To the readers of the "HERALD OF THE MORNING,"
I have been a Bible student since I first had my attention called to the second coming of our Lord, by Jonas Wendel, a Second Advent Preacher, about 1869, who was then preaching the burning of the world as being due in 1873. But though he first awakened my interest on the subject, I was not a convert, either to the time he suggested nor to the events he predicted. I, in company with others in Pittsburgh, organized and maintained a bible class for the searching of the Scriptures, meeting every Sunday.
We reasoned that, if Christ's coming were to end probation, and bring irrevocable ruin upon ninety-nine in a hundred of mankind; then it could scarcely be considered desirable, neither could we pray with proper spirit, "Come, Lord Jesus, Come quickly!" We had rather request – much as we should "love his appearing" – that he remain away and our sufferings and trials continue so that "if by any means we might save some." Not only so, but great masses of scripture referring to the Millennial glory and teaching that "All nations which thou hast made shall come and worship before thee," &c., &c., would be left unfulfilled if at His coming there should be a wreck of matter and a crush of world.
We first saw Millennial glory – then the glorious work which is offered us as His Bride; that we are by faith the "seed of Abraham;" and as such, heirs of the promises, &c., in whom "all the families of the earth shall be blest." (Gal. 3.) This most certainly points to a probation in the future after He has come.
Thus, speedily, steadily and surely God led us to recognize the second coming of our Lord as being not the sunset of all hope to mankind, but the "rising of the Sun of Righteousness with healing in his wings."
The Lord gave us many helps in the study of His word, among whom stood prominently, our dearly beloved and aged brother, George Storrs, who, both by word and pen, gave us much assistance; but we ever sought not to be followers of men, however good or wise, but "Followers of God, as dear children." Thus growing in grace and knowledge for seven years, the year 1876 found us.
Up to this time we persistently ignored time and looked with pity upon Mr. Thurman's and Mr. Wendel's ideas. (The latter was preaching the same time as Bro. Barbour; viz: The burning of the world in 1873.) We regarded those ideas as unworthy of consideration, for though we believed the event "nigh even at the doors," yet we recognized the fact that the church will be withdrawn – translated – before there would be any open manifestation to the world, or, in other words, the two stages of Christ's second advent, viz: coming for his saints, and coming with all his saints.
About this time I received a copy of the "Herald of the Morning," Bro. B. was its publisher; I read with interest how he and others had been looking for (to use his own expression) "a bonfire"; how scriptural arguments pointed to the autumn of 1874 as the time it was due; how that as the disappointment connected therewith began to abate, he and others had re-examined the scriptural proofs that appeared to teach that the end of the world was due at the time supposed; how clear and firm all those proofs still seemed; etc.; how that then, they began to examine what was due to take place at the end, and found that instead of a bonfire, scripture taught that "The harvest is the end of the world" (or age), and that though the age ended, the earth remained and a new age unfolded in which "All the families of the earth shall be blest."
When I read the account I was deeply interested, and as I read on I saw that, if the arguments were true they proved that we had entered and were then in the harvest or end; and if in the harvest, Jesus was due to be here present. This was all reasonable enough for it was much what we had been expecting, and it linked time to our expectation in a harmonious and beautiful manner. My thought now was: Are there sufficient proofs of our being in the time of harvest? If so, this brother and I were in perfect harmony. The paper came in the morning, and I had read it and written to brother B. before noon. I examined more of the time proofs, and though not yet settled with reference to them, made arrangements with brothers B. and Paton to come to Philadelphia, where I was engaged at the time (1876), and hold some meetings, giving evidences, etc., of time, to which I listened with interest, and of the truth of which I felt convinced.
Br. B. and I talked over various methods of promulgating these truths and finally decided to travel and preach them wherever men and women would hear, and to thus spend (D.V.) the remainder of the harvest, which we then supposed was three and a half years, and would close in 1878. While I was arranging my affairs, brother B. returned to Rochester to prepare for publication of the "Three Worlds." (We found during the Philadelphia meetings that such a book was necessary to furnish hearers with chapter and verse for what was claimed), and to close up the "Herald" as it could not be properly attended to while traveling, and the suggestion was made that if any new evidences or truths were developed, a paper could at any time be published and issued from any point. In the meantime, to do justice to subscribers and give them reading matter for the remainder of their year, brother B. had parts of the "Three Worlds" book, then on the press, arranged with a heading, "Herald of the Morning Quarterly," which were left with a sister in Rochester to be mailed as they became due.
We, Bros. Barbour, Paton and myself, traveled, lectured, etc., for some months, when it seemed advisable to us all that a paper should go continuously to those who were hearing, thus keeping alive and watering seed sown. This seemed good to us all, and while brother Paton and I continued lecturing, brother B. went to Rochester and fitted up our office, type, etc., for which I furnished the money. The old type, &c., had been sold before we started out, although I know nothing of how much was obtained for it, nor what was done with the money. The paper thus started was essentially another paper but took the same name because we could think of none better or more expressive. That it was a new paper, or had at least undergone a change of management, was witnessed monthly by the heading of its fourth page where it expressly states that it is "Published by C. T. Russell and N. H. Barbour." Since the paper's change of form, July 1878, this has been omitted. Possibly Bro. B. forgot it, or possibly he thought that the page being small this could be advantageously left out. What amount of money I invested in the paper I do not know. Of such things I never keep account. I remember sending Br. B. money several times; one of which was when we were leaving a camp meeting at Alton Bay, N.H.; I gave him $100 which he lost from his vest pocket as he afterwards wrote me, when, I presume I sent him another $100. I made neither mental nor written note of any money sent – I simply sent whatever money was called for and seemed to me to be needed, aggregating altogether perhaps $300 or $400 dollars. The $660 referred to by Bro. B. in the May Herald I never gave to the Herald. The paper has never been self-supporting, and particularly not at first, when we sent many thousands of copies to persons who had been readers of the paper of old when it did not advocate the glorious "Restitution of all things" as it now does, as well as to those who sent their names as two months subscribers free. At its outstart considerable money was necessary; the receipts were slow and uncertain, so, to avoid the necessity of continually sending, or of the Herald's being in any way hindered from lack of money, I placed on deposit at Rochester the above sum which before, I had deposited in a Pittsburgh bank. I deposited the money in our joint names so that should occasion require, Bro. B. could draw and use it, but I repeat, I never gave that $660 to either Bro. B. or the Herald. It, as well as all I have, is the Lord's, and was intended to be used wherever and whenever it was needed, either by the Herald, any of the preaching brethren, or by myself. The greater part of it has been used for all these. When I was traveling, it was equally convenient for me at Rochester or at Pittsburgh.
Besides these cash items, the "Herald" had a regular income from the sale of the "Three Worlds," a book familiar to most of you. We published 3500 of them – prices twenty-five, fifty cents and one dollar, according to binding. These were all disposed of, some by each of us while traveling, the proceeds helping to defray traveling and other expenses, and a part were sold from the office – orders being filled from all parts of the country. It would be moderate to estimate that about one-fourth of the edition was thus disposed of from the office to the direct benefit of the Herald, which at an average of thirty cents each, would be over $260, besides a smaller amount – the proceeds from the sale of the hymn book, and more recently from the sale of the tract, "The Object and Manner of Our Lord's Return," the latter probably not so inconsiderable as some ordered by the dozen for distribution.
The moneys so received were all clear gain to the "Herald," as the cost of publication was paid by myself; Bro. B. doing the composition of the "Three Worlds" and hymn books. Whatever I gave to or invested in the "Herald," was not to Bro. B. but to the Lord, and I much regret that circumstances seem to demand this recital, but we are commanded, "Let not your good be evil spoken of." Bro. Barbour has put into the Herald his time and ability, and has drawn out of it his living. It was his own fault if during the last two years he did more than his strength justified, or if he did not live comfortably. It was not from lack of money. I know he lives frugally, and so do all who realize that all things are God's, and that they are simply His stewards. I am willing to admit that in investing his time and ability he put in that which was of greater value than the money I invested. Still, I think that our brother would claim that the time invested was not given to me, but to the Lord, and the pay he expects is not merely the living of the present time, but that his is "The promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come."
But there are other points of our brother's reply to my proposition that seem to require re-stating to be fully understood. First, however, read below an exact copy of the letter which I wrote to Bro. B., and to which the article referred to in the May "Herald" is the sole reply I have received.
Dear Brother N. H. Barbour: – Your postal card and letter came duly to hand, and I hope my delay in answering will not be attributed to lack of interest. The fact is that with moving of house and store, spring purchasing of goods (for which I went East), and the work which our Father seems to have put into my hands for the present, viz.: ministering to His children the bread of life each Sunday, as well as baptism and prayer meetings &c., &c., I have been kept so busy as to seldom get above six or six and a half hours sleep per night. With this explanation, let me reply to your letter.
Second: I cannot understand how our bank account has so suddenly decreased. I expected that we still had $100 to $125 in bank. If I recollect aright the balance in bank when I was in R. was $163. Am I right? In your reply, please let me know how our account stands, viz: How much was to our credit in bank Jan. 1, '79, how much has been received in cash since, and how much in bank and on hand now, also, what largest items of expense have been, &c.
While I still feel that you are a brother in Christ, and still love you as such, while there are many pleasant memories of the past to refresh my heart, yet my brother, there has arisen a difference of view between us as to the teaching of our Father's word (see note 1.) and while giving you credit for all sincerity and honesty in your views, page 2 which I claim for myself in the opposite view, yet I must be guided by my own understanding of our Father's word, and consequently think you to be in error. Now I do not think that every difference of opinion need necessarily break fellowship and communion, yet in this case the points of variance seem to me to be so fundamental and important that the full fellowship and sympathy such as should exist among publishers and editors of a paper or magazine, no longer obtains between you and me, and because this is the case, I feel that our relationship should cease.
I believe that we are both children of God, and anxious to know and teach the truth. Our Father's promise is that all truth seekers shall be guided into it therefore permit me to express the hope that we shall yet see in harmony and understand in unison, the Word. May whichever of us has truth be strengthened and established in it, and the one in error be led to discern the error. Now how shall we dissolve? Will Bro. Withington or some other brother buy out my interest for you, or take my place himself, or do you wish to resign your connection with the Herald. (See note 2.) In that case I shall continue it (D.V.) As you are the senior, I give you the opportunity to mention the terms of purchase or sale, I know not whether you feel disposed to purchase or not. In case you and friends wish to purchase, I expect to start another paper. I do not know that, as I feel at present it would be an auxiliary, as I had at first intended, but neither should it be understood to be an opposition paper, it should be an independent one. I should be the more studious of this, because I should fear that if the friends – the readers – knew of our difference, &c., the truths which we both aim to honor and advance, might be reflected upon unfavorably in consequence. Please let me know your answer and proposition as soon as possible, within a week certainly.
Note 2. When I first mentioned another paper to brother B. January last, he suggested that I take editorial charge of the Herald, which I then declined; I did not know but that he might still be of the same mind.
The answer which I received through the May No. of the Herald is known to you all perhaps. In reply to it I wrote brother B. as follows:
Brother N. H. Barbour: – I was much disappointed at your reply in last Herald (May No.) to my letter of the 3d. inst. I did not expect that its proposition would be made public – as intimated in the last clause – and I certainly did not expect that it would be stated in so partial and one sided a manner. To my mind it was unjust. And now I leave the Herald with you. I withdraw entirely from it, taking nothing from you; or it, or anyone, save christian charity, which we owe one another. This is exactly the amount expected when I wrote to you the former letter. Please announce in next No. of the Herald the dissolution and withdraw my name. Yet still believe me, the Herald's friend, and yours.
I have other reasons than those stated in my letter to Bro. B. which I might as well mention here, as "other management" has been suggested. One feature of the Herald's management which gave me much annoyance, and of which I wrote to Bro. several times, was the careless handling of names of subscribers, by which many were lost, and the failure to keep any proper account of when money was paid, or when a subscription expired. He simply marked P opposite the name, and when he thought from the color of the ink that the subscription was about expired, he stopped sending. Time after time I have been asked personally and by mail, "Why don't I get my paper?"
Another objection is that in some cases there has been too much management. Articles sent by Bro. P. and myself, were not to my mind respectfully treated. If I had a right to the paper and I think I had and I wished Bro. P. to have, while Bro. B. had an equal right to write an opposing article, he had no right to cut up and interpolate ours. Nor was an appended answer proper when the writer was an "Associate Editor" and had a right to present his views over his own name. Further, while writing against Substitution, Bro. B. was seemingly anxious to publish letters from subscribers, which mentioned his view commendingly. Among others was one from Rev. W. V. Feltwell, of Philadelphia, a personal acquaintance of mine. In this extract Bro. F. is made to endorse the new views strongly.
I was much surprised, and seeing the brother in March, I inquired; why? He informed me that the article referred to had not stated him correctly – that he had written to Bro. B. to have it corrected, and said he, "Didn't you see the correction in the March Herald?" No, I answered. Then he got me his copy. There it was – Bro. B. regrets at any error, &c., and a quotation from Bro. F's. last letter: "I am now and always have been a believer in the vicarious atonement of Christ." This seemed all right and I know that it was possible for any one to make a mistake, when merely making an extract from another's letter, and I was rejoiced to think that the correction was so freely made.
But judge of my surprise and sorrow when upon attempting to show it to Bro. P. a few days after, I found that in my March No. a notice of Bro. Rice's paper "The Last Trump;" occupied its place – How was it in yours? We could not understand it, it seemed like double dealing – too much management for a Herald of the Millennial Morning. Alas!, I said to myself; is this the fruit of the new views of the atonement?
To Summarize: – In money direct and through publications, I presume that I furnished the Herald with about, as nearly as I can approximate six or seven hundred dollars, in addition to its type &c. Bro. B. put in all he had – his time &c. He drew out what he has since lived on, and by this new arrangement has drawn the "Herald" as well.
In the light of the above it may not be amiss to offer a few criticisms of the May article. How does it appear now, about those thousands of gratuitous papers? Did Bro. B. do all the giving? [I take no credit to myself in the matter, I did what was my greatest pleasure.]
Then too from the account above given, which many of the brethren here can corroborate, does it indeed look as though "our dear young brother Russell came into these views, and a small interest in the paper so recently?" Is it true that "this young man came into the views advocated by the Herald, no longer ago than Nov. 1876?" Again, is it true that Bro. B. "advocated all the advanced truths and all the prophetic arguments?" And did the "young brother learn all these beautiful truths by hearing repeated courses of lectures by Bro. B.?" Let us see what are these beautiful advanced truths? Is it the time of Christ's coming? No, there is no beauty in time, it is only a thing of dread, unless the glorious object of His coming is recognized. Bro. B. can scarcely be considered the one, who brought this most glorious and most beautiful truth to our attention, for, while he believed a bonfire to be the end of the world, and that probation ended with it, Bros. Geo. Storrs, Henry Dunn and others were preaching and writing of "the times of restitution of all things which God hath spoken by the mouth of all His holy Prophets." [Acts 3:21,] and that "In the ages to come, God would show the exceeding riches of his grace." (Eph. 2:7.) Again, of what value would it be to know the time if we know nothing of the manner of Christ's coming? But while Bro. B. was looking for and preaching outward demonstrations, others saw and taught the two stages of the second advent, viz: Coming unobservedly for His bride and his appearing, when "we also shall appear with Him in glory." Lest some should suppose these statements unwarranted by facts, let me here give extracts from writings on the subject by Rev. Jos. Seiss. "The Last Times" a work published by him in 1856, says of:
Referring to THE RESTORATION OF THE JEWS (PP. 206-209.)"THE DAY OF THE LORD" (PP. 150-151.)
"There shall be upon the earth distress of nations with perplexity, the sea and the waves thereof roaring, great popular and revolutionary disturbances; men's hearts failing them for fear and for looking after those things that are coming on the earth for the powers of heaven shall be shaken." These words describe scenes of the judgement, which are to be witnessed before the visible manifestations of Christ, scenes which will glide in upon the world without the least suspicion on the part of men generally, that they are the beginning of the great judgement. Yes, "every eye shall see him" but not necessarily at the same time, and only when he shall come "with all his saints with him," and all his saints cannot be with him until after the pious dead are raised and the pious living be translated. The day of judgement shall come "as a thief in the night." He will be here, gathering and removing His elect before the world shall have become aware of it.
Concerning the OFFICE OF THE GLORIFIED CHURCH. (PP. 221.)
"The Jews shall return to their ancient home. Jehovah Elohim shall come down again more glorious than when of old, he dwelt in cloud and flame in the Holy of Holies, even Jesus in His own glorified humanity and they shall say: "Lo, this is our God! we have waited for him and he will save us. We will be glad and rejoice in his salvation." Jerusalem's light shall then have come, and the glory of the Lord have risen upon her and she shall arise and shine. But Jerusalem below, radiant in all its untold glory shall be but a type and earthly picture of the higher and sublimer Jerusalem that is above. – [The Church.]
And again, concerning SPIRITUAL BODIES. (PP. 220.)
"Much of the great plan of redemption yet remains unfulfilled and this Church of the first born is exalted to its high place, not only for its own glory and the Savior's praise, but as another great link in the chain of agencies, and administrations by which the entire world is to be restored to the high sphere for which it was destined. When this elect Church shall have been completed and its members come to be Priests and Kings with Christ in the glorious Messianic kingdom, the same general calling which they now fill will continue.
These sublime princedoms of the eternal empire are a part of God's great plan to let forth His love, wisdom and blessing upon earth's generations. Blessed shall it then be for the world, when once the saints shall be installed with their promised dominion and set with Christ upon His throne.
"That the glorified saints will to some extent mingle with those who live in the body and at times unveil their radiance to them, I think there is reason to believe. If they are to govern, direct and minister to those in the flesh, it is natural to suppose they will also be visible at least occasionally.
Angels in the performance of similar offices have often been manifested to living men, and why should it not be so with Christ's servants in the wonderful administrations of his glorious kingdom. Glorified or spiritual bodies are perhaps in their nature insensible to our earthly senses. Christ after His resurrection, was not visible, except at certain times when he manifested himself. The angels are invisible and yet we have many instances in which they were revealed to the view of mortals.
And in that new world in which the glorified saints are to be enthroned and commissioned as the ministers of Christ to execute his orders and administer his government over the nations, we may reasonably expect that they will often appear and converse with those who live in the flesh, and that intercourse between them and those in the body, will be as real familiar and blessed as that which Adam enjoyed with heavenly beings in Paradise."
At the time the above was written Bro. Barbour was entirely uninterested in these matters, a gold miner in Australia, and even since his return to the United States, and his interest in the second coming of Christ, his preaching and teaching has, until quite recently, opposed rather than favored these doctrines.
From whence came all these beautiful and advanced truths to young Bro. Russell and others of the flock? Surely not from Bro. Barbour, nor, we may add, from any man. These precious truths are given freely to all in Christ by the Lord, the Holy Spirit being our teacher and the only one, for "The anointing which ye have received of Him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you, but as the same anointing teacheth you all things, and is truth." (1 John 2:27.) Truth and knowledge are the food upon which God's children feed, and He himself has made perfect arrangements for their supply, as it is written, "Light is sown for the righteous." (Psa. 97:11.)
He supplies the light to the "Pathway of the just that shines more and more unto the perfect day," and as the Master promised so we have had "The spirit of truth to guide us into all truth, and He has shown us things to come." (Jno. 16:13.)
But while the spirit guides, human instrumentality is often employed by the spirit. Men are only the "earthen vessels that the excellency of the power may be of God and not of us." (2 Cor. 4:7.) The vessel is nothing, the treasure has the value. All God's children are to some extent vessels, some with greater capacity than others. O that we might all be very humble as treasure bearers.
Truth when due, is due to the household, and it is of little consequence either to the Spirit, who has it to communicate, or the Church for whom it is intended, whether it come by one vessel or another. If Luther had refused to carry the message given him for the Church, some one else would have carried it. And what he brought was not his, it was the Church's, and each member of the Church was as much the owner as Luther.
The Lord's way seems to be to give truth through various channels " – Here a little and there a little." Possibly, the reason is, lest the vessel should "be puffed up above measure," and that the Church should know that its Head is the "Fount of every blessing."
But is there nothing which Bro. B. has brought us as the Spirit's vessel? Oh yes, while he did not bring the glorious and beautiful advanced truths, nor yet the "prophetic arguments." [The chronology, showing scripturally that the 6000 years from Adam ended in 1873, was I believe, first dug from the Bible, arranged and printed by Rev. Bowen of England, and is there known as "Bowen's chronology." Most of the Prophetic arguments which we now use, were used long ago by Second Adventists – misapplied – and their harmony not being seen, they were thrown aside.] Bro. B. was permitted to so arrange, (gradually) and harmonize these various Prophetic teachings of time, that now, they give those of us who see them, great joy. He has caused these Precious Gems (God given) to sparkle and shine because of their harmonious arrangement, and the light which he brought us (God given) on the time of the realization of "The exceeding great and precious promises of God." For this harmony of time we thank God. For his labor in bringing it to us we sincerely and heartily thank Bro. Barbour, and pray that as a vessel the Lord may use him still further to the edification of the body of Christ.
This has been to me a painful recital, and it will be the same to every reader of the "Herald" who is truly interested in what has been taught through it for the last two years, but I believe it is absolutely demanded as an explanation of the article in the May "Herald." I have finished. My wish is to dismiss the matter entirely from my attention, and I now expect never to refer to the subject again under any circumstance.
I have published this as a "Supplement," because first I wanted it to go to none but "Herald" readers, and secondly, I would not want the pages of "Zion's Watch Tower" sullied by a recital so derogatory in some respects to the character of a member of the body.
I have been extremely careful in preparing this article that no part of it should be over stated. First: Because I do not wish to misrepresent, and Secondly: Because I have every reason to expect that some sort of an answer will be attempted, and desiring never again to mention the subject, I want to make such statements as cannot be contradicted.
|VOL. I.||PITTSBURGH, PA., JULY, 1879.||NO. 1.|
101 Fifth Ave., PITTSBURGH, PA.
|J. H. PATON||ALMONT, MICH.|
|W. I. MANN||ALLEGHENY, PA.|
|B. W. KEITH||DANSVILLE, N.Y.|
|H. B. RICE||W. OAKLAND, CAL.|
|A. D. JONES||PITTSBURGH, PA.|
That we are living "in the last days" – "The day of the Lord" – "the end" of the Gospel age, and consequently, in the dawn of the "new" age, are facts not only discernable by the close student of the Word, led by the spirit, but the outward signs recognizable by the world hear the same testimony, and we are desirous that the "household of faith" be fully awake to the fact, that –
And not alone to help awaken, but to assist them to "put on the whole armor of God, that they may be able to stand in the evil day;" and, besides all this, that giving all diligence, they add to their faith, virtue, and to virtue, knowledge, self control, [temperance,] brotherly kindness, charity; when, as a result of these indwelling and flourishing graces, they shall be God-like [godly].
But, recognizing the beauty and necessity of these adornments of the spiritual man, they fail not to recognize that the merit toward God lies not in these moral virtues, but in Christ's perfect sacrifice, and though adorned by all these gems of character, we could not be recognized as God's children now, nor permitted ever to enter His presence without the robe of Christ's righteousness, the "wedding garment" necessary to our participation in "the marriage of the Lamb."
Christians to whom an apology would be needed for directing attention to these things, should blush and be ashamed. Everything desirable, hopeful and precious stands closely and ever connected with them. They embrace nearly all the great motives to faith, watchfulness, obedience, holiness.
If God has given us a revelation, and tells us that it is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be thoroughly furnished unto every good word and work, where do so many Christians who profess to accept that Word of God as their rule and guide, get liberty to ignore more than one-half of it, thereby virtually saying it is unprofitable? When God has given us "a sure word of prophecy whereunto we do well to take heed," and when "the Lord God of the holy prophets sent His angel to show unto His servants the things which must shortly be done," shall those servants feel under no obligation to seek to understand those heavenly messages?
Should they heed worldly men and a worldly church who deem it pious and wise not to bother with these things, who would have us put them aside as empty fables and curious stories, and strange imagery, which could only unsettle our minds and interfere with Christian work; or shall we heed God who declares "these saying faithful and true" and says: "Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep the things that are written therein?" Surely He knows what is best calculated to inspire "a zeal according to knowledge," and what is necessary that we "be not soon shaken in mind."
"To him that hath an ear to hear what the spirit saith unto the churches," ZION'S WATCH TOWER hopes to give assistance and encouragement. It is in bondage to no man, no party and to no creed but the Bible; yet in the bonds of love and sympathy to "all who love the Lord Jesus Christ in truth and sincerity." It aims to represent "the chaste virgins," the prospective "Bride of Christ," and with them acknowledges only one master and head – Christ Jesus.
As its name indicates, it aims to be the lookout from whence matters of interest and profit may be announced to the "little flock," and as the "Herald of Christ's Presence," to give the "meat in due season" to the "household of faith."
It issues monthly, and if you desire its visit to your home, address at once as per notice on this page. If you have a neighbor or friend whom you think would be interested in or benefited by its instructions, you might call it to their attention; thus preaching the Word and doing good unto all men as you have opportunity.
The terms, fifty cents a year, (postage paid,) are moderate; but to all interested and desirous of having it, who cannot afford to pay, we will gladly send it free, but you must ask that ye may receive.
That the second coming of our Lord Jesus occupies a prominent and important position in the teaching of the apostles and prophets, as well as of Jesus himself, is a fact that can scarcely fail to have been noticed by every Bible student. Yet, from various causes, very many of those who profess to love Him, and whom we have reason to believe do, are not much interested in it. A few endeavor to figure it away by applying it to the descent of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost; others to the destruction of Jerusalem, &c.; all apparently forgetting the fact, that in the last book of the Bible, written more than sixty years after Pentecost, and twenty-six years after Jerusalem's destruction, He that was dead and is alive speaks of the event as yet future, saying: "Behold, I come quickly, and my reward is with me." And the inspired John replies: "Even so come Lord Jesus."
Quite a number endeavor to satisfy themselves with the thought that it is a spiritual coming – that when any are converted, that forms a part of the coming of Christ, and that so He continues coming until all the world is converted – then, say they, He will have fully come.
They evidently overlook the fact that the world will not be converted when He comes; that the Bible, our only guide on the subject, declares that, "In the last times perilous times shall come, for men shall be lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God." That "evil men and seducers shall wax worse and worse, deceiving and being deceived;" and that Jesus gave special warning to His little flock, saying: "Take heed to yourselves lest that day come upon you unawares, for as a snare shall it come upon all them" (not taking heed) "that dwell upon the face of the whole earth, and they shall not escape."
Again, we may rest assured that when Jesus said, "All the tribes of the earth shall mourn and wail because of Him when they see Him coming;" He did not refer to the conversion of sinners – Do the tribes mourn and wail because of the conversion of a sinner? – And if it refers, as almost all admit, to Christ's personal presence on the earth, it teaches that all on earth will not love His appearing, as they certainly would do if all were converted.
But, "If I go away, I will come again," cannot refer to a spiritual coming again, because, spiritually, He never went away, as He said, "Lo, I am with you alway, even to the end of the world," [age.] Therefore, Jesus taught His second PERSONAL coming. The word
These prophetic pictures and statements are expected to have fulfillment some time by nearly all Christians, and they call it the millennial age because it is said (Rev. 20:2-6) to be for a thousand years that Satan is bound and Christ reigns.
This far nearly all of the Church are agreed. They are millennialists, but there are post-millennialists and pre-millennialists; post signifies after, pre, before; so the former believe Christ will come after the millennium and the latter that He comes before it.
As these are the only views which contain sufficient truth to make them worthy of our consideration, we shall devote more time to them. All who believe in the second personal coming of Christ, should be interested in knowing what the general teaching of the Bible is on the subject. It is necessary, however, that we come to the consideration with a child-like mind, desirous of knowing how God has arranged the matter, and anxious to have the teachings of His word, and ready to lay aside our ideas and, as God's children, take His plan. Thus, let us inquire
The first expect that through the efforts of the Church, the world will be converted, and thus the millennial age introduced, at the close of which the Lord will come, wind up earthly affairs, reward believers and condemn sinners. That to convert the world, bind Satan, make "the knowledge of the Lord to fill the whole earth," and "nations to learn war no more," are the work of the Church without JESUS, and in her present mortal condition. When she has accomplished this great and difficult task, Jesus comes to wind it up, &c.
They have much Scripture, which taken disconnectedly, seems to favor this view. But even this, we believe, when God's word and plan are looked at as a whole, will be found to favor the other view, viz., that Christ comes before the conversion of the world; that the Church is now being tried, and that the reward promised the overcomers is, that they shall share in that reign: "To him that overcometh will I give to sit with me in my throne." Rev. 3:21. "And they lived and reigned with Christ a thousand years." Rev. 20:4.
There are two texts in particular used by our post-millennial brethren, to which we would refer: "This Gospel must first be preached in all the world for a witness. Then shall the end come." They claim this to refer to the Gospel converting the world before the end of the Gospel age. We pre-millennial believers claim, that witnessing to the world does not mean converting the world, but as it reads, to witness or testify.
This witness has already been given. In 1861, the Bible Societies' reports showed that the Gospel had been published in every language of earth; not that all earth's myriads had received it. No; not one in a hundred of the twelve hundred millions have ever heard of the name of Jesus. Yet it has fulfilled the text – it has been a witness to every nation.
We understand that the object of the present witnessing is "To take out a people for His name" – the Church – who at Christ's coming are united to Him, and receive His name. Rev. 3:12.
The second text is, "Sit thou on my right hand, until I make thy enemies thy footstool." The thought generally gathered from this Scripture is, that in heaven God has a throne on which He sits continually, and that when "Christ sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high," He sat down also upon the same throne. This is a misconception. The throne of God referred to is not an ivory or golden seat, but refers to His supreme authority and rulership, for "Heaven is my throne and earth is my footstool," and Paul says, "God hath highly exalted Him [Christ], and given Him a name above every name." He hath given Him authority above every other, next to the Father. If Christ sits upon a material throne until His enemies are made His footstool [all subdued], then, of course, He could not come until the millennium was fully inaugurated. But if it means the exalting to power, it would not interfere with His coming and subduing all things unto Himself.
Right hand signifies the chief place, position of excellence or power, and the words of Jesus to Pilate agree with this thought: "Hereafter ye shall see the Son of Man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven." Mark 14:62. He will be on the right hand when coming, and remain at the right hand during the millennial age.
First, then, Has God a plan? All must agree that He has, although almost all are inclined to think and talk of His dealings as though He were dealing by a rule of chance, and governed entirely by circumstance. No; He that would condemn a man for building a tower without first counting the cost, shall He build and people a universe without counting the cost? No, brethren; "Known unto the Lord are all His ways from the beginning." God has a plan, a purpose, and we know that "all His purposes shall be accomplished." But how shall we find that plan? It is revealed to us in His word. "Search the Scripture," as Paul says, "Compare Scripture with Scripture," for
We are too much inclined to ask What does my church say about any question, instead of What saith the Scriptures? Too much theology studied, and the Bible not enough. With the thought, then, that "The Scriptures are able to make us wise," that "the testimonies of the Lord are sure making wise the simple," let us examine. [R5 : page 2]
We will not here discuss the question, Why evil was permitted. We take the fact which sickness, death, vice, &c., make so plainly and painfully evident, viz., Evil exists. Its existence is attributed in Scripture to the devil. Evil continues because Satan's power is continued. It will last throughout the present age, because "the devil is the prince [ruler] of this world" [age]. He will continue its ruler as long as he can, or until he is bound. He cannot be bound until a stronger than he takes the control out of his hands.
But while Christ has all power, for wise purposes He has not made use of it, permitting evil to reign and measurably control the world, and permitting the devil to be "prince of this world," or epoch. But the time is coming when "He shall take to Himself His great power, and reign," exalting His Church, giving her "power over the nations," so that instead of, as now, being "subject to the powers that be," she shall "rule the nations." But when will He thus assume control? When the Gospel Church, "His body," Ecclesia, is complete. Evil now being permitted for "the trial of your faith," the perfecting of the saints. This time is synchronous with the sounding of the seventh trumpet. Rev. 11:15. Here the mystery [church] of God is finished, and "the kingdoms of this world become the kingdoms of our Lord and His anointed" [church]. Now, we inquire, is this transfer of authority
During the infancy of the human family – say from Adam to Moses – God treated his creatures like very young children. So far as we know, they had very little knowledge of their Creator's power or character. They had scarcely any revelation, the exception being the few cases where God favored special persons, as Abraham, Lot, &c., communicating to them by angels, giving to Abraham and Eve peculiar promises, which they could only vaguely comprehend.
The next age was to the Jewish nation a schooling season, during which God taught them to respect His promises and laws. They were yet minors, under age, therefore not treated as children, but kept under the law, their schoolmaster. Gal. 4.
While the Word of God was being written and committed to the Jews for keeping, &c., the remainder of the world seems to have been left in the darkness of heathenism. They bowed down to wood and stone, destitute of truth as they are to-day.
In Scripture the period from Adam to the flood is called "the world [age] that was." From the flood to the second coming of the Lord, "the world [age] that now is," and "the present evil world," [age], and the next is called "the world to come."
We know not how many ages may be in "the world to come;" but that there is more than one, we are sure, for Paul speaks of "the ages to come." Eph. 2:7. The first of these alone is dealt with in Scripture, the millennial age, during which we live and reign with Christ a thousand years. Rev. 20:4.
Having got an outline, let us look more particularly at God's doings and sayings, and, first, it will astonish you, doubtless, until you reflect, when I say, that according to His word, God has not exhausted His resources for the world's salvation; that, in short, He is not now trying to save the world, nor has he been during past ages. What has He been doing? "Taking out a people – Church – for His name." Don't think this wonderful, as it is only putting in a striking form what all Calvanists believe, among whom are Baptists, Presbyterians and others, viz., That God is now electing, or choosing His Church out of the world. Yes, and all our brethren who believe in free grace must admit, that if "all His purposes shall be accomplished," and "God's word shall accomplish the thing whereto it was sent," if these Scriptures are true, God did not purpose the conversion of the world during the past six thousand years, else it would be accomplished. Neither did He send His word to convert the world up to the present time, else it did not prosper in the thing whereto He sent it. These two views have been a dividing point in the churches for centuries, viz.:
First we will glance at Election. During the age preceding the deluge, there is no Scriptural account of God giving mankind any law, and very little light of revelation. One promise shines out, "The Seed of the Woman to Bruise the Serpent," and even this required future revelation in order to be comprehended. God had, however, a few patriarchs or servants who had light above the masses, as lamp-posts in a dark way.
The Patriarchal age had increase of light. It is now revealed that this seed is not only to crush evil [serpent], but to "bless all the families of the earth," still God's Church is represented by one man, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, &c., &c. [R5 : page 7]
These patriarchs were elected – chosen. "God called Abraham, and said," &c. Abraham, and not his kin, was called. His parents were idolators. He had "many sons and daughters," but only one is chosen. "In Isaac shall thy seed be called." Of Isaac's two sons, only one was chosen, "as it is written," says Paul, Rom. 9:7-13, "Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated" (loved less). God chose before they were born, "that the purpose of God according to election might stand." Now, remember, I do not say that God elected one to go to heaven and the other to hell. No; far from it. That is the common misconception of the Scriptural, and when properly understood, beautiful doctrine of Election.
At Jacob's death another advance step in God's plan is taken, and typical or fleshly Israel is formed. From this time one man no longer represents God in the world; but a nation, all the sons of Jacob and their posterity. And now we have an elect nation or church, and God gives all His special blessings to it. Other and larger nations – Egypt, Chaldea, &c. – are passed by, left without light and without knowledge, while these are given to Israel. "What advantage, then, hath a Jew?" Much, every way, chiefly because to them were committed the oracles (laws and testimonies) of God. This is Paul's statement. God speaking to them, says: "You only have I known of all the families of the earth." This people alone was recognized, and thus continued until Christ came. Yes; and after it.
During Christ's ministry He preached to them, and would not suffer His disciples to do otherwise, saying as He sends them out, "Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not." Why so, Lord? "I am not sent save, to the lost sheep of the house of Israel." All his time was devoted to them until death, and here was His first work for the world, and
The Gospel age makes ready the chaste virgin (church) for the coming Bridegroom. When ready, the Bridegroom comes, and they that are ready are united. The second Adam and the second Eve become one, and are thus the beginning of the new creation, and then the glorious work of elevating mankind in general begins. The river of living water flows, and the work of the Church begins. In the next dispensation, new heavens and new earth. She is no longer the espoused Virgin, but the Bride. THEN "the Spirit and the Bride say come, and whosoever will let him come and drink of the water of life freely."
As Adam, the beginning of the fleshly race, was composed of man and the helpmeet taken from his side, as it is written, "Male and female created He them and He called their name ADAM," Gen. 5:12, so the "Second Adam," of whom Paul says the first "was a figure," or type, has a helpmeet taken from His side, and when she is fully formed and perfected, the Bridegroom comes and they go in to the marriage; they become one, "the new creation of God" (read Eph. 5:25,30,32), making in "Himself of twain (Jews and Gentiles)
But let us leave this bright and pleasant picture of the coming day, of which, with the poet, we could say:
Calvinism answers: They were not elected to be saved. God foreordained and predestined them to be lost – to go to hell – and they are there now, writhing in agony, where they will ever remain without hope.
Arminianism answers: We believe that God excuses them on account of ignorance, and that if they did the best they knew how, they will be as sure of being a part of the "Church of the First-born" as is Paul himself.
But, we inquire, what do the Scriptures teach on this last point? That ignorance is a ground of salvation? No; the only condition known in Scripture is FAITH. "By grace are ye saved, through FAITH." Justification by faith is the ground-rock of the whole system of Christianity. When, on the day of Pentecost, Peter was asked, "What must we do to be saved?" he answered, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and be baptized, and thou shalt be saved."
Again he says, Acts 4:12, "There is none other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved," than the name of Jesus.
Paul reasons that a man must hear the Gospel before he can believe: "How shall they believe on Him of whom they have not heard?" This – God's plan – that men shall be saved on account of faith, Paul says was to the Jews a stumbling block (because they expected salvation as a reward of keeping the law) and to the Greeks (the worldly wise) foolishness. But, nevertheless, it has "pleased God by the foolishness (in the eyes of men) of preaching to save
I want to Scripturally close you in to the thought, that all who have not heard could not believe, and not believing, could not be a part of the Bride of Christ. But, you object, Paul, in the first two chapters of Romans, teaches "that these having not the law are a law unto themselves," and that this law which their conscience furnishes, is sufficient to justify them. No, I answer, you understand Paul differently from what he intended. Paul's argument everywhere is, that "all the world is guilty before God." "For if I had not known the law, I had not known sin. For by the law is the knowledge of sin." The law given to the Jew revealed his weakness, and was intended to show him that he was unable to justify himself before God. "For by the deeds of the law shall no flesh be justified in His (God's) sight." As the law thus condemned the Jews, so Paul says it is with the Gentiles also. Though ignorant of the law, they had light enough of conscience to condemn them. "That every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God," Rom. 3:19, in order that eternal life may be seen to be "the gift of God, through Jesus Christ our Lord," to every one that believeth.
Well, you answer, the Bible to the contrary, I believe and insist that God won't damn the world for ignorance. Now, let us see. Do you practice what you declare? Why do you assist in sending missionaries to the heathen, at a cost of thousands of valuable lives and millions of money? If they will all be saved – or even half of them – through ignorance, you do them a positive injury in sending a preacher to tell them of Christ, for we know that only about one in a thousand believe when the missionary does go to them. If your idea be correct it were far better that no missionaries should ever be sent. Before, nearly all saved; now, because of knowledge, nearly all lost. In the same way we might reason, that if God had left all in ignorance, we would all have been saved. Then, instead of the Gospel being good news, it would be more properly named bad news.
First, we answer, that you may be sure they are not now in hell suffering; because not only do the scriptures teach that full and complete reward is not given to the Church until Christ comes, "when he shall reward every man," but the unjust are to receive their deserts then also. Whatever may be their present condition, it cannot be their full reward, for Peter says: "God knoweth how to reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment to be punished," and he will do so. But the thought of so many of our fellow creatures at any time being lost, without having had the knowledge which is necessary to salvation, seems terrible, indeed, to all who have a spark of love or pity. Then, too, there are a number of Scriptures which seem hard to harmonize with all this. Let us see in the light of his dealings how shall we understand the statement, "God is Love," or "God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him might not perish."
Again we read: "This is the true light that lighteth every man that cometh into the world." Lord, all our reason seems to say, not so. We cannot see how Jesus lighted more than a few of earth's billions. Yonder Hottentot gives no evidence of having been so enlighted, neither did the Sodomites and myriads of others. [R7 : page 7]
Once more we read: "Jesus Christ, by the grace of God, tasted death for every man." How, Lord, we ask? If he tasted death for the one hundred and forty-three billions, and from other causes it becomes efficacious only to one billion, is not his death comparatively a failure?
Oh, how dark, how inconsistent do these statements appear when we remember that the Gospel Church is "a little flock." Oh, how we wish it would please God to open our eyes that we might understand the Scriptures, for we feel sure that did we but understand, it must all seem clear, it must all declare in thunder tone, "God is Love." Oh, that we had the key! Do you want it? – Are you sure you do? It is the last text we quoted, "Who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time. Due time. Ah, now we see. God has a due time for everything. He could have testified it to this one hundred and forty-two billions in their life time. Then that would have been their due time; as it was not so, their due time must be future. We know that now is our due time, because it is testified to us now. Christ was a ransom for you before you were born, but it was not due time for you to hear it until years after. So with the Hottentot; Christ was his ransom at the same time that he was yours; he has not heard it yet, and may not in this life; but in God's due time he will.
But can knowledge ever reach these billions in their graves while dead? No; God has provided for the resurrection of them all. For "as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive." As death came by the first Adam, so life comes by the second Adam. Everything that mankind lost in the first, is to be restored in the second. Hence, the age following Christ's second coming is spoken of as "the times of restitution."
Life is one of the things lost, and is to be one of the things restored. Mark me! I do not say eternal life is given them. No; Adam never had eternal life to lose; if he had it, he could not have died. He had natural life, lost natural life, and it is to be natural life that the second Adam restores. This is a certain sort of salvation that Christ accomplishes for all; but the eternal salvation, which believers receive, is entirely different. This enables us to use another text, which is little used except by Universalists, and although not Universalists, yet we claim the right to use all scripture. It reads: "We trust in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of them which believe." All men are saved or rescued from the loss entailed on them through Adam, by having all those lost things, including natural life, restored to them. He is also the "especial Savior of them which believe." For believers who now constitute the body of Christ are the happy recipients of "The gift of God, eternal life. While those of the world are raised natural bodies, those of the Church are raised spiritual bodies, "neither can they die any more, but are like the angels of God."
Now we see that "the testimony in due time" explains all of those troublous texts. In due time it shall be "glad tidings of great joy to all people." In due time that "True Light shall lighten every man that cometh into the world," and in no other way can these scriptures be used without wresting. We take them to mean just what they say. Paul carries out the line of argument with emphasis in Rom. 5:18,19. He reasons that as all men were condemned to death and suffered it because of Adam's transgression, so also Christ's righteousness justifies all to life again. All lost life, not of our own will or choice, in first Adam; all receive life at the hands of the second Adam, equally without their will or choice.
But Peter tells us, that "the restitution is spoken of by the mouth of all the holy prophets." They do all teach it. Ezekiel tells us of the valley of dry bones, "This is the whole house of Israel;" and God says to them, "I will bring you up out of your graves, and bring you into your own land." This agrees with St. Paul, Rom. 6:25,26. Blindness in part is happened to Israel until the fullness of the Gentiles (the Gospel Church, the elect company "taken out of the Gentiles") be come in, and so all Israel shall be saved," or brought back from their cast-off condition. For "God hath not cast off His people whom He foreknew." They were cut off from His favor while the bride of Christ was being selected, but will return to favor when that work is accomplished. – Vs. 28 to 33. The prophets are full of statements of how God will "plant them again, and they shall be no more plucked up." This does not refer to restorations from former captivities in Babylon, Syria, &c., for the Lord says, "In that day it shall no more be a proverb among you 'the fathers ate a sour grape and the children's teeth are set on edge;' but every man shall die for his own sin." This is not the case now. You do not die for your own sin, but for Adam's – "As in Adam all die." He ate the sour grape, and our forefathers continued to eat them, entailing further sickness and misery upon us. The day in which "every man shall die for his own sin," is this Millennial or Restitution day. But when restored to the same conditions as Adam, will they not be as liable to sin and fall again as he was? No; they will be liable, but not as liable; they have learned in their time the lesson which God designed to teach to all, viz., "The exceeding sinfulness of sin." They will be prepared to appreciate the good and shun the evil, and the Gospel Church then glorified will be, "the kings (rulers) and priests" (teachers) of that new age, for "Unto the angels hath He not put in subjection the world (age) to come, whereof we speak," &c. Then through "the second Adam" and His helpmeet they may be begotten into their spiritual likeness.
But are we sure that God intends these blessings for any but the "people whom He foreknew" (the Jews)? Yes. He mentions other nations also by name, and speaks of their restitution. Let me give you an illustration that will be forcible:
Let us look at the prophecy, Ezek. 16:48 to the close. Read it carefully. God here speaks of Israel and compares her with her neighbor, Samaria, and also with the Sodomites, whom he says, "I took away as I saw good." Why did God see good to take away these people without giving them a chance of eternal life through the knowledge of "the only name?" Because it was not their due time. They will come to a knowledge of the truth when restored. He'll save them from death's bondage first, and then give them knowledge as it is written. "God will have all men to be saved, and to come to a knowledge of the truth." When brought to the knowledge, then, and not until then, are they on trial for eternal life. With this thought, and with no other, can we understand the dealings of the God of love with those Amalekites and other nations, whom he not only permitted, but commanded Israel to butcher. "Slay Amalek utterly – leave neither man, woman or child." "Spare not the little ones." How often my heart has ached, and yours, too, as we sought to reconcile this apparent wantonness on God's part with the teachings of the new dispensation, "God is love," "Love your enemies," &c. Now we can see that the entire Jewish age was a type of the higher, Gospel age; Israel's victories and conquests merely pictures of the Christian's battles with sin, etc. These Amalekites and Sodomites and others were used to illustrate, or to be "examples" "for our admonition;" and these people might just as well die so, as of disease and plague, and it mattered little to them as they were merely learning to know evil, that when on trial, "in due time," they might learn good and be able to discriminate and choose life.
But let us read the prophecy further. After comparing Israel with Sodom and Samaria, and pronouncing her worse, vs. 53 says: "When I bring again the captivity [in death, all are captives and [R8 : page 8] Christ came to 'set at liberty the captives and to open the prison doors' of the grave,] of Sodom and Samaria, then will I bring thy captives in the midst of them." (These will be raised together.) In vs. 55 this is called "a return to
But some will inquire, how comes it that this has not been seen long ago? We answer, God gives light and knowledge to his people just as it is due. The world was left in almost entire ignorance of God's plan until the Gospel age, when Christ came, bringing life and immortality TO LIGHT through the Gospel. The Jews up to that time supposed that all the promises of God were to and for them alone, but in due time God showed favor to the Gentiles also. Christians generally have supposed that God's blessings are to the church, but we begin to see that God is better than all our fears, and though he has given us the "exceeding great and precious promises," He has made some to the world also.
"The path of the just is as a shining light that shineth more and more, until the perfect day," and the fact that it now shines so brightly, and that we are able to see more of the beauty and harmony of God's word, is strong presumptive evidence that we are in the dawn of that glorious millennial day, when "we shall know even as we are known."
But we promised to harmonize those doctrines of the Church generally supposed to be antipodes, viz., CALVINISM, or Election, and ARMINIANISM, or Free Grace. Perhaps you already see how they harmonize themselves by simply recognizing the order of the ages and applying each text to the place and time to which it belongs. Let me then point out to you
First – Calvinism says God is all-wise: He knew the end from the beginning, and, as "all his purposes shall be accomplished," He never could have intended to save any but a few – the true Church, the little flock. These He elected and predestined to be eternally saved; all others were equally predestined and elected to go to hell, for "known unto the Lord are all His works from the foundation of the world."
This has its good features. It shows, and properly, God's Omniscience. This would be our ideal of a GREAT God, were it not that three essential qualities of greatness, viz., MERCY, LOVE and JUSTICE, are lacking, for none of these qualities find place in bringing into the world one hundred and forty-two billions of creatures damned before they were born and mocked by protestations of love. No, no. "God is love;" "God is just;" "God is merciful."
Second – Arminianism says: Yes, "God is love," and in bringing humanity into the world He meant them no harm, only good. But Satan succeeded in tempting Adam; thus "sin entered into the world and death by sin," and ever since, God has been doing all He can to deliver man from his enemy, even to the giving of His Son, and though now, six thousand years after, the gospel has only reached a very small portion of those creatures, yet, we do hope and trust that within six thousand years more, through the energy and liberality of the Church, God will have so far remedied the evil introduced by Satan, that all may at least know of His love, and the knowledge of God be co-extensive with the knowledge of evil.
The commendable feature of this view is, that it accepts the statement that "God is love." But, while full of loving and benevolent designs for His creatures, He lacks ability and foreknowledge adequate to the accomplishment of those designs.
While God was busy arranging and devising for the good of His newly created children, Satan slipped in, and by one stroke upset all God's plans, and in one moment brought sin and evil among men to such an extent that even by exhausting all his power, God must spend twelve thousand years to even reinstate righteousness to such a degree that man will have an opportunity to choose Good as readily as Evil, and the one hundred and forty-two billions of the past six thousand years, and as many more of the next, are lost to all eternity, in spite of God's love for them, because Satan interfered with his plans as God had not foreseen. Thus Satan, in spite of God, gets one hundred into hell to one God gets to glory. This view must exalt men's ideas of Satan, and lower their estimation of Him who "Spake, and it was done; commanded, and it stood fast."
Is not this the teaching of God's word? Men never would have thought of such a glorious plan of salvation. Truly God has said: "My ways are not your ways, nor my thoughts your thoughts." Hereafter when we address Him "Our Father," may it call to our mind that His love and compassion are far greater than the pity of our earthly parents, and while we study His word more and more, and seek to "grow in grace and in the knowledge and love of God," let us ever remember that
Having seen how much of the great plan of God waits the coming of Christ for its accomplishment, and having, we trust, found why Christ comes, can we help loving His appearing? In our next we hope to examine with you what the Bible teaches of How Christ Comes.
"Leaning upon her Beloved." – Sol. Songs, 8:5
This question is one which every sincere Christian should ask and seek to answer. We should learn to love and value truth for its own sake; to respect and honor it by owning and acknowledging it wherever we find it and by whomsoever presented. A truth presented by Satan himself is just as true as a truth stated by God.
Perhaps no class of people are more apt to overlook this fact than the Christian. How often do they in controversy overlook and ignore truth presented by their opponents. This is particularly the case when arguing with an infidel. They feel at perfect liberty to dispute everything he says on religious subjects. This is not the correct principle. Many infidels are honest – as anxious to speak and believe the truth as are Christians – and if in converse with them we ignore truths which they may advance, we not only fail to convince them of our truths, but put an end to all hope of reaching them; for our failure to admit the evident truth which they advance begets in them contempt for the one who is not honest enough to admit one truth because he does not see how it can be reconciled to another. Accept truth wherever you find it, no matter [R9 : page 3] what it contradicts, and rely for ability to afterwards harmonize it with others upon "The Spirit of truth, which shall guide you into all truth," as Jesus promised.
Truth, like a modest little flower in the wilderness of life, is surrounded and almost choked by the luxuriant growth of the weeds of error. If you would find it you must be ever on the lookout. If you would see its beauty you must brush aside the weeds of error and the brambles of bigotry. If you would possess it you must stoop to get it.
Weave them together as a garland – "Bind them on thee as a bride doeth." "Bind them about thy neck; write them upon the table of thine heart: so shalt thou find favor and good understanding in the sight of God and man." Prov. 3:3.
This is the grand expression of the Bible – the key-note of Christianity. It is the foundation of the great plan of creation and redemption, and the underlying principle in the structure of the Word of God.
It is truth, the truth, as God is true, the embodiment of all other truths; so that whatever, rightly understood, is not in harmony with it must be false. "God is love," eternal and unchangeable. All that He has done or will do can but express His infinite fullness. All His attributes are moved and controlled by love.
"God is love." Many feel, as a result of education, that God hates them, but that Christ loves them; others believe that Christ purchased the Father's love. Both are answered by Christ's words: "God so loved the world that he gave his son," &c. John 3:16. Christ's work is not to purchase the Father's love, but to manifest it. Practically, if not as theologians teach, Christ's words are true: "I and my Father are one" – one in purpose and in work.
Christ prayed to the Father that the disciples might be one, "even as we are one." "As thou, Father, art in me and I in thee, that they may be one in us," &c. John 17:21. He could thus be called "Immanuel – God with us." "Without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifest in the flesh." 1 Tim. 3:16. God gave his Son. The Son "gave himself for us." Truly they are in harmony. The love of the infinite God could neither be created nor purchased, but it could be shown. This is one part of the work of the Son of God – to reveal the Father. To reveal his love is to reveal himself, for "God is love." Without Christ or, out of Christ God cannot be known. The Father does not reveal the Son, but the Son reveals the Father, "For no man knoweth who the Son is but the Father, and no man knoweth the Father but the Son, and he to whom the Son will reveal Him." No theologian need attempt an explanation of the Divine Sonship of our Lord. "But it pleased the Father that in Christ should all fullness dwell," – "All fullness of the Godhead bodily." – Col. 1:19, and 2:9. He is the Word, the truth, the personal embodiment of all that is good and true, and emphatically the Revelation of God. "The Word was with God and the Word was God." "The Word was made flesh." He took our nature, the "form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men." Phil. 2:7. He of whom it was said, "Let all the angels of God worship him," [that must include Michael,] and "Thy throne, Oh God! is forever and ever," (Heb. 1:6,8); "Left the glory he had with the Father before the foundation of the world;" "made himself of no reputation;" "was made a little lower than the angels;" "for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor, that he, by the grace of God, should taste death for every man." Heb. 2:9.
Great condescension! Glorious love! Whose love? Both the Father's and the Son's, but primarily the Father's. "God so loved that he gave." The love caused the gift. "God commendeth his love to us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us." Rom. 5:8. "And all things are of God, who hath reconciled us to himself, by Jesus Christ, and hath given to us the ministry of reconciliation, to wit: that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them," &c. 2 Cor. 5:18,19. The hymn line, "My God is reconciled," has well been changed, "To God I'm reconciled." It is man that is out of order – away from home – and God is in Christ to win the wanderer back. God hates sin, but loves the man. One reason why he hates sin is because he loves the man, and sin destroys man's happiness and if persisted in will destroy the man himself. "Thou hast destroyed thyself, but in me is thy help found," saith the Lord. "The grace of God, that bringeth salvation to all men hath appeared." Grace is love and favor. God in Christ brings salvation to all men absolutely, so far as relates to the recovery of what was lost in Adam, "Who will have all men to be saved." "As in Adam all died, so in Christ shall all be made alive." Thus, "We trust in the living God, who is the Savior of ALL MEN, specially of them that believe." 1 Tim. 4:10.
He has not only redeemed man from what was lost in Adam, but has made higher attainments possible, brought Salvation near, within reach of all men, and is the "author of eternal salvation to them that obey him." Heb. 5:9. He not only "gave himself a ransom (to buy man back from death) for all," but it is "to be testified in due time." 1 Tim. 2:6. He not only "will have all men to be saved" (from the Adamic penalty), but will also have them "come to the knowledge of the truth." Ver. 4. Thus, and in "due time," he is the "true light that lighteth every man that cometh into the world." John 1:9. All who have died without the true light, will be enlightened in future, and the words of the angel will be verified: "Behold, I bring you glad tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people." Luke 2:10.
The salvation from death is secured to all by the Ransom; the salvation from sin is made possible to all by the light, and all this is the Father's arrangement, through the Son, who is constituted Redeemer, and also the "Head" – "Firstborn" of a new race in a Spiritual and immortal life. He restores the old to all, and imparts the new to as many as receive and obey the truth.
How true it is, that: "He that loveth not, knoweth not God, for God is love." 1 John 4:8. "Love is of God." Ver. 1 [Should be Ver. 7 - site Editor]. "In this was manifested the love of God toward us because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him," (the Son.) (Ver. 9.) "Herein is love,... that He loved us," &c. (Ver. 10.) "We love him, because he first loved [R10 : page 3] us." (Ver. 19.) In view of so much testimony, who can doubt the Father's love, or believe that it was purchased by Christ's death. Christ's death meets a necessity of man, in relation to man's forfeited life; hence He purchased man, and not God. God arranged it as a grand exhibition of his love for man. "Ye are bought with a price, therefore glorify God," &c. "Thanks be unto God for his unspeakable gift." We love the Giver and we love the Gift. "Whom having not seen, we love." Who can refrain from joining the grand chorus of the angels: "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth, peace, good will toward men." Luke 2:14.
To attempt to prove that the Son of Man will really and personally come again to this world, may seem quite superfluous. It is a doctrine which orthodox Christians universally admit; and yet, perhaps, there is not another article of Christian faith so coldly and indefinitely apprehended. Few men embrace it as a reality. Few men lay hold of it as an efficacious truth. People deny it not, but neither do they feel it. They have so much preoccupied their minds with imaginary, figurative comings of the Saviour, in providence, in His Spirit, in His Word, and in His Church, that His only real coming has well nigh become obsolete – a dead letter.
It no longer comes upon the heart and conscience with its awakening and commanding power. We recite it, and sing it; but we do not effectually receive it. It is in our creed, but it cannot be said to be of our faith. If we entertain it at all, it is at a great distance off. It cannot, therefore, be a matter of small importance for us to review our position and to endeavor to ascertain where we stand in regard to this great doctrine.
If we have been unconsciously saying to ourselves, "The Lord delayeth his coming," it is time that [R10 : page 4] we should wake up to the fact, lest that day should come upon us unawares. Christ bids us "Watch, for in such an hour as ye think not, the Son of Man cometh." "The day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night." "As a snare shall it come on all them that dwell on the face of the whole earth." And amid the tremendous heavings of society in our day, we are most solemnly admonished to look well to our hearts, and keep close to the directions of our Lord.
The past, present and future of the family of man are all included in the "Three Worlds." The world that was before the flood, the world that now is, and the world to come. The history of mankind and the history of the Gospel of Christ are inseparable; hence, the plan of salvation spans these three worlds.
The Greek word "Kosmos," translated world, as above, relates to the order or state of things, and does not refer to the literal earth, as some suppose. The same word is often used when the people are meant, as, "God so loved the world;" "Behold the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world;" "The field is the world" (Christ does not sow the good seed in the ground – mankind is his field of operation); "He is the propitiation for the sins of the whole world." Kosmos is thus used for the general "order" of things, or for the people, but we have yet to learn that the word is ever translated earth, or has that meaning. The nearest to it, perhaps, is when Peter speaks of these three conditions as three distinct "heavens and earth." 2 Peter 3. The first "perished" (came to an end), the second is "reserved unto fire," and will end also, but the third, or "new heavens and new earth," is the "world without end."
The change at the flood was not so much physical as dispensational. The administration of God was changed, but the earth, with its "mountains" and consequent valleys, still remained. "The waters prevailed and all the high hills were covered." Gen. 7:19. The ark rose above the mountains, carried on the face of the waters, and when the waters abated "the ark rested upon the mountains of Ararat." Gen. 8:4. The waters rose and fell, but there was apparently no change in the form of the earth itself. The trees seem to have remained in place, for had they been floating, the dove might have found a place "for the sole of her foot" (ver. 9), and "an olive leave plucked off" would have been no evidence that the waters were abating (ver. 11).
A few of these simple things well noted, might help to dispel some of the exaggerated expectations of many as to physical changes in the "new heavens and earth" promised. "New" does not necessarily mean absolute perfection.
The first "order" is called "the old world," 2 Peter 2:5. Then "This present evil world" must have been new at first. As the second "waxes old" and passes away, another new one comes on, "Wherein dwelleth righteousness." It has been thought by some that it must therefore be absolutely free from sin from the very first. This is an evil world, but there is some good in it, and when Satan is bound – limited – chained – it will be reversed. Righteousness will be the rule and sin the exception. "The sinner being an hundred years old, shall be accursed." Isa. 65:20. Sin and death go hand in hand, and neither shall be destroyed until the end of the thousand years: "The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death." 1 Cor. 15:26.
These three worlds are the basis of the Bible plan of salvation, and may therefore serve as a means of explaining the word in reference to the plan. If a statement of the word belongs to any one of these worlds, it will be a perversion to apply it to another, or to what lies outside of them altogether.
To get the true import of anything revealed by the Spirit of God must be important, in order that the designed effect may be realized. Without an outline of the plan, it is not surprising that men have failed to "rightly divide the word of truth." If it be remembered that the "world to come" is not the "spirit world," or state of the departed in any sense, but a future state that does not begin until the second, or "present evil world," ends, many Scriptures will be plain. "Ye shall be recompensed at the resurrection of the just." The resurrection is at the last trump (1 Cor. 15) during which time Christ comes, and the reward is given to "prophets, saints, and them that fear God's name, small and great." Rev. 11:15-18. The reward is "eternal life" to them who seek for it "by a patient continuance in well-doing" (Rom. 2:7), and Jesus says, "in the world to come eternal life." This division of the word, by the plan of the ages gives an intensity of interest in the coming of our Lord, for whatever man's state in death may be, it is clear that our reward is not due till he comes at the beginning of the world to come. Man does not go to it, but it comes to us. Those who died in the world before the flood did not thus reach the present world, which was then future, so neither can men reach the world to come by dying. Living or dead, we must wait for that period to come before we can be in it, as we wait from one day to another, and when the new period or day has come, those who have not died will be in the world to come as well as those who are raised from the dead, just as Noah passed from the old world into the new, having escaped death. It does not militate against this idea, that the saints are to enter upon a higher state than the nations, being raised in the "spiritual body," and made equal to the angels at the beginning of that world. The heavenly state of the saints, as the "Bride, the Lamb's Wife," and the earthly state of the nations, as the "blessed of the Lord," are facts of the world to come and in harmony with each other. If the saints are to rule the nations as promised, the nations must be there to be ruled. There are high and low, heavens and earth, in the future as well as in the past. In this present evil world, the angels – unseen, yet real persons – have a great deal of power, as "ministering spirits sent forth to minister for them who shall be heirs of salvation." Heb. 1:14. "But unto the angels hath he not put in subjection the world to come whereof we speak, but...what is man that thou art mindful of him." This world is subject to the angels, but the future world is made subject to glorified man, Jesus being the head of the glorified body. The above proves that angels are not glorified men, and also that man will supersede the angels in administration of God's benefits to man in the flesh. The "Church of the Firstborn," exalted to the throne, will sing a song the angels cannot learn.
An understanding of much of God's Word is made easier by first having a "bird's-eye view" of the plan as shown by the "Three Worlds."
Because of the shortness of human life, we act quickly ourselves and expect others to act so, and we can scarcely avoid carrying the same thought with us when we go to the investigation of God's Word.
We read – "Yet a little while, and He that shall come, will come." We think, as we look back at the eighteen centuries which have elapsed since his first advent, that it is not a "little while." No, to us it is a long while. Our ideas of long and short periods are drawn from our experience. When you were a child you thought as a child; you impatiently looked at an hour as a long time, and a year seemed an age if it intervened between you and some coveted object or enjoyment. Since you have grown to manhood or womanhood years are short; how quickly they fly. Your plans and arrangements reach out and embrace numbers of them.
We see then that a long time and a "little while" are accommodative terms, to be understood in harmony with the standpoint of the one using them. When Paul used these words he was God's mouthpiece, therefore the word is God's – and it is from His standpoint, in whose sight "a thousand years are but as yesterday," and "as a watch in the night." If we remember that He is from everlasting to everlasting, eighteen hundred years are but "a little while" to Him. In His sight it is only "a little while" since He created Adam.
If we can get this standpoint of time – God's standpoint – it will assist us to see how "God is not slack concerning His promises." When God promised Eve that her seed should bruise the serpent's head, she doubtless supposed that God's promise had failed when one of her sons was slain and the other had become a branded murderer; and when Seth was born, as his name indicates, she thought him the promised seed. She came to die, and yet saw not God's promise fulfilled. Ages rolled on, floods came and went, Moses and Israel read the promise, but saw no fulfillment. Had it failed? No, four thousand years after Jesus appeared on earth; suffered, died, arose, ascended. Was the promise fulfilled? No, only in part. Satan's head (vital part) is not yet crushed; he rears it higher than ever; his control is greater perhaps than ever before. Does God's promise mean less than it says? No, give Him more time; it is only "a little while" since he promised, and "in due time" it will all be fulfilled. Because He saw that we would wonder whether He is "slack concerning His promises;" and because Jesus counts us His friends, ("I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you." Jno. 15:15,) therefore He kindly gives us through Paul, a clue as to how and when this promise will be fulfilled. Rom. 16:20, reads: "The God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly."
But God has not forgotten his promise; He will perform, but when? "Shortly." Ah, God's "little while" again. But why say under your feet? What had the Christians at Rome to do with bruising Satan? Had God's Word not said the seed should do it? And was not Christ this seed? Yes, Jesus is the head over this seed, but we are members of the body under this head, as we read: "The God of our Lord Jesus Christ...gave Him to be the head over all things to the Church, which is His body." Eph. 1:17-22. He is the head, that in all things He might have the pre-eminence. Col. 1:18.
Satan was permitted to bruise Jesus, the head. "He was bruised for our iniquity." He was made perfect through suffering," and we, the members of the body, must suffer with Him if we would be made perfect [R11 : page 5] – must "fill up the measure of the sufferings of Christ." The head suffered most, but we must be sharers of the suffering, if we would be glorified together.
Therefore, "count it all joy" and "think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you as though some strange thing happened unto you: But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that when ("a little while," "shortly") His glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad, also, with exceeding joy." 1 Pet. 4:13. Yes, we shall share in the "glory that shall follow," and part of that glory shall be to crush the serpent. Now he bruises our heel (ours are not vital wounds, they will all heal.) We shall crush his head (a vital part, indicating the utter extinction of evil – when death shall be destroyed, and "him that hath the power of death, that is the devil"). As this has required time for its accomplishment, so have almost all the promises of God. Take
God had promised and sworn to Abraham, that his seed should be as the sand of the sea – innumerable – and Abraham believed it; but as years rolled on he and Sarah thought it a long time. They were getting old, and yet had no child. Finally to help God to fulfill his promise, (how many Christians want to FORCE a construction on prophecy, in order to help God out of a dilemma, and help him to fulfill his word. Wait;
"I will establish my covenant between me and thee, and thy seed after thee." "And I will give unto thee and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan for an everlasting possession."
But Paul shows us how that there was a deeper meaning than the surface promise couched in the utterances of God to the seed of Abraham. Not only the fleshly children but the children of faith have a share.
"Now, to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds as of many; but as of one. 'And to thy seed' – which is Christ."....And if ye be Christ's (if you have been "baptised into Christ, put on Christ," become "members of His body,") then (and only then, no other way,) are ye Abraham's SEED and HEIRS; according to promise." Gal. 3:16 and 29.
Here again we realize that God's "little while," is to man a great while; but surely and steadily the members of the body of Christ are being developed, and in due time they will be united to their Head, and with Him glorified – constituting in the complete sense "the seed" – and then, never fully until then, can it be true of Abraham and his seed: – "In thee shall all nations be blessed." (Gal. 3:8.) Then "A king shall reign in righteousness, and princes shall rule in judgment" – [Christ, our head, the king, and we joint heirs with him"] – and under that righteous reign and rule "all the families of the earth shall be blessed," for then "the knowledge of the Lord shall fill the whole earth." But there, are
James shows that these promises lacked a fulfillment. Acts 15:16 after showing the object of the Gospel age to be the taking out of the Gentiles, a people for His name – the Church – His body, the seed. After recounting this, James says: "To this agree the words of the prophets, [or this is in harmony with prophecy."] "As it is written, 'After this' [after the seed is taken from among the Gentiles,] 'I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David which is fallen down, and I will build again the ruins thereof.'" Yes, God has good things in reserve for his ancient people, and as Paul says, though they were "blinded" and "cut off" from the first position of heirs of those promises, yet, "God hath not cast away His people whom He foreknew." For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel." How long, Paul, until the fullness of the Gentiles be come in? [That is, until the entire Church, which James says God is taking out of the Gentiles, have all been taken out, and gathered into full sonship, as the seed of promise.] And if they are blinded only until that time, it is evident that at that time the blindness will be removed. But Paul continues, "and so all Israel shall be saved," [not saved eternally as individuals, but saved – rescued nationally – brought back to power and grandeur.] But Paul goes to the prophets as his authority, "as it is written, [R12 : page 5] there shall come out of Zion the Deliverer, [the seed, head and body] and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob, [fleshly Israel,] for this is my covenant with them." Paul then gives us his reasons for speaking so confidently, "For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance." God's giving us the high calling, and the promises on the higher plane, does not interfere with or hinder His keeping his promise to the fleshly seed, but all the more guarantee it.
Then he explains how it is we, who were once Gentiles, had God's mercy and truth revealed to us when and because natural Israel was blinded; so we obtained mercy through their unbelief; so these have not believed that through your mercy they also obtain mercy. Through whose mercy? Yours, the Church's, when the Church is all taken out and glorified, she is with Christ, her head, to mercifully and justly rule the world, and then Israel shall obtain your mercy. Rom. 2:2-25.
O, that we could realize that every promise of God is sure, in His own due time; it would give us childlike trust and confidence for everything, and not to accept them as all sure is to make God a liar.
Paul, as he looked forward and realized how in due time every jot and tittle should be fulfilled, and saw the greatness and majesty of God's plan, breaks forth in ecstasy and exclaims, "O, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God!" "Who hath known the mind of the Lord?" [Who knew that God's plan was so comprehensive and full.] And our hearts can say, Amen.
God knows the end from the beginning, and looking at the great clock of the ages, declares to us that the things we so much desire, shall be "shortly," "yet a little while." Let us look at things from his standpoint, and so
"But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness unto His marvelous light." 1 Pet. 2:9.
"Unto Him that loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God and His Father; to Him be glory and dominion for ever and ever." Rev. 1:5,6.
"And hast made us unto our God kings and priests; and we shall reign on the earth." Rev. 5:10.
"Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the first resurrection: on such the second death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ, and shall reign with him a thousand years." Rev. 20:6.
The above scriptures clearly teach that a part, at least, of our work in the future will be to officiate as the priests of God. As the work of a priest is one of intercession and of instruction in righteousness, they as clearly prove that the glorious work of evangelization will go on, not only after the first resurrection has taken place, but even all through the "age of the ages." The fact that these offices of "king" and "priest" will exist, logically implies that there will be subjects to rule and learners to teach; otherwise the names would be meaningless and the titles an empty sound.
It is held by some, that the reign of the saints will consist of a very brief "reign of terror," during which – with Christ at their head – they will trample their enemies into the dust and utterly destroy them. We thank our dear Lord for a better hope. Our work will not be one of destruction, but of salvation. We shall rule as kings, even with a rod of iron; but the grand object will be to humble the nations, and so fit them for the reception of truth. "For, when thy judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness." Isa. 26:9.
Who that is imbued with the spirit of the Master; who that has but tasted that the Lord is gracious, could desire more agreeable employment than to show forth the praises of our Savior King to those sitting in darkness? to bind up the broken-hearted? to proclaim liberty to the captive? to give beauty for ashes, and the oil of joy for mourning? –
To fit us for such an exalted and responsible position we require a peculiar training, and we feel warranted in claiming that the trials, temptations and discipline of this present life are for that very purpose.
Many a struggling believer, trying hard to overcome, buffeted by the enemy, tried by friends, weighed down by hereditary weaknesses in self, discouraged and faint, has cried out, from the depths of a loving heart: "Why, O! why this suffering? why this severe chastisement?" Let us glance for a moment at the [R12 : page 6] pathway trod by the bleeding feet of the Master – our forerunner – and we shall find the answer.
"So, also, Christ glorified not Himself to be made a high priest; but He that said unto Him, Thou art my son....Who in the days of His flesh, when He had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto Him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that He feared: Though He were a son, yet learned He obedience by the things which He had suffered, and being made perfect, He became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey Him." Heb. 5:5-9.
"For it became Him, for whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the Captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. Wherefore in all things it behooveth Him to be made like unto His brethren, that He might be a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. For in that He Himself hath suffered being tempted, He is able to succor them that are tempted." Heb. 2:10,17-18.
"For we have not a High Priest who cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need." Heb. 4:15,16.
The reason, then, that the Church is called on to fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ is, that all the body, in like manner to the Head, may be trained to perfect sympathy and to perfect obedience through suffering. In this present time, we in all our troubles come to our compassionate High Priest with boldness, realizing that He, having been partaker of flesh and blood, can truly feel for us and pity us, so, in the age to come, we, the promised seed of Abraham, through whom all the families of the earth shall be blessed, (compare Gen. 12:3; Gal. 3:14,16,20;) shall go forth a royal priesthood, according to the order of Melchisedec, fully prepared to sympathize with the nations, to lead them to the paths of righteousness, and to encourage them in the way of life.
Shall we shrink then from our cross? Shall we seek to put away the bitter cup that is sometimes pressed to our lips? Surely not. 'Tis a loving hand that presents it, 'tis a loving heart (infinitely loving) that sees the need of it. No! It is but the Master fitting us for His work; training us for the priesthood; teaching us to rule ourselves that we may know how to rule others; opening our eyes to the weakness of our own flesh, that we may have patience with those over whom we are given authority. (Luke 19:17,19.)
Courage, then, my Christian brother or sister, seeking with weary step to run the narrow way. Heed not the rugged course; it is all hallowed and sanctified by the blessed feet of the Master. Count every thorn a flower; every sharp rock a milestone, hurrying you onward to the goal. Let every advancing step be a "Nearer to Thee:" every hillock in the road an "upward toward heaven." Keep your eye fixed on the prize. Soon – very soon – you may wear the Crown.
"It is a faithful saying: For if we be dead with Him, we shall also live with him; if we suffer, we shall also reign with Him."
The more enlightened we become in regard to God's plan of the ages, the more fully we can understand the wonderful love of God manifested in the gift of Jesus Christ. God does nothing without a reason, and only as we understand the reason can we rightly value what He does. So we come nearer to the true estimate of the blood of Christ as we understand why he shed His blood and the nature of the results to be obtained.
Man not only became a sinner by disobedience, but he lost his life also. As through one man sin entered the world (in whom all sinned), and through sin, death, so also death passed upon all men. Romans 5:12. If he remained in that condition, God's object in creating man to attain finally to His own image would prove a failure.
He said of himself, "This is my flesh which I give for the life of the world." Besides, we being yet helpless, Christ at the proper time died in behalf of the ungodly. Now, scarcely on behalf of a just person will any one die, though, possibly, on behalf of the good some one might venture to die. But God recommends His own love to us, because we being yet sinners, Christ died on our behalf. By much MORE, then, having been now justified by His blood, we shall through Him be saved from wrath. Romans 5:6-9. So Paul could say, "Take heed, therefore unto yourselves and to all the flock over which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the Church of God, which He hath purchased with the blood of his own." Acts 20:28. They were sold under sin, but bought with a price. "What! know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost, which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are all bought with a price. Therefore glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God's." 1 Cor. 6:19,20.
Bought, redeemed and ransomed seem to be used in the same sense, and by the use of these terms we are frequently reminded that we are not our own, but belong to one who has the right to command and require implicit obedience; but as He which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy, in all manner of conversation, in all your conduct, because it is written, be ye holy, for I am holy, and if ye call on the Father, who, without respect of persons, judges according to every man's work, pass the time of your sojourning in fear; forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot. 1 Peter 1:15-19.
For thou wast slain and hast redeemed us unto God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation, and hast made us unto our God kings and priests, and we shall reign on the earth. Rev. 5:9,10.
We are taught to serve one another, and whosoever will be chief among you, let him be your servant, even as the Son of Man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many. Matt. 20:27,28.
He gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time. 1 Tim. 2:6.
I will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death. O death, I will be thy plagues; O grave, I will be thy destruction. Hosea 13:14.
But this is not all. We have this precious invitation: Come now and let us reason together, saith the Lord. Though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. Isa. 1:18. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. 1 John 1:9.
If we say that we have fellowship with Him and walk in darkness, we speak falsely and perform not the truth; but if we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship with each other, and the blood of Jesus, His Son, cleanses us from all sin. 1 John 6:7.
It is a singular fact, that a scarlet or crimson object viewed through a red glass in the light, the object appears white; so, though our sins be as scarlet or crimson, when we come where God will view them through the blood of Christ, they are accounted as white. Though we have no righteousness of our own, our faith is accounted unto us for righteousness. Wherefore, remember, that ye being in time past Gentiles in the flesh, ...that at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope and without God – Godless – in the world; but now, in Christ Jesus, ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ. Eph. 2:11-13.
But Christ being made a high priest of good things to come, by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, that is to say, not of this building; neither by the blood of goats and calves, but by his own blood, He entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption. For if the blood of bulls and goats and the ashes of a heifer sprinkling the unclean sanctifieth to the purifying of the flesh, how much more shall the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without spot to God, purge, cleanse your conscience from dead works to serve the living God. Heb. 9:11-14.
Therefore, by works of law no human being shall be justified in His presence, for through the law there is an acknowledgement of sin; but now, apart from law, God's righteousness has been made manifest, being attested by the law and the prophets, even God's righteousness through the faith of Christ, to all who believe; for there is no distinction, for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God, being justified freely by his favor, through that redemption which is by Christ Jesus, whom God has set forth to be a mercy-seat by His own blood through the faith, for an exhibition of His righteousness in passing by the sins frequently committed during the forbearance of God, and for an exhibition of His righteousness at the present time, in order that He may be righteous while justifying him who is of the faith of Jesus. Where, then, is boasting? It is shut out. Through what law? – of works? No; but by the law of faith. Rom. 3:20 (Emphatic Diaglott)
BRO. H. B. RICE, editor and publisher of The Last Trump, has been obliged by circumstances beyond his control to suspend its publication. Knowing that such a course was probable, we two months ago proposed to Bro. Rice that we would supply THE WATCH TOWER to his subscribers, instead of The Trump, up to the close of their subscriptions, and we invited him to speak to his old subscribers, and others of the body of Christ, through ZION'S WATCH TOWER.
This Pamphlet of sixty-four pages is calculated to interest those who have given little thought to the subject. It presents some suggestions relative to the future of the heathen; the doctrines of election and free grace, &c., calculated to awaken the interest of intelligent, thinking people. It is in convenient form to lend to friends and neighbors.
N.B. – To those who would like to have, but are too poor to pay for them, either "THE SONGS OF THE BRIDE," "THE OBJECT AND MANNER, &c." OR, "ZION'S WATCH TOWER," Will be sent FREE. But like all of God's gifts, you must "ask that ye may receive."