VOL. XVI. JANUARY 1, 1895. No. 1.
Our New Dress..................................... 2
Accepting God's Gifts Gratefully.................. 2
A German Quarterly................................ 2
Views from the Tower.............................. 3
"This is the Way."................................ 6
Poem: Pray Without Ceasing........................ 7
On Trial for Life................................. 7
Bible Study: John the Baptist Beheaded............ 9
Bible Study: Feeding the Five Thousand............ 9
Bible Study: Christ the Bread of Life............. 10
Selections for the Family Circle.................. 11
"Out of Darkness"--Interesting Letters............ 11
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THIS JOURNAL AND ITS MISSION.
THIS journal is set for the defence of the only true foundation of the Christian's hope now being so generally repudiated,--Redemption through the precious blood of "the man Christ Jesus who gave himself a ransom [a corresponding price, a substitute] for all." (`1 Pet. 1:19`; `1 Tim. 2:6`.) Building up on this sure foundation the gold, silver and precious stones (`1 Cor. 3:11-15`; `2 Pet. 1:5-11`) of the Word of God, its further mission is to--"Make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery which...has been hid in God,...to the intent that now might be made known by the Church the manifold wisdom of God"--"which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed."--`Eph. 3:5-9,10`.
It stands free from all parties, sects and creeds of men, while it seeks more and more to bring its every utterance into fullest subjection to the will of God in Christ, as expressed in the Holy Scriptures. It is thus free to declare boldly whatsoever the Lord hath spoken;--according to the divine wisdom granted unto us, to understand. Its attitude is not dogmatical, but confident; for we know whereof we affirm, treading with implicit faith upon the sure promises of God. It is held as a trust, to be used only in his service; hence our decisions relative to what may and what may not appear in its columns must be according to our judgment of his good pleasure, the teaching of his Word, for the upbuilding of his people in grace and knowledge. And we not only invite but urge our readers to prove all its utterances by the infallible Word to which reference is constantly made, to facilitate such testing.
TO US THE SCRIPTURES CLEARLY TEACH
That the Church is "the Temple of the Living God"--peculiarly "His
workmanship;" that its construction has been in progress throughout the
Gospel age--ever since Christ became the world's Redeemer and
the chief corner stone of this Temple, through which, when finished,
God's blessings shall come "to all people," and they find access to
him.--`1 Cor. 3:16,17`; `Eph. 2:20-22`; `Gen. 28:14`; `Gal. 3:29`. That meantime the chiseling, shaping and polishing, of consecrated believers
in Christ's atonement for sin, progresses; and when the last of these
"living stones," "elect and precious," shall have been made ready,
the great Master Workman will bring all together in the First Resurrection;
and the Temple shall be filled with his glory, and be the meeting
place between God and men throughout the Millennium.--`Rev. 15:5-8`. That the Basis of Hope, for the Church and the World, lies in the fact that
"Jesus Christ, by the grace of God, tasted death for every man," "a ransom
for all," and will be "the true light which lighteth every man that
cometh into the world," "in due time."--`Heb. 2:9`; `John 1:9`; `1 Tim. 2:5,6`. That the Hope of the Church is that she may be like her Lord, "see him
as he is," be "partaker of the divine nature," and share his glory as
his joint-heir.--`1 John 3:2`; `John 17:24`; `Rom. 8:17`; `2 Pet. 1:4`. That the present mission of the Church is the perfecting of the saints for
the future work of service; to develop in herself every grace; to be God's
witness to the world; and to prepare to be the kings and priests of the
next age.--`Eph. 4:12`; `Matt. 24:14`; `Rev. 1:6`; `20:6`. That the hope for the World lies in the blessings of knowledge and opportunity
to be brought to all by Christ's Millennial Kingdom--the restitution
of all that was lost in Adam, to all the willing and obedient, at the
hands of their Redeemer and his glorified Church.--`Acts 3:19-21`; `Isa. 35`. CHARLES T. RUSSELL, Editor; MRS. C. T. RUSSELL, Associate.
SUBSCRIPTIONS AND BUSINESS COMMUNICATIONS --ADDRESS TO-- TOWER PUBLISHING CO., BIBLE HOUSE, 58 & 60 ARCH ST., ALLEGHENY (NORTH PITTSBURG), PA., U.S.A.
SUBSCRIPTION PRICE, $1.00 A YEAR, IN ADVANCE, INCLUDES A SUBSCRIPTION TO "THE OLD THEOLOGY TRACTS"--QUARTERLY. MONEY MAY BE SENT BY EXPRESS, N.Y. DRAFT, MONEY ORDER, OR REGISTERED. FROM FOREIGN COUNTRIES BY FOREIGN MONEY ORDERS, ONLY. SPECIAL TERMS TO THE LORD'S POOR, AS FOLLOWS:
Those of the interested, who by reason of old age or accident, or other adversity are unable to pay for the TOWER will be supplied FREE, if they will send a Postal Card each December, stating their case and requesting the paper.
OUR NEW DRESS.
We trust that the new arrangement of the TOWER will meet the approval of its readers. It contains fewer pages, but more reading matter than formerly.
ACCEPTING GOD'S GIFTS GRATEFULLY.
There are many who cannot pay for their TOWER, during the year 1895, but who would be greatly disadvantaged if deprived of it. Such should notice our Terms to the Lord's Poor, above. It is a part of God's provision for your spiritual sustenance, and should be accepted, like all of his blessings, with thanksgiving. But people who are not too poor to buy tobacco and similar gratifications of the flesh, which war against the spirit, are not of the class for whom the offer is meant by the Lord and by us his stewards.
A GERMAN QUARTERLY.
Shall be pleased to hear, from those of the friends interested in circulating the truth amongst German Christians, their opinion respecting the advisability of a German periodical, Quarterly: How many subscriptions can be guaranteed to commence with, at the rate of say 10 cents per year, or twelve copies quarterly for $1.00, or seventy-five copies quarterly for $5.00, sent post free to any address you may send.
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POEMS AND HYMNS OF DAWN.
This volume contains a very choice selection of 150 Poems and 333 Hymns, purged, we trust, from much of the too common, erroneous, hymn-book theology: 494 pages, good print, cloth binding only. It is the Gospel of the Kingdom in verse, by the pens of many of God's dear saints of all centuries. It is a companion to MILLENNIAL DAWN, and sells at the same price as the cloth-bound volumes. It is designed to lead the mind aright in meditation and worship.
ALLEGHENY CHURCH MEETINGS.
Our meetings are held in Bible House Chapel, Arch st., Allegheny, Pa. Friends will be warmly welcomed. Preaching every Sunday at 3:30 P.M.
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VIEWS FROM THE TOWER.
ZION'S WATCH TOWER extends to its readers, one and all--Best Wishes for the Year 1895. It may, and no doubt will, have its storms, its difficulties, its trials: such experiences our Lord advises us are necessary to the development in us of character. What the effect of the trial will be lies with each of us to decide for himself. We may permit them to discourage us so that we would give up the race for the prize set before us in the gospel; or we may grow stronger and more Christ-like as the result of those experiences. Which will it be with us?
It may be a year of profitable progress in the knowledge and service of our Lord and Redeemer, and of helpfulness to the fellow-members of his body, or it may be marked by increasing confusion and uncertainty--darkness --concerning things once clearly seen and greatly rejoiced in and a time of confusing the minds and stumbling the faith of others.
Which course do we choose, and with what degree of positiveness do we make our choice, at this, the beginning of this new year? Much of our comfort, joy and peace and usefulness in the Lord's service depends on our decision. It was so last year: it was one of increase or else one of decrease in spiritual knowledge, strength and usefulness. It is so with every year,--yes, with every week and every day.
Of course no one will decide to go into darkness and away from the Lord and the Truth. The test is a more crucial one than that. The question is will we take and keep the path that leads nearer and nearer to the Lord, and be permitted more and more fellowship with him, a fuller and fuller knowledge of the minutiae of the great plan of the ages which he is out-working, and a greater share in that work with the great Chief-Reaper, or will we allow self-interest or self-conceit or ambition or spiritual sloth or the cares of this life to turn us aside from the path of full consecration which our Master trod and in which we have pledged ourselves to follow, in his footsteps.
The right path is still the "narrow path" of self-abasement and self-denial--the path of meekness and humility: and it will require as much effort and grace to walk it this year as last, or possibly more; for the more we grow in grace and knowledge, the stronger will be the temptations to be boastful, puffed up, heady, high-minded; and the higher we climb in faith and hope and love and activity in the Lord's service, the more the great Adversary will oppose our progress, and the more his emissaries will slander, backbite, and generally seek to injure us. "Beware of dogs."--`Phil. 3:2`.
But this is only one side of the matter; for, while the more exposed to Satan's attacks and to severer tests of our hope, faith and love, as we go onward in our narrow way, we will have increasing spiritual joys, peace beyond compare, and will be enabled to rejoice even in trials and tribulations, knowing that these are working out for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. We will be enabled to endure, as seeing him that is invisible, as being upheld and led by his hand. We will have the promise of his presence in every trouble, and that he will never leave us nor forsake us; and that all things (even the seeming evils of life) he is able and willing to over-rule for our highest good;--because we love God and his way and his plan more than self and self's ways--because we are called according to his purpose and have accepted the call, are in sympathy with its object and are seeking so far as in us lies to walk worthy of the Lord and his high calling, and thus to make our calling and election sure.
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Beloved, let us each and all silently pledge ourselves afresh, to the Lord, that, by his grace assisting, this year, 1895, shall be started aright, in humility and with loving zeal for Him and his people and his truth: and that, his grace still assisting us, the year to its very close shall be one of onward and upward effort and progress in the knowledge and likeness (graces) and services of our Redeemer-King.
THE SOCIAL VIEW.
E. V. Debbs, President of the American Railway Union, has been found guilty of Contempt of Court in connection with the railroad strike and attendant rioting in and near Chicago last summer. His sentence is, Imprisonment for six months. Seven other officers of the same union shared the sentence to the extent of three months.
Our remarks are regardless entirely of the justice of the case, when we say that the effect will be to help widen the breach between Labor and Capital. Labor will surely conclude that it should have liberty to accomplish its ends, even though blood should flow, business be prostrated and all other men inconvenienced. And they will, of course, regard the Judge who gave the sentence as a tool of Capital, and the laws under which he acted and ruled as made in the interest of railroads, even though it could be shown that the laws existed before railroads were dreamed of. As respect for law and its representatives dies, anarchistic ideas will flourish; for however fallen and degraded men are, they have respect for justice. This idea, therefore, that they are subjects of unjust laws and unjust decisions, is at the foundation of the growing unrest amongst the masses. They will even admit the injustice of their own course in interfering with the rights of others; but they will claim that they are merely fighting injustice with injustice.
The fact is that machinery, invention and general intelligence have brought in new conditions to which the laws of the past, however reasonable in their day, are no longer adapted; and it is a fear and despair for the future that is goading many unwillingly to violation of laws which they admit contain wisdom and justice, but which are inadequate to the relief of present conditions.
Capital fears, but, unwilling to lose increment, hopes. It vainly hopes that labor has been taught a lesson to right their wrongs, or fancied disadvantages, by some other means than stopping commerce and destroying property. It does not stop to arrange matters, and to fix a proper relief, a safety-valve. It says, Let Labor look out for itself. It will watch its own interests: it keeps us busy to mind our own business. It does not wisely foresee that it will require much less to drive the majority to despair and to bring an explosion today than at any previous time when the masses were less intelligent, their wants fewer and their contentment greater.
Thus all things are moving onward toward the grand catastrophe pointed out in the Scriptures as the close of this dispensation and the preparation for the next and better one under our prince Immanuel.
The coal mines at Monthieux, France, once operated by a stock company which experienced much trouble in dealing with its workmen, were finally turned over to its workmen free of charge. After a struggle the mine has
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gotten to a paying basis, and now requires additional hands. The additional men were not granted a share in the mine, but were hired as wage-workers, and are surprised that their fellows so soon learned to be capitalists. Riots ensued and the laboring capitalists were forced to apply to the police for aid. So says the Hanoverische Courier.
Alas! how differently people can reason under different circumstances. And so long as selfishness rules the heart, it will be so. The only remedy for unbalanced minds on all such subjects is the writing in the heart of the divine law of Love. This will bring "the spirit of a sound mind," and enable those who possess it to think soberly and reasonably, and to look not every man upon his own interest, but also upon the interests of others.
THE RELIGIOUS VIEW.
The Catholic journals are in great glee over the fact that a Roman Catholic priest was recently invited by Dr. Briggs and the faculty in general of Union Theological Seminary (Presbyterian) to preach before its students and professors. The Catholic Mirror assures its readers:
"Nothing could be more gratifying to Father Doyle than the reception he was accorded at the theological seminary. Professors and students received him with true brotherly warmth. He was accompanied by Father O'Callaghan (who recently had the distinction of preaching before Harvard University students) and Father O'Keefe. This line of light along our religious horizon is a most comforting sign."
Dr. Briggs, in introducing the speaker, said some things very pleasant to Catholic ears, and hoped that the reunion between Catholics and Protestants was not far distant.
Religious and secular journals, Catholic and Protestant, are discussing the possibility of reunion, and the Protestant Episcopal Church, it is thought, will be invited from Rome ere long, and many think it will readily accept the invitation. We do not share this opinion. To us the Scriptures indicate that the Church of England will unite with the other Protestant churches, or they with her, and that federated together they will fraternize, but not unite, with Papacy.
The thirty-first article of the Anglican confession avers:--
"Wherefore the sacrifices of masses, in which it was commonly said that the priest did offer up Christ, to have remission of pain or guilt, were blasphemous fables and dangerous deceits."
Even aside from the Scriptures we should reason that very many intelligent Protestants could never accept all of Rome's doctrines. And Rome dare not change them; for her chief claim is infallibility.
The New Theology has broken out afresh amongst the Baptist. Its leader is Rev. A. H. Strong, D.D., president
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of Rochester Theological Seminary. Of course he has peculiar ideas, which are "original," if not patented. His views have a strong coloring of Buddhism and Theosophy. Indeed, the Doctor announces himself as a Monist, and he does not scruple to claim that literature, theology and philosophy all evince the overwhelming drift of modern thought toward the views which he has himself finally espoused as the true theology. He declares:--
"It is not too much to say that the Monistic philosophy, in its various forms, holds at present undisputed sway in our American Universities. Harvard and Yale, Brown and Cornell, Princeton and Rochester, Toronto and Ann Arbor, Boston and Chicago, are all teaching it.
"It is of great importance, both to the preacher and to the Christian, to hold the right attitude toward the ruling idea of our time. This universal tendency toward Monism --is it a wave of unbelief, set agoing by an evil intelligence, in order to overwhelm and swamp the religion of Christ? Or is it a mighty movement of the Spirit of God, giving to thoughtful men, all unconsciously to themselves, a deeper understanding of truth, and preparing the way for the reconciliation of diverse creeds and parties by disclosing their hidden ground of unity?
"I confess that I have come to believe the latter alternative to be possibly, and even probably, the correct one; and I am inclined to welcome the new philosophy as a most valuable helper in interpreting the Word and works of God. Monism is, without much doubt, the philosophy of the future, and the only question would seem to be whether it shall be an ethical and Christian, or a nonethical and anti-Christian, Monism.
"If we refuse to recognize this new movement of thought, and to capture it for Christ, we may find that materialism and pantheism perversely launch their craft upon the tide and compel it to further their progress. Let us tentatively accept the monistic principle, and give to it a certain Christian interpretation. Let us not be found fighting against God. Let us use the new light that is given us, as a means of penetrating more deeply into the meaning of Scripture. Let us see in this forward march of thought a sign that Christ and his Kingdom are conquering and to conquer."
How remarkable that a man of learning, nay, that nearly all the men of learning, are being duped by Satan either into spiritism or into theosophic-monism, its sister error. It calls to our minds the words of the Lord that, If it were possible they would deceive the very elect; the Apostle's words, "Who shall be able to stand?" and the Prophet's words, "Who may abide the day of his coming? for he shall be as a refiner's fire and as fuller's soap." The fully consecrated only will stand; and they, not because of their own superior wisdom, but because, being humble minded and wise toward God, they seek that wisdom which cometh from above--the Word of God.
Dr. Strong, like Dr. Briggs and all "new theology" people, speaks respectfully of the Bible while he criticizes it, and thereby will do far more harm than if he openly denied its teachings, as he does in fact. They know very well that the Bible is opposed to their theories, but they also know that an open attack upon it would be as unpopular as Mr. Ingersoll's course.
The new Chicago University, under Baptist patronage, was known to be far advanced toward agnosticism; but they had regarded the Rochester institution, of which Dr. Strong is the head, as very staunch. This deflection will carry with it hundreds of Baptist ministers and thousands of Baptist church members; for there are always many so anxious to be considered wide-awake and advanced that they will strive to be in the front rank of any thing headed by a notable man, and which they think likely to become popular.
Thus the "harvest sifting" progresses--in all denominations. The falling of these "stars," while it will influence the majority, will awaken the true children of God to greater thought and freedom and study. Thus the sickle of truth is separating "wheat" from "tares."
As usual, the denial of the ransom is one of the first steps in the new departure. Dr. Strong remarks concerning the atonement, that the sufferings of Christ for sin began away back at the time when Adam sinned. Hence he cannot have faith in the ransom taught in the Scriptures --"a corresponding price"--the death of the man Christ Jesus for, and to secure the release from the death sentence of Adam and all in Adam when he was condemned. The Scripture teaching is that our Redeemer was made flesh, that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man.--`Heb. 2:9`.
THE DECADENCE OF RELIGIOUS FAITH IN GERMANY.
While we have frequently called attention to the fact that Protestantism is no longer a protest against the great Papal counterfeit of true Christianity, it is worthy of note that Germany, the home of Luther and the Great Reformation of the sixteenth century, is fast sinking into open and avowed infidelity.
Many theological Professors in the schools of Germany have not only themselves become unbelievers, but through their writings have scattered wide the seeds of error and skepticism; and it is largely from these writings that many of the so-called "higher critics" of this and other lands draw their arguments against the accuracy and authority of the sacred Scriptures.
It is said by Mr. Cooper, a liberal German, that "Critics in search of a reputation are unable to find a book of the New Testament on whose authority they can make an original assault." The statement is current that the number of persons in Germany who disclaim all religion is fourteen times as great as it was in 1871.
A gentleman who has recently been traveling in Germany, in correspondence with the Lutheran Observer, says, that in Berlin, out of a population of 1,600,000, there are less than 60,000 church sittings in the entire city. In Wittenberg, the home of Luther, a city of 16,000 inhabitants, "for decades only one church has been open, and about four hundred people attend there." In Hamburg it is said that out of a population of 400,000 only 5,000 attend public worship. Dr. Stocker, the German Court preacher, published in his own journal the following:--
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"With few exceptions the academically educated German is alienated from the Christian faith. The amount of ancient culture and scientific knowledge which he must take in during the gymnasial time, without a sufficient counterbalance in the world of Christian and national thought leads the German mind, if it be not restrained by special influences, to free thinking and indifference. The discontented condition of our whole public life has its chief cause
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in this. Even upon our national relations, such false culture confuses and ungermanizes. In the Church it has wrought irreparable devastation."
Professor Scott, of the Chicago Theological Seminary, who has had extensive opportunity for observation in Germany, in a recent address said:--
"Germany is probably sinking in immorality and crime more rapidly than any other nation in Europe. In some of the cities half the births are illegitimate. In ten years saloons have increased by fifty per cent, and the people are fast becoming sodden with their immoderate beer-drinking."
While such is the religious situation in the land of the Reformation, the social and political conditions are consequently such as to awaken fearful forebodings of an ultimate reign of terror, such as France witnessed a century ago. To such an extent are socialistic and anarchistic sentiments prevailing, that the aid of Papacy, from whose tyranny they fled in the days of Luther, is now being courted in view of the greater evils of impending anarchy. Surely this is the time of "distress of nations."
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"THIS IS THE WAY."
"And thine ears shall hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it, when ye turn to the right hand, and when ye turn to the left."--`Isa. 30:21`.
HOW often in the midst of life's perplexities and trials have weary hearts felt the need of wise direction and counsel. The counsel sought, however, is not always wise: sometimes it is the counsel of the ungodly and sinners; and sometimes that of the immature and inexperienced, and the results of such counsel are unsatisfactory and often disastrous, and the way pursued in consequence one of trouble and darkness. Such is the way of the world; for it is not in the power of man to direct his own steps. (`Jer. 10:25`.) But not so is the way of the child of God. He has learned where to seek counsel, and the counsel of wisdom is always ready to come to his aid.
The Prophet describes it as a word, a voice, "behind thee." It is not a voice before thee, of some new theology --of Evolution, or Spiritism, or Christian Science, or other human philosophy--but it is the old theology with all its blessed doctrines of hope through Christ our Redeemer and Lord, our Teacher, our Example and our Leader. It is the voice of the Lord uttered through his inspired apostles and prophets from two to four thousand years ago. It is to this Word of divine inspiration, then, that the prophet would direct the attention of all those desiring wise counsel; and in that Word we hear the voice of God, saying, "This is the way, walk ye in it." If we have come to the forks of the road--to some crisis in our experience--and know not whether to turn to the right or to the left, we should stop at once and listen to the voice. Or, in other words, we should turn at once to the Word of the Lord, and by pondering its precepts and principles and its illustrations bearing on the perplexing subject, seek to learn the will of the Lord, asking also the leading of his spirit and endeavoring to bring the mind into a loving, submissive and trustful attitude. "This is the way, walk ye in it," will be the plain answer to every such inquiring heart.
These words of the Prophet were, however, addressed directly to fleshly Israel, though their application to spiritual Israel is none the less forcible. As applied to them it foretells the return of divine favor to them when the long season of their chastisement and blindness shall be at an end. Then, under the Millennial reign of Christ, the blind eyes shall be opened and the deaf ears shall be unstopped and the voice of the whole inspired Word, then made clear to their understanding, will direct them in the right ways of the Lord; for the books (the law and the prophets and the New Testament Scriptures) shall be opened, and they shall be judged according to their teaching.--`Rev. 20:12`.
The way then indicated to fleshly Israel and to all the world will be a grand highway of holiness; and the ransomed of the Lord shall go up thereon with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads (`Isa. 35:10`); and the end of that way will be life and peace,--salvation to the uttermost, from sin and death, and complete restitution to human perfection.
While the way of life will be made very clear to Israel and the world in the age to come, it is made none the less clear now to the children of God who walk by faith and not by sight. It is shown to be (1) a way of faith; and those who now walk by faith are the true seed of Abraham (`Rom. 4:12-16`), to whom pertain the covenant and the exceeding great and precious promises in their largest fulfilment. (2) It is a way of entire consecration to God, even unto death, which implies the burial of one's own will into the will of God--the presenting of self a living sacrifice.
In harmony with these two principles--of faith and consecration--we are taught to walk, in newness of life, not after the flesh, but after the spirit; not as other Gentiles walk in the vanity of their mind, but circumspectly and not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time; and not by sight, but by faith.--`Rom. 6:4`; `8:1`; `Eph. 4:17,18`; `5:15,16`; `2 Cor. 5:7`.
By faith and consecration we have come into a new life as spiritual sons of God, and yet we have this treasure in earthen vessels and the new life is only in its embryo
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condition. Hence the necessity of walking after the spiritual instincts of the new nature and keeping down the stronger impulses of the old nature. This is what it is to walk in newness of life, after the spirit, and not after the flesh. To walk after the flesh is to pursue its hopes, aims and ambitions; and since the flesh and the spirit are at war one with the other, it is impossible to maintain the life of both. Therefore, it is written, "If ye [spirit-begotten ones] live after the flesh, ye shall die; but if ye, through the spirit do mortify [put to death] the deeds of the body, ye shall live."--`Rom. 8:13`.
While the Word of the Lord speaks thus on general principles as to the way in which we should walk, we are also bidden to come with all the minor affairs of life, to inquire of these divine oracles. If we know not whether to turn to the right or to the left, we come and find the promise, "Commit thy way unto the Lord, and he will direct thy steps." Or, if heavy laden, we find the promise, "Come unto me, all ye that are weary and heavy laden, and I will give you rest." Thus the voice behind brings comfort, peace and rest in the midst of all life's cares and trials, if we walk in obedience to its principles and precepts. "And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God."
PRAY WITHOUT CEASING.
UNANSWERED yet, the prayer your lips have pleaded
In agony of heart these many years?
Does faith begin to fail, is hope declining,
And think you all in vain those falling tears?
Say not the Father has not heard your prayer,
You shall have your desire, sometime, somewhere!
Unanswered yet? Tho' when you first presented
This one petition at the Father's throne,
It seemed you could not wait the time of asking,
So anxious was your heart to have it done:
If years have passed since then, do not despair;
For God will answer you sometime, somewhere.
Unanswered yet? But you are not unheeded;
The promises of God forever stand;
To him our days and years alike are equal.
Have faith in God! It is your Lord's command.
Hold on to Jacob's angel, and your prayer
Shall bring a blessing down sometime, somewhere.
Unanswered yet? Nay, do not say unanswered;
Perhaps your part is not yet wholly done.
The work began when first your prayer was uttered;
And God will finish what he has begun.
Keep incense burning at the shrine of prayer,
And glory shall descend, sometime, somewhere.
Unanswered yet? Faith cannot be unanswered;
Her feet are firmly planted on the Rock.
Amid the wildest storms she stands undaunted,
Nor quails before the loudest thunder shock.
She knows Omnipotence has heard her prayer,
And cries, "It shall be done," sometime, somewhere.
--Mrs. F. G. Burroughs.
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ON TRIAL FOR LIFE.
"For if ye live after the flesh, ye shall die; but if ye, through the spirit, do mortify the deeds of the body, ye shall live." --`Rom. 8:13`.--
THERE is no intimation in this scripture of a second probation for any of those addressed: the words were spoken and written for those who, in the present existence, are on trial for life. It does not say, If ye live after the flesh, ye shall have another trial; neither does it say, Ye shall be punished with eternal torments; but it does speak of a present probation, the issue of which shall be either life, or death--the extinction of life, cessation of existence.
Neither does the text say anything about faith in the atoning sacrifice of Christ as a requisite to salvation: it says nothing whatever about what we believe or do not believe, but simply and only about how we live. Shall we, therefore, spring to the conclusion, as many do, that it teaches that it makes no difference what we believe if we only live righteously? By no means; and those who consider it to be in conflict with either the doctrine of restitution (the Millennial age of judgment or trial for the world) or the ransom, or who have failed to observe its contradiction of the theory of eternal torment, have taken but a shallow observation of the Apostle's teaching, and in fact have lost its entire force.
Not noticing that the words are addressed to the Church, and not to the world, the heedless Christian applies the admonition to the world, and allows it to lose its force upon himself. This is the very reverse of the Apostle's intention: he is talking to the saints, to consecrated believers in the redemption, who have been begotten of the holy Spirit and become new creatures in Christ Jesus. (`Rom. 8:1-8`.) And it is for this reason that he says nothing here about faith in the ransom, that being conceded; nor about the Millennial age of trial, because those addressed are on trial now, and their trial will be over and their reward obtained before the world comes into judgment. --`1 Cor. 6:2`.
The warning, therefore, is not at all applicable to the world, but is full of solemn import to the Church--to the consecrated believers, new creatures in Christ Jesus, who, having been begotten of the holy Spirit, have now a spiritual nature, the old human nature having been consecrated to death. Such, having solemnly covenanted with God to present their bodies--their human nature--a living sacrifice (which was acceptable through Christ, and therefore accepted
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of him), and to henceforth live after the spirit, are not at liberty now either to annul that covenant, or to ignore it. They cannot claim again that (redeemed human nature) to which, by their covenant, they have given up all right, claim and title. And if they endeavor to do so, either by ignoring or despising their covenant, they thereby forfeit their claim to the new, spiritual nature, which can only be attained by faithfulness to the covenant of sacrifice, even unto death.
It is therefore logically manifest, even if the Apostle had not said it, that if we, consecrated believers, turn back again to live after the flesh, we shall die; that for us to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace. (`Rom. 8:6`.) Our Lord's words in `Matt. 16:24,25` are to the same effect--"Whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it."
An important question then is, What is it to live after the flesh? We answer, It is to live after, or in conformity to, and in gratification of, the inclinations and cravings of the fallen human nature. And it is the easiest thing possible to do this. All we have to do is just listlessly to abandon ourselves to the current of our old nature, and cease to strive against it. As soon as we do this, we begin to float down the stream, and by and by we find the current more and more rapid and resistance more and more difficult.
The death to which our text points as the inevitable end of such a course, is manifestly the "second" death. We were redeemed from the first death and then placed on trial for eternal life, and in the event of failure, the loss of that new life will be the second death,--from which there can be no redemption and no deliverance.
The Apostle defines the works of the flesh thus (`Gal. 5:19-21`) --"Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these,--Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revelings and such like." What moral filth and pollution this describes; but such is the tendency of the fallen human nature. Just cease to strive against the old nature, and presently some of these noxious weeds will be flourishing and crowding out the good that remains.
"Ah, well," says one, "I have not all those mean qualities." Well, we are glad you have not: very few people have all of them; but beware, you may not know what manner of spirit you are of. Be sure that your old nature is not without an inherited and perhaps a formerly cultivated bias in some of these directions. Watch and pray against them, that ye enter not into temptation.
On the other hand, consider the blessed fruits of the spirit (`Gal. 5:22,23`), which are "love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance. Against such there is no law." To live in the cultivation of these graces is to "live in the spirit." And "if we live in the spirit, let us also walk in the spirit"--make progress in the spiritual life. "Walk in the spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lusts of the flesh; for the flesh lusteth against the spirit, and spirit against the flesh; and these are contrary the one to the other."--`Gal. 5:25,16`.
Thus the Christian life is of necessity a warfare, a battle, between the new and the old natures, a hand to hand conflict which we dare not relinquish; for, not only is the prize of our high calling dependent upon it, but also the issues of life and death are in it. How solemn a thing is it, therefore, to live under these circumstances; for daily and hourly we stand before the bar of judgment. The words of our text have no application to the world now, but to us who are now on trial: If we live after the flesh, we shall die; but if through the spirit we do mortify [put to death, refuse to gratify] the deeds of the body [the tendencies of the old nature], we shall live." And all who are truly the sons of God will do this: "for," says the Apostle (`verse 14`), "as many as are led by the spirit of God, they are the sons of God." If we wilfully refuse the leading of God's spirit, we forfeit the relationship of sons; if we listlessly disregard it, we endanger that relationship, and as surely as we are sons we shall receive chastisement for our correction and discipline.
But while we should be very grateful for the chastening, restraining hand of the Lord which thus helps to keep us in the straight and narrow way in which the spirit of God leads his own, we should be very careful to require just as little of it as possible. "If we would judge ourselves, we would not be judged of the Lord" and chastened. (`1 Cor. 11:31,32`.) But, nevertheless, with the most careful and prayerful watching against the uprisings of the old will of the flesh, we will doubtless make some missteps and need some of the Lord's chastening; for, says the Apostle (`Heb. 12:5-12`), "What son is he whom the Father chasteneth not? If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons, but if ye be without chastisement whereof all are partakers, then are ye bastards and not sons; for whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. Let us, therefore, not forget the exhortation which speaketh unto us as unto children, My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord, nor faint when thou art rebuked of him."
In the difficult course before us, and in view of all the dangers that beset it, how blessed is the promise that our Heavenly Father is ever willing to give the holy spirit to them that ask him, and the assurance also that if we be filled with the spirit we shall not fulfil the lusts of the flesh. How necessary is it, therefore, to live near the fountain of divine grace, to pray without ceasing--especially in these last times when our great adversary is so active and so cunning in his devices to deceive and lead astray the Lord's people.
The words of the poet are most appropriate to every one at this particular time--
"Leave no unguarded place,
No weakness of the soul;
Take every virtue, every grace,
And fortify the whole."
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JOHN THE BAPTIST BEHEADED.
I. QUAR., LESSON I., JAN. 6, `MARK 6:17-29`.
Golden Text--"Fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul." --`Matt. 10:28`.--
JOHN the baptist was the last of the prophets, and the greatest, in that the special favor was granted to him of being the forerunner and introducer of the Messiah. Aside from his privilege in this respect and his faithfulness in the position to which he was called, we see in the man a most worthy and beautiful character. He was self-sacrificing and devoted to God--willing to fare on locusts and wild honey, to be clothed in coarse clothing and to make his abode in the desert, because the special service to which he was called required such conditions.
Then when the multitudes, drawn by the power of God manifested in him, came to him from every quarter, and he became very popular, never did he seem lifted up with pride and vanity. Even when the Son of God came to be baptized of him, instead of becoming vain under such an honor, he shrank from the task, saying, "I have need to be baptized of thee, and comest thou to me?" No thought of envy or self-exaltation seems to have entered his mind. He was willing that his glory should be totally eclipsed by the presence of the one greater than he--his cousin according to the flesh--yet whose shoe's latchet he declared himself unworthy to loose. "He must increase," said he, "but I must decrease;" and while the fame of Jesus was being noised abroad, the worthy prophet soon found himself within the confines of a prison dungeon where he was cruelly beheaded, as the world's reward for his faithfulness to his mission.
And his disciples, who had become the disciples of Jesus, hearing of it, came and took his body and buried it, and went and told Jesus. No doubt, the Lord sympathized with the sadness of the occasion, and groaned in spirit as he did at the grave of Lazarus,--because the time for the powers of darkness to work had not yet come to an end, and until it does those that live godly shall suffer persecution; and often, as also in his own case subsequently, even unto death. Evidently John's course was finished. He had fulfilled his mission and proved his worthiness of a distinguished place in the earthly phase of the Kingdom of God. Consequently there was no effort on the Lord's part to interfere with, or to influence, the powers of darkness that for a year restrained John's liberty and finally took his life.
While the Lord never in any way interfered with the course of this world, either to instruct, reprove or overpower, but confined his ministry in all these respects to Israel, the course of John in boldly and openly reproving the king, who was not an Israelite, but a Gentile and a godless and wicked tyrant, was in marked contrast. We are at a loss to account for this contrast, and for the seeming lack of wisdom on John's part in this matter, until we call to mind the typical character of John to which attention has already been called. (See M. DAWN, VOL. II., Chap. VIII.) In this view of the matter we see King Herod as the representative of the world power of the present time, Herodias, his unlawful wife, as the representative or type of the ecclesiastical powers of Christendom now seeking and longing for union with, and the co-operation of, the civil powers. Such is to be the result of the present movements in both civil and ecclesiastical circles for closer bonds of sympathy and co-operation. John, as we have shown, was a striking type of the true Church in the "harvest" or end of this age. We, like John, must stand aloof from all those whose cry is, "A confederacy, a confederacy!" (`Isa. 8:11-13`); and by our teaching and example declare unlawful the proposed and sure to come union between church and civil government.
The type is a striking one, and the fulfilment thus far is none the less so; but carried to its end it gives to the faithful overcoming Church a premonition of the approaching final test of faithfulness. As the course of John incurred the wrath of the infamous woman who ruled the king and thereby accomplished John's beheading, so the course of the John class--the true Church--will incur the wrath of the antitype. And the culmination of that wrath will doubtless bring about the dark night foretold by the Lord and the prophet, and typified by John's imprisonment (`John 9:4`; `Isa. 21:12`), wherein no man can labor in the great "harvest" work. And as John never emerged from that prison, save to enter the deeper dungeon of the grave from whence God will in due time bring him forth to power and glory, so when the coming night imprisons and fetters the faithful elect, the only deliverance they can hope for will be through the depths of the valley of the shadow of death into the glorious Kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, whose they are and whom they serve.
For an explanation of the `golden text` see our issue of Feb. 1893--"What saith the Scriptures about Hell."
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FEEDING THE FIVE THOUSAND.
I. QUAR., LESSON II., JAN. 13, `MARK 6:30-44`.
Parallel Accounts--`Matt. 14:13-21`; `Luke 9:10-17`; `John 6:1-14`.
Golden Text--"He hath filled the hungry with good things."--`Luke 1:53`.
SOMEWHAT previous to the martyrdom of John the baptist, the Lord had sent his disciples out to preach the gospel of the Kingdom in the villages of Galilee, himself going also. The news of John's death and the possible effect upon their work of this sudden outburst of royal wrath seems to have brought them all together again to take counsel of the Lord. It was quite possible that the persecution might extend to the disciples of John and to Jesus whom he had baptized and introduced. Or, on the other hand, there was danger of a revolt against the government which had thus outraged the public sense of honor and decency; for John was generally regarded as a great prophet: and such a revolt might tend to the immediate advancement of Jesus to the kingly office; for his fame had spread abroad throughout the nation, and indeed throughout the world.--`Matt. 4:23,24`; `Luke 4:14,15,37`; `5:15`; `Mark 6:33`; `Matt. 14:1`; `9:26,31`.
Doubtless it was in view of these considerations, as well as of the necessity, on the part of his disciples for rest and spiritual refreshment from himself, that Jesus counselled their retirement with him to a rural retreat beyond the dominions of Herod, where they might rest awhile.
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Just so the Lord would have all his disciples come to him for counsel and for rest and refreshment. "He never asks of us such busy labor as finds no time for resting at his feet." Nor would he have us rest too long when other weary hearts are waiting for our ministries of love and consolation. His invitation is, not to the listless and idle, but to the active souls--"Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest"--rest in the midst of your cares and trials and perplexities, a sweet rest of mind, and peace, which the world with all its delusive charms can never give, nor with all its sin and woe can ever take away.
In this case the season of retirement continued only until their boat landed on the opposite shore of the sea of Galilee, where about five thousand men, besides women and children (`Matt. 14:21`), awaited the Lord's ministry. Then came refreshment of their faith, the inspiring of their zeal and the revival of their hopes as they heard the Master's gracious words to the multitudes and witnessed his miracles of healing (`Matt. 14:14`) and finally the great miracle of feeding the whole multitude to their satisfaction on the five loaves and two fishes, so marvelously increased that twelve baskets of fragments were gathered after they had been fed.
While the chief object of the miracle was doubtless to reinforce and establish the faith of the apostles, its secondary object and actual effect upon the multitudes was very similar; for they said, "This is of a truth that prophet that should come into the world." But "when Jesus perceived that they would come and take him by force to make him king, he departed again into a mountain himself alone." (`John 6:14,15`.) The Lord afterward on another occasion (`Matt. 16:9,10`) sought to further impress upon the minds of his apostles the lesson of faith which this miracle was given to establish in them specially.
It is further worthy of notice that the Lord's miracles of feeding and of healing were performed, not upon his consecrated disciples, but upon others. His followers having covenanted to share with him in the work of sacrifice, might therefore, like him, avail themselves only of the natural means of recuperation, relinquishing all right, claim and title to all restitution privileges. When Christ was weary, he rested (`John 4:6`); when he was hungry, he partook of food, and never in any case worked a miracle for his own present benefit, nor for his disciples. (`Matt. 4:2-4`; `2 Cor. 12:8-10`.) The disciples also followed his example (`1 Tim. 5:23`), any other course being inconsistent with their covenant.
The `golden text` is a part of the prophetic utterance of Elizabeth in her salutation of Mary prior to the birth of Christ. It has reference to the restitution blessings to be granted to all the meek of the earth through the Millennial reign of Christ. As in many other prophecies, the standpoint of the future is taken and the things are spoken of as accomplished facts. For examples of this method see `Isa. 9:6`; `Rom. 4:17`.
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CHRIST THE BREAD OF LIFE.
I. QUAR., LESSON III., JAN. 20, `John 6:25-35`.
Golden Text--"He gave them bread from heaven to eat."--`John 6:31`.
AFTER the miracle of the feeding of the five thousand, and the manifested disposition of the people to take him by force to make him a king, Jesus, knowing that such was not the Father's plan, withdrew from the multitude and even from his disciples, sending them in advance of him to Capernaum, while he retired to the mountain alone for a season of communion with God. Possibly his human nature felt the force of the temptation to accept of present advancement and at once enter upon the work of blessing the world, instead of pursuing the long and tedious purpose of God. It was a repetition of the temptation in the wilderness, and he doubtless needed the reinforcement of divine grace through prayer and communion with God. And if our Lord needed frequent seasons of such communion, how much more do we, his followers. Let us remember his words, "Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation."
Before the day dawned, the Lord improved another opportunity to impress upon his disciples the lesson of his divine anointing. Walking upon the waves of a stormy sea, he bade them trust him, saying, "It is I, be not afraid."
The day following proved how eager and excited the people were over the power of Jesus manifested among them; for multitudes had taken shipping and gone to Capernaum seeking for him. Their seeking him, however, was not from a clear apprehension of his divine credentials, but rather from curiosity and probably an increasing determination to push him forward to the ruling position, from which they presumed he shrank merely from a sense of modesty.
`Verses 26,27`. The Lord read their thoughts and sought to draw their attention away from the mere facts of his miracles to the lessons which they and all Israel should have learned from them; viz., that they were the divine testimonials to his Messiahship, the seals of God, whereby they might know him, and that therefore they should believe on him and become his disciples and followers.
`Verses 28,29`. To their question, "What shall we do that we might work the works of God"--the works that would please God--he replied that the work most pleasing and acceptable to God would be their exercise of faith in him, as the one whom God had sent in fulfilment of his promise to their fathers. Thus the Lord indicated the importance of a right faith. Many to-day ask the same question, hoping to please God by their works, and underrating the importance of faith. Such a course is contrary to the Lord's teaching: first get the faith rightly established in Christ; receive him into the heart, and then out of the heart filled with his spirit will flow words and deeds pleasing to God. Without faith--the faith inspired by the divine Word--it is impossible to please God.
`Verses 30-36`. In their unbelief the quibbling multitude began to draw a comparison between the miracle which Jesus had worked in their midst and the more extensive miracle of feeding all Israel in the wilderness with manna from heaven; and they demanded a similar sign. But no such gratification was granted them: they had sufficient evidence upon which to found faith had they been so disposed, and upon that evidence Jesus founded his claim and declared himself the bread of life--the manna sent down from heaven, the bread of life for all Israel and the world as well. This gift of God, this bread from heaven, was a greater miracle than the feeding with manna in the wilderness.
Those who partake of this manna, he declared, should never die. Though they sleep (in the Adamic death), they shall not be hurt of the eternal death (the Second Death) from which there shall be no resurrection.
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SELECTIONS FOR THE FAMILY CIRCLE.
"THE INELEGANCE OF HURRY."
There is an idea prevalent that to be in a hurry is a sign of importance, of large business and large achievements. It is a serious mistake. An experienced person always mistrusts the man who hurries, for he fails in emergencies. Serenity of mind and leisurely action are necessary to fine work of any kind. It is in leisure that the mind assimilates best.
Scipio Africanus declared, "I am never less at leisure than when at leisure." A rare bit of wisdom of which all reflective minds know the value. If we admit this as true, the inelegance of a hurried manner has the best of reasons. It is wasteful, inconsistent with the finest action, and is caused by a man losing control of himself, and suggests an uneasy, indecisive mind.
A distinction, however, should be recognized between activity and excited hurry, and between slowness and self-possession. Activity with self-possession is the desirable condition.
TROUBLES MADE BEAUTIFUL.
Most of the shells of the oyster are pearly in the interior; and as the true pearls are merely morbid growths, they may all produce pearls of various qualities. The formation of pearls is caused by the introduction of irritating substances, such as grains of sand, between the mantle and the shell. The irritation causes the animal to cover the obnoxious object with layers of pearl, which generally attach the foreign body to the interior of the shell. The Chinese produce pearls artificially by placing substances in the position just described; and we have seen some shells to the interior of which small metal images were attached by this pearly secretion.
When we look at a pearl, we look at an annoyance which has been ennobled. The oyster by itself is of merely nominal value. But the result of the oyster's own treatment of its irritation--the pearl--is something "of great price." Apart from its pecuniary worth this gem has a moral significance. It suggests that troubles may be made beautiful, and reminds us that amongst mankind some martyrs are more remembered for the glory with which they invested their sorrows than for any other portion of their lives. Biography has its moral pearls, which are treasured long after the creators of them have perished, just as material pearls are valued long years after the oysters have been discarded.
There are men who have strong and laudable desires to serve the Lord, and who fervently pray for his glory; but he does not always seem to hear their prayers. There are various reasons for this. Sometimes men are unfit for the Lord's service. They are not purged from their sins; they are not vessels unto honor, fitted for the Master's use; and so he sets them aside as not adapted to his work. Sometimes men wish to do great things, but find themselves straitened, hindered, limited and circumscribed; sometimes they are reserved for still greater work; in other cases they are rejected of the Lord for reasons well known to him.
Moses longed to lead Israel into Canaan, but he was not permitted to enter the promised land. So David would gladly have built the temple at Jerusalem, but the Lord would not accept that service at his hands. Paul was forbidden by the holy Spirit to preach the gospel in Asia, and though he essayed to go into Bithynia, the Spirit suffered him not. In like manner we may have desires and aspirations for usefulness which will never be gratified. The Lord may see that we could not bear the exaltation and the honor which we seek. He knows far better than we do what is for our good, and so he would have us rest contented in his providence, not idle, but diligent; not careless, but watchful; not indifferent, but full of intense, earnest longing to do the will of God; yet patient under restraint, and content to be neglected and forgotten, remembering that "they also serve who only stand and wait," and that the Lord in his own well-chosen hour can lead us forth to fulfill his purposes of grace.
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"OUT OF DARKNESS INTO HIS MARVELOUS LIGHT."
MY DEAR SIR:--MILLENNIAL DAWN was introduced to me by some of its opponents; and after spending about nine months endeavoring to prove its teaching to be wrong, I came to the conclusion that it is perfectly scriptural. I have since joined a small class we have near here [See letter of Bro. Townsend in last TOWER], and we meet every Sunday and Tuesday, with a view to learning from the Bible the "present" truth.
I heartily thank our Father for the truths he has been pleased to publish through yourself, and my earnest prayer is that as each of us comes more fully into the light, we may realize the more our responsibility as "bondservants" of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, through whom alone is possible our acceptance. May we live every day as in his presence. Yours in the one faith,
J. H. JEFFREY.
GENTLEMEN:--I take pleasure in availing myself of the offer made in one of your excellent tracts, which found its way into my hands, and request your generosity to send me "A Reply to Ingersoll" and whatever other tracts you believe would be beneficial to one who has been driven into skepticism by the pernicious teachings of orthodoxy; assured that he will take pains to spread the truth wherever he can, as fast as he can get hold of it himself.
Sincerely yours, C. A.
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DEAR BROTHER:--A Brother recently picked up, among the rubbish of the freight room of a railway station, an old, well-worn copy of a book, entitled MILLENNIAL DAWN. He read it with increasing interest, and then handed it to me with the request that I read it and get the other volumes of the series. I have only glanced over the volume, but find many things that are in accord with my own ideas of God's Plan of Redemption, and hence am the more anxious to secure the entire series. Please send me your catalogue, and oblige, Fraternally yours,
B. L. B.
DEAR BRO. RUSSELL:--Several months ago I decided to write, informing you of my appreciation of your labors and expressing my deep gratitude to you, as the instrument of the divine spirit, in my enlightenment in the blessed "harvest truth;" but though tardy in acknowledging my indebtedness, I trust you will believe that my appreciation and gratitude are not the less sincere.
Remarkable indeed is the change that has taken place in my life since reading MILLENNIAL DAWN. The world appears new, for "old things have passed away." It is only about a year since I left the nominal church, yet it seems like an age, so great is the disparity between my past and present beliefs.
Bro. Pearson (whose experience is similar) and I had been for about seven years local preachers in the Primitive Methodist denomination; but for some months prior to our leaving, we had been restless and dissatisfied. The hollowness of the religious life of the orthodox churches, the shallow thought, the assumed authority and the greed of many of its teachers had caused a feeling within us, which was sufficiently manifested to induce among our friends grave uneasiness concerning our spiritual welfare. The trend of our life undoubtedly was toward the so-called "liberal thought" of the day. Both of us, by nature ambitious, naturally sought to be in the advance guard of religious truth.
One doctrine that was a great factor in causing our dissatisfaction with orthodoxy, was that of "Hell." For some months before we left the Church we prided ourselves upon the fact that we never alluded to that place of eternal torture, except in a condemnatory tone, in any of our sermons. We could not prove that it was not taught in the Scriptures, yet we thought that somehow it must be untrue. At any rate, we did not believe in it, but instead made rapid progress toward Universalism. The climax was brought about by Bro. Pearson reading a Christadelphian work, which had been in his house for years. He passed it on to me, and I too, fell under its influence. To our minds, dissatisfied with the palpable errors of Orthodoxy, and unlearned in the true teaching of Scripture, there seemed no escape from its logic. But we were by no means satisfied, for our hearts craved something broader and kindlier than its narrow and harsh doctrines. We felt we could do nothing else than sever our connection with "Babylon." It cut us to the heart to do so, for to both of us the Church had seemed a second home. Our friends and relations were its members. We had attained a position of some honor and influence in connection therewith. We were besought not to leave. It was a dark trial to leave the church of our fathers; it was a dark trial to be forced to believe in the doctrines of Christadelphianism. We sought to escape from its domination, we held interviews with several gentlemen representing sects who made professions of having come out of the "Churches." It was of no avail. The only result of the interviews was to make us wonder why they made so much noise about coming out; for on almost all, if not all, fundamental points their beliefs were marvelously alike. But after a few weeks of great trouble we met Bro. Pickworth, previously connected with the same church, who lent us the DAWNS and one or two numbers of the TOWER. Our darkness was changed to light: we felt that we had obtained that for which our hearts had so long been hungering. What wonderful things they have brought to light from the Scriptures! I cannot sufficiently
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praise the dear Lord.
After two or three months' study of the "harvest truth," we commenced preaching services in the town hall. It has been an uphill work. Our experience has brought us to concur heartily in the belief expressed in a recent TOWER--that the most effective factor in spreading the truth is the printed page. I enclose order for two Pounds. Please send me the value in DAWNS, also some copies of that excellent tract, "Do you know?" and any others you may deem suitable.
We feel the solemn responsibility of our position as pioneers of the harvest truth in this Austral land. We ask your prayers on our behalf.
Yours in Christ, JOHN W. FLACK.
DEAR BRO. RUSSELL:--I hand you herewith payment for two TOWER subscriptions.
Personally, I have received much needed light on God's precious promises, and have also had my faith in the same greatly increased by reading the TOWER. And I wish to do what I can towards sending the truth to friends, so take this means, as I have already supplied them with DAWN.
I also take this opportunity of extending to you my heartfelt gratitude for the comfort and hope that God's message through your books has established within me. Have read and re-read the volumes with increased pleasure and profit. God's plans seem more reasonable and harmonious to me now than ever before. And yet I feel there is much more I need to learn. Received much assistance over rough places from dear friend Bohnet.
Yours, stronger in faith, and hungering for all the truth,
A. S. BUCHANAN.
GENTLEMEN:--A friend loaned me the three volumes of MILLENNIAL DAWN, and I am so well pleased with them (I not being a member of any religious sect nor an attendant at any religious meetings) that I want to own it myself, and read it again, and then induce other of my non-religious friends to read it. It seems to touch a chord in my nature that no other religious work ever did, and it has induced me also to read the Bible and with a better understanding than ever before.
I avail myself of your offer to TOWER subscribers to get the work at a reduced price. Respectfully,
J. A. H.
ZION'S WATCH TOWER:--I was born and raised an Israelite, but, thank God! "the truth has made me free."
Enclosed find one dollar, for which please send me some tracts for distribution. If you think it would be more effective to give away DAWNS, send them instead.
I wish all could derive as much pleasure from MILLENNIAL DAWN as I have. I am trying to be an "Israelite indeed." And in course of time, when I have mastered their contents, it will give me pleasure to declare in public what I shall gain from those books. May the Lord bless you all. Your obedient servant, G. L.