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VOL. VIII. PITTSBURGH, PA., AUGUST, 1887. NO. 12.
ZION'S WATCH TOWER and Herald of Christ's Presence
ROCK OF AGES
Other foundation can
no man lay
A RANSOM FOR ALL
"Watchman, What of the Night?" "The Morning Cometh, and a Night also!" Isaiah 21:11
TOWER PUBLISHING COMPANY,
No. 151 Robinson St., Allegheny, Pa.
C. T. RUSSELL, EDITOR.
The Editor recognizes a responsibility to the Master, relative to what shall appear in these columns, which he cannot and does not cast aside; yet he should not be understood as endorsing every expression of correspondents, or of articles selected from other periodicals.
TERMS OF SUBSCRIPTION.
TERMS:--FIFTY CENTS A YEAR, POSTAGE FREE. Including special number (Millennial Dawn, Vol. I., paper bound) seventy five cents. Remit by draft, P.O. Money Order, or Registered Letter, payable to C. T. RUSSELL.
Three shillings per year. Including "Special Number," four shillings. Remit by Foreign Postal Money Order.
This paper will be sent free to any of the Lord's poor who will send a card yearly requesting it. Freely we have received and freely we would give the truth. "Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters; and he that hath no money, come ye, buy and eat-- yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price." And you that have it--"Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labor for that which satisfieth not? Hearken diligently--and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness."--ISAIAH 55:1,2.
WE HAVE about a hundred copies of cloth-bound DAWNS VOL. I. which are slightly scuffed, "shop-worn" outside, but clean and perfect inside. They are just the thing for loaning. While they last you can have them at 40 cents each,--by mail 10 cents extra for postage.
DAWN VOL. I. IN ITS THIRTY-SEVENTH THOUSAND.
You will be glad to learn that the thirty-seventh thousand of M. DAWN VOL. I. is now on the press. The extreme heat of the past month reduced the demand somewhat and enabled us to get fully caught up. We are now ready again to fill orders from the new lot. New laborers are continually entering the harvest field, and the sixteen chapters of DAWN, as sixteen sermons, are thus being delivered daily to hundreds who could not be reached so well in any other manner. In each case too a special blessing seems to be upon the laborers.
VIEW FROM THE TOWER
We are impressed with the fact that the present is a most favored time for the saints in every respect. It is favorable for personal growth in grace and knowledge. How the early truth-seekers of this age, the Bereans, etc., would have rejoiced at such student's helps as the Diaglott, Young's Concordance, Dawn, and the monthly Towers furnish; besides which, are the numerous histories, cyclopaedias, dictionaries and other works of reference accessible to all in the public libraries of even moderate sized towns. With such helps more can be learned of God's Word and plan in a day, than it formerly would have been possible to gather in a year. The only obstacle is, that now science, philosophy, politics, pleasure-seeking, and above all money-seeking, are also alive, and so absorbing, that only those well consecrated have grace enough to resist these many claims upon time and strength, and to use the abundantly provided helps, to grow thereby.
And if the opportunities for getting good, discerning the truth, etc., be favorable far beyond every other time, how does the present compare with the past in opportunities for letting the light shine upon others? There never was a time so favorable as the present for Christian effort in the vineyard. While it is true that sectarianism has closed the churches of to-day against the truth more thoroughly four fold than the Jewish synagogues were closed against it in Paul's day,--while he could go into the synagogue and preach Christ among the Scribes, Pharisees and hypocrites without hindrance, for a while at least, until he laid the plan before them, and while you have found it impossible to do this, being debarred by the stricter usages, regulations, etc., established not by the Lord or his Apostles, but by a self-constituted "clergy"--yet, for all this our day is far more favorable than Paul's day.
If we would travel from place to place to meet with believers we can do as much traveling in a week, as Paul could do in a month or more, and with much more comfort. If we would preach, though we cannot often do so to large gatherings by voice, we live at a time when every one can read and write, which only the very few could then do, and when the printed gospel is cheap and convenient, and often more effective than oral sermons.
The anxious willing heart can do far more thus, than Acquilla and Priscilla could do in their way and time with the same amount of effort. Nay, our arms are not shortened; for we can preach with both the printed and written page through the agency of the wonderful mail systems of our day, to friends and strangers the world over, and at almost no cost.
Another and not the least of our privileges and advantages over those of the early church, is that the ministry of to-day can be self-supporting. While Brother Paul was compelled to labor at tent-making at times while preaching the gospel, when necessary means failed to come from the brethren, Brother Adamson and others [R958 : page 1] of to-day may most effectively preach the gospel from house to house while the necessary provision for the daily bread falls as noiselessly as did the manna from heaven. Selling DAWN they are able to pay their way and reach far greater numbers and in a much more comfortable manner than was Paul's privilege.
Then, too, our day is favored in that though still there are religious bigots who correspond to those shrine-makers to Diana whom Paul encountered at Ephesus, ready to incite the people against us because their craft is in danger (Acts. 19:23,35-41), yet now even more than then, the civil authorities protect our persons from violence, as the "town clerk" helped them; and those who go about the Master's work now with earnest sobriety, wise as serpents and harmless as doves, will not be either beaten with stripes or stoned.
Seeing what grand opportunities the Lord has given us, should we not bear much fruit? and will he not look for much fruit on every branch of the vine truly united to him? Surely the Master will expect fruit, not only in the beautiful graces of Christian character but also in faithful earnest effort for the spread of the glad tidings to honor him and bless our fellows.
Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. This is a close test of our spiritual condition always; for if the Lord, the truth, the kingdom, and the service of others is uppermost in our hearts, they will come most freely from our lips and pens, and will find some outlet.
Falls Church, Va., June 26, 1887.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--I read in this month's Tower a selected article entitled "The Son of God and the Son of Man." The question is asked, Why does Jesus call himself the Son of Man? and the writer seems to think the answer is found in the fact that he descended from David, and calls attention to the fact that the Greek emphasis makes the term read--The Son of the Man.
It seems to me that the answer must be sought for farther back than David, who was not the man, but a man. Adam might be called the man, because God created him by a special act, but David was the natural son of Jesse. When God promised a Deliverer who should bruise the Serpent's head, he was to be the seed of the woman. Adam was not mentioned because he was legally dead, as were all his descendants, David with the rest--In Adam all died. But if we come down to the giving of the law to the children of Israel we get further light on what is to many a very strange provision of that law. If a man died without heirs his brother took his widow and raised up seed unto the dead brother. The children were literally the children of the living man, but [R959 : page 1] were counted to the dead brother. We see by the light of this typical provision of the law, why God promised the Deliverer through the woman and not through the man. Adam had sinned and was legally dead, and therefore could have no living children; all would be like himself dying and reckoned dead, while justice demanded as a ransom from death an exact equivalent, the sacrifice of a living, perfect, man. In due time God raised up just that man, in the person of Jesus, born of the virgin Mary; not by the will of man, but by the power of God. He became so to speak the son of the widow of the dead Adam by a living father, and by the provision of the law he came to fulfill was reckoned unto the dead Adam the only living son, therefore he had a right to be called the son of the man.
G. E. R__________.
Ohio, July, 1887.
DEAR BRO. RUSSELL:--It is getting to be something of a task for me to write even a short letter.
It seems a long time since I received a letter from you, but I know that the Master's work makes a demand on all your time, and I will not complain. I am quite feeble and not able to do much more physically than to sit in my easy chair from morning to night. But the Lord is very gracious to us, and bestows blessings more than I can enumerate. Among them we number the visits of the TOWER.
We enjoyed the May WATCH TOWER much. Glad there was so much interest in last Passover meeting. I never saw before, that the cup is drank only by the Priest class, while the bread is eaten by all believers. If this be correct, (and I do not doubt it) how true is the counterfeit, (Papacy) to the genuine. She gives the cup to the priest only, and the wafer to the people.
Am greatly pleased with "The body of Sin destroyed." Those who are misled after a careful study of that article, are not, it would seem to me, very anxious to find the truth. All I can now do, is to pray that God may keep the eye single that the whole body may be full of light.
I deem Sister R.'s article in July TOWER "Discipline in the church" very timely. It surely is time that any who deny the great foundation, that the Lord bought them, should be cut off; [ignored as brethren]: else the body would be without spot, etc.
I think I am gradually failing, as my strength is growing less, my lungs seem to be worse, and I am losing my flesh, but though heart and flesh fail, my trust in God shall never fail. He most gloriously sustains us day by day.
S. T. TACKABURY.
Texas Co., Mo.
DEAR BRO. RUSSELL:--I have canvassed about one half of Mountain Grove, and got 36 subscribers. I think I will get 65 or 70 there, and will want 10 or 15 extra copies to sell to acquaintances between there and Seymour; therefore please send me 80 copies, paper bound DAWNS.
I have desired to sell M. DAWN ever since I read it last fall, but was not able to pay my expenses and do so, and I did not think I could sell enough of them to pay expenses. My intention now is to spend the remainder of my life selling MILLENNIAL DAWN. My reason for supposing I could not make expenses selling DAWN was that I had tried to sell FOOD and take orders for Z.W.T. and failed to clear expenses.
Lebanon, O., June 18, 1887.
DEAR BRO. RUSSELL:--I am laboring on slowly in the way which the Lord seems to have outlined for me one in which self is wholly subjected to the law of the Spirit, and no allowance made for the flesh. I am slowly passing from the milk stage of the gospel into that in which I can endure some stronger meat; I strive to forget the things of my gentile state and press on and reach after the things which pertain unto godliness.
My Z.W. TOWERS samples are about exhausted. I sent many of them by mail, and I am constantly receiving letters from those of the faith and oh! how wonderful! they all speak the same things, having the same mind and judgment. page 2
How easy to be of one mind when once we reach the fat place in God's unlimited pasture lands. It matters little how lean the sheep may be on leaving their sectarian enclosures, soon after reaching the rich succulent pastures of Christ's fold they begin to improve. Some of us are having a weekly Bible meeting in which we search the Scriptures to see if these things be true. The Lord is with us and we are getting stronger and stronger.
In conclusion, I cannot refrain from saying that I am so glad I am free; free from those awful shackles of a benighted and misguided mind and conscience. I shall always thank God for your instrumentality in lifting this burden from my tired shoulders, and pointing me to the glorious light. I remain Yours in Hope and service.
J. P. M__________.
Johnson Co. Ill. June 20, 1887.
BRO. RUSSELL:--I received the circulars and followed the plan of using them in canvassing our town for a while. But I soon found this too laborous, so I adopted the talk plan and put energy and soul into the work with the following results: I went from home two miles to town and took 48 orders for the paper bound DAWN and 3 for the cloth bound, 51 in all, in less than one half day.
H. N. A__________.
Willow Springs, Mo.
C. T. RUSSELL, DEAR BROTHER:-- Since writing to you before, I have had a severe attack of Pneumonia Fever in which I came near dying, and from which I have not yet recovered. I am now so that I cannot walk more than a quarter of a mile without resting, and every one or two hours I have to lie down and rest, so that in four days and a half, I have been able to put in only sixteen hours work. But during that time, I have taken fifty orders for the paper bound DAWN, and eight for the cloth bound. I am going from here to Cabool, to canvass there while I am waiting for the enclosed order to come. I desire to spend the remainder of my days canvassing for the DAWN. Fifty eight copies in sixteen hours beats any preaching I ever knew, 16 sermons to the copy makes 928 sermons in 16 hours.
DEAR SIRS:--I have been both reading and praying with friends over the truths contained in the book entitled "Food for thinking Christians"--and we do feel that our loving Father has caused us so to do. I have had that book by me for about five years, and never thought of reading or becoming in any way, interested in it or the subjects upon which it dwells: but blessed be God! He has caused us (a few young men and women) to thirst and hunger after righteousness, and also implanted within us a desire to "come out and be separate," and to fully consecrate ourselves to Him who has redeemed us: and also to know of the things of God that we may be the better able to serve Him.
Will you kindly send me any further matter upon these or other truths which will be to the glory of God. We do earnestly ask for your prayers. We pray for you: May the grace of the Lord Jesus be with you. I remain Yours in the Lord,
FRED S. D__________.
Columbus, O., July 4, '87.
DEAR BROTHER AND SISTER RUSSELL: --It has been sometime since you have had a letter from me, but it has not been from lack of love or zeal, but because I wanted to give a good account of myself. Of course the Master knows, but one wants the brethren to know also; for "we all are one in Christ."
I have wanted to canvass with the DAWN ever since it came out, but from one cause or another I could not get out with them until the 24th of June. I am naturally very timid with strangers, and that made it quite hard for me, but with the aid of the Master, I have succeeded, not in selling the DAWN, but in overcoming the flesh. I trembled like a leaf in the first house, but was treated so well that I soon gained composure and retained it throughout. I think the Lord was with me. Although I did not take any names, I found quite a number of truth-hungry people to whom I loaned the TOWER.
I have great hope of selling a few DAWNS at least. I suffer with terrible headaches, which lay me up for several days, and have to be careful about getting too tired. I tried to follow as carefully as possible the directions in reference to canvassing. I shall never forget my first effort, how I stood at the gate and said, Dear Lord I cannot. But now I can say, My Master I can, I must. Our Father is able to help us in every undertaking that is right. Blessed be his holy name.
B. F. M__________.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--Enclosed you will find $5.00. Please send MILL. DAWN to the following persons:...
Please send some April TOWERS for distribution and for the balance of the money please send me M. DAWNS, paper bound. I am more thankful than I can ever express for a knowledge of these grand truths, and desire to do what I can to give them to those who will accept them.
With much love to dear Sister Russell (whose articles in Z.W.T. do me so much good) and gratitude to yourself so generously permitting us to spread this knowledge of God's plan, I remain Yours in Christian love.
MRS. O. W. SEELEY.
Oceana Co. Mich.
DEAR BRO. RUSSELL:--A few of us here who are rejoicing in the freedom wherewith Christ hath made us free, met on the evening of April 7th and united in celebrating the Anniversary of our Lord's death. A blessed season to all was the result.
While we continue to be denounced by the blinded worshipers of the "image," yet our God is with us, and the truths we proclaim are becoming more manifest in the sight of men, as from God.
I have discovered a movement, among the Swedes similar to ours, a family of them rented a farm joining mine. They are good pious people. I paid them a visit after they had become settled, and learned that they in common with numbers of their countrymen here had discorded sects and sect names, salaried ministry, etc., etc. They believe that where two or three meet, there is the true Church, and every one is encouraged to use his or her own talents as the Lord has endowed them. The Bible and the Bible only is their rule of faith and practice. I found that from a study of Scripture they have discovered many truths similar to those we rejoice in.
Mr. B__________, the head of the family, was highly interested in the account I gave him of our Church with no name, but Christian. He would like to have a sample copy of the SWEDISH TOWER; he can speak but not read English. I believe my dear Brother this is the very class (the meek) which it is our privilege to feed, and Mr. B__________. may desire to spread the truth among his countrymen.
We have meetings once a week for studying, praise and prayer, and the members of the Lord's body are realizing daily growth in grace, and in the knowledge of the truth.
Your brother for the truth. THOS. BREWER.
Tuscola County, Michigan.
DEAR BRO. RUSSELL:--May the grace and peace of God be with you and all the "elect." May the Giver of every good and perfect gift endow you with wisdom and courage, and strengthen your faith. May you be able to discern and expound the truths contained in God's Word; for we realize that the days are evil. I am fully persuaded that the time when "the very elect" should be deceived, if it were possible, is upon us. Within the past year or two I have seen quite a number of new periodicals purporting to give advanced light, pointing out unmistakably many of the errors of "Orthodoxy," and, although somewhat garbled, many of the truths of God's Word; and holding up the example of Jesus Christ, as the beacon to guide us up to everlasting perfection. These teachings will be very apt to mislead, and indeed are misleading many thinking Christians who are unlearned in the Word. A noticeable characteristic of these new doctrines is an ignoring of God's ransom for the lost, but taking, for imitation, the example of our Lord's suffering for the right, just as any general might inspire his soldiers by telling them how Napoleon's soldiers faced death at Austerlitz or Lodi, or how Leonidas stood at Thermopylae. They thus ignore the fact that the penalty for sin is death, and that man having sinned is in death; that the laws of God are absolute and eternal, and that there is no escape from the penalty of these laws until the uttermost farthing is paid. How easy for the flock to be deceived by some of these "strong delusions;" these thoughts have induced me to write to you now, instead of waiting longer until I could get a little money to send. I can sell a few "Dawns," to some that I have talked with. I have been an invalid for two years but I am some better now. If you will send me ten April "Towers," I will place them discreetly; also send me ten paper-bound DAWNS.
But if the interest of "Tract Fund" will suffer by it do not send them. I perceive that there is so much to do that I want the means used that will accomplish the most. I do not expect to be able to do much for awhile yet but I can do a little.
W. C. M__________.
Ohio, July 28, '87.
DEAR BRO. RUSSELL:--Card received. Thanks. Took 60 subscribers to-day. Best day (though hot), except the day I expected to take 100 and ran out of territory, after I had 70. I shall yet take 100 subscribers in a day. But it is not safe for me to go more than a slow jog in this great heat. It is very hard not to preach as we canvass. I think this almost a model day in respect to refraining from it. DAWN is preaching, and will--the separation goes on rapidly and every DAWN agent is a bright and shining light--a repetition of those who at the first Advent preached: "The Kingdom of heaven is at hand."
J. B. ADAMSON.
Willow Valley, Neb.
DEAR FRIENDS:--A few days ago a friend handed me MILLENNIAL DAWN and asked me to read it. As soon as I looked it over, I saw I had received it as an answer to my prayer for more light on the teaching of the Scriptures. I had been fed on the diluted "Milk of the Word" so long that I was nearly famished, and when I saw a table before me loaded with such soul-satisfying food, I could hardly sleep until I had devoured it, and now my hunger is appeased for the first time in my life. Pray, do not think by my ready acceptance of this, that I am one of the kind that is "blown about by every wind of doctrine." I had previously searched the Scriptures enough to know that this doctrine harmonized perfectly with its teachings the attributes of God, and the need of the whole human race, and what more could any one ask. I had seen long ago that sectarianism was contrary to the spirit of Christ's prayer for the unity of the church, and that the Scriptures did not teach any kind of lasting life to the wicked. But I had not seen the restoration of the human race to human perfection during the Millennial age. When you showed me that, it shed such a flood of light on the Scriptures that God's plan for the redemption of mankind seemed to stand out in capital letters all through the Bible. How could I have been so blind! My almost one prayer for myself has been that God would not let me fall below the highest possibilities of his grace, and so when I received for bread what to all appearance was a stone, I knew it must be just the kind of food I needed. I see now that he was preparing me to receive "meat in due season." I hope to send you with this my subscription for "Dawn" and "Tower." Please send me what reading matter you think best for distribution. I am a farmer's wife and do my own work, but have many acquaintances in town whom I hope to interest in this work, and I think I can get quite a list of subscribers for the paper and book. I shall consider it not only a duty but a blessed privilege to assist, by every means at my command, in proclaiming this gospel. Sincerely yours,
O. E. S__________.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--I feel grateful to you for your kindness and generosity in sending the WATCH TOWER so long, and that, too, without remuneration. I am an old man--in my 87th year, I can labor but little.
Be assured, dear brother, that the WATCH TOWER is a welcome visitor. It is always freighted with the "meat in due season."
Your "View" article in the June TOWER is truly seasonable, but to the world at large, and even to the nominal church, it will be "all Greek." But few can tell whereabouts we are in the world's history, and what relation the "land question" or any other question sustains to prophecy. Darkness more dense, (if possible) than that which pervaded Egypt, enshrouds the people on all of the vital questions which are coming, or are already come.
"The perilous times," in which we now find ourselves engulfed, should intensify our desire for the kingdom to come, and the will of God to be done in earth as it is done in heaven.
Our God is not slack concerning his promises, as some men count slackness. Everything is hastening to its final end. Human governments are very fragile, and they will be able to stand the strain which is brought to bear on them but a short time longer.
M. I. LEWIS.
DEAR BROTHER:--Not long since I was busily engaged in reading Charles Reade's novels. A friend whom I esteem dearly sent me MILLENNIAL DAWN with the request that I cease my novels and try to become interested in it. I did so to please my friend, without the least notion of being anything but bored, still I wanted to be able to say, "I have read it."
Now I will digress into a little autobiography that you may understand how I feel since reading DAWN. I was educated with a view of entering the Presbyterian Ministry, and on various accounts abandoned that and with it all interest in religious affairs. I became skeptical and had no patience with either churches or preachers. In this condition came DAWN, and you can understand why I did not expect to be interested. I had not gone far until the scales began to fall from my eyes and the light to pour in upon my darkened mind. I finished the book almost before I gave it up and I thank God this day for the glorious results to me, in which I have the assurance beyond a doubt that I have found the "narrow way" and am rejoicing in the truth. I have passed through a very severe ordeal of sickness and have felt that my remarkable preservation from death must have a purpose. So strongly had I been impressed that months before I heard of DAWN I promised that if God would show me his will I would devote myself to his service. I trusted I should be shown and when DAWN came I saw. I felt that whatever it was I would accept the work for Christ, however humble, and I started out with my volume of DAWN last Monday morning, and while the heat was intense and my crippled condition made the work very laborious, I have today (Thursday noon) 58 orders for DAWN to be delivered in two weeks. I am much encouraged--hope to sell 200 volumes here. I make this an order then for 200 copies of DAWN to be shipped by freight to this place at once so I may meet my engagement. I expect if my health admits it to push the work as rapidly as possible.
G. W. DALE.
Chatham Co., N.C.
DEAR BROTHER:--I now give you an account of my success in Durham. I was one week in canvassing the place, I sold twenty the first day, twenty three the next day by eleven o'clock, and so on, thirty-six being the highest sold in any one day, my average per day was thirty. I enjoy the work very much.
I enclose an order for 210 copies of paper-bound DAWNS VOL. I. Please send at once.
I wish that every Christian could realize that there is a work for him to do. I wish that they would come and help us to roll this large wheel. It is rolling fast but we need more help, we want the labor of more thinking Christians to carry on this grand work of God. Yours truly,
J. G. C__________.
THE GOSPEL OF GRACEGod, in eternal counsel, planned
To form in space this rounded earth;
And in response to his command,
Submissive nature gave it birth.
A perfect human pair was formed
In their Creator's image pure,
While 'round them Eden was adorned
With all perfection could insure.
Upon this Adam (man and wife)
But one restriction God did place:
To disobey would forfeit life,
And bring destruction on the race.
The serpent, subtle more than all,
Beguiled the woman, she the man,
And from their station high, they fall,
Thus bringing death on all the clan.
The sentence just, must take effect.
God's purpose, then, defeated is?
His work, by Satan's malice wrecked?
Has all He planned thus gone amiss?
Ah! no; "A RANSOM!" gracious words:
God says, "A RANSOM I have found!"
What wondrous joy the cry affords,
As from thy Throne is heard the sound.
A little less than angels formed,
JESUS we see, God's only Son,
With glory, honor, He's adorned,
By death for sinners to atone.
"Lo, I come; of me 'tis written,
To do thy will, Jehovah God."
For Adam's sin the Lamb was smitten;
For us He bore the chastening rod.
And in our stead, instead of ALL,
He bore the curse, and tasted death
For every man, who, by the fall,
Must yield to God his vital breath.
The "CORRESPONDING PRICE" is paid:
Our God is just, and will restore
All those who in the dust are laid,
To give them life forever more.
But one condition here we find,
In off'ring all this gift sublime:
The human will, the human mind,
Must then accord with the Divine.
And to secure this harmony,
The SEED--the Christ--hath been prepared,
And we of that blest seed shall be,
Who, here, his sacrifice have shared.
And those (their number must be few,)
Who, in "Times of RESTITUTION,"
Reject the offer to make new
And be raised up to full perfection,
Must be destroyed in "lake of fire"
(Not "life in pain," but sure destruction)
With him who to God's place aspired,
And all who share like condemnation.
Then "ALL-in-all" our God shall be:
His creatures all (now to his will
Brought into joyous harmony)
Shall their respective stations fill.
O'er every name, THE CHRIST, divine,
In heavenly glory e'er shall shine,
And every being on each plane,
That exaltation shall proclaim.
This is the "Plan" the WORD reveals,
"The Church," attired in harlot dress,
Rejects the light, the truth conceals;
But God has cast her from her place
Who holds truth in unrighteousness,
And to his saints He makes it known,
As the blest Gospel of his grace,
To ALL, "in due time," to be shown.
If this be true, WHEN dawns the day
Of this exultant Jubilee?
And when shall saints in "Narrow-way"
Be like their Head, as Him they see?
E'en NOW the light begins to break,
Of that blest day when all shall wake.
Then lift your heads, exalt them high,
For your Redemption draweth nigh.
S. I. HICKEY.
THE writer of the above signed it A Believer, but I take the liberty of putting his full name, knowing that our readers will appreciate it the more. You will remember him as the brother whose letter appeared next to last among the "Kind Words of Commendation" to DAWN published in April TOWER. For several months Bro. H. has been in a furnace of severe trial, prostrated by sickness. He was obliged to remove, and to abandon the meetings so favorably started in Brooklyn and also the canvassing, but is still strong in the Lord. We print his last letter that you may be able the more closely to sympathize with him.--EDITOR.
July 13th, 1887.
MY DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--Grace unto you and peace, from God our Father and Jesus Christ our Lord!
I have been again prostrated by my enemy, if so I can term that which is God's instrument in consuming the sacrifice, so freely presented. Since writing you, I have suffered prolonged, intense and fearfully weakening pain. I am now at very low ebb, but mending slowly: perhaps to regain strength, and perhaps only to be again suddenly and violently attacked. But all is peace, joy, and confiding trust in my blessed God and Savior. He doeth all things well, and I bow in glad submission. My physician here advises me, as the very best thing to do, to go to Saratoga and drink certain of the waters there for the removal of the gravel by dissolving. My wife wrote, last week, to an old physician-friend residing there, stating my case. He replies in indorsement of this opinion, and says "I can find a place in a private boarding house at $7.00 per week --my services free to him."
Now I thought that if I continue to gain strength for another week, I might be able to go and to pay my way by selling DAWN in Albany and Saratoga, if these places have not been canvassed. Please write me as to this immediately.
S. I. HICKEY.
P.S. My wife read above and says, I must not try to do any thing. Well, perhaps not. But I hope for strength.
In an age when human ingenuity taxed itself to the utmost limit to invent cruelties to torture the victims of public revenge or hate, crucifixion certainly had a bad pre-eminence. Among the Romans it was reserved, with few exceptions, for slaves and foreigners, being considered too horrible and disgraceful for a Roman citizen, no matter what might have been his crime. It was the greatest possible indignity that could be heaped upon any offender whether considered in the light of a public disgrace, or of physical anguish.
Crucifixion was a slow, lingering, horrible process of dying, lasting always many hours, and often for several days. The victim was usually bound to the cross as it lay upon the ground; the hands and feet were then nailed to the wood, and the cross elevated and planted in the socket prepared to receive it. This gave the body a terrible wrench and great was the agony which followed. The hot sun beat upon the naked body and uncovered head, (which in our Lord's case was pierced with the additional cruelty of the crown of thorns). The ragged, undressed wounds festered and inflamed and shooting pains darted from them through the quivering flesh. Added to this was the agony of an increasing fever, a throbbing head and a raging thirst; and even the slightest movement intensified the anguish. As death drew near, swarms of insects gathered about to increase the torment from which there could not be the slightest relief. As no vital organ was directly assailed, life lingered on until the power of endurance was completely exhausted.
Over the head of the sufferer was usually an inscription describing the crime for which he had been condemned. This was generally borne before him as he wended his way on foot to the place of execution bearing his heavy cross. In the case of our Lord, he bore his cross to the gates of the city where they met a man from Cyrene, Simon by name, whom they compelled to bear it the remainder of the way, doubtless because Jesus was too faint and exhausted.
It appears from certain rabbinical writings that a society of Jewish women was formed to alleviate the sufferings of those condemned to die. They accompanied the condemned to the place of execution and administered a prepared drink which acted as an anodyne to allay their pain. It was probably these who offered to our Lord the "vinegar and gall" (more properly --sour wine and myrrh) which he refused, preferring his mind to be clear and awake to the end. The drink offered him on the cross by one of the Roman soldiers, and accepted, was not the anodyne proffered and refused before, but simply sour wine, the common drink of the soldiers.
The ultimate physical cause of Christ's death is believed to have been literally a broken heart. Otherwise he would probably have lingered much longer. Crucifixion seldom produced death in less than twenty-four hours, and victims have lingered as long as five days. Pilate and the guard were surprised on learning of Jesus' death so soon. Instead of lingering long, he died suddenly, and before he was fully exhausted; for he had conversed with the thief and had commended his mother to the care of John; he had declared his great work finished and then with a loud [literally, a strong] voice which indicated considerable remaining strength both of body and mind he cried, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" and instantly died. In the agony of Gethsemane the heart and blood vessels were affected. The palpitation of the heart was so intense then as to cause bloody sweat, a phenomenon rare but not unknown, produced by intense mental excitement. Already weakened by such an experience, a repetition of the anguish probably ruptured the membrane of the heart causing instant death.
Such was the awful tragedy of Calvary which ended the human existence of our Lord, who thus gave himself as a lamb to the slaughter. "As a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he opened not his mouth" when falsely accused, condemned and crucified. Had he exerted himself in self-defence either in Pilate's judgment hall, or in Gethsemane's garden, to speak again to the people as before, again doubtless they would have said "Never man spake like this man," and would have hailed him their king as they did only five days before, saying Hosanna to the son of David, blessed is he that cometh as Jehovah's king. Or had he prayed to the Father, He could immediately have had a life-guard of more than twelve legions of angels. --Matt. 26:53.
He could have escaped the awful experience, but he did not do so, but willingly gave himself a ransom for sinners. He knew that his hour had come, when according to his Father's plan the world's redemption price should be paid. Remember his words to a disciple who attempted his defence--"Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father and he will presently give me more than twelve legions of angels? But how then shall the Scriptures be fulfilled, that thus it must be?"
Yes, the Scriptures must be fulfilled, they expressed the Father's will which he had come to do, hence the fulfilling of what was written, was the all-absorbing interest with him; the plan of God must be carried out at any cost, and to the execution of that plan he submitted himself in perfect obedience, even unto death, even the horrible, torturous, ignominious death of the cross.
Though our Lord submitted himself to death at this time because he recognized this to be the hour foretold by the prophets, he did not seem to understand clearly why so much public disgrace and torture of mind and body should accompany it. Hence his prayer, "O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me. Nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt." (Matt. 26:39.) He well knew that baptism (immersion) into death, was his mission, and not for one moment could he think of avoiding it: and he knew too that with it must also come a bitter cup of suffering and shame: but not until his hour was almost come, did he seem to fully realize how bitter would be the dregs of that cup. Seeing that [R960 : page 3] death was the penalty for our sins, and not shame and misrepresentation, left room for our Lord to question the Father's wisdom and love, in apparently asking him to endure more than was needful to redeem mankind. But he bowed to the Father's wisdom and love in it all, saying --Thy will, not mine be done! In the light of the Apostle's words we can see that the perfect "man Christ Jesus" was not only redeeming men, but by his obedience even unto death--even the death of the cross, he was proving himself worthy of high exaltation to the perfection of the divine nature, which because of this implicit and even blind obedience he has now attained. (Phil. 2:9.) So too in his last moments, in being treated exactly like the sinner whose ransom he was giving, when mental communion with the Father was interrupted and he felt for the moment alone, separated from the Father, cut off and condemned as the sinner whom he represented, it was more than he could bear--He cried with a loud voice My God! My God! Why hast thou forsaken me? This was more severe than all else, the very dregs of this cup of suffering. Not until afterward was the necessity and wisdom and love of this part of the Father's plan made manifest. Up to that hour he had communion with his God.--See Jno. 16:32.
What a lesson on obedience was thus furnished to every creature of God, in every age, and on every plane of existence --an obedience which bowed in loving submission to the will of God even in blindness as to why it should be so, and even under the most heart-rending trial. What a glorious character for our example and imitation! perfect submission to the will of God and perfect confidence, which implicitly trusted the Almighty Father where it could not trace him.
CRUCIFIED WITH CHRIST.
Having above examined briefly the actual crucifixion of our Lord, the actual death of the Lamb of God who put away our sins by the sacrifice of himself, let us now glance briefly at a figurative use of the word crucified, not by way of setting aside the foregoing actual occurrence, but to learn the proper significance of the figure as used by our Lord and the apostle Paul in the following passages:--
"Our old man [our former selves, justified by faith in Christ's sacrifice] is crucified with Christ [that we might be members of his body, spiritual new creatures, and] that the body of sin [the entire sin system with all its members and branches] might be destroyed." Rom. 6:6. See fuller treatment of this text and context in May '87 TOWER.
We have seen that actual, literal crucifixion signifies to deliver up to a torturous, slow, but sure death. And the figurative closely resembles this, so that the same definition fits it perfectly. When we say then that any one is taking up his cross to follow Christ, it signifies that such a one is consecrated and is taking the first step of self-denial in espousing the cause of Christ, though it be with fear and trembling; submitting willingly to painful humbling and contempt in the sight of the world and of the chief priests and their blind followers, to share with the Master and all the members of his body the coldness and the scorn of the world and of many they seek to bless; to be alone, and yet not alone as was our Head, for we have comfort and sympathy from him as our High Priest, and from our fellow members in his body. With him none could sympathize: he was the fore-runner on this race-course, and of the people there was none with him.
But where does our cross-bearing begin? and where our crucifixion?--where does it end? and how much does it involve? some may inquire. We answer, Circumstances alter cases to some extent, and each must apply the matter in his own case. To enable all to do this, let us notice three notable examples of such cross-bearing --our Lord, Peter and Paul.
Our Lord, born under the conditions of the Jewish Law, could not begin his service (ministry) until he was thirty years old, though his earlier years were spent in studying prophetic utterances concerning God's plan and his share therein. This is made evident by the only record of his boyhood days. When twelve years old, he was seeking information concerning the Father's business and was found among the eminent teachers hearing their explanations of the prophecies and asking them questions.
When he was thirty, was his first opportunity to begin the work which he had come into the world to do. We might say then, using the figure, that he took up his cross when at thirty, he came to John to be baptised of him in Jordan. This was a cross, a humiliation, because the masses of the people like John were ignorant of the deep meaning which our Lord attached to immersion as a symbol or figure of death. John, and the people, used it only as a symbol of washing, cleansing or reformation from sin. Nor was it proper for our Lord then to explain to them a symbol which belonged to an age and work not proper to be known until Pentecost.
Nor would they have understood him if he had explained. But it became him to set the example, which as their leader he would afterward expect all his disciples to follow, and hence as in his actual death he who knew no sin was counted among transgressors, so in its symbol, the water immersion, he was "numbered with transgressors," (Isa. 53:12) who were there figuratively washing away a sinful past to start anew.
For the sinless Lamb of God to be thus misunderstood was no doubt a heavy cross, but it opened the way to a still clearer appreciation of the Father's will which he had come to perform. Obedience in taking up the cross proved him worthy of continuing in the Father's service--even unto death. The holy power of God came there upon him enabling him to see more and more clearly his future pathway down to Calvary, but bringing also clearer and clearer apprehensions of the exceeding riches of divine favor and high exaltation in reservation for him at the end of the "narrow way."
Under the increased light of his fuller insight into the plan of God and where the narrow way would lead, his spirit of consecration led him to turn aside into the wilderness, there to more fully consider in private the Father's plan and his future course in obedience thereto. There the cross grew heavy as he more fully realized the shame, ignominy and self-abasement to which his consecration would lead. And the tempter bore his weight upon the already heavy cross by suggesting other ways of doing good more agreeable to the flesh than sacrifice. But after counting the cost our Lord refused any other methods either Satan's or his own, of doing good, and chose to have God's will done in God's way, saying: I have come to do thy will, O my God. And with his victory he was stronger, and his cross seemed be lighter as he came out of the wilderness crucified, willingly delivered up to die--hands, feet and all and every talent and power restrained from self-service--all offered up a sacrifice to God in the carrying out of God's plan, whatever that might involve, whether the dying should prove to be of longer or shorter duration, or of more or less pain. As a man, then, our Lord's will was already dead to every human hope and ambition--dead to his own plans and control as a man. And yet he was not dead in the sense of being insensible to scoffs and pains and piercing words, but crucified, delivered up unto death. The pinioned, bleeding members (human talents, rights etc.) quivered and twitched but always remained pinioned (crucified, delivered up to death) to the last, as when he prayed that the cup of ignominy might be omitted.
During all those three and a-half years of our Lord's ministry, he was crucified in this figurative sense; that is, he was delivered up to death--his will, his talents, his all, bound and pinioned--in harmony with the Father's plan. And every deed of his by which "virtue [vitality, life] went out of him" to bless and heal in mind or body the condemned sinners about him, was part of his dying, and finally ended in death--even the literal death of the cross.
Brother Paul was not literally crucified but ended his course by being beheaded. Yet figuratively he tells us long before his literal death, "I am crucified with Christ." That is to say: I am delivered up to death --my will and self-control, my talents and powers, my rights and lawful ambitions as a man, are all pinioned and stopped by my consecration, so that having no will or plan or way of my own, I may be fully able to let the holy spirit or mind (will) of the Master dwell in me and rule my every act to his service--not so dead that I will not occasionally feel a twinging of the flesh, and have a suggestion as to another way and as to what would or would not be necessary, but I keep my body and its wishes under (1 Cor. 9:27.), subject to the will of God, saying as did the Master under similar circumstances, "Not my will but thine (Father) be done."
Many get the idea that our Lord and the Apostle referred only to sinful desires being crucified. They read it as though the Apostle meant, My sinful ambitions and desires I keep under and crucify, and as though our Lord meant--Not my sinful will be done, O Father, but thy holy will. This is a mistake: our Lord was holy, harmless, undefiled; as such he could not have a sinful will or desire: His will was not to kill, steal, blaspheme, covet the things of others, nor to bear false witness of others, nor to backbite, nor to do any [R961 : page 4] sinful thing toward God or man. His will on the contrary was to do good only, to honor God and to bless men. But as a man--a perfect man, he had a mind, a strong mind or judgment as to how good could best be accomplished, how God could be most honored and men most blessed.
Had our Lord followed his own judgment and will as to best methods of honoring God and blessing man, it would probably have been in the line which naturally suggests itself to other good judgments and wills--in the line of political and social reforms, in establishing pure government for the people, in meeting out justice to the oppressed, in establishing hospitals, asylums and colleges, and in cleansing the religious system of his day. But such a good will, though it would doubtless have accomplished much temporary good, would never have worked out the grand deliverance for the race, which we now see God's greater comprehensive "plan of the ages" is designed to work out. Such a plan did not occur to the mind of even the perfect man Christ Jesus. It is beyond the scope of human thought and planning. But knowing that his Father was greater than he, he rightly reasoned that implicit submission to Jehovah's will was the proper course whatever it might involve.
To be God's messenger and accomplish his will, our Lord must crucify (deliver up to death) all of his own good, holy, harmless, pure will, and must say fully, "Not my will (Father) but thine be done" --Thy will in thy way entirely.
The nearer a person is to perfection the stronger will be his will, and the more difficult to crucify it. The more confident one is that his will is good and for good and blessing to others, the more difficult it is to see good cause for surrendering it. Thus our dear Lord knew that it was needful for him to DIE as the ransom price for the world and shrank not from it; but knowing also that pain and public scorn and contempt as a criminal was not part of the penalty, he questioned its necessity, whether the Father was not asking of him as the Redeemer more than the penalty of man's sin and therefore prayed, "Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me" --nevertheless I claim no rights, I attempt not to follow my own ideas nor to exercise my own will; my will is fully surrendered; I leave all to thy wisdom--Thy will be done. Our Lord evidently saw not then, what for our advantage and strengthening he has since showed us who are following his footsteps, crucifying our own wills, etc. --that extreme trial of obedience, even unto death, even the death of the cross, was expedient and proper, because of the very high exaltation to the divine nature, for which his implicit obedience to the Father's will in giving our ransom, was to be the test of worthiness.
We as followers in the our Lord's footsteps have neither such strong wills to overcome and crucify nor the proportionate strength of character whereby to overcome them. But we have the advantage of knowing clearly why so extreme and exact obedience is necessary, in all who would be accounted worthy of a place in that select "body of Christ", which is to be so highly honored with its Head, Lord and Redeemer, Jesus.
As with our Lord, so with the Apostle Paul crucifying did not mean the crucifying of a sinful will, or sinful desires, plans, etc.; for he says "I am crucified with Christ," and elsewhere he calls it being "dead with Christ" and having "fellowship in his sufferings." So then if Christ's crucifixion was not the crucifixion of a sinful will, and desires, neither was Paul's; and neither are yours and mine as followers of the spotless Lamb of God, crucified with him.
True, Paul and all other followers of Christ were by nature sinners and children of wrath even as others, and hence very much less than perfect in will, compared with the undefiled one. But their first step of faith in Christ showed them that they had no right or privilege, to will or to do wrong, and in accepting of JUSTIFICATION through Christ's death, they not only confessed sorrow for sins past, but repentance and change from sin for the future to the extent of their ability, realizing also that the imputed merit of the ransom not only covered sins past, but also all unwillful weakness and errors future. And this justification through Christ and change of will from sin to righteousness preceeded their "call" to follow Christ and to suffer with him and to share his glory and high exaltation to the divine nature. Thus we see that with us as with our Lord, it is our good human wills, our good intentions and good plans, (not actually perfect as our Lord's, but reckonedly so through his imputed merit) that are to be crucified, delivered up to death with, and like Christ to share in his sacrifice.
As our Lord set aside and crucified his own will, and accepted of the Father's will instead, so we set aside or crucify our wills or desires, no matter how good and wise they appear to us, to accept of the guidance and direction of our Lord Jesus who, now glorified, delights still to carry out the Father's plan, and the grandeur perfection of which he can now fully appreciate.
CONSECRATED BUT NOT CRUCIFIED.
Practical illustrations of how some who love the Lord are not crucified with him, may be seen everywhere. Thousands of Christian people (zealous, but not according to knowledge) are striving, each in his own way, to do good. Because their own wills have not been crucified, but still live, they are unable to see clearly God's will and way. Hence many are spending time and talent in moral, political, and social reforms, which though good are not so good as the Lord's way. The uncrucified will however always thinks its own way the best, not learning to obey orders from the head, and to trust to his superior wisdom where they cannot trace him.
Thus though our Lord prayed not for the world (John 17:19.) and shows us that the work of the present age is not the world's conversion, but the selecting of his "body," "his bride," out of the world (Acts 15:14) to be joined in heirship with him in the great work of blessing the world afterward --yet these have a will and plan of their own uncrucified and do not submit themselves to the will and plan of the head. Their will and plan is to convert the world now, to the neglect of the special selecting and fitting for that work of a royal priesthood and they feel sure their Lord must admire and accept and bless their plan and their work in his name.
They are worried, anxious, fearful, perplexed, because their plans do not work out as expected, like a hen who hatches a brood of ducks. Yet they are always hopeful and full of confidence that the working out of their cherished schemes will yet be grand, because sure that the Lord must approve their plans. Such when they pray to God generally tell him what they want him to do and how they need his help in carrying out their plans. Such because their plans are so urgent [R961 : page 5] have no time to search God's Word to know his will and plan. They go to it to find some statements which they can fit and apply to their plans, to convince themselves and others that God approves of their plans, and they have no time, they think, for more.
Poor foolish ones! How different the anxiety and fear with which they labor, from the composure with which our Lord and the Apostles labored. The difference is that the latter had crucified their own wills and had accepted the plan and will of God, and were confident that all things were working for the accomplishment of that plan whether they see how or not. On the contrary these who are striving to carry out their own wills and plans and praying to God to help them, can have no such deep grounded confidence. Their prayers in this direction go unheeded, and they continually see their cherished plans miscarry. Many such in coming days must be more disappointed than ever. Those who have loved and labored for sectarian systems and who have mistaken them for the one true church "whose names are written in heaven" will experience bitter disappointments when they see these all broken to pieces, that the false may be completely stumbled and separated and leave the saints alone, the only adherents to the ransom foundation.
Only those who completely ignore their own will and plans, and thus are ready and willing to learn and co-operate in God's plans, can appreciate his statement. "My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways saith the Lord: For as the heavens are higher than the earth so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts." (Isa. 55:8,9.) Only such can pass through the trying times, present and coming, unmoved, for such only can see intelligently the cause and necessity of the trouble and overturning, and the grand outcome of it all, as delineated in the plans and specifications of the great divine Architect.
Would that such consecrated ones could see the necessity of sacrificing, crucifying themselves and do it. The time for sacrificing is nearly ended. Those who do not fulfill their covenant are not worthy, and their crowns must soon be given to others.
We see in this the reason that some of the very humble and comparatively unlearned of God's children are able and do see his plan much more clearly than some others, whose natural advantages are greater --the one has crucified his own will and has no obstacle in the way of his progress; the other has not crucified his own will and cannot get beyond it, even when seeking to grow in grace and knowledge.
THE BODY--MEMBERS IN PARTICULAR.
In illustrating the complete subjection of the now crucified, will-dead little flock to their once crucified but now exalted Lord, it is difficult to find a more perfect figure than that which Paul suggests, viz., the human form, head and body. As a human body is composed of many members with various functions, yet all perfectly controlled and ordered by the one head, and without any will or desire to control themselves, so is "the body of Christ" under its head, Jesus. Every member must be in perfect accord with the head, that the great work of the Christ in the coming age may be accomplished perfectly.
That perfect "body of Christ" is as yet only an ideal: it is a body of the future and not of the present, and will not be complete until the last member has been tried and proved worthy and glorified --made like unto, though subject to its head Christ Jesus. During the Gospel age the prospective members have been called or invited (none but the justified believers, are called) and this is styled "a high calling" and "a heavenly calling" because it invites these to so high and grand a station, and to a heavenly nature and glory and honor and perfection which is to be restored to in exchange for, and instead of the earthy glory and honor of the world in general. The joining together of this body in the present life is only probationary --a membership on trial, to ascertain who are worthy. Hence it is that those already called members of the body of Christ, are exhorted to make their calling and election sure, or permanent, by full and hearty submission to all the tests which their Lord and forerunner on the course shall impose. Such, too, have the assurance that their head sympathizes with them, and will not permit them to be tempted and tested beyond what they are able to withstand, but who at the very moment when their strength and endurance would fail--not through lack of desire to do his will, but through weakness of the flesh--will open a way for their escape from the trial.
Under misconceptions, false teachings, etc., many are nominally counted as members of Christ's body, or church, whom the Lord in no sense recognizes as such, whom he does not enter among the probationers on trial for permanent membership in that choice "little flock," because they have never taken even the first step toward becoming members.
Every one answering to the "high calling," (already justified believers) was informed of the conditions of membership, namely, that such must deny themselves, set aside and entirely ignore their own wills, and plans and ambitions however noble, must crucify their human wills with all their human affections and lusts (desires) no matter how pure and good, and must submit everything to the will of Christ, whether they see or do not see the wisdom of his arrangements. To the worldly-wise this is foolishness and those who obey this call are considered fools, even as was their Master for the same cause: For the world knoweth us not, because (for the same reason that) it knew him not.--1 John 3:1.
The narrow way of self-sacrifice through which the high calling invites us, is so contrary to worldly wisdom that few find it in the sense of knowing or realizing it; and fewer yet, after finding it, will walk in it; it is so narrow, so difficult and painful to crucify the flesh with its human affections, hopes, aims and desires; so difficult to have a mind and judgment and will of your own and yet obey not their dictates, but crucify them and take and follow the will of another which often seems so much less complete than our own, and whose ultimate advantage we so often cannot see.
The conditions therefore upon which we become probationary or trial members of the body of Christ, are that we covenant, or solemnly consecrate ourselves and all our interests as human beings, to the Lord's will and service. This the probationary member symbolizes by baptism into water. His immersion into water is a figure of his death to all earthly things, chief among which and representative of all, is his HUMAN WILL. It must be buried in order that the consecrated one may be reckoned a fellow-member in that will-less body, whose will is the will of the head only. "Therefore are we buried by baptism INTO CHRIST" into membership in that "body of Christ;" for as many of you as were baptised into JESUS CHRIST were baptised into his death, "Crucified with Christ" to earthly hopes, etc., and risen by faith to heavenly hopes, plans, etc., under his direction, to which we shall attain if we faint not, but continue firm unto the end, keeping our wills fully subject to the will of Christ, and our bodies as much so as possible.
Every such consecrated one is recorded as a prospective member among those "whose names are written in heaven:" but the record is such as can be erased. The final inking of the record, so to speak, is not done until the probationary membership is ended, and all the consecrated ones adjudged either worthy or unworthy of a place in that perfect glorious "body of the Anointed" whose record in the Lamb's book of life is indelible; among, and a part of that company which God foreknew or intended from the foundation of the world, as his honored instrumentality for blessing all the families of the world.
Not all the consecrated, probationary members shall be of the real body of Christ, but only the overcomers. Of such the Lord says "I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father and before his messengers." (Rev. 3:5.) And, blessed thought, our overcoming consists not in perfect works, but in a perfect heart or will. His own will fully crucified, the will of Christ dwelling in his heart richly, none need be barren or unfruitful in the knowledge of the Lord, but shall renew his strength, and go on from grace to grace in the knowledge and service of his head; and finally such shall be accepted into the everlasting permanent membership in the body glorified.
And there is a thought beyond crucifying our own wills. We should not only crucify our own wills, but fully accept of and use the Lord's will instead. "Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly," and Let the mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus. (Col. 3:16; Phil. 2:5.) A human body whose members were merely without will or plan of their own, would be aimless, lifeless, and useless, and so probationary members of the body of Christ, if merely dead to the world will be cold, aimless, idle, languid and lifeless, and hence profitless. The apostle therefore exhorts that we be not only dead to present hopes, and aims, and hoping for the future glorious body and its glorious work, but our mortal body which with its will we have crucified, we should partake so thoroughly of the holy spirit of our Master's consecration, that the mortal body alive, and active in God's service--delighting to do his will engaging heartily in his plan and work. (Rom. 8:11.)
Until our own wills are crucified, we are not truly prepared to seek to know the will of our Lord. The uncrucified will, if it goes to the Word of God to learn his will, is not prepared to receive it, and stumbles over it, blinded by its own plans, desires and ambitions. Misled by these it wrests and misapplies the word of God to fit its wisdom or plan. Alas! how many of the consecrated are crucified only in part, and how many not at all. How many, failing still worse, see nothing of the high calling, and have passed by justification by faith in the ransom and are trusting to secure justification by crucifying their sins. Let us walk in the light as he is in the light, and have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them. And in order to do this and attain the great prize let us see to it that we can say with Paul "I am crucified with Christ, yet I live, yet not [the former] I, but Christ liveth in me." His will being fully mine I can call myself his and feel confidence before him. I being fully his, he can own me as a member of his body and use me as such now and forever.
AFTER THE ORDER OF MELCHISEDEC.
A priest, in the only true sense, is a mediator between God and fallen creatures, the object of such mediation being to restore and establish harmony.
The office of the priest or mediator between God and man is to restore to perfection and consequent harmony with God, a whole race of beings condemned to death, and already dead or dying. Hence this priest must of necessity be "mighty to save". (Psa. 89:19.) He must have both the right and the power to recall the dead to life, and ability to instruct and discipline, and thus to lead every willing subject back to the perfect estate from which Adam, and the race through him, fell. To secure this right, he must first satisfy the demands of Justice, which required the extinction of the human race; and these demands of Justice could only be met by a corresponding sacrifice --a human life for a human life. The life of Adam, and all represented by him, could be redeemed by another perfect human being only. And so it was--"Since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection from the dead." (1 Cor. 15:21.) By the sacrifice of a perfect human existence, then, the right of the priest to restore is secured.
But beyond the right, or privilege, of restoring, the priest must have the power, and power would of necessity presuppose his own everlasting existence. He must have power to create, since to restore to being that which had completely lost existence, is to re-create it, and is a greater work even than the first creation; he must also have perfect knowledge, both of God's requirements and of human necessities, as well as perfect ability, to guide a race so destitute, back to the glorious heights of perfection and blessed harmony and communion with God.
What an office! Who would presume to assume such a title? It belongs really and only to Jehovah's Anointed. Even Jesus, "the Anointed one, did not glorify himself to become a High-Priest," but he has "been declared by God a High-Priest according to the order of Melchisedec." (Heb. 5:5,10, Diaglott.) Jehovah honored him by inviting him to that position, and giving him all power to fill it. In harmony with God's plan, not only has Jesus, his Anointed one, been chosen as the Chief, or High Priest, but the little flock, who follow him in sacrifice now, are called to be joint-heirs with him in the same honor. "If we suffer with him we shall also be glorified together." Jesus alone is the Priest, but when redeemed by his death and associated with him in sacrifice now, and in divine power hereafter, we are counted in with him, and together with him constitute the great Prophet Priest and King promised, to liberate and bless the groaning creation-- the Seed of promise.--Gen. 22:18; 28:14; Gal. 3:29; Acts 3:20-23; Psa. 110:4.
From these considerations it should be plain to all that the real Priest is just as truly a King, in whose hand absolute power is vested. And in looking back to the types or illustrations God has given us, we find just such an illustration in Melchisedec, to whom we are cited as an illustration, both by the Psalmist and by the Apostle Paul (Psa. 110:4; Heb. 5:5,10.), who show that he was a priest upon his [R962 : page 6] throne. Illustrations of the Christ as a Priest are given in the Aaronic Priesthood, where the special features of the redemptive sacrifice are shadowed forth--its perfection, its completeness, its acceptableness, as also the share which the little flock has with him in that sacrifice.
Christ was not constituted a priest of the Aaronic order, that priesthood was only the type or figure. The Aaronic priesthood sprung from the tribe of Levi, while "our Lord (according to the flesh) sprung from the tribe of Judah, of which tribe Moses spake nothing concerning priesthood"; and the members of his body are chiefly chosen from among the Gentiles. As a man, Jesus was not a priest, neither as men are the saints members of the royal priesthood, but as "new creatures" they shall hold and execute their office. Jesus as a "new creature," "partaker of the divine nature" (to which he was begotten at the time of his baptism), was the priest, and as a priest he offered up his perfect human nature an acceptable sacrifice to God. He consecrated or offered himself in sacrifice before he became the priest, but the anointing was necessary to enable him to accomplish the sacrifice as well as to apply its benefits to men. The human nature, when sacrificed, could do nothing more; it must remain a sacrifice forever; but the new nature, fully developed in the resurrection, has "all power in heaven and in earth."--Matt. 28:18.
The new nature (the priest) is not of the Aaronic order, it does not trace its lineage to any human source. This fact is strikingly typified in the priesthood of Melchisedec, whose lineage and death are not recorded. He was a priest without having inherited the office from his father or his mother--thus typifying Christ's priesthood, which came not of the lineage of the flesh, as did the Aaronic priesthood, which Israel thought to be the real. Neither was Melchisedec's death recorded, nor a successor named (Heb. 7:3 Diaglott), that thus might be typified the endlessness of Christ's priesthood. In this type the work of sacrifice is not shown, as he represents the Christ glorified and reigning, after the work of sacrifice has been completed, and the divine nature fully perfected.
"Wherefore he [Christ] is able to save them to the uttermost, that come unto God by him, seeing he ever liveth to make intercession for them." "For such a High Priest became us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and made higher than the heavens" [lifted higher than the highest--to the divine nature]. (Heb. 7:25,26.) And this blessed assurance of such a priest, so mighty to save, is confirmed unto us by the oath of Jehovah. (Heb. 7:21; Psa. 110:4.) What strong consolation, then, may those have, who have fled to Jehovah's Anointed for refuge: "Jehovah has sworn, and will not repent. Thou art a priest forever after the order of (or typified by) Melchisedec." What believer, then, may not read his title clear to the promised restitution? and what justified one who has offered himself as a living sacrifice may not read his title clear to joint-heirship with the Head in that glorious anointed body. He is authorized and is able to save completely all that come unto God by him--of whatever plane, he can deliver them to perfection.
"Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus...for we have become associates of the Anointed, if indeed we hold fast the beginning of our confidence, firm to the end."--Heb. 3:1,14--Diaglott.
We conclude, then, that while the Aaronic priesthood furnishes typical illustrations of the sacrifices and sufferings of Christ and the blessings to follow, yet it did not completely illustrate the glorious, everlasting and unchangeable character of his priesthood during the Millennial age; and for this cause Melchisedec was presented as a type, that thus might be shown his glorious office of priest and king --a priest upon his throne. Here, too, the body of Christ is no longer shown as separate individuals, but as one, complete. In the work of sacrifice we have seen the head or chief priest and the under priests more or less separately sacrificing, as represented in Aaron and the under priests; but in the future glory all will unitedly share as represented in Melchisedec alone.
MADE LIKE UNTO HIS BRETHREN. NO. 2.
In all things it behooved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God-- to make reconciliation for the sins of the people." --Heb. 2:17.
In our previous paper (in July TOWER) under this caption we showed, we trust conclusively, that this passage of Scripture in no way signifies that our Lord was a sinner in any sense or in any degree, --neither the vilest of the vile, nor vile in the least degree, but that, as emphatically stated in Scriptures, he was holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners. Now, we hope to show clearly in this paper what the above and kindred passages do teach.
Who are the "brethren" whom he was "like unto." Surely the Sodomites and antediluvians are not the "brethren" referred to; so he was not like unto them, and was not tempted like as they were. Nor are sinners of any age, of these "brethren" like unto whom our Lord was; nor was he tempted like unto any or all sinners. Our Lord himself tells us who are his brethren saying "Whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother and sister and mother." No sinner can measure up to this requirement; only the saints can fill the measure, and they, only by having their sins passed over, covered by Christ's meritorious sacrifice, and having their motives accepted now, through Christ, as instead of their actual works. Only these, in whom the righteousness of the law is reckoned as fulfilled through Christ--who walk not after the flesh, but after the spirit, fully consecrated to God, are the brethren of Christ, brethren, too, whom he declares he is not ashamed to own, --brethren of holy desires, justified and sanctified.
Like unto these our Lord was, and like unto these he was tempted i.e., tested, tried, and proved obedient to his covenant of consecration.
He was not tempted with the depraved tastes and desires of a drunkard or dissolute person, nor with the besetments and frivolities of present day "society," nor with wealth, nor with the perplexing annoyances of a parent, nor in a thousand other ways that men and women are perplexed and annoyed; but he was tempted or tested in all points like as we, the consecrated, are tested. Thus: We as followers in his footsteps find three points from which our covenant of self-sacrifice is tested--the world, the flesh and the devil --and so did our Lord.
"The world" tests us by presenting opportunities for the use of our faculties and talents which are good, and right, sometimes benevolent and grand, and often more in sympathy with our human wisdom and tastes than God's plan which we have covenanted to follow. It is not only difficult to ignore and overcome the thousands of besetments from this source, but the greater the talents and the more nearly perfect the individual, the severer the test; because the clearer the head, the better and more benevolent the plans conceived of; and the greater the ability for executing those plans, the more difficult it will be to set them utterly aside and act merely as the tool of another--God's tool.
"The flesh," or earthly desires, here comes in--not in us "his brethren" desires to do evil of any sort (for none of "his brethren" have pleasure in sin,) [R964 : page 6] but desires to do good of an earthly sort, congenial to the laudable tastes and ambitions of perfect men and women, to use time and talent in such a way as would afford pleasure and comfort and worldly approval and praise, rather than in a way to cost sacrifice of worldly praise and ease and comfort, in being "crucified to the world," its aims and rewards.
"The devil" (we use this word devil to represent not only the being called Satan but evil influences started originally by his temptation in Eden,) takes advantage of the attractions of earthly things for our (consecrated) flesh and uses his influence against us powerfully. He operates through various agencies, and sometimes in opposite directions, to hinder the consecrated; and he is permitted to do so, to test those running for the prize and to make manifest the "overcomers"--the body of Christ. He rules the world in general, but not the "brethren." These he recognizes as opponents, whom he would deceive, ensnare, and hinder in their race, and he will succeed in doing so with all except a little flock, the "brethren" who, like their Lord, and by his aid, will overcome.
To deceive the consecrated, he must counterfeit the true consecration, and get them to feel satisfied by some outward forms and ceremonies, united to benevolent worldliness, which will gratify the flesh instead of crucifying it. How skillfully the adversary has operated to carry out this plan, we all know. Great systems, each claiming to be the church--yet composed almost entirely of the unconsecrated, and in great part of unbelievers, full of the spirit--the plans, ideas and dispositions --of the world, full of pride and very unchristlike, have been organized to suit every shade and degree of spiritual derangement, each posing before the world as "the little flock" of overcomers, crucified with Christ. Those only who are free from these systems, standing fast in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made them free, can see the hollowness and falsity of such claims. These can see that not one of these human systems is "the church of the first born ones whose names are written in heaven," though some of the members of that true church are bound in those systems. Such can see, too, the absurdity of supposing that all of these various "bodies", with their various heads, and various and contradictory faiths and baptisms, can be the one body whose only head or Lord is Christ, whose only faith is that once delivered to the saints--the Bible --whose baptism is into Christ and into his death.
But many are deceived by these immense sectarian systems which Satan, by operating in harmony with the spirit of the world and the flesh, has succeeded in getting many of the truly consecrated to organize and uphold. Such feel continually opposed to the methods of these systems, and realize that their spiritual natures are not fed and are not growing, and see that the descriptions of his church given by its Head does not fit these systems, when he declared it would be a "little flock," despised and rejected by the world, reviled because of its faithfulness to his word. But they are overawed by the greatness of their systems, and by the influence of the world, and by their respect for the word of men, and by the honor they have one of another, so that they find it impossible to accept of God's Word only, and His approval only, and of a membership only in the church written in heaven, but ignored and despised on earth.
Such are the temptations, tests, or besetments of the "brethren;" and the Master was tempted or beset or tested by the same. If the world offers opportunity to us for doing good with our limited talents, energies and ambitions, and our known likelihood to miscalculate, etc., what must have been the temptation to the perfect "man Christ Jesus" with sound judgment as to what would be practicable and what he could accomplish in the way of moral, social and political reforms for the world. Thus his flesh (holy, harmless and undefiled) would powerfully draw him toward that course which would be in harmony with its judgment and plan of well-doing, and draw away from the total surrender of those plans, talents and powers, which the Father's Word mapped out. [Our Lord evidently was guided as to the Father's will concerning him and his work on earth by the prophetic Scriptures and the Mosaic types--just as we are, though seen by him with a clearer, a perfect mental vision, instead of which we, his "brethren," have his and the apostles words and examples to aid us.]
Our Lord also was tested and proved by religious systems--"like as we are." Judaism, with its various sects, Pharisees, Sadducees, etc., was in the very zenith of its glory as a religious system. Its laws had been made doubly strict, its votaries fasted two days in the week, made long prayers, and gave much alms to the poor. As a religious system it was very zealous, compassing sea and land in missionary efforts (Matt. 23:15.) and not without success, for the whole civilized world was beginning to respect it; and to its holy feasts came yearly devout men out of every nation (Acts 2:9) --Parthians, Medes, Elamites, dwellers in Mesopotamia, Cappadocia, Pontus, Asia, Phrygia, Pamphylia, Egypt, Lybia, Cyrene, Rome, Crete, and Arabia. It was gaining favor with men of influence in the world, who not infrequently built and donated synagogues for divine worship and even the ungodly king Herod had built them a Temple which in magnificence far surpassed that of Solomon. Here, then, stood a great temptation: none could see more clearly than our Lord how easily, with his perfect power, he could have associated himself with the great ones of that system, soon have made himself their leader, and then have spread the influence of that religious empire over the world, gradually bringing about social and political reforms and greatly blessing the world. How thorough a crucifixion of the flesh it implied when he deliberately set aside all these positive, grand opportunities of doing good, to accept of another, the Father's plan, the full out-working of which he evidently could not at first see. But our Lord knew that the way it was written in the Law and the prophets, was the way God had designed the work of blessing the world should be accomplished, and that if he would be acceptable with the Father as the one who was to do the blessing, he must follow the Father's plan, and fulfill [R964 : page 7] all that was written in the Law and the prophets concerning the Anointed. He knew that though it was written that Messiah should be great, and reign, and bless, it was also written, that first, he must be despised and rejected by those who could appreciate neither the Father's plan nor his obedience to that plan, and that he must die to redeem men before he could have the right to permanently bless them. (Isa. 53.) And he bowed to the plan of Jehovah; crucifying his own gracious plans he meekly obeyed, even unto death--even the death of the cross.
Here, then, we recognize the Lord's "brethren"--those who seek, love, and do the will of the Father in heaven, in preference to their own. Here we see how he was tested in all points like as we are, yet without yielding--without sin. Our Lord, holy, harmless, undefiled, was like unto these, his justified, sanctified "brethren," who in him and through him are also recognized by the Father as holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners.
That this is the correct understanding of the Apostle's words is proved by the verses preceding the text we are examining: (Heb. 2:11-13.) "For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one, for which cause he is not ashamed to call THEM brethren: Saying [as it was prophetically written], "I will declare thy name unto my brethren; in the midst of the church [the "little flock"] will I sing praise unto thee." And again "I [the entire head and body--one] will put my trust in him." And again, Behold, I and the children which God hath given me.
So, then, argues the apostle, our Lord's mission into the world was to save those whom God foresaw would accept of his favor, and become children of God. These were all under sentence of death, and therefore Christ became a man, partook of flesh and blood (human nature). But he partook not of its depravity and imperfections. To have done so would have frustrated the design of his coming; for the Apostle declares that he partook of our human nature in order that by his DEATH he might break the power (authority or control) of death and release these foreseen children of God and bring them into life, that through these, in turn, in the coming age, all might be blessed.
Yes, dear "brethren," our Head, our Lord, was perfect as a man and gave a perfect sacrifice, without spot or blemish, for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world; and as our blemishes were laid upon him and he bore our sins in his own body on the tree, so his perfections were imputed to us so that we bear his righteousness. He, the holy, the pure one, was made a sin offering on our behalf, in order that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. 2 Cor. 5:21, Diaglott.
For such an high priest, holy, harmless, separate from sinners, became us [suited us, was necessary for us]. He was tempted in all points like as WE ARE, and is able to sympathize with and assist us in our efforts to be dead to every worldly ambition, and alive only to the will of God. Wherefore, let us go to him in confidence and trust his every direction as to every step of the way; for he will not suffer [permit] us to be tempted above that we are able to withstand, but will provide a way of escape. (1 Cor. 10:13.) Trust him, then, unflinchingly, confidently, and do your part as far as you are able, assured that you shall not be tried further.
"Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers [with Christ Jesus] of the heavenly calling, consider [think of, notice carefully] the Apostle and High Priest, of our profession, Christ Jesus, who was faithful." [R965 : page 7] (Heb. 3:1-2.) Consider the necessity of his being tested before being so highly exalted, and you will not wonder that you as partakers of the same "high," "heavenly calling" should be severely tried to prove faithfulness to God's word and plan, that you may be worthy to share in his glory. Consider that though your Master was perfect before he became a man, and perfect as a man, yet before being so highly exalted as he now is, it was proper that he should be tested to perfection, to the last degree (Heb. 2:10); that when he shall command obedience of all to Jehovah, it will not be possible for him to demand more of any, than he would and did himself yield to the Father. Thus the already perfect, sinless, holy, "man Christ Jesus" was proved worthy of, or perfected for, the divine nature and great exaltation, upon which he entered fully at his resurrection.
Rejoice, "holy brethren:" our Lord's obedience and his aid provided us, insures our victory, if like Paul we "press along the line [marked out by our Head and Fore-runner] toward the prize of our high-calling which is of God, through Christ Jesus our Lord." He was tempted like as we are, and will succor us, and is not ashamed to call us "brethren."
IS LIFE A GIFT OR A PURCHASE?
A Brother writing us asks: If Christ Jesus our Lord, as our ransom or substitute, bought us and all our rights to life, how shall we understand the Scriptural statement that "The gift of God is eternal life?" If a purchase for us by Jesus, how can it be a gift of God? or vice versa, If a gift of God, how can we say that Jesus purchased it for us?
We reply: It is just such short sighted reasoning that is causing the general sectarian confusion on all Bible doctrines --the setting of one Bible doctrine against another, instead of seeking to see in what way they harmonize. Now, the brother cannot question that the Bible does teach clearly that the wages of man's sin was death, and that it passed upon all, and that Christ DIED for our sins, and hence paid our penalty. Nor, can he contradict the Lord when he says that He came into the world that he might give his life a ransom (a price) for many lives (Matt. 20:28); nor the apostle Paul when he says that Christ Jesus gave himself a ransom [Greek, a corresponding price] for all (1 Tim. 2:6), nor Peter when he says that Christ purchased us with his own precious blood. (Acts 20:28; 1 Pet. 1:18,19.) But our brother seems to think that all these very exact statements and many more, as well as all the typical sacrifices of the Jewish Age, are all opposed, contradicted and upset by the one text he quotes, that "the gift of God is eternal life."
Our brother errs in this; for these are not contradictory: he has merely misquoted the last text and omitted the part which shows the harmony between this and the others which he thought it contradicted. Now see: "The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through JESUS CHRIST OUR LORD."
God has no gifts for sinners, but stands pledged to pay to such, the wages of sin, which is death. Our Lord Jesus, by becoming our substitute, ransomed us from the wages of original sin, and brought us into that harmony where we could receive from God, not the wages of Adam's sin, but the gift of everlasting life. So far as men are concerned, the gift of life and forgiveness of sins is as directly of the Father as though our Lord had not redeemed us. But in order that we may have full confidence in our heavenly Father, he explains to us the process and philosophy of the redemptive plan, by which he remains just and maintains his just laws, which condemn sinners to death, and yet has provided a way for justifying the sinner, releasing him from the just penalty and granting him life--through Jesus Christ, our Lord.
Notice some other statements of this same Apostle in this same epistle, regarding other favors of God conveyed to the sinner through his Redeemer, and in no other way. For instance:--
Desponding Christians do not make successful workers or valiant soldiers. "Feeble-Hearts," and "Ready-to-Halts," and "Little-Faiths" win no battles, and wear no crowns. They are so occupied with themselves, with their own experiences their own evidences, their changing moods and feelings, that they have no time for manly, noble service. They are so busy in trying to perform "acts of faith"; and having performed them, they are so intent upon analyzing them, in order to ascertain whether they be all of the exact quality or quantity which will recommend them to God, that they leave no space for "joy in blessing," and no room for the free, large-hearted labor which such joy cannot fail to lead to. Tossed up and down on the waves of unbelief and fear, they have no heart to work. Shutting their eyes against the light, they grope their way uncertainly, and cannot run the race. Afraid to believe, but not afraid to doubt; afraid to trust, but not afraid to distrust; doubting themselves, and making that a reason for doubting God; putting away peace, and giving full scope to gloom; refusing light, but letting darkness reign within them; they are not in a condition to do hard work --nay, to do any work at all. Strength comes from joy, and of that joy they have none. They refuse both food and medicine, and they become lean and sickly. They are fitter for the hospital than for the battle-field. They seem, too, to get more and more emaciated, though the food provided is abundant. Laboring under what physicians call atrophy, the more they eat the less they seem to be fed.--Bonar.
THE MORNING COMETH.
It is a self-evident truth that the age of doctrinal uniformity has gone past; equally obvious that no doctrinal platform whatsoever, however comprehensive and liberal, can serve as the gathering-place of deep, profound, and Christ-like thinkers. This raises an issue at once threatening evil and disorder, and yet prophetic of good and harmony. The only truth capable of bringing about a reconciliation of divergent opinions, or which will help to spread genuine charity, is that there is a church forming within all churches, and in the minds of all true and noble thinkers, disclosing to all true minds higher views of truth than the sects can any of them hold, and imparting to all intellects that turn to the Lord, a life which the sects as such cannot give; that the Lord Jesus Christ is coming nearer and nearer in spirit, and that this energy is creating a new thought, and an entirely new affection among men; that this spirit is not evolving a new sect or ecclesiasticism to which men point and say, Lo! here, or Lo! there; it is a quickened spirit from the Lord, and out of that spirit a new theology will arise, more reverent, more heavenly and practical, before which the old scragged dogmas will melt off and fall away.--Progressionist.
THE LAMB OF GOD APPROVED FOR SACRIFICE.
"We are reminded that he is THE SPOTLESS LAMB--a lamb without blemish and without spot. Now I need not remind you who are at all familiar with the Old Testament history, how important it was that the lamb that was offered up should be without blemish. So vital was this, that it was required that the priest who was appointed for that purpose should carefully inspect the victim that had been selected, to be sure that there was no blemish in it, and then seal it with the Temple seal, in token that it was fit for sacrifice and for food; and now we find our Lord Jesus Christ taking up the thought, and saying, "Labor not for the meat that perisheth, but for that meat that endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of man shall give unto you; for him hath God the Father sealed." On the banks of the Jordan, the heavens opened, and the Spirit descended like a dove, and rested upon him, and God spoke saying, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased."--A. J. Gordon.
THE OLD Pharisees rejected Jesus because He taught men that God's plans of grace were wider than they had believed them to be. The Gentiles, the outcasts, the whole world of humanity, was included in them. The Pharisees believed that the Jews, and especially their own sect, had a monopoly of the grace of God. It is strange how this old spirit of human nature comes out in our day. Many in the church seem to be just as averse to any view of the gospel which widens its scope beyond the narrow lines in which they have conceived of it. The idea that there can be any blessing in it for the countless masses of the dead who passed out of life before Christ came, or who have since died with no knowledge of Him, is something they cannot admit. Nor have they an ear for any interpretations of Scripture which do not pass current in their sect, or which bring within the scope of God's love and blessing those whom they have always regarded as outside of His covenant. Men love to think that they belong to that favored class who have a monopoly of both the truth and the grace of God.--Words of Reconciliation.
BABYLON'S NEW SUBURBS. THE PUBLIC SCHOOLS.
NEWFOUNDLAND has adopted the system urged by Catholics in this country and divided its school money among the religious denominations in proportion to their numbers. The total sum is $96,065. Of this, again divided, the church of England's share will be $32,138, the Methodists' $24,488, while something over $1,000 goes to other sects, the Baptists getting the least, their share being only $29.
"K. OF L." BREAKING UP. POWDERLY'S REPLY TO THE ASSERTION.
We are breaking up as the plowman breaks up the soil for the sowing of new seed; we are breaking up old traditions; we are breaking up hereditary rights and planting everywhere the seed of universal rights; we are breaking up the idea that money makes the man and not moral worth; we are breaking up the idea that might makes right; we are breaking up the idea that legislation is alone for the rich; we are breaking up the idea that Congress of the United States must be run by millionaires for the benefit of millionaires; we are breaking up the idea that a few men may hold millions of acres of untilled land while other men starve for want of one acre; we are breaking up the practice of putting the labor of criminals into competition with honest labor and starving it to death; we are breaking up the practice of importing ignorance bred of monarchy and dynamite, in order to depreciate intelligent skilled labor at home; we are breaking up the practice of employing the little children in factories, thus breeding a race deformed, ignorant, and profligate; we are breaking up the idea that a man who works with his hands has need neither of education nor of civilizing refinements; we are breaking up the idea that the accident of sex puts one-half of the human race beyond the pale of Constitutional rights; we are breaking up the practice of paying woman one-third the wages paid man, simply because she is a woman; we are breaking up the idea that a man may debauch an infant girl and shield himself from the penalty behind a law which he himself has made; we are breaking up ignorance, intemperance, crime and oppression of whatever character and wherever found. Yes, the Knights of Labor are breaking up, and they will continue their appointed works of breaking up until universal rights shall prevail; and while they may not bring in the Millennium they will do their part in the evolution of moral forces that are working for the emancipation of the race.--T. V. Powderly.
Bradford Co., Pa.
DEAR. BRO. RUSSELL:--MILLENNIAL DAWN received, many thanks. If you can find time would very much like an answer to the following question.
Could any one who had not the Holy Spirit take your book and read it and understand it? Would any one care for those things if they did not have the Spirit? You think, do you not, that any one who desires to do the will of the Father no matter what it may cost, is begotten of the Spirit? that this mind to do his will is the DIVINE MIND and is the "earnest of our inheritance". If you can get time please answer.
Should I sacrifice everything--all the innocent pleasures of my home life, or could I enjoy such things as come to me which do not seem to be wrong and in which I may be happy. I wish to do the Lord's will in all things, so far as it is made known to me.
Do you think I can say that God is revealing his will, his plan, through your works? or if I had his Spirit should I be able to take up the Bible and understand it all?
MRS. W. L. M__________.
[DEAR SISTER:--It is my judgment that the evidences you mention are sufficient to identify you with the spiritual children of God. If you appreciate those things which are above, so that your affections are centered on the heavenly things in preference to the earthly, and to such an extent as to lead you to sacrifice earthly things, then I would judge that you are not of the earthly class, but that you are begotten to a higher nature through the word of divine truth.
Now keep your eye of faith fixed on the prize of your high calling which is of God through Christ, and carry out your consecration faithfully and thus make your election sure.
If you were on the natural (human) plane, you might still take pleasure and delight in learning God's great plan as all the world shall, by and by. But your hopes, ambitions and aspirations would still be earthly. The prospect of the earthly glory would be your delight, although aware of the higher spiritual glory.
Not all of those begotten of the Spirit are able to understand the Scriptures without assistance, but such can do so by assistance which others cannot accept of. God has always raised up some in the church, in every age, to be teachers and helpers of others, [R967 : page 8] to bring forth from his storehouse of truth "meat in due season," "things new and old." Call to mind an article in the TOWER of March, '85, "If the whole body were an eye." Every member of the body of Christ has not the same office of service, but every member has some ministry (service) to perform for the benefit of other members.
It is not wrong but right to examine yourself in the light of God's Word to determine what part you are to take in his plan. The test as to pleasures is not as you suppose; if entirely crucified the doing of the will of God will afford you greatest pleasure. The saints are never miserable though others would often be if in their places without their hopes and aspirations. It is a part of God's will that we do a reasonable share to make others happy, only, moderation must govern and in this as in all things we must seek to honor our Master and his principles, while not neglecting other duties and privileges.
Janesville, Wis., May 7, 1887.
TOWER PUB. CO., GENTLEMEN:--I have finished reading "M. DAWN," Vol. I.
Evidently this is a work of too great importance to be left incomplete. It is also one of such interest to those who are interested, that (speaking as one) we would prefer the ideas to be included in volume II. in a rough dress and without the polish of the well rounded sentences which characterize Vol. I. rather than wait a single day longer than is absolutely necessary--and trust to time and opportunity for the author to do the polishing on a second or subsequent edition.
[We are glad to learn through this and sother means that the truth is finding the truth-hungry and causing their hearts to rejoice in hope of the glorious outcome of the great divine plan of the ages. Vol. II. of MILLENNIAL DAWN will be pushed as rapidly as limited opportunities will permit. We hope to have it out early in 1888. Meantime let a thorough acquaintance with the plan of God and its Bible evidences prepare the way for the stronger meat of Vol. II. which will further establish the truth upon a chronological basis, showing how the great clock of the ages marks with wonderful precision the exact time for every advance step in the great plan of the ages.--EDITOR.]
Moultrie Co., S.C.
MY DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--Having spent part of the winter and the early spring in the city of Wilmington and three or four counties in N.C. in preaching the grand and glorious truths set forth in the (incomparable) MILLENNIAL DAWN, I am now here staying with one of my sons, where I expect to remain the balance of the summer. The greatest opposition I meet with in proclaiming these truths is from Second Advent preachers. O how strange! I am the first man that ever preached Second Advent doctrines in S. Carolina, and now because I have taken, as I conscientiously believe, another step in advance, I am branded the second time as a heretic. Well, be it so. The good Lord be praised. Wherever I go the people receive me and these truths with gladness. If I live until next September, I will be 78 years old; so you see what I do must be done quickly. Please send me here some reading matter for distribution. If I had a dollar in the world, I would send it to you. May a holy God bless you and your dear wife in the great work you have undertaken. I am yours in giving all for Jesus and his glory.
PEYTON G. BOWMAN.
[DEAR BROTHER B.:--I well remember hearing you speak as a champion of Second Adventism in Philadelphia, Pa., about twelve years ago. You had come among them from the Baptists, I think. I then thought you honest, and longed to have you see "the way of God more perfectly" and afterward I sent sample TOWERS to your address. I am glad to note your present clearness and zeal. Surely our Lord's words are fulfilled to each and all: --"If any man will do my Father's will, he shall know of the doctrine."
Though old, you have a strong constitution Brother, and the Master is able to sustain it in his service. I therefore suggest to you the sale of paper bound DAWNS throughout southern cities and towns. The "expense allowance" will pay your way, and as one brother writes, so you can say to yourself: "If I can sell 100 books per week that is preaching 16 sermons to 100 people counting each chapter a sermon." May the Lord richly bless and use you in the present "harvest" work, is my prayer.--ED.]
A BAPTIST Brother writes:--
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--Enclosed is one dollar for TOWER for this year and please send me two copies of M. DAWN, paper covers. There are some excellent things in DAWN, but to my mind some chaff as well as wheat.
I appreciate your writings. I am pastor of a Baptist church. You do not quite understand the Baptist freedom and privilege. I preach the truths your paper contains, and am not hindered from doing so by my congregation, and I am under no other earthly jurisdiction. You seem to think, a Baptist church is a monarchy. It is not so. Yours truly,
[DEAR BROTHER:--We greet you, glad indeed to learn of your liberty. I am well aware that Baptist churches are independent, in the sense of not being under the control of Conferences and Presbyteries. I know, too, that once they occupied the same position that we hold regarding the division of God's people into sects by names and formulated creeds outside the Bible, and that the name "Baptist" was attached to them slurringly by their enemies, while they, as we do now, simply called themselves Christians.
But, dear Brother, I also know that today the liberty of Baptists is in name mainly; for they follow closely the practices of other sects except in the matter of immersion. If you have come across a company of people among them, who will "endure sound doctrine," and to whom you do not shun "to declare the whole counsel of God," you have certainly come across a rarity, or else have been a very faithful and successful pastor whose flock is highly favored. What a power such a church should be--full of zeal and of the spirit of truth.
If such is your church, it is a proper Christian, earthly organization, but no more. It is still true, that the real church, the body of Christ, is only that whose names are written in heaven, and whose only name is Christian. Of this however be assured, that unless your congregation consists of overcoming saints only, there will ere long come divisions produced by your faithful presentation of the truth, because we are in the "harvest," the separating time. And the more advanced your teachings, and your people, the sooner will come the separation by the sickle of truth. Thrust in the sickle for the harvest is come.
As for not seeing eye to eye with the Editor of the TOWER on every point, I would say: We do not limit our recognition of the Brotherhood thus. We recognize every believer in the ransom living a moral life, as a justified child of God: and every such one who went further and in the acceptable time presented himself a sacrifice and was baptized into the body of Christ by being baptized into his death, we recognize as a fellow-member and joint-heir in "the body of Christ"--the church, the little flock. As such fellow-members we are all growing in grace and knowledge, building one another up continually. But we believe the time is near, if not present, when all such may and should see eye to eye--for the set time to favor Zion has come. The thought of some that "of course" we cannot see alike and have unmixed truth, is often a fruitful cause of stumbling over plain clear truths. --EDITOR.]
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