page 33
February 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. XXVI.FEBRUARY 1, 1905.No. 3


CONTENTS.

Views from the Watch Tower35
Will the Welsh Revival Spread?35
What a Famous Preacher Sees35
What Rev. Carter, D.D., Thinks36
Bible Chronology and the Archaeologists36
Babel and Its Results37
Scientific Dates Too Long39
The Scholarly Fable40
The House of Mercy40
The Perfect Copy (Poem)43
"Ever Give Us This Bread."43
Public Ministries of the Truth48
Special Items35

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.

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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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"DAILY HEAVENLY MANNA."


This little book of 200 pages is, we feel sure, just the thing every WATCH TOWER reader will want to have on his breakfast table. It contains a Scripture text for each day of the year, and following it twelve to fifteen lines of comment by Brother Russell--pithy selections from WATCH TOWER articles, with references, so that you can turn and read further should you so desire. The selections were made by Sister G. W. Seibert and show her particularity and carefulness. They will last indefinitely, being without year date. At the Bible House breakfast table we first read the text, ask for questions on it and discuss it, and then read the TOWER extract as the closing comment.

Wholesale prices to TOWER readers: 20c cloth bound, 60c leather bound--postage included. page 34

OUR OFFICE WORK DELAYED.


Illness of office helpers and the usual rush of our correspondence department at this season have unavoidably delayed our replies to some of our esteemed correspondents, as well as delayed several issues of the WATCH TOWER. We are doing our best and believe that the Lord accepts this, and trust that all of our dear readers will be patient also.



[R3497 : page 35]

VIEWS FROM THE WATCH TOWER.

WILL THE WELSH REVIVAL EXTEND?


MANY earnest souls all over "Christendom" are asking this question and hoping that the answer in the affirmative may prove true. Conditions in Great Britain favor its spread. Experience shows that a time of adversity, when poverty humbles the hearts of the masses is more favorable to religious revivals than are prosperous times.

It is stated on good authority that a million and a quarter (1,250,000) of the British people are out of work and on the verge of starvation: times are depressed and there is no work for them, we are told. Collections for their aid--to barely keep them alive--are being taken up in Great Britain and in Canada. People in that condition incline to look to the Creator. This, too, gives us the thought that the great "time of trouble such as was not since there was a nation" (in which this age will terminate and the Millennial age begin) will be the precursor of the mightiest and best revival that the world has ever known. As the Scriptures declare: "When the judgments of the Lord are abroad in the earth the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness."

The Welsh revival commenced in a little country church in Cardiganshire, and at once spread through the Glamorganshire coal fields--a region noted we are told for its irreligion. Editor Stead thus describes it:--

"The most remarkable thing about the meetings which I attended was the extent to which they were absolutely without any human direction or leadership. 'We must obey the Spirit,' is the watchword of Evan Roberts, and he is as obedient as the humblest of his followers. The meetings open--after any amount of preliminary singing, while the congregation is assembling--by the reading of a chapter or a psalm. Then it is go as you please for two hours or more.

"And the amazing thing is that it does go and does not get entangled in what might seem to be inevitable confusion. Three-fourths of the meeting consists of singing. No one uses a hymn book. No one gives out a hymn. The last person to control the meeting in any way is Mr. Evan Roberts. People pray and sing, and give testimony; exhort as the Spirit moves them. As a study of the psychology of crowds I have seen nothing like it. You feel that the thousand or fifteen hundred persons before you have become merged into one myriad-headed, but single-souled personality.

"Large numbers of 'sudden conversions' are reported, and men of careless or evil lives stand up and 'testify' to their faith in Christ. In some places the public houses are almost deserted, the police magistrates find their work materially reduced, and colliery managers are surprised at the steadier work and the absence of the accustomed blasphemies from the pit galliers. In not a few cases football matches, which in Wales not less than in many regions of England have been tainted by gambling and brutality, have been abandoned because the members of the teams were ashamed of their 'former conversation.' Even if we allowed for possible exaggeration by sensational journalists, and if we take into account the emotional nature which distinguishes the Welsh even more perhaps than the Celts of other lands, there can be no doubt that an extraordinary wave of religious enthusiasm is rushing over the principality and for the time, at all events, is changing the lives of thousands of its inhabitants."


***

Other accounts which reach us seem to indicate a considerable degree of fanaticism and hysterics associated with the movement, and the suggestion has even been offered that it is the work of the evil spirits operating as they have done in the "holy rollers" and others who in the name of religion and the holy Spirit have caricatured these. However, we have seen no accounts that would seem to justify the latter view. It will nevertheless be well for us to watch the movement and thus "try the spirits, whether they be of God." One of the favorable features is that it has but few marks of Babylon and is carried on by the laity, rather than by the clergy.

WHAT A FAMOUS PREACHER SEES.


Rev. H. W. Thomas, D.D., formerly pastor of the People's church, now a resident of Florida, reached Chicago recently to conduct a funeral service. He remarked:--

"My travels through the country, and my study of the trend of modern movements, show me that within the lifetime of the present younger generation three former dreams of mine will work into eventualities. World peace will shortly be realized, industrial education will rapidly develop, and the unification of religion is but a matter of time. The religion of Lyman Abbott will soon be general and attract the masses to worship."

Hear, O "Christendom," the voice of another of thy famous prophets!--another of thy wise men! But [R3497 : page 36] know assuredly the word of the Lord, "The wisdom of thy wise men has perished, the understanding of thy prudent men vanished."--Isa. 29:14.

The gentleman has dreamed of a "world peace" without the second coming of our Lord and the realization of his prayer--"Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done on earth even as it is done in heaven." His dream will never be realized, but the Lord's promise will be fulfilled.

He dreams of industrial education: that we are having and will have with very different results from what he dreams. The industrial classes are indeed being educated, but not in the school of Christ; and the Bible clearly shows that they will soon be learned in all the branches of self-defence and aggression which ere long will sweep peace from the earth and involve the world in social chaos.

He dreams of a unification of religion and may live to see a unification of sects "bound in bundles for the great day of trouble."--Matt. 13:30.

He dreams of the atheistic or pantheistic views of Dr. Abbott attracting the masses, and will find that such a rejection of the Word of God has more attraction for the clergy than for the masses, who more generally will be repelled by such a cutting of all anchorage of faith within the vail.

WHAT REV. CARTER, D.D., THINKS.


Rev. Carter, not holding fast the Scriptures, has made shipwreck of his faith; but we are glad to see that his eyes are open to at least some of the inconsistencies of the creed he is still attached to. Indeed it evidently was these very errors that drove him to his present position. His wrong view of the Bible was induced by his faith that the Westminster Confession was a truthful representation of its teachings. This is the tendency of errors, and now God's people must be helped out of them--to see the true teachings of God's Word.

A few of Dr. Carter's presentations we quote below, with the comment that the Bible is in harmony with common sense and that it is the creeds that are absurd:

"I was brought up to believe that all the heathen and, in fact, by far the greater portion of all the dead generations, were consigned to a little hell of fire and brimstone, and forever and ever. How any kindly disposed man could really believe that and have another happy moment I fail to see. If the consciousness that he had escaped himself would be any consolation, then I am sorry for him.

"The Westminster confession still remains the creed of the Presbyterian church. If an effort were made to depose it from its place there would be vigorous opposition. The men who oppose the revision would oppose the retiring of the creed. The confession remaining, with its remains this terrible teaching: That for the single sin of Adam the whole race of man--remember, millions upon millions, countless millions--were condemned by God to eternal torment, and that he intervened by His election to save certain ones from this awful fate. I do not believe that this is a true statement of the facts. I think that men in general do not believe that this is a true statement of the facts. I think that nobody does, unless he has been screwed up to it, or down to it, by a stiff theological training. I have unbounded confidence in the greatness and goodness of God, but if any man could persuade me that this is the true statement of God's management of the human race I should lose my faith in God. I think such a statement makes atheists, and how delightful it is that no word of Christ's ever hints at any such terrible fact. If this be so, it is a monstrous blunder to put this as the very foundation teaching of Christianity.

"I hear men say that they are glad to live to-day because of the great modern improvements, schools, libraries, telegraphs and such like. I am glad to live to-day because our children are not taught this fire and brimstone teaching. The relief is incalculable. Neither does any sensible man believe that he can do wrong and escape the inevitable consequence. 'Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap,' is true forever. Such truths time has no effect upon. They belong to eternity. But we are practically held, in the Presbyterian church, to the endless torment theory, though the fire and brimstone part has been dropped out. If we are allowed in the Presbyterian church, to hold conditional immortality, or any other reasonable modification of the endless torment theory, then I wish some one would say so. No one has as yet, and I fear the man would find himself in trouble who would rise in presbytery and say so.

"A Presbyterian minister told me that some one put into [R3498 : page 36] the hands of the minister's daughter a catechism to learn. She came running to her father and flung the book upon the floor crying: 'I hate the wicked book.' 'Why, Susie, you don't hate the catechism?' 'Yes, I do. Hear what it says: "What are you by nature?" "I am an enemy of God, a child of Satan and an heir of hell," and it's a lie.' Fortunately the minister was a man before he was a minister. So he folded his arms and said: 'No, my daughter, you are not that.'"

AN UNCERTAIN COMPLIMENT.


"When Dr. Abbott was delivering his course of lectures on the Old Testament in Plymouth Church and printing them in "The Brooklyn Eagle," the late Bishop John F. Hurst paid the writer a visit. When asked what he thought of the lecturer and the lectures, the good Bishop said: 'What do I think of Dr. Abbott and his lectures? Why, who ever knew an Abbott that had any conception of logic or logical method, or of science or scientific method, or of anything but rhetoric? I have known Lyman Abbott many a time to become hypnotized by his own verbosity and to go kiting off into the regions of speculation and then enter his study and write it all down and send it out to the world as if it were God's truth!"--Bible Student.



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BIBLE CHRONOLOGY AND THE ARCHAEOLOGISTS.

ARGUING against the theory of the "Higher Critics," that the Bible Chronology is thousands of years shorter than it should be, Rev. W. F. McCaulay says:

The genealogies of the Hebrews taken in connection with occasional definite dates, enable us to determine with a good deal of accuracy the length of various periods. The suggestion that these genealogies are not always those of father and son in direct descent, but of ancestor and descendant immediate or remote, is contrary to the ascertained method of Hebrew genealogical record as shown by examples where we know that immediate succession is meant. The occasional omission of names, through copyist's errors, or for other reasons, could not affect the result more than a few hundred years at most, nor alter the fact that the word "begat" bears no other generic meaning than that of direct generation.

The theory that dynasties are intended by the names of individuals involves us in the absurdity of translating, "And the dynasty Arphaxad lived five and thirty years, and begat the dynasty Salah. And the dynasty Arphaxad lived after it begat the dynasty Salah four hundred and three years, and begat male and female dynasties." Equally untenable is the idea that Abraham and Isaac were but the personifications of tribal [R3498 : page 37] histories, as though we should read that the tribe Isaac went out to meditate in the field at the eventide, and the tribe Rebecca alighted from her camel and put a veil over her face, and was brought by the tribe Isaac into the tent of the tribe Sarah. Would not a people gifted in producing such personifications observe also the incongruities of these statements? Evidently they understood the language to apply to individuals.

There can be no question but that the early Hebrew records were intended to be a circumstantial account of the beginnings of human history. The tenth chapter of Genesis is the great ethnological register of the world, showing that the Hebrew writers had the necessary data and the true historians' interest in the facts. The very persons are named by whom the isles of the Gentiles were divided. Gomer is mentioned, whose radical letters GMR or KMR we find used in Cymmerians, and, by metathesis, in Crimea and Germans. Ashkenaz, by metathesis, Aksenaz, may be the name of the country lying upon the Black Sea, which the Greeks called 'axenos, euphemized into 'euxeinos, or Euxine. And Javan equals Iwan and the Ionians, or Greeks; not to speak of probable references to the Scythians, Medes, Thracians, Celts, Armenians, Etruscans, and others. These are Japhethites; and the record of the Hamites and Shemites is far more extended.

The statement is made that in the days of Peleg the earth was divided. Peleg was born 101 years after the Flood, and died 340 years after. The confusion of tongues, leading to the division of the earth, therefore, occurred in his lifetime. That the early historian believed he knew the time when this division of the earth took place is shown by his associating it with this particular person. The rise of Babylonia is also clearly described. Nimrod, a Hamite, becomes a mighty hunter before Jehovah, and so ingratiates himself into the good will of the people by protecting them from the wild beasts that had accumulated in large numbers since the Deluge, that he becomes their leader in governmental affairs, and builds cities. The very names of these cities are given: Babel, Erech, Accad, and Calneh, the latter probably identical with the city now called variously Neffer, Nippur, and Nuffar. The conclusion of archaeologists that the latter city dates back to the earliest age corroborates the fact that the Hebrew Scriptures do describe the beginnings of history; and if their accounts of the remotest facts are definite and correct, why distrust their chronology?

That Nineveh and its neighboring cities were founded after the Babylonian towns, is also set forth in the Bible. The hunting instinct of Nimrod or of his descendants led to the making of new conquests from the wilds of nature and the founding of outposts of civilization far beyond the plain of Shinar. The subjugator of beasts and men and refractory nature was, according to the Revised Version, the founder of Assyria as well as of Babylonia; and this early overflowing of the population has an important bearing upon the subject of chronology.

BABEL AND ITS RESULTS.

The historicity of the confusion of tongues is corroborated by the Borsippa inscription of Nebuchadnezzar, and elaborated by the tradition that the work was stopped by lightning from heaven--a strong proof for those who accept as true whatever comes from a heathen source, however much they may deny Bible authority.

It is not necessary to suppose that every individual of the race joined in the migration from the vicinity of Ararat to Shinar. There is no evidence that Noah and Shem assisted in the building of Babel. Indeed, there is strong probability that the ancient Shemites did not suffer from the confusion of tongues as much as others. The Semitic tongues preserve to this day their general characteristics, as though symmetrically established in a remote age; but the jargon of Hamitic, or Turanian, tongues gives evidence of having originated in some such catastrophe as that of Babel. The Hebrews, with a constant language, preserved the true records, but the Hamites, losing their mother tongue, lost also the connected narrative of events and involved their history in myth and fable, producing also polytheism and idolatry.

EARLY POPULATIONS.

The claim that the dates of the Hebrew Bible do not give sufficient time between the Flood and Abraham for the rise of the great nations existent at the time of that patriarch, is based upon an assumption of the greatness of those nations. Resen is the only one of the ancient cities recorded as great at the time of the writing of Genesis. Nippur, where excavations have recently been made, was not a vast city. Its area within the walls, exclusive of its educational and religious section, seems to have included only 90 to 100 acres. The fact that Abram with 318 of his servants defeated the army of Chedorlaomer and the kings who were with him, and chased them from Dan to Hobah, (or "hiding place"), probably some forty miles, or perhaps further, if Dan in Gilead is meant, recovering Lot and his goods, with the women and people,--does not indicate that Chedorlaomer's foray was any more serious than the incursion of a marauding band of Indians upon frontier settlements. Enough people could come into existence in 150 years to attempt the building of the Tower of Babel; and it is reasonable to suppose that in 427 years, at the time of the call of Abram, the world might have had a population of 2,000,000 at least. If we assign 500,000 of these to Egypt, and an equal number each to Babylonia and Assyria, there would remain another half million for the [R3499 : page 37] beginnings of other nations. If half the inhabitants of the ancient world were gathered in cities, five cities of 50,000 might have risen in each of the three leading monarchies, and five more of equal size among the scattered populations of other nations, leaving still a million for rural districts.

The race began in the new world where it let off in the old. Tubal-cain had learned to work in brass and iron and Jubal to play upon the harp and organ. When the people journeyed from the hill country near Ararat they went west to Shinar, and finding there a country favorable for agricultural development, the building of a capital commended itself to them as an important step. There the lust of world-power found its first post-diluvian expression, of which Babylon became the symbol to this day, typifying the "Babylon the Great" of Revelation. After the confusion of tongues, the people still were Babel builders, and began to erect other works. When, by conquest, a city became a ruined heap, there they built again, kings making frequent use of the material of their predecessors. "Hundred-gated Thebes" [R3499 : page 38] seems to belong to an early Egyptian period, and Menes, the first king is credited with founding Memphis and building a dyke still to be traced. His son wrote a work on astronomy, and his grandson built a pyramid at Sakkara 394 feet square and 196 feet high. In the fourth dynasty, Cheops [?] erected the great pyramid of Ghizeh; and in the fifth, the Book of Egyptian Wisdom was composed, whose contents resemble in style the Proverbs of Solomon. Primitive man was not only a capable being but possessed sufficient literary training to enable him to record his deeds in written characters. The highest form of literary ability, as well as the highest regard for exact and truthful statement, we find among the theistic Hebrews.

RAPIDITY OF CHANGE.

Babylonia and Chaldea are studded with mounds from north to south. Mr. Layard found the whole country between the Tigris and the Khabour in upper Mesopotamia covered with mounds, the remnants of early Assyrian cities. Hilprecht says that at the time of Ur-Nina, Babylonia was divided into a number of petty states, and that first one and then another exercised hegemony over the rest. Frequent changes in government and population would thus be a natural result, and cities would be overthrown by conquest, and new ones rise in their places, with astonishing rapidity. Archaeologists follow a scientific method based upon the idea of slow processes, and overwhelm us with dissertations upon a remote past lost in the grey mist of fable.

Rapid change is to be looked for in the early days of the race, when customs were plastic, and when great migrations like that of the Israelites from Egypt were possible. To predicate slowness of change of a formative period, is contrary to natural order. The startling conquests of the old world-rulers is proof of the mobile conditions that then existed. The world had in it the hot blood of youth, that has been cooling with age.

The great antiquity claimed by heathen nations is no doubt due to their desire to trace their descent from the gods, and to appear the first of nations; but the Hebrews, having in their possession the ethnological register of the world, that showed all mankind to be of a common origin, and God to be their Creator, had no such motive, and adhered to the facts as laid down in the records. Exaggerated heathen chronologies are not relieved of oriental extravagance by being placed on monuments, or clay or alabaster tablets. Nor are the inscriptions otherwise always credible. For two hundred years after the Israelitish king Omri, Assyrian inscriptions speak of Canaan as the "land of Omri" and the "land of the house of Omri," and Jehu is referred to as the "son of Omri," though of another dynasty. We might no doubt go through the whole polytheistic polyglot of heathen tongues without finding anything reliable on which to predicate their origin. So prevalent is this tendency to fabulousness among them that some critics are misled into thinking that the origin of every nation is involved in fable, that of the Hebrews along with the rest.

The Egyptian priests mentioned to Herodotus but two kings of historic note, the second of whom had not been dead 900 years when the historian visited that country. But they had a papyrus roll containing the names of 330 monarchs, who they said were of no importance. Many of these kinglets were perhaps contemporaneous, ruling over different parts of the country simultaneously, yet the priests filled up this space with 341 generations lasting for 10,000 years. They also said that twice since Egypt was a monarchy the sun had risen where it sets and set where it rises!

It seems that the Egyptians had no era from which to date events; and, notwithstanding the frequent oriental custom of a king associating his son with him on his throne in the latter years of his reign, it seems that they did not distinguish between a sole and a joint reign. It is said that, save in a few instances, the Egyptians were without the chronological idea. Rawlinson says that it was the unanimous confession of Egyptologists that chronology upon the monuments was almost non-existent. Even Baron Bunsen says that chronology can not be elicited from the Egyptians; and he was obliged to reduce the accession of Menes, the first king, from his former estimate of 3623 to 3059 B.C. Mariette, Director of Conservation of Egyptian Antiquities, says that the Egyptians never had any chronology at all. Even if they had, it would be difficult to compute the gaps of centuries, the times of convulsion or dismemberment, of weakness and internal or external troubles, and of obscure history of kings.

Berosus, the chronicler of Chaldea, wrote about 260 B.C. Of his writings, only some fragments are extant, and these give enormous distortions of facts, condemning Chaldean sources of information and by implication confirming the Hebrew Scriptures. The remark of De Wette, that where tradition leaves blanks, imagination steps in and fills them up, is exemplified in the chronological scheme of Berosus; which is: Ten kings reign 432,000 years; eighty-six kings, 33,080 (or 33,091); eight Median kings, 224; and so on down to Pul, or Tiglath-pileser, who came to the throne 745 B.C. The whole historical period of Berosus reaches back only to about 2245 B.C.--well within the period of Hebrew chronology. The ten mythical kings, who reign an average of over 43,000 years each, correspond with the ten Hebrew patriarchs before the Flood, whom Chaldean tradition turned into fabulous characters; and the second list of kings, whose reign averaged less than four hundred years, corroborates the Hebrew account of the gradual shortening of human life subsequent to the Deluge. Comparing the modest and rational Hebrew chronology with the extravagant claims of other oriental nations, who for one moment could regard even the historical records of Chaldea as of equal credibility with those of the Hebrews?

Sargon I. took pains to have the sacred books of the earlier Accadians translated, and thus preserved the Hamite, or so-called Chaldean, tradition of the Deluge, which is part of an epic poem, "The Adventures of Izdhubar"; but Sargon instead of being placed at 3800 B.C. is assigned by another authority to a period nearly 2000 years later. Hammurabi, of whose code we have heard lately, may possibly belong in the sixteenth century before Christ instead of being contemporaneous with, or previous to, Abraham. It was this king who overran the whole country down to the Persian Gulf, and called himself king of Sumir and Accad and the four nations. He was a builder and restorer of temples, palaces, and cities. He made Babylon his capital, and [R3499 : page 39] added to the magnificence of the worship of Bel, thus raising that idol to the chief position in the Babylonish religious system. He built the royal canal, one of the greatest in Babylonian territory. Sargon I. before him had ruled from the Persian Gulf to the Mediterranean Sea, but the country broke up into various states, affording a field for a new conqueror. This illustrates the tendencies of the times--frequent changes and conquests, the enslavement of nations, the grinding into ruin, and building again. The Book of Judges and the captivities of Israel throw additional light upon the storm-swept eras of antiquity.

The Chinese carry back the history of the world for several hundred thousand years, but those who regard their literature most favorably believe that authentic accounts go back but to the twenty-second century B.C. and only respectable traditions carry back the history four centuries earlier. One of the native accounts places Yao at the beginning of their historic records. He ascended the throne 2357 B.C. A great deluge occurred in his reign. Our date for the Noachian deluge is 2348 B.C., within the reign of Yao. His son and successor was Shum, which recalls the name of Shem. Another source of information makes Fohi, or Fuh-hi, to be the same as Yao, and makes him reign after the Flood to the very year that Noah died; while his successor reigns 146 years after him, to within a few years of the death of Shem. The correspondence between these Chinese dates and Ussher's chronology is remarkable, and amounts to much more than mere coincidence. That the Chinese preserve some reminiscences of the beginning of human history, is partly confirmed by the fact that their word-symbol for "covet" is a woman under a tree-- recalling the temptation in Eden.

SCIENTIFIC DATES TOO LONG.

In addition to all these facts and inferences, is the further consideration that, if the civilizations of Egypt and Babylonia existed for 7000 years or more before Christ, those countries ought to have overflowed and carried their civilizations to every part of Europe, Asia, and Africa. We can not think of such teeming populations [R3500 : page 39] as must in that case have existed as being confined to the narrow limits to which every argument shows that they were confined. It was not long, as we have seen, till Babylonia did flow into Assyria. This tendency ought to have spread civilization throughout the whole Eastern Hemisphere thousands of years before Christ, had there been such extensive lapses of time. If the dates of our Hebrew Bible are too short to account for all the changes traced, the dates of the archaeologists are too long. A possible solution of the question may be in the suggestion that some of the remains assigned to post-diluvian time may in fact be ante-diluvian.

ANCIENT WRITING.

The enormous difficulty of deciphering the inscriptions may well cause us to pause before accepting the translations as final. There are three kinds of cuneiform inscriptions. The Persian is the simplest, the Scythian more difficult, and the Assyrian, or Babylonian, the most complicated of all. One group of wedge-shaped characters may represent the noun "country" and the verb "to take"; it may also stand for the syllables mat lat, sat, kur, nat. This difference in reading depends upon whether the character is an ideograph or a phonograph --that is, whether it represents an idea or is used in the spelling of a word without reference to its inherent meaning. Older than the cuneiform, we find such a language as that stamped upon bricks of Ur of the Chaldees which only three scholars in the United States can read. It may be seriously questioned whether the cuneiform is not less ancient than has been supposed. The fact that the monumental cuneiform always runs from left to right would indicate that it is comparatively modern. In general, the Semitic races wrote from right to left, and the Aryan from left to right. The Assyrians did have a writing that ran the other way, but the cuneiform seems to have been reserved for monumental purposes, as representing their idea of the best development of the art--a modern method superseding the ancient. The hundreds of characters in the Assyrian cuneiform and "the great apparent laxity in the use of letters and the grammar" make the matter of decipherment one of difficulty. The liability to error in deciphering ancient inscriptions is shown in the mistake of the learned Professor Delitzsch, who claimed that Yahveh was Babylonian because he found it combined with a Babylonian proper name, Yahveh-ilu, which he translated, "Yahveh is God"; but it has since been proved that the word should be read Yapi-ilu. The theory that Hebrew monotheism developed from a Babylonian polytheism may receive a needed check by the discovery of this error. Even if scholarship were equal to the task of making infallible translations, we would still have to make allowance for the oriental tendency to extravagance in footing up the chronologies.

HILPRECHT'S VIEWS.

Professor Hilprecht's explorations at Nippur were conducted almost entirely by Peters and Haynes, though the professor translated the inscriptions. He was on the ground eleven weeks at one time, and ten at another, and devotes considerable space in his recent book to criticisms of Haynes and Peters, the latter of whom had taken the chief initiative in the explorations. However, Professor Hilprecht says that he had ignored personal attacks, and spoke only of "fundamental differences on important technical and scientific questions." While such differences exist among the savants, the rest of humanity may well wait for more light before accepting conclusions. You may look in vain in Hilprecht's book for an explanation of the method by which he arrives at his chronological deductions, unless it be the assumption of a working hypothesis. A sentence, in which he says that it doubtless took centuries for a certain people to subjugate another, reveals the general method-- "doubtless." He found above Naram-Sin's pavement thirty-six feet of accumulations, supposed to represent more than four thousand years of Babylonian history. Below the pavement were thirty-one feet, representing another period--how long? He says: "I do not hesitate, therefore, to date the founding of the temple of Bel and the first settlement of Nippur somewhere between 6000 and 7000 B.C., possibly even earlier." His method seems to be well comprehended by these two principles-- "doubtless," and "I do not hesitate." It is said that to call Hilprecht, as some fulsome magazine writers do, the "foremost authority on cuneiform paleography," is some way from the truth, as he is yet too young a scholar to have surpassed certain others, among them [R3500 : page 40] his teacher, Delitzsch, who, as we have seen, is not above the possibility of error.

THE SCHOLARLY FABLE.

The disposition of scholarship falsely so-called to deny divine control in the development of the Hebrew national life and writings, and to regard all present faith as the result of a natural process of human thinking, is one of the refinements of evil. It is the application of the theory of physical evolution to the realm of mind and morals, to the practical exclusion of God from human history. Some scholars have no doubt followed the methods of this cult unconsciously, through not knowing the Scriptures and the power of God, while others have been allured by scientific mirage. Satan tried to destroy the world, first by lust, then by idolatry, next by self-sufficiency, and now by over civilization and unbalanced scholarship. (1 Tim. 6:20,21.) This scholarship does not necessarily attack the Bible, but presents a system of dogma as a substitute for it, as Gnosticism and Neo-platonism attempted to do in the early centuries of Christianity, but the effort will end only in failure, and will leave, like the buried cities of the past, only the titles of its former greatness.



[R3500 : page 40]

THE HOUSE OF MERCY.

JOHN 5:1-15.--FEB. 19.

Golden Text:--"A great multitude followed him, because they saw his miracles."--John 6:2.

THE word Bethesda signifies "House of Mercy." This was the name given to a large structure with five porches connected with a large pool of water, situated near to the walls of Jerusalem. The pool was fed by a spring whose underground reservoirs served as a trap for certain gases. When the gas accumulated in this reservoir it would force out the water, much after the same manner that oil wells sometimes flow out their contents. These flows of the water impregnated with the gases occurred at irregular intervals, and at such times the water in the pool would be disturbed or made to boil by the inflow as well as by the gases it contained.

The phenomenon not being understood, many considered that the agitation of the pool was miraculous, attributing it to an angel from heaven. Partly by the energizing influence of faith and partly perhaps by some medicinal quality imparted to the water by the gases, cures were effected which caused the pool to have considerable fame throughout that district. Benefit from the gases is suggested by the fact that it was only those who entered the water immediately after the agitation who profited by it. The impregnating gases, when once in the pool, would be speedily combined with the atmosphere, and those entering the water first would not only have the benefit of the impregnated water on their persons but would also inhale some of the escaping gases --ozone, or what not. A number of such springs are known to-day in various parts of the world, and many of them have a medicinal quality without any suspicion of a miracle. The American Cyclopedia on this subject says:--

"Medicinal waters are very common in many parts of the world, and people come to them from long distances to be cured. Priests, especially of Aesculapius, placed their sanctuaries near them, as at the alkaline springs of Nauplia, and the springs of Dodora. Phylostricus says that the Greek soldiers wounded in the battle on the Caicus were healed by the waters of Agamemnon's spring near Smyrna."

There is a spring of the kind mentioned in our lesson at Kissingen which, after a rushing sound, about the same time every day commences to bubble, and is most efficacious at the very time the gas is escaping. There are geysers also in Iceland, Wyoming and elsewhere of the intermittent or "troubled" character.

A COPYIST'S MARGINAL NOTE.

The House of Mercy with its five porches was built for a public sanitarium for the benefit and convenience of those who desired to use the agitated pool, and this explains why a great multitude of the sick, blind, halt, withered, lay in these porches waiting for an opportunity to benefit by the agitation of the waters. In this connection it should be noted that old Greek MSS omit the last seven words of verse three and all of verse four. These are not inspired words, were not written by John the Apostle, but were added to his statement later on-- quite probably as a marginal note explanatory of the views held by the people, or possibly the thought of the copyist who made the marginal note. Some later copyist, thinking the marginal note was omitted from the text, added it in, and his manuscript, copied in turn, has come down to us. Until within the last fifty years, since the discovery of the older Greek MSS, none could know that these words were not a part of the divine [R3501 : page 40] record but an addition thereto, perhaps accidentally.

Our last lesson showed our Lord in Galilee and his second miracle at Cana. In this lesson we find him again at Jerusalem, drawn thither according to the Jewish usage to celebrate one of the great annual feasts. He was passing Bethesda, the "House of Mercy," and stopped to perform the miracle noted in this lesson. That our minds may the better grasp the situation, we quote descriptions of two such institutions given by modern writers: Bovet tells us of the bath of Ibrahim, near Tiberius, on the sea of Galilee, thus:

"The hole in which the spring is found is surrounded by several porticoes in which we see a multitude of people crowded one upon another, laid upon couches or rolled in blankets, with immeasurable extremes of misery and suffering." Zola describes the crowds at the grotto of Lourdes thus, "A perfect cour des miracles of human woe rolling along the sloping pavement. No order was observed, ailments of all kinds were jumbled together; it seemed like the clearing of some inferno, where the most monstrous maladies, the rare and most awful cases which provoke a shudder, had been gathered together."

A SIGN OR SYMBOL OF HIS POWER.

Such a picture met the eyes of our dear Redeemer as he passed this House of Mercy. We can imagine better than describe the extent of his sympathy with the poor ailing ones before him. If such scenes of sorrow, pain and trouble touch our fallen hearts sensibly and deeply, how much more intense must have been the sympathy [R3501 : page 41] which our Lord experienced in the presence of such conditions. We may be sure that he who loved the whole world so much that he left the glory with the Father and assumed human nature, that he might die and redeem us and ultimately deliver us from the power of sin and its penalty, sickness and death, must have sympathized with the multitude of sufferers before him, crowding one upon another for the opportunity to receive benefit from the agitated waters. Nevertheless, despite all this sympathy, the record shows that our Lord healed but one of them. Indeed, so far as we may judge, this was his usual custom, as illustrated also in his discourse, in which he pointed out that while in God's providence there were many widows in Israel during the famine time, Elijah was only sent to the widow of Zarephath, and while there were many lepers in Israel, Elisha healed of leprosy only Naaman, the Syrian. Similarly, there were great multitudes of sick at this House of Mercy, but Jesus healed only one.

The reason for this is not difficult to find. Our Lord at his first advent was in the world not to deliver it from the power of sin and death and Satan, but to redeem it, and any deliverances which he granted at that time were only partial and illustrative--demonstrations of his power intended to awaken faith in him and his redemptive work on the part of those who had the ear of faith to hear and the eye of faith to see. These few heard, but the rest remained blinded and know not the great Messiah unto this day. Thank God for the blessed assurance that in his due time all Israel shall be saved from this blindness (Rom. 11:25,26), and not Israel only but all the families of the earth--"All the blind eyes shall be opened and all the deaf ears shall be unstopped."--Isa. 35:5.

SATAN INDIRECTLY THE OPPRESSOR.

While freely admitting that all of humanity's difficulties, mental, physical and moral, are traceable to the original deception of Satan, practised upon our first parents--while therefore willing to concede that every case of sickness is more or less directly or indirectly the work of the Adversary, and that of all the diseased ones we might properly enough say of each that "Satan hath bound him," nevertheless we are not of those who understand that the time has fully come for the binding of Satan and for the loosing of his prisoners. That time by divine arrangement is future, fixed--it is the Millennium. Since our Lord did not perform miracles for all the sick, neither are we to expect all the sick of to-day to be cured either by natural means or by miraculous power. It comforts us to remember that Satan and every evil is subject to the Almighty's power, and that in the case of the Lord's consecrated and their interests he is both able and willing to overrule, so that what ever he permits them will result in their greater blessing.

We are distinctly told that our Lord's miracles manifested forth beforehand his coming glory. They were thus lessons or pictures or illustrations of the great work of restitution from sin and sickness and death which our dear Redeemer will accomplish for the world very shortly--during his Millennial reign. Then we, his Church, associated with him, will share his power and great glory and privileges. Those who were beneficiaries of his miraculous power at his first advent evidently were but a mere handful as compared to all the sick, impotent and blinded of that time; and those miracles, aside from illustrating the future power of the Lord, were designed to testify of him and of his apostles as the representatives of the Father in the establishment of the new dispensation--the Gospel age, so different from its predecessor, the Jewish age and its law of Moses.

THE HEALING OF THE ELECT.

It is not improper for us to speak of the man who was the one favored out of a great multitude as having been elected or selected by the Lord as the person through whom he would manifest his power and coming glory. The narrative does not tell us why the Lord selected this one in preference to others. We may reasonably assume, however, that his thirty-eight years of infirmity had developed in him considerable penitence for sin, considerable desire for righteousness; that he had learned some valuable lessons during those thirty-eight years under the hand of affliction; and that it was because he had thus come into a condition where healing would be to his advantage that he was the favored one. Similarly, this is true in the favors of grace which the Lord is distributing during this age, and which are really much more valuable than any physical blessings that could be bestowed.

We may not at first see why the Lord favors some more than others with the knowledge of his grace and truth, but we may safely assume that there is a lesson, and that lesson lies in the direction of honesty of heart, repentance of sin and a desire for or "feeling after God." When God has any special favors to bestow we may safely assume that they are not given out haphazard, but according to some partial conditions of faith or worthiness. In the case of this man who was healed let us notice that there was no record that he had more faith in the Lord than had the other ones about him. On the contrary, the context shows that he had no faith --that he did not even know the Lord, and did not learn until afterward who he was that healed him.

"WILT THOU BE MADE WHOLE?"

As already intimated, our Lord's words to his followers, "Greater works than these shall ye do because I go unto my Father," have been fulfilled throughout this Gospel age in that it is a greater work to open the eyes of the understanding than to recover sight to the natural eyes; it is a greater work to open the ears of the understanding than to recover the natural hearing; it is a greater work to heal from sin than to heal from its type, leprosy; it is a greater work to recover from the lameness and weaknesses which have come upon the entire race through the fall than to restore strength to the natural limbs. In accordance with this thought we now remark that as our Lord queried the one whom he healed, asking, "Wilt thou be made whole?" and as he thus let the matter depend upon his own will, so it is with those who are now being healed of moral ailments, of those who are now being spiritually enlightened, etc.--the assistance is with themselves. If they have the ear to hear and the eye to see, to appreciate, to understand the gift of God in Christ, the question then is "Wilt thou be made whole?"

How many there are morally leprous, mentally blinded and partially deaf, who can see and hear and comprehend a little of the grace of God, and who, by accepting this little which they understand and by [R3501 : page 42] desiring to be made whole, might go on from grace to grace, from knowledge to knowledge, from triumph to triumph, ultimately to the full attainment of the great blessing which the Lord has proffered to his "little flock"--to become heirs of God, joint heirs with Jesus Christ our Lord, in his Kingdom, if so be that we suffer with him, that we may also be glorified together.

In harmony with this thought, let us all use our influence with all with whom we come in contact, with all who have no power to see or hear or understand or appreciate the grace of God, to urge upon them their acceptance of divine aid as we ourselves have experienced it--"grace sufficient for every time of need." Only with those who answer this question affirmatively is it worth our while to expend effort. The will must be pointed to the Lord or his blessing cannot come upon the heart and the life; we cannot hope that the Lord will work a miracle of grace in the hearts of the sin-sick unless they are ready to answer this question in the affirmative, "Wilt thou be made whole?" Only those who so will can be benefited in this age, for this is the divine order-- the Lord seeketh such and such only to worship him in spirit and in truth. Our Lord at the first advent testified again on these lines, saying to many of those who heard his preaching, "Ye will not come unto me that ye might have life." To come unto the Lord means to accept his arrangements, to answer his query, saying, Yea, Lord, I would be made whole.

The healing of such is not instantaneous but gradual. [R3502 : page 42] They grow in grace, knowledge and love, and the completion of the work of grace will be in the First Resurrection "change," which the Lord promises to all those who in the present time answer his question affirmatively, and show that they are in earnest by seeking to walk thenceforth not after the flesh but after the Spirit. These come under the care of the Good Physician, and eventually he will make them whole, complete, perfect in his likeness.

THE GREATER HOUSE OF MERCY.

Ere long the present election of the Church, the present favor and privilege of being made whole, will reach its accomplishment in the First Resurrection, and then, thank God, a still more general blessing will be open for the world. The promise of the Scriptures is that in God's due time the tabernacle of God shall be with men and he shall dwell with them. This is not yet. The race is still under the curse, Satan is still the "prince of this world," we are still waiting and praying, "Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is done in heaven." The establishment of God's tabernacle or house in the world will be during the Millennial age. It will be a house of mercy, not merely for the elect few, but, according to the great Oath-Bound Covenant, God through his elect Church, the Christ, Head and body, the antitypical seed of Abraham (Gal. 3:29), shall "bless all the families of the earth."

Ah, yes; what a grand day that will be! "God shall wipe away the tears from off all faces"--yea, also, the reproach of his people shall be done away. No longer will it be a reproach to be of the Lord's people, no longer can it be said to the Lord's mouthpieces, "You tell of the love of God and his mercy and of the value of the great atonement, but we see sin and suffering, sorrow and death, continually reigning over the world." The reproach will be ended, Satan will be bound, the knowledge of the Lord will fill the whole earth and the wiping away of all tears and sorrows and aches and pains will begin. And to all who will rightly receive these favors and fall in line with them, the blessings will ultimately be completed in the full perfection of restitution accomplished at the end of the Millennial age, at the ushering in of the everlasting epoch, while for those who will then neglect, refuse the divine arrangements a merciful blotting out of existence has been arranged.--Acts 3:23.

IT WAS ON THE SABBATH.

In performing the miracle our Lord instructed the healed one to take up his bed and walk, and he did so. The bed probably was a very light mattress or comforter, after the custom of that time, and there was no real labor connected with this injunction. It was not the violation, therefore, of the Sabbath restrictions of the Jewish Law, which our Lord neither violated nor taught others to violate, for he was a Jew and subject, therefore, to all the terms and conditions of that Law as much as any other Jew. His object in instructing the man to carry the bed was probably twofold:--

(1) The act of itself would be a witness to the miracle; not only directly but

(2) Indirectly it would attract the attention of the doctors and scribes of the Law, because they had formulated certain restrictions respecting the day which were not the Mosaic requirements. Our Lord would make use of this opportunity to teach a lesson, not only respecting his power but respecting a proper observance of the Law--that it was designed of the Lord to be for the benefit of mankind and not a moral fetter. Our Lord explained this on one occasion, saying to the scribes and Pharisees that their interpretation of the Law made it burdensome to the masses of the people--that they exaggerated the small features of the Law unduly, and that the greater principles of it, pertaining to righteousness, justice, love and mercy, they overlooked entirely.

From this narrative we see that just this result was attained. The scribes and Pharisees reproved the man for carrying his bed, and he returned that he was fully justified in so doing, because the person who healed him of his thirty-eight years' ailment must have been wise enough and good enough to be an authority on this subject and he was merely following his directions. Thus our Lord's miracle was made prominent to the class that he specially wished to have recognize him, namely the leaders and representatives of the nation, who specially were on trial at this time whether or not they would receive him; and, secondly, the difference between his teaching and good works and the teaching and no works of the Pharisees would be more manifest on the other hand.

It would appear that the healed man was so astonished by the incidents connected with his relief that for the moment he forgot to look for or inquire particularly about the one who had performed the miracle: and our Lord, not wishing to refuse the great multitude of sick ones there gathered, quietly withdrew, so that by the time the miracle was known the healer was not to be found. He had performed the miracle for the glory of God, to call attention to the new dispensation, and to himself as the divine representative in it, and incidentally he had healed, we may assume, the most worthy one of that multitude. The fact that Jesus specially met this [R3502 : page 43] man again in the Temple, where he had probably gone to express his thanks and praise to the Lord for his relief, implies that he had seen in the man something of more than ordinary character, which not only led him to heal him but also to reveal himself to him.

"GO AND SIN NO MORE."

Our Lord's salutation to the healed man in the Temple must have been very significant, showing the latter that he was not only able to heal but that he had knowledge of the sins which had led up to the diseased condition thirty-eight years previously. He said to him, "Behold thou art made whole: sin no more lest a worse thing befall thee." There is a valuable lesson in our Redeemer's counsel--helpful not only for that poor man, but still more valuable and helpful to those who have by the Lord's grace been healed of sin-sickness, those who have been justified, those who have been accepted into God's family as sons of God. The penalty for original sin has been a severe one and has attached itself to every member of Adam's race; yet for this original sin God has provided a great atonement, and ultimately every creature shall have the fullest opportunity for escape from all its penalties and wages. But when thus liberated a fresh responsibility is upon us. As the apostle declares, if we sin wilfully after we have received a knowledge of the Truth, there remaineth no more a sacrifice for sins, but we may surely look for judgment and fiery indignation which will devour us as adversaries. (Heb. 10:27.) The wages of original sin which the whole race has tasted is death, with its accompaniments of sorrow and pain--dying. The wages of wilful, deliberate, intentional sin, after we have been justified from all our sins--that penalty would be a worse thing, very much worse than the original penalty; for although it would be the same penalty of death, it would be the second death, for which God has assured us he has made no provision for recovery--Christ dieth no more. If after being released and justified we sin wilfully, and yet with a measure of weakness and imperfection tempting us, we may expect stripes; but if we sin wilfully and deliberately, aside from a particular temptation or weakness, we may expect nothing further in the way of divine mercy and forgiveness, because having enjoyed these in respect to the original sin we would thus come under a new and personal condemnation, for a new and inexcusable violation of righteousness whose penalty is death without hope of recovery.


[R3505 : page 43]

THE PERFECT COPY.
--ROMANS 8:29.--
Memory wakens mental pictures
In the calm and solemn night;
Teaching all-important lessons
In a new and clearer light.

On a scroll I see a "copy"
Chosen from "the book" divine;--
Written by a master penman
On a bright initial line.

Under it a fair creation
Of the skilled engraver's art;
Graceful lines and shades, assuming
Life and form,--a human heart!

Drawing near with deepening interest
To observe it carefully,
I discovered "words" I hastened
To commit to memory.

Imitate (they said) the "copy"
Written on the line above;
For the Golden Rule it follows
Is the perfect law of love.

Might I, heeding this instruction,
Duplicate the pattern well?
For, although my spirit's willing
Yet "the flesh," so weak, would fail.

Fearful lest I mar its beauty
I inclined to pass it by,
When the Master Artist whispered,
"I will help you if you try.

"Trusting you will e'er remember
My approval to obtain;
You should keep your copy stainless
Following closely to 'the line.'"

Need I tell of blotted pages?
Here a tear-drop, there a stain;
Or of all my clumsy tracings
That appeared below the line?

Need I here repeat the failures
Which have caused my grief and pain;
Or the kindness of my "Teacher"
When He bade me "try again?"

In His wisdom gently prompting
Lest I should discouraged grow;
"Keep your eye upon my copy
I forgive mistakes below."

Covering my many failures
With the mantle of His love;
As my "copy" grew in likeness
To the perfect one above.



[R3502 : page 43]

"EVER GIVE US THIS BREAD."

JOHN 6:1-14.--FEB. 26.

Golden Text:--"I am the living bread which came down from heaven."--John 6:51.

CONSIDERABLE periods are sometimes covered by the opening expression of this lesson, "After these things." How long after our previous lesson depends on which feast is referred to. If it was Purim, only a month had elapsed; if it was Passover, a year. As previously pointed out, John's Gospel, written after the others, was evidently designed not so much to give a history of our Lord's life as to mention incidents omitted in the other Gospels. The miracle of the feeding of the five thousand, which is the basis of this lesson, stands prominently before us as the only miracle that is particularly described in all four of the [R3502 : page 44] Gospels. John's account of it brings to our attention some features not so clearly presented in the others.

From other accounts we learn that our Lord's crossing of the Sea of Galilee at this time was for needed rest. His preaching and teaching and traveling were practically continuous; his hearers, going and coming from morning until night left him little opportunity for privacy and rest, and he was quite willing thus to lay down his life in feeding the sheep--not only exhausting his vitality through the healing of the diseases of the people, but also through the exhortations and public speaking, which are particularly enervating in the open air and when prolonged.

Another reason for leaving Galilee was that his disciples, whom he had sent forth two by two through the various cities to teach and to heal as he was doing, had now returned to him, and doubtless he desired rest for them also, and a measure of quiet and privacy in which he could hear from them reports and give them needed instructions respecting their work. The third reason was that at this time the news had just reached Galilee that Herod had caused the beheading of John the [R3503 : page 44] Baptist, and the further news that the army of Herod had been vanquished by that of Aretas. The news had unquestionably stirred the people and aroused their imaginations respecting the future, and to some extent had unfitted them for the hearing of the Lord's message. Some had even said to our Lord and the Apostles, "Depart from Herod's dominions, lest he slay thee as he has slain John the Baptizer." Still another reason probably was to give occasion for this miracle.

Perhaps all of these reasons combined to make the change a desirable one and several of the apostles being fishermen, whose boats were at their own disposal, and the Sea of Galilee small, the undertaking was not extraordinary. The sail across the sea brought Jesus and the apostles to a quiet secluded place, where they probably spent a day or two in rest and comparative privacy, communing respecting the interests of the work. To camp out of doors thus, without tents, etc., seems to have been not an unusual thing in that climate at that time; indeed even to-day one may find the Arabs in that country sleeping along the roadside at night, wrapped in their outer cloaks or garments and, like Jacob, with a stone for their pillow.

SEEKING THE MESSIAH.

Another account tells us that when the multitudes who had been listening to the teachings of Jesus, seeing his miracles, etc., learned that he had gone to the other side of the lake, some of them went afoot and some in small boats in the general direction in which he had gone, seeking him. At this particular season many had their arrangements so made that they were on a holiday journey, going up to Jerusalem to the feast. On such occasions there was an unusual concourse on all roads leading to Jerusalem, and the people--excited by the conduct of Herod and bewildered and wondering respecting the Messiah--turned aside from their journey to hear more from the lips of this great Prophet, Jesus, and to see for themselves whether or not they thought he possessed the qualifications that would fit him for the Messiahship, for the deliverance of their nation, for the establishment of the long-promised Kingdom of God. Jesus was sitting on the mountain side with his disciples when this large concourse of people seeking him came along; quite probably he and the apostles taught the multitude for some time before the miracle of feeding them was performed. We must remember that the Gospel narratives are very brief and pass over small and irrelevant details.

Our Lord, who had already planned the miracle, had led the minds of his disciples up to the point by inquiring, "Whence shall we buy bread that these may eat?" This question was addressed to Philip, one of the apostles who lived not far distant. He was the proper person on that account, but probably the Lord had another reason for questioning him. Philip seems to have been of rather a calculating and business turn of mind, and although this disposition is an excellent one to have amongst the disciples of the Lord, it, nevertheless, is inclined to think of earthly means rather than to exercise faith in the Lord. Probably the Lord wished to awaken Philip's thought and specially to bring him profitable instruction and faith through this miracle. Philip's answer that it would require two hundred pennyworth of bread (about $32.00) to supply the multitude even a light luncheon, shows his business trait. While all the various casts of mind are to be found amongst the Lord's people, the business head is amongst the most useful if it be kept under proper restraints of love and faith;--love, that it may not allow business instincts to take sole charge of spiritual affairs; and faith, that it may be able to realize that although business methods are excellent in all the affairs of life, they must not be permitted to ignore faith in the Lord and the power of his might, and the loving interest which he takes in all the affairs of his Church, the New Creation.

THE USE OF MEANS.

Andrew, whose mind seems to have been less practical than that of Philip, suggested that one of the company had five little barley cakes and two small fishes, yet he had hardly offered the remark when he felt ashamed of it, and added, "But what are they among so many?" Philip was too practical, too much of a business man to have even thought of or mentioned such a morsel of food in connection with the supply of so large a multitude; but our Lord had use not only for the broader mind of Philip but also for the more simple and less logical mind of Andrew, and used the latter's suggestion by calling for the little supply. There is a lesson for us here: it illustrates what many of us have seen in connection with the affairs of the Lord's people, namely, that all the good suggestions, all the helpful suggestions, all those suggestions which make for the interest of the Church, do not always come from one quarter--that often the Lord uses the stumbling lips and illogical reasonings of some of his followers as the basis of blessings to themselves and others, just as now he used Andrew's seemingly foolish remark.

Another thought in this connection is that our Lord seems always to have made use of whatever was at hand. He could have turned the stones into bread and thereby to have fed the multitude; he could have ignored the little supply on hand as insignificant; but this was not his method. All of his followers should learn from this not to despise the little things, but to use them so far as possible. There is a principle involved, too--as our Lord expresses it, He that is faithful in that which is [R3503 : page 45] least, will be faithful also in that which is greater. Another lesson is that miracles are only to be expected after we have done all in our power with the means at hand. The colored man had the right idea when, after expressing his faith in the Lord, some one said to him, "Now, George, if the Lord should command you to jump through that stone wall, would you do it?" His answer was that if he were certain that the Lord had commanded it, he would jump at the stone wall and leave to the Lord all that was beyond his power. If the Lord wished to make a miracle out of it he was able to do so, but the jumping part belonged to George. So it is with us in all life's affairs: we are to be sure that we are in the Lord's way, that we are following his directions, and then we are to leave all the results to him, assured of his ability to work the greatest miracles. Nevertheless, the greatest miracles which any of us have to do with are of a quiet and unostentatious kind. In nature we see these miracles in the growing grain, which, under the Lord's providences, supplies our needs in response to our labor. The increase of the five barley loaves and two little fishes, we may be sure, was not more of a miracle than that which is continually going on in nature, only that it is a different kind, to which we are not accustomed. Nevertheless, as the Lord used the barley cakes and fishes as the nucleus for this miracle, so in nature he uses the seed wheat as the basis for the miracle of the crop gathered in harvest. In other words he always uses means to an end, and the fact that we may see and understand the means does not make the miracle either greater or less. A proper view of life connects the Lord with all the affairs of this life as well as with all that pertains to the life to come.

"WHEN THEY WERE FILLED."

The multitude sat down in groups or companies of fifties and hundreds, we are told, and the disciples distributed to them the five little cakes and two fishes in pieces, which apparently grew as they were broken, much after the manner of the widow's cruse of oil, which flowed incessantly until all the pots had been filled. So this little supply under the Lord's blessing increased, not merely to give a light luncheon to the multitude, but until all were "filled," satisfied, wanted no more. Here was a miracle which not only astounded the disciples but also the thousands; it was what John calls a sign, an evidence and proof of our Lord's supernatural power and authority--a proof that he was indeed the Sent of God, the Messiah. This was the object of the miracle--not the feeding of the multitude. At the very same time there were doubtless hungry ones in various parts of the world whom the Lord could have fed without any trouble to himself; but he came not to feed the world, he came not to stop the pain and sorrow and dying, but to redeem the world and to give evidence which would allow the apostles and all the Israelites indeed in whom there was no guile to accept him by faith as the Messiah--evidences also which, coming down to us and others of this Gospel age, have been the foundation for our faith.

Some have said, O that we could have been there and witnessed the miracle of the loaves and fishes! Our faith would have been made so strong that we could have been the disciples of Jesus under any and all circumstances and conditions. What a wonder it is that any of those five thousand should ever have doubted our Lord's Messiahship! We answer that those who are truly the Lord's people have similar miracles to-day, because he communicates to us through the Word, and because in eating of the Word we partake of the spirit of our Lord, the spirit of the Truth.

In view of this, which of the Lord's people can gainsay the fact that he is continually, in his own experiences and in the experiences of other Christians, performing a miracle greater than that recorded in our lesson? Which of the Lord's people who have tasted that he is gracious, who have hungered and thirsted after righteousness--Truth--and have had its assisting comfort time and again, could any longer feel that their preference would have been to have lived in the days of our Lord's first advent and to have seen and tasted of the miracles then performed? For our part we much prefer the higher miracles, and consider that we have a stronger basis for faith in these than the poor Jews could possibly have had in all the favors bestowed upon them, great as those favors were.

WEALTH AND ECONOMY BLENDED.

Although our Lord was rich before he came into the world, and although he realized that through the power of God in him he could still have all that was necessary [R3504 : page 45] for his well being and could provide for his followers, too, as shown not only in the miracle before us, the increase of the loaves and fishes, but also shown when, on another occasion, he granted his disciples the great draught of fishes out of the very lake before them--with all this wealth at his command our Lord was a great economist; from his standpoint nothing should be wasted. It was in harmony with this that, after the multitude had been thoroughly fed, the Lord instructed the Apostles to gather up the fragments that nothing be wasted, and they took up twelve haversacks full-- each of them gathered the full of his bag or satchel or haversack, in our text called a basket.

There are two lessons in this for us, one a practical lesson on economy, that none of the Lord's blessings and mercies are to be wasted. To some this lesson may come easier than to others, but it is a usual experience in life that willful waste brings woeful want. Quite probably some of the Lord's dear disciples at the present time need to learn the lesson of economy as much as did the disciples and multitude on this occasion. This does not teach the lesson of miserliness either, for the Scriptures declare, "There is that scattereth and yet increaseth; and there is that withholdeth more than is meet, but it tendeth to poverty." (Prov. 11:24.) The first lesson was generosity, the secondary lesson was economy. So it should be with us: our generosity should be equal to our disposition to economize. The Lord is not stingy, but generous; and none of his followers should be stingy. The Lord was economical, and that also his disciples should be.

It was those who scattered to others who had their haversacks filled in the end and gained the supply for themselves.

We can apply the same lesson to spiritual things: the Lord's people are to be distributors. We have received of the Lord's bounty, grace and truth freely; we are to distribute freely. Those who distribute will have the privilege of gathering up for themselves, that each may have more than he gave away. How true it is that those who are most intent upon feeding others with [R3504 : page 46] the bread of life are themselves most bountifully supplied. Let us see to it, then, that we have generosity in respect to the spiritual as well as the natural food. Let us give forth the word of life and the water of life. While we do so from good, honest, sincere hearts, with a desire to honor the Lord and to bless the people, and without selfishness or pride on our own part, we may be sure that he will give us more and more of a rich supply for our own spiritual growth and sustenance.

The multitude took knowledge of the miracle and acclaimed our Lord the great Prophet. By many of them, however, the miracle was only partially appreciated. Doubtless they viewed it as an indication that if Jesus were proclaimed a king, he could supply his soldiers with food without a commissary department; and if he could thus supply the food to his supporters and followers he would be able also to give them the victory under all circumstances and conditions. These things are true, but not true in the way that the natural Israelites supposed. Our Lord giveth us the victory now over sin and selfishness, and leads us on from one achievement to another as we seek to walk in his steps, and all the way he feeds us with the living bread from heaven. In due time he will become the great King over the world, and his power to control and to feed and to put down Satan and all the powers of evil will be fully manifested. Then many of the blind eyes shall be opened--eyes which cannot see the things of faith, ears which cannot hear the message of faith. Let us give thanks to the Lord more and more that our eyes see and our ears hear the message which as yet the world sees not, appreciates not. While this Gospel age can bring special blessings only to those who have the hearing ear and understanding heart and eye of faith, thank God there is another age to come in which all the families of the earth will be abundantly blessed and guided and helped by those who now are able to walk by faith. Only a special class can now appreciate the bread which came down from heaven. By and by, under the blessed influences and arrangements of the Kingdom, all may have the privilege of eating of the bread of life and thus attaining the life everlasting. How our hearts go out to those who are now starving for this very bread, not only the heathen who have never heard of Christ but many in the lands of civilization who, although they have heard, know not, see not, neither do they understand, neither can they understand until in the Lord's due time their eyes of understanding and ears of appreciation shall be opened, as has been promised through the prophets.-- Isa. 35:5; 42:7; 49:9.

"Only five barley loaves!
Only two fishes small!
And can I offer these poor gifts
To Christ, the Lord of all?
To him whose mighty word
Can still the angry sea,
Can cleanse the lepers, raise the dead?--
He hath no need of me."

"Yes, he hath need of thee!
Then bring thy loaves of bread;
Behold, with them, when Jesus speaks,
The multitude are fed."



[R3504 : page 46]

ENCOURAGING WORDS FROM FAITHFUL WORKERS.

PASTOR C. T. RUSSELL:--

I must kindly thank you for sending me from time to time new pamphlet issues, and also the copies of that most interesting debate you had with Dr. Eaton, which I enjoyed most thoroughly and which I have made some use of in reading and lending to others.

I cannot thank you enough for the new delight and pleasure I now receive in reading God's Word. Everything seems to have taken on a different view from the conceptions I had formed from teachings received as a member of the Episcopal Church of Ireland, --and if this be so in Ireland, where high ritualistic and Popish practices are not allowed, what must be the state of the poor dupes of the sister church of England, where idolatrous practices are fast displacing the simple faith in Christ? Certainly things are fast shaping for the great chaos that is to usher in the day of our Lord. Praying that God may bless you in your labor of love, I remain,

Yours in hope,
JOHN M. KEAGUE,--Scotland.


DEAR MR. RUSSELL:--

Having for some time become dissatisfied with the doctrines of the Protestant Church of England of which we were members, we thought to set out to seek anew from God's Word his own Truth. For a year or more we read and studied justification by faith and came to the conclusion that all who believe must be justified from all things. Still we could not get free from belief in the doctrine of everlasting torment, but hoped that our Lord would give us light and guide us into all truth. And so he is doing. Last year a friend sent us your little book "About Hell," which greatly opened our eyes to the Truth, and afterwards the DAWN volumes, from which, thank our loving Father, we have been made wise with regard to his plan, gracious, loving, divine. Blessed be his holy name! We desire to thank you for the blessing you have brought to us in so opening up the Bible to us, and we know that you are the instrument in his hand in this "latter day" to make known his will and plan to all his languishing people. May he continue to bless you as steward of his household is our earnest prayer. In Christian love, yours very truly,
DAVID AND ISABEL MYERS,--Jamaica.


DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--

In the end of 1901 two Glasgow colporteurs came to this place selling the "Plan of the Ages." We got one, along with a great many others. We heard the brothers' lectures and got the rest of DAWNS. We can look back now and see how the Lord prepared us for the Truth, being weary of all church formalities and longing for light. We have been enabled to witness to several of the clergy and church elders to the Truth. We are told at times that we are giving out poison, but we tell them if they read they will find it real life giving food.

We thank God for raising you up to give us these "feasts of fat things," and we pray that you will be guided and filled by his Spirit as you go on feeding the household of faith with meat in due season.

Yours in the Lord,
DON F. MURRAY,--Scotland.

page 47
DEAR BRO. RUSSELL:--

About two years ago I was put in possession of Vol. I., MILLENNIAL DAWN. Very soon after commencing the reading I realized the supply of a long-felt something wanting. I soon became so interested that the volumes in their order were secured, and not only read but studied, and some of them read many times. Now the "Plan of the Ages" is thoroughly my own. Three years ago I asked the session of the Presbyterian Church to drop my name from the roll of membership. I was reared in the Church and have always been her strong adherent, defending her position, but feeling sadly a lack which grew as years passed. Before I had finished the volumes I decided that I had no home in the Presbyterian fold and so withdrew.

If you think that I can be useful in presenting the Truth in the way of distributing tracts you publish, I am perfectly willing to be made serviceable in this line, although I shall be opposed by my wife and many of my warmest friends. I am an old soldier, sixty-four years old.

Yours in Christ,
C. B. MUSTARD,--Kansas.


[R3505 : page 47]

DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--

I have been so blessed through coming into the light of Present Truth that I feel I must write to tell you about it. I can never express the joy that has come into my life through the study of MILLENNIAL DAWN. The glorious plan of God as set forth (through rightly dividing the Word of God) is grand. I have received the Truth in the love of it, and I can indeed say, God bless the Colporteur work, as it was at the door I bought Vol. I. DAWN of a dear brother of the Church here. The Chief Reaper will reward him in the harvest home. I was so delighted with Vol. I. that I found the little company of Christians here and secured the four succeeding volumes of DAWN, and ever since that time I have proved that "the path of the just is as a shining light, which shineth more and more unto the perfect day."

This Truth was brought to me at the very darkest hour of my spiritual experience. Surely man's extremity is God's opportunity! I was for some weeks passing through a time of trial. I have for some years had a thorn in the flesh, and as I greatly desired to be released from it I was led to attend some meetings held by those who teach divine healing, was anointed and prayed for, but failed to receive healing. I was then plunged in despair and doubt, and of course was told by those people that there must of necessity be something wrong in my relations to God, and it was entirely my own lack of faith; so you see that the opening up of the Scripture which I received from DAWN at that time meant much to me, as it was the means used by my heavenly Father in causing me to see that, although earthly promise of restitution for the world was purchased by our dear Redeemer, for the Church called out from the world there are exceeding great and precious promises that by these we might be partakers of the divine nature. The Lord has anointed my eyes with eyesalve, and I can see that these Elijahs and others are, as you say in the WATCH TOWER, Antichrists also and having the same spirit as the Antichrist, the Papacy, taking to themselves the office and work of the Christ, who shall very soon take to himself his great power and reign, and then restitution blessings shall flow as rivers of water from the throne of God and the Lamb.

I have always from a child had a love for the dear Savior and a desire to bring others to know him, and that desire led me to go as an officer in the Salvation Army, as I found there was more opportunity for service in its ranks than in the Congregational Church in which I was brought up, and I did my utmost with great zeal, but not according to knowledge. Now that I have been led to see the dispensational plans and purposes of God and that in due time all shall be brought to a knowledge of the Truth, I do enter into rest and sit with Christ in heavenly places, as the spirit of the new mind rises above the circumstances of my life in the flesh, although still sharing the ills to which the flesh is heir through the fall and curse of Adam.

I remain, your sister in the Truth,
EMMA WILLIAMS,--England.


DEAR SIR AND BROTHER:--

By this time I hope you will have received the 500 volumes of the MILLENNIAL DAWN in Italian. I hope you are satisfied with the print and binding of the volumes. We have tried to do our best, and have had experiences that will be useful in future.

Although ill, but now, thank God, a little better, I have never ceased to be occupied with the work, and the Lord has blessed it. To the many letters and cards that I could send you, there is one most rejoicing and very important of the Pastor Giuseppe Bauchetti, doctor of letters and philosophy, a very learned man, who with child-like simplicity has received Present Truth and is ready to give testimony. After reading the two volumes in French, he has bought all the other books in English, and he has so learned that tongue as to be able to understand the third, fourth, fifth and sixth volumes. Others have started to study the French, it being much easier for them than the English volumes.

Brother Bauchetti is wishing to write to you personally to express his admiration and gratitude for having freed him of many terrible doubts and made to shine in his heart such bright light and assurance and inexpressible joy.

I am busy selecting in each of the principal towns a brother who will sell the books and endeavor to spread the Truth.

I need not tell you how orthodoxy and traditionalism are making war on us, but in all humility and not trusting in ourselves, we are ready to go on, confidently trusting in him who said, "Be of good cheer: I have overcome the world."

Last week I had occasion to visit two districts of the Waldensian valleys, and I never expected to find among people that pretend to be Christians such deadly sleep as I found there. Some watchful ones, however, are to be found here and there, and they quite readily accept the food so long desired.

Expressing to you my gratitude and that of all the brothers and sisters for all that you are doing for us, I remain yours most humbly in the Lord,
DANIELE RIVOIRE,--Italy.



page 49
February 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. XXVI.FEBRUARY 15, 1905.No. 4


CONTENTS.

Views from the Watch Tower51
The Story of Adam and Eve51
Forecasting the Financial Future51
A Brief Statement of Rome's Teachings52
A Strange Prediction52
The Satisfaction of Justice53
Our Lord's Sacrifice was Sufficient54
Justice Deals Only with the Mediator54
The Feast of Tabernacles55
"Ye Shall be Free Indeed"58
Interesting Questions Answered61
Our Lord as Abraham's Seed61
The Church's Relationship to Abraham62
Encouraging Words from Faithful Workers62

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 50

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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[R3505 : page 50]

THE MEMORIAL SUPPER.


Those who would celebrate the Lord's supper on its anniversary date, this year, should do so after 6 p.m. on Sunday, April 16th. The day following at 3 p.m. will be the anniversary of the Lord's death, on the 14th of Nisan, Jewish reckoning. The day following will begin the Jewish feast of Passover, which lasts a week, but in which we have no special interest except as a type. page 50

WATCH TOWER TAGS NOT YET CORRECTED.


We regret that press of work at the TOWER office has put us so far behind that the date beside your addresses on the wrapper does not show subscriptions recently received. Have patience a little longer, please. We hope to get caught up soon. This is our busy season every way.

EATON-RUSSELL DEBATE REPORTS.


The six debates in one extra issue of the Pittsburg Gazette can still be obtained from the Allegheny address, or from the British or Australian branch offices. These will be supplied while they last at 5 for 5 cents (2-1/2d.) Many who refuse tracts will read these.



[R3506 : page 51]

VIEWS FROM THE WATCH TOWER.

THE STORY OF ADAM AND EVE.


PROF. L. T. TOWNSEND of Boston University, discussing the credibility of the account of man's creation given in Genesis, says:--

"It is possible and perhaps probable that the world is to witness shortly among nominally Christian people one of the most resolutely contested intellectual conflicts between belief and unbelief that has been known since the dawn of the Christian era."

He expresses the conviction that a return to faith in the Bible's records will be advantageous to the world at large as well as to Christianity, and declares that scientists have been obliged to make so many changes of late that it should make them more modest. His words are:--

"The readjustments of astronomical and geological theories during the last quarter of a century, which in every instance have been making for, rather than against, the beliefs of the primitive Christian Church, and the remarkable discoveries in archaeology which are affording the strongest possible defense for the credibility of the Bible, together with the fact that many of the ablest scholars are taking issue with much that is called higher criticism, ought to suggest that modesty rather than egotism and dogmatism is peculiarly becoming in those who are posing as leaders of modern thought and reformers in the theological world.

"It can no longer be rationally questioned that the sciences of anatomy, of geology, of archaeology, of philology, of ethics and of theology unite in demolishing all theories of naturalism as to the character and condition of the earliest inhabitant of the earth of whom there is any record.

"And the evolutionary hypothesis that the human race began in a savage state and slowly worked up to its present condition, consuming in this development a hundred thousand years, more or fewer, is, in the presence of established facts, an assumption as groundless as anything one can imagine. On the other hand, a sudden emergence from the savage state to one represented by the ancient civilizations of Assyria, Babylon, Egypt, and that of many other countries is not an emergence of which history shows any evidence. Hence the theory that the human family began high up in civilized and social life, but afterward suffered a decadence, has probabilities in its favor that amount well-nigh to an absolute certainty.

"What may be insisted upon, therefore, is this: There is no evidence of any kind that Adam, who throughout the Bible is spoken of as an authentic person, was not the first man. There is no evidence that he did not have a perfect body and fully endowed intellect; there is no evidence that he could not give appropriate names to the animals brought before him; there is no evidence that his son Cain did not build a city; there is no evidence that his grandson Jubal did not handle the harp and organ, and there is no evidence that Jubal's brother, Tubal-Cain, and grandson of Adam, was not a worker in brass and iron.

"But there is no need of stating these matters in negative terms, for all discoveries in the last twenty-five years or more are in harmony with the Bible record that the first beings on earth that wore the human form had a body just as perfect, and a brain or an intellect just as capable of working, and a language just as complete in expressing thought, as those of any man now living. These are not philosophical nor theological speculations, but conclusions based upon established facts and reached by approved scientific methods."

FORECASTING THE FINANCIAL FUTURE.


At the last session of the Pennsylvania Bankers' Association, one of their number addressing the body expressed himself as convinced that prosperity may be expected, and said in conclusion:--

"A friend of mine has it [the financial fluctuations] all figured out on the cycle plan--he starts with the panic of 1819. I will not burden you with it all, but merely state that, according to his figuring, we will have good times from now until 1908, when prices will have reached their height and start downward until 1911, when we will have the greatest panic in our history. I quote him as follows:

"In the past, stocks have gone up and down with regularity of the ebb flow of the tide. Some stocks, even with [R3506 : page 52] the tide going out, dart higher than others, and tend to confuse the would-be buyer as to the general tendency. So with the incoming tide, some stocks tend to keep back, though the general tendency is higher, always higher."


***

We have seen the financial cycles outlined, and consider it remarkable. We mention it as an outside corroboration of about what we are expecting inferentially from the prophetic testimony, viz., that October, 1914, will date the cataclysm of Anarchy in a world-wide sweep, which implies that a panic, the greatest ever known, would occur somewhere about 1911 and lead up to the "time of trouble, such as was not since there was a nation."

A BRIEF STATEMENT OF ROME'S TEACHINGS.


The latest statement we have seen of the teachings of Roman Catholicism respecting Purgatory, Indulgences, etc., is the following:--

"A plenary indulgence is granted to the penitent sinner upon confession and going to holy communion. It is granted to lay Catholics who take part in the Congress, go to confession, receive communion, and on any day during the Congress visit a church, praying before the blessed sacrament for the intentions of the Pope.

"A partial indulgence of seven years and seven quarantines --that is, the reduction of seven years and seven times for sin committed here--is granted to those of the Church in the city and ecclesiastical province of New York who will unite themselves with the Congress in spirit and be interested in its proceedings, and visit a church on any day during the Congress, praying before the blessed sacrament according to the intentions mentioned above.

"A partial indulgence of 300 days' remission from punishment for sins in eternity is granted to those who assist at the Congress, as well as to all the faithful in the province who at least are contrite of heart and visit a church on any day of the Congress and pray. All these remissions of punishment for sin may be gained for the benefit of any friend or relative suffering punishment in purgatory. The duration of the suffering of the latter is thereby lessened and their advent into heaven expedited.

"None of these remissions from punishment in eternity can be obtained for unconfessed sin.

"The Church makes a distinction between the forgiveness of sin and its punishment.

"Confession and communion bring forgiveness, but sins must sometimes be atoned for in eternity, even after sacramental absolution, the remission of this punishment being valid in the court of conscience and before God, and being made by an application of the treasure of the Church on the part of a lawful superior."

ALL GO TO PURGATORY.

"Purgatory is a middle state between heaven and hell. Few, if any, are so perfect at death as to deserve immediate admission to a state of bliss in Heaven, and the Church has taught from the beginning that souls which are not pure enough for heaven nor evil enough for hell are made to suffer for a time in purgatory.

"The pains of purgatorial punishment may be as awful as those of hell, but with this difference, that the torments of the one are everlasting while the purgatorial sufferings endure only for a limited time.

"Now, as Christ in making St. Peter the head of his Church gave him the keys of heaven and of hell, the Popes, Peter's successors, have the power to absolve from sin, and consequently from much of the purgatorial punishment. And it is this that is meant by indulgences. But it does not, by any means, imply that the Pope has the power or authority to remit the punishments of hell."


***

Poor creatures! What a miserable prospect they look forward to when they think of death coming upon their friends or themselves. No wonder the majority of the laity have such unhappy faces. How relieved they will be when, in the resurrection morning, they awake and find that their fears were a nightmare of Satan's origination to keep them from knowing and loving the true God, whose name is Love, and whose merciful provision is that all redeemed by the precious blood of Christ shall yet come to a clear knowledge of his grace and to an opportunity for restitution to all that was lost--including lasting life in divine favor.

It may sound strange at first, but it is true, that Protestants have been blessed in some respects by adding to this error--by making the future yet more awful --by determining and teaching that there is no purgatory, no prospect of peace or joy, but only agony for all eternity, for all not fit for heaven when they die.

How is this more horrible doctrine less injurious, do you ask? Because it is so unreasonable that few believe it. Protestants well know that only saints are [R3507 : page 52] "fit for the Kingdom" (Luke 9:62) and it is to their credit as rational beings that they cannot imagine their unfit loved ones as having been consigned by a just God to everlasting tortures.

A STRANGE PREDICTION.


The following item is going the rounds of the secular press:--

"In 1849, according to the German newspapers, Frederick William, who was then King of Prussia, consulted a fortune teller, and here is the extraordinary prediction which she made to him:--

"'We are now in the year 1849,' she said, 'and if, beginning at the right, you place under each other in a vertical column the numerals which make up this number, 1849, under the number itself, you will find the year in which your kingdom will become a great empire. That year will be 1871. Now perform the same operation with 1871 and you will arrive at 1888, which is the date of the first Emperor's death. Finally treat 1888 in the same manner and you will obtain 1913, this being the year in which the empire will be overthrown and a republic proclaimed.'

"Here is the way in which she obtained the three notable years:--
1849 1871 1888
1 1 1
8 8 8
4 7 8
9 1 8
---- ---- ----
1871 1888 1913

"Her predictions as regards two of the years have come true and superstitious persons are now wondering if 1913 will really prove quite as fatal a year for the German Empire as she has prophesied."



[R3507 : page 53]

THE SATISFACTION OF JUSTICE.

LAST year we answered questions on the above subject sent in by one of the number. We have been requested to present our reply in the columns of the WATCH TOWER, that others might be profited as well. We do so as follows:--

With the first and second paragraphs of your letter I agree quite well. The first point of objection is found in the third paragraph.

(1) Your statement reads, "Now to purchase for Adam a right of release, it would be necessary for some one to pay to Justice the exact equivalent of what he forfeited, give a ransom for him." I agree to that part, but disagree to the next statement, namely, "This Jesus did." Jesus died for all, he laid down his life as a ransom for all, but he did not give it or pay it over to Justice for all. He deposited the merit or value of it all in the hands of Justice as security or guarantee for the redemption of the whole world, but he applied only a portion, not for the world, but solely for those who would now exercise faith in him. It is as though a man conducting a large enterprise went to a banking company and, after securing the said bank against loss, got it to underwrite his scheme, and in connection therewith appropriate a certain amount of his deposit, leaving the remainder to be paid in later on, according to terms and conditions mutually agreed upon.

That this is the divine plan is shown in various ways in the Scriptures:

(a) We are distinctly told that our Lord Jesus ascended up on high, there to "appear in the presence of God for us"--not for the world in general, but for believers. The Scriptures in various ways indicate a marked distinction between the divine arrangement for us and the divine arrangement for the world. For instance, "Christ was a propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world." This statement shows a distinct differentiation between our sins and the sins of the whole world. The one sacrifice is the basis of both these propitiations, yet they are separate and distinct in order--in time. The application of the Lord's grace is first to the Church, to believers, to the household of faith. He appears before the bar of Justice during this Gospel age to make satisfaction "for us."

(b) Not only have we those statements to the effect that the atonement is effected thus far only for "the household of faith," but additionally we have the demonstration of this in the fact that the holy Spirit was shed forth only upon the Church, "the servants and handmaidens." The same is attested by the statement of the Apostle that we believers "have escaped the condemnation that is on the world." The condemnation is still on the world, but it is not on us, because our High Priest has applied the merit of his sacrifice "on our behalf." Thus also the Apostle again states, "Ye are washed, ye are sanctified." Likewise he declares that the children of believers are similarly washed and cleansed, justified, and that the children of unbelievers are still "unclean."--1 Cor. 7:14.

If the atonement had been made, applied on behalf of the world, the world would no longer be unclean, children of wrath under condemnation, etc. Because the atonement was made for the household of the priest, therefore all the members of the household of faith are justified, cleansed, washed in the precious blood.

(c) It is in full accord with the foregoing that we find the Apostle distinctly declaring that it is the privilege of the Church to "fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ"--to "suffer with him," to "be dead with him," etc. Thus the teachings of the New Testament agree with those of the prophets of the Old Testament, who "spoke of the sufferings of Christ and the glory that should follow." The glory has not yet been revealed. When "revealed all flesh shall see it together." We are glad to trust that we are in the dawning of the Millennial day, that the glories of the great Messiah will soon be manifested to the groaning creation. This will be a manifestation of the Son of God, and also of all the sons of God graciously counted in with him as suffering with him, sacrificing with him, dead with him as members of his body, participators in his sufferings and sacrifice, sharers with him in his glory to be revealed.

(d) In accordance with the foregoing is the testimony of the Tabernacle Shadows which fits and binds together every feature of the glorious plan and shows us that the first sacrifice of the Day of Atonement, the sacrifice of the bullock, was for and on behalf of the body of the priest and his household, the house of Levi, the household of faith. It shows us that the sacrifice of the goat, representing the sacrifice of the body of Christ, is a part of the atonement work, though the merit rests entirely upon the first sacrifice--of the bullock. From this we see how the Lord is accepting "us" as sacrificers, because we are Christ's and not on our own account.

(e) We see further that this second part of the Atonement Day sacrifices will not be complete until the last member of the body of Christ has suffered with the Head. The type shows further that when this shall have been accomplished, the full ransom-price for the world will be presented to Justice and be accepted forthwith; and that as a result the great High Priest shall come forth clothed in glory and in blessing power and that the result will be the lifting of the curse, the removal of all divine wrath and the pouring of the holy Spirit upon "all flesh."

(f) This in no sense signifies that merit of the Church has accomplished anything that could not have been accomplished without her co-operation. It shows on the contrary that all the merit was in the Lord Jesus and in the sacrifice which he gave. Any sacrifice which we make is based upon his merit imputed to us and continued in our sacrifice. It is the sacrifice of "his body," in the larger sense of the word his Church, that will thus be completed. It will be the Christ, the great Prophet, Priest and King, of many members, with one Head, raised up from amongst the brethren. It will effect all this great blessing, and all the members of the body must recognize the honor of the Head and maintain the same; and all of them will be glad to acknowledge that without him we could do nothing, and that without him our sacrifices would not avail anything, and that hence to him belongs all the glory of the great salvation.

(1) I still affirm, as in the past, that as we all shared in Adam's condemnation, any price which will avail for him must be sufficient to purchase deliverance for all that were in him--the whole human race: that the death penalty was such that if one were paid for, all would be paid for: that in harmony with this Jesus gave himself a ransom for all. But the giving of himself into death as "a ransom for all" or "a corresponding price," must [R3507 : page 54] not be confounded with the paying over of that price to Justice after our Lord arose from the dead. He has the entire merit of his sacrifice at his command, and all of it pledged on behalf of Adam and his race, but only a portion of it is applied, namely, to the household of faith.

JESUS APPROPRIATED ON BEHALF OF BELIEVERS.

(2) To say that the Lord paid over to the Father or to Justice the full amount, and that the Father accepted the same for all, would be to contradict the plain statements of Scripture which we have just examined. Justice is properly represented as being blind, and hence if the Lord's merit had been applied for all Justice would [R3508 : page 54] not be at liberty to discriminate and to select first of all a little flock and withhold for a time the blessing of the remainder. Justice must be impartial, and if she accepts the price must at once release all claim upon the captives. We have shown that this is not the case, that Justice still regards the world as "children of wrath," "under condemnation," "unclean." This proposition is, therefore, fallacious--manifestly so.

(3) When our Lord "ascended up on high" he led a multitude of captives. In the prophetic sense we might speak of the whole world as already released, but not in the actual sense. From the standpoint that our Lord's life is a sufficiency to meet all the requirements of Justice whenever applied, we may think and speak of the world as being no longer dead but merely asleep. Indeed our heavenly Father spoke of mankind from that standpoint of his purpose centuries before the ransom price was paid at all.

The entire work of redemption is properly viewed as one with a beginning and ending, just like the Day of Atonement. It was all one Day of Atonement, but there were two parts of the work of that day. And so there are various features or stages of the work of "leading captivity captive." It began with our Lord's own personal release from the captivity of death; it continued subsequently with the reckoned release of believers, and further development is found in their actual release in the First Resurrection. A still further development will be found in the awakening of the world and the restitution processes of the Millennial age. The absolute fulfilling of this leading of captivity captive will not be realized until the close of the Millennial age, when death will be literally, actually, fully "swallowed up in victory."

OUR LORD'S SACRIFICE WAS SUFFICIENT.

(4) There was no need of anything being added to the Lord's sacrifice so far as Justice was concerned; but the Apostle tells us that God foreknew us also by Jesus,-- that, in the divine plan formulated before the world began, the Lord foreordained the Church, Jesus' Bride or associates; and in order for us to share with him in his glory it was necessary that we should also share with him in his sufferings. And because his sufferings were by divine arrangement applied as the atonement for the sins of the Church, therefore, by this divine arrangement, any sufferings that the Church may experience are counted in with those of the Lord as "sufferings of Christ;" and all the sufferings of Christ were atonement sufferings, not for personal sins, but for the sins of the world.

If any of the Lord's people suffer stripes as punishments for partially wilful sins, such sufferings are not part of the sufferings of Christ, but are stripes for discipline. The sufferings which we have with Christ are of the same nature as his, namely, because of our loyalty to him and the principles of righteousness for which he stands.

JUSTICE DEALS ONLY WITH THE MEDIATOR.

(5) It would not be the correct thought to say that the life of Adam forfeited through sin is to be given back to him by Justice, because Jesus redeemed us. The thought rather is that Adam and his race had forfeited their rights to life and had no such rights at the bar of Justice, and that Jesus sacrificed his human life on man's behalf, so that the dead world might receive life through him--life from the dead.

It is in harmony with this thought and in opposition to the other that the Lord speaks of himself as the Bread which came down from heaven, of which a man might eat and not die. Thus in the celebration of the Lord's Memorial Supper, in partaking of the bread we represent our faith in his redemptive work and our justification to life through the life which he laid down for us.

The same thought is also presented in the Scriptures when referring to Christ as the "Everlasting Father" of the world in the future. He sacrificed his life, and is by divine authority granted the privilege of applying its equivalent to Adam and all of his race as he may please. He does apply a portion of that merit now to us who believe, and eventually he will apply sufficient of his merit to bring a blessing to all the world of mankind. Hence we have the promise of the Scriptures of a future time of restitution: the restitution to life of Adam and his children by virtue of their acceptance of that life as a gift--which Christ secured for them by the laying down of his life on their behalf. This our Lord designates regeneration. The world was generated once through Adam and all lost life through his disobedience. Christ has died that he might assume the place and rights and privileges of headship to our race, the privilege of fatherhood. He proposes a regeneration of all the children of Adam--so many of them as will accept the terms and conditions for returning to the full life and perfection of perfect human nature.

MIGHT NOT THE CHURCH BE MERELY "RECKONED SACRIFICERS"?

(6) The "reckoning" of Scripture is merely that of justification, making up for our inherited deficiencies and weaknesses. There is no reckoning of sacrifice. Being blemished by nature we have nothing whatever to sacrifice unless first we are counted or reckoned as justified,--made whole, cleansed. Such the Apostle urges, "I beseech you, brethren, by the mercies of God [in your justification] that ye present your bodies living sacrifices, holy, acceptable to God, your reasonable service." The sacrifice must be an actual one of a body reckoned perfect, but actually very imperfect. We cannot be reckoned to suffer with Christ if we do not suffer with him, and hence there is nothing in the Scriptures to this effect. On the contrary, "If we [actually] suffer with him, we shall also be glorified together." It will not do, therefore, to figure away these plain limitations of the Scriptures. Whoever does so is in a dangerous position, wresting with the Scriptures.

On the Atonement Day the blood of the bullock was sprinkled seven times, as representing fulness, completeness, efficacy--efficacy for the thing for which it was sprinkled or applied, namely, on behalf of the High [R3508 : page 55] Priest's body and household. Similarly, subsequently, the blood of the Lord's goat, the second offering of the Atonement Day, was sprinkled seven times, representing similarly perfection, fulness, completeness, efficacy, for the purpose it was applied, namely, on behalf of "all the people."

PERHAPS JESUS DIVIDES THE CREDIT WITH HIS CHURCH.

(8) It is wholly contrary to the facts and Scripture to say that Jesus divided the credit of the atonement sacrifice with his Church, but not the deed. It is the deed that he requires, and without the deed there will be no participation. It is not the less his deed, as already shown. We could have neither part nor lot in the matter except as members of his body and under the influence of him as our Head, who works in us to will and to do of his good pleasure--to fill up that which is behind of the sufferings of Christ.

(9) Yes, we use balances to represent divine Justice. Adam's disobedience forfeited his life to satisfy Justice; the unmerited death of Christ would balance or offset Adam's penalty, and when applied will give him the right to regenerate Adam's race on appropriate terms and conditions.

(10) To say that "The Church sacrifices her life-rights to become sharer in the great reward of Christ," yet to reject the clear testimony that God accepts this as a part of the sufferings of Christ, guided by him as the Head, and finally to be applied by him as a part of his own, is inconsistent and unreasonable.



[R3508 : page 55]

THE FEAST OF TABERNACLES.

John 7:37-46.--March 5.

Golden Text:--"Never man spake like this man."

THE TWO great feasts of the Jews were the Feast of Passover, from the fifteenth to the twenty-second of the first month, and the Feast of Tabernacles (dwelling in booths), from the fifteenth to the twenty-second of Tishri, the seventh month, corresponding closely to October 1, but varying according to the Jewish calendar, which was calculated on lunar time. These two great feasts divided the Jewish year, and were the great occasions on which the people from all over the Kingdom were expected to visit Jerusalem, the capital city, to spend a week in fellowship together, in thanksgiving to the Lord and the making of vows to him. These two festivals represent the beginning of a year--the one the civil year, the other the Church year, yet both might be termed religious in the sense that the entire national government was built upon a religious foundation. Israel was God's nation, and its laws were from him.

Each of these feasts had its peculiar religious sacrifice, pointing to our Lord and his sacrifice and the Gospel Church, his body. The Passover festival in the beginning of the year was the anniversary of the deliverance from Egypt, the Passover lamb representing Christ, our Passover sacrifice, and the feast following representing the liberty and joy and blessing which come to all of the Lord's people passed over through faith in his blood. The fall festival was held in connection with the Day of Atonement and its sacrifices for sins, which typified the better sacrifices of this Gospel age and the ultimate atonement for the sins of the whole world, and the consequent ultimate removal of the curse which still rests [R3509 : page 55] upon the world of mankind. This festival was instituted at the time Israel passed from the wilderness into the Land of Promise. It commemorated the wilderness life and the entrance into Canaan, where they were privileged to enjoy their inheritance and have more substantial dwelling places. It was really the festival of the New Year, and a kind of thanksgiving occasion for the ingathering or harvest of the year.--Exod. 23:16; Lev. 23:33-44.

THE FEAST OF TABERNACLES CELEBRATION.

The usage of the people on this occasion is thus described by Edersheim and others:--

"In Jerusalem booths were erected everywhere, in court and on housetop, in street and in square. These arbors or booths were made of branches of trees--palms, sycamores, olives, pines, willows, etc. Nobody was living at home, everybody in these booths--all the people from the city and crowds from the country. All distinctions of rank, all separation between rich and poor, were for a while forgotten, as each one dwelt in as good a dwelling as his neighbor.

"Each morning a joyous procession, with music, went down to the Pool of Siloam and drew water in a golden pitcher, from which it was poured out upon the altar amid hallelujahs.

"At night, four golden candelabra, each with four golden bowls for light, were in the center of the court, and the light emanating from them was visible to the whole city. Around these lights pious men danced before the people with lighted flambeaux in their hands, singing hymns and songs of praise, whilst the Levites, who were stationed on the fifteen steps which led into the woman's court of the Temple and which corresponded to the fifteen psalms of degrees, i.e. steps (Psalms 122-134), accompanied the songs with instrumental music.

"The Temple illumination was symbolical of the light which was to shine from out the Temple into the dark night of heathendom; then, at the first dawn of morn the blasts of the priests' silver trumpets, of the army of God, as it advanced with festive trumpet-sound and call, to awaken the sleepers and to utter solemn protest against heathendom."

"It is supposed that on the last evening of the festival, when the splendid light of this grand illumination was to cease, Christ called attention to himself, 'I am the Light of the world' (John 8:12), which is to shine forever and illuminate not only the Temple and the Holy City, but all the world,"--the Sun of Righteousness.

"THAT GREAT DAY OF THE FEAST."

The last of these seven days of the feast was called the Great Day. It was in it that the entire festival ceremony and rejoicing reached its climax. Again we glean from Edersheim and others, as follows:--

"According to Jewish tradition the pillar of cloud by day and the fire by night, symbolical of God's presence and guidance, at first appeared to Israel on the fifteenth of Tishri, the first day of the feast. On that [R3509 : page 56] day Moses was said to have come down from the Mount and announced to the people that the tabernacle of God was to be reared among them. We note that the dedication of Solomon's Temple and the descent of the Shekinah glory upon it took place at this feast.--1 Kings 8; 2 Chron. 7.

"The last great day of the feast was the climax of all this symbolization. Early in the morning the people, with the Paradise apple (an orange) in their left hands and branches in their right, marched to the sound of music in a procession headed by the priest, who bore a golden pitcher to draw water from the Pool of Siloam, south of the Temple. The priest having filled the golden pitcher at this fountain, brought it back into the court of the Temple, amid the shouts of the multitude and the sounds of cymbals and trumpets. The return was so timed that the procession should arrive just as other priests were laying the pieces of the sacrifices on the altar of burnt offering toward the close of the ordinary sacrifice-service.

"On each of the seven days the priest made a circuit of the altar, saying, 'O, then, now work salvation, Jah! O, Jah, give prosperity!' But on the seventh day they made the circuit seven times remembering how the walls of Jericho had fallen in similar circumstances, and anticipating that by the direct interposition of God, the walls of heathendom would fall before Jehovah and the world lie open before his people to go in and possess it.

"The golden pitcher full of water was then poured upon the altar. This ceremony was considered of vital importance and apparently symbolized the out-pouring of the holy Spirit. Immediately following the pouring of this water the Hallel was sung. This consists of Psalms 113-118. These were chanted, with responses, to the accompaniment of the flute. As the Levites intoned the first line of the Psalm, the people repeated it; while to each of the other lines they responded, Hallelu Yah (Praise ye the Lord). Then the priests blew a three-fold blast on their silver trumpets."

JESUS AT THE FEAST.

Our lesson relates to the last feast of Tabernacles attended by our Lord--the one which occurred just six months before the crucifixion. In a previous lesson we saw that the feeding of the five thousand was at a time when many of them were on their way to Jerusalem to the feast of the Passover, so that the present lesson is at least six months later--quite possibly a year and six months later, as evidently there was a considerable time during which our Lord "could not walk in Jewry, because the Jews sought to kill him."

On the occasion of this feast, many wondered whether or not Jesus would attend it, for it seems to have been well understood by a considerable number that the chief priests were so envious against the Lord, so enmitous, so bitter, that threats had been made against his life. While our Lord realized that his life was under divine protection until his "hour" should come, nevertheless it would appear that he did not tempt providence by going unnecessarily in the way of danger, but rather shaped his course according to the conditions he found. Thus, too, he admonished his disciples, "When they persecute you in one city, flee ye to another."

The context shows that at this time some of our Lord's brethren (probably his cousins, for cousins at that time were called "brethren") seemed to doubt his Messiahship, and urged him to go up to Jerusalem and perform his mighty works there, where the most learned men of the nation would have an opportunity for seeing and criticising and fault-finding, and if possible refuting his claims and miracles. Our Lord's answer was, "Go ye up to the feast; I go not up to the feast; mine hour is not yet fully come." For our Lord to have gone up early to the feast might have provoked the animosity of the religious teachers the more. His delay in going was no injury to the publicity of his teachings either, because the people naturally inquired for him, expressed wonder, discussed his claims, told one another what they had seen and heard in their own cities, villages, etc. It was toward the latter part of the feast week that our Lord arrived on the scene and went straightway to the Temple, and when the religious sentiments of the people were at their highest pitch he called their attention to the deep spiritual things symbolized by them year by year continually.

It is presumed that it was just at the close of the pouring of the golden pitcher full of water on the altar, a libation to the Lord, and while the multitudes in the warm climate were probably thirsty and had their thirst rather aggravated by the sight of the water, that Jesus made the announcements which constitute the essence of our lesson, "If any man thirst, let him come unto me and drink. He that believeth on me, as the Scripture saith, Out of his belly shall flow a stream of living water."

No wonder the people said, as the Prophet had foretold, that our Lord spake in parables and dark sayings. How many, how few of the multitude who heard could gain any reasonable understanding of this message! Even under the blessed influences that are ours under the Spirit dispensation, how few have any adequate conception of what these words signify.

DRINKING AT THE FOUNTAIN.

All have some conception of what natural thirst is, and of the refreshment that comes through partaking of literal water, and to understand our Lord's words respecting the water of life which he has to give, we must carry the figure forward and realize that there are other thirsts and cravings of the human nature which need satisfaction, which without satisfaction cause unrest, distress. These cravings of the heart we briefly refer to again as thirst for rest, peace, joy and fellowship. Only those who have such thirsts are called upon-- "Blessed are they that hunger and thirst." Many of our race at the present time are so depraved mentally and physically that they have no hunger and thirst for better things than they now enjoy--they already are full and satisfied with the imperfect things possessed. The Lord's appeal at the present time is not to these, but to those who hunger and thirst, "If any man thirst let him come unto me and drink."

This is the appeal of this Gospel age: the Lord is seeking for the thirsting ones and finding them, and if they will drink at his fountain of grace and truth, they will find the satisfaction, the comfort, the joy, the peace, the rest, the blessing, which the world can neither give nor take away. Blessed, therefore, are the thirsty, and favored are they who are now drinking of the waters given forth by the smitten Rock--our Lord.--1 Cor. 10:4. [R3510 : page 57]

The Apostle commented upon our Lord's words, explaining the first part, but not the second. He says, "This spake he of the Spirit which they who believed on him should receive." The receiving of the Spirit is the satisfying of our thirst. All through life we are drinking at this fountain. We will not be satisfied until we awake in the Lord's likeness; then, as the Apostle declares, "I shall be satisfied when I awake in thy likeness" --when this mortal shall be swallowed up in immortality, we shall be like our dear Redeemer, see him as he is, and share his glory as members of his body.

THE HOLY SPIRIT WAS NOT YET GIVEN.

The holy Spirit was exercised upon the prophets, and under its influence they spake and wrote. But the holy Spirit granted to the Gospel Church at and since Pentecost is different; it is the Spirit of adoption, the Spirit of understanding, not the Spirit of prophecy. It was not possible for any to be begotten of the Spirit as sons of God until the ransom-sacrifice of Jesus as on our behalf had been accomplished, not until he had ascended up on high and presented the merit of that sacrifice on our behalf to the Father, not until it had been accepted by the Father. Then this blessing of the Spirit of adoption was shed forth upon the apostles. All accepted to membership in the body of Christ since, by association with the fellow-members, are made partakers of this one Spirit, by which all are sealed until the day of deliverance. Eph. 4:30.

THE OUTFLOWING STREAM.

"Out of his body shall flow a stream of living waters." This verse was not fulfilled at Pentecost, where the Lord's followers merely began to drink of the spiritual truths, and by them to be united into one body of many members, of which Jesus is the head. It is from this one body that ultimately the stream of the water of life shall flow during the Millennial age for the blessing of the whole world. Our Lord referred to this saying, "My word shall judge you in the last day"--in the great day, the Millennial day; the world shall be judged by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. The water of life represents the Truth, and the amount of this water of life or Truth that shall proceed from the mouth of the Lord, from the mouth of the glorified Church, shall be such a stream, such a flow, as will reach to every part of the earth. "The knowledge of the glory of God shall fill the whole earth."

In the present time, those who drink at the fountain of the water of life, are merely the sanctified in Christ Jesus, and our Lord declares of these that his grace and truth in them shall be as a well of water springing up into life everlasting. In Revelation, Chapter 21, we are given the picture of the aggregation of the various members of the body of Christ in glory. The whole is pictured as the New Jerusalem, and from it issues the stream of the water of life which our Lord referred to in his discourses. It will be a great river of the water of life, and on either bank of it will be the trees of life, nourished and supplied by it, bearing good fruit, and the leaves of those trees will be for the healing of the nations.

Thus seen the Lord's discourse briefly pictured the blessings coming to his followers during this Gospel age, and the blessings that shall in the next age proceed from them for the comfort, blessing and uplifting, restitution, of all the families of the earth--of whosoever wills to take of that river of the water of life, which then will flow freely, and to which all will be clearly and distinctly invited by the Spirit and the Bride.

A DIVISION AMONGST THE PEOPLE.

Peace and unity are greatly to be desired; yet these are not always possible, not always advantageous. If all were perfect, peace and unity would certainly be the only proper condition, but so long as there are imperfections, errors, etc., there must be differences. In harmony with this our Lord declared that his message would not bring peace but a sword under present conditions. He will be the Prince of Peace by and by, but not until peace shall be established upon a righteous basis. Before that time he will be the King who will reign in righteousness, and dash evil systems and things to pieces as potters' vessels, with a rod of iron.

There are those who say peace, peace, when there is no peace and when peace is not possible, and the Lord's people are not to be of these. This does not mean that the Lord's people are to be breeders of strife. On the contrary they are exhorted everywhere in the Scriptures to be peaceable and peacemakers; but with all efforts for peace, and their love of peace and their peacemaking qualities continually increasing, the message that our Lord gave them will breed disturbances. Why? We answer in the words of our Lord, because there is no fellowship between light and darkness, there can be no peace nor truce between the two; in proportion as the one obtains control, the other is excluded.

In harmony with this we find in this lesson that there was a division among the people because of him-- some approving and some opposing. Thus it must be with us as we lift up the standard of righteousness: if we will let the light of truth shine out, those who love the truth will be more or less attracted by it in proportion as their hearts are sincere, truth loving. Those who love the error will become antagonistic in proportion to their lack of sincerity. If this was the case with our Lord, can we think that it would be possible for his disciples to find it otherwise? Surely not. We must have our feet shod with the preparation of the Gospel of peace. Ours is the Gospel of peace, yet we will find that as we bear it to others our path of progress will be a difficult one and we will need all the protection the Lord has provided in his fore-statement of what we must expect, and his promises of blessing and glory to the overcomers.

ENVY, MALICE, HATRED, MURDER.

While our Lord was in the Temple teaching, the Jewish rulers, aware of his presence, were conspiring for his life. A meeting of the Sanhedrin was called, and officers representing the body were present in the Temple amongst the people, charged with the responsibility of finding some fault with the teaching and making it the pretext for a measure of insurrection, and further, the arrest of our Lord--under a charge either of teaching contrary to the Law of Moses or contrary to the Roman laws. On every occasion they sought to entrap him in his words, but being unable to do so, they returned to the Sanhedrin to report.

What a sad commentary it is upon the deceitfulness of the human heart, that these men, who were thus [R3510 : page 58] seeking for the apprehension and death of Jesus, were the most influential men in this, the holiest nation of earth. Not only so, they were Doctors of the Law-- men supposedly the best versed in the Mosaic Law, its letter and spirit--men whose position in Judaism corresponded to that of Doctors of Divinity in Christendom to-day. We may well ask, as Pilate subsequently did, "Why, what evil hath he done?" The answer must be that there was no evil except in the hearts of these most talented, educated and nominally most religious men in the world.

We can imagine that if one were to have inquired as to their motive, the answer would have been, We are so loyal to God, to his Law through Moses and to the interests of this mighty people, over which God has made us rulers and teachers, that we are zealous to put down this man who, though he seems to be God-fearing, sympathetic with the poor, etc., is, we believe, a most pernicious man. He is pernicious in that he is representing himself to be the Messiah, and because he is really a man of ability, he has hoodwinked the people. If we let him alone, the power of controlling this nation, which now rests with us as the moral and intellectual leaders of the nation, will pass out of our grasp; this man will establish himself, and the whole people of Israel will look upon us as being foolish, and conclude that they were able to know the Messiah and that we, their intellectual superiors, were stupid or out of divine favor so we could not recognize the time of our visitation.

This would be their way of reasoning on the subject, but the Lord's view of the situation would be the very reverse, that they were hypocritical, that they were pretending to be what they were not in reality, that much of their praise and service toward the Lord were formalistic lip services, and that pride lay at the bottom of their endeavors and professions, and that this pride was touched by the success of our Lord and his wisdom, and the fact that the multitudes heeded his message: they were envious, malice burned in their hearts, they hated him without a cause--simply because he was better, holier, wiser than they, and because the people were recognizing this fact.

How dangerous a thing is envy--selfishness! How many of the Lord's people to-day are afflicted by it so that they refuse to recognize the Spirit of the Lord, so that instead of seeking to encourage one another and to add to the influence of one another and to realize that the whole work of the Lord is one, alas, how often is the spirit of strife and vain glory found! How displeasing everything of this kind must be in the sight of the Lord!

GRACE WAS POURED UPON HIS LIPS.

When the officers returned to the Sanhedrin, the question was asked, Where is your prisoner? Why did you not bring him? Were you not able to entrap him in his words? Is it possible that any man could speak in public and that keen-minded men such as you are would be unable to entrap him in anything he might say that would enable you to form a charge against him as a teacher of that which would be injurious to the people, that he said nothing that you could construe to be a violation of the Law of Moses or the law of the Romans? The answer was a volume in itself,--"Never man spake like this man." [R3511 : page 58]

The Lord's people, seeking to walk in his footsteps, continually find that the world is still full of envy and malice and hatred. They still find it true that "The world knoweth us not, even as it knew him not;" they still find that amongst their opponents, amongst those who seek to do them injury, amongst those who seek to entrap them in their words and who would apprehend them and injure them in reputation, if not in person, they find some of the worldly noble, the worldly wise, the worldly religious. The Lord's message to these is, "In your patience possess ye your souls." Their proper course is to set a guard upon their lips that they sin not with their mouths, that they should not only pray but strive that the meditations of their hearts and words of their mouths be acceptable to the Lord, and in proportion as this is true of them it will also be true of them that they will be wiser and more discreet in their language than others--approximately like unto him who spake as never man spake.

But what a matter this is to guard the tongue! Truly the Apostle said that he who is able to conquer his tongue is able to conquer his whole body. It is so easy to say something that ought not to be said, it is so easy for the majority to repeat an evil rumor, to cast a reflection upon the character of another, to assassinate in this manner, or at least to wound or injure, the interests or feelings or good name of another. Let us more and more in this particular also seek to be like our Lord, seek to speak as other men do not speak, and thus show forth the praises of him who hath called us out of darkness into his marvellous light.



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"YE SHALL BE FREE INDEED."

John 8:31-40.--March 12.

Golden Text: "Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin."

THIS LESSON is a brief report of one of our Lord's discourses while at the Feast of Tabernacles, referred to in our last lesson--probably delivered on the last, the great day of the Feast. Many who had heard his discourse on the Water of Life that he could give and on himself as the Light of the World, were well convinced that "never man spake like this man"-- convinced that he was a great prophet, or teacher at least, that he was sent of God, and, this being true, that he could be none other than the long-expected Messiah. Addressing these believers, our Lord intimated to them that they were not yet fully his disciples--that discipleship would imply a desire to hear his message further and a willingness to obey it at any cost. His words were: "If ye continue in my words, then ye are my disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free."

SHARPER THAN A TWO-EDGED SWORD.

The Apostle points out the fact that the Word of God is quick (living) and powerful and sharper than a two-edged sword, able to separate and divide and distinguish [R3511 : page 59] as nothing else will do, both the thoughts and intents of the heart. We see this illustrated in our Lord's words. He uttered the truth, important truth, blessed truth, helpful truth to those in a right condition of mind. Nevertheless, in those in a wrong condition of mind his noble words stirred up envy, resentment and an evil spirit. This must necessarily be the case always. Truth, as our Lord points out, is represented by the light, error by the darkness, and there is continually an antagonism between these. Where one is, the other is correspondingly lacking; where one comes in, the other departs proportionately.

Apparently many of our Lord's hearers were favorably impressed with these utterances; apparently the multitude of those who heard him were so much on his side that the officers of the Sanhedrin failed to take him; apparently the division of the people concerning him was quite largely in his favor. The expression, "Never man spake like this man," and the declarations that they "marvelled at the gracious words that proceeded out of his mouth," and that they said, "If this be not the Christ, when the Christ cometh can he do greater things than this man doeth?" all imply that there was a strong undercurrent of sentiment in his favor; and the fact that the chief priests and Doctors of the Law were jealous of him to the extent that they sought his death, also implies this attitude of the multitude. But he followed the course of duty instead of the course of worldly wisdom and self exaltation.

It was necessary that he should present the truth to those who were believing, that it might sift and separate amongst them, that those of proper attitude of heart might be brought nearer to him and to the Father, and be prepared for the great change which would date from the time of his death and resurrection and the pouring out of the holy Spirit. It was necessary, also, that others not of the right condition of heart should be repelled, "That seeing they might see and not perceive," not become disciples indeed, not be made free, because not really the children of the Truth; that they should not fully recognize the Messiah, not be prepared for the blessing of Pentecost, but, on the contrary, be left in their blindness, in which six months later they would cry before Pilate, "Crucify him," "Away with such a fellow from the earth," "His blood be upon us and upon our children."

PRIDE AN OPPONENT TO THE TRUTH.

Touch a man's pride and you arouse his whole being. Blessed, therefore, and favorably conditioned are the humble, the meek and the lowly of heart. They are not only better prepared to receive the good tidings respecting the Kingdom, but will be better prepared to follow the footsteps of the Master in the attainment of the Kingdom. Pride is generally in error and hence frequently comes into contact with the Truth, as in this case. There was nothing really or properly offensive in our Lord's words, "The Truth shall make you free:" it was the power of the Truth in the words and not any rudeness or unkindness of the sentiment that aroused the wrath of the hearers--the expression wounded their pride.

This pride seems to be a part of the difficulty of the Jew from that day to this. The Apostle intimates this in his quotation from the Prophet respecting their fall, "Let their table become a snare, a recompense unto them." The peculiar blessings of God upon that people ensnared them, for instead of appreciating the fact that they were not more worthy than others, they trusted in themselves that they were righteous and despised others--they thought of themselves as being more worthy than others of divine favors, revelations, etc. So in this case our Lord's hearers resented the thought that the Truth could make them free. If our Lord had said, You who are free, being my disciples, shall bless the heathen and deliver them from the yoke of bondage, the sentiment would have called forth approval and he would have been well thought of.

And this, indeed, would be the strict truth--the Lord's faithful disciples, the Israelites indeed, are the channels through whom the Lord will ultimately break the shackles of sin and death from off the Gentiles, the world and also from Israel. But in order for anyone to be the Lord's disciple, he himself must be made free, and it was to this the Lord referred, and it was this thought that angered those who had a few moments before believed on him. How could they regard him as the Messiah when he spoke thus slightingly of the Jewish nation and implied that in some sense of the word they were bondsmen? No; they had been bondsmen for awhile in Egypt but they now were free, was their argument.

SIN AND DEATH, SLAVE-MASTERS.

Supporting his previous statement, our Lord thrust a probe into their wounds, which had a good effect doubtless upon those in the right condition, but only an angering effect upon the majority. His words were, "He that committeth sin is the slave of Sin." In agreement with our Lord's words we recall the Apostle's expression, "Ye were sold under sin"--into slavery to Sin; and again he represents that the whole world are slaves to Sin and Death. Sin and Death are personified as cruel monarchs reigning over the world of mankind, and that the only ones freed from their galling yoke are those whom Christ has made free through the Truth, those who through the Truth have become his servants, his followers. What a precious lesson there is here for those who are in a humble attitude of heart and comprehend the slavery, longing for the liberty proper to the sons of God. All those learning this lesson, all those realizing the power of sin and death reigning, must desire freedom before they are properly prepared to follow Jesus, to walk in his steps and thus seek deliverance.

For over six thousand years Israel had been under the Law, and all of them who were of the right condition of heart found just what the Apostle Paul expresses in Romans 7, that to will to do right was present with them but not the ability to perform; that sin had such a hold in their members, in their flesh, that their best intentions were unable fully to control their words and thoughts and deeds. In other words, all Israelites indeed must have realized that through the fall, through the weakness of their flesh, they were unavoidably the servants, the slaves of sin, and all true Israelites looking up to the perfect law of God, the law of liberty, must have desired freedom from sin and ability to obey the divine command and thus to attain the great reward promised. Those of our Lord's hearers who were Israelites indeed must have seen the matter from this standpoint, and have felt the force of our Lord's words and [R3512 : page 60] have desired that the truth should make them free from the bondage of Sin and Death.

The majority, proud, boastful, conscience-seared, heady, high-minded, were incensed at the truth. They tauntingly repudiated the truth, declaring that as Abraham's seed they never were in bondage, thus rejecting the only avenue of escape from their slavery, their only channel for freedom, because there is "none other name given under heaven and amongst men whereby we must be saved," delivered, set free from sin and death, than the name of Jesus. Our Lord promptly exposed to them the hollowness of their pretensions. Pointing to the malice, envy, hatred, murder, which filled their hearts toward him as the result of his statement of the truth, he called upon them to witness that they had little of the disposition or works of Abraham, for they were even now desiring to kill him simply because he had told them the truth, because he had told them truths which Abraham could not tell, because he was proffering them assistances which their relationship to Abraham could not secure aside from him. No wonder the Scriptures declare, "They hated him without a cause," hated him because he told them the truth--the darkness hated the light. The same is true to-day as respects nominal spiritual Israel. There is a boastfulness and pride which objects to the truth because it more or less condemns all and makes manifest that very few indeed are free from the control of Sin.

"CHILDREN OF THE LIGHT."

Although they were not mentioned and probably were few in comparison to the multitude and probably made no demonstration at the time, we doubt not that there were some in the audience who were Israelites indeed, and in whose hearts our Master's words found lodgment, bringing forth much fruitage subsequently. These were Israelites indeed in whom there was no guile, no dishonesty, neither deception of others nor deception of their own hearts. They knew themselves to be sinners, unable to come up to the standards of the Law; they realized that they were indeed as the Lord had said, slaves of sin and imperfection; they desired to follow the perfect law of God as they discerned it with the eye of their understanding; they wondered and hoped if it were possible that this great Teacher had some words of truth, some message from the Lord which would relieve them from their great burden. These were in the attitude so graphically described and pictured by the Apostle Paul in his words, O, wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from this dead body? My mind desires to serve the law of God, but I have in my flesh all the imperfections and weaknesses of heredity and I am unable to do as I would.

Our Lord did not go into the details to show how the truth would make free; he merely stated the proposition, realizing that it would attract those who were of right condition of heart as the magnet attracts steel. It was not time to explain the truth that would make free. First he must redeem the world--he must die for our sins, be resurrected, changed, received up into glory and present a portion of the merit of his sacrifice on our behalf. When this had been accepted of the Father, the due time would come for the truth on this subject to be understood by the proper class, the Israelites indeed, and then he would shed forth the holy Spirit to guide his disciples into all truth on the subject and to give their hearts a full assurance of faith and to give their intellects full understanding of how God could be just and yet be the justifier of them that believe.

Under the enlightening and guiding influences of that Spirit, we now see what our Lord's hearers before Pentecost could not distinctly discern. We see that Israel was the house of servants and could not abide in the house of the Lord, in the place of his favor forever, but only temporarily would they occupy the place to prepare the way for and make types for the Gospel house of sons. "For Moses verily was faithful as a servant over all his house [of servants], but Christ as a son over his house [of sons]." Ah! now we can appreciate that the Son makes free--free indeed those who come unto the Father through him.

TRUTH MAKES FREE INDEED.

The truth which our Lord gives us to make us free indeed has various parts, various aspects. First, we need to realize our enslavement to sin and the hopelessness of our own efforts to extricate ourselves and obtain liberty. Some learn this lesson of truth much more quickly than do others, but it must be learned before we are ready properly to appreciate the next lesson, which is that our Lord Jesus died that he might thus cancel the power of sin upon humanity--that he might thus relieve us judicially from the divine displeasure and sentence of death, and that he might thus have the right ultimately to set free the captives of Sin and Death.

The third lesson to be learned is that the time for actually setting free the world, appointed in the Father's plan, is the great seventh day, the Millennium, the seventh-thousand-year day. Then he who bought the world with his precious blood will, according to the divine plan, dissolve the curse and set in operation the various agencies and methods of the Millennial Kingdom for the mental, moral and physical uplift of the world from its dead and enslaved condition--some actually in the tomb and others hastening hither--all are to be set free from the bondage of death, all are to be granted the opportunity for coming into the glorious liberty of the sons of God, liberty of freedom from sin and its dominion and liberty of freedom from death, the wages of sin.

The Apostle points out to us that the whole creation is groaning and travailing, waiting for that day and for the sons of God, under Jesus, the great Chief-captain and High-priest, to be the deliverers. The Apostle Peter points out that whosoever at that time will not avail himself of the great privileges and blessings of liberty and return to the Father's family will be destroyed in the Second Death.--Acts 3:23.

NOW ARE WE SONS OF GOD.

Another lesson which the holy Spirit teaches us through the apostles and prophets respecting this liberty where with Christ makes free, is that those who can now exercise faith in him and who earnestly crave this liberty, may in a certain sense be made free from sin and death now--in this present life--while outwardly to all appearances subject to similar conditions with the world. This faith salvation is the one which is in operation during this Gospel age. Blessed are those who have the eyes of faith and ears of faith, for they may receive this liberty in advance of the world, in [R3512 : page 61] advance of the Millennial age, and, receiving it into good and honest hearts, may receive still further blessing.

This liberty is justification, and of its comforting and blessed effects upon the hearts of God's people, the Apostle speaks (Rom. 5:1) saying, "Being justified by faith, we have peace with God." The truth gives us this peace--believing the scriptural statement that Christ died for our sins and rose for our justification, accepting him as our Redeemer from the shackles of sin and the serving of sin and reckonedly being brought from death unto life. From this standpoint we realize that we are acceptable with God, although we are still actually imperfect, we see that God accepts our best endeavors to obey his law as instead of actual obedience, and that his justice is compensated or fulfilled by the imputation to us of the righteousness of our Lord Jesus, who died for our sins. The Apostle tells such that they are freed from the slavery of sin that they may come into the service of another--even Christ.

"ACCESS INTO THIS GRACE."

Being thus by faith released from sin, the next step proper for the believer is to realize that he cannot keep himself, that he cannot maintain his liberty for himself, and to flee to the great Redeemer, who offers protection and assistance to all those who consecrate themselves fully to him--to all those who become his disciples. By justification they are free, but still in danger of being overtaken by the snares of sin and the wiles of the Adversary. To be free indeed, positively free, securely free, they need to make an alliance at once with the Lord Jesus, to give their hearts fully and completely to him, to accept his will, his word, his guidance, in every matter. But in turn the Lord is particular and will not receive these upon any terms, but only upon the condition of a full surrender to his will. Ah, they say, that means then another slavery, a slavery to Christ Jesus, instead of a slavery to sin. True, the giving up of the will is the strongest kind of a bondage, and this is exactly what the scriptures represent as being the course and the proper course of those who would be similarly free from the dominion of sin and death. The Apostle declares that being made free from sin we became the servants [Greek, the bond-slaves] of righteousness and of Christ.--Romans 6:20.

We might well hesitate about getting free from one bondage and getting under subjection to another; but when we realize that to be the bondservants of Christ means to be the bondservants of that which is right and good and true, and in harmony with the Father, and that it is to the best interests of ourselves and all concerned, we rejoice thus to place ourselves unreservedly under the control of him who hath so loved us as to purchase us with his own precious blood. Surely we are safe in his hands! Those who seek to use liberty for themselves, those who boast they have a mind of their own, and will of their own, know not how dangerous is their position, and that surely they will succumb eventually to the wiles of the Adversary and to the ensnarements of sin. Only those who follow the course of full consecration to the Lord are wise. There is not only rest and peace, and joy and liberty for the sons of God now, but, additionally, O wonderful thought, to these the Master has proposed that they shall be his Bride, his associates in the Kingdom, his joint-heirs throughout eternity!--Romans 5:1.



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SOME INTERESTING QUESTIONS ANSWERED.

OUR LORD AS ABRAHAM'S SEED.


Question (1). In view of the fact that our Lord Jesus is no longer a man, but highly exalted far above angels, principalities and powers, and every name that is named, and partaker of the divine nature, is it proper for us to consider him now to be the Seed of Abraham? Or should we think of him as having been the Seed of Abraham merely according to the flesh?

(2). If the above question be answered affirmatively, what are we to do with the Scriptures teaching that our Lord's sacrifice of himself became the basis of his high exaltation to power and authority to bless all the families of the earth as the seed of Abraham? Is it not the seed of Abraham that is to do the blessing, and would not this seem to indicate that the glorified Christ, and not the man Christ Jesus, is the Seed meant in the Scriptures?

(3). You point out in the DAWN that Melchisedec, who had neither father nor mother in the priesthood, and the beginning and ending of whose priesthood is not recorded, was a type of the risen, glorified Christ-- "a priest forever after the order of Melchisedec." Would not this seem to indicate that our Lord as a man, in the flesh, as the son of Mary, was not the heir of the Abrahamic promise, and that he did not reach this position until begotten of the holy Spirit and ultimately born of the holy Spirit?

Answer. The Apostle Paul settles the matter respecting our Lord's relationship to Abraham according to the flesh. He declares that when Jesus left the glory with the Father, and humbled himself, he took not upon him the nature of angels, but the seed of Abraham. (Heb. 2:16.) This evidently refers to his birth of the flesh, as the son of Mary. Another message of similar import (Rom. 1:3) declares him to have been "of the seed of David according to the flesh," and hence of the seed of Abraham according to the flesh. This, however, does not conflict with the thought that he is still the Seed of Abraham, though highly exalted and now of a totally different nature--of the divine nature.

In this connection we must remember our Lord's own statement, "I am he that was dead, and behold I am alive forever more." He who is alive is thus declared by himself to be the same who left the heavenly courts, who took the nature of men and who died on our behalf. At no time was our Lord's life forfeited. He declared, "No man taketh it from me. I lay it down of myself. I have authority to lay it down, and to receive it again." He is the same soul or being who, in response to the Father's plan laid aside his glory and became a man, the same soul or being who, as the man Christ Jesus, gave himself into death for our sins, his sacrifice being accepted of the Father, even unto death, and the same soul or being who was restored again, only on the higher plane of being, on the spirit plane, of the divine nature. [R3513 : page 62]

As our Lord forfeited nothing, as he merely tendered all to the Father, and as the Father accepted the sacrifice, and returned to him all the rights and privileges on a new plane of being, he has to distribute to them the lost life and also the lost Kingdom, but he does not propose to give to men his share in the Abrahamic promise. It is to their advantage that he shall retain this title of Seed of Abraham, and exercise it to the full during the Millennial age, in the interest of all, whom he purchased with his precious blood, and whom he then will bless by setting them free from the bondage of Sin and Death, and give them all the needed assistances, that they may, if they will, return to full fellowship with the Father and to all that man lost in Adam, and more.

This question is not at all affected by the Melchisedec type, which merely is used by the Apostle to show how the Lord's priestly office came to him without his being a member of the priestly tribe of Levi. That type has no bearing whatever upon the covenant promise made to the seed of Abraham, except that it shows us that our Lord can be the mediatorial priest on behalf of the world during the Millennial age, without in any sense of the word being connected with the Aaronic family. As the seed of Abraham he obtains his title to the throne of earth through the typical kings of Israel, as it was written respecting the last king, Zedekiah, "O thou profane and wicked prince, whose time is come that iniquity should have an end: take off the diadem, remove the crown. This shall no more be the same. I will overturn, overturn, overturn it, until he come, whose right it is, and I will give it unto him." Christ is the king, the heir of David's throne. His priestly line and authority came not through the house of Levi and Aaron, but according to another line, viz., that of Melchisedec. Our Lord, as the seed of Abraham, will exercise both the kingly and priestly office in his great work mentioned in the oath-bound covenant--the blessing of all the families of the earth, during the Millennial reign.

THE CHURCH'S RELATIONSHIP TO ABRAHAM.


Question. How can the Gospel Church be recognized as the Seed of Abraham, since only comparatively few of its members are actually members of the Jewish nation?

Answer. The Apostle gives two lines of argument; the one is represented in his words, "Ye, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise." (Gal. 4:28.) In this argument our Lord Jesus is represented as being the actual seed of Abraham, and as granting to all those who become united to him through faith, and through the spirit of adoption a joint-heirship with him, as members of his body, under him as their Head.

The other argument the Apostle uses is, "If ye be Christ's then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise." (Gal. 3:29.) Here the Apostle's thought is that of a wife who experienced the same honors and privileges as her Head, her Husband, by becoming vitally associated with him as his wife. Thus we Gentiles are permitted to come into relationship with this oath-bound covenant by union with Christ, and similarly the Jews, who could not claim relationship to this promise because banned by their law, are made free from their union with Moses, that they also might be united to Christ, and through union with him who is the heir of all, become with the Gentiles of the same class "fellow heirs of the same promise."



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ENCOURAGING WORDS FROM FAITHFUL WORKERS.
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DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--

The "Heavenly Manna" fills a long-time want with me, and I thoroughly enjoy it every day, 7 a.m. To-day's thought of humility, and yesterday's of time's being an important element in all of God's work, are exceedingly helpful. I thank you sincerely for your part, your large part in the book, and pray I shall daily profit by the beautiful gift and the faithful use of it.

The Dispatch of Monday, the 30th Jan., came yesterday and was greatly enjoyed. I sent the sermons after reading to a friend. The storm prevented work last week, and the cold also. But I have experienced much joy in the colporteur service.
Your Sister in the Lord,
ALICE L. DARLINGTON.


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DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--

It is with greatest pleasure I write these lines and thank the Lord that there is a man who will preach the truth. I cannot tell how much good you have done me. I sent for the WATCH TOWER last spring and it would do you good to have seen me "eat it." I was starving for the Truth, and the TOWER literature is the "key" that unlocks the Bible, so I can say "Blessed Book!"

I took right hold and went to work, and can say that this is the most prosperous year of my life, although the wet season destroyed all the crops and left me poorer than ever in this world's goods.

I have a son-in-law who preached for the M.E. Church, and I labored with him, and got him to come to hear one of the Pilgrims when he was in this vicinity. The result is that he resigned the pastorate and has gone to work with his hands to support his family, and preaches seven (true gospel) sermons a week, anywhere and everywhere he can get a chance. His mother heard that he had quit preaching for the denomination and she came to see him. He labored with her with the result that she accepted the Truth, and so the work goes on. Praise the Lord!

Dear Brother, I write this letter that you may feel encouraged to go on with the noble work.
Your Brother in Christ,
WM. BONE, Michigan.


page 62

MY DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--

It is with pleasure that I write to thank you for the "Daily Manna," received this week. I have already been blessed and strengthened by it.

How blessed and favored are we above all other people in that we are permitted to sit at the King's table in the days of His presence and feast upon the rich food so abundantly provided and served so wisely and carefully under his guidance and direction.

I rejoice more and more that I received an invitation to this feast; that it is my privilege to live in this harvest time when such wonderful light is due to God's faithful and humble children.

I am wondering often why he so highly honored me as to open my eyes that I might see the riches of his grace and become a partaker of his favor. Surely he does choose the weak and base things of this world, things not highly esteemed of men, to be his servants--"No flesh shall glory in his presence."

I am glad to say that my health is so far improved that I am able to begin work again. I have already done a little and trust I shall be able to canvass these two towns during the coming six or seven weeks and be ready to return to my work with Sr. Mason in Connecticut as soon as the cold weather is over.

I trust it may be the Lord's will for me to continue in the harvest work some time longer. I can only do a little, page 63 but esteem that a great privilege, and try to do it in a manner acceptable to Him. It is a source of strength and comfort to me, and I believe to all the colporteurs to know that we have your prayers, and you certainly are remembered day by day by us all. May God continue to use you to his glory.
Yours with Christian love,
F. L. MONER.


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DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--

With the last ray of light of this fast fading day, will end also the last dying spark of a once substantial bridge-- the last--the last bridge has been burned, fully consumed. In other words, I have severed my connection as an electrician with one of the largest street railway companies in the world. It was something like parting with a dear old friend, as I have been with them for fifteen years.

The reason for this action will be more clearly understood when I state that it was done for the purpose of giving my time wholly to the DAWN Colporteur service, although the position was quite remunerative (my last month's salary being $200 fair average); still the Lord offered me a better position, in fact "a hundred fold" better--Mark 10:29-30.

To be sure, my friends do not understand it, and think I am very foolish, which is quite true, viewed from their standpoint. But in harmony with our motto for the year I have asked wisdom in this matter from him who giveth liberally and upbraideth not, and I feel that I have acted on the wisdom from above. We have been called to sacrifice, and sacrifice we must, if we hope to win the crown. I sometimes think the Lord's people put too much value on money and not enough on service. I am endeavoring to correct my estimates accordingly. We can search the Scriptures through, and in no place can we find any intimation even of being told to pray for money or any other temporal thing, but on the other hand, we are told how great is the [R3514 : page 63] harvest, and few the laborers. "Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest to send more reapers into the field." Matt. 9:37-38; John 4:35. And so in harmony with these verses I thankfully and humbly accept the Lord's invitation and say, Lord here am I, send me, send me.

I therefore await your pleasure in the assignment of territory, and by the Lord's grace am pleased to subscribe myself, A fellow servant in the Redeemer,
J. H. COLE.


DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--

I am just in receipt of "Heavenly Manna." It will serve to stir up the mind by way of remembrance day by day, bringing to our attention precious words of doctrine, reproof, instruction, admonition, warning, comfort, consolation and encouragement from the divine storehouse provided by our Heavenly Father, which I trust He will bless to our good, and development into the Christ character.

I pray that our Heavenly Father will continue to use you in the dispensing of "meat in due season" to the household of faith, and that he will continue to grant you abundant supplies of grace and strength to overcome all the trials and temptations and persecutions incident to so prominent an office in the Body of Christ.

With much love and best wishes for the New Year to you, Dear Brother, I am
Yours in fellowship and service,
A. E. BURGESS, Michigan.


DEAR BROTHER IN CHRIST:--

I received the "Heavenly Manna" book last evening. I am sure it will be the source of many blessings to me throughout the year.

This morning we took the January 20th text and read your words of comment, and as we realized that we were considering the same subject that you all at the "Bible House" were discussing, we enjoyed it the more, and were stirred to better thought: to a greater endeavor to get every point fully before our minds. I trust that as the year goes on we may become better able to get the full benefit of the subjects.

All the family join with me in sending you our Christian love and best wishes that the present year may be filled with rich blessings for yourself and all the brethren there.
Your Brother in the blessed Hope,
W. S. MCNAUGHT, Iowa.


page 63

DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--

I received the copy of "Heavenly Manna," for which I now wish to express my sincere thanks and appreciation.

The contents are so helpful, daily reminding us of our privileges and duties as servants of our King. Even the few days I have had the book, it has been of great help to me, and it certainly will grow more dear to me as the days slip by-- if the Lord permits me to use it for yet awhile.

It will seem so good to join in the same Breakfast Table topic as the Bible House family. May the Father bless us as we do so, and help us to keep more and more in mind the Heavenly things.

May the dear Lord bless you richly throughout the New Year, is the earnest prayer of your sister in Christ.
M. B. SCHLATTER.


MY DEAR BROTHER IN CHRIST:--

"Heavenly Manna" is just received. I have read the daily readings up to date, and find it most practical and helpful. It is so beneficial to have part of our spiritual food apportioned in this way, for it gives us opportunity to digest it and act upon it.

It certainly was supervised by our Heavenly Master. Year by year he adds just the helps, to best assist the prospective bride in "making herself ready" for the glorious and much-longed-for "marriage."

How we love everything that searches the deepest crevices of the heart, and roots out whatever would not be pleasing to Him, "who has called us to glory and virtue."

We render heartfelt thanks to dear Sr. Siebert, the compiler, and yourself, the giver, and above all, our dear Heavenly Father "who planned it all." With earnest Christian love and best wishes,
Yours in His precious service,
M. M. SPRINGER.


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Dear Brethren of the WATCH TOWER:--

I want to tell you the story of one little tract. A few weeks ago I heard that an old friend, that I had not heard from for years until this fall, was in the hospital in Kansas City for treatment. I wrote to him immediately, sending him Tract No. 7. He received it just as he was starting to the doctor's office, so handed the tract to a man in the same ward, lying there with an amputated leg and swearing. When my friend returned he found the swearing man with tears streaming down his face. He said that was the best little book he ever saw, and wanted to keep it to hunt the references. He said he was done swearing.

Now, the friend is here visiting us. We found him to be a consecrated Christian, but in utter darkness as respects Present Truth. To-day he was with us in our little meeting and was much surprised to learn of our Lord's presence, but he seemed to have a hearing ear, so we rejoice and point him to the helps our Lord has provided; for our tongues are so clumsy. I do hope our Lord will some day loose my tongue, so I can tell the blessed "old, old story" more smoothly.
Yours in love of our Lord,
MRS. S. B. STRATE,--Illinois.


page 63

DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--

The friends here in the South are delighted to know that there is to be a general convention in Chattanooga sometime in 1905. They and other TOWER readers, at other appointments, will be glad to co-operate with the Chattanooga brethren, to the extent of their ability and opportunity, in making arrangements, etc.

The amount of good the conventions accomplish is simply incalculable. Since the St. Louis Convention I have met persons who came out fully for the Truth there. I don't know of anything that stimulates the "brethren" to holy living and the study of the "Word" more than the general and local conventions.

With much Christian love,
Your Brother and Servant,
FRANK DRAPER.



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