VOL. IX. PITTSBURGH, PA., SEPTEMBER, 1887. NO. 1.
Zion's Watch Tower
HERALD OF CHRIST'S PRESENCE.
TOWER PUBLISHING COMPANY, PITTSBURGH, PA.
BUSINESS OFFICE: No. 151 Robinson St., Allegheny, Pa. C. T. RUSSELL, EDITOR.
The Editor recognizes a responsibility to the Master, relative to what shall appear in these columns, which he cannot and does not cast aside; yet he should not be understood as endorsing every expression of correspondents, or of articles selected from other periodicals.
TERMS OF SUBSCRIPTION.
TERMS:--FIFTY CENTS A YEAR, POSTAGE FREE. Including special number (Millennial Dawn, Vol. I., paper bound) seventy five cents. Remit by draft, P.O. Money Order, or Registered Letter, payable to C. T. RUSSELL.
Three shillings per year. Including "Special Number," four shillings. Remit by Foreign Postal Money Order.
This paper will be sent free to any of the Lord's poor who will send a card yearly requesting it. Freely we have received and freely we would give the truth. "Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters; and he that hath no money, come ye, buy and eat-- yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price." And you that have it--"Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labor for that which satisfieth not? Hearken diligently--and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness."--`ISAIAH 55:1,2`.
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HINTS ON SELLING DAWN.
Any one desirous of engaging in the spread of the truth can find grand opportunities and plenty of them, selling paper-bound DAWN, VOL. I. The present price, 25 cents, brings it within the reach of all. We state again that ten cents per copy is allowed for expenses out of the Tract Fund. According to your zeal, faith and talents united, will be your success. Take your sample book and make a trial before ordering books. For particulars of how to succeed in selling DAWN, write to us for a copy of our Hints to MILLENNIAL DAWN Canvassers, just printed. It will be sent free by mail.
Another plan for spreading the "glad tidings" has been conceived. It is to print some pointed Scripture passages briefly showing our glorious hope, across the face of an envelope at the top, leaving plenty of room for addressing and stamps, and on the back of same some friendly mentions of MILLENNIAL DAWN.
The suggestion is that if all our readers used envelopes printed thus for their correspondence, it would call the attention of thousands to the "blessed hope," which fills our hearts, and to the book which presented that hope, briefly, strikingly, and often more effectively than any other tract or paper would do, and without extra cost to you, by the plan we have arranged.
Buying and printing envelopes in quantities, we can pay postage to you and all expenses, and sell them at a lower rate than you could buy them for blank, in small quantities. We can supply you at 35 cts. a hundred, or 300 for one dollar, postage or expressage prepaid. And for any one wanting 2,000 at a time, we will print a neat small business card in the corner below the above mentioned Scripture texts, without extra charge, i.e., 2,000 for six dollars ($6.00) expressage prepaid. Cash in advance must accompany all orders, as it will busy us to attend to the extra work, without trouble and worry about accounts and collections.
In this way those at home also, can find room to do something in the harvest field, can help spread the good tidings of great joy, and bring it before the eyes of thousands. And if brethren in business will adopt the plan, hundreds of thousands of these messengers may soon be running to and fro through the earth and knowledge be increased thereby. We can offer no variety--they will be full sized No. 6 Envelopes, of either a green or blue tint. We need not say to you that they will be neat and respectable.
Less than 100 we do not care to sell, as the time consumed does not justify; hence we say, Less than 100 will be one cent each. Address orders to TOWER PUBLISH CO., Allegheny, Pa., U.S.A.
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VIEW FROM THE TOWER.
"Watchman, What of the night? The morning cometh, and also the night."
Our last "VIEW" scanned the advantages of the present over all past time, to the consecrated child of God, both for his own up-building and for preaching the glad tidings to others; but now we look beyond the present, into the future. We see beyond, the brightness of the Millennial Day whose dawn-streaks may even now be seen as we look from the WATCH TOWER in the right direction. We know that there the Sun of Righteousness, with healing in its beams, shall ultimately dispel all darkness--every error and wrong; but between the present comparatively favorable hour, though it is not without its difficulties, and that coming time of unhindered righteousness, what may we expect? Will it continue to be as favorable for study and helps as the present, or more so, or less so? Will it be favorable as the present for labor in the vineyard, or more or less favorable? That is the query now.
We have no desire to draw a dark picture; we prefer rather to think of and point out the glory to follow, the joys of the grand incoming Millennial Day, than the afflictions and discouragements of the nearer future, which precedes full sunrise.
But it is necessary as a portion of "meat in due season," that the saints should be at least in a measure forewarned of impending events, that when they come to pass they may not be alarmed or disheartened, but being fore-armed may know how to meet them; and also that they may more fully appreciate the blessings of the present, so as to most diligently "Work while it is called day, for the night [a much darker time in comparison with the present, which is called day,] cometh wherein no man CAN WORK." Though the Watchman proclaims to the inquirer that the Millennial morning cometh, he should also forewarn of the approaching night between, darker than the present.
The Apostle asserts that "The time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine." (`2 Tim. 4:3`.) He speaks of the general or nominal Church, which in our day includes "all sorts" of what a prominent Methodist Bishop has styled "the ring-streaked and speckled of Christendom." While this is true now in the same sense that it has been true for centuries, is it not to have a more forcible and clear fulfillment future? It is true now that the Church nominal will not endure preachers who ignore their creeds and "preach the Word," the "whole counsel [plan] of God;" but having "itching ears" they love human speculations on evolution, and philosophies falsely so called, rather than the Word of God, which to them, seems old and unrefreshing; for none get the refreshing "meat in due season" from the Word, except those who possess its spirit and are walking in obedience to its light. And yet because they cannot hinder it, they endure the sound doctrine to some extent--to an extent far beyond what Rome in her palmy days would have endured. Men have been burned at the stake, imprisoned, etc., for expressing truths with far less force and plainness than is used in the TOWER.
Just before the words we are considering (`2 Tim. 4:3`), the Apostle refers directly to the perilous times of the last days of this age, (`Chap. 3:1-13`), pointing out its high minded, pleasure-loving and good-despising characteristics, with its formalism, covetousness, pride and unthankfulness; and declares that (in the church) Evil men and leaders-astray (from the truth) shall grow worse and worse, deceiving others and being deceived themselves by their sophistries. And since the Apostle was thinking and writing specially about the last days, and not about the middle ages, we are surely justified in querying whether a time may not be but a short distance before us, when sound doctrine will not be endured, or permitted, to any degree in the "last days."
While it is true now, to a large extent, that none are permitted to buy or sell [trade in the truth] in the common marts or synagogues, except those who have the mark of the beast or the number of his name, (`Rev. 13:17`) yet we manage to do considerable trading outside--among the people. And the question is, May not this statement of the Revelator mean still more than our present experience, and like the Apostle Paul's statement imply that a time will come in the last days, in which sound doctrine will not be endured at all?
In back numbers of the TOWER, we have shown that the true Church, while in the flesh, is the antitypical Elias or Elijah, which introduces and prepares the way of the true Spiritual Church--the Christ in glory. We showed that the prophet Elijah's ministry was typical of the Church's ministry, and that his tribulations at the hand of Jezebel and her priests and Ahab, were typical of the persecutions of the true saints at the hand of the antitypical Jezebel, the false church --Rome, and her priests, and her husband --the Roman Empire etc., etc. We also showed that John the Baptist was another type of the Church in the flesh during this Gospel age, in that he fulfilled the work of the antitypical Elijah to the Jewish people, when the kingdom was offered them formally and figuratively at the first advent. John was called the Elias because he was another figure, as Elijah was, of the real Elijah, antitypical--the true church in the flesh. (`Matt. 11:14`.) So, then, whatever we find in the life and experience of either Elijah or John, which seems to fit well to the experience of the Church, and to the testimony regarding her future earthly course, we are justified in recognizing as typical.
We shall not here refer at length to Elijah and the wonderful correspondence between his experience and that delineated in the Revelations, in which even his persecutor Jezebel is mentioned by name, and the application made of it to the Church's persecutor, nor to the exact correspondence of time there pointed out and the fulfillment of all these in the history of the true (not the nominal) Church. For this we refer you to your file of TOWERS. (See, Nov. '83.) We here draw your attention merely to the closing events of the lives of Elijah and John, as illustrative of what we may expect to be the closing events in the history of the "little flock" in the earthly condition--the true antitypical Elias which was to come, and whose failure to turn or convert the hearts of the world before the great Millennial day of the Lord, makes necessary the smiting of the earth with a curse (`Mal. 3:23,24`.) --the time of trouble such as was not since there was a nation, needful to prepare the world for the reign of the Prince of Peace.
Elijah passed from earthly scenes in a chariot of fire, representative of the spiritual glory and exaltation awaiting at the end of the earthly race course, those of the Church alive and remaining to the last; but we should also remember that it was by a whirlwind or storm-burst that he was taken away; and a storm is the symbol of trouble as much as the fiery chariot would be a figure of victory and glory in that trouble.
John the Baptist's closing experiences mark the trouble feature more clearly. Though he was not obeyed by the people (`Matt. 17:12`), they for a short time recognized him as a sincere man, a servant and prophet of God (`Jno. 5:35`), yet when he had announced Jesus as Messiah,
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his work soon began to wane, as he had testified it should do, saying of Jesus, "He must increase, but I must decrease." So it must be in the end of this age: the work of the John class or Elijah class, closes with the announcement that The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand, and the King is present. This is now being done; and strange to say the testimony is in almost the same words used by John, who declared: "There standeth one [present] among you whom you know not," "whose fan is in his hand, and he will thoroughly purge [cleanse] his [threshing] floor, and gather his wheat into the garner; but he will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire" [in a time of trouble].--`John 1:26`; `Matt. 3:12`.
As John decreased--his work being done when this message was delivered --so the Church in the flesh must decrease when its last message is given, until the last member has laid down his consecrated life and passed beyond the vail into "glory" thenceforth to be a member of the glorious reigning Christ. As John said that Jesus must increase, so now that the real Kingdom is about to be established, we can confidently say, that the King is present, and that his kingdom must increase until it fills the earth. And, John's announcement of the "harvest" work--the gathering of the wheat, and the trouble coming upon the chaff, finds its parallel in the present time.
John's liberty was restrained soon after the delivery of this message announcing the present One and the work before him; he was cast into prison because he had reproved the king of improper union with a woman (`Matt. 14:4`); and though the faithful children of God have often pointed out that union between the church and the civil power was out of order, being in the Scriptures termed harlotry (`Rev. 17:5`), and though in great measure the world has separated from the churches, the union still exists and bids fair to increase; for the Scriptures seem to point out that in the time of trouble approaching, the churches, professedly virgins of Christ, will be on the side of and will be
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united to the kings of the earth; and the true church like its prototype, John the Baptist, will be unpopular and restrained of liberty, because of faithfulness in opposing and condemning this error.
In John's case and Elijah's, it was a woman that persecuted, a king acting as her agent and tool: with the true church it has been in the past, that which these symbolize, and doubtless will be so in the future--the nominal Church represented by a woman and civil government by a king. Not only does prophecy point out a closer union between these than at present exists, but common sense teaches us the same; for any one can see, that the principal lever by which the aristocratic classes rule the masses, is the superstition that God appointed these "great men," often both weak and vicious, to rule over them; and that to rebel against tyranny, and injustice, and to claim justice, liberty and equal right, is to oppose God's will. The church of Rome laid the foundation for this when she had power over the nations. She made and unmade kings and emperors, and claimed to do so as God's representative, and taught that when such were appointed, they reigned by divine authority.
Protestants followed in her footsteps and tacitly admitted these claims; and hence to-day Protestants and Catholics stand virtually pledged to the monarchies of Europe, and will be bound to deny the right of the people to redress their wrongs, or assume self-government, except by constitutional means, which is impossible, except in such countries as Great Britain, whose present liberal constitution whereby the majority of the people are able without violence to redress their wrongs, was gained by revolt against the autocratic power of their kings. (See, "Magna Charta" in English history.)
Not only so, but the coming struggle between the Aristocracy and the Masses of every civilized land, will be so peculiar, so unlike any former experience, that moderate, conservative, religiously and peaceably inclined people, fearing the utter wreck of society in chaos and anarchy, will naturally prefer monarchy, oppression and bondage, to anything certain to be worse. Hence such will side with church and empire, with wealth and aristocracy, in the general effort to repress and prevent that irrepressible conflict.--"The battle of the great day of God Almighty."
Eventually almost the only exceptions to this course, among the lovers of peace and true religion, will be such as ourselves, to whom the King of kings is pleased through his Word to reveal his plans (`John 16:13`), and who have full confidence in his wisdom and love, as well as in his power to make all things work out according to his prophetic promises. Only such among the conservative, order-loving people as see the part which the coming social revolution must play in God's plan, in removing effete systems whose day is past, and in preparing the world by a great levelling process, for the Millennial reign of righteousness, will be able to comprehend the situation and to act accordingly. But these will be misunderstood, and their endeavors to point out the true state of the case, and the real and only remedy, will probably be interfered with by those who see not the grand outcome, and who because unwilling to submit their own wills, ideas and plans, are unable to see God's plans. When repressive, restrictive and coercive measures are thought to be necessary, such measures will probably include not only labor organizations and the organs which advocate their rights and wrongs, but probably such publications as point out the plan of God, and the real cause and only remedy for the great distress of the nations. Yes, the time may not be far distant when repressive measures may be brought to bear against the TOWER, the MILLENNIAL DAWN, and against every efforts of the saints to spread the good news of the coming Kingdom, all on the plea that the general interests and the public welfare demand such a course.
Thus will be fulfilled the predictions of the `second Psalm`, and probably in the end with more bitterness than can now well be imagined, though it has been partially fulfilled already upon the Head of the body.--`Acts 4:25-29`.
The same necessity for restricting liberty on political and social questions, will probably be seen to apply equally to freedom of expression on religious questions, which really lies at the foundation of all liberty. It would not surprise us if a "strong government," a monarchy, would some day replace this present Great Republic; and it is entirely probable that a common standard of religious belief will be deemed expedient and will be promulgated, to teach outside of which, will be treated and punished as a political offence. Such a persecution would not only furnish in the end or harvest of this age another parallel to the harvest of the Jewish age (`Acts 4:10-13,23-30`; `5:29-41`; `11:19`), but would also give a wider and deeper meaning than we had before expected, to the words of the Apostles Paul and John, quoted at the beginning of this article, and to the typical illustration of the close of the earthly career of the true church, as represented in Elijah's whirlwind and John the Baptist's imprisonment and beheading.
Two lessons we may draw from this to advantage, whether future developments shall prove that we have read the prophetic testimony correctly or incorrectly, and they are these: First, we should be so prepared, so armed, and so thoroughly furnished with the invincible truth, that persecutions would move us only to greater zeal, and not lead us through surprise or fear to lower our standard, nor to surrender when the Kings of the earth stand up and with the religious rulers of the people are gathered against us and the truths to which God has granted us the privilege of witnessing, as his servants and ambassadors, to them who know us not, even as they knew not our Lord. (`1 John 3:1`.) Second, such reflections relative to the future, contrasted with the privileges of the present (See last month's VIEW) should serve to stimulate every consecrated child of God to make diligent use of the present grand harvest opportunities and privileges, remembering that "he that reapeth receiveth wages," as truly as they that planted and watered, and that now is pre-eminently a time for gathering fruit unto eternal life. The little quiet of the present favorable time, with its greater liberties and advantages in every way, is divinely arranged in order to the sealing of the true servants of God in their foreheads (intellectually). --See `Rev. 7:3`.
The Master saith: "Work while it is called day; for the night cometh when no man can work." Ask yourself, What am I doing? Then lay aside weights and hindrances, and multiply your efforts. Be assured that if you are not a servant of the truth in some of the many ways now open, you are unworthy of it, and will lose your hold on it, because now is the harvest, the sifting and separating time. Various things will tend to draw you away from the truth; fathers, mothers, sons and daughters, brothers and sisters will oppose and seek to separate you from the truth and its service. You must remember the Lord's words, that the "harvest" is not a time for peace, but on the contrary it will surely produce separation and alienations between true wheat and all else. See, and treasure up his words on this subject.--`Matt. 10:30-39` and `Luke 18:28-30`.
BROTHER HICKEY'S ANNIVERSARY.
Saratoga Co., N.Y., Aug. 23d, 1887,
MY DEAR BRO. RUSSELL:--Grace unto you, and peace be multiplied! Surely, I have great joy and consolation in thy love, being refreshed by thee.
The August TOWER is a very precious and grateful supply of the satisfying food God so graciously permits you to dispense to the household of faith. Thank you for the very kind personal allusions. I know you meant all in love (including letter, though its publication was embarrassing). The articles from your pen are verily "meat in due season." And I am greatly rejoiced to learn that the number of harvesters is increasing; that their enthusiasm is so great; that the seal of divine approbation is so evidently set upon their efforts; and that each zealous worker seems to realize it, in his or her inner consciousness.
In my own case, I am frank in confessing that I believe that the prime object my Heavenly Father had in view in the severity of his dealings with me during the three months (just past) of physical suffering, was to bring me to see what is now manifestly my plain duty.
That is, to devote all the strength God gives me to the work of carrying to others and to as many as possible, that same blessed instrumentality which served to dispel the darkness from my own pathway, and to carry me forward and upward to such sublime heights of vantage ground, as to make me spurn forever anything and everything that is of the earth earthy; and to so fill and sway and agitate my throbbing heart as to all but burst, it in the sudden and mighty inflow of the knowledge of the glory of the Lord; and to plunge me into such fathomless depths of the boundless ocean of God's love as to cause me to struggle and gasp, and--in my supreme joy, to wonder what possibilities there must be--can be, when we see face to face. God, I say, has been teaching me by exceedingly severe dealings that my bounden duty is "go and do likewise!" I can see very plainly now as I look back at the various stages of my sickness, how that God, in love permitted a severe and sudden attack when I thought I was gaining and began to plan for "my way." That happened so often, that at last my dull comprehension has been sharpened and I have answered my Master with a "Yea, Lord, thy servant heareth!"
And now my health improves every day and my strength increases, and instead of being called hence, as I delusively imagined I was to be, I was only being vigorously shaken up, to a realizing sense of what I ought, long ago, to have seen to be my very plain and bounden duty. Now it might be of some use to print some of this letter. For it might serve to arouse some other of the sickly ones to vigorous action in dispensing to others that which has blessed them beyond all power of expression. I came here two weeks ago last night, "a physical wreck;" the next day I dragged myself out in the heat and began to work. The result is, I have gained steadily with the thermometer "among the nineties," and can now work about six hours a day without very great fatigue.
Of course I have not done as well in point of numbers of DAWNS sold as some of the beloved brethren, (chief among them Bro. Adamson) whose letters in TOWER cheer and enthuse us. One reason probably is, it isn't in me, and another is, that there could probably be no less favorable spot chosen than this wicked, brilliant, flashing Summer resort. Still, I can sell from 10 to 15 daily notwithstanding all disadvantages of my still weak condition and the character of place and people. And I expect to reach yet many more per day elsewhere and in cooler weather. "Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the WORK of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord."
It is just one year this day since I wrote you of the great and unspeakable blessing God had so graciously sent me through that marvelous production, "MILLENNIAL DAWN: The Plan of the Ages." Its effect upon me after careful and prayerful study, and testing by the Standard of God's Word, was instantaneously revolutionary.
I know of no other instance of a conversion so sudden and complete, from gross error honestly embraced and its conclusions sincerely acted upon, to the joyous reception of the truth and hearty conformity to its requirements as far as light was given, excepting that of Saul on his way to Damascus. Though I doubt not there have been many other like turnings.
I withdrew from the body of the Presbyterian Clergy at the earliest opportunity, henceforth to know no name but Christ. Numerous predictions were made concerning me by friends, relatives, and former clerical associates. One was to the effect that I would soon go into infidelity; another, that I would lose my reason; another, that I would return to the fold of Orthodoxy and Calvinism. As to the first, Infidelity (unbelief), I am deeply sensible that my trust, my confidence, my faith in God and the precious truths of his Word, has grown and strengthened constantly. And this is not surprising, for it is in the very nature of things that increased knowledge of God and his Divine Revelation should inevitably bring increased belief. As to the mental status, my honest conviction is that the subject is much further removed from the condition of lunacy then when he was literally
The continuation of this letter will be found on Page, 8.
Continued from Page, 2.
crushed under the "burden of souls" doomed to "eternal torment."
As to the last named prediction; am I a dog, that I should return to my vomit, or a sow, that I should return to my wallowing in the mire? Shall I return to the musty husks and polluted waters of former things, after revelling in broad fields of tender grass and drinking from crystal streams of living waters? Sooner would the eagle cleaving the blue expanse, return to the iron-barred cage of its former captivity. Surely the truth hath made me free!
The conviction that the best and only way to keep the blessing, and to increasingly realize its preciousness, is to give it out freely to others, deepens and strengthens daily. Accordingly I shall devote all the time, talents and energy God gives to proclaiming the "Glad Tidings" to as many others as I may be able to reach, and that through the same instrumentality by which I was reached: "MILLENNIAL DAWN--The Plan of the Ages," while this is so manifestly the work to be done.
I enclose a cheering letter from my Brooklyn Physician.
Affectionately and gratefully Your brother in Christ, S. I. HICKEY.
We give some extracts from the letter mentioned above:--
MY DEAR BRO. HICKEY:--Someway, in thinking about you, after I realized that you had gone and that I might not see you again face to face, I felt the truth of that old adage about "blessings brightening as they take their flight." I felt that I had suffered a dear friend to go away without talking to and with him about what was nearest his and my heart, those things for which you have suffered much reproach and contumely.
I had refused to listen to you, or had changed the subject whenever you had approached it, and my heart smote me. Thinking of this, I grieved a little over it, and in my grief I took up M. DAWN to learn more about it. I confess to you that I had not read the book through, I think I read the first three chapters, and then threw it aside. There were many good things in it which I could heartily accept even then--but the conclusions were what strangled me. I had heard the conclusions from you, but not the full course of reasoning and Scripture proof; and that reminds me of an error too often made: that of stating conclusions first, and so awakening such antagonism, that no subsequent argument will be effective. For instance, to state that "there is no hell," or "there is probation after death," etc. With most people you may as well stop right there. I speak of it because at first you approached the subject in that way, though I doubt not you have learned better by this time. Now, as I have said, I have read "MILLENNIAL DAWN"-- have just finished it, and I can truly say, I regard it as a wonderful book, and as throwing a flood of light on the Word. It harmonizes in a remarkable manner, things which were before all confusion and discord. It plainly shows a plan, and moreover, a plan which on the whole is reasonable. I believe, too, that, on the whole, it is Scriptural. Certainly there is great good in it.
My appetite is whetted by the taste, and I want more, more time to study and compare Scripture and think and pray over it. I must look at it from all sides.
So you see your going away has worked some good where you least expected it.
Yours truly S. C__________.
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ACQUAINT THYSELF WITH HIM.
God works in silence, and His vast designs Are brought to pass in quietness and peace; Unheralded the sun comes forth at morn, And without tumult on the nation shines; Unwept again its ministrations cease,
And twilight worlds are born.
The years sweep onward, but their chariot wheels Vouchsafe no echo to our yearning call; The swift attendant seasons as they pass Are shod with silence, and no sound reveals The rapid hours, whose steps are as the fall
Of snowflakes on the grass.
In quietness through dreary winter days The buds of next year's summer take their rest, Assured of happy waking by-and-by; Though long the sweetness of the spring delays, Though tempests move in wrath from east to west,
They neither strive nor cry.
Patient in long reserve of hidden power, God's judgments tarry their appointed time, But from His love, wherein all fulness dwells, Mute tokens come about us hour by hour, In silence sweeter than the voiceless chime
Of fragrant lily bells.
The perfect bliss for which His people crave-- The final victory--He sees across The cloud and sunshine of a thousand years; While the frail garland on a baby's grave May circumscribe life's utmost gain and loss
To eyes grown dim with tears!
Oh troubled heart! no storms of adverse fate, No wave of circumstance may overleap The jasper borders of eternity; Acquaint thyself with Him, nor zeal abate, He shall appoint a rest, and for thee keep
The white robe and the palm!--Selected.
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THE SABBATH DAY.
THE JEWISH SABBATH AND THE LAW OF WHICH IT WAS A PART.
Though our views are widely different from those of most Christian people on this subject, yet let us say, we are very glad that one day of each week is set apart for rest from business and for the worship of God, without regard to which of the seven days is thus observed, or by what law or lawgiver it was appointed. We greatly enjoy the day, and think it not only a blessing to those who use it for worship and study, but also for those who use it merely as a day of rest and recreation from toil, to enjoy the beauties of nature, or to visit with their friends and families as they cannot do on other days.
But we must totally dissent from the idea of Sabbath common to the majority of Christian people, for two reasons. First, because if their claim that we are under the Law, of which the Sabbath day observance was a part, were true, the day they keep as a Sabbath, is not the day mentioned in that command. They observe the first day, and the command designated the seventh day of the week. If the command is binding at all, it cannot be changed, any more than any other of those commands can be changed. Second, If bound to the Law, we object to the keeping of the Sabbath in any other than the strict way in which its keeping was therein prescribed. If the command is binding upon us, the manner of its observance, its very essence, is no less binding. If the strict observance of it has passed away, surely whatever destroyed its strict interpretation destroyed the command entirely. So then, it should be observed with all its former strictness, so that even the gathering of sticks on that day would be punishable with death, now as then, (`Num. 15:32-36`.) and on the day prescribed and observed then, or else it has no binding force whatever: unless it can be shown that God, the giver of that Law, changed it himself. Men have no right to change God's laws; no, not if an angel from heaven sanctioned it.
The Law stands exactly as it was given and applies only to those to whom given, or if it is claimed that it was altered in any degree, or made applicable to other people, the evidence should be no less clear and positive than that of its original giving at Sinai: and no such evidence of its change to another day, or another people, nor of any relaxation of its original severity, exists. On the contrary we shall find abundant proof that it was neither altered nor amended, but fulfilled and set aside, abolished by our Redeemer.
We claim that God never authorized a change in the Law; that not one jot or tittle of it could fail, until all should be fulfilled. (`Matt. 5:18`.) We claim on Scriptural testimony, that our Lord, as the man Christ Jesus, was born under the Law, a Jew, and fulfilled its every requirement, and thus fulfilled it as a whole. He became the heir of its promises or covenants, and "redeemed them that were under the Law"--the Jewish nation--from the condemnation which that Law brought upon them all, because of their inability to live up to its requirements.
Many Christians fail to recognize, that in the beginning of the Gospel age, the church was composed of converts from both Jews and Gentiles. The Jews as a nation had been released (typically) from the Adamic curse, or condemnation, and put under the Law given at Sinai, as a covenant under which they were to have life if obedient. The Gentiles (heathen) was the name by which all the great bulk of the human family was known, except this one little nation, which God typically justified by typical sacrifices, and placed again on trial under the Law given at Sinai. The Law proved valueless to them so far as giving them the hoped-for life was concerned, though it as a schoolmaster taught them some good lessons. Consequently Jews and Gentiles were both under condemnation when our Lord came. Both were condemned to death--the Jew by the Law from which he had expected so much, but which, because of the weakness of his flesh he was unable to comply with, was condemned as unworthy of life; while the Gentiles were condemned to death under the original sentence upon father Adam, from which they had in no sense escaped, not even typically as the Jew had.
Both Jew and Gentile, therefore, needed deliverance from the same curse, condemnation, viz., death; and the Deliverer whom God provided was sufficient for both, and in the one sacrifice of himself he accomplished the redemption of both, and reconciled both unto God in one body by the cross. (`Eph. 2:16`.) For the Jew, by fulfilling all the demands of the Law, he gained all the promises which that Law offered; and by his death for that people he redeemed them all from its curse or penalty--death; and ended that typical covenant. The ending of that covenant and the redeeming of that people from its curse or condemnation, took place at the same time, and was accomplished by the same sacrifice, that paid the ransom (the corresponding price) for Adam and all who were still under the curse of death through him; because our Lord was the representative not only of the Jew, but was also at the same time a representative of all mankind. Thus we see further, that had our Lord not been born under the Law, he could have redeemed all others yet under the Adamic condemnation, but the Jew, under a special law and its special condemnation, would not have been benefited. Hence God's arrangement that salvation should be of the Jews, (`John 4:22`) in order that His special typical dealings with them as a people should work them no injury.
So then we see that none were made free from the Law except Israelites who had been under it, and consequently there is an error in the thought of those who sing and apply to themselves the words--
"Free from the Law, O happy condition:
Jesus hath died and there is remission.
Cursed by the Law and bruised by the Fall,
Christ hath redeemed us once for all."
An Israelite after the flesh, converted, could properly express this sentiment, but no one else, except it be understood to apply to the church as a whole, some of whom were redeemed from the curse of the Law, and some from the curse of the Fall.
When the Apostle declares, "Christ is become the end of the Law, for righteousness to every one that believeth," he evidently refers to those who were under the Law--Jews. But we can apply the same principle to all, thus: The first Law against which Adam sinned, and whose penalty brought death upon all, like the one which the Jews failed to keep, was a law of obedience to the will of God. The principles or knowledge on which the obedience was based with the Jew, was the Ten Commandments written upon tables of stone, but in Adam's case it was the knowledge of God's will written in the heart, in that he had been created a mental and moral likeness of God. The penalty or curse for the violation of both of those laws was the same, death: so while the Jew was redeemed from the curse of the one given at Sinai all other men were redeemed from the curse of the original Law violated in Eden.
So then as it stands to-day, the Jew's covenant or Law, though they are not aware of it, is at an end, as much as though it never had been given them. It never gave them the blessings they had hoped for through it, and now they are free from it. The Jew born since that law covenant ended, is now, with all the rest of the world, under the penalty of the first disobedience--the death penalty. The ransom FOR ALL has been given, but its benefits are only applicable to those who believe, and thus far the believers are only a few compared with the mass of mankind. This few have escaped from all condemnation of all broken laws, while the remainder --the world in general--still continues under the original condemnation. He that believeth is passed [reckonedly] from death unto life (`John 5:24`) while he that believeth not is damned [condemned] --"condemned already." (`John 3:18`) He was condemned six thousand years ago, and has not escaped the condemnation that is on the world. (`Rom. 5:16`.) The only ones who have escaped from this condemnation so long upon all, are referred to by Paul (`Rom. 8:1`), "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh but after the spirit."
These are the free ones; free from all laws and all penalties--free indeed. "If the Son shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed."--`John 8:36`.
But can it be that God has released these entirely from both the Law given in Eden and that given at Sinai? Just so; being justified and released from its former condemnation by the death of Christ, and having received his spirit of love for and obedience to God, so long as they are in Christ they are free: free to abide in him, by continued submission to his will, the essence of which is LOVE, to God and to man. All who come into Christ submit themselves to his will and voluntarily make it their law; and those who willingly violate this law will cease to "abide in him" and will be "cast forth" (`Jno. 15:6`) as dead branches. Through him our best endeavors to do his will are acceptable, and we have thus passed out of condemnation to death into justification to life so long as we abide under the blood of the covenant. In no other way could any be accepted by God; for the law given in Eden was one that required obedience, and that given at Sinai demanded the same. And since we know
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that God could not give an imperfect law, (`James 3:11`.) and we could not obey a perfect one fully, we see the necessity for our being freed from all law and accepted through Christ.
Thus we see that those in Christ, whether they were Jews or Gentiles, are in no sense under the Law given at Sinai --neither the ceremonial laws relating to typical fasts and feasts and sacrifices, nor those graven upon stones termed the "Ten Commandments." The sanctified IN CHRIST JESUS need no such commands. Love to God and men, laid down by Jesus and the apostles, is the only rule under which the new creature in Christ is placed; and it is the very essence of his new mind --the spirit or mind of Christ.
THE LAW ON TABLES OF STONE.
Look at those commandments given to the Jew, singly, and see if it would not be useless to address such commands to the saints.
I. "Thou shalt have no other gods beside me." What saint would think of such a thing?
II. "Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, nor the likeness of any form that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: thou shalt not bow down thyself unto them nor serve them; for I am a jealous God visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; and showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me and keep my commandments." For whom is such a law needful? Surely not to the saints in Christ who love the Lord with all their heart, soul, and strength, and who are laying down life itself in his service.
III. "Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain." Again we remark, Surely none of the saints will have any desire to blaspheme or profane their Father's name, but the reverse, they are laying down their lives to glorify his name.
IV. This we will examine last.
V. "Honor thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee." This is distinctively an earthly promise of the land, while the promise to the saints is not long life here but hereafter. He that sacrifices his life, lands, etc., becomes in Christ heir to the heavenly promises. Such, too, having the spirit of Christ, delight to honor their earthly parents, but especially to do the will of their Father in heaven.
VI. "Thou shalt do no murder." Do not the saints delight to bless others and do good even to those who despitefully use them and persecute them? If so where would be the propriety in telling such that they must not murder--must not do the thing farthest from their desires? It would be useless to say the least.
VII. "Thou shalt not commit adultery." The sanctified in Christ Jesus who walk not after the flesh but after the spirit of Christ, could not thus wrong others.
VIII. "Thou shalt not steal." Do the
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saints desire to steal? Do they desire to defraud others? Is it not rather their spirit to "labor, working with their hands that they may have, to give unto the needy?
IX. "Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor." How could one of the sanctified in Christ thus injure his neighbor? It would be entirely foreign to the Spirit of Christ--the spirit of truth, and would prove that the one who knowingly and willingly bore such false testimony, had not the spirit of Christ and was none of his. (`Rom. 8:9`.)
X. "Thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's wife, nor his man-servant, nor his maid-servant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor anything that is thy neighbor's." Covetousness is wholly foreign to the spirit of Christ, and to the extent that the spirit of Christ dwells richly in his members, they will be free from covetousness. The spirit of sacrifice having in the saints taken the place of self-love, covetousness is forestalled.
All these commands were proper and suitable enough to the Jew to whom they were given, or would be suitable to any fallen man, but not to any new creature in Christ, whose very nature, as new creatures, is to do right; yet because of the weakness of the flesh they cannot do perfectly even though they desire and endeavor to do so. But though we can easily keep the outward letter of this law, yet under our Lord's teachings we see that it really means more than its surface indicates: that he who hates a brother without a cause has the murder spirit and is a murderer and he that desires to commit adultery lacking only the opportunity is in heart an adulterer, (`Matt. 5:28`) and he who loves and serves money and spends time and talent for it, more than in God's service, is an idolater. Our Redeemer's teaching regarding the obligations under that Law is--"Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, mind, soul, and strength, and thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself." From this we see that even we who are in Christ with all our holy desires and aims could not keep that Law according to this our Master's definition of it, because our new mind is hindered by the weakness of the sin-degraded and marred earthen vessel--the flesh. We should find it impossible to get rid of inherited selfishness, so as to be able to love our neighbor as ourselves, or even to love and serve God with all our hearts and talents, much as our new minds might choose and seek to obey this, the spirit of the Law.
So then, as we could not be acceptable under that Law, we are made free from it entirely and put under the rule of love to God and our fellow man: and our best heart-endeavors to fulfill this law of love, are accepted as a perfect fulfillment of his law of love, and all we lack is continually compensated for out of the fullness of Christ--which is imputed to us.
So then ye are not under law but under grace--favor. (`Rom. 6:14`.) You are not acceptable with God because there is no fault in you, but because favor covers your unwilling imperfections of thought, word and deed.
So far as these Ten Commandments are concerned, there is no question that they were given only to Israel after the flesh. The preface in `Exod. 20:2` shows this, saying, "I am the Lord thy God which brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage." So too in repeating them again Moses declares (`Deut. 5:1-5`.) "Hear, O Israel, the statutes and judgments which I speak in your ears THIS DAY, that ye may learn them and observe to do them. The Lord our God made not this covenant with our fathers, but with US, even us who are all of us here alive this day. The Lord spake with you face to face--saying" etc. etc. Also, see `Ezek. 20:10-13` and `Neh. 9:12-14`.
THE FOURTH COMMANDMENT.
Consider now the IV. Commandment given to the Jew, written upon tables of stone:--"Remember the Sabbath day to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labor and do all thy work; but the seventh is a Sabbath unto the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy man-servant, nor thy maid-servant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: for in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, and sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it."
This command merely enjoins idleness on the seventh day of each week. It does not say to cease from ordinary work and engage in spiritual work, as many of its advocates seem to suppose; but on the contrary it prohibits all kinds of work. Many who think themselves bound by this command, neither REST on the seventh day nor on the first day of the week, which without orders they make an effort to keep instead of the Seventh day which the Law appointed for those under it. On the contrary, to very many the first day is as busy a day as any. The ruling under the Law, was, that any one who even picked up sticks or kindled a fire was a violator of this command and must be put to death. (`Num. 15:32-36`. `Exod. 35:3`.) How many of those who claim to keep this commandment do far more work in the way of cooking, etc.--they, their sons, and their daughters, their men-servants and maid-servants? If that law is now in force, and if it has by any means gotten beyond the Jew on whom alone it was put, so as now to cover Christians, then every Christian violates it repeatedly, and is worthy of death for each offense, for "they that violated Moses' Law died without mercy."--`Heb. 10:20`.
But some one will ask, Was not the Sabbath observed before the giving of the Law? and does not the reference to God's resting on the seventh day prove that the Sabbath was observed from the time of creation? We answer, No; during all the two thousand years from Adam to Jacob, the record shows no command to keep the Sabbath, not even a hint on the subject. The Mosaic or Law dispensation began with Israel, the night they left Egypt. The Passover was the first feature of Law instituted; and it was instituted that night. And that Law covenant is continually referred to as dating from that time "When I took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt." `Heb. 8:9`, `Jer. 31:32`.
The observance of the seventh day as a rest day, or Sabbath, was instituted as a part of the Law of God some two weeks before the formal giving of that Law in tables of stone at Mt. Sinai, namely, at the giving of the manna, in the wilderness, where a most favorable opportunity occurred for giving them an object lesson in the double supply of manna on the sixth day, and none on the seventh. But from the entire account it is evident that it was something new to the Israelites. Its explanation
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to them, (`Exod. 16:22-30`) as well as Moses' uncertainty in the case of the first transgression of this law (`Num. 15:32-36`.), prove that it was new, that it had not been known among them or their fathers previously. The reason given for this command, to observe the Sabbath because God had rested on the seventh day--after the six days of creation, could not be understood by Israel, as we can now understand it in the light of the New Testament. They probably got the idea that God was weary after the six days work of creating, and rested as they did; but we see and will shortly show that he rested in a very different way, and for a different reason.
INFLUENCE OF THE LAW AMONG EARLY CHRISTIANS.
In the introduction of the Christian dispensation, the new church was composed largely of proselytes from the old Jewish church; and these, used from childhood to the requirements of the law of Moses, could scarcely realize the greatness of the change which there occurred. They were continually adding Christ's teachings and his law--of love, to their Mosaic Law, thus adding to their already too heavy burden, instead of accepting of the sacrificial death of Christ as the atonement for their sins under the Law, and as the end of that Law Covenant which had always condemned them. (`Rom. 10:4`; `3:20,28`.) It is not surprising when we remember their early prejudices in favor of the Law, that the spirit of truth was able to guide them but slowly into the full truth on this subject. Even the Apostles were slow to learn, and we find Peter so slow to follow the lead of the spirit, that he had to be taught by a special vision that Gentiles needed no longer to become Jews and conform to the Law of Moses before they could share divine favor, but that they had access to God through Christ's cleansing work regardless of the Law.
Some complained to the other apostles and brethren about Paul's recognition of Gentiles and this brought the question before them all, and led to an investigation, and others learned their first lesson as Peter had by hearing from him of God's dealings in the matter. "When they heard these things they held their peace and glorified God, saying, Then hath God also to the Gentiles granted repentance unto life."--`Acts 11:18`.
Paul, most easily led of the spirit, got clear views on the subject earliest, and had to oppose others among the apostles less strong and spiritually clear-sighted. (`Gal. 2:11`.) Jerusalem was long considered the centre of the Christian religion, the largest number and oldest believers and apostles living there, and as Paul got clearer and clearer views of the changed condition of things and preached the truth, some prejudiced ones wanted to know whether the brethren at Jerusalem would concur in the advanced views, and Paul and Barnabas and others went up to Jerusalem to lay the matter before them and to bring back a report. A great debate and examination of the question on all sides followed. Peter and James finally agreeing with Paul, influenced the entire council. Peter reminded them of God's wonderful dealing with Cornelius, whose heart was purified or justified and made acceptable to God through faith in Christ, and not through keeping the Law, and urged, "Now therefore why resist ye God to put a yoke [Moses' Law] upon the neck of disciples which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear." James said, "My judgment is that we should not burden them which from among the Gentiles are turned unto God." Then the council so decided and sent a written message to the confused Gentile believers, saying:--
"We have heard that certain ones who went out from us [here] have troubled you with words subverting your souls [destroying your faith], saying, 'Be circumcised and keep the Law'--to whom we gave no such commandment....It seemed good to the Holy Spirit and to us to lay upon you no greater burden than these necessary things: That ye abstain from meats offered to idols, and from blood, and from things, strangled, and from fornication." --`Acts 15:9-29`. And even these things though they were good as advice, we shall see by further testimony were so much law that no one had a right to place upon any made free by Christ. --nor are these stated as law, with penalties, etc.
Paul's principal failure was in allowing them once to overpersuade him on this very matter of Moses' Law.--`Acts 21:18-28`. Here overcome for a time by the opinions and weakness of those apostles whose home was in the centre of Judaism, and whose progress in following the lead of the spirit into the full truth had been less rapid than his own, Paul erred greatly.
Paul's course was a brilliant one, and his great work was known far and near, and everywhere it exasperated the prejudiced Jews. So when he came to Jerusalem for the last time to see the Apostolic brethren, and had given them a detailed account of his great work among the Gentiles, they were glad and glorified God. Their Jewish prejudices did not blind them, but they were too prudent (`Matt. 11:25`.) and said unto him, "Thou seest brother, how many thousands of Jews believe; and they are all zealous for the Law: and they are informed concerning thee, that thou teachest all the Jews that are among the Gentiles to forsake Moses [law] saying, That they ought not to circumcise their children, neither to walk after the customs"--common to the Jews.
The difficulty with the apostles at Jerusalem was that in their anxiety to make converts to Christ, they had failed "to declare the whole counsel of God," and had kept themselves as well as others from growing in grace and knowledge more rapidly, in their desire to fasten the law, to the Gospel, as a bait to catch Jewish fish. And now that Paul was come, whom they knew to be very outspoken, they feared he would drive off some of their only half-converted thousands, and that thus the cause might seem to lose some of its prestige, its seeming prosperity. Really far better would it have been had the company been hundreds instead of thousands, and thorough out-and-out furnished and equipped soldiers of the cross.
How many to-day as teachers are filling church rolls with thousands by compromising with the World as James and others did with the Jewish prejudices concerning the law! How much injury it is doing now as then, and how careful some are now not to scare the goats out from among the sheep lest the numbers and influence would be less! Ah! What a great mistake!
They said further to Paul: It will not be long until the masses of the people learn of your presence; therefore at once take such steps as will lead them to think that you are misrepresented, and that you are still a faithful Jew and law-keeper: take with you therefore four men of our company here which have a vow on them, and go into the Temple and both purify thyself according to the Jewish custom, and also pay the temple tax for these others, so that the Jews and Jewish Christians seeing you thus bearing the expense of others as well as conforming to the Law yourself, may conclude that you are very zealous for the Law, and that you certainly were misrepresented in the reports which reached them of your preaching. This seems to
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be the substance of their argument. See `Acts 21:18-26`.
Alas! that grand, noble, bold Brother Paul should let slip so favorable an opportunity for testifying as he afterward did to the `Galatians (5:2-6`) that whosoever justified (purified) himself by the Law and circumcision, Christ would profit him nothing. It was the grandest opportunity Paul ever had of setting straight the brethren at Jerusalem. But overcome for the moment by the influence and prominence of those who made the request, Paul yielded, and committed the only act of weakness marking his long and noble record--he went into the Temple and pretended to be a law-keeper and to trust in the typical purifyings, and misused some of the Lord's money in the insincere forms, and all to no purpose: to his own discredit and tribulation, merited no doubt as a chastisement.
Similar besetments surround us all to-day: how often many teaching brethren are tempted now, as were James and the Elders at Jerusalem, to keep back part of the truth in the endeavor to swell numbers and influence; how many are tempted as Paul was, to consent to unwholesome advice for the sake of peace, and because of love and respect for brethren. Instead, each should have been anxious only to please the "Head of the body," and to declare the whole counsel of God.
But Brother Paul's wavering course was only momentary, and we have abundant proof of this in his various epistles to the churches, in which he repeatedly sought to counteract the teachings and influence of some who were overthrowing the foundation, bringing in another gospel, another version of the good news, namely, that believers in Christ would be saved if they kept the Law. (The other apostles also got more clear gradually, so that the epistles of Peter, James and John fully coincide with those of Paul, and give no uncertain sound on this all important point, that Christ is become the end of the Law to every one who believeth.) And it is because this same error has continued since, and is even to-day opposing the cross of Christ as the redemption price, and claiming that we are justified not "by faith in his blood," but by keeping the Law as Christ kept it, that it is needful now, to show that the Law never was given to any except Israel after the flesh; and it did them no good except to show them their inability to justify themselves, and as a schoolmaster to point them to Christ as the end of the Law to every one that believeth. Paul's epistle to the Galatians was written expressly to counteract this Law teaching, which was subverting the true faith in Christ and pointing men away from the cross of Christ, to a hope of acceptance with God by keeping the Law. This he calls "another gospel," yet really not another, for there can be but one,
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hence it was a perversion of the real gospel. (`Gal. 1:7-9`.) And here Paul points out what we have already shown, that he knew that the Apostles at Jerusalem had at first only a mixed gospel, and that he went up to see them on the occasion mentioned in `Acts 15:4`, by revelation, to communicate to them that fuller, purer, unmixed gospel, which he already had been able to receive, and which he had been teaching: and, he says, he communicated it to them privately lest their reputation should hinder them from receiving the truth--and even then they compelled Titus to be circumcised, (`Gal. 2:2-5`.) though this would not have been insisted on, had it not been for some who stole into their confidence to spy out their liberties. Thus the unconverted additions hindered the true seed, as always.
It is further along in this same epistle that Paul tells of Peter's vacillation on the question of the Law (`Chap. 2:11-16`) and his words of reproof to Peter--We who are Jews [under the Law] knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the Law, but on account of faith in Christ, even we have believed in Christ that we might be justified by faith in Christ, and not by obedience to the Law--why then should we attempt to fetter others, or bind ourselves longer by that which has served its purpose and has ceased as a covenant --has passed away.
Oh foolish Galatians! who has deluded you? As many as are trusting to obedience to the Law are under its condemnation or curse. Christ hath redeemed us [Jews] from the curse of the Law that the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles through Christ Jesus, and that we [Jews] might receive the spirit through faith. And surely God's covenant with Abraham made four hundred and thirty years before the Law was given, cannot be annulled by that Law.--`Gal. 3:1,10,13,17`.
Next, Paul answers a supposed inquiry as to what was the object of the Law, and why it was given if not necessary to the attainment of the Abrahamic promises. He says the Law was added because of sin, to manifest sin in its true light--that sin might be seen to be a great and deep-seated malady--to act as a school teacher pointing Israel to Christ as a good and only Physician who could cure their malady. But this Law schoolmaster was not intended to hold dominion over us [Jews] always, but only until the remedy should come, and to prepare some at least to receive the great Physician.
As children are under nursery laws and subject to teachers until an appointed time, so were we [Jews] under the Law, and treated as servants rather than as sons. We were kept under the Law which is to govern the World in the next age, though we were the heirs through whom, according to the promise, the others were to be blessed. But in the fullness of time God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the Law, to redeem them that were under the Law that we [Jews] being liberated, might receive the adoption of sons. And so also, because ye [who were not under the Law, but were Gentiles or heathens] are [also now] sons [therefore] God hath sent forth the spirit of his son into your hearts. We were sons under tutelage and ye were of the servant class, but now you and we who are accepted of God in Christ, are fully received into sonship and heirship, and neither of us are subject to the Law.--`Gal. 3:19-4:7`.
Tell me, ye that desire to be under the Law--do you not understand what the Law is? It is a bondage merely at present, and this is allegorically shown in Abraham's two sons. Abraham becomes here a figure of God; Sarah the real wife is a figure of the real covenant of blessing, out of which the Christ should come as heir of all, to bless the world. For a long time Sarah was barren; so too for a long time the real covenant of God brought forth no fruit--until Christ Jesus. Hagar the servant of Sarah in the meantime was treated as Sarah's representative, and her son as the representative of Sarah's son. Hagar represented the Law covenant, and fleshly Israel was represented by her child Ishmael. For the time they represented the true covenant and the true seed of blessing, though they were always really servants--child as well as mother. When the true son of the real wife, the heir, was born, it was manifest that the son of the bondwoman was not the heir of promise. And to show that the Law covenant was not to have any rule over the spiritual sons of God, Hagar was not allowed to become the governess of Isaac, but in his interest was dismissed entirely. --`Gal. 4:21-31`.
The Apostle's argument based on this allegory, is, that we brethren as Isaac was, are the seed to whom the promise was made; we are not children of the bondwoman, the Law Covenant, but children of the Covenant of Grace born free from the slavery and conditions of the Law. And not only so born, but the Law is entirely put away from us, and has nothing whatever to do with us. "Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage"--the Law. "If ye be led of the spirit ye are not under the Law."--`Gal. 5:1,18`.
But Paul asks--"Shall we sin [wilfully] because we are not under the Law?" (`Rom. 6:15`.) --because we are sons and heirs and no longer commanded, Thou shalt and thou shalt not? Shall we take advantage of our liberty to break away into sin? No, no; as SONS begotten of the spirit of adoption, partakers of the spirit of holiness, the spirit of the truth, we delight to do our Father's will; and the law of obedience to his will is deeply engraven upon our hearts (`Heb. 8:10` and `10:15,16`). We gladly sacrifice our lives in opposing sin and error, and in forwarding righteousness and truth; hence we answer emphatically, We will not take advantage of our liberty from law, to commit sin.
We are not under Law but under favor (`Rom. 6:14`.) through Christ, hence we delight also to show forth a similar favor, bearing one another's burdens and thus fulfilling the "law of Christ"--love. Christ's word is our law--not a law of bondage, but of liberty. Whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty and continueth therein [free], being not a forgetful hearer, but one who exercises his liberty, this man shall be blessed truly thereby. Such fulfill the royal law--love and liberty. --`Jas. 1:25`.
This law of love to God and our fellowmen which we delight to obey to the extent of our ability, not of compulsion, but of a willing mind as partakers of the spirit of Christ, is the only LAW with which we have to do. While it entirely ignores the Mosaic Law, its thou shalt, and thou shalt not, and its penalty of death: yet really it accomplishes far more than the Mosaic Law; for with his heart ruled by love for God and man, who would desire to dishonor God or to injure his fellow-man? But as of the Mosaic Law it was true that its utterances were only to those under it --Israelites--for "whatsoever the Law saith it saith to them who are under the law" (`Rom. 3:19`.)--so of the Law of Love, it speaks only to those who are under it, and these are only the consecrated believers in Christ. It is a law of liberty, in that all who are under it, are under it from choice. In this it differs greatly from the Law put upon fleshly Israel as a nation, in which individually they had no liberty or choice, but were born under bondage to that Law. Our Law is also the Royal Law; because the "little flock" developed under this law of liberty and love is the royal family--the divine family, selected under their Lord and Head to be heirs of God, joint heirs with Jesus Christ-- partakers of the divine nature.
During the Millennial age, after this little flock is completed, the law of liberty and love will again be superseded by a law of commands and threats and penalties; because then the dealing will be with enemies, with sinners, who will require coercion and "ruling with a rod of iron" until they shall learn the exceeding sinfulness and undesirableness of sin. The new Covenant will be like the old Law Covenant in many regards, but will have a priesthood able as well as willing to help and lift up to perfection every one sincerely repentant of sin and desirous of holiness.
Those now being selected as members for the body of Christ, are only such as delight to do God's will, sons of God and "brethren of Christ" having this likeness of Christ. And at the close of the Millennial age, when the rod of iron shall have broken the proud hearts, and shall have caused the stiff knees to bend in obedience, or else cut them off as incorrigible, willful sinners,--then the law of love and liberty will again be virtually in force--over all God's creatures; for all who shall be permitted to enter upon that grand age of perfection following the Millennial reign of Christ will first have been tested, and will have given abundant proof that they delight to do God's will and that his righteous law is continually their hearts' desire.
The Sabbath, then, no less than the other commandments of the Mosaic dispensation, never was over us Gentiles, and is at an end to every Jew that believeth in Christ as his Redeemer from its condemnation and penalty.
Some will claim that it was Circumcision that Paul referred to, as being abolished, being superseded by circumcision of the heart. Yes, we answer, that is true, but it is also true that every element of the Law was abolished. In proof of this we cite the fact that Abraham and Isaac were circumcised (`Gen. 17:24`; `21:4`.) and that the Law at Sinai was not given for four hundred and thirty years afterward. And Paul's language clearly and distinctly shows that this four hundred and thirty years later law, was the one that was added because of sin until Christ, the promised Seed, should come. (See `Gal. 3:17,19,23-25`;
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`4:4-7`.) This proves exactly what Law Paul referred to, as already shown.
Others, to avoid the force of the Apostle's arguments, divide Moses' Law into moral and ceremonial laws, but wholly without authority, and claim that the ceremonial law passed away, and that the moral law represented in the Ten Commandments is still in force. The Scriptures do not thus divide it; but if they did, we have the Scriptural proof that what our friends call the "moral law" was made an end of by Christ. Thus: When the Apostle wrote to the new Gentile converts respecting the law--determined not to put upon them the yoke of the Law which they as Jews had been unable to keep --and contradicting certain teachers who had said that they "must be circumcised and keep the Law," James remarked incidentally that the law of Moses to which they referred was that "read in the synagogue every Sabbath day:" and we know that the Ten Commandments were thus read. Compare, `Acts 15:9-11,24,28,29 and 19-21`.
THE NEW COVENANT VS. THE LAW COVENANT.
Again, the Apostle repeatedly refers to the Law, which he said had passed away, as the Covenant which God made with Israel through Moses. He points to the fact that Christ is the mediator of a new covenant, more favorable every way to the necessities of sinners. He shows that all along, God, by speaking to the prophets of a coming New Covenant, had indicated his intention of superseding the Law
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Covenant which they had found to be a covenant which condemned them all to death "a covenant of death," because they were unable under the weakness of the flesh to fulfill its just requirements--by some other covenant more favorable to them; and he shows that the New Covenant is now in force, having been sealed by the blood, the death of Christ--"the blood of the new covenant." His logical reasoning is that when the new covenant came into effect, the former or old covenant must of necessity have ceased--must have vanished away entirely.--`Heb. 8:6-9-13`. Nor are we in doubt as to what constituted that covenant which was ready to pass away: It was the covenant made with their fathers in the day when God took them by the hand to lead them out of the land of Egypt. (`Heb. 8:9`.) And it was not merely the ordinances that constituted that covenant; for he expressly tells us that the ordinances (ceremonies) were added to it as incidentals saying: "Verily the first [or former] covenant had also ordinances of service." Then follows a description of the typical tabernacle, its furniture and sacrifices. (`Heb. 9:1-20`.) These ordinances went with that Law Covenant; but that the ordinances and ceremonies were not the covenant itself, is clear, and proven beyond question by Moses' statement of it `Deut. 5:1-21`. Here he recites the Ten Commandments (and makes no reference to the ordinances which accompanied it) and declares this to be the covenant made with them at Mount Horeb.
Paul further refers to that covenant, now passed away, as the "Ministration of death, written and engraven in stones," which Moses communicated to the people. (`2 Cor. 3:7-12`.) Thus he shows that the Ten Commandments written in stones was the covenant which was unto death, and which had passed away, giving place to the New Covenant. Paul's further argument here is in harmony and is profitable: He reasons that if God introduced that covenant with so much pomp and glory, he will introduce the new covenant with glory far surpassing its type? Moses' face shone with glory, will not the Christ, of which Jesus is the head and the church the body, be more glorious then? And if the typical must be vailed from the sight of Israel, surely the glory far excelling that must also be vailed, when the antitype, the New Covenant, is promulgated to the world by the great antitype of Moses--the Christ.
But Paul argues that we (the body of Christ) already, before the coming of our glory, are authorized ministers of this new covenant to every one who now has an ear to hear. We cannot indeed preach to others, nor yet ourselves keep the very letter of that perfect new covenant; for in the present condition of imperfection this is not possible; but we can conform as nearly as possible to its spirit. For the letter of it would condemn us, but the spirit of it is acceptable through Christ; and when that which is perfect is come, that which we can now fulfill only in spirit and intent, we then shall fulfill in its very letter, joyfully.--`2 Cor. 3:7-12,5,6`.
Coming again to the Fourth Commandment we find that while it like all of those Commands never was given to Gentiles, but to Jews only, yet belonging to the old Covenant it is no longer in force even over the Jews. And while there would be nothing wrong in our observing any day in the week, or several of them as days for the worship of God and the special study of His Word, yet if any one should observe any day to fulfill this part of the Mosaic Law, or with the intent thus to merit divine favor and the reward of life, he would be ignoring Christ, and the New Covenant through his blood. So too with all the other nine commandments. To obey them as the Jew did, hoping thereby for everlasting life, is to fail as the Jew failed, only to learn by and by that "by the obedience of the Law shall no flesh be justified"--that no fallen being can keep that Law. To trust to the Law, is to trust to works, for justification, and is useless. Faith in Christ as the fulfiller of the Law and the justifier under the new covenant of every one that believeth, is the only ground of our acceptance with God.
Speaking of the tendency to go back to the Law, Paul says to the `Galatians (4:9-11`) "I am afraid for you, lest I have bestowed upon you labor in vain" [lest my teaching of the New Covenant become useless to you]. After that ye have known God, or rather have been recognized by God [as sons], how can you turn again to the inferior rudiments intended for the world [in the next age], and which now are powerless to help you? Why do you desire to be in bondage again? Your observance of days, and months, and times, and years, indicates that you do not realize your liberty from that old covenant.
In his letter to the Colossians he urges them also, to appreciate and guard their liberty in Christ. He urges, that because Christ had abolished the originally written dogmas [of the Law] nailing them to his cross, therefore you should let no man judge you in food, or drink, or in respect of a festival, or of a new moon, or of Sabbaths, which are but shadows of realities, now coming to pass through Christ. --`Col. 2:14-17`.
CONSIDERATION FOR THE WEAK BROTHER.
In `Rom. 14:1-13`, the Apostle puts this question in another light. He says we should remember that we are not all alike strong in the faith. Some weak in the faith can see that Christ is our Redeemer, but cannot as yet realize the liberty we have in Christ. For one realizes his liberty in eating whatever agrees with him, while another one who is weak [in bondage] eats vegetables only, lest he should violate some law which he thinks himself under. Each should learn to grant the other full liberty of conscience; the stronger should not despise the weaker, nor should the weaker judge others by himself. It should be sufficient for us to know that God accepts even of the weakest ones. So it is also with reference to the observance of days: One man esteemeth one day above another, while another esteems all days alike. Let each carry out fully the conviction of his own mind.
The Apostle does not teach here as so many suppose from the common translation that each should make up his mind and stick to it right or wrong; nor does he teach that one is as right as the other. On the contrary he urges growth into the full liberty of Christ, but counsels patience and consideration on the part of the stronger for the weaker. He approves of the stronger, and plainly states that the brother who thinks himself under a bondage regarding meat, or regarding Sabbath days, fast days, etc., is the weak brother. But he urges that if such a weak brother observes such a bondage not as an attempt to keep the Law and to justify himself before God ignoring Christ's redemption-sacrifice, but because he thinks that our Lord the Redeemer wishes him to be bound by such ordinances, then the stronger ones should not rail at, or make light of his conscientious weakness, but rather receive him fully as a brother, trusting that discipline and experience and growth in grace and knowledge will gradually bring him to the liberty which others might reach more quickly.
For if the stronger brethren by sarcasm and influence were to force the weaker ones to use a liberty they did not realize, it would be forcing them into sin; for any violation of conscience is sin. So then the weaker brethren must be left to the liberty of their conscience and should be received as brethren, and the truth alone must gradually educate them. So then the body may be full of charity and unity, each one carrying out the convictions of his own mind as to the Lord's will, and each seeking to grow in grace and knowledge out of childhood's weakness into manhood's strength as rapidly as possible, being developed as he feeds upon God's Word.--`Heb. 5:13,14`.
The Apostle again refers specially to the observance of days as a sign of weakness, childishness, and lack of development: He says (`Gal. 4:10,11`), "Ye observe days, and months, and times, and years. I am anxious on your behalf lest my labor for you has been in vain." He recognized by these weaknesses for the things commanded by the Law, an evidence that they were not coming up to the liberty of sons of God, but going backward to the servant condition, to say the least (See `verses 6 to 9 and 19 to 31`.), and he was even fearful that this weakness and failure to realize the liberty of sonship, this subservience to the Law, might lead them to reject the true gospel that Christ
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gave himself for our sins, and to accept as a gospel that which would be no good news at all--that Christ would save them if they kept the Law.--`Gal. 1:4-8` and `5:2`.
In `Col. 2:14-17` the Apostle declares the same truth with reference to the liberty of all who are in Christ, in respect to the Law: especially singling out the festivals, new moons and Sabbaths. He declares pointedly (`verse 13`) that those believers who had been Gentiles were pardoned fully and freely from all condemnation, while concerning those who had been Jews he says (`verse 14`), Christ blotted out the written Law which was against us [Jews], he removed it from our way, nailing it to his cross; having stripped away from the original [law] and its authorities [all obscurities] he made a public illustration of them [in his life of obedience to them] triumphing over them by it--[in obedience even unto death, even the death of the cross]. "Therefore," reasons the apostle, because our Lord has made both you Gentiles and us Jews free in his own fulfillment of all, "permit no man to judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect to an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the Sabbaths, which are shadows of future things, the substance of which belongs to the anointed."--`Col. 2:16,17`.
The Sabbaths of the Law were shadows of something very precious to those in Christ--no less the Sabbath day than the Sabbath year, which we have already shown in its grand culmination, the Year of Jubilee, typified or foreshadowed the Millennial kingdom, the times of restitution of all things. The Sabbath day under the Law was solely and only a day of rest from work and typified or shadowed forth the rest from their own works, from all attempts at self-justification by their own imperfect works, of all who accept of the finished and perfect work of Christ as their Redeemer.
The Jews, and for that matter Gentiles also, who sought communion and fellowship with God, were continually striving to do something which would atone for their sins and open their communion and harmony with God; and the most earnest were "weary and heavy laden" and almost discouraged with their failure. It is to such that our Lord addressed himself saying to them, Come unto me and I will give you rest. (`Matt. 11:28`.) He lifts off the burden of sin and condemnation from every Jew under the written Law, and from every Gentile under the original Adamic condemnation, and gives all who come unto him in faith, true rest in the full assurance that He has "paid it all" for both Jew and Gentile--for all.
Have you this rest of faith in Christ, under no yoke but his yoke of love, which to all in him is easy, light, and pleasurable? If you have, then you have the REST of which Israel's Sabbath was but a shadow or temporary figure, as far inferior to the real as their Passover was inferior to our Passover, and their sacrifices to our sacrifices, and their altar and candle-stick and table of shew-bread are inferior to ours. The realities in all these, are a thousand times grander than their shadows.
The Apostle makes this clear, in `Heb. 4:1-11`. He there shows that our present REST of faith in Christ, is but a foretaste of the coming perfect rest [literally Sabbath] when we shall be made fully like him and be with him where he is. `Verses 3 and 10` speak of the rest already entered upon by believers, and `verse 12` shows the future rest. The Sabbath day which could be observed anywhere, represented our present rest of mind which we can even now enjoy, while the Sabbath years and Jubilee which could be celebrated only in their own land, represented the rest which remains for us when we shall enter into our promised heavenly inheritance. Here too we learn how God rested. He was not weary of labor, and did not rest in the sense of recovering from fatigue.
The Sabbath, then, as commanded the Jew, must have been very different from the Sabbath observed by God, yet as suggested in the command there was a resemblance between their resting and God's resting. The Apostle shows that the resemblance was not between it and the shadowy Sabbath which Israel observed, but between God's rest and our real rest of faith: "For he that is entered into his rest, HE also hath ceased from his own works as God did from his."
What resemblance then can be traced between our rest of faith in Christ, and God's rest? The true Hebrews, under the Law worked, labored incessantly, to do good works acceptable to God, and were heavy laden with a sense of their failure to find acceptance with God: Gentiles also labored to help themselves out of the slough of sin and imperfection, but ineffectually; and now both Hebrews and Gentiles find rest as they find Christ; for he promises and will accomplish for both more than could have been hoped for by either. So we each give up working for ourselves and trust our salvation to a future life to Christ, and we now as restfull, saved ones, work not to save ourselves, but to serve our Lord. That is, those who believe in, and accept of Christ, as their Redeemer, thus "cease from their own works" and enter into rest, confidently trusting all to him.
The resemblance between this and God's rest is marked. The sixth epoch, or "day" of creation, closed with the creation of man, and there God's direct work ceased; for the six thousand years since and another thousand (the Millennium) to come (seven thousand years in all) Jehovah God has ceased (rested) from work, and has let humanity measurably take its own course in sin or degradation, leaving all the great work of restitution and perfecting, to be accomplished by
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Christ in the thousand years of his reign. Thus as our Lord said: "The Father worketh hitherto, and [now] I work." (`John 5:17`.) The Father judged or tried the race in Eden in its representative Adam, and then left all in condemnation, entrusting the entire work of restitution to Christ. Now therefore, "The Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son."--`John 5:22`.
At the end of this Seventh day (an epoch or "day" of seven thousand years) during which the Father rests, Christ having redeemed all the race and having restored all proved worthy of being called Sons of God, will present the world blameless and unreprovable, perfect, before the Father (`1 Cor. 15:24-28`, and `Matt. 25:34`). Thus we see, that we are now resting as God rested. God rested because in his plan everything was fully arranged for, so completely that it might be said "the works were finished from the foundation of the world." (`Heb. 4:3`.) So we on coming into harmony with God through Christ, are able to see God's plan as though completed, though its completion will require another thousand years, and we rest, confident of its final glorious outcome, as God does.
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OUR SABBATH OR REST DAY.
Some may now inquire, Do you then advocate a total disregard of Sunday, as well as the Jewish Sabbath? And if not do you not consider it more proper to call it Lord's day' than Sunday?
We answer the last question first by saying: Some men esteem one day above another and some esteem one name above another. As for us, one name will do as well as another and with the mind and heart clear, Sunday can contain as much beauty and force as Lord's day or any other name. The Lord's day for his great work of restitution is really the seventh day--the seventh thousand years, the Millennium just opening before us, and not the first day. Sunday suggests the fullness of light and glory from the Sun of Righteousness which will belong to the new and everlasting age following the Millennium of restitution. It suggests too the new dispensation and fullness of light unto which the Gospel church, the little flock, is ushered even now, breaking in upon our darkness first at and by the resurrection of our Lord.
Answering the previous question we would say: We have great sympathy with the idea of one day in seven being set apart from general work and business. It is good that the world should have a day for studying either from God's great book of nature written in hill and vale and sky, or if desirous, to inquire of his children and his written Word concerning his present and future plans. As for God's children, surely it is well, since any day can be well employed by them. It furnishes a specially favorable time for assembling together--no matter which day of the seven might be selected. We surely have none too much time and opportunity for personal upbuilding in the truth. But while we would not willingly part with an occasion so favorable, we would that all the saints should enjoy it as a favor and not observe it as in obedience to the Jewish Law. Many are in "bondage" to that Law and fail to reap the greatest blessing from the privilege of the day because conscious all the while that they are condemned by that Law if under it, well knowing that they do not live up to its strict requirements.
However, while God has not put us under a law to keep any day, the law of the country, made by the world, does bind us --for we must be "subject to the powers that be." The world's law is sufficiently liberal to give each well-doer an opportunity to use his conscience as to his own preference or manner of observing the day. On this as on other points, God has put no fixed law upon the world as upon the Jew, but has allowed the other nations to fix their laws according to their best judgment; and strangely enough all have copied more or less the Jewish laws as those best calculated to give them peace and prosperity. When the Church ("the little flock") is exalted and given the Kingdom and dominion under the whole heavens, with power to enforce its laws and direct all its affairs, then the whole world, every nation, will be put under a law which will produce grand results under the administration of the great Law-giver whom Moses foreshadowed. --`Acts 3:22`.
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How blessed is the state of all in Christ, as mature Sons of God under favor, not servants nor infants under Laws! (`John 15:15`; `Rom. 8:15`; `Gal. 4:1-6`.) How blessed to us is the true rest in Christ's finished work, which rest neither the world nor the Law could give, and which from us that are free, they cannot take away. We can rest [enjoy Sabbath] whether the world has a Sabbath or not; whether any day or no day is commanded by human law, our rest abides. It lasts seven days in each week and twenty-four hours in each day, and is not broken by physical labor, nor is it dependent on physical ease. It is deep and lasting rest, and can be broken only by doubt--by a rejection of the basis on which it must abide--the ransom.
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VIEWS OF THE REFORMERS ON SABBATH.
We do not cite these as of any weight or authority on the question, for the words of our Lord and the apostles are the only authorities we recognize; yet it is worthy of note that as the early reformers, Luther, Calvin and others, came to get their eyes open to even some few of the truths belonging to this Gospel dispensation, they saw at once that the Jewish Law was not given to, nor intended to be a yoke of bondage to the Gospel Church. They saw what every casual reader should observe, that the apostle Paul contrasts the righteousness or justification which comes by faith, with that which none could attain to be deeds of the Law. Thus he contrasts the Law, with the Gospel substitute. The leaders in the Reformation all recognized the difference between Moses a prophet, and Moses a law-giver, maintaining that as law-giver his authority only extended to Israel. They therefore denied that the Ten Commandments were laws for Christians, though they recognized them as valuable indications or interpretations of principles, to all time and to all people.
Says Luther: "The Ten Commandments do not apply to us, Gentiles and Christians, but only to the Jews. If a preacher wishes to force you back to Moses, ask him if you were brought by Moses out of Egypt."
Calvin is no less explicit. He declares that "the Sabbath is abrogated," and denies "that the moral part of it, that is, the observance of one day in seven, still remains;" while he adds, "it is still customary among us to assemble on stated days for hearing the word, breaking the mystic bread and for public prayers; and also to allow servants and laborers a remission from their labor."
Justification by faith and not by the observance of either Mosaic Laws or Roman Catholic fasts or penances was the plea upon which the Reformation was started.
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"KEEP MY COMMANDMENTS."
"If ye love me, keep my commandments." --`Jno. 14:15`.
We must not leave this examination of the Law, without pointing out some of the differences between the Ten Commandments of the Law Covenant made with fleshly Israel, the penalty of which was death, and the Commandments relating to those voluntarily under the favor of the New Covenant.
We have already shown that the Apostles taught that Israel's Law Covenant ceased, when fulfilled and abolished as a covenant by Christ at Calvary. We note for the benefit of some that up to that moment of its nullifying, it was binding and was the only way or hope of future life; and hence when the young man came to our Lord saying, "Good Teacher, what good thing must I do that I may obtain lasting life?" our Lord said "If thou desirest to enter into life, keep the Commandments," and then enumerated the ten commandments of the Law. Our Lord could not and did not ignore the Law while it was in force, neither in his own conduct nor in his teaching, but on the contrary testified that not a jot or tittle of the Law could fail or be ignored until all was accomplished, and therefore any one violating or teaching others to violate one of the least of them, would, if he got into the kingdom of heaven at all, be of a lower grade; and whoever would practice and teach those commandments would be greatest in the kingdom. Our Lord himself was the only being under that Law who ever kept it and He is the greatest in the Kingdom.--`Matt. 19:16` and `5:19`.
Our Lord knew that neither the young man who inquired, nor any of the fallen race, could keep those commandments: He therefore said, If thou desirest life do this,--and then, in view of his soon fulfilment of the Law, and the divine acceptance of truly consecrated ones under the new Covenant at Pentecost, he added: "Come, follow me," in consecration and sacrifice for others. Had the young man obeyed, he would have been one of those accepted of the Father at Pentecost, an heir of life under the New Covenant.
But while our Master was obeying and fulfilling the commandments of the Jewish Law Covenant, he was giving "a New Commandment," not to the world, but to his followers, the letter, substance, and spirit of which, was LOVE. In various ways he illustrated and amplified this, his one command, which thus was made to summarize all his commandments--in honor to give each other preference, to forgive one another until seventy times seven times, to follow his example in sacrificing their lives for each other's and the truth's sakes, to love even their enemies and feed them if hungry, and pray for even those who persecuted them, --to obey all these commands was the new command, Love, which was the substance also of all the commandments to the Jews.
Of these commands of our Lord, and not of the Ten Commandments of Israel's Law as a covenant, does John the apostle speak, saying:--
"Blessed are they that do his commandments." --`Rev. 22:14`.
"And by this we know that we have known him,--if we keep his commandments." --`1 Jno. 2:3`.
Whatsoever we ask we receive from him because we keep his commandments and do what is pleasing in his sight. [The Jewish Law cannot here be referred to, because "By the deeds of the Law shall no flesh be justified in his sight." And so we read in the next verse, that the commands which we keep, are not those given from Sinai, but] "This is his Commandment [to us, under the New Covenant] that we should believe in the name of his Son, Jesus Christ, and love each other as he gave us commandment. And he who keeps his commandments dwelleth in Him, and He in him; and by this we know that he abides in us, by the spirit which he gave us."--`1 Jno. 3:22-24`.
These commandments, under which we are placed, are not grievous and impossible, as the Jewish law was to them under it; for his yoke is easy and his burden is light to all who have his spirit; and if any man have not the spirit of Christ he is none of his.
The fact however, that we are not under the Jewish Law Covenant, and not dependent on it for life, but are hoping for life as a favor, or gift from God, through him who fulfilled the Law and canceled all claims of both the Jewish and the original Law against both Jew and Gentile--this fact does not hinder God's free children, justified through faith in Christ's redemption and not by the Law, from using the Jewish Law and every other expression, fact, figure and type, at their command, whether from nature or Scripture, in determining what would be acceptable and well pleasing to their Heavenly Father. Thus for instance Paul, who repudiated over and over again the dominion of the Law over any, quotes one of the Commandments as an evidence to Christian parents of what God's will would be with reference to their government of their children. (`Eph. 6:2`.) But mark that he does not in any wise thunder it at them as a command. (It never was a command to parents, but to children, even before being abolished.) Nor does the Apostle intimate any justification as a reward; for he writes to those who are already justified, not by deeds of obedience to the Law, but by faith in Jesus, their Lord and Redeemer.
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THE LAW COVENANT EXTINCT.
It was not as an expression of the will of God, but as a Covenant, that the Law was annulled and completely set aside. To illustrate: Suppose you owned a glassware establishment and employed help and had written out rules and penalties and posted them conspicuously; suppose that they provided as a penalty for each breakage, one day's salary, and that on hiring your men you sent them first to read those rules, and then bargained with them and then engaged them with the understanding that the penalties mentioned in the rules were a part of your contract, covenant, or agreement with them. Suppose that at the close of the week their breakages had been so many as to more than offset their wages, and left them each in debt to you.
Suppose that on the same day a legacy had come to you, and that after letting your employees realize their carelessness and its cost, you said to them, I propose to meet all your breakage losses out of this legacy I have just received; and now the week for which we covenanted is expired, I engage you all for another week without asking you to enter into this agreement for next week. The rules however will remain posted up, and you will recognize them as the general expression of my wishes
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and will break as little as possible through respect for my interest, and by and by when you have become skilled, I will put substantially those same laws into the new covenant that I will then require each to enter into.
Though perhaps not a perfect illustration, this may help some to see how the Law given by Moses to Israel was violated by all, and at the end of their age there was no reward of life for any of them --they were all in debt according to their Covenant or bargain, made at Sinai. (`Exod. 19:3-8`. `Deut. 27:9-26`.) The legacy applied to cancel their debt was Christ's sacrifice, arranged for by the Father, and freely given by our Lord the Redeemer. The second week represents the Gospel age, the Law still hangs before all, and is an indirect expression of our Father's wishes supplemented by other rules and arrangements which show that it is no longer a covenant though its spirit pervades all the new rules. We may still use the old rules or laws to guide us as to the Master's wishes, where we find nothing explicitly stated in the new supplementary rules (the New Testament provisions). But to refer to those Rules thus to seek the mind of the Master, and to esteem them a bondage and Covenant over us, are totally different matters.
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IT is considered a disgrace to be lazy. He who is too indolent to work for his own living becomes a by-word and reproach. But there is a very common form of laziness which is not always noticed. It is that of mind. We first become conscious of it in our young days, when we "don't feel like study." We dawdle over our thoughts half asleep, and, as a result, give a fine exhibition of stupidity in the recitation room. It is true that disinclination to study sometimes grows out of fatigue and illness. The liver is responsible for much of it; but in the majority of cases it is pure laziness, as young people will discover if they will shake themselves up and go resolutely to work.
This sort of indolence in youth is very dangerous, for it becomes a habit, and the mind grows rusty and dull in the very prime of life, when it should be at its best. And on the heels of this form of laziness comes another bad habit, that of intellectual loafing. What loafing is in the common sense, all know. It is hanging about with no definite aim or purpose, idling away the time without method and without profit. Well, there is mental loafing as well, and it is known in the dictionary as reverie. It is a dreamy state of the mind, when the thoughts go wool-gathering. The fancy sails away into fantastic seas, and revels in unreal things till the wits are fairly benumbed and unfitted for sober work.
This habit, so common to young people, is fatal to mental growth. Many a promising youth is ruined by over-indulgence in it. It wastes time and enfeebles the mental powers. It is really a form of laziness, and it should be sternly corrected at the very outset. The action of the mind should be kept under control. When the thoughts begin to wander, it is time to whip them into order. A resolute will will do it.--Selected.
"EVERY true disciple has often found that the work he took up painfully from a sense of duty became to him a source of special joy. On this path are the shining footprints of the Master."
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PROFESSOR F. L. PATTON'S article in The Forum, on the Andover doctrine, assumes that the Calvinistic view of a sovereign election of a portion of the race to salvation, with the consequent reprobation of the rest, is more logical and scriptural than the view which supposes that all must have a chance under the gospel, if not in this life, then in the life to come. The Professor's view of election explains truly the method of the divine dealings under the economy of redemption up to a certain point. Salvation in this dispensation of His grace seems to be confined to a chosen few. And there is no other explanation but that it has thus seemed good in His sight. So far, then, as Prof. Patton sees into this mystery, he sees truly. But he is wrong in supposing that there are no summits of God's grace beyond the hills that bound his horizon. He mistakes in supposing that the purpose of God in ordaining some to eternal life terminates upon these favorites, whereas He never chooses any person or class except as He makes them channels of blessing to a wider circle. If He selects a church of the first-born, it is because there is to be a later born. If we are "a kind of first fruits of His creatures, of His will begotten," it is because there are later fruits to be harvested. If we are "a chosen generation, a royal priesthood," there must be those, to whom we are to fulfill these offices. It is because the strict Calvinist fails to see these wider stretches of God's great plan of grace that his system is so inadequate, and not because he errs in tracing everything back to the will of God. This age does not bound everything in redemption. Most of mankind fail of salvation in this age. So far as the results of trial in this life are concerned, their failure is final. Only a little flock enter into life. The gateway into it is much more narrow than even the preachers of orthodoxy represent it. "Few there be that find it." But these few are "baptized for the dead." If no resurrection has been provided for the unjust dead, there would be no hope for any but the elect. But "He gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time." The mistake of the Andover school is in overlooking the fact that souls in sheol are not under a prolonged dispensation of grace, but under the penalty--"in prison." The only door of hope for the dead is the hope of resurrection. Any trial for the prize of eternal life must come in after punishment has been visited, and the dead have been recovered to the life and opportunities of manhood.--Words of Reconciliation.
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A SEETHING CONTINENT.
A perusal of Saturday's usual collection of European cablegrams cannot fail to impress the reader with the fact that the continent of Europe is literally seething with social seditions and political acerbities which seriously threaten not only its peace but in many places the very existence of society.
France is not only threatened with war at the hands of her old enemy, but her social condition presents some most profound problems for the solution of capable statesmen, whom it will be difficult to discover among her would-be political leaders. Already the anti-rent agitation has appeared in Paris after a fashion ominously threatening to the rights and interests of landlords, while many other cities of the republic are anticipating serious street riots on account of the rise in the price of bread caused by the late legislation protective of agricultural products.
Of the condition of Ireland the American public are already too well aware. That country is rapidly moving in the direction of an agrarian revolution, the limits of which cannot at present be defined.
It is, however, in eastern and central Europe that the most threatening aspect of social and political affairs and the angry strife of race is graphically presented. Russia is making war on the most important industries of a country with which a year since she had been in the closest political alliance. Already this war has destroyed the iron industry of Silesia, shutting up numerous works in that and other provinces of Germany. Germany retaliates by preparing a bill again raising the duties on grain and wool. Later, the St. Petersburg press propose as a reprisal for Germany's increase of the duties on cereals a poll-tax on German workingmen in Russia. Nor is the Russian government backward in this social and commercial war. The czar has issued an edict suppressing the German language in the colleges and schools of the Baltic provinces. And so the contest goes on in every leading country on the continent, each individual nation apparently laboring commercially for the destruction of the trade of all the others and politically for the extirpation of the nationality of some offending neighbor.
At present the entire continent presents the appearance of a seething mass of different and opposing materials in the crucible of the chemist anticipatory of crystallization. But whether such crystallization will bring peace or war is an open question. If the outcome of the present unparalleled turmoil proves to be a peaceful one certainly it will not be because the efforts of the leading powers and the leading statesmen tend in that direction.--Daily Journal.
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"GOD is a God of order, but not necessarily pledged to that particular form of order by which your quiet and wealth seem to be best secured. He will not be taken into your pay. He will not act as a preventive police for you. God stands neutral in the strife of human selfishness. Those that honor Him, He will honor. He is on the side of those who are on his side, whose hearts and actions are on the side of brotherly kindness, and truth, and holiness."
"WHEN alone, guard your thoughts; when in the family, guard your temper; when in company, guard your word."
TRUE trust is always joined with the use of proper means. "Trust in the Lord, and do good."