VOL. XVI. SEPTEMBER 15, 1895. No. 18.
Special Items:--True Love vs.
False Love; etc.,...........................210
Views from the Tower..............................211
Poem: God Holds the Key...........................212
The Privilege and Power of Prayer.................213
Concerning Profitable Meetings....................216
Bible Study: Israel Renewing the
Bible Study: Review...............................220
Bible Study: The Times of the Judges..............220
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TRUE LOVE VS. FALSE LOVE.
God is love! Beware of people who while expatiating on love and attempting to shine as its exponents do so at the expense of God's character. Some of them affect to be so loving that they cannot admit that God could destroy Satan and the wicked as he declares he will do. Their argument sets themselves up as the standard, and they say, "Surely God cannot be less loving than I,--and I would save Satan and everybody." Poor foolish hearts, "Going about to establish their own righteousness, they have not submitted themselves to that righteousness which is of God;" and of which God's Word and conduct are the highest exponents. Thus their foolish heart becomes darkened. Those only will be loved of the Lord and kept from falling, and those only will be made up as his "jewels," who reverence his Word and make up the standard of their judgment from it; and who do not attempt to pervert it to their own conceptions.
Beware of all who make a great palaver about love! for Satan often uses it as the garment of light to cover bad conduct or bad doctrines --whose real lovelessness he would thus screen from criticism. For instance, true love begins with God, and says, "Let God be true, if it prove every man a liar." False love often is really self-love, which would not hesitate to trail even divine honor and love and justice in the dust, in order to glorify self as the founder of a theory; for instance, the theory which charges "all the sin and wickedness and crime" of the present and past upon God. Shall we suppose that those who thus blaspheme God's holy name, and charge him with all the sin and deviltry of the past six thousand years, really love God with all their heart, mind, soul and strength? Surely not! The loving and appreciative heart recognizes God as the embodiment of the highest standard of love and justice, truth and righteousness. Such a theory would be an abomination to anyone possessing the true love of God even to a limited degree. Such should not even need the assurances of Scripture that it is "every good and perfect gift that cometh down from the Father of lights;" that "in him is no darkness [evil] at all;"--that "his work is perfect;" that "God tempteth no man" with evil, neither is he tempted by any.
If any man believe and speak according to such a theory, it is because there is no light in him; he is full of darkness.
See our issue of March 1, '95, "Christian Common Sense."
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VIEWS FROM THE TOWER.
FAILING to receive from the present Czar assurances of a more liberal government than his father's, the Nihilists of Russia are conspiring and threatening his life. Bombs, arms, revolutionary literature and nine hundred conspirators have recently been seized at Moscow.
The war between the German Socialists and the German Emperor progresses. The latter has taken to flattering the army, and recently, at the celebration of the twenty-fifth anniversary of the victory of Sedan, speaking to his Guard at the close of the review of 30,000 troops he said: "May the whole people find in themselves strength to repel these monstrous attacks. If they do not I now call upon you to resist the treasonable band, and to urge a war which will free us from such elements." A Berlin correspondent telegraphs,--"Never before has he [the Emperor] so energetically and plainly appealed to the army as the final arbiter in the struggle against Social Democracy."
Two days later the editor of "Vorwarts" was arrested and two editions of his journal seized, for articles criticizing the national war policy, considered uncomplimentary to the Emperor. The real secret is that the Social Democrats are increasing, and polled 1,500,000 votes at the last election.
These things show that while the movement toward political liberty has been rather quiet for some time, it has not died. It will be on hand to fulfill the predictions of Scripture in due time. It cannot overwhelm the mountains [governments], and sweep them into the sea [anarchy] (`Psa. 46`), until first the servants of God are "sealed in their foreheads."
The Benedictine monks of St. Vincent (Beatty, Pa.) have long made a beer almost as celebrated as that made by the monks near Ligonier, Pa. Roman Catholic temperance workers are endeavoring to have Satolli rebuke and close both distilleries.
Through the "Wine and Spirit Gazette" we learn that a London wine firm is advertising by circular to give a "guaranteed summary" of their "most important customers." These are classified as follows:
Titled Gentlemen,................................. 358 Judges of the courts,............................. 9 Army and navy officers,........................... 708 Bishops,.......................................... 9 Archdeacons,...................................... 16 Other clergymen,.................................. 2,203 Medical doctors,.................................. 1,522 Baronets, knights, M.P's, etc.,................... 2,600 Attorneys, merchants, etc.,....................... 4,250
Think of it! All these the customers of one firm!
The oldest Presbyterian church in Pittsburg has, for about thirty-five years to our knowledge, and probably longer, rented property for the wholesale, and latterly for the retail, liquor business. The revenue of course has been a snug sum; and now it is proposed to demolish the present structure and to erect a very fine Office Building, in which all the Presbyterian Missions and other Boards and Societies can be housed, with rooms to let to others-- none of which, we hope, will be rented for the liquor traffic.
We rejoice that the evidences are that the anti-alcoholic sentiment is spreading, tho slowly, so far as professing Christians are concerned; but we have no hope that anything short of "Thy Kingdom come" will release the race from this great slave-holder and tyrant, Alcohol.
The Governor of California recently decided in reference to the "Boy's Brigade", that neither it nor any other organization could be allowed to drill and carry weapons, unless first they had sworn allegiance to the State,--that they would never bear arms against the State, and that they
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would bear arms and do duty for the State, the same as the regular National Guard. Thus the Church and State are being drawn together by well-intentioned but deluded leaders. The Governor properly looked out for the welfare of his charge, and other Governors of other states will probably take similar action in time.
What a great mistake it is to attempt to mix the good fight against sin, inculcated by the Prince of Peace, the Chief Captain of all the soldiers of the cross, with any other soldiers and any other methods or warfare. The Salvation Army was the first innovation on this line, and is the least objectionable; but doubtless it has opened the door to the Boy's Brigade, and the results are not yet. The tendency is always downward, however noble the original intention. The simplicity of the gospel of Christ should never be lost sight of.
Free Masonry was an attempt at a religious military movement. The Boston newspapers tell that at their recent Conclave there the saloons did a thriving business, and that many of the Sir Knights carried their crosses upside down as they crowded each other in and out of the saloons. The papers tell also of their religious services; we quote:--
"After the Deus Misereatur, the Eminent Commander Seymore gave the orders: 'Attention, Sir Knights! Draw swords! Present swords!' The Apostles' Creed was then repeated. Then followed:
"Eminent commander--'Return swords.'
"Prelate--'The Lord be with you.'
"Knights--'And with thy spirit.' At this point the Sir Knights knelt.
"Prelate--'O Lord, show thy mercy upon us;'
"Knights--'And grant us thy salvation.'
"Prelate--'O God, make clean our hearts within us;'
"Knights--'And take not thy Holy Spirit from us.'
"Prelate--'Let us pray.'
"The prayers that followed included the collect for the 11th Sunday after Trinity, the collect for peace, the collect for and against perils, and the prayer for the President of the United States and all in civil authority.
"The commemoration of the order followed. After the prayer of St. Chrysostom and the Grace, was the hymn, 'My Faith Looks Up to Thee.'"
As Christ was crucified by his kinsmen according to the flesh, so he is frequently put to an open shame and wounded afresh "in the house of his friends." Alas! how many have taken his name in vain,--to no purpose, to the dishonor of his cause! Let each one of us who has named the name of Christ put on Christ and walk in him; clothed, not with showy symbols, but with humility and true devotion.
Yet according to the course of this world there are few organizations that can boast as many noble men as the Sir Knights, and concerning them one of their number, a chaplain, preaching, said:
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"All these men have vowed by heart and hand to uphold Christ and Christianity. Remember also that these are only a vanguard of the mighty army that, when Christianity or education need assistance, are bound to protect them."
As God sometimes uses the wrath of man to praise him, so he has used human antagonisms and superstitions to keep the world in general equilibrium during the period in which he is selecting, polishing and testing his "little flock" for his Kingdom. When it is complete and exalted to power, the scene will change radically. Truth will then be mighty, and error shall no longer prevail. The world knew not our Captain, and likewise knows not his real "soldiers of the cross." "As he is, so are we in this world."--`1 John 4:17`.
The Christian Endeavorers are showing more and more of a disposition to take a hand in Politics and Reform. They see not the grandeur and greatness of the Kingdom for which we wait, in which God's will shall "be done on earth as it is done in heaven." They see not how God is preparing to establish this Kingdom, so they propose to take a hand themselves and wait for the King no longer. The Canadian branch recently "Resolved" that, "Christ will never be King of this world till he is King of politics." This is in accord with the sentiments of the Order in the U.S., as heretofore pointed out. Indeed, a movement is now on foot to have united action by the Christian Endeavorers, the Epworth Leaguers and the Baptist Young People of Philadelphia in favor of some reform candidates in Philadelphia; and the same thing is agitated in New Jersey. We have already pointed out that this seemingly harmless Political Crusade is likely to result in a measurable union of Church and State.
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GOD HOLDS THE KEY.
God holds the key of all unknown,
And I am glad;
If other hands should hold the key,
Or if he trusted it to me,
I might be sad.
What if to-morrow's cares were here,
Without its rest?
Rather would I unlock the day,
And as the hours swing open, say
"Thy will is best."
The very dimness of my sight
Makes me secure;
For, groping in my misty way,
I feel his hand--I hear him say,
"My help is sure."
I see not all his future plans;
But this I know,
I have the smiling of his face,
And all the refuge of his grace,
While here below.
Enough! this covers all my want,
And so I rest;
For what I cannot, he can see,
And in his care I sure shall be
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THE PRIVILEGE AND POWER OF PRAYER.
"And Jesus spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray and not to faint."--`Luke 18:1-8`.
TO THE thoughtful, appreciative mind, one of the greatest privileges which the Word of God offers is that of personal audience and communion with the King of kings and Lord of lords. When we consider how great is our God, and how exalted his station, how wonderful is the condescension that thus regards our low estate! He it is whose glory covereth the heavens, and whose kingdom ruleth over the whole universe. He it is who is without beginning of days or end of years: "From everlasting to everlasting thou art God." He is the immortal, the self-existing One, "dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto, whom no man hath seen nor can see." The heavens declare his glory and the firmament showeth his handiwork. In all his vast universal domain there is nothing hidden from him, nor can he be wearied by its care. His wisdom, who can fathom? and his ways, who can find them out? or who hath been his counsellor? His mighty intellect grasps with ease all the interests of his wide dominion, from immensity to minutia. His eye never slumbers nor sleeps, nor can the smallest thing escape his notice, not even a sparrow's fall; and the very hairs of our heads are all numbered. It is his skill which clothes with life and beauty the grass of the field, which to-day is, and to-morrow is cast into the oven. And are not we, the creatures of his hand, "fearfully and wonderfully made," and the subjects, too, of his love and care?--"O Lord, thou hast searched me and known me. Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising; thou understandest my thought afar off. Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted with all my ways; for there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O Lord, thou knowest it altogether. Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me.
"Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it. Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there; if I make my bed in the grave, behold thou art there; if I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost part of the sea, even there shall thy hand lead me,...even the night shall be light about me. Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee, but the night shineth as the day: the darkness and the light are both alike to thee."--`Psa. 139:1-12`.
Fallen creatures though we be, from the noble estate in which we were created, God so loved our race, even while we were yet sinners, as to make provision at great cost for our redemption and restitution and subsequent eternal glory. And therefore it is,--because he loves us,-- that through Christ he extends to us the gracious favor of coming to him as children to a father. Wonderful is the condescension, wonderful the love and favor of our God!
Yet our God is a God to be revered: he is not one like ourselves, our equal, into whose presence we may come without that ceremony and decorum due to his glorious person and office. (`Job 9:1-35`.) The court of heaven has regulations and ceremonies of respect and due deference which must be complied with by every man who would gain an audience with the King of kings; and it behooves us to inquire what those regulations are before we presume to address him. Here the Word of God gives explicit directions. Our Lord Jesus, the appointed "days-man" for which Job so earnestly longed (`Job 9:32,33`), said, "No man cometh unto the Father, but by me. I am the way." (`John 14:6`.) Then he gave us an illustration of the manner in which we should address him, in what is known as the Lord's prayer. (`Matt. 6:9-13`.) The illustration teaches (1) that we (believers in Christ) may consider ourselves as in God's estimation reinstated (through faith in Christ) to the original position of sons of God, and that we may therefore confidently address him--"Our Father." (2) It indicates on our part worshipful adoration of the high and holy One, and profound reverence for the glorious character and attributes of Our God.--"Hallowed be thy name." (3) It expresses full sympathy with his revealed plan for a coming Kingdom of righteousness, which will be according to his will.--"Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is done in heaven." This shows the attitude of heart to be toward righteousness, and fully submitted to the divine will and purpose, that God may work in it to will and to do his good pleasure. (4) It expresses in plain and simple language its dependence on God for daily needs, and the confidence of a child in the Father for the supply of those needs out of his abundant fulness.-- "Give us this day our daily bread." (5) It seeks forgiveness for trespasses, and recognizes also the obligation thus incurred to render the same to those trespassing against us --"And forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors;" and (6) it seeks to be guarded against temptations and to be fortified by God's abounding grace
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against all the wiles of the adversary*--"And abandon us not to trial, but preserve us from evil."
Such are the principles which must ever characterize our attitude of mind and heart when we would avail ourselves of the privilege of addressing the throne of heavenly grace. In brief, our prayers, to be acceptable to God, must express confident faith, loving esteem and reverence, full sympathy with the divine plan and submission to the divine will, childlike dependence upon God, acknowledgment of sins and shortcomings and desire for forgiveness, with a forgiving disposition on our part toward others, and an humble craving for the divine guidance and protection. These may not always all be expressed in words, but such must at least be the attitude of the soul.
Those who thus come to God are privileged always to
*The Sinaitic and Vatican MSS. omit the words, "for thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory forever. Amen." `Matt. 6:13`.
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have their interests considered at the throne of grace, and the welcome we shall always find there may be judged of by the cordial invitations to come often and tarry long. Well might we hesitate to avail ourselves of such privileges were we not thus assured, but having this assurance we may come with confidence to the throne of grace.--`Heb. 4:16`; `13:6`.
The Lord knew how necessary to our spiritual life would be this communion with himself. Tempest-tossed and tried, how much we need our Father's care and the comfort and consolation which his presence and sympathy realized imparts. And have not all the meek and contrite in heart the promise not only of the occasional attentive hearing, but of the abiding presence of both the Father and the Son, our Lord Jesus? Jesus said, "He that hath my commandments and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me; and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. Judas--not Iscariot--saith unto him, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us and not unto the world? Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words, and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him."--`John 14:21-23`.
The thought which this promise of the abiding presence of the Father and Son conveys to our minds is that their thought and care and interest will be constantly upon us, and that at any instant we may engage the special attention of either or both. The same idea is also conveyed by the words of the Apostle Peter (`1 Pet. 3:12`)-- "For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers." And we are urged to be "instant in prayer," to "pray always, and not to faint," to "pray without ceasing;" for "Like as a Father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear him; for he knoweth our frame, he remembereth that we are dust." "As the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him," and "As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us." Yea, "the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, and his righteousness unto children's children, to such as keep his covenant and to those that remember his commandments to do them."--`Rom. 12:12`; `Luke 18:1`; `1 Thes. 5:17`; `Psa. 103:13,14,11,12,17,18`.
We cannot come too often, then, to the throne of the heavenly grace, if we are of those who can claim the abiding presence of the Father and the Son--if we are of them that love him and keep his commandments and who recognize the Lord Jesus as the only way of access to the Father. And even "if any man sin"--be overtaken in a fault--so that from his outward conduct he might be judged as not loving the Lord, yet, if he repent, let him remember that "we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous," who "is the propitiation [satisfaction] for our sins," "who also maketh intercession for us." "Who," then, "shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us."--`1 John 2:1,2`; `Rom. 8:33,34`.
Wherefore, the Apostle urges, "Seeing then that we have a great High Priest that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession; for we have not a High Priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities, but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us, therefore, come with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need."-- `Heb. 4:14-16`.
With such urgent and loving invitations let no child of God hesitate to come to him often or to tarry long in communion and fellowship with him. It is our privilege to enter into our closets and shut the doors and pray to our Father which seeth in secret, who will reward us openly. (`Matt. 6:6`.) And not only so, but he will go with us through all the business and hurry and commotion of the day; and at any instant in the midst of cares and perplexities we may turn our prayerful thoughts to him for wisdom, for strength and Christian fortitude, or for comfort and consolation for ourselves or others. And though we hear no responding voice, if we are attentive to the course of his providence we will shortly see the shaping of events and circumstances for our good and the good of others in answer to such prayers. Beloved, have we not many a time proved this true?--in perplexities, in tribulations, in afflictions, in persecutions, in bereavements, in temptations and trials?
In coming to God we need have no fear that he is too busy with other matters of greater importance, or that he is weary of our coming to him repeatedly with things of small importance. It was to assure us against this very thing that our Lord spoke the parable of the importunate widow, who was heard and answered on account of her importunity. In so doing we evince both the earnestness of our desires and our faith that our prayers will be answered, if we faint not from lack of faith or zeal when the answer is delayed, as often it must necessarily be, since time is an important element in all God's work.
All night, until the break of day, Jacob wrestled in prayer, saying, "I will not let thee go, unless thou bless me." Paul thrice besought the Lord until he was assured his grace would be sufficient for him. The Lord himself frequently spent whole nights in prayer, and he prayed earnestly and with many tears. (`Luke 6:12`; `Matt. 14:23`; `Mark 6:46`; `1:35`; `Luke 5:16`; `Heb. 5:7`.) And the Apostle Paul says, "In everything, by prayer and supplication [earnest pleading] with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God."--`Phil 4:6`.
The Apostle himself acted on this principle when he urged, in his letter to the Romans, that the saints "strive
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together [Greek, agonize] with me in prayers to God for me," that he might safely accomplish a certain work which seemed to be of the Spirit's leading.--`Rom. 15:28-32`.
"In every thing."--That signifies that our heavenly Father is deeply interested in everything that relates to us and ours. What thing is too small for his notice who numbers even the very hairs of our heads? In to-day's household or business cares, then, we may have his loving sympathy and helpfulness. Do a mother's counsel and a father's wisdom seem inadequate to restrain and guide aright the wayward course of impetuous and over-confident youth, they may bring their cares and fears to the Lord; and, as the children cross the threshold to meet the world's temptations, his wisdom and providence may be invoked to so shape their circumstances and surroundings as to show them eventually the sure safe way and the folly of pursuing any other.
Do business cares perplex and annoy? remember the Lord's caution, "Be not overcharged with the cares of this life," and the Apostle's warning, "They that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts which drown men in destruction and utter ruin; for the love of money is the root of all evil, which, while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows. But thou, O man of God, flee these things and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness. Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life." And, remembering these things, come to the throne of the heavenly grace for wisdom and direction as to how you may so adjust your temporal affairs as not to be overcharged with the cares of this life. It is right to be charged with them to the extent of diligence (`Rom. 12:11`) and the utilization of such diligence in the Lord's service; but it is the overplus, the corroding care, that interferes with peace of mind and communion with God, that is to be avoided.
Does poverty pinch and cause anxious thought? take that also to the Lord in prayer; and then, while diligently using the means at hand, to provide things decent and honest, patiently and confidently wait and watch the indications of providence, assured that he who feeds the fowl of the air, which neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and who clothes the grass of the field, which to-day is and to-morrow is cast into the oven, is both able and willing to clothe and feed you and yours.
And so through all the list of earth's trials and cares, its wants and its woes, its bereavements and disappointments and calamities and distresses, its failures and shortcomings and sins and mistakes, we may take them all to the Lord in prayer and receive that strength and sympathy
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and consolation and help we so much need. Let us live in the presence of the Father and the Son who have promised to abide with us. It will sweeten our days and comfort our nights and ease our burdens and lighten our cares and brighten our hopes, and, in a word, it will lift us up above the world into a higher and purer atmosphere. Such is the will of heaven concerning us: let us appreciate and avail ourselves of the privilege.
By all the encouragements of precept and example, the Lord assures us that the fervent prayer of a righteous man (a justified and consecrated child of God) availeth much. (`Jas. 5:16`.) We are urged also to come in faith. Jesus said, "If ye have faith and doubt not,...all things whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive." (`Matt. 21:22`.) As he was addressing his consecrated disciples, it must of course be understood that all their petitions would be subjected to divine wisdom, and therefore the answers to their prayers, though always sure, might not always be in the way expected, but they would always be considered and answered in some way for their highest good.
What a blessed privilege, dear fellow-disciples of the Lord, is ours, to be instant in prayer, to pray always-- to lift up our hearts and minds to God at any time and in any place and to realize thus daily and hourly that the Father and our dear Lord Jesus continually abide with us. And then, when the active duties of the day have been performed under his eye and supervision, or at any time when the soul realizes its necessity, how precious is the privilege of entering into our closets and there alone with God unburdening our hearts.
While secret prayer is the blessed privilege of every child of God, and one without which his spiritual life cannot be sustained, it is also the privilege of Christians to unite their petitions at the throne of grace. This united prayer is specially commended by the Lord. (`Matt. 18:19`.) "Again I say unto you, that if two of you shall agree on earth as touching anything that they shall ask, it shall be done for them of my Father; for where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them."
With such promises as these, together with an experience of their fulfilment, who can doubt the love and favor of our God and of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ? Therefore let us be encouraged to pray always and not to faint when the answers seem to tarry long, for time is often required to work out the deep designs of an allwise and loving Providence. Remember the words of the angel to Daniel. Daniel said, "While I was speaking and praying and confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my supplication before the Lord my God, for the holy mountain of my God; yea, while I was speaking in prayer," the answer came by the hand of an angel who said, "O Daniel, I am now come forth to give thee skill and understanding. At the beginning of thy supplications the commandment came forth, and I am come to show thee; for thou art greatly beloved."--`Dan. 9:20-23`.
On another occasion, when Daniel had mourned three weeks, fasting and praying, because of his inability to understand, the angel of the Lord came and said, "Fear
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not, Daniel, for from the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand, and to chasten thyself before thy God, thy words were heard, and I am come for thy words."-- `Dan. 10:2,3,10-12`.
Even so shall it ever be with all the beloved of the Lord: at the beginning of our supplications God begins to set in operation the influences and to shape the circumstances which are designed to work out the intended blessing for us--if we faint not, but continue instant in prayer, thereby evincing our continued earnestness of desire, and if we confess our sins, and set our hearts to understand, and chasten ourselves before him. How many prayers are not heard or are hindered because the one who asks does not first purify himself of evil in his own heart? "Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts;" i.e., you ask selfishly and without regard to the will of God. (`Jas. 4:3`.) But to the chastened and sanctified comes the promise--"Before they call [reading the desire of the heart even before it finds expression in words] I will answer [will begin so to shape events as to bring the answer soon or later]; and while they are yet speaking I will hear." (`Isa. 65:23,24`.) While this is in connection with a prophecy relating to the Lord's people in the Millennial age, it nevertheless is true of all his faithful ones of this age. Praise the Lord for all his loving kindness to even the least of his lowly children!
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CONCERNING PROFITABLE MEETINGS.
WE have received a number of requests from friends of the truth for advice as to the most profitable methods of conducting meetings. One Brother writes:
"A few brethren who have been reading DAWN express their willingness to meet somewhere to study in consecutive order, and I ask suggestions for a plan suited to beginners. Pray for us, that we may commence this study in the right way, and be the recipients of many blessings.
"Yours in the faith, J. W. McLANE."
Another Brother recently removed to a new neighborhood says:
"I find in this locality a fine field for labor. Several here to whom I have given tracts already manifest interest. I have conversed freely with them on Bible subjects, and have their promise to attend meetings at my house. So if you can aid me by suggestions I will be thankful.
"I am, dear brother, yours in the service of the Master,
"JOSHUA L. GREEN."
Another Brother writes:--
"We have a number of persons here who wish to assemble themselves together for worship. We would be pleased to have some instructions from you as to how to go about it.
"I hope you can give us some way which will be satisfactory. Some of us have left the churches and are now free from all precepts of men. To speak for myself, I left the Presbyterian church.
"Yours in Christ, C. C. FLEMING."
We are glad to note the increasing desire for the study of God's plan of the ages; and also to see that the importance of method and order are recognized in this. We give our advice as follows:--
(1) You would best first re-read some things already written which bear upon this subject--in our issues of May 1, '93, page 131; Sept. '93, page 259; Oct. 15, '93, page 307; Mar. 1, '94, page 73; April 1, '95, page 78; May 1, '95, page 109.
(2) Beware of "organization." It is wholly unnecessary. The Bible rules will be the only rules you will need. Do not seek to bind others' consciences, and do not permit others to bind yours. Believe and obey so far as you can understand God's Word to-day, and so continue growing in grace and knowledge and love day by day.
(3) The Bible instructs you whom to fellowship as "brethren;"--only believers who are seeking to walk, not after the flesh, but after the spirit. Not believers of any and every thing, but believers of the Gospel record--that mankind is fallen into sin and its penalty, death, and that only in Christ is there salvation, "through faith in his blood" "shed for the remission of sins", as "a ransom [a corresponding price] for all." Any who merely believe in Christ as a noble and good person, a grand example of righteous living, etc., may be agreeable as neighbors or business acquaintances, but they are not "believers," and hence are not "brethren," any more than are Jews, Mohammedans, Infidels, publicans and sinners--for practically these also so acknowledge him.
(4) You come together, then, as God's children, bought back from sin and death with the great price, and resolved henceforth to live not unto yourselves, but unto him who died for you. (`2 Cor. 5:15`.) Your meetings should have certain objects in view, viz:--
(a) Worship, praise and prayer.
(b) Mutual helpfulness in waging victorious warfare against the world, the flesh and the devil within and without.
(c) And to these ends you meet also for the study of God's Word, which he provided for our instruction and help in the narrow way which leads to those blessings prepared by him for those who love him and who demonstrate their love by their efforts to serve, honor and obey him.
(5) Thus seen, a knowledge of doctrines is not our ultimate object in meeting, but the building up of characters, which, as attempted copies of the character of God's dear Son, will be "accepted in the Beloved." But God declares that knowledge of the doctrines which he has revealed in his Word will be of great value to us in our endeavors to grow in his grace.
Hence, after worship, praise and prayer, Bible study should be recognized in its two parts,--(a) The study of God's plan,--what he tells us he is doing for us and for the world; what he has done; and what he will yet do; that we may be enabled as sons to enter into the very spirit of the great work of God and be intelligent co-workers with him. (b) The study of our duties and privileges in God's service, toward each other and toward those that are without, to the end that we may build up such characters
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as would be pleasing and acceptable to God now and in the age to come.
And since for general convenience these meetings should not last much longer than from one and a half to two hours, it will generally be found best to have at least two meetings per week, one for the consideration of Christian graces and testimony and mutual helpfulness; and the other for Bible study. And at every meeting our songs and prayers of thankful worship should ascend as incense
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before God; and in this worship all should share.
Amongst us, as in the early Church, the preaching of formal discourses is the exception, rather than the rule. The exception should be where some brother has the necessary qualifications--clear appreciation of the truth and ability to set it forth so as to be helpful to the Lord's flock, with qualifications also of voice, education, etc., and withal, surely one who is meek and not likely to become puffed up, or to preach himself, rather than the cross of Christ.
But, whether there be preaching or no preaching, the other meetings, in which all can and should take part (both brethren and sisters), should be kept up; and each of the saints (consecrated "believers") should seek in them to do good, as well as to get good.--See `Rom. 14:19`; `Eph. 4:11-32`; `1 Thes. 5:11`.
(6) What shall be our Standard by which we may know the truth and prove it? We answer, The Word of God "is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be perfect [-ed in knowledge and conduct], thoroughly furnished unto all good works.--`2 Tim. 3:16,17`.
But how shall we understand the Bible? For centuries good men as well as bad men have searched its pages. The former have found therein blessings, it is true, but so far as doctrines are concerned only confusion; satisfactory plan, order, justice and wisdom none have ever found there in all that time. The due time for the mystery of God's plan to be finished had not yet come; and it was "sealed up," "hidden," until that due time. But now, we who are living in the time of "the cleansing of the Sanctuary,"* and particularly since the time of blessedness at the end of the 1335 days+--in the present harvest, and in the beginning of the sounding of the Seventh Trumpet--we have a very different experience from the saints of past times. To us it is given to know the mysteries of the Kingdom of God, which many prophets and many righteous persons of the past were not privileged to see. Thank God for the light of present truth! Now we can see a plan of God--a plan which covers every detail of history past, and of revelation future; a plan that is complete,--lacking and disjointed at no part; a plan that is in strictest conformity with divine Justice, Wisdom, Power and Love, and with every text of the divine Word; and which thus proves itself to be not only a reasonable plan, but the plan of God, in comparison with which all other theories and plans are defective and evidently erroneous, out of harmony with the divine attributes and with the divine Word.
Those who have come to an understanding of the plan of the ages, recognize it as of divine and not of human origination. It is the key to the mysteries of God which God himself has provided, and for which we all unite in rendering to him all praise. Its light is that of the millennial dawn, bringing with it peace and joy to thousands. We give all praise and honor to the Divine Author from whom cometh every good and perfect gift, and who thus, according to his promise (`Luke 12:37`), continues to feed his Church with spiritual "meat in due season." God, still our Teacher, uses as heretofore instrumentalities, and has provided for his people's instruction and use the orderly presentations of MILLENNIAL DAWN to point out to them his plan of the ages and the duties and privileges of this "harvest" time; because the "due time" has come for "the mystery" to be finished. (`Rev. 10:7`.) And those who have received instruction in the Word, in private, through the use of MILLENNIAL DAWN as a teacher sent of God (`Eph. 4:11-14`) have no more reason to ignore it as God's mouthpiece in united study than in their own private study;--no more, either, than they would a living teacher.
And should any be disposed to worship the humble human instrumentality chosen of God as the channel for this blessing of present truth, we say to such,--"See thou do it not; for I am thy fellow servant [not thy Lord], and [fellow servant] of thy brethren the prophets [all true teachers or mouthpieces of God]:...Worship God." (`Rev. 22:9`.) The water of life and the Giver of it, and not the earthen vessel through which it is sent, are to be reverenced. The earthen vessels have naught whereof to glory. What have we of ourselves that we did not first receive of the Lord?--`1 Cor. 4:6,7`.
The God-given plan of the ages is what we should all use in the study of the Bible, if we would get the treasures of wisdom, and grace, and strength for service in these perilous harvest times, for which it is divinely provided. Each one who recognizes this as a God-given light should use it in the study of the Word. Each should make it his own light as God intended. Each should become so proficient in its use as to be able to answer every question that could be asked respecting the general plan of God. But alas! some seem to feel that this is Brother Russell's plan, and that they should originate their own. But this is a great mistake. It is not our plan, but God's. If not God's plan, it is of no value. We do not want any human plans. Surely men cannot make plans for God that he will recognize; for his own plans have been since "before the foundation of the world." God has but one plan, and it is unalterable; and now that he has revealed it, we confess that it is wonderful, yet as simple as it is beautiful. It is a plan, however, that men could not conceive or arrange. Its thoughts are higher than man's thoughts; and hence in all the centuries past men have never even approximated this divine plan of the ages.
So then the Bible, the standard, should be studied in the light of this God-given teaching, until each one is proficient --an able teacher of it. Then each should let his light shine--humbly serving it to others.
Some, alas! when their eyes are opened to see God's loving plan of the ages, while surprised, and thankful to God for the present truth, neglect to do more than hastily taste of it; and then they hasten on, as they say, to "hunt for more." What they should do would better be to use well what God has already given us as his people. There is a famine in the land; not for bread, nor for water, but for the Word of the Lord. (`Amos 8:11`.) Our Lord and Master has come to his waiting people, and spread for them a bounteous table of truths, new and old, in order. (`Matt. 13:52`.) We certainly have no right to ask for more or other blessings, until we have feasted to the full on what has been set before us. Then we should exercise ourselves, using the strength received in serving the feast to others. Neglecting this, it would certainly be with bad grace that any would attempt to break open any parts of the storehouse not yet unlocked. Remember the illustration of the time-lock++ which opens easily, without burglarizing, at the appointed time.
"Thy words were found [not made, nor gained by human skill or labor], and I did eat them." (`Jer. 15:16`;
*See MILLENNIAL DAWN, VOL. III., Chap. iv.
+See MILLENNIAL DAWN, VOL. III., Chap. iii.
++MILLENNIAL DAWN, VOL. II., p. 23.
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`Rev. 10:10`.) Our Lord has always provided for his Church the food necessary to her welfare; and he always "giveth liberally." The proper attitude for the Church is to be active in eating the food already received and in using the strength derived from it. She is not to leave the table bountifully spread to pray for more. When more would be beneficial more will be sent by the hand of some "servant" of God and the Church. Nor will the true "servant" find it necessary to make the food; for it will be given him by the great Householder. It will be "found" by him, and when he presents it to the Lord's family, they will be able to discern upon it the stamp of divine truth. And after partaking of it liberally they will dispense it to others.
Sufficient labor for all comes after we have "found" the truth,--labor in eating it, studying and appropriating it, and labor in serving it to others. The labor and bitterness of experience come not with the getting and first tasting of the truth, but with the conflict of the truth with our own and other people's prejudices. Then comes the pleasurable but often painful labor of serving it to others that they may find it easily and eat it. The eating of the truth (the proving of it, and then the appropriating of it to strength) is no small task. When a new food comes to us, our eyes first criticize it. If it looks good, we handle it and smell of it; and finally, still approved, we judge further by biting it with our teeth; and then our palate judges by the taste, while our teeth prepare it for nutrition. So every child of God has considerable labor in the way of proving and eating his spiritual food, after the Lord has provided it and he has "found" it. The proving is a necessity because Satan through his agents is permitted to offer us poisonous food. God would have us exercise our spiritual senses and judge or prove all we eat by the standard, and thus to learn to distinguish good from evil. This searching and proving and appropriating, opposed by the world, the flesh and the devil, require considerable energy and overcoming quality, and leave little enough of time and energy to help others.
Let us remember, however, that we cannot break open any secrets which God may wish to conceal as not yet appropriate "meat in due season"; nor should we wish to
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do so. The small boy who bangs away at the unripe apple until it falls get food which makes him very sick: the ripe apple is very easily plucked. The unripe chestnut burr is difficult to pluck and very troublesome to open, and when open its fruit is unwholesome; but the ripe burr will fall and open of itself and its meat is sweet. Our diligence should be rather to watch the ripening processes of divine providence, and to hold our minds and hearts in humble readiness for all the rich fruitage of the advancing seasons, assured that our Master knoweth what things we have need of and will supply them to us in due time --directly or indirectly, it matters not so long as it is truth, from him and for us.
In the study of the Word of God in the light of the DAWN, let each one make use of concordances and marginal references and various translations of the Scriptures as he may have opportunity; remembering that nothing is to be accepted as truth which does not harmonize with the letter and spirit of God's Word. It is the Word of God that is to be eaten; the DAWNS and TOWERS are divinely provided helps for the cutting of the food into eatable portions,--enabling us to "rightly divide the Word of truth," and thus facilitating the eating of it.
Such meetings for the study of the Word in the light of the now revealed plan of the ages have been termed "Dawn Circles." The plan originated with Brother Rahn, of Baltimore, several years ago, and he and the other members of the class report much profit therefrom. The same plan has been pursued in perhaps a score of other cities, and always with success when rightly conducted. In illustration see letters from Brother Townsend in our issue of Dec. 15, '94 and Bro. Jeffery in issue of Jan. 1, '95. Since the "Circles" are no longer an experiment, but have practically demonstrated their value, it seems advisable to announce the matter so that all the students of the truth can have the benefit of the experience of others. We advise the holding of these Circles everywhere, and suggest that you invite to them only such as are believers in the efficacy of the precious blood of Christ, and of genuine Christian character. But any one should be welcomed who is desirous of learning the way of God more perfectly. As the Apostle says, "Him that is weak in the faith [not fully committed to Christ] receive ye, but not to doubtful disputations"--you do not meet to discuss the unbeliever's doubts, but to confirm the believer's faith.-- `Rom. 14:1`; `1 Cor. 14:24,25`.
It is advisable that the leader be a good reader, and that he begin at the beginning of Volume I. He should pause at the end of each sentence, if necessary, to give full opportunity for questions or remarks; and at the close of each paragraph a general discussion of its contents should be encouraged, together with an examination of texts cited therein, and any other texts that appertain to the subject. His object should be to draw out expressions from all, and to see that each person present understands the subject thoroughly. An entire session might profitably be spent sometimes upon one or two pages, or sometimes on one or two paragraphs. Each one of the Circle should have in hand some translation of the Bible or a "Dawn."
At the close of each chapter each one of the Circle should endeavor to give his own brief review of its subject, to see how clearly he has grasped it, and to impress it upon himself the more deeply. Having in view that all are preparing themselves to impart the truth to others, each should be encouraged to attempt a statement of the subject discussed, in his own words, but preferably in the order set forth in "DAWN."
In considering this method of Bible study note how much of interest and profitable conference could be drawn from the first chapter of Vol. I. The first paragraph calls our attention to and applies `Psalm 30:5`:--"Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning." How many suggestions this will call up to each child of God present! (1) The long, dark night of the reign of Sin and Death each could contrast with the longer glorious day, just dawning, in which Righteousness and Life shall reign through Christ's great work. (2) The cause of the Night, the withdrawal of divine favor because of disobedience, could be contrasted with the cause of the Morning-- "We were reconciled to God by the death of his Son." (3) The cause of the weeping and pain, in the Night,--the curse or righteous sentence--"dying thou shalt die," could be contrasted with the cause of joy and rejoicing in the Morning,--"Thy dead men shall live," when "times of refreshing shall come--times of restitution of all things which God hath spoken." (`Acts 3:19-21`.) Each should be encouraged to tell what he knows experimentally about the dark night of sin's control, and also his appreciation of the rays of light from the Sun of Righteousness now shining, and of the glorious prospects which are thus revealed to his eye of faith.
The second paragraph is built upon `Isaiah 55:8,9`; and it has much food for thought and profitable converse.
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These two paragraphs might well fill the time of one session; and if the Circle be a large one it might require two sessions to fully digest them.
The third, fourth and fifth paragraphs consider what should be our object as truth-seekers, what we should seek, and what God promises we shall find--`John 16:13` and other references coming to mind. Then the sixth paragraph considers the proper methods for Bible study, and refers to `Eph. 4:11-16`; besides which many other references will occur to the Circle. Paragraphs eight and nine contrast proper and improper methods of study, and call up an entirely new set of interesting scriptures. These paragraphs --third to ninth--would give a grand and helpful Bible and plan study for a second session of the Circle.
The next seven paragraphs, 10 to 16 inclusive, treat of the present religious condition of the world, and would make a wonderful third lesson if rightly used. A TOWER article on the same subject (Feb. '90, page 3) might also be introduced here with profit. How many interesting questions and suggestions come to all minds, some correct and some incorrect, and how helpful each could be to the other in building one another up in the most holy faith; and on leaving for home, how many would appreciate more fully than ever the general darkness of the world and the value of the light and of open eyes to see it. And thus we might progress, every lesson being full of instruction and of correct applications of Scripture. The Circles will be all the more interesting if there be present some "believers" not long in "this way." It would be well to tell your Christian friends, who show even a little interest in the truth about the Circle, and invite them to attend from the first. But should new inquirers come in after the Circle has advanced some distance, it will not be necessary to go back for their benefit, for they can at home read up to the present with such additional brief explanations as the leader may deem advisable.
But some one will say, At that rate we would be fully a year in going through the first volume of MILLENNIAL DAWN, and the three volumes would require three years! All the better, we answer: if we are furnished with spiritual refreshment for years, it is far better than if only for a day: it is not a case of business rush to "get through with it" that is our aim, but spiritual refreshment in the study of God's Word, that we may see clearly for ourselves and be able to give to him that asketh us a reason for the hope that is in us. At the close of the series you would have had under particular, critical examination hundreds of the most noteworthy texts of Scripture --words of the Lord's inspired mouthpieces, brought forward in their appropriate places to illuminate the various subjects which constitute the burden of divine revelation-- the divine plan, spanning ages. Surely, if the Bible required nearly two thousand years for its preparation, we should give it reverent study, and not merely a casual glance and thought. Besides, when you would have gone through the subject thus thoroughly, you would doubtless be so proficient that you could answer promptly any question respecting it and be prepared to quote the Scriptures fully in support of your statements. Not only do all need such thorough study to prepare them "for the work of the ministry," but each needs such study for his own protection from the perils which will increase more and more during this "evil day."
The method suggested is not merely a reading of the DAWNS; for that each could do as well at his home and alone. Our proposition is for a general study of God's great plan of salvation--a comprehensive study of theology--the use of the DAWNS merely steering the minds of all into the same Scriptural channels and assisting in rightly dividing the Word of Truth. There are no scriptures which cannot be brought into these studies; for all scriptures are directly or indirectly related to God's plan. The design includes a study of the whole Bible in the fullest sense, and the cooperation of all in bringing forward every text and thought which could throw light upon the subjects considered.
Knowing the "downwardness" with which all our race is afflicted, we should, whenever we come together, guard ourselves and each other by resolving that no communications shall proceed out of our mouths except such as would serve to edify one another, and to build one another up in the most holy faith. This would bar out "gossip" and
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idle talking, and insure our thinking and talking of "whatsoever things are just and true and pure and of good report." If each comes to the meeting praying for the Lord's blessing upon himself and on the others of the Lord's body, near and far, it will be found helpful. And may grace, mercy and peace from God our Father, and from our Lord Jesus Christ, be with us all who thus seek, more and more, the way, the truth and the life.
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ISRAEL RENEWING THE COVENANT.
--SEPT. 22.--`JOSH. 24:14-25`.--
Golden Text.--"The Lord our God will we serve, and his voice will we obey."--`Josh. 24:24`.
ISRAEL became God's people by solemn covenant (See `Exod. 19:5-8`), and on several occasions that covenant was renewed that succeeding generations might not forget the obligations thereby resting upon them. The instance before us was one of these occasions, and a very appropriate one--after their settlement in the land of promise and when Joshua their leader, being very old, must of necessity soon be taken from them by death. Joshua, therefore, remembering the command of Moses to thus remind the people of their covenant obligations (`Deut. 27`), made this the occasion for solemn exhortation, warning and counsel, as well as for leading the people to a renewal of their vows and a purging of themselves from every semblance of idolatry, which his address shows still lingered in some degree among them.
The counsel of Joshua was reverently received, the covenant was renewed, and the nation purged itself from idolatry, and in consequence was prospered and blessed. But why, we may reasonably inquire, should we be interested now in seemingly trivial matters of history of a date so remote? Why so minutely consider the experience and doings of that nation more than others of the ancient peoples? Or why are they so minutely given by the sacred writers?
Their importance to us lies in the fact that in the experiences of that consecrated people were foreshadowed those of God's consecrated people of this Gospel age; and in God's dealings with them we can read his judgment of us under similar circumstances, we, the Gospel church, being the antitypes of fleshly Israel, the spiritual Israel of God-- nominally, as in the type, including all the professed members of the church, but actually only those who are truly the Lord's--"Israelites indeed," Christians indeed.
In the nation of Israel (nominal Israel) we observe a
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constant tendency to idolatry, while a faithful few ("Israelites indeed") always resisted this tendency, and, with fixed purpose of heart, worshipped the Lord in the beauty of holiness and endeavored to influence others to similar faithfulness. But their forefathers prior to Abraham were idolaters; the nations all about them were idolaters; and idolatrous worship, unlike the worship of the true God, imposed no restraints upon the downward tendencies of the fallen nature, but, on the contrary, cultivated and pandered to its depravity. Nor did it require faith in the unseen, but presented to the senses tangible objects of worship with rites and ceremonies suited to the carnal nature. Hence the continual gravitation of the nation toward idolatry, notwithstanding the wonderful power and goodness of God manifested on their behalf. Joshua, after calling attention to the marvels of divine providence which their wonderful history furnished, urged upon the people a prompt and firm decision, saying, "Choose ye this day whom ye will serve," etc.
Joshua also gave them distinctly to understand that in choosing to serve the Lord it must be whole hearted and sincere service, a full and complete turning to the Lord, and the putting away of all rivals. This exhortation was coupled with warnings of the Lord's indignation and wrath if they should wickedly ignore or violate their covenant and turn to idolatry. "And the people said unto Joshua, The Lord our God will we serve, and his voice will we obey."
Happy indeed was it for Israel that such was their decision; and happy would it be for all God's consecrated people, if, with fixedness of purpose, they would pay their vows unto the Most High. In his dealings with typical Israel we see that our God is a jealous God and that he desires whole-hearted devotion to himself. If we permit any rival to occupy the mind and heart that was solemnly consecrated to him alone, then we are unfaithful to him and wickedly despising our covenant. Let the language of every consecrated heart be, "The Lord our God will we serve, and his voice will we obey."
"If ye forsake the Lord, and serve strange gods, then he will turn and do you hurt and consume you, after that he hath done you good." The fact that the Lord has richly blessed us in the past while we were in the way with him is no guarantee that he will continue his favor with us after we have forsaken him. On the contrary, his positive declaration is that he will withdraw his favor from all such. In addition to the above the prophet Ezekiel says, "When a righteous man doth turn from his righteousness and commit iniquity, and I lay a stumbling block before him, he shall die." And Paul adds ["because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved"], "God shall send them strong delusions, that they should believe a lie: that they all might be condemned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness." --`Ezek. 3:20`; `2 Thes. 2:11,12`. See also `Heb. 6:4-8`; `10:26-31`.
We should observe specially in `Heb. 10:29` the reference to a sorer punishment to be visited upon the covenant-despisers of this age than that visited upon the same class in the Jewish age, because of the higher privileges and advantages received here and despised. The death penalty there was a hasty visitation of the original Adamic penalty, but the death penalty here upon the wilful covenant-despisers is the second death from which there is no escape.
REVIEW SEPT. 29.
Golden Text.--"There hath not failed one word of all his good promises which he promised by the hand of Moses his servant."-- `1 Kings 8:56`.
Thus King Solomon testified to the grace of God manifested to fleshly Israel. His good promises never failed; and to the praise of his goodness we also can bear the same blessed testimony. And when his wonderful plan blossoms out in glorious completeness, the universal testimony will be, There hath not failed one word of all his good promises; for they are all yea and amen in Christ Jesus, the mediator of the New Covenant, as Moses was of the Law Covenant.
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THE TIMES OF THE JUDGES.
--OCT. 6.--`JUDGES 2:1-12,16`.--
Golden Text.--"The Lord raised up judges which delivered them."--`Judges 2:16`.
NO special comment is needed on the simple narrative of this lesson, except to call attention to the Lord's providential care over his people, notwithstanding their waywardness and many backslidings.
It should be noted that the object in raising up judges was a gracious and beneficent one: it was to deliver and bless the people, not to condemn and punish them, though the latter idea of judgment is too often the only thought gathered from it by many minds. The term judgment applies to the whole process of trial and the administration of justice.
In this view of the office of a judge how precious is the promise that our blessed Lord Jesus cometh to judge the world in righteousness. His judgment will be the greatest blessing the world could possibly have. Though it will come in wrath and indignation against all unrighteousness; though it will lay judgment to the line and righteousness to the plummet; though it will rudely sweep away every refuge of lies and expose all the hidden things of darkness; though his iron rod will dash the nations to pieces as a potter's vessel; and though he will suddenly bring down every high thing that exalteth itself (`Isa. 13:5-9`; `28:17`; `1 Cor. 4:5`; `Psa. 2:9`; `Isa. 2:11`), nevertheless his judgment will be for the world's deliverance; for he wounds to heal. And when mankind has been thoroughly submitted to the leveling process of the great "time of trouble," and has been humbled and made teachable by it, then the same wise Judge will turn to bless--to heal the broken hearted, to deliver the captives of sin and death, to speak peace unto the nations, to make wars to cease to the ends of the earth, to give beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning and the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness, and to wipe away all tears from off all faces. --`Isa. 19:22`; `61:1-3`; `Zech. 9:10`; `Psa. 46:9`; `Isa. 25:8`; `Rev. 21:4`.
In this view of the day of judgment, notwithstanding the commotion that shall attend it, but realizing that the great Judge of all the earth comes to bring forth judgment to victory, to establish truth and righteousness on a firm and enduring footing, and to punish all that oppose that blessed work, we understand the joy of the Prophet-Psalmist, when, looking forward to this glorious time, he exclaimed, Let the heavens rejoice and let the earth be glad; let the fields be joyful; let the sea roar and the floods clap their hands; and let the hills be joyful together before the Lord: for he cometh to judge the world, and the people with equity.-- `Psalms 98:7-9`.
So let our hearts rejoice and our tongues be glad; and let the blessed secret be known among the saints, that the Lord is now present, and that we are living in the days of the Son of man; and let our joyful hearts and voices bid him a royal welcome; for indeed he hath put a new song into our mouths.