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VOL. VI. PITTSBURGH, PA., MARCH, 1885. NO. 7.
ZION'S Watch Tower AND HERALD OF CHRIST'S PRESENCE.
C. T. RUSSELL, Editor and Publisher.
NO. 40 FEDERAL ST. ALLEGHENY, PA.
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 prepaid. You may send by Draft, P.O. Money Order, or Registered Letter, payable to C. T. RUSSELL.
Three shillings per year. 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.
WALL CHARTS.--We still have a supply of the "Chart of the Ages," such as appears in FOOD FOR THINKING CHRISTIANS, page 105, only enlarged--33 inches long, mounted on rollers. These we will send free to our SUBSCRIBERS who are willing to pay expressage on the same.
The pamphlet entitled THE TABERNACLE AND ITS TEACHINGS is now out of print. Many requests for this pamphlet continually coming to hand we have arranged to publish it soon as a number of the TOWER. Thus all may have it and appreciate the beauty and force of those types which God caused Israel to perform year by year continually--for our edification upon whom the ends of the ages are come.
VIEW FROM THE TOWER.
The National Baptist, commenting upon the report of the Baptist churches of Philadelphia says:
"We have a total membership of 19,676. Of the additions by baptism, 300 came from three churches: Grace, 125; Shiloh, 111; Mantua, 64. Nine churches reported no baptisms. We have also nineteen missions, some of whose members are not members of city churches. Let us place our Baptist army at 20,000. Think of the vast expenditures for pastors, church buildings, Sunday school rooms, etc., and only a net gain of 450. It took over forty members to gather in one convert. And the figures over our State are equally startling, when 235 churches during the past year do not report a single baptism."
Our Baptist friends are perhaps as near the truth, or more so, than any other sect of Babylon, which is not flattering them, we hope. The above statement affords an opportunity to suggest a criticism applicable to all the Babylonish sects. The rivalry among them is for numbers; for quantity rather than quality; for the praise of men rather than that which cometh from above only.
Two or three centuries ago, when Baptists were only called such by their enemies, and when they called themselves simply Christians, their numbers were far less, but they occupied more nearly by far, a position in harmony with the days of the Apostles, both toward themselves and the world.
With the creation of new sects and the general race for pre-eminence among them, which has been in progress for the past three centuries, the people now calling themselves Baptists were gradually drawn away from the primitive piety and simplicity for which in early times they were noted. Now, with all the rest, the chief aim is, not to build one another up in the most holy faith as members of the body of Christ; not to edify one another; not to grow in grace and in the knowledge and love of God; but to build themselves up as a sect; and to flatter the worldly to "get them into the church" that the pews and treasuries may be full; that they may have a great name, and that the name of Baptist should be a synonym for respectability and honor among men.
The popularity with the world for which the sects so much seek, and in large measure have gained, is a bad and not a good omen to them, as well as to their prototype the nominal Jewish Church at our Lord's first advent. He still declares, "Woe unto you when all men speak well of you." Luke 6:26.
In order to gain in numbers, honor and influence, every other thing has been sacrificed in great measure--not only by Baptists but by every sect. In order to attract the world, the DOCTRINES of the Bible have been more and more neglected. The repulsions of Christianity--the self-denials, besetments, reproaches, sacrifices, and the sneer and "hate" of the world always attendant upon the true Christianity, have all been put out of sight, because these would repel the worldly, and the sect would not be so rapidly built up. Hence, not only the preaching of taking up the cross and following Christ's example, passed away, but the lower plane assumed, brought the world's honor and respect instead of its "hate." The Lord was not mistaken when he said, Whosoever will live godly shall suffer persecution, but godliness has passed away, and therefore there is no persecution.
Now, as a matter of fact, the various sects have degenerated into merely social clubs. The condition of membership in them is not FAITH in God's Word. Though an endorsement of their respective creeds is required, they are not generally understood; and even the moral standard is so low, that it implies no change on the part of the average worldling who joins.
The result of this course, which has been in progress specially for the past fifty years, is that these sects are full of worldly moralists, who enjoy these systems because they are fashionable; because they are the best and quickest passport into "society"; because it is advantageous to them from a business standpoint; and finally because man is a religiously inclined being anyway, and traces of that inclination still linger despite the "fall." Even true children of God still fettered in the sects, so far as the doctrines of the Bible are concerned, are the merest "babes," always fed on skimmed "milk" and never on "strong meat." (Heb. 5:12-14.) They are both unskillful in the use of God's Word and ignorant of his doctrines. There are no more, nor as many saints as if the true Christian standard had been lifted; and those saints in the sects are starved and sickly, not strong and valiant soldiers of the cross having on the whole armor of God.
Now we are reaching an epoch in which thought is being awakened and these starved and sickly saints in Babylon, together with the children of the world labeled Christians, are being forced to think by the startling utterances of popular preachers, infidels, and scientists. What the result must be no reasonable mind can doubt. Unskilled in the Word of God, ignorant of everything called religion except the raising of funds for and increasing the numbers of their sect, the vast majority must fall a prey to the specious errors termed liberal Christianity, now like a dense miasma spreading gradually over the world. Beginning with the cities, and among the "influential," it will spread over all the so-called "Christian world."
The membership of the sects, composed mainly of the worldly, the carnally-minded, are already demanding "progress and liberality." Not, however, a progress toward clearer and fuller study of and obedience to the Bible; this would not be progress to the carnally minded; but by progress they mean the endorsement of the assertions of scientists regardless of the Bible. The minister who does not satisfy this craving is becoming unpopular, and those who will "preach to please the pews" (i.e. to suit the majority --the carnally-minded) are getting all the "best" pulpits and largest salaries. What the Apostle wrote prophetically, is being rapidly fulfilled before our eyes: The time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine, but after their own lusts [desires or liking] shall they heap [accumulate] to themselves teachers having itching ears" ["tickling the ear" --Diaglott]. And they [the ear-pleasing teachers] shall turn away their ears from the truth, and [they] shall be turned unto fables." How forcible then are the Apostle's words to every true saint and preacher in view of this: "I charge thee therefore before God...preach the WORD; be instant in season and out of season [whether convenient to you or [R731 : page 1] not]; REPROVE, REBUKE, EXHORT, with all longsuffering and DOCTRINE." See 2 Tim. 4:1-4.
The honest and earnest saints who will follow this "charge," will soon find themselves as well as their names out of Babylon --cast out as evil. But by that time the increase of grace, knowledge and love which shall come as a result of faithfulness, will lead them to rejoice and be exceeding glad--to rejoice that they were counted worthy to suffer reproach for the name of Christ--for his doctrines.
The result will ultimately be: Moralists will be called Christians; they will be too wise and scientific to use the Bible as their text-book. Every one will be called a Christian who abstains from a flagrant violation of the laws of civilization. Then the saints will again be called "fools," and the Bible will be termed "a relic of barbarism," "a bundle of old wives' fables," "a fetich." Is it not becoming so even now?
It is too late to reform the sects--the vast majority is against you. The only thing to do now is what God commands, "Come out of her, my people; that ye partake not of her sins and receive not of her plagues." She might have been healed once, (Jer. 8:18-22,) but now, like her prototype Israel, she is given up --left desolate. The ax is now at work at the very root of the tree and its complete fall is at hand. It is not now a pruning but a destroying process as with the first house of Israel when it was rejected, only it stumbled to rise again, while Babylon's destruction is to be complete and forever. (Matt. 3:7-10, and Rev. 18:21.)
EXTRACTS FROM INTERESTING LETTERS.
February 5, 1885.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--Thank you very much for your quick and kind answer of my letter. The money I send, you may use for any purpose of spreading the grand news as you think best. How I long to have all the back numbers of the TOWER. Is there no way of procuring them? Any price! I am preparing to work among my (German) countrymen, and would like to have them on that account.
The glorious truth which since a year ago shone on my heart through the "Food," becomes brighter and brighter. I had the "Food" three years in my possession, but never found time nor opportunity to read it, but always saved it. Last winter I got poor and lean and all creeds and dogmas seemed to leave me. I searched and found "Food." No book ever took me like that. I forgot meals and all. I could not sleep for joy. O, the blessedness I have enjoyed since then. God is still revealing more and more to me by the TOWER and Scriptures. Diaglott and Young's Concordance are great helps to me. I would like [R731 : page 2] this glorious truth to be spread among my people. I find much opposition with some, but some take it readily. I am still in the Methodist Church (German), but preach and talk in private and openly of the glorious truth. What will become of me the Lord knows--I expect to be thrown out. I would much like to see you personally and talk to you about plans which I have. If any way possible I will see you.
BRETHREN:--There are three of us-- ministers of the Gospel--laying ourselves out for the spread of the glorious truths set forth in your publications. I have just come in from a preaching tour and expect to start again as soon as I have filled my present appointments, which will take me three weeks. I ask you to send me what publications you think best for distribution, so that we may give these grand truths to the people in this section of country. Hoping you can and will comply with our request, I remain,
MY DEAR BROTHER IN CHRIST.-- When I received the February WATCH TOWER with the article "Two Baptisms" marked, and found the answer to my question given so plainly in it, I felt sorry I had troubled you when I had it in the house; and what is more, had read that very article repeatedly. Do you think I must have been very stupid? I think so too; but my dear brother, don't you know that I have had a Bible in the house all my life and have read it ever since I could read, have read it by daylight and lamp light, and by moon light, have learned whole chapters by heart, and even prided myself because of my knowledge of the Bible, and after all it remained for the TOWER, in the providence of God, to show me that I knew nothing about it. The knowledge I prided myself on was such knowledge as a parrot has; I knew the words but that was all. It remained for the TOWER to point out to me the grand, glorious, hidden manna there is in that blessed old book. And how I love it, and how every feast makes me hungry for more.
I thank God every day that he has permitted us to feast at his table. Were it not that the cares of a family press upon me I think I should do little but study the Word. With Paul I can say "I have not been disobedient to the heavenly vision." When I first saw the light, I thought that all we had to do was to show these things to our neighbors and friends and they would grasp them eagerly as we had done, but I found an indifference that astonished me.
You told us that though these things were sweet in our mouth, yet after we ate them they would become bitter. I was full of the sweet and I did not see where there was any bitterness for me. After awhile what I supposed a cord, that bound me to the nominal Church, proved to be a chain, and it increased in weight so rapidly that I tried to shake it off, but it only bound the tighter. I began to long for true baptism. I had been sprinkled long ago, but now I saw a new beauty in baptism. I resolved to break the chain and to be baptized if I could find some one to do it without taking me into another Church, and then I found the bitterness, but I need not give details. I have thought often of writing you something of my experience for publication for the encouragement of others, but it would fill up the paper and not edify as much as the articles you give us in explanation of Scripture, which are manna indeed to our hungry souls.
I thank our Father that though we have the bitter trials, yet in him we have a never-failing source of joy. And I thank him that he gave me strength to burst the chains and furnished one to give my husband and I the symbolic baptism; now we rejoice in the love and freedom of Christ. He is leading us and we desire to do his will. We are all sitting around the Lord's table and the TOWER is helping us to our food. May its supply be continually increased that we may all be filled and come into the unity of the faith, all praising God with one voice.
DEAR BRO. RUSSELL:--During the last two months I have been laboring for the Master as best I could according to my ability. Preaching in public, and in private houses as well as by the way side, and by distributing Z.W. TOWER and tracts. I do not intend to shun to declare the whole council of God so far as I know it and am competent to do it. I travelled 250 miles nearly all on foot; have had many good meetings, and have had many what most men would call troubles, fatigued, and wet with rain, etc. Some times hungry and sometimes athirst, sometimes in comfortable quarters and sometimes otherwise. Yet I feel that I am made stronger by these, and more able to carry out my covenant of sacrifice. It is a great pleasure to hear from the many dear brethren and sisters by the letter extracts in the TOWER.
DEAR SIR:--I was requested to give a reading, at what is called the Mutual Improvement Society composed of members from all sects in the town, the president knowing somewhat of my views asked that the title might be, Advanced Religious thought. I did not decline, and with the pamphlet, Food, and the various numbers of the TOWER which I have, I made quite a long essay. After the reading, a discussion was freely entered into and I was branded by all sorts of names, such as Materialist, Universalist, Calvinistic, Baptist, etc. Although the Wesleyan minister, who had the Scriptures in his hand, could not find any mis-quotations, he was surprised at the different light given to them to what they are used to give them. Others said I had given the best paper that had been given during all the sessions. I hope by God's help to speak at any time, the truths of the Scriptures as I have received light on them through the TOWER, so that I may be the means of turning some from errors of doctrine.
Newton Co., Texas.
ZION'S WATCH TOWER:--I have just finished reading a pamphlet, published by you, entitled, "Food for Thinking Christians," and have become very much interested in the subjects treated of. I wish to know more and more of these precious truths. Though a minister, I have been made to realize often while studying these pages, how true it is that many of us are "ever learning, but never come to a knowledge of the truth." Having received so much light from this pamphlet, I gladly avail myself of your proposition, "Ask and ye shall receive," so please send to me such reading matter as you deem best.
DEAR BRO. RUSSELL:--I have not forgotten you nor the glorious cause you represent. The blessed gospel has so permeated my soul that it seems I have forgotten all other themes. Politics used to enthuse me some while I was in "Babylon," but now such a glorious landscape has burst upon my enraptured vision that I can see nothing else, and wherever I am and whoever I address, this song of the world's ransom is on my tongue. Persecution and the cold shoulder of former friends and associates is nothing to me, the Lord is my shield and hiding place, and the rock of my salvation. His fellowship and his approving smile is all I crave.
DEAR BROTHER:--Please erase my name from the poor list. Although poor in this world's Treasures, made richer in faith through reading the TOWER, I feel I must pay for the paper this year. I love to read it more and more and shall continue to use my influence in getting others interested.
England, Feb. 14, 1885.
DEAR SIR:--Having lately come into possession of a copy of your valuable "Food for Thinking Christians" and finding that it is taken from the bread of life, I have a strong desire that others should read it as well as myself. As a Missionary to the Seamen and Fishermen on the coast of England I apply to you for a few slices i.e. copies of your Food for free distribution among them, and any other crumbs from the Master's table will be most gratefully received, and willingly distributed among the hungry souls with whom I labor.
I have about twelve miles of sea coast and three seaports, and seeing that by asking I might receive, it put me so much in mind of the grace and favor from the great Captain of our salvation, that I felt constrained to apply, and I believe I shall receive, and will be thankful for anything you may send.
Palestine, Ill. Feb. 22, 1885.
BRO. C. T. RUSSELL:--I am now thoroughly satisfied as to the Ransom, the Church, the Bride, the Little Flock, the Presence of Christ, the Coming Troubles upon the Nominal Church systems and world, and the deliverance of the Bride, the Restitution during the coming age in which "all men shall be saved and brought to a knowledge of the Truth" for its acceptance or rejection, when all that was lost in or by Adam will be restored in or by Christ-- indeed, much more than that; for Christ's Bride shall be just like him, glorious, more brilliant than the sun, and immortal; and the balance of the race given an opportunity for a life grander than Adam's--everlasting; or a worse death than his--"the second"--"everlasting destruction."
Light is looming up on these subjects plainer and plainer, and I now glory in the Cross of Christ in a way in which I never could before. I can now rejoice to know that "the Word" was changed to a perfect manhood, "made flesh" in order to die for man.
I can rejoice that I now have opportunity to consecrate my life and being to God--to aid in filling up "the remainder of Christ's sufferings"--rendering my life "a living sacrifice to God, which is my reasonable service"--so that I might "reign with him."
I do not glory in self-righteousness; I have none. "I have no confidence in the flesh," but all in my Ransom, the Sacrifice, the Atonement; but, to receive their glorious effects, I must die to sin and live to holiness.
I am, too, satisfied that there are no churches, nor have been, since the apostacy, through which those consecrating can act; for, in all these, thus far shalt thou go, and no further--all are hindrances instead of aids, because attention is called to their church and teaching instead of the Christ and the infallible Word!
That there are good and pious in all I do not doubt; hence the call, Come out of her my people, so that you may have no fellowship with her SINS, and that you receive not of her PLAGUES."
I, as I wrote you before, was raised by Baptists, then was a "Campbellite" for over a quarter of a century, and preached the doctrine acceptably a good part of the time, then a member of "the Church of the Abrahamic Faith" for over fifteen years, preaching its doctrines acceptably. I was honest and sincere in both and had "a good conscience" in both, until it was better educated. As I never preached for money, neither would I now, and as I have a family to support and a business to sustain, I cannot do much; still that little I intend to do at all times and places practicable.
YOUR HEAVENLY FATHER KNOWETH.
"Be not anxious, saying, What shall we eat? or, what shall we drink? or, with what shall we be clothed? for after all these things do the Gentiles seek; and your Heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things."-- Matt. 6:31,32.
How happy and free from anxious care are the hours of childhood. Perfect trust in parental wisdom and love casts out all fear. In the absence of pride and the worldly and selfish ambitions which develop in later years, childhood makes the best of whatever circumstances it may be placed in, and meets every circumstance with a determination to find some good and some enjoyment in it. How many need to turn back to the simplicity of their earlier years.
Why should we be anxious about anything when our Heavenly Father knoweth our need? To be anxious about our temporal affairs, is to be overcharged, and Jesus warns us, saying, "Be not overcharged with the cares of this life." But while he would not have us anxious or over-charged, he would not have us disregard the responsibilities of our maturer years. Our first, principal object in life should be to seek the kingdom of heaven, to seek to make our calling and election sure by following in our Leader's footsteps. This implies the taking of necessary time to search the Scriptures and to digest the instruction given.
In these times, and especially in this country, where business competition pushes all to the extent of their physical strength and the occupation of every hour, it requires considerable determination to draw the line and say to business and the various responsibilities pressing upon us, Thus far shalt thou go and no farther. But having determined the line of duty, in childlike faith and simplicity we may dismiss all anxiety, remembering that our Heavenly Father knoweth our needs.
MRS. C. T. R.
A LITTLE WHILE."Quickly," beloved! I know thine heart is beating
With deep emotions to behold my face,
But for "a little while" wilt thou not spread the tidings
Of the sweet message of my love and grace?
Fear not, beloved! mine eye is ever watching:
Thy tears are numbered in my deep, deep love;
Thy weary sighs, and all thine heart's deep yearnings
Are registered by me in heaven above.
Trust, trust, beloved! I know the world frowns coldly,
But this should only drive thee nearer me.
Earth's broken links make heaven's affection stronger,
The cross will only make the crown more bright for thee.
Look up, beloved! tread firmly on the billows,
Thou canst not sink beneath life's troubled sea.
Look up! then shalt thou learn the needful lesson meekly,
How my own hand hath planned thy path for thee.
Rest, rest, beloved! thine head upon my bosom;
Lean on my arm, and tell thy griefs to me.
My heart is thine in all the full perfection
Of sympathy none else could give to thee.
Weep not, beloved! because thou yet must tarry;
Wilt thou not serve me heart and hand meanwhile?
Some hearts around thee pine in lonely sorrow;
Couldst thou not give one kindly look or tender smile?
Go forth, beloved! life's ministry is earnest,
Crushed hearts throng round thee, in thy path below;
Fond hopes once cherished, now by death are blighted;
Knowest thou not a balm to soothe their woe?
Yes, Yes, beloved! I read thine heart's glad answer;
Yes, thou wilt do this work of love for me.
Only "a little while," and earth's sad scenes of sorrow
Shall change to glory bright--prepared by me.
Then, then, beloved! heaven's songs of joy awaking,
Triumphant "hallelujah" thou shalt raise,
Then shalt thou gaze upon my face, and ever,
"Knowing as known," pour forth thine endless praise.
IF THE WHOLE BODY WERE AN EYE. 1 COR. 12:12-27.
A more apt illustration of the oneness of the true Church [whose names are written in heaven] can not be conceived of, than this which the Scriptures so frequently present--the human body made up of various and dissimilar members, yet unitedly constituting one body and each member dependent largely, upon each other member.
What a loss to the human body is even one member. Though its loss does not cause the destruction of the body, it does impair its usefulness. And so with the body of Christ, the church: each member is necessary, and has a duty to perform toward other members, as well as blessings to receive by its fellowship with them: Hence the Apostle urges that there be "no schism in the body"-- that is that there be no sectarian division of those who are the Lord's body.
The body when complete and perfected, united with its Head and glorified, will be perfect, lacking no member; there will be no sect or division among the members. Only such as are fully under control of the one spirit, of the Head, will be members then. But not so now: Now some of the members are not fully submissive to the Head, and mislead by the blinding delusions of Satan, are separated, and in that proportion deprived of the blessings and privileges of the body, and the body is also deprived of their assistance and influence. And as in the human body, if certain members are absent, or refuse to fill their office, other members will endeavor to compensate to the body for the deficiency, so in the body of Christ, those who realize the necessities of the body should rejoice in the privilege of over-work for the benefit of all. There is danger to those members of the body who are failing to fill their office, of their being finally cut off from the body, and others more worthy being appointed in their place. Take heed, let no man take thy crown. (Rev. 3:11). "Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away." John 15:2.
In the human body the eye, ear, hand, and foot represent the principal serving members. These are all needful and should work in harmony, under the control of the one will. The Eye discerns, and by it, we mostly judge; yet it frequently benefits by the hand's assistance in deciding of heat and cold, hardness and softness, roughness and smoothness; though the eye has ability to discern those things of itself, it is greatly assisted by the hand.
The hand is very valuable. It can execute what the eye could not do, but what it points out as expedient or necessary, yet without the intelligence and guidance of the eye, how slow would be its work, and how much of it useless.
The ear is useful to the body advising it of the harmony or discord of the immediate present; yet without the assistance of the Eye, how frequently it would mislead and deceive the body; every strange sound would fill it with dread when perhaps a blessing was in it, while every accustomed sound would pass unheeded though danger might be in it.
The foot is an important member of great value in the service of the body. It aids the Eye and Hand and Ear in their service; it carries forward and in a measure "runs" the body. True the body could see and hear without the feet, and it could make progress slowly, but without feet the progress would be much retarded. Yet without the eye to guide, the feet would stumble and get the body entire into confusion and distress.
Thus seen, every member is needful aye necessary to the body, yet perhaps the eye is the greatest servant, yet by no means independent of the other members. Without them its service would be of little value. The Eye represents the body; hence, when we address another, we do not look toward and address the hand, foot or ear, but we look to the Eye as the representative of the whole body. In Scripture the Eye is used as the representative of understanding or knowledge; and in all the world it is the symbol of intelligence.
Using these members of the human body and their various degrees of usefulness as servants of the body, as an illustration, the Apostle urges each member of the Body of Christ, which is the Church, to find his true position of usefulness in the body and fill it: that each be not jealous or envious of other members, but endeavor to fill well whatever position he is best qualified for--that there be no schism in the body, but that its various members, each doing the part designed by our Lord and Head, shall thus accomplish His will--the edifying and building up of the body.
Evidence is given to every member of this Body--that the Body is being led and taught of God; and though the special "gifts" are not bestowed upon every member, they do benefit every member i.e., "a manifestation of the spirit is given to every man [member] to profit withal" [thereby], v. 7. The early church was in danger of getting out of the Lord's order--all aspired to be teachers and prophets, etc., hence the Apostle reproves them saying: "You earnestly desire [covet] the more eminent gifts, and yet a more excellent way I point out to you" chap. 12:31--Diaglott. Then the more excellent way is described in Chap. 13. This method is, to cultivate deep broad Love for each member and for the Head, and to wait patiently for the Lord to exalt you to some position in which you can best serve the body in love.
We should bear in mind that no one can constitute himself a gifted member any more than by taking thought he can add one cubit to his stature, though he may and should stir up and cultivate the gift that is in him. All must remember that the position of "greatest" in the kingdom, either now, or in glory, is of God's and not our appointment. He that would be greatest, let him become the willing loving servant of all the other members; willing to lay down his life for the sheep. Thus let us seek and "desire spiritual gifts" for the greater service and blessing to the body.
In the true body, God attends to the arrangement of the gifts. He places the various servants, and we note the placement and bow to his wisdom. "God hath SET [placed or appointed] SOME in the church; first Apostles, secondarily Prophets, thirdly Teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues." 1 Cor. 12:28.
Of Apostles, there are but twelve (Paul being God's appointment to Judas' place) the ones specially appointed on and in the foundation. (Rev. 21:14.) The Prophets or expounders (see definition in Young's An. Concordance) are those who are used of the Lord in bringing forth (from the Scriptures) things new and old to the Church. This seems to be the EYE quality. Luther appears to have represented this eye quality for a short time. Through him as an instrumentality the body saw the doctrine of justification by faith. He was the expounder of that doctrine in modern times. An expounder is a special teacher, or a teacher of teachers-- a see-er through whom hidden things may be manifested. Dr. Adam Clark is considered and treated as an EXPOUNDER by the M.E. Body, a prophet, seer, or discerner. Of the prophets of the nominal Church see what is written in Isaiah 29:10-14.
Teachers, as referred to by the Apostle are the instructors, or what might be termed the HANDS of the body who carry the bread and water and feed the flock--the sheep and the lambs. They may be either public or private teachers or instructors of the body and others.
Some of these gifts, such as speaking in unknown tongues, have measurably [R733 : page 3] passed away because the necessity for them has passed away. The Apostle foretold that these gifts will all pass away in time, for when the church complete is perfected, and when each member shall know even as he is known--perfectly-- there will no longer be use for these gifts, as a means for edifying the body.
The foot member of the body may not unreasonably represent some who have neither the Eye quality of discerning truth, nor the Hand quality of helping cleansing and feeding the church; but who can and DO, bear much of the weight and carry the body forward over obstacles. May not the foot then be the member possessed of money talent which uses it thus?
If the entire Body could but recognize its oneness and each use the gift or gifts possessed, remembering that the gifts bestowed are not for itself, but for the BODY, how great would be the strength and vigor and present power of the Body.
It is astonishing how many members desire to be EYES, and how few care to be FEET. Some will spend days and years to force eyesight: Determined that they must discover some new truth --some "new light." Many succeed in forcing something, but is it not more likely to be human darkness than divine light obtained in such a manner? If you are an EYE member you will see what is due to be seen without forcing, though not without studious care. And what you see will be so clearly seen, as to enable other members of the BODY to test and prove your exposition as harmonious with all other parts of God's Word.
Besides do not those who attempt to exercise some other gift than the one they possess, usually neglect the gift they have and thus deprive the body of their assistance? Thus it was in Paul's day; he "labored," working with his hands, as well as in preaching and expounding the Scriptures. Because the other members were not exercising their gifts, Paul's love for the body and the truth, led him to attempt still greater service to make up for the deficiency of others. But who will say that some missed a grand opportunity for the exercise of the FOOT member's office or gift, when Paul needed to make tents to support himself. And who will say that the BODY was not injuriously affected to the extent that those members were derelict and unfaithful in the use of their talents? How many valuable suggestions and how many expositions of truth that church failed to get, because the member for that office was otherwise necessarily engaged, who can know? See Acts 18:3; 1 Thes. 2:8,9; and 1 Cor. 4:12.
The Apostle shows not only that it is not God's order that every member should be an EYE, but he shows the logical inconsistency of such a thing in the words at the head of this article--"If the whole body were an eye," where would be the other needful qualities? Where would be the mutual dependence of one member upon another which when properly recognized, cements and unifies all the members as one body, in which every member is needful and appreciated.
The question arises: How shall we know the different members? We answer, In the same manner that you can decide whether you are right-handed or left-handed viz. by the adaptation to the work, by the relative ability to perform any particular service. Thus a teacher must be "apt to teach," i.e. have the gift or ability of making the truth plain, either in public or private; a "prophet," i.e. a discerner and EXPOUNDER of truth will be manifested by the clearness and force with which he will be enabled to bring forth from the Lord's store-house (the Bible) "things new and old," meat in due season for the household; and a Foot member will know of his talent or gift by the money talent he possesses--the "ability" which God giveth.
In writing to the Romans (Rom. 12:3-8) of these gifts, the same apostle urges them also to remember, that "all members have not the same office," and that therefore having "gifts differing according to the grace that is given unto us," [R733 : page 4] each should fill his own appointment in the church, remembering that these gifts are of God who hath "set" [appointed] the various members in the body.
In endeavoring to decide what gifts we possess, the Apostle suggests modesty saying: "I say...to every man that is among you, not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think; but to think soberly, according as God hath DEALT to every man the measure of faith" [literally, capacity for faithfulness]. Ver. 3.
This sober examination of our abilities (which if we are consecrated are all the Lord's) to ascertain how we may be acceptable to the Lord and best serve the Body, will affect some who under-value their talents, as well as those who think of themselves more highly than they ought. Some fear that they have no talents useful and needful to the service of the body; and some possessing several talents, use and seek to cultivate the lowest of these rather than the highest.
To such, after showing that our ambition and pursuit should be love, and that if love for the Head and body is cultivated, such seekers will be honored and used because of love and service; the Apostle says, "Ardently pursue Love and be emulous of spiritual gifts--but rather that you may prophecy." 1 Cor. 14:1.
In substance then, the duty and privilege of every member of the body of Christ is, to soberly, and honestly judge of his abilities; neither in pride overrating them, nor in false humility underrating them; that he may diligently and faithfully use them, earnestly hoping for his own increased efficiency in the service; not from self-love and vain glory, but from love of the body and of the Head.
These thoughts were suggested by two discouraged ones who wrote that they were fearful of not being members of the body, because, though they could study out and prove by Scripture, the truths presented through various writers in the TOWER, they were unable to SEE or discern these truths from the Scriptures themselves, without having them pointed out. Such should conclude that they are not EYE members, but the fact that they are able to discern by the aid of the eye, should be considered a proof that such are fellow members and of the same body. Let such remember the Apostle's suggestion: "If the whole body were an eye" where would be its perfection and completeness; and how could the body edify itself in love?
In the early days of the church the connection between the various members scattered abroad, was far less complete than now since the printing press and mails make it possible for all members to come into intimate communication with fellow members of the same body. Thus while we keep up our intercourse and communion with those members with whom we come personally in contact, giving and receiving edification. The whole body, though separated by oceans, is now by God's providence enabled to meet at one table, and feast together upon the rich promises and blessed hopes which our Father's Word supplies; and which, new and old, are meat in due season to the entire household. Thus not only do all feed and grow in grace and knowledge and love, but many are encouraged and strengthened also by the extracts from letters from all parts of the world; and each member is bound to each other member in that sympathy, oneness and love which is part of the spirit of our Head.
In this manner the Lord our head has made it profitable and expedient for every member to fellowship every other member, and to assist in maintaining and perfecting the ONE BODY, because each is dependent on the other in some measure. None can sever the connection and be separated from it, and neglect its opportunities, without serious loss to himself. It has pleased God to edify, and instruct, and upbuild the BODY through the instrumentality of each other, and the one who thinks to draw supplies of grace otherwise, is, whether knowingly or ignorantly opposing God's arrangement, for God hath "SET" the members in "the body as it hath pleased him," FOR THE EDIFYING of the body of Christ--that thus the Bride may make herself ready for the marriage. Rev. 19:7.
But let us take heed: these gifts are not inalienable. By neglect to use them, or by their abuse, they may be lost. If any member fails to use his gift, or using it, fails to use it to the Lord's glory and for the good of the body, but in pride attempts to use it for self-glory, his place can readily be filled by another, by him who places the members, exalting another to his place and taking from him that which he had failed to properly use. Matt. 25:14-30.
DEVELOPMENT IN THE MILLENNIUM.
Says a brother in a recent letter: "Your views in regard to the Little Flock are plain and readily enough understood. I find, however, much difficulty in my researches relative to that other great company of mankind--those who may attain to everlasting life and perfect manhood.
1st. Among this class, what will be the status and mode of development, if any, of those who have died in babyhood?
2d. How can they be benefitted by evil, never having tasted evil? How can evil have taught them? If God designed that man should fall into evil that thereby man might be benefitted, infants and very young children who die in infancy and childhood would seem to be excluded from this course of schooling.
3d. Again, will they marry and be given in marriage in this state of perfect [R734 : page 4] manhood and everlasting life? If so, where will the offspring of these perfect men and women find their school of evil and where will there be room for the ever increasing population in the multiplied centuries to come? Increase would not be diminished by death. These and kindred questions perplex me, and I earnestly desire light thereon."
These questions are worthy of consideration and we suggest answers to them through the TOWER, because they may have presented themselves to other minds. We presume our Brother's difficulty is not so much that by his research he cannot find human restitution clearly taught in the Bible, but that he finds it difficult to harmonize what is clearly taught, with surrounding facts and his reasonings therefrom as to the future.
In dealing with such questions, upon which God's revelation contains no direct communication of His plan, it becomes us to tread carefully and to avoid dogmatism. Things revealed belong to us, but things not revealed to God. Our Father tells us the great outlines of his plan, and evidently expects and demands confidence and trust on our part that His wisdom is sufficient for every detail. He declares to us His intention that all in their graves shall "come forth," and he gave us proof of His power to do this greatest of all wonders, though he does not explain to us the process or method by which being can be restored after dissolution. So also, He declares to us His purpose to restore all things-- to save that which was lost, etc., and leaves a margin of mystery as to the process by which it shall all be accomplished.
Hence without attempting to teach it for doctrine, or in any way enforce any particular ideas of how these things shall be, we may and do as below, attempt to lay what we know not positively, along side of and in harmony with what we do know. Therefore the answers below must be considered merely as suggestions. We number the answers to correspond with the questions.
First: The manner of the resuscitation in the case of Jairus' daughter (Mark 5:43), may furnish us some idea of the future work which Jesus' miracles illustrated or showed forth. This case and that of Lazarus (John 11:44), indicate that the revived ones will require clothing, nourishment and assistance, and will acquire strength gradually. We infer the same of babes. We may not unreasonably infer that none of the worldly class will be called from their graves, until after the living generations shall have reached a measure of elevation morally and physically, and until the earth shall have begun to "yield her increase."
The climate will probably gradually undergo a change also, such as will not only be favorable to man's comfort, but favorable as well to the usefulness of large tracts of country at present almost or quite uninhabitable. How this will be accomplished, we cannot at present say. But of one thing we are satisfied--He who is at the helm and has thus far ordered matters, is abundantly able to furnish mankind a fit and perfect home--an Eden, when the curse is removed.
Of another thing we are satisfied, viz: That what scientists term the "laws of nature" are by no means as regular and fixed as they seemed at one time to imagine. As an illustration of this we note the fact that the telegraph brought word of severe cold and thousands of cattle destroyed in Texas while we at the North were having quite moderate weather. And we have known times in summer when the thermometer rose higher in Pittsburgh than in New Orleans. These things in addition to our trust in the Omnipotent, set at rest fears in regard to climate. As regards the helplessness and necessities of infants, we should bear in mind that every infant had a mother, and the mother as well as the babe will awake.
Second: We must not forget that there will be evil in the Millennial Age. But instead of being active and in control, it will be under restraints like its prime mover Satan; it will not be totally blotted out, until the end of the Millennium.
When we read of "the world to come wherein dwelleth righteousness", we must no more conclude that there is no evil there, than we should deny all righteousness now because this is called "the present evil world." As evil now reigns and rules and opposes good, so then righteousness will reign and rule and oppose all evil. And "He [Christ] must reign till he hath put all enemies [evil and every form of opposition] under his feet." (1 Cor. 15:25).
Mankind is morally and physically impaired, or evil now, and the awakening will find them the same, and the object of Jesus in the coming age, is to help to life, liberty, and happiness everlasting, those whose right to release from death he purchased once for all. "The times [years] of restitution" in which evil will gradually be yielding, will furnish abundant opportunity to all for contrasting evil and imperfection with good and perfection.
When we say that evil will continue during the Millennium, we need to guard the statement by remarking that not active evil, not stealing, lying, etc., but evil in the sense of imperfections with possibly unholy and imperfect desires which cannot be gratified because the penalty would be severe, as well as sure. These desires will give place to a proper recognition of holiness and desires in harmony therewith, as the being progresses in restitution towards perfection. Those in whom holiness of desire shall not rule by the close of the Millennium, are doomed with Satan as incorrigible and as his messengers, will be destroyed--their second death.
Third:--They that attain to the spiritual condition and have part in the first or chief resurrection, will not marry, as saith the Lord. Matt. 22:30. But your question does not relate to these. If Adam and Eve were twain yet one before evil and the fall, is it not reasonable to suppose that they will be similarly paired when the perfect restitution has taken place?
The command to "be fruitful and multiply" is limited--until the earth is "replenished," (literally "filled"--Leeser's Trans. of Gen. 1:28.); consequently when the earth has been filled, the multiplying and fruitfulness should cease according to God's arrangement. If so, there would be no perfect children of perfect parentage born at a time when there will be no evil wherewith to prove them.
It is probable that the fruitfulness will decrease as the race approaches perfection. It is a noticeable fact that an old, dying tree will sometimes put forth more blossoms and attempt more fruit which it is unable to bring to maturity, than when it was in its prime: So with the human family, early maturity and prolific offspring, weak, sickly and dying from the moment of birth, are marks of weakness and imperfection which will soon be reversed as the restitution work begins and the curse is being removed. See Gen. 3:16.
IT WAS TRUE.
In October, 1883, the question was asked through the TOWER; "Are there any other papers than the TOWER which teach, as it does, that Jesus is now present?" And the answer was given: "We know of none other which teaches the personal presence of Christ Jesus," etc.
If any reader knows of any journal which up to and at that date taught the presence of our Lord, they will confer a favor by sending us a copy of such paper with the article containing such teaching marked. We feel sure, that the above answer was correct.
Z.W.T. TRACT SOCIETY'S FLORIDA LAND.
Of the forty plots of land of ten acres each, on Pinellas Peninsula, Hillsboro Co., Florida, donated to this Society's funds and offered for sale at ten dollars per acre cash; or two years' time to settlers; and described in our November Supplement; only the following numbers remain undisposed of, viz.: Plots numbered 1, 2, 5, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 23, 24, 33 and 36.
THEORIES, TRUE AND FALSE.
In our January issue we criticized the peculiar and contradictory endeavors of an Inconsistent Contemporary Journal to hold on to Scriptural words and phrases, while denying the fact that we were bought with a price, even the precious blood of Christ.
Its reply, is not a clear, bold, honest, advocacy of either side of the contradictory arguments which we criticised, but after an attempt at witticism in suggesting that the TOWER endeavors to fall on it, but that the fall of the TOWER would destroy itself, it proceeds to treat the criticism as a personal matter. We dealt not with a man, but with an inconsistent contemporary journal. Nor did we deal with its private affairs, but only with its utterances as a teacher. In this its course is childish. Every public teacher is open to public criticism and expects it. If this contemporary believed that its theory would stand criticism in the light of common sense and Scripture, it should have endeavored to show it. If its theory was manifestly incongruous and unsupportable, and its reasonings contradictory, it should abandon them. It is not manly, not Christ-like, but babyish, to seek to hide the justness of criticism by treating the matter as a personality. It is the error that we would overthrow, and not a man. We wrestle not with flesh and blood, but with the darkness of error. It is the false theory of our contemporary that we would and do oppose. Truth invites criticism; the Author of truth says, "Come let us reason together." Fairness, candor, and reason, are the very life of truth--the spirit of it. Hence, our contemporary has either missed the truth, or the spirit of it, or, as we think, both.
Our contemporary attempts to draw attention away from its inconsistent statements, by suggesting that it is not very particular, nor very important which view or theory is correct, saying:--
"The truth that 'God was in Christ reconciling (atoning) the world unto himself,' is not dependent on, but superior to every theory as to how the work is done." And, it asks: "If a theory does not reconcile or save men, why plead for one?"
This is an easy and a popular method of disposing of statements which will not bear investigation. Our subtle adversary, Satan, is ever anxious to delude, and to make use of those once engaged in disseminating truth, and is always anxious to be let alone, that he might weave his web of sophistry to ensnare the saints, without interruption, and without having any one point out its snares. Faithfulness to the Master, and to the flock, demands that these errors be exposed by those who realize them. [R735 : page 5]
So error of every kind wants to be let alone. The Scribes and Pharisees and devils of Jesus' day, all wanted to be let alone; but Jesus and the Apostles would not let them alone. They exposed them, and declared it to be part of their mission to bear witness to the truth and let the light shine which reproved the darkness of error. Every member of the body of Christ should be controlled by the same spirit of opposition to error from love of truth and of those who are made to stumble by the errors.
The term theory, as defined by Webster is:--(1st def.) "A doctrine or scheme which terminates in speculation." (2d def.) "An exposition of the general principles of any science: as, the theory of music."
If by the term theory, the first definition is meant, we fully agree with the statement of our contemporary. The fact, the doctrine of the atonement, is superior to any mere speculation concerning it. But will our contemporary claim that its theory as to how the work is done, which is constantly endeavors to elaborate and emphasize, and to wrest the Scriptures to prove, is after all merely its "speculation"? Speculation is dangerous work on such important questions, and would be much better let alone. But we apprehend that it regards its theory as of rather more weight than the definition--speculation--would imply.
If the second definition be taken--viz.: "an exposition of the general principles," then the statement that, "God was in Christ (or was working through Christ) reconciling the world unto himself," is not independent of, or superior to the theory. On the contrary it is a part of the theory, a part of the "exposition of the general principles" of God's plan-- that his purposes are all to be wrought out in or through Christ; that He is the Alpha and Omega of it, the agent through whom Jehovah accomplishes all his will. The works of creation, redemption, and reconciliation--restitution, are all accomplished by Jehovah working in or through Christ.
But this is not the whole of the theory, or exposition of God's plan which the inspired Word presents. No, the Lord himself states it; prophets foretell it; types foreshadow it; eye-witnesses confirm it; and inspired Apostles cover every point of objection which reason can bring against it. Since then, the Bible theory is an exposition of the general principles of God's plan, and since it requires the entire Bible testimony to complete this exposition or theory, it follows that no fragmentary statement of Scripture, could be, either independent of, or superior to the entire exposition--the Bible. And the mission of the faithful servant of God is to stand as an index finger, helping the household of faith to trace for themselves on the sacred page, the great principles as well as the minor details of that Divine exposition or theory.
The idea that it matters not what we believe, if we only live right, is, alas, too popular to-day. Yet it is as absurd as to say, It matters not whether the Sun rises to-morrow, if we only have sunlight. It is as impossible to live up to the light, and opportunities, and privileges of our day without a correct understanding of the truth, as to have clear sunlight without the Sun. Truly the time has come when men will not endure sound doctrine --the Bible doctrine or theory--and if reproved and rebuked with patience and doctrine, and their theories shown to be absurd and contradictory, in their pride they regard the effort as a personal thrust, aimed by ill-will.
"If a theory does not reconcile or save men," says our contemporary (assuming that it does not) "why plead for one?" We answer, Because we believe the true Bible theory does reconcile. It pleased God by the simple process of preaching the true theory of reconciliation through the death of His Son to reconcile and save them which believe. 1 Cor. 1:21. What should be preached but the truth--the true theory revealed in God's Word? What should be believed but the truth--the true theory? What will sanctify wholly, but a knowledge of the truth--the true theory? "Sanctify them through thy truth; thy word is truth," was Jesus' prayer.
Our contemporary requests us to answer some questions. Certainly and with pleasure we will answer any questions bearing upon our faith in the teachings of God's Word, remembering and heeding the Apostle's injunction: "Be ready to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear." 1 Pet. 3:15.
It asks, "If he [Jesus] were only a man when he gave himself a ransom, how could it be the Lord that bought us?" For an answer we refer it to an article in our last issue--"The Lordship of Christ"--written by J.H. Paton.
Its query, relative to "A corn of wheat," is also answered in our last issue in an article under that caption.
It inquires why we did not refer to and refute its "reference to Acts 20:28 and John 3:16 [apparently, 1 John 3:16 was intended - site Editor], which show that God laid down his life for us and purchased us with his own blood."
Ah! now we see what we failed to notice before: It is upon these two proof texts that it attempts to hang its new theory (speculation?) that the atoning blood was not the blood or life which was given for us by the man Christ Jesus, but the blood of God! Well, our dullness of comprehension is our only apology. The idea seems so absurd and far-fetched that it did not occur to us. We failed to get our contemporary's meaning before, but now it speaks plainly--the blood of God. We answer with Paul, "To us there is but one God --the Father, of whom are all things... and one Lord, Jesus Christ, by whom are all things" (1 Cor. 8:6); hence if our contemporary's theory is correct-- if as it says, "God laid down his life for us and purchased us with his own blood," then truly we have been much in the dark, for we neither knew that spiritual beings have blood, nor did we know that God died ["laid down his life"]. If this be true light, we have been kept in ignorance and darkness by giving heed to the teachings of the Apostles, who said that God hath immortality, hence could not die; who also said that flesh and blood could not inherit the spiritual kingdom, and who plainly declared that Jesus became a man that he might redeem men, that we were "reconciled to God by the death of his Son," who "bought us with his own precious blood." And further, If this theory (speculation?) be correct, all the saints have hitherto been in darkness on this first principle of the doctrine, which our contemporary has just discovered (?) at this late hour--the harvest of the age.
But is it possible that these two texts cited by our contemporary can overturn the numberless statements and types of Scripture which show Jesus as the Lamb slain? Let us examine these proof texts. We turn to 1 Jno. 3:16, and all is plain, for since childhood's days we have known that italicized words in the Bible indicate that such words are not in the original Greek, but have been supplied by the translators. As in this text the word God is in italics, it must be evident to the merest child, that this one of the mighty proof texts is harmless so far as overthrowing the remainder of the Scripture is concerned.
We turn now to the other proof-text Acts 20:28 and find it in harmony with all other Scripture--God's theory still stands, harmoniously supported by the united testimony of the Bible. Our contemporary should possess and use a copy of the EMPHATIC DIAGLOTT and it would not fall into such an error as it has here done. Not in this text only, but in several others, the translators of the common version have been careless, and misled by their Trinitarian views, have given an imperfect translation. The Diaglott renders this--"To feed the church of God which he acquired by the blood of His own:" i.e. His own Son.
Seeing that these are its proofs and claimed strong supports, will our inconsistent Contemporary give up a baseless theory? Will it believe that "the man Christ Jesus gave himself a ransom [corresponding price] for all"? Or will it seek for new props for its theory, and cling to it while time and money and readers continue, and while there are fresh untried Scriptures to be wrested and misapplied? We fear that as in the past, its theory will still struggle for existence though every proof-text advanced be taken from under it.
Yes, if answering our contemporary's questions will do good and help discover to it the baselessness of any theory that does not recognize in the death of Jesus, the ransom--the corresponding price for the sins of the Adamic race--we will be very truly glad to answer all that it may propound. We have no theory which we fear to have overthrown by Scripture. The Bible theory can never contradict or deny itself, nor can any overthrow it.
While we have only love and good will toward all men, we cannot, dare not, from loyalty to our King, fellowship or bid God speed to, or in any way encourage or approve, any person or journal which denies that we were "reconciled to God by the death of His Son," "who gave himself a corresponding price [ransom] for all." See 2 John 10,11.
THE CAUSE AND RESULT.
We long since pointed out that when men would begin to think critically upon the dogmas of so-called Orthodoxy, they would not only throw away the errors, but the truths as well. As an illustration take the following extract from the sermon of the Rev. R. H. Newton of New York, preached Sunday, Jan. 25th, 1885:
"What an utterly baffling arithmetical puzzle is the conventional dogma of the trinity; what a moral monstrosity is the God of Calvinism; how fiendishly wicked the decrees which predestinate a mass of men to unescapable damnation; how thoroughly commercial is the traditional doctrine of the atonement; how frightfully beyond the dream of insanity is the vision of the orthodox hell; how thoroughly unethical is the ordinary statement of justification by faith. These are the dogmas against which the sharp arrows of a merciless wit are leveled fair and straight. They deserve every blow they receive. As formulas of faith their best service now to mankind, is to gently die, and so leave room for a noble growth of thought around the heart of those old and sacred faiths."
Here, as usual, doctrines unsupported by Scripture, are spread side by side with those which are so supported, and the bad odor and inconsistency of the false, attaches itself to the true, so that the whole becomes nauseous and is rejected together. For instance, the doctrine of the TRINITY is supported by only one text (part of 1 John 5:7,8) which, as is known by all intelligent teachers, is an interpolation found in no manuscript written before the tenth century, and evidently thrust in there, because that doctrine had no Scriptural basis.
"The vision of the orthodox hell" cannot be found in the Bible at all, and is only found in catechisms and hymn-books; and the only statements of the Bible which might be construed as favoring such a theory, are either found in the symbolisms not generally understood, or else are occasioned by the erroneous construction placed upon the Greek words hades and gehenna, by popular theology--self-styled "Orthodoxy." On [R736 : page 6] the other hand, the doctrine of the atonement by and as a result of the sacrifice of Jesus, in which he "bought us with his own precious blood," is taught either directly, typically, or symbolically by every book in the Bible. And all that could possibly be repulsive in the Bible teaching of a ransom for sin, is the result of a failure to apprehend the real penalty of sin and what Jesus gave on our behalf. On these subjects the Scriptures wisely appeal only to believers. The philosophy of the plan, and its wisdom and reasonableness, is not such as will be appreciated by the worldly wise--the reasons as yet are made clear only to the consecrated children of God.
The teacher above quoted, wisely [from his standpoint] throws out the doctrine of "justification by faith." Though this like the atonement is interwoven with every part of Scripture, it would be absurd to believe in justification by faith if the ransom is denied. The two doctrines are really one, because there could be no justification by faith in a ransom if there were no ransom; there could be no righteousness of Christ imputed to us, if our sins could not be and were not imputed to him. We could not bear and be clothed in his righteousness, if he could not bear our sins in his own body on the tree.
The same speaker further said in the same discourse:--
"Let us look at another dogma of the Churches--original sin. This is a very charming subject to consider. Through the eating of the forbidden fruit our first parents became dead in sin and wholly defiled in all the faculties and parts of soul and body. They being the root of all mankind, the guilt of this sin was imputed and that same death in sin conveyed to all their posterity. This all looks like a nightmare dream to us in the light of our day. It lacks any historical ground. The vista of history through which our fathers looked back to an original Adam, who, 6,000 years ago, in his lovely eastern garden, ate an apple which not only disagreed with him so seriously, but continued to disagree fatally with all his innumerable posterity, has forever faded out in a vastly larger and grander vision of the past. We see now quite clearly, that in this traditional vision we were mistaking a poem for a fact. The God whose grandeur SCIENCE REVEALS to us, surely never thus started the human race on its career."
Here the lecturer wanders still further, and tells us in so many words that he does not believe in the God which the Bible reveals, but in, "The God whose grandeur SCIENCE REVEALS TO US."
We will not pause to see or inquire just what grandeur Mr. Newton's new scientific God has; but we cannot forget the wide differences in the teachings of so-called scientists on the subject; some of the most advanced claiming that Nature is the intelligent God which has been and is, by a system of "evolution" and "a survival of the fittest," creating all things.
This teacher tells of a "nightmare dream" of a fall through Adam. Here, too, let us note the cause which turns the clear and emphatic statement of God's Word, repeated over and over by prophets and apostles as well as by Jesus, (Jer. 31:29; Ezek. 18:2; Rom. 5:17-19; Acts 3:21; Mat. 19:11;) into "a nightmare dream" in the scientific "light of our day," in the minds of some thinkers whose only dishonesty seems to be in yet calling themselves Christians. Is the cause not found in the expression used above--"dead in sin"? The general teaching of so-called orthodoxy has long been, that the wages of sin is DEATH IN SIN, a theory advanced in support of the doctrine that man's nature is undying, hence that when God said to man "Dying thou shalt die," and "The wages of sin is death," he did not mean really extinction of being, or ceasing to live. Their theory of a never-ending torture in a place called hell, implied the never-ending existence of the wicked, hence to hold to the doctrine of everlasting torture, the meaning of the word hades [grave] must be misrepresented; and not only so, but the original penalty, DEATH --the loss of existence--ceasing to be-- was represented to mean, ceasing to be GOOD; endless existence in torture, "dead in sin," etc.
Had the truth been held, viz., that man was a perfect being, put into a perfect garden on trial, in order that through his trial and fall not only God's Justice, Love, Power, and Wisdom should be manifested, but that mankind should ultimately be benefitted by the experience gained, and prepared the better to everlastingly choose good and shun evil, and to love and honor his Creator, then this Bible teaching of death (extinction) through one man's sin, and revival or restitution by one man's sacrifice, would not have appeared as "a nightmare dream"--in the light of truth. It is the false light which the Church has willingly received and cherished, that now blinds and staggers so many. Their judgment of Scripture is warped by the traditions of men which they have imbibed almost unconsciously, and held so long, because they neglected the true standard and tested themselves by their own standards--each deciding on the truth of any matter according to the "Standards" of his own sect, to the neglect of the only true standard of THE CHURCH--the Bible.
Bear well in mind; "think it not strange"; the conclusions now reached by the above-quoted speaker, are but the legitimate fruit of the "traditions of the elders," when brought in contact with the light of to-day--reason unguided by the Divine Revelation. Only in two ways can general infidelity (such as the above) be obviated; either ignorance and bigotry must be cultivated and fostered, or the Bible must be studied in the light of itself, and the traditions of men rejected, totally. The last is the right way, but will not be followed. The former will not succeed, for knowledge is being increased and the masses will not long remain in ignorance; hence losing their bondage to tradition, and being without a true knowledge of the Bible, the mass of the nominal Church is hastening into infidelity, under the leading of false teachers who still cling to the name Christian, though they have rejected the doctrines of Christ.
EVOLUTION AND THE BRAIN AGE.
An exchange giving a report of a recent lecture on Phrenology, says of it: "He showed how man had first been in a stage of existence in which his animal nature predominated, and the almost purely physical ruled him; then he slowly grew from one state to another until now, when the average man has attained to a condition in which it might be said, he is coming under the rule of the brain. Hence this age may be regarded and designated as the Brain Age. Brain pushes the great enterprises of the day. Brain takes the reigns of government; and the elements of the earth, air and water, are being brought under subjection. Man is putting his hand on all physical forces, and slowly but surely attaining such power over the domain of nature as gives evidence that ultimately he may exclaim, in the language of Alexander Selkirk, 'I am monarch of all I survey.'"
The above is in perfect harmony with the latest discoveries of so-called scientific thought on the subject. Notably, within the past twenty years the theory of Evolution has been making rapid progress among all classes of thinking people, until now it is considered a mark of ignorance and "old fogyism" to think otherwise.
Hence, were it not that we see a necessity for it we should not trouble to contradict or refute this, more than many other claims, "babblings and oppositions of science, falsely so called." 1 Tim. 6:20. [R737 : page 6]
The danger which we see is this: The suggestion seems to some minds reasonable and consistent, and in this day many seem inclined to reject the Bible, or place it on a level with heathen mythologies. The tendency is first to neglect and ignore its teachings on this subject; secondly, to claim a harmony between Scripture and the Evolution theory; and finally, either to so wrest and twist the Scriptures to make them conform to what is termed scientific knowledge, and thereby plant and water seeds of error, or else to the discarding of the whole or large portions of the Bible entirely as a parcel of "old wives' fables," as a New York Methodist minister of the gospel recently did. Perhaps now he should be known as a minister against the gospel; but the words "gospel," "minister," and "Christian," have become very popular, and even those who deny and belittle the Saviour, the ransom for sin which he gave, and the forgiveness of sin which in consequence he offers, would think it very unkind for any to say that they are not Christians, but ministers against the gospel of God's Word.
The fact that at first glance a theory appears "reasonable" should not lead us hastily to accept it and attempt to twist the Bible into harmony with it. In a thousand ways we have proved the Bible, and know beyond peradventure that it contains a superhuman wisdom which makes its statements unerring. We should remember too, that while scientific research is to be commended, and its suggestions considered, yet its conclusions are by no means infallible. And what wonder that it has proven its own theories false a thousand times when we remember that the true scientist is a student attempting under many unfavorable circumstances and struggling against almost insurmountable difficulties to learn from the great book of Nature the history of man and his home.
We would not then oppose or hinder scientific investigation, but in hearing the suggestions from these students of the book of nature, let us carefully compare their deductions, which so often have proved in part, or wholly erroneous, with our book of Divine Revelation-- the Bible. Let us prove or disprove the suggestions of scientists by "the law and the testimony; if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them" (Isa. 8:20). An accurate knowledge of the teachings of both books will be harmonious, but until then God's revelation must to his children take precedence to and be the standard by which the supposed findings of fallible fellow men shall be judged.
But while holding to this principle, let us see whether there be not some other reasonable solution of the increased knowledge and skill and power of man than the theory of Evolution, that originally developed from a very low order of being man has now reached the Brain Age.
Perhaps after all we shall find that the inventions, conveniences, the general education and wider diffusion and increase of knowledge is not attributable to a greater brain capacity, but to more favorable circumstances for its use. That the brain capacity to-day is greater than in bygone ages we deny, while we freely admit, that owing to favorable circumstances, the use of what brain capacity men have to-day is more general than at any former period, and hence makes a much larger showing.
Let us see: In the study of painting and sculpture do not the students of this "Brain Age" go back to the great masters of the past? Do they not thereby acknowledge a brain power and originality of design as well as a skill in working out their clear designs? Does not the present "Brain Age" draw largely upon the original designs of past ages for its architecture? Do not the orators and logicians of this "Brain Age" study and copy the methods and syllogisms of Plato, Aristotle, Demosthenes and others of the past? Might not many of the public speakers of to-day well covet the tongue of a Mark Anthony or an Apollos, and much more the wonderful reasoning power of the Apostle Paul?
To go still farther back, while we might well refer to the rhetorical powers of several of the prophets and to the sublime poetic paintings interspersed throughout the Psalms, we refer these "Brain-Age" philosophers to the wisdom and logic, no less than the fine moral sensibilities, of Job and his comforters.
And what shall we say of Moses? "Learned in all the wisdom of the Egyptians" (Acts 7:22). The laws given through him have been the foundation for the laws of all civilized nations, and are still recognized. And it would be well for this "Brain Age" if the laws were more copied and observed to-day. Such, for instance, as the law of restitution in the Jubilee year. (See Lev. 25:23-41.)
The exhuming of ancient buried cities shows a knowledge of the arts and sciences surprising to some of the philosophers of this so-called "Brain Age." And the ancient methods of embalming and of making elastic glass and Damascus steel are among the achievements of the remote past which the brain of the present age, with all its advantages is unable to comprehend and duplicate.
Going back four thousand years to about Abraham's time, we find in the Great Pyramid of Egypt an object of wonder and amazement to the most learned scientists of to-day. Its construction is in exact accord with the most advanced attainments of this "Brain Age" in the sciences of mathematics and astronomy. It teaches positively what could only be approximated by the use of modern instruments. So striking and clear are its teachings that some of the foremost astronomers of the world have unhesitatingly pronounced it to be of Divine origin.
And even if our Brain Age Evolutionists should admit that it is of Divine arrangement, and that its wisdom is superhuman, still they must admit that it is of human construction. And the fact that in that remote day any set of men had the mental capacity to work [R737 : page 7] out such a Divine arrangement as very few men to-day would be capable of doing with a model before them, and with all modern scientific appliances at hand, proves that our "Brain Age" develops more self-conceit than circumstances and facts warrant.
If, then, we have proven that the mental capacity of to-day is not greater than in past ages, but probably less, how shall we account for the increase of general knowledge, modern inventions, etc.? We trust we shall be able to show this reasonably and in harmony with Scripture.
The inventions and contrivances which are now proving so convenient and advantageous to mankind, and which the lecturer thought a proof that this is the Brain Age, are really very modern--nearly all within a century; and the most important are those of the last threescore years; among others the application of steam and electricity, in telegraphy, steam railroading, and the application of these principles to mechanics. If, then, these be evidences of increased brain power, the Brain Age must be only beginning, and the logical deduction would be that another century would witness every form of miracle as an every-day occurrence; and at the same ratio of increase where will it eventuate?
But let us see: Are all men inventors? How few there are whose inventions are really useful and practical compared with the number who use an invention when put into their hand! Nor do we speak disparagingly of that very useful and highly-esteemed class of public servants, when we say that the smaller number of them are men of great brains. Some of the most brainy men in the world, and the deepest reasoners, are not mechanical inventors. And some inventors are so intellectually sluggish that you wonder how they ever stumbled into the discoveries they made. The great principles which many men in many years work out and improve upon time and again, were generally discovered by the merest accident, unsought.
From a human standpoint we can account for modern inventions thus: The invention of printing, in A.D. 1440, may be considered the starting point. With the printing of books came records of the thoughts and discoveries of thinkers, which without this invention would never have been known to their successors on life's pathway. With books came a more general education, and finally common schools. Schools and colleges do not increase mental capacity, but they do make mental exercise more general. As knowledge became more general and books more common, the generation possessing these had a decided advantage over previous generations, not only in that there were now a thousand thinkers to one, but also in that this generation has, through books, the experience of yesterday and the past in addition to their own.
Education and the laudable ambition which accompanies it, enterprise and a desire to achieve distinction and wealth, abetted by the record and descriptions of invention in the daily press, has stimulated and brightened man's perceptive qualities, and put each upon the alert to discover, if possible, some simple or useful method or agency for the convenience of society. Hence we suggest that modern inventions, looked at from a purely human standpoint, teaches not an increase of brain capacity, but a sharpened PERCEPTION from natural causes.
But now we come to the Scriptures to see what they teach on the subject; for while we believe as suggested above, that invention and the increase of knowledge, etc., among men are the results of natural causes, yet we realize that these natural causes are all realized by Jehovah, and are permitted or hindered for a time, by the overruling providence of God, whereby he "worketh all things after the counsel of his own will." Eph. 1:11.
According to God's plan, as revealed in his Word, he purposed to permit sin and misery to misrule and oppress the [R738 : page 7] world for six thousand years, and then in the seventh millennium to restore all things, and to extirpate, destroy, evil and its consequences by Jesus Christ, whom he hath afore ordained to do this work. Hence, as the six thousand years of the reign of evil began to draw to a close, God has permitted circumstances to favor discoveries, in the study both of his book of revelation and his book of nature, as well as in the preparation of mechanical and chemical appliances useful to the blessing and uplifting of mankind during the Millennial Age. That this was God's plan, approved as the counsel of his will, is clearly indicated by the prophetic statement: "O Daniel, shut up the words and seal the book, even to the time of the end: [then] many shall run to and fro, and knowledge [not capacity] shall be increased," "and none of the wicked shall understand [God's plan, etc.], but the wise shall understand," "and there shall be a time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation, even to that same time." Dan. 12:1,4,10.
To some it may seem strange that God did not so arrange that the present inventions and blessings should sooner come to man to alleviate the curse. But God's plan has been to give mankind a full appreciation of the curse, that when the blessing shall come upon all, they may have forever decided upon the evil and unprofitableness of sin. Furthermore, God foresaw and has foretold what the world does not yet realize, viz., that God's choicest blessings would lead to and be productive of greater evils if bestowed upon those who are depraved, and whose hearts are not in accord with the righteous laws of the universe. Ultimately it shall be seen; that God's present permission of increased blessings is a practical lesson upon this subject, which may serve as an example of this principle for all eternity --to angels as well as restored man.
How this can be we may suggest: First, So long as mankind is in his present fallen or depraved condition, without stringent laws and penalties and a government strong enough to enforce them, the selfish propensity must hold more or less sway over all. And with the varying capacities considered, it is impossible but that the result of the invention of labor-saving machinery must (after the first flurry occasioned by the manufacturing of machines) tend to make the rich richer and the poor poorer. The tendency is toward monopoly and self-aggrandizement, which places the advantage directly in the hands of those whose capacity and natural advantage is most favorable.
Secondly: If it were possible to legislate so as to divide the present and daily increase of wealth evenly among all classes, which is not possible, still without human perfection or a supernatural government to regulate man's affairs, the results would be more injurious than the present condition. If the advantages of labor-saving machinery and all modern appliances were evenly divided, the result would, ere long, be a great decrease of the hours of labor and a great increase of leisure. Idleness is a most injurious thing to fallen beings. Had it not been for the necessity of labor and sweat of face, the deterioration of our race would have been much more rapid than it has been. Idleness is the mother of vice; and mental, moral, and physical degradation would ensue.
Hence the wisdom and goodness of God in withholding these blessings until in his plan it was due time for their introduction as a preparation for the reign of blessing. Under the control of the supernatural government of the kingdom of God, not only shall the blessings be equitably divided among men, but when the leisure shall be so ordered and directed by the same supernatural government, that its results shall produce virtue and tend upward toward perfection, moral and physical.
The present increase of inventions and other blessings of increasing knowledge, are permitted in this "day of preparation" to come about in so natural a way that men flatter themselves that it is because this is the "Brain Age;" but it will be permitted in great measure to work itself out, in a manner very much to the disappointment no doubt, of these wise philosophers. It is the very increase of these blessings that is already beginning to bring upon the world the time of trouble, which shall be such as never has been since there was a nation.
The prophet Daniel, as quoted above, very properly links together the increase of knowledge and the time of trouble-- the knowledge causes the trouble, as shown above, because of the depravity of the race.
The blessing of KNOWLEDGE INCREASED, has not only given the world wonderful labor-saving machinery and conveniences, but it has led also to an increase of medical skill whereby thousands of lives are prolonged, and it has so enlightened mankind that human butchery, War, is becoming less popular, and thus thousands of lives are prolonged to still further multiply the race which is increasing more rapidly to-day, perhaps, than at any other period of history. Thus, while mankind is multiplying rapidly, the necessities for his labor are not increasing correspondingly, but diminishing. And the "Brain Age" philosophers have a problem before them to provide for the employment and sustenance of so large a class whose services (under present arrangements) can be dispensed with, which ultimately they must admit is beyond their brain capacity.
Selfishness will continue to control the wealthy who hold the power and advantage, and will blind them to common sense as well as to justice, while SELF-PRESERVATION and an increased knowledge of their rights, will nerve some men and inflame others, and the result of the BLESSINGS will, for a time, prove to be terrible--a time of trouble such as was not since there was a nation. And this, because man in a depraved condition cannot properly use these blessings unguided. The "time of trouble" shall cease in due time, when he who spake to the raging Sea of Galilee shall likewise with authority command the raging sea of human passion, saying, "Peace be still!" The result shall be the same when this Prince of Peace shall "stand up" in authority-- there shall be "a great calm." Then the raging and clashing elements shall recognize the authority of "Jehovah's Anointed," "the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together," and in him "shall all the families of the earth be blessed."
Then men will see that what they attributed to Evolution, natural development and the smartness of the "Brain Age," was instead, the flashings of Jehovah's lightnings (Psa. 77:18) in "the day of his preparation" for the blessing of mankind, and shall praise him Lord of all, exclaiming, "O the depth of the riches both of the knowledge and wisdom of God. How unsearchable are his judgments, and his ways past finding out. But as yet only the saints can see, and only the wise in heavenly wisdom shall understand this, for "the secret of the Lord is with them that fear him." "He will show them his covenant." (Psa. 25:14.) Thanks be to God, that while general knowledge has been increased, he has also ordered that his children need "not be unfruitful in the knowledge of the Lord" and in the appreciation of his plans. And by this appreciation of his word and plans we are enabled to discern and withstand the vain philosophy and science, falsely so called, which contradicts the Word of God.
THINK IT NOT STRANGE.
"Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice in as much as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings, that when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy." 1 Pet. 4:12,13.
Notwithstanding this exhortation very many of the beloved of the Lord do think it "strange" when the fiery trials strike them, doubtless because they do not appreciate the Lord's design. Let us look at it together.
While we understand from Scripture that present evil in general, shall ultimately be over-ruled of God and made to minister good, yet we are far from thinking that "all's for the best," or that every thing which occurs in the world was foreordained of God and brought about by Him. No we must remember that since the "fall," the Eden paradise with its perfection and blessings suited to the perfect man have been done away, and the sin-cursed race has been condemned to the as yet unfinished and imperfect earth [The garden of Eden was a little spot finished beforehand, in order to provide a perfect trial to the perfect man Adam]. By the time man has been perfectly restored to manhood as represented in Adam, his home, the earth also shall have reached its perfection as represented in Eden. Meanwhile, the turbulence of nature, cyclones, earthquakes, etc., incident to the unfinished work, continue, and constitute part of the evil to which the entire race became subject through the sin of their representative Adam, and from which it has been redeemed and will shortly be released by their second representative, Jesus.
But, in all this confusion of nature, Scripture teaches us that one class is under special supervision and to these nothing out of God's order could happen. This is the consecrated class, the members of the Anointed body--Christ. We know that all things work together for good to them that love God, who are the called according to His purpose." Rom. 8:28. [R738 : page 8]
As it was with the nation of Israel in type, so it is with the Royal Priesthood, the holy nation of believers now, and so it shall be with the world in the coming age. Israel had as many captivities [R739 : page 8] and famines, etc., probably as other nations, but none of them were by accident; each was a chastisement, and they are so explained in Scripture. So now, many are the scourgings which the spiritual sons of God receive in order that they may not be condemned with the world. (1 Cor. 11:32.) And though no chastisement for the time seemeth joyous but grievous, nevertheless God knows and we are learning the peaceable FRUITS of righteousness which this pruning produces in those who are rightly exercised thereby.
While it should be a cause of sorrow to us, that we need special chastisement to recall us to duty, yet we must remember that it is an evidence that we are still reckoned of God as among His sons, and such chastisements then are evidences of His love and his desire to have us make our calling and election sure, to the grand prize to run for which we consecrated. In view of this, if you receive such chastisements and correction, think it not STRANGE.
But while such trials should not be thought strange the apostle Peter in the above statement evidently meant more than this, as expressed in the words "But rejoice inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings." Christ did not suffer because of disloyalty or failure to keep his covenant. He did not suffer because of spiritual drowsiness and conformity to the world. He did not suffer because of self-will leading him to ignore the Father's will and word; nor because of a plan of his own which must needs be dashed to pieces. No, the sufferings of Christ were from no such causes. Hence to the extent that we share His sufferings, it must be not as chastisement for evil, nor in the renouncing of evil, but a suffering wrongfully-- undeservedly. His was a suffering for well doing and for the truths' sake, and to be sharers or partakers of this suffering, on account of which we may rejoice and anticipate coming glory, we must take heed to the cause of the suffering. We only deceive ourselves if we count sufferings for sin as part of the sufferings for Christ, and on that account expect the glory to be revealed.
We are well aware that this is "a hard saying", and that many will not let themselves believe it. The terms "sufferings of Christ" and "sacrifice" have long been misused. Many reckon themselves as sacrificers with Christ, because they have abandoned some practice which they considered evil, such as profanity, the use of stimulants or jewelry, or extravagant dressing, or dancing, etc., etc. If these things are wrong, you never had a right to them, hence it could not be a "sacrifice" with Christ to discontinue anything you believe to be wrong in and of itself.
What then were the sufferings of Christ which we may endure that are of the same kind?
The word Christ signifies anointed, and hence those sufferings could not have commenced with Jesus, before his anointing of the spirit after John had immersed him in the water, in emblem of his consecration to death. So too with us; none of us could share in the sufferings of the anointed, unless we had first consecrated and become members of the anointed (ecclesia) company.
The sacrifice and sufferings of Christ Jesus, included every item of mental and physical pain and self-denial experienced as a RESULT of his consecration, until it was complete in death. It therefore included the denial of all laudable and proper human ambitions which Jesus as a perfect man must have experienced more than imperfect men, as well as the reproach which he bore from his fellow-men for the sake of truth, especially from the teachers of the nominal church of his day. It included also his weariness and exhaustion caused not only by preaching, but through giving off his own vital energy for the good of others in healing the sick, etc. See Mark 5:30.
So too are the sufferings of Christ which we may well rejoice to have shared, when the time comes that "the glory shall be revealed." They start from the hour of consecration, and if faithful, end only in death. With us as with our Head and pattern, the sacrifice consists in denying ourselves things which are lawful and proper, in our endeavors to honor God, promote truth and do good in any way to any in need, especially to them of the household of faith. And apparently most of the "body like their 'Head'" will spend more of their sacrificed time and substance in supplying spiritual than physical wants of men, though the latter should not be neglected as we "have opportunity."
You were ambitious in the exercise of legitimate business talent, but your consecration demanded time and thought for the careful study of God's word that you might know Him and His will concerning you, and that you might "communicate" the same to others. Your business ambition had to be curbed; your time and talent were no longer yours, but consecrated, hence though business was still needful it became secondary, and henceforth your "Father's business" was first and your former ambitions restricted to necessity and to the promotion of the "Father's business."
You had taken great pleasure in making home elegant, in dressing self and family in elegance, and you said it was right because you had gotten the money righteously, and you felt sure that God loved beautiful things, and that His heavenly home and family are elegant; but now with time and money and all consecrated, you realize something of the pleasure of sacrificing with Christ by denying yourself such luxuries, and restricting your outlay of the Lord's time and money to the providing of things needful and decent.
You were fond of company and passed many a pleasant, social hour in "Music," "Social chat," "Harmless dancing" and "Innocent amusements and games." Now, while not condemning these innocent recreations in the world, your covenant of sacrifice with Christ demands that your time, money and influence formerly thus used, except so much as may come within the range of necessities or emergencies, shall be faithfully accounted for to God, your rights and privileges in these things sacrificed, and the time, money, and influence used according to your consecration, in God's service.
You used to take a lively interest in "Politics," "The Temperance question," "The Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Association," "The National Peace Congress Society," "The Prison Reform Association," "Labor Unions," etc., etc. Many an hour, many a dollar, and the full weight of your influence, you gave to such objects, and still, believe it well spent in an endeavor to do good. But now you find that your consecration compels a different course, and these which were your own will and plans for doing good must be sacrificed to God's plans, and you must follow the Leader.
As you mark carefully His course, you perceive that he, though in sympathy with every moral reform, used his time and influence wholly in preaching the glad tidings. And as you came more fully to appreciate the Lord's plan, you realized that the moral reforms could and would be carried forward by the kind and benevolent of this world, just as well without you, but could never reach perfection until God's kingdom shall obtain control. Then you realized as you had not done at first, the necessity of the work which you should be engaged in: that the preaching of the "good-tidings of good" things coming, was God's method of developing you as well as others for a share in that great and successful Moral Reform which shall obtain throughout the world when the rightful King and his Bride are enthroned in glory and power.
You not only used to love to do generously, "giving to everything" and "speaking favorably of all," but you also appreciated highly the good will and favor of all toward you. This showed a good spirit and a broad heart, and none can help admiring such. And such admiration is very sweet always. We may know that the perfect man Jesus would have enjoyed doing just so. But under his covenant of sacrifice he must and did deny himself this enjoyment. He must and did rebuke sin, error and hypocrisy and thus forfeited (sacrificed) the good opinion and admiration of the nominal Church of his day. Instead of quietly letting the Scribes and Pharisees alone, he must and did sacrifice his inclination for peace in order to advance the TRUTH, honor God, and bless the people. So you found it: You could no longer give to everything; by your covenant and sacrifice with Christ, you had already given ALL YOU HAD--to God, and now you are merely God's agent or steward and you can give nothing now, without consulting his directions, and ascertaining whether it will go to advance truth or error. You no longer have an option or choice, and of course some who once thought you "whole-hearted and generous" will now consider you "narrow-minded and bigoted."
The same will apply to your treatment of doctrinal matters. Once you carelessly and ignorantly, though benevolently, supposed that all denominations of Christians believed alike, and took so many different routes to heaven appointed by God, so that each person might have a choice of form of worship, and your friends called you a broad-minded Christian. But after your consecration had led you to a study of God's plans in his Word you perceived your mistake. You had never in the full sense been a Christian before, and now you find that there are many doctrines of all denominations contrary to God's revealed purpose. You thus began to be what the world calls "narrow-minded," and were obliged to oppose certain systems as well as doctrines, and finally with a further search of your Father's plans you found that the systems calling themselves "Churches" and laying down rules and doctrines for faith and practice are ALL of them mere human arrangements and their doctrines self-arranged and self-binding, a mixture of truth and falsehood blinding and confusing both to saint and sinner. When you found that the Church mentioned by Jesus and his apostles was not one of these man-made systems nor [R740 : page 8] yet all of them together, but that the class who, having consecrated to God, were accepted through the Redeemer and had their names written in heaven, then came a fresh trial upon you. Would you or would you not, sacrifice your honor and standing and "good name" and "broad-minded" reputation, for the TRUTH?
That was one of the severest of all your SUFFERINGS, yet you said with the Master: "Father, glorify thy name"; and as you saw the counterpart of this in the Lord's sacrifice, you heard him say: "It is sufficient that the servant should be as his Lord." It has occurred to you as I forewarned you: When they shall say all manner of evil against you falsely [and often ignorantly] for my sake, rejoice and be exceeding glad, for great is your reward in heaven. In your rejoicing now you no longer think "strange" of the fiery trials that encompass you. Hereafter let us more and more rejoice in such sufferings--rejoicing that we are counted WORTHY to suffer for Christ's name.
"THE SAME NIGHT."
We again remind you that Sunday evening, March 29, will this year be the anniversary of the Lord's Supper--"The same night on which he was betrayed." (See last issue.) We anticipate a blessed season of communion on the part of all the dear members of the Body of Christ then.
So many as can be present at the Allegheny meeting will be warmly welcomed and entertained as best we may be able. Come on the 28th inst. to the TOWER office. Such as will require lodgings please send word beforehand that arrangements may be perfected.
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