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|J. H. PATON||ALMONT, MICH.|
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|L. A. ALLEN||HONEOYE, N.Y.|
Before considering what constitutes Scriptural baptism, let us inquire whether it is essential. We have no hesitation in saying that it is indispensable, and that no one will have a part in the "little flock" or be of "The bride, the Lamb's wife" who has not been baptized. Further, we have scriptural proof that all who are baptized shall be saved, that all such shall be in the "first resurrection." Let us hear Jesus' words – "He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved." But Paul is yet more explicit and says: [Rom. 6:3-8.] "For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death we shall also be in the likeness of his resurrection." Notice that the subject is baptism; and that there is not an if, nor a but, nor any other contingency mentioned than baptism. How important then that we know what it is and understand how it should be performed.
The meaning of the Greek word Baptizo is to bury, immerse, cover up, submerge. Now apply this significance to the word baptized; then associate it with yourself and you find that you are to be buried or submerged. But into what are we to be immersed – into water? No, we answer: Paul tells us that those who are really baptized "were baptized into Jesus Christ." The true baptism then is to be submerged, covered up, or immersed into Christ. If immersed into Christ we lose ourselves; we will no longer do our own will or way, for that will is buried. We have a new will or mind; it is the mind of Christ. "Let the same mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus." If we have been baptized into Christ it is that we may be members of His body, the church. And since "He is the head of the body, the church," [Col. 1:18] it follows that the only controlling authority for those who are members of that body is the will of Christ Jesus the head. This is complete immersion into Christ, and who will doubt that if thus dead to self and the world and alive only as a member of his body, obeying no will but that of "the head," we say who can doubt, that if thus immersed we shall be in his likeness in the resurrection; that if we thus know him, we shall also know the power of his resurrection. [Phil. 3:11.]
But, by what means can one become thus immersed into Christ? Shall we be baptized into Christ by being immersed in water? Not at all; thousands are so immersed who will not be in his likeness in the resurrection. Let us ask Paul into what we must be immersed. He answers (Rom. 6:3) "Know ye not that so many of us as were baptized into Jesus Christ were baptized into his death?"
Ah yes; It is a difficult matter to attain to the prize of our high calling. While many, "a great company" (Rev. 7:15) shall stand before the throne in glory, only "the body" of overcomers are to sit with him "in the throne." Rev. 3:21. It is only him that overcometh that "shall inherit all things" and be "joint-heir with Jesus." Not to the "great company" of "the household of faith" is the promise of the kingdom given, but to the "first-born" of the heavenly family – Jesus the head, the "church of the first-born" the body. To this first-born is the promise made: "Fear not little flock it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom."
This is the prize and all christians are in the race course. All christians in the race shall be saved and shall ultimately reach the goal, if they continue in this pathway. They will all ultimately reach the completeness of the "Divine nature," but it requires the putting forth of every effort in the race if we would win the prize and be found in Him as members of the body of the first-born and "heirs of all things." Therefore Paul exhorts [not the world, but christians] to "so run that we may obtain" [the prize of our high calling]. "Let us lay aside every weight and the sin that doth so easily beset and run with patience the race set before us." They that so run shall [R133 : page 1] win the prize – be the Bride – the body. They that run but do not so run as to win, "suffer loss," the loss of the prize which they would have obtained had they been willing to "lay aside every weight." They shall suffer loss but themselves shall be saved so as by fire. [Coming through "the great tribulation."] Their lives shall be saved but their works shall suffer loss. [Phil. 3:15].
Yes, beloved, it is a prize such as never before and never again will be offered and what wonder if it is very difficult of attainment – if it be "Through much tribulation shall ye enter the kingdom." By being baptized into his death, we are to be members of his body, "therefore we are buried with him by baptism into death." But what is it to thus die his death. Is it simply to put "away the filth of the flesh," that is to deny ourselves only such things as are sinful? No, that would not be "being made conformable to his death." "In Him [Jesus] was no sin;" consequently he could not put to death a sinful nature. But while his nature was pure and his every desire was to do things right and proper for him as a perfect man, yet he yielded his rights and will as a natural man for us. For instance as a holy undefiled one he had a right to seek his own ease and pleasure but instead of so doing he was moved with compassion toward the people and went about spending his life for the sinner's benefit, taking our infirmities and bearing our sicknesses, and on more than one occasion he might have said: "Virtue [power, vitality] is gone out of me."
Yes he went about doing good spending his perfect life powers for the good of sinners because he was full to overflowing of the perfect love. Finally after having thus shared our sorrows and our griefs, He bought us and paid the price of sin [death] for us, that we sinners might be accounted righteous, and therefore have again the right to live. This was the great, grand, culminating expression he gave of his love: When he gave the life upon which sin and death had no claim in order that, in due time the race should go free, from sin and from death by a resurrection to perfect life. Surely he might have kept this life which he gave. It was not like ours, forfeited; as he himself testified: "No man taketh it from me; I lay it down of myself" – Even now I could ask the Father and he would give me more than twelve legions of angels, but these things to which he had a perfect right he gave up freely.
Now it is his death, that we are to be conformed to. True it will include the giving up of the sins or "filth of the flesh," and the "denying of ungodly lusts," etc., but, thus far it is simply duty. You only give up things you never had a right to, there is no sacrifice in it. If we would be made conformable unto his death, it must be by the giving up of things not sinful and to which you have a right, as men. Jesus did not his own will, but the will of him that sent him, and we should "Let the same mind be in us which was also in Christ Jesus our Lord." The Father's will as done in Christ Jesus was the giving up of natural things, and comforts, and life, on account of sin in the world. Sin and sufferings are still in the world and the disciples of Jesus most willing to "spend and be spent," to "labor and suffer reproach," making "himself of no reputation," such a disciple most closely follows Him "who has set us an example that we should walk in His footsteps."
When asked of the two disciples whether they might sit on the right and left hand in the kingdom he answered: "Ye know not what ye ask; are ye able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of, and to be baptized with the baptism that I am [to be] baptized with?" Jesus shows what cup he meant when in the garden he exclaimed, "Father, if possible, let this cup pass from me." He shows the baptism referred to also, that it was not the baptism of John in Jordan, but of death when he says, "I have a baptism to be baptized with and how am I straightened 'til it is accomplished."
Such, baptized into Christ's death will not make earthly ease and comfort their aim, but will seek to "do good unto all men as they have opportunity especially to the household of faith." Their self-denial and God-likeness will seek to benefit and lift up the physical man, and how much more will it lead to self-sacrifice in order that others may be helped on to the divine life. Thus it was that the apostles spent themselves that they might declare "the unsearchable riches of Christ." It was for this cause that Paul says: "I now rejoice in my sufferings for you, and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in my flesh for his body's sake, which is the church." Jesus left a measure of suffering, etc., for his church as his body to complete, or fill up, and Paul was zealous to bear as much of it as possible. Glorious ambition to spend his life in bearing the glad tidings of the "High calling" to those who would receive it. This is the ambition which Jesus both exemplified and commended, saying, "He that would be greatest among you let him become servant of all."
If we thus live a divine life and crucify and ignore the natural life, we shall be considered "a peculiar people zealous of good works," and we will thus be so very different from the ideas of the natural man; that we must needs remember Jesus' words – "Marvel not if the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you." "The disciple is not above his Lord." "If any [R133 : page 2] man will be my disciple let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me." Self-denial means much, and will never be experienced except as we crucify the human nature with its affections and desires.
We see what it is to be baptized into Jesus' death. Let us inquire whether it is an instantaneous act performed when we first come to Christ and seek admission into "the body" or, a life work? We answer it is both.
When we first come to God through Jesus we covenant with Him that we will take up our cross and follow him through evil and good report, whether it brings the favor or frown of our fellows. Jesus tells us it means the loss of the friendship of the world, the gain of the friendship of God, the loss of worldly honor, the gain of heavenly honor, the loss of earthly life and earthly nature, the gain of the divine nature and the divine image – a spiritual body like unto Christ's glorious body. He illustrated his teaching on the night he was betrayed. He took bread and brake, saying, this is my body broken for you, eat ye all of it. The bread symbolized Jesus as the truth. "I am the truth" – "the heavenly manna." After supper he took the cup of wine saying, This is my blood of the new covenant shed for many for the remission of sins; drink ye all of it. The wine symbolizes the blood and after we have tasted of the truth (bread) and seen that the Lord is gracious he says, Here is the cup of my sufferings and death, drink ye all of it – you must share this cup of sufferings if you would share my glory. "Yes," says Paul, "If we suffer with him we shall also be glorified together."
This covenant of death we make with God when we first come to him and He says He will, from the moment of covenant forward, reckon us dead indeed to the world and sin, although the entire life is to be a time of crucifying, or putting to death up to the time we die actually. God's part of the covenant is, that these who thus die shall have part of the divine nature, and from the moment we make this covenant, He seals it by giving us the Holy Spirit as a guide and comforter; which is an earnest of our inheritance, which full inheritance we shall receive when all the "little flock" have crucified themselves. Notice then that we first covenant to die, etc., and then receive of the Spirit's begetting power giving us spiritual life, whereby we can carry out our part of the covenant.
But as crucifying is a lingering death, so our dying is well expressed thus, It is hard to die in any sense, but it is especially hard to be dead to the world, its opinions, pleasures and wishes, while still in it. In the world but not of it. Separate from sinners. Often will we need to "look unto Jesus the author (and soon to be) the finisher of our faith." We will often need, as Paul said, to "consider Him who endured such contradiction (opposition) of sinners against himself lest (we) be weary and faint in (our) mind." "Be not weary of well-doing, for in due time we shall reap if we faint not."
No words that we can use can express so forcibly as do Paul's, the necessity of this immersion into Christ's death. "What things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. [Paul was fitted for a high social and political position, both by birth and education.] Yea, doubtless I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung that I may win [a position in the body of] Christ, and be found in him," covered with the righteousness of faith. "That I may know him and the power of his resurrection – (experience the same resurrection as Jesus to a spiritual body and immortal life – the first resurrection) and the fellowship of his sufferings, being made conformable unto his death, if by any means I might attain unto THE (first) resurrection." (Phil. 3:8-11.) "For if we have been planted together in the likeness of his death we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection." (Rom. 6:5.)
But while the above mentioned is beyond question the essential baptism, was there not a baptism into water enjoined also and as a type? Assuredly there is. When the new hearers had heard of Jesus' death for them, and of their high calling to share it with him and afterward to share his glory, they made the covenant with God and gave outward expression to it by the beautifully expressive type of being buried in water, and said by the act we die to the world and earthly conditions and rise to "walk not after the flesh but after the spirit." [R134 : page 2]
The ordinance of water baptism is so beautifully expressive of our hope and covenant, that if there was no divine injunction as to its performance, as there is, we should still feel it a privilege to show forth and illustrate our planting (burying) together in the likeness of his death and our expectation of being in his likeness in the resurrection.
When Cornelius had received the Holy Spirit Peter inquired, Can any man forbid water that these should be immersed? And so we ask, who can say aught against water being thus used as a type of our death? And we might put the question in another form for some: Can any man refuse to thus show forth his death if he has indeed died to the world? We think not. That which hinders many in the public illustration of the death they profess is we fear, generally pride, fear of mental or uttered reproach of fellow disciples and of the world. But dear fellow disciple reflect that these objections to water baptism indicate that the true essential baptism has never fully taken place. You may be partly dead, and have given up part of your own will, but when fully crucified you will say with Him, "I delight to do thy will, O Lord." I count all things but loss and dross that I may win Christ – the great prize.
Let us, dearly beloved, live up to our covenant, and not only bury ourselves and our wills in Christ's, but also keep our bodies under – dying daily until fully delivered into the blessed kingdom – which deliverance we believe to be so very nigh at hand.
Unto us a child was born, etc., and "They shall call his name Jesus." The name Jesus means Deliverer or Saviour, and the child was called in view of a work he was to do; for we are told, "He shall save His people from their sins." Jesus was always His name, but from the time of His baptism, when the Holy Ghost descended upon Him and anointed Him as the High Priest preparatory to His making "The sin-offering" on the cross and thus accomplishing what is indicated in His name Jesus (viz.: saving his people from their sins). From the time (baptism) that God thus "anointed him with the oil of gladness above his fellows," his title has been "The anointed" – Jesus "the Christ (anointed) of God." Luke 9:20.
But, as Jesus was in God's plan as the anointed one before the foundation of the world, so too the church of Christ was recognized in the same plan, that is, God purposed to take out of the world a "little flock" whom he purposed raising up above the condition of the perfect human nature, to make them "partakers of the Divine nature." The relationship of Jesus towards these is that of "Head over all, God blessed forever." For he hath given him to be head over the church (of the first-born), which is His body. As Jesus was foreordained to be the anointed one, so we also were chosen to the same anointing of the Spirit as members in his body and under him as our head. And so we read: (Eph. 1:3) "God hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in Christ according as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love; having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ, to himself... where he hath made us accepted in the beloved." (See also vs. 20-23.) Again (Rom. 8:29), "Whom He did foreknow he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He (head and body) might be the first-born (heir) among many brethren."
God's plan of saving the world by a "restitution of all things" waits until first this bride of Jesus – these members of the spirit-anointed body shall be gathered out from the world according to His purpose. God's intention being to display to the world his wonderful and mighty "love wherewith he loved us" as we read (Eph. 2:7.) "He hath raised us up together...in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace (favor) in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus," for we are "elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father through sanctification (setting apart) of the Spirit unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ." (1 Pet. 1:2.) This shows us that the election is not an arbitrary one. God elected first that Jesus should taste death for us, thus releasing us from death. Second, that the knowledge of this redemption should be declared. Third, that those who believed the proclamation should be invited or called to become "partakers of the Divine nature," "heirs of God, joint heirs with Jesus Christ their Lord, if so be that they suffer (death) with him that they might be also glorified together." (Rom. 8:17.) His purpose being that when this "promised seed" is developed in, through, or by it "all the families of the earth shall be blessed." [Gal. 3:29.] The seed is to crush the serpent's head. [Rom. 16:20] thus destroying evil and bringing about "the restitution of all things."
To be thus a part of "The Seed," "The Christ," we must see to it that we comply with the conditions [suffer death with Him if we would be found in Him] thus making our calling and election sure. We make sure of our being part of the elect company by obedience to the call: for "They that are with Him are called, and chosen and faithful." [Rev. 17:14.] Being faithful to the call insures our position among the chosen. They that "follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth" in the future, are the same that bend every power and lay aside every weight to "walk in His footsteps" here.
A beautiful illustration of our oneness with Jesus, as members of the anointing of Aaron as high-priest: All of the anointing oil [type of the Holy spirit,] was poured upon the head; the under priests stood by, their heads covered with [R135 : page 2] bonnets (Lev. 8:13) indicating thereby, that they were not the head. Aaron who stood with uncovered head, was the head of their priesthood. They took part in the ceremony and were anointed symbolically in him as members of His body, for the oil poured on the head ran down over the members of His body, as we read, (Psa. 133:2): "It ran down the beard even Aaron's beard: that went down to the skirts of the garments." So we who claim not to be the head but members in Christ's body receive full anointing by the same spirit. "For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ for by one spirit are we all baptized into one body. 1 Cor. 12:12. "As many of you as were baptized into Christ were baptized into his death." Rom. 6.
The topstone is a perfect pyramid of itself. Other stones may be builded under it and if built in exact harmony with all the characteristic lines of the topstone the whole mass will be a perfect pyramid. How beautifully this illustrates our position as members of "The Seed," "The Christ." Joined to, and perfectly [R136 : page 7] in harmony with our head we are perfect; separated from him we are nothing.
Jesus the perfect one has been highly exalted, and now we present ourselves to him that we may be formed and shaped according to his example that we may be built up as a building of God. In an ordinary building there is no "chief corner-stone," but in our building there is one chief corner-stone the "topstone" as it is written, "Behold I lay in Zion a chief corner-stone, elect precious" – "to whom coming as unto a living stone...ye also as lively (living) stones are built up a spiritual house an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God by Jesus Christ." 1 Pet. 2:4-6. And very soon we trust the union between Jesus and the body will be complete; as expressed by the prophet: "He shall bring forth the head-stone, therefore, with shoutings of grace unto it.
And dearly beloved, many blows and much polishing must we have, much transforming we must undergo, and much conforming unto his example under the direction of the great Master builder; and in order to have the ability and ideality of the builder displayed in us we will need to see that we have no cross grained will of ours to oppose or thwart his will being done in us; We must be very childlike and humble – "Be clothed with humility, for God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace to the humble. Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God that he may exalt you in due time." 1 Pet. 5:6.
It is one purpose, at least, of the Holy Ghost in this epistle, to show that in all things Jesus has the preeminence. First, He brings forward the angels, but only to set them aside in the presence of Jesus; for unto which of the angels said God at any time, "Sit on my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool?" (1:13.) Second, He brings forward Moses, but only to set him aside in the presence of Jesus; for "Moses verily was faithful in all his house, as a servant,... but Christ as a son over his own house." (3:5,6.) Third, He brings forward Aaron, but only to set him aside in the presence of Jesus; for the former was made after the law of a carnal commandment, without an oath, not suffered to continue by reason of death, and offered up sacrifice, first for his own sins; while the latter was made after the power of an endless life, with an oath, who ever liveth to make intercession for us, and is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners. (7.)
Fourth, He brings forward Melchisedek, "first being by interpretation king of righteousness, and after that also king of Salem, which is king of peace," but only to set him aside in the presence of Jesus; for it is his highest glory to be a passing shadow, a momentary type, of the man of Calvary who is the very centre of God's counsels. Fifth, He brings forward the old and broken covenant of works, but only to set it aside in the presence of Jesus, in whom is confirmed the new covenant, the better covenant, established upon better promises, securing beyond the possibility of failure the eternal salvation of all His people. (8.) Sixth, He brings forward the imposing ritual of the tabernacle service, but only to set it aside in the presence of Jesus; for it could "never with those sacrifices which they offered year by year continually make the comers thereunto perfect," while of Jesus it is said, "By one offering he hath perfected forever them that are sanctified." (9:10.) Seventh, He brings us at last into God's gallery of portraits, illustrating the power of faith, but only to set them aside in the presence of Jesus, the Princely Leader and Completer of faith; who stands so far above angels, above Moses, above Aaron, above Melchisedek, above the covenant at Sinai, above the tabernacle of the wilderness, above the saints of four thousand years, that we are told to look off and away from all others and from self unto Jesus, and unto Jesus alone, "looking unto Jesus."– The Truth.
The Christian church as a witness for God in the world has failed, like the Jewish nation, and become apostate. There is a little flock, there is a true church, but its members are scattered abroad and almost invisible in the great Babylon; they are the seven thousand who have not bowed the knee to Baal, they are the called and chosen and faithful who follow the Lamb, they are those who have turned to God from idols, to serve the living and true God, and to wait for his Son from heaven; they are those who have not the form only, but the power of godliness, those who keep themselves unspotted from the world, and overcome through faith. They are found in every section of the professing church, and the Lord knoweth those that are his – "They shall be mine, saith the Lord of Hosts, in the day when I make up my jewels."
But for the rest – for the vast professing body which bears the name of Christ, it has not continued in the goodness of God, it has turned his grace into licentiousness, its sentence is gone forth, it must be "cut off." The long-suffering of God has been abundantly manifested; it is right that his holy severity should be again revealed. The professing church has long been unworthy of the sacred name it bears, and of the high and holy responsibility of being God's witness on earth, which belongs to it; it is time it should cease to hold the position it has so fearfully forfeited. Instead of being the instrument of spreading the truth of the Gospel among men, it is the worst hindrance to their attaining that knowledge of God, and of Jesus Christ whom he has sent, in which life eternal lies. Like the Pharisees of old it stands as the great obstruction, neither entering itself into the kingdom, nor suffering those who would, to enter in. The name of God is blasphemed among the nations, by reason of the corruption of the professing church; the light that should have been in it, is become darkness, and great is that darkness! The church is confounded with the world, and the true saints are strangers in its society. It is no longer the pillar and ground of the truth, it is the hotbed of heresy, false doctrine, and corruption of every kind. What contrast can be more complete, than that between the church as Christ intended it to be, and the church as it now exists in the world! An end must come to all this! Not only does the Word of God predict it, not only does our own sense of righteousness demand it, but the solemn analogies of history distinctly intimate it. Let the undeniable fact that past apostasies brought down the judgment they deserved, forewarn men what must be the end of the existing apostasy of the professing people of God. Babylon must fall! Great Babylon must come in remembrance before God, who will give unto her the cup of the wine of the fierceness of his wrath, for her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities.
We dwell much upon the attractions of Christianity, but rarely stop to think that it may also have repulsions which are vitally necessary to its purity and permanence. If the church of Christ draws to herself that which she cannot assimilate to herself, her life is at once imperiled; for the body of believers must be at one with itself, though it be at war with the world. Its purity and its power depend first of all upon its unity. So that if perchance the church shall attract men without at the same time transforming them; if she shall attach them to her membership without assimilating them to her life, she has only weakened herself by her increase, and diminished herself by her additions. It is a hard and ungracious saying, then, to declare that the church of God in the world must be able to repel as well as to attract.NATURE IS AN AUSTERE TEACHER
on this point. She has given to the rose its exquisite fragrance, but she has also armed it with thorns, so that while the delicious odors attract, these little sentinels stand guard with their drawn bayonets to defend the flower, which is endangered by its very beauty and sweetness. And the church of Christ has too much of loveliness and excellence to be trusted on earth without defences. Hypocrites will hide under her beautiful garments; covetous men will make gain of her godliness; pleasure-seekers will turn the grace of God, which she offers, into lasciviousness, and the avaricious will make merchandise out of her pearl of great price, unless her outward attractiveness is guarded by some counter defences. "The Bride of Christ," has the church with wonderful honor been named. And think you that the Heavenly Bridegroom would leave her in this world without endowing her with that stern chastity of holiness, and that native aversion to impurity which should be her defence against such as would betray her? "The king's daughter is all glorious within; her clothing is of wrought gold. So shall she be brought unto the king in raiment of needle-work." But "as the lily among thorns so is my beloved among the daughters." The beauty of Christ's church is guarded by the asperity of her discipline. Her graces are hedged about with self-denial; her gifts are compassed with crosses and her triumphs are crowned with thorns. This is her only safety from such as might otherwise be won to her only to waste and dishonor her.SANCTITY OF LIFE AND CHARACTER
which Christ requires in his church is her most powerful defence. It is her native chastity and constitutes her truest safeguard. Nothing is so severe as purity; nothing so effectually repels the familiarities of the wicked. We think to fence the fold of God with guards and restrictions so that the unsanctified and the unclean may not come in. This is a confession of weakness and frailty. The holy virgin of the Lord has been endowed with a native purity which is her true shield and defence. What means the Scripture when it commands us to stand, "having on the breastplate of righteousness?" Is it not an intimation of that which all experience verifies, that righteousness is the strongest repellant of wickedness and corruption which the soul can wear? You say that purity shrinks from contact with impurity; but remember that this aversion is mutual. Uncleanness recoils from purity; it sinks abashed from its presence as the wild beast cowers and quails before the imperial eye of a fearless man. I am not theorizing on this point. Ungodly men have confessed to a discomfort amounting almost to torture which the enforced association with the good and holy has produced. It is said that if we live in the same luxury, and dress with the same extravagance, and drift in the same tides of fashion; if we seek wealth with the same greed, and pursue pleasure with the same fondness, and love society with the same devotion; and if with all this we are popular preachers and eminent Christians, and zealous churchmen, we shall win multitudes to our faith. We shall have made men think well of themselves, by these cordial affiliations, which is the surest step to making them think well of us and of our church. And so we have won them.
But alas! what have we done? We have gained them by being ourselves "conformed to this world," instead of by their being "transformed by the renewing of their minds." We have brought them into the church by lowering its fellowship to them, instead of by raising them to its fellowship.
The church that is holy is armed with a perpetual decree of excision against the hypocritical and profane and unclean. It says to the worldly and ungodly and impure: "Stand by thyself; come not near to me, for I am holier than thou" – words which are most improper for any man to speak with his lips; but most honorable for the church to express by her silent, unconscious example. Do I speak coldly and harshly of the relations of Christians to the world – as though it were their principal care to keep aloof from it, or if touching it by enforced association, to gather up their garments, lest they be defiled by its contact? God forbid that I should so think. "This man receiveth sinners and eateth with them," is the blessed tribute which was paid to Jesus Christ, by his enemies. If we at all bear his character and do his work we shall be like him in this respect.
Or take another exhortation of Scripture. "Let us put on the armor of light." Here light is made the Christian's shield – light whose beams search into every nook and corner of earth's impurity and yet contract no defilement; absorbing from everything the clear crystal water, but rejecting every particle of uncleanness – attracting always, but always rebuking. These, O church of God, are thy weapons of defence and conquest.
Then again, we find in the doctrines and invitations of the gospel just that mingling of tenderness and sternness which is calculated to draw men from their sins instead of drawing them in their sins. "Come [R135 : page 4] unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest," and, "If any man will come after me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me." What worldling is likely to run hastily after Christ in obedience to such a summons? What disciple is likely to be captured with such an invitation before his heart is really won? There is the check of rigid exaction in Christ's calls, as well as the allurements of gracious love; so that while men are drawn, they may not be hurried into an impulsive, premature profession.
Have you thought to analyze the attraction of Christ's cross, to see how strongly this principle holds there?" "And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me," says Jesus. But what is it that is thus set forth as the central attraction of Christianity? The most repulsive object on which the natural man can look – [R136 : page 4]CHRIST CRUCIFIED:
unto the Jews a stumbling-block, and unto the Greeks foolishness." Draw men it will, as long as there is a sinner sighing for pardon, or a penitent seeking peace; draw men it will, when they have guilt to be cleansed, and burdens to be lifted, and stains to be washed. But it will draw no one through his aesthetic tastes, or his sense of the beautiful, or his poetic sentiment. There is a cross which can do so: that jeweled and exquisitely carved adornment which hangs upon the neck of beauty – that cross wrought with diamonds and robbed of its "offence," "Which Jews might kiss and infidels adore" – that can attract men without converting them. And who knows what evil it has done to men's souls on this account – this cross in which beauty culminates and ignominy utterly disappears. How it has filled eyes with its charms which have thereby been cut off from beholding "the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world;" how it has helped to substitute sentiment for faith, and poetic feeling for godly sorrow, and the crucifix for the Crucified. You see what the true cross of Christ did when Peter held it up on the day of Pentecost. It wrought intense conviction as it showed men what their sin had done. Its nails seemed to be plucked out and driven into the breasts of the multitude, till being "pricked in their hearts" they cried out: "Men and brethren, what shall we do?" And then it brought peace as quickly as it had brought contrition, when it was made known that this Crucified One had "borne their sins in his own body on the tree." This is the attraction of that cross which is ordained to be the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth. It is an attraction which pierces while it draws, and wounds while it wins, and thus proves a worthy instrument of God's electing love. And we have seen in the history of the church what the spurious cross could do; as for example, when the monks went forth among our ancestors in Britain to win them to Christianity. The crucifix was lifted high; it was supplemented by all the pomps and splendors of an imposing ritual; chants were poured forth, censers were waved, bodies were prostrated, and thousands in a day gave in their allegiance to the new religion. But it was the senses that were won, not the hearts; and baptized pagans were brought into the church only to paganize Christianity. This is an illustration of the evil that always comes of magnifying the attractions of the cross while diminishing its wholesome repulsions.
And the same law holds in regard to all the institutions of Christianity. Its baptism is described as a "burial with Christ," a "baptism into death;" so that he who submits to it must in spirit become like his Lord, "obedient unto death, even the death of the cross." Its sacrament of fellowship is "a communion of the blood of Christ," and "a communion of the body of Christ" – expressions from which the natural man has always revolted. Its worship is required to be "in spirit and in truth;" its music the "sacrifices of praise;" its gospel the "foolishness of preaching," its example before the world "in simplicity and godly sincerity." Enough here surely to temper the inducements of Christianity! But this is evidently according to the divine plan – that the gospel should act upon men by an elective affinity, winning their faith but offending their pride; constraining the sincere by their love of Christ, but testing the superficial with the searching question of Christ, "Are ye able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of, and to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?"BENT ON MAKING A LUXURY OF RELIGION.
They demand that our doctrine shall be pleasant, our worship refined and artistic, our ordinances beautiful and alluring. No "bitter herbs" must be upon our tables as we keep our passover; no heavy crosses must be laid upon our shoulders as we follow Christ.
Shall we "preach Christ crucified in a crucified style" – putting the nail through those refinements of reason that so often cover up the blood of expiation, and pressing the thorns into that intellectual pride which would soften propitiation to a moral influence? Shall we be content with that plainness in worship, and strive for that holiness of life, which can commend Christ while humbling us, and gain men's hearts though offending their tastes? Oh, ungracious calling, that we must displease the world when we might perchance delight it, and turn its impatient gaze upon its sins, when we might rivet its admiration on ourselves! But so long as good and evil are in the world, grace and severity must be in our lives and our doctrines. Wonderful is that high commendation of the Son of God – "Thou hast loved righteousness and hated iniquity, therefore God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows."– (Extracts from a sermon by Rev. A. J. Gordon, D.D., in Messiah's Herald.)
There are seven petitions in what is commonly called the "Lord's prayer" – more properly the prayer He taught His disciples. Matt. 6:9-13. This prayer, so brief and so expressive of human wants, is based on the sacred number which we have found underlying so many things in God's plan. Does not this fact show that the mind which invented this prayer, so to speak, knew that principle? It is to us an additional evidence of the inspiration of the Bible. Our Lord Jesus spoke from His own Divine fullness, "I am the Truth" – and hence in harmony with human wants.
The central petition in this remarkable prayer is, "Give us this day our daily bread." This doubtless includes both natural and spiritual bread. It is as certain that we need spiritual bread – the truth – constantly, in order that our spiritual life be sustained, as that we need natural bread daily to sustain our physical life. In this as in almost everything else in the Bible the natural represents the spiritual. Hence Jesus could say both, "I am the Truth" and "I am the true Bread which came down from heaven." Truth is to the spiritual life as bread is to the natural life, hence: "Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God." Matt. 4:4. (If, as some would have us believe, Jesus while here in the flesh, was nothing but a man, having left His Divine nature and life, will some one tell us how He could truly say I came down from heaven?) (If His flesh came down from heaven, then we all came down from heaven.)
In a preceding chapter we saw that Joseph was a type of Christ as the bread-giver, and also that there were seven years of plenty followed by seven years of famine, or what would have been famine had it not been for the abundance in the storehouse. Since that was written it occurs to us that those two periods of seven express typically the relation between the Jewish and Gospel dispensations. This new thought – new to us – looks very clear and beautiful and tends to confirm our faith in the equality and parallelism of the Two Dispensations.
Where do we get our spiritual food during the Gospel dispensation, but from the full storehouse of the Old Testament? The Jewish age was emphatically a period of direct communication from God. All the Old Testament was written during that age. The gospel in all its glorious fullness, is contained in the types and prophecies of the Old Testament. The New Testament is but the development and fulfillment of the Old. Christ and the Apostles quoted from and applied the teachings of the Old Testament. The New was in the Old as the kernel in the shell, or as the light is in the oil before it is burned. The burning is the process of bringing out the light. The work of the Holy Spirit as Christ's representative has been to bring out from the rich storehouse the treasures of wisdom and knowledge. Not all at once, nor all to one person, has the truth been unfolded, but to the church in its varied capacities, and as meat in due season.
The want of these direct communications, and of visible angelic ministrations has made the Gospel age emphatically one of faith, and it would have been, like the second seven, a period of famine, had it not been for the full stores laid up for us by our Joseph – Christ the Bread Giver. How very wise His provisions, and how precious the constant, daily, supply!
As human wants are expressed in seven petitions, so Christian character is comprehended in seven graces added to faith. 2 Pet. 1:5-7. This language is addressed to Christians, as shown by the exhortation to add to faith. Faith is fundamental, and these graces are as the house of Wisdom built upon it. "Wisdom hath builded her house, she hath hewn out her seven pillars." Prov. 9:1. Pillars are not only for beauty but for strength. "If ye do these things ye shall never fall." "Without faith it is impossible to please Him: for he that cometh to God must believe that He is, and that He is the rewarder of them that diligently seek Him." Heb. 11:6. Peter says to those who have faith, "Besides this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue, knowledge; and to knowledge, temperance; and to temperance, patience; and to patience, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness, charity." By comparing Paul's and Peter's statements above, it will be seen that diligently to seek [R137 : page 4] and come to God is to build this house of Wisdom, and so form a character like God, or grow up into Christ our Head in all things; and it will be seen also, by reading the context that the reward, of the abundant entrance is to him who thus builds.
We have been surprised at times by a statement of a Christian brother, something like the following: "If you expect to gain the high calling on account of character you will be greatly disappointed." This statement, we believe, has a worse meaning and influence than he who wrote it supposed. Had it been said, "If you expect to form such a character out of Christ you will be greatly deceived," we would have said a hearty AMEN. But from Peter's statement and the general teaching of the New Testament, it is evident that the object of union with Christ is that we bring forth fruit unto holiness; and we may safely say that whoever expects to have a part in the high calling of God without character will be greatly disappointed. And we firmly believe that the writer above referred to would agree to this.
Men are sometimes led to make statements in the heat of an argument, the legitimate effects of which they would reject. Their hearts in such cases are better than their statements. But when the doctrine of holiness is obscured by such statements, then the Lord gives a fullness of expression to this subject by His Spirit, enabling us to defend the truth and ourselves against the wiles of the Devil. And we are justified, for the sake of the flock of God who are in danger, in contending earnestly for the truth.
See how emphatic Peter is upon this point. "If these things be in you and abound, they make you that ye shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ." Verse 8. As much as to say though we have the knowledge, yet lacking these we will be both barren and unfruitful. "He that lacketh these things is blind, and cannot see afar off, and hath forgotten that he was purged from his old sins." Verse 9.
The doctrine of the forgiveness of sin is made very prominent in the Bible, and is a strong motive to a holy life. He that is conscious of being forgiven much loveth much; hence the danger of forgetting it, and of falling into the idea that every one must suffer the full penalty for his own sins. The Psalmist says "Bless the Lord, O my soul! and forget not all His benefits. Who forgiveth all thine iniquities" &c. Psa. 103:2-3. The very first great benefit is [R137 : page 5] forgiveness of all our sins. According to Peter the effect of forgetting this is the neglect of the Christian graces. Hence he would put them in remembrance and says: "Wherefore the rather, brethren, give diligence [by adding these graces] to make your calling and election sure: for if ye do [add] these things ye shall never fall; for so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ. Wherefore I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know them, and be established in the present truth." Peter did not consider it enough that his brethren should be established in the present truth, but in addition to that he would continually remind them of these things – the seven graces. We have here a good reason for our importunity on this theme, though unfortunately it may be distasteful to some. May the Spirit of truth help us to appreciate and to add these seven cardinal graces.
The Scotch philosopher Beattie once went into his garden and drew in the soft earth the letters C. W. B. He sowed these furrows with garden cresses, smoothed the earth and went away. These were the initials of his little boy, who had never been taught anything concerning God, although he had learned to read. "Ten days later," says Beattie, "the child came running to me in amazement, and said, 'My name has grown in the garden.'" "Well, what if it has?" said the philosopher. "That is nothing," and turned away. But the child took his father by the hand, led him to the garden plat, and said, "What made those letters?" "I see very well," the father replied, "that the initials of your name have grown up here in the garden. That is an accident;" and he turned away again. The child followed him, took him by the hand, brought him back to the spot, and said very earnestly, "Someone must have planted the seeds to make the letters." "Do you really believe those letters cannot have been produced by chance?" said the father. "I believe somebody planted them," said the son, who probably did not know what chance meant. "Very well," said the father; "look at your hands and your feet; consider your eyes and all your members. Are they not skillfully arranged? How did your hand get its shape?" The boy replied: "Somebody must have made my hands for me." "Who is that some one?" said the father. "I do not know," said the child. "Do you feel certain that somebody planted those seeds, and sure that some one made your hands?" "Yes," said the boy, with great earnestness. And then the father communicated to the child the name of the great Being by whom all things are made, and the boy never forgot the lesson, nor the circumstances which led to it.
Now I bring the materialist, or any one who doubts the validity of the argument from design to prove the existence of a God possessing intelligence, to this garden plat. I say, "Will you explain for me the letters C. W. B?" The materialist replies: "I will do so, and can do so very easily, for the letters are explained by the powers in the seeds." "Let us hear your explanation in detail," I reply. "Very well," the materialist goes on to say: "there is a garden cress making the head of the letter C. Is not that garden cress accounted for by the seed from which it grows?" "Yes," I say. And so he goes on through the fifty garden cresses that make up the letter. He accounts for each one of the cresses, and then infers that he has accounted for the letter. I stop him and say, that to account for each one of those garden cresses, is not at all to account for the arrangement of the cresses into the shape of the C. Why did they not arrange themselves as a W, or a B, or in any form, or in no form at all? Here is the distinction between the existence of the forces of matter and the direction of those forces.
And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him; but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Spirit, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world (age), neither in the world (age), to come. Matt. 12:31,32.
The language would certainly be meaningless, were there not two ages, during which the spirit does a work for the human family, making it possible for some to commit the sin which shall never be forgiven, in each. The Spirit is choosing a bride for Christ, during the Gospel age; at the end the marriage is consummated; and during the millennial age, the Spirit and the bride say come. Rev. 22:17.
Jesus says: "If ye love me, keep my commandments, and I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you forever; even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him; but ye know him, for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you."
"But the Comforter, which is the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name he shall teach you all things and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you. John 14:15,16,17,26. But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me." John 15-26.
Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him; but God hath revealed them unto us by his spirit; for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God....So the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. 1 Cor. 2:9-11.
Again, Jesus says: Nevertheless, I tell you the truth: it is expedient for you that I go away, for if I go not away the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you. Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth is come, he will guide you into all truth. John 16:7-13. These passages seem to teach, conclusively, that the Spirit began its work at Pentecost, where the Comforter came, after Jesus went away; consequently does its work in the two ages referred to; also that only those who have been made partakers of; and led, to some extent, at least, into truth, can commit the sin under consideration. Certainly it would seem that no one would claim that the Spirit has done so much for the great mass of the human race, during the gospel age, to say nothing of previous ages.
But a question involving a forever, we should expect to find very plainly stated and so we read: "Leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works; and of faith toward God; of the doctrine of baptisms; and of resurrection of the dead; and eternal judgment." (A broader foundation, surely, than most Christians build upon.) "And this will we do if God permit; for it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were partakers of the Holy Ghost, and tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come; if they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame." Heb. 6:1-6.
It is positively certain, that whatever of spiritual truth is received by anybody, it is by the help of the Spirit. "The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God; for they are foolishness unto him; neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." 1 Cor. 2:14.
Paul says further: "Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed; and that no man can say that Jesus is Lord, but by the Holy Ghost." 1 Cor. 12:3.
Of course he means that no man can say so understandingly, from a scriptural standpoint. As has already been shown, the purpose for which the Spirit was given, was to lead into truth; the object of truth is to sanctify – set apart for a holy purpose. And this is the class who could sin against the Holy Ghost.
This conclusion is confirmed by another scripture, viz.: "If we sin wilfully after that we have received the knowledge of the truth; there remaineth no more sacrifice for sins; but a certain fearful looking for of Judgment and fiery indignation; which shall devour the adversaries. He that despised – violated – Moses' law died without mercy under two or three witnesses; of how much sorer punishment, suppose ye, shall he be thought worthy, who hath trodden under foot the Son of God, and hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing, and hath done despite – unto – insulted – the Spirit of Grace. Heb. 10:26-29. Peter says: For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled [R138 : page 5] therein, and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning; for it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them. But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb: "The dog is turned to his own vomit again;" and, "The sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire." 2 Pet. 2:20-22.
These passages give us a part of the sorer (worse) punishment; but not all. If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father; and this is the promise that he hath promised us, even eternal life. 1 John 2:24,25.
But if any "fall away," or count the blood of the covenant, wherewith they were sanctified, an unholy thing, they will not receive the eternal life promised; but the opposite, eternal death: the second death.
There is a sin which is unto death; I do not say that ye shall pray for it. 1 Jno. 5:16. It has been shown that the "Gospel by Moses" shadows forth so many good things; which were to come; will it seem surprising if we shall find the unpardonable sin typified also? It may be found that the "jots and tittles of Israelitish history, as well as of the law and prophets, have a meaning, and point to something."
The tribe of Levi, chosen to do the work of the tabernacle of the wilderness, represents the gospel church, chosen for the service of the "true tabernacle." The other tribes then must represent the nations to be blessed by the church, in a future age.
We find in Num. 16, an account of Korah and others of the tribe of Levi; and a company of men of renown, of the children of Israel, murmuring against God's commands, given through His servant Moses, and a new thing happened to them, different from the common lot of men: "And the earth opened her mouth, and swallowed them up, and their houses, and all the men that appertained unto Korah, and all their goods." Is it far-fetched, to claim that this was typical? Is not the "second death," which is the end of those who commit the "sin which is unto death," a different thing from that which happens to others? whether in this age, or in the age to come. They are twice dead, plucked by the root. Jude 12.
"TRUTH is always consistent with itself, and needs nothing to help it out. It is always near at hand, sits upon our lips, and is ready to drop out before we are aware. A lie is troublesome, and sets a man's invention on the rack, and one trick needs a great many more to make it good. It is building upon a false foundation, which is continually in need of props to shore it up."
We are called to be saints (holy ones) for without holiness no man shall see the Lord. Also, we must crucify the old man, that thus we might destroy the body of sin, and henceforth not serve sin. We that are baptized into Christ, are baptized into His death...and he that is dead is freed from sin. Even before we have succeeded in putting to death the flesh, if we do that we would not it is not us but sin that dwelleth in the flesh; for we delight in the law of God after the inner man; hence, when we have succeeded in crucifying the flesh and its lusts, we are freed from sin. The law of the mind wars with the law in our members until the former has completely overcome the latter. So long as we are carnally minded we are not subject to the law of God, and while we are in the flesh cannot please Him. If we live after the flesh, we shall die, but if we through the spirit, do mortify the deeds of the body, we shall live. By crucifying the flesh, we become dead with Christ. During the crucifying we suffer with Him, that we may be also glorified together; and if we do not share in the suffering, we have no right to expect to share in the glory. I know of nothing else that could be filling up the sufferings of Christ which are behind, except the crucifixion of the flesh, and many will find that to cut off desire, is more painful than to cut off a right hand, but though it be as dear, we should do so if we would follow in the footsteps of Christ, and overcome as He overcame, and thus have a place on the Throne and reign with Him. We are to present our bodies a living sacrifice, holy acceptable unto God, which is our reasonable service. By the death of Christ we were justified to life natural. Now we have the chance of giving this life as a sacrifice and thus gaining spiritual life, and as the latter is so much higher than the former, it is only reasonable service for us to accept the conditions.
It seems to be in God's plan that there are to be two lives, perfect natural and spiritual. The first we get by the death of Christ, the latter, by sacrificing or crucifying what he gave us; we cannot have both. We prize the former because the stepping stone to the latter, that is we value very highly that which Christ purchased for us by His death, because were it not that His death justifies us to the natural life, we would not have anything to give in order to gain the spiritual, but like Christ we are willing to give the natural to gain the other, for then we partake fully of the divine nature. This explains to us how many may be called and few chosen; also, narrow the way and few find it, and many shall strive to enter and not be able, because many do not crucify the flesh. We used to think that it was the degree of light that decided whether we belonged to the little flock or not, but now I am convinced that any who put to death the flesh, and presents their bodies living sacrifices and Holy, will receive the spiritual body and share the glory of their Lord, when the time comes and which we think is not far distant.
Paul says: "That I may know Him and the power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto His death." He further says: "I am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I live: yet not I, but Christ liveth in me, and the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the son of God." Yes, friends, if we are truly Christ's, we have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts, therefore, set your affections on things above...for ye are dead (to this world), and our life is hid with Christ in God. Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind; for he that hath suffered in the flesh, hath ceased from sin. But rejoice inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings, that when His [R139 : page 6] glory shall be revealed ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. It is well worthy of notice that the glory is always associated with the sufferings. No cross, no crown, is true, for 'tis a faithful saying, that if we be dead with Him, we shall also live with Him; if we suffer, we shall also reign with Him. There are many apparently who do not see that we must die with Christ, if we would be one of the Bride Company. This fact we think is clearly brought out in Lev. 16, as has been shown by Bro. Russell, Aaron was to offer a bullock for a sin offering, this bullock was for himself (or instead of himself) and for his house and represents the offering made by Jesus when He gave himself for the church and became the Saviour of His body. (Eph. 5:23-25.) The world does not seem to have been the object primarily in the death of Jesus, but the church. This we think is shown by the caution of Adam and Eve – Eve was taken from Adam and so the church is taken from Christ. The world of mankind came into existence from the uniting of those two, and when united God called their name Adam. It was in the two all died, and we can show that it will be in the Second Adam and Eve, all will be made alive. Paul in 1 Cor. 15 is speaking of death which came by man. But as Eve was the instrument direct in their death, she must be included in the statement, "as in Adam all die," and if she is, the next, "so in Christ shall all be made alive," must include the church. The first two God called Adam, and they brought death and misery on the human family. The second pair God calls "The Christ or seed" (Gal. 3:16-29) and they bring life and bless all nations of the earth. That the church is included in the sin offering which justifies the world to life is shown by the type.
Aaron was to take two goats from out the congregation for a sin offering. He was to cast lots upon them, and the one on which the Lord's lot fell, he was to offer for a sin offering. With this goat he was to do just as he had done with the Bullock (verses 15-27). This goat was the sin offering for the people. Now we will turn to Heb., and see by the connections, if we cannot prove beyond a doubt that the goat is just as sure a type of the church as the Bullock was of Jesus. In the 9th chapter, where Paul is speaking of the patterns and that the patterns of things in the heavens should be purified with these (that is by the blood of bulls and goats) but the heavenly things themselves with better sacrifices than these, it must here be noticed that the blood of the two animals is contrasted with the sacrifices, (plural) not sacrifice which seems to include Christ and church.
But to be more sure let us look at Heb. 13:11. For the bodies of those beasts (plural) whose blood is brought into the sanctuary by the High Priest for sin, are burned without the camp. Let us go forth therefore, unto Him without the camp...then there would be two without the camp, (He and us) just as there were two beasts taken without. Certainly then those two beasts represent Christ and the church. Hence the age of sacrifice and suffering continues all through the Gospel Age. And not until the last member has ceased to suffer will the sufferings of Christ be completed. And so when the Prophets searched to know what manner of time the spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow, they referred to both Head and Body – Christ and the Church, which is His body. Surely, friends, ours is a "high calling," and while we bear about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, it is that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh, for we which live are always delivered unto death for Jesus' sake, and though the outward man perish, the inward man is rewarded day by day, and our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. Therefore, dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul (life) and humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time. And while here may we like the Captain of our salvation be made perfect through suffering and thus be able to sympathize with others and then when glorified together with Jesus we shall reign with Him as Kings and Priests to rule and bless the world. Yes a King shall reign in righteousness and Princes rule in judgment and Saviours shall come up on Mt. Zion, when the kingdom is the Lord's.
The devil in his assault upon Jesus had just quoted from the Scripture, saying, "It is written" thus and so. Very well replies Jesus, suppose it is written as you say – "It is written again;" i.e., the Scripture contains something else besides what you have quoted. From these words of our Lord, "It is written again," we gather a principle which ought to govern us in our doctrinal use of the Scripture. We cannot safely found either doctrine or practice on an isolated passage of Scripture. One passage cannot be interpreted independently of other Scripture. Here lies our only safety from the most monstrous errors. We must go, not to a solitary passage, but to the whole Scripture to learn what is the will of God. There is a unity in the Scripture like the unity of the human body. One part balances another. One part requires another part to complete it. One portion of Scripture needs to be explained by other portions. When a man or a sect quotes an isolated passage as the basis of some absurd doctrine or practice, our reply must be, "It is written again." There are other Scriptures besides that which you have quoted and your Scripture must be interpreted in harmony with the remainder of the Scripture. You take a single passage of Scripture out of its connection, and give it a distorted use and claim that you have God's truth. But that is the way the devil uses Scripture. He would gladly acknowledge the authority of the Scripture if he could be permitted unrebuked to use it as he chose, and handle it deceitfully. Most of those errors which the church of Christ brands as heresies are simply one sided, exaggerated truths. They are torn out of their connection with counter truths.
The London Times says: The Rev. George Nugee gave a lecture yesterday, May 13, at St. George's hall, on a proposal for colonizing Palestine by Jews, and referred incidentally to the existing establishment of a Jewish agricultural colony of fifty-five inhabitants near Jaffa. After some statistics relating to the modern Jews, who, he said, had shown themselves so alive to the advantages of education that they numbered half the university students, half the barristers, and more than half the merchants of Vienna, the lecturer proceeded to develop a plan which he said had met with the approval of many Jews and had been communicated by Mr. Lawrence Oliphant to the sultan, who received it favorably, for establishing a Jewish colony on the east bank of the Jordan.
The plan was to purchase 1,500,000 acres, to introduce a European element into the government, and to settle colonies there, either of Jewish peasant farmers or of Jewish farmers employing the labor of the [R173 : page 7] indigenous fellah. The incursions of the Arabs were a danger, but might be bought off. He had sent a circular to Mr. Goschen, the new special envoy to Constantinople, who had expressed a deep interest in the scheme. The lecturer described the country which was to be settled as exceedingly fertile, and identified it with the land allotted to Reuben, Dan, and the half tribe of Manasseh.
An international convention of Hebrews from all portions of the world will be held at Paris, September 10, under the auspices of the Alliance Israelite Universelle. Matters affecting the interests of the whole Hebrew race will be discussed. Delegates have been appointed from ten countries, the Rev. Myer S. Israel, the Rev. H. S. Jacob, Myer Stern, William Seligman, and Simon Wolf being the delegates from the United States. Among the subjects to be discussed are the amelioration of the Hebrews in Palestine and the promotion of emigration to that country, the promotion of Hebrew literature and education, and the persecution of Hebrews in Roumania and elsewhere.
JERUSALEM seems to be growing in favor as a place of residence for foreigners who find their native countries uncomfortable. The foreign Jewish population has, according to Consul Moore, increased considerably of late years. That community is now estimated at 15,000, including native Jews, against 10,000 in 1873. The desire to avoid compulsory military service now enforced in most European countries, and the right of holding real property in Turkey, probably account for the increased immigration. The German colony at Jerusalem now numbers nearly 400 persons, that at Jaffa about 300. There is a third German settlement at Califfa of about equal number with the last mentioned. The settlers are mechanics, artificers, carriers, and agriculturists, and are fairly prosperous.
If ye keep my commandments ye shall abide in my love. (John 15:10.)
It is true that God loves the world because He is Love, rather than because there is aught in them to call forth His love. It is also true that Christians are loved by both Father and Son in a special way. "He that loveth me, shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him." (John 14:21.)
God's love for the world is all-embracing and powerful. There is no being so obscure and sin-blinded that he is not included in God's providence, even as he receives the free blessings of air and sunlight. That care will follow him until he is unshackled from sin and made to appreciate what has long been true: That none who will accept the responsibilities of life, are made in vain. The possession of life is pledge and proof that all are needed in God's economy.
The Lord illustrates in His dealings with men, the Saviour's commands to us. "Love your enemies, bless them that curse you; do good to them that hate you, and pray for them that despitefully use you and persecute you, that ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven." (Matt. 5:44.) Even some Christians overlook the fact that the Lord acts upon the principle that the best way to conquer an enemy is to convert him into a friend by kindness. They try to drive men to Christ to escape punishment. This is not the best motive, though it may sometimes succeed. The severest of all punishments was experienced by the Son of God to redeem men from the effects of sin. What heart can withstand the power of this truth when once realized?
A person's idea concerning God is a fair index of his relation toward God. "To the pure He will show himself pure, and to the froward He will show himself froward." (Ps. 18:26.)
Seen from afar, the Lord is clothed with terror and awfulness. A near approach changes the terror into worship. Those who see the Lord (He is manifest to those who love him, John 14:21,23), yield to Him homage, and glory, and praise, because they cannot help it. Their hearts bow down before Him, as must the hearts of all who are once made to appreciate goodness, truth and perfectness. In turn He gives to them Fatherly love and pity.
His love rewards our faithfulness. We have His fellowship according [R140 : page 7] to the degree of progress we have made in the path of life. That pathway is indeed holy, for His footsteps have pressed it. When He putteth forth His own sheep He goeth before them. However varied the experience of Christians may be, the Lord knows all about it, for He has felt the same, "yet without sin." Herein is that saying of His true: "I know my sheep and am known of mine." He knows us fully, we know Him in part, known as we progress, but when the journey is finished then shall we know even as also we are known. Let this truth encourage us to renewed effort, for each step in our progress will bring its own reward.
"If ye love me, keep my commandments." This precept is for the beginner in the journey; and no Christian will ever get beyond it.
Coaxing the devil to support the Gospel is a modern devise. The primitive church knew nothing of it. When Paul was collecting funds to aid poor saints at Jerusalem, he used no fairs, festivals, "mum sociables," kissing games, or other sacrilegious snares, to accomplish his object. The Christians paid their own bills, and did not expect Satan to pay for the weapons which they used in warfare against him. When the devil does support a church, he does so in his own interest. He carries on his operations with a full knowledge of the fact that "a kingdom divided against itself cannot stand." For every dollar paid out of his coffers to the church, he receives full value. Church partnership with the evil one never benefits the former, but always the latter. Hands off!
Untold harm comes to the church by the use of even questionable measures to raise money for the support of God's work. It creates the impression on the minds of the world that the church is a kind of pauper, dependent for its existence on the community, that it is a sort of genteel beggar, which it is proper and fashionable to support; that it is an object of charity, or even pity and contempt, which is grateful for the tolerance of the people that let it live. The ungodly regard such churches as engaged in seeking money rather than souls, and exalting wealthy members more than poor saints. To stand before the world in this light is humiliating and degrading beyond expression. Such churches ought to be cleansed or closed, cured or killed.
Churches that are doing the Lord's work, and are worth supporting can be supported without the use of questionable means. Others deserve no support. Let them go down.– Banner of Holiness.
Ques. – Bro. Russell please give your opinion of Jesus' words: "Every branch in me that beareth not fruit He taketh away." Jno. 15. Can it be that a truly regenerated soul will be lost?
Ans. – As expressed in article – "Restitution – for whom?" – in the August number, I believe that the Divine nature once imparted never ceases, except in those who commit the unpardonable sin counting "the blood of the covenant wherewith they were sanctified an unholy thing." Heb. 10:29. We answer your question then by saying: A truly degenerated soul who abides under the blood never will be lost. "His seed remaineth in him." Jesus is the great Shepherd and says of his sheep: "I will give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any pluck them out of my hand." Jno. 10:28. Vs. 26, shows that all who believe are his sheep.
What shall we say then of the text "Every branch in me that beareth not fruit He taketh away." Simply this: Jesus is the vine [the head] we are the branches [the body]. The only "calling held out before us now, as we come to God is, to join the vine, become members of the "body of Christ" – to become members of His "bride" – the "little flock." There is no calling to be a part of the second – or "great company." No, "ye are called in one hope of your calling" and all coming to God are reckoned at first, "Babes in Christ" – "Branches" in the vine. And it is God's will that they shall continue in Him and thus make their "calling and election sure." But how many do not, "go on unto perfection." How many would like to be branches in this vine, and yet, would not like to "crucify the flesh" and be made "conformable unto His death." Jesus used the red juice of the grape [the fruit of the vine] to symbolize his death – his shed life ["this is my blood"] and the fruit expected of every branch of the vine is the same, viz: a giving of your life for the world "being crucified with Christ" – "filling up the measure of the sufferings of Christ which are behind." Those who do not bring forth this fruit, are cut off from membership with the body – the vine; and as touching our high calling in Christ Jesus [to be his bride] they become castaways.
This was what Paul guarded against saying, "I keep my body under [crucified] lest after having "preached to others I myself, should become a castaway." 1 Cor. 9:27. He is talking about running the race for the great prize – an incorruptible crown. [See vs. 23-25.] He does not fear losing the Divine nature and eternal life, for again he says, "I am confident that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him." [Life.] 2 Tim. 1:12.
The cut off branch referred to is not one which has withered, of course the husbandman would trim such off or rather they cut themselves off; such dead branches would represent those who commit the unpardonable sin. But, the branches here mentioned as cut off are what Vine dressers call "suckers." They usually make the most show and seem to grow the fastest and are well covered with leaves [professions]. Alas how fitly does this picture many who starting as members of the body agreeing to "take up their cross and follow" the head, make only professions, and never bear his fruit – self sacrifice to death.
Oh, yes, the blood of sprinkling covers the entire household of faith, and they shall never perish if they abide under the blood and continue to trust in its sufficiency. If cut off from the body – bride – vine, they will be cast forth and will be burned "delivered over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh that the spirit [life] may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus." Their works shall be burned – they shall suffer loss of the glorious joint-heirship [R140 : page 8] of the bride, but themselves shall be saved. 1 Cor. 3:15.
All having the new nature are children of God, for "the Spirit beareth witness with our spirit that we are the children of God." But will all be heirs? No, only the first-born are heirs; "Christ (head and body) "the first-fruits; afterward they that are Christ's at his (parousia) presence." Christ (head and body) "the first-born among many brethren" – the great company. All are brethren because begotten by the same Father – God, but not all first-born, therefore not all heirs. When they were called it was in this hope of their calling – viz.: that they should be "heirs of God and joint-heirs with Christ," but there were conditions put upon them if they would be joint-heirs, viz.: "If so be that we suffer (death) with Him, that we may be also glorified together." (Rom. 8:16,17.)
To be a joint-heir with Jesus means a great deal. It means to share all the glory, and all the power, and to inherit all things. None but "the bride," "the overcomers" who suffer with him shall reign with him. Oh, ours is a high calling – a great prize, let us "so run that we may obtain."
Q. – Bro. R. we feel so deeply interested in the WATCH TOWER and its teachings that we think its monthly visits too far apart; would it not be advisable to make it a semi-monthly or a weekly at a corresponding advance in price? We should like it so, as it is almost the only "meat" some of us get.
A. – We think it not advisable to change for three reasons: One is, that the present price, fifty cents a year, is quite beyond the means of many of the readers; Another reason is that to issue more frequently would necessitate a great deal of "clipping" and publishing of "little anecdotes" and "tales," a surfeit of which reading is easily attainable, from thousands of other papers, and our third and chief objection is, that we do not think that our readers can fully digest the mental and spiritual food put before them each month in less time than a month. Permit us to suggest that if you read each article thoroughly three times before going to another you would get fully three times as much nourishment from the paper. Then, too, it would be well to keep a "file" of the paper convenient and to re-examine and refresh your memory on subjects of previous issues. Careless reading may do for light subjects and anecdotes, but God's word and arguments drawn from its "deep things" require careful study.
Q. – Your exposition of Rev. 15, "Song of Moses and the Lamb" in last No. is quite satisfactory, except that Moses' song was one of deliverance after Israel had left Egypt. I had supposed Egypt a type of earth and that we would sing that song after we had left earth. Can you explain this feature?
A. – We understand that this song of deliverance will be sung by mankind in general during the Millennial age. But we sing it now, because we have now gotten the victory over the world (Egypt), and over "the beast and his image," etc., the bindings of human traditions and man made creeds, and are no longer in this condition of mental slavery to great ecclesiastical authorities. If you will notice, those who sing this song have gotten this very victory, vs. 2. That it is sung before the pouring out of the vials is evident from v. 6. In those vials is "filled up (completed) the wrath of God," and we understand that those who get the victory over the beast, etc., are the ones "accounted worthy to escape all those things coming upon the world" – a "little flock."
The Greek word Optomai rendered, shall see, in Rev. 1:7. – "Every eye shall see him," and rendered, shall appear, in Heb. 9:28 "To them that look for Him shall he appear a second time," does not always mean to see with the eye. It rather signifies attend and recognize. Illustrations of its meaning attend: The priests and elders answered Judas; "See (Optomai – attend) thou to that." Matt. 27:4. Again, Pilate said, "I am innocent of the blood of this just person; see (optomai – attend) ye to it." Vs. 24. Also the word look in Acts 18:15.
"There appeared (optomai) to him (Moses)...an angel of the Lord in a flame of fire in a bush," and "he drew near to behold it." (Acts 7:30.) Moses did not see an angel but a flame, but receiving a command of the Lord from out the [R141 : page 8] flame, he (optomai) recognized it as the angel. Again, "The God of glory appeared (optomai) unto our father Abraham." Acts 7:2. From the fact that we are told that, "No man hath seen God at any time," we presume this scripture to mean, that God gave Abraham instruction in such a manner that he recognized his instruction as of the God of Glory.
Again, Jesus said to Mary concerning Lazarus' resurrection, "Said I not that thou shouldst see (optomai) the glory of God? Jno. 11:40. Mary's eyes saw no glory but she did see Lazarus raised, and in the power thus displayed she recognized the glory of God.
Again "All flesh shall see (optomai – recognize) the salvation of God." Luke 3:6. In the light of these illustrations of the use of the word we can realize that there may be but little seeing of The Christ on the part of the world with the eye. See how similar is the last illustration with the first text quoted – "every eye" and "all flesh" shall recognize Him as the salvation of God.
"As now many are astonished before him (so disfigured in his aspect before men, and his figure before the children of men) so shall many nations exult in him; kings shall close their mouths before him: for what had not been related to them, shall they see; and understand what they had never heard." – Gesenius.
"Despised and neglected by men, a man of sorrows and familiar with sufferings, and like one who hideth his face from us [to bury his griefs in seclusion]; disdained; and we gave him no attention." – Pye Smith.
"All we, like sheep, have gone astray; we have turned each to his own way; but Jehovah hath inflicted upon him the punishment of us all. He was severely afflicted, yet he submitted himself, and opened not his mouth. As a lamb that is led to the slaughter, or as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he opened not his mouth." – Henderson.
"A grave is assigned him with the wicked; but his tomb is a rich man's: for he hath done no injustice, and no guile is in his mouth. But Jehovah is pleased to crush him with sufferings! If he will offer himself a sacrifice for sin, he shall see his posterity, he shall prolong his days, and the gracious purpose of Jehovah shall prosper in his hand." – Pye Smith.
"Therefore will I distribute to him the many for his portion; and the mighty people shall he share for his spoil: Because he poured out his soul unto death, and was numbered with the transgressors, and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors." – Lowth.
A sister writes that she did not like the application of the parable of the "wedding garment" in our last issue. To this sister and to any others who may feel so we wish to say, that the fulfillment of the parable referred to, seemed so marked and complete in every particular that we felt it to be our duty to call attention to it. Of all the parables which Jesus uttered is it not true, "I have told you before it come to pass that when it is come to pass ye might believe." We have looked for years for a fulfillment of this parable the only one for which we had no satisfactory solution to offer. Now, we see it fulfilled in every particular – the laying aside of the robe of Christ's righteousness, and the foretold going into outer darkness denying the presence and all of the prophetic light which proves it.
Notice too the time – just when the virgins are "going in to the wedding." Some already have been for some time in the guest chamber believing that the Bridegroom is present and are preparing their robes and waiting for the union. Tell us when else, or how else could it be fulfilled, if you can think of any other way and time?
The WATCH TOWER desires to be a faithful servant of God and of "the household of faith." "Who then is a faithful and wise servant whom his Lord hath made ruler over his household to give them meat in due season. Blessed is that servant whom his Lord when he [Elthon] – has come – shall find so doing." Matt. 24:46.
(An exegesis of this scripture given in tract called "The object and manner of our Lord's return," pages 52 and 53 – which see.) If our words were severe they were lovingly so, for we sought by calling attention to the outer-darkness of the parable to keep some from going blindly into it.
Does not the thought of the fulfillment of this last to be fulfilled parable seem to bring us down very close to the time when the last wise virgin may come into the light, the door to the "high-calling" to be shut, the union, or marriage of bridegroom and bride be accomplished by our being changed from natural to spiritual bodies like unto Christ's glorious body, that being like Him we may see Him as He is? Oh glorious hope! The "chaste Virgin church" – "little flock" is said to "make herself ready." Are you seeing to it that the robe of Christ's righteousness is clean and white "unspotted from the world." "Without spot or wrinkle, or any such thing?" and are you doing all you can to help others to the same condition of readiness? This is the will of God concerning you.
We have returned, having spent very pleasantly and we hope profitably two weeks with little bands of waiting ones. As usual we found them very loving ones, partakers to a marked degree of this element of the divine nature – love. We visited Elyria and Cleveland, Ohio, and Lapeer, Almont, Belle River, Brockway Centre, and Detroit, Mich. To most of them we were strangers in the flesh "unknown and yet well known," for we had all drank of the water from the spiritual Rock – Christ. We want to visit all the dear flock that we may know them and will be ready for another trip during October.
Will be in the vicinity of New York City and Philadelphia during September. If any living in this direction desire him to give a series of discourses on The object, manner, etc., of the return of our Lord, he will take pleasure in serving you. Neither pay, nor traveling expenses asked. This is true of all our preaching brethren associated with the WATCH TOWER. We leave money matters entirely with Him who says, "All the gold and silver of the mountains are mine and the cattle upon a thousand hills." Address immediately A. D. Jones, Pittsburgh, Pa.