page 129
May 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. XXIV.MAY 1, 1903.No. 9


CONTENTS.

Views from the Watch Tower131
An Astrologer's Outlook131
Preparations for the Millennium131
Only a Form of Godliness131
Peculiar Views of Heathens132
A Seasonable Word on Christian Science132
A Christian Science Prayer136
A United Presbyterian View136
Suffering as Christians137
"The Lord Stood by Him"140
Interesting Questions Answered142

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 130

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.




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[R3185 : page 130]

THE ATLANTA CONVENTION.


This Convention was, we feel sure, a great blessing to many. One dear old brother, when bidding the Editor "Goodbye" at the train, said, "This Convention has been a great blessing to me: I am a poor man, Brother Russell, but if it had cost me $1000 to attend I would not begrudge it." All faces told much the same story of appreciation of brotherly fellowship. We trust that the result will be permanently beneficial, not only to those who attended, but also to those at their homes whom they represented, and to whom they carried back some of the Convention's fullness of joy.

The attendance from outside Atlanta was good, especially for the South,--about 100. The largest attendance was on Sunday afternoon, when about 600 were present at the Grand Opera House. Nineteen symbolized their immersion into Christ on Saturday. page 130

CONCERNING CORRESPONDENCE.


During the Editor's absence in Europe our friends will remember that he cannot be reached by correspondence, and that matters intended for his special consideration should be deferred until his return.

In general, communications concerning business, subscriptions, orders, Tract Fund remittances, Pilgrim visits, etc., should be sent to "Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society," and letters concerning doctrinal and personal matters to the Editor.



[R3184 : page 131]

VIEWS FROM THE WATCH TOWER.

AN ASTROLOGER'S OUTLOOK.


WE seriously question all the claims of Astrology; yet the following--from whatever source the suggestions come, even though of the Adversary himself--seem remarkably true to our expectations based upon the Word of the Lord. For this reason alone we present them here,--as follows:--

"Saturn is the representative of the great motive power that has dominated the mind of man up to the present time. The great organizations of Capital, attracting now so much attention, are in reality the last great struggle of this Saturn-god to save his throne. But his efforts will be futile, yet far from useless, for he is blindly doing service for a still greater God in the same way as the other planets have contributed blindly to Saturn's glory.

"Jupiter, representing law, religion and morality, has been perforce subservient to Saturn's greater and more potent force. It explains why the church, the law, the charitable and educational institutions have contributed to increasing the power and prestige of the worldly and material Saturn, whose selfish monopolizing material nature must be disposed of and made tributary to a higher, nobler force that will carry out the work of human evolution.

"Jupiter must also transfer his allegiance from the grasping Saturn to the newly discovered factor that stands for universal brotherhood; namely, Uranus. When Uranus and Jupiter meet in the humane sign of Aquarius in 1914, the long-promised era will have made a fair start in the work of setting man free to work out his own salvation, and will insure the ultimate realization of dreams and ideals of all poets and sages in history.

"Uranus is preparing the way for Neptune, who symbolizes Love in its very highest form--the fulfilling of the law. By this, we see that Socialism, or whatever the new order may be called, will not and can not be the rule of the common or ignorant masses, but the leadership of the very highest developed members of the human family.

"In 1903 Jupiter will be in the Sign of Pisces-- sign of the feet, or understanding, and the synthesis of the new religion is Love;--Love, that words cannot define. We are nearing a condition where "masters" will be unknown--where humanity will instinctively conform to the injunction, 'Call no man master, neither be ye called master.'

"Note--Uranus: Great commotions are expected when it shall take its ascendancy over Saturn."

PREPARATIONS FOR THE MILLENNIUM.


Polar ice, both arctic and antarctic, seems to have been steadily decreasing, and it may be that these frigid deserts shall once more blossom as the rose-- Isa. 35:1--literally.

The ice from both poles seems to be drifting toward equatorial regions, to such an extent that, in the north, it has become a menace to commerce, and it may be a work preparatory to the "times of restitution."

ARCTIC ICE A MENACE TO OCEAN STEAMSHIPS.

"Philadelphia, March 18.--(Press dispatch.)-- Navigators of the North Atlantic are worried about the manner in which the arctic floe ice is drifting south, directly in the pathway of steamships. Captain Beavis of the Philadelphia Trans-Atlantic line steamship East Point, which arrived here today from London, reports passing tremendous quantities of field ice in latitude 43 deg. 43 min., and longitude 49 deg. 21 min. Owing to the obstruction Captain Beavis found it necessary to alter his vessel's course and steam 60 miles to the southward to avoid contact with it."

ONLY A FORM OF GODLINESS.


Rev. J. B. Hastings, D.D., of Edinburgh, Scotland, explained not long ago his views respecting the generally acknowledged loss of religious interest, as follows:--

"Our worship in many cases has become a mere form. There is little apparent hungering for the [R3184 : page 132] bread of life; and only in rarest instances a crying out of the heart and flesh for the living God. Not that there is an open antagonism to religion. There have been periods within our own recollection when there was much more of direct opposition. But there is an alarming deal of that subtler, deadlier quantity known as simple indifference, which is playing melancholy havoc among ever-enlarging sections of the population. Outside our churches there is a great army of men and women who have become sadly estranged; who have been so long away from the ordinances of public worship that it will be next to impossible, by ordinary methods, to bring them back. And inside our churches there are many who feel that something needs to be done to make our public worship more interesting and edifying and directly helpful to the religious life....

"I believe that the root of the whole matter lies in a widespread practical disbelief in the supernatural. There is no realization, on the part of the multitudes, of the spiritual world, and of the God with whom they have to do. There are so many interests in this material life that the things of the spirit are simply given the go-by. The whole atmosphere of God's house has become so foreign to the experience of their everyday lives, that they are no longer interested, and, as a matter of course, have ceased to attend. It is sad to [R3185 : page 132] think that so many young men and women in our populous cities are in this position. With churches galore, of all sorts and conditions (in one of which they could surely find congenial worship), they are yet standing without, spiritual starvelings, children merely of time, practical unbelievers in God and immortality, moving on their light-hearted way to the judgment throne and the eternity beyond."

PECULIAR VIEWS ON HEATHENS.


"Munich.--(Press cable.)--The papal nuncio at this court has ordered the Catholic papers to stop publishing an open letter by Bishop Pelkman, Lahore, East India, as it would 'distress the holy father very much to see the right reverend gentleman's peculiar views in print.'

"The paragraph in the bishop's letter to which exception is taken reads as follows:

"'Twenty-one thousand three hundred and eighty-nine persons have died of the plague; wonderful are God's ways! One is almost persuaded to think that the Lord sentenced the heathen adults to die that their children might fall into the hands of the missionaries and be educated as good Christians. The last two famine periods brought us several thousand new adepts.'"



[R3185 : page 132]

A SEASONABLE WORD ON CHRISTIAN SCIENCE.
--FROM BRO. W. E. PAGE.--

DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--Meeting so much "Christian Science" out this way, I was led to investigate the basis of its claims by the lamp of the Word, and I find it a most noxious weed. First, for my own profit, I wrote out what I found, and have since remodeled and chiseled it down. You may find good use for it as it is, or can use it as a foundation for a criticism in the TOWER upon this most manifest perversion. I send it to you for such use as you deem best. Put it in the waste basket if that is the best place for it, and do not hesitate a moment to tell me so, if these articles bother more than they help. I only want to do good work, but with our weak judgments we cannot always discern where we help and where we hinder.

The Lord is gracious to us, bearing with us in our infirmities, and ever and anon giving us deep draughts at the fountain of truth, and its blessings of peace and love in justification and sanctification. Oh, that this year may prove the one of most sincere consecration and abundant zeal to us all, who are of this way!

May grace and mercy and peace be multiplied to you and your household, the brethren and sisters with you.

Yours in fellowship,
W. E. PAGE.


When presenting various features of the Father's great "Plan of the Ages," we have not infrequently met professed believers in Christ who seemed to accept the truth, and apparently warranted expectations of full fellowship. However, as the acquaintance grew, an almost indefinable barrier to communion would arise; and being anxious to receive those whom the Lord sends (Matt. 10:40), and desiring to esteem all professed brethren as most worthy (Phil. 2:3), we have often been perplexed and in straits as to what course we should pursue in our association with them. The grounds of the older sects are so well defined that we have but little difficulty in understanding our proper attitude toward them; nor is there particular danger of confusion from those forms of error which plainly and fairly present their teachings in well defined terms. Since our eyes were anointed that we might understand present privileges and labors (Rev. 3:18), we have been most perplexed and confused by the newer forms of doctrine which, on investigation, we find deny the Lord that bought them (2 Pet. 2:1), while with much feigned reverence and humility they profess allegiance to him, thus falsely presenting themselves as angels of light--messengers of truth. (2 Cor. 11:13-15.) However considerate we may desire to be, when we meet such false, seductive teaching, we must, without strife and to the best of our ability, unmask it (2 Tim. 2:24-26), and be careful neither in word nor deed to wish it God-speed (2 John 9-11), remembering that it is required in stewards that a man be found faithful.--1 Cor. 4:2.

One of the most widespread of these later forms of subtle error that we meet is "Christian Science." [R3185 : page 133]

Many of its votaries are kind, well-intentioned people, but they are completely blinded by the perversions of the system; and we believe that many such will gladly free themselves from this dominion of the Devil, when the shackles of ignorance and prejudice, which now bind them, are stricken off in the advancing light of this dawning day. As our conclusions and the grounds for them may be of use to some others of the brethren who may be perplexed as to the proper attitude they should assume toward this heresy, we have decided, with the Lord's help, to present what we have found. Our quotations on the subject are wholly from the writings of Mrs. Eddy, who is the chief apostle of the various forms--which are legion--of this doctrine.

When setting forth to those entangled in this doctrine, our faith regarding the "restitution of all things," and God's wonderful plan for selecting the "Seed" which is to bless all nations, we almost invariably meet with the claim, "That is just what we believe; you must be a Scientist." The claim is so sincerely made that we are led to hope that we have met with another grain of wheat. To make sure of our ground, we present the ransom and its necessity, which seems to meet with their approval, yet from various remarks, especially those made in a general way, we are conscious of a vital disagreement, somewhere, on the fundamental principles of the Lord Jesus' work. A short investigation into Mrs. Eddy's work disclosed the cause for this, and developed the fact that her teachings are based upon private meanings put upon words. Hence, when we present our views to one of her followers, the words we employ do not convey our meaning to them, and until we learn this, and find out what interpretation they put upon our words, we are sorely perplexed. Mrs. Eddy very cunningly lays the foundation for her master-piece of word-jugglery as follows:--

"Aside from the opposition to what is new, the greatest difficulty in introducing our metaphysical system is to express metaphysics in physical terms and then be understood physically. This difficulty is overcome by teaching the student the metaphysical meaning of terms in common use."

What a preparation to deceive! Surely any teaching that must rest on special meanings placed on "terms in common use," should arouse the suspicions of those who are sincere and pure in heart. The Master did not find it necessary to employ so questionable a course, but so taught that the "common people heard him gladly."

In examining Mrs. Eddy's teachings, we do not follow the order of her books, but take up the essential truths she perverts, as seems best. Among Webster's definitions of person we find, "A self-conscious being;" and being is defined as "existence, opposed to non-existence; that which exists in any way, whether it be material or spiritual;" and we submit that the universally accepted meaning of person today is a "self-conscious being." Again, we submit that to the unprejudiced and candid reader the unqualified teaching of the Bible, in language in common use, is that God is the great and only self-existent, "self-conscious being."

But Mrs. Eddy says, "Jehovah is not a person. God is principle." How elusive and vague this is! The first meaning in Webster given to principle, and which is marked obsolete and rare, is, "beginning, commencement;" second, "hence, a source, or origin; that from which anything proceeds; fundamental substance or energy;" and third, "an original faculty or endowment of the soul." Ah, yes! "The serpent was more subtle than all the beasts of the field." (Gen. 3:1.) How this cunningly-laid perversion illustrates his full subtlety! While we stand aghast at the bold belittling of the great Jehovah, we cannot but wonder at the consummate skill shown. (Read Ezekiel 28:12-19.) We know that God is the source of all good things: he from whom every right thing proceeds: the self-existent, "self-conscious being," possessing and originating all qualities of moral perfection. Owing to the inexactness of language, the wedge of error here introduced (if, as common people, we follow Webster) is very slim, and not readily detected at first glance. If not detected, the next step will entangle the unwary very seriously. To the alert, however, the danger is not so great as it seems; for Mrs. Eddy does not accept the common meaning of the word principle, but proceeds to put a private [R3186 : page 133] interpretation upon it. Following her statement regarding Jehovah, she defines principle as, "life, truth, love, substance and intelligence." These (in language in common use) are all qualities or attributes of beings; and thus God is reduced to the position of the sum of certain qualities of conscious existence, and is dethroned from his rightful position as the Creator of all these qualities. Those misled by these teachings are speedily so befogged that they are utterly unable to discern between honest treatment of the Scriptures and this woful perversion of them.

Having dethroned God, the next natural step is the deification of man; and this work these teachings do in a less subtle form, and in one more easily followed, although the word-twisting is dexterously kept up. Webster defines entity as "a real being, whether in thought or in fact: being, essence, existence." Mrs. Eddy says, "Entity signifies the particular nature of being; and God, without the image and likeness of himself, NAMED MAN, would be nonentity" [R3186 : page 134] --without existence. Following this we give from her book a series of quotations deifying man.

"God cannot destroy man, because he is the reflection of God." "The science of being reveals man perfect, even as the Father is perfect." "If man went out for a single instant in death, or sprang from nothingness into existence, there was an instant some time without man, when Jehovah was without entity, and there was no reflection of Mind, or Soul, and Principle had no idea." "God, Soul, is and was, and ever will be; and man is coexistent and eternal with this Soul." "The science of man, understood, would have eradicated sin, sickness and death in a less period than six thousand years."

Surely pride and boastfulness could assume no more than is here claimed. None of the "meek" would arrogate such position and virtue to themselves. To show the foolishness and the fruit of such exaltation of man, we quote the following:--

Man is "the infinite idea of infinite Spirit,... the spiritual image and likeness of God,...the full representation of Mind; hence, the idea of Principle, not person. [Man is] the compound idea of God, including all other ideas, the generic term for all that reflects God's image and likeness....Woman is the highest term for man....[Man is] the conscious identity of being as found in Science, where man is the reflection of God, Mind, and, therefore, is eternal; that, which hath no separate mind from God; that which hath not a single quality underived from Deity; that possesses no life, intelligence, or creative power of his own, but reflects all that belongs to his Maker."

"'And God said let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth' (Gen. 1:26)--what is incapable of sin, sickness and death, in so much as it derives its esse from God, and possesses not a single original, or underived power: hence, cannot depart from holiness. Nor can God from out himself, whence man was evolved, engender a capacity or freedom to sin. In divine science God and man are inseparable, as PRINCIPLE AND ITS IDEA."

Of course the enthronement of man necessitates a perversion of the entire Scripture teaching regarding his creation and fall. To allay the suspicions that might arise if this work were too abruptly done, the approach is very gradually made, and the error introduced under high pretentions to spirituality and learning. As a sample we quote the following:--

"As crude forms of mortal mind yield to higher significations, the metaphysical Genesis of the Scripture will be hailed with head and heart. The following brief comments are the spiritual, or scientific, version of the text."

Space forbids full quotation, and we simply give the "spiritual, or scientific, version" of the fall, set forth by Mrs. Eddy as the true meaning of the account in Genesis 3:1-5, as follows:--

"The serpent is introduced into the Scriptural record without any specified origin; but some maintain he was a veritable demon, even the climax of subtlety and falsehood, created by a perfect and divine spirit....Adam, or error, even the belief of mind in matter, began this reign of mortal man somewhat mildly, increasing in jealousy and falsehood until his days were numbered by the law of Truth, and the mortality of error made manifest. The garden was a term used to signify the body, in the first records of Mythology; sexuality and self-abuse the forbidden knowledge. Man was not to presume upon the prerogatives of his Creator, but to recognize God, the Father and Mother of us all.--Compare with Genesis 3:4,5.

"This Allegory represents error in every one of its beliefs, always asserting itself as Truth and over Truth: and giving the lie to Truth, saying, I can open your eyes, I can do more for you than God (good) has done. Bow down to me, have other gods, admit I am right, and more real to the senses, pleasant to the eyes and more to be desired than Truth. The history of Adam, or error, is a dream without a dreamer; first, a supposition of assertion; secondly, that nothing says, I am something; and third, that something springs from nothing, and is life, substance and intelligence. The order of the allegory describing the mythological creation, even a creation springing from dust instead of Deity, is maintained in about this form. Mortal man, starting from chaos, or old night, from the lowest propensities; non-intelligence becoming intelligence; the basal portions of its formations of mind indicating the appetites and passions; its upper portions the sentiments, implying the hope that mind will sometime escape from matter, giving a material sense of things as the sense of mind, and matter having dominion over mind: body originating in non- intelligence, and mind afterward inserted, the creation a propagating principle in vegetable and animal, alias God in matter, or matter without God: a man's life consisting of the things that he eateth, and having no connection with God, Spirit; his senses unable to perceive Spirit, and matter dooming them to die. This mythological history of man, so unlike the scientific record of man as the image and likeness of God, having dominion over the earth, and whose Mother is Spirit, first creates man of dust, and without a Mother, afterwards giving him a Mother, who is governed by mesmerism, controlled by a belief called serpent, her origin a rib, her capacity for knowledge gathered through material sense and from the tree of knowledge, whereof if a man eat he shall die, and her progeny, self-constituted suicides, hastening towards death in pursuit of life. The word Adam, divided into two syllables and reading A-damn, indicates more closely the character and the curse of the divine spirit, or Mother of man bestowed upon it."

The fall being "spiritualized" out of existence, and man being "perfect even as the Father," there is no necessity for a man, Christ Jesus, to give his "life," a ransom--a corresponding price--" for the life of the world," and to redeem the race with his precious blood. Hence, Christ Jesus, the Anointed Savior, simply becomes a fine example, a "good man." We quote again from Mrs. Eddy:-- [R3186 : page 135]

"Jesus was the son of a virgin mother by whom scientific being was so far understood that she knew that God was the Father of man, and man the offspring of a divine Principle. Jesus was the name of the man, and Christ but another name for God, the Principle and creator of that man. The signification of God being 'good' (?!), the term Christ Jesus may be rendered as good man, or God-man."

Christ not being a ransom-sacrifice, no atonement work was done by him, and a new signification must be found for the Scripture teaching that he is the "propitiation [satisfaction] for the sins of the whole world." (1 John 2:2.) To keep the case clearly before us we will give Webster's definition of atonement, and then its "spiritual" signification as given by Mrs. Eddy.

"Atonement (Webster): Reconciliation after enmity or controversy. Satisfaction or reparation made by giving an equivalent for an injury."

"Atonement (Mrs. Eddy): The teachings, demonstrations and sufferings of the man Jesus, when showing mortals the way of salvation from sin, sickness and death....Soul's triumph over material sense. The supremacy of spirit asserted, man reassuming the image and likeness of God in his scientific atonement with him. Jesus of Nazareth gave the all-important proof that when God is understood, it will be seen that Soul creates its own body, and cannot for the smallest instant do without a body. This divine Science overcame death and the grave, and was Jesus' final demonstration that the body is the same after as before death: hence, there is a state of probation and progress, whereby to grow out of a material and into the spiritual sense of existence beyond the grave. The meek, mighty Nazarene exhibited a material body after the crucifixion, to show his followers the great need there is of spiritualizing thought and action to make man God-like before death, that after it he may be fit for the higher school of the just made perfect. Not death, but the understanding of Life, God, spiritualizes man, and determines forever his progress and the state of his body. Mortality disappearing and immortality coming to life. Self-abnegation and love blessing its enemies. Not blood flowing from the veins of Jesus, but his out-flowing sense of life, truth and love, so much higher, purer and more God-like than mankind's, shedding its hallowed influence on the whole human race and marking out the only way to heaven. Not the death of the cross, but the cross-bearing deathless life, that Jesus left for the example of mankind, ransoms from sin all who follow it."

Salvation from the present "evil world" Mrs. Eddy thus makes a matter of works, and is not through faith in Jesus, as taught by the apostles. Thus the Adversary again undertakes to set forth "another gospel, which is not another."--Gal. 1:8,9. Again she says:--

"The way is strait and narrow that leads to the understanding that God is life. It is warfare with the [R3187 : page 135] flesh whereby we conquer sin, sickness and death, now or hereafter; but certainly before we can reach the goal of Spirit or Life, which is God. The truth of man makes a new creature. Old things have passed away, behold all things become new. Passions, selfish appetites and every sensuality yield to spirituality, and the balance of being is on the side of God. Christian perfection is won on no other basis. The scientific unity between God and man must be wrought out in demonstration."

Man being "coexistent and co-eternal with God," death must be an illusion, and is so set forth:--

"Death: an illusion; there is no death. Matter has no life, hence, it cannot die, and mind is immortal. The flesh warring against spirit frets itself free from one belief only to be fettered by some other one, until all belief yields to the understanding of God. Any material evidence of death is false, for it contradicts the spiritual facts of life. The unreal and untrue. The opposite of God, or life."

The fall and death being done away with, there cannot, of course, be any resurrection from among the dead, or raising of the race up to something lost in Adam. Hence, in this new "Science" resurrection becomes mere development. We quote her definition of resurrection as follows:--

"Resurrection: spiritualization of thought; a new and higher idea of immortality, or spiritual existence. Material belief yielding to spiritual understanding."

Those taught of God can have no difficulty in tracing the sinuous course of that "old dragon," in these unstable and unlearned perversions of Scripture, which soon cause their teachers to become "raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame." Those who have watched the effect of these doctrines upon those proclaiming them readily discern that the "evil tree" is yielding its proper fruit.

Again, Mrs. Eddy sets forth her claimed many miracles of healing as the basis of her religion, and the proof of its divine origin. To those uninstructed in the way of truth, this claim is very weighty, and many are ensnared by it. These, seeing no wisdom in the permission of evil, and having no conception of the great things God has in store for those who, under the severest tests, maintain a love for righteousness and a hatred of wickedness, quickly fall in this evil day of subtle sophistries. Supposing "Godliness to be gain"; i.e., a means to secure present temporal ease in finances or social life, freedom from aches and pains, etc., some, in their eagerness to escape from the hardship of enduring unfavorable conditions, are blinded to the opportunity for discipline thus offered, and rush headlong into any specious promise of relief that is made, without applying the rules and tests provided in the "sure word of prophecy," and are quickly ensnared by the Adversary. Being one of the highest order of God's created beings, who wilfully left his first estate and does iniquity (Ezek. 28:12-15), the devil can loosen the bonds of suffering on those [R3187 : page 136] who give heed to his seductive teachings, until he gains full and complete control of their moral powers, and can thus use them as his pliant, even if unsuspecting, tools, simply releasing them temporarily to gain his own purposes. When these are served, or when the time for binding him has fully arrived (Rev. 20:2,3), he will execute his full malignity, not only upon his own willing coadjutors, but also upon those who have been his dupes. We unhesitatingly brand this whole system of Christian Science, so-called, as another form of spiritualism put forth by the father of lies, who was a liar from the beginning. That there is a power, even superhuman, in it, we admit; but we believe it is the power of Satan, the great deceiver of men, which will be used only for the destruction of man.

[Satan's dominion is a dominion of death, and he undoubtedly has the power slightly to relieve the sick when his delusive purposes and doctrines would be best served thereby. (Heb. 2:14.) The fact that Satan's kingdom and its methods are thus divided and in opposition--working evil, sin and death, as ever, and at the same time turning in to heal the sick in order the more securely to bind and blind his dupes in subtle errors--shows that the "god of this world" realizes that his reign of sin, ignorance, superstition and death is nearly at an end.--EDITOR.]

Let God's children beware lest they be entangled by this siren song. The system perverts everything it touches, and not even the Lord's prayer escapes its contamination. For the information of the brethren, we give the following "spiritualized" version of it:--

"Principle, eternal and harmonious,
Nameless and adorable intelligence,
Thou art ever present and supreme.
And when this Supremacy of Spirit
Shall appear, the dream of matter will disappear.
Give us the understanding of truth and love;
And loving we shall learn God,
And truth will destroy all error,
And lead us into the life, that is soul,
And deliver us from the errors of sense,
Sin, sickness and death.
For God is life, truth and love forever."

Trusting completely in our Lord, the Anointed Savior, who has bought us with his precious blood, we can quickly escape this evil, and enter into and retain a present rest in Christ, and be prepared for that perfect and everlasting rest that "remaineth for the people of God."--Heb. 4:9,10; Isa. 26:3; Psa. 91.

A CHRISTIAN SCIENCE PRAYER.


The Insurance World says:--"It seems almost incredible that the following formula called a prayer, repeated by a person sick of dyspepsia is alleged by Christian Scientists to have a curative effect. The exact words read:--

"'Shining and Glorious Verity, we recognize the great and splendid FACT that the moment we really believe the Truth, Disease ceases to trouble us; that the Truth is that there is no Disease in either real Body or Mind; that in the mind what seems to be a disease is a False Belief, a Parasite, a hateful Excrescence, and that what happens in the Body is the shadow of the LIE in the Soul. Lord help us to believe that All Evil is Utterly Unreal; that it is silly to be sick, absurd to be ailing, wicked to be wailing, atheism and denial of God to say, 'I am sick.' Help us to stoutly affirm with our hand in Your hand, with our eyes fixed on Thee, that we have no Dyspepsia, that we never had Dyspepsia, that we will never have Dyspepsia, that there is no such thing, that there never was any such thing, and that there never will be any such thing. Amen.'"

A UNITED PRESBYTERIAN VIEW.


To what extent the Adversary's messengers in garments of light can deceive, note the following by Rev. A. K. Duff, a U.P. minister, published without criticism in the United Presbyterian. He says:--

"In forming our judgment of Christian Science, the Savior's question will be suggestive, 'Think you that they are sinners above all others?' There is a basic principle of truth in the pope, faith cure, Christian Science, mind cure, osteopathy, etc., and only the wilfully blind, or unfair and dishonest writer will attempt to conceal it. If it were entirely false there could be no danger. To say that Christian Science is the work of the devil because it is the revival of black art, is all rot. It degrades the ministry in the eyes of well-thinking scholars of today that such utterances emanate from the pulpit. To assume that faith has no power in the healing of disease is to discredit a cardinal principle of the gospel. Distinction against Christian Science must be finely woven, and in argument cautiously drawn out.

"This school of faith was organized in 1879 and now numbers 800 churches, 80 educational institutes, one million members and another million adherents. They have eight churches in New York city, and all are crowded Sabbath mornings and evenings. Last year they built one church in New York city costing $500,000, and every dime was raised before a pick was struck in the ground. This year they are building another in the same city, costing $600,000. They openly boast that they have no poor people, and we all know that hundreds of the ripest scholars in the land are among them. College graduates, lawyers, physicians, popular authors and even clergymen join them.

"Here is the leading error. They say 'the Bible does not sanction physicians, nor recognize the beneficial effect of medicines,' when the opposite is true. 'They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick' is positive endorsement of medical treatment. The many references to the healing virtues of plants and herbs, the 'balm in Gilead and the physician [R3187 : page 137] there,' prove beyond a peradventure our practice of medicine."


***

Note the fact that these shepherds (preacher and editor) in Israel nominal are either ignorant of "the doctrines of Christ," "the faith once delivered unto the saints," or else are blinded by the "dust" of falsities and meaningless language. Note the words--their "leading error" is the denial of physicians! How about their denial of sin,--of a fall,--of a redemption from sin and death by the precious blood of Christ;-- their practical denial of God except as general and particular goodness or utility--as there is good or usefulness in a tree, in that it bears fruit or yields shade or can be used to construct a house?

These blinded men close their exhortation by implying that Christian Science would benefit all U.P's. and add,--

"I have studied them for five years, and I never found such a uniformly good people in my travels. They are purely Christ-like. They are all willing to endure stripes, and go naked and hungry, if by any means they may save some."

The befogged writer forgets, evidently, that in a previous paragraph he has set forth "that they have [R3188 : page 137] no poor people." How, then, did this gentleman, after studying them for five years, learn about their willingness to endure hunger and nakedness on behalf of others? Their efforts have evidently been chiefly among the well-to-do; and thus they have avoided their burdens and been rather un-Christ-like.

Let us not be entrapped by Satan's deceptive garments of light intended to deceive, if possible, the very elect. Let us remember how our Lord associates his Word and doctrine with true discipleship, saying, "If any man will do his [the Father's] will, he shall know of the doctrine;" and again: "Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free;" and again: "If they speak not according to this Word [but handle the Word of God deceitfully] it is because there is no light in them."--John 7:17; 8:32; Isa. 8:20.



[R3188 : page 137]

SUFFERING AS CHRISTIANS.
--ACTS 21:30-39.--MAY 3.--

"If any man suffer as a Christian, let him not be ashamed."--1 Pet. 4:16.

WHEN the Apostle Paul and his companions arrived at Jerusalem they were cordially received by the brethren--they had further manifestations of the same loving brotherhood specially noted in our last lesson. The Church was called together that the Apostle might make a general and public report, and might turn over to the proper authorities the funds donated for their poor by the churches amongst the Gentiles. Apparently several of the Apostles still resided at Jerusalem, "James, our Lord's brother," being in some particular sense the leader or chief spokesman. Tradition tells us that the different apostles ultimately scattered in different directions, preaching the Gospel--Andrew to Cythia, Jude to Assyria, Thomas to Persia and India, Peter to Babylon and Rome. We infer, however, that they had remained at Jerusalem up to this time, since Paul seems to have been the leader in the work amongst the Gentiles; quite probably his report of the Lord's blessing upon his efforts, in conjunction with the subsequent persecutions at Jerusalem, led the other apostles to go into the foreign fields of service.

It was now but twelve years before the destruction of Jerusalem, and less than half that time before the beginning of the factionalism and anarchy which led up to that destruction. The apostles quite probably in due time bethought themselves of the Lord's injunction that they must ultimately flee out of Jerusalem before it would be encompassed with armies and escape be impossible. We today are living within a corresponding twelve years of utter overthrow of churchianity, and must not be surprised if in the Lord's providence the bitterness and opposition against the present truth should become more and more open and violent, thus hindering our efforts amongst the professed people of God today, and compelling us to go more particularly to those who make less boast of their loyalty to God.

The apostles and brethren at Jerusalem were fully in sympathy with the Apostle Paul, though evidently their minds did not grasp so clearly as did his the complete breaking down of "the middle wall of partition" which previously had separated Jews from Gentiles, nor did they appreciate so fully as he that the Law was merely a pedagogue, a servant, to lead to Christ--to his school. Practically the Jerusalem friends said to the Apostle: We are in full accord with you and the noble work which you have been prosecuting, and we perceive the Lord's blessing upon it, and recognize the true Christian spirit in these brethren who have come with you, as representatives of the work of the Gospel amongst the Gentiles. However, you know how great is the opposition here; how bitter is the hatred of the Jews, and that they have heard of you. Jews who have come from Ephesus and Corinth and other places, evidently misunderstood some things that you taught there, or [R3188 : page 138] at least misrepresented your teachings. They have heard that you are an enemy of the Law, while we know that you believe that "the Law is just and holy and good," and full of shadows of better things to come. But now, as an offset to their pernicious presentations, and as an object lesson to some of our own brethren who are not just strong along this line, and for the benefit also of some whom we are endeavoring to interest in the Gospel of Christ, we have something to propose to you, and to these brethren: it is that you go into the Temple, as a worshiper, and associate yourselves with some of the rites and ceremonies there in progress, that thus all may know that you are not disrespectful toward Moses or the Law or the Temple,--that their misapprehension and evil-speaking may be counteracted. Amongst us are three brethren who have made certain vows to the Lord, called the vows of the Nazarites, and we suggest that you show your sympathy with them and with the arrangements, acting as sponsor for them--paying for the sacrifices which, according to the Law, they must offer, etc. Thus you will be seen with them, and in performance of certain ceremonies, for about a week, in the court of the Temple known as the Court of the Women, and we hope that much good will result therefrom, and much misapprehension be abated.

We can easily imagine that the bold champion of the truth in foreign lands would never have chosen such a course of his own volition, and that when the suggestion came to him it was not enthusiastically received. Nevertheless, since it seemed to be the judgment of the apostles and brethren in general--seemed to be in their interest and according to their view of advantage to the general cause, the Apostle yielded his own preference. We cannot suppose that he yielded to that which was wrong, yet we can easily imagine some one inquiring, Would it not be sin for the Apostle or other Christians to participate in any measure in sacrifice in the Temple?--were not all these sacrifices done away in Christ, and henceforth abominations in the sight of God,--sacrilegious?

We answer, No, not at all. The sacrifices which pointed to Christ, and which he fulfilled, were no longer proper, but these sacrifices which the Nazarites offered in connection with their vows did not typify Christ's sacrifice, but rather the consecrations and devotions of the people, the antitypes of which will prevail during the Millennium. It was no sin, therefore, on the Apostle's part to join in this procedure, and yet we incline to doubt the wisdom of the course pursued. We incline to believe that it was rather a temporizing acknowledgment of the dignity of the Temple and its services; whereas by this time the real Temple and the real service had been inaugurated;--for the Church itself is the antitypical Temple in which God has been present by his holy spirit since Pentecost. Although it is not distinctly so stated, we incline to believe that the Apostle Paul and all of his associates in this matter took a different view of it subsequently, as being a compromise which, without being sinful, was not advantageous, and reflected no special credit upon any connected with it. Perhaps such a lesson was needed by the apostles and the Church at Jerusalem, that they might learn to be the more courageous in their presentations of the truth--that they might be less fearful of the Jews, more bold in their presentations of Christ and the New Covenant arrangements in his blood--the better sacrifices, better vows, etc.

It was while the Apostle and these brethren, who were really Jews by nature, but who saw beyond the types and symbols, and appreciated the antitypes, were engaged in the performance of the typical, or symbolical rites, that the Jews recognized Paul and one of his companions, and became furiously incensed, either believing or claiming to believe that the Apostle was attempting to do the very reverse of what he and the Jerusalem Church intended--that he was attempting to discredit the Law and dishonor the Temple by violating, and getting others to violate, its holy precincts. As the excited shouts arose in the air a mob was quickly gathered; and as in Ephesus "the mob ran together, the greater part not knowing wherefore," so here again the mob merely knew that some of its leaders were frantically indignant at the Apostle Paul, and believed that he should be killed. He was dragged out of the Temple, and immediately the great doors of the Beautiful Gate of the Temple were closed--that no rioting or bloodshed might occur within the sacred enclosure.

The Tower of Antonia was close by the Temple Court, and steps connected the two. In this castle a band of Roman soldiers was quartered--evidently several hundred, because each centurion was a commander, or captain, of a hundred men. The riotous commotion brought forth the garrison, which appeared at just the proper time to deliver Paul from his enemies, who were beating him.

The chief captain, Claudius Lysias (Acts 23:26), caused the arrest of Paul and commanded that he be chained to two of the Roman soldiers--much after the manner in which now a culprit is sometimes handcuffed to an officer. Each Roman soldier carried, as a part of his outfit, an iron chain and a leather thong, for use in just such an emergency. While this handcuffing, which fulfilled the prophecy of Agabus, was in progress, Lysias made inquiry respecting the Apostle and the crime which had occasioned the commotion and indignation of these religious people. As a Gentile, he would naturally suppose that such a commotion [R3189 : page 139] amongst religious worshipers must have been incited by some atrociously evil conduct, some villainy or sacrilege, or that a disguised robber or assassin had been discovered. The multitude shouted out its various conjectures, and, it being impossible to judge the case at the time on such evidence, he commanded that Paul be brought into the prison.

Lysias, the foreign officer, had probably a very imperfect knowledge of the language spoken by the Jews, which was either Hebrew or Syriac, his own language being the Greek. Knowing this, the Apostle spoke to him in the Greek language, and with such fluency as to cause the commander great surprise. From the account, he evidently had confounded the Apostle with an Egyptian leader of an insurrection of some time previous. Paul's request was that he be permitted to speak to the people, who were in such commotion and crying out, "Away with him!" He evidently thought that he might correct some false impressions and pacify the multitude. At any rate he would lose no opportunity for declaring the gospel of Christ. The Lord influenced the heart of Lysias to grant the request. The people quieted as they perceived that the commander had permitted the prisoner to make them an address from the stairs leading to the castle. Here was a most excellent opportunity for presenting Christ before a large number of seemingly devout people--Temple worshipers. Undoubtedly there were some grains of "wheat" in that multitude, though evidently the great mass was "chaff." The Apostle's words would be a blessing to the wheat, and serve to test, prove, demonstrate, that the others were without the real kernel of truth in their hearts, although they had the outward appearances of being devout worshipers of the true God.

It is worthy of remark that the Apostle never allowed opportunities to pass by him without doing all in his power to use them in the Lord's praise and for the forwarding of the truth. The majority of us, probably, would have been so affected by the excitement of such an incident and by the bruises resulting from the beating, that we would perhaps have forgotten all about the greatest and most important work of all committed to our care, and might have been much less prompt than the Apostle to seek an opportunity to testify to the Lord's praise and for the opening of the eyes of any who might be his people amongst our assailants. Let us learn this lesson: let us be instant in season and out of season, so far as our own convenience and feelings are concerned, if only we can find opportune seasons for reaching others. The Apostle here illustrated his advice to Timothy, "Be instant in season and out of season,--preach the Word." It was in season for the multitude, because they were gathered there, and their attention was riveted upon him. Had he consulted his own convenience he would have said that it was very much "out of season" for himself;--that he was in no condition to speak, his nerves were excited and his body was bruised. But thinking of the convenient opportunity he spared not himself. In this he had the spirit of the Master, that he himself admonished us to have, saying that as Christ died for us we ought also to lay down our lives for the brethren--in season or out of season, so far as our own convenience is concerned.

In a few well-chosen words he told the people the story of his own experience: he had, like themselves, been an opposer of Jesus, a persecutor of all the followers of the Lord; how he had been miraculously interrupted in this work, and led to consider the claims of Jesus from the standpoint of the Word of God--the Law and the Prophets; how he had become fully convinced that Jesus is indeed "the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sin of the world," the deliverer who should come out of Zion, and through whom a blessing should come to all that would receive his message. He then proceeded to tell them what should have brought joy to their hearts; viz., that the Lord sent him to be a messenger to the Gentiles, to tell them of the good tidings, that they also might participate, as well as the Jews. But their hearts being evil and selfish, this mention of divine favor and mercy going to others incensed them; they heard the Apostle in peace and with profound attention up to this point, and then all their prejudices seemed to be aroused with the thought that this man claimed and taught that Gentiles could have favor with God equal to that bestowed upon the Jews. They cried out against him in much the same language that they had used against the Lord, "Away with such a fellow from the earth, for it is not fit that he should live;" and while they thus cried out and threw dust in the air, and gesticulated with their arms, and threw their garments about, they made a wild, weird picture. The Roman commander, not understanding the Hebrew language, had not been able to follow the Apostle's discourse, and considering it evident that after he had had so quiet and orderly a hearing for a time, and now there was such a wild burst of indignation at what he said, it implied something very deep and treacherous and evil in the man, else his words would not thus arouse the passions and malice of religious people. He, therefore, ordered the Apostle to be scourged to make him tell a true story of his differences with the Jews.

Matters are somewhat the same today, though on a different plane. A stranger or worldly person, hearing some sectarian Christian animadvert against some one who has been preaching the true gospel of the Lord Jesus, would be inclined to suppose that the message [R3189 : page 140] must contain something very vicious, very terrible indeed, else it would not so arouse those who have outwardly so much "form of godliness." And if, as in the case of the Roman officer, an audience be granted, and the truth be presented in their hearing, they cannot understand it;--that is to say, "the world by wisdom knows not God," knows little of his plan, understands little of the language of his Word--it is a different language from that to which they are accustomed. And when, after a presentation of the truth, they find bitter opposition and invective against it on the part of religious teachers--modern scribes and Pharisees and doctors of divinity--we must not be surprised if they are the more inclined to side with those who represent popular theology--so-called "orthodoxy," and assume that the true gospel, because believed and taught by so few and opposed by so many of influence, must necessarily be something very evil.

Nevertheless, it is for us to take the Apostle for our guide, and to be faithful in the use of every opportunity to let the light shine forth, even though it arouse the bitter opposition and persecution and prejudice of darkness. The darkness hateth the light, because it is reproved thereby, is our Lord's explanation. Nothing seemed so much to incite the scribes and Pharisees of eighteen centuries ago as the reasonableness of the true gospel. The common people heard it gladly, unless intimidated by their religious rulers, and led to doubt those who had been teaching them to the contrary. Hence, the rulers were incensed against the gospellers: "They were grieved because they [the apostles] taught the people." They held, on the contrary, that only the scribes and Pharisees, the doctors and leaders, should be taught, and that the people should simply follow them blindly, and without requiring a reason and a "Thus saith the Lord" for their faith.

Our Golden Text for this lesson is well chosen. Paul's experience illustrated it; he was suffering as a Christian--because he was loyal to the Lord and his Word. He was not suffering because of having followed the admonitions of the brethren in going into the Temple, for very evidently the hatred that was against them in the hearts of his enemies would sooner or later have manifested itself anyway, and they would have sought his life, as on previous occasions. We merely see in this incident that the attempt of the apostles to create a favorable impression toward the Apostle Paul and his work amongst the Gentiles failed, and probably brought the matter of his arrest, etc., more quickly to the front than would any other course have done.

The Apostle was not ashamed of his sufferings, because he realized that they were endured for Christ's sake. Any man or woman would feel and should feel deeply pained at a public arrest and imprisonment as a felon, as a violator of the law. But when these things are experienced, and we can realize that they are coming to us because of our faithfulness to the Lord, in following in his footsteps, we may rejoice in ignominy, rejoice in things which otherwise would be shameful and detestable. If, therefore, in the Lord's providence, arrest or imprisonment or scourging should come to any who read this article, and if they can directly or indirectly trace their tribulation to faithfulness to the Lord and his truth, let them not be ashamed; let them glorify God on this behalf, rejoicing that they are accounted worthy to suffer for the name of Christ, and remembering that even thus also it was with our Lord Jesus. He was placed under arrest; he was bound; he was scourged; he was publicly insulted; he was even crucified as a blasphemer against God.-- 1 Pet. 4:16.

Another lesson which we may learn here is, not to trust too implicitly in the voice of the multitude, and if we find the rabble shouting against any one, either orally or through the press, we should not unquestioningly accept their verdict. We should remember the experiences of Jesus, the experiences of Paul, and of the other Apostles, and how the multitude cried out, "Away with them!" The Christian whose mind is thus relieved of prejudice is the better prepared to judge wisely respecting whatever may properly come under his observation or criticism. And then, if he have similar experiences himself, he will be the better prepared for them.



[R3190 : page 140]

"THE LORD STOOD BY HIM."
--ACTS 23:11-22.--MAY 10.--

"The Lord stood by him and said, Be of good cheer."

AFTER the exciting experiences of our last lesson the Apostle must have felt somewhat depressed in spirit and discouraged. True, he had passed through equally great trials amongst the Gentiles, but here, amongst his own people, and in the City of the Great King, the opposition to the gospel would be much more inclined to make him heart-sore. Besides, he evidently had come to Jerusalem full of the thought that under the Lord's providence he might accomplish a considerable work amongst his kinsmen according to the flesh, and rescue some of them before the great overthrow which he realized was impending. It was in this time of great mental stress that the Lord so graciously communicated with him by a dream, [R3190 : page 141] as declared in the first verse of our lesson. What an encouragement it must have been! and the fact that it was given is an assurance that it was needed; for the Lord very rarely indeed interposes miraculously in the course of events unless there is special necessity. On two other occasions, when the Apostle was in straits, the Lord manifested his favor and encouraged him in like manner.--Acts 18:9,10; 27:24.

How much the Apostle must have felt strengthened by this vision, and assurance of divine care, we can well imagine. Nevertheless, the Lord was as truly with him and as fully caring for his interests as on other occasions, when no vision attested the fact: and he is with us, his followers of today, in like manner; and doubtless the visions granted to the Apostle were destined of the Lord to be an encouragement for "all who should believe on him through their word." The Apostle's visions serve us as they served him--assuring us also that the Lord is with his people, and is able to care for and protect and guide and bless our efforts today, as eighteen centuries ago. But to have the Lord thus with him and to feel good cheer in the Lord's presence implied the fullest sincerity and zeal on the part of the Apostle to do and to be all that would please the Master; and similarly we can enjoy his presence and appropriate to ourselves the message, "Be of good cheer," only in proportion as our hearts can realize that, however imperfect our labors for the truth and for the brethren, they are done "as unto the Lord" and to the best of our ability.

The day before this vision, by order of the Roman commander, the Apostle was brought before the Jewish Sanhedrin, of which the high priest, Ananias, was president. The Apostle was permitted to address the Sanhedrin, and began by declaring himself a Jew, who had always lived in full harmony with the laws of his country--an honorable citizen. It was at this time, it will be remembered, the high priest, possibly thinking this language a reflection against himself (for he had an unsavory reputation), ordered an attendant to smite the Apostle on the mouth--an insult not at all uncommon in the East at that time, and, to some extent, even to this day. The Apostle, justly indignant, exclaimed, "God shall smite thee, thou whited wall; for sittest thou to judge me after the law, and commandest me to be smitten contrary to the law?" One who stood near him replied, "Answerest thou God's high priest so?" and the Apostle replied, "I wist not, brethren, that he was the high priest; for it is written, Thou shalt not speak evil of the ruler of thy people." It is uncertain what the Apostle meant by this language. It may be his defective eyesight did not recognize Ananias. Or, possibly, he meant to be understood as questioning the right of Ananias to the title of high priest. Or, in view of the fact that the antitypical high priest is the Lord Jesus, and that the typical priesthood came to an end at the time of Christ's glorification, the Apostle may have had that in mind. However, he acknowledged the teaching of the law in respect to the officers of the government, to render honor to whom honor is due; and there is a lesson here for all of us in this day, when we find so many disposed to "speak evil of dignitaries," and bring railing accusations against them. The attitude of the Lord's people should be a very conservative one in such matters--in harmony with Michael's words to the Adversary, "The Lord rebuke thee!"

Reasoning that he would have scant courtesy from such a tribunal, and knowing that its members were about equally divided as between Pharisees and Sadducees, and that the high priest was a Sadducee, the Apostle appealed to the Pharisees that it was a case in which the Sadducees were trying to do him injury because of his religious faith, much of which was shared in by the Pharisees; and that a Sadducee, in violation of the Law, had just caused a Pharisee to be smitten in the mouth. He thus to some extent gained the sympathy of the Pharisees by declaring that he was a Pharisee, the son of a Pharisee, and that the real animus of the opposition against him was on the score of the resurrection of the dead--for the Pharisees believed in a resurrection of the dead, but the Sadducees denied it. Immediately there was a contention in the Sanhedrin, the Pharisees to some extent espousing the Apostle's cause, as against their adversaries, the Sadducees. The meeting broke up in disorder, the Roman commander, Lysias, rescuing Paul and removing him, and thus causing the excitement to abate.

The honesty and propriety of Paul's claim to be a Pharisee has been questioned by some, but we regard their contention as without foundation. The Apostle was a Jew; so were the Pharisees, and a Jew may have either more or less piety without its affecting his nationality. The Pharisees claimed to be strict believers of the Law of Moses--believers in all that Moses and the Prophets did write, the name Pharisee signifying holiness or completeness in the observance of the Law. Paul had all his life been zealous for the Law of God and for its complete observance, and he was no less so as a Christian. Indeed, he was more so, for, having realized his own inability and the inability of all men to keep the Law, he had laid hold upon Christ, the sent of God, as the one through whom alone he would be able to keep the Law perfectly, wholly: as he expressed it, "The righteousness [the full, whole, complete meaning] of the Law is fulfilled in us [holiness people, complete in Christ] who walk not after the flesh, but after the spirit." All true Christians today could make a [R3190 : page 142] similar claim to that of the Apostle--that we are Pharisees --holiness people--keepers of the divine law--observers of it in every particular to the extent of ability, and with all shortcomings and deficiencies made up for us by our Lord Jesus. We are not under the Law Covenant, for it has given place to a better one, the original one; but as for the Law itself, it is God's Law, "holy, just, good," and can never pass away. It is recognized by us as much as it was recognized by the holiness people of old, and more so; for we discern, not only its letter, but its spirit--love for God and love for fellow-men.

The Jews must have realized that their case against the Apostle would appear very poorly in the eyes of the Roman commander, seeing that they were doing the rioting on both occasions, that the Apostle was the more sedate and willing to reason his cause, and that some of those supposed to be his accusers had turned to his defense. Meantime the sympathy of the Pharisees for Paul doubtless cooled off. At all events, during that night more than forty of the deluded religious enthusiasts bound themselves to God with a curse that they would kill Paul. Such an anathema was in effect, "May the divine curse be upon us if we do not effect the death of this man, whom we believe to be an enemy of God and of our religion, and whom we believe it to be our duty to destroy."

They laid a plot, as follows: They would have the high priest send word to the Roman commander that the Sanhedrin desired a fresh examination of the prisoner on some other charges, the intention being that while the soldiers would be bringing him these forty men would assault and risk their lives to assassinate Paul. The matter was evidently not kept as secretly as they supposed, for one of Paul's relatives learned the particulars. Indeed, we know that it is impossible to keep anything from God, and that the most secret engagements are, therefore, powerless to do injury to the Lord's people. Nevertheless, when the information reached the Apostle he did not say to himself, God knows all about this matter and will take care of me, and, therefore, I have nothing to do in respect to it. On the contrary, he arranged matters so far as he could to defeat the plot--just as though the entire responsibility for his preservation rested upon himself. There is a lesson in this which many of God's dear people need to learn, viz., that each of the Lord's followers is a colaborer with the Lord in every good work. It is our duty to do all that we know how to do in proper self-defense and in protection of one another from the wiles of the Adversary and in the defense of the cause we serve; but, having done all in our power, having exercised all the wisdom and prudence we can command, we are to rest our hearts in the knowledge that the Lord will take care of all that is beyond our power to control, so that all things shall work together for good to them that love God.

There is another lesson for us in the fact that, although the Lord promised Paul that, as he had been faithful in testifying of him at Jerusalem, he must also preach the Gospel at Rome, nevertheless this latter prediction was long deferred of realization. It was over two years before he reached Rome, and then as a prisoner. We also need certain lessons of faith. We not only need to believe that the Lord is with us, and has the care of our affairs, but have need of patience and perseverance in faith and hope and love; and ofttimes with us, as with the Apostle, the Lord defers for a long time to complete our deliverance from adverse conditions--defers for a long time the opening of the desired door of opportunity in his service. We are to remember his wisdom as well as his love and power, and to rest contentedly therein after doing [R3191 : page 142] all within our power. In Paul's case it may be that conditions at Rome would be more favorable to his ministry later than they were at this time. It may be also that the Lord had a work for him to do in the interim as a prisoner at Caesarea,--amongst the Romans. And so in our affairs: we are to look for the opportunities of service as they come, and leave to our Lord the supervision of our life as a whole.

As a result of the communication of the plot to the Roman captain, he sent the Apostle under a strong military escort to the Roman capital of Judea,--Caesarea. There the Apostle, although kept a prisoner, was doubtless made comfortable, awaiting the trial before the Roman governor, Felix. The essence of this lesson as a whole, in its application to us, is expressed in the Apostle's words, "If God be for us who can be against us?"



[R3191 : page 142]

INTERESTING QUESTIONS ANSWERED.

WHICH WERE THE MORE RESPONSIBLE; JUDAS OR ANANIAS AND SAPPHIRA?


Question.--What difference should we recognize as between the condition of Judas Iscariot and his crime, and Ananias and Sapphira and their crime? The one sinned before the holy spirit was dispensed at Pentecost; the others subsequently. If Judas' case merited the verdict of Second Death, would not the others merit the same? If Ananias and Sapphira did not sin the sin unto death, how should we regard the case of Judas?

Answer.--There would appear to be considerable [R3191 : page 143] difference between these two cases. Both crimes were committed against much light; both were reprehensible; but that of Judas seems to us to be much the more serious of the two. While he lived prior to Pentecost, we are to remember that he was one of the twelve upon whom Jesus had specially conferred a measure of his spirit--such a measure as permitted him, with the others, to perform miracles of healing, casting out of devils, etc., as recorded. His position was one of special closeness to the Lord and his personal instruction, both by precept and example. We remember our Lord's words to the disciples, "To you it is given to know the mysteries of the Kingdom; but to them that are without these things are spoken in parables." All this privilege, opportunity, knowledge, contact, made Judas specially responsible. Then, too, his crime would have been bad, wicked, had it been against any ordinary person; but was seriously intensified by being a crime against him who spake and acted as never man spake or acted before. It is from this standpoint that our Lord's declaration, that he was the son of perdition, seems to have special weight, or import, as implying that he had enjoyed a sufficiency of light and knowledge of righteousness to constitute a trial, and that his deliberate sin against such light and knowledge meant the Second Death.

In the case of Ananias and Sapphira they were beginners; they had not been long in the Church; they never met the Master, and had not known the apostles a great while. They saw others consecrating their goods and noted that they were correspondingly appreciated in the Church. They wished to have such an appreciation, and wished to do some good with their means; but a selfish feeling, combined, perhaps, with a feeling of caution, ensnared them into a wrong course of conduct which the Apostle Peter denominates "lying unto the holy spirit." We do not positively say that they will have any future or further opportunity for gaining everlasting life; we know of no Scripture which guarantees to us that they will have any such; yet it seems to us not improbable that they will have a further opportunity in which they will have greater light, and greater knowledge of right and wrong, and of the results attaching.

SHALL WE USE THE TERM "EVOLUTION," ETC.?


Question.--I note your opposition to the Evolution theory; yet in MILLENNIAL DAWN, Vol. I., page 31, you remark the possibility that something of an evolutionary development was used by our Creator in bringing the various species of animals each to its own perfection. Let me ask, then: Cannot we Christians hold to the word "evolution" with propriety? and may we not even think of Adam as having reached human perfection by a process of development as one of the species animal?

Answer.--No; to both questions. We regard the words Evolution and Evolutionist as now definitely attached to a particular theory. These words belong wholly to those who invented and now have them, and we believe that, as Christians, we would do well to avoid them thoroughly, as the thought connected with the word is a mechanical one, pure and simple, as in opposition to a creative one. We would hold that God did develop different species, each to its perfection, and that he developed these, either by a long or a short process, from the earth itself; but we cannot admit, as evolutionists would claim, that this was merely a development which needed not the Life-giver to start it, and to maintain and direct it. We would claim that God is the director of all the forces of nature, and that they are all of his own creation, and results, therefore, of his direct creation in every instance --fish, fowl, brute, man.

It would not strike us as reasonable to suppose a gradual development of a perfect man by an evolutionary process without his having some measure of responsibility added at some stage of his career before he reached perfection. Neither would it be reasonable to suppose the evolution of a man from a lower order of being to absolute perfection of his own kind, without a history, literature, etc., etc.; neither would it be reasonable to suppose a human being so evolved from a lower order of being to human perfection, as being in ignorance of good and evil up to the time that he reached perfection. If we who are in a fallen condition are held to be responsible to divine law, would not those of the human family who had not yet reached full perfection, but who had considerable intelligence, be reasonably amenable to law also?--supposing your theory to be true.

From whatever standpoint we would view the matter we can find no ground whatever for supposing that Adam ever had a human father, either perfect or imperfect in the flesh. Much more would we disbelieve that he ever had a father of a lower order of being, who could give him life in the divine likeness, in heart and head. Furthermore, to suppose such a possible evolution of a man to perfection from a condition of imperfection, would be to suppose that man, in the present-time imperfect condition, is his own savior, and could re-commence a process of evolution just as well as he could have carried on such a process before reaching perfection. If such a proposition should be considered true, it would negative all the Scriptural teachings we have respecting the necessity for a Redeemer and for his interference in order supernaturally to bring about times of restitution of all things.



page 145
May 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. XXIV.MAY 15, 1903.No. 10


CONTENTS.

"Looking for that Blessed Hope"147
They Knew Not and Received Him Not147
The Hidden Mystery148
Errors Becloud Truths149
This Hope Purifieth150
Few Know of our Lord's Parousia150
The Memorial Celebration151
Volunteer Work for 1903152
Paul Before Felix153
"Almost Thou Persuadest Me"156
Public Ministries of the Truth160
Special Items146

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 146

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.




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THE EDITOR IN EUROPE.


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THE ARTICLE ON "CHRISTIAN SCIENCE."


We have issued a specially large edition of our May 1st number, in view of the special need for dissemination of the Scriptural view of Christian Science error, which is rapidly growing. Order as many free sample copies of this issue for your friends as you can make use of judiciously.

THE NEW EDITION OF DIAGLOTT.


We have just received a consignment of 1,000 copies of the cloth edition of the Diaglott, and will fill all orders at hand promptly. Further orders will have immediate attention. The leather edition is promised within another month.



[R3191 : page 147]

"LOOKING FOR THAT BLESSED HOPE."

"I will come again and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also."--John 14:3.

WHAT joyful hopes, what exuberant anticipations, cluster around this promise, in the hearts of the Lord's faithful! In a few words it sums up all the good things that God hath in reservation for them that love him. But not all mankind have such feelings in respect to this subject;--not all are aware of the gracious blessings held in store for the world, awaiting that auspicious time for their dissemination; and not all mankind are in such a condition of mind and heart as to be able, with joy, to anticipate meeting the Lord. We can readily surmise that not only a large proportion of nominal Christendom, but a comparatively large proportion of true Christians, are not living in that attitude of heart and daily life which would permit them to anticipate this meeting with sentiments of pleasure.

Not only do false doctrines hinder a joyful anticipation of this great event, but sin, likewise, hinders such joyful anticipation, induces shame and fear,-- knowing that even those conditions of heart which may be hidden from fellow-servants cannot be hidden from the Master. We pray with the prophet, "Cleanse thou me from secret faults, keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins," and to the extent that this is the desire of our hearts, and the effort of our lives,--to the extent that the testimony of God's Word dwells in us rightly, and enables us to recognize the lengths and breadths of divine love and compassion covering unintentional shortcomings,--to this extent the Lord's faithful ones are able to rejoice in this promise, and to look forward with joy not only to the meeting with the Lord, but also to their abiding everlastingly in his presence and companionship. But to all others --to all who are not living up to their privileges as children of God and joint-heirs with Jesus Christ [R3192 : page 147] their Lord,--to all who are not seeking to walk circumspectly in the footsteps of Jesus, the words of the text come bringing only a measure of joy, a measure of hope, and not an exuberant overflow.

THEY KNEW NOT AND RECEIVED HIM NOT.

Looking back to the harvest of the Jewish age, we readily perceive that the difficulty in the way of God's ancient people--the direct cause of their stumbling --lay in their failure to appreciate the fact that the coming of Messiah, for which they had so long waited and prayed, was a compound event, having its beginning in their day in the advent of Jesus in the flesh, and having its consummation now, in our day, in the advent of Jesus, a spirit being in glory. The prophecies do not clearly distinguish between the sufferings of Christ and the glory to follow; and it is not for us to blame unduly the poor Jews for seeing with hope and joy the ultimate blessings which Messiah would bring, and overlooking the trials, sufferings and death which must necessarily precede the glory. The Apostle assures us of their expectant attitude; saying, "Unto which promise our twelve tribes, instantly serving God, hope to come."-- Acts 26:7.

We inquire, Why were they permitted to stumble through the misconception of the prophecies? Why was it not explained to them clearly and definitely that the Messiah should first come as a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief, to be a sin-offering for the sins of the whole world; and that subsequently he would come as the King of Glory to deliver and bless the possession purchased with his own precious blood? We answer, Because the Lord did not wish to draw all Israel into the Gospel Church. He wished [R3192 : page 148] to draw only a certain special class; hence, as the Prophet foretold, he spoke unto the people in parables and dark sayings, that hearing they might hear and not understand, and seeing they might see and yet not believe--lest they should receive Jesus, lest they should accept him as their King. God's dealings in this matter would be inscrutable, unjust, unloving, unfair, were the ordinary conception of his plan the correct one;--if, for instance, all those who rejected Jesus were to be sent to eternal torment.

But we have already seen that this was not a part of the divine plan, and that while only the elect class of Israel received the Lord, or were able to appreciate him and to accept his invitation, the remainder of that people were merely blinded, and that, as the Apostle tells us, for a time only,--until the elect class should be completed by selections from the Gentiles also, and then divine favor shall return to them, and all Israel shall be saved from that blindness which there came upon them. The eyes of their understanding shall be opened, and the Lord in glory, speaking to them at his second advent, will no longer hide his meaning under parables and dark sayings, but, on the contrary, shall cause the knowledge of the Lord to fill the whole earth, so that no man will need say unto his neighbor, Know the Lord--because all shall know him, from the least of them unto the greatest of them. --Jer. 31:34.

If such were God's dealings with the natural Israelites --if the matter of the sufferings and glory of Messiah, and the relationship of these two features of his coming were hidden from natural Israel, how has it been with nominal spiritual Israel?--with those who from amongst the Gentiles have to some extent accepted God and Christ? Has this subject of the manifestation of Messiah been clearly discerned by nominal Christendom throughout this Gospel age? We answer, No; although the blindness to the subject is from a somewhat different standpoint. The Jews through their traditions were blinded to the sufferings of Christ, and looked only for the glorious empire which he would establish for the blessing of the world; while Christians, generally, see matters only from the reverse standpoint--see merely the first advent of Christ, its sufferings, the redemptive work, and fail to discern the Kingdom and the blessing of all the families of the earth, which are to result from its establishment at the second coming of our Lord.

What is the source of this error, this blindness to the facts so clearly enunciated in prophecy, that the Apostle could declare that the times of restitution which shall come at the second coming of our Lord, had been "spoken by the mouth of all the holy prophets since the world began"? Why do not Christians see this? We answer, Because they are blinded in the same sense that the Jews are blinded, although with a different form of blindness. But as the "Israelite indeed" amongst the Jews was not suffered to be blinded on the subject, but was clearly instructed by the Lord, guided into the truth, so that all the wheat of that nation were brought to a knowledge of Messiah, and only the chaffy element failed to discern him; so now, amongst the wheat and tares of this Gospel age we find the Scriptures clearly teaching that all who are of the wheat class will have the light of life; and all who are of the tare class will, just as surely, be left to grope and stumble in darkness, as did their prototype in the end of the Jewish age. Why? For the very same reason. Because the Lord is still seeking not for masses; not for numbers; but for peculiar characters--for those who are in heart-harmony with him;--for the pure in heart, in motive, in intention--the honest, the sincere. These will as surely be guided by the Lord into a knowledge and appreciation of the second advent of Messiah and of the Kingdom glories, as were those of the similar class in the end of the Jewish age--even though, as in the case of Saul of Tarsus, it should be necessary to strike them down in the way with some exhibition, or demonstration, of the truth.

THE HIDDEN MYSTERY.

There is a secret connected with this subject which the Apostle repeatedly calls the "Mystery" of God (Rom. 16:25,26; Eph. 3:9; 5:32; Col. 1:26; Rev. 10:7). This mystery, as he explains, relates to the Gospel Church;--the peculiar relationship between the Gospel Church and its Head and Lord is not intended to be understood by the world or by the nominal Christian nor by even the true Christian who is not in a proper attitude of heart and fully consecrated to the Lord.

When we catch a glimpse of this "mystery" it explains the whole situation. It shows us that from the divine standpoint, the promised Messiah, the Deliverer of the world from the bondage of sin and death --the Restorer, the great Prophet, Priest and King, whose Millennial reign as "the seed of Abraham" is to bring blessing to all the families of the earth--is not our Lord Jesus alone, but also with him, and under him as its Head, the entire Church of God--the faithful in Christ Jesus--the "little flock," whom God is selecting from amongst men during this Gospel age, --these, unitedly, are the Christ, the Messiah which God promised and is providing for the deliverance of the world.

Grasping this "mystery," it shows us that the first advent of Christ--in the flesh--for the suffering [R3192 : page 149] of death--has been in progress for nearly nineteen centuries. First came "the Lord Jesus, the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth," who was the forerunner; none could precede him, all who would be associated must be followers and under his control and direction, for he is the "Head over all, God blessed forever." (Rom. 9:5.) He learned certain lessons which would qualify him to be the great High Priest for the world, as the Apostle declares, "Wherefore in all things it behooved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people." --Heb. 2:17.

Additionally, through the sacrifice of himself, this Chief of a Royal Priesthood bought the world, thus making possible the restitution of as many as will in due time receive the blessing of God at his hands, and at the same time making possible the invitation of some of them, some of the redeemed, to become joint-heirs with himself in his Kingdom. But if it was necessary that the Head of the priesthood should be tested in all points, and should learn obedience by the things he suffered, it was certainly not less necessary that all who would be members of the Kingdom class with him, after being redeemed by his precious blood, should be exercised, tried, tested, proven--"made meet for the inheritance of the saints in light." So how plain it is, that the Head having been manifested in the flesh, seen of men, testified of angels, etc., all the members of his body should likewise be manifested in the flesh; because, as the Apostle declares,--"As he was, so are we in this world." --1 John 4:17.

Looked at from this standpoint, we see that the first advent of Christ--in the flesh--has been a gradual one, covering a period of nearly nineteen centuries. We see that the Master has acknowledged these members of his body, made them his ambassadors, and through them has borne witness to the world, and in their sufferings he has suffered; for, as the Apostle declares, "We fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ." (Col. 1:24.) The Apostle Peter declares, that the prophets "spake of the sufferings of Christ [which, as we have seen, have extended over a period of nearly nineteen centuries] and of the glory that should follow"--as soon as the sufferings are completed. (1 Pet. 4:13.) The sufferings evidently did not end at Calvary, else the glory would have begun long ago. The words of our text are in full harmony with this; for the Master addressed not the world, but this very class, his brethren, his Church, the members of his body, "you." His declaration implies that when all of this "you" class shall have been found, tested, tried and approved--when the elect company shall be complete, the Head, who meantime passed into glory, will reappear to be then and ever afterward associated with the members of his [R3193 : page 149] body in glory--"in power and great glory"--a spiritual company. And for what purpose?

We answer that God is "the same yesterday, today and forever"; and his plan is an unchangeable one; hence, all this preparation of the Messiah, Head and body members, is part and parcel of the original plan. This implies that when this great Messiah, Head and body, changed and glorified, no longer in the flesh, but in the spirit, no longer of human nature, but of divine nature, shall be complete,--then shall come the time in which all the gracious promises of ancient times shall have fulfilment,--"times of restitution." Then Israel's blindness shall be turned away, and the blindness of the Gentiles also; for is it not written that "all the blind eyes shall see out of obscurity" and "all the deaf ears be unstopped," and that Satan, the god of this world, shall be bound, and deceive the nations no more? The Apostle declares that he has blinded the world; and doubtless Satan supposes that he is interfering with the divine plan; but behold, as the mists clear away, we perceive that the Almighty has made use of his unwitting servant, to keep secret the mystery which he did not intend should be understood except by the faithful, until the great day of revealing. Then the whole world, released from its bondage of ignorance, superstition and blindness, shall be again made to see, and assuredly many will shout for joy, "Glory to God in the highest,"--giving thanks for the gracious plan of God in which they will be participators, and which will be carried out through the agency of the glorified royal priesthood of which our Lord is the Head and Chief and Redeemer.

ERRORS BECLOUD TRUTHS.

False doctrines have beclouded this subject of the second coming of the Lord in the minds of many. (1) First came the wrong thought that the Church in its present condition, in the flesh, was to accomplish the promise of God made to Abraham,--to bless Israel and all the families of the earth. How false this conception! It is true that some blessing has followed the promulgation of the Gospel, even when sadly mixed with the traditions of men; it is true also that a measure of civilization and enlightenment has followed in the wake of the testimony of Jesus, even when uttered through imperfect lips and in distorted form; but this is not the blessing which God has promised; this is not the "restitution of all things spoken by the mouth of all the holy prophets." In no sense of the word is it the blessing of all the families of the earth. [R3193 : page 150] At no time has even this measure of blessing reached more than a tithe of the living generations and nations --to say nothing of the generations of all nations which have passed into the great prison house of death. What a shortsighted interpretation it is that could apply to the Church in its condition of humiliation, of the past nineteen centuries, all those glorious promises of power and glory and majesty, and earth-filling knowledge, and victory over evil, sin and ignorance, and Satan; and the blessing and uplifting of all mankind; --so clearly stated by all the holy prophets since the world began!

(2) Another false doctrine which has helped to becloud the minds of many is the theory that those who die do not die, but are, on the contrary, when dead, more alive than ever before--that they merely seem to die--that in reality they are in the moment of dying clothed upon with immortality, and as spirit beings, pass into an eternity of either bliss or torment. This unscriptural teaching makes void the Scriptural promise of a resurrection of the dead by claiming that none are dead; and it makes void also the lesson of our text and hundreds of others like it; for why should those who believe such things have any interest in such a promise as this text presents--"I will come again and receive you unto myself"?

In proportion as the doctrine of the second coming of Christ, and the resurrection of the dead then to take place, have been lost sight of from either of the above causes, in that same proportion blindness and darkness and lack of spiritual life have surely resulted. By the lack of spiritual life we do not mean lack of excitement, "revivals," "vanity fairs," "church work," etc.; but we do mean lack of piety, lack of deep Christian experience, lack of the fruits of the spirit and the joys thereof. And be it noted now, that those Christians who hold this hope of the second coming even though bound with various false doctrines, receive a blessing from it that is not fully counteracted by the false traditions of men which they have wrongly associated with it. Indeed, this must be true in respect to every feature of divine truth;-- every item of it has its power as a sanctifying medium, as explained in our dear Redeemer's prayer--"Sanctify them through thy truth, thy Word is truth." Whoever has even one item of truth to nine items of error, has to the extent of that one item, a sanctifying power; whoever has five parts of truth and five parts of error has a considerable measure of sanctifying power; and whoever, by the grace of God, can get rid of all the error, will have the tenfold power of the truth working in him to will and to do God's good pleasure--sanctifying him.

These ten various points of truth are not alike powerful either, and amongst them all we know of none which has greater purifying influence than this one referred to in our text--"that blessed hope"--the appearing of our glorious Lord.

THIS HOPE PURIFIETH.

"He who hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure." (1 John 3:3.) He who has not this hope in him may purify himself in some measure from other motives, but is not at all likely to be purified to the same degree as he would be purified by this hope. Indeed we may be sure, on the other hand, that none but the pure in heart can honestly and truly entertain this hope; to the impure of heart it must rather be a dreadful thought that, shortly, he who can read the very thoughts and intents of the heart will be present; and that all shall appear before him--that all shall be open and naked before his sight. The illiterate and uncultured and morally impure would feel sadly out of place if found in the midst of the pure, the noble, the refined, even for an evening; much more would the matter be distressful to them if the prospects were that they must be thus associated forever. And so it is with the immoral and impure of heart in respect to the second coming of our Lord, and the prospect that all the pure in heart shall be there with him,--the impure cannot covet a place in such a gathering, nor could they rejoice in the hope of such a companionship. Indeed the thought of such associations everlastingly would to such be unendurable.

When we speak of the pure in heart who alone can rejoice in this promise, we are not to be understood as meaning perfect men and women according to the flesh, in every word and act acceptable to the Lord. We have God's own assurance that there are none such--"There is none righteous, no not one"--all come short of the glory of God, the majority very far short. But the Lord knoweth our frame, he remembereth that we are dust, that we were born in sin and shapen in iniquity, that all the children's teeth were set on edge by the sour grapes of sin of which our first parents partook. Those who rejoice in the promise of our text were "children of wrath even as others," and the difference now is that they have been reckonedly justified--their sins are covered by the merit of the great redemptive sacrifice, they have a new standing with the Lord as "new creatures"--not sinners, but friends--accepted in the Beloved; accepted not according to the flesh and its imperfections, but according to the new mind, the new heart, and its new divine aspirations and endeavors.

FEW KNOW OF OUR LORD'S PAROUSIA.

Let us, dear brethren, keep well before our minds the Master's promised return, and now in the time of [R3193 : page 151] his "parousia" (invisible presence), let it have its full weight and influence upon our every word and act; yea, upon our very thoughts. Let the hope that we shall soon experience our resurrection change, and be made like our dear Redeemer, and see him as he is, and share his glory in the great "epiphania," or shining forth of the Sons of God in the glory of the Kingdom, enthuse us;--let this energize our hearts, loose our lips, and strengthen us for every duty, privilege and opportunity--to serve our Master and the household of faith. If this hope has been an anchor to the Lord's people for so many centuries, how much more does it mean to us who are living now in the very time of his presence, waiting for his "apokalupsis"--his revealing in the glory of the Kingdom!

It is only in accordance with what we have seen respecting the heavenly Father's dealings in the past, that we now perceive that there are various matters connected with our Lord's second advent which are inscrutable to the natural man, and can only be perceived by the faithful, and that under the guidance of the spirit in the understanding of the Word. As we saw previously that the Jews failed to grasp the facts connected with our Lord's presence at the first advent --except those who were Israelites indeed, and they but a handful in comparison with the nation,--so here, may we not expect that even amongst those who today are hoping for the Master's return, only a comparative remnant, a handful, will be in such a condition of heart as to permit them to discern clearly and distinctly the manner of the second advent? The presence of our Lord, invisible to men, is for the gathering of the wheat into his barn and the tares for burning; and, subsequently, the manifestation of the complete Christ, Head and members, in the glory of [R3194 : page 151] the Kingdom, as the Sun of Righteousness will be for the healing and blessing and restoring of all mankind then willing to accept the blessings of the Lord on the terms of righteousness.



[R3194 : page 151]

THE MEMORIAL CELEBRATION.

GOOD, heart-cheering reports are at hand from various quarters, showing that the Memorial Supper was this year an occasion of great interest and spiritual profit to the Lord's people scattered abroad. It surely grows in meaning to us as we grow in the knowledge of the divine plan, and as we come closer and closer into accord with the great Fount of every blessing.

Three hundred and thirty devoted souls gathered at the Bible House Chapel, Allegheny, and after a review of the meaning of the emblems, the bread and the cup, partook of them with hearts overflowing with gratitude (1) for the forgiveness of sins and reconciliation to God, already effected for all of the "church of the firstborn"; and (2) for the inestimable privilege of participating with our dear Redeemer as members or parts of the "one loaf"--the one body;--and as participators in the "one cup" of our Lord's sufferings, even unto death, as the Apostle explains. (1 Cor. 10:16,17.) Three baptism services witnessed to the consecration of eighteen, and made deep impressions upon those who had already witnessed the same good confession.

We have reports before us which indicate that a much larger number participated this year than ever previously. All report showers of refreshing. Some of the leading companies numbered as follows:-- Boston, 142 communicants, 32 baptisms; Philadelphia, 130 communicants, 14 baptisms; Chicago, 125; New York, 71; Indianapolis, 80, immersions 11; Washington, D.C., 67; Toronto, Ont., 57; Cleveland, O., 54; Columbus, O., 25; Houston, Tex., 30; Toledo, O., 37; Richmond, Va., 35; Brantford, Ont., 28; Tiffin, O., 35; Atlanta, Ga., 22; Buffalo, 27; Cincinnati, 46; Baltimore, 26; Dayton, O., 32; Lynn, Mass., 27; Auburn, R.I., 35; Scranton, Pa., 33; Minneapolis and St. Paul, 37. page 151

We give below a few sample reports:--

DEAR BROTHER:--The Philadelphia friends enjoyed a blessed meeting together to commemorate our Lord's death. There were one hundred and thirty present, and fourteen immersions.

Your brother in Christ,
H. P.,--Philadelphia.


DEAR FRIENDS,--This has been a blessed Memorial season to the Church at this place. Sunday, April 5, we had a grand discourse by Bro. O. on baptism, followed by the immersion into Christ of 11 brothers and sisters, Bro. W. officiating. After a season of study, prayer and praise on Thursday afternoon and night, we met to partake of the emblems of our Savior's blessed broken body and shed blood. Owing to age and sickness the sacrament was administered at two homes to four. At our regular meeting seventy were present. Such a solemnly sweet festival! The holy spirit was manifest and we were blest indeed.

With love and prayers,
E. W.,--Indianapolis, Ind.


MY DEAR BROTHER:--In compliance with your request I report our deeply interesting service of last night. You will rejoice with me in that, instead of nine or ten, as before this, we had around the table last night thirty-five --one not in present truth, but we do not exclude any who think themselves Christians; so, to be accurate, say thirty-four--who we trust discerned the Lord's body. The service was deeply interesting and strengthening, especially to the new brethren. There appeared to be unusual oneness and flow of love. I regard the service as page 152 being the means of the greatest blessing the Church has ever received here at the Memorial Supper, and others are almost persuaded to take hold of present truth.

Lovingly,
M. S.,--Richmond, Va.


DEAR FRIENDS:--Sixty-seven persons here partook of the emblems of sacrifice this year as against fifty last year and twenty-six the year previous to that. We were spiritually blessed by this service and remembered you and all the dear ones everywhere likewise assembled in our prayers. It was indeed good to be present to share each other's sorrows and the joys combined.

Faithfully yours,
J. B.,--Washington, D.C.


DEAR FRIENDS,--The Church in Denver celebrated the Memorial of our Lord's death last evening; thirteen were present, six sisters and seven brethren. Some were hindered on account of sickness. The occasion seemed to be greatly beneficial in a spiritual way to all present, and the absent ones were remembered in our petitions to the throne of the heavenly grace.

Yours in Christ,
F. H.,--Denver, Colo.


DEAR CO-WORKERS:--Twelve in Chetopa commemorated that great event, the celebrating of our dear Redeemer's death. Very much interest was manifest. Our dear Lord's presence was felt forcibly as our dear Brother Draper spoke briefly of the significance of the loaf and the cup, after which we partook of the emblems. With Christian love to all from the Church here, I am,

Yours in the love of the truth,
P. Z.,--Chetopa, Kan.


PRECIOUS FRIENDS:--Christian greetings to all! The household numbering 20 (all could not attend on account of illness) assembled here at 8 o'clock last night to commemorate the Passover; and how truly can we say, "Sweet the moments rich in blessing"! Oh, the sweet precious moments we experienced, each one feeling greatly repaid for coming and renewing our consecration vows, and each feeling more fully determined to press on. Pray for us, dear brethren, that we may grow much fruit.

Truly, your colaborer,
I. Z.,--San Antonio, Tex.


DEAR BRETHREN,--Thirteen of us met last evening to partake of the emblems of bread and wine, symbolizing the broken body and shed blood of our dear Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. We pledged ourselves anew to be "broken with him," to "drink the cup" which he drank, asking a continuance of his blessed love and care, that at all times "his grace might be sufficient for us," and oh, dear brethren, what a rich blessing he poured out upon us, filling our hearts with a blessed sense of peaceful calm and rest and fortitude for the trials which are yet to come! We do most gratefully testify to the fulness of that grace and blessing. "What shall separate us from the love of God?" With love,

Your fellow-members of his body,
THE CHURCH AT DUBUQUE,--Iowa.


Following is a sample of many of the reports received. The solitary ones fellowshiped in spirit with the groups everywhere:--

Have just partaken of "the Memorial" alone, in my room. What untold joy is ours, to know the soon fulfilment of "drinking it new in the Kingdom" with our Lord.

Your brother,
J. C. E.,--Wyoming.


FROM GREAT BRITAIN.


DEAR BRETHREN:--It is with much gratitude to our heavenly Father that we report at this time general evidences of his favor. The Memorial season has been a time of blessing, of encouragement and realization of the grace of God. Reports from various gatherings have been received, each telling of progress made, both in the deepened spiritual life in the Churches, and in the numbers of those who are rejoicing in the truth. In London, E., 104 partook of the emblems of our Lord's death and our participation therein, and 26 were immersed; in Sevenoaks 16; in Sheffield, 17; in Manchester, 100, while 30 were immersed; in Glasgow, about 70, and in Liverpool, 63. Besides these there were many other gatherings of both large and small numbers, particulars of which have not yet reached us. As we, here in London, were gathered together we remembered all the dear brethren of like precious faith, especially those lonely ones who were "alone with the Lord." With love,

Yours sincerely in Him,
J. HEMERY.



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VOLUNTEER WORK FOR THE SEASON 1903.

FOR several years the dear friends of the cause in all parts of the United States and Canada have industriously circulated on Sundays, at church doors, various of the WATCH TOWER publications. Good results have come--though far less than we hoped for from the vast quantity of printed matter thus circulated. We can only trust that some of the seed has fallen into good ground, and is bringing forth fruitage quietly, which will later be manifest. We believe that on the whole a general modification of the views of Christendom is in progress, and that the tendency is in two directions--the majority toward infidelity, higher criticism, etc., and animosity toward the truth; and a minority toward a proper appreciation of the Word of God and its teachings. We are thus encouraged to go on in the good work while it is called today, realizing that a dark night of unbelief is rapidly settling over our dear brethren and sisters still in Babylon, and that those whom we would rescue must be reached speedily, if at all, before the great time of trouble shall have closed the door to the high calling.

We propose that the Volunteer work this year be varied a little from the methods of previous years--to the extent that the tracts we are expecting shortly to furnish be circulated from house to house, on Sunday forenoons, instead of being circulated at church-doors. We advise that foreign quarters, and especially Roman Catholic quarters, be avoided, as the circulation of tracts there would mean a loss of time, effort and means. Our thought in making this change for the current season is that there may be people who would [R3196 : page 153] thus be reached who have not been reached by the church distributions of the past. We find that there are today quite a number of thinking people who rarely go to church, sometimes for one reason and sometimes for another. Amongst these are some of the most conscientious, God-fearing and well-disposed, who should be amenable to the influences of present truth. We have found it so.

Our arrangement with the printers is that the two tracts which shall constitute the "ammunition" for this year shall be put up, mixed alternately, in bundles. The thought is, not to give two at each house, but one, that neighbors may possibly exchange with each other, and thus a greater variety of reading matter be utilized.

This new method of distribution will render useless the information secured by the various captains during former seasons, but will, nevertheless, give them plenty to do in districting their cities and towns so that every house in proper districts shall be reached and served, and so that the workers shall not lap upon each other's territory. We recommend that the circulation take place on Sunday mornings, at such hour as seems to the friends at each place the most convenient one, least likely to inconvenience those who rejoice to give their time in this service.

It may be possible that some of the friends will find a week-day more convenient than a Sunday, and if this be so we advise that their wishes for territory and tracts be granted. On the whole, however, we rather think that Sunday will be the most advantageous and convenient day. We are not to think of this, nor will other right-minded people think of it, as being "labor," and in violation of Sunday rest. The walking will be no more than would ordinarily be done in going to church, and the labor would be considerably less than in the preaching of a sermon, while the printed sermons thus delivered will, in the judgment of the distributors, be superior, of course, to what would be generally obtained.

FOR THE GERMAN WORK.

We are preparing this season to do some Volunteer work amongst the German Protestant churches, and will be pleased to fill requisitions for "ammunition" in that language. We advise that this material be served on Sunday in the way the English churches were served in previous years, as it would be difficult to locate the Germans otherwise.

We hope that all orders will be with us promptly, and as soon as possible we will have the tracts shipped. We remember daily in prayer the dear brethren and sisters engaged in this, as well as in every branch of the service of the Lord, that his rich blessing may go with the efforts put forth, to the awakening of the true ones of the flock. May grace, mercy and peace abide with all in your loving efforts to cooperate in the spread of the glad tidings.



[R3194 : page 153]

PAUL BEFORE FELIX.
--ACTS 24:10-16,24-26.--MAY 17.--

"I will fear no evil: for thou art with me."--Psa. 23:4.

FIVE days after Paul's arrival a prisoner at Caesarea the Chief Priest, Ananias, accompanied by a public advocate and a deputation from the Sanhedrin, also appeared in the city to make charges against Paul, and the trial at once took place. The advocate, Tertullus, began his case by making very flattering allusions to the governor--very hypocritical allusions, as we know from secular histories of the time. "Both Josephus and Tacitus represent him as one of the most corrupt and oppressive rulers ever sent by the Romans into Judea."

Flattery of this kind, undeserved praise, is extremely reprehensible; totally contrary to the principles which govern the Lord's followers. It is dishonesty, hypocrisy. Nevertheless, flattery is a very powerful weapon, which the unregenerate have little scruple in using, and it frequently gives them a decided advantage in worldly affairs, in opposition to the Lord's faithful, who are restrained from such flatteries, being obliged to consider truth and honesty in all their words and dealings. Some of the Lord's people are, on the other hand, inclined to carry honesty in such matters to an extreme: many in Paul's stead would have felt it their bounden duty to have upbraided Felix roundly. It is no more obligatory upon the Lord's people to denounce every wrongdoer whom they may meet in the street than it is for them to tell all homely persons they may see of their lack along the lines of beauty. The Apostle's course in this case is an illustration of the possession of the spirit of a sound mind. When it came his turn to address the governor he neither upbraided nor reproved him, nor did he utter any words of flattery. The introduction to his defense was every word true in the fullest sense, and yet it was framed and presented in courteous and agreeable language.

Politeness is always a part of Christian character. In the world it may be polish, but in the Christian it is not merely a veneer, but represents the true sentiments of the heart, developed along the lines of the spirit of life--love. Love leads to gentleness, patience, [R3194 : page 154] kindness, etc., and even in the case of disobedience it will hesitate to utter an unkind word, and will avoid the same so far as duty will permit.

The advocate, or attorney, Tertullus, made serious charges against the Apostle. He would have him appear to Felix as more or less a conspirator against the Roman government--at least a raiser of tumults and seditions amongst the people. This charge was made broadly, applying not only to the present instance, the tumult at Jerusalem, but that everywhere, throughout the provinces of Rome, wherever he went, tumults arose amongst the people. It did not seem to occur to this attorney that the tumults might be caused by evildoers in their endeavor to stop the progress of righteousness and truth; the thought he endeavored to present to Felix was that whoever occasioned tumults, regardless of his plea, was to be considered an enemy to good government, law and order. The same arguments are powerful today with those who do not appreciate the true principles of justice and liberty. It will not surprise us at all if by and by the enemies of present truth take a similarly unjust stand against us, who are seeking to walk in the footsteps of the Apostle-- seeking to present the truths of a new dispensation to our brethren in Babylon, who are not only themselves unwilling to hear, but are easily aroused to anger, vituperation and persecution, that they may prevent others from receiving the good tidings of great joy which shall be unto all people.

When the charges had been preferred, Paul was permitted to speak for himself, and did so to good effect. He showed (1) that he had but recently arrived in Jerusalem; that he had raised no riot or commotion, but that, on the contrary, at the time of his arrest he was quietly worshiping God in the Temple--disputing with nobody and interfering with nobody's rights. (2) He challenged his accusers to produce proofs of the truthfulness of their charges--denying their ability to prove them; and thus in a most reasonable and legal way showed that the burden of proof was upon his accusers, and not upon himself. (3) He did confess, however, that there was some ground for the animosity manifested against him, and this was that his fellow-Jews charged him with believing and teaching heresy--a split-off from the Jewish religion. It was his answer to the charge that he was a ringleader of the sect of the Nazarenes; he denied that it was heresy against the Jewish religion, and a sect, or split-off party. It was his enemies who called Christianity heresy, and separation from Judaism, but their charges were false from the Apostle's standpoint. Christianity, instead of being split off from Judaism, was the natural outcome and proper development of it--the fulfilment of the promises of God upon which the hopes and prospects of Judaism were all built. The Apostle shows this matter most distinctly in his letter to the Romans (chap. 11), where he pictures the Jewish nation as the olive tree whose root was the Abrahamic promise, and whose branches were the people of Israel. He does not picture Christianity as another tree, nor yet as a new shoot out of this original olive tree, but he does picture it as the fuller development of this tree, representing all Jews refusing to progress and to accept of Christ, as branches that were broken off--all the true Jews who continued to be recognized of the Lord,--all the Israelites indeed,--were the Christians who from Pentecost onward have been known as spiritual Israelites.

Progressing, the Apostle justified the claim which he made at his hearing before the Sanhedrin; viz., that a serious part of the objection raised against him by his countrymen was his belief in the resurrection of the dead, which some of them also allowed, or believed,-- "that there should be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and the unjust."

That the Apostle preached a gospel in many particulars different from the general belief of our day, is quite evident from this presentation of it--the making prominent of the doctrine of the resurrection of the dead. True, some might claim that it is unnecessary to make this doctrine prominent, because there are few Sadducees today--few who deny the resurrection of the dead. We answer that there are few who believe that there are any dead. The vast majority of mankind, Christians as well as heathen, have adopted the theory that none are dead--that those who appear to die really become more alive than ever. Not believing in anybody's being dead it would be impossible for them to believe in the resurrection of the dead. Instead, another thought prevails now; viz., a resurrection of the body-- the person or soul, it is claimed, does not die, but merely sheds the body as an old garment, and at some future [R3195 : page 154] time is to have it back. But it will be conceded that if this were all that the Apostle meant by the resurrection of the dead,--if he really meant a "resurrection of the body," his argument was a weak one. It would be foolish to waste much time or breath or energy in discussing such a proposition as would have no particular advantage or merit, even if it were proven.

The Apostle had a totally different thought: his preaching was to the effect that death is a real penalty for sin, and that there never could be life or consciousness, except by a resurrection of the dead, and that a resurrection of the dead could only come by divine favor in the accomplishment of a redemption of all that had been condemned to death. In preaching the resurrection, therefore, he was declaring not only his faith that Christ Jesus was not dead, but also his faith that God would in due time grant the world a resurrection. [R3195 : page 155] Thus Jesus and the resurrection constituted the sum and substance of the gospel hope from the Apostle's standpoint and--because we take his--from our standpoint also.

The question may occur to some--if resurrection (anastasis) means a full, complete raising up out of death conditions into perfection of life conditions, how could the Apostle here speak of the resurrection "both of the just and unjust"?

How shall we understand this, and harmonize it with other Scriptures which declare that only the justified shall attain full perfection of life?--that he that hath the Son may have life, and he that hath not the Son shall not see life--in its perfection?--that he that will not obey the great Prophet shall be cut off from amongst his people--cut off from life, in the Second Death?

We answer that the Apostle is not carrying his argument down into the future, declaring that in the future the just ones shall attain to the full perfection of life and the unjust ones also; he is merely referring to those who in the present time are just and unjust. The just of the present time are "justified by faith," and if faithful to the conditions of the call are to have part in the First Resurrection. The unjust of the present time are the unjustified, the unbelievers, and the Apostle explains that they believe not because the god of this world hath blinded their minds. (2 Cor. 4:4.) However, as the Scriptures distinctly show, it is to be the special work of the next age to open all the blind eyes and to unstop all the deaf ears, and to cause the knowledge of the Lord to fill the whole earth, to the intent that those now unjustified, unjust, may be just before God, and thus share in the resurrection which is provided for all, and which will accomplish the resurrection of all except as its gracious provisions are individually rejected.

Having stated thus his belief in a future life, by a resurrection, the Apostle declares that his present life was being used in accordance with that hope of a future life--with a conscience that controlled his thoughts and words and deeds in relationship to God and men.

Can we wonder that Felix, perverse though he was, himself felt disinclined to yield so noble a prisoner to death, even to accommodate and please the flattering attorney and the influential high priest, whose favor he would undoubtedly prefer to hold? The record leads us additionally to infer that Felix considered that in Paul he had a good opportunity for receiving a bribe for the performance of justice; for in his narrative the Apostle proceeded to show that so far from seeking to do injury to his fellow-creatures, he had brought with him from foreign cities large sums of money. Felix thus perceived that the prisoner, who had liberal education and talent and Roman citizenship, had friends not only in Jerusalem, but abroad. He doubtless concluded that they would be quite willing to make him a handsome present to effect the Apostle's release. This is the suggestion of the 26th verse.

Apparently Felix was considerably interested in his prisoner, and mentioned him to his wife, a Jewess: he was called before them, that they might know further respecting this new teaching. His curiosity was evidently soon more than satisfied, as the Apostle proceeded with his subject, showing the plan of God, the righteousness of the Law, the inability of fallen man to fully meet its requirements, that Jesus became the Redeemer of those condemned by the Law, and that now salvation and life eternal are open to as many as will obey the gospel--forsake sin and lay hold by faith upon the Redeemer. The Apostle proceeded to show that righteousness was the reasonable requirement of the divine Law, and that the acceptance of God's favor in Christ led to self-restraint and opposition to natural tendencies, and that there is a judgment day to come, in the which all deflections from righteousness will be rewarded with stripes proportionate to knowledge. The governor trembled; his own wicked life and licentious course stood out before his mental gaze, and he realized that, according to the standards presented, he would have many stripes to bear in the future. His wife, Drusilla, was really the wife of King Azizus; but her conscience, evidently more seared than his, seems not to have been in the least agitated. Felix suggested that at a more convenient season he would hear further of the gospel; but we doubt if ever he called for any further explanations--he already had enough, more than he was willing to obey. His course is one too frequently imitated since. Many who tremble as they think of their sins, hope that a more convenient time for breaking off may come to them; but a convenient season for abandoning sin--when sin indulged in our members will make no objection to being ousted--will never come. He who would become a follower of the Lord Jesus, must courageously accept of Christ, the power divine for the breaking of the shackles of his slavery to sin--must first love the liberty wherewith Christ alone can make us free. Those who have not this craving will remain slaves of sin until the glorious Millennial morning shall break, until after the completion of the election Church of "overcomers"--until the dawning of the Millennial morning, when the overcomers, with Christ at their head, shall break all the shackles of sin and set all prisoners free, and command all to render obedience to the laws of the Kingdom of God, inflicting stripes of punishment proportionate to their present wilfulness in sin, with a view to their recovery, [R3195 : page 156] and for restitution to all that was lost in Adam and redeemed with the precious blood.

A good lesson may be learned from the Apostle's method of presenting the truth to Felix. He did not attack the governor's character, nor berate him for his sins. He did better than this. Ignoring the individual entirely, he lifted the mirror of the perfect law of love and liberty and righteousness before the governor, and let him see for himself how far short he came of the perfect standard which alone God can approve. Would that all of God's children could learn thus to reprove sin--by letting the light of truth and the corroboration of the same in their own conduct shine out --their words, and no less their conduct, being epistles of the grace of God and his gracious arrangements, both for rewarding those who seek him and for chastening and correcting those who require it!

The courage of the Apostle in holding up the truth before one who so largely had to do with the decision of his own case is remarkable and commendable. It is in full agreement with the declaration of our Golden Text. Those who are on the Lord's side, and who, therefore, have the Lord on their side, in all of life's affairs, need fear no evil. This absence of fear, however, should not in us, any more than in the Apostle, lead to bravado or discourteous manner or language. The divine rule is, as expressed by the Apostle, that we should speak the truth in love.--Eph. 4:15.

Another lesson taught us by the Apostle's experiences, yea, by all of the Lord's notable children, from the Master down, is that the assaults of calumny, slander, etc., can do them no lasting harm. Look at the Captain of our salvation, against whom all manner of evil was said and done falsely, even to the extent of calling him the prince of devils, and crucifying him as a blasphemer of God. How those assaults of the great Adversary, through his deluded children of disobedience, serve now to make the Lord's character and conduct the more transparent and resplendent! So also it is in respect to the Apostle Paul's experiences--they all reflect grandly upon his character today. Bunyan's "Pilgrim's Progress" gives a scene which illustrates this feature of our lesson and encourages all of us to disregard the slanders and evil speakings of the present time, if so be that we can continually realize the divine favor and blessing with us and upon our efforts to serve the Lord. We give an extract from Bunyan's writings as follows:--

"Then the shepherds had the pilgrims to another place, called Mount Innocence, and there they saw a man clothed all in white, and two men, Prejudice and Ill-will, continually casting dirt upon him. Now behold, the dirt, whatsoever they cast at him, would in a little time fall off again, and his garment would look as clean as if no dirt had been cast thereat. Then said the pilgrims, 'What means this?' The shepherds answered, 'This man is named Godly-man, and this garment is to show the innocency of his life. Now, those that throw dirt at him are such as hate his well-doing; but, as you see, the dirt will not stick upon his clothes; so it shall be with him that liveth innocently in the world. Whoever they be that would make such men dirty, they labor all in vain; for God, by that a little time is spent, will cause that their innocence shall break forth as the light, and their righteousness as the noon-day.'"



[R3196 : page 156]

"ALMOST THOU PERSUADEST ME."
--ACTS 26:19-29.--MAY 24.--

"Having therefore obtained help of God, I continue unto this day."

PAUL remained a prisoner at Caesarea two years --until the recall of Felix to Rome. According to history, the latter had given ground for much complaint by the use of his office, and in order to placate the Jews, and to avoid further animosities, he left Paul a prisoner, instead of doing him the justice of acknowledging that he had committed no crime and, therefore, had full right to his liberty. It is impossible for us at this distance even to surmise with any accuracy what may have been the Lord's object in permitting his faithful representative to be thus isolated, and debarred from the privileges of service. On the one hand, it may have been to give the Apostle rest, quiet, opportunity for further study of the truth. On the other hand, it may have been to teach him a lesson of patience, submission and confidence in God;--that his services were not indispensable; that while the Lord had not let go of him, and would ultimately deliver him, he was not indispensable to the divine plan. These are important lessons for all of God's people to learn, and particularly all who are in any prominent way identified with his service.

On the other hand, it may be that the Lord had a work for the Apostle to do at Caesarea, where possibly he had contact with the officers of the garrison-- and where they would have opportunities for observing the man and appreciating the power of God to uphold him in his adversities. We may be sure that the Apostle let his light shine on every proper occasion, and we may be sure also that his labor was "not in vain in the Lord," whatever it was, and however it was accepted or made useful in the interests of others. If, even, he had no opportunity for serving others, and the work of grace were accomplished in his own heart, it was not [R3196 : page 157] in vain, and faith commands us to accept the matter without doubt respecting the wisdom of the arrangement.

Festus, the successor of Felix as Roman governor, was of a totally different character from his predecessor. The Apostle styles him "noble Festus," and history confirms the appellation. The Jewish rulers, taking advantage of the fact that a new governor would naturally desire to make a favorable impression in respect to prompt dealing with prisoners charged with sedition, rioting, disloyalty, etc., quickly brought Paul's case to the attention of Festus. Doubtless their charges were the same as those made before Felix, coupled with suggestions, perhaps, that Felix had been rather lax in his dealings, and that they doubted not that the new governor, appointed by the emperor as a more capable person, would, on the contrary, show his thoroughgoing character by bringing all such offenders to justice. Apparently, however, they realized that it would be useless to attempt to try the case before the governor, since they had no witnesses to any wrong-doing which he could recognize as against Roman law or the privileges of a Roman citizen. Apparently their explanation was that the Apostle's conduct had been an assault upon their religion, along lines which the Roman governor, unacquainted with their religion, would not be prepared to appreciate. They therefore asked that the prisoner be tried before the Sanhedrin. The governor acknowledged his ignorance of the religion of the Jews, and made no objection to the trial of the prisoner by the religious court of his countrymen; but the Apostle was a Roman, and since he claimed Roman citizenship it was not permissible to turn him over to his countrymen for trial unless with his consent. The matter, therefore, was appealed to the Apostle: was he willing to be released as a Roman prisoner, and to be turned over to his countrymen for trial, according to their usages in religious matters? The Apostle promptly replied that he would not consent to this; that as a Roman citizen he had a right to Roman privileges, and therefore appealed his case to Caesar's court at the capital city. He well knew the animosity of his countrymen, and that those who were ready to assassinate him two years before were probably still unchanged in heart. The Apostle's course furnishes a good example for all of the Lord's people in similar circumstances. It is a mistake, made by some well-meaning members of the Lord's family, to suppose that the Master's teaching of nonresistance means that they should put forth no efforts on their own behalf. It is our privilege to avail ourselves of every right granted to us by the laws of the country in which we live. It is proper for us to appeal to higher or better courts if we can, to obtain that justice which might not be obtainable in lower courts. But having exhausted all such legal resources and remedies, [R3197 : page 157] the Lord's people are to be submissive to the results-- not anarchists, not grumblers, not resisters of the decisions of the law. Another matter worthy of notice is that, so far as the records show, the Apostle did not berate or calumniate his people, the Sanhedrin or others associated as his prosecutors and persecutors. The lesson for the Lord's people today is to speak evil of no man; take advantage of every legal right and privilege and opportunity, and accept the final results as the providence of God.

Festus was placed in a peculiar position; in sending the Apostle to Rome, as he was obliged to do in the case of appeal of a Roman citizen, he must of necessity send some charges, and being a just man he desired that the charges should be truthfully stated. Confessing himself to be ignorant of the Jewish religion, he asked King Agrippa and his wife, Bernice, who were nominal Jews (really Edomites), to hear the Apostle's explanation of his case, that he might advise him respecting how serious were the divergencies between Christians and Jews in doctrine.

The invitation was accepted, and the Apostle began his address before the king and queen and the Roman governor, and, doubtless, quite a retinue of officers and soldiers. Here was an opportunity for preaching the Gospel to the people, whom the Apostle could otherwise never have expected to reach. He appears to have appreciated the occasion thoroughly, and made a stirring address, his text being the circumstances of his own conversion--narrated here for the third time. We cannot doubt that he was guided of the Lord in the matter, and it offers the suggestion to all ministers of the truth that nothing is apt to appeal more quickly to others than those things which have appealed to ourselves. Every minister of the truth, to speak heartily and forcefully, should speak from conviction, and the conviction should be backed by reasonable and positive evidences. Nothing could appeal to his hearers more strongly than the fact that he admitted that he had been a persecutor of the Christians himself, before he saw the way of the Lord more perfectly, and that now, seeing the Lord's way, he was sacrificing all that man could hold dear in his service of the truth.

The fact that the Apostle was addressing royalty did not hinder him from bringing out the salient features of the gospel, and these are, we fear, too frequently forgotten by many. (1) Repentance from sin; (2) turning to God to seek his favor, to know and to do his will; (3) the doing of good works, and thereby showing that repentance was sincere. Because our present work is very largely that of "reaping" rather than "sowing," we have less need to appeal to those who are living in sin and alienation from God, and needing [R3197 : page 158] reformation of life; but whenever we have occasion to present the message of the Lord to some or to any whom we have reason to believe are not living in harmony with the requirements of the gospel along these lines, we should be careful, as the Apostle was, to leave no room for misunderstanding--no room for thinking that the gospel of Christ is sympathy with uncleanness, impurity of heart or life, sin, selfishness or evil deeds.

We are here informed, though not elsewhere, that the Apostle had at some time in his experience preached the gospel throughout all the country of Judea--evidently before he went to Antioch and engaged in the general work amongst Gentiles--possibly during the two years prior to his first going to Antioch. The Apostle thus showed his auditors that his work had not been exclusively to the Jews nor exclusively to the Gentiles, but to both according to opportunity. It is for this cause, he declares--because realizing the change of dispensation by which God's grace was not confined any longer to the Jews only--that the Jews specially hated him and seized him in the Temple, and attempted to kill him. It was the selfishness on the part of the Jews that made the Apostle specially obnoxious to them. They were opposed to Jesus, but specially opposed to the giving of his gospel to the Gentiles--the teaching that the Gentiles might now, in any sense of the word, enjoy equal privileges with the Jews in respect to God's favor, etc.

In referring to the preservation of his life, the Apostle does not give credit to Lysias, the commander of the garrison at Jerusalem, but declares that he obtained help of God, by whom he had been sustained to the time of his speaking. Doubtless on a proper occasion the Apostle would have been quite willing to have given Lysias full credit for promptness in preserving his life; but speaking from the highest standpoint of his own appreciation and ours, he gave the credit for his deliverance to the Lord. There is a good lesson in this for all of the Lord's people. How apt many are to give credit to "luck" or "chance" or human instrumentality, overlooking the fact that the Lord's saints are the special objects of his care, and that the angel of the Lord encampeth round about them and delivereth them.

The next sentence intimates that during the two years of the Apostle's imprisonment he had been witnessing, preaching the gospel, both to small and great --such of the soldiers or servants or commanders of the camp as seemed to have a hearing ear undoubtedly were communicated with. We may be sure that the Apostle slackened not at any time his endeavors to serve the great Master, the Captain of our salvation, as a true soldier and faithful servant. So, too, should we continue to serve, even when apparently the most favorable opportunities are withheld from us. "Thou knowest not which shall prosper, either this or that." --Eccl. 11:6.

We should notice what the Apostle specially testified, and consider it a clue to our most favorable testimonies in the interest of the same cause. He doubtless presented the subject from various standpoints at different times; but the essence, the substance, of his message on all occasions was the death and resurrection of Christ, as the one in whom were fulfilled the types of the Jewish Law and the declarations of the prophets. He did not stop with declaring the death and resurrection, but pointed to the ultimate legitimate results of these--that they meant that eventually the true light should shine unto all the Jewish people and also to the Gentiles--"This is the true light that lighteth every man that cometh into the world." It is in vain that we attempt to preach any other gospel--no other will be considered acceptable by him whom we would serve. We find, on the contrary, some today preaching a coming blessing of a new age and its light and favors to mankind, but denying the Scriptural foundation for such hopes--the death of Christ as our redemption price, and his resurrection, that he might be our Helper and Deliverer. Others, too, state the matter from a different standpoint, claiming that the favor of God and the blessing of forgiveness through Christ is to extend even to the heathen-- but without light; that they will be saved in their darkness and heathenism. Let all who would ultimately hear the Master's words, "Well done, good and faithful servant," be careful to preach the same gospel that the Apostle proclaimed; viz., the one based upon the ransom sacrifice of Christ, attested by his resurrection, on account of which the Lord is yet to be (during the Millennial age) the true light that will lighten every man, every member of our race, and bring to each and to all not only the blessings of opportunity but also tests and proportionate responsibility.

King Agrippa was evidently considerably informed along the lines of the teaching of the Law and the Prophets, for the Apostle appealed to him as able to corroborate his presentations respecting the Law and the Prophets; but Festus the Gentile, who had no knowledge of Jewish hopes and promises, was astounded as he heard the Apostle's line of argument--doubtless much more extended than is presented in the record. Interrupting the Apostle by speaking still louder than he, Festus cried, "Paul, thou art beside thyself! Much learning doth make thee mad!"--your head is turned; you are painting fancy pictures when you tell us of a great God, our Creator, and that he cares for us, his creatures, and has provided for our redemption through the sacrifice of his Son, and that [R3197 : page 159] he has raised him from the dead, and is ultimately to send a blessing to every member of our race. Surely this is your own imagination! It is a wonderful picture, astounding to me who, as a Gentile, never had so connected a presentation respecting any of the deities of whom I have heard by the thousand.

Truth is stranger than fiction, and it is no wonder that some today, like Festus of old, find it hard to believe in the goodness and wonderful provision that our heavenly Father has made for his creatures. Today, if some of our worldly friends note our enthusiasm for the Lord, his brethren and his truth, it all seems very different from any religious sentiments or feelings, hopes or ambitions they have entertained, and they are inclined to say of us also that our heads are a little turned. They think it not strange if men become enthusiastic about politics or money-making, because such enthusiasm is common to men; everybody is more or less excited and interested in money-getting and in politics. But when it comes to religion, they say to themselves, no one knows anything about this matter; it is all pure speculation, and these people must be crazy when they think of their religion as being tangible, worthy of self-denial and the enduring of persecutions. We admit that no romance of earth ever equaled this one of the divine arrangement for man's salvation:--the fall; the calamity of death and disease, mental, physical and moral; the sending of God's own son; his offering of himself as the sin-offering on our behalf; his resurrection and ascension to glory, honor and power; the gathering of a little flock to be his Bride and joint-heir in the Kingdom; and, by and [R3198 : page 159] by, the establishment of a Kingdom for the blessing and enlightenment of all the families of the earth. No novel, no plot of human concoction, could ever equal this one. It is the Lord's doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes. We cannot wonder if those who see from the outside--who do not see the strength and beauty and consistency and harmony from the inside standpoint --consider that we who see matters from the right standpoint are too much enthused. They cannot appreciate the fact that we accept gladly the privilege of self-sacrifice, in order thereby to attest our love and devotion to the Lord and to be accounted worthy a share with him as members of his Church, his Bride.

The time will come, and it is not far distant now, when many who are now highly esteemed amongst men for their wisdom, will be seen to have been foolish, and many who are now esteemed fools for Christ's sake and for the gospel's sake, will be seen to have been truly wise in choosing the heavenly things and in being willing to surrender the earthly things for the attainment of the heavenly, because it is impossible to serve God and Mammon.

The Apostle's answer to Festus was not flattery, but Christian courtesy. Festus was a noble man, and it is not improper to speak the truth in reasonable language, and to give a merited compliment. "I am not mad, most noble Festus, but speak forth words of truth and soberness." So, when we answer the world, let us remember the difference of standpoint, and that our privilege of seeing the deep things of God is the result of our having been accepted of him through consecration and obedience, receiving the spirit of the Anointed, whereby we can know the things freely given unto us of God.

The Apostle appealed to the king for corroboration of the things he declared, evidently well assured that the declaration of the gospel had created so much commotion amongst the Jews that the king had heard thereof repeatedly. The thing was not done in a corner; it was a public matter of general knowledge, and had Festus been living in the country he would not question the facts.

The Apostle appealed to Agrippa in a most earnest and dignified tone. "King Agrippa, believest thou the prophets? I know that thou believest." The intimation is that the Apostle had in this discourse set forth the fulfilment of the prophecies so fully, so explicitly, that anyone believing them to be inspired could not doubt that Jesus was the Messiah. This led to the notable words of Agrippa, "Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian."

The New Testament revisers evidently considered this language ironical, but it does not so seem to us. The Apostle's rejoinder seems to contradict that thought, "I would that thou wert not only almost but altogether such as I am--except these bonds." It is presumed upon reasonable grounds that, although Agrippa did not become a Christian, this knowledge of the principles underlying Christianity remained with him and influenced him during the remainder of his life. History tells us that in the subsequent persecutions that arose in connection with the trouble coming upon the Jewish nation Agrippa received and kindly entreated the Christians who fled to him for protection.

How many there are in Christian lands who have heard the gospel message more or less distinctly, and have been "almost persuaded" to lay hold of the grace of God, but neglect opportunities of action and have lost the appreciation of the privilege. These, like Agrippa, will have comparatively small conception of the wonderful things they came so near to grasping and yet missed. When they shall come forth from the grave and enjoy the great privileges of the Millennial Kingdom it will amaze them to know what great opportunities they had to become members of the little flock, the Lord's associates on the throne.



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