VOL. XXVIII JANUARY 15 No. 2
A.D. 1907--A.M. 6035
Views from the Watch Tower........................ 19
"What will the Poor Do with the Rich?"........ 19
Socialistic President in 1912................. 20
The Climax will Surely Come................... 21
Religious Toleration.......................... 21
The Crime of Suggestion....................... 21
The Socialists' Scheme........................ 22
Hygienic Value of Prayer...................... 22
Disobedience, Penalty, Hope....................... 22
The Shadow of God's Hand (Poem)................... 25
"Sin Lieth at the Door"........................... 25
Some Interesting Letters.......................... 29
Public Ministries of the Truth.................... 32
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VIEWS FROM THE WATCH TOWER
"WHAT WILL THE POOR DO WITH THE RICH?"
UNDER this caption quite a striking article has appeared recently in the London Daily Mail. The form of the question is very suggestive. It is not a great while since the question continually asked was, "What shall we do with the poor?" How shall we build almshouses for them, restrain them, and arrange soup-kitchens and shelter for those out of work? It is quite a new question, therefore, to reverse the matter and say, "What shall the poor do with the rich?" This great change has been effected by two things: (1) The public demand for universal suffrage which has only prevailed, except in our own land, for a comparatively short time; and (2) the other factor in the situation is the increase of knowledge. Many are running to and fro, and knowledge is being increased-- and knowledge, as some one has said, is power. The poor have learned that they are in the majority, that each vote has its count, and that the majority of votes means the control of the government. It is surprising that it has required so long a time for the masses to awake to the power that is in their hands through the ballot. When they do become thoroughly awake it is very easy to be seen that with the power in their hands the poor will see to it that the rich do not have as great advantage in the future as in the past.
Only in this last election, as we have stated, have the British voters gotten awake to the situation, and now they are planning for the future, arranging to take over as much of the government as possible into their own hands and to effect legislation favorable to their own interests. In the United States a similar movement is on foot amongst the labor unions. It may be a few years before it reaches the point of danger to the present social structure, but its coming is inevitable. We may be sure that it will be heard in full force and weight by the end of "Gentile times." In Germany matters have already progressed further. The Socialists there would have matters in their own hands were the voting privileges theirs on the same basis that they are in the United States and Great Britain. The Germans, however, foresaw something of coming conditions and shielded the government and the wealthier and middle classes from the poor by providing certain conditions under which the favored classes have a larger number of votes at the polls. Nor do we think this an unreasonable position--that education and property should be represented. The point we make, however, is that all these matters are culminating on time. Hearken to the words of Scripture, applicable now: "Go to now, ye rich men; weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you."--`Jas. 5:1`.
We quote below the article referred to:--
"WHAT WILL THE POOR DO WITH THE RICH?"
"Of peculiar importance and significance at the present time, when England is wondering whether or not the Socialist Party is in the immediate future to control the fate and fortunes of the United Kingdom, is Sir Henry Wrixon's political study, published under the obscure title of 'The Pattern State.' Sir H. Wrixon stands far aloof from purely British controversies; he is an Australian publicist and statesman; yet his contribution to political science is the more valuable since he has seen in Australia the working of the very tendencies which he describes.
"The great problem of today, to his mind is, 'What will the poor do with the rich?' The general election in England has marked a change more profound than the French Revolution. Power has passed finally and forever from the English middle-class to the wage-earner. Nor is it probable that the conditions which now exist in this country will speedily change. The middle class, Sir Henry thinks, were accessible to argument and reason; the wage-earning class are not. The middle class sought, on the whole, the interests of the nation, and were divided because some took one view and some another of what those interests might be. The wage-earning class seek first and foremost their own personal interest, to ameliorate their own economic condition, to obtain higher wages and greater
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comfort from the State, at the expense of others, and, in a word, to eliminate the struggle for existence. Hence they are and will remain solid and united. The political pendulum will swing no longer.
THE DREAM OF MR. GLADSTONE
"The political forecasts of the immediate past have been belied. Political reformers, down to the late Mr. Gladstone, thought that the wage-earners would, if given votes, be content to follow the judgment 'of those who have superior opportunities, and have also, or are supposed to have superior fitness of all kinds.' The very contrary has happened. The wage-earners, instead of voting for the orthodox Liberal or the orthodox Unionist, have voted for Labor members, trade unionist representatives, and others of their own class and station, without the education and training which gave Mr. Gladstone's 'superior fitness' to govern. The poor are not following the lead of the well-to-do, but are kings in their own right.
"This kingship of the people (by 'the people' being understood the poor, who are in every nation the majority) will produce immediate and inevitable results. In the first place, we shall see the rule of ignorance.
"'Theories and proposals that under a middle-class rule would be regarded as too wild to require an answer will be favorably regarded even by learned professors. ...They will be discussed with all the care and respect that is due to a monarch's words.'
"Municipal government in England and the United States has already shown that political intelligence does not widen as we descend in rank and station, and that universal education has not the enlightening results which were promised in its name. Hence the prospect of the future is the rule of the wire-pullers, bribing the electorate with the plunder of the rich, to be bestowed in the form of 'political outdoor relief.'
"The elector will no longer be asked, What have you done for your country? but, What has the Government done for you? We have reached a condition of affairs where the political conditions are in absolute opposition to the industrial. At the polling station the worker is the equal of the master, nay, even his superior, since he has on his side a vast numerical advantage, which virtually reduces the employer to a state of political impotence. But within the factory affairs are reversed. There the employer is king, and his equal at the voting station is his inferior.
A BLACK OUTLOOK FOR INDUSTRY
"Such conditions could only persist while the attention of the voter was confined to 'what are properly called politics, or the public affairs of the nation.' If the scope of politics is extended--as it has been--so 'as to include the management of the industrial side of life, with the purpose of there enforcing that equality which is so dearly prized on the political side of life, then we come directly upon that problem which western civilization must either solve or perish in the attempt to solve.' In a word, political equality is irreconcilable with industrial inequality. One or other must go.
"This is clearly seen and understood by the Labor party; it is the doctrine also of a considerable body of Liberals, numbering not much less than 100, outside the Labor ranks, though Sir Henry does not note this. If that section gives effect to its doctrines, backed by the majority of voters, the whole order of civilization as we now know it must change.
"Already in the municipalities the change has begun. The exploitation of the few rich by the many poor, their oppressive taxation, and the provision of comfortable conditions for the poor, who find themselves
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possessed of supreme power in virtue of their numbers, is the system known as municipal Socialism. Already it is taken for granted.
"'That it is the duty of the State to find work for its people; to provide all citizens with pensions in old age; to fix hours of work and rates of wages...and it is the duty of county councils to tax property so many shillings in the pound, to improve the surroundings of the poor.'
"The municipal Socialist, when resisted, can always appeal to an army of the proletariat and vote down those owning property. In fact a stage has been reached where taxation is levied on one small class by another large class, and spent wholly or mainly in the interests of the latter class. That is a state of affairs which earlier thinkers pronounced contrary to the rights of man; it is, in other words, a barely disguised tyranny.
INEVITABLE DECLINE AND FALL
"This tendency will proceed further, Sir H. Wrixon holds. The tyranny will become as complete as it was in the democracies of Greece, when the plunder of the rich was the normal rule, and as it was in the French Revolution, when the assertion of political equality was instantly followed by an attack on property. He points out that the modern demagogues exhibit a marked antagonism to private property, and propose to wipe it out of existence by graduated taxation.
"There will be no violent revolution, unless property resists by force, but simply a series of confiscatory laws. Industry after industry will be municipalized or taken over by the State, when efficiency will inevitably decline. 'All the causes that promote expense and inefficiency' will be present; absent only the causes which stimulate energy and inventiveness. There will be no penalties for slackness, and, if for a time, all goes well, this will be because the State is living on its accumulated capital. A gradual decay will set in, and either a fresh revolution will be accomplished, or the State will be crushed by some foreign power...."
SOCIALISTIC PRESIDENT IN 1912
At the First Presbyterian Church, St. Louis, Rev. Chas. Steizle, secretary of the Church and Labor Department of the general Presbyterian Church, delivered a sermon in which he asserted that the labor problem is purely a religious question. He said in part:--
"For three years I have traveled all over the country. I have a personal acquaintance with all the labor leaders of the United States. It seems to me the workingmen are moving in two general directions: (1) Political; (2) economic. Who has not been appalled by the tremendous growth of socialism? In our own country the growth in the last four years has been sevenfold. If it increases in the same ratio in the next eight years the socialists will be able to elect a President.
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Whatever one may think of the economic value of socialism, this fact remains that socialism is becoming to thousands of workingmen a substitute for the Church."
THE CLIMAX WILL SURELY COME
"Words will not wake up the masses to realize the maze into which capitalism is plunging them, but words will wake up a few of them. It will take conditions to do what words have not the power to do. And these conditions are coming like a cyclone. But when conditions begin to press harder and harder, when the clock strikes the ominous sound, precipitated by some insignificant matter, perhaps, then the words that the masses have read will come to them with great force.
"The howling of the abolitionists did not awaken the antagonism to chattel slavery, but the firing on Fort Sumter with popguns created a condition that made the people jump to their feet with a determination to settle the question of which power should rule the nation."--Appeal to Reason.
* * *
There can be no doubt about it that recent revelations of how rich men have acquired much of their wealth has come as a revelation to the general public. Though long known among the rich, it has been hidden from "the man in the street" by financial terms which he did not comprehend. With his increase of knowledge he has received a "shock." His reverence for the rich and the great is shattered. This is but the precursor of the complete loss of confidence in everybody and every thing, pointed out in the Scriptures as the very foundation of the coming anarchy.
The immediate effect upon many is to lead them to philosophise thus: "So, so; I see now how it is all done! I used to wonder how a man could accumulate even one million dollars honestly, but supposed the honorable millionaires were the very personification of honor and justice, after the style of their requirements of the bank clerks and cashiers of railroads, etc. Now I see differently. Well, I hope my chance may come soon, that I also, by the methods which I see are 'usual,' may become a multi-millionaire."
"The disposition among worthy and earnest men to ignore religious differences in pursuit of common and noble ends was strikingly shown at the recent international arbitration conference at Lake Mohonk. There, at the opening devotional exercises which marked each daily session of the conference, were to be seen as active participants a cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church in his scarlet robes, a Quaker in his simple garb, an Episcopal bishop, a Congregational judge, together with Presbyterian, Baptist and Methodist clergymen. The Quaker read the hymn of peace, written by a Unitarian. The Roman Catholic and Quaker sang from the same book, and after a psalm the cardinal read prayers in English, with many a Protestant responding 'Amen.'
"To say such a scene was remarkable is simply to recognize the fact that as respects religious and sectarian differences the world has moved forward out of that bigotry and intolerance which for so many ages obscured the vision and warped the judgment of many otherwise good and worthy men. We are doing now only what rational and sincere men should always have done in the past, and which they will continue to do in the future, until scenes like that at Mohonk will be so much in the natural order that they will cease to be notable." --Leslie's Weekly.
* * *
In view of the above general tendency to religious toleration is it not remarkable the amount of intolerance that is displayed against all who sympathize with the teachings of MILLENNIAL DAWN? The manifestations of hatred and opposition come from all denominations, and the various persecutions in a small way practised against individuals in their homes, amongst their business and Church relatives, is surely remarkable. Why is it so? We might just as well ask why was it that Scribes and Pharisees and Doctors of the Law, all classes and parties of the Jews, opposed Christ and his simple, straightforward teachings at the first advent. Why was it that with the wide differences existing between themselves these all could unite in the opposition to the light, the truth? Whoever can answer those questions respecting the harvest of the Jewish age will be able probably in similar vein to answer the similar questions pertinent to the harvest of this Gospel age. General doubt and darkness on all theological questions is settling down rapidly upon all denominations--"They believe they know not what," hence why should they any longer quarrel with each other? We know what we believe, and in that sense of the word are certainly amongst the few Christians. Our presentations in MILLENNIAL DAWN are clear cut, Scriptural; and the Scriptures are thus shown to be opposed to all the sects and parties of Christendom, and their various creeds are shown to be out of accord with the Word of God. "If the world hate you ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world the world would love its own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you."--`John 15:18,19`.
THE CRIME OF SUGGESTION
It would appear that the average German citizen has a higher sense of the obligation of an oath than have some religious teachers. This is shown in the following report from the London Daily Mail. It causes us to wonder how the common people would decide the matter if some of the clergy were put on trial for the violation of their vows of ordination--in preaching contrary to their solemn covenants. The item follows:--
"Father Geisert, a Catholic priest, of Lautenbach, Baden, has been sentenced to a year in the penitentiary for attempting to induce a parishioner to swear falsely in the Catholic Party's interest in the course of a bye-election contest for the Landtag.
"The priest made a pathetic supplication to his judges to let him off, confessing that the letter wherein
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he made the incriminating suggestion was written to a parishioner in a moment of foolish zeal, and that he had done penance for it many times over.
"The defense introduced as a last resort the evidence of Professor Mayer, the authority on 'moral theology as related to the question of the oath.' He declared that during the time of the Inquisition a certain 'mental restriction' was permitted to persons who took oath, and said that Geisert may have had this in mind when he advised his parishioners to lie."
THE SOCIALISTS' SCHEME
"The recent increase in the activity of socialist propagandists has been noticeable. The latest development is the formation of an intercollegiate society to spread the principles of socialism not only in the colleges of the country but among the pupils of high schools in the larger cities. Literature is to be distributed
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broadcast, while lecturers will be sent from school to school to explain the doctrines for which it is hoped to make many converts. Among those back of this movement we are not surprised to find E. Benjamin Andrews, Jack London and Charlotte Perkins Gilman." --Pittsburgh Gazette.
HYGIENIC VALUE OF PRAYER
At a recent medical conference Dr. Hyslop paid a remarkable tribute to the hygienic value of prayer, says the English Churchman. In treating of the influence of moral and religious environment, he said it ought to be their object, as teachers and physicians, to fight against all those influences which tended to produce either indifference or intemperance towards religion. Of all hygienic measures to counteract disturbed hope or depression of spirits, he would undoubtedly give first place to the simple habit of prayer. Its effect on the mind was more beneficial than any other therapeutic agent known.
Apropos of which may be quoted the following from Longfellow's "The Day is Done":
"Such songs have power to quiet
The restless pulse of care,
And come like the benediction
That follows after prayer."
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DISOBEDIENCE, PENALTY, HOPE
--`GENESIS 3:1-6,13-16`.--JANUARY 20.--
"As all in Adam die, so all in Christ
shall be made alive."--`1 Cor. 15:22`.
IF THIS LESSON were properly taught in all the Sunday Schools and Bible classes of Christendom it would of itself revolutionize all the theology of Christendom. The wonder is that reasonable, thinking people can con over this lesson without apparently getting the least ray of light therefrom. Our own past experiences along the same line enable us to sympathize with others in their blindness, stimulating us to render them all the assistance in our power, to the intent that their eyes of understanding may be opened, that they may be able to discern the fundamentals of the divine plan, and thus come into a better understanding thereof and closer harmony with the Lord every way.
From Genesis to Revelation the serpent is set before us as the synonym of Satan. The introduction of sin is charged to the great Adversary of God, who, following his ambition, sought to secure our first parents and their posterity as his subjects under the new empire which he hoped to establish, that he might be like the Most High. This sinful, disloyal ambition not only wrought havoc in a cherub, degrading him and making him an adversary of God, but through him it wrought havoc to our race--divine condemnation to death, with all the attendant miseries of sickness, pain--mental, moral and physical--deteriorating, culminating in death. We all are witnesses of the penalty; the doctors' signs, no less than the crape and the cemetery, assure us that the sentence of death still rests upon our race--the most awful calamity that could be imagined.
MOTHER EVE'S TEMPTATION
That a serpent was used in Mother Eve's temptation there can be no doubt, but whether it spoke with audible voice or only by its actions we cannot know--it was quite probably the latter, as we sometimes say, "Actions speak louder than words." Satan merely used the serpent as the instrumentality of his temptation. His desire was to alienate the affections, love and respect of our first parents from God to himself. He attempted to do this by passing as their friend and giving the insinuation that God, although the Creator, was the transgressor, who desired to hinder their best and truest advancement and prosperity. The Lord had placed our first parents in the Garden of Eden, which was highly favored every way, and entirely fitted for the perfect pair to enjoy their human perfection to the full. In it were all kinds of trees, some beautiful to look upon and some good for food--trees of life--the eating of whose fruit would perpetuate life in full degree. But amongst the trees of life in this orchard was one tree of very marked peculiarity, which our Lord had called the tree of knowledge and of whose fruit he forbade our parents to eat. This restriction would not necessarily have been perpetual. In due time, after the test of obedience had demonstrated the loyalty of our first parents, no doubt they would have been granted full liberty in the use of the tree of knowledge, but partaking of it before the Lord's time would mean not only their disobedience but their injury, and would bring upon them the divine sentence, "In the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die"--margin, "Dying thou shalt die."
This restriction on the tree of knowledge became the channel of temptation. Satan was aware of that trait of nature which leads everyone to be interested in and to have more or less desire for anything that is forbidden--to wonder why it is forbidden, etc. Such thoughts had undoubtedly passed through the minds of Adam and Eve, and had been set aside as improper, because surely their Creator, who had done so much for their blessing and joy, would not withhold from them anything really to their advantage; hence in appreciation of his goodness they settled the matter
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that they would be obedient to the Lord and would not taste the forbidden fruit. Now came Satan's attack: posing as their best friend he intimated selfishness on God's part as the basis of their restriction. More than this, he suggested that they never could be happy without the valuable knowledge which the fruit of that tree would bring them, and, further, that God had lied to them in saying that death would surely follow the eating of the forbidden fruit.
Had Satan appeared and held personal conversation with them directly or through the serpent, they seemingly should have been on guard, and would probably have wondered why any of God's creatures should speak disparagingly of his wisdom and his love. Our conjecture is that the whole matter was done by signs--that under Satan's guidance the serpent partook of the tree of knowledge of good and evil, and when mother Eve saw that no harm came to the serpent, but perceived that it was one of the most cunning of all the animals of the earth, the operation of her mind was, "Has God deceived us? Has he an object in deceiving us? Why did he tell us that we should die if we ate of that fruit, whereas we see that the serpent eats of it and does not die? Quite probably it is because of the partaking of this fruit regularly that the serpent is the wisest of all the living creatures under our control." And when the woman perceived by this process of reasoning that the tree was good to make one wise, her desire for wisdom entrapped her into disloyalty to the command of her Creator. She ate, and as a result did indeed get a great increase of knowledge, with condemnation, sorrow, pain, tears--because the knowledge came not in God's time and order, but in violation of his command.
"A MURDERER FROM THE BEGINNING"
In thus entrapping mother Eve, and through her bringing upon Adam and his race the death penalty, Satan became the great murderer of the race, as our Lord Jesus declared, "He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth." His counsel, and indeed the counsel of all who are out of harmony with God is evil, injurious, and whosoever heeds or agrees therewith is not wise. The Apostle says, "The serpent beguiled Eve," and this is his general procedure in all of our temptations. He does not come out into the open, but everywhere seeks to put darkness for light --to deceive, to mislead. We are to remember, too, that mother Eve had no experience with sin, nor with any adversary of God and of righteousness, and hence was the more easily misled in this temptation. Coming from her the temptation was an hundred-fold what it otherwise would have been, for we are informed by the Apostle that "Adam was not deceived." He was aware, fully convinced, that death would be the penalty for his partaking of the forbidden fruit, irrespective of its effect upon the serpent. His temptation, however, touched him upon his most vulnerable point--his love for his wife.
There are intimations that the fall took place one and a half years after father Adam's creation, but for what portion of that time he had his beautiful and loved companion, Eve, we are not informed. It is clearly intimated, however, that he was alone for a sufficient period to realize that there was no companion suitable for him amongst all the beasts, cattle and creatures under his dominion; and when, finally, the Lord gave him a wife of his own flesh and bones, of his own nature, he evidently found in her that complement to himself for which he had so greatly longed. And now, when he perceived that Eve had eaten of the forbidden fruit and that she must die, the poor man evidently felt that without her life would lose its charms, and determined that whatever the cost he would share it with his bride--therefore he partook of the fruit at her instance, with the full knowledge that it would mean his death. He not only knowingly
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and willingly disobeyed the divine command, but did it intentionally--he suicided.
SATAN'S DECEPTIONS STILL PREVAIL
We must not censure our first parents too severely, but remember that, although they were perfect in their capacities, created in the image of God, they were not perfect in knowledge. They should have been wise enough to know, to realize, their limitations of ignorance and to have trusted to the Lord. Lack of faith was mother Eve's difficulty, and had father Adam possessed a sufficiency of faith and maintained his obedience no doubt God would have arranged some way for the recovery of his companion, but for their undeveloped condition the trial was too strong; they succumbed, as no doubt nearly all of their children would have done under similar circumstances. We blame them not, yet we see that God, foreknowing what course they would take, preferred to allow them to take that course rather than to interfere with them, intending to ultimately overrule their disobedience for a higher and wider development of his own gracious purposes through the redemption and ultimate blessing which the divine plan centers in Jesus.
What do we see today but similar disobedience, notwithstanding the fact that we have larger experience than our first parents as respects contact with sin and its penalty? In how many instances today does ambition, love of knowledge, lead to disobedience of divine restrictions to the serious injury of the disobedient one? One would think that the lesson before us would be so powerful, so convincing, that all who have a knowledge of it would flee from temptation in such directions and resolve that at any cost they would be obedient to the Word of the Lord. How many today, like Father Adam, would be willing to sacrifice their eternal interests for the joys and pleasures of earthly companionship, even to the extent of disobedience to the divine requirements.
WHOM SHALL WE BELIEVE?
Whoever may be inclined to condemn mother Eve for hearkening to the voice of the serpent should reflect that the great majority of the world today are believing Satan's lie, rejecting God's message. The heathen, numbering 1,200,000,000, almost without exception believe Satan's lie, "Ye shall not surely die," so that when their friends die they claim that they are not dead but more alive than ever. Nor is this the worst of it: so-called Christendom, representing 400,000,000 of our race, have very generally accepted the same lie, and similarly believe that none are dead--that all in the moment in which they appear to die really become more alive than ever before. How can we blame mother Eve on this score while we see the deceptions spread abroad far and near, notwithstanding all the lessons
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which she learned and which her children should have learned through her example. As to believe God always leads us in the right direction and brings blessings, so to reject God's counsel, to receive the serpent's counsel, always means to bring injury in some sense or degree.
Look about over the world today--see the heathen worshiping their ancestors, and imagining that they hold communion with those whom the Scriptures declare are dead and know not anything, and never would know anything had it not been for the redemption accomplished at Calvary by Jesus, and who would not in any sense of the word be conscious until awakened by our Lord at his second coming in resurrection power. Look at Christendom, and perceive that two-thirds of these believe in the doctrine of a present purgatory, in which their relatives and friends are suffering from the moment of death. See them praying for the dead and paying for masses for their relief from pain. Think of the thousands of injurious superstitions that are built upon this error, and reflect that Spiritism, which is already having a great influence and, according to the Scriptures, will shortly have still wider and more baneful effect; and note how it has all its power from this false doctrine which the Adversary originally started in Eden--that the dead are not dead, but alive, and ready to communicate through mediums, etc. Consider how Satan has used this error all the way down through the ages, and how, through the fallen angels, the demons, he has personated the dead and sought thus to entrap the living. Let us learn the lesson; let us say, with one of old, "Let God be true, though it make every man a liar."--`Rom. 3:4`.
CURSING AND BLESSING
Let us realize that every one who opposes or denies the divine testimony is a liar and the truth is not in him; but let us set to our seal that God is true, and realize that the penalty of death is real, that the redemption price paid by our Lord Jesus was his death, also real, and that the blessed provision of the divine plan for the future is the awakening of mankind from the sleep of death, from the unconsciousness of death, for the very purpose of bringing them to a clear knowledge of God and his truth and releasing them from the superstitions and evil influences, degradation, etc., which came upon them through disobedience, through the fall, through the following of Satan's original lie.
The curse that rests upon the race, upon the earth itself and upon the serpent and Satan is a condemnation, a penalty, a reprobation. The serpent, under divine reprobation, experienced some kind of a change of form and locomotion, and became to mankind a synonym, a representative, of everything evil, loathsome, vile--the synonym of sin and Satan. Not only in our lesson is this brought to our attention, but also in the typical system of natural Israel. Fiery serpents were sent upon Israel as a curse or penalty for sin; and when, through their doubts, the people were perishing, under the Lord's instruction Moses raised upon a pole a copper serpent, looking to which in faith the Israelites were recovered from the poison of the serpents. Thus the Lord early intimated that Christ would be made a curse, a sin offering for us, and that we would be healed through looking to him in faith.
BRUISING THE SERPENT'S HEAD
In pronouncing the curse against the serpent--against evil--the Lord declared, "I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head and thou shalt bruise his heel." The Scriptures show us clearly that this divine prophecy is to be fulfilled, that our Lord Jesus is the seed of the woman through whom the blessing shall come, and that his Church, his Bride, is to be joint-heir with him in the suffering incidental to the attainment of the honorable position of joint-heirs with him also in the great work of delivering mankind from all the evils that have come upon us through Satan, through the serpent. The head and the heel are referred to symbolically as representing vital and non-vital portions of the body.
Thus the Christ, Jesus the Head and the Church his members, throughout this Gospel age have all suffered something from the serpent, from evil, from Satan, but under God's providences their sufferings are not serious, not deadly --they are wounded in the heel, so to speak. This seed class is begotten of the holy Spirit, New Creatures; hence nothing that can come to them in their earthly, human experiences can prove injurious to their spiritual welfare. All the bruising of the heel, under the Lord's supervision, shall work together for good to the development of character, to the preparation of the injured members for the far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory by and by. Thus it has been with our dear Redeemer, who being wounded for our transgressions has been highly exalted of the Father. We also who are sharers with him in his sufferings, ignominy, death, are to be sharers in his glory.
As for the serpent, his head shall be crushed, all evil shall be utterly destroyed in God's due time. Not yet, however; evil is still rampant, not only as much as it has ever been in the world's history, but more so, and this is in full accord with the divine record that "evil men and leaders astray shall wax worse and worse," and a few short years ahead will fully demonstrate the power of Satan over and in those who are his subjects. But victory is coming to those who are now wounded. The Christ shall by and by bind that old serpent, the devil, Satan, and cast him into the abyss and set a seal over him that he may deceive the nations no more until the thousand years of the Millennial reign of Christ be passed--until all mankind shall have had a full opportunity of coming to a true knowledge of God and of accepting and using the grace provided through the great Redeemer's sacrifice.
As for the Church, we also will have to do with this work of crushing evil--as the Apostle expresses it, "The very God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly."--`Rom. 16:20`.
OUR GOLDEN TEXT
Our Golden Text fits the subject well, especially in the better translation which we have given. All of Adam's posterity, all who are in him, are dying as a result of his disobedience. Failing to maintain his hold upon the gift of God, eternal life, he has also failed to transmit that character and degree of life to his children. The six thousand years of crying and dying have been an awful lesson to the world of the exceeding sinfulness of sin, but thank God the
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time of this groaning of creation is nearly at an end, the new dispensation is near at hand. He that gave himself a ransom for Adam, and who thus incidentally purchased not only him but all of his race who had lost life in him, this great Redeemer is about to establish the rule of righteousness in the world and to inaugurate that era of blessing, the Golden Age, for which the whole creation waits and longs, whether intelligently or unintelligently.
The blessing of life in its full, everlasting, complete sense is coming to "all in Christ" and to none others. Now is the opportunity for coming into relationship with him as his Bride and joint-heir. Blessed are we whose hearts of understanding and ears of appreciation have recognized this grand opportunity, so that we have been glad to accept the Lord's proposition at the cost of every earthly interest. Surely the faithful shall be like him and see him as he is and share his glory. Then in the time of his presence the world of mankind in general will be granted an opportunity to see and to hear and to accept of divine mercy in him-- not by becoming the Bride, for that class will have then been filled, but they will be granted the privilege of coming into relationship with the Christ as children, receiving of his life, being begotten again to restored life--to a restitution of all that was lost in the first Adam and restored in the second Adam. He that hath such a hope in him may well purify himself and strive to come into relationship with Christ, and thus to as quickly as possible attain to the joys and blessings of the divine favor. He that hath the Son hath life, he that hath not the Son shall not see life eternal. --`1 John 5:12`.
THE SHADOW OF GOD'S HAND
Bright and fair the sun was beaming
O'er my smooth and easy way,
And my soul moved lightly onward;
Fear and care were far away.
Hope was bright and winged my footsteps,
Eagerly I pressed along,
And the joy of heavenly favor
Filled my heart with praise and song.
I could see my Father's wisdom,
Loving care and sheltering arm,
Leading me through pleasant places,
Guarding me from every harm.
I could feel love's flame arising
High and higher in my breast,
And my lips o'erflowed with gladness,
All was joy and peace and rest.
When at once a voice within me
Seemed to thrill my very soul:
Could I stand if joy departed,
Sorrow flooding all my soul?
In an arid desert lonely,
Would my faith endure the test?
Would my spirit, still undaunted,
Praise him then as when at rest?
This one thing my soul pursueth,
To attain thy perfect love,
Love, unwavering and loyal,
Rising all things else above;
I would have the faith enduring,
Stronger when most sorely tried,
"Spare me not, but prove me, Father,"
Anxiously my spirit cried;
When across my clear horizon
Suddenly a cloud arose,
Spreading wide and lowering darkly,
Threatening my soul's repose.
Stranger voices sounded near me,
Scarce a step was plain before,
But my Father's arm sustained me,
What, then, could I ask for more?
And, while leaning hard upon him,
His sweet peace was given me,
By the Spirit's gentle whisper,
"This is his great love for thee;
Well he knows thy deepest yearnings
To reflect his image bright--
All thy prayers come up before him,
And are precious in his sight.
"And this darkness come upon thee
Is the shadow of his hand,
Never raised except in blessing,
Though thou mayst not understand."
Then my heart grew strong and trustful,
And with joy my soul was stirred;
"Teach me, Lord, to trust thee fully,"
This my prayer so soon was heard.
Fearless then, I started onward,
Compassed by the gloom of night,
For, by Father's love surrounded,
Darkness is as safe as light!
Still I pray, "O, lead me, Father,
By thy goodness and thy might,
Till, beyond time's misty shadows,
Dawns the pure, eternal light."
--Bessie P. Lockerbie.
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"SIN LIETH AT THE DOOR"
--`GENESIS 4:3-15`.--JANUARY 27.--
Golden Text:--"Whoever hateth his
brother is a murderer."--`1 John 3:15`.
THE STORY of Cain and Abel itself is a sharp contradiction of the Evolution theory. Had Adam been but a slight remove above the monkey, and lower than the lowest type of man today, his children would have been little if any better. But our lesson shows us two sons of Adam, clothed and in their right minds, the one a tiller of the soil, the other a shepherd and herdsman. Do apes exhibit such dispositions at the present time? Assuredly not. Furthermore, these two men of noble character esteemed it a duty and privilege to acknowledge God with their substance. They did not worship idols, nor sun nor moon nor stars, but the living God, the Creator. Surely neither apes nor the lowest forms of man exhibit such tendencies today. And even after Cain had become a murderer, his reverence for the Almighty and his appreciation of his crime marked him as not only higher than the brute creation, but very much
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higher than many of his race today who have little regard for life, fearing chiefly the penalty.
At what particular time our lesson dates we may not surely know, the chapter in which it occurs passing over centuries of time. In the first verse it tells of the birth of Cain, in the next verse he is a full-grown man and has a full-grown brother Abel, and quite probably they both had large families, though through neither one is Adam's genealogy reckoned, and Abel's children, if he had any, are not mentioned at all. The third verse, with which our lesson opens, intimates a considerable period of time after Abel was a keeper of sheep and Cain a tiller of the ground, saying, "And in the process of time it came to pass that Cain brought of the fruit of the ground an offering unto the Lord, and Abel an offering of the firstlings of his flock."
THE RESPECTED OFFERING
Nothing either good or bad is recorded of either of these men, Cain and Abel, up to the time of this lesson and their presentation of their respective offerings before the Lord. It was but natural, and we might say proper, that each should present to the Lord an offering representing his own industries, and the Lord's acceptance of Abel's offering and failure to accept Cain's should not be considered as any slight upon the latter, but rather as a lesson of instruction, a leading of divine providence, indicating the character of offering that would be most acceptable and pleasing to the Lord. The reason for the acceptance of Abel's offering is apparent --God desired that all offerings from his creatures should recognize original sin and the necessity for a great sin-offering, the sacrifice of the life of the Redeemer. Thus early did God begin the lesson of instruction emphasized by the Apostle that without the shedding of blood there is no remission of sins.--`Heb. 9:22`.
So near to perfection, the first-born son of the perfect Adam, Cain had undoubtedly inherited a fine human organization,
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nearly perfect in all of its parts, comparatively well balanced; but as Adam, who was perfect, could allow love for his wife to misguide him into disobedience of his Creator, so Cain allowed the wrong view of matters to enter his mind, to have control and ultimately to bring forth its evil fruit, murder. We can sympathize with him in his grief that his sacrifice was not acceptable to the Lord: we can appreciate his surprise that the offering of his younger brother, a blood offering, should be more acceptable. But here we who have the new mind, begotten of the holy Spirit, can see that he took the wrong course in allowing envious, angry feelings against his brother, whereas he should have gone to the Lord in supplication to know why his sacrifice was not acceptable. Had he done so the Lord would undoubtedly have told him that his desire to worship and serve were appreciated, but that it must be a divine regulation amongst men that all sacrifices, to be acceptable to the Lord, must be those which would typify the death of a ransomer and atoner for sin.
Here we see the fine, subtle, entering wedge of sin, and who that has had experience may not trace analogies in his own experience and note when and where the wrong thought was permitted to have control of his mind and the proper thought was not entertained? Many of us can perhaps see by how narrow a margin we have escaped a wrong course, it may be, on various occasions. It is in such respects that the New Creatures in Christ have much advantage every way over natural men, however well disposed they may be; for, as the Apostle explains, as New Creatures we have the "spirit of a sound mind," which enables us to think calmly, dispassionately, temperately of our own experiences and those of others, and leads us to look to the Lord for the wisdom from on high as a guide in the interpretation of our daily experiences. Whoever learns to look to the Lord in all his sorrows and disappointments, as well as in his joys, has learned a valuable lesson, which Cain had not yet learned, and which he never learned, because none were begotten of the holy Spirit or permitted to receive the new mind of Christ until after the real atonement had been made and Pentecost came as a result of the acceptance of that atonement on our behalf by the heavenly Father.
"WHY ART THOU WROTH?"
The power to be angry, the power to be wroth, is not a result of the fall nor an evidence that Cain was bestial. The Lord uses these same words in reference to his own attitude of mind at times, declaring that he was wroth under certain conditions and that he is angry with the wicked every day. (`Psa. 7:11`.) The force of character which permits of anger is the very same force which otherwise directed signifies intensity of love: the inability to be angry under proper cause would imply imperfection, blemishes, just as inability to love strongly would imply similar defects of character. To be perfect implies a full-rounded capacity in every direction. The perfectly shaped head would not be a bumpy one representing some of the organs large and others small, but would be a well-rounded head in all particulars. In such a perfect organization, while every power would be there, the higher powers of veneration for God, spirituality, conscience, etc., should be in control and indicate when combativeness, destructiveness, should and when it should not be exercised. It is a mistake to suppose that a perfect being would be deficient in combativeness: on the contrary, every Christian must have this quality of mind, otherwise how could he become an "overcomer"? how could he "fight the good fight"? The desirable thing is that every organ of our heads should be perfect, and that these all shall be under the perfect control and regulation of the higher reasoning faculties.
Cain was not rightly exercised by his experiences. He went about sullenly for a time, brooding over the fact that God had not recognized his offering and had recognized Abel's. He was angry--it seemed to him an injustice on God's part: he had been as faithful in his department as Abel had been in his.
God did not leave him to himself, but considering the fact of his inexperience and that there were none others to give him proper counsel, the Lord admonished him with the query, "Why art thou wroth? and why is thy countenance fallen? If thou doest well shalt thou not be accepted? and if thou doest not well sin lieth at the door." This suggestion should have been sufficient. Cain should at once have appealed to the Lord, and having learned God's will, should have prepared himself to offer such a sacrifice to the
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Lord as would be pleasing to him. The inference that he was not now doing well, not now pleasing the Lord in his wrath and sullen attitude, was a reprimand; and the suggestion that sin was lying at the door, or (revised version) "crouching at his door," should have suggested to him the danger of a misstep. Nothing is intimated of a wrong condition prior to this sacrifice, and the sacrifice itself was not wrong--it was merely that Cain was ignorant. The wrong began when he became angry and sullen instead of applying himself to learn the lesson of the Lord's providences. Sin was now crouching at his door like a wild beast, ready to spring upon him and devour him. And, alas for him! he failed to heed the Lord's warning and allowed the crouching enemy, sin, to enter into his heart and to make of him a murderer. It was the spirit of Satan that entered into him, taking the place of the spirit or disposition of the Lord, which was his originally as one closely in the likeness of God, not greatly marred as yet by the fall. This the Apostle intimates, saying that he was "of that wicked one"--he partook of Satan's disposition, spirit. (`1 John 3:12`.) And as Satan was a murderer from the beginning, so his spirit in Cain was a murderous spirit.--`John 8:44`.
ALL HATERS ARE MURDERERS
Here we have the vital point of this lesson as respects the household of faith, especially the New Creation. We who have been begotten of the holy Spirit and who thus have the "mind of Christ" (`1 Cor. 2:16`), have the mind or disposition that is loving, generous, kind, forgiving toward our fellows and that is reverential and obedient toward God. This is the spirit or disposition that is of the Father and of the Son: the opposite disposition or spirit is of the Adversary. The two spirits or dispositions are so opposite that we cannot have both at once--we cannot serve God and Mammon, Christ and Belial.
The Lord lays down his regulations in this matter in most positive terms, telling us in the Golden Text of this lesson that "he that hateth his brother is a murderer"--telling us also that no murderer has eternal life abiding in him, and assuring us that the spirit or disposition of murder is the spirit or disposition of the Adversary, who was the first murderer. If we resist the devil he will flee from us, but if we allow anger and a souring disposition to take possession of our minds, the Adversary comes closer and closer until he crouches at the door of our hearts, ready to leap in and have possession at a favorable opportunity. In Cain's case, he was not counted as having sinned at the time he thought of his brother in angry mood--his sin was in the outcome of that angry mood--murder itself.
With us the matter is different, because the Lord is not dealing with us according to the flesh but according to the spirit, the will, the intention. Our flesh is reckoned as degenerated, hopelessly dead, and we are accepted of the Lord purely on the basis of our new minds, our faith in Christ, and our consecration to walk in his steps. For all such New Creatures murder would be an impossibility. How could one who has the Spirit of the Lord commit murder? It would be impossible for him to desire or commit murder under any conditions. It would imply that he had lost the Spirit of the Lord entirely; and since under the Lord's Covenant he would not be permitted to do this ignorantly and without reproof, it would imply a wilfulness in the sin. Still stronger is the statement that hatred would be murder for the New Creation. The angry thought might be suggested through the imperfect, fallen brain, but the mind, the will, must be so loyal to God and so well instructed respecting his will that it would repulse such a suggestion as that of hate. The New Creature, the New Will, the New Intention, cannot deliberately entertain a feeling of hatred toward a brother--it would mean the spirit or disposition of murder, and thus the reverse of the Lord's Spirit.
WORKS OF THE FLESH AND OF THE DEVIL
Another Apostle, in cautioning the Church, assures us that the works of the fallen flesh and of the devil are manifestly different from the works or operation of the Spirit of the Lord in his people. The latter he tells us brings forth the reverse, or the fruitage of gentleness, meekness, patience, long suffering, brotherly kindness, love, etc.; the former, the spirit of the fallen nature, the Adversary--anger, malice, envy, hatred, strife, backbiting and slander.
It is only as we get this matter well before our mental vision that we have the proper conception of the Spirit of the Lord in contrast with the spirit of error, the spirit of the Adversary, the disposition of sin. Whoever gets such an opening of the eyes of his understanding will be assisted, quickened thereby to fresh zeal in his opposition to sin in its every form. And the wider the eyes of his understanding open to a discernment of God's character and the beauties of his law of love and justice, the more vigilant will he be in his opposition to the downward tendencies of his own
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flesh--the more on guard lest he should be overtaken in such faults.
DESIRE CONCEIVES SIN
We read, "Lust [desire] when it has conceived bringeth forth sin, and sin when it is finished bringeth forth death." (`Jas. 1:15`.) Here we have a suggestion of the insidious character of sin; it does not stalk about openly in its horrible aspect, rather it starts in desire: it is prompted by selfishness of some kind, either in envy as in Cain's case or in ambition as in Satan's case. Small, refined, insidious are the beginnings of such desires, with no suggestion whatever of disloyalty to God or murder of our fellows. It is when these selfish desires and envyings, being unrepulsed, have gradually grown stronger and stronger, that, as the Apostle suggests, they conceive and bring forth to fruition, where they have life actually. Then the course is longer or shorter according to the individual or the circumstances, but the tendency of a desire that has conceived is to bring forth--to have the desire, the ambition, the envy, reach a consummation, and such a consummation is always sin. Such sin continued in, unrepented of, cherished, would surely lead on to death--the Second Death. How important, then, it is that we keep a close watch upon the desires of our hearts, and remember that out of the heart, out of the desires, proceed not only the good, kind, loving, generous sentiments, conceiving and bringing forth good deeds, kind words and proper conduct, but also out of the heart desires proceed the envyings and wrong and selfish ambitions which lead farther and farther away from the Lord and nearer and
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nearer to that condition which he would ultimately declare worthy of the Second Death. How appropriate the words of the poet:--
"I want a principle within
Of jealous, godly fear;
A sensibility of sin,
A pain to feel it near;
I want the first approach to feel
Of pride or fond desire;
To catch the wandering of my will,
And quench the kindling fire."
"THOU SHALT RULE OVER HIM"
After cautioning Cain that sin crouched at the door of his heart, the Lord added, "Unto thee shall be his desire and thou shalt rule over him;" that is to say, Satan desired to have Cain, but the latter's proper course would be to resist the devil, to rule over him by keeping his heart in tune with the Lord and the recognized spirit of righteousness, justice, love. St. Peter found the Adversary desiring to have him, to sift him as wheat, to get him out of the discipleship of which he was one of the strongest characters and leader. We have all seen how nearly the Adversary succeeded in Peter's case as he entirely succeeded in Cain's. Peter had the advantage of the Lord's prayers and of his contact with him and of the lessons he had learned as his disciple, and in his case a victory resulted, even though for a time he was overcome.
Is it not the same with all the Lord's true followers? Is not Satan desiring to have us to sift us--to hinder us from being garnered amongst those who shortly will shine forth as the Sun in the Kingdom of the Father. (`Matt. 13:43`.) Assuredly this is the case, and our experiences today are in full accord with the testimony of the Scriptures that we are now in a very trying time--subject to the special temptations of the Adversary, but succored of the Lord in a special manner through his Word, through the brethren, through the various helpful instrumentalities which the Lord has provided for this harvest time for those who look to him for assistance and who are willing and glad to accept those aids which he proffers them. Yea, we see that we are living in that particular time which the Scriptures designate the hour of temptation, which shall come upon all them that dwell upon the face of the whole earth.--`Rev. 3:10`.
Temptations, trials, there must needs be: without these there would be no such thing as demonstrating or perfecting character, and the Lord proposes that only overcomers shall be joint-heirs with his Son in the Kingdom. Instead, therefore, of temptations being a sign of divine displeasure they should be regarded by us as evidences of the Lord's favor-- that he still considers us worthy of being further proven; that he still has us in hand with a view to our preparation, chiseling, polishing, making ready for places in his glorious heavenly Temple. Let us learn, therefore, to rejoice in tribulation and, as the Apostle urges, let us also fear. (`2 Cor. 7:4`; `Heb. 4:1`.) Thus between the rejoicing and the fear, and carefulness and watchfulness and prayerfulness, we shall be in that attitude which will assist us in the knowing and doing of the good and acceptable and perfect will of God.
"MY BROTHER'S KEEPER"
How long Cain brooded over his trouble, how long it took for his wrong desire, his envy, to conceive and bring forth the sin of murder we are not told--merely the fact is stated that this was the bitter fruit. The Lord did not hinder the murder, and even dealt most generously with the murderer, to whose attention the matter is called by the inquiry, "Where is Abel, thy brother?" As the question implied ignorance on the Lord's part, Cain may have wondered to what extent the Almighty was omniscient, all-seeing, and his answer was in line with this. "I know not: am I my brother's keeper?" This question continually recurs, not only amongst the members of Adam's natural family but also amongst the brethren of the Lord's family, the New Creation. To what extent is one his brother's keeper? how far does our responsibility go?
Let us look first at the spiritual family: Its members are declared to be bounden or holden one to another by the cords of love, by membership in the body of Christ, so that if one member suffer all the members suffer with it, and if one member be honored all the members are honored. (`1 Cor. 12:26`.) The Apostle, expatiating on the importance of the various members of the body, declares that even the humblest is necessary--that the hand may not say to the foot, I have no need of thee; and that as in our natural bodies we take the greatest care of those members which are least pleasing, so in the spiritual family those which are least attractive of themselves need our attention and sympathy and covering with the garment of charity more than do others. The new commandment which the Lord gave to his disciples was, "That ye love one another as I have loved you." We cannot love the world with that deep, intensive love--it is not incumbent upon us to sacrifice our own interests for the world; but it is made obligatory that we have the Lord's Spirit toward all the household of faith, so that, as he did, so shall we rejoice to lay down our lives for the brethren, serving them with our moments and our hours at the cost of our own self-denial.
"EVERY MEMBER IS NECESSARY"
According to this, the law of our Head, the terms and conditions of membership in his body, we are our brothers' keepers: each one has a responsibility for his fellow--not to intrude upon him as a busybody, but to look out for his interests, his welfare, and to do all for that brother that he would have that brother do for him--yea, more than this: that he would lay down his life for his brother, as Christ loved the Church and gave himself for her. If all the Lord's brethren could realize this to be the divine rule governing the New Creation, and realize that only those who do live up to this rule are making their calling and election sure, what an awakening of zeal amongst the brethren for the service one of another would result, and what a blessing would come to all of the Lord's dear flock! Let us take heed that no man take our crown--that we be found possessors of the Master's Spirit toward the fellow members, and thus be accounted worthy of a share in the Kingdom class.
As for the world: We are to remember that while there is a wide gulf between the natural man and the New Creature
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in Christ, nevertheless according to the flesh there is a brotherhood which we are not to disdain or overlook. The entire groaning creation are our brethren according to the flesh, and have claims upon us that the Lord would have us recognize. They are our "neighbors," and according even to the Jewish letter of the Law the neighbor must be loved as one's self--his interests are to be safeguarded as we would guard our own interests. Hence, in the whole world of mankind, this question, "Am I my brother's keeper?" would properly be answered, Yes, each one should be on the lookout for the interests, the welfare of others as well as his own, and so doing would not be disposed to override or cheat his neighbor, but, according to the Golden Rule, to do unto others as he would have them do to him.
We cannot hope that the world, blinded by selfishness, and devoting all the energies of life along selfish lines and ambitious channels--we are not to expect the world to appreciate this high standard of the divine Law. But surely all who are New Creatures in Christ should appreciate it, and in their dealings with the world, therefore, should not only be just, but more--loving and generous and kind, unwilling to injure but willing to bless. Thus the Lord's people are to be peculiar people in that they unselfishly will seek to be their brother's keepers, looking out for the interests of others as well as for their own interests. Not necessarily
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laying down their lives for their neighbors, but ready to do good unto all men as they have opportunity, especially to the household of faith.--`Gal. 6:10`.
THE VOICE OF ABEL'S BLOOD
Putting the matter in figurative language, the Lord declared to Cain that Abel's blood cried from the ground for vengeance. It was another way of telling Cain that the Lord was omniscient, knew everything that transpired, knew that his brother had died at his hand. In this figurative sense all sin cries for the punishment of the wrong-doer--it is the voice of justice. The Apostle Paul, referring to the death of our Lord, who similarly was murdered by his brethren, and whose blood might be expected to cry out against them, against the whole world of mankind, tells us that, instead of crying for vengeance, our Lord's blood-- shed as a sacrifice on our behalf, as an atonement for our sins--cries out not for justice but for mercy! O, how gracious that our dear Redeemer, laid not the sin to the charge of those who crucified him and despitefully used him, but that in his generosity he is willing to make an appropriation of his precious blood on behalf of the sinners, to effect their reconciliation to God by the blood of the cross--by his death on the cross.
The Apostle's words are that the blood of Jesus speaketh better things for us than the blood of Abel. (`Heb. 12:24`.) Let us not forget that blood stands for or represents something higher than itself--that when we speak of the blood of Christ we are not referring merely to that which coursed his veins and arteries and which flowed from his wounded side, but we are speaking of that which the blood represents, namely, the life: as the Lord said, "The life is the blood." Hence, whenever the shedding of blood is referred to, the giving up of life, the death, is the main thought--thus the passage, "We are not redeemed with corruptible things such as silver and gold, but with the precious blood of Christ," signifies that we are redeemed with the incorruptible life of Christ--the life which was not under penalty, not forfeited, not condemned, but approved, and which was yielded up as a sacrifice, a corresponding price, a ransom, for the forfeited life of Adam and his race.
The curse of God was upon Cain, the murderer--divine condemnation rested upon him; he was cut off from communion with God, previously enjoyed, and according to his own language felt his condemnation and outcast condition severely. The Lord declares through the Apostle that no murderer hath eternal life. This signifies that anyone having the spirit of murder in his heart is unfit for eternal life, could not, according to divine arrangement, be granted that great boon or blessing--he himself must die, because unfit for life. This does not mean that there will be no hope for Cain in the future: we know not to what extent he may have repented of his crime before he died. But we are sure that he, as well as all mankind, not only will receive a just recompense or punishment for their sins, but also secure a measure of the blessing which God has provided for every member of the race through the dear Redeemer, who bought us with the precious blood.
On the other hand, for one of the Lord's consecrated ones, begotten of the Spirit, to commit murder intentionally, willingly, in the first degree, would undoubtedly mean his Second Death; because it would signify that the spirit of love, the Spirit of God, must have entirely perished in his heart ere such a deed could be deliberately and intentionally committed. We would have no hope for such an one. More than this, for wilful and deliberate hatred toward a brother to be engendered in the heart would seem to mean the perishing of the spirit of love there, and if so would mean the Second Death. However, because of the weaknesses of the flesh it would be very unsafe for any of us to attempt to judge closely upon this point. But it would be well indeed that we should be fearful along these lines, as the Apostle suggests, "Let us fear, lest a promise being left us of entering into his rest any of us should seem to come short of it." (`Heb. 4:1`.) Let us fear, therefore, any approximation of a feeling of hatred, anger or malice against a brother in the Lord or against anybody. Let us strive more and more that the new mind shall control positively in our thoughts and intentions, and so far as possible in our outward deportment.
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SOME INTERESTING LETTERS
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--
There are three churches quite close to us, Free Methodists, United Brethren, and Methodist Episcopal. We were not here very long before they found out that Bro. Wagner knew something about the Bible, and the Free Methodists came and asked him to come to Sunday School and teach their Bible class. He told them if they would let him teach the way he understood the Bible he would teach, and that he would not teach anything or accept anything without a direct proof from the Bible. "Yes," they said, "he could teach that way," and he has taught it that way ever since. While some did not altogether agree with what he taught they could not find anything to disprove it and had to let it go.
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A short time after he started teaching there the United Brethren asked him to take their Bible Class also, because they heard he was so "wonderful" on the Bible, and as their school was in the afternoon and the other in the morning he could do it. He accepted on the same terms as with the Free Methodists. One of the class leaders of the M.E. Church heard so much that he came to our house to investigate, and Brother Wagner gave him a brief outline of God's plan. We gave him some tracts and he soon came back to hear more and get more to read. We gave him Vol. I. in "Scripture Studies," and he told us on Sunday night he wanted us to send for the TOWER, Diaglott and a set of the "Studies." Last Sunday, when he got his quarterly to look at the lesson he said the explanation was too "rank," and he would not go to Sunday School at all, as he said he did not have enough of the Truth to teach yet and would not teach error.
The Free Methodist minister said Sunday before last that he thought this was not suitable doctrine to teach in the Sunday School, which this M.E. class leader found out, and immediately came to ask Bro. Wagner if he would take charge of a Bible class if he started one, and teach the Truth. Bro. Wagner consented and he arranged one for last Sunday night. His brother class leader became alarmed and decided to come also and show his brother his foolishness, but after the meeting he came humbly forward and shook hands with Brother Wagner and said he had never heard anything like it and begged for permission to come again. There were fourteen at the meeting with their Bibles and all thoroughly interested. The interested had not all been notified, as the time was too short, and we expect many more next Saturday night at our house. The membership of either of these churches does not exceed twenty, so you see there is a good percentage interested in the Truth.
Your sister in his name, S. M. W.,--Pa.
MY DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--
As such I am indeed glad to address you. I am a stranger to you in the flesh, but am of "the household of faith." You have not the time to listen to my experience, for it is but one of many that you have heard and of which I trust there shall be many others. Yet it differs in many particulars. For perhaps nine years I had been seeking the truth; had seen it as a land afar off. I came up closer to it, however, after coming to this place in May, 1905, where I have been as pastor of a Baptist Church. Before coming here for a number of years I had been a student of the subject of the Lord's return, and before coming here I had come upon the first volume of MILLENNIAL DAWN. I did not get interested in it until some time about September or October of last year, when a Pilgrim brother came and I happened in, as it seemed, being attracted by the advertisement of the meeting. There the seed was sown. I had come so far that I have concluded to resign my pastorate here. I have done it really, though unknown to all the Church, and have been for nearly two months working at my old trade, carpentering, and on the Lord's day ministering in the Truth to the people here. Circumstances are such that I cannot locate elsewhere until about the middle of November, so I shall resign here to take effect then. I am really out of Babylon, and the satisfaction is simply indescribable. I am glad to have obeyed the Master's voice.
Yours in the common faith, __________, Pa.
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DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--
The Pilgrim service continues a source of great blessing to me, and where a request for Pilgrim visits was sent to the TOWER office I believe the visits are especially refreshing to the friends of the Truth in that locality. There, too, the spirit of love and good fellowship is more pronounced, and generally there is manifest a greater degree of zeal for the service of the Truth. Indeed, how could we expect it to be otherwise? And where Pilgrim visits are requested I find more hungering for truth, and of these it is written, "They shall be filled." They seem to show more the disposition of self-sacrifice and less inclination to criticize each other. The characteristic of contentment dominates more largely, while at the same time they deplore their inability to do a great deal more for the Master.
Some are disposed to think their accommodations for entertaining a Pilgrim are not good enough. But I assure them to the contrary, for so often they are much better than we deserve. Our service is so easy, so devoid of weariness of mind and body, and withal so blessed and spiritually uplifting that anything the dear friends have to offer is good enough for us, and "our cup runneth over" with joy continually.
There seems one thing, however, that needs to be corrected, so far as my observation goes, and that is the bringing to the meetings of small children, who cry and fret and talk aloud and thus disturb others who are present, as well as distract the attention of the speaker, so that he cannot do justice to the occasion. Many of the friends tell me they cannot get from the service the good they would like to have gotten, because some infant or small child present drew their attention despite their effort to keep the mind on what the Pilgrim was saying. And I find, too, that the fretful child impairs the service in that the speaker's attention is drawn from his subject, and causes more or less of rambling talk and disconnected sentences, and an extra effort and weariness.
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While personally I have not been troubled much in this respect, the friends tell me of many instances where the service of other Pilgrims (and in one instance your own talk) was spoiled by a fretful child.
Wherever I go, dear Brother, I hear expressions of sympathy for yourself and deep appreciation of your work and the Truth in general. I think the Church is drawing together more and more closely in bonds of love and Christian unity.
Faithfully in Christ, your brother,
J. A. BOHNET,--Pilgrim.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--
Knowing that you would be specially interested in having a more particular account of the condition of the harvest work in the Maritime Provinces than could be possible in our reports, I have thought that a letter to this end would be acceptable.
One of the most significant things noted, as contrasted with last visit, was that there seemed to be a
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greater desire to look into what, to many there, seems to be a "new doctrine." This was manifested in an increased attendance of Church members at the different meetings, who had been reading to some extent the harvest literature. The meetings were held in Presbyterian, Baptist, Unitarian, Disciple, and MacDonalite churches; also, in two instances, in Y.M.C.A. halls.
In H__________ we had quite an interesting time. The friends secured a Disciple Church for the meetings. The minister and some of the members of the committee having in charge the leasing of the Church were out of town when the permission was granted, but on the evening of the first meeting all the members of the committee were present.
I spoke on God's Plan of Salvation and was listened to very attentively, and before the close of the meeting announced another meeting for the next evening. After the close of the meeting I noticed several of the audience, who I afterwards learned comprised the committee, gathered together and conversing very earnestly. Then I saw them call the brother who had secured the hall, and begin conversation with him in a very animated manner. I scented trouble of some kind, and when it seemed opportune approached them and enquired what was the matter. One of the committee replied that in the absence of their minister they did not care to assume the responsibility of allowing us to hold another meeting, and also said that if all the members of the committee had been at home when the application was made we would not have been permitted to have the use of the Church at all. I told them that the meeting had been announced for the next night, and that I did not see who could assume the responsibility if they did not. Then one of the committee asked why we had come to them to secure their Church--why we had not secured one of the several halls in the city. I answered that I had nothing to do with that matter, but that the reason doubtless was because our brethren were aware of the fact that the Disciple Church professed to be an unsectarian Church, having no creed, and held that all who believed in Christ as Savior and Lord were their brethren in Christ; and as their Church was the only Church of this character in the city, it was quite natural for them to ask this favor of their brethren in the cause of Christ. This had the effect of silencing the brother, and appealed to the "Disciple pride" of the others.
I then said that we recognized the peculiar circumstances under which they were placed and that possibly under similar circumstances we might act as they were doing, and on this account, to avoid getting them into difficulty, we would relieve them of any responsibility by giving up the use of the Church and would try to secure another place.
Just at this point in the conversation a man who had been listening very attentively stepped up and said, "I think you are all wasting time. The meeting has been given out for tomorrow night, and there were quite a number of strangers here who will come tomorrow expecting to hear this man, and I can't see any reason why this committee can't let the meeting be held as announced. I am not a member of the committee, but I am of the Church, and have a voice in the matter. I myself was interested in the discourse, and I want to hear the brother to a finish." This had an instantaneous effect upon the committee, who then, after a few moments consultation, decided to let us have the Church for the next evening.
On leaving the building, a sister, who was a member of the Disciple congregation, approached me and said, "The committee did not tell you what their chief objection was to your having the use of the Church. The fact is that you are under the bann. It is reported that some time ago you spoke at a Disciple Church at P__________, and were instrumental in splitting the Church there." I told her I did speak in P__________ two years ago, but that it was in a private house, and that it was at the invitation of the President of the Women's Foreign Mission Society who had previously been reading the literature of the W.T.B. Society and had, three months before the time of my visit, withdrawn from the Disciple Church. Further, that the minister of the Disciple Church was present with several of his congregation, but that they came of their own free will. I told her further that our work, which had been going on for years, did not have the object of establishing a new sect, but simply to bring the truth within the reach of all lovers of Christ and his Word.
The next evening quite a number of the Disciple Church were present at the meeting, including all the committee. We spoke on "How to Study the Bible Intelligently," giving an outline of the ages, dispensations, etc. The interest was much deeper than on the previous evening, and I have learned since that it had the effect of awakening an inquiry concerning what was to become of those who have never had a full opportunity to be saved in the present life. The literature was taken quite freely and is being read.
At our visit to P__________ after this we found a Methodist minister who had been obliged to give up his labors in his Church on account of physical weakness, and had on this account found time to read the DAWN series and had come into the Truth. He attended all the meetings, and expressed a desire, if his health was restored to him, to engage in some active part of the harvest work--the colporteur work preferably.
In S__________ we found a Presbyterian minister who had read all the DAWNS, and was so favorable to the teaching that he allowed us to have the use of his chapel for a public meeting. We had a very good hearing, and trust the results to the Lord's keeping.
At S__________ J__________ at one of the meetings six ministers were present. They doubtless were stirred to look after their flocks.
We found the friends in all the places were more zealous in their efforts to bring the Truth within the reach of the people, and had advertised the public meetings quite extensively. They were all very demonstrative in expressing their appreciation of the efforts of yourself in ministering to their spiritual needs; they also expressed their deep sympathy for you in your trials, and desired that we convey to you an expression of their complete confidence and full sympathy for you in all your work and labor of love. There is a great desire in all the different places to see and hear you. It would be of great help to the furtherance of the harvest message.
With Christian love to you and all the dear friends, I am, as ever, yours in Christ,
R. E. STREETER,--Pilgrim.