VOL. XIX. APRIL 15, 1898. No. 8.
Views from the Watch Tower........................115
The Zionist Movement
Brother Cone's Pilgrimage Ended...............116
Poem: "All my Springs are in Thee"................116
The Celebration of the Memorial...................117
Reports from Elsewhere........................120
Questions and Answers.............................122
"Forgive and Ye shall be Forgiven"................123
"Behold, thy King Cometh unto Thee!"..............127
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THE TRUTH IN FOREIGN FIELDS.
As we go to press, we are preparing shipments of books and tracts for England, Scotland, Germany and Switzerland, to the amount of 1972 books and 64,750 tracts, 300 of the new charts, envelopes, etc.
We mention this for the encouragement of some of the dear friends, who, finding their own efforts to serve the truth stoutly resisted, may feel discouraged and inclined to give over the battle for the truth. The foreign field is more difficult to work than our home field, and yet we see evidence of steady progress there, as illustrated in the above good sized shipment, which is by no means the largest yet made. Besides this, remember that the French DAWNS and tracts were published in Switzerland, and are kept in stock there.
"Pray ye--that He will send forth more laborers." The general revival of business throughout this country makes it possible for colporteurs of even moderate ability to meet their expenses, upon the liberal terms allowed by our Society. (We cannot, however, encourage those who have families wholly dependent upon their labor to engage in this service.) We accordingly suggest to the dear friends of the truth that each do with his might what his hands may find to do, while it is called day, "for the night cometh, wherein no man can work."
We still favor making a specialty of DAWN, VOL. I., but the Spiritism and Hell pamphlets, and DAWN, VOL. IV., are meeting with such success that we can encourage colporteurs to take them over fields recently worked with VOL. I. The results are good. Write us, if you feel an inclination, and have the opportunity, for entering this branch of service to any extent. "He that reapeth receiveth wages [reward] and gathereth fruit unto life eternal."
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VIEWS FROM THE WATCH TOWER.
THE following, from the pen of the Editor of the Jewish World, may be regarded as a better than average review of the subject discussed, both as regards knowledge and candor. Very evidently "the time of Jacob's trouble" (`Jer. 30:7-9`) is not yet ended. Probably still greater persecutions will shortly overtake them;--to drive them to Palestine and thus to fulfil the Lord's predictions through the prophets. The spiritual Israelite must always feel a deep interest in the natural Israelite--whose favor ceased when ours began, and whose favor is to return when ours has accomplished its purpose in finding and developing the Bride, the Lamb's wife.
THE ZIONIST MOVEMENT.
"Few movements with deep political and social significance have come to the front with such well-ordered rapidity as has marked the progress of Zionism. The return to Palestine, and a Jewish State for Jewish people, have been the dream of the 'People of the Book' for hundreds of years; in fact, the vision was forever the patrimony of the Diaspora, and has haunted the house of Israel through the long intervening centuries. Isolated instances are scattered through the records of history, showing how small bodies of devoted men have from time to time gone to end their days in the Holy Land, and for some this is still the highest aim. Very early in the sixteenth century the Turkish Sultan, Mehmet, gave a huge tract of territory in Central Palestine to Don Joseph of Naxon for the purpose of establishing a Jewish Colony. But the time was not then ripe for a general exodus.
"The present movement has been working slowly and silently for a long time, and is directly an outcome of the changed political condition of things on the Continent. Liberalism came into Europe with the peace that followed the disastrous wars of the beginning of the present century; it was hailed everywhere as the death blow to an already obsolete Feudalism; it produced later on a race of youthful martyrs whose blood stained the barricades in most of the capitals of Europe nearly half a century ago. Then, slowly but surely, the masses found that Liberalism had brought no millennium in its train, that the pressure of economic evils was as great as heretofore, that they had changed the nature rather than the weight of their burdens. As the years passed, and men's minds were filled with self-satisfaction, while they regarded scientific progress and the modern rush of events and life as an indication of prosperity; while the idea, that the nineteenth century knew everything, and that our forefathers lacked our gifts, gained in strength; it became necessary to provide a scapegoat upon whom a half-trained, uneducated populace might lay the burden of its own faults, and the blame for the difficulty of the struggle for life. Who so fit to be a scapegoat as the Jew--the survivor of a mighty past, the man who held aloof from the people among whom he lived, who worshipped his God in his own way, who did not intermarry, whose virtues were essentially domestic, and whose vices were, tho few, decidedly Eastern and remarkable?...
"To-day the state of affairs on the Continent is a disgrace to the vaunted civilization of the century. Law and order are suspended whenever the Jew comes into question. These are no random statements. In Paris, the Dreyfus case and the pages of La Libre Parole prove the case; in Germany, the almost military discipline of the populace alone keeps the Judenhetze subdued: in Austria, men of infamous character openly lead the mob against the Jews; in Roumania, riots are planned in high quarters; while in Russia and Poland there exists such a condition of affairs as may fairly be termed indescribably revolting. So far as Eastern Europe is concerned, only in Turkey, the country of Abdul Hamid, for whom the worst phrase of the dictionary has been deemed too good, is the Jew permitted to live in peace....
"Dangerous diseases proverbially require desperate remedies, and only the present condition of the Jews can adequately explain the far-reaching step that is being advocated throughout Europe, and is filling
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the hearts of an outraged people with a joy they never knew before. Dr. Herzl, of Vienna, a man of extraordinary attainments, who has given very great study and care to the case, published a remarkable pamphlet a few years ago, advocating the establishment of a Jewish State, and pointing out the complete possibilities of the plan. Soon after the publication, Dr. Herzl came to England and unfolded his scheme to the Maccabaean Society, whose members listened to it with an interest in which enthusiasm had no part. English Jews are not inclined to go to Zion under any aegis other than that of Thomas Cook and Son.
"They have no personal need, and only a scant knowledge of the need of their brethren. It was not until Dr. Herzl convened the Basel Congress in August of last year that the enthusiasm and needs of Continental Jews became apparent. Two hundred delegates from all parts of the world were present, and the plans were most carefully discussed. The idea of the present movement is to secure Palestine from Turkey just as England secured Cyprus from the same Power, and also to obtain the sanction of the European Powers; then to draft, as rapidly as may be, sections from the districts where most congestion is, and the struggle for life is made almost hopeless by the repressive economic laws that grind the Jews to poverty. Petitions, signed and presented, show that more than three million of Jews are prepared to go to the State when established, and that the vast majority of these are not destitute aliens, but able to hold out for awhile pending preparations for existence under new conditions. This would lead to an immediate relief in congested districts, and so soon as a Jewish State developed, diplomatic relations could be established all over the world that would afford adequate protection from mob violence and premeditated moral oppression to those left behind. Limits of space forbid any amplification of the outline of the plan laid down by Dr. Herzl....
"Societies are springing up in the laboring districts, and, significantly enough, all the good work down to now is by the poor, to whom the idea of a State more specially appeals.
"Now comes a vital question: Is Palestine fit and able to accommodate the many hundreds of thousands who desire to return? Granting that the people go without undue haste, that the land is free for their work, and that the management is vigorous and single-minded, I answer, with modesty but with assurance, in the affirmative. The soil in Palestine is of more than common fertility, and we have the testimony of the Bible that it covers considerable mineral wealth; the climate is healthful and would probably be improved by occupation and cultivation of the land.
"Colonies in Palestine have long been an accomplished fact. I have visited several, some in or by the plains of Sharon near Jaffa, others in Central Palestine by the Sea of Galilee, or more to the north, near the sources of the Jordan. Everywhere the same phenomena are to be observed. The land, long lain derelict, has smiled again at the first return of labor; the orange and the vine have come rapidly to perfection; fields of waving corn, lighted with vivid splashes of poppies, recall old England. As is the land, so are the people. A single generation has in many cases sufficed to change the stunted sons and daughters of the Ghetto into stalwart men and women: they are themselves as flowers removed from poisonous soil and stifling atmosphere to healthy land and pure fresh air. The change of physique has been accompanied by an equally welcome change of temperament. In place of the men and women whose condition called for a pity in which contempt often succeeded in finding a place, we find a race springing up in which something of the old national spirit has come to sudden rebirth--people who look out upon existence with a knowledge that they, too, have a natural right to share Nature's heritage without reproach. Seeing that this change has come to the few, why should it not come to the many? And if it come to the many, can a Jewish State be so very far away?"
BROTHER CONE'S PILGRIMAGE ENDED.
On the last of March, too late for notice in our last issue, our dear Brother S. S. Cone, well known to many of our readers as one of the "Pilgrims," died at Augusta, Ga., after a brief illness. He was about seventy-eight years old, and for the past two years had been giving all of his time to the service of the truth, under the auspices of the Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society, as a traveling minister or "Pilgrim." His last tour was through the Southern States. He was a very effective speaker, very zealous for the Lord and the Harvest truth, and will be greatly missed by us all. Our hope for him is that he was faithful until death, and that he is now among those of whom it is written, "Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors; and their works do follow them" --beyond the vail.--`Rev. 14:13`.
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"ALL MY SPRINGS ARE IN THEE."
A brook goes brightly on its way,
Its ripples on the pebbles ring
Incessant, day by day;
It has a living spring.
A life moves buoyantly along,
Tireless its walk; heart, glad and free,
Breaks out to God in song--
My springs are all in Thee.
God sets his seal upon the heart,
The holy unction from above,
His new name to impart;
Transcendent spring of love!
He gives the running-over cup,
Water of life, without alloy,
Forever welling up;
Perennial spring of joy!
God's mercies, every morning new,
Bid every anxious worry cease,
Distilling like the dew
To fill my spring of peace.
A watered garden is the soul,
Where grows the branch within the vine.
Thou dost sustain the whole,
O Spring of Life divine! --F. I. PARMENTER.
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THE CELEBRATION OF THE MEMORIAL.
THE RECENT celebration of the Memorial Supper at Allegheny was amongst the most solemn and impressive that we have ever enjoyed. The attendance was good, perhaps the largest we have had since the abandonment of the general convention at this date, in 1892. About two hundred were present, and that notwithstanding the fact that none were invited to come on this occasion except believers in the ransom who professed full consecration to the Lord. Quite a number of brethren, too, were hindered from attendance, by reason of many of the works in this vicinity running extra time, and the inability of those desirous of attending to get substitutes for the time. Our meeting convened at 7.30, but we delayed the general service to accommodate some who were unable to arrive until nearly eight o'clock. Meantime the entire congregation took part in worshiping the Lord in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in our hearts also, to him who loved us and bought us with his own precious blood. We sang,
"Ask ye what great thing I know,
What delights and stirs me so?
What the high reward I win?
Whose the name I glory in?
Jesus Christ, the Crucified."*
Then we joined in prayer for the divine blessing upon our gathering and upon all of the Lord's people everywhere gathered for similar purpose, not forgetting also the solitary ones; entreating the divine blessing and wisdom, and grace to appreciate the realities symbolized by the "Supper" before us. Then our hearts and voices united in the grand old hymn,--
"There is a fountain filled with blood,
Drawn from Immanuel's veins;
And sinners plunged beneath that flood
Lose all their guilty stains."+
Following this came,--
"In the cross of Christ I glory,
Tow'ring o'er the wrecks of time;
All the light of sacred story
Gathers 'round its head sublime."++
This was followed by the old, familiar, solemn and heart-cheering hymn,--
"Sweet the moments, rich in blessing,
Which before the cross I spend;
Life and health and peace possessing,
From the sinners' dying Friend."+++
At eight o'clock we took up our Lord's words in which he describes himself as the living bread, reading from `John 6:48-58`,--
"I am the bread of life. Your fathers did eat manna in the wilderness and are dead. This is the bread which cometh down from heaven, that a man may eat thereof and not die. I am the living bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat [feed upon] this bread, he shall live forever: and the bread that I will give is my flesh, which I will give for the life of the world. Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of Man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you. Whoso eateth my flesh, and drinketh my blood, hath eternal life; and I will raise him up at the last day. For my flesh is meat indeed, and my blood is drink indeed. He that eateth [continuously] my flesh and drinketh [continuously] my blood, dwelleth in me, and I in him. This is that bread which came down from heaven: not as your fathers did eat manna and are dead: he that eateth [continuously] of this bread shall live forever."
Examining the subject we saw that the manna of the wilderness was at very most only a type to illustrate our Lord Jesus who is the true manna for our souls: feeding upon which we are to have eternal life. We sympathized with the Jews and realized how, in their fleshly condition, unenlightened by the holy spirit which was not yet given, it was impossible for them to comprehend the significance of the deep things of God contained in our Master's words. Indeed, we see that the majority of Christians but faintly comprehend their meaning to-day. We discussed the subject of how our Lord's flesh is the bread of life to those who eat it. We noted that "Bread is the staff of life" amongst all mankind, the main dependence for this present life, and hence the appropriateness of the figure of speech which likens our Lord and the graces and virtues which are in him to the bread which imparts sustenance to the new life.
We noted the importance of our Lord's flesh and that it was uncontaminated, free from sin--"holy, harmless, separate from sinners." We noted that this is necessary because our father Adam, having been created in a similar condition of sinless flesh, had, by transgression of the divine law, become a sinner: his flesh came under divine sentence of death and became corrupt both morally and physically. We noted the necessity for the man Christ Jesus, whose sinless flesh could be accepted as the ransom price, the offset, the full equivalent, instead of Adam and his flesh which had become defiled through sin. We noted the Scriptural explanation that it was for this purpose that our Lord Jesus left the glories and honors of the higher nature and condition and "was made flesh,...that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man." We noted our Redeemer's own words: "My flesh I will give for the life of the world." (`John 6:51`.) We saw that thus the giving of our Lord's unblemished flesh as a corresponding price for father
POEMS AND HYMNS OF DAWN, *No.15. +No.290. ++No.123. +++No.276.
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Adam's condemned flesh, constituted the purchase price by which not only father Adam was redeemed, but also all his race which was in his loins at the time of his transgression. We praised God for the undefiled flesh of our Redeemer and took note of the fact that, while it had been broken for all, it is required of each that he shall for himself accept of his own share in the great work of atonement accomplished by that broken body and shed blood. We noted that none can have eternal life except by partaking of this broken body. This meant to us an out and out contradiction of all the various claims to the effect that a knowledge of the historic Christ and of his sacrifice for sins is unnecessary to salvation: it meant to us what it says, that only by eating of the Lord's flesh and partaking of his blood can any ever obtain life eternal.
We considered what is signified by the eating of the flesh: we saw that as the eating of natural bread includes the thought of its assimilation and absorption into the system through the blood, so our eating of the flesh of Christ signifies (1) our appreciation of the fact that he was sinless, and a suitable sacrifice on our behalf. (2) Our faith in the fact that he did offer himself a ransom for all. (3) Our conviction that this sacrifice was acceptable to the Heavenly Father, as evidenced by our Lord's resurrection from the dead, and also by the Father's acceptance of believers through him, and his impartation to them of the holy spirit of adoption, which began at Pentecost and has continued since. (4) It signifies our desire for the life eternal and also for the purity which was in Christ, and implies our separation from sin--the renouncement of our relationship to the first Adam, and our acceptance of the hoped-for life through the second Adam, based upon his sacrifice--his flesh given for the life of the world.
We then turned to and considered `1 Cor. 11:23-26`, and noted the fact that the Lord's Memorial Supper followed the Paschal Supper and was a separate institution and designed to take its place. Looking back to the deliverance of fleshly Israel from Egyptian bondage and the passing over or sparing of their first-born on the night before they left Egypt, we noted the antitypes of these things: that Egypt was a type of the world; its king, Pharaoh, a type of the prince of this world; its bondage a type of the bondage of sin; the deliverance from all these under the leadership of Moses, a type of the ultimate deliverance in the next age of all who love God and who desire to do sacrifice to him, under the leadership of the antitypical Moses (Christ), and that the final overthrow of Satan and his servants was prefigured in the destruction of Pharaoh and his hosts.
In harmony with these thoughts and as a part of them, we saw that the passing over or deliverance of Israel's first-born from death, in the night before all the people went forth from the bondage, was a type of how God passes over, spares, gives life to, a certain class now (in the "night" before the full introduction of the Millennial age and his Kingdom for the deliverance of all who love and seek righteousness). The class that will be delivered, spared, passed over, during this night, while God's people are in the world and under the evil influence of the prince of this world, is merely and only the first-born--the Church--"the Church of the first-born [ones] whose names are written in heaven."--`Heb. 12:23`.
But we noted that in the type, in order that the first-born ones might be passed over, it was necessary that a lamb without blemish should be killed, its blood sprinkled upon the door-posts of their houses, and its flesh eaten within with bitter herbs. We saw that this Passover lamb was a type of "the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world," and that the antitypical first-born, the elect Church, must eat of the flesh of our Lamb, as the literal first-born of Israel ate of the flesh of the typical lamb. We saw that our hearts also must be sprinkled with the precious blood from all consciousness of evil, from all wrong association in sin, and that the "bitter herbs" signify the trials, oppositions, persecutions, difficulties and crosses of the human will, necessary to our feeding upon our
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Lord's flesh which was given for the life of the world.
We saw that in giving the symbols of the bread and the fruit of the vine to represent his own flesh and blood, our Lord wished us to recognize two things. (1) That he is the antitypical Lamb, and that the passing over or sparing of the Gospel Church and the deliverance of her from death to newness of life in Christ and to a share with him in the first resurrection, is the antitypical Passover. (2) That the unleavened bread and the fruit of the vine were to emblemize the body and blood of the true Lamb, and to take the place of the typical Paschal lamb. Not that the bread and the fruit of the vine are the antitypes of the lamb, but that they are the symbols, figures or representations of the antitypical Lamb. We saw, consequently, that the partaking of the unleavened bread and the fruit of the vine are matters of small importance as compared with our partaking of and feeding by faith upon our Lord, which this symbolizes; and that many have partaken of the emblems who have never "tasted that the Lord is gracious:" while others may have tasted of the Lord's grace who may never have seen their privilege and had opportunity of partaking of the emblems of his broken body and shed blood. We rejoiced in our privilege to have both--the real feast in our hearts and the symbols which our Lord himself had provided and instructed us to use.
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We considered the bread that it was unleavened, --leaven, in the type, signifying sin. We noted the Apostle's explanation that the bread not only represented our Lord's flesh upon which we feed by faith, but that, having fed upon it and received of his spirit, we, as his Church of the first-born, are reckoned as being members together in one loaf or cake of unleavened bread. Thus he exhorts us to remember that, as a little leaven leaveneth an entire batch of dough, so a little sin might accomplish a great fermentation in our midst. Hence he exhorts, "Purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump, as ye are unleavened. For even Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us: therefore let us keep the feast, not with old leaven [rank wickedness], neither with the [less rank but more insidious] leaven of malice and wickedness, but with the unleavened bread of sincerity and truth." --`1 Cor. 5:6-8`.
Following up this same thought, and comparing advanced Christians (who have purged their hearts of sin and consecrated themselves fully to the Lord) to a baked loaf of unleavened bread, the Apostle declares that all such are (with Christ) members or parts of one loaf--all pledged to be broken, that they may be of life-giving power and influence to others. He says, "The bread [lit., loaf] which we break, is it not the communion of [our participation as] the body of Christ? For we being many are one loaf and one body: for we are all sharers in that one loaf. The cup of blessing for which we give thanks, is it not our participation in the blood of Christ?" (`1 Cor. 10:16`.) Thus we see the double figure. (1) Christ our Passover slain for us, on account of which we keep the feast, seeking to abstain from sin and feeding upon the merit of our Redeemer. (2) Our union with him and consecration to participation in the sufferings of this present time, that by and by we may participate also in the glory that shall follow. Thus we see that all who reach this stage of development in the body of Christ have pledged themselves to be broken with him for the good of others.
All such are inspired with their Master's spirit-- a spirit of love to the Father, and to those who have the Father's likeness, and to all. It is to these that the Apostle says, "Hereby perceive we the love, because he laid down his life for us: and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren," (`1 John 3:16`.) This willingness and desire to be broken for the good of others is the result of our first feeding upon our Lord's broken body and receiving of his spirit, mind, disposition, love. And such have the promises. "If we suffer with him we shall also reign with him." "If we be dead with him we believe that we shall also live with him."
Having thus considered the significance of the bread and having fed upon it in our hearts, and having pledged ourselves afresh to be broken with the Lord for the feeding and blessing of others, we followed the Scriptural example and gave thanks to God for the bread of eternal life. Following this was a period of silence, during which the bread was carried to the communicants.
Next we considered the fruit of the vine, and saw that it symbolized death, and not only death, but the more or less of suffering associated therewith. We saw that the grapes must be crushed, trodden, sorely pressed, ere the fruit of the vine could be drawn. And as we considered the juice of the grape as a symbol for the blood of Christ, his consecrated life, and then as a symbol of the consecrated lives of all those who become joint-sacrificers with him, we saw that it was a most beautiful and fitting symbol. Our Lord likened himself to the vine and his followers to the branches, and declared that it was his desire that we should bring forth much fruit: and the grape juice which we used seemed a fitting symbol of the fruitage of the Vine, Christ, and the sufferings of all who would be faithful as members of his body and who would seek to walk in his footsteps, to spend themselves and be spent in glorifying God in their bodies and their spirits which are his.
We remembered, also, the words of two of the disciples of old, who requested that they might sit with the Lord in his throne, and our Lord's response to the effect that they did not comprehend fully what their request implied of self-denial, saying, "Are ye able to drink of my cup [of ignominy and suffering] and be baptized with the baptism [death] that I am baptized with?" (`Matt. 20:22`.) We noted that, altho the apostles could not comprehend this subject fully, yet our Lord was evidently gratified with their promptness to make the consecration, declaring themselves willing to endure the cross to win the crown, and he in turn pledged them that, since this was the desire of their hearts, they should indeed be able to carry it out-- since they had (and so long as they would continue to have) the will to suffer with Christ, they would have the opportunity; and with that opportunity and faithfulness to it they would have a share in his Kingdom; altho he could not designate for them the particular place, that being in the Father's hands. This gave us the encouraging thought that, however insignificant and weak we are, the Lord by his grace is both able and willing to carry us through;--that if we abide faithful to him and his spirit of sacrifice, he will bring us off conquerors, and more than conquerors.
Then thanks were rendered to the Lord for the cup--for the sufferings of Christ on our behalf for our
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redemption, and for our privilege of being partakers of his cup--his sufferings, his ignominy: and that the reproaches of them that reproached him may be shared by us, and that we can rejoice in the divine promise that if all manner of evil be said against us falsely for his sake, and if we take it patiently, we may rejoice therein; knowing that it will work out for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. Then the cup was passed, remembering our Lord's words, "Drink ye all of it"--have fellowship in my sufferings.
We concluded the service, using as a united prayer, and as a fresh pledge of consecration to the Lord, the following precious hymn:--
"Savior, thy dying love thou gavest me;
Nor would I aught withhold, dear Lord, from thee.
In love my soul would bow, my heart fulfil its vow,
Myself an off'ring now I bring to thee.
"Give me a faithful heart, likeness to thee,
That each departing day henceforth may see
Thy work of love well done, thy praise on earth begun,
Some vict'ry for truth won, some work for thee.
"All that I am and have--thy gifts so free--
All of my ransomed life, dear Lord, for thee!
And when thy face I see, thy sweet 'Well done' shall be,
Through all eternity, enough for me."*
REPORTS FROM ELSEWHERE.
We have excellent reports from similar gatherings of the Lord's people in various quarters which indicate (1) that the observance of the Memorial has been more general than ever before; and (2) that the numbers participating were larger than ever before; and (3) that the meaning of the Memorial is more clearly discerned than ever before. We rejoice in all these features; especially the last. We give a few sample reports. We wish that space would permit the publication of many more or all of them. But they breathe the same spirit as these samples.
From reports already received we learn that the number who partook at Columbus was 21; at Youngstown, 35; at Boston, 75; at Chicago, 69; at Buffalo, 21; at Cleveland 20, at St. Petersburg, Fla., 20; and smaller numbers are reported from all over the world. Some of the congregations appoint one of their number as Scribe to report to us matters of interest, to keep up their supply of tracts, etc. This plan has some advantages, tho we would not like it to prevent us from hearing from each of the interested ones individually, at least once a year. You are all subjects of our loving watch-care, interest and prayers, as we trust that we and the general work represented at the TOWER office are of yours. We append
*POEMS AND HYMNS OF DAWN, No.259.
a few reports:--
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--Just a note to tell you of our meeting last night. The weather was bad; it snowed all day and in the evening, and we feared some might not get out, but the five of us came together at the appointed time. The Lord was with us "and that to bless." I know all felt drawn closer to the Lord and to one another. These friends who celebrated the Memorial this year for the first time on its anniversary say that it means so much more to them than it ever has before. They are dear, good friends, and the Lord's own children.
I have been doing very little lately, but hope the poor success will not last very long. Sister H. joins me in Christian love.
Your Brother in Christ, VIRGIL C. HAVILAND.
DEAR BROTHER IN CHRIST:--The Church at this place met at the appointed hour to commemorate our Lord's death on our behalf. Our meeting was one of interest, each one realizing the necessity of a closer walk with God. We felt the influence of the Lord's presence. Our hearts burned within us as we reviewed at what cost this privilege to us had been obtained. It was a season of refreshment to us all. Seventeen partook of the emblems. Our love for the Savior and all of like faith deepened; tears came to our eyes; we renewed our consecration to consequent obligations, and a more careful watch over our daily transactions, spiritual and temporal, lest the tempter gain advantage over us. Remember us in your prayers as we remember all in the Lord's work. The brethren join us in Christian love to you and all the brethren.
Yours, a humble servant in the Lord's work,
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--The Church at this place celebrated the Lord's Supper at the home of Bro. Lee, about three miles out of the city. We had two meetings, one in the afternoon, led by myself, and the other this evening, led by Bro. Lee; we had a short address also, by Bro. Durant. There were about twenty in attendance, some of whom never had met on such an occasion before. We had a very blessed time, and I believe all experienced the presence of the Lord in our midst, and we parted resolved that the next year will find us more faithful than ever in his service. Hoping you at Allegheny had a blessed time I will close, with Christian love to you and all the dear ones there. Your Brother in the Lord,
G. F. RICHARDSON.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--Last evening a little company of eight of us met to commemorate our dear Master's great sacrifice for us. I think we realized more than ever before the cost of our salvation. Indeed, it is "so great salvation" that it is beyond our comprehension at present, and we can only begin to see the dim outlines of its greatness and to catch glimpses of its wonderful light and magnificence. The thought that Jesus had received the "one loaf" and that he had then offered to divide it with his disciples that they, too, might share in his glory gave us cause for heart searching. (`1 Cor. 11:27-32`.) We surely felt the spirit's presence with us, and that indeed it
was good for us to be there. Earnest prayer was offered that we might all come more and more into the "oneness" of heart and spirit for which our Master also prayed. (`John 17:21,22,23`.) I think we all went home feeling that altho the fulfilling of our covenant meant a great deal in every way, to us individually, yet with the Father's promised help we would come off more than conquerors through him that loved us.-- `Rom. 8:35,36,37`.
Your Brothers and Sisters in the Lord Jesus,
THE COMPANY AT HURON, S.D.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--The Church at Boston met on the evening of April 5th, to commemorate the Lord's death. About 75 were present, some coming a considerable distance, altho it was a stormy night. It was a season of blessed communion and spiritual refreshing to us all. As the years go by, the meaning of the occasion is more deeply felt and appreciated. The Sunday previous we had a baptism service, when twenty were immersed into Christ (in symbol). I notice that those who come into the truth now, seem to come in with more zeal and arrive more quickly at a knowledge of the deep things than formerly. The whole Church here is in close sympathy with you, dear brother, and with the general harvest work, and feels that the Lord is shepherding his flock.
"He safely leads his Church along,
His loving-kindness, O, how strong."
With much Christian love from Sister T. and myself,
W. J. THORN.
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Brother D. P. Jackson, M.D., in a letter recently received, after telling that four met at his house and partook of the Memorial, adds:--
I wish to submit for your consideration some things which have lately come to the attention of our little communion in this place, namely:--
One of the brethren here received an invitation to meet with the Church at M__________, on April 5th, to assist in the Lord's Supper. He declined because it would break up our own meeting at B__________, there being only the two families of us here. Brother A, of Y__________, in answer to an invitation, expects to go to M__________ to assist the Church there in the Memorial Supper, and Bro. M. goes to N__________ on a similar errand.
The invitation to M__________ was declined on the grounds above stated, but it also occurred to us, on further consideration, that perhaps it is not wise for the members of the Church to get into the habit of sending to the leaders and prominent members of other Churches for assistance in the Memorial services, for the following reasons:--
(1) The Passover was a family observance. This would have some bearing on the question, as showing that the Lord's Supper was not to be made the occasion of any special public display.
(2) We have no record that it was a custom of the Apostolic Church for one congregation to send to others for the services of an elder to officiate for them at the Communion service.
(3) The Lord's Supper has been made, in all apostate churches, a center around which the clergy have built a great deal of the worst ecclesiasticism. It is the principal means which the Protestant clergy of to-day have in their possession for magnifying the importance of the clergy over the laity. Last winter the Presbytery of Louisville, Kentucky, excommunicated a minister for teaching that it was proper for lay members of the church to celebrate the Lord's Supper without the presence of a clergyman--an "ordained minister."
(4) May not the practice of one Church sending to some other for a "leader," "elder" or prominent member to come and help them celebrate the Lord's Supper be the infinitesimal beginning of the same spirit of ecclesiasticism and sacerdotalism, which was the ruin of the early church? Would not the practice have a natural tendency to exalt the mind of the leader called away to assist a distant Church in this ceremony, and to awaken in the minds of the members the idea that it was necessary or at least useful and important to have "leaders" and "elders" present, officiating at the ceremony, and not only so, but that the leader's part was so important that their own home elder needed to be reinforced in the important duty by one from a distant Church? It is a natural weakness of human nature to consider a man who comes from a distance as a "greater" man than one of their familiar neighbors.
(5) This practice of getting a clergyman from some neighboring church to come and "assist" the pastor in holding the "Communion" is very common among Presbyterian churches, and seems to be designed to exalt the importance of the presence of clergymen at the ceremony, and is it not a custom which, to say the least, will "be more honored in the breach than in the observance" by the Lord's humble followers of the harvest period?
I am impressed that temptations to ecclesiasticism, and partisan bigotry and narrowness, are among the most subtle of our trials, the most crafty of the "wiles of the devil." These brethren who have given the invitations, and those who have accepted them, no doubt are acting with the best of motives and without the slightest thought of there being any danger in the practice, but on further reflection I am only confirmed in my first impression, and fear that there is danger in the practice, and that "as the serpent beguiled Eve in his craftiness, your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity and purity that is toward Christ," by this seemingly innocent and seemingly edifying practice, and I hope you will give it your thoughtful and prayerful consideration.
I would like also to know whether the practice is becoming general. It seems to have occurred to nearly all the Churches in this section. It would be interesting to know whether this was the case in many other places or whether it was limited to this locality. If it has occurred in numerous Churches it would look like a concerted movement of the Enemy to plant the germ of the "mystery of iniquity" in the reformed churches, for if the custom should become general the more retiring and less gifted members would almost certainly get the impression that somehow these "leaders" had more to do with the Memorial than they had, and if time allowed, the difference between elders and
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members would widen until a clerical class would be differentiated.
Yours truly, DAVID P. JACKSON.
* * *
We presume that none of the friends above mentioned had the slightest thought of encouraging "clericism." The churches supplied we believe celebrated the Memorial this year for the first time; and we think it was well that some of larger experience should initiate them. Besides, the little groups mentioned were gathered to a considerable extent through the efforts of the brethren of Y__________, who as Evangelists drew their attention to the divine plan of the ages. It would, of course be quite appropriate for such to meet with those whom they had already interested along other lines, to introduce to them the Memorial Supper observance.
However, we quite agree with Bro. Jackson respecting the necessity for guarding against the cloven hoof of clericy and everything which might tend to divide the Lord's people or abridge the liberties conferred upon us mutually by our dear Redeemer. The only ground for preference as to who shall serve the Lord's people on this or other occasions is qualification --mental, moral, physical or spiritual. We publish the letter because many of its points are well taken. The Passover was a family affair and the Memorial Supper superseding it is similarly a family matter;-- but instead of pertaining to an earthly family it pertains to the Lord's family; "the household of faith."
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QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS.
Question. In discussing "Feet Washing" in your issue of March 15, you made no reference to `1 Tim. 5:10`. Please give us your thought on that scripture.
Answer. It would appear that a "poor relief" had been started which afforded occasional relief to some, and permanent relief to others. The Apostle is here urging that these general charities should not discourage the care of their own afflicted and unfortunate ones by each family: that professing Christians who would not provide for their own relatives and families so far as possible, were denying the faith--denying their share in Christianity in most practical form (`vss. 8 and 16`). The Church help was specially for the real widows--those bereft, and particularly the aged.
Accordingly no widow was to be enrolled as a regular, habitual beneficiary of the church's bounty under sixty years of age; and certain other qualifications were to be demanded also--Had she reared a family which took her attention? Or had she, without a family, shown herself willing, kind, hospitable in the entertainment of strangers? Or had she in any manner shown a desire to relieve affliction and generally to do good? Had she manifested an interest in the Lord's people and a helpfulness toward their comfort and entertainment, as for instance, by washing their feet?
These, and not doctrinal questions, were the questions to consider when application was made to put some one on the rolls as a permanent pensioner; for, these recipients of bounty might not have come to the place of full consecration or saintship themselves, but might be the sisters or mothers of the consecrated. The tests, therefore, were along lines of good disposition, meekness, helpfulness, kindness. Anyone who could not answer some of the above questions affirmatively, should be esteemed unworthy of enrollment as a permanent or life pensioner.
With this view before the mind, and remembering that the feet-washing mentioned was one of the necessities of that time and country, it will be seen that its performance would merely signify kindness, hospitality, good feeling and appreciation toward the Lord's people.
Question. In `Isa. 53:2,3`, the statement is made of our Lord Jesus that, "He hath no form nor comeliness that we should desire him." Would it not, on the contrary, be reasonable to suppose that, as among the imperfect members of our race we see some very handsome persons, our Lord, who was perfect, was transcendently beautiful, both in form and feature?
Answer. Yes. The Jews saw no comeliness in Jesus, such as they looked for and desired; because they expected to find in Messiah a mighty warrior to free them from the Roman yoke; whereas he came as a Nazarene and humbly companied and ate with publicans and sinners.
Question. Since we are to be baptized in the likeness of Christ's death, should we not be immersed three times, face-forward, since he bowed his head thrice;
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and since Jesus died before he was buried, is it not improper to speak of baptism as a burial?
Answer. We do not understand Paul's words, "baptized into his death" and "buried with him by baptism into death," to refer to immersion in the likeness of the Lord's physical movements in his dying hours. That would be to be immersed in the likeness of his dying, whereas we are to be immersed in the likeness of his death.
You say that he died before he was buried; but on the contrary, we believe it proper to say that he was buried before he died; that is to say, his will was buried or immersed into the will of God at the time of his consecration, and he was reckoned dead from that time
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onward, the expiration on the cross being the completion of that death. So he said, "I have a baptism to be baptized with; and how am I straitened till it be accomplished!"
When we are baptized in water it is the symbol of the burial of our wills into the will of Christ; and when we are raised out of the water it is the symbol of our resurrection in his likeness.
The claims of triune immersionists as to the apostolic methods, based upon early historians, are not reliable. The "early fathers" are not to be depended on in such matters, the Word of God being the only reliable standard. Many vagaries, including triune immersion, were introduced after accessions began to be made from the ranks of the non-consecrated, and were a part of the falling away which began in the second century and culminated in Papacy.
Question. The statement of `John 2:19` is perplexing to some of us: "Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up." John says "He spake of the temple of his body;" but other scriptures declare that the Father raised our Lord Jesus from death by his own power. Can you throw any light on the matter?
Answer. The Scriptures repeatedly tell us that the Church is "the body of Christ." The Apostle Peter declares that each of the Lord's saints is a living stone prepared for and being placed in the glorious "temple" which God is building--whose chief cornerstone and cap stone is Christ Jesus our Lord. While this "temple" is a temple not yet existent in its spiritual condition, it already has an existence in the flesh --even now we are reckoned as the "members in particular of the body of Christ." In harmony with this we understand our Lord's words of `John 2:19`, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up" --"he spake of the temple of his body"--the Church, of which he is the Head.
The three days we understand to be the days of the larger week, one thousand years to each day. In this larger week the seventh day will be the seventh-thousand-year period--the Millennium or Sabbath of rest from sin and Satan. Recognizing time from this standpoint and applying to each thousand years the parallel day of the week, we find that, as over four thousand years had passed and the fifth thousand had begun when our Lord made this statement, it was therefore at a time corresponding to the fifth day of the lesser week, namely, Thursday, the first day of the three mentioned; Friday the second day, and Saturday (the seventh-day Sabbath) the third, in which the temple is to be "raised up." It is to be early in the morning of this third day--the Millennium--that the body of Christ, the temple of God, is to be brought together as a spiritual temple and filled with the glory of God, to the end that from it may flow the blessing of reconciliation to all the families of the earth.
Another statement, similar to this and interpretable, we believe, in the same manner, was the Lord's answer to Herod--"I do cures to-day, and tomorrow, and the third day I shall be perfected." (`Luke 13:32`.) This last statement could not be interpreted in any other way than that above suggested. The cures and blessings of divine grace have prevailed during the fifth, the day in which our Lord and the apostles lived, and also during the sixth thousand-year day; and on the seventh, the grand Millennial Sabbath, Christ and his Church will be perfected and the cures correspondingly increased.
Are not these three days the same that are mentioned by the Prophet `Hosea (6:2`)? Referring to Israel's judgments and their final repentance and reconciliation, he says, representing Israel, "Come, and let us return unto the Lord: for he hath torn, and he will heal us [see preceding verses]: he hath smitten, and he will bind us up. After two days will he revive us: in the third day he will raise us up, and we shall live in his sight."
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"FORGIVE AND YE SHALL BE FORGIVEN."
--APRIL 24.--`MATT. 18:21-35`.--
OUR Golden Text (`Luke 6:37`) is not to be understood as applicable to everybody: to so understand it would be to ignore the ransom and faith in the same, and other conditions of discipleship. It is applicable only to the class mentioned, "ye,"--believers, already justified and brought into harmony with God. The divine arrangement to forgive our sins presupposes a realization on our part of our own imperfections, and that we who desire to have our own sins cancelled will be magnanimous to others. And the Lord makes this a condition of our discipleship: we must not only start with justification, forgiveness of our sins, but we must continue by seeking to put away "all filthiness of the flesh and of the spirit," and to become more and more copies of God's dear Son. As we receive more and more knowledge of the divine character, and as we more and more seek to copy it, we should correspondingly become more and more generous, kind, loving, God-like. If we fail to develop this character, the knowledge received has not profited us; and instead of continuing justified before God, we will be reckoned as having lapsed again into sin--and
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greater sin, because of greater light--and will be treated of the Lord accordingly.
Peter evidently recognized this principle in general: he saw that it was his duty to forgive the trespasses of his repentant brother. But he was doubtful how far this principle of forgiveness should go. Our Lord had instructed them in this matter early in his ministry: he had taught them to pray, "Forgive us our debts [sins, trespasses], as we forgive our debtors," and he had explained the meaning of this to them, saying, "If ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses."--`Matt. 6:12,15`.
It is not necessary for us to suppose that one of Peter's brothers was a great annoyance to him, continually doing him wrong and continually needing to repent of it and to be forgiven. We may suppose that Peter was turning over in his mind the broad teachings he had received on general principles to ascertain of the Lord definitely how far this rule of forgiveness was to be applied in the ordinary affairs of life. He no doubt made what he thought a very liberal suggestion, that the proper limit of forgiveness would be seven times: but our Lord's answer must have given him still broader and deeper views on the subject--"I say not unto thee, Until seven times: but, Until seventy times seven."
It is difficult for some to see how the principle of justice applies in the matter of forgiveness. They reason that God did not forgive the sins of the world, gratis, that he exacted a penalty, a full corresponding price--the death of our Lord Jesus Christ, as a "ransom for all;" and reasoning upon this, they say, If Justice in the Lord demanded a full payment of the penalty, why should not we, in copying God, likewise demand full reparation from those who seek our forgiveness in more trivial matters? Reasoning thus, they very generally overlook several facts; (1) The penalty was exacted, not of an imperfect fallen man, as is each of us, but of a perfect man, created in the image of God (father Adam), whose sin was wilful and deliberate. (2) That, so far as sinners were concerned, God's gift was a free gift. He did not exact the penalty of us. (3) If he had exacted the penalty of us, we could never have paid it. (4) If we were perfect men ourselves and dealing with others who were likewise perfect, a law of Justice and demands of Justice would be in order; but since we are transgressors ourselves and objects of divine grace, and since our fellow-creatures are in the same pitiable plight through the fall, there is no room for us to take our stand upon Justice. He who stands upon Justice will fall before the sword of Justice. Hence, our Lord declares, "With what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged." If you realize your own weakness and imperfection and need of help from on high, and if you exercise a similar generosity in the smaller affairs of life with your fellows in tribulation, you will be the kind for whom God designed the full measure of his grace: so long as divine favor does not thus reach your heart and mellow it toward others, you are not of the class to whom the full measure of divine favor will be extended, but will be accounted unworthy of the full ultimate blotting out of your sins.
We are to remember that our sins are not now blotted out, even when we are reckoned justified: our sins are merely "covered;" our Lord hides them from his sight, deals with us as though we had no sins, receiving us into his family and making covenants with
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us, as though we were perfect, righteous. Thus the Apostle quotes from the Prophet David, "Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin; blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven and whose sins are covered." (`Rom. 4:7,8`.) Mark the distinction between the iniquity and the sin. The word "iniquity" carries with it the sense of wickedness, lawlessness, while the word "sin" has merely the thought of transgression: and many of our transgressions are wholly without iniquitous intention. Believers who are seeking to escape from sin, that sin should have no more dominion over them, are forgiven the moral obliquity connected with the sin, which they now no longer sympathize with, but hate; and the sin itself, while not blotted out, is covered. So, therefore, should any return to sin, "as a sow to her wallowing in the mire," he removes the covering of sins, and falls back where he was before, "having forgotten that he was purged from his old sins."--`2 Pet. 2:22`; `1:9`.
The time for the blotting out of sin is, thank God, near at hand. So far as the overcomers of this age, the Gospel Church, are concerned, the blotting out of every vestige of their sins, to be remembered no more, comes with the destruction of the flesh in death. In our flesh (in our imperfections, mental, moral and physical) is the record of sin; and this which God so graciously covers from his sight will entirely disappear in the grave. In the resurrection these overcomers will be granted new bodies, free from all the marks or blemishes of sin, perfect, likenesses of their Lord: not only free from sin reckonedly, but free from sin actually, and without a trace or mar thereof. Oh, how we long for the blotting out of sins!
Later on, as the Millennial day shall advance, the work of blotting out the sins of humanity in general will begin: but the operation will be different with them than with us. Ours by an instantaneous resurrection, "in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye:" theirs will be a gradual blotting out--a work of restitution. The restoring of the original nature of man in its perfection will mean the blotting out of mankind's
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mental, moral and physical blemishes, and their gradual restoration to that perfect condition in which father Adam was before he sinned, which is declared to have been "the image of God," with which God was well pleased.
These two thoughts--the present covering of our sins and the future blotting out of every trace of them, are called forcibly to our attention by the words of the Apostle Peter. Speaking on the day of Pentecost, he urges his hearers, "Repent ye, therefore, and be converted [receive now the covering of your sins through Christ by faith and have as a result the divine favor and instruction in righteousness], that your sins may be blotted out, when the times of refreshing shall come from the presence of the Lord; and he shall send Jesus Christ which before was preached unto you: whom the heavens must receive [retain] until the times of restitution of all things, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all the holy prophets since the world began." --`Acts 3:19-21`.
To the apostles and to us, even "all those who should believe on him through their word," our Lord gave the illustration or parable of The Two Debtors. The parable is not of general application, but merely applicable to the Kingdom of Heaven class--the Church --called to run the race and, by the grace of God, to win the prize of joint-heirship with their Lord in his coming Millennial Kingdom. The generosity of the King in the parable, toward his servant who was so greatly in his debt, illustrates God's magnanimity, mercy, toward us through Christ. The debt, ten thousand talents, was an enormous one, representing in value about twenty millions of dollars: this debt fitly represents our great obligations to God as a race, and our utter inability to meet the obligations. Adam was already "sold under sin" and his entire family was involved in the slavery, when God graciously had mercy on us through Christ and provided for our liberty. The liberated servant, whose prayer for mercy was heard, represents the Christian believer who has been made free from sin.
The parable proceeds to show a wrong course of action which, alas, we often see exemplified; for some of those who have received divine grace in abundant measure are very hard-hearted, uncharitable, unforgiving, vindictive, malicious and vengeful toward those who trespass against them, and whose trespasses are sometimes purely imaginary. We do not live in a day in which a creditor may wantonly inflict physical abuse upon his debtor, nor need we expect under present enlightenment that any Christian would feel like wreaking his vengeance upon his fellow servant by physical force: no, thank God, the day of the rack and fagot and crucifixion is gone. But we live in a day when, nevertheless, the same spirit can and does manifest itself, but in less flagrant, tho not less cruel and sinful forms. The modern method of attack upon an enemy is not with pincers to pull out his finger and toe nails, nor with red-hot irons to gouge out his eyes, nor with molten lead to fill his mouth and ears; but instead the weapon is slander, back-biting, evil-speaking, and according to its degree it may be the spirit of murder (as pointed out in "Helpful Rules for Our Daily Life" in our issue of March 15). Indeed, our Lord seems to have taken more notice of the evil-speaking that would come upon his people, than of the physical sufferings, for over and over again he points out, "They shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake." --`Matt. 5:11`.
What shall we say of the Christianity of the brother or sister who, meeting a debtor, or one whom he esteems to be a debtor (justly or unjustly), thus abuses his fellow servant? But it is much more important that we should know how the Lord would regard such an one, and in the parable before us he has answered it fully. In the parable the King was wroth and called the forgiven but unforgiving servant to account, pronouncing him at once a "wicked servant." And applying the lesson of the parable, our Lord declares: "So likewise shall my Heavenly Father do also unto you, if ye from the hearts forgive not every one his brother their trespasses."
Let it not be overlooked that our Lord here very particularly called attention to the difference between an outward and formal expression of forgiveness with smooth words, and the true forgiveness which is from the heart. The former, or outward forgiveness, is only lip-deep, and means that a wrangling of an evil, unforgiving spirit is within, and that it will only be a matter of time until the pent-up force of malice and hatred will break forth in words of slander. God reads the heart and, whatever the lip professions may be, he will not consider these unless the heart and life correspond with them. It is in vain, therefore, that anyone should say, I love my brother, and at the same time seek either by word or act to do him injury. All the evil-speaking, malice, hatred, envy, strife, proceeds from evil in the heart: hence, the necessity on the part of all who desire to be of the Lord's body, that they "purge out the old leaven of malice" that they may be members indeed of the unleavened loaf--the body of Christ.
The fact that in the parable the evil servant was delivered to the "tormentors" is not to be understood to mean that the heavenly Father will deliver every unfaithful servant to the torments of devils to all eternity. The tormentors of olden times (and also of today in some Oriental countries) inflicted scourging or
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other torment upon accused persons for the purpose of extorting from them money or information or whatever they may be unwilling to give up. The analogy to this in God's dealings with his people might reasonably be expected along the lines of earthly disciplines, such as the Apostle referred to, saying of one, I have delivered him "unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus." (`1 Cor. 5:5`; `1 Tim. 1:20`.) This might mean financial difficulties or losses, or physical ailments, disease or what not. Not infrequently, we believe, the Lord through these agencies teaches his servants important lessons respecting their own weaknesses, and introduces and develops in them patience with others and more of his own holy spirit--meekness, patience, gentleness, brotherly-kindness--Love. We do not mean to intimate by this that the trials and difficulties of life are always in the nature of chastisement and corrections in righteousness. We understand that sometimes they are tests instead of chastisements-- tests to prove the degree of our loyalty to the Lord, and to develop in us larger degrees of faith and of the various graces of the spirit.
We cannot properly leave this subject without calling attention to certain conditions which ought to precede forgiveness. For instance, in the parable the king does not exercise compassion until the debtor asks for it: so also God does not forgive our sins until we acknowledge our sins and ask his forgiveness. Likewise, in the parable, the second servant, who owed a hundred pence (about sixteen dollars), asked mercy of the one to whom he owed it, before that one was obliged to forgive: and in a further comment on the subject, mentioned by `Luke (17:3,4`), our Lord expressly states the propriety of expecting those who trespass against us to make some acknowledgment of their fault before expressing full forgiveness. He says, "If thy brother trespass against thee seven times in a day, and seven times in a day turn again to thee, saying, I repent! thou shalt forgive him."
We are not to accept one portion of the divine direction and to ignore another portion: we are not to say that our Lord meant it, when he said, "forgive him," and that he did not mean it when he said, "Rebuke
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him; and if he repent, forgive him." With the majority of people, however, it would probably be quite unnecessary to urge the propriety of repentance; --unless they were the transgressors whose duty it is to repent. Most people are sufficiently disinclined to forgive, to wait until their forgiveness is asked. The trouble is that then the large majority apparently do not "forgive from the heart" but merely from the lips. Heart forgiveness leaves no sting, no animosity, no grudge.
On the other side of the question, however, a caution is necessary. The Christian is to have the loving, generous disposition of heart, a copy of the Heavenly Father's disposition. In trivial affairs he is to have so much sympathy and love that he will take no notice, just as God for Christ's sake deals with us and does not impute sin to us, except as it represents knowledge and wilfulness. With such a rule operating amongst Christians, a determination not to recognize as an offence anything that is not purposely done, or intended as an offense, would be a great blessing to all, and the proper God-like course. The transgressions to which our Lord refers, are not trivial affairs of no consequence, are not evil surmisings and imaginings, are not rumors, are not fancied insults, but positive wrongs done us, which are susceptible of proofs, and on account of which it is our duty, kindly and lovingly and wisely to give some proper rebuke;--some intimation that we recognize the wrong and that it has grieved us and hurt us. Then comes in the divine rule respecting the one and only proper manner of rebuke, pointed out in Rule No. V., page 85, this journal.
The disposition to forgive should be with us always, and should be manifested by us at all times. Our loving generosity and kindness and desire to think no evil or as little evil as possible, should be manifest by all the words and acts of life. This is God-like. God had a kind, benevolent, generous sentiment toward us, even while we were yet sinners. Nor did he wait for the sinners to ask forgiveness, but promptly manifested his desire for harmony and his readiness to forgive. The whole Gospel message is to this effect: "Be ye reconciled to God." Our hearts should be so full of this disposition toward forgiveness that our faces would not have a hard look, nor our words of reproof a bitter sting: they should manifest the loving forgiveness that we should have in our hearts at all times.
Forgiveness, "in your hearts," is the condition which is always to obtain there: we should never harbor any other feeling than that of forgiveness and good will toward all, no matter how seriously they may have trespassed against us: and if this be the case, we will be longing and anxious to exercise the forgiveness outwardly and to express it to the repentant ones. Hence, we will not seek to compel the most elaborate statement on the part of the penitent; but, like the father of the prodigal, to see the repentant one coming in an attitude of humility will touch our hearts and prompt us to go out part way to meet him, and to forgive him, and to kiss him, and to put on the robe of fullest fellowship and brotherhood.
"If ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses."--`Matt. 6:15`.
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"BEHOLD, THY KING COMETH UNTO THEE!"
--MAY 1.--`MATT. 21:6-16`.--
"Hosanna to the Son of David: blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord!"--`Matt. 21:9`.
THE SCENE of this lesson occurred about six days before our Lord's crucifixion. In many respects it differed from any other circumstance in his ministry. Previously, when the people had spoken of taking him by force to make of him their King, Jesus had withdrawn himself: to such an extent was this true that his friends and disciples marveled that anyone proclaiming himself the Messiah should seemingly avoid the very means of centering public attention upon himself and favoring the sentiment of making him the King. (`John 7:4-6`.) But on this occasion our Lord deliberately sent for the ass upon which he rode triumphantly as King to Jerusalem: and when the people shouted our Golden Text, "Hosanna to the Son of David: blessed is he that cometh in the name of Jehovah" and strewed their clothing in the way and put palm branches as marks of honor of the King, breaking all previous records, our Lord accepted these marks of honor. It was when the Pharisees, being greatly displeased, remonstrated, urging that he should rebuke the people and not permit them so to honor him, that our Lord explained, to the effect that a prophecy was being fulfilled, and that, since the Prophet had said, "Shout, O daughter of Jerusalem! Behold, thy King cometh unto thee," etc., therefore there must be a shout to fulfil the prophecy: so that, if the people had not shouted, the very stones must have cried out, in order to fulfil the Word of the Lord by the Prophet `Zechariah.--9:9`.
The fact that our Lord was thus fulfilling prophecy, explains the entire situation; and we at once catch the thought, elsewhere enforced in the Scriptures, that our Lord's previous ministry to Israel had not been as their King, but as John had introduced him--as their Bridegroom and as their Teacher. But now, at the close of his ministry and just as he was about to finish his course of sacrifice at Calvary, the time had come to offer to Israel, formally, the King and the Kingdom which God had long before promised to father Abraham and reiterated through the prophets. The hour was come. Would they now at this moment of trial and testing as a nation receive the Messiah, the long promised King, or would they be so blinded by false expectations, superinduced by wrong conditions of heart, as to be unable to know him and to appreciate him, when the crucial moment should come? God had foreseen that, notwithstanding the favors which he had bestowed upon Israel, including the sending to them of John the Baptist to prepare them, including also the work of our Lord and the apostles, and the "other seventy also," they would not be ready, would not receive their King, and would hence be rejected from being his peculiar people. God, acting upon his own foreknowledge, might have avoided sending our Lord in this formal way to make a formal tender of the Kingdom to the nominal seed of Abraham, knowing in advance that they would reject it; but had he done so, his course would not have been so plain and clear to the Jews, nor to us. God's judgment would have been just, but its justice would not have been apparent to his creatures, and the latter is a part of his good pleasure.
Not only did our Lord accept the salutations of the people as the Messiah, but continuing the same thought of his dignity of power and authority, he rode to the Temple and with a scourge of small cords drove out the money changers and merchants, who were defiling the Temple and violating the divine rule respecting it. Whether it was because of our Lord's dignity of person and presence alone, or whether also because of the large multitude that was with him and shouting for him, the fact remains that no attempt was made to resist him, and the King had his way, cleansed the typical Temple, reproved the wrong doers and received the poor outcasts of society, the blind and the lame, and healed them in the Temple, while the shouting of Hosanna to the Son of David was continued, fulfilling the testimony of the Prophet, "Out of the mouth of babes and sucklings thou hast perfected praise."
It was on this occasion that our Lord in his journey, when on the hilltop opposite Jerusalem, wept over it, saying, "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee; how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her brood under her wings, and ye would not! Behold, your house is left unto you desolate. For I say unto you, Ye shall not see me henceforth till ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord"--the very shout the Pharisees objected to.--`Luke 19:41`; `Matt. 23:37`.
This was the turning point in Israel's history, as the Prophet Zechariah has marked out.* It was here that the Lamb of God offered himself to Israel as a nation as their Paschal or Passover Lamb, and they did not receive him as a "house" or nation. In the type the lamb was to be taken into the house on the ninth day of the first month and to be killed on the fourteenth. Here our Lord appropriately offered himself to them as the Lamb on the ninth day of the month in fulfilment of the type, and on the fourteenth day he was crucified--the Lamb was slain. But since Israel did not receive the Lamb into their house, they lost the great blessing that the Lamb was to bring; their house was not passed over, their house was given up to destruction:
*MILLENNIAL DAWN, VOL. II., Chap. 7.
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and from that day onward until A.D. 70 the work of destruction progressed, and from it they have never since recovered. Only now--since 1878--is their measure of chastisement coming to its full, so that we may fulfil the words of the Lord through the Prophet Isaiah, "Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God. Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry unto her that her warfare--her appointed time--is accomplished,
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that her iniquity is pardoned: for she hath received of the Lord's hand a second part [of chastisement] for all her sins."--`Isa. 40:1,2`.
Thank God, that the failure of the natural seed of Abraham to prove worthy of the great promise, did not frustrate divine grace: but that, using the little band of Israelites indeed as a nucleus, our Lord at once began the work of gathering "a holy nation, a royal priesthood," the true seed of Abraham which, with himself as its King, shall ultimately fulfil all the exceeding great and precious promises implied in the promise and oath to Abraham--that all the families of the earth should be blessed through this "Seed."--`Gal. 3:16,29`.
But while the incident of this lesson is both interesting and instructive of itself, it assumes still greater importance when we remember that the fleshly Israelites were typical of the spiritual Israelites, and that those features in the close of that age correspond to a considerable degree to the closing features of this Gospel age. Here our Lord has come to the second house of Israel, and he finds it as he found the fleshly house, nominally pious, compassing sea and land to make a proselyte, yet, as described in his own words, neither cold nor hot, and ready to be spewed out of his mouth; --knowing not that they are "wretched and pitiable-- even poor and blind and naked." (`Rev. 3:16,17`.) Poor in that they lack the true riches of divine grace, the gold of the divine nature and the precious hopes and promises associated therewith. Blind, in that they cannot see afar off, cannot see the length and breadth and height and depth of the divine plan revealed in God's Word, cannot see either the high-calling of the Church, with the blessed provisions of restitution for the world of mankind in general. Naked, in that their chief ones have already lost faith in the ransom, the only covering of our nakedness (which the filthy rags of our own righteousness will not cover), and in that the people are following the examples and precepts of their leaders in discarding the precious robe of Christ's righteousness--the only "wedding garment." Surely, this is a pitiable condition, and to many of themselves a miserable one.
As the King he is now taking possession of his Kingdom--first, as with the Jews, offering himself to his professed people--but now, as then, finding only a remnant, in the nominal mass, truly anxious for his Kingdom, and prepared to receive it and him. He is now seeking for all the Israelites indeed in whom is no guile, and he will thoroughly winnow the "wheat," and when it shall be gathered into the garner, it shall be found exactly sufficient to complete the foreordained, predestinated number of the "elect" Church.
As the nominal Jewish "house" was given up and left desolate, and the true Israelites were gathered out of it, so with the "house" of nominal spiritual Israel--Christendom. The Lord is calling out all who are his people, saying, "Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues." As soon as this call and the various siftings of divine providence shall have found the worthy ones, who shall inherit the Kingdom with the King (as his Bride and Consort), then the plagues shall come upon the residue, the nominal system. The great time of trouble so long foretold in the Lord's Word (in which the whole world will be humbled before him, its proud heart broken, its pride and haughtiness brought low) will then break forth upon the world.
We must remember, however, that the King takes his Kingdom not to destroy men's lives, but to save them; to bless them. And while the early part of his reign shall be the ruling of the nations as with a rod of iron, and the breaking of them in pieces as unsatisfactory potters' vessels, yet the intent of all this is that he and his Kingdom may thus be recognized of all, and the work of healing and restitution be caused to progress for a thousand years to earth's blessing.
Meanwhile, however, the Temple class, the "little flock," must be purged, cleansed; the money changers, and those who make merchandise of the sacrifices, must be driven out, before the Temple, composed of living stones, with Christ as its top-stone and foundation, shall be ready to be filled with the glory of God and to become the place of prayer for all nations, the channel which all mankind may, during the Millennial age, find access to God.
Fleshly Israel failed to receive the King because "They knew not the time of their visitation." And they were left in ignorance, because their hearts were not right--they were not worthy of the truth. Realizing that they and their experiences were types of Christendom to-day, let us take heed to our hearts that we may continue to be accounted worthy to be reckoned among the "brethren" to whom the Apostle declares, "Ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief; ye are all children of the light and of the day."
"The 'Gentile Times' are closing, for their kings have had their day;
And with them sin and sorrow will forever pass away;
For the tribe of Judah's Lion now comes to hold the sway:
Our King is marching on.
"I can see his coming judgments, as they circle all the earth,
The signs and groanings promised to precede a second birth;
I read his righteous sentence in the crumbling thrones of earth:
Our King is marching on.
"The seventh trump is sounding, and our King knows no defeat.
He will surely sift the hearts of men before his judgment seat.
O! be swift, my soul, to welcome him, be jubilant, my feet:
Our King is marching on." --HYMNS OF DAWN.