|J. H. PATON||ALMONT, MICH.|
|W. I. MANN||SWISSVALE, PA.|
|B. W. KEITH||DANSVILLE, N.Y.|
|A. D. JONES||PITTSBURGH, PA.|
|L. ALLEN||HONEOYE, N.Y.|
|J. C. SUNDERLIN||FT. EDWARD, N.Y.|
A is seeking wealth; he rises early, labors hard and retires late, plans, studies, contrives, bends every energy of his being to get his prize. He would tell you that he does not care for money – does not worship it – yet poor man he is evidently deceiving himself; his actions speak louder than words. He would labor so for no person or thing he does not love.
B is seeking honor and respect; he bends his energy to that end; money nor ease nor any other thing would purchase his honor. He says "A good name is rather to be chosen than great riches. I will leave to my family a legacy of honor." He loves honor and shows it by his actions.
E loves office and power; he becomes a politician and seeks it as his prize. He drops business, family, pleasure, friends, ease; all go; all are sacrificed if need be to gain the prize of his ambition – this treasure he loves and seeks.
G seeks approbation of others, and dress of person, or of children, and by act, word and look she studies to obtain this aim of her life. No labor is too great, no method too low, no time too valuable if she can excite admiration.
H loves self and seeks personal ease. He likes money because it will give him ease. He likes civilization and improvements because they will be of use to him; thinks favorably of wife, children, friends and servants, because they are useful, convenient and can assist him. He worships ease and loves it.
Dear brother and sister, here we have the pictures of the treasures of all our neighbors and friends. Are your treasures among them? Say not that your aim is a blending of these with others. The experience of the wisest men is, that success in life is attainable only by the concentration of aim and powers upon one attainment; that man's life is too short and his powers too feeble to reach several goals or prizes; to obtain more than one treasure.
Do I hear you say that the prize for which you are running is a heavenly one and that you are laying up your treasure in heaven? I am glad that when you hold these treasures up before your mind you recognize them all as earthly, which the moth and rust of time will soon destroy. I am glad if your hearts have not become so fond of these things, that you worship them and think them beautiful. But let me put it plainly: Would your neighbor judging from your daily acts not suppose that you are bending all of your energies for some of these prizes? Is he deceived, or are you, with reference to your real aim? Do not your actions, as well as his, speak louder than words – What is your real treasure – the thing which you really love?
The prize set before us in the gospel is far greater, far grander, far more pleasurable, far more honorable and far more rich than all of earth's prizes combined: and in addition it fadeth not away. If we obtain our prize we will have "a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory." If we reach the goal of our race, we shall be the bride of the Lamb – heirs of God, joint heirs with Jesus Christ our Lord. "They (the world) seek a corruptible crown, but we an incorruptible" one – "a crown of life [immortality] which fadeth not away."
Do you say that you expect to gain both this heavenly prize and also some earthly ones? Not so, not only does human experience teach that life is too brief, but God's word assures us that we "cannot serve God and mammon," (the world).
If these earthly prizes are obtained by so much effort, self-denial and perseverance, how about our great prize, should it not have yet more demand for our sacrifice of comfort, etc., in its acquirement? Yet, now look at it – your life labor; what is it for? You are a farmer, let me ask you, for what is your labor spent? I plow, sow, reap, raise stock, provide for myself and family, give to the support of religion, and lay up some each year by which I add farm to farm. What treasure did you lay up in heaven?
You are a merchant; let me ask you, for what is your life and labor spent? I attend to my business diligently early and late: I allow nothing to hinder it. By careful management and by giving it all of my time and ability, I am able not only to provide the comforts, but some of the luxuries of life for my family. I give a tenth of all my profits to the Lord in benevolent and religious ways, and besides I have accumulated considerable property. What treasure have you accumulated in heaven?
You are a tradesman or mechanic; how are you spending your life and labor? I give my time, labor and talent to my trade. I get as many of the comforts and luxuries of life as possible, and if I could would lay up some earthly treasure. I give my time and energy as fully or more so, than some who have better success. What time and talent have you expended seeking the heavenly treasures?
You are a housewife; how are you spending the life and labor consecrated to God's service? I spend it all in my household duties, and when I make home very comfortable, and do all the little things I can to make it elegant and tasteful, and to keep my children looking the picture of neatness, and receive and make some calls among my worldly friends, that together with my own personal adornment takes up all of my time. What treasure, what little things have you made ready for your heavenly mansion?
You are a widow – what are you doing with your life and talent consecrated to God's service? My life is an humble one, and my opportunity for doing good is on a small scale, but when I learned from God's word that I was redeemed from sin by my Lord and then heard of the high calling to be of the Bride of Christ, a joint-heir to an inheritance incorruptible ...that fadeth not away, I asked upon what conditions, I might be one. The word informed me that I was to make a complete consecration of myself, mind and body, talents, reputation, influence, to the Lord to be used thereafter as his and I was to be as one dead, so that with Paul I could say: "I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me." So then, the will and talents, and all, would be his, and used by him. I had so little to give him; I have little talent, no money, and almost no influence, and almost feared I need not come, but the word assured me that what our Father wanted was my heart and my consecrated service, that he had plenty of money and reputation. So then I came: I gave myself all to him.
When I had fully consecrated all, I realized that it must not be in word only, but also in deed. I therefore sought direction from the word and prayed for understanding of it. I asked myself, does the Lord want me to go out into the streets and preach and expect food and clothing to come miraculously for myself and child? I found that God's will was, that I should spend some time and labor earning a living – that he that provideth not for his own household is worse than an infidel. I found too, that Paul labored, working with his hands, that he might not be chargeable to any. So I went to work as usual, knowing that if I was acting as God's agent, he wanted me to eat, and dress to his glory. Then came the query: shall I labor and save money, so that in a few years I can stop all kinds of labor, and give all my time to God's service? And again the word answered: "Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon the earth" – and again: "Having food and clothing therewith be content."
Next I inquired, how comfortably shall I live; how much time shall I spend in the support of the old "earthen vessel," and how much could be devoted more directly to God's work. I ordered and regulated my time so that none of it might be wasted – eating, working and sleeping were all arranged with a view to the glory of God, and I found that I had three hours for my consecrated work. As already stated, my ability is not great and I wondered how I could make use of so much time. I said to myself it is of utmost importance that if I am God's representative and child, and going forth as his servant, that I should know as much as possible of Father's will. I must therefore, spend some of my consecrated time in feeding my new nature and embroidering my wedding garment. Father tells me to "search the scriptures," so with my Bible and my "WATCH TOWER," I daily spend one hour – not in reading, but in earnest study. I searched and found daily spiritual [R186 : page 1] food and my "daily bread" sometimes took two instead of one hour.
How should I use my other hours? I sought the WORD again. It said we were to spend our lives "doing good unto all men as we have opportunity, especially to the household of faith," and I looked at Paul, Peter and Jesus [R186 : page 2] who said, "ye have us for examples," and "He hath set us an example that we should walk in his footsteps."
Yes this made my way clear; my chief object should be to give spiritual help, or secondly, any temporal aid or comfort to those needing it. If there were two needing, one a saint, the other a sinner and I could help only one, the preference was to be shown for the saint.
I first visited my next-door neighbor, who has sickness and trouble, helped her to straighten her home and spoke a word of comfort and cheer and pointed her to a shadow of a great rock in this weary land where she might find solace and protection from the fierce rays of affliction. I felt grateful to Father for thus permitting me to comfort a cast down one.
I next called on a lady of whose deep piety and christian character I had heard much, which led me to suppose that she lived very close to God. I wondered if she knew anything of God's great loving plan – of the Bride, the second company and the restitution of mankind in general to their former perfection, as the result of Christ's ransom. I found her zealous and earnest in the Lord's service but her zeal was not according to knowledge, for she loved mankind and seemed to fear that God did not; she was carrying burdens, etc., and I thought how much good it would do this dear sister of the household of faith, if she knew as we do, God's loving plan of salvation.
The thought occurred to me, you asked God to use you in his service, may be he is about to use poor you as his mouthpiece to tell this other dear child of his plan. The thought made me feel humble, for I realized my own littleness and I feared lest I should not so present the subject to her, as to avoid arousing her prejudices. Secretly I asked for wisdom. I introduced myself as a child of God and heir of glory come to spend a half hour in christian intercourse. We talked of personal experiences and of the love of God manifested toward each of us, and I found no opportunity then of introducing much of the plan to her attention, merely suggesting that it would be blessed when the millennial reign would subdue evil and the "knowledge of the Lord fill the whole earth," and on leaving I gave her one of our new tracts – No. 1. – "Why will there be a second advent?" She thanked me, promised to read it, and invited me to come again, which I did, taking other tracts and our paper. That sister is now rejoicing with us in our grand hopes and says her Bible has become a new book to her.
Thus my time was spent from day to day, until the three hours were not enough and became four, and I doubt not if Father sees best he can so provide for our temporal wants that I can give all my days and hours in this blessed work. It sometimes brings reproaches and scoffs from those who misinterpret my motives, but "In his service pain is pleasure," and I rejoice that I am counted worthy to suffer reproach for the cause of the Master. It seems to bring me more close to him who set us the example, and I consider Him who endured such contradiction (opposition) of sinners lest I should be weary or faint in my journey in "the narrow way."
These five pictures represent persons who have consecrated all to God, who have covenanted to become dead to earthly aims, and ambitions and prizes, and have entered the list of those who will strive for "The prize of our high calling" and "seek for glory, honor and immortality" – the honor, the glory and the life promised only to the Bride – the overcomers, who keep their covenant.
Let us not deceive ourselves, brethren, into thinking that the Scriptures mean the opposite of what they say, when the message of the Master reads – "Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth" – nor conclude that it has no meaning, when it says: "Lay up for yourselves treasure in heaven." Think not when you are spending all your energies for self and money making, that you are following the instructions of Jesus, denying self and walking in His footsteps. He spent his time and energy in teaching and doing good to others.
Why, brother Russell, what strange views you hold on this subject. I fear you are erratic. Do you forget that the Apostle enjoins that we be not slothful in business, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord? Do you forget, too, that Jesus in the parable condemns the servant who hid his money in the earth, and commends those who traded with their talents and increased them? Would you have us stop business? Would you have us sell our property and give or throw it away? Are we not to be God's bankers, subject to his check or order?
No, dear friends, but I am convinced that in this particular all Christians have been led from the scriptural rule and instruction by the customs of the world, ably supported by the selfish principles of the old, fallen, human nature. When the Lord engaged with us and sent us into His vineyard, we said, I go, sir; and then supposed we were living up to our contract when we had done some labor one day in the week, spending six times as much of our time, and amazingly more energy, in the accumulation of our earthly treasure than in his service for heavenly treasure. And if this is so the sooner we look at the matter fully and honestly, the better.
I will answer your queries. I am aware we are not to be slothful in business, but is there not quite a difference between doing with your might what your hand finds to do, both in the Lord's service and in the proper care of these bodies, etc., on the one hand, and giving all your might and power.
"All your days and all your hours" in laying up earthly treasure (or trying to do so) and giving the hand no opportunity or time to do for the Lord. Should we not pay some heed to the portions of that text which require us to "serve the Lord and be fervent in spirit"? Should we so exaggerate the statement "not slothful in business," as to cause it to sap all the forces of our being, prevent our serving the Lord as we have covenanted to do, and cool off and starve out the fervency of our spiritual nature which we have no time to cherish or feed with God's word? Is this your understanding of "not slothful in business," my brother, my sister? No, I am sure it is not.
To your second question I answer: Yes, I remember the parable of the Talents given to the servants, etc. These talents represent our abilities. When you came into covenant with God you gave him yourself. If you were an orator, count that five talents; if you were wealthy, count that two; if you had some power to make plain to people in a private way, God's love, count that three; if you could do none of these things, but could speak a word of kindness and sympathy and pave the way for others to declare the riches of God's grace, count that one. These talents were yours and you presented them to God and He in turn handed them to you again, telling you to use them and increase them in his service. Thus he departed saying to us, as his church, "occupy till I come." At his coming he reckons with the servants and rewards them as they had made use of their abilities in his service.
Paul's talents we will suppose to have been oratory. If Paul had gone to tent making as a business, to make and lay up earthly treasure, or if he had used his oratory for the applause of men, or worldly wealth, it would have been the hiding of his talents in the earth. In a word the parable of the "Talents" shows that you and I are responsible for the best use in God's service of all talents we may possess.
Would I have you sell your goods and give or throw your money away? The money and goods you possess should be reckoned as the Lord's, and you should use it as his word directs – neither wastefully, nor carelessly, nor grudgingly; but "whatsoever ye do, do all to the glory of God." But it is one of the mistakes we have made, to suppose that, "we are God's bankers, possessing either little or much of his money. He does not give it to us as bankers, but as stewards, and the difference is this: the banker keeps money and merely pays out when he receives an order from the owner. The steward is entrusted with the money to spend in the owner's service. So God makes all his children "stewards of the manifold grace (numerous gifts) of God." Some possess many, others few. According as they possess these gifts, they have a stewardship to fulfill in disposing of them. If wealth be one of these, it is your duty as a faithful steward to find ways and means of using it to God's glory. He has given us many ways and opportunities of doing this. It may be spent in spreading the truth, or in ministering to the necessities of the saints, or for the poor in general, or in any of a hundred ways that may be presented to your attention, and commend themselves to your judgment – "doing good unto all men as you have opportunity, especially to the household of faith."
Money is useless except as it can do some good to somebody, therefore, if you have it, use it. God is the great giver of all good, and wants his children to partake of this feature of his divine nature – love – benevolence.
Would I have you quit your business, quit your farm, quit your trade? That depends on circumstances: If you are devoting more time to your business than is needful for your necessities and the proper support of those who are dependent upon you, and the various avenues you may have for money in the Lord's service, then I should say stop some of your business [R187 : page 2] and use the talent which would go to laying up treasure on earth in some branch of the Lord's service.
Are you wealthy? If so, I would suggest that you stop at once the work of money gathering and "heaping treasure for the last days," and go into the Lord's service with the same talents used in the service of self, and see if you can spend it as freely and as rapidly as you could make it. Make it your business to serve the Lord and then be – "not slothful in business." If you had lived in harmony with the commands of the Lord, it is altogether probable you would not now have so much. Make amends for past neglects – go into the vineyard and though it be the "eleventh hour," you may yet receive the "penny" (immortality).
But I am well aware that few of our readers are rich in earthly treasure. "Not many rich...hath God chosen, but the poor of this world, rich in faith, heirs of the kingdom." What would I say to those not rich? I would say that probably you are not to blame for not being rich; perhaps you worked as hard, and planned as much, to get riches as some who did get them: perhaps you are not poor because you spent your time and talent and money in God's service, diligent in his business: How is that – ask yourself? If that has been your failing, begin anew, put forth your principle energies in laying up treasures in heaven. Let the principal work of life be, to render to God the things that are God's – the things which you covenanted to spend in his service – your all. If you thus "seek first the kingdom of God and its righteousness, all these (earthly things) shall be added unto you." Probably not many of the luxuries of life, but all necessities will be sure.
To the mothers and housewives let me say: Do not forget all other duties and privileges while attending to one. If we consecrate all to God and then in every act seek to know and do his will, I understand that every such act is accepted of him as done in his service. He has placed you in a responsible position; your first duty is to see to the comfort and good of husband and children, and with such things God is well pleased. But do not forget that all is to be done as pleasing the Lord. Therefore remember the words of Paul regarding the dress, the hair, etc., both of yourself and your children, and so order your time that you will have some of it for partaking of spiritual food and some for ministering to others.
Finally, to all we would say: We recommend to your careful study and imitation example No. 5 – the widow – as being a practical illustration of the teachings and acts of Jesus and the apostles, and warn you to lay aside earthly treasure seeking, as calculated to weigh you down to earth and result in your losing the prize for which we are running and which we believe is so soon to be realized. Use earthly things – money, talents, reputation, all, as means to help you to make your calling and election sure, just as a man seeking earthly wealth uses every ability for the accomplishment of his ends. Let us lay aside every weight and run with patience the race set before us, looking unto Jesus.
Does some one object that so living and not laying up treasure on earth would lead to want when sickness comes? I answer, it would bring you into a position where your trust in God's promises would have opportunity for exercise. But living thus closely to God you could claim all of the promises. "No good thing will He withhold from them that walk uprightly." "For we know that all things shall work together for good to them that love God (and show it by obedience to his word) to the called according to his purpose." Besides I suggest that sickness is spoken of in scripture as being largely the result of sin, and the work of "Him that has the power of death; that is, the devil." The whole world
[Continued on seventh page.] [R187 : page 7] [Continued from second page.]
through sin has come under his control, but when any become disciples of Christ they are transferred out of the kingdom of darkness into the kingdom of God's dear Son. These, it would appear, are no longer subject to Satan except as his power may be permitted of Jesus and overruled for our good.
While our Lord may sometimes permit Satan to afflict his sheep for their development and perfection, sometimes, as in Paul's case, permitting "a thorn in the flesh as a messenger of Satan to buffet" them, yet we believe that as a rule if we were using our powers entirely and conscientiously in God's service we would not be so subject to sickness. "If we would judge ourselves, (see that we live in obedience to God's will) then we should not be judged of the Lord, but when judged we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world." (1 Cor. 11:31-32).
James intimates the same thing when he says: "Are any sick among you...the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and if he have committed sins they shall be forgiven." Jesus implied the same thing when, before healing, he usually said, "Thy sins be forgiven thee." It is for us, however to follow the voice of our Shepherd and to trust him while we follow him.
"What man is he that feareth the Lord? Him shall He teach in the way that He shall choose." Ps. 25:12.
|Let Him teach thee, weary soul;||Isa. 1:4.|
|Let His hands now make thee whole;||Job 5:18.|
|Let His peace thy heart control, –||Col. 3:15.|
|Let Him teach thee.|
|Into paths of righteousness||Ps. 23:3.|
|Let Him lead and let Him bless;||Ps. 67:7.|
|Let Him save thee from distress, –||Ps. 107:18.|
|Let Him teach thee.|
|Let Him guide thee with His eye;||Ps. 32:8.|
|Let His hand thy need supply;||Phil. 4:19.|
|Let His goodness satisfy, –||Ps. 65:4.|
|Let Him teach thee.|
|Let His good word sanctify:||Jno. 17:17.|
|Let the furnace purify;||1 Peter 1:7.|
|Let Him say "Fear not; 'tis I,"||Mark 6:50.|
|Let Him teach thee.|
|Let Him probe thy heart within;||Ps. 66:10.|
|Let Him search out every sin:||Ps. 139:23.|
|Let the glorious light shine in, –||2 Cor. 4:6.|
|Let Him teach thee.|
|Let the Shepherd kindly feed;|
|Let Him gently, gently lead;||Isa. 40:11.|
|(He'll not break the bruised reed)||Isa. 42:3.|
|Let Him teach thee.|
|Let Him give thee songs at night;||Job 35:10.|
|Let Him make the darkness light;||Isa. 42:16.|
|Let Him set thy spirit right, –||Ps. 51:10.|
|Let Him teach thee.|
|In the tumult let Him hide||Ps. 37:5.|
|Let Him keep thee at His side;||Ex. 33:21.|
|Let His name be glorified, –||Isa. 41:3.|
(Isa. 61:3 – site Editor)
|Let Him teach thee.|
To the words of Paul, Heb. 10:35-38 (Diaglott) your attention is requested. The reading of verse 37 – "For yet a very little while indeed, the coming one will come (be present) and will not delay" – indicates that these words of the apostle, although applicable in a certain sense previously, are mainly so in the presence of the Son of Man. And we understand the words here penned by Paul, to have been given by the Spirit especially to us, who are living in the days of Christ's presence – the harvest, or end of this age. And you will remember that much of Paul's writing is especially to us who are living in the close of the Gospel Age – for instance: "In the last days perilous times shall come &c.;" again: "Take unto you the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand in that evil day" "the day of the Lord;" again: "For the fire (trials) of that day shall try every man's work of what sort it is." The same is true of many, if not all the writings of the old and new testaments; in fact the great burden of the Prophet's and Apostle's writings seems to be with reference to the end of the Jewish and also of the Gospel Age, especially the latter.
Since then, we see that these words of the Spirit, were given especially to us who are living "In the days of the Son of Man" – "the evil day" – we should give them the more earnest heed. As in every other case in which we are instructed concerning the evil [R188 : page 3] day, there is the intimation that it will be a time of special trial, and admonitions to hold fast, &c., are given as in this 38th verse. During the last six or seven years, the Lord has been leading us, his people, in a very remarkable manner: As we look backward we can see that our pathway has been as "a shining light...shining more and more." It has been progressive, bringing us strength with "meat in due season." It has caused us to grow both in grace and knowledge and this growth, taken in connection with the fact that we are not obliged to look back and now call darkness what was then called by some of the brethren, "a great flood of light," is the very strongest grounds for confidence that the same Lord who then supplied us light from the word, is still providing of the same kind. We say then, "cast not away your confidence" in our Leader, "the great shepherd of the sheep."
If we were following a man undoubtedly it would be different with us; undoubtedly one human idea would contradict another and that which was light one or two or six years ago would be regarded as darkness now: But with God there is no variableness, neither shadow of turning, and so it is with truth; any knowledge or light coming from God must be like its author. A new view of truth never can contradict a former truth. "New light" never extinguishes older "light," but adds to it. If you were lighting up a building containing seven gas jets you would not extinguish one every time you lighted another, but would add one light to another and they would be in harmony and thus give increase of light: So is it with the light of truth; the true increase is by adding to, not by substituting one for another.
Therefore, in mentioning grounds of our confidence that we are in the shining path under the leading of the Spirit, we mention first that the tendency of present truth is to produce the proper fruit of the spirit, of which love is the chief. The tendency of our growth in knowledge is to growth in grace. "He that hath this hope in him purifieth himself even as he (Jesus) is pure." Our pathway has been one of increase of light in harmony with former light. Thus we have been led to increased confidence in our leader. Let us take
Well 1873 came, the end of 6,000 years, and yet no burning of the world, &c.; but prophecies were found which pointed positively to 1874 as the time when Jesus was due to be present, and the resurrection of Daniel was also due as proved by the ending of jubilee cycles and the 1335 days of Dan. 12. The autumn of 1874 anxiously expected, finally came, but the earth rolled on as ever; "all things continued as they were from the beginning of creation." All their hearts were sad; they said, surely we have been in error – but where? Surely it is clearly taught that Jesus will come again; perhaps our calculation of time is at fault. Carefully they examined the chronology but it seemed faultless and positively declared that the 6,000 years ended in 1873. Then the prophetic arguments were carefully re-examined: Was an error found? No, they stood the test of all investigation and the jubilee argument and "1335 days" of Daniel could not possibly be prolonged beyond the fall of '74 or spring of 1875 and these periods were both past.
Dark indeed seemed the outlook; all were discouraged. It had seemed as though the Lord had been leading in the past, and yet now all these things which had been thought light seemed to be proved darkness.
Just at this time Bro. Keith, (one of our contributors) was used of the Lord to throw another beam of light on the subject which brought order out of confusion, and caused all of the former "light" to shine with tenfold brightness. Brother K. had been reading carefully Matt. 24 chapter, using the "Emphatic Diaglott," a new and very exact word for word translation of the New Testament; when he came to the 37th and 39th verses he was much surprised to find that it read as follows, viz: "For as the days of Noah, thus will be the presence of the Son of Man. For as in those days, those before the deluge they were eating and drinking, marrying and pledging in marriage till the day that Noah entered the Ark, and understood not till the Deluge came and swept them all away; thus will be the presence of the Son of Man."
His surprise was, at finding that the Greek word parousia which signifies presence, had in our common version been improperly rendered coming, but the new rendering showed, that it was not the act of coming that resembled the days of Noah, but that as in Noah's days the masses of the people "knew not" so it would be in the time of Jesus' presence at the second advent. Humanity will go on eating, drinking, marrying, etc., as usual and "know not" that he is present. The next step was, to see whether the account of the same discourse as recorded by Luke, would harmonize with this new idea of a presence unseen, except by the eye of faith, until the "little flock" typified by Noah had gone from among men into the condition of safety (from the coming storm) represented by the Ark – "one taken and another left."
Luke's account was in perfect accord with Matthew's, though in different words – "As it was in the days of Noah so shall it be also in the days of the Son of Man." (Luke 17:26.)
This was communicated to others of the disappointed ones, and with the remembrance that the time arguments above referred to had been found faultless and unalterable and proved that Jesus was due here in the fall of 1874, came the thought – can it be possible that Jesus does not come in a fleshly body at His second advent? Can it be possible that His presence began at the time indicated in those prophecies and yet we went on eating and drinking, etc., and "knew not" of His presence?
A careful examination of the word was begun by all deeply interested, to see whether it, as a whole, would be in harmony with this new thought. It was found to be in perfect harmony and opened up and made clear many scriptures hitherto dark: For instance the differences between natural, earthly bodies and spiritual, heavenly bodies; how that the things which are seen are temporal, natural, but the things that are not seen are eternal, spiritual; that spiritual beings could not be seen by mortals, (without a miracle) and that the object and scope of the Gospel age was, the taking out of the world of mankind a "little flock" to be associated with Jesus in the work of the future – destroying evil and blessing all the families of the earth; that God's plan was not, to destroy all mankind after the gathering of the Gospel church but to "restore all things" and destroy only the evil which now rules in the world; that the fire supposed to be literal, was really symbolic and signified a great time of trouble which would be the close of the Gospel age and dawn of the Millennial in which all evil principles of governments and society would be manifested and destroyed, as a necessary preparation for the coming blessing.
So says the Prophet: "Wait ye upon me saith the Lord, until the day that I rise up to the prey, for my determination is to gather the nations, that I may assemble the kingdoms and pour upon them mine indignation even all my fierce anger for all the earth, shall be devoured with the fire of my jealousy: For then will I turn to the people a pure language and they shall all call upon the name of the Lord to serve him with one consent." (Zeph. 3:8-9.)
As to the manner of Christ's coming other scriptures were found to be in perfect accord with the accounts of Matt. and Luke, of its being an unseen presence: For instance, the angel's message – Acts 1:11.
But the angels' language seemed peculiar – this same Jesus as though there had been another Jesus: Examination revealed the fact, that Jesus since His resurrection is a totally different being from the Jesus who died; that a great change had taken place. While before his death he had been the "man Christ Jesus" having the form of a servant and perfect human powers, etc., and yet none but human powers, except as the Father's power was operated and manifested through him: (John 14:10.) Yet now, since his resurrection he claims divine powers not as the Father in him, but as His own, saying – "All power in heaven and in earth is given unto me" and he is no longer a natural, but a spiritual body – "It was sown a natural body, raised a spiritual body – sown mortal raised immortal and exercising [R189 : page 3] powers peculiar to his new conditions, he would appear and disappear and they could not tell whence he came nor whither he went; thus personally illustrating his own teachings to Nicodemus: "That which is born of the Spirit is Spirit. (Jesus was the first born from the dead to the spiritual plane – "by the Spirit.") The wind bloweth where it listeth and thou hearest the sound thereof but can'st not tell whence it cometh nor whither it goeth; so is every one that is born of the Spirit." (Jno. 3:8).
It was clear too that while desiring the disciples to realize that he was risen, Jesus wished them also to realize the change that had taken place and that he was no longer bound by human conditions, etc., therefore, he appeared to them under supernatural circumstances and in various forms, or bodies, none of which bodies were his spiritual person, but merely a garb by which he made himself known to their human senses.
When it was understood that "this same Jesus" was a spiritual body, unseen [R189 : page 4] except by the performance of a miracle, the saying of the angels was perfectly clear. Then, one after another, various scriptures gradually took their places and all began to see how "The Kingdom of God cometh not with observation" (margin, outward show neither shall men say, lo here, or lo there, for the kingdom of God will be among them (an invisible power.) (Luke 17:20.)
When it was discovered that "As the lightning which shineth...so shall the Son of Man be in his day;" meant, not that he would be like the shining but "as the lightning" (the invisible electric fluid) which produces the shining, it was manifest why the warning was given: If any man say unto you, lo here is Christ, or lo there! believe it not. Go not after them nor follow them, for I will not be visible to the natural eye, but as the lightning is discernable only by its shining and power, so will I be in my day recognizable to my waiting bride by the light of truth, and afterward to the world, in the light of events and "the flaming fire" of the day of trouble.
Many other little points were noticed, too numerous to relate, all in full accord with this; such as, that the literal rendering of verses 46 and 50 of Matt. 24 teach that when the Lord has come some of his servants will be giving to the household of faith "meat in due season" [which of course would be the declaring of His presence] while other servants would say, "My Lord delayeth His coming" [has not come] and smite their fellow servants who present the "meat in due season."
Meantime the grandest "time argument" we have, viz: The two dispensation parallels began to take its place supported by both the law and the prophets, it showed the Jewish age to be the exact pattern or picture on the fleshly plane of the Gospel Age on the higher, spiritual plane, and that the two ages were to be of the same length. The parallels in the close of the two ages were seen to be especially beautiful and striking, the closing work of their age being called a "harvest" lasted forty years from A.D. 30 to A.D. 70, from the beginning of Jesus' ministry to the destruction of their city and nation. We saw that the work of that harvest, reaping, separating of wheat and chaff, the gathering of the wheat into the Gospel garner and burning the chaff of that age, while done on the natural plane, was not apprehended by any but the wheat: As a people, "they knew not the time of their visitation" – "it was hid from their eyes" because they sought it not by faith." We saw too, that Jesus taught that there would be such a harvest in the end of this age. Matt. 13:39. "So shall it be in the end of this world (age). The character of the work to be done in this harvest, viz: separating wheat from tares, before the wheat should "shine forth as the sun in the kingdom of their Father or the tares go into the fire of trouble, when coupled with the fact that the wheat, when gathered, would be taken from the ordinary duties of life – the field, bed and mill, showed clearly that the harvest work would be one, invisible to the natural eye, for the separating spiritually must take place before the wheat is gathered. The next point was to notice that in the separating, or harvesting of the Jewish age
Thus "He came to his own, but his own received him not" excepting the few. The parallels of these two ages showed that the time of harvest had come for this Gospel Age, that it was due to begin in 1874, just the place the Prophets and the Law had already shown Jesus as due to be present. And when it was remembered that this age is higher than the fleshly Jewish Age, it seemed perfectly proper that the harvesting in the end of this age, should be an unseen work. And so we are taught that it is an invisible work, by invisible, because spiritual beings – Jesus, the chief reaper (Rev. 14:14-15) and angels, the under-reapers (Matt. 13:39) quietly, and invisible, separating wheat from tares, etc.
As then the sickle was the truth that Jesus, the Son of God was present, so now the same truth seems to be used as a separater – the presence of Jesus, the Bridegroom, Reaper and King. As then only the few who "had ears to hear" recognized the truth, so now, only the wheat are expected to know, "the wise (with heavenly wisdom) shall understand." "Ye brethren are not in darkness, that that day (the day of the Lord's presence) should overtake you as a thief." So one point after another added harmonious light and evidence that we were not following cunningly devised fables, but walking in the light and we rejoiced.
Coming to the spring of 1878, the time parallel to the giving up of the Jewish church and ending of the Gospel church by the Spirit, we naturally and not unreasonably expected some change of our condition, and all were more or less disappointed when nothing supernatural occurred. But our disappointment was brief, for we noticed that the Jewish church (and not the Gospel church) was the pattern of ours, and therefore we should not expect parallels to Pentecost or to anything which happened in the beginning of this church.
We looked again at the Jewish church as the pattern and saw that though Jesus gave them up as a fleshly house at the close of his three and a half years ministry, yet he continued special favor to them afterward saying to the disciples after resurrection, "that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations,...beginning at Jerusalem." (Luke 24:47.) Acts 10:15-34 and 45, showed that the gospel was not preached to any gentile for some time after Pentecost, Cornelius being the first convert. Why was this favor shown to the Jews after the Gospel Age began, we inquired. We found the answer when we referred to the prophecy of Daniel, (9:24,) viz: That seventy weeks of time (seven years to each week) was set apart by God as time during which his special favor would be extended to fleshly Israel as a people, during which, at the end of sixty-nine weeks, (7 & 62, Vs. 25) Messiah should come. (Fulfilled when Jesus was baptised in Jordan, and received the anointing of the Spirit which constituted him "the Lord's anointed," – "The Christ.")
Then the seventieth week of the covenant still remained – seven years of God's favor, during which God said he would make an end of sins, anoint the most holy, etc., (Vs. 24). And during the seventieth week "Messiah shall be cut off (die) but not for himself," thus causing all typical "sacrifices and oblations to cease in the midst of the seventieth week." We saw clearly, therefore, that the gospel was preached among them as a people, as a part of the favor of those seventy weeks of years, and we therefore believe that Cornelius was converted three and a half years after the cross, and that while Jesus left them desolate as a nation and declared that "the kingdom was taken from them, yet the people of that Jewish church were shown favor individually, by having the invitation to the gospel, spiritual kingdom offered to them."
We then looked for the parallel to this in the Gospel Age and found that the nominal Gospel church, the parallel of the Jewish church, was "cast off" or "left desolate," "spewed out" at the parallel point of time, 1878, but was due to have favor as individuals for three and a half years, or until the autumn of 1881, during which they were to separate themselves from the "Babylon" church. As Peter called those out of the given-up Jewish church, "saying save yourselves from this perverse generation," (Acts 2:40,) so, now the wheat of the gospel church is addressed by the Spirit – "Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins and receive not of her plagues" – (the seven last,) Rev. 18.
Just at this time we met with a sad and very severe trial: A brother of influence and ability among us, departed from the very foundation of all faith, claiming that he did not need any one to pay the penalty for his sins, as he and all others did that for themselves when they died – in a word, that the act of dying was the payment of sin, and that having died they all forthwith had a right to life, and in consequence of that right all would be resurrected. [The argument was specious and led astray many who had not recognized that the race was deprived of life because all were sinners, and that all must continue dead forever unless a ransom for sin had been given, and that [R190 : page 4] "Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures," and that his right to restore to life by a resurrection was by virtue of having paid the price – or penalty "in his own body on the tree," when as Daniel had said "in the midst of the week" he made an end of sin" – "made reconciliation for iniquity."]
But this was only the beginning of our trials from this source: Having denied that the Lord bought them – (2 Peter 2:1,) – he speedily went into further error, denying one after another of the above mentioned points of evidence, until finally he has denied that Christ is present and seems to have gone completely out of the light which we as a people hold. This we say was a severe and unlooked for trial and troubled us much, until we noticed that it was the exact fulfillment of one of our Lord's parables, where he tells how, when the King came in just prior to the marriage, he found among those who were expecting to be united to him "a man not having on a wedding garment," a person trusting in his own righteousness, believing that he did not need to have his sins forgiven, that he could die for himself and pay for his own sins. In the parable this one was "cast into outer darkness" – the condition of ignorance in which the whole world is, concerning "The day of the Lord" and the fact which we see, so clearly, that we are now "In the days of the Son of Man." With this parable fulfilled in harmony with all the others and with our position in general, while bitterly lamenting our brother's course, we were strengthened by the harmony of the truth.
The first three and a-half years from 74 to 78 seem as we look back at them, to have been devoted almost entirely to ascertaining and proving the fact of Christ's presence and the harvest work of separating as now going on. The latter half of this harvest has however, been spent very differently; very little time is spent in proving the presence and very much time is spent in applying that truth, in urging holiness of heart and purity of life and consecration to his will and work, of all who would "be like Him and see Him as he is."
The light upon our pathway still shines and is more and more glorious: True the time arguments etc., proving Christ's presence were very essential and enjoyable, and we got all that was needful to us of that kind of light, enough to satisfy all of the correctness of our position. Since 1878 the light has been of a still more glorious spiritual and elevating character pointing out clearly the footprints of him in whose steps we are to follow. Let us refresh your memory on some of these points "though ye know them and be established in the present truth." For instance,
The consideration of the same general topic: What is the ransom price? led us to examine The Law which Paul says is a shadow, we examined as to how the blood of bulls and of goats took away sin typically, to learn how the guilt of the world is removed really. This proved indeed a mine of wealth in which much digging may be done. [Tract No. 7 will be devoted to this subject]. The type of the day of atonement or making at one with God by sacrifices for sin, Lev. 16, was some of the sweetest food we had tasted and seemed to be "meat in due season," for it showed us more clearly the intimate relationship between us and our head, not only in the glory to follow, but in the sufferings of the present age, "The day of atonement."
We saw that all who ever become members of the divine family on the spiritual plane must lose the fleshly being and nature first: that as the bullock was a type of Jesus' earthly-human nature laid down as a ransom, so the two goats represented the church which "fills up the measure of the afflictions of Christ which are behind." We saw that the overcomers, "the little flock" of the church was [R190 : page 5] typified by the Lord's goat which in every particular followed in the footsteps of the bullock as we are to walk in the footsteps of Christ, our example. And we saw how the second company, alas, the "great company of Christians, fail to thus crucify and offer themselves, and must be "sent away" (as was the scapegoat) into great tribulation "for the destruction of the flesh that the spirit may be saved." This led to searching inquiry: Am I a sharer in Christ's sufferings, being made conformable unto his death? Am I a living sacrifice? – resulting, we hope, in "a closer walk with God" on the part of some.
In this we saw the hope of believers of this age to be that of becoming new creatures, of the divine, instead of the human nature, to which new spiritual conditions we are now begotten and hope soon to be born, and for which we pray.
This we hope soon to realize, by being made like unto Christ's glorious body. We saw these hopes of the church strongly contrasted with the hopes of the world, as held out in the scripture, when we saw for the first time, that Restitution was all that God had promised the world in general – Restitution of all that sin had destroyed through Adam's disobedience, so that they would again be perfect men whose safeguard from future disobedience and sin would be their knowledge of, and experience with it, in the present life.
We saw that the basis of all restitution was the payment of the debt of sin, and that to this end "Jesus Christ by the grace of God tasted death for every man." We next inquired, if his death brought restitution to us and found that it does, not actually restoring us to the condition of perfect men, but by God's reckoning all believers perfect (though none are so actually). We saw that we (who believe in the ransom) are so reckoned in order that we might have something to offer on God's altar, so that "The righteousness of the law is fulfilled in us." If we had not been thus justified and reckoned righteous we could not present ourselves as "living sacrifices" for sinful creatures would not be acceptable sacrifices. But we are justified ones, redeemed from all sin perfect and restored in God's sight, through Christ "by whom we have received the AT-ONE-MENT." (Rom. 5:11.) "In whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace." (Eph. 1:7.)
"The way our Leader trod." "And few there be that find it." As scripture began to narrow down to the overcomers, as those upon whom the prize, for which we are running should be bestowed it had the effect on many of stirring up to greater activity that "no man take our crown" – a feeling akin to that of Paul when he said: "If by any means I might attain unto THE resurrection," (the first resurrection which includes Jesus our head and all the members of His body who "live and reign with Him a thousand years" – only over-comers are to reign). Therefore we seek to walk separate from the world.
And further we have learned that the change and marriage, while intimately associated, are not the same, that we shall be changed to be on the same spiritual plane as our Lord – "be like Him" – like unto Christ's glorious body – the perfection of our new nature before being joined or united with Him in the glory of power or office.
We have noted how this was typified by Rebecca's meeting Isaac, which we believe to be a type of the church meeting her Lord. When the servant had made known to Rebecca the presence of Isaac, she put on a vail and went to him and he took her and she became his wife. So we are under the lead of the Spirit, which as God's servant is bringing the bride to the Bridegroom. Our Lord is present and the spirit is now (through the word) making known this fact, and when all who constitute members of that little flock have come to realize His presence, they all will as Rebecca did, pass beyond the vail and be with Him and be united to Him. Other features appeared relative to our condition
The first three plagues were visited upon the typical people by the hand of Aaron, who was a type of the translated church. As Aaron was the mouthpiece of Moses, so we expect that, when changed, we shall, under the vail, be the mouthpiece of the kingdom of God for a time. This same general truth we found illustrated in the building of the temple – the temple built representing the church in its changed or completed condition – yet unglorified until the Levites and Priests had come into full harmony in God's praise.
And now, dearly beloved, as you look back and see how the light of truth has shone upon our path-way more and more, and especially as we see its richness in spiritual teaching, during the last two years have we not reason to do as one of old – "thank God and take courage." Do not brother Paul's words, "cast not away your confidence," come to us with great force? In view of God's past leading and blessing, have we any reason to cast away our confidence in his presence? Do not these precious truths so freely given to us, themselves evidence his presence, when we remember that he said, concerning this time: "Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if any man hear my voice and open the door I will come in and sup with him and he with me." "Blessed are those servants whom the Lord when he cometh (has come) shall find watching; verily, I say unto you, that he shall gird himself and make them to sit down to meat, and will come forth and serve them." (Rev. 3:20, Luke 12:37).
What wonder if we have meat to eat that the world knoweth not of. The master is come and himself is serving us with the meat in due season. But let us look more closely at the words of Paul: He says our confidence has
We have seen that it will have. Next he adds: "For you have need of patience so that having done the will of God, you may receive the promise (things promised); for yet a very little while indeed, the coming one will come (be present) and will not delay."
This has now been accomplished; he has come and no longer delays. What now must we expect? That we soon shall walk by sight of the natural eye and not by faith, as all through the Gospel Age since Pentecost? Is this what we may expect? O no, though the way is very clear and the light strong, yet we must still "walk by faith and notby sight." So says the next verse, (38). "But my just one by faith shall live, and if he should shrink back my soul does not delight in him." The just one referred to, is first of all, Jesus, and secondly all those who constitute members of the body of Christ. The conditions of all are the same; none of them are children of God on the human plane, but on the divine, and when the evidences of the word are presented, they are expected to walk by faith, and must do so if they would be acceptable with the Lord. "If any man draw back (to walk by sight) my soul shall have no pleasure in him."
There must be something at this time to which the apostle refers calculated to make some draw back from the aforementioned light. Brethren, "cast not away your confidence which hath great recompence of reward." We surely have every reason for greater confidence than ever in the correctness of our position as we call to mind our leading in the past. "We are not of them that draw back."
"I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head and thou shalt bruise his heel." Gen. 3:15.
This prophecy was made at a time when all seemed to be lost, at the door of life, at the door of death. With a life of pure unsullied enjoyment in prospect, the new pair had taken possession of the new earth. They had a richer dowry than had ever fallen to the lot of morally intelligent beings. (The power of transmission, and this power in the lower order of animals was for man's benefit.) They were not the first children of their father, i.e., not the first created, but the first of their class.
In their complex structure the animal and the intellectual were wonderfully united, and they were made capable of receiving (through faith) a divine nature, (1 Peter 1:4,) which from an embryo condition (1 Peter 1:3-5,) shall finally (in the resurrection) come forth a spiritual, immortal body, (1 Cor. 15:44,) the gift of God through Jesus Christ. Some have taught and do teach that man had and still has a spiritual nature, but Paul speaking of the first and second Adam, (1 Cor. 15:45-46,) says, "the first man Adam was made a living soul"; (literally animal soul, or living being,) the last Adam was made a quickening spirit." How be it that was not first which is spiritual, but that which is natural, and afterward that which is spiritual.
There are several scriptures, which, taken alone, would seem to some to indicate a combination of the natural and spiritual, such as 2 Cor. 4:16. "Though our outward man perish, yet the inward man is renewed day by day. That the inward man here is the renewed mind, we learn from Rom. 7:22-23: "For I delight in the law of God after the inward man, but I see another law in my members, warring against the law of my mind and bringing me into captivity [R191 : page 6] to the law of sin which is in my members – (the natural man, the sore heel).
Again, that the inward man is the renewed mind, or the begotten life, we infer from Col. 3:10, where Paul says: they "have put on the new man which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him." And this harmonizes with what John said to those who came to him (Matt. 3:2) saying: "repent ye (change or have another mind) for the kingdom of heaven is at hand." The royal heir was then present though unknown.
We wish to bring before the minds of those who read this, the thought that through the infinite wisdom and love of the ever blessed God, only the animal nature of man (called the heel) will be overcome and fall into the hands of the enemy for a time; that the superior part, the life, the seed, (hid with Christ in God) shall escape, and even for a sore heel there is an [R192 : page 6] excellent preparation. Doubtless the splendid dowry of this wonderful pair excited the cupidity of the enemy, and he thought, that if this marvel of creation, with the power of transmitting its life and qualities, could be smuggled into his kingdom, a powerful ally would be gained.
That Satan knew that man would die, is, to our mind extremely doubtful; he had God's word for it, the same as they had, but disbelieved God's word, just as all Satan's children do. He had never seen one die and disbelieved in death altogether and accordingly said: "ye shall not surely die, for God doth know that in the day ye eat thereof, your eyes shall be opened and ye shall be as gods, knowing good and evil." Though the latter was true (Gen. 3:22,) yet they all soon knew that the former was false. And yet the enemy still constrains people to believe and teach that they are immortal, and that he will yet get the most of them and hold dominion of the most cruel sort over them eternally. But "thanks be to God who giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ," Satan was foiled and man was to die. What! thank God that man was to die? Yes, "the ministration of death written and engraven in stones was glorious." 2 Cor. 3:7.
The condemnation was glorious because through its execution infinite wisdom and love were seen providing a penalty, from which eternal life could be extracted; that out from the dying race the one should come, who would destroy the deceiver. Then and there the mandate went forth, and instead of man becoming an immortal ally of the deceivers, the truth of the words "dust thou art and unto dust shalt thou return," and "I will put enmity between thee and the woman, and between thy seed and her seed," took immediate effect, and the first death soon after, showed that the enemy only had hold of the heel – the natural man.
A warfare of six thousand years has not lessened the enmity, but yet the malice and art of the enemy have not been able to reach higher than the heel of "the seed." Thank God! What he evidently expected to gain (and what orthodoxy teaches that he did gain, viz.: an immortal race,) dissolved in his grasp.
Let us notice here a marked difference in humanity; a class with a sore head, and a class with a sore heel. (We speak soberly). We say a marked difference in humanity; the latter class are not reckoned in the flesh, because they have crucified the flesh, and the renewed mind, inner man, wars with it, and says with Paul, (Gal. 2:20,) "I (the natural man) am crucified with Christ, nevertheless I (the inner man) live, yet not I but Christ (the divine nature) liveth in me," (in the renewed mind).
We understand the sore or bruised heel to represent the physical condition of Christ and his church, both as individuals, and a collective body. He humbled himself unto death, even the death of the cross, that he might open a new and living way whereby these captives could be set at liberty." And those who have made, and will make a covenant with him by sacrifice, i.e. who are willing to suffer with him, and "fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in their flesh (heel) for his body's sake, which is the church," shall also be glorified together with him and have the exalted privilege of helping to lift up a fallen world in the "ages to come," and thus show the "exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us."
The sore or bruised head we understand to represent the superior or thinking part, the mind, and by metonymy, the whole being. Satan is the corruptor of the human race, and those whom he corrupts are called his children (John 8:44,) and are injured in the head, (Ver. 43). "Why do ye not understand my speech? Even because ye cannot hear my word." These are the ones spoken of (Ver. 15) as "thy seed" and who are to be at enmity with the seed of the woman, (Christ and those who are his,) who are said (1 Peter 1:23,) to be "born (begotten) not of corruptible seed but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever."
This bruise upon the head is corrupt and smells of mortality, and such a head (mind) is liable to sin "against the holy ghost, (reject light when they see it?) and is in "danger of eternal damnation" (age-lasting condemnation) whether he lives in "this world or the world (age) to come." (Mark 3:29). But this injury to "the seed of the woman" is not corrupt above the heel (the physical nature) and it, (head and body) when complete, will have put off mortality and will have life in itself; for (Rom. 2:7,) to them "who by patient continuance in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, eternal life" shall be given. But this injury to the heel is an affliction to the renewed mind, and such, like Paul, "find a law in their members warring against the law of their mind, and bringing them into captivity to the law of sin which is in their members," and cry out with him, (Rom. 7:24-25,) "Who shall deliver me from this body of death?" Answer – "Jesus Christ our Lord," thank God. So then, with the mind, I myself serve the law of God; but with the flesh (sore heel) the law of sin." (Chap. 8:1.) "There is, therefore, now, no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus;" ("renewed in the spirit of their mind, (Eph. 4:2-3,) who walk not after (down toward) the flesh, but after (according to) the spirit."
Great as the annoyance and distress is to have a sore heel, it is infinitely better than to have a sore head; and the thought that we are so soon to be made perfect should inspire us with patience to bear with fortitude the pain and vexation attending it, (2 Cor. 4:11,16,17,18.) For we which live are always delivered unto death for Jesus' sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh... for which cause we faint not; but though our outward man perish, (individual and collective physical) yet the inward man (mind – Eph. 4:23,) is renewed day by day. For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh out for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we look not at the things which are seen, for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal.
We would here recommend the remedy to which we have already referred, which is excellent; we have never known it to fail to relieve a limping disciple; it is referred to in Eph. 6:15, and is called "the preparation of the gospel of peace." We have tried it and can "speak that we do know and testify that we have seen." We can remember the time when our heel was so sensitive that certain sights and sounds sensibly affected it; we have known instances where the sight of money caused some to limp badly; we call to mind one notable case where the sight or mention of "thirty pieces of silver" caused one to stumble and fall "headlong." This is one of the worst cases of bruised heel we ever knew, and should think it was the head (for as we said that involves the whole being) if it were not for the statement made in Matt. 1:8; from this we infer that it was a desperate case of sore heel. Another one, at sight of danger, falsified and swore, and afterward at the sound of cock-crowing "wept bitterly."
We have seen some stumble at sight of show-bills and at sound of music; and we have known some to stumble at sight of others stumbling; this is not unfrequently the case. We have known some to stumble and fall at the sight and smell of whisky; and strange as it may seem, we have known many who limped so badly that they would stumble over a cigar or a small bit of tobacco; and we have known cases quite numerous where even a feather or a little shining object like a pearl or a diamond were hard to step over.
But this preparation if faithfully used will cure all this and enable one to walk firmly and upright, though there may be a slight twinge in the heel occasionally. But the bruise upon the head is terrible, much worse than that upon the heel, though some of its manifestations are similar, for instance: We have been credibly informed of cases which were excited to the highest pitch at the sound of the word office, who were totally deaf to the words "Christ crucified," and very many who could distinctly hear the little word self at any time, but if you were to add the word denial to it they could not distinguish the sound.
One of the terrible phases of bruised head, is, that those thus afflicted will believe that nothing ails them, and consequently will have nothing done for them, while the sore heel class know full well what the trouble is and continually try to get better, and look forward hopefully to the time when they shall be well.
Light and heat, are the first requisites for a sore head, but it is very difficult to get such to come to the light. John 3:19-20. There are many dark places now into which they can get away from the light, but the light-bearer is at hand, and though they shall call for the rocks and mountains to cover them that they may remain in the dark, yet the light will shine (Isaiah 40:5) "and the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together, for the mouth of the Lord hath spoken it."
One word more to our dear brethren of the bruised heel; (we all limp at times) this preparation is not only a protection, like a shoe, but it is an emollient if rightly used; we find that [R193 : page 6] pouring (or having poured) into it the "spirit of truth" is a great improvement, we have known of its being used without the spirit of truth and it became dry and hard. For the benefit of those who would like to get it, we would say that they will find explicit directions in Luke 11:13. It has an invigorating influence upon one, see John 6:63.
We need, dear brethren to be well shod, and have on the whole armor of God, for there is something worse than flesh and blood to contend with. Eph. 6:12. May the Lord enable us, "having done all to stand," for the restored and perfected body of which Christ is the head, shall soon rest its crushing weight upon the head of the monster and triumphantly exclaim, "thanks be to God who giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ."
"Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh; yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more." "Therefore if any man be in Christ he is a new creature; old things are passed away." 2 Cor. 5:16.
Would that all God's children could look at this matter as Bro. Paul here expresses it: Once you and I were alive after the flesh. Then we knew and criticised each other from a fleshly standpoint – "after the flesh," but now the conditions are changed, we have become New Creatures in Christ. This new creation, new will, new mind, is still connected with the fleshly body and is thereby in continual danger of being overruled and controlled by the fleshly desires, hence there is a continual warfare between the old and the new natures, and the work of the new is, to conquer and put to death the old nature – to "crucify the flesh."
It will at best be a slow and toilsome work to root up and destroy every vestige of our former selves, but from the time the work begins we should "reckon ourselves dead indeed...but alive toward God." And not only so but we should reckon each other in Christ as dead to the flesh. If we were to carry this out fully we should "henceforth know no man (in Christ) after the flesh," and how much sympathy and love this would develop one toward another. If I should see you, a brother in Christ, "overtaken in a fault," would I harshly condemn you? No; I should say to myself: Ah, that dear brother's enemy – his old nature – has overcome him, and instead of harsh condemnation, I would seek to restore such an one, remembering that it is not my brother of the new creation which has thus sinned, but that his enemy, the flesh, has for the time being, gained the victory over him. And I should seek to "restore such an one," in loving sympathy, remembering myself lest "I also be tempted" and overcome of my enemy – my fleshly nature.
Would that we thus knew each other after the new nature and not after the flesh. It is thus our Father recognizes us – as new creatures in Christ and looks upon us as pure and spotless, covered by Christ's righteousness, "not imputing our iniquities unto [R216 : page 7] us." He does not know us after the flesh, and oh how blessed it is for us that he does not. Let us thus look at each other and it will help us to "bear one another's burdens." And "ye that are strong (spiritually) can bear the infirmities of the weak." You can remember that your brother's spiritual nature may be weaker than yours and that he may have a stronger enemy to fight in the person of his fleshly nature than you have.
Let us recognize each other in all things as "members of the body of Christ," sons of God without rebuke, for "He that dwelleth in God sinneth not for his seed remaineth in him." 1 John 3:9. The only thing that would be counted as sin in such a one would be willful sin, and if your will consents to a sin, be sure you have not the mind of Christ and that you are not in him; you are yet in your sins. Remember then that, "If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature," and let us so regard one another.
The relationship existing between faith and works is seemingly much confused in the minds of God's children. We would suggest that works without faith would not count, as then it would be a sinner's works, which of necessity are imperfect: "Without faith it is impossible to please God." Faith might exist alone for a time, for not by works are we justified, but by faith only.
First, then, while sinners we learned of our ransom by the Lord, from sin, death, and all of the Adamic curse; "that Christ died for our sins" – "the just for the unjust;" that we "were bought with a price, even the precious blood of Christ." We believed this, and then God told us that though we do not actually become free from the Adamic penalties, we are to reckon ourselves as though we had none of the imperfections and ailments of the fallen nature – as though perfect. God tells us that he has received full satisfaction for our sins in the ransom and henceforth looks upon all who come unto him by Jesus, as sinless beings – "justified freely from all things." This is the meaning of justified – reckoned righteous, sinless. And thus we see how we come to this condition by faith without any regard to works. "Being justified by faith we have peace with God."
From that moment you are a saved person and will surely be recovered from the effects of sin, and from that moment forward you should never think nor speak of yourself as "a poor sinner." Such we were, but have been redeemed and justified. But you are not yet an "heir of glory." Only believers, justified ones, are called to be "heirs of God, joint heirs with Jesus Christ our Lord." And now that you are a saved man or woman God calls you to be something more than human. He calls you to become a "partaker of the divine nature," and mentions as the conditions upon which you can make your calling and election sure, that you shall resign your will to his, and thus take his will as the law of your being. He tells you that his will is that you thus crucify, or put to death and ignore the human nature which you are finally to lose entirely. Thus your new divine nature grows up within the old or human, using this earthen vessel to the service of the Lord and not in its own service.
And here works join faith. We believe God's call and the exceeding great and precious promises of "Glory, Honor and Immortality," and begin to seek for it. And now comes God's instruction to you: "Work out your (higher spiritual) salvation with fear and trembling," and let God "work in you to will and to do of his good pleasure." Phil. 2:12.
This salvation to the divine nature cannot be obtained by faith only – cannot be obtained without works, because there is no other way of complying with the conditions of our call and making our election sure. We were called to suffer, if we would reign with Christ. But if you have faith in all these promises, and keep that faith locked in your bosom and live as an earthly being, working for earthly things, your faith without works is valueless, and the works of earth will swallow up and destroy the faith, and you will not suffer and consequently not reign.
If you know the conditions of this "high calling" to be: "Take up your cross and follow Jesus' example of self-denial, do you think that faith in the promise, without following the example, will insure you the prize?" Not so; faith alone justifies us, but works of obedience, as well as faith, are necessary if we would attain to that whereunto we are called. It is the overcomer that inherits all things promised. May the Lord help us to work not our own will, but to "work the works of God," and may he give grace and increase our faith so that the promises may be so real to us that works will be easy.
BRO. RUSSELL – I have read carefully your articles in recent papers, touching the distinction between our human nature to which we become dead, and the Divine nature to which we are begotten, and hope soon to be born into its perfection. But I inquire: Is there not to some extent a vein of truth in the claim made by some, that before we reach the Divine nature and image we must be perfected on the natural plane, as human beings? In other words, while we see that to the gospel church alone, of all human beings, is given the "high calling," or promise of the spiritual nature, and the balance of mankind are to be merely restored to perfection as men – natural, earthly beings, is there not a sense in which the church share this restitution as well as the inheritance of spiritual things? And does it not seem that we must first come to the condition in which we can keep perfectly God's perfect law, which cannot be kept except by perfect beings?
ANS. To your first question we reply: Yes, we think there is a vein of truth in the claim that all mankind must be restored to perfection of the human nature before the Divine nature is attainable. But as there is a difference between the final attainment of believers – the Divine nature – and the final attainment of the world in general – restitution to the perfection, etc., of humanity, so there is a difference too in the way in which the church and world partake of restitution. "Jesus Christ by the grace of God tasted death for every man" – thus redeeming every man from sin and its consequences; and because of this purchase or ransom, all men must go free from sin and all its results; and it is for this reason, there is to be a restitution.
The restoring of mankind in general will be of the most literal kind; they will during the millennial age, come again to perfection of body and mind, so that no longer will they be "prone to sin as the sparks to fly upward" but again at one with God. Having come to know good in contrast with evil, their restored powers will lead them to take pleasure in doing good and living in harmony with God. This will be to them the full completion of the great work of at-one-ment. Bringing into full harmony God and His creature, man, who has been out of harmony ever since sin entered the world. Thus we see that the effect of restitution to the world, will be the bringing of them again to a condition, where they will have full fellowship and communion with God, and be able to do those things which are well pleasing in his sight.
But now notice, that all these blessings of restoration to God's favor, etc., which are to come to the world in the next age are possessed by believers now – in the Gospel Age. Restitution to God's favor, etc., comes to believers by faith now. It comes to us, not actually as it will to the world. Instead of having a mental and physical restitution, we are justified or reckoned of God as though we were actually perfect, and instead of exacting of us perfection of thought, word and act, our best efforts in these directions are accepted of God as being perfect. In a word, as our sins were laid upon Jesus, so His righteousness is laid upon us. As he who knew no sin was reckoned and dealt with as a sinner, bearing the penalty of our sins – death – "in his own body on the tree," so we who were sinners are reckoned righteous and dealt with as such. He bore our sins; we bear his righteousness. As when he took our place and was treated as the sinner, the Father's face was withdrawn, and in his dying anguish he cried, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me;" so we who are justified, come into the light of God's countenance and are no more reckoned sinners, but saints; no more aliens, but sons; "and because we are sons, he hath sent forth his Spirit into our hearts, whereby we cry, Abba, Father." Jesus cried as a sinner; we cry as sons.
But this condition of reckoned righteousness – justification – is only of believers, and is entered into only by faith, and cannot be obtained by works "to him that believeth on Him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.... Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven and whose sins are covered." Rom. 4:5-9. This righteousness or justification comes "upon all them that believe," "therefore we conclude that a man is justified by faith." (Rom. 3:19-28.) This is our restitution, thus we who were aliens and afar off are made nigh to God by the blood of the cross – restored to his favor, as Adam was before sin. And it is our high joy that our standing in God's sight is no longer as sinners, but as sons in Christ "not having on our own righteousness...but that which is through the faith of Christ." (Phil. 3:9.) And if God reckons us justified and sinless, we should so reckon ourselves.
Our harmony with God comes because of justification – "Being justified (by faith) we have peace with God." This same result will be reached in the next age by mankind in general: Being restored fully, they will have "peace with God." We are apt, however to under-value our justification – our righteousness (ours because given to us by our head Jesus) God however puts a high value on it, reckons us – "whiter than snow," pure as Him whose righteousness we bear – if we abide in Him. Paul valued it properly when he said: "Who is he that condemneth [us]? It is Christ that died....Who shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect? It is God that justifieth." Rom. 8:33. There is no appeal from this: The Judge of the Supreme Court of heaven says, "we are justified freely from all things" through the death of Jesus Christ His Son, who died the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to this justified condition.
Now how much more restitution do you want – how much more could you ask? Is not everything that the world will have in the future, now yours by faith?
We have already given our views of why, and now repeat: that Restitution to perfection of the human nature (which is something grand and glorious, and inferior only when compared with the high exaltation of the church to the divine plane of spiritual perfection) is the full fruition of all promises held out for the world in the bible; but "God (has) provided some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect," (restored – Heb. 11:40). Therefore because God has a "better thing" for us – our high calling to joint-heirship with Jesus Christ our Lord, He has found it necessary to give us a schooling and discipline in the school of faith, and calls us out from the world while evil is allowed to triumph in order that, as his sons, we may be trained to overcome evil. He calls us out from the world that we should "walk by faith and not by sight."
These lives are justified then given [R193 : page 8] to us that we may have something to offer. As our Leader (Jesus) was the just one and gave his life a sacrifice, so when we come to realize that we are justified we esteem it a privilege to "present our bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, our reasonable service." It is acceptable because it is holy; it is holy because it is justified; it is justified because Christ died.
To your second question I reply: It certainly is true, as you say, that none but perfect beings can keep God's perfect law, and I will go further and add that none but perfect beings are acceptable with God. And when God's plans are all accomplished there will be nothing imperfect – all things will either be brought to perfection or destroyed.
But as we have just proved we are perfect beings, being justified by Christ Jesus and therefore are acceptable with God by Jesus Christ. And though "by the deeds of the Law shall no flesh be justified in his sight, we being justified not by the deeds of the law but by faith, can "do those things which are well pleasing in his sight." (1 John 3:21). And the righteousness of the law (love) is fulfilled in us who walk not after the flesh but after the spirit. (Rom. 8:4,) i.e.: We are reckoned as having kept the Law perfectly while we walk after the Spirit – use our endeavors to follow the leadings of our new nature.
In conclusion let me say: If we receive our share of restitution now, and present our justified lives a sacrifice acceptable to God, we need look for no second restitution, nor can I think that any Christian who realizes his perfect standing in Christ, and the begetting of the Spirit to newness of life (the perfect spiritual) has any desire for the restoration of the old (human) nature which he has crucified, but rather for the new – divine nature – into which we so soon hope to come, when we shall be like him and see him as he is.
If only perfect beings can keep the law of God perfectly does it not prove that Jesus was more perfect than his human nature was spotless from the imperfections of the race whose likeness he took? We think so. How then, say some, Jesus was as imperfect physically, etc., as any member of the fallen human race – "on the lowest round of the ladder" – yet all admit that Jesus [R194 : page 8] kept the whole law.
QUES. Dear Editor, please explain 1 Cor. 14:34. Let the women keep silence in the churches, for it is not permitted unto them to speak; but let them be under obedience as also saith the law. (Gen. 3:16).
ANS. It is not for us to say why, when God gives no reasons. Neither can we tell why Jesus sent none of the noble and good women who believed on him to preach, when he sent first the twelve and then the seventy before his face. However, much may be said of good accomplished by women in the temperance cause, etc., we nevertheless believe that this scripture has never been disregarded with impunity. We believe woman to be a type of the church, and man the type of Christ the head of the church, and we might draw the lesson that we, the spouse of Christ, are not to dispute or instruct in the church, but listen to the voice of our Head – give ear to his word.
ANS. In considering these and other scriptures, we should remember that different statements are true from different standpoints; for instance, Isaiah said "Unto us a child is born." This is true, and in the past; he also said: "The government shall be upon his shoulders." This will be true in due time. David said, personating Jesus – They gave me gall, etc., and parted my raiment among them. This has been fulfilled but some other matters are still future, as for instance: "The Lord reigneth; let the earth keep silence," etc. This last will not be fulfilled until He shall take his great power and reign, when we shall reign with him a thousand years. So in the sayings of Job. He saw mankind going down into death, and that being sinners they had no hope of saving themselves, and says, "He that goeth down to the grave shall come up no more." This was properly the human standpoint, for remember that as yet Jesus had not died – the ransom price had not been paid, and the resurrection was little understood until Jesus "abolished (vanquished) death and brought life and immortality to light through the Gospel." (2 Tim. 1:10).
The necessity of pardon for sins is recognized in Ver. 21. Job well knew that he could not "climb up and win life for himself;" that sin would cause him to sleep in the dust; and yet he seems to realize that God intended furnishing a ransom for sin – to take away the sin of the world – and he looks forward to the millennial or Restitution morn, for though he should be gone to dust, yet he says: "Thou shalt seek me in the morning." In 14:12, the same general hope is expressed: "So man lieth down and riseth not." A tree might be cut off and sprout again, but not so man, he cannot sprout, he cannot help himself; he must await the great deliverer, who says: "I, (the Redeemer of the race – Jesus,) have the keys of death and hades" (the grave) "'Til the heavens be no more, (symbol of present rule of evil or Satan" – the prince of the powers of the air" – heavens) they shall not awake nor be raised out of their sleep."
We have heretofore noticed, that Job was used as a representative of the world in general – the great restitution masses, (whether he personally will have anything more than restitution we are not prepared to say,) but in his life he is used as a great illustration of the race. Possessing much at first he loses almost all, and then a time of restitution comes and he has as many sons and daughters, comforts, friends, etc., as at first. So our race was at first possessed of wonderful blessings of life, health, etc., almost all of which is now gone; but like Job their type they are soon to have a "restitution of all things which God hath spoken by the mouth of all the holy prophets since the world began." (Acts 3:21.)
And not only does Job represent the world in his experience, but he speaks for them when he says – "Oh that thou wouldest hide me in the grave; that thou wouldest keep me secret (hid) until thy wrath be past; that thou wouldest appoint me a set time and remember me....Thou shalt call and I will answer thee; thou wilt have a desire to the work of thy hands." (Vs. 13-15.) The saints are to be raised before the day of wrath for "This honor hath all his saints to execute the judgments written." (Psa. 149:9.) But the class for whom Job speaks do not arise until the time of trouble is over – the present heavens (Satan's control) be no more and the new heavens (spiritual government of Christ and his bride over earth) be fully established.
QUES. Please explain Rev. 10:6: The angel sware "that there should be time no longer."
ANS. Many are the "times and seasons which God hath put in his own power," and no doubt each of these will end as its work is accomplished; many have so ended already, for instance, the time of God's favor to fleshly Israel – the Jewish age – ended; and the time of favor to the gentiles – the gospel age – during which God is taking out of the gentiles a people for His name (His bride) is also to end, and it is this Gospel time or age which we understand to be referred to as the "time to be no longer." Verse 7 shows this: "But in the days of the voice of the seventh angel – "The seventh trump" – "The last trump" – "The trump of God," (1 Cor. 15:52, 1 Thes. 4:16, and Rev. 11, 15, 18, 19,) [during which the first resurrection and change of living saints occurs] the mystery of God should be finished."
Both God's plan and His church are called a "mystery." Neither are comprehended by the world. When, however, the Gospel age or time ends, the church is exalted; and after the time of trouble the great work of blessing all the families of earth begins, the mystery both of the church and God's plan will be finished, and both will shine forth to the praise of Him who loved us and bought us with His own precious blood. God will no longer veil His plans and be thought vengeful and merciless, but the bud that had the bitter taste will bloom to a beautiful and fragrant flower. His goodness in full glory shine declaring: "God is LOVE."
QUES. Bro. Russell, please explain the command concerning feet washing. John 13? It seems to be so plain a command I wonder why it is so little observed.
ANS. To our understanding, the lesson here taught the disciples by our Lord is humility, and that they should love one another to such an extent that they would consider no service too great nor too degrading which would minister to each other's comfort. "Let him that would be chief among you become servant of all." "If I, your Lord and Master, have washed your feet, you ought also to wash one another's feet." And if you and I lived in the same warm country and wore the same kind of shoe or sandal which permitted the feet to be soiled and sored by the dirt and sand, it would no doubt be a great comfort and privilege for us to wash one another's feet. But while we live as we do, under totally different circumstances, climate, etc., it would be anything but a service to me if you were to insist upon washing my feet as frequently as they do in Palestine – several times a day.
But there are hundreds of opportunities of showing the meek, lowly and loving spirit of our Master. Would that Christians could realize that, as God's stewards and servants, it is not self we are to minister to and serve and pamper, but it is our mission to "do good unto all men as we have opportunity, especially to the household of faith," remembering that we are to walk in His footsteps who "came not to be ministered unto (served), but to minister (serve) and to give his life a ransom for many."
QUES. Please explain Rev. 20:5. The rest of the dead lived not again until the 1,000 years were finished.
ANS. We understand that the resurrection is of two general divisions: One of which is the resurrection to the immortal condition. ["Neither can they die any more." (Luke 20:36,) "on such, the second death hath NO POWER." (Rev. 20:6,)] and is composed exclusively of "overcomers." This is scripturally called "The resurrection," "The first resurrection," etc. This first resurrection (to immortality) commenced 1,800 years ago in the person of Jesus our Lord "who is head over the church (of overcomers) which is His body" and it will be complete when the "overcomers" of this age are made like Him – the Bridegroom and Bride – head and body united. This will complete the resurrection to "Immortal life." (See article "The narrow way to life," October No. 1880, "Z.W.T.")
All the balance of mankind are to be raised, but "every man in his own order." The second company of the Gospel church – the great company who "come up out of great tribulation" will be second in order. These come to the spiritual condition but never reach Immortality, the prize for which all christians now are running and of which Paul says: "So run that you may obtain," &c.
After these comes the resurrection of Jews and Gentiles of all ages, (in what order we know not except that it will be God's order.) Their resurrection includes not only raising to partial life but also the bringing to perfect life, hence it is the restitution and takes place during the Millennial age. "The times (years) of Restitution."
The words found in Rev. 20:5 of the common version of the Bible, viz.: "But the rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished," are not found in the old and authentic copies of Revelation.
Read the chapter, omitting these words, and you will find it more and better connected, and in harmony with the balance of the Bible. [See Z.W.T., vol. I, No. 6, page 8.]
Tract Supplement No. 2 goes forward this month. Let us again suggest that you read it carefully before handing to others. They are for free distribution. Order as many as you can use. They are specially designed for thinking Christians, and would be, to the natural man, foolishness. For "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.
"DAY DAWN; OR, THE GOSPEL IN TYPE AND PROPHECY." By J. H. Paton. 334 pp. Paper, 50 cts.; cloth binding, 75 cts. Free to the poor. You should read this valuable work. Address the author, at Almont, Mich.