page 289
October 15th
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

SEMI-MONTHLY.


VOL. XXI.OCTOBER 1, 1900.No. 19.


CONTENTS.

Views From the Watch Tower291
The Bible Triumphant291
Protestantism in Japan293
"Methodism's Big Flock"294
Zionism Prospering Slowly295
Are the Heathen Saved or Lost?295
An Interesting Question297
Divine Care For the Lost298
The Prodigal's Return300
Encouraging Words From Faithful Workers303
Items: Tower Subscriptions, etc290

I will stand upon my watch, and set my foot upon the Tower, and will watch to see what He shall say unto me, and what answer I shall make to them that oppose me. Hab. 2:1

Upon the earth distress of nations with perplexity: the sea and the waves (the restless, discontented) roaring: men's hearts failing them for fear and for looking forward to the things coming upon the earth (society): for the powers of the heavens (ecclestiasticism) shall be shaken. . . .When ye see these things come to pass, then know that the Kingdom of God is nigh at hand. Look up, lift up your heads, rejoice, for your redemption draweth nigh. -- Luke 21:25-28, 32.

page 290

THIS JOURNAL AND ITS MISSION.

THIS journal is set for the defence of the only true foundation of the Christian's hope now being so generally repudiated,--Redemption through the precious blood of "the man Christ Jesus who gave himself a ransom [a corresponding price, a substitute] for all." (1 Pet. 1:19; 1 Tim. 2:6.) Building up on this sure foundation the gold, silver and precious stones (1 Cor. 3:11-15; 2 Pet. 1:5-11) of the Word of God, its further mission is to--"Make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery which...has been hid in God,...to the intent that now might be made known by the Church the manifold wisdom of God"--"which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed."--Eph. 3:5-9,10.

It stands free from all parties, sects and creeds of men, while it seeks more and more to bring its every utterance into fullest subjection to the will of God in Christ, as expressed in the Holy Scriptures. It is thus free to declare boldly whatsoever the Lord hath spoken;--according to the divine wisdom granted unto us, to understand. Its attitude is not dogmatical, but confident; for we know whereof we affirm, treading with implicit faith upon the sure promises of God. It is held as a trust, to be used only in his service; hence our decisions relative to what may and what may not appear in its columns must be according to our judgment of his good pleasure, the teaching of his Word, for the upbuilding of his people in grace and knowledge. And we not only invite but urge our readers to prove all its utterances by the infallible Word to which reference is constantly made, to facilitate such testing.

TO US THE SCRIPTURES CLEARLY TEACH

That the Church is "the Temple of the Living God"--peculiarly "His
workmanship;" that its construction has been in progress throughout the
Gospel age--ever since Christ became the world's Redeemer and
the chief corner stone of this Temple, through which, when finished,
God's blessings shall come "to all people," and they find access to
him.--1 Cor. 3:16,17; Eph. 2:20-22; Gen. 28:14; Gal. 3:29.
That meantime the chiseling, shaping and polishing, of consecrated believers
in Christ's atonement for sin, progresses; and when the last of these
"living stones," "elect and precious," shall have been made ready,
the great Master Workman will bring all together in the First Resurrection;
and the Temple shall be filled with his glory, and be the meeting
place between God and men throughout the Millennium.--Rev. 15:5-8.
That the Basis of Hope, for the Church and the World, lies in the fact that
"Jesus Christ, by the grace of God, tasted death for man," "a ransom
for all," and will be "the true light which lighteth
"in due time."--Heb. 2:9; John 1:9; 1 Tim. 2:5,6.
That the Hope of the Church is that she may be like her Lord, "see him
as he is," be "partaker of the divine nature," and share his glory as
his joint-heir.--1 John 3:2; John 17:24; Rom. 8:17; 2 Pet. 1:4.
That the present mission of the Church is the perfecting of the saints for
the future work of service; to develop in herself every grace; to be God's
witness to the world; and to prepare to be the kings and priests of
the next age.--Eph. 4:12; Matt. 24:14; Rev. 1:6; 20:6.
That the hope for the World lies in the blessings of knowledge and opportunity
to be brought to by Christ's Millennial Kingdom--the restitution
of all that was lost in Adam, to all the willing and obedient, at the
hands of their Redeemer and his glorified Church.--Acts 3:19-21; Isa. 35.
CHARLES T. RUSSELL, Editor.




SUBSCRIPTIONS AND BUSINESS COMMUNICATIONS
--ADDRESS TO--
WATCH TOWER BIBLE & TRACT SOCIETY,
"BIBLE HOUSE," 610, 612, 614 ARCH ST., ALLEGHENY, PA., U.S.A.

SUBSCRIPTION PRICE, $1.00 A YEAR IN ADVANCE.
MONEY MAY BE SENT BY EXPRESS, N.Y. DRAFT, MONEY ORDER, OR REGISTERED.
FROM FOREIGN COUNTRIES BY FOREIGN MONEY ORDERS, ONLY. SPECIAL
TERMS TO THE LORD'S POOR, AS FOLLOWS:--

Those of the interested who, by reason of old age, or other infirmity or adversity, are unable to pay for the TOWER will be supplied FREE, if they send a Postal Card each December, stating their case and requesting the paper. We are not only willing, but anxious, that all such be on our list continually.



BRITISH BRANCH NO. 131 GIPSY LANE, FOREST GATE, LONDON EAST, ENGLAND.



[R2750 : page 290]

A WORD ABOUT CREDITS.

We are quite willing to give reasonable credits on our own publications, but cannot do this on other books--Bibles, etc. Please therefore do not order the latter until you can send the money. We supply Bibles at cost, merely for your accommodation, and we must pay cash to secure them at low rates.


page 290

WATCH TOWER SUBSCRIPTIONS FOR FRIENDS.

Some time since we made the proposal that we would accept (from any one already on our list) one dollar for four six months' subscriptions to our journal--or more at the same rate. The plan met with favor and many sent in the names of friends --some of whom, we trust, are permanently interested. The offer is continued. These trial subscriptions may begin any quarter. Our experience shows that reading is almost indispensable to a clear knowledge of present truth; and that after reading MILLENNIAL DAWN the regular visits of the WATCH TOWER are necessary to full development. The circulation of WATCH TOWER literature is one way in which the Bride makes herself ready. Those who assist in the circulating have no mean share in this work.


NAMES OF WATCH TOWER POOR LIST.

While we are not only willing but anxious to have on our lists the names of all interested in present truth, we nevertheless require that the request come direct from the person desiring the WATCH TOWER; and that the request be repeated each December.

ONE EXCEPTION TO THIS RULE.

One exception would be that any who are contributors to the Tract Fund may send in such names of interested poor brethren, authorizing us to charge up the subscriptions as in offset to their donations.



[R2702 : page 291]

VIEWS FROM THE WATCH TOWER.


THE BIBLE TRIUMPHANT.


EVIDENCES corroborative of the Bible's truthfulness accumulate. Genesis notes Nimrod as the founder of the Chaldee or Babylonian empire before Abraham's day. (Gen. 10:8-12.) These and other features of the narrative have been doubted and considered mythical; but explorations in Babylonia seem to confirm the Bible record at every point.

We have already mentioned the exploration of the ruins of ancient Nippur, once the royal capital, commenced some years ago by the representatives of the University of Pennsylvania, U.S.A. The past year, it seems, has been a very fruitful one, the ruins yielding to the searchers vast literary treasures,--the once National Library of Chaldea. The Biblia gives the following interesting description of the find:--

"The most surprising feature of the discovery is that the person who collected the tablets and placed them originally in the pot was an old priest, who lived previous to and during the time of Belshazzar, and who was evidently a scientist of no mean discrimination. The pot was, indeed, his archaeological museum, not portentous in size, but the first museum known to man, and therefore more important for the bearing it has on the history of civilization than any of the great museums in existence to-day. Among the articles found in it were the following tablets:

"1. One of Sargon, which gives his titles. This particular piece of baked clay may give information concerning the doings of centuries. It was the custom in those days for each king to inscribe a memorial tablet not only with an account of his victories, but with his pedigree, showing where he was born, who were his ancestors, the god he worshiped, and, in fact, anything else that might serve to impress posterity with his personal glory. These tablets, therefore, reveal the names and origin of many of the writer's contemporaries, predecessors, and, as the accounts of the successive kings dovetail into one another, they will all in the end constitute an unbroken history of this early civilization. There are, however, comparatively few of these tablets yet found which [R2703 : page 291] date so far back as 3800 B.C., hence the vast importance of this tablet.

"2. A tablet written in the reign of Ur Gur. This king is famous for building and remodeling the old temple of Ekur, dedicated to the god Bel. This stone tablet states specifically that he rebuilt the temple wall, which had originally been erected by Narim Sin. He also erected many other buildings in Nippur.

"3. A tablet, excellently preserved, stating the great hall of the temple was called Emakh. It also stated, to Professor Hilprecht's great amazement, that there were forty different shrines in Nippur, each of which was dedicated to a distinct god. This important fact will amaze Babylonian scholars, because it has hitherto been supposed that there was but one god, i.e. Bel, worshiped in Nippur.

"4. A text inscribed by Ashur-etil-ilane, a king who ruled a short time over Assyria.

"5. An important text of Assyria's last king, Sin-shar-ishkun.

"Near the spot where Professor Hilprecht found this wonderful little museum there was picked up a peculiarly shaped barrel cylinder recording King Samsu-iluna's restoration of part of the Temple of Bel. This was about 2000 B.C. Near by lay a curious truncated barrel cylinder marked with the name of Assur-bani-pal, a king whose name is well known to the explorers. In addition to these, two hundred Hebrew bowls, excellently preserved and some of them quite large, were unearthed in another part of the mounds. But these were quite modern, having been left by the Jews who lived on the mounds of Nippur as late as 700 A.D.

"No one can read an account of the work of Professor Hilprecht without being struck by the fact that the people of 7,000 years ago lived very much as we do to-day. There was the same appreciation of literature and art, as shown in the cuneiform scripts and in their sculpture. Wealthy people lived in the cities and employed attorneys to manage their tenantry who [R2703 : page 292] lived in the country on farms. When they bought jewelry a written guaranty went with it. In the archive room of Murashu Sons, attorneys of ancient Nippur, there was found a tablet guaranteeing that an emerald set in a ring would not fall out for twenty years. Houses were built on an extensive, not to say modern, plan, and were furnished more or less magnificently, as evidenced in the palace mentioned above. Fortifications were built, wars were carried on, conquests were made, and heroes were glorified. People, when they died, were not thrown hastily into the earth, but were laid away carefully in clay coffins, which are found to-day still covered with the beautiful blue glaze with which they were decorated by the ancient undertaker. And for the benefit of posterity, science was studied and museums were planned that they might be found in the dawn of the twentieth century, and the history of the race read as a sermon in stones."

Commenting on these discoveries, the London Daily News says:--

"The find has been much more important than could have been anticipated. In the course of three months, no less than 17,200 tablets, covered with cuneiform writings, have been recovered. These are not of the character mentioned in my former notice of the discovery of tablets, namely, the recovery of private business contracts, conveyances, letters, and the like, but bear more resemblance to the contents of an ordinary library. The tablets are historical, philological, and literary. They treat of mythology, of grammar and lexicography, of science, and of mathematics. There is reason to believe that they will for the first time enable the world to form an adequate idea of life in Babylonia such as could be possible only by the discovery of a national library, recording the national progress in literature, science, and thought generally. No document is found in this collection of a later date than 2280 B.C. As this date marks the invasion of the Elamites, the fact adds confirmatory evidence that the library was destroyed during this invasion.

"The unexplored remains of the library are even more extensive than those already examined. The tablets are generally arranged with regularity on clay shelves around the rooms of the library, and Professor Hilprecht estimates that at their present rate of working five more years will be necessary to excavate and examine the contents. He thinks it probable, judging from the contents already found in the rooms excavated, and from various other reasons, that the unexplored part will yield 150,000 tablets to be added to those already discovered. As the library was one of great renown, the chief glory of the temple in early Babylonia, the chief college for instruction in law and religion, which, as in all early systems, were inextricably bound together, and, indeed, in all studies judged worthy of attention, it is evident that no examination of the contents can be too careful. It is, in fact, hardly too much to say that if the unexplored parts should prove as rich in results as that already found, there will be no example in the world's history, not even in Egypt, of so complete a recovery of the records of an ancient civilization....

"In the course of the present excavations a palace belonging to the pre-Sargonic period was uncovered beneath an accumulation of seventy feet of rubbish on the southwestern side of the Shatt-en-Nil, dividing Nippur in two parts. Professor Hilprecht himself, having never been doubtful as to the actual site of the temple library at Nippur since his first visit to Babylonia in 1889, considers the discovery of this large building, with 600 feet frontage, which will probably turn out to be the palace of the early priest-kings of Nippur, as the most important result of this year's campaign. Already the few rooms excavated have given valuable results in the shape of pre-Sargonic tablets, of seal cylinders of the earliest type, and clay figurines of early date and great interest. The palace was very extensive, and at least two stories high....

"Beyond doubt the greatest success of the year is that accomplished by the American expedition. The importance of the discovery of the pre-Sargonic palace and of the library of so famous a temple as that of Nippur was at once recognized. The systematic and thorough examination which it is hoped will be made next year promises to give a full and detailed picture of life in what the author of the Book of Genesis regarded as one of the oldest cities in the world, and one whose origin, even in his time, was attributed to the famous hunter whose name has become mythical. The results of the explorations will probably show that Nippur was as important in the fifth millennium before Christ as it was in the third; that it anticipated the civilization and the period when Babylon took the lead by at least two thousand years; and that at this early period the human race in Babylonia had acquired arts and knowledge which hitherto have only been attributed to a much later period."


***

How does this agree with the claim of Evolutionists that Adam was but one remove from the highest type of monkey, and too ignorant at first to wear clothing? On the contrary, how these evidences of intelligence amongst the ancients corroborate the old Bible, at which "higher criticism," falsely so called, sneers! The Bible's declaration is that the first man was up, high up in intelligence, in the very image of God, and that he fell from that high estate because of sin. The fact is that during the 1656 years to the flood, the fall, the depravity of mankind, was very great; and that in Abraham's day, about 400 years later, the race was still further enervated, through climatic and other influences, as shown by the fact that Arphaxad, born two years after the flood, lived 438 years, while his children, during those four centuries, gradually declined in vitality and years, so that Terah, Abraham's father, died at seventy: and it is not unreasonable to presume that the mental vigor suffered equally with the physical. And yet the Scriptures show us Abraham, every way a noble specimen of humanity: and now ancient Nippur's libraries, then in process of formation, show us that a high degree of intelligence was then prevalent among the sons of Ham, as well as in the family of Shem. [R2703 : page 293]

But we caution all to beware of the dates ascribed to these ancient tablets, cities, etc.; for they are only scientific guesses: and since they are contradictory to Bible chronology, we know that they are unreliable. The worldly-wise, depressing the Bible as unscientific, and relying on their own "findings," endeavor to reconcile such archaeological testimonies with their previous errors instead of with the Bible. And scientists, misled into reckoning on "evolution" lines, have given to human history an age much beyond that declared in God's Word, which we accept as the only authority;--some of them going to more absurd extremes than others.

Blessed is the man who putteth his trust in the Lord and in his Word.

MANNA FOR THE FAMISHING OF INDIA.


"The strange appearance of manna on the stems of the bamboo, was reported last March by the divisional forest officer, Chanda, Central Provinces, and notices of this phenomenon have been published in the local papers. The bamboo forests of Chanda consist of Dendrocalamus strictus, the male bamboo, a bushy plant from twenty to thirty feet in height, and affecting the cooler northerly and westerly slopes of Central and Southern India. This is said to be the first time in the history of these forests that a sweet and gummy substance has been known to exude from the trees. The gum has been exuding in some abundance, and it has been found very palatable to the [R2704 : page 293] natives in the neighborhood, who have been consuming it as a food. The occurrence of the manna at this season is all the more remarkable, since the greatest famine India has known is this year visiting the country, and the districts where the scarcity is most felt are in the Central Provinces.'--Nature.

WHAT WILL BECOME OF PROTESTANTISM IN JAPAN?


"The Japan Advertiser has it upon the best of authority that one of the American mission boards is next month to withdraw from Japan its only remaining representative, and is to leave its work, henceforward, entirely in the hands of the Japanese, who have become interested in it. 'The latter (says our contemporary) are to have the use of the buildings and property (of no inconsiderable value), and some pecuniary aid will continue to be granted them, but the work itself will be practically free from foreign guidance.'"

A literary man, residing in Japan, Mr. Penman, makes comment on the above as follows:--

"This extract shows clearly the failure of Protestant Christianity in this country; for it is failure, and not large-hearted trust in the Japanese Protestant, that has caused this retreat. There are at present independent Protestant churches in Japan; but, in the first place, their Christianity has become so vague that it can hardly be called Christianity at all; and, in the second place, they are not making headway. A Japanese journalist, who relates his experiences in the columns of the Kirisuto Tokyo Shimbun, says that he examined the roll of one of these churches some time ago, and found that out of a total membership of 323 no less than 86 persons were marked absent. He was informed that out of the remainder, 123 persons were Christian only in name, so that the work of the church had to be carried on by a little over 100 converts; and even out of these the average attendance at church meetings did not exceed 77. And the last report of the Kumiai (Independent Japanese churches --Protestant, of course,) shows that the number of self-supporting churches has fallen from 40 to 34, and, if the truth must be told, there are not more than 24 or 25 of these that are self-supporting in reality.

"Not only are the 'Independent' churches thus going backward in point of numbers, they are, as I have just hinted, going woefully backward in regard to doctrine as well. I shall give a concrete example of what I mean. The Doshisha is a fine educational institution established by a Japanese Protestant who was, I believe, a sincere and able Christian. It was run for a number of years as a religious establishment in connection with the American Mission Board, and of course the trustees were all Christians of good standing, and generally clergymen. For some time they were Christians, but changes--mental and otherwise --occur rapidly in Japan, and only last year they had progressed so far toward Agnosticism that a breach with the American Mission Board occurred. I visited personally some of the leaders of the movement, and they told me that they certainly did not believe in the divinity of Christ; in fact, I failed to discover any one point of Christian belief that they did believe in....Ten years ago Protestantism had a very good outlook in Japan, and many highly educated Japanese embraced it. But it took the 'advanced thinkers' among the converts only a year or two to out-Spencer Spencer, and to-day the vernacular Protestantism of Japan is getting on as best as it can without any burning or shining light whatsoever. The burning and shining lights--in other words, the leading native ecclesiastics--became all of them 'philosophers,' and, while still professing to be Christians, attempted to call in German and other materialism to their aid. The English and American missionary bodies to which they belonged, naturally objected. The American Episcopal Church of Japan fell foul of Dr. Sagiura, a Japanese minister (who has had, by the way, the advantage of an excellent American education), who denied the miraculous birth of Christ. Many of the leading Japanese clergymen resigned; and, in another direction, the organ of the Lutheran Church in Japan, a magazine which maintained that the Bible is a revelation, was discontinued because 'no suitable editor could be found who was prepared to defend such a theory.'"

Mr. Penman quotes a Japanese writer in a Tokyo magazine as follows:--

"Can it be said that our Christian philosophy has been any more successful than our preaching of morality? I trow not. After attempting to call in German materialism to the aid of Christianity with poor results, our philosophers fell back on the ultra-idealism of Brahmanism and Buddhism, with the outcome that they have gradually explained away the personality [R2704 : page 294] of the Christian God, reducing him to a mere controlling force, or to a fixed law called Temmei. What possibility is there of building a system of morality on belief in the existence of such an entity as this?...If we ask what amount of real faith in Christianity there exists in this country, the answer must be discouraging. Christians dispute about opinions and discuss this doctrine and that, but beneath it all, it seems to me, there is little real belief. Christianity, in coming to us, has had the advantage of being associated with a system of civilization whose merits are acknowledged. It has been represented as part and parcel of that civilization, and hence has in the past received a certain amount of prestige that it is no longer likely to retain. The feeling of the nation in reference to the various elements composing what is called Western civilization has changed, and hence Christianity is no longer likely to be regarded as an inseparable part of that civilization. If things proceed thus, in thirty years Christianity in Japan will be effaced."

We cannot vouch for the correctness of these pessimistic views of the Protestant situation in Japan: doubtless honest people view these things through various spectacles. We do know, however, that Mr. Penman's picture corresponds well with what we see right here at home--that the colleges and theological seminaries of this so called Christian land are hot-beds of infidelity called "advanced thought," "higher criticism," "Evolution," etc. We cannot wonder, then, that the same spirit has reached Japanese institutions: nor can we wonder that the Japanese, less bound to the Bible by traditions of the past, should be more free to speak and act out their unbelief;-- especially when popularity, the masses of the people, etc., would all favor such a course.

Surely the shaking and sifting will be thorough (Heb. 12:26); for it is the Lord that is back of it, wishing to thoroughly separate the little handful of wheat from the vast quantity of tares constituting nominal "Christendom," "Babylon." We may be sure, however, that not one grain of the true wheat will be neglected by the great Reaper.--Matt. 24:24.


SEEKING 2,000,000 HEADS OF WHEAT AND TARES FOR "METHODISM'S BIG FLOCK."


The public press has the following announcement:--

"METHODISTS SEEKING 2,000,000 CONVERTS. THE TWENTIETH CENTURY MOVEMENT HAS OPENED OFFICES IN CHICAGO. 200,000 WORKERS ENLISTED. GREATEST HARVEST OF THE YEAR'S REVIVALS EXPECTED IN THE LARGE CITIES.

"CHICAGO, Sept. 8.--The twentieth century movement of the Methodist Episcopal Church to save 2,000,000 souls is well under way.

"Bishop James M. Thoburn proposed the plan at the General Conference of the church in May. It has been the chief topic at the ministers' meetings. The order has gone to the Bishops and will be handed down to each member of the church. Briefly, the scheme is to have 200,000 members each pledge themselves to bring ten converts into the church before Dec. 31, 1901. The Methodist church is so thoroughly organized that the movement will be carried out without a hitch throughout the country.

"W. W. Cooper, secretary of the movement, has opened an office in the Methodist Church Block, in Chicago.

"'A large part of the work ought to be done in the big cities,' says Mr. Cooper. 'This is the beginning of a revival that will extend through the first half of the coming century. Every organization connected with the church will be utilized to further this grand plan. There is much dead timber in the church, which, it is hoped, will respond to this invitation to extend the influence of Christ.

"'It is quite true that church membership is not increasing in ratio to the census, so the Methodist Church has decided to start a great agitation.'"

Last year witnessed a decrease in Methodist numbers, and this and other offsets are proposed. No doubt results will follow. It is as much a part of this harvest work to gather the tares into "bundles" and "bind" them, as it is to gather the "wheat" into the light and liberty wherewith Christ makes free and safe in his "garner." Should any ripe "wheat" be gathered into these "bundles," we may surely expect them to be gathered out again, speedily; for "The Lord knoweth them that are his," and is calling in a voice which all his true ones will hear and recognize and obey, "Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins and receive not of her plagues!"--2 Cor. 6:17; Rev. 18:4.

No doubt this "Twentieth Century Movement" will spread among all denominations, and favor the "Union" movement. No doubt also it will lead to an increased bitterness against present truth and all who are loyal to it as the true gospel. It would not surprise us if this led to persecution, for no doubt many now, like Saul of Tarsus, will verily think that in persecuting the truth and its servants they are doing God service. [R2705 : page 294]

REV. R. A. TORREY'S ARRAIGNMENT.


At the Convention of Christian workers, Chicago, Sept. 19, Rev. Torrey, as reported by the Chicago Evening Post, said:--

"Unbelief is rampant. Many regard it as a mark of intellectual superiority to reject the Bible, and even faith in God and immortality. It is about the only mark of superiority many possess, and perhaps that is the reason they cling to it so tenaciously. Many of us who are professedly orthodox ministers are infidels. Worldliness is rampant among church members. Many church members are just as eager as any in the rush to get rich. They use the methods of the world in the [R2705 : page 295] accumulation of wealth, and they hold just as fast to it as any, when they have it. Many do not believe in the whole Bible. The book of Genesis is a myth; Jonah is an allegory; and even the miracles of the Son of God are questioned. The doctrine of prayer is old-fashioned, and the doctrine of the Holy Spirit is sneered at. Conversion is unnecessary, and hell is no longer believed in. Then look at the fads and errors that have sprung up out of this loss of faith....Praylessness abounds among church members on every hand. Many Christians spend twice as much time every day wallowing in the mire of the daily papers as they do bathing in the cleansing waves of God's holy Word."

ZIONISM PROSPERING SLOWLY.


While the last Zionist Congress (London, August) was a success as respects numbers and enthusiasm, it revealed no progress on the part of its leaders in the accomplishment of its aims, or steps thereto. The London Spectator says of it:--

"The main arguments of the speakers are the horrible position of the Jews in countries where, as in Roumania, they are actively persecuted, and the benefit they may be to Europe, as the vanguard of an army of intelligence for penetrating Asia. Both are sound arguments, but some hotter impulse than either would seem to be required before the majority of Jews will quit countries to which they are accustomed, for a country which has for ages been represented to them as desolate beyond experience. The English Jews in particular are too comfortable to move; the Jews in professions on the Continent fear to be declared foreigners; and the poor majority have no means of influencing the Turkish Government, which is not favorable to the movement. Some day or other, when the Seraglio is in acute want of money, a great experiment will be tried; but meanwhile Zionism is rather the highly interesting aspiration of a great race, than a practical design for the restoration of the Jews to their own land."

Addressing the Congress and speaking on the "General Position of the Jew," Dr. Max Nordau is reported to have said:--

"'Since they began to review the position of the Jew among the nations, during the sittings of the Congress, the drama had developed before their eyes, and every act was progressively heartrending. The book of Job must be taken to be the picture of the Jewish position. Anti-Semitism was growing more virulent. The press of Europe bore testimony to Jews being cast in prison for a crime to none so revolting as to the Jew. In Prussia these ridiculous charges had received their quietus, and the energetic action of the Government deserved the best thanks of Jewry.

"'Why are we thus treated? Are we not as human as our neighbors? Are we not as innocent? Is our desire to support our wives and children less laudable in us than in them? There have been other religious persecutions, but none so gruesome.'

"One historical parallel occurred to his mind. In 1729-31 all the Protestants in Salsburg, Austria, were expelled from their homes on account of religious intolerance. They took all necessary comforts with them. Church dignitaries offered them valedictory blessings, and even accompanied them some distance towards their new land. King Fredrick William I. of Prussia offered them a home, and their new neighbors vied with each other in the heartiness of their greeting. But the poor 270,000 Jews exiled from Roumania carry nought but the rags on their backs; for their sick there was no medical consolation; and their future was as uncertain as their past was dark. They are accompanied on their rough road with suspicion and hatred; are met with repulses and rebuffs, and with the cry, ever growing sterner, 'Go further, further.'"

ARE THE HEATHEN SAVED OR LOST?


Inconsistency seems to be stamped on every doctrine and practice of "orthodox" Churchianity. For instance, point out to them that only one-fifth of the world's population make the slightest claim to be Christians, in the most formal sense, and that therefore the four-fifths who are professedly heathen can in no sense be saved in Christ, and that unless there be hope for them in the future, by an awakening from death to "a resurrection by judgment," there can be no other hope; and they will at once reply, Oh, no! we believe and teach that the heathen can be saved and go to heaven if they believe in Mohammed or Buddha or Confucius or some other divinity, if they do the best they know how.

You ask them, Will not heaven then be a place of common rather than choice spirits, with such a preponderance of heathen? and, What advantage then have Christians? and they are sorely perplexed, but generally not sufficiently perplexed to start a fresh investigation of the divine Word to see where the difficulty lies. When we further ask, Why the expenditure of millions of dollars annually, and the sacrifice of many lives of missionaries, if the heathen are saved anyway? they are confused at their own inconsistency. And if we then inquire, Do you not claim that the hearing of the gospel, with the natural ear, brings condemnation to eternal torment if it be rejected? And do you not admit that the vast majority of those who thus hear do reject the gospel? And putting this part of your faith with the other, do you not admit that one or the other must be wrong, or else that missionary effort is keeping millions of heathen people out of heaven?--Then they are confused and want (not to search for the truth but) to change the subject and stop thinking lest they lose their "faith." Poor things, they hold fast to their nonsensical delusions, calling them faith!

But now, in line with the above, we have another question to propound to so-called Orthodoxy, based on the following clipping from the daily press:-- [R2705 : page 296]

"POPULATION ANNIHILATED.


"FIVE THOUSAND CHINESE DRIVEN INTO THE AMUR RIVER, WHERE THEY PERISHED MISERABLY. SHOT IF THEY ATTEMPTED TO LAND.

"LONDON, Sept. 21.--'Authentic accounts have been received here,' says the Moscow correspondent of the Standard, 'of a horrible massacre at Blagovestchensk, which was undoubtedly carried out under direct orders from the Russian authorities, and which then let loose the tide of slaughter through Amur.

"'The entire Chinese population of 5,000 souls was escorted out of town to a spot five miles up the Amur, and then, being led in batches of a few hundred to the river bank, were ordered to cross over to the Chinese side. No boats were provided and the river is a mile wide. The Chinese were flung alive into the stream and were stabbed or shot at the least resistance, while Russian volunteers, who lined the bank, clubbed or shot any who attempted to land. Not one escaped alive. The river bank for miles was strewn with corpses.'"

It is the claim of certain religious journals, and of many ministers of the gospel, that the present war in China for the protection of ministers and missions is a holy war in the interest of Christianity and its civilization, as against heathenism and its civilization. Now our question is whether this war is adding to the population of heaven or of hell, according to "orthodoxy"? It is surely a very important and proper question from their standpoint. Let us see; the succoring of the ministers and missionaries (every one of whom no doubt would have been passported to heaven by his own denomination) has cost the lives of probably 50,000 persons thus far, about 5,000 of the number being soldiers representing Christendom (as the Russians of the above clipping). Now did the entire 50,000 go to heaven?--the heathen because they did not know of Christ and the soldiers of "Christendom" because they were "soldiers of the cross"? If so, then the war already has saved 50,000 and should be prosecuted vigorously.

If our question be answered negatively,--that the heathen 45,000 went to torment, and the "Christian" 5,000, being no more "saints" than the heathen, went to the same awful fate, then another question would be in order, namely: Would it not have been more Christlike for the few rescued ministers and missionaries to have taken death as martyrs, in their faith of an immediate entrance to heaven; and to have allowed the 50,000 thus far slain in the war, to escape the torture for a few years more at least? How inconsistent "orthodoxy" is in its every proposition respecting the very subject it professes to know all about; viz., the divine plan of salvation!

But how consistent the Bible teaching on these subjects;--(1) That only consecrated believers in the atonement are Christians--"saints." (2) That the vast majority of those killed on both sides were merely "children of this world," and not to be reckoned among the "children of God" whose trial for "glory, honor and immortality" is now in progress. (3) That the hour is coming in the which not only these, but "all that are in their graves shall hear the voice of the Son of Man and come forth," the masses "unto [i.e. to have an opportunity for] a resurrection [raising fully out of death, in perfect and everlasting conditions] by judgments," *disciplines, corrections in righteousness, [R2706 : page 296] which will prevail toward all men during the Millennium.

*The word in this text (John 5:29) rendered "damnation" is very improperly translated. It should be "judgment," as in the Revised Version, and in verses 22,27 and 30 of this same chapter and many other places in the Scriptures where this word krisis occurs.

CAN RESTITUTION CHANGE THE ETHIOPIAN'S SKIN?


The following, from the New York World, is the third we have seen reported. These suggest and illustrate the process of restitution soon due. The item reads,--

"FROM BLACK TO WHITE HE SLOWLY TURNED."

"PARKERSBURG, W. VA., Sept. 8.--It has fallen to the lot of the Rev. Wm. H. Draper, pastor of the Logan Memorial Church, of Washington Conference, A.M.E. Church, of this town, to give a living affirmative answer to the famous Biblical question, "Can the Ethiopian change his skin or the leopard his spots?" Though once as black as charcoal, the Rev. Mr. Draper is now white. His people say that his color was changed in answer to prayer. Many years ago Draper was employed by a fair-skinned man, and he was often heard to remark that if he could only be white like his employer he would be happy. While in the white man's service Draper 'experienced' religion.

"From that day forward he prayed constantly and fervently that he might become white. Thirty years ago his prayer began to be answered. He first experienced a prickling sensation on his face, and upon close investigation found a number of small white spots scarcely larger than the point of a pin. He became alarmed, thinking he had some peculiar disease, but he did not suffer, and aside from the prickling sensation felt nothing unusual. Gradually the white spots became larger and extended themselves, until now, after the change has been in progress for over thirty years, Draper has not a single dark spot on his body.

"Many years ago, before this strange metamorphosis took place, Mr. Draper was in charge of the same church he has now. He was popular with his flock and his departure was a source of great regret. When he recently returned to Parkersburg there was great rejoicing among the churchmen because their favorite pastor was coming back. When, however, Draper appeared in the pulpit the first Sunday, not one of the congregation recognized him. In fact, it was all he could do to convince them that he, a white man, was the same old black preacher they had years before."



[R2709 : page 297]

AN INTERESTING QUESTION.

THE SPIRITS OF JUST MEN MADE PERFECT.

Question.--How should we understand the statement of Heb. 12:23, respecting "the spirits of just men made perfect"?

Answer.--To appreciate this we must take the statement in its connections: The Apostle is contrasting the introduction of the Law Covenant with the introduction of the New Covenant; and let us remember that altho the Church is justified by the blood of Christ, which seals the New Covenant, nevertheless, the New Covenant itself is not considered as having gone into effect during this Gospel age; it is a covenant for the world of mankind, and the putting of it into effect brings the times of restitution of all things at the Second Advent. The Church, altho justified by the sacrifice which sealed the New Covenant, is really accepted under the Abrahamic covenant--accepted as the Seed of Abraham--members of the body of Christ--through which Seed all the families of the earth are to be blessed under the New Covenant, sealed at Calvary, during the Millenium.

The Law Covenant, of which Moses was the Mediator, and which was given at Mount Sinai amid the thunderings and lightnings and voices, etc., was typical of the New Covenant of which Christ (Head and body) is the Mediator, and which is to be introduced to the world of mankind after the whole body of Christ has shed its blood and been completed and glorified. --Acts 3:22; Col. 1:24.

The Apostle draws a parallel between the marching of Israel from Egypt and the Red Sea, up to Mount Sinai, where, under the leadership of the priesthood, they came under the Law Covenant with all who hope to become God's people, marching under the lead of Christ and the "royal priesthood" toward another mountain,--to Mount Zion, the Kingdom of God, the Millennial Kingdom, following under the banner of the antitypical Mediator, will come all of God's Israel, all who are willing to be delivered from the power of the antitypical Pharaoh, viz., Satan.

When we consider how the Israelites approached Mount Sinai as a host, and that they did not all get there at the same moment nor the same hour, nor even in the same day, we find the parallel of this in the fact that the Lord's people throughout this age have been gradually approaching this Kingdom--not all at once, but one after another throughout the age. The last members of the Royal Priesthood are only getting close to the Kingdom, Mount Zion, now; and are to be followed in turn by all the hosts who will become true Israelites during the Millennial age, when light and knowledge shall be freely granted.

With this picture before the mind, and reading the Apostle's words as translated in the Diaglott, we see a beauty in the expression: We have not approached the natural mountain with the terrors of the Law, the smoke and the clouds and thick darkness and lightnings and voices of words that spoke condemnation and death to any who erred; but we are approaching, and all of the Church throughout the age have been approaching, the glorious Mount Zion, the Kingdom of God, the Kingdom of blessing.

And what shall we find in this Kingdom when we have fully reached it? We shall find the heavenly city, God's Kingdom of power and great glory. We shall find ourselves introduced to a new company of brethren--the heavenly host; and we shall find our loved ones who have traveled with us in the narrow way, in that first general assembling of the Church of the First-borns, whose names are written in heaven. There we shall find our Heavenly Father, the great Judge of all; there we shall find the spirits, the new natures of the justified ones fully perfected in the likeness of their Lord and Head--"We shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is." There we shall find in due time perfected human beings fully restored to the divine likeness in which father Adam was created; and there we shall find Jesus, who mediated the New Covenant; and there we shall ever appreciate the blood of sprinkling which cleansed us and presented us faultless before the Father in love.

But altho we are approaching these grand and glorious things, we are not to expect that they will all be ushered in in a peaceful manner; on the contrary, as the Apostle points out (vss. 26,27), there will be a correspondence between the great time of trouble, with which the Millennial age and its New Covenant for mankind will be ushered in, and the way in which the Law Covenant to the Jews was ushered in--only that the New Covenant will be ushered in on a much grander and antitypical plane. There will be a shaking here, as there was a shaking there; but instead of its being the physical earth that will shake, it will be the symbolical earth,--society. And not alone the social structure, but also the heavens, or ecclesiastical structure, is to be shaken here. As the Apostle's words clearly intimate, the shaking will be a much more wonderful one than was its type, even as every antitype is much greater than its type. He explains that the shaking here is to be so thorough that it will shake everything that is shakeable, and that only the fixed, permanent, righteous things shall ultimately remain. And those things that shall be permitted to remain, he declares (vs. 28) pertain to the Kingdom of God, which is immoveable, unshakeable.

It is this Kingdom toward which all of the Lord's people march throughout this Gospel age, that will then be fully attained amidst all that great shaking and confusion of the great day of trouble which is just before us. And as Moses went up into the quaking mountain, and was lost to the sight of the people below, so at, and in conjunction with these mighty manifestations of the time of trouble the entire Church will be "caught up," gathered to the Lord, changed to his likeness--passing through the portals of death, tho they shall not sleep, but be changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye.



[R2706 : page 298]

DIVINE CARE FOR THE LOST.
--LUKE 15:1-10.--OCT. 21.--

"There is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth."

LOST, AS USED in connection with mankind, has quite a different meaning in the Bible from that commonly given it in modern theology. The latter uses the term "lost" in connection with reprobates, for whom there is no hope; it implies, according to "orthodoxy," hopeless, endless, eternal torment. But from the Scriptural standpoint the word "lost" is used in an almost opposite sense, as will be noted in the lesson before us.

Our Lord, holy in word and in conduct, naturally would draw to himself especially the holiness people of his day, and these were the Pharisees, amongst whom, however, were many whose holiness was of a hypocritical character,--delighting in outward show rather than in purity and holiness of heart. Recent lessons showed us our Lord the guest and companion of prominent Pharisees, and how he improved the opportunity to preach the gospel to them as well as to others. But the Pharisees, accustomed to thinking of themselves as the holier class of the Jews, had gradually separated themselves from the lower elements of that people, so that in our Lord's time the two classes mingled very little; the Pharisees refusing to acknowledge the others as brethren and fellow-heirs of the divine promises. Consequently, when they perceived that the lower classes of the Jews were interested in Jesus' teachings, and that Jesus did not hold himself aloof from them, but mingled with and taught them just the same as others, they wondered, and this inclined them to repudiate Jesus, whom they would have been glad to have had as one of their number if he had been willing to be known as a Pharisee and to conform to their customs. It was to correct the wrong ideas of these Pharisees that Jesus gave five parables, which we are about to consider,--two of them in this lesson.

The parable of the true shepherd who, loving his sheep and caring for them, left the ninety and nine well cared for by under-shepherds in the wilds (not in a desert) and went after the one lost sheep until he found it, gives us an illustration of the divine care. Possibly our Lord meant no further lesson than this to be taken from his words; but if we shall suppose that the parable was intended to be applied in its varied particulars, and to illustrate features of the divine plan of salvation, we would be obliged to suppose that the one sheep that was lost represented Adam and the human family, and that the ninety and nine never lost, but remaining under the shepherd's care, were the angels and other spirit beings, who never wandered into sin and away from God; and who always have been under his supervision and care. In this view the shepherd going after the straying sheep would represent our Lord Jesus, leaving the glory which he had with the Father before the world was, and coming into human conditions in the interest of mankind.

To take any other detailed view of the parable than this would seem inconsistent; as, for instance, to suppose that the lost sheep represented the degraded element of humanity, and ninety-nine sheep a holiness class, would be inconsistent in two ways: (1) "There is none righteous, no, not one," is the Scriptural declaration; and again, as the prophet has declared, "we all like sheep have gone astray." (Rom. 3:10; Isa. 53:6.) (2) Even if it should be claimed that the ninety-nine represented some who are relatively whole, tho not actually so, the illustration would be inapt; because it will not be questioned that only a small minority--one in ten thousand, or one in a hundred thousand of earth's sixteen hundred millions, is even in a condition of reckoned and relative harmony with Jehovah, the Great Shepherd.

Viewing the one sheep as representing the whole of humanity, fallen in Adam and straying far from paths of righteousness, and viewing Jesus as the Good Shepherd, the representative of the Father, the Great Shepherd (Psa. 23:1), we see that the work of going after the lost sheep began at our Lord's first advent. We see the cost to our Savior incidental to his start for the recovery of the sheep, but we do not yet see the sheep recovered; for in no sense of the word is mankind brought back into harmony with God. We do, however, see that during this Gospel age God is selecting from humanity an elect Church, to be the body of Christ--members of the Good Shepherd, under Jesus as the Head; and we see that it is costing every member of the body something to prepare to join in this work of seeking the lost sheep--humanity in general-- during the Millennial age.

Already the sheep is found, in the sense of being located; indeed, in that sense of the word it was not lost. But as it was lost, in the sense of having wandered from God into sin and degradation, in the same sense of the word it must be recovered or brought back, by processes of restitution (Acts 3:19-21) out of degradation, out of the mire of sin, and the horrible pit of iniquity and death. It will require the entire Millennial age to bring back the sheep in the full, perfect sense of the parable; but meanwhile our Lord assures us that every step in this great plan for human salvation is viewed with interest by the heavenly host, the sheep who strayed not from the Father's fold: and the figure changing a little in our Lord's explanation, and no longer represented by one sheep, but by many (even as the human family, tho originally one, is now many), he declares that there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth--that returns to the fold, to harmony with God. [R2706 : page 299]

Those now returning to harmony with God are accepted in the Beloved, and justified freely from all things by the grace that was in him, and are, in the language of the Apostle, "returning to the Shepherd and Caretaker of their souls" (1 Pet. 2:25); and called to be co-laborers with the Good Shepherd, as members of his "body."

In the case of Father Adam, the one original straying sheep, as in the case of many of his posterity, the lost condition is not the desirable one--far rather would he and many others have gone back again to the fold from which he strayed; but in the degradation and mire of sin, they became so degraded and helpless that it was impossible for them to return in their own strength by the way in which they went. They needed a Savior-- one able to save them unto the uttermost--able to recover them fully from all condemnation of sin, and to bring them back completely into the fold of God; and just such an one the Heavenly Father has provided in our Lord Jesus: "He is able to save unto the uttermost all who come unto the Father through him."

True, there will be a class, as the Scriptures clearly show, who, after having received at the Lord's hands all the blessings and opportunities which his love has provided for their recovery, will still persist in wilfulness --self-will, and thus spurn the Good Shepherd's [R2707 : page 299] proffered assistance. These, in the Scriptures, are said to "sin wilfully after they have come to a knowledge of the truth;" for such, the Apostle declares, there remains no longer an interest in the great sacrifice, and "it is impossible to renew" or recover them. Respecting the course of such it is written, "There is a sin unto death; I do not say that ye should pray for it." Whoever thus sins wilfully and persistently puts himself beyond the reach of the Good Shepherd, and dies the Second Death, and thus ceases to have any part or lot in the divine plan. (Heb. 6:4-6; 1 John 5:16.) It was not for the "goat" class that the Good Shepherd gave his life, and seeks in the desert; nor for the "wolves;" but merely for those who retain something at least of the "sheep" nature, despite their degradation in sin. Adam was a "sheep," or, as the Scriptures declare, a "son of God" (Luke 3:38); and while his transgression was a wilful one, in some respects, we have no reason to suppose that it was more than a wandering of the "sheep" from the fold, into ways of self-will: it did not mean a change of nature from a sheep disposition to that of a goat or a wolf. It did not mean that Adam preferred to be a "child of the devil."

Had Adam at heart become intelligently and wilfully an enemy of God and of righteousness we cannot suppose that the all-wise Shepherd would have sent his Son after him as a "sheep." True, many of the children of Adam today have attained marked characteristics of goat nature, and, as the Apostle declares, are "enemies of God through wicked works." (Col. 1:21.) Nevertheless, the Apostle also explains that many of these are in this condition, not wilfully, but because they have been deceived by Satan into putting light for darkness and darkness for light;--the eyes of their understanding have been deceived. He explained that the "god of this world [Satan] hath blinded the minds of them that believe not" lest they should see the glorious light of truth. (2 Cor. 4:4.) Many of these, then, who through association with the Adversary have become goat-like in many respects, still have something of the sheep nature, which, under proper enlightenment, would assert itself and be glad to have the Good Shepherd restore them fully to divine favor and the fold.

From this standpoint, which we believe is the true one, and the only one in harmony with the various features of the parable, we perceive that God takes no account whatever of those who will go into the Second Death; they will have no existence whatever, so far as God and his plan are concerned, from the moment they lose the sheep nature. And the one sheep which our Lord will recover during restitution times, and by the close of the Millennium bring fully back into the fold of God, will be the human family as God has recognized it from the first; viz., those created in God's image and likeness, and who never fully lose that image and likeness, and in whom his image and likeness will be revived and restored during the Millennium. The lost sheep, which originally was represented in one (Adam and Eve) in its recovery will be represented by hundreds of millions of the redeemed and restored of mankind.

THE LOST PIECE OF SILVER.


The parable of the woman who, having a bracelet on which were hung ten pieces of silver--a marriage token--on losing one of these set diligently to work until she found it, is another representation of the same thought expressed foregoing. The woman's energy in seeking for the lost piece of silver is given by our Lord as an illustration of divine energy on behalf of lost humanity. And here again we see that the Scriptures use the word "lost" in reference to the original loss, and not at all in respect to those who will be destroyed in the Second Death--the latter are not said to be lost; they cease to exist; they are not reckoned in the divine calculations at all, and not worthy to be mentioned. They are not at all like the original that was lost, which God recognized and proposes to recover.

The ten pieces of silver were not only of value, but each had stamped upon it, as is the custom with coin, a certain image or likeness. And so with all the sons of God, angels, archangels, and we know not how many [R2707 : page 300] other orders of spirit beings, were made in the image and likeness of God. It was one of these that was lost-- the human one, man. And it was that which was lost that was sought, and ultimately found.

The houses of olden times, lighted mainly through the doorway, with the floors of earth (clay or sand or stones) more or less littered and defiled, well represented the condition of sin and degradation in which mankind was lost, as represented in father Adam, who bore the image and likeness of God, as represented in the lost coin of the parable. The parable does not represent the processes of restitution, but merely the original loss and the ultimate recovery of the same thing that was lost, and the energy put forth to this end. The lighting of the candle and the sweeping diligently represent the work of God through the Christ, which will be accomplished by the end of the Millennial age, when that which was lost and sought for, will have been fully recovered.

The restored race, when returned to the heavenly Father at the close of the Millennial age will, each and all, be as perfect in his image and likeness as was Adam in his creation, with the added benefits of larger knowledge and fuller appreciation of the divine One, whose likeness they will bear. No account is taken in this parable, either, of the increase in the numbers of the human family, nor of those members of Adam's posterity who, by reason of wilful sin (the love of sin more than righteousness) will be "destroyed from amongst the people." (Acts 3:23.) They have no standing in the Father's sight; indeed, the Father takes no cognizance of any except that which was lost, and that which will ultimately be restored to him by his faithful representative, Christ, who seeks and finds.

The great time of rejoicing, both in heaven and in earth, will come at the close of the Millennial age, when all things in heaven and in earth will be heard praising Him that sitteth upon the throne, and the Lamb; but now, in advance of the complete rejoicing, our Lord assures us that all the heavenly host rejoices in every evidence of the accomplishment of the great work; rejoices over one sinner that repenteth--who fully turns from sin to harmony with God. And if the angels in heaven rejoice, so, in proportion as they are in harmony with God and the heavenly beings, will all who profess to be God's people on earth have rejoicing in the recovery of fellow-creatures out of the snare and blindness of sin and Satan.

This was the particular lesson which our Lord sought to impress upon the Pharisees--that instead of holding themselves aloof from, and feeling offended at, those who were hearing Jesus gladly, they should, if they were in harmony with God and the heavenly holy ones, have rejoiced to see any evidence of repentance and reformation; and should have been glad to assist back into harmony with God those who, as the Apostle expresses it, were "feeling after God, if haply they might find him."--Acts 17:27.

And this must be the attitude of all the Lord's people to-day: if they have not this sentiment of heart it is an evidence that they have not the spirit of the Lord. And to have such a feeling of loving interest in the recovery of others out of sin, and a disposition to assist them back to harmony with God, not only is an evidence of a condition of heart which is in harmony with God, but will be found to be an aid to such themselves, an assistance in making straight paths for their feet, that they themselves, under the Shepherd's care, may ultimately reach the fold in safety.

So then, let all of the Lord's dear people who have already been found by the Good Shepherd, and who have accepted his loving care and assistance back to God, cultivate more and more the spirit of sympathy for others, and of helpfulness and cooperation in the work in which the Good Shepherd is engaged--not yet in seeking for humanity as a whole, but now specially in rendering assistance to those whom the Lord is, in the present age, seeking out as the "first-fruits" of his work and victory,--edifying one another, building one another up in the most holy faith, encouraging one another: helping one another to put on the wedding garment, and to be meet for the inheritance of the saints in light, as joint-heirs in the Kingdom.--1 Thess. 5:11; Jude 20; Col. 1:12; Rom. 8:17.



[R2707 : page 300]

THE PRODIGAL'S RETURN.

--LUKE 15:11-24.--OCT. 28.

"I will arise and go to my father."

HAVING GIVEN in the foregoing parables of The Lost Sheep and The Lost Coin, an outline of God's general dealing with the human family, our Lord now gave a third parable as illustrating God's special dealings with the people of Israel. He wished not only that his hearers should have the general illustration of God's goodness and care for the recovery of the lost, but now he would give a special lesson that would bring the matter close home to his hearers--both Pharisees and publicans--and show to all the real situation and the proper line of conduct for each to take.

It will be noticed in this connection, that while our Lord was known to be friendly toward sinners, he was never known to condone sin. The friendship of the publicans was not gained through our Lord's falsifying matters to them and claiming that they were not sinners; but on the contrary, by his declaring them to be sinners, by showing his sympathy and love, and that their case, so far from being a hopeless one, as the conduct of the Pharisees would imply, was hopeful, if [R2708 : page 301] they would but repent and turn to God. The "father" in the parable, represents Jehovah God, and the "two sons" represent two classes in Israel, the elder son representing Moses and the prophets, and all who "sat in Moses' seat," as representatives of the Law, with all who sought to conform their lives to its requirements, --Pharisees, etc. The younger son represents the remainder of that people Israel--the class which was inclined to wilfulness and waywardness as respects the divine Law.

These two classes, all Israel, were inheritors together of certain wonderful blessings and promises--the blessings being equally divided between them, but the promises remaining for those who would be faithful to the will of the Father. The elder son represented the class which, having respect to the promises, enjoyed the blessings at home with the Father, that is, in fellowship with God as his people. The younger son represented the class which ignored the promises, took its share of present blessings, and departing from God wandered afar from him, in sin and disregard of the Law.

The latter class had anticipated much pleasure in the wayward course; but as a matter of fact found, as all transgressors do, that "the way of the transgressor is hard." And in this respect the sinner-class of Israel was no different from any other class of sinners at any other time living in violation of the known law; it is an attitude of want, of hunger, of dissatisfaction, discontent; it is a condition of slavery to sin and of receiving of sin's wages;--in the present life, wages of unhappiness, melancholia, heart-aches as well as body-aches. The parable represents this son as thoroughly disgusted with his condition, resolving to return to his father's house--not expecting to be an inheritor of the great promises, the rights to which were admittedly forfeited, but merely hoping to have the privilege of being admitted to the house as a servant, not hoping to be received as a son.

Our Lord thus illustrates the condition of some of the publicans and sinners hovering about him and listening to his teachings, respecting whose reception and instruction the Pharisees were finding fault. Our Lord would have them see the attitude of the Heavenly Father toward these returning ones, and in the parable pictured him as seeing the repentant prodigal a long way off, and as having compassion for him, and great willingness to receive him. How this must have touched the hearts of the publicans who heard,--to think that God was willing to receive them back again, not to spurn them as the Pharisees did! Our Lord proceeds with the picture further, to show that the Father not only received the prodigal, but, beyond his expectations, received him as a son, not as a servant,--providing for him a new robe of righteousness, and making for him a great feast of welcome.

Then, as illustrating the attitude of the complaining Pharisees, the elder brother is pictured in the parable as disappointed at the return of the prodigal brother. Thus our Lord revealed to them how different was their attitude of heart from that of the Heavenly Father; and thus he gently reproved them. The parable shows the attitude of the Pharisees in declining to call the prodigal "brother," saying,--"This thy son," while the view of the Heavenly Father to the contrary is expressed in the words, "This thy brother was dead and is alive again."

The Pharisees and others of the Jewish nation who sought to keep the Law--to be faithful to God's requirements, were, so far as that was concerned, in the right attitude; and up to that time and point were heirs of all that God had promised, and had to give; and had they been not only outwardly religious but religious in heart also, they would have been fully prepared to have received at our Lord's hands the great blessings of the Kingdom privileges which, being in a wrong attitude of heart, they despised and rejected and lost. This their loss is represented in the parable by their refusal to go in to the feast made by the Father, to which they were as welcome as the returned prodigal, and in which feast, had they been in a proper attitude of heart, they would have had a prominent place with the Father in bestowing the welcome on the returned one. But as they were not in the right attitude of heart to receive their repentant brethren, neither would they have been in the right attitude of heart to be the Lord's instruments of general blessing in his Kingdom. He selects for joint-heirs with himself in the Kingdom, not the self-righteous, who despise others, but such as are of an humble heart, and who, receiving divine mercies and favors as a grace, are filled with thankfulness, and having the spirit of humility and of harmony with the Father, rejoice to cooperate with him in all of his benevolent plans for the recovery of the lost.

To hitch this parable on to the general theme presented in the two preceding, we might view the prodigal son as representing, in a secondary sense, all the remainder of mankind outside of those few in Israel who were seeking to do the Father's will; and from this standpoint we can see that the feast of fat things provided for the sinners in Israel corresponds to the feast to be opened ultimately to the whole world of mankind under the Kingdom (Isa. 25:6), that all may return to the Father's house and that all who thus return will be received of God through Christ, not as slave-servants, but as sons.

The two preceding parables make no reference to the human will in the matter of the recovery of the [R2708 : page 302] lost; but this parable makes the human will very prominent. It was the will of the elder son which for a time kept him in the Father's house; it was the will of the prodigal son that led him forth, his wilful going into the depths of degradation not being hindered by the Father. Likewise, it was his own will that led him to retrace his steps to the Father's house; and it was only the will of the elder son that hindered him from entering into all the joys of the festal occasion with which the parable closes.

This parable also ignores the Second Death, and the class that will ultimately be cut off therein. The son that was lost, and subsequently was found, was lost in his going away into sin, and not lost in eternal torment. He was found in his return to God. He was dead, so far as the Father was concerned, when he was away; but he was alive again when he willingly returned.

The lesson to the Pharisees, in this parable, like the others, was in respect to their proper duties toward their brethren, who in receiving Jesus were showing evidences of a return to God. Indeed, so far as we know, few, if any, of our Lord's disciples were of the religious class of that time, who claimed to sit in Moses' seat, and to be in every sense of the word the favorites of the Father in that covenanted nation. That the Pharisees did not profit greatly by the parable seems evident: few from that class were willing to abandon their position of vaunted superiority, and to acknowledge that in everything they were wholly dependent upon the Father's grace, and of themselves could do nothing.

Some parallel to those conditions which obtained in the end of the Jewish age might be found now in the end of the Gospel age, even as we have found that in every particular the Jewish people and their harvest time were a pattern or figure or illustration of the Gospel age and spiritual Israel. Amongst spiritual Israelites to-day, in our Lord's second presence, a message is going forth to the groaning creation, a message respecting the Father's love, and its lengths and breadths and heights and depths; a message respecting the ransom given by our Lord Jesus, that it was "a ransom for all," and that his death was "not only a propitiation for our sins [the Church's] but also for the sins of the whole world;" a message that the whole world, thus redeemed by the precious blood of Christ, is to have full opportunity of returning to divine favor during the Millennial age, "the times of restitution of all things, spoken by the mouth of all the holy prophets since the world began."

Now, how is this message received by nominal Christendom, as to some extent corresponding to the elder brother of the parable? Does it not appear that the message of restitution for a "groaning creation" (Rom. 8:22) is received in much the same manner that evidences of God's grace toward the Jewish prodigal were received? Does it not appear that many of our dear friends, whom we would have expected to rejoice to find the heavenly Father willing to receive back the repentant world, and that he has made full provision for their return to fellowship with himself through Jesus, and full preparation to let them all know of his grace in Christ,--does it not seem that this gracious message of "good will toward men," "good tidings of great joy to all people," should be to all Christians a gladsome message?

It surely should be such to all who have the Father's spirit; to all who love their neighbor as themselves. But we know how bitterly the message is rejected by some who, to outward appearances, have long been favored of the Heavenly Father, and who are well versed in his law, and who have been seeking to keep close at home, in the sense of outward obedience to the laws of righteousness. What would their course of conduct in respect to his message of present truth imply? Would it not imply that outwardly they had been sons of God, in obedience to the laws of righteousness, but that they had at heart been far from him, even when with their lips they drew nigh unto him, and when they bent their knee in prayer to him?

Would it not seem that if they had the Father's spirit of love and kindness and generosity and justice and truth they would be glad, yea, rejoice exceedingly [R2709 : page 302] to know that after the selection of the Church of this present age to be the Bride and joint-heir with Christ in the Kingdom, the Heavenly Father had a great and wonderful plan of restitution for the world of mankind in general? If they had the Father's spirit, if they had the spirit of him who left the Father's glory and humbled himself to our conditions, even unto death, to be a co-worker together with the Father in the great work shortly to be accomplished for the recovery of the lost? It certainly should fill the Lord's "brethren" with joy to know that it will be a part of their privilege as members of the body of Christ to join with him in this great work of bringing back the lost sheep, of sweeping diligently and finding the lost coin, and, in every sense of the word, of welcoming back to the Father's house the lost brother.

It is not for us to judge the hearts of men; that is beyond our power; but the Lord seems to be using his truth in such a way that it shall become the discerner of the thoughts and intents of the hearts, and that, sharper than any two-edged sword, it shall separate, shall discover, shall manifest, who have the spirit of the Lord, and who have not his spirit. "If any man have not the spirit of Christ he is none of his."-- Heb. 4:12.



page 303

ENCOURAGING WORDS FROM FAITHFUL WORKERS.

DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--I take much pleasure in writing you this morning, because of the joyful influence of the truth upon my heart. It was my happy privilege to be present at the Convention at Chicago-- and to return full of its uplifting influence. The Lord was certainly with us there, and I think I can safely say that any doubts that may have remained in my mind as to the truth and Scripturalness of "this way" were fully removed, and I came home with a peace of mind and courage to go into the church prayer-meeting and tell those who have not heard of this fuller truth what I had seen and heard and felt.

May God bless you, dear Brother, and spare you long to think and act and speak for him, and in defence of his gospel. Brother Dixon and myself went to Milwaukee yesterday to attend Pilgrim Hay's meeting, and returned well pleased with that also. Quite a large company gathered to hear him. He will be with us this evening. I will enclose you one of the invitation cards we had printed.

I have wished many times that I had the third chapter of DAWN, VOL. I., in tract form, for general distribution among Christian people. It seems to me it would act as an excellent opening wedge for the entire series--such a faithful and logical defense of God's inspired Word.

Yours in love of the Master,
H. D. White,--Wisconsin.

[R2709 : page 303]

DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--Some time ago Brother Woodworth witnessed my method of handing out the Volunteer TOWERS and was so well pleased with it that he made me promise to write to you about it. I don't consider it anything out of the ordinary, but for the sake of my promise I will give it to you.

With a bow and a smile I say, "Sample--WATCH TOWER"; or "Free sample WATCH TOWER." If any questions are asked, I say, "An unsectarian religious magazine." My reasons for this method are, I seek to interest them thus, or rather to arouse their curiosity in knowing what the paper is; rather giving them the impression that I am seeking subscribers. In this way they will read with an unprejudiced mind--it does not arouse their antagonism by giving them the impression that you have something to refute the arguments they have just been listening to. If any know of the WATCH TOWER and do not care for it, they can refuse to take it, and thus one is saved for some one else. I think I am justified in giving the impression that I am seeking subscribers; if anyone becomes interested, he will become a subscriber, and it is for such that we specially labor. With much love, I am,

Yours in the best of bonds,
JOS. L. HOAGLAND,--Pennsylvania.

page 303

DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--Possibly you may remember that when I was in Milwaukee some months ago I sent you a newspaper clipping regarding a colored man in Wilmington who had turned from black to white, through the loss of the pigment under his skin. I now enclose a clipping from the New York World of Sept. 9th, regarding a similar case at Parkersburg, W. Va. Do you not think these may possibly be granted as illustrations of how the Lord purposes to remove race and color distinctions during the "age of the ages"?

I also enclose a clipping from same paper, same date, regarding the intended gathering in of 2,000,000 more into Methodism's "great big flock." [The two items mentioned appear in the "View"--EDITOR.] I thank you with all my heart for your kind, encouraging letter of Sept. 13. In humility and love,

Your brother and servant,
CLAYTON J. WOODWORTH,--New York.

[R2710 : page 303]

DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--The TOWER for Aug. 15 is at hand and read, and I cannot resist writing to you on the subject, but by no means for the purpose of getting an answer as I well know the value of your time. When first, in the great joy of having received the truth, I hastened to tell my dear brothers and sisters in Holland, I met with terrible rebuffs. My very dear youngest sister sent me a tract, in which a parson, Cjeharsi --hireling (whose the sheep are not) warned his flock (pen) against the "soul-damning doctrines of MILLENNIAL DAWN." "It added," said he, "and lopped off Scripture," and to prove that he never did such a thing he went on to say that "the wages of sin is death and eternal torment."

Ever since '94 I have quietly but persistently spoken of my Lord as I know him now. Lately my sister's notice has been drawn to the fact that I was concerned about her "soul's condition," and I pointed out to her how she, knowing that I had imbibed "soul-damning doctrines," had never taken a step to prevent my going into the tortures of hell fire, while she would give her time to, and get concerned about the welfare of some man in prison, who had merely transgressed the "traditions of men." My letter was largely prompted by one from a second sister, who has youth, beauty, wealth, talent and society in her favor, but who gives all to nurse the sick. She has worked her way to be directress of the Reformed hospital in Amsterdam, our native city. Hers is a life of actual service, and, tho still in orthodoxy, she confessed that she was touched by the evident love and interest I manifested in Christ's teaching, and that I had the "gift to analyze thought." Oh, how glad I will be if I may have stepped out so far past myself to show them my only Head and Master! Souls full of love and consecration, but yet of the heart "slow to understand." Just think of lives like those clearly seeing, so that they too may receive the "gift to analyze (order) thought."

Oh, how dearly I hope I may have sufficient light in me that it may shine clearly enough for others to see! I fully appreciate what you say about sudden deaths. The fact that we have an understanding of the plan of the ages is not a guarantee that the mind of Christ is in us. If, in one sense, it is a sign of exceeding love and benefaction, it brings with it no less a responsibility. Not all those who understand these truths are destined for one office and one purpose. I do not care for the reward, I do not ask for one; all I ask and all I care for is to render efficient service to at least some sin-laden, faltering one for His Name's sake. The 15th Psalm has been my choice one from childhood; and from it I learned, amid the luxurious surroundings of a banker's home, to ask why I had received so much when others had so little, others whom I loved and honored, and who were more worthy than I. Good as my father was, both as man and Christian, I saw that he did not earn his wealth, and that the world was but little [R2710 : page 304] better for his being in it. I made up my mind (I can easily remember) at the age of 12, that I would right the wrong if I could, and to-day I am still laboring towards that end. I feel that I swore then--and whether to my hurt or not I do not know--and I have not changed since. I do know that, according to the psalm, I have been blessed far beyond my deserts, for "Mine eyes have seen thy salvation;" yea, I behold Canaan's glittering shores. It is therefore quite immaterial to me, reverently speaking, what occurs. The Kingdom cometh not by observation, that they should say, lo here, or lo there, and I would pluck my right eye (that wherein I thought I saw aright) rather than lose the Kingdom.

With prayers, brother, that the spirit of meekness, love and humility may be increasingly yours, that so you may prove faithful to the last, I am

Yours in the service of the truth,
DANIEL F. BOISSEVAIN,--Canada.

page 304

DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--I have not written to you for a long time, but it is not because I have forgotten you, nor because you are long absent from my thoughts. I am still rejoicing in the light of truth, and, I trust, still pressing along the narrow way, altho, I fear, in but a halting fashion. If it were not for the positive information in God's Word that not many noble are being called, but rather the base things, to be joint-heirs with Christ, and that there is no condemnation to those who are in Christ, I (in common with many others, I presume) should be inclined to despair when I consider what little progress I have made in seven years' time, since I was first led out of sectarian darkness.

The principal article in the last TOWER was especially good: you hit the nail when you said that many Christians had seen nothing more in the Golden Rule than the negative injunction to refrain from injuring another; for I had not noticed anything more in it, until you called our attention to it at the Philadelphia Convention.

The manifestation of a good spirit still characterizes all the meetings in Philadelphia, and the light of truth is spreading most decidedly among others in this city and vicinity. Sr. Walker and the children join in love and best wishes for your physical and spiritual welfare. Yours in Christ,
SMITH WALKER,--Pennsylvania.

[R2710 : page 304]

DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--I take the first opportunity to personally thank you for your attendance at the Saratoga Convention. I realize that to be present cost you some sacrifice and inconvenience, perhaps, but if you could have heard the expressions of satisfaction at its close, and the expressions of regret that it was so soon over, I know that you would have felt well repaid. But, dear Brother Russell, your reward is in the hands of him who is the "rewarder of all those that diligently seek him," and our thanks are feeble indeed when compared with the satisfaction which he gives in this life, and the hope which he sets before us to be given us in the life to come. All the brethren expressed themselves in these words, "'A feast of fat things' if ever there was such a feast," and I found it in my own heart to echo the same words. I was very sorry to miss the sessions during the day on Tuesday, but it could not be avoided. However, it seemed that my cup of satisfaction was full.

It seems, as one brother expressed it, that every Convention is a little better than the preceding one, and that this must be true is indicated by the fact that we are in the end of the days, and the end draws on apace. How good our Master is to so freely disclose to us things which are intended for our consolation and hope and purification.

As we comprehend more and more of the plan of the ages and of the love of God, which he manifested in his Son, we exclaim, "Who is a God like unto thee; great and marvelous are thy works!" And as we come to comprehend also that the plan and the love, both, include even us, we feel constrained to adore such a God, and to spend our lives in his service. Remember me, as I remember all saints, before the throne of grace.

Yours in his service,
R. H. BARBER,--New York.

DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--Just a word to tell you that all our plans are turned over,--no doubt with the Lord's permission. I cannot go to Giengen: just today I received a letter from Sister Finkh, in which she informs me that the fact of renting a dwelling for me has aroused such an excitement and hostility amongst church people there that the people who rented me the rooms are so afraid as to annul it. Two ministers came three or four times to the woman, and finally told her that she would bring a curse upon herself, if she would take me in her house; they would write to the church authorities, and went to the police, etc. Sr. Finkh was attacked in the street by a woman, who cried aloud after her ugly words, and the ministers themselves used such expressions in speaking of me as would be punished here, if spoken publicly. Sr. Finkh and the other three seem to be most earnest, and will follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth, even unto death. There is already such hatred as to kill the Lord's true people, if they were permitted at all.

I do not know, at this moment where to go, but trust the Lord will show me soon, as I wish with all my heart to follow his leading only. Pray for me, dear brother, and for the dear sisters at Giengen.

Yours in our glorious hope,
M. E. GIESEKE,--Germany.

[It is remarkable what an antagonism the truth awakens among the preachers and church officials of Babylon. We hear much of Christian union and liberality and fraternization of Catholics and Protestants, but such things apply to and among those who preach "bad tidings," and is not considered applicable to us who proclaim the "good tidings of great joy which shall be to all people." Strange, is it not? And yet how it reminds us of the bitterness of the hatred of the church officials of Jewry at the first advent. As our Lord declared, they "hated the light," and the greater the light the more was their hatred, until they attempted to extinguish the Light by killing him. The hatred above described indicates the spirit of murder (1 John 3:15): will it ever lead to literal murder?--How soon?--EDITOR.]



page 305
October 1st

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

SEMI-MONTHLY.


VOL. XXI.OCTOBER 15, 1900.No. 20.


CONTENTS.

Views From the Watch Tower307
Poem: The Christian's Goal308
Seasons of Refreshing308
"Thy Saints Shall Glorify Thee"309
The Song of Moses and the Lamb310
"Thy Saints Shall Bless Thee"313
Following the Voice of Conscience314
The Unjust Steward315
"Ye Cannot Serve God and Mammon"317
The Rich Man and Lazarus318
Encouraging Words From Faithful Workers319
About Pilgrim Visits, etc306

I will stand upon my watch, and set my foot upon the Tower, and will watch to see what He shall say unto me, and what answer I shall make to them that oppose me. Hab. 2:1

Upon the earth distress of nations with perplexity: the sea and the waves (the restless, discontented) roaring: men's hearts failing them for fear and for looking forward to the things coming upon the earth (society): for the powers of the heavens (ecclestiasticism) shall be shaken. . . .When ye see these things come to pass, then know that the Kingdom of God is nigh at hand. Look up, lift up your heads, rejoice, for your redemption draweth nigh. -- Luke 21:25-28, 32.

page 306

THIS JOURNAL AND ITS MISSION.

THIS journal is set for the defence of the only true foundation of the Christian's hope now being so generally repudiated,--Redemption through the precious blood of "the man Christ Jesus who gave himself a ransom [a corresponding price, a substitute] for all." (1 Pet. 1:19; 1 Tim. 2:6.) Building up on this sure foundation the gold, silver and precious stones (1 Cor. 3:11-15; 2 Pet. 1:5-11) of the Word of God, its further mission is to--"Make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery which...has been hid in God,...to the intent that now might be made known by the Church the manifold wisdom of God"--"which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed."--Eph. 3:5-9,10.

It stands free from all parties, sects and creeds of men, while it seeks more and more to bring its every utterance into fullest subjection to the will of God in Christ, as expressed in the Holy Scriptures. It is thus free to declare boldly whatsoever the Lord hath spoken;--according to the divine wisdom granted unto us, to understand. Its attitude is not dogmatical, but confident; for we know whereof we affirm, treading with implicit faith upon the sure promises of God. It is held as a trust, to be used only in his service; hence our decisions relative to what may and what may not appear in its columns must be according to our judgment of his good pleasure, the teaching of his Word, for the upbuilding of his people in grace and knowledge. And we not only invite but urge our readers to prove all its utterances by the infallible Word to which reference is constantly made, to facilitate such testing.

TO US THE SCRIPTURES CLEARLY TEACH

That the Church is "the Temple of the Living God"--peculiarly "His
workmanship;" that its construction has been in progress throughout the
Gospel age--ever since Christ became the world's Redeemer and
the chief corner stone of this Temple, through which, when finished,
God's blessings shall come "to all people," and they find access to
him.--1 Cor. 3:16,17; Eph. 2:20-22; Gen. 28:14; Gal. 3:29.
That meantime the chiseling, shaping and polishing, of consecrated believers
in Christ's atonement for sin, progresses; and when the last of these
"living stones," "elect and precious," shall have been made ready,
the great Master Workman will bring all together in the First Resurrection;
and the Temple shall be filled with his glory, and be the meeting
place between God and men throughout the Millennium.--Rev. 15:5-8.
That the Basis of Hope, for the Church and the World, lies in the fact that
"Jesus Christ, by the grace of God, tasted death for man," "a ransom
for all," and will be "the true light which lighteth
"in due time."--Heb. 2:9; John 1:9; 1 Tim. 2:5,6.
That the Hope of the Church is that she may be like her Lord, "see him
as he is," be "partaker of the divine nature," and share his glory as
his joint-heir.--1 John 3:2; John 17:24; Rom. 8:17; 2 Pet. 1:4.
That the present mission of the Church is the perfecting of the saints for
the future work of service; to develop in herself every grace; to be God's
witness to the world; and to prepare to be the kings and priests of
the next age.--Eph. 4:12; Matt. 24:14; Rev. 1:6; 20:6.
That the hope for the World lies in the blessings of knowledge and opportunity
to be brought to by Christ's Millennial Kingdom--the restitution
of all that was lost in Adam, to all the willing and obedient, at the
hands of their Redeemer and his glorified Church.--Acts 3:19-21; Isa. 35.
CHARLES T. RUSSELL, Editor.




SUBSCRIPTIONS AND BUSINESS COMMUNICATIONS
--ADDRESS TO--
WATCH TOWER BIBLE & TRACT SOCIETY,
"BIBLE HOUSE," 610, 612, 614 ARCH ST., ALLEGHENY, PA., U.S.A.

SUBSCRIPTION PRICE, $1.00 A YEAR IN ADVANCE.
MONEY MAY BE SENT BY EXPRESS, N.Y. DRAFT, MONEY ORDER, OR REGISTERED.
FROM FOREIGN COUNTRIES BY FOREIGN MONEY ORDERS, ONLY. SPECIAL
TERMS TO THE LORD'S POOR, AS FOLLOWS:--

Those of the interested who, by reason of old age, or other infirmity or adversity, are unable to pay for the TOWER will be supplied FREE, if they send a Postal Card each December, stating their case and requesting the paper. We are not only willing, but anxious, that all such be on our list continually.



BRITISH BRANCH NO. 131 GIPSY LANE, FOREST GATE, LONDON EAST, ENGLAND.



[R2750 : page 306]

ABOUT PILGRIM VISITS.

We are surprised at the limited number of responses to our request of Aug. 1. issue that all desiring visits of "Pilgrims" in future shall write us a postal card at once so saying--and answering the queries propounded in that issue.

We cannot think that the limited number of responses received indicate the measure of appreciation entertained for this Pilgrim service, which is free--no collections even. If this service is not appreciated highly we will certainly discontinue some of the Pilgrims, and hereafter endeavor to serve chiefly those who have expressed a desire for such ministries. We feel confident, however, that you have merely overlooked or neglected the matter, and shall hope to have at once responses from all who have expressed deep appreciation of the Pilgrim services in the past. We desire the answers on postal cards and by numbers so that they will be compact and uniform and easily referred to. If you know of friends at near-by post offices please mention names of such post offices on the card.


page 306

NAMES OF WATCH TOWER POOR LIST.

While we are not only willing but anxious to have on our lists the names of all interested in present truth, we nevertheless require that the request come direct from the person desiring the WATCH TOWER; and that the request be repeated each December. One exception would be that any who are contributors to the Tract Fund may send in such names of interested poor brethren, authorizing us to charge up the subscriptions as in offset to their donations. Those who desire the TOWER and hope to pay for it in the future may order it on credit; with the understanding that, if never able to pay, they may at any time have the debt canceled on request.

SEND NO MONEY BY MAIL: IT IS UNSAFE.



[R2710 : page 307]

VIEWS FROM THE WATCH TOWER.


WORLD MOVEMENT TOWARD DENOMINATIONAL UNION.


A CONTEMPORARY thus sums up the recent tendencies toward union on the part of Churchianity,--in full harmony with what our pages for the past twenty years have shown will be the procedure of "Babylon" just prior to her fall "as a great millstone into the sea." We quote as follows:--

"The question of denominational union is fast becoming one of the most important questions of the day in all Protestant lands. In Germany, as we have lately pointed out, a strong movement exists for the federation of the state churches, amounting to nearly fifty in number; and federation is one step on the road to organic union. In Scotland, the Congregationalists and the churches of the Evangelical Union --sometimes called Morrisanians--amalgamated their forces a short time ago; and the Free and the United Presbyterian churches are to become organically one next October, as already mentioned in these pages. In South Australia the three leading Methodist denominations, and in Canada all the various Methodist bodies have for some years been one. This is an encouraging record. [R2711 : page 307]

"Besides this measure of union already attained, there are promising movements under way in England. All the great Protestant churches outside the Establishment have for some years had a strong federal organization, as we have several times pointed out. During several years past an attempt has been made to unite organically two of the Methodist bodies--the Princeton Methodists and the Bible Christians. Both are offshoots of the original Wesleyan parent stock, but separated from it on questions of church government."

CHRISTIAN THEORY AND PRACTICE CONTRARY.


The following is from the Orient, a Japanese journal:

"Japan enjoys the unique distinction of being the only non-Christian power that has been admitted into what is called the comity of nations on a footing of perfect equality, and, to judge from the utterances of the European and American press she is by no means the least respected power. Unfortunately the cause of this respect is not such as to satisfy all Japanese. Japan has made great progress in the arts of peace; but that is not really why she is respected. That respect was earned in a short nine months by the achievements of the Japanese army and navy. Now, that sort of thing is pleasing enough to a nation's amour propre, but on calmly thinking the matter over some Japanese would wish that the respect of Western nations had been earned by something else than by mere proficiency in the art of slaughter conducted on modern scientific principles. Russia, too, is respected and feared. Yet she is the only non-constitutional country in the comity of nations. The liberty of the individual and of the press is under the tyranny of mere administrative orders in Russia, and official peculation is nearly as rife as in China. And this gives rise to strange misgivings. Are the so-called Christian nations really followers of the religious cult they so ostentatiously and proudly profess?...

"Without going so far with Count Tolstoi as to say that his rendering of the real meaning of Christianity is the correct one, we do go so far as to say that the precepts of the Sermon on the Mount are the most important in the so-called Christian code of morality. And these precepts, unquestionably, are against war, and all against according honor to any nation or any man on the mere grounds of success in the exercise of brute force, much less of success in slaughtering enemies. And yet it is precisely on these grounds that non-Christian Japan has been accorded the respect of so-called Christian Europe and America!

"We can very well understand the old Hebrews respecting us for success in war, for the old Hebrew God was a God of battles. But we have always understood that the Christian Father in heaven was no mere tribal war-god, but a God of love. The present situation is not a little puzzling to us poor benighted heathens of Japan, who have earned the respect of those who profess to follow the precepts of Christ on [R2711 : page 308] the Mount, by success in slaughtering our enemies, and by that alone. Will real Christians kindly explain what it all means?"


***

In our "View" of last issue we made a typographical error, in stating that Terah, Abraham's father, died at seventy. It should have read--two hundred and five years. [R2711 : page 308]

THE CHRISTIAN'S GOAL.


THOUGHTS SUGGESTED BY THE CHICAGO CONVENTION.


Perfect love--the mark for the prize;
How shall I reach it, O Lord?
The way thou hast walked is a narrow way,
So we read in thy precious Word.
We eagerly start in the way with joy,
Thinking our love is pure;
But the Father, seeking our perfectness,
Purgeth us more and more.

Till, by dint of strokes and of tears
Made to look back o'er bitter years
Our hearts in anguish deep exclaim
"Woe is me!" "Wretched man that I am!"
We know that in us dwelleth no good thing,
But in the Beloved do we stand;
O glory and honor and praises to him
Who holdeth us in his hand!

Perfect love! O Lord can it be
Thou in infinite mercy canst see
In one so unworthy, so helpless as I,
A heart that unto thee would draw nigh?
Perfect love! Lord, can it really be
Thou hast so loved and cared for me,
That when in me did sin so abound
Thy grace more abundant was found?

Perfect love--the mark for the prize
Thou hast placed beyond the skies!
O yes, our dear Lord, we will patiently run,
With our eyes on thee alone;
Not looking back on the way we have come,
Battles fought, and victories won;
But forgetting those things which are behind
Press along our reward to find.

Perfect love--we do see it in him,
Who gave his life, our poor lives to redeem;
That we might as sons to our Father draw near,
For in Jesus we've nothing to fear,
As in the light of his glorious face
We press to the end of the race;
Standing complete in his Righteousness,
He alone our perfect dress.
--MRS. C. A. OWEN.



[R2711 : page 308]

SEASONS OF REFRESHING.


AS THE time for the Dallas, Texas, Convention drew near, it became evident that it would serve only a small proportion of the Texas friends who would desire to attend, and so arrangements were made for two other gatherings in that large State-- about 300 miles apart;--namely at Houston and at San Antonio. And another local convention of nearby friends was held at Columbus, Ohio, on the Editor's return trip. All were seasons of refreshment in spiritual things, profitable, we trust, to all who attended.

At Dallas the attendance was about 300; from all parts of Texas, from Oklahoma, Indian Territory, Arkansas, Mississippi, Alabama and California. The three days were practically one continuous meeting with necessary intermissions for food and rest. Fifteen brethren and seven sisters symbolized their real baptism into Christ's death, by immersion in water.

At Houston we had only a one-day meeting, but it was a good one; full of love, joy, fellowship of kindred minds; its influence will abide, with some at least, through life, yea throughout eternity, no doubt. The attendance was about one hundred and twenty-five, chiefly local.

At San Antonio we had great refreshment during two days' meeting with about one hundred and fifty of God's dear people, mostly from local points. Two informed us that they had driven over one hundred miles in a wagon, there being no good rail road connections, and, anyway, the expense being a consideration. The Lord's blessing was with us all in bountiful measure as we considered together the grandeur of our high calling, and the "mark" to which all must attain if they would win it.

At Columbus we had but one day, but it was one full of refreshment, as we met about one hundred dear brethren and sisters from local points, and communed together concerning the exceeding great and precious promises and arrangements of God for the elect, and through them for all the families of the earth, in God's due time.

The arrangements at every point were most complete, and with the cordial reception accorded ourself and all visiting brethren, bespoke--amongst all--a

"Love divine all love excelling."

We shall cherish fondly to the end of our pilgrimage the remembrance of the hearty greetings and [R2712 : page 309] many kind attentions, great and small, lavished upon us by loved ones whom we had never met before, but who, for all that, were far from strangers. We accepted these attentions as done "unto the Lord" and to us a representative of Him and his truth; and not as personal tributes. If, as our Master promised, even a cup of cold water given in the name of a disciple shall be rewarded by him, surely these many kindnesses to us as his servant will bring showers of spiritual blessings to many; and in this we rejoice.

Much as we enjoy these conventions and realize that they are spiritually profitable to many, we feel nevertheless that they must not be indulged so freely next year, nor until the concluding two volumes of the DAWN series are prepared. The conventions of this year have retarded VOL. VI. a full year. We have not as yet gotten started on it, and yet our daily increasing mail clearly shows its need. We have in mind for 1901 a convention at Buffalo, N.Y., to which point the Pan-American Exposition will undoubtedly secure low excursion rates.



[R2712 : page 309]

"THY SAINTS SHALL GLORIFY THEE."


They shall speak of the glory of thy Kingdom, and talk of thy power; to make known to the sons of men his mighty acts, and the glorious majesty of his Kingdom."--Psa. 145:5-12.

VARIOUS ARE the view-points from which mankind regards its Creator. The world of mankind in general notes merely his mighty acts, without appreciating his glorious character. This is suggested by the Prophet, saying, "I will speak of [meditate on] the glorious honor of thy majesty, and of thy wondrous deeds, and men shall speak of thy terrible acts: but I will declare thy greatness." (Vss. 5,6.) The world speaketh of its own, and according to its intelligence respecting the Almighty; but the Lord's people, specially instructed by him and taught of the holy spirit, know of the Lord and his greatness in a sense that the remainder of mankind know them not.

As the Apostle declares, "The natural man receiveth not the things of the spirit of God, neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned. ...But God hath revealed them unto us by his spirit." (1 Cor. 2:14,10.) As our Lord again declared, "To you it is given to know the mysteries of the Kingdom." "Blessed are your eyes, for they see; and your ears, for they hear." (Mark 4:11; Matt. 13:16.) We are not, then, to be surprised at the wide difference of understanding of God and of his mightiness and of his character, as viewed by the saints and by the world; rather we are to expect such a difference of view. The Apostle explains the reason, telling us that the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them that believe not, so that the glorious light of God's goodness, shining in the face of Jesus Christ our Lord, does not shine into their hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the divine character and plan. (2 Cor. 4:4.) And he explains again that we who were at one time in darkness, are now enlightened by the Lord, having been translated out of the dominion of the prince of darkness, into the dominion of God's dear Son. (Col. 1:13.) And it is this enlightened class that the Apostle urges should make progress in the knowledge of the Lord, growing in grace, growing in knowledge, and thus growing in the love of God and in the appreciation of his character. He urges this, saying that it is necessary, to the intent that we may comprehend with all saints, the lengths and breadths, and the heights and depths, and to know the love of Christ, which passeth all [human] understanding.--Eph. 3:17-19.

Alas! the great majority of Christian people, while they have escaped from much of the blindness of the Adversary, are still subject to his confusing errors and misrepresentations of the truth, and are thus blinded still in great measure to the divine plan; looking at things more from the human standpoint than from the divine standpoint, and framing their creeds and confessions accordingly. Ah, they forget how the Lord has declared, "My plans are not your plans, 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 plans than your plans." (Isa. 55:8,9.) Because of this measure of blindness that rests upon the mass of the nominal church--even amongst Protestants--it follows that, not seeing the divine character and plan in their true light and beauty, the vast majority of Christian people cannot take the standpoint of the saints in this prophetic testimony before us, but they take rather the standpoint of the natural man: when they think of the Almighty they think rather of his wonderful and terrible acts than of his own greatness, because they know comparatively little of the glorious honor of his majesty, and do not see how his wonderful deeds declare his greatness.

From the standpoint of the average Christian, God is anything but gloriously honorable in his majesty; indeed, thinking of the Almighty from the standpoint of their creeds, the majority of noble-minded Christian people feel ashamed of God and of his plan. One class declares that his glorious honor and majesty [R2712 : page 310] is manifested in his election of the Church to glory and eternal life, and in the passing by of the great majority of others, condemning them to an eternity of torture--and that since "known unto the Lord are all his works," God foreknew and foreordained whatsoever comes to pass, and thus purposed the eternal torment of the vast majority of his hundreds of millions of human creatures before creating them. Can these dear Christian friends declare the honor and majesty, the greatness and goodness, of their Creator? No! Hindered by such a false view of God's plan and of his mighty works, they cannot discern in such a course either justice, or love, or any other great or honorable quality, that they should honor or reverence it. Hence, like the world, they merely take note of the mighty power of Jehovah, and fear him, but are unable to take the position of the saints and to glorify his name and declare his righteousness.

Another large body of Christian people repudiate the foregoing false view, asserting another equally untrue, and almost equally dishonoring--tho their thought is to glorify God, and to relieve his character of the stain of injustice, inequity and lovelessness with which the foregoing view would besmirch it. These, therefore, claim that God loves every member of the race, and is doing, and has been doing since the fall, everything within his power to rescue Adam's fallen race from their difficulties. But with such a view how could they extol the greatness and the honorable majesty of the Almighty? If for six thousand years he has been unable to accomplish anything, where is the power, where is the honor and majesty to be seen?

Surely all would confess that any bright, honorable man, if granted the one-hundredth part of the omnipotent power of the Creator, could accomplish more in one hundred years than all that has been accomplished in six thousand years, toward the rescue of the race from ignorance, superstition and sin! How, then, could these dear Christian friends who, with good purpose of heart, are nevertheless blinded by a false theory--how could they tell forth the glorious honor of the divine majesty, and show this and his greatness from his wondrous deeds? Surely they would be dumb in any such effort.

THE SONG OF MOSES AND THE LAMB.


Only those who see the divine plan of the ages, and the relationship between the past, the present, and the future, are in any degree able to make known the greatness of our God, his glorious power, and his honorable majesty. This class is referred to by the Revelator as singing the song of Moses, the servant of God, and the song of the Lamb--they sing in the sense of declaring in harmonious and beautiful cadences the relationship of the types and figures of the Law and the Prophets of the Mosaic dispensation with the antitypes of these of the Gospel dispensation; showing that all things written in the Law and in the Prophets are finding glorious fulfilments in the Lamb of God and in the great plan which the heavenly Father is working out through him.--Rev. 15:3,4.

The Revelator tells us the substance of this song; namely, "Great and marvelous are thy works, Lord God Almighty! Just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints!" But what great and marvelous work has God performed, and how shall we see that he is both just and true in all his ways and dealings? From the standpoint of those who can sing this song everything must be clear as noonday!

First amongst the great and marvelous works of the Almighty was the sentence of death upon father Adam and his posterity because of disobedience--not a sentence of eternal torment, which would be as unjust, and unreasonable, as it is untrue and contrary to the Word of God--not the false presentation respecting this divine act that is held forth in all the creeds of Christendom, --but the great and marvelous act which God [R2713 : page 310] declares he accomplished when he let fall upon our race the sentence of death, which has brought in its train all the various disasters and difficulties, mental and physical, to which our fallen flesh is heir, all of which are tending to, and resulting in death, the penalty. As we look at this marvelous work, we must concede that it was just (in that it was merited), that it is true (in the sense of not being an unreasonable penalty), true in the sense that it was exactly what God forewarned father Adam the penalty of disobedience would be. "Just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints."

But Jehovah's first great and marvelous work of condemnation was, after four thousand years, followed by another great and marvelous work; viz., the work of redemption. How stupendous this work of the ransoming of all Adam's race of hundreds of millions by the sacrifice of one man! How great and wonderful indeed this act, and how just and true, and how fully in harmony with every feature of divine justice and love! Even the philosophy of the ransom is explained to the Lord's people,--how that all mankind were included in one man's sentence, to the intent that in due time the penalty of sin could be paid on behalf of all mankind by the one sacrifice for sins, "the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself a ransom for all." (1 Tim. 2:5,6; Rom. 5:12,18,19.) Was not this a great and marvelous work? Who that realizes the lengths and breadths, and heights and depths of this manifestation of divine justice and divine love, can do aught else than sing this song of Moses and [R2713 : page 311] the Lamb, declaring to all who have ears to hear it, "Great and marvelous, just and true are thy ways, Lord God Almighty." But few see it clearly; and hence few can sing this wonderful story to others.

But there is still another feature to this song, and it is glorious also, tho it pertains not to the things that are past, but to the things yet to come. It declares, "Who shall not reverence thee, O Lord, and glorify thy name?" It looks forward to the time when this great redemption, accomplished by the blood of the Lamb, shall be made available to every member of the human family. It looks forward to the glorious Millennial age, to the time when, under divine providence, the knowledge of the Lord, essential to faith, and to any acceptance of his favor and mercy through Christ, shall be extended to every creature,--who indeed will not reverence the Lord and glorify his name? Surely, as the Scriptures have declared, at that time, "Every knee shall bow and every tongue confess," and while this bowing and confessing may at first be compulsory, and not with all the volition of the heart, yet the Scriptures assure us that ultimately all who will not come into heart harmony with the Lord and with all his gracious arrangements and provisions, shall be cut off from amongst the people, --in the Second Death. (Acts 3:23.) So that ultimately, instead of the universe being filled with hundreds of millions who to all eternity will wail and gnash their teeth and blaspheme God's holy name in agony--instead of this the time shall come when every tongue in heaven and in earth shall be heard praising God, and giving honor to him that sitteth on the throne and to the Lamb, forever; for by that time all evildoers, all lovers of unrighteousness, shall be cut off from amongst the people.

But this song continues, and has yet another strain. It declares, "Thou only art holy"--all holiness, all perfection, wherever it is found, must proceed from God, the great fountain of holiness. How strange, then, that any of God's dear people (and we ourselves were once amongst this number) should so misunderstand the divine character and plan as to misrepresent the same as being the very essence of unholiness, injustice, unkindness, inequity, lovelessness, toward the great mass of God's creatures! It will indeed be a glad day when all shall reverence God's name, and when all shall recognize that he is indeed the fountain of holiness.

But there is still another strain in this song, and it is a grand one also, like all the others,--reaching down into the Millennial age. It declares, "All nations shall come and worship before thee; for thy judgments are made manifest." "All nations" will include, not only all the nations then living, but all the nations of the dead, just as does the promise which God made to Abraham, saying, "In thy seed [the Christ, Head and body] shall all the families of the earth be blessed"--all nations.

How few, how extremely few, are able to learn this song! How extremely few learn it so well as to be able to sing this song to the glory of God! How many who supposedly were trained to sing "the good tidings of great joy" for all people, are in the pulpits to-day singing totally different songs; some of them songs of "Evolution," declaring that there was no fall, consequently no redemption from a fall, and consequently that there is to be no recovery from a fall; but that man is grandly climbing up, up, up, and proving to be his own Savior, and hoping to attain they know not what,--they know not when.

Others are singing the song of Calvinism, predestination, foreordination and election. Others are singing the song of Arminianism, and hoping that God will be able to accomplish much in the future through their assistance,--which they hold he has unsuccessfully been trying to do for six thousand years. Others are singing the song, "In union there is strength," and seeking to combine for what they term a "social uplift," or "the salvation of society." Others are singing the song of works and universal salvation. But how few are able to sing this song of Moses and the Lamb, or to see how God's great and marvelous works of the past reflect gloriously upon his character, both for justice and love, and give us the best of all assurances for the working out in the future of the glorious plan which he has already outlined and begun!

And we are told the reason why so few can sing this song--that it is only for those to sing who have "gotten the victory over the beast and his image and his mark and the number of his name." These symbols, representing earthly institutions which now hinder and bind and enslave the Lord's people to creeds, must be overcome by every soul that would hope to be able to appreciate this song, and to sing it in his daily life to others according to his opportunities. Those who try to sing this song while yet in Babylon find their mistake.

PROCLAIM LOUDLY THE MEMORIAL.


Coming back to the Prophet's testimony respecting the message, showing forth the Lord's honor and majesty, we find in the 7th verse a wonderful testimony to the central feature and greatest manifestation of the divine character and plan. The Psalmist says (Leeser's translation), "The memorial of thy abundant goodness shall they loudly proclaim, and they shall sing joyfully of thy righteousness." What [R2713 : page 312] memorial has God given us of his abundant goodness? Which of all his great and wonderful works could be thus termed a memorial of divine favor? We answer that this memorial, this great act, was none other than the gift of God's dear Son, to be our redemption price, as the Apostle declares, "In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him." (1 John 4:9.) But as very few realize the great act of justice accomplished in the sentencing of father Adam and his race to death, so very few can appreciate, as a special manifestation of God's abundant goodness, the death of Christ as the full offset for Adam's sin, the full ransom, the full payment of his penalty and that of his race.

The reason for this is that they esteem that the ransom was paid only for the Church, a little flock. From this standpoint it was not a manifestation of the abundant grace and goodness of God, but of a very limited grace and favor for a very limited number, a handful, as it were, out of the great mass of humanity. But when we come to see that our Lord Jesus' sacrifice was "a propitiation for our sins [the Church's sins] and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world," and that this "ransom for all" is "to be testified in due time" to all, and made available to all, that ultimately all may benefit thereby if they will, and return to harmony with God and to eternal life,--from this standpoint only can we see the greatness of that transaction, finished at Calvary, and how it is a "memorial" of God's abundant goodness. And only such as see this can heartily and loudly proclaim it, and sing joyfully of the righteousness of God, which not only was manifested in the righteous penalty against sin, but which again manifested itself in the righteous payment of that penalty on behalf of every creature.

The Psalmist continues, "The Lord is gracious and full of compassion; slow to anger and of great mercy. The Lord is good to all, and his tender mercies are over all his works" (vs. 8). Is not this just what we should expect in our Creator, if we recognize him to be the full embodiment of Justice and of Love and of Wisdom and of Power? And yet how different is this description of the divine character from the general view, as held by the masses of Christian people, blinded by the Adversary and misled by their creeds! Instead of thinking of the Lord as gracious, do they not think of him as awfully ungracious, and have they not pictured him, not only in their creeds but also in their hymns of praise, as being awfully bitter and malignant against his creatures, ungracious, pitiless, full of anger and of no mercy? Have they [R2714 : page 312] not, on the contrary, represented that Jesus our dear Redeemer must plead with the Father, and show his wounds and appeal for us, ere any compassion could be exhibited, and then only in the most limited degree?

But not thus false was the Prophet's view of Jehovah, given by inspiration. Jehovah is gracious and full of compassion; he knows that the motions of sin are in our flesh, tending downward, and in his great mercy and compassion he has provided in Jesus for our every difficulty, our every trial, for the covering of our every weakness and imperfection, and with those who become his people, and who even haltingly seek to walk in the footsteps of Jesus, he is slow to anger and of great mercy. False ideas of the divine character and the divine dealings with the world of mankind have not only perverted the hopes of God's people as respects the world, but have also inculcated in their hearts misconceptions of God's sentiments toward his Church, so that the majority of his people do not appreciate the kindness, the mercy, the love, the compassion of our Father in heaven, and failing to appreciate these they have more or less of the fear of which the Apostle speaks, saying, "Fear hath torment," and correspondingly they lack "the peace of God which passeth all understanding" to rule in their hearts. It is only when by the grace of God the eyes of our understanding are opened to see how our heavenly Father is not against us, but for us, and how under his providential arrangement all things are working together for good to those who love, and who are seeking to attain to the gracious things which he has offered them in his Word,--only then are we enabled to know him, appreciate him, and to offer him, in the best and fullest sense of the word, the tribute of our hearts and the praise of our lips.

Now we come to the climax, as it were, of our text, and note that while the Lord's saints see his greatness and honorable majesty connected with every feature of the divine plan, and while they are telling these good tidings to others, and speaking of his mighty doings in the past, their message would not be complete without a testimony respecting his glorious Kingdom. "They shall speak of the glory of thy Kingdom" --the Millennial Kingdom. They cannot tell of the majesty of the divine plan and not tell about the Kingdom. To tell of the fall, and to tell of the righteous sentence upon the fallen race, and to tell of the redemption accomplished through the precious blood of Christ, and that it was paid on behalf of every member of the Adamic race, would not finish the good tidings of great joy. It is necessary, therefore, to speak of the glory of God's Kingdom, and to talk of his power as it will be manifested in that Kingdom. As the sentence and the execution of the sentence manifest the justice of God; and the redemption [R2714 : page 313] through Jesus manifests the love of God, so the Kingdom of the Lord will manifest his power to save to the uttermost all those who come unto the Father through the Son.

The glory of the Lord's Kingdom will not consist, as some have supposed, of some saints sitting with the Savior on a bright cloud and looking over the battlements of heaven to see the remainder, the numberless millions of mankind, writhing in agony. O no! If this were all that we could say of the Kingdom of our God we should rather prefer to say nothing. There would be no glory in such a Kingdom; it would be an everlasting reproach to the King that he had conceived a plan which had resulted so horribly, so indescribably bad, that it should mean the eternal torment of hundreds of millions of his creatures. Nor will the glory of the Kingdom consist, as some others of God's dear people suppose, in a manifestation of a handful of saints, the glorified Church, with the Lord, and with the remainder of the race blotted out of existence without ever having had knowledge and a full opportunity under favorable conditions to avail themselves of the great memorial of God's love, the redemption. O no! There would be no glory, but a discredit to such a Kingdom and to so meagre an outcome to the great "memorial."

Nor will the Kingdom be, as some others of God's dear people have conceived it to be, one in which Christ and his Church shall, during the Millennial age, bless merely the living nations of the world, and bring to them the blessings which God has promised, but leave all the remainder of the race who have died for six thousand years, from Adam down to the present time, in darkness, in ignorance, in death, without any opportunity under that Kingdom. O no! A human plan might thus favor the millions living at the time of the establishment of the Kingdom, but forget or ignore or pass by the hundreds and thousands of millions who have gone down into the great prison-house of death; but God's ways are not as man's ways nor his plans as man's plans. The glory of the Kingdom of which we are authorized to speak, is a Kingdom which is to bless all nations, the dead who have gone down into the tomb, as well as those who have not yet gone into death. It is a Kingdom in which God's power will be most marvelously manifested.

Let us "talk" together now of his power as the Prophet has suggested. It will be a mighty power which will overthrow the reign of sin, which will bind the power of Satan that he shall deceive the nations no more, and which will establish the Lord Jesus and his glorious Church in power and great glory, with dominion over all the earth, with authority to execute judgment,--to punish sin and to reward every effort toward righteousness. But the power of God as it will be manifested, will be still greater than all this; it will be a power which will lift up out of the miry pit of sin, out of the weaknesses of the flesh, out of his imperfections, mental, moral and physical, every member of the human family who desires to make progress and to return to the grand perfection of human nature represented originally in father Adam, and from which he and all in him fell, through disobedience. In this sense of the word it is a resurrection power, raising up, up, up, from the low conditions of sin and death to the high conditions of perfection and righteousness. It not only will thus take hold of the people who will not at that time have fallen asleep in death, but this mighty power of the Kingdom will take hold also of those who have gone down into the tomb, and who are in the great prison-house of death; even as our Lord declared, that he will open the prison-doors and say to the prisoners, "Show yourselves; come forth." "And all that are in their graves shall hear his voice and come forth" (John 5:28,29), and the coming forth shall be unto a resurrection by judgment--that so many as will, may avail themselves of the blessed privileges and opportunities of that great judgment day (the Millennial age), and profit by the stripes and corrections in righteousness which will then be administered, and grow in grace, grow in knowledge, grow in love and grow in perfection of being, until by the close of the Millennial age, if they will, they shall have arrived back again into full harmony with God, and received fully all the perfections of human nature lost through the fall, and redeemed by the great "memorial" of divine favor.

No wonder, then, that the saints, when they glorify God, speak of the glory of his Kingdom and talk of the mighty power of God which shall then be manifested, and how then shall be made known to the sons of men God's mighty acts; how they shall then see clearly the meaning of the original sentence as they do not now see it; how they shall then see clearly the meaning of the great redemption, as they do not now see it, and how they shall then see clearly the provision of divine power in the Kingdom for their blessing;--that seeing these mighty acts of God in their true light, they also may glorify the Father which is in heaven, and they may appreciate the majesty of his Kingdom.

"THY SAINTS SHALL BLESS THEE."


The Prophet intimates that all the saints shall have the privilege of thus declaring the Kingdom, and of thus honoring the name of our God; and this seems to be literally fulfilled to-day, for the Lord seems to [R2714 : page 314] be bringing to the attention of all of his saints (his consecrated people everywhere) the present truth; to the intent that they may have its light upon their pathway, making manifest unto them the glorious character of our God, through a knowledge of his great plan of the ages. Moreover, the Lord seems to be putting it within the power of every one of his saints to thus glorify his name and to speak forth the truth to others. To some he has granted the talent of oratory and opportunity to use it and to speak forth his praises in this way; to others he has granted a talent for private conversation, that they may thus tell of his Kingdom and speak of his glorious majesty and make known his plans to such as have hearing ears. To others still he has given the privilege of declaring his message through the circulation of the printed page; and to some he seems to have given opportunities for using all of these various methods of singing the song of Moses and the Lamb. And we may rest assured that none can be of the company of the Lord's saints in this time, and know of his goodness and his wonderful honor and majesty, and not have a desire to tell the good tidings of great joy to all who have an ear to hear; and those who are most earnest, most zealous in proclaiming the message, are sure to have the most blessing in their own hearts, and in their own experiences, and to grow the most in grace, in knowledge and in love. [R2715 : page 314]

"I will speak of the glorious honor of thy majesty, and of thy wondrous deeds. Thy saints shall glorify thee; they shall speak of the glory of thy Kingdom, and talk of thy power, to make known unto the sons of men thy mighty acts, and the glorious majesty of thy Kingdom."



[R2715 : page 314]

FOLLOWING THE VOICE OF CONSCIENCE.


A BROTHER writes us interestingly as follows. We omit names for obvious reasons.

I want to thank you for your last letter. The Lord has poured out upon my distracted mind a great blessing since I fully and unreservedly gave up all. So far as I understand my present attitude toward the dear Master, I am now "beheaded," having bowed reverently and joyfully to his will. It seems that the mere unconditional resolve to separate wholly from Babylon brought me a blessing. But I have not yet sent in my contemplated letter to the Presbytery. The same meets in regular session the 9th of Oct. I shall endeavor to have it ready to go before that meeting for action. The pastor of the local church (Presbyterian) here has promised to help the matter along and to defend my case, should a defence be called out. This promise he made after I had explained to him, one day this week, my reasons for the step. At first he tried, by arguments and persuasion, to induce me to change my mind.

"Wait a while," he said, "until you see the outcome of the revision movement. The Confession of Faith will, and must be changed. I am out of harmony with several of its doctrinal statements myself, and the brethren of the Presbytery know it too, and some of them hate me for it like poison. Let us stand by our guns and fight the thing out, brother."

"No," I said, "I cannot follow your advice, brother, tho I know it is well meant. My mind is so fully made up that I cannot be induced to take a backward step."

"Well then, if that is the case, where do you wish to be dismissed to--what church, or association? We cannot dismiss you at large or at random, you know. Our book makes no provision for such a case. In fact, I have never heard of such a case before."

"My request is, and must be, for unconditional dismissal," I answered. "I wish to be absolutely free from ecclesiastical bondage. I recognize no human organization as the Church of Christ. All of them exist without the authority or recognition of the Lord Jesus Christ; hence, none of them are his. His Church has no name on earth. But I can conscientiously say this of the Presbyterian Church as I know it: In practice it is the best of the denominations and sects, but in doctrinal teachings it is nearly as bad as the Roman Catholic system."

Not one word of comment in reply! Instead he gave me this item of confidential information:

"Brother, I will tell you something by which you can see how most of our brother ministers stand on the Westminster Confession: At our last meeting a young man from the German Theological Seminary in Iowa came to us for examination and ordination. Dr. __________, our Stated Clerk of Presbytery, was chairman of the examining committee, and I was also on the same. After Dr. __________ got through with him and expressed himself as satisfied, I took the book, and turning to the statements on election and reprobation I read the whole chapter to him, and then asked him solemnly, 'Do you believe this?' He looked at me a minute, and then said: 'If you will let me explain it, I will show in what sense I believe it.' 'No, no,' I said, 'you cannot and you must not try to explain it; you must believe it or you are not entitled to ordination according to our form of government. Now [R2715 : page 315] let me ask you once more, Do you accept this doctrine as it stands?' Brother, that young man answered very emphatically, 'No!' Dr. __________said, 'And neither do I!' And I also said, 'Neither do I!'

"Did the Presbytery ordain him on such a confession as that?" I asked.

"Not one dissenting vote in the committee."

"Such inconsistency is inexcusable, and wrong before God," I said. "It is only another strong argument in favor of my decision to get out and be free." Then we parted, he cordially offering me his assistance if needed, as above stated.

Your counsel with reference to the spirit of my letter of request for dismissal, is appreciated and fully approved. I believe the Lord will suggest to my mind the words he would have me say. I will send you a copy of the letter when I write again. I think of you daily, and my love goes out to you as a brother high above a brother by birth.



[R2715 : page 315]

THE UNJUST STEWARD.

LUKE 16:1-13.--NOV. 4.

"Ye cannot serve God and Mammon."

WHILE THE previous parables of this dinner-table talk were addressed specially to the Pharisees, this parable, and the one following it, concerning a rich man and a poor man (Dives and Lazarus), were addressed not so exclusively to the Pharisees, but, as the first verse of our lesson declares, to the disciples also, as well as to the Pharisees at the same table. The reason why the first three parables were addressed to the Pharisees only, and not to the disciples, is evident --the disciples needed no such instruction, having no prejudice against the poorer classes, recognizing themselves as amongst the "lost" who were glad to be found by the Good Shepherd.

The steward of this parable corresponds to the elder son of the preceding parable, and to the rich man of the succeeding parable; it applies specially to the scribes and Pharisees, who, as our Lord declared, on another occasion, "sat in Moses' seat"--represented Moses, and the Law Covenant of which Moses was the Mediator, and the blessing obtained through that covenant, of which Moses was the original steward, and they now the steward, as his representatives. In what did this stewardship consist? The Apostle Paul asks this question, and answers it, saying, "What advantage then hath a Jew? Much every way; chiefly because to them were committed the oracles of God," the knowledge of God, with typical justification and at-one-ment with him, and an interest in the promises made to the fathers.

The Jews, as represented in Moses and his successors, failed of their stewardship--failed to use in a manner satisfactory to God the favors committed to their care. Nor, indeed, were they wholly to blame for this, as the Apostle Paul points out; they were weak through the fall, incompetent to be administrators of so great a trust; and God knew this when he gave them the stewardship--he knew that they would fail to keep the Law perfectly. He had fully intended that in due time he would depose them from the stewardship and give it to the one whom he had foreknown--to Messiah.

Now the time had come when this change of administration was about to be effected, and God was calling upon the representatives of Israel to give an account of their stewardship, and informing them that a new dispensation was about to be ushered in. Our Lord Jesus in this parable wished to point out to them what would be the wisest course for them to pursue under the circumstances. He shows them what an earthly steward would do under such circumstances, and tells them there is wisdom in such a course, saying, "The children of this world are wiser in their generation than the children of light:" you, as God's people, more favored than any others with light on the divine character and plan, are not acting as wisely as you would do if you were earthly stewards.

Here we are met with the difficulty that the majority of people do not clearly comprehend--the scope of a steward's privileges in olden times. We have no such office to-day amongst civilized people. A steward's office was a confidential one; he had the liberty and full authority to do anything and everything that the owner himself could do with his goods. He could make presents or cancel debts, or use in any manner he chose the goods under his care, and could not be held responsible as a culprit before the Law, because the nature of his office as a steward was such that he fully represented and acted for his employer. The latter could discharge him from the stewardship as a penalty for unfaithfulness, but this would be his only punishment, because in making him steward he fully authorized him to use his judgment.

In the parable the unjust steward--unjust in his previous use of his master's affairs, that is, unrighteous, unsatisfactory, imperfect--as soon as he realized the situation, made no attempt to defend himself, nor to claim that he had done perfectly; but before rendering up his accounts he dealt leniently with some of his lord's creditors, remitting parts of their indebtedness. (This may have been a wise course, as, for instance, to-day bankruptcy laws similarly release debtors from [R2716 : page 316] obligations which they could not pay; and similarly creditors frequently, in their own interest, agree to accept sixty per cent., fifty per cent., forty per cent., or some other proportion of the original sum as for the whole of a debt, seeing that the debtor is unable to pay the account in full, and with a view to his encouragement to do the best he can. The Jewish Jubilee year of full release from all debts was along the same line of leniency and wise business policy represented in the "Bankruptcy Law" of today.) It is not because of this last conduct of the steward that he is called unjust (unrighteous) in the parable, but because of his previous stewardship, not having come up to the full, perfect demands of his master.

Now, applying the parable to all of the Jewish nation, especially to those who sat in Moses' seat and had the control of matters, and who decided what was and what was not the proper interpretation of the Law, our Lord intimated that if they were as wise as earthly stewards they would make use of their opportunities in a somewhat similar manner. Now how could they have done this--supposing that they recognized the fact that they had not fulfilled the requirements of God under the Law, and supposing also that they realized that the time had come for a change of dispensation, and that God was demanding an account of them and informing them that a new steward would take possession of matters--under such circumstances how should these in Moses' seat have acted? We answer, that in harmony with the lesson of the parable, they should have said to themselves: We realize that we ourselves have not kept the Law of God perfectly; indeed, that it is not within our power to do so. We realize that a change of dispensation is impending, and that we are called upon to make an accounting, and that we can only admit before God that we have made a failure as respects the carrying out of the demands of his Law and the gaining of eternal life under it,--and as respects the use of the many advantages every way which God has given us. We have used our advantages in some respects well, but we failed on the whole to accomplish anything in the world, or to gain eternal life, either for ourselves or for any,--and we cannot dispute, therefore, that "By the deeds of the Law no flesh should be justified in God's sight."

Since, therefore, it must soon be evidenced to all that our stewardship has resulted in failure and that we are dispossessed, the wise thing for us to do is to turn about at once, and deal kindly and generously with these sinners (the prodigal son class) and, instead of denouncing them as sinners more than ourselves, we should say to them frankly, We cannot keep this perfect Law of God, and we know also that you cannot do so; but now, instead of being hopelessly discouraged and cast down, do the best you can; we will remit part of the exaction of the Law, admitting that you are unable to keep it perfectly, and will merely require of you that you keep it to the best of your ability--fifty per cent., or eighty per cent., according to your circumstances and conditions--according as you are able, keep the Law.

Had the scribes and Pharisees taken this position they would have healed the breach as between themselves and the people, and their honesty in admitting that they themselves could not keep the Law would have been a distinct advantage to them, subsequently, in connection with the new dispensation. And this very conduct of candid admission and of sympathy for others, and assistance in lifting their burdens would have brought them into such a condition of heart that they would have been ready for the Gospel; and the lower classes, from which they had hitherto held aloof as sinners, would have had a kindly feeling toward them, and as a result they would have retained a measure of their sympathy, at least, in the time of trouble which came upon them when their polity was overthrown.

But did the scribes and Pharisees follow any such course? By no means. On the other hand they put on a brassy front, made broad their phylacteries, made still louder claims respecting their own perfection of heart and life, deceiving their own selves probably as much as or more than they deceived others. They boasted that they should ever continue to be stewards of the manifold grace of God; and, as our Lord declares, so far from lifting the burdens and condemnations of the Law from the shoulders of the people, who were honest enough to confess inability to keep the perfect law, these scribes and Pharisees, on the contrary, bound upon the people heavy burdens which they would not assist to lift with their little finger.--Matt. 23:1-4.

Thus doing they became more and more hypocritical and case-hardened, until, in his later descriptions of them, our Lord declared them to be whited sepulchres, outwardly fair and beautiful, inwardly full of corruption, dishonesty, hypocrisy; knowing themselves to be infractors of the Law they were outwardly claiming and boasting perfection. This not being said to the Pharisees alone, but to the disciples "also," implies that they were to notice how the parable fitted and how unwisely this steward class was acting. Even at the table the Pharisees, perceiving to some extent at least the trend of the parable, "derided"--being covetous. But our Lord pressed the lesson home to them saying, "Ye are they which justify yourselves before men; but God knoweth your hearts." You are the unjust steward and soon all will witness your rejection. "The Law and the prophets [of which you are the representatives] was [recognized of God] until John [the [R2716 : page 317] Baptist]; since that time the Kingdom of God is preached [the new, the Gospel dispensation], and every one [should] press toward it." (Verses 14-16.) You, leaders of the people, however, not only will not enter yourselves, but those desiring to enter you hinder. (Matt. 23:13.) You should see that your institution is bound to Moses and the Law as a wife to her husband --so long as it liveth. It is needful, therefore, that the Law which you represent should die, that Israel may be liberated and thus be prepared to be united (married) to Messiah by a new covenant.--Verses 17,18; Rom. 7:1-4.

We are not informed that this parable had special application in the end of this Gospel age, but since we know from other Scriptures that natural Israel and its harvest time were a pattern or illustration of spiritual Israel and this age and the present harvest time, therefore we are justified in looking for some parallel as between the condition of the unjust steward in our Lord's day and a similar class in this present time. And looking about us to-day for a class corresponding to those who sat in Moses' seat, we find a class to-day sitting in Christ's seat, as respects the Gospel Church. This class is composed of elders, Sunday School teachers and superintendents, ministers, bishops, archbishops, etc. These as a whole are representing a great stewardship of divine favor as respects the Lord's people today. They perceive that a change of dispensation is upon us, that their creeds and traditions from the past are being called in question, and that they are being required to render up an account. They perceive that the account will not be a very flattering one, and that if the whole truth were known to the people as it is known to God, they would be found derelict, unfaithful to their stewardship in many respects. They fear the crisis; they put off the day of reckoning as far as possible; they hush the murmurs of the people and the questions respecting creeds, and as the Lord said of the steward of his day, so it will be true of these: "That which is highly esteemed amongst men is an abomination in the sight of God."--Verse 15.

These representatives of the nominal church, who hold a position of stewardship as respects the masses of the Lord's people, are disposed, as were the Pharisees, their prototypes, to put a bold face upon matters, to brave it out rather than to confess the truth. As for instance, in the matter of creeds that are being called in question: Many, even of those who were at first disposed to demand the revision of the Westminster Confession of Faith, have concluded that this would be showing the white feather, and admitting that they had been in error in the past, and imperfect in their interpretation of the divine Word, and hence calculated to discredit them with the people; and now the tide is rapidly turning and the same ones who were demanding a revision are now voting to the contrary, that the creed is good, thoroughly satisfactory to them, that they would not change it for anything. They are so anxious to be highly esteemed of men that they seem to forget altogether the one from whom they received their stewardship, and who is about to take it from them.

What would be the proper course for this steward class of the Gospel age? We answer, that the proper course would be to do what our Lord recommended to the Jewish stewards; viz., they should candidly confess to the people the errors of the creeds and their own imperfection in attempted exposition of the divine Word, and their own failures in the past in respect to a proper use of the oracles of God and a proper application of [R2717 : page 317] the exceeding great and precious promises. And while acknowledging their own errors and shortcomings, they should modify the demands made of the people and bring them into conformity with their ability. For instance, they should say to the people, How much did we say that you owed to God, and what penalty did we say would be imposed upon you? If we said you were to receive a penalty of eternal torment, count that now as being an error, and write down instead, "A just recompense of reward." If we taught you that your obligations to God are according to the Jewish law, and as represented in the Ten Commandments, and that unless these were kept perfectly in letter and in spirit you would have no hope of eternal life, alter and amend that feature of your faith, and write instead that, under the New Covenant, God will accept the most imperfect works of those who have consecrated themselves to him, providing those imperfect works are the best that they are able to offer; and providing they are offered in the name and merit of him who loved us and who bought us with his own precious blood.

If the present stewards would follow such a course they would undoubtedly be respected through the future, but following their present course, the time is surely coming when they will be despised as hypocrites and blind guides, who mislead their confiding flocks into the ditch of skepticism and the great time of trouble.

This parable may be considered as ending with the eighth verse, the instructions which follow being separate and distinct, and along a somewhat different line, and addressed specially to those who accepted the Lord's teaching, his disciples.

"YE CANNOT SERVE GOD AND MAMMON."


This after-lesson is on the subject of the impossibility of having two masters, God and Mammon. Mammon represents earthly riches, not only financial wealth, but honor amongst men, etc.--the thing which was particularly hindering the Pharisees from taking the proper course and acknowledging their error and seeking for and obtaining mercy. Mammon still is a great hindrance to all who desire to be the Lord's disciples. Whoever worships Mammon--and it may be self or wealth or fame or position and honor amongst men, one or all of these--whoever worships Mammon cannot at the same time be a true worshiper of God, a true follower of Christ; because God and Mammon [R2717 : page 318] are rivals before our hearts. If we attempt to divide our love and attention, and to give part of it to God and to his service, and part of it to Mammon, the results will be unsatisfactory to God, unsatisfactory to Mammon and unsatisfactory to ourselves.

We must, therefore, decide either to live for self and earthly things or to renounce and sacrifice these in the interest of God and of heavenly things. The worshipers of Mammon may have certain advantages as respects the present life, in the way of earthly prosperity, but Mammon cannot give eternal life. It is the gift of God, and those who would have God's gift must be God's friends, God's children; and he demands of such that they shall manifest their love and devotion to him by renouncing Mammon, by joyfully sacrificing earthly name and fame and favor and interest, thus showing their higher appreciation of his love and favor, the riches of his grace, and the exceeding great and precious things which he has promised to give them in the life to come.

These are to "make to themselves friends;" in other words, to lay up treasures in heaven, by the sacrifice of the Mammon of unrighteousness;--that is to say, the sacrifice of the various interests of this present time of unrighteousness, "this present evil world."

Some may have very little of Mammon at their disposal to sacrifice; but the Lord encourages us all by saying that he that is faithful in that which is least, thereby gives evidence of how faithful he would be if he had much; and the Lord accepts the little sacrifices which we are able to make as tho they were greater ones. "She hath done what she could" is the best of testimony as respects the use of present opportunities in the Lord's service, whether it refer to a mite or a million, a little influence or a great one. It is not the amount that God is seeking, but the character, the disposition of heart; and whoever has the right disposition of heart and is careful in the small affairs of life, to serve the Lord with all that he possesses and to the extent of his ability, such an one will have committed to him the true riches--the heavenly riches. Not merely may he expect to enter into the glories of the heavenly Kingdom, but even in the present life he will begin to get a first-fruits of those riches in his own heart, in his own experiences; for it is unquestionably a fact that the heirs of glory, those who are in the right relationship with God and running faithfully in the race, not only will get the prize at the end of the race, but already get blessing which the world can neither give nor take away;--the joys of the Lord, the peace of God which passeth all understanding ruling in their hearts; so that they can sing for joy, even in the house of their pilgrimage--even in the present unsatisfactory tabernacle condition, in which we groan also, being burdened with its weaknesses.

But if we are not faithful in the little things which confessedly are not our own, and merely given to us as a stewardship--the things, the opportunities, the talents, which are merely put within our grasp as stewards of the Lord,--if we are not faithful in using these with an eye single to the Lord's glory, how can we expect that he will ever give us true riches of grace, to be our own forever, either in the future or in the present life.

The sum of this lesson to the disciples, then, is that as no man is able to serve two masters and satisfy both, and do justice to both, their interests conflicting, no more can we serve God and righteousness, and at the same time be pleasing and acceptable to the Adversary and those who are in harmony with him who now rules in this present dispensation, the "prince of this world." All of the Lord's consecrated people, those who would lay up treasures in heaven and be rich toward God, must be willing to become of no reputation amongst those who are not consecrated, and who, whatever their professions, are really serving Mammon, selfishness, the present life, and not sacrificing these interests to the attainment of the heavenly Kingdom.



[R2717 : page 318]

THE RICH MAN (DIVES) AND THE POOR MAN (LAZARUS).
--LUKE 16:19-31.--NOV. 11.--

THIS PARABLE is a continuation of the series, a part of the table-talk at the banquet at the Pharisee's house. It is the culmination, so to speak, of the entire series of parables. The first represents mankind in general, as the lost sheep, and the Lord's interest therein, and its final recovery to the fold; the second respecting the lost coin, represents the same thought, with the additional feature of the diligent sweeping and bringing in of the light in order to the recovery or restitution of the lost race. The third applies this same principle to the Jewish nation, and reproves the Pharisee class, the elder brother, for not having the Lord's spirit of love and mercy in respect to the sinner class, the prodigal. The fourth represents the unwisdom of this Pharisee class in hypocritically pretending to others that they kept the Law and were acceptable stewards, whereas they themselves were well aware that they came short of the glory of God, came short of fulfilling their stewardship, and must therefore be ejected from it; and points out to them a proper course, which they did not, however, take. And now, finally, this parable of Dives and Lazarus, the fifth of the series, brings the instruction to a climax by picturing the favored class as the rich man, who enjoyed, but did not rightly appreciate the blessings showered upon him,--selfishly shutting up his heart against the poor sinner at his gate; not acknowledging that he himself also was imperfect and came short of the glory of God and the perfect keeping of his Law.

This parable shows what the results would be as respects both classes--the final outcome. We will not deal with it here, since we have already treated it with considerable elaboration in our issue of March 15 and April 1, 1900. But inasmuch as some may have loaned or given away that copy, and since we have a good supply of them on hand, we conclude to send an extra copy of that one with this issue to supplement this lesson. Those who find themselves possessed of two copies will no doubt have good opportunity for using the extra one to the Lord's praise and to the blessing of some who in more or less darkness are "feeling after God [his plan], if haply they may find him."



page 319

ENCOURAGING WORDS FROM FAITHFUL WORKERS.


MY DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--Glory to God! By the aid of the Holy Spirit I am now feasting on the meat due to the household of faith. The Lord has anointed my eyes to behold the prize of the calling from on high. The separation has come; I am the Lord's. I have not only covenanted with God that I will be dead to all human things, but with the aid of His spirit I have resolved to perform that covenant throughout my earthly career,--keeping my "body under," keeping my will out of sight, and to perform only the Lord's will. I am no longer simply justified, I am now sanctified. Praise the Lord! I have forsaken all and am willing to suffer with him that I may also be glorified with him. Words cannot express the joy and peace dwelling in my heart.

How is it that I remained in darkness so long? The Lord's ways are certainly wonderful and past finding out to those who have not his spirit. I now better understand the purpose of his dealings with me. It was a hard lesson to learn, but thanks be to God for the permission to learn it. This world has no longer any attraction for me. It is all a fleeting show for man's delusion given. Heaven is my home, and O how I long to be there! How I long to receive the crown which the righteous Judge shall give me at that day!

The Lord is sustaining me, spiritually as well as physically. To earn a living, I am doing some light work during the week,--"collecting." I could not preach for money again. The Lord only knows how I regret having ever preached for a salary. But then I was not consecrated: now I know different; nor am I preaching for sects: I am only preaching for the Lord Jesus whenever and wherever opportunity presents itself. And, praise the Lord, I am now preaching "present truth."

In connection with my work during the week I have opportunities to sell the DAWN. Perhaps the Lord will lead me into the colporteur work. His will be done! I don't suppose that you remember me. We met at the Council Bluffs Convention.

Pray for me, for I need much divine strength.

Yours in Christ,
J. A. KIEFERLE,--Colorado.

DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--As we did not get to bid you "good-bye," at Chicago, nor have an opportunity to express our sentiments concerning the convention, I take this means of letting you know how much we enjoyed the meetings and how much good they have done us. Not only do I speak as to Sister Owen and myself, but the rest of the dear ones who were present from here (18 in all) have been greatly refreshed and blessed, and this morning at meeting I could see the blessed spirit of our Convention shining from their countenances, and they still wore the "convention smile" which was to me an inspiration in itself. One dear sister who has come into the truth since our Convention last summer and who was at our late one told me this morning that since attending the Convention and meeting with so many of the Lord's people and hearing various phases of the truth discussed, all her doubts had vanished, and that she could not sleep last night for thinking of these blessed truths and God's wonderful goodness to her in allowing her to see them. She said, "The room seemed to be filled with joy and all I could do was to lie still and praise the Lord," and her bright, happy face this morning was a clear index to the deep well of joy springing up in her heart since coming out of darkness into his marvelous light.

This dear sister's experience is doubtless but the counterpart of the experiences of many others. And if the Convention did us, who have the blessed privilege of daily fellowship with those of like precious faith, so much good, think what it must be to those dear isolated ones who, so far as human fellowship and sympathy are concerned, must stand alone through all the long days of waiting till their change come.

The foregoing brings vividly before my mind the memories of my first convention. It was in Allegheny in 1890. I was then "a cake not turned." I did not know whether I believed in "restitution" or not. I well remember how timid I was, how fearful lest I should be led wrong. I almost felt as if I were going to the "enemy's country." But of this one thing I was determined; I would not allow any one "to pull the wool over my eyes," but I would see and know for myself "whether these things be true."

Sister Owen has preserved the letters I wrote her while at Allegheny this first time, and I send some extracts from them, thinking they would be of interest to you. In my first letter I wrote as follows:--

"I hardly know how I stand on their doctrines (now, thank God, I do know how I stand on our doctrines, I stand squarely on them with both feet), but I feel content to trust God to bring me into the full light. I find that the people here have a great advantage over us, and we are just beginning to learn, just in our letters, so to speak."

Next day I wrote,--

"We had the best meeting last night that I have been in for a long time; it was a love feast indeed....O how I wish you were here! Think of a houseful of consecrated people and the pleasure of worshiping with them. I am coming more fully into the light and am thinking of being immersed tomorrow. Brother Russell preached a sermon on this subject the first day that I was here that was better than anything I had ever heard. ...I believe him to be the most consecrated preacher that I have ever met and have learned to love him. I may stay longer than Monday as he has given me a pressing invitation to do so."

My last letter, written perhaps two days later than the one above, is so expressive of my feelings at that time that I give it verbatim.

"MY DEAR WIFE:--I did not write you yesterday, thinking to start home last evening, but Brother Russell insisted on my staying longer. I may stay until tomorrow evening. I am up before the family this morning; I am troubled with sleeplessness to some extent. Last night I went to bed very tired, and thought that I would go right to sleep, but I could not sleep for meditating on the goodness and mercy of God to me. And now my heart burns within me as I think of his many blessings. Praise his name forever!

"You know how undecided I was when I left home. Well, through the increase of knowledge and the sweet communion of God's people, the mists of darkness have cleared away, and yesterday I symbolized my burial with him through water baptism. I have consecrated all I have and am or hope to be to God. Will you join me in this? I know you will. O, how I wish you were here with me that you might partake of the spiritual food that the Lord has supplied in such abundance. But I will bring home (I hope) all that my heart will hold and we will enjoy it together.

"I look forward with joy to the many precious hours that we will spend together studying the Word of God and loving its great truths more than ever now that we begin to see them more clearly. The doctrine of 'Restitution' is not a 'cunningly devised fable' but is foreshadowed in all the types in a way that we never dreamed of, and I believe that the Lord will reveal more and more of his great plan to us if we follow on to know the truth. Let us humbly and prayerfully do this, 'looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith.' page 320

"You will have to be content with this fragment until I get home. Kiss the dear children for papa. With much love, yes, with more love, I remain as ever,
CHARLEY."

I love to live over again these scenes; they are most precious to me, my dear brother, and to-night I can truthfully say that the love there begotten towards yourself has only grown deeper and stronger with the lapse of years, and I feel a deep and loving concern in all that concerns you. Looking back over these intervening years I can see much of weakness, much of humiliating defeat. Yet, thank God, many victories. He has permitted us to gather some precious grains of wheat, amongst them Brother and Sister Ransom and a good many others who are yet in the narrow way.

Just a few words regarding the singing. I think it was excellent. Brother McPhail did splendidly, and the new books are such a treat. Yours in our dear Redeemer,
C. A. OWEN,--Indiana.

CHARLES T. RUSSELL,

DEAR SIR:--About three weeks ago, on coming out of church, a young woman handed me a copy of your paper. I should like to thank her. I have read and re-read it, and it is a great relief to me to be convinced that there is no place of endless torment prepared for the wicked. I have not been able to understand how a God of love could inflict such terrible punishment upon his creatures, many of whom have been called to endure great suffering in this life. It is right, of course, that those who will not submit to God's authority should be destroyed, but I am glad to be able to hope that another opportunity for repentance will be given them. I intend to lend my paper to friends, hoping to make converts, and will be glad to have some of the tracts which you send free. If I were able I would buy some but cannot do more than subscribe for the paper. Respectfully yours,
Miss S. E. RITTENHOUSE,--D.C.

MY DEAR BROTHER:--We cannot ever hope to have you and the other dear brethren (who assisted so graciously and unselfishly in making the gathering at this place on Sept. 29, 30, and Oct. 1 such a profitable one for our spiritual growth and upbuilding) fully understand this side the second vail what a deep spirit of gratitude and love fills our hearts for you. In every possible respect has the convention passed beyond our greatest hopes, and to whom but our very present Lord can we ascribe such unmistakeable direction in even the minutest detail? To him and the glorious Father be all the praise and glory, yet we forget not to thank him for the humble, loving instrument he has used of late years, so effectually to dispense and serve present truth to the balance of the household of faith. May the Lord continue to keep and richly bless you as that faithful servant. With much love,
E. W. BRENNEISEN,--Dallas, Texas.

DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--I find that I am a little behind with my contribution for the WATCH TOWER. I beg to enclose postal order which will pay for another year. How thankful I have been since my spiritual eyes were opened to see the grand and glorious truths that the Lord's people were promised through his Word. The Bible to me has had a greater charm and is quite a new book. How true it is that many of the things were so difficult to understand, but we had faith in God, that he was too wise to err and too good to be unkind. Hence we used to say, "Why, in God's good time all will be cleared and made right;" we forgot the fact that they were for a good and wise end.

I was, so to speak, cradled in Methodism, having been carried by a dear Father, who passed away some sixteen years ago, to Sunday school and more or less was always connected with School and Church. I had a splendid class of young women, which to leave was a sore task for me, but I found that it was impossible for me to continue teaching and speaking about things which were quite contrary to the Word of God. After leaving the School I had the Super- and vice Superintendent to visit me. I told them I could no longer continue. They thought I was doing wrong. The glorious truths which are rich to me were as foolishness to them. But oh! how they forget, or do not know, that Satan is blinding their eyes to the truth: One of the many questions I got is this one, "How is it that you have just found it out, and how is it that so few believe it? Have you, as the Word of God has told us, searched the Scriptures and proved all things? Are you not content to take what our ministers and teachers give us?" I find it very difficult to make much impression in our place, full of prejudice and blindness, tho I am happy to say I have an opportunity to spread the grand truth, having a wide connection in business; I am able to converse with many Christian travelers who come here; some listen with great interest. I have given many DAWNS and also many tracts, and I am hoping and trusting that some may be led into the light and liberty of God's dear children. Thank God for all his blessings.

Yours in Christ,
HENRY BELL,--England.

DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--In renewing my subscription for ZION'S WATCH TOWER for another year I would like to give expression to some of the feelings of gratitude which I have in my heart toward you, for the great work you are doing in said journal re the preparing of the little flock and getting ready the bride for the Bridegroom. I have received great and, I trust, lasting good from the reading of the TOWER. At times I have difficulties, but I find the sure way to get them answered is simply to wait, and not to trouble you with them, for you are sure to be discussing within a few weeks the very questions I am desirous of asking. In fact, speaking personally, I could ill afford to be without the helpful influence and practical lessons which are to be found in every issue of the TOWER. Any thing which helps us to walk closer to the Master, and enables us to abandon ourselves more entirely into the hands of our loving Father, must be coming from that same source. And I wish also to specially thank you for what some brother called a pleasant surprise, in other words, for the visit of a Pilgrim and Mrs. Henninges to this far away Scotland. It will take a more eloquent pen than mine to describe the blessed times we had together, listening to the good news as proclaimed by Brother Henninges. Please send them back soon, and earn some more of the gratitude of one along the narrow way which is ever getting narrower. But he giveth more grace.

Yours in Christ,
JOHN THOMPSON,--Scotland.



Prev Top of Page Next