page 305
October 15th
ZION'S
WATCH TOWER
and
Herald of Christ's Presence

ROCK OF AGES
Other foundation can
no man lay
A RANSOM FOR ALL

"Watchman, What of the Night?"
"The Morning Cometh, and a Night also!" Isaiah 21:11

SEMI-MONTHLY
VOL. XXVIIOCTOBER 1No. 19
A.D., 1906--A.M., 6035


CONTENTS

Views from the Watch Tower307
Practical Results of the Church Federation Movement307
To Purify the Sons of Levi308
Trials from Unexpected Quarters309
"Love is the Fulfilling of the Law"310
A Lesson for All Leaders311
Wise and Foolish Virgins312
Two Classes of Virgins313
"Give Us of Your Oil"314
Before Christ's Mercy Seat315
The Parable of the Talents316
Faithfulness Doubly Rewarded318
Berean Bible Study on Love319

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

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

page 306

THIS JOURNAL AND ITS MISSION.

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

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

TO US THE SCRIPTURES CLEARLY TEACH

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




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[R3864 : page 307]

VIEWS FROM THE WATCH TOWER.

PRACTICAL RESULTS OF THE CHURCH FEDERATION MOVEMENT


THE following, clipped from a pamphlet entitled "Liberty," we esteem worthy of presentation in these columns.

"No movement inaugurated during recent years is probably of greater significance than the Inter-Church Federation movement. It is one which cannot fail to be attended with tremendous consequences, and, if followed to its logical outcome, will terminate in results which ought to cause every thoughtful person to shudder in advance.

"The outcome of this federation movement has been plainly outlined in the 'sure word of prophecy.' History also illustrates, by similar movements, its meaning.

"Concerning its importance, the chairman of the Inter-Church Federation Conference, recently held in New York City, said: 'This is one of the most notable assemblies of believers in Jesus Christ that has ever been seen. John Calvin wrote to Cranmer, archbishop of Canterbury, and declared he would cross any sea to make such a union effective. The dream of the great reformer and the great archbishop has met with realization in these latter days.'

A BIBLE PROHIBITION OF CONFEDERACY

"'Say ye not, A confederacy, to all them to whom this people shall say, A confederacy; neither fear ye their fear, nor be afraid.' (Isa. 8:12.) It is evident, from the context of this passage, that God's professed, people inaugurated this federation movement against which he warned them, because they had departed from him, and 'refused the waters of Shiloh that go softly,' and 'vexed his holy Spirit.'

"The rejection of the holy Spirit lies at the foundation of every Church federation which has blighted the prosperity of the Church during her history. The only union the true Church has ever sought is a union with Jesus Christ, the great Head of the Church; and when such a union has been maintained, mighty power has attended it. As evidence of this, one has but to revert to apostolic times, when the Church went forth 'fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners.'

"Years ago much power attended revival efforts, conducted by such men as Professor Finney, President of Oberlin College, and later, by Mr. Moody and others. These old-time revivals were attended with a harvest of souls; but they are largely now things of the past. Many ministers deplore the absence of spiritual power which prevails to such an alarming extent at the present time. Realizing keenly the weakness and lack of spiritual life which characterized the once Spirit-filled Church with a power which brought conviction to sin-sick souls, churchmen are seeking for some remedy by which the Church may regain her former power.

"The means by which this restoration of former power is sought is a gigantic Church federation movement, through which the Church may secure the power of the State to institute moral reforms and enforce her decrees. To many, at first thought, this may seem an innocent, harmless, and desirable thing. For this reason we desire to submit a few of the inevitable practical results of such a union.

"One of the results of this movement was outlined by a prominent delegate at the conference, as follows:

"'I trust that one of the practical results of this conference will be the organization of a force that lawbreakers, and lawmakers will respect and heed when great questions of morals are involved. Our gospel is the fulfilment of the law. It is our province, in the name of our Supreme King, and seeking the good of mankind, to ask rulers to respect the code of our kingdom. Rulers may ignore sects, but they will respect the Church. This federation will compel an audience, and it will speak with power if it will put aside its differences and make its agreement its argument.'

"When the end has been attained for which they have been seeking, we will have a parallel to that which existed in the fourth century, when the bishops of Rome were united in compelling the Emperor Constantine and others to yield to their demands concerning the settlement of 'grave moral questions,' among which [R3864 : page 308] was chiefly the enforcement of Sunday observance by law.

A CHURCH TRUST

"Another result of the evil principles underlying this proposed Federation will be a veritable Church union, or trust; and the same tactics will doubtless be employed by it as are common to other unions. Freedom to preach the gospel will be denied. Any denomination not conforming to the creed, rules, and regulations of this religious trust, will be regarded as an unlawful rival. This was indicated by one speaker at the recent conference, who said:

"'No community in which any denomination has any legitimate claim, should be entered by any other denomination through its official agencies without conference with the denomination or denominations having said claims. A feeble Church should be revived, if possible, rather than a new one established to become its rival.'

"This is an age of unions and confederacies. Every department of the commercial world is being bound together. The power which is being wielded by these unions in securing their desired ends has exerted an influence which the Church, in its worldly condition, has been unable to resist. On this point a prominent speaker at the recent Inter-Church Federation Conference said: 'The two words which express the principle that rule to-day in the business world are co-operation and economy. Apply these two thoughts to the work of the Church. Our sects and denominations have often been sources of rivalry and competition, and they have left the Church as a whole weakened and shorn of its power. We have not presented a united front against a common enemy, but have too often fired into one another's camps......Co-operation through a closer federation is the need of the hour.'

"It will readily be seen from this proposal that any denomination which does not belong to the union, would at once be considered a 'rival,' or, in a more characteristic term familiar to all unions, a 'scab.' This would at once arouse endless animosities and controversies between the union and the sects which are not connected with the federation, or union. Such a course would result only in the federated churches bringing pressure to bear upon those who refuse to yield to their demands, which would be nothing short of religious persecution. Again it will be seen that the only safe union for the Church, the only true union, is a union with Christ."



[R3864 : page 308]

TO PURIFY THE SONS OF LEVI

"Who shall abide the day of his coming? Who shall stand when he inspects? For he is like a refiner's fire and like fuller's soap: and he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi and purge them as gold and silver, and they shall offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness." --Mal. 3:2,3.

BLESSINGS have come to us through an appreciation of the teaching of the Scripture respecting the great day of trouble coming upon the whole world of mankind--especially upon Christendom. Truly the Scriptures teach a time of trouble such as was not since there was a nation, because of which even now, as our Lord prophesied, "Men's hearts are failing them for fear, and for looking after those things coming upon the earth." We do well that we rejoice that this day of trouble coming upon the world as a thief and a snare has not so come upon us, but that we already by faith see many of its details and the glorious outcome, the establishment of the Kingdom of God under the whole heavens. We fear, however, that this great trouble upon the world, which in some sense we hope to be "accounted worthy to escape," has so filled the mental horizon of some of the Lord's people that it has hidden from their attention another kind of trial which is especially for the Church, and which must reach us and test us and prove us before the world's day of trouble is ushered in. It is this day of trial upon the Church, this special testing of the elect, that is referred to in our text.

PRIESTS AND LEVITES

The house of Levi, the priestly tribe, typified the household of faith of this Gospel age. As the priests constituted the highest order or class amongst the Levites, so the Royal Priesthood, the Lord's consecrated, the saints of this Gospel age, constitute the highest class amongst the spiritual Levites, the household of faith. When, therefore, the Lord through the Prophet declares the testing and purging of the house of Levi it includes all of the "Household of Faith," the "Little Flock" and the "Great Company." The end of this age is the time for the Lord's inspection of the entire household of faith, and properly enough the inspection begins at the top of the house, begins with the saints, but will extend to every consecrated one. The two classes subjected to the fiery trials of the Refiner are represented by the [R3865 : page 308] gold and silver. The gold represents those whose loyalty to the Lord will specially demonstrate itself in their love and zeal to lay down their lives for him, for the truth, for the brethren. These are the gold class, whose portion as the Bride class shall be joint-heirship with the great King of kings and Lord of lords in his universal empire for the blessing of all the families of the earth. The other class, represented in our text as the silver, will be the class less precious in his sight, the great company of Revelation 7, also spoken of in Psalm 45 as "the virgins, her companions, that follow" the Bride into the presence of the King of glory.

If the words, "Who shall stand when he inspects?" bring to our hearts an anxious throb, relief comes to us again with the thought that although the inspection will be most critical, most searching--although the trying in the fire will separate the dross completely and purify both the gold and the silver--nevertheless he who thus inspects, who thus tries, who thus purifies, who thus refines, is our Lord and Master, who bought us with his precious blood, who has assured us of his love and sympathy, and has promised with the Apostle that he will not suffer us to be tempted above that we [R3865 : page 309] are able, but will with the temptation also provide a way of escape; and he has assured us that all things are working together for our good, because we love God and have been called according to his purpose.--1 Cor. 10:13; Rom. 8:28.

TRIALS FROM UNEXPECTED QUARTERS

If we knew in advance just how each trial of faith and love and devotion to principle and loyalty to the Lord and to the brethren would come we might be prepared to meet it, and correspondingly it would be less severe, and our humility, patience and love be correspondingly less tested. But the Lord wishes to test us along these very lines, and hence our trials usually come from unexpected quarters. This makes the trial more severe and proves the better the real sentiments of our hearts. The Lord desires to purge out of us everything in the nature of dross--self-will, personal ambition, pride: he wishes to cultivate in us loyalty to himself and the principles of righteousness, represented in his character, and exhorts us through his Word.

Looking out at Christendom in general we hear the Prophet's declaration that "a thousand shall fall at thy side"--at the side of the body of Christ, the Church. And we see that falling in progress, falling from faith in Christ as the Redeemer, falling into Evolution, Higher Criticism, Christian Science, etc. But now we are looking closer at home to the members of the body, to see which of these will be able to stand the tests of our day--"Who shall be able to stand?" (Rev. 6:17) inquires the Apostle. "Who shall stand when he inspects?" is the inquiry of the Prophet in our text. The intimation evidently is that the inspection will be so crucial as to test all of the saints.

Because the WATCH TOWER, by the Lord's gracious arrangement, has such an outlook over the harvest field, such contact with all the little flock of the Lord's people through the mail, through the pilgrims, through the colporteurs, we perhaps better than others can discern that the great Refiner's fires are already burning and that the gold and silver are being tried. And O, what sorrow it gives us at times to behold some not standing well the testing of this hour. We love all of the Lord's dear ones who are now in the furnace of trial; we are sure that the Lord himself, the Refiner, loves them still more. If these have pain and sorrow, as we discern tendencies of weakness, disloyalty to the cause; ambition for name and fame or position, desire to be greatest, tendencies to lord it over God's heritage --if we are pained by these things, grieved, disappointed in some, shall we suppose that the great Refiner is indifferent? Nay, verily! It is written of him that having loved his own, he loved them to the end; and we see from the narrative that he was very patient and slow to cut off the self-seeking, ambitious, truth-selling and Lord-selling Judas. And the more we attain to the Master's character and likeness the more sympathy we will have with all who are out of the way, and who, unless recovered, will be surely cut off from membership in the body, as our Lord indicates--even though, as the Apostle declares, they may be saved so as by fire, as members of the "great company."--1 Cor. 3:15.

"REBUKE WITH LONG-SUFFERING AND PATIENCE"

It is impossible for us to write to all who seem to be in danger, for two reasons: (1) Time would not suffice; there are other duties of the hour; (2) If they will not hearken to the Word of the Lord, if they will not hear Jesus and the apostles and Moses and the prophets we need not expect that they would hearken to us. Hence the most proper course for us seems to be to occasionally give such words of warning as these foregoing, that although they may have a savor of death unto death to some yet we hope that they may have a savor of life unto life to others.

Strange as it may appear--yet in full accord with all the records of the past--these fiery trials, these siftings, seem to find in many cases the most dross amongst the leaders of the flock. Perhaps it is merely because they are more conspicuous, perhaps just as many who are not in so great prominence will really fall, be consumed, "suffer loss," and be "saved so as by fire." The Lord alone is able to read the heart and to discern the thoughts and intents, and it is his will that now every member of the household of Levi, the household of faith, should be purged, purified, refined; and the fiery trials of our day are his own arrangements, his own fannings, that he may accomplish the work in harmony with the divine arrangement.

DAWN, Vol. VI. we believe, like the other volumes of the series, came out in its due season, and no doubt the Lord is using it to some extent as the earthly bellows wherewith to kindle the refining fires of this time. In that volume as in the others we endeavored to set forth not our own thoughts but the teachings of the Word, and this in some instances seemed to arouse a spirit of anger and resentment in the hearts of some of the leaders where there should be only love out of pure hearts and appreciation of the glorious liberties of the Church. We did nothing more than our duty in calling the attention of the brethren to the fact that the leaders are not the lords of the flock, and that any leader who assumes a lordly position endangers his own standing in Christ as well as hinders the progress of the flock in the liberty wherewith Christ made us free. And any of the Lord's flock who co-operate with such ambitious leaders are doing them injury as well as rendering an unauthorized subserviency injurious to themselves and the others associated with them in the study of the Word.

"TO ERR IS HUMAN, TO FORGIVE IS DIVINE"

It is written, "To err is human," and we know that though begotten of the Spirit we all have the treasure of the new nature in earthen vessels, therefore are liable to err. Realizing this we should not deal harshly, unkindly, toward leaders who are inclined to usurp to themselves leadership in the Church of God without appointment by the Church; or inclined to override the right of others after they have been regularly chosen. Nevertheless, kindly, gently, firmly, the congregation should hold control of all of its affairs, and see that the leaders recognize that the voice of the congregation is the voice of the consecrated. This will be to the advantage of all: it will assist the leader in keeping humble, in remembering that he is merely a member of the Church, which is the body of Christ, and that in the Lord's providence he serves the Church because they desire him to do so and consider such to be the will of the Lord. This will help to keep the leader from being puffed up, haughty, from speaking arrogantly of [R3865 : page 310] the congregation as "my people," "my Church," "my class," "my work." It will help him to recognize that it is the "Lord's people," the "Lord's Church," the "Lord's class," the "Lord's work," and that it is a favor, an honor, to be its servant and not at all within his province to be its ruler, its "boss."

This course benefits the congregation also, teaching them their responsibility to the Lord and to his cause to be in proportion as they uphold and give approval to the one who as leader or servant of the congregation is their representative. Whatever the leader does that is wrong is the fault of the majority of that congregation, and the realization of their responsibility means the strengthening of their characters, the broadening of their minds and in general their preparation for the Lord's service here and hereafter. It should even grate upon our ears to hear an elder in a discourse address the congregation in the second person saying, for instance, "You ought not to do this." It should be considered by all elders, all recognized teachers in the Church, the leaders in any sense, that they do not speak of the congregation as of a different class from themselves, as in the nominal Church there is the usual style of recognizing the clergy as one class, the laity as another. On the contrary the better form, the humbler form, would be for the leader to address the congregation as including himself in the exhortation, as for instance to say, "We should not do" thus and so.

"LOVE IS THE FULFILLING OF THE LAW"

If the spirit of love were largely developed in all of our hearts it would require no discussion of this subject from either standpoint, but we are only partially developed in the fruits of the Spirit: hence our difficulty, and hence also the great importance of helping one another, so that our relationship together as fellow-members of the one body may be as helpful as possible to all. And when any feeling of criticism is aroused in our hearts in respect to the course of a leader, it would be the proper, loving course to say to ourselves--Well, perhaps if I were just in the leader's place I might do no better than he does in the matter [R3866 : page 310] of keeping my body under--in the matter of walking humbly with the Lord and with the brethren--in the matter of exemplifying the perfection of love, which seeketh not her own, is not easily provoked, is not puffed up, thinketh no evil.--1 Cor. 13:5.

When we realize that ambition was the cause of Satan's fall, that it was the cause of mother Eve's disobedience, that it has been the cause of the stumbling of many of the noblest ones of God's people in the past, the lesson should not be lost upon us, whatever our station. It should give us sympathy for the leaders and the greater trials and temptations to which they are exposed, and to the leaders it should give greater alertness, care, watchfulness, lest they should be in any measure overcome by this fault, which has harmed so many in the past and which evidently is so grievous a one in the sight of the Lord, for the Lord resisteth the proud but grants his favors to the humble.--Jas. 4:6.

Another point, we must never forget that as the will of the leader should not be taken as the mind of the congregation unless it has so expressed itself, so likewise we should not for a moment suppose that the will or judgment of any other member should be taken as the judgment of the entire congregation. If then any brother conscientiously esteems that the leader of a meeting is not following the wisest or best Scriptural course, he may indeed go to the leader privately, kindly, lovingly, and give him his opinion, but it does not follow that the leader must follow this opinion. He might say, "This is the opinion of one, and my own is the opinion of another no less worthy of credit," and he might properly enough hold to his own opinion or modify it slightly. It is the voice of the congregation as a whole that should be sought on any subject, and which should decide every subject in the Church according to the understanding of the consecrated ones respecting the divine will as heard from the Word of God.

A DANGER FROM THE OTHER SIDE

Neither should any one too hastily conclude that his view of matters is sounder or better than that of the leader. On the contrary, the fact that the leader has been chosen by the congregation as the one best fitted of its number to look after its interests should have weight, and the brother or sister who thinks he or she has reason for difference of judgment respecting certain matters should hesitate a little, reconsider the matter, weigh it carefully, try to see it from the standpoint of the leader, if he or she can so find it in the Scriptures. If after all he or she feels certain, it is not his or her duty nor his or her privilege to harass the whole company by trying to impress his or her views suddenly, hastily, vehemently. His or her moderation should be manifested, as the Apostle says, "Let your moderation be known to all men." (Phil. 4:5.) He or she should approve what could be approved of the leader, and in objecting to certain features of his course it should be done in all kindness, moderation and brotherly love, and surely with meekness.

The public acts of a public servant are subject to the examination and criticism of the public, and likewise the open teachings and open conduct of the leaders of the Church are open to criticism by their brethren, but the spirit of love and sympathy should always prevail, and nothing should be done through strife or vain glory, and any one criticizing an elder with the evident view of supplanting him should be viewed the more critically himself, and all should recognize that the selfish, self-seeking spirit is a dangerous one, inimical both to the interests of the individual and the interests of the congregation. The brother who is in the right condition of heart to be a leader amongst the Lord's humble followers should manifest humility in word and manner-- in everything. Others need not be frowned upon nor openly rebuked, but they should not be encouraged-- they should not be put into places of influence in the Church lest it injure them and others who would come under their influence.

"LET PATIENCE HAVE HER PERFECT WORK"

Do not be too hasty in acting in connection with the Church's interests. Be sure first that your own motives are good, pure, loving toward the one you criticize; be sure that you have no sympathy with evil speaking; be sure that you are seeking merely the liberties of the Church which the Lord proposed--that you are seeking merely the welfare of the Church in respect [R3866 : page 311] to the times, places and character of meetings and leaders; and be sure that you are as anxious that others should have liberty to express their sentiments as you are solicitous that your own liberties of expression be not overridden or ignored.

It is rarely advantageous to have one leader or elder only in a congregation for a number of years in succession, unless it be very small or otherwise unavoidable. Some who begin humbly enough with a desire to be servants of the Church and with feelings and expressions of their own unworthiness of the privilege and incompetency for the service, if continued in the position year after year come thereby into sore trial and testing, and are in danger by and by of coming to feel that they own the position, and that the selection of any one else for the service would be an insult. This of course is entirely wrong, yet we have an illustration in Scriptures along this line. We read, "Now Moses was the meekest man in all the earth." Doubtless this had to do with the Lord's choice of Moses as a leader for his people. For forty years the nation of Israel looked to him in every emergency, and it should not surprise us at all that at the close of that forty years the meekest man in all the earth was too arrogant to be allowed to go into the land of Canaan. Moses was deprived of the privilege of entering Canaan because he was not sufficiently meek--because, having lost so considerably of his original meekness, he smote the rock in the wilderness, saying, "Ye rebels, must I bring you water out of this rock?"

A LESSON FOR ALL LEADERS

If the meekest man in all the earth and one of the greatest men in the world's history was thus overcome by the circumstances of his position amongst the people, it should not surprise us if we find that in Spiritual Israel some who start out meek and humble become more or less arrogant, too, and talk about what they do and must do, and assume that the others are dependent upon them for the water of life. Whenever we look at this picture of Moses it should say to us all, especially to all leaders, "My soul, be on thy guard!" Only a frequent looking to the Lord and a realization of this danger and a continual strife against it can keep us safe at our Redeemer's side--at the side of him who was meek and lowly of heart--the great Teacher who endured such contradiction of sinners against himself (Heb. 12:3), and with such meekness--laying down his life in immersion, in loving service--seeking not his own welfare and honor, but humbling himself even unto death, even the death of the cross. The Apostle showing this exclaims, "Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time." Exaltation, influence, place, power, authority in the Church, now bring extra trials and extra sacrifices as well as extra dangers. The higher one is up the more careful he must be lest he miss his footing and fall.

Sometimes a congregation may have its patience sorely tried by an elder who, possessing good traits, good qualities, persists in "running" the Church according to his own conceptions and ignores the desires of the Church. If the objection to the elder, leader, be along the lines of immorality or along the lines of false doctrine as respects fundamentals laid down in the divine Word--for instance, the ransom--then steps should be promptly taken, as a congregation is responsible before God and men on these points. Laxity on these lines cannot be brooked; the matter should be firmly dealt with by the congregation. But if doctrinally, or at least on the fundamentals, the leader be found loyal to the Lord and his Word and to the harvest message, and if he be above reproach in the eyes of those of the congregation who know him most intimately, and if the difference merely be along the lines of his unwillingness to conduct services of a character or at a time or at places which the majority have requested, it might in the interest of peace be the wisest course to continue such an elder until the expiration of the term for which he was elected.

Then at that election, without becoming too personal or saying an unkind word to him, the congregation owe it to themselves, to the Lord and to the Truth not to elect him again to any such place of absolute control. This would not mean that the brother should be dropped from leadership entirely, but that the particular meetings he desired to lead and the character of the meetings should be understood, and his election should be along those lines, so that there could be no misunderstanding in the future, and others possessing some qualifications for service in the company should be sought with the expectation that the Lord, who has the entire situation in his eye, probably has others in preparation to fill the breach.

"BE YE KINDLY AFFECTIONED"

If this kindly and gentle reproof of the brother's course leave him still self-willed and arrogant and indisposed to serve the congregation according to their ideas, it would be wise to drop him entirely from leadership for a time. But let nothing be done through strife or vain glory--let not an unkind word be expressed. Rather remember the services of the past; he should be esteemed for those services. Do not be afraid that matters will all go to wreck without some one human being having control. While esteeming every brother and servant in the Lord very highly and in proportion to their works as well as their characters, [R3867 : page 311] we should ever remember that the Lord himself is our Shepherd, our Bishop, our Pastor, our Leader, and that we are his sheep. If the congregation feels such a dependence upon any one person for its spiritual comfort and refreshment and edification there is something wrong, and the sooner matters in such a case come to a crisis the better it would probably be for all. Those who have gotten started in the Truth can build one another up in the most holy faith, edifying one another and assisting one another in various kinds of Berean Scripture studies, and they would probably make much more progress in so doing than if they continued to allow leaders to lord it over God's heritage and to manage the Church contrary to the wishes of the majority.

We emphasize the word majority because so frequently minorities attempt to rule. Our thought is that the loving consideration of the different members of the body for each other should so exercise their sympathies and loving co-operation that the majority would be quite willing to agree to some recognition of the desires and preferences of the minorities--with [R3867 : page 312] individuals even. In other words, majorities are not to be selfish, and to determine that because a majority gives the authority therefore it would be proper to exercise that power to the ignoring of their brethren of somewhat different views. Union of heart means that each and all will ignore some of his or their own natural tastes and preferences wherever principles of the Word of God are not involved.

We need not tell you, Beloved, that every word of this article is written with a heart full of brotherly love and a desire for the edification of the Lord's dear people, and without any personal animosity or other evil impetus or desire. We seek your good. We are in touch with the entire field, and know the sifting and testing that is going on, and desire to lend a helping hand to the injury of none and the blessing of many. Consider these things and note our further suggestions along the same lines in the sixth volume of the DAWN STUDIES.

Recurring to our text we remark that the very thought that we are in the presence of the great Refiner, the very thought that he is supervising the fiery trials through which all of the house of Levi must now pass, should quicken us, energize us, put us on guard. We are under his inspection. The intimation is that this is the final testing, and that those who are refined by present experiences, purged of pride, ambition, selfishness, meekness of heart, will surely be received into the Kingdom. There the humble will be exalted to glory, honor and immortality. Can we wait for this? Can we not afford to humble ourselves? Do we not desire so to do? Will we not all unite our hearts and minds and prayers and efforts to the intent that this work of humbling may progress in our own hearts, and that thus the spirit of humility may be shed abroad in the whole Church, from the humblest to the most prominent of its servants?

"AN OFFERING IN RIGHTEOUSNESS"

The expression of our text, "an offering in righteousness" may be viewed from two different standpoints, both true. (1) We may understand it to signify a right offering, a proper offering, an acceptable offering; or (2) we may also understand it to signify an offering in the interest of righteousness or justice, in the sense that the sin offerings of Israel, the Day of Atonement, were offerings in righteousness or to effect righteousness--to effect cancellation of sin.

Both thoughts are true: we have presented our bodies living sacrifices and God has accepted them in Christ, but with the understanding that we would be conformed to the image of his dear Son, that we would attain to the character likeness of Christ under his instruction and guidance and blessing and assistance. If now we fail to attain this, if pride or ambition or any other thing hinders our development in the likeness of the Lord, our offering will not be acceptable and we will not have a place in the highest glory to which we have been called. Likewise we have seen that the Church is filling up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ; that as the body of Christ whom the Head is guiding in sacrifice we were represented in the Atonement Day offerings by the Lord's goat of sin offering. The offering made by our Lord, of which we are granted a share, by which he justifies the world, shall ultimately bring in everlasting righteousness to all those who will come into accord with him. We are still in the time when we are expected to share in this sacrificing-- "If we suffer with him we shall also reign with him," otherwise we shall not. We are very desirous, therefore, that we should be enabled to offer the acceptable sacrifice represented in the type, that we thus might have membership in the body of Christ in glory and in the great work of blessing all the families of the earth. Shall we not all conclude more earnestly than ever before that the matter at stake is of the greatest value? and shall we not all with fresh zeal allow the Lord in his providences and by his Word to purge our hearts from all dross and to fill us instead with his meek and quiet Spirit?



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WISE AND FOOLISH VIRGINS
--MATTHEW 25:1-13.--OCTOBER 14.--

"Watch, therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour when the Son of man cometh."

PROBABLY on the last Sunday of his earthly ministry our Lord foretold the destruction at Jerusalem, the scattering of his followers, a long period of wars, rumors of wars, etc., and finally his second coming, as recorded in Matthew, 25th chapter. This information was most appropriate to the apostles at this very time, for their expectation had run in a different direction--they had been expecting the exaltation of the Lord as the Messiah, and that Jerusalem would be the seat of his empire. They had asked, When shall these things be? and, What shall be the sign of thy presence? and Jesus, in his great prophecy of Matthew 24, had explained these matters, indicating to them that his second coming would be in strenuous times, when, if it were possible, the very elect would be deceived--in which, as it was in the days of Noah, so it would then be in the days of the Son of Man, that the multitude of the world would be eating and drinking, planting and building, marrying and giving in marriage, and be unaware of the storm impending and the consummation of the age preparatory to the beginning of the new age, of his Kingdom.

To impress the matter upon their minds, he gave the parable of the ten virgins--five wise and five foolish. The scene of the parable is laid near to the close of the Gospel age, as is indicated by its opening statement, "Then shall the Kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, who took their lamps and went forth to meet the Bridegroom." The parable has not been applicable all the way down through the Gospel age, but to our understanding is applicable now, because we are living in the end of the age, at the time when the Bridegroom will be present--at the time when the wise virgins will go in to the wedding and the foolish will be excluded. The understanding of this parable at the present time, therefore, should be meat in due season to all who are the Lord's true followers.

Throughout the Scriptures the Church is represented [R3867 : page 313] as a Bride in preparation for her marriage. The Bridegroom uniformly is the Lord Jesus, to whom belongs the entire inheritance, and the opportunity granted to the Lord's followers in the present time is that of becoming his Bride and joint-heirs. They have no status or relationship to the King eternal except as they obtain it by union with the King's Son. The type of this in the Old Testament is a very beautiful one: Abraham typified the Heavenly Father, very rich; Isaac typified our Lord Jesus, the seed of promise, the heir of all; Abraham's servant, sent to call a wife for Isaac, beautifully typified the holy Spirit, which, during this Gospel age, has been selecting the Church, of which the Apostle says, I have espoused you as a chaste virgin unto one husband, which is Christ.--2 Cor. 11:2.

Throughout the Gospel age this Church, under the guidance and protection of the holy Spirit, has been approaching the Father's house of many mansions, the heavenly Kingdom, the glorious conditions promised in joint-heirship with the Bridegroom. If we rightly understand the matter we are now at the end of the journey, and the Bride class, typified by Rebecca, is putting on the vail and alighting from the camel and being received by the heavenly Bridegroom. As the entire matter has occupied a long period of nearly nineteen centuries, so the coming features are occupying several years for their accomplishment. Soon the Bride will be with the Bridegroom and in the Sarah tent--joint-heirs with him in the Abrahamic Covenant. It is in harmony with this that the Apostle assures us that "if ye be Christ's then are ye Abraham's seed, and heirs according to the promise."--Gal. 3:29.

Several of the Lord's parables related to this marriage of the King's Son, and his last message to the Church tells us of how ultimately the Bride, the Lamb's wife, shall shine forth resplendent in the Kingdom, and she is symbolized by the New Jerusalem. The announcement is there made, too, of the Marriage Supper of the Lamb after the Bride, the Lamb's wife, shall have made herself ready. (Rev. 19:7-9.) John the Baptist as a prophet referred to this relationship between Christ and the Church, saying, "He that hath the Bride is the Bridegroom; but the friend of the Bridegroom when he heareth his voice rejoiceth greatly. This my joy is fulfilled." John realized that he was [R3868 : page 313] neither a member of the Bride class nor was he the Bridegroom. He recognized Jesus as the Bridegroom, and was glad to be honored of God as the servant of the Bridegroom and Bride to give the introduction. The high position John will occupy in the future, as one of the faithful prophets of whom our Lord said there was none greater, is assured; but we have the Lord's assurance that the least one, the humblest one in the Bride class of this Gospel age, the least one in this Kingdom class, will be greater than John the Baptist, because these are to be joint-heirs in the Kingdom, partakers of the glory, honor, immortality, while John and the faithful of the past will be upon the earth plane as representatives and princes of the Kingdom amongst men.--Matt. 11:11; Heb. 11:39,40; Psa. 45:16.

TWO CLASSES OF VIRGINS

Having the parable then located before our minds as belonging somewhere about the present time, we note the fact that it refers only to virgins--pure ones. The parable does not refer to the world at all, nor even to nominal Church people. Both of its classes represent Christians, the Kingdom of heaven class, believers, consecrated believers, believers who have heard the Gospel of the Kingdom, who are expecting the King at his second advent and who have lamps, and who get from their lamps light, information and instruction. These two classes of pure ones, separate from the world, informed respecting the Bridegroom's coming and Kingdom and waiting for them, represent the two classes of the consecrated--the "Little Flock" and the "Great Company," the "more than conquerors" and the conquerors "through great tribulation." (Rom. 8:37; Rev. 7:14.) These are the same two classes that are represented in the Tabernacle type by the two goats, one of which became the Lord's goat for the sacrifice and the other the scapegoat, only that in the Tabernacle type the goats represented the two classes all the way down through the Gospel age as well as particularly at its close, while the two classes in the parable under consideration represent the Church only in the present time in the end of this age.

Evidently the Lord's object in giving the parable was two-fold: first, to give a salutary lesson to the apostles and the entire Church of this Gospel age on the necessity for alertness, watching and praying, anticipating and preparing for the coming King and his Kingdom that they might be constantly ready for a share therein. Second, the parable was specially intended for us living in this time, to let us see that it would not be sufficient to be hoping and praying for the Kingdom and in a general way expecting the Bridegroom, but that we must be so alert and so full of enthusiasm for the event that it would lead us to make the wisest possible preparation for it, that we might not be disappointed at the final moment.

SECOND ADVENTISTS IN THE PARABLE

True to the picture of the parable, a movement took place amongst the Lord's people of all denominations in the last century, which culminated in what was known as the Second Advent movement. The virgins, the pure ones amongst Christians all over the world, were aroused with the thought that the coming of the Bridegroom was near, and a general lamp trimming, a general investigation of the Bible especially on that subject resulted. True to the parable, the expectation of those dear people was disappointed--"the Bridegroom tarried," and while he tarried "they all slumbered and slept." The lamps were measurably neglected and a general stupor fell upon this class. Indeed we may properly enough agree that many of the virgins not only slept but dreamed most peculiar, fantastic and unreasonable things. But by and by came the midnight announcement, "Behold the Bridegroom!"

This cry has been going forth ever since A.D. 1874, and in response to it all of the virgin class everywhere are awakening and a fresh examination of the divine Word is in progress, the lamps are being trimmed. Amongst those who hear the announcement are some who insist that it is a false cry: they have become so drowsy, so overcharged with the cares of this life, so comfortably nestled, that although they love the Bridegroom and desire above all things to be ready to receive him, they are unprepared, refuse to investigate, and merely murmur to themselves, "Yes, we love the Bridegroom, we will surely be ready to receive him, we have [R3868 : page 314] long been waiting for him, but not yet, not yet. Soul, take thine ease; no one knows anything about the matter; those who are announcing the Bridegroom are surely in error."

As days and weeks and years roll by more and more of the virgins awaken, and as they do so the investigation begins, the trimming of the lamps. Then it is discovered that some, who thought they were ready to enter into the joys of their Lord, find that they are deficient in the all-important oil, which represents the holy Spirit, and from which alone comes their enlightenment. The delay of the Bridegroom thus serves as a test to the virgins invited to go in with him to the marriage --the delay serves to prove who are the wise and who are the foolish. A certain amount of oil, a certain amount of consecration, a certain amount of the holy Spirit, was necessary to be counted in with the virgins at any stage; but a larger measure is necessary now in the time of the actual presence of the Bridegroom, in the time of actual joining in the procession--more truth, more light, are now due, and must be possessed by those who would go in to the wedding.

The virgins merely represent the Lord's people in general at this time, so that many are now amongst them who had nothing to do with the Adventist movement of 1844. However, the general spirit must be the same, love for the Bridegroom, expectancy of his presence in the Kingdom and a desire above all things to be prepared to enter in with him before the door is shut. The question now then is, Who has a sufficiency of oil, of light, of the holy Spirit, from which this illumination proceeds, to be able to stand in the procession of the virgins who will enter in with the Bridegroom before the door closes? It is an important question, and one which appeals to every one who has his lamp burning. How necessary that we see to it that we have a good supply of the Spirit of the Lord--the spirit of meekness, patience, gentleness, long suffering, brotherly kindness, love. We may be sure that unless we have a good supply of these our lamps will go out.

"GIVE US OF YOUR OIL"

To illustrate this holy Spirit, this spirit of consecration which all of the wise virgins must have in full measure in order to maintain their light and their place in the Bridegroom's favor and to gain an entrance to the marriage, the Lord in the parable represents the foolish virgins as asking the wise for some of their oil, and then shows the impossibility of its being thus obtained from one another. The fruits and graces of the holy Spirit cannot be had for the asking; they must be bought in the market of experience--they are of gradual growth and cost painstaking care of words and thoughts and doings. It is because these fruits of the Spirit are so difficult of attainment and cost such a price of self-sacrifice and sacrifice of worldly interests that they are valuable in the Lord's sight.

None can get too much of this holy Spirit, none can secure an over supply for his own use so that he could supply others from his abundance. The Bridegroom has made in advance abundant provision by which all those who are invited to go in with him to the marriage may be properly equipped, not only with robes and lamps, but also with the oil; and if any are careless in the procurement of the oil, they thus indicate their unfitness to be of the class who are to enter with the Bridegroom before the door is shut. This is the essence of the Lord's instruction by this parable --that those who hope to enter into the Kingdom and share its glories with him must expect to make preparation in advance. If they wait until the moment for the door to close, however willing they may be, however anxious, they will not be prepared--the preparation requires time, patience, care.

We meet continually those who give evidence of being true Christians, "virgins," pure of heart, of intention, who are considerably interested in the heavenly Bridegroom, in the gathering for the marriage supper, but who have little light upon these interesting subjects. They sometimes say to us, "Give us of your light, tell us how you know these things, why you feel so sure about them while others are asleep. We are awake enough, but our lamps give no light." We answer that it is impossible to give them faith in these things by proxy; that there is only one way to obtain the light, and that is through a patient, persevering study of the divine Word under the guidance of the holy Spirit. We inform them that patient perseverance in well doing, in Scriptural study, in cultivating the fruits and graces of the Spirit, are necessary in order to have this oil and its light. They express regret, for they are so overcharged with the cares of this life or the deceitfulness of riches, or family pride, or what not, that they have not the time to give to their spiritual development and the study of the Word. We are sorry and disappointed at such; we would that they could enjoy with us the blessings of a good supply of oil and the clear light of our lamps as they are now shining. We can do no more than tell them how and where the oil, the light, must be obtained. We must go on in our personal preparation and in our hastening to hold up our lights in our salutation of the Bridegroom, and expressions of joy in connection with his presence and the anticipated entrance with him to the marriage.

"AND THE DOOR WAS SHUT"

To our understanding the wise virgins have been entering into the marriage since the autumn of 1878, A.D., and are still entering in--passing beyond the vail, changed in a moment, "in the twinkling of an eye." (1 Cor. 15:52.) Soon the entire First Resurrection [R3869 : page 314] will be complete, the last member being changed. Then and there the door will be shut and no more will be permitted to enter. Thank God that this does not signify so dreadful a condition as some of the Lord's dear people think. It does not mean the close of the door of hope, and that all outside, the foolish virgins as well as the world, will go down to hopeless despair in the Second Death. It does mean, however, the close of the great and grand opportunity which will never open again--it signifies the completion of the Kingdom class, the Bride class, the close of the narrow way to glory, honor, immortality and joint-heirship with Christ.

The foolish virgins go and buy the precious oil and get their lamps trimmed and burning, but too late for the marriage, too late to be of those who will be the Bride, the Lamb's wife. And thus in the parable it is represented that when they knock the Bridegroom will say, "I do not recognize you as being members of the Bride class; you must not come in." Instead [R3869 : page 315] of entering into the joys of the Lord with the others they will be permitted for a time at least to have their portion in the great time of trouble which will then prevail throughout the world; weeping and gnashing of teeth, sorrow, disappointment, chagrin, will be the portion not only of the foolish virgins but of all the families of the earth in that time. We are glad to know that that great day of trouble will prepare the world of mankind for the glorious conditions of the Millennial Kingdom, which will then shortly be ushered in. The Sun of Righteousness will arise with healing in its beams, and many people shall go and say, "Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord's house; he will teach us of his ways and we will walk in his paths. For the law shall go forth from Mount Zion [the glorified Kingdom, the heavenly Kingdom], and the Word of the Lord from Jerusalem [from the earthly representatives of the heavenly Kingdom]."--Mal. 4:2; Isa. 2:3.

How inconsistent the thought that the folly of these virgins should not only exclude them from the Kingdom blessings, but that even after they get the oil of the holy Spirit later on they should be consigned to an eternity of torture or loss! How unreasonable! how inconsistent! On the contrary, how much in harmony with the general divine character and program is this parable as we have here pictured its fulfilment. We can sympathize with the foolish virgins while we cannot commend them, but must reprove them. We can look forward to the time when they, as the great company of Revelation 7, shall wash their robes and make them white in the blood of the Lamb, and be ushered into the presence of the Lord and the Bride and become, as represented in Psalm 45, the virgins, the Bride's companions and co-laborers in the Kingdom work--servants before the throne, where they might have been, by proper love and zeal and knowledge in the present time, members of the Bride class, in the throne.

"NEITHER THE DAY NOR THE HOUR"

Our Lord concludes the parable with the words, "Watch, therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour." The revised version omits from verse 13 the words, "wherein the Son of man cometh," because these are not found in any of the old Greek MSS. The thought, however, is practically the same--Watch, because ye know neither the day nor the hour in which this parable will be fulfilled. The watching, no doubt, has been beneficial to the Lord's people all through the Gospel age, and is still more profitable to the wise virgin class of the present day, because it explains to these their circumstances, conditions, etc. All of the wise virgin class should be in the attitude commanded in this parable; they should have a knowledge of the fact that the Bridegroom is coming; they should have lamps and a full supply of oil. Those living in this ready condition will be neither alarmed nor surprised at the message when they hear it as it is now going forth, "Behold the Bridegroom is present." We are living in the parousia (presence) of the Son of Man--the wise virgins are already falling into line in the procession and entering in to the marriage; the full number will soon be found and the door will be shut. All in this watching attitude of heart, with the full measure of the Spirit of the Lord in their hearts will be very quickly attracted by the first intimation that the Bridegroom is present. These, trimming their lamps, examining the Scriptures, will quickly discern the truthfulness of the announcement, and speedily prepare and take their places with the wise virgins. The announcement, the truth upon this subject, is indeed a testing, proving which of the professed virgins of the Lord have the oil in their vessels, the right spirit of humility, patience, love, devotion, interest in the things of the Bridegroom. Such and such only are desired by the Bridegroom or will be permitted to enter.

In view of this it is evident that our work in the present time is not only to proclaim the Bridegroom's presence but to assist those who have the oil in their vessels to trim their lamps. If it is not already too late to go to buy the oil it soon will be, and hence our special care should be in respect to those who have the oil of the Lord's Spirit but who are still asleep or drowsy and need to have an announcement of his presence brought kindly, patiently, perseveringly to their attention.

It is not the supposition of the parable that when the time comes that the Bridegroom's presence is announced the virgins will not know of it. How could they trim their lamps and go out to meet him and go in with him without assurance of his presence? The watching suggested therefore by our Lord refers to the time prior to the presence. Those virgins who realize that the Bridegroom has come, those who have trimmed their lamps, those who have joined his procession, are not watching for his coming, but know of his presence, because that day and hour has come and has not found them unprepared, without sufficient oil.

Let us praise God for the blessings and mercies already ours, and go on faithfully rejoicing in the light of our lamps and in the anticipation of the glorious nuptial feast and the later glorious work, with the Bridegroom, of blessing all the families of the earth. He that hath this knowledge will by it be separated more and more from the world and its spirit, and be gradually more and more transformed from glory to glory in the likeness of the Bridegroom.



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BEFORE CHRIST'S JUDGMENT SEAT
--MATTHEW 25:14-30.--OCTOBER 21.--

Golden Text:--"A faithful man shall abound with blessings."--Prov. 28:20.

THE PARABLE of the pounds was uttered on the way to Jerusalem, the parable of the talents about five days later, on the Tuesday preceding our Lord's crucifixion, if Matthew's account is in consecutive order. The two parables, although similar in many respects, are different. One pound was given to each servant by a nobleman going into a far country to be invested with his kingly authority, and the servants each increased his trust in varying degrees. The parable of the talents now before us is different in [R3869 : page 316] that one received five talents, another two, another one--corresponding to the varying conditions of the Lord's people, mentally, morally, physically, socially, etc. Since one pound apiece was given it follows that the pounds could not represent talents, opportunities, which are very dissimilar. The pound must therefore represent something that is common to all of the Lord's people.

The holy Spirit is common to all the Lord's people, but not in the same measure, since each must receive it according to his capacity; therefore the holy Spirit could not be represented by the pound. The Word of God is common to all of the Lord's people, but a natural ability to understand the Word of God is not the same in all the consecrated; hence the pound could not represent the Word of God, the divine revelation. One thing, and only one, we believe, is common to all of the Lord's people in every sense of the word, and that is justification. Justification is a gift of God through faith in the precious blood, and is common to every one accepted of the Lord. It compensates for his weaknesses and blemishes, whether they be few or many; it therefore in the most absolute sense represents the one important blessing of God bestowed upon his people. Upon the use of that "pound," that blessing, that entrusted gift, depends the Master's reward in the end. The proper use of it is an investment of it in the Lord's service in a full, hearty consecration of time, influence and all to the service of the Lord. Any failure to use our justification will signify a complete loss of everything hoped for in respect to the Kingdom blessings and privileges of this, Gospel age. By justification our powers, however humble, are made acceptable to the Lord as though we were perfect. And every service we are able to render has its merit or value in our justification. We are not forgetting that we previously (Dec. 1, 1900) applied these pounds as signifying the holy Spirit, etc., common to all of God's people. We still hold to that application with the limitation that the holy Spirit is reckoned to us only on the basis of our justification. Thus it is through our justification that we are complete in him who is the Head of the New Creation and partakers of his holiness of spirit. [R3870 : page 316]

THE PARABLE OF THE TALENTS

Our lesson today deals especially with the talents, which undoubtedly represent the opportunities and privileges of those consecrated servants of the Lord who throughout this Gospel age are accepted as followers of Jesus and laborers in the vineyard. It should be noticed that in no way the parable relates to the world, but merely to the Church. While the world has certain talents, privileges, opportunities, these are not at the disposal of the household, because the world by wisdom knows not God, is blind to his gracious offer that they may become his servants, co-laborers together with his Son. True, the world should recognize that it is bought with a price, even the precious blood of Christ, and that it would be a reasonable service to lay down time, talent, energy, influence in the service of the Redeemer. But the world is blind and cannot realize the situation at present. Its opportunity will come by and by, when the darkness shall have rolled away and the Sun of Righteousness shall shine forth to fully illuminate the situation and cause the knowledge of the Lord to fill the earth.

There are various valuable lessons taught by this parable, and one of these is respecting the character of the Church's judgment. It is admitted that those who have become the Lord's bond-servants are possessors of various talents, powers, privileges and opportunities, some more and some less, and it is admitted that these were entrusted to them as the Lord's, and they were made the Lord's stewards after that they had recognized him and accepted him as their Master and consecrated themselves to his service. It should be clearly seen then just where the responsibility begins which will terminate when we stand before the judgment seat of Christ.

True, whatsoever a man sows he will reap. Every noble desire or effort will bring reward, every wrong course a measure of punishment in the present life, even before we come into the attitude of the Lord's consecrated ones--"bond-servants." This is true not only of the consecrated but of the whole world, but the parable does not take in the world nor the affairs of the Church up to the time they became the Lord's servants. It merely deals with them subsequently--as the servants. It shows that in the day of reckoning the Lord will ignore the affairs of our lives which preceded our consecration, and will merely deal with, reckon with, judge us, according to our use or misuse of our consecrated time, influence, talents, etc.

To realize these things clearly and distinctly should mean to every one of us renewed zeal and energy, and carefulness that the words of our mouths and the meditations of our hearts, and so far as possible all of life's conduct, might testify to our faithfulness in the use of talents and opportunities entrusted to us, and might bring us the Master's approval when our trial time shall come. As the Apostle declares, "Judgment [trial, testing] must begin at the house of God [the Church]." (I Pet. 4:17.) This, the parable before us shows, will be in the end of this Gospel age. This trial of the Church at its conclusion will demonstrate who are the Lord's elect, who shall be associated with Jesus in the great work of the future age, the Millennial age, namely, the judging of the world-- --the giving of the world a trial or test to demonstrate whether or not under favorable conditions and with clear knowledge they would be obedient to the Lord or disobedient--that the obedient might be blessed with everlasting life in perfection and the wilfully disobedient be utterly destroyed from amongst the people.-- Acts 3:23.

OUR VARYING TALENTS

We sometimes hear the claim made that all men are born free and equal, but there could be no greater mistake than this. Men are indeed born free so far as liberty of thought, will or intention are concerned, the only limitation being their knowledge or lack of it. But they are not born physically free, mentally free nor morally free. There is an incumbrance, a mortgage of sin and death, upon the whole human family which has descended from father Adam. This mortgage is called the curse. Some bear a larger share of it than others by heredity, environment. The original image and likeness of God has thus been marred, measurably effaced. If we assume that Adam as a perfect man had ten talents, it would be quite appropriate to say that not one of his posterity today, after six thousand [R3870 : page 317] years of falling, had more than five talents, and the majority much less, two talents and one talent. It is safe to estimate the mass of mankind as one-talented by nature. These talents which we possess by nature were transferred and became the Lord's when we accepted him, gave him our hearts, consecrated our all to his service.

A "talent" represented 3,000 shekels of silver, and the shekels in turn were the great and the small, representing in value in our money one thousand dollars or two thousand dollars. In the parable the servants are represented as trading with these, that is, working with them, using them. They were left free to exercise their best abilities with merely the general regulation that these were for use, and that their faithfulness would be represented in the results they would secure from using them. So it is with the Lord's consecrated people; we are not specially hampered by directions as to how we shall use our consecrated talents, powers, privileges, opportunities. The Lord has a great work for the future, and is less interested in what results we shall obtain from the use of our present talents than in the demonstration of our loyalty and zeal. The parable admits that our talents at present are inferior, not great in the sight of our Master, and that he seeks to see our diligence, our faithfulness to him and his cause.

TWO VIEWS, BOTH TRUE

We may view these talents and their use from two different standpoints, and both will be true. (1) Our natural talents may be considered, first, as representing wealth, influence, intellectual power, education and public utterance. The person possessed of all of these we might consider to be very richly endowed indeed, a five-talented person; very few are in this class. They possess grand opportunities and proportionately great responsibilities. With the proper zeal in the use of these talents such individuals would be a power for good in the body of Christ, the Church. The two-talented man might have intellectual power and the gift of public utterance, but be without education, wealth, influence, and correspondingly his ability would be less. Or he might have wealth and influence and lack the other qualities, or possess mental power and education and lack the talent of public utterance, influence and wealth. The one-talented man might have wealth or education or influence, but lacking the other qualities would be more or less handicapped. With the majority of the people, however, these matters might be considered slightly different: as, for instance, the one talent might be understood to represent a small degree of wealth, influence, education, mental caliber and public ability; the two-talented man might represent twice as much; the five-talented man five times as much. Viewed from this standpoint the use of our talents in the Lord's service should be increasing daily, and each one of his servants should be able to honor him more and serve his cause better in every sense of the word each day, each year.

(2) These talents may be viewed from the standpoint of our spiritual qualities, meekness, gentleness, patience, brotherly kindness, love. All of the Lord's people come short in these graces of the Spirit because of our fallen inheritance; because we are born in sin, shapen in iniquity; because selfishness in all of its concomitant parts, arrogance, rudeness, unkindness, impatience, have in large measure obliterated the opposite qualities, which are the likeness of God. Hence some that are naturally much impaired and very selfish, in whom the various fruits of the Spirit are naturally much dwarfed, might be considered as those possessing only the one talent of spiritual power and Godlikeness; others, possessing more, would correspond to the man of two talents, and others possessing this quality still more would be five talented. From this view of the talents, the object of each of the Lord's servants should be to increase these fruits and graces of the Spirit in his own heart and life, and thus, by gaining the victory over selfishness and sin, to be more and more a copy of God's dear Son, and more and more prepared for cooperation with the King in the Kingdom for the blessing and instruction of the world.

(3) The Lord has so arranged the matter that our talents, viewed from the two standpoints foregoing, in large measure combine. The person possessing the largest number of talents, abilities, opportunities, should be the person best qualified to rule his own spirit and to bring its every power into submission to the will of God, and to cultivate to the highest degree the fruits and graces of the Spirit. The Lord will doubtless measure us according to both of these standpoints, but we may be sure that eventually the chiefest of all gifts and blessings and talents in the Lord's sight is love--"Love is the principal thing." It will be only in proportion as love of God and for our fellow men shall have guided the use of our talents, whatever they may be, that they will be acceptable in the Lord's sight at all.

RECKONING WITH THE SERVANTS

In this parable the Lord clearly taught his disciples not to expect the end of the Gospel age very soon, for the statement is, "After a long time the Lord of those servants cometh and reckoneth with them." It was doubtless best everyway that the exact time for the ending of the Gospel age and the beginning of the Millennial age should not be made known until now that we are in this reckoning time. In the verse just preceding this lesson our Lord had cautioned his disciples [R3871 : page 317] to be faithful and to remember that they would not know the exact time of his return. But surely all of the servants will know of the Master's return at the time mentioned in this parable, after he has arrived and has begun to reckon with them. To our understanding this period of time was reached in A.D. 1878, and all of these servants of the Gospel age have been rendering their accounts since. First were the apostles and they who fell asleep in Christ throughout the Gospel age, because it is written that we which are alive and remain should not hinder, prevent, or take precedence of them that had fallen asleep. From our standpoint, then, the apostles and others of the Church have already passed the inspection that is here described, or rather the judgment of the Church is in progress and the decisions and rewards will not be given until the last members shall have passed beyond the vail to render their accounts; and this we understand [R3871 : page 318] will be accomplished some time before October, 1914--quite possibly sooner.

We are not to understand from the parable that all who have five talents will use them wisely, effectively, and hear the "Well done," nor that this will be the case with all who have two talents, nor that the greater number who possess but the one talent will all fail to use it. On the contrary, the parable is so arranged as to emphasize the responsibility of even those of the Lord's servants who have the smallest natural ability, whose consecrated powers are the most insignificant. If the one-talented man misusing his was disapproved, it goes without saying that the two-talented or five-talented would be even more reprehensible in the sight of their Lord. It goes without saying also that if the five-talented man succeeded and received a blessing and commendation and reward, the one-talented man succeeding would receive an equal blessing of approval and a proportionate share of the good things provided by the Master for the faithful.

FAITHFULNESS DOUBLY REWARDED

The parable shows the Master beginning with the more influential and rewarding faithfulness (1) with a share in his favor, the "joys of the Lord," and (2) with a rulership or control of larger blessings and opportunities and talents. This statement briefly outlines what is elsewhere more elaborately set forth, namely, that the chief blessing upon the Church will be the manifesting to them of divine favor and love as represented in the glory, honor and immortality with which they would be clothed upon when received into the divine presence as participators in the First Resurrection. If this were all the blessing how rich it would be! How wonderful the thought that for faithfulness for a few short years in so reasonable a service--the service of him who loved us and bought us with his own precious blood--we should be counted worthy of such great dignity, honor and blessing everlastingly! The second or additional blessing is the honor of the Kingdom, the dominion, the privilege and opportunity of being participators with our Lord Jesus in the glorious work of uplifting the world of mankind out of present sin-and-death conditions. How forceful is the statement, "Faithful over a few things, ruler over many things." How abundantly the Lord does reward all of our little efforts in the service of truth and righteousness--in his service--whatever our talents, few or many.

HID TALENT IN THE EARTH

The one-talent man of the parable is represented as being strictly honest; he had not wasted the talent, he had not used it in ministering to the flesh, in riotous living of any kind. He had kept it safe, and seemed to feel that his Lord would commend him and say, While you have not brought me any return I appreciate the fact that you exercised great care with the talent entrusted to you, and hid it and kept it safely, and that now you are able to return it. But not so. The Master was angry with him and said, "Thou wicked and slothful servant." The point of this reproof lies in the fact that these servants represented only the consecrated and not the world--in the fact that every consecrated child of God in his consecration vow has agreed to spend and to be spent in the Master's service, whatever his talents, whatever his power.

This man was admitted to the Lord's family, made partaker of the holy Spirit and granted a relationship in the body of Christ only because of this consecration to do and to serve, to use, to spend, to be spent. Hence conduct that would not be reprehensible on the part of the world is a violation of his covenant on the part of this servant. Correspondingly a punishment is meted out to him--his talent, his opportunity, his privilege, whatever it was, shall be utterly taken from him, and he shall be permitted to go into the time of trouble with which this age will end--"There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth"--there will be sorrow, disappointment, chagrin, in every sense of the word. The parable does not carry the matter further to show us the result of this time of trouble upon this class of servants, unfaithful to their vows of consecration, but other Scriptures show us that this is a numerous class, "a great company," who in the time of trouble will be awakened from their dreamy stupor to realize that they have been seriously at fault, and to earnestly, tearfully, painfully, repent and obtain divine forgiveness and ultimately "come up out of great tribulation, having washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb." (Rev. 7.) They will be before the throne, whereas the faithful servants will be in the throne; they will have palm branches because ultimately victorious, but those in the throne, the more faithful, will wear the crowns.

It will be noticed that there are two grades of faithfulness: the servant who hid his Lord's talent in the earth was faithful in that he did not waste or squander it riotously, sinfully, viciously. He did not repudiate his Master either, for he still acknowledged himself as his servant and the talent as not his own. The higher faithfulness that in the parable was rewarded went beyond this and represented earnest, self-sacrificing zeal in the Master's cause. These in the parable are the same that are represented by the Lord through the Prophet, saying, "Gather together my saints unto me, those who have made a covenant with me by sacrifice." (Psa. 50:5.) "They shall be mine, saith the Lord, in that day when I come to make up my jewels." (Mal. 3:17.) This jewel class must all be sacrificers. This is their covenant with the Lord--that they will sacrifice, that they will use their talents, opportunities, privileges, favors, zealously in his service, in the service of his household, in the service of his cause, to the honor of his name.

After entering into this covenant with him any other course of conduct would be properly, as in the parable, designated wicked and slothful. From this viewpoint it is to be feared that the class represented by this unfaithful servant is a large one, a great company. While still our term for rendering our accounts is future, while still the opportunity for using our time and influence and all in the Lord's service is with us, how it behooves every one who has made the covenant by sacrifice to be vigilant, energetic, that he may ultimately hear the Master's precious words, "Well done, good and faithful servant, enter thou into the joys of thy Lord. Thou hast been faithful in a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things."

A father illustrated this principle to his child at the seashore by laying a silver dollar upon the beach within reach of the incoming waves. Soon the sands were covering it and it was out of sight: then before [R3871 : page 319] he allowed the child to dig it up he said, "Everything valuable that we allow to lie unused is soon buried by the tide of life as this dollar has been by the tide of the ocean." This is a good illustration: It is not necessary that we dig into the earth to bury the talent; if we simply allow it to lie unused it will soon be out of sight.

RECEIVE THINE OWN WITH INTEREST

The words interest and usury once had the same meaning, but in our day this has changed, and interest is that payment for the use of money which is deemed just and reasonable, while usury signifies an unjust and extortionate charge of interest, the result of taking advantage of some one's trouble or necessity. Usury, therefore, in our present use of the term, implies extortion, and is everywhere reprehensible. The Lord's people are everywhere warned that they shall not be extortioners or unjust. The loaning of money upon a reasonable rate of interest may at times be of advantage both to borrower and lender. Nevertheless the Lord's injunction to his people is along the lines of lending rather than borrowing--especially in opposition to borrowing where no security of value is given.

The Lord uses this illustration of interest, increase, usufruct, to represent the increase which would under his providential guidance naturally and reasonably result from our proper exercise of the talents consecrated to his service. We may be sure that his arrangements are wise, and that whoever is not slothful in business but fervent in spirit, serving the Lord, will find his talents increasing to his own pleasure and profit and to the Master's honor.

ONE TALENT FAITHFULLY USED

When we remember that the large majority of the Lord's people are of necessity one talented, we feel especial interest in a little verse by John L. Shorey, which illustrates a faithful one-talented person. We quote it as follows:--

"He couldn't sing and he couldn't play,
He couldn't speak, and he couldn't pray,
He'd try to read, but break right down,
Then sadly grieve at smile or frown.
While some with talents five began,
He started out with only one.
'With this,' he said, 'I'll do my best,

[R3872 : page 319]

And trust the Lord to do the rest.'
His trembling hand and tearful eye
Gave forth a world of sympathy,
When all alone with one distressed,
He whispered words that calmed that breast.

"And little children learned to know,
When grieved and troubled, where to go.
He loved the birds, the flowers, the trees,
And, loving him, his friends loved these.
His homely features lost each trace
Of homeliness, and in his face
There beamed a kind and tender light
That made surrounding features bright,
When illness came he smiled at fears,
And bade his friends to dry their tears;
He said, 'Good-bye,' and all confess
He made of life a grand success."



[R3872 : page 319]

BEREAN BIBLE STUDY ON LOVE
--SEE COMMENTS IN OUR JULY 1 ISSUE--

SEPT. 30

39. Would it be showing partiality to manifest different degrees of love? Z.'02-198 (1st col. par. 1 to 3); Z.'05-92 (1st col. par. 2).

40. How may we "consider one another to provoke unto love"? Heb. 10:24; F.308.

41. How should we apply the Golden Rule? Matt. 22:39; Z.'99-72 (1st col. par. 1); F.375, 376; Z.'98-199 (1st col. par. 2, 2nd col. par. 1, 2); Z.'02-188 (2nd col.) to 189 (1st col. par. 2).

42. How may love exercise combativeness? Z.'05-216 (1st col. par. 1 to 2nd col. par. 2).

OCT. 7

43. How should the spirit of love control the tongue? F.291, par. 1, 2; Z.'01-398 (2nd col. par. 2, 3); F.587, par. 1, 2.

44. What should be our attitude toward all our fellow creatures? Rom. 13:8; Z.'03-121 (1st col. par. 2); Z.'95-74 (1st col. par. 3, 4); Z.'02-187 (2nd col. par. 1) to 188 (1st col. par. 3).

45. What is the significance of the warning, "Love not the world"? 1 John 2:15,16; Z.'96-66,67; F.604, par. 2, to 606, par. 2.

46. How should we examine ourselves lest our "heart" deceive us? F.600, par. 2, to 602, par. 2.

OCT. 14

47. After having reached "the mark," is activity still essential? Z.'01-10 (2nd col. par. 2); F.190, par. 1, 2; F.373, par. 2, 3.

48. What should be the leading characteristic of an Elder? Titus 1:7,8; Z.'99-74 (2nd col. par. 1); F.251, par. 2.

49. How does love enable us to be "comforters in Zion"? Z.'04-292 (2nd col. par. 1 to 3); 296 (1st col. par. 2); Z.'04-121 (1st col. par. 1); Z.'05-311 (1st col. par. 3. and 2nd col.).

50. Why is love one of the "tests of the harvest"? Z.'04-297 (2nd col. par. 2).

OCT. 21

51. Will our love be proven and tested to the utmost? Deut. 13:3; Z.'98-40 (2nd col. par. 1); F.369, par. 1.

52. Why does the Apostle rank patient-endurance above even love? Z.'01-116 (2nd col. par. 1) to 117 (1st col.).

53. How will the law of love operate during the Millennial Age? Z.'98-202; Z.'01-39 (2nd col. par. 1, 2).

54. What is the bond of oneness in the Divine Family? F.467, par. 3, to 469; Z.'03-77; Z.'05-139 (1st col. par. 2) to 140.

OCT. 28

55. What was the greatest manifestation of love toward man on the part of him who "is love"? 1 John 4:9; John 3:16; Z.'00-311 (2nd col. par. 4); Z.'04-53 (1st col. last par.); E.462, par. 1, to 463, par. 2.

56. How should the contemplation of Jesus' life help us to "abide in the Father's love"? Z.'02-172 (2nd col. par. 2).

57. What special experiences and practices have notably assisted you in developing more of the spirit of love?



page 321
October 1st

ZION'S
WATCH TOWER
and
Herald of Christ's Presence

ROCK OF AGES
Other foundation can
no man lay
A RANSOM FOR ALL

"Watchman, What of the Night?"
"The Morning Cometh, and a Night also!" Isaiah 21:11

SEMI-MONTHLY
VOL. XXVIIOCTOBER 15No. 20
A.D., 1906--A.M., 6035


CONTENTS

Views from the Watch Tower323
The Heavens Shall Roll Together323
A Few National Reform Utterances323
A Remarkable Forecast324
The Gathering of the Churches324
"She Hath Done What She Could"330
Anointed for His Burial331
Selfishness vs. Generosity332
"This Do in Remembrance of Me"333
"Take Eat; This is My Body"333
"Drink Ye all of It"334
New Wine in the Kingdom334
For the Remission of Sins335

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 322

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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[R3872 : page 323]

VIEWS FROM THE WATCH TOWER.

THE HEAVENS SHALL ROLL TOGETHER


IT is interesting to those who see the approaching Federation of Christian churches, as set forth in the Bible, to note the various little straws which denote the gradual change of sentiment on the part of the public into harmony with what the Bible teaches us to expect. For instance, how strange it seems that Presbyterians and Congregationalists, after fighting so long against all forms and ceremonies and liturgies and "printed prayers," should now be adopting these. The Congregationalist attitude toward the Church of England's Book of Common Prayer is thus set forth in their new

BOOK OF LITURGY FOR CONGREGATIONAL SERVICE

The Congregational attitude toward the English Book of Common Prayer is thus expressed by one of the leaders in that body:

"Our real inheritance is in the English Book of Common Prayer, which gathered up the best elements of the service books of its time, both historic and reformed, and was the possession of the undivided English Church from which we derive. Our fathers used their liberty in discarding it. If we mean to return to written forms, we shall be using our liberty if we return to it, or such a modification of it as shall suit our modern life. We shall impoverish and not enrich ourselves by stepping further outside of the tradition of the whole Church.

"The time is ripening for such a revision of the Book of Common Prayer as may serve our need."--(New Haven) Journal and Courier.

A FEW NATIONAL REFORM UTTERANCES


"We want State and religion; and we are going to have it."--Jonathan Edwards, D.D. In other words, they want a State religion.

"Constitutional laws punish for false money, weights, and measure. So Congress must establish a standard of religion, or admit anything called religion." --Prof. C. A. Blanchard. And this will mean an established religion.

"Our remedy for all these malefic influences is to have the government simply set up the moral law, and recognize God's authority behind it, and lay its hand on any religion that does not conform to it."--Rev. M. A. Gault. And this means religious persecution.

They desire an amendment to the Constitution that will "place all the Christian laws, institutions, and usages of our Government on an undeniable legal basis in the fundamental law of the land."--Art. 2 of their Constitution. That is, they desire the Christian religion made the "legal" religion of the nation.

"Those who oppose this work now will discover, when the religious amendment is made to the Constitution, that if they do not see fit to fall in with the majority, they must abide the consequences, or seek some more congenial clime."--Dr. David McAlister. This is what Rome said after Christianity, so-called, became the established religion of this empire. Justinian told the people that if they did not embrace the established religion, confiscation and other punishments would follow.

"Give us good Sunday laws, well enforced by men in local authority, and our churches will be full of worshipers, and our young men and women will be attracted to the divine service. A mighty combination of the churches of the United States could win from Congress, the State legislatures, and municipal councils, all legislation essential to this splendid result."--Rev. S. V. Leech, D.D.

A young man recently from Russia attending a Baptist Church service at which a resolution was offered urging legislation on the Sunday question arose and said:

"I am from Russia, the land of intolerance, the land of a union of Church and State. I have seen the scars on the wrists of the missionaries whom you sent to my country,--scars made by chains placed on them by Russia's union of Church and State. I joined the Baptist Church in Russia because it trusted in God, not in the State. And now I come to America and enter my beloved Baptist Church, and hear you petitioning Congress for a law to bind chains on the wrists of your fellowmen. In the name of God, send your petitions to [R3873 : page 324] the throne of God, and not to the Congress of the United States."

A REMARKABLE FORECAST


In a sermon, in the year 1846, Charles Beecher declared:

"The ministry of the evangelical Protestant denominations is not only formed all the way up under a tremendous pressure of merely human fear, but they live, and move, and breathe in a state of things radically corrupt, and appealing every hour to every baser element of their nature to hush up the truth, and bow the knee to the power of apostasy. Was not this the way things went with Rome? Are we not living her life over again? And what do we see just ahead?--Another general council! A world's convention! evangelical alliance, and universal creed!"

When this state of things shall have been reached, then, in the effort to secure complete uniformity, it will be only a step to the resort to force.

The following striking paragraphs show how another, with remarkable foresight, outlined this federation movement years ago:

"There has been for years, in churches of the Protestant faith, a strong and growing sentiment in favor of a union based upon common points of doctrine. To secure such a union, the discussion of subjects upon which all were not agreed--however important they might be from a Bible standpoint--must necessarily be waived."

"When the leading churches of the United States, uniting upon such points of doctrine as are held by them in common, shall influence the State to enforce their decrees and to sustain their institutions, then Protestant America will have formed an image of the Roman hierarchy, and the infliction of civil penalties upon dissenters will inevitably result."

OUR OWN TESTIMONY ON THIS SUBJECT

Our older readers will recall that, so long ago as Oct. 1881, this journal set forth that this Church Federation as the "image of the beast" (Rev. 13), was constructed in The Evangelical Alliance organized in 1846; and that the giving of life or living power to this federation might be expected by now, and that shortly it would prove its likeness to the original papal system which it imaged by violent suppression of the truth and persecution of its defenders. In all these twenty-five years the matter has been ripening, though nothing then seemed farther from realization. Our presentation on the subject in Millennial Dawn Vol. III., p. 119, is or should be in the hands of all of our readers.



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THE GATHERING OF THE CHURCHES
--BY EUGENE WOOD--

WE QUOTE the following from the columns of Everybody's Magazine, not by way of endorsing it, but because it gives a fairly good view of the way the "worldly wise" look at matters; and in order to the better point out the writer's erroneous view. Introducing the article the editor of Everybody's says;

"We asked Eugene Wood, whose frank article on consumption set people thinking intelligently about the white plague, to attend the two religious conferences organized to discuss the unification of the churches, and to report what he saw and heard. This is his report. It is presented exactly for what it is-- the individual impressions and thoughts of a plain-spoken man, who is himself a believer, but who takes the ground that Christianity is greater than dogma and more important than its sects. We submit this article to you, our readers, not as a contribution to theological controversy, for that has no place here, but in the sincere belief that a little "talking out in meeting" now and then will help the Christianity most of us profess, and aid morality and virtue. There are many new things in the world to-day. Thought is a living and growing thing. Modern scientific investigation has lightened up dark places in the annals of the race and we are all looking at life through different peep-holes from those through which our grandfathers viewed the eternal problem. Knowing more of the beginnings of religion than our ancestors, and realizing as we must that other men in other lands are thinking about the selfsame problems that are our concern, it is impossible not to believe that the God our forefathers regarded as a private possession of their particular sect is the God of the Chinese and the Hindus and the Mohammedans, as well as of us Americans and Europeans. As our outlook widens, we begin to see that the spirit of the Sermon on the Mount is of higher consequence than the Apostles' Creed, and that though forms may differ, most honest men, be they Buddhists or Confucians, Protestants or Roman Catholics, are struggling toward the same goal, looking up at the same stars, praying to the same God and for much the same things."

The writer, Eugene Wood, takes as his text the words of Prof. Goldwin Smith, and begins: "This anxious gathering of the churches shows that they believe a religious crisis to be at hand. It is also a social crisis."

Two extremely significant, not to say portentous, conferences, with apparently the same underlying purpose, were held in November last on nearly coincident dates, the New York State Conference of Religion at Rochester, 13th-14th, and the Inter-Church Conference on Federation, in Carnegie Hall, New York City, 15th-21st.

To say that the underlying purpose of both conferences was to further the unity (either after the flesh or after the spirit) of the many dissident religious bodies will not be vividly interesting to the public at large. It might have been fifty years ago, when there wasn't much else to talk about, but being absorbed in weightier matters than differences of opinion as to the orthodox way to sharpen a lead pencil, or whether wetting the top of a man's head is more efficacious than having the water run out of his shoe-tops, the public has long ago dismissed the subject as impracticable and [R3873 : page 325] unprofitable. It is perhaps a little late in the day to query: Why separate organizations for the Reformed Church in America and the Reformed Church in the United States of America? Why a Presbyterian Church, and a Reformed Presbyterian Church, and a United Presbyterian Church, and a Welsh Presbyterian Church, and a Cumberland Presbyterian Church, and so on, to the end of the chapter? Why the colored Methodist Episcopal Church in America, and an African Methodist Episcopal Church, and an African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church? There is a Methodist Episcopal Church and a Methodist Episcopal Church South (and, I am told, some Methodist Episcopal churches in Baltimore that are neither one nor the other, but kind of betwixt and between), between whom there is no difference in doctrine or polity, but only a soreheaded poutiness about a quarrel fifty years old, settled forever by the rude arbitrament of war, as to whether the negro was ordained of God to work only for his board and keep, or for wages that will just about pay for his board and keep, if he is lucky in getting jobs and careful with his money.

Conferences to make up the clothes-line fusses between Mrs. Cassidy and Mrs. Ryan would possess about the same interest for the general public, were it not for the notable fact that it sometimes happens that more comes out of the bag than was put into it. This is my only excuse for blackening good white paper to tell you what happened in Rochester and in Carnegie Hall on the dates I have given.

THE PLAN OF FEDERATION

Not by way of reporting so much as by way of refreshing your recollection, I will say that the Inter-Church Conference on Federation adopted a Plan. Delegates from some thirty evangelical bodies voted for it, and the legislative assemblies of these thirty religious bodies will ratify the Plan in due season, provided it doesn't prevent their sharpening their lead-pencils their own orthodox way. Then they will elect members of the Federal Council, four for each denomination, and one in addition for each 50,000 communicants. This Federal Council will meet for business in December, 1908, and once every four years thereafter. So there won't anything be done precipitately; we can rest easy as to that. "The Federal Council shall have no authority over the constituent bodies adhering to it; but its province shall be limited to the expression of its counsel, and the recommending of a course of action in matters of common interest to the churches, local councils, and individual Christians. It has no authority to draw up a common creed, or form of government or worship, or in any way to limit the full autonomy of the Christian bodies adhering to it." So we need not fear drastic action; we may rest easy as to that.

To the objection that this seems a rather tenuous bond of union one may say that mighty empires have been formed of States whose first coming together was quite as--er--quite as--well, "cage-y." To speak of "Christian bodies adhering" to such a confederacy seems rather a brilliant metaphor than a precise statement, but we shall see--what we shall see. It's all over until 1908, anyhow. ***

MANY SECTS--ONE RELIGION

Membership in the Inter-Church Conference on Federation was representative. The delegates went there and voted, not as they thought as individuals, but as they thought their denominations thought, which is the same as what the most unprogressive of their denominations thought, the Uncle Billy Hardheads [R3874 : page 325] with ear-trumpets up there in the front seats. The fact that membership in the New York State Conference of Religion was individual, and that a man went there to represent himself, made all the difference in the world between the two conferences. At Rochester they didn't formulate a plan. I think all the voting that was done was on whether they should thank the city of Rochester for its hospitality, and whether they should accept the kind invitation to go to Schenectady the next time. Clergymen and laymen from the dissident bodies, Christian and Jewish, were present and spoke. The motto of this conference was "Religions are many; religion is one," and the effort was not so much to arrive at corporal union; not so much to constitute a council which should have no authority to do more than say that it looks like rain but may clear up after all, as to declare that spiritual kinship subsists of itself and without formulated effort--kinship not only between the Reformed Church in America and the Reformed Church in the United States of America; between evangelicals and the misguided but well-meaning creatures who think there is no hell; but also between Catholics and Protestants, between Christians and Jews--nay, more, between those whose heritage is the Bible, and Mohammedans, Buddhists, Jains, Parsees, Confucianists, Shintoists, Brahmins, even those who "in their blindness bow down to wood and stone.

GOD IN IDEAL OR IDOL

There were none of these latter present, but they would have been welcomed if they had come, for at this conference it was seen that whether a man forms a god with his hands and it is called an idol, or forms one with his mind and it is called an ideal, the Father of us all, in whom we live and move and have our being, knows how it is with us: how we grope in the darkness that is about us if haply we may find him. And the homage we pay to his broken reflection in idol or ideal he takes unto himself as he spake by the mouth of his prophet Malachi, saying, "In every place incense is offered unto my name, and a pure offering, for my name is great among the heathen, saith the Lord of Hosts."

[This the Revised Version of Malachi 1:11, is not in our judgment correct. The Common Version reads: shall be instead of is, and thus agrees with facts and other Scriptures. See I Cor. 10:20.--Editor Z.W.T.]

ROMAN CATHOLIC APPROVAL

The air at this Rochester Conference was clearer, freer of the smoke of Smithfield and Geneva. Said one good soul: "It is of more importance that I shall understand your position than that you shall understand mine." You couldn't jaw with that man because he doesn't sharpen a lead-pencil the way you do. As a result of that spirit at Rochester, Jews learned that Christians, for all their insistence upon the Three Persons in the Godhead, can say with them the Sh'ma Israel, "Hear, O Israel, the Lord thy God is One," and Christians learned from Jews that Jesus was a typical Jew, and that what divides the creeds is not [R3874 : page 326] his teachings, but concessions made to heathen Europe afterward.

It is matter for regret that at Rochester and at Carnegie Hall there was no representation of either the Roman Catholic Church, whose membership is estimated at about one-eighth of the entire population of the country (certainly one-third of the entire population of New York City is Roman Catholic), or of that unorganized but perhaps even larger body known as the Big Church, whose members loaf around home Sundays and read the paper. Of these two great bodies, the Big Church stayed away probably because it feels much as Noah did when a storm began to blow up. And the Roman Catholic Church stayed away because it knows there won't be much of a shower, anyway. If there were, there would be something about it in the "Summa Theologiae" of St. Thomas Aquinas. I haven't seen what the Roman Catholics have said of the Rochester Conference, but the Boston Pilot approved of the stand taken for the divinity of Jesus by the Federation Conference (meaning the shutting of the door in the face of the Unitarians), and the Rev. Morgan M. Sheedy in another Catholic paper commended the irenic spirit which prompted the gathering, and mentioned the significant fact that Catholics and Protestants found themselves able to cooperate in good works, as in associated charities. The purpose of the Federation, by the way, is "to promote catholic unity," but "catholic" and "Catholic" are not quite the same. Not quite.

BIG CHURCH DOCTRINE

The Big Church would have approved the Rochester Conference the more heartily of the two. For instance, Rabbi Schulman, of the Temple Beth-El, of New York, in his paper, "Our Definition of Religion," said that "religion is human life lived in the presence of God." Prof. Joseph Leighton, of Hobart College, in the discussion following, denied that the idea of God was necessary to religion, which in his turn he defined as "the tendency of personality to enlarge itself, the persistent demand for the ideal by the actual. Religion represents the demands of the individual for ideal environment," differing from philosophy mainly in method. This does not violently contradict the creed of the Big Church.

But the most radical expression at the Rochester Conference was that of the Rev. Algernon Crapsey, D.D., rector of St. Andrew's Episcopal Church of that city. He was replying to the Rev. Dr. Josiah L. Strong, who had argued that in order that the coming generation should seek after righteousness of conduct it behooved us to see to it that the public schools taught these three formal dogmas: The existence of God, the immortality of the soul, and the future accountability of all men. (By the way, I hear that the proposition to split the kindlings for Dr. Crapsey's bonfire was defeated by a vote of three to two.)

In this discussion he said: "I must take issue with Dr. Strong. The remedy he proposes is impracticable, and the three dogmas of the existence of God, the immortality of the soul, and the future accountability of all men are without ethical value. The Mohammedan believes all three far more devoutly, far more earnestly than the average Christian, and because he believes he murders Christians. The Russian believes all three, and because he believes he massacres the Jews. Those who have been prominent in the conduct of affairs, those whose wealth threatens the country now, are firm believers in the three propositions. If you were to pick out a man to-day who stands firmest for these three things it would be the Master of Standard Oil.

"Every man's God--for 'God' is an abstract term --every man's God is the exact reflection of that man's moral nature. He makes his God in his own image. It is impossible to do otherwise. Therefore, a man's God to any human mind is simply the measure of his own ethical progress. Therefore, you will get in the name of God every sort of action from the sacrifice of a man's son upon an altar to the sacrifice of himself upon the cross.

"To teach the existence of God is not to advance at all. It is the same with belief in man's immortality, because a man's notion of the life he is to live beyond will exactly correspond with the life he is living now. When we think of immortality it is with the idea of continuation, going on and doing the same things we are doing now. We seek to keep on in our own personality, we shrink from annihilation; our picture of the life beyond is a reproduction of the life we are living here. It is without ethical value.

ORTHODOX INSURANCE THIEVES

"So with the accountability of man," continued Dr. Crapsey. "Our notion of how we are to account for ourselves will accord with our ethical conception of what we do here. I do not think for a moment that those gentlemen lately so much spoken of in the public prints have been disturbed in their sleep, because I have known some of them. Those men who have taken $150,000 a year for not knowing anything about life-insurance are all real believers in God, in their own immortality and accountability, but their understanding of it is such that they can account for every dollar they have taken; can account to themselves, and thus account to God."

That's Big Church doctrine, pretty High, perhaps, certainly very much Higher than Bob Ingersoll. As for Tom Paine--oh, well, he was a Low Churchman, away 'way down Low. That is, he would be nowadays. The essence of their doctrines is the same: That belief in the supernatural has no influence on conduct. But hark to this that follows from Dr. Crapsey: "We are living to-day in the midst of a great dissolution. We are standing by the death-bed of a great religion." That's Big Church through and through.

In the discussion following, the Rev. Nelson Millard, D.D., said that the students of parochial schools where the teaching of religion is an emphatic factor were not more moral than those of the so-called "godless" public schools. He added: "In the South there is a very bad state of morals. Yet the South is most orthodox. The three points of belief in God, the immortality of the soul, and the future accountability of all men are well understood. Also, it is a demonstrated fact that Mammon is unimpeachably orthodox."

AN IMMINENT CRISIS

The Rev. Dr. Strong in closing said that he had been making investigations himself, and he had found that the hundred richest men in the United States who had the greatest influence in the financial world are [R3874 : page 327] almost without exception orthodox Church members.

Here, at any rate, more came out of the bag than was put into it. What has this assumption that Mammon is immoral, no matter how orthodox it may be; what has this statement that this is an "age of dissolution," and that "we are standing by the death-bed of a great religion," to do with finding a common ground of unity of all faiths? What has it to do with federating the churches, and trying to get the scuffling sects at home to show the same table-manners that they do in the missionary field, where they do not all grab for the same piece at once, but carve the turkey so that it will go all around? Very much, very much indeed to do with it. "This anxious gathering of the churches shows that they believe a religious crisis to be at hand. It is also a social crisis."

The Inter-Church Conference was less moved by this impending crisis than that at Rochester. Its getting together was more numerous and prolonged, but that was all. It was right after the elections, when, as you recollect, men heard the voice of God speaking through the people as it had never been heard before. The earth was still trembling with it. The laymen who spoke had much to say about the "awakened heart and conscience of the people" and the "new impulse toward civic righteousness," but all that got entirely by the reverend clergy, white-headed within and without. Their latest news on any subject is dated 1859.

THE CLERGY BEHIND THE TIMES

Apparently they could not discern the signs of the times. If they saw at all, they saw only that the evening sky of a dying day shines redly through the gloom. They wist not that it promises that the morrow shall be fair, fairer than earth has ever seen before. I heard one gentleman with a white tie whose theme was "Labor and Capital" make a fervent and a loud appeal for "a fair day's wages for a fair day's work," the open Bible, and the public schools. I am sure if he had had more time he would have said a good word for wearing rubbers when it is wet. And a bishop who may be described as the most extinct of his species squabbled and scolded at apartment-houses as destroyers of the home, and denounced the law by which a woman tied to a drunken, worthless hound may free herself and her children from him.

To tell the honest truth, it wasn't much better at Rochester. The paper read that attracted the keenest attention was that of the Rev. Washington Gladden, D.D., on "The Relations of Moral Teachers to Predatory Wealth." He said that "predatory wealth" was that which has been "gained by plunder rather than by legitimate commerce, and which is used to promote the facilities of plunder. It has not been won by open and honorable competition, but by getting unfair and generally unlawful advantages; by secret agreements and rebates; by the liberal use of money to corrupt legislation and to subsidize the press; by using trust funds for private purposes; by arts which corrupt character and destroy the foundations of the social order........ It is childish," he urged, "to deny the existence of a class of rich men whose presence is a menace to liberty and a blight upon the national life......The battle of the mart is often fierce, and men are often tempted to be hard and false and cruel. But the ordinary American manufacturer is not in intent, or in fact, a thief or a plunderer........We may admit that he is not a saint, but he is not a pirate, and there are a number of things he will not do to win a fortune."

And so on. The moral teacher, this being the case, must carefully distinguish between millions made honestly and millions made piratically. The truth is that "tainted money" taken by the moral teacher for his Church or charity or college does more harm than it does good. It isn't like taking the contributions of a gambler or the keeper of a house of ill-fame, because they are under the ban, and it is understood that whatever gifts they give will not take off the curse. But the predatory rich ought to be under the ban and are not. They are applauded, flattered, and courted; they sit in the seats of the mighty, which is an awful miscarriage of justice.

Dr. Gladden's economics may be summed up by the statement that you have a right to beat your wife, only you mustn't hit her with a wagon-spoke. The moral teacher and panhandler may take the money gained by "open and honorable competition," but he must give back that "gained by plunder."

GRAFT IN THE WAGE SYSTEM

"Open and honorable competition!" What do our "moral teachers" think the scuffle for a living is? A game of tiddledywinks? If two starving men see a loaf of bread, is it going to be "After you, my dear Alphonse"? And if the two starving men see one job of work, will one give way to the other or will each underbid the other until the man that gets the job makes out of it just enough to keep him going? Part of what the Federation of Churches is to do when it gets started is to denounce "graft." Indeed, but what's the whole wage system but graft? What are profits but the difference between what a man earns and what he can live on, that difference going to his employer as a tip, a gratuity, a bribe--graft, if you please? And this employer must enter into "open and honorable competition" with others in the same business. Tell me, you American merchants and manufacturers whom Dr. Gladden praises so, how is it with you? Is it "After you, my dear Alphonse," or is it "Dog eat dog"? You know well enough what you hate to do and yet what you've got to do or go out of business. You've no illusions about "open and honorable competition." Is there such a thing? Tell me. Honestly now......

CHURCH COMPETITION

If there were, we'll say, a dozen factories in a given trade, each outfitted with an expensive plant and a long salary list, but just managing to scrape along, working on half-time, we should see something doing in the reorganizing line right suddenly. It calls for no great intellect to see the similarity of a dozen denominations in a town, all outfitted with expensive plants, churches with stained-glass windows, altars, pulpits, organs, pews, carpets, Bibles, hymn-books, prayer-books, lesson-leaves; officered with pastors, lay-readers, organists, choristers, teachers, vestries, ushers, sextons, and Ladies' Aids; heated, lighted, swept, and garnished; running on one-seventh time and a little while after supper on Wednesday evenings, to very light business; all in debt up to the roots of their noses, and all grabbing [R3875 : page 328] after any stranger that appears. (I must tell you of a personal experience of mine. I was in my shirt sleeves and ragged trousers, opening up the barrel that had the dishes in it, when the bell rang. The gentleman in black I found at the door apologized for interrupting before we had got settled in our new home. "But," said he, "there's so much competition nowadays, I thought I'd call early and ask you to come to our Church.")

The fruits of competition are skimped wages and scamped wares. Did you ever have to look to a vestry or the Church trustees for your money? I hope not. I know a very fine young man who, a little while ago, contemplated taking holy orders. His mother was distressed to death about it. It was terrible for her to think of him just throwing his life away, as you might say. And that brings me to another personal reminiscence. The rector of the parish went past the barber shop. "A fine man," I said to the barber. And he was, too, the finest all-around man I think I ever knew. "Yes," said the barber, "a fine man--in a mighty poor business. I'd be ashamed to get my living that way."

CLERGYMEN AND CHURCH FAIRS

And the barber isn't the only one of that opinion. Once in a while you get an inkling of what the clergy think about it themselves. Do you suppose when they were in the seminary, all on fire with high and holy enthusiasm for the souls of men, they ever thought it would come to trotting from hen-party to hen-party, from the Ladies' Aid to the Helping Hand; to rigging up catchpenny devices wherewith to get in the winter's coal, or pay the interest on the debt; to naming committees who should "mace" the department stores and the neighborhood groceries for contributions to the fancy-goods counter and the household counter, cash if you can get it, but if not, something to sell chances on? Do you suppose they like to do that? I know that some won't allow chances to be sold at Church fairs. They say it's gambling. I don't admire a gambler greatly, but I guess I think full as well of him as I do of a beggar.

Do you suppose the clergy like to do this sort of thing? Not more than you, American merchant and manufacturer, like to do the things you have to do or get out of the business, the things we know about, but will not tell here. You have to; so do the clergy.

Who can thunder at the Mammon of unrighteousness when the Mammon of unrighteousness is right down there in the best pew, when he is on the board of trustees and pulls the parish out of every financial hole, and when in an age of rampant unbelief he is "unimpeachably orthodox"? Who can denounce "predatory wealth" from the pulpit for getting "unfair advantages" and railroad rebates when the churches share the benefits of government and dodge paying taxes, and the clergy get transportation at half rates?

RICH MEN'S SINS UNREBUKED

If a son ask his father for bread, will he give him a stone? Ask your fathers in God for counsel. Shall I, as alderman, take the consideration that this set of capitalists wants to give me for a street-railway franchise? Somebody will get it if I don't. Shall I, as capitalist, give up to the demands of the aldermen? If I don't, the other set will, the set that would ask nothing better than to down me. What shall I do?

It isn't because your fathers in God don't mean to do right, but because they don't know what is right. There's nothing about these problems in Suarez; there's nothing about them in Pearson on the Creed. All are very clear as to the wickedness of taking chickens off a roost after dark. That's a poor man's sin. But when it comes to the consideration of the fact that the [R3876 : page 328] public street is the only place in which we are free men, and that in every other place we exist only on the sufferance of our lords, who treat us as conquered people; that the very center of these streets solemnly dedicated to our common use is taken by our lords for their own private use, a continuous strip of the best city real estate, which no money could or should buy--the right of way of a street railroad--why, that's a rich man's sin.

The experiment of Federation has been tried. Doubtless you have lived in a small town where there was a Union Church. There weren't enough Baptists or Methodists or Presbyterians or Lutherans or Congregationalists for each to maintain a separate little conventicle, so they all combined. Instead of a dozen stoves, they had one big comfortable furnace, and saved on the coal bill; instead of a dozen reed organs, or footy little heart-breaking thousand-dollar organs, they had one $10,000 organ that you could do something with; instead of a dozen preachers that hemmed and hawed and stumbled through their sentences, making a brave stagger at getting verbs to agree with their subjects, they had one smart, fine-looking man who could talk it right off. A great advantage over the old system. Yes, but as soon as enough Baptists and Methodists and Lutherans and Presbyterians and Congregationalists moved into town for each sect to set up its own conventicle, they left the Union Church.

AT THE DEATH-BED OF A RELIGION

Just hold that a minute, and consider another experiment in Federation, the Young Men's Christian Association. That is far from fizzling out. What's the difference? The Y.M.C.A. looks to the good of all, physical, mental, and moral. Right now. Here on earth. "Service" is its motto, not "support." That's the difference.

The Rev. Dr. Crapsey has told us that we are standing by the death-bed of a great religion. Some of us are. An increasing number. But not all. This great religion is very much alive indeed, and long will be, to every man yet in that stage of progress in which he thinks that nothing is more important than that he save his own particular little soul. The whole world may well be lost if only he is not. What does it matter anyhow, these cruel wrongs, these black injustices, this trampling down of human souls and bodies by those who have seized the earth for their own possession? It will all be over in a few years, and then--a heaven of endless happiness.

So long as "he that believeth not shall be damned," it is highly important to be "unimpeachably orthodox," and so to save one's soul (which is not incompatible with gaining the whole world, too, as Mr. Rockefeller has shown us). Federation with those who have [R3876 : page 329] different notions of the way to sharpen a lead-pencil will not appeal to such.

Those of us who have risen beyond such blunt, frank selfishness, who turn the question end for end, and ask what it shall profit the world if it be wholly lost to save here and there a soul, will not linger in the death-chamber to see how long the doctor's oxygen of Federation defers the inevitable.

That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and so must die; that which is born of the spirit is spirit, and can never die. All this clothes-line quarreling of the churches is born of the flesh, and except they be born again of the Spirit of the Coming Age, they cannot see the kingdom of God. Nicodemus saith now as of old time, "How can these things be? Can all the sects enter the second time into their mother's womb and be born?" And, as of old, is the answer: They must be born again. They must start all over, start now as in the very beginning with the vivid expectation of the speedy coming of that age in which the sword of competition shall be beaten into the plowshare of cooperation, so that in no line of effort shall we be forced to skimp wages and scamp wares; when our government in city, state, and nation shall privilege no man or set of men, but shall be so just that it shall be in very deed the kingdom of God. "Have we not all one Father? Hath not one God created us? Why do we deal treacherously, every man against his brother?"

"EVEN SO, COME!"

That was how Christianity started. In their little sodalities they had all things in common, so the Bible says. "The communion of saints" was no empty phrase to them. And why did they look so earnestly for His coming, expecting it any day? Because then that kingdom, the Life of the Coming Age, would spread the whole earth over. And we, too, who see the western sky of this dying day all flaming with the red glow that promises a fair morrow; we, too, who have heard with our ears the oracles of God, speaking to us in the voice of the people last November; we, too, whose hearts are torn with grief at sight of the miseries of our brothers, when the world is rich enough for all; we, too, who see how special privilege rots the very souls of those who hold it; we, too, must pray the words the early Christians prayed, putting our own meaning upon them, it is true, but longing with the same unutterable longing as theirs--we, too, must cry with them, Even so, come quickly, Lord Jesus!


OUR VIEW OF THE FOREGOING

In the above is set forth the sentiment of the worldly wise in respect to the federation of the various denominations. This class of thinkers usually take a very practical view of everything, and mix with it very little of faith in the supernatural. It is still fashionable to refer to a personal God, though a great many of the worldly wise have lost any real conception of such a being, and think of God as merely a great force or power in nature. Others personifying nature as a God, leave out all thought of a personal being of body, shape and parts, willing, thinking, planning, creating, maintaining, etc., "working all things according to the counsel of his own will." (Eph. 1:11.) To this type of mind, which is to be found in many pulpits, banking houses and among many of the more intelligent mechanics, and which is rapidly growing, the foregoing article will appeal strongly. The last paragraph of the article, for instance, illustrates our point. The writer sees Socialism, and he sees that there was a start in this direction in the early Church at Jerusalem. He approves of that start, not as a divine example of what ought to be, but as a mere suggestion of something greater, that men will work out for themselves shortly. He dreams of an ideal kingdom in which love will be the controlling influence, and hopes that man will bring this about for himself through Socialism, though perhaps not without trials and difficulties by the way.

To this writer and others the voice of the people last November was the voice of Nature--the voice of Reason, the voice of Right, the voice of God. To him it speaks of a social revolution and the bringing in by Socialism of a glorious Millennium. Carrying his figure of speech to the closing words of the article, he quotes a Scripture passage respecting the Lord's second advent, "Even so come, Lord Jesus." Not that he believes in the second coming of Jesus, but that the expectation of the early Church--that the second coming of Jesus would bring the Millennial Kingdom-- accords somewhat with the conception of the worldly wise, in that they are hoping for the Spirit of Jesus to come into the world through Socialism--hoping for the spirit of love to gradually take possession of the world and reorganize it, and bring in the new heavens and new earth.

As the Prophet has declared, "God is not in all their thoughts"--such plans and schemes of Socialism, etc., are purely worldly wise and are far from the hopes and expectations of those who are truly the Lord's people and directed by his Word. From our standpoint, the overturning of the political machines and the investigation of trusts and the bringing them under a measure of governmental control, are all very good in their way, as indicating that the world in general desires righteousness to the extent that they can see righteousness. Where their earthly interests would be advantaged, they would welcome so-called reforms, investigations, better politics, etc., but otherwise not.

Alas, the poor world does not know itself: it does not realize that selfishness is at the basis of its every move and ambition; that the number who are not thus moved, controlled, is so insignificantly small as to be without weight and influence. Nor is it our thought to deride any efforts toward righteousness, even though they be inspired by selfish motives. We merely point out that the true Christian view of matters is a still different one--is the Bible one--that it recognizes God, the divine will, purpose, plan, revelation, as having to do with and overruling all of this world's affairs. It sees in the present upheaval of politics, the present uncovering of financial scandals, etc., another force making ready for the great time of trouble which the Scriptures indicate will be fully upon us in 1915, and gradually approaching in the meantime.

From this standpoint it has been necessary that the gross superstition of the "dark ages" should to a considerable extent be dissipated, that the minds of the people might be set free, not only from a religious superstition but also set free from allied superstitions respecting the divine right of certain families to inherit [R3877 : page 330] the kingdoms, the dominions of the world, and to live on higher places of social privilege than other families. All these matters are now coming in review before the world, and Socialism is rapidly coming to the fore as the world's savior, deliverer from priestcraft, superstition, and political and financial autocracy. The world is being invited to look not to him who redeemed us with his precious blood, and promised to come again and establish his Kingdom in righteousness, but to look to itself, to its own affairs, to its own success at the polls, etc., as the only hope--thus ignoring the Lord and his overruling providences and the divine inspiration respecting [R3877 : page 330] the future outcome of present conditions in a glorious Millennial Kingdom.

From our standpoint the gathering of the churches is the fulfilment of Scriptural prediction, and the Lord's intelligent and faithful and consecrated people are warned against having any part in any such Church federations, the Word of the Lord being to such, "Say ye not, A confederacy, to all them to whom this people shall say, A confederacy; neither fear ye their fear nor be afraid." (Isa. 8:12.) It is the tares that are to be federated and bundled and gathered together for the great trouble time, which is shortly in a great revolution of society to set fire to all the social, religious, financial institutions and arrangements of this present time, eventuating in anarchy, which by overthrowing all things incompatible with righteousness will prepare the way for the Kingdom of God's dear Son at his second advent, a spirit being, in power and great glory, which will be manifested in various ways through earthly channels and agents.



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"SHE HATH DONE WHAT SHE COULD."
--MATT. 26:6-13.--OCTOBER 28.--

Golden Text:--"She hath wrought a good work upon me."

THIS STUDY turns us back from the discourse of the Tuesday preceding our Lord's death to the Saturday night preceding his death--the close of the Jewish Sabbath day. In harmony with the prevailing custom, Jesus and his disciples and others were invited to a feast that evening. They had just arrived the previous evening from Jericho as intent upon keeping the feast of Passover at Jerusalem--the feast of which our Lord Jesus said, "With desire have I desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer." (Luke 22:15.) Although Jesus had been telling the apostles that he was going to Jerusalem and would there be crucified, they seemed not to realize the matter, probably because he had spoken so many things to them in dark sayings, as, for instance, when he told them that he was the bread that came down from heaven, etc., and that they must eat his flesh and drink his blood. Perhaps the crucifixion suggested was also hyperbolical language; at least they could not realize that it would be so, even though Peter had been reproved for his disbelief in the matter.

The feast was in the house of Simon the leper. Simon was a common name in those parts at that time, and this Simon was distinguished by the fact that he had been a leper--quite possibly he had been healed by the Lord, and this may have been the beginning of the intimate acquaintance between Jesus and the family of which Lazarus, Martha and Mary were prominent members. One of the Evangelists tells us that Lazarus was one of those who sat at the feast, that Martha was one of those who served, and the lesson before us tells especially of the work of Mary, who, while the Lord was reclining, approached and broke the seal of an alabaster box of precious perfume (not ointment, in the present use of the word). One of the accounts says that it was very precious, another that it was worth 300 pence, which in our money would be about $50.

Such anointings were very rare, usually for kings or princes or nobles; and the disciples, under the lead of Judas, who seems to have been the spokesman (see John's account), were all filled with indignation at the waste. John tells us that Judas was a thief, who carried the bag, the treasurer of the company, and that his solicitous remarks respecting the use of the money for the poor were hypocritical. In any event we may sympathize with the other apostles for falling in line with his arguments, for they were all poor men, unused to such luxury and extravagance, and in this respect probably represented the majority of the Lord's people today, who likewise would consider a perfume bill of $50 a very extravagant waste of money. We are all the more interested to know how Jesus himself regarded the matter. We realize that our conceptions of matters of this kind are more or less biased by our own selfishness or poverty and necessity for economy.

"WHY TROUBLE YE THE WOMAN?"

Our Lord discerned at once the criticizing, fault-finding spirit amongst his disciples and promptly took the part of Mary, saying, "Why trouble ye the woman? For she hath wrought a good work upon me." Woman's intuition had guided Mary in the doing of the proper thing at the proper time. She realized that she owed the Master a debt that she never could pay, and that this costly offering of the perfume would be but a small tribute, a small expression of her gratitude. She had found in the Lord an object worthy of her heart devotion; she was not a woman's rights advocate; she found no fault with the Lord that he had not chosen her and Martha to be members of the company of apostles and to go abroad preaching his name and fame. Doubtless she would have gladly undertaken this work had she been so directed, but her womanly instincts did not lead her in this direction nor cause her to take offense at the Lord's showing a difference between the male and the female as respects the promulgation of his message.

Although debarred from the honorable service of a public ministry of the Truth, our Lord declared, "She hath done what she could." She did what pleased the Lord; she illustrated the noblest and truest qualities of the feminine heart, love, devotion, fidelity; she spoke by actions rather than by words, and the perfume of her acts of love and kindness and adoration of her Lord have come down through the ages, filling the entire Church of Christ with the sweet odor of the perfume she poured upon his head and subsequently upon his feet. This is in accord with what our Lord prophetically [R3877 : page 331] declared respecting the act, "Verily I say unto you, wheresoever this Gospel shall be preached in the whole world, there also this that this woman hath done shall be told for a memorial of her."

What a sweet memorial of Mary! How we all love and reverence her true womanhood, and appreciate the fact that her intuitions in respect to this anointing of the Lord were superior to the reasonings of the twelve apostles on the subject --they were too cold and calculating, too business like. She made up for this deficiency in the warmth of her loving devotion. Undoubtedly woman has filled profitably just such a niche as this in the Church's history during all the centuries from then until now. Without her part undoubtedly the religion of Jesus would have been much more cold and business like and formal than it is; but the broad, deep sympathy of true womanhood has helped to interpret the heart of Christ, the love of Christ, and has proven a blessing to all of the followers of the Lamb.

"THE POOR YE HAVE ALWAYS"

It is a miscalculation to suppose that the moments spent in communion with the Lord, in the study of his plan, and the dollars and hours spent in his service, in the promulgation of his Truth, are wasted, and that thus the poor have less. On the contrary, in proportion as any one has true, loving devotion to the Lord, he will have devotion to his service and to the poor. No one can love the Lord in sincerity without being the more sympathetic and the more generous proportionately to the poor and to all within reach of his benevolence. As the Scriptures admonish us, "There is that scattereth, and yet increaseth; and there is that withholdeth more than is meet, but it tendeth to poverty"--to want --to poverty of soul as well as poverty of purse. (Prov. 11:24.) The Lord's followers are to be prudent, economical but not parsimonious, not miserly, not stingy, not hoarders of wealth. They are to cast their bread upon the waters; they are to do good and trust to the Lord for the results; they are to use freely the riches of the Lord as entrusted to them, both temporally and spiritually, and are to receive their blessing from the exercise or increment of these.

This very act on the part of the devoted Mary and our Lord's commendation of it have doubtless been helpful to the Lord's people along these very lines throughout this Gospel age. Similarly we were once inclined to consider the One-Day Conventions and the General Conventions of the Lord's people to be entirely too expensive, to represent a waste of money that might have been used otherwise; but our experience is that there is a blessing in the using of the money talent--that whoever fails to do some investing, some sacrificing in the interest of the Truth, will surely fail to get the large returns of spiritual blessing. Whoever on the contrary seeks to use his means in serving the Truth to others and in nourishing his own heart receives proportionately the greater blessing. We are even inclined to think that the Lord makes up to them in temporal matters also; but should this not be the case--should they be the poorer in temporal matters as a result of their spiritual feasting--we know that spiritual nourishment, fatness of soul, prosperity as New Creatures in Christ, is by far the most important matter with which we have to do. It is the very object of our present membership in the school of Christ, association with the fellow-members, [R3878 : page 331] that we may grow in this very grace as well as in knowledge and love in the Master's likeness.

ANOINTED FOR HIS BURIAL

Our Lord declared that Mary's action was a preparation for his burial. We remember that several of the honorable women of the Lord's company came to the tomb early on the first day of the week with spices and ointment, perfume, for his anointing, after the custom of the time, and because they failed to remember and recognize his prophecy of his resurrection from the dead on the third day. Their motive in thus going was undoubtedly a proper one, and yet Mary's conduct in anointing our Lord before his burial was very much more to the point, very much more appreciated by him. And so it is with us: with our dear friends, the brethren and others. It behooves us to anoint them with kindly words, loving sympathies, tender expressions, while they are still in the valley of conflict, before they have reached the end of the journey. We know not how much even the very strongest of the Lord's followers may need a word of sympathy and encouragement at times, and we do our own hearts good when we tender such sympathy.

We do not mean that fulsome flattery should be poured upon one another; but there is a wide difference between flattery and encouraging, sympathetic words; and who is there of sympathetic heart, possessing a heart filled with the love divine, that is not himself an alabaster box of perfume, which should be opened and poured upon the spiritual brotherhood and all of our earthly friends and relatives as we might come in contact with them, and in proportion as the blessing of the Lord would be appropriately theirs. Let us not forget this; let us use these opportunities which are ours day by day of scattering flowers in life's pathway for others, and perhaps as we do this the Lord will allow some one to scatter some flowers also for us. On the principle that he who watereth others shall himself be watered, he who helps others should never go hungry, he who comforts others should never lack comfort. Doubtless the Lord will see to it that in proportion as we have and exercise the proper spirit of benevolence and generosity toward others, we will have our share of rich blessings in return when most needed.

"OF THE PEOPLE THERE WERE NONE WITH HIM"--ABLE TO SYMPATHIZE FULLY

Very evidently at the close of his ministry our Lord was feeling more or less of disappointment that a larger number of the Jews had not received his gracious message, had not believed on him. Especially would this thought come to him as he read in the mind of Judas that he already was planning to be his betrayer. Moreover, he saw something of the same spirit of fear in the other eleven of his apostles, for he already knew who should betray him, and knew also that the others would forsake him and flee in fear in the hour of his distress. If his message, if his love, if his Spirit communicated to these men would still leave them so weak in many respects, it argued that he had accomplished comparatively little in his ministry, and that the other five hundred brethren might not be more devoted than the twelve.

What a comfort it must have been to the Lord in the midst of these thoughts to find that there was one loving [R3878 : page 332] soul which did appreciate him and brought the alabaster box and anointed him before his burial. The joy, the comfort, the blessing that came to the heart of our dear Master, and that strengthened him for the experiences of coming days, was worth far more than the 300 pence. Not only was he willing that the matter should be told for a memorial of Mary, but we may safely conclude that in the everlasting future Mary will be ranked very high amongst the faithful followers of the Lord. She may not be one with the apostles upon the twelve thrones of Israel, but we may be sure that she will have some grand, some honorable place near to the one she loved and for whom she showed her devotion.

An unknown writer says, "Do not keep the alabaster boxes of your love and tenderness sealed up until your friends are dead. Fill their lives with sweetness. Speak approving, cheering words while their ears can hear them and while their hearts can be thrilled and made happier by them; the kind things you mean to say when they are gone, say before they go. The flowers you mean to send for their coffins, send to brighten and sweeten their homes before they leave them. If my friends have alabaster boxes laid away, full of fragrant perfumes of sympathy and affection, which they intend to break over my dead body, I would rather they would bring them out in my weary and troubled hours and open them, that I may be refreshed and cheered by them while I need them. I would rather have a plain coffin without a flower, a funeral without a eulogy, than a life without the sweetness of love and sympathy. Let us learn to anoint our friends beforehand for their burial. Post-mortem kindness does not cheer the burdened spirit. Flowers on the coffin cast no fragrance backward over the weary way."

SELFISHNESS VERSUS GENEROSITY

Our lesson concludes with the account of how Judas soon afterwards went to the chief priests and bargained with them that for thirty pieces of silver he would seek an opportunity and betray Jesus into their hands. What a sharp contrast is here drawn between the love and generosity of Mary and the mean selfishness of Judas! The one was so full of love that she could not do enough for the great Teacher at whose feet she loved to sit, from whose lips she had received so many blessings, such joy of heart, and by whose power her brother had been recalled from the tomb and probably previously her father healed of a loathsome disease. We also should remember how much we owe this same Teacher, that his are the wonderful words of life which have brought unto our hearts joy, peace and blessing. By his words we ourselves have been called from the dead condition, for, as the Apostle declares, we were once dead in trespasses and sins, but now are quickened, energized, by the Spirit of the Lord, by the spirit of love.

We ourselves also had the leprosy of sin, condemnation, were children of wrath even as others, but our sins have been graciously covered by the Redeemer, the leprosy has been cleansed, and we have been made whiter than snow in the sight of our Lord through faith in the precious blood. We, too, have learned to sit at the Master's feet and to enjoy his teachings, and have been transformed thereby by the renewing of our minds. Is it not appropriate that we should feel that no offering we could bring him could in any sense or degree express the gratitude of our hearts? Can we not also find alabaster boxes of precious perfume for the Master? True, the Head has been glorified, and the members of the body, too, are now passed beyond the vail, but his "feet" are still with us, the last members of the body of Christ are here. Let us hasten to do all in our power, both temporally, and spiritually, for the feet of Christ; let us do all in our power to cleanse them from earth defilement, even though it cost us tears; let us anoint them with the precious spikenard perfume. The more costly the affection and love that we bestow upon the members of the body of Christ, the very lowest and humblest of them, the better; all should be but an expression of the warmth of love which is in our hearts for Him and His. The time is passing rapidly--soon the last members will have crossed and be beyond the vail, beyond our anointing and beyond the blessed word; "She hath done what she could." Let us earn that expression from the dear lips of our Lord by faithfulness to those who now represent him in the world--to the household of faith, to the members of the body of Christ.

FOR THIRTY PIECES OF SILVER

Selfishness seems to lie at the very foundation of all the mean, ignoble deeds of our fallen nature. It was selfish ambition that led mother Eve to grasp the forbidden fruit, and it is safe to say that selfishness ever since has prompted to all the mean and ignoble things of the six thousand years' reign of sin and death. The spirit of a sound mind is what we should each and all strive for. This would mean, on the one hand, that we should not be too extravagant, and, on the other hand, that we should not be too parsimonious. But if we should err on either side would it not be safest and best that we should err on the side of too great generosity rather than on the reverse? Well did the Apostle write that the love of wealth is the root of all evil. This might include not only money but wealth of honor, name, influence or power. The Apostle adds, "which some coveting after have erred from the faith and pierced themselves through with many sorrows."--1 Tim. 6:10.

As an illustration of this class take the case of Judas in our lesson, selling his Master for thirty pieces of silver! No matter if he did reason that Jesus had said that he was about to die, and said that this perfume was associated with his burial. No matter if Judas were sure that all these things would happen to the Lord anyway, and thought that he might just as well have the thirty pieces of silver. It did not condone the offence. Selfishness and meanness had so far been encouraged in his heart that, notwithstanding his intimate association with the Master, his knowledge of his precious words and mighty acts, neither love nor reverence stood in the way of selfishness.

Judas "went to his own place," the Second Death, and that with a realization that it would have been better for him had he never been born. Whoever will allow selfish ambitions of any kind to have control in his heart, whoever will not allow the Lord's grace and truth to come into his heart and enlarge it and fill it with love, will likewise go to his own place, the Second Death. The divine provisions are only for those who will eventually be filled with love, the Spirit of God, the spirit of generosity. Let us all [R3879 : page 333] then more and more avoid the Judas spirit, the heart of selfishness, money love, self love and ambition, and let us more and more have the loving heart of Mary and her humility, which not only made her willing to spend her means to serve the truth, but made her willing also to humble herself even to the extent of tears and the use of woman's highest ornament, her hair, in the service of her Master, her Lord, and that upon his humblest members, the feet of him.



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"THIS DO IN REMEMBRANCE OF ME"
--MATTHEW 26:17-30.--NOVEMBER 4.--

WHILE holding, in common with the great majority, that the Memorial Supper was instituted by our Lord on Thursday night in connection with his last celebration of the Passover, and that he was crucified on the next day, Friday, we have no contention with those who suppose that these events took place on other days of the week. We lay great stress on the fact there accomplished and its significance as the antitype of the Passover instituted by Moses, and as the finishing of our Lord's great sacrifice for sins--the sins of the whole world. For these vital principles we are willing to contend earnestly, as they are part of "the faith once delivered to the saints;" but as respects the particular days of the week we will not contend, as in our estimation they are trifling matters, of no value, no consequence, and should therefore in no sense of the word disturb the minds or heart-fellowship of the Lord's people.

Our lesson opens with our Lord's instructions to his disciples as to where they should prepare for him and themselves, as a special and peculiar Jewish family, a place in which to celebrate the requirements of the Law in the type which pointed to our Lord Jesus as the Lamb of God. Respecting this supper our Lord himself said, "With desire have I desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer." He did not refer to the principal feast, which lasted a week from the 15th day of Nisan. He was referring to the roast-lamb supper, eaten with bitter herbs, which preceded the general feast, and which reminded them of their deliverance from Egypt, and became the basis of their subsequent rejoicing as a liberated people. The upper room was provided for this supper. Things were made ready, and at even, at sundown, after six o'clock, our Lord and the twelve assembled. One of the accounts tells us that there was a dispute amongst the disciples respecting the more honorable positions at the supper, and that Jesus rebuked this ambitious spirit in them by washing their feet, thus illustrating his own humility of heart, his readiness to serve each and all of them. Thus he set them an example that he, whom they esteemed greatest amongst them, should be their principal servant, willing and ready to serve any and all.

"ONE OF YOU SHALL BETRAY ME"

While they were eating Jesus remarked that one of them would betray him, and at once a spirit of sadness spread over the company, and each one--feeling it incumbent upon him to prove his innocence of such a charge--asked, "Lord, is it I?" With the rest, Judas also put this question, realizing that if he did not also ask, it would imply his acknowledgment that he was the one, and in response to his inquiry Jesus replied, "Thou hast said,"--that is to say, "Yes, I refer to you." Another account tells us that Jesus answered the query by saying that the one for whom he would dip a sup would be the betrayer, and having dipped the sup--a piece of the lamb and a piece of the unleavened bread they were eating--Jesus gave it to Judas, thus indicating him without directly naming him. It would appear, too, that the other disciples up to this time had not learned to know Judas--that it was subsequently they ascertained that he was a thief, etc.

Amongst the Jews and Arabs deceit and betrayal were not so very uncommon, but there was a code of honor recognized according to which no one would eat the food of the person he would in any wise injure. As food was seasoned with salt, it was probably this custom that was known as the "covenant of salt"--the covenant of faithfulness. To succeed in having an enemy eat at your table or take of your food seasoned with salt was at that time amongst those people the equivalent of a pledge of his lasting friendship--that he would never do you injury. Apparently Judas was so lacking of a proper spirit that he did not even acknowledge and obey this custom of the time--to be loyal and faithful to the one whose bread he ate, of whose salt he partook. Hence our Lord's words, "He that dippeth his hand with me in the dish, the same shall betray me."

Nevertheless Jesus testified that his death was not a victory on the part of his betrayer and his enemies, but in harmony with what had been written of him before by the prophets. Nor are we to consider that Judas in this matter was merely fulfilling a prophecy irrespective of his own responsibility, his own wilfulness in the matter: such a thought is negatived by our Lord's statement, "Woe unto the man by whom the Son of man is betrayed. It would have been better for that man if he had not been born." These words leave no question, we think, that Judas had already enjoyed his full share in the great atonement work through the intimate opportunities he had of coming to a clear knowledge of the truth, and the corresponding responsibilities. Evidently his was the sin unto death--the Second Death. Hence, aside from any future existence we are to consider that his life was a useless, wasted one, and that its joys did not overbalance its sorrows and anguish when to the latter were added his subsequent despair and suicide.

"TAKE, EAT; THIS IS MY BODY"

It was after the Passover Supper, after the eating of the lamb with the herbs and unleavened bread, etc., that Jesus instituted the Memorial Supper which, with all of his followers, by his direction takes the place of the Passover Supper of the Jews. This was a new matter, and the apostles listened with interest to his words as he blessed some of the thin cakes of unleavened bread and then brake them and handed portions to each of his disciples, saying, "Take, eat; this is my body." What could he mean? During their [R3879 : page 334] three years in his company they had learned that he spake in parables and dark sayings. On another occasion he had declared in their hearing that he himself was the bread which came down from heaven, of which if a man partook he would live forever. Now he was handing them some unleavened bread and said it was his body. They evidently understood him to mean that this bread to them would represent or symbolize his body, for he told them on this occasion that thenceforth they should do this in remembrance of him--thenceforth they should remember him as the slain lamb and use unleavened bread to represent his flesh, and partake of this instead of eating as previously of a literal lamb.

He could not have meant, as Roman Catholics and some Protestants believe, that the bread was by his blessing turned into his actual flesh, for he still had his flesh--he was not killed for about fifteen hours later. Hence all the arguments to this effect are foolishness and sophistry. When he said, "This is my flesh," it was as much a figure of speech as when he said a little later, "I am the vine," "I am the door," "I am the Good Shepherd," "I am the way, the truth and the life," etc. The right, sane view of the Master's words is apparent: he was represented in all these different ways. In the case under consideration the bread would represent him, his flesh, to his apostles and to all his followers throughout the Gospel age.

As bread stands for and symbolizes all food (indeed wheat is said to contain every element of nutriment in its proper proportion), so the teaching of this symbol is that whoever would have the life which Christ has to give must accept it as the result of his sacrifice. He died that we might live. The rights and privileges which he surrendered voluntarily may be eaten, applied, appropriated by all who have faith in him and who accept him and his instructions --such are reckoned as having imputed to them the perfect human nature, with all its rights and privileges lost by Adam, redeemed by Christ. None can have eternal life except by the eating of this bread from heaven. This applies not only to believers of this present time, but also to those of the future age. Their life-rights and privileges must all be recognized as coming to them through his sacrifice. In a word, the bread representing our Lord's body teaches our justification through the acceptance of his sacrifice.

"DRINK YE ALL OF IT"

Next our Lord took a cup containing the fruit of the vine. We are not told that it was wine; therefore it is an open question whether it was fermented or unfermented, and in view of all the circumstances of our time and the requirements of the Lord's Word, we may feel sure that unfermented grape juice or raisin juice will fulfil the terms of his injunction. Since it is never called wine, but merely the [R3880 : page 334] cup and the fruit of the vine, there is no room for disputation amongst the Lord's followers. Each may be free to follow his own conscience in the matter of what kind of a fruit of the vine he shall use: for our part we prefer the unfermented as being less liable to do injury or to awaken dormant passions for drink in the Lord's followers.

In connection with the cup the Lord said, "This is my blood of the covenant, which is shed for many for the remission of sins" (the two oldest Greek MSS. of the New Testament, the Sinaitic and Vatican, omit the word "New"). True, the New Covenant must be sealed with the blood of the Christ before it can go into effect, and it is not to go into effect until the opening of the Millennial age. But there was another Covenant--the old Covenant, the foundation Covenant of all covenants--namely, the Abrahamic Covenant, which was sealed by our Lord's death. That it would be thus sealed was typically represented in the figurative death of Isaac at the hand of Abraham and his figurative resurrection from the dead. The Apostle assures us that Isaac represented our Lord Jesus, and also declares, "We, brethren, as Isaac was, are the children of promise" --the Oath-bound Covenant.--Gal. 4:28.

Applying our Lord's words thus to the Abrahamic Covenant, which he was sealing or making sure, we see that it was by his death that he became the heir of that Covenant and all of its glorious provisions for the blessing of all the families of the earth. And from this standpoint we see a special meaning and force in Jesus' words to his followers, "This is my cup, drink ye all of it." Thus understood, the invitation to drink of the Lord's cup signifies an invitation to all of his elect Church of this Gospel age to partake with him of his cup of suffering and death--to lay down their lives with him that they also might have a share with him in the coming glories of the Kingdom, which will be the divine channel for the fulfilment of the Abrahamic promise, the blessing of all the families of the earth.

While the eating of the bread and participation in the justification effected by our Lord's death and by the acceptance of the same, will be necessary to the whole world if they would have the restitution blessings purchased by our Lord's sacrifice, nevertheless the cup is not for the world but only for the Church, only for the consecrated of this Gospel age. "Drink ye all of it"--not only all of you drink of it but all of you drink all of it--leave none. There will be none of the sufferings of Christ left over for the coming age, no more suffering for righteousness' sake will then be known to the world--only evil doers will suffer thereafter. Now is the time when whosoever will live godly shall suffer persecution, and when all of the Lord's followers who would be loyal to him and counted worthy to share in his Kingdom glories must expect to drink of his cup. Hence again the Lord unites the two thoughts, saying, "Except ye eat the flesh and drink the blood of the Son of man, ye have no life in you." Those who consecrate during the present time as the Lord's disciples, to walk in his steps, must not only share in justification through faith, but must also share through sacrifice the cup if they would gain the life eternal promised to the elect who now forsake all to be his disciples.

NEW WINE IN THE KINGDOM

In declaring, "I will not drink henceforth of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new with you in my Father's Kingdom," our Lord implies a new wine under different conditions at some distant date. He thus confirmed in their minds what he had been teaching them for some weeks previously, namely, that he would not at this time set up his Kingdom, but that instead he would suffer, be crucified, and that they must expect also to suffer with him; and [R3880 : page 335] that by and by, when the Kingdom should be established and himself be in glory, his disciples should be with him in his throne. These new thoughts in their minds were confirmed by the lesson now given.

The cup in the present time must speak to them of the crushing of the grapes, the blood of the grapes, their Master's blood, the life sacrificed, poured out, and their lives also sacrificed with him in his service, in his cause. But the sufferings of this present time were linked with the glory that should follow by the thought that all who would drink of the present cup of suffering, ignominy and death would also share in his cup of joy and blessing, glory and honor in the Kingdom. This same thought should be before our minds, and like the apostles of old it will help us more and more to look forward to the Kingdom as the time when suffering for the name of Christ shall cease, and when the glories shall follow and result in the blessing of all the families of the earth. Our Lord here identifies his Kingdom with his second advent, and in no sense of the word intimates that they would drink of this new wine at Pentecost, nor at the destruction of Jerusalem, nor at any other time but in that mentioned in the prayer which he taught them, saying, "Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is done in heaven."

This should be the thought before our minds also: in waiting for the Kingdom we are waiting for the second coming of our Lord and his subsequent setting up of the Kingdom; that is, the resurrection change, the glorification of his faithful ones who must be with him and share his glory. No wonder the Apostle declared that he who hath this hope in him purifieth himself even as he is pure. (1 John 3:3.) He that hath this hope of the new wine in the Kingdom, the participation with his Master in those glories and honors and blessed opportunities for uplifting the world of mankind, will take lightly, yea, joyfully, suffering, trials, sacrifices of this present time--yea, he will be glad to suffer with the Master that they also may be glorified together.

"FOR THE REMISSION OF SINS"

So far as we are concerned, it is in vain that men teach that God forgives sins without exacting a penalty therefor from anybody. It is in vain that they claim that Christ was not the ransom price for the sinner, that it was not necessary that he should die, the Just for the unjust, in order that he might bring us back to harmony with God--in order that God might be just and yet justify the sinner. It is in vain, too, that they claim that it was sufficient that Jesus was a great teacher, by whose words the world should be saved. Our reply is in harmony with the Master's statement here and elsewhere and the testimony of all the apostles, that it was necessary that Christ should die for our sins; that our sins could never have been forgiven by divine justice except through the divine arrangement by which he paid our penalty. To us it is a most precious thought, therefore, that our Lord's blood was indeed shed for the remission of sins of the many. And it is also a precious thought to us that we are privileged to be so intimately associated with him as members of his body; that our little sacrifices covered by his merit are in God's sight esteemed as part of the great sin sacrifice for the world; that as joint-sufferers with Christ we are permitted to drink of his cup and be immersed in his baptism into death.

It is equally vain for Evolutionists and Higher Critics to tell us that, so far from man falling from God's likeness into sin and death, he has been on the contrary evoluting upward step by step, from beastly conditions to where he now is. We believe them not. We hold fast the divinely inspired testimony that there was a fall, and that this made necessary the redemptive work; that Christ was the honorable servant of God, privileged and authorized to make atonement for the sins of the whole world; that he began this atonement work in the sacrifice of himself; that he has been carrying it on during this Gospel age by the sacrificing of the members of his body, and that he will soon complete it, when he, with all of his members glorified, shall during the Millennial age distribute to the world the blessings of that redemptive work, causing all to come to a knowledge of the Truth, of the love of God; that its height and depth and length and breadth are immeasurable, yea, all accomplished through him who loved us and bought us with his precious blood.

"IN REMEMBRANCE OF ME"

The Apostle Paul, referring to this Memorial Supper, quotes our Lord as saying, "This do in remembrance of me," and then adds, "As oft as ye eat this bread and drink this cup ye do show the Lord's death till he come." (1 Cor. 11:24-26.) The thought is that we are to thus celebrate this great transaction until the time come for the Kingdom celebration of it with the new wine, the joy, the glory, the honors, which we are to share with him who loved us and bought us. The Apostle evidently does not mean merely until the parousia, the presence of the Lord to gather his servants and reward them, but rather until all shall have been gathered and the Kingdom class shall all thus have been set up and glorified.

The same Apostle in the same epistle (1 Cor. 10:16,17; 12:12) emphasizes the thought of the unity, the oneness of the Church, with each other and with the Lord. He declares, "The loaf which we break, is it not the communion [the fellowship] of the body of Christ?" Are we not all as parts of one loaf broken with the Lord? "For we being many are one loaf and one body: for we are all partakers of that one loaf"; and again he adds, "The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the communion [participation, fellowship] of the blood of Christ?" Assuredly this is the thought then, that from God's standpoint there is the one great Messiah, the elect Head and the elect members of his body. These, as one loaf, constitute from God's standpoint the bread of [R3881 : page 335] everlasting life for the world, and in order to fill this picture each and all must be broken, each and all must partake of the cup of Christ's suffering and death before entering into his glory. And not until all these sufferings have been completed will the Lord's time come for the new dispensation, the new day, the day of blessing instead of cursing, the day of restitution instead of dying, the day of uplifting instead of falling, so far as the world is concerned.



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