all other messages to this day. While other teachers instructed the people to hold up their heads, to remember noble ancestors, etc., and thereby be blessed, Jesus encouraged His hearers to realize that the poor in spirit, the humble-minded, would receive the great blessings.
While other teachers held forth the rich, the great, the learned, the mighty, the influential amongst men as the patterns to be copied, if happiness would be attained, Jesus, in these beatitudes, sets forth the reverse. His prescriptions for happiness have indeed been followed by a few, and these alone appreciate their merit and are finding the blessings promised, both for the present life and for that which is to come.
The contrast between the Ten Commandments of the Mosaic Law and the eight Beatitudes declared by Jesus on the Mount, illustrate in considerable degree the difference between the Law Dispensation, and the Dispensation of Grace. The Law commanded the "house of servants" what they should and what they should not do. "Moses was faithful as a servant over all his house." (`Heb. 3:5,6`.) He delivered to the "house of servants"--typical Israel--the Divine Law, by the keeping of which they might be blessed and used in the Divine service.
But the Gospel Message is a still higher one. It does not ignore the Law given by Moses to the "house of servants." It recognizes the Law as just, and holy, and good, and that Israel did not obtain that which they sought, because unable, through the weakness of heredity, to keep the spirit of God's perfect Law. The New Dispensation, which Jehovah inaugurated through Jesus, provides a full Ransom sacrifice for all sinners, and proposes
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ultimately to bless and to assist all out of all the weakness of heredity--not only Israel, but the entire race of Adam. The Law feature will be maintained, but grace and mercy will come in to render the necessary assistance to the keeping of the Law. But before that New Era of world blessing is introduced, the Divine arrangement proposes to gather a special class, all of whom must be "copies of God's dear Son." (`Rom. 8:29`, Diaglott.) These are to be His joint-heirs, in every sense of the word --in the sufferings and self-denials and persecutions and sacrifices of the present life, as well as in the glories, the honor and immortality of the future life.
CALLED TO BE THE ELECT
The Mission of Jesus and His teachings, at His first advent, were not to the world, but to a special class: "He that hath an ear to hear, let him hear." The Message for the world will go forth at His second advent, and we have the assurance that then all the blinded eyes will be opened and all the deaf ears will be unstopped, and the knowledge of the glory of God will fill the whole earth.
In today's study, Jesus was addressing such of the Jews as had the hearing ear, such as had an inclination to be His disciples. He was addressing the class to whom He said, "If any man will be My disciple, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me, that where I am there shall My disciple be." It was to this class that the Beatitudes were spoken, not with thunderings of Sinai, not with threats of vengeance and death if the lessons were not learned.
The Master was addressing such as believed on Him, the class for whom He was about to appear in the presence of God, after finishing His sacrificial work, to impute to them His covering for their blemishes and imperfections, and to give them a standing with the Father, and to make their sacrifices "holy and acceptable to God." (`Rom. 12:1`.) He was instructing these as to how they could best make their calling and election sure, how they could the more successfully win the great "prize" to which they were called. Others may gather precious lessons from these Beatitudes, but only the spirit-begotten can appreciate them fully.
THE PALACE OF BLESSEDNESS
The foundation of the Palace of Blessedness is Humility. None can ever hope for a share in the Messianic Kingdom except as he is humble-minded: "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven." To such and such only will this great blessing come. It would never do for God to accept as a member of the Kingdom class one possessed of the spirit of pride and selfish ambition. In Satan's experience we have an illustration of what pride might accomplish. God proposes that humility shall be a primary test as respects the Bride class.
The Palace Reception Room, upon the foundation of Humility, on the ground-floor of the Palace, is the chamber of Sorrow--mourning. Only such as know what it is to be touched with the feelings of human infirmities can be members of the Royal Priesthood, which by and by is to deal with and assist back to harmony with God whoever wills of all humanity. Besides, this Reception-Room of sorrow and mourning seems necessary for our complete separation from the things of the world, the flesh and the Devil. Few have ever been saints without passing through sorrowful experiences. We remember Jesus' words, "Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." Yes, the Reception Room of mourning is necessary for us before we can appreciate the comfort which God has provided for this particular class--"His elect": "Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted."
The Palace Library is Meekness. None can be successfully taught of the Lord and fully enjoy the Palace of Blessedness without the quality of meekness or teachableness. Into this Library the follower of Jesus must frequently go, there to learn valuable lessons, without which he could not make progress in his faith-building and character-development: "Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth." As members of Messiah, heirs of God and joint-heirs with Jesus, their Lord, these will come into the full possession, the full control of the earth. For a thousand years this control will be maintained while mankind will be taught valuable lessons and be uplifted out of sin and degradation and death to
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the perfect manhood lost by Father Adam, redeemed by Jesus. Only at the close of the Messianic reign will The Meek turn over their inheritance, the earth, to mankind. Then those of the earth who will receive the control will be such of mankind as will have learned their lessons of meekness.
The Dining Room: Hunger for Righteousness. All who will be joint-heirs with Christ will be lovers of righteousness and haters of iniquity, in likeness of the Redeemer. It is very important, therefore, that in our Palace of Blessedness we have a large and well-appointed Dining Room, where our hunger and thirst for righteousness may be encouraged and satisfied at the same time. "Blessed are they who hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled." They will get their fill of it, for their own perfection in the First Resurrection, and in the establishment of righteousness in all the earth, during the thousand years of Messiah's reign.
The Door of the Palace: Mercy. One of the most important lessons for the New Creature to learn is love, sympathy, mercy. In the Divine arrangement we must go out and in this door constantly. Our own imperfections continually require Divine mercy and should as continually impress upon us the merciful disposition toward those with whom we have to do. Only thus will we be fitted and prepared to be faithful and merciful members of the Royal Priesthood in dealing with and blessing the world of mankind during the Messianic Kingdom. "Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy"; "If ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your heavenly Father forgive your trespasses"; "Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us."
The Palace Window, through which we may see God, is Purity of Heart. We cannot, while in the flesh, attain absolute purity in thought, word and deed, but we can have heart purity--pureness of intention and desire. Only such as have this heart condition may hope to attain the Kingdom honors and to see Him whom no human has seen, neither can see. "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God."
The Parlor of our Palace is represented by the characteristics of the Peacemaker. It implies a certain resistance and victory in respect to our own affairs, furnishing us the opportunity to help others. "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God."
The Kitchen of our Palace represents the trials and difficulties incidental to the rounding out of our characters as a whole and our proper nourishment and upbuilding spiritually. "Blessed are ye when men shall revile you and say all manner of evil against you falsely, for My Name's sake; rejoice, and be exceeding glad, for great is your reward in heaven."
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THE RICH MAN IN HELL
--MAY 5.--`LUKE 6:20-26`; `16:19-31`.--
Text:--"A man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth."--`Luke 12:15`.
NOT ALL THE POOR are to be blessed and to inherit the Kingdom of God, etc., as set forth in this lesson. We are to notice particularly the setting of the Master's words. He lifted up His eyes on His disciples, and said, "Blessed are ye poor, for yours is the Kingdom of God"--"ye shall be filled"-- "your reward is great in heaven." Undoubtedly poverty is a greater aid to discipleship than wealth. The cost of discipleship is the surrender of every earthly ambition to follow in the footsteps of Jesus.
The rich are disadvantaged because theirs would be the greater sacrifice. "How hardly shall a rich man enter into the Kingdom of God"--become a joint-heir with Christ in His Messianic Kingdom which for a thousand years is to bless the world! The rich are disadvantaged because their wealth preserves them from many trials to which the poor are subjected. They have so many consolations and comforts now that the thought of sacrificing these to follow the Master appalls them, and the Kingdom glories seem to them less real and less attractive than to the disconsolate.
The lesson for us is that if we would win the great Prize and the Kingdom we must not set our hearts upon earthly things, nor trust in uncertain riches. Contrariwise, we must realize that our all, much or little, is the Lord's, and that faithfulness in sacrificing what we have will decide whether or not we shall share His glory.
THE RICH MAN IN HELL
The second part of our lesson is one of our Lord's most striking parables. We read that He opened His mouth in parables and dark sayings, "that, hearing, they might hear and not understand." Of all our Lord's parables this one has been most seriously misunderstood. Indeed, it is accepted as a literal statement, notwithstanding the fact that we read again, "Without a parable spake He not unto them." Only a slight investigation, however, is necessary to demonstrate that this is a parable--that it would be unreasonable to consider it to be a statement of literal facts. For instance, it would be unreasonable to suppose that a man would be sent, after death, to torment merely because in the present life he fared sumptuously every day, lived in a fine house, and wore purple and fine linen. Nothing whatever is said about the character of the man, good or bad, and we are not permitted to add to the Word of God. The Rich Man represented a class.
Similarly, the poor man, after death, must have symbolized a class, because no reason is given for his blessing after death, except that he was poor, covered with sores and lay at the rich man's gate eating his crumbs.
Considered as a parable, this is one of the most interesting and helpful of all our Lord's utterances. The Rich Man of the parable represents the Jewish nation, highly favored of God. The bountiful table represents the rich promises of the Law and the Prophets, which were theirs alone up to the time that they nationally died to those favors. The Rich Man's purple clothing represents royalty --the fact that they were God's typical kingdom.
David and Saul sat upon the throne of the kingdom of the Lord, and when the kingdom was removed in the days of Zedekiah the declaration was made that it would afterward be restored, with Messiah as King. The "fine linen" of the Rich Man represented the justification which God had granted to the Jewish nation alone thus far. It was a typical justification, accomplished through the Law Covenant and its sacrifices for Sin Atonement administered by a typical priest year by year.
A harvesting of the Jewish people began with our Lord's ministry and lasted for forty years. It ended in the year A.D. 70, when the Rich Man, as a nation, died at the hands of Titus and the Roman army. Nationally, the Rich Man is buried, and will be non-existent until the due time, when the Lord's blessing will return to the Jewish people, as explained by St. Paul in `Romans 11:25-35`. But although nationally dead, the Jewish people have been very much alive ever since, and have been ostracised and persecuted and tormented with fiery trials.
Although the nation of the Jews contains representatives of all the tribes, it is specially represented in Judah and Benjamin; and hence these two tribes constitute the one Rich Man. The other ten tribes, "scattered abroad," would proportionately represent the "five brethren" mentioned in the parable. This thought is confirmed by the statement, "They have Moses and the Prophets, let them hear them." None but the twelve tribes of Israel had Moses and the Prophets.
LAZARUS IN ABRAHAM'S BOSOM
Lazarus, the poor outcast, who was longing for a share of the Rich Man's favor and privileges, represented a certain class of Gentiles, such as the Centurian, whose servant Jesus healed, and who had such faith in Jesus that he said, "I am not worthy that thou shouldest come into my house, but speak the word and my servant shall be healed." Jesus declared that He had not found such faith as that amongst the Israelites. Another of these Gentile outcasts was the Centurian Cornelius, the first Gentile received into the Gospel privileges. Of him it is written that he reverenced God, prayed always, and gave much alms to the poor.
Of the same Lazarus class was the Syro-Phenician woman, who besought Jesus that he would heal her daughter. Because she was a Gentile Jesus answered, "It is not proper that I should take the children's bread and give it to dogs"--the Gentiles--"dogs" being a familiar name for all outside the pale of Judaism. The woman at once recognized the application and answered, "Yea, Lord, yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from the children's table." In answer to such faith Jesus granted her a crumb from the Divine table.
Here, then, we see the Lazarus class, sin-sick, covered with sores--because not sharers in Israel's yearly sin-atonement sacrifices--hungry, because all of the promises of God primarily belonged to Israel--the companions of dogs, who licked their sores--this also intimating that they were Gentiles. They were outside the gate of Divine favor, this illustrating the same lesson--that they were "aliens, strangers and foreigners to the commonwealth of Israel." This Lazarus class, composed chiefly of Gentiles, had as its nucleus "the outcasts of Israel"--the publicans and sinners, who heard the Gospel Message gladly, but whom the Scribes and Pharisees rejected, disfellowshipped and put out of the synagogues, disowning them as Jews.
The parable pictures a great change in this Lazarus class--they died to the conditions wherein they then were. They ceased to be the poor beggars, aliens and strangers, sin-sick, weary and hungry. But Lazarus was not buried, as was the Rich Man; "he was carried by the angels" to the bosom of Abraham. The angels were the Apostles and ministers of the Gospel--specially St. Peter and St. Paul. These declared to the Gentiles that whereas once they were "aliens, strangers and foreigners to the commonwealth
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of Israel," they were now "brought nigh" through faith in the Lord Jesus, and through the begetting of the Holy Spirit.
Abraham typified God, the Father of the faithful, and the carrying of Lazarus to "Abraham's bosom" symbolically said that the outcasts of Israel and the worthy Gentiles became children of God, children and heirs of Abraham, who typified God. Thus also wrote the Apostle, "Ye are brought nigh through the blood of Christ"; "If ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's Seed, and heirs according to the promise." The promise reads that "all the families of the earth shall be blessed" by this Seed of Abraham. Thus St. Paul wrote, "Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh, but the elect obtained it, and the rest were blinded," and "wrath came upon that people to the uttermost," "that all things written in the Law and the Prophets concerning them should be fulfilled." --`Rom. 11:7`; `I Thess. 2:16`; `Luke 21:22`.
The Jew in his misery has beheld with jealous eye the favor of God manifested toward those whom he despised. He has even humbled himself to ask that relief might be sent to him through Christian Gentiles--symbolically, even "one drop" of refreshment. But no relief will be afforded until the end of this Age--until the Messianic Kingdom shall be established; and then Israel (both dead and living) shall obtain mercy through the elect.-- `Rom. 11:31,32`.
One fulfilment of the request of the parable for a "drop of water" occurred several years ago when the Jews memorialized President Roosevelt, requesting his good offices with the Russian Government for the abatement of the persecutions of the Jews there. The President replied that he regretted the inability of complying with the request because the etiquette of nations prohibited such a suggestion being offered by one nation to another with whom it was at peace.
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LOVING OUR NEIGHBORS
--MAY 12.--`LUKE 6:27-38`; `ROM. 13:8-10`.--
"Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself."--`Romans 13:9`.
TODAY'S STUDY is from Saint Luke's account of the Sermon on the Mount. It does not profess to be a regulation for the world, but merely applies to saints--to those who have consecrated their lives fully to follow in the footsteps of Jesus--to suffer with Him that they may also reign with Him. Even these may not be able to live up to every feature of the Master's instructions, because of weakness in their fallen flesh. We must take the Master's words here and elsewhere addressed to the faithful as representing the full, complete, perfect standard. It is for each disciple to recognize this supreme standard and to measure and gauge his thoughts and words and doings thereby, and to as closely as possible attain this standard.
We are to remember, however, that as no Jew could keep the Law in its spirit, perfectly, neither could any of any other nationality keep it. The Jew's failure to keep the Law meant his failure to gain everlasting life, but we (the followers of Jesus) are not under the Law Covenant, but under Grace. We are to keep the Divine Law as nearly as we possibly can and to accept by faith God's arrangement for us in Jesus--that "by His stripes we are healed," our shortcomings are made good.
Thus doing our very best, yet surely coming short, the Apostle's words apply to us: "The righteousness of the Law is fulfilled in us who walk not after the flesh, but after the spirit." We walk after the spirit, and would walk up to it if we could, but, being unable to do so, "The blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth us from all sin." This is the happy state of all who through faith and consecration become children of God during this Gospel Age. Their faith and good intentions and good efforts, by the grace of God, make good their deficiencies.
As for others than God's people, He does not speak to them at all, except to tell them that they are sinners under the sentence of death, but that He has made provision for their reconciliation through the blood of the cross, and that whether they become disciples of Christ or not under the call to Brideship, nevertheless their words and conduct in the present life will all advantage or disadvantage them in the life to come. In this secondary way the world--all mankind aside from the Church, the consecrated--may be measurably enlightened by the Master's teachings in this lesson, even while it is not addressed to them. They may see its high standards and appreciate them to some extent, but not fully, unless they realize that the Church Class, called in this Gospel Age, is required to undergo special trial, testing, proving, as to loyalty to God, meekness, gentleness, patience, long-suffering, brotherly kindness, love.
"BUT I SAY UNTO YOU"
The two tables of the Law given to Israel were a requirement of Justice, but Jesus and His followers take a still higher plane and, waiving their own rights, they become sacrificers of their own comforts, preferences, desires, to the doing of the Divine will, to the serving of the brethren and mankind in general. Justice never requires sacrifice. Thus discipleship and attainment with Jesus of a share in the sufferings of this present time and in the glory that shall follow mean something more than merely rendering to every man his due, for no one has a right to render to another less than his due, nor to do injury to another. Jesus not only did no injury, but, additionally, He sacrificed His own rights on behalf of mankind, and He set His disciples an example that they should walk in His steps.--`I Pet. 2:21`.
The path of love is, therefore, as Jesus describes it, under present conditions, a "narrow way"; narrow is the gate, difficult the way of life now open. Only the saintly few will be willing to walk therein, and only these will gain the great Prize, "the pearl of great price," joint-heirship in Messiah's Kingdom. Hearken! Do not merely observe the Golden Rule toward your enemies, but love them, and "do good to them that hate you, and bless them that curse you, and pray for them that despitefully use you."
The Master's expression, "Unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other," is to be taken as signifying simply, Do not render evil for evil, even though he smite thee on the other cheek also. Our Lord Himself, when smitten, according to the report, did not invite the smiting of the other cheek, but rather He defended Himself to the extent of criticising the evil deed. But if He had been smitten on the other cheek also, let us not for a moment think that He would have resisted, in the sense of rendering blow for blow.
The next statement is more comprehensively given by Saint Matthew. "If any man sue thee at the law and take away thy coat, withhold not thy cloak also." The follower of Jesus may flee from an adversary, or he may resist him
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to the extent of proper expostulation, but he is to be thoroughly responsive to all government; if the court decides that his coat and his cloak shall both be taken from him, he shall unmurmuringly submit, even though he realize that such a procedure would be unjust and quite at variance with the Divine regulation. Saint Paul as well as Jesus used argument in his own defence, not only with the mobs, but also before judges; but they resisted the law-- never.
"THIS IS A HARD SAYING"
"Give to everyone that asketh of thee, and of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again." The broadest interpretation we could consistently give to this would be--Be generous, tender-hearted, err on the side of too great generosity rather than to be hard-hearted, selfish. The Lord could not have meant us to take His words with absolute literalness; as for instance, Give a child a razor if it cries for it; or, Give money to the dissipated, that they may injure themselves still more. The spirit of a sound mind forbids that we should understand the Master to teach that we should do anything for another or assist him in any manner that would be really to his injury. This is expressed in the next statement: "As ye would that men should do unto you, do ye also to them likewise." We would surely not wish men to grant a request of ours if they sincerely believed they would be injuring us. Our Master's words inculcate love, beneficence, and must not be construed to the contrary.
Very evidently our Lord was setting up His teachings in contrast with the maxims of the Pharisees, the holiness people of that day. He wished His disciples to see His teachings in their ultra light. To love another because he loved us, or to give to another in the hope that he would equally befriend us, or to do any good act with a hope to have as good or better return, would have nothing specially creditable in itself. It would be doing from a selfish motive.
Jesus' disciples, on the contrary, are to do good for principle's sake and for goodness' sake--to be in full accord with the Heavenly Father, to have His smile and approval. They are to take Him as their Example and to remember that in proportion as they are godlike they
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show forth the spirit of sonship. As, therefore, God is kind to the unthankful and to evil-doers, so we should be who have His spirit and who are seeking to walk in His way, in the footsteps of Jesus. The Heavenly Father is the Example, and although we cannot come up to that Example, we can show our loyalty, our faithfulness, by copying Him to the extent of our ability.
MERCIFUL TO OBTAIN MERCY
The world during Messiah's Kingdom will be under instruction and lessons, which will include mercy, and an assurance to the willing and obedient of perfection by the close of the Kingdom. But the Church class, now called out, will have no such long period for their character development, and since they will not attain that perfection here but will require Divine mercy, through the imputation of Christ's merit to cover their blemishes, therefore the Lord has arranged that these must expect mercy only in proportion as they will show mercy to others. In other words, all the followers of Jesus have many imperfections to be covered by Divine mercy, or else to be atoned for by stripes, punishments, before they die.
In order to develop His saints in generosity and forgiveness, mercy, the Lord has agreed that He will be merciful to them in proportion as they will be merciful to others. What a wondrous reward and what a wondrous incentive! Our Lord's prayer is in agreement with this: "Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us." This does not relate to the Adamic guilt of the saints, but to their daily shortcomings; their share in original sin and condemnation was canceled through the merit of Christ before they were accepted as His disciples or became followers in His steps as sons of God. What an incentive to God's people to be generous, forgiving, large-hearted, thus cultivating the Heavenly Father's spirit and character, and to be in that condition of heart where they can receive richly of Divine bounty and mercy at the throne of grace!
"OWE NO MAN ANYTHING"
Love may go beyond the Law and do more than Justice could require--in self-sacrifice--but it cannot do less. He who loves his neighbor will be fulfilling the Law toward him to the best of his ability. Hence, as the Apostle explains, to those who are in Christ all the commandments are covered in their covenant of love. They would not injure their neighbor's interests, either by stealing from him, or by bearing false witness against him, or by coveting his things or interests, desiring to take possession of them, or by murder or adultery; nor in any other manner would they encroach upon their neighbor's rights and interests.
Although not under the Law of the Ten Commandments, the Christian is under the Law of the New Commandment, the Law of Love, which is so much higher that it includes every other law that could be given. Love works no kind of injury to its neighbor; love, therefore, is the fulfilling of that feature of the Divine Law which applies to our duty toward our neighbor, to love him as ourself. But love can do more than this, and in the case of Jesus it did more, for in love He surrendered His rights, privileges, etc., and died, the Just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God. And He is our Example as surely as we are His disciples, followers, and prospectively His joint-heirs in His Kingdom.
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CHRISTIANITY AND THE LAW
--MAY 19.--`MATT. 5:17-26`.--
"He that loveth his neighbor hath
fulfilled the Law."--`Rom. 13:8`.
JESUS AND HIS APOSTLES expounded the harmony between Christianity and Judaism, nevertheless comparatively few Christians today seem to grasp the subject clearly. Today's study aims to make clear their distinctions and harmonies.
The Great Teacher declared that He came not to destroy the Law and the Prophets, but to fulfil them. While the Law was spoken of as Moses' Law, it was really the Divine Law given to Israel as a basis for the Divine Covenant with that nation, and Moses merely stood as mediator of that Law Covenant--that agreement by which Israel was obligated to keep the Law, and God was obligated if they did so to grant them everlasting life, Divine favor and the glorious privilege of being His instruments for the blessing of all nations, under Messiah's Kingdom.
The failure of even the most sincere Israelites to gain the promised everlasting life proved, not that God's Law was an unjust one, which would need at some time to be set aside as unworkable, but that Israel, like the remainder of the world, shared by inheritance Adamic weaknesses,
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which so impaired their moral quality that they could not keep God's perfect Law--in its spirit; the spirit of the Law our Lord defined to be whole-hearted love for God and "Golden Rule" love for the neighbor.
The Gospel of Jesus magnifies the Jewish Law by admitting its righteousness, its reasonableness and by admitting that the fault is entirely with humanity. The proposition of Jesus in respect to His followers is this: He, being perfect, was able to keep the Mosaic Law perfectly, and He had a right, therefore, to everlasting life, and needed not to have died; but instead of retaining His life He laid it down sacrificially, as a part of the great Divine Plan for human redemption. That sacrifice will bring to the world the blessed privileges and opportunities for eternal life which, it has been promised, Messiah's Kingdom will bring. But meantime the Redeemer, carrying out Jehovah's plans, offers an imputation of His merit to any who have His spirit--that of full consecration to do the Father's will by laying down the present life sacrificially, to gain with the Redeemer a heavenly, spiritual life, glory, honor, immortality, the Divine nature, as Messiah's joint-heir in His Kingdom. All who would thus do would be counted as a part of the spiritual Seed of Abraham, through whom all the families of the earth will eventually receive their blessing.
This offer was made to the Jew first; but, after gathering all the willing and obedient of that nation, the call was extended to the willing and obedient having ears to hear and hearts to obey regardless of all national lines. To all these the terms of discipleship were made clear-- terms of self-sacrifice unto death: "If any man will be My disciple let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me; and where I am there shall My disciple be."
This class was promised everlasting life, even though they were unable to keep in every particular the spirit of the Mosaic Law. The Jews reasoned that this was a setting aside of the Law; Jesus and the Apostles answer, No. These disciples or followers of Jesus sacrifice their earthly interests and rights and thus become reckonedly dead to earthly things. God accepts their sacrifices and begets them of the Holy Spirit. Thus they become New Creatures in Christ. These New Creatures are not under any Law of sin and death, nor have they any imperfections. "The Law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made them free from the law of sin and death."--`Rom. 8:2`.
But, the objector asks, how could God accept a blemished offering? and, furthermore, are not these New Creatures held responsible for the conduct of their flesh, so long as they live--until their sacrifice is completed?
The Scriptures answer. The great High Priest, who presents these offerings as part of His own sacrifice, covers their imperfections and blemishes by an imputation of the merit of His own sacrifice, which is already in the hands of Justice waiting for application on behalf of the sins of the world. When this High Priest thus presents us to God, covered with His own merit as a robe, we are assured that the sacrifices are "holy and acceptable unto God."--`Rom. 12:1`.
As for subsequent weaknesses of the flesh, the New Creature is indeed held responsible for its mortal body, but since our High Priest tasted death for every man and for all sins of heredity, therefore these New Creatures in Christ are assured that all their trespasses, whether of ignorance or weakness, may be forgiven, and that the Redeemer, their Head and Representative in glory, will upon application impute His merit for the cancellation of such imperfections, that they may thus be maintained in their standing with the Father, "without spot or wrinkle or any such thing."--`Eph. 5:27`.
Thus are the demands of Divine Law met in respect to the Church. But the Church's covenant means more than merely the observance of the Law; it is a covenant to sacrifice, and Justice, the Divine Law, could not demand sacrifice. The Church's covenant, which she shares with her Lord and Redeemer, is an agreement to sacrifice all earthly interests in the doing of the Divine will at any cost. The reward for the keeping of this covenant will be obtained in the First Resurrection change to heavenly glory, honor and immortality. The terms of this covenant read: "Gather together My saints unto Me, saith the Lord, those who have made a covenant with Me by sacrifice." --`Psa. 50:5`.
FULFILLING THE PROPHETS ALSO
To the Jew it seemed as though the Gospel invitation would make void all the Prophets, of whom Saint Peter said that all the holy Prophets since the world began had spoken of restitution times and blessings at the coming of Messiah. (`Acts 3:19-21`.) To the Jew it still seems as though there must be some mistake, that if Jesus were the
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Messiah He should have begun a work of restitution, a work of social, moral, intellectual and physical uplift for mankind, using Israel as His channel, His agency. The Jew points to the eighteen centuries of Christian preaching, and says if Christians be right it makes void all of the prophecies of the past. What is the answer to this?
Jesus gives the answer, saying that the prophecies are being fulfilled. The prophecies tell not only of Jesus but also of His brethren, the "little flock," the Bride class; and that class must be selected before other features of the prophecies can be fulfilled. "I will declare Thy name unto My brethren." (`Psa. 22:22`; `Heb. 2:12`.) This is the present work--the work of selecting the class mentioned by the Psalmist, saying, "I have said ye are gods, all of you sons of the Highest; but ye shall all die like men."--`Psa. 82:6`.
The Law and the Prophets point out the necessity of a Priestly class under the High Priest--of a sacrificing class which would become a Royal Priesthood. These prophecies are in process of fulfilment; neither the Law nor the Prophets are being ignored. Soon this feature of the Divine Plan will have been accomplished; the Church will be glorified with her Lord, and then those features of the Law and the Prophets which dazzle the eyes of Israel will begin to be fulfilled, and will bring them blessing, and through them blessing to the world, far beyond their highest conceptions.
If therefore any of the followers of Jesus should violate the Ten Commandments and teach men so to do, it would manifestly be done through ignorance and misunderstanding, and he would thus mark himself as a follower of Jesus on a low plane--one of the least in the Kingdom. This would apply amongst the Lord's followers at the present time: the Church is the Kingdom in embryo, and any brother in such an attitude should be considered by the brethren as weak and should not be given a position of prominence in the service of the Church.
THE PHARISEES' STANDARD LOWER
In Jesus' day the Pharisees prided themselves on their zeal for the Law and found fault with Jesus' disciples and with Himself for healing the sick on the Sabbath. Instead of admitting their claims Jesus repeatedly showed them to be fallacious. They were particular respecting the little requirements of the Law, but were careless respecting its spirit of love. This Jesus termed hypocrisy; He declared that unless His followers would be nearer right in heart than were the Pharisees they would not get into the Kingdom at all. (We must remember the difference
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between the embryo Kingdom which was inaugurated at Pentecost and the glorious Kingdom into which the faithful will be ushered by the First Resurrection change.)
Unless His followers would have more of the spirit of the Divine Law than the Pharisees they would not be fit for the begetting at Pentecost--none but those who love righteousness and who thus have the spirit of the Divine Law are acceptable at all in the Church-- "the Church of the First-Born, whose names are written in heaven."
The Pharisees held the letter of the Law and said, Beware lest you kill a man, for that would subject you to judgment or trial before the council, or local court of your town; but Jesus taught that hatred is murder, even if it do not go to the length of killing. So high is this standard amongst the Lord's consecrated people that for one of them to be even slightly angry would be a serious matter; and if he were angry enough to call a brother Christian "a fool" it would imply that he were in serious danger of the second Death--Gehenna. All Christ's followers, therefore, must not only guard their actions but also their lips and the very thoughts of their hearts, that even in thought they shall be in fullest accord with the very spirit of the Divine Law of love; and if on approaching the throne of grace they find any other spirit in their hearts they should go no further toward God, but first be reconciled to their brother. Under a parable of arrest, condemnation and imprisonment our Lord teaches His disciples that if they have a wrong feeling toward a brother they should make great haste to settle the matter. Every moment of delay endangers their spiritual standing with the Lord and makes it more difficult for themselves in their relationship with God.
The intimation is that if we have wronged a brother and delay to make the matter right and the case come before the Lord for settlement, we will be obliged to suffer the full penalty of our neglect, "the uttermost farthing," before we will be fully restored to Divine favor and fellowship.
And can it be
That God designs with you and me
Forevermore to dwell?
Can His great might
Secure for us the right
To be His Israel?
A people chosen to proclaim His worth,
To sound the praises of His glory forth,
To lead the van of an adoring earth?
This poor, weak clay
Can He transform in such a way
That it shall yield Divinity?
This sin-stained mind
So cleanse that He in us shall find
Th' abode of His eternal rest,
That habitation which He loveth best,
His chosen Zion? City ever blest?
If this be so,
Not all the wealth this world can know
Will me suffice:
Nor name, nor fame, nor power, nor pleasure here below
My soul entice.
How poor these transitory things of earth
Beside this treasure of unending worth,
This Heavenly fellowship, this Royal birth!
And can it be
That down throughout succeeding ages He
With ardent longing waits
Th' eventful day
When--sin all purged away--
We'll sit within His gates?
Can we be subjects of our God's desire?
Doth He our loving fellowship require?
And to this height may such as we aspire?
How good to know
His never-failing Word proclaims it so!
Here, Lord, I give myself to Thee,
Work out Thy gracious purposes in me
Until in Heaven Thy blessed Face I see,
And dwell with Thee through all eternity.
WM. W. JOHNSTON.--Africa.
BEREAN QUESTIONS IN SCRIPTURE STUDIES
Series VI., Study VIII., The Law of the New Creation.
(11) Under what special laws or commandments are the heathen world at present? P. 384, par. 3.
(12) What is the attitude of the Nominal Church as respects the liberty of the New Creation in the matter of holy days, fast days, Sabbaths, etc.? P. 385, par. 1.
(13) How should the New Creation appreciate and observe the first day of the week? P. 386, par. 1, 2.
(14) While entirely free from the Jewish Law, what inference may we draw from the Mosaic Law respecting the use of certain foods, and how profit by it? P. 387, par. 1.
(15) Similarly, may we not also note a physical necessity as well as a typical teaching with respect to the Jewish Sabbath observance? P. 387, par. 2, 3.
(16) What was the experience of the French nation in regard to Sabbath observance? P. 388, par. 1.
(17) Should we in any manner, by word or deed, attempt to overthrow the popular ideas regarding Sabbath observance? P. 388, par. 2.
(18) How should the New Creation prefer to use the first day of the week? P. 389, par. 1.
(19) What is the duty of the New Creation toward their children and other members of their household with respect to Sabbath observance? P. 389, par. 2.
(20) What should be the attitude of the New Creation toward Sabbath keeping as commanded by civil laws? P. 390, par. 1.
ISRAEL'S SABBATH TYPICAL.
(21) Where and when was the first observance of the Sabbath as recorded in Scripture? P. 390, par. 2.
(22) What was the relation between Israel's 24-hour period of rest and God's Rest, and what did this signify? P. 391, par. 1.
(23) Mention several instances in which the number seven was given prominence under the Mosaic Law. P. 391, par. 2.
(24) What blessing to Spiritual Israel was typified by Natural Israel's seventh-day Sabbath? And what is the double lesson set before us by the Apostle in `Hebrews 4:1-11`? P. 391, par. 3, 4.
(25) At what time and under what conditions did the New Creation as individuals enter into their Sabbath rest of faith? P. 392, par. 1.
(26) Explain the declaration of the Apostle that we entered into rest as God rested from His works. P. 393, par. 1.
(27) When did the Sabbath of the New Creation as a whole have its beginning? P. 393, par. 2; P. 394, par. 1.
(28) In conclusion, how must the New Creation continue this rest of faith in order to attain to the fuller, grander antitype? P. 394, par. 2.