The Editor recognizes a responsibility to the Master, relative to what shall appear in these columns, which he cannot and does not cast aside; yet he should not be understood as endorsing every expression of correspondents, or of articles selected from other periodicals.
This paper will be sent free to any of the Lord's poor who will send a card yearly requesting it. Freely we have received and freely we would give the truth. "Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters; and he that hath no money, come ye, buy and eat – yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price." And you that have it – "Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labor for that which satisfieth not? Hearken diligently – and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness." – ISAIAH 55:1,2.
We have a plan in view which will enable those who have some time to invest, to bring forth fruit to the glory and praise of our Master. Those anxious for greater service in the Vineyard even at the eleventh hour may send a Postal Card to this office stating the fact, at once. What an honor is the privilege of being co-workers together with God.
A NUMBER of letters lately received give no post office address. This has wasted valuable time in searching them out, and some we could not find after all. The address should be FULL and very distinctly written, the first thing, at the top of your note. When an address is changed, state where from, as well as where to. When renewing a subscription remember to give the same initials as those given at first, in which you have been receiving it, if they are right. We cannot know that Mrs. Amelia B. Smith is the same we formerly addressed as Mrs. Charles D. Smith.
"Gird thy sword upon thy thigh O mighty one! (it is) thy glory and thy majesty; yea it is thy majesty. Be prosperous; ride along for the cause of truth and meekness and righteousness; and fearful things shall thy right hand teach thee.
Thy sharpened arrows (people will fall down beneath thee) will enter into the heart of the King's enemies. Thy throne, given of God endureth forever and ever: the scepter of equity is the scepter of thy kingdom." Psa. 45:4-7. – Leeser.
We are living in the grandly awful time when this Scripture is being fulfilled. These words were uttered by the prophet as Jehovah's mouth piece, foretelling not the suffering and death of the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world, but declaring the majesty of him who gave himself a ransom for all, when he shall come to reap the fruits; of the victory which he then won, when he shall come to be glorified in his saints and admired [respected, obeyed, worshiped] in all them that believe in that day; when he shall take his great power and reign in equity, putting down all unrighteousness and subduing all things to the will of Jehovah.
Would that more could see the fulfillment of this prophecy now in progress; it would inspire confidence to the meek lovers of right and truth, and inspire with awe those who practice unrighteousness and who receive not the truth in the love of it.
The sword of Messiah is the truth, and with it he shall smite the nations. The smitings of the truth come upon all who come into conflict with it. It will smite and severely wound the unjust whether he be master or slave; whether workman, laborer, clerk, or master, employer, or capitalist; whether professed saint or sinner. The sword in the hands of him who now takes his great power to establish righteousness is the truth, and is to fulfill the prayer, "Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth." It is no respecter of persons and opinions, and he only that doeth righteousness shall go unrebuked.
In which ever direction we look, we see the smitings of the sword of truth. The lesson of "RIGHT" [righteousness] is being forced upon every one; upon nations and individuals – all are gradually being forced to a clearer recognition of the advisability, yea, the necessity of EQUITY and fairness in their dealings one with another; and it is the smitings of the sword of truth that is causing them to learn the lesson. There are, and will still be for quite a while, and even increasingly so, wide differences between governments and people, and between employers and employed, between truth and error. On every subject conflicts will come, and the final victory will be for right and truth.
He who most clearly apprehends the situation and most quickly yields to laws of the new King, will be first and most blessed. They who fall before him in obedience, and reverence to his scepter of righteousness, will the soonest be blessed and exalted by the King of glory, while they who oppose his scepter of righteousness are counted his enemies, and shall fall before his sharp arrows. In HIS DAY the righteous shall flourish and the evil doer [unjust] shall be cut off. Psa. 72:7 and 37:9.
Many have claimed that this rule has always obtained, but such is not the case. The just and those who served the Lord have, suffered in so doing, because Satan, hitherto the "prince of this world," had no friendship for either the Head or members of Christ; and through all to whom he could communicate his spirit he has crucified and persecuted and maligned the Lord's anointed, and made the path of equity an uphill road for all who sought it. The meek and peaceably disposed he disdained and ignored and took advantage of. The bold, rapacious and grasping who exalted themselves by abasing and oppressing and sacrificing their fellow mortals, these he favored, and their deeds of violence he published as virtues and graces.
But now we are in the transition time; Satan's power must grow less, and right, justice – truth – must become more respected and appreciated because the King of righteousness and peace now takes it as his sword and is wielding it. But though assured of the final outcome, that right and its Lord will conquer, and that he must reign, not only until he hath put all enemies under his feet, and brought the whole creation into entire submission to the will of Jehovah, whose will shall be done in earth even as in heaven, yet we must remember that the conflict will be sharp; every inch of the way will be contested. Between government and people we see more and more a disposition on the part of the people to see their rights and to demand them; and on the part of the governments exercised by the largest measure of liberality a disposition gradually to see and to concede these rights, though slowly and with reluctance. Between capital and labor also the struggle progresses; labor is awakening to its rights and to the necessity of vigorously demanding them; and some of the more liberal and fair minded capitalists conceding some of the rights claimed, are aiming as they can see the way, to grant to labor its proper reward and respect. But among nations, not all, but the few are wise and liberal; and among the people, not all are just in their demands or prudent in their expectations: capitalists in general are not liberal or disposed to be just toward their less favorably circumstanced fellow beings, and among laborers and workmen only a small minority are calm and wise and intelligent enough to be able to see both sides of the vexed problem so as to act reasonably and prudently.
As a consequence of these obstacles, and further, because the present order and arrangement of society, is such that the conduct of employers and the wages paid for service, etc., must to a large extent depend upon the course of others, therefore the way to an open and complete rupture, the civilized world over is gradually but surely being forced. The end of this will be the victory of RIGHT and the overthrow of injustice, as well as of the misconceptions upon which they are built, and by which at present they are fortified. One result of that time of trouble will be the greater sympathy with which each class will look back upon the course of the other, in the present time. The bringing of all to a common level (the grand level of human brotherhood, with equality of rights, whose variety of talents shall minister to the blessing of all) is the first lesson of the Great Teacher and will prepare for further though less severe lessons in the theory and practice of the will of God – "as it is done in heaven."
Every one who in any way assists in the advancement of TRUTH and the establishment of RIGHT is a laborer in a good cause, whether saint or sinner. Such are fighting in this battle on the side of the Mighty One, and are helping to draw the bow of truth which sends the arrows of conviction into the hearts of the enemies of the King of Righteousness; and though as shown above the conflict cannot be averted – the crash must come – yet to such we say Press on! your labor will hasten the conflict to its glorious end. It is noble; It is right. Seek to serve the cause of TRUTH from the love of truth, not for faction or party policy.
Yet the saints should not be found battling thus, though they may sympathize with the RIGHT and TRUTH on every issue: they have a still higher and still more important position, in the same "battle of the great day of God Almighty." They stand closer to the conquering King; they are armed with the same sword of the spirit, the word of God. They also ride upon white horses [pure doctrine]. They that are thus with him are "called and chosen and FAITHFUL," (Rev. 17:14; 19:11-16) and their part in the fray is to oppose false doctrines, and to slay with the SWORD of the truth.
Great is the multitude of Babylon, grand and imposing their appearance, yet fear not little flock, the race is not to the swift nor the battle to the strong and mighty, for greater is he that is on our part than all they that be against us. [R775 : page 1] His word assures us that "the slain of the Lord shall be many" (Isa. 66:14-16), but he smites to bless; he wounds to heal. When the conflict is ended Great Babylon with all its legions will be no more. The Presbyterian legions, with its staunch veterans and their well-worn battle flags of "Predestination" and "Decrees," will be no more. The arrows of scepticism and unbelief will smite down many, and the sword of the conqueror shall prevail against them, until they shall SEE him and surrender themselves and their banners to him and take a place in his army. The Methodist legion, with their popular banner – "Free Grace," will be no more; many of her defenders will fall, and some will find in the ranks of the Conqueror a larger and a grander banner of Free Grace and full salvation than they had ever dreamed of. The Episcopal, and the Lutheran, and the Roman legions and others shall be no more. Those of each of these, who were once blinded and deceived, shall join the Legion of "The King's Own" so soon as they see [R775 : page 2] the truth. But woe then to those who now see and obey not the truth; woe will then be upon all who knew the Master's will and did it not – who knew that they were among those opposing the TRUTH, and who gave their time, influence and voice against it from policy, or other considerations. Such shall be beaten with MANY STRIPES.
Let all who would serve the King, and who would be seen under no other banner than His, and be known by none other name nor wield another sword, than his, put on the whole armor of defence and take and use the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. The message to every faithful member through the Head is "Gird on the sword.... Be prosperous, ride along for the cause of truth and meekness and righteousness." "I will give you a mouth and wisdom which all your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay nor resist." Luke 21:15.
MY DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL. – I forward another small sum towards whatever fund most needs help. I have great reason to be thankful for the glorious light which shines upon the Word of God, but I am distressed at my small amount of service. I long to be able to preach the glad tidings, but it seems sometimes as though I had to keep all the good things to myself. I don't know what member I am, but I'm thankful God gives me some little to do. A word here a line there. A copy of "Food" loaned here with a request to have the reader's opinion after going through it; a copy of WATCH TOWER there, and a conversation wherever I feel it will be for the edifying of saints or the pulling down of the strongholds of Satan. These I feel assured are not fruitless ways of proclaiming the gospel of peace.
Since I last wrote to you, my brother who was in the Methodist ministry, has "come out of her," not being able to hold the traditions and dogmas of the deceived elders. He will not accept all my views, but is very much more in favor of ZION'S WATCH TOWER, "Food" and "Tabernacle" teachings than he was some time ago.
My position is a most peculiar one. I have had my name taken off the books and refuse to subscribe towards the connectional funds, but the people with whom I have labored so long are not willing that I should leave them. They know my views, in some measure at any rate, and are willing for me to teach them, saying we are Christians, brethren in Christ, and on that ground we claim your fellowship; we don't care what you believe; we know you are a Christian and that is enough for us. It is the fellowship we desire not the name.
They are a most loving little band of people, and you may rest assured that the grains of truth let fall and those scattered, are not lost. If I am doing wrongly I only want the Lord of the vineyard to show me and give me something to do somewhere else. I cannot live without working for the Master, but it seems very slow work.
I do long for the manifestation of the Son of God, though I am by no means certain of being amongst specially favored ones. I was only a very nominal Christian until after 1881. I am totally unworthy and unfit for such a glorious high calling, but I know my joy will be full if I'm only a meek inheritor of the earth.
It is a great trial for the members to be separate. I don't know how others feel, but I do long for the fellowship, face to face with another who holds ZION'S WATCH TOWERS' teachings as fully as myself; but organizations are not to be desired, therefore, we must wait patiently and if the Lord will, I'll praise him in company with the other brethren in his kingdom.
I would not part with my TOWERS for their weight in gold. I am reading all carefully through again and making notes. May the Lord bless you ever more and more abundantly. Will try to send again in a short time. With heartiest Christian brotherly love.
I am dear brother, very faithfully yours.
DEAR BROTHER: – You seem to have a hopeful field. If they "have an ear to hear" let them hear the good tidings. Preach the whole truth, exposing popular errors fearlessly but kindly, withdrawing all your influence from sectarianism, and very shortly you will find the truth doing a separating work; more than likely too, some of the reproaches which fell upon our Lord will fall upon you.
Regarding your hopes of membership in the Christ only yourself and the Head can fully decide. Let me say, however, that the fact of your discernment of spiritual things (1 Cor. 2:9-12,14,15) and that discerned they awaken a love which leads you to willing self-sacrifice in the service of truth, seems to indicate that you are begotten of the spirit of the truth to "the high calling of God which is in Christ Jesus." We presume that like thousands of others you covenanted with, and consecrated yourself to the Lord, long before you realized all that it implied. In fact all have done so, to a greater or less extent. We esteem you a brother in Christ: grow up unto him in all things, who is the Head of the body, even Christ.
DEAR SIR AND BROTHER IN CHRIST. – Inclosed please find P.O. for $5.00 which you will please place to the credit of the Tract Fund. I am very sorry I have not been able to do more for the Lord's cause, but he has seen fit to permit me to be sorely tried. I have done very little work for ten months previous to May 1st, since which time I have been here under severe and trying circumstances. Of course having no work for so long, I was obliged to go in debt, and now I have to work very hard for very small pay. Last week I worked overtime and made a few dollars extra, so I send the above hoping the Master will accept the sacrifice.
God bless you is my daily prayer. Yours in hope of the First resurrection.
DEAR FRIENDS: – I promised last year to send the price of my subscription but was unable to do so because we got in debt, and I had to pay it by washing. I am now teaching to finish a term left vacant before the close of the school year. I enclose money to pay for the past year and the present, to renew my mother's subscription, and to send the paper to a poor brother who is searching after the truth. I think some copies of previous papers would be beneficial to him. I want to tell you, for encouragement, that there is no reading matter that presents to me such good doctrine; that affords so much meat in season as the TOWER. I look for them eagerly. I am trusting in God, but it seems I am almost overcome with the cares of this life. Since I have been teaching I have done the work for my family of seven except washing, with the little assistance my boys could give me, taking my one year and a half baby to my sister-in-law next door, and walking a mile to school. I am so tired and so unreasonably irritable sometimes, I am discouraged, I thought I might have taken too much upon myself, but the matter was in the Lord's hands entirely. I was willing to live in debt and want if it was best for my discipline, and, not five minutes before the trustee came to inform me of my acceptance I had said "Father if it is best for me to have the school and the money, I am ready; if not, it is all right." And now all glory be to him, he has enabled me to accomplish the work successfully, to purchase a cow and implements to make butter, and to supply some of the most pressing needs in the family, beside paying my subscription and furnishing more food for mother and brother. I visited him last Sunday and he eagerly asked for proof of some truths I opened to him. He could not understand how I could stay away from church and be justified, while I had an "influence for good" among them, but I cannot go to church, and you cannot know how alone I am, and set aside as evil. I could not bear it but for God. I am willing, however, and find much comfort in a clear conscience and the Word of God. Yours in our Lord.
A Brother who is laboring privately in the vineyard has been privileged to see some fruit to his labor; he received the following letter which explains itself. He sent it to us and we give some extracts to you. All may not so soon see precious fruit rewarding labor but every effort pays and bears fruit, upon ourselves, if not always in those we endeavor to help.
DEAR SIR. – I suppose you do not know that I owe you a large amount, not of money, but of thanks, for something. You could hardly guess what, but I will tell you what; it is for certain instructions, or a start to that instruction or knowledge which I have since learned. Do you recollect last fall at the York Fair we were talking about the Bible and its teachings? You told me that you learned a great deal, I think you said in the last year or so; and you told me different things about the Bible, etc. But just at that time the Bible was not of much weight to me, because I found too many faults and errors in it at that time, and about one-half contradicted the other half of it. And, in fact, I thought Ingersoll was more right than the Bible; and he is, just as correct as the doctrine our ministers are preaching from the pulpits. I am altogether astonished at myself that I did not see and understand more than I did. I thought when I read something I could understand, too, but I did not.
You probably remember that you told me to subscribe for ZION'S WATCH TOWER, I at once did so, and got a few numbers, and also the tracts entitled "Food for Thinking Christians" and "The Tabernacle Teachings," and I commenced to read these papers and books through, and pretty soon I got to studying these papers and books and am to-day not half done studying them, because the more I read them, the more I have to refer to the Bible, and now I find that the Bible is a most wonderful book. Everything is right; there are no contradictions in it; it supports its own teachings perfectly throughout. I am a great friend and lover of it. Indeed, everything is plain if a person can just get to see it once. How simple and how easy and beautiful it is. Oh, the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God. What astonishes me, is the ignorance of our ministers. In every sermon that I hear preached, I hear many mistakes, but these mistakes in themselves would of course be of not much account, but they in this way teach and instruct the people wrongly, telling them things which are not so. I think it is dreadful. But I must also tell you that it is very hard to get people to believe the Bible as it is. May be you are more successful, but I find it hard to convince them. O, to be sure, there are some who take no special interest in it – who listen, but when all is said, are dull and know nothing. Those who want to understand something are not so quick turned.
I cannot express my thanks to you in giving me the start in so noble a study.
DEAR BRO. RUSSELL: I am glad that the "Plan of Redemption" has met with a joyful reception in my Norway home. I heard from my father a week ago. He sends his thanks and warm greetings to you all. He says that it is not entirely new to him, he having discerned from the Word the outlines of the plan; but he rejoices now with joy unspeakable in being more fully able to see the plan clearly, being aided by my translations from the WATCH TOWER and FOOD, together with the long letters that I write to him, making it as plain as I can. Others besides himself are also getting interested, to whom these translations and letters are read, as the epistles of old, to different little congregations.
I have had a chance for about a month past to tell these wonderful tidings in a public way – the best way I can. The chaplain of the "Seamen's Bethel" has gone North for the summer, and left his place in charge of a man who is good enough to let me speak at their Sunday evening and Thursday evening meetings. There are not many ships and sailors in port at present, but a good many city people go to these meetings. Some are getting interested. I will, with God's help, continue till I am put a stop to, which will be when the old orthodox chaplain comes back. I give away many WATCH TOWERS to Christian seamen going to foreign countries, no telling what soil they may strike root in.
By the way, I experienced last night that when a natural or non-begotten person gets sick, and repents of his sins believing in Christ, his body is also restored to soundness in answer to prayer. I could not help thinking about the passage in Mark 4:11,12. The time is coming that those without should also understand and believe and be converted that they might be healed. Bless the Lord, O my soul. Yours as ever,
"THERE is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time." – 1 Tim. 2:5.
"Master, speak! Thy servant heareth,
Longing for Thy gracious word,
Longing for Thy voice that cheereth;
Master, let it now be heard,
I am listening, Lord, for Thee;
What hast thou to say to me?
"Often through my heart is pealing
Many another voice than Thine,
Many an unwilled echo stealing
From the walls of this Thy shrine.
Let thy longed-for accents fall;
Master, speak! and silence all.
"Master, speak! I cannot doubt Thee,
Thou wilt through life's pathway lead;
Saviour, Shepherd, oh, without Thee
Life would be a blank indeed.
Yet I seek still fuller light,
Deeper love, and clearer sight,
"Resting on the 'faithful saying,'
Trusting what Thy gospel saith,
On Thy written promise staying
All my hope in life and death; –
Yet I ask for more and more
From Thy love's exhaustless store.
"Master, speak! and make me ready,
As thy voice is daily heard,
With obedience glad and steady
Still to follow every word.
I am listening, Lord, for Thee:
Master, speak, speak on, to me!"– Sel.
Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? not one. – JOB 14:4.
That the pre-existent Son of God "was made flesh and dwelt among us," is clearly stated in the Scriptures (John 1:14); that he was "holy," "undefiled" and separate from sinners is plainly stated (Heb. 7:26 and Luke 1:35); and that he knew no sin, while all other men are sinners by nature, is also stated (2 Cor. 5:21; Rom. 5:18; and 1 Pet. 2:22). The Apostle's argument that he was able to, and did give himself a ransom or corresponding price for the forfeited life and rights of Adam Rom. 5:17-19; 1 Tim. 2:6) proves the same; because the first Adam was perfect until he sinned; hence one who could give a corresponding price must have been likewise perfect, without sin, and free from its condemnation. The same thought is logically deduced from the statement that Jesus kept, fulfilled all the requirements of the Law; for we know that it was the measure of a perfect man's ability. Hence the conclusion is irresistible that he must have been a perfect man when able to do what no imperfect man had done or could do. (Psa. 49:7; Heb. 1:3; 4:15; 9:28; 10:5-10; Isa. 53:10-12; John 1:29.)
But notwithstanding the mass of Bible testimony as to his human perfection, many inquire, Can the possibility of this be scientifically shown? Others assert that it is an impossibility, and that the laws of nature are in direct opposition. They give unbounded weight to their imperfect understanding of nature's laws, and lightly cast aside the weight of Bible testimony.
The question, however, is well worthy of an examination from a scientific as well as from a scriptural standpoint: and Science and Scripture will be found to agree when properly understood. There is no law against our seeking evidence from every good source, but only egotism, or blindness, or both, will exalt human reasonings above the divine testimony.
We raise the query then: How came it that Jesus was perfect while his mother was imperfect? Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? Seeking to answer this query, the Church of Rome promulgated the doctrine of the "Immaculate Conception": Not the doctrine that Jesus was miraculously conceived by the holy power of God, as recorded by the Evangelists; but that Mary, the mother of Jesus, had a miraculous conception, and hence that she was pure, holy, and free from Adamic sin and imperfection. But the originators of this doctrine could not have been far-seeing, or they would have known that by the same reasoning it must be proved that Mary's mother had an immaculate conception, and so all the way back; when they would meet the same objection in Eve, "the mother of all living." She certainly was not sinless, for her transgression is recorded. 1 Tim. 2:14.
However, this subject is perfectly clear and plain now, from a scientific as well as from a Bible standpoint; but because of its intricacy and delicacy, special attention must be given in order to grasp its force.
The Scriptures hold out the thought that all EXISTENCE, LIVING ENERGY; or BEING, comes from the father and not from the mother. The mother receives and nourishes that germ of being until it is able to maintain an independent existence; i.e., until it is able to appropriate to its maintenance the life-sustaining elements which the earth and air supply: but the living organism which she nourishes came entirely and exclusively from the father. The word father has the significance of life-giver.
In harmony with this principle, God was the "FATHER," or life-giver, while the earth was the Mother of Adam, and hence of the human race (Luke 3:38). In harmony with this principle, the children are spoken of, as of, or from their fathers and borne by their mothers. (Gen. 24:47.) Thus the children of Jacob, counted through his sons, were seventy when he came out of Egypt; but if he or the twelve Patriarchs had daughters, which we cannot doubt, the children of those daughters were not counted as Jacob's children, they being counted to their fathers. And all of these seventy souls or beings are expressly said to have come out of the loins of Jacob. (Gen. 46:26,27, and Ex. 1:5.) So of Solomon it is said, that he came out of the loins of David. (1 Kings 8:19, and 2 Chron. 6:9.) So also the Apostle Paul and Israelites in general claimed that they all came out of the loins of Abraham; and of Levi it is written that "he was yet in the loins of his father when Melchisedec met him." Heb. 7:5,10.
Thus also the whole race was in and sprang from Adam their father, but were not from Eve. And thus it is written that in (through) ADAM all die, but not in (through) Eve. Because the race came of Adam it was, therefore, tried in him.
This which the Scriptures teach, is the latest deduction of science on this subject of Progeneration, as applied to life in all its forms. Scientists find abundant and conclusive proof in nature that life or being comes always from the male. The simplest form of illustration is a hen's egg: Of itself it contains no life; no living organism could under any circumstance come of it, unless it be impregnated with a living organism by the male. The egg consists of the proper elements, and in proper proportion, adapted to the minute organism received into it; and under proper conditions that organism develops: The yolk becomes wholly the bird, while the clear liquid albumen serves as its earliest nourishment until it breaks the shell and is able to sustain itself by appropriating cruder elements of nutrition. The principles here involved are the same in human and other animals.
In view of these testimonies of the Bible and Science it is a reasonable deduction that if the father be perfect, the child will be so: the perfect progeny would absorb and appropriate only such elements of nutrition as were suitable and beneficial to its perfect development – throwing off through the operation of its perfect organism any other elements. On the contrary, if the germ of being be imperfect, it will appropriate whatever qualities its mother furnishes – good or bad; being imperfect, it would be unable to reject wholly the poisonous elements of disease. This is on the same principle that if two persons eat of strong food, the one with good digestive powers can appropriate its nutriment and pass off its unwholesome qualities, while the other with weak digestion could appropriate little nutriment from the same food and would be injured by its evil qualities.
It follows then, that had mother Eve alone sinned, the race would not have died: had Adam remained perfect, his life unforfeited and unimpaired, his offspring would have been the same, the imperfections of Eve would not have affected them; being perfect they would have appropriated good elements and have passed off naturally any elements of decay without injury. On the other [R777 : page 3] hand, suppose that Adam had sinned and Eve had remained sinless, Adam's condemnation and death would have affected the entire posterity just the same; the most perfect nourishment given to imperfect and dying germs would never make of them perfect beings. Hence the appropriateness of the Scriptural statement, that "In Adam all die," and "By one man's disobedience...death passed upon all." (1 Cor. 15:22; Rom. 5:12,19.) How wonderful the correspondency here between the first and second Adams and their Brides. As the death of the race depended not upon Eve but wholly upon Adam, and yet she shared in the bringing of it, so the restored life of the race redeemed, depends not at all upon the Bride of Christ, but upon Jesus, though by divine favor it is arranged that she shall share in the work of RESTITUTION of "that which was lost."
The fountain Adam having become contaminated by sin and death, none of his posterity can be free from contamination, for, "Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? Not one." The reference here must be understood as applying to the man and not to the woman: none coming from or out of the contaminated fountain can be clean: hence, "There is none righteous, no, not one;" none can redeem his own life nor give to God a ransom for his brother. Rom. 3:10; Psa. 49:7.
It follows then that the only obstacle to the generation of a perfect man is the lack of a perfect father to give a perfect life-germ; and hence the teaching of Scripture, that in the case of Jesus a perfect LIFE-GERM transferred by divine power from a pre-existent condition to the embryo human condition, was born "holy" and perfect, though of an imperfect mother (Luke 1:35). That he was free from sin and from every contamination which his mother in common with the entire human race shared, is entirely reasonable, and in perfect accord both with Scripture and with the latest scientific findings and deductions.
Another fact which scientists are demonstrating to themselves which seems to concur with Scriptural testimony is, that though life or being comes from the father, FORM and NATURE comes from the mother. The scientific proofs of this are more abstruse and less easily grasped by the ordinary mind; and this because in wisdom God has not only separated the various kinds, or natures, but in great measure limited them, so that they cannot mix or blend beyond certain limits.
The clearest illustrations of this principle that kind or nature comes from the mother, scientists have yet to learn, is found in the Scriptures: They furnish the principal and clearest illustration of the effect or result of miscegenation or the blending of distinct natures and prove more conclusively than science has yet been able to do, that NATURE comes of the mother though the father's characteristics attach. Take as an illustration, the offspring of the improper union between "the daughters of men" and those angels who kept not their proper estate, but degraded their nature: the progeny had the vitality of the fathers but the nature of the mothers – they were renowned MEN. [Superior to the then decaying race, it would have had hard masters in those Nephelim, had not God in goodness not only swept away the new race [new, because not of the same father] in the Flood, but restrained "those angels" who caused this trouble, depriving them of their former liberties, see articles in issues of June and December, 1884, and January, 1885, treating of these.] So great was the renown of these that it is to be found with more or less distinctness in heathen mythologies to this day, and hundreds of years after their destruction in the flood the false report that some of these were yet alive caused a panic among the victorious Israelites flushed with the victory of recent battles. See Num. 13:33.
But the chief illustration of this principle, is found in the fact that Jehovah, himself of the divine nature, has begotten sons of the same as well as other natures. He is the father of those of the angelic nature (Job 2:1; 38:7; Heb. 2:9), and of the human nature (Luke 3:38), as well as of the "NEW CREATURES" who shall be made partakers of his own divine nature. (2 Pet. 1:4). The will or ENERGY of Jehovah operating upon spirit-substances produced and developed angels; operating upon earthly substances (Gen. 2:7; 1 Cor. 15:47.) man was produced out of them, and when He would give us a clear conception of the generation of the new creatures to the divine nature, He represents us as begotten of him in the womb of the Covenant which he made with Abraham, which he symbolizes in a woman – Sarah, telling us that as Isaac was the heir of Abraham and child of promise (by Sarah), so we as or like Isaac are children of God, being children of the promise or Sarah covenant. Gal. 4:23-31, and 1 Pet. 1:3,5,23; and 2 Pet. 1:4.
The same principle is illustrated in the fact that in the typical dispensation, prior to the Christian Age, a child inherited blessings and privileges of its father, according to the favor and standing of its mother; thus again declaring that the mother's nature, rights, privileges and liberties attached to the child, though not of necessity the father's. See Gen. 21:10; Ex. 21:4; Gal. 4:30.
Again, Jesus' birth of a woman proves the same thing. The "holy thing" born [R777 : page 4] of a woman partook of the woman's nature, i.e., human nature – "of the earth earthy." Though retaining all the purity and perfection of the pre-existent (spirit) state, the transferred germ of being (in harmony with this law we are examining) partook of the nature of the mother and was "made flesh" by being "born of a woman."
It is yet further in harmony with this same law or principle that though Christ has been highly exalted to the divine nature, and is no longer human, yet it is declared of Him that he shall be the life-giver or father of the whole human race, while it is also shown that his work for the race is to restore the perfection of human nature which was lost for all through Adam's sin, thus showing that He as father will be on the divine plane, while the restored race as children of God through Christ will be on the human plane as represented in the New Covenant, illustrated by Keturah, Abraham's third wife, in the type. See "Food," page 153.
"This is the victory that overcometh the world," says the Apostle St. John, "even our faith." Even so, faith is our victory whereby we overcome the prince of this world. Faith sets the stronger Lion of the Tribe of Judah against this roaring lion of the bottomless pit; that delivering lion against this devouring lion. When the soul is surrounded with enemies on all hands, so that there is no way of escape, faith flies above them and carries up the soul to take refuge in Christ, and it is there safe.
That is the power of faith; it sets a soul in Christ, and there it looks down upon all temptations as waves at the bottom of the rock, breaking themselves into foam. When the floods of temptation rise and gather, so great and so many that the soul is even ready to be swallowed up, then it says, "Lord Jesus, thou art my strength, I look to thee for deliverance; now appear for my deliverance"; and thus it overcomes; the guilt of sin is answered by his blood, the power of sin is conquered by his Spirit, and afflictions that arise are nothing compared to these; his love and gracious presence make them sweet and easy.
Although, then, thou seest thyself the most witless and weak, and findest thyself nothing but a prey to the powers of darkness, yet know, that by believing, the wisdom and strength of Christ are thine; thou art and oughtest to find thyself all weakness, but he is all strength – mightiness itself. Learn to apply this victory, and so it is thine; be strong in him and the power of his might. But thou wilt say, "I am often foiled, yea, I cannot find that I prevail at all against mine enemies; but they still prevail against me." Yet rely on him; he can turn the chase in an instant. Still cleave to him. When the whole powers of thy soul are as it were scattered and routed, rally them by believing. Draw thou but into the standard of Jesus Christ, and the day shall be thine, for victory follows that standard, and cannot be severed from it. Yea, though thou find the smart of divers strokes, yet think that often a wounded soldier hath won the day; believe, and it shall be so with thee. And remember, that thy defeat, through the wisdom and love of thy God, may be ordered to advance the victory – to put courage and noble energy into thee against thine enemies – to humble thee, and drive thee from thine own imagined strength to make use of his strength. And be not hasty; think not at the very first to conquer. Many a hard conflict must thou resolve upon, and often shalt thou be brought very low, almost to a desperate point, to thy sense past recovery; then it is time to step in, even in the midst of their prevailing. Let God but arise, and his enemies shall be scattered. Thus the Church hath found it in her greatest extremities; and thus likewise the believing soul.– Selected.
If the salt have lost its savor,...it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden underfoot of men. – MATT. 5:13.
The careful student of Jesus' words will find in them convincing evidence that he foreknew the history of the Christian Church from its inception to its close. It was through him, beyond doubt, that Paul was enabled to point out, for the guidance of the faithful, the great apostasy which was to extend through centuries of her history, and the final revelation of the man of sin. 2 Thess. 2.
In the epistle to the Romans (chap. 15), Paul alludes to and explains something of God's plan relative to the casting away, and subsequent restoration of the Jews; and hints at the casting away of the Gentile Church for the same cause, viz., unbelief. That this was more than a surmise on the Apostle's part, events have clearly demonstrated.
We cannot estimate the value this fore-knowledge of our Lord has been to his Church. Amid all the persecutions that have befallen his followers, they could "rejoice and be exceeding glad," assured of "great reward in heaven." How else could they have remained faithful among the faithless?
It is but fair to say that opinion is divided on the subject. While many mourn over the waste places in Zion – while they recognize and deplore the absence of spiritual life and power, the great majority see in the interest displayed in the erection of fine churches, in a highly-cultured ministry, the large sums annually expended in sustaining these, and in multiplying their member, sure evidences of prosperity.
The few who recognize the loss of the real essentials of a true Church, hope for their recovery and a new lease of spiritual power. Vain hope! The student of the Word need not be misled by any such deception. Either this hope is delusive, or many scriptures must be false. Jesus says that at the time of his coming (presence) the Church will be made up of both wheat and tares. He teaches us that many who profess to be his followers were never recognized as such, and will be rejected. They may have taught in his name, they may claim to have cast out devils in his name, they [R778 : page 4] may have done many wonderful works in his name, but all this will avail them nothing. Many "wonderful works" that are highly esteemed among men are an abomination in God's sight.
While the world may have applauded these claimants, Jesus never recognized them as his followers, nor their works as contributing to the success of his cause. Much that is done in Jesus' name is really done to gratify pride and selfishness. Millions of dollars are expended with no higher motive than that of having the finest church edifice, the largest and "best-equipped" Sunday school, or the most eloquent minister.
Jesus made no attempt at a reformation of the apostate Jewish Church. His work was to inaugurate and carry forward the harvest; and with fan in hand he separated the wheat from the chaff. He accepted the faithful – the unfaithful he rejected.
Like all former dispensations, the present will give place to another when its allotted time has expired. The nominal Church having become a great worldly institution, has signally failed to bear witness to the truth, and is unfit for the greater work now becoming due.
Seeming conscious of her impending doom, she eagerly attempts whatever promises to save her from destruction. But Ichabod is plainly written over her portals. On her walls is the inscription, "Weighed in the balance and found wanting." Like her type, she compasses sea and land to make one proselyte, and with like result.
The world, quick to discern the condition of affairs, has already withdrawn a large portion of its respect, and accords her a much lower place than she formerly occupied. Her influence is sought more for worldly advantage than for spiritual aid. Her ministers no longer wield the moral power that was once theirs by almost universal consent; and it seems beyond dispute that the Saviour's prediction is about to be realized, and the aptitude of the comparison admitted by all, "Good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden underfoot of men."
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL: – I send you a brief synopsis of some discourses I recently delivered at Paris, Ills., hoping that it will not be uninteresting to yourself and the readers of the TOWER.
"Because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men." 1 Tim. 4:10.
"Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom." Luke 12:32.
"And behold! a great crowd, which no one could have numbered, out of every nation, and of all tribes, and peoples, and languages, standing before the throne and in the presence of the Lamb, invested with white robes and palm branches in their hands." Rev. 7:9.
"These are those coming out of the great affliction, and they washed their robes and whitened them in the blood of the Lamb. On this account they are before the throne of God." Rev. 7:14,15.
(1) God is the Saviour of all men from the Adamic sin and death. (2) To accomplish this, he is the Saviour at first of a very few, a "little flock." (3) And in the work of this salvation he is the Saviour of a great crowd.
In the first, salvation from Adamic sin and death, is the great aim to be attained and is builded upon God's philanthropy and the eternal fitness of things. And it is necessarily now held in abeyance until the accomplishment of the second salvation; because the little flock is destined to be kings and priests, with Christ, to bring about both the first and third of these salvations. He is not now the Saviour, in fact, of all men, nor indeed of any as generally taught – a Saviour from famines, pestilences, earthquakes, cyclones, etc., etc. But he will be "the Saviour of all" from the effects of the Adamic sin and death.
Adam and Eve wrecked themselves and the race in the loss of innocence, in the loss of God's image, and in a gain of sin and death. Innocence, a God-like intelligence and moral grandeur, equal to the very perfectness of a God-made and God-endued manhood were lost by disobedience and death gained; yet so perfect in his organization, so God-like in intellectual and moral grandeur, that it took nearly a thousand years to so efface this image as to become totally dead.
The threats that met the sinning pair were, "In the day thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die;" "Cursed is the ground for thy sake; in pain shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life;" "and in the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread till thou return unto the ground, for out of it wast thou taken; for dust thou art, and to dust shalt thou return."
Animals as well as man felt the influence of the curse; when Adam sinned, they changed, revolted, and became abnormally offensive to mankind as perfection and dominion passed away from their ruler. And they all, as well as mankind are to feel the influence of the Son of Man in "the times of the restitution."
While obedient in Eden's Garden the pair were so gifted with the beauty, perfection and glory of a perfect manhood; so filled the grand niche in God's creation, that they only fell a little short of the angels of God. And all intelligences were put under contribution to administer to their necessities and happiness. His sight was flooded with glory, his taste was satisfied with richest viands, and his ears were thrilled with grandest melodies, his lungs were filled and bathed in the life-inspiring atmosphere, and his blood was made to leap and dance with a perfect manhood – God's inexpressible gifts for the perpetuation of a glorified manhood.
And this perfect state of manhood might have been continued forever, as the means to this end were placed within their reach. But with the entrance of sin, Eden was lost, lordship was lost, innocence was lost, happiness and a glorified humanity were lost, and pain and [R779 : page 4] woe and misery were gained!
"In Adam all die." "By man came death." "Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into our world, and death by sin." "By the offence of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation" of death. Through the disobedience of one man the world was flooded with sin and woe and death; and these could never have been lifted had not another perfect and obedient Man Redeemed-Ransomed the race. And so the revealing Spirit has said, "This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; who will have all men to be saved, and come unto the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one Mediator between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus, who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time." (1 Tim. 2:3-6.) And when "the little flock" shall have been glorified, that due time shall have arrived, and not till then.
"But we see Jesus who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man." Heb. 2:9. Taste death for what? That man might not die? No! That was God's inexorable arrangement – the condemnation was just and unalterable. Man, therefore, must die; but thank God! a Ransom was prepared to take him out of this death. "As by Adam all die, even so by Christ shall all be made alive!"
"Forasmuch, then, as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had power of death, that is, the devil." Heb. 2:14. "For Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the just for the unjust." 1 Pet. 3:18. "Behold the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world." John 1:29. That is, Jesus as the sacrifice for the sin of the world, released all from that condemnation and opened the way for restoring all to perfection – thus removing sin and its penalty – death.
With these and other Scriptures of like import, which I cannot quote here, it is unchangeably fixed and unalterably true, that all men shall be restored to the Adamic life through the Ransom. And as all sinned and died in or by Adam, so God being just, after the ransom was paid, the Redeemer controls all and may restore all to Adamic life and perfection; and then put them upon trial for themselves, not Adam for them; they will live for, or in, their own obedience; or die for their own sins.
"Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom." If to "the little flock" he gives the kingdom, makes them rulers with him in the kingdom, and "partakers of the Divine nature," this is a special salvation he does not give to all.
"Because strait is the gate, and narrow is the way that leadeth to life, and few there be that find it." Matt. 7:14. This life is immortality, and the relationship corresponds. They were living – justified before, but the strait gate and narrow way led to another – a different life. This salvation is only for "the little flock."
"For many be called, but few chosen." Matt. 20:16. This does not make God partial. He was under no kind of obligation to make any of the race immortal rulers. But this is a striking glory conferred upon the "little flock"; those that "suffer with Christ that they may reign with him." It is an election by grace for kingship and priesthood in the kingdom. This salvation is only for "the little flock," for the Bride of Christ, for members of his Body; and here there can be only so many. Christ's Body is not to be a monstrosity, but perfect and complete. And though "many" may run for this honor, it is only the "few," the approved, who shall be crowned. Paul therefore urges these "to so run," that ye may receive the crown, lest, if we do not so run, others shall receive our crown!
Now in this day many have lost sight of this great truth. We are not generally taught that if we do not die to the world, consecrate, be "a peculiar people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, zealous of good works," we shall lose the crown, or be excluded from "the marriage supper of the Lamb."
Now it is popular, honorable, and leads to wealth and fame to belong to some so-called orthodox church, but in Paul's day, it meant the loss of caste, of riches and honor, and even life itself to be a member of the true Church. Pure Christianity is unchanged; now, as then, "they that live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution." And, if we are not partakers of this persecution, of this dishonor, we "are bastards and not sons." That is, many claim to be children of God, to belong to "the little flock," to the consecrating ones, whereas they only have "a name to live while they are dead" to this life of toil and labor and entire obedience to God!
Now, as in Paul's day, true believers must continue to "fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ in their "flesh for his body's sake, which is the Church." The Head consecrated, suffered and died for the great honor of being King and Priest; and so must all the members of his Body partake of the sufferings in order to be partakers of his glory. Every vestige of sin and uncleanness must be covered by the blood of the mercy-seat, the Christian "reckoned" holy by the atonement, or there can be no such acceptable sacrificing, and without the sacrifice no reign with Christ.
They must be "killed all the day long, and accounted as sheep for the slaughter" – "must endure all things for the elect's sake, that they may obtain the salvation which is in Christ Jesus with eternal glory."
As yet the world is not fully ready for restitution to Adamic life and perfection, as the Body of Christ is not yet complete. But so soon as the last member shall have finished his sacrifice, so soon shall the full work of restitution begin.
3. And, in the work of this salvation, he is the Saviour of a great crowd. It could not be otherwise. If the gospel call to the "many" is not compulsory to an entire consecration, then many who start and are honest will not obtain the prize; and these, though losing the crown, may be "saved in the day of Christ."
Having failed to make an entire consecration, they, in the great time of trouble that shall come upon all the world, may then and there come "up through great afflictions, washing their robes and making them white in the blood of the Lamb."
Forgiveness of sins or their punishment, or both, not only take place in this age, but will be continued in the age to come. "Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men. And whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come." Matt. 12:31,32.
The age to come is to be an age of mercy and forgiveness, as well as this. All sins may be forgiven there except the sin against the Holy Ghost. Those who have utterly apostatized here cannot be forgiven there; but the honest, though weak ones, who have failed of the crown now through the weaknesses of the flesh, may be forgiven there, or suffer "many stripes" for the wrong doings of this age, and finally get "near the throne" and live forever!
This is not the leading feature of that Restitution age, but grows out of the higher life and rulership offered "the little flock." So that, thank God! they who fail to win the crown may obtain eternal life "near the throne"!
"And that servant, who knew the will of his master, and was not prepared, nor did according to his will, he shall be beaten with many stripes." Luke 12:47. This, with other scriptures, teaches that Christians, servants of the Lord, they that knew and did not the will of God, shall in the age to come suffer therefor. This is not eternal misery, but "many stripes"; and these "stripes" are corrective, and not vindictive nor eternal. It is not "the second death" either; for "stripes" are not used to kill or destroy, but to correct.
The "few stripes" to those who did things worthy of them, because they knew not their Master's will, will be administered to those who have never heard of the Ransom; these are not even professed Christians, but belong to that larger class – the world – all men – that God will have come unto the knowledge of truth. First saved from the Adamic death, through the ransom, then brought where truth is, and placed on trial, to live for his own obedience, or to die for his own sins.
The world is not now on trial, nor has it ever yet been. Adam was tried and failed, and all men in him. The new trial of the world cannot take place until the Head and Body of Christ are prepared to offer it. The Head of the Christ has been tried and triumphed. "The little flock" is now on trial, and when it shall have triumphed and been joined to the Head, then the trial of the world shall commence. When the King and Queen – the Christ and his Bride – shall have been married, then, and not until then, shall "the times of restitution" bear their perfected fruits. The "little flock" are not to be restored; they are to stand out as bright stars, and shine as the sun over a restored earth. The restored earth and its restored lord – mankind – will be indeed grand, but the "little flock," the Body of Christ, his Bride with the Head is the grandest of all! far above angels as well as men.
The pure wife is the glory of a pure husband; the redeemed, glorified Bride is the glory of Christ, and Christ is the glory of God! Everything in its own proper place and time; but "God over all blessed forever"!
"We confess to some alarm at the atmosphere of religious thought that hangs over the American churches to-day. The loud demands for a change of standards, the fascinating cry of 'progress in religious thought,' the easily-expressed ridicule for evangelical doctrines, in conjunction with 'elevated criticism,' may work harm among the young men of the churches; but we have great faith in Bible-reared young men, and if all our Associations but do their duty on the line of Bible work, there will be a faithful battalion to engage in the coming battle who will be undeterred by sneers, and unbewildered by the intellectual gymnasts of Bible criticism."– Y.M.C.A. Watchman.
The above clip from the leading organ representing "Young Men's Christian Association" has an air of honesty and candor, but when critically examined, it has little substance, and suggests either ignorance, self-deception or hypocrisy on the part of the writer. We prefer to think not the latter.
How absurd for a truly "Bible-reared" man, who should know that the Bible teaches that God's children must "grow in grace and knowledge" (2 Pet. 3:18) in order to "come to a knowledge of the truth," (1 Tim. 2:4,) and leaving the first principles of the doctrine of Christ should go on unto perfection, (Heb. 6:1,) to feel opposed to "progress in religious thought"! Surely this "Bible-reared" brother has overlooked the promise of our Lord that the spirit of truth would guide or lead us into all truth, showing us things to come (John 16:13): and surely he has never read the Scripture which declares that "The path of the just is as the shining light which shineth more and more unto the perfect day." Prov. 4:18.
But ah! we see his point now. It is that "progress in religious thought" – "may work harm among the young men OF THE CHURCHES." Well, the writer is correct; and states himself well and truthfully: progress in religious thought would certainly work their ruin as sectarians. Growth in knowledge of truth is a grand liberty and privilege to every free child of God, for "whom the Son makes free is free indeed," – free to grow as much as he can in all the truths of God's Word, into which the holy spirit of truth will lead; but not so those whose "progress in religious thought" is chained to creeds formed in the fifteenth century or later by men who, though honest, were no more inspired than their followers, and did not possess half the opportunities of Bible study and criticism enjoyed by their enslaved followers to-day. These cannot make "progress" while they are in and of the CHURCHES (so called). To make progress is to break the chain which hinders the God-ordained progress, and hence to wreck the sects as such. If this were accomplished there would be no longer Presbyterians, Methodists, Episcopalians, Lutherans, etc., but instead one church, fellow-members of one body of which Christ alone would be the Head and the Bible the only "standard."
The writer objects to any change of "standards." Poor man, he is as ignorant on this subject as of the Bible teachings on "progress in religious thought"! Does he not know that the standards or authorities recognized by the various sects are as different as they could be – that they ALL contradict each other? The man who cannot see that the various sectarian creeds cannot all be right while contradicting each other is blind indeed. And if these conflicting "standards" are thus evidently in error, why should any conscientious man oppose "a change" of those standards?
And finally, what nonsense is in the last sentence quoted: "We have great confidence in our Bible-reared young men, and if all our Associations but do their duty on the line of Bible work, there will be a faithful battalion to engage in the coming battle," etc. If all the Young Men's Christian Associations of the world will do their duty as the writer suggests it, viz., by opposing "progress in religious thought," or changes in the "standards" of the sects, they will indeed get ready a battalion for the "battle of the great day of God Almighty" already commenced; but it will be a battalion prejudiced and trained, to use their energies against the progress of light and truth; against the establishment of the Bible as the true and only standard of Christian faith and knowledge. It will be prepared to fight with and for, present darkness and error in Church and State. This battalion is [R780 : page 6] even now taking its place in the ranks of "the kings of the earth and their armies" who will be ignorantly fighting against him that sitteth upon the white horse and his army (Rev. 19:19-21), to be ultimately, thank God, smitten with the broad sword that proceedeth out of his mouth – the Word of God – the truth.
Then, they will be agreeable to a change of standards, to the Bible only. Then, they will favor progress in religious thought, for then Babylon, in which they are now in bondage, sectarianism with all its chains and standards will have fallen – sunken to rise no more, though "the smoke" or remembrance of the anguish of her overthrow shall never be forgotten, but will prove a lasting lesson.
Alas for the Bible-rearing practiced in the Y.M.C. Associations! they are completely under the control of the sectarians, by whom they are supported. Though professedly non-sectarian, professedly controlled by no creed but the Bible, they are more creed-bound than others, since they are bound by all the popular creeds. Their interest lies not in the building up of the body of Christ, whose names are written in heaven, so much as in the building up of the various sectarian systems: less in the truth than in the traditions of men which make the word of God of none effect, as did the sectarians at the first advent. (Mark 7:6-9.) While professing great Bible study, it is in ruts and grooves, and so hampered by creed-chains that progress, or growth, or Bible-rearing, is impossible. Hence they as others are "babes" instead of strong men, and have need that one teach them what be even the FIRST PRINCIPLES of the doctrines of Christ.
What a power these Y.M.C.A.'s might be if they really were what they profess. There true Christians could meet to study the Word, and throwing off sectarian shackles, grow in grace and knowledge and love of God; and growing up into Christ in all things, come to the measure of the stature of men in Christ, and henceforth be no longer billow-tossed by every wind of doctrine. They should know the truth, and the truth should make them free.
The cry of "Change the standards," from those of the popes and councils to that of the Bible only, or "progress in religious thought," was the battle-cry which shook the Church of Rome in the days of Luther. The Bible, as the only foundation of faith, was the basis of protest then, and the Church of Rome opposed it with all her power then and since, yielding only inch by inch to the increasing light. To-day she is being joined by those who once opposed her; They now cry "No change in the standards. Each seeking to defend its own existence founded in measure upon darkness, cries, Avoid and oppose any increase of light and all "progress in religious thought." No wonder that they lately feel themselves being drawn closer together than ever before. They now fight together against the ever-advancing light; but truth is mighty, and shall now prevail because it is due time, and these systems shall all be destroyed by the bright shining from HIS PRESENCE – who is called the TRUTH as well as the way and the life. How even some in Babylon can see a little of what is going on, notwithstanding sectarian prejudice, and the fact that their bread and butter, as well as influence and reputation, are all in Babylon, is shown by the following extract from Bishop Foster's lecture on MODERN METHODISM. He says:
"The Church's great dangers are assimilation to the world, neglect of the poor, substitution of the form for the fact of godliness, abandonment of discipline, a hireling ministry, an impure gospel, which, summed up, is a fashionable church....The Church of God is to-day courting the world. Its members are trying to bring it down to the level of the ungodly. The ball, the theatre, nude and lewd art, social luxuries, with all their loose moralities, are making inroads into the sacred inclosure of the Church, and, as a satisfaction for all this worldliness, Christians are making a great deal of Lent, and Easter, and Good Friday, and church ornamentations. It is the old trick of Satan. The Jewish Church struck on that rock, the Romish Church was wrecked on the same, and the Protestant Church is fast reaching the same doom."
For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who hath subjected the same in hope. – ROM. 8:20.
All who have ever possessed a measure of life have felt the restraints that have deprived them of its full enjoyment. An "adversary" has been permitted to snatch away from us the glorious gift of life bestowed by our Creator. For a few brief years we catch [R781 : page 6] here and there glimpses of the inestimable boon, and then yield up the last vestige to his insatiable demands.
He has but to lift up his imperious sceptre, and millions hasten to lay down this treasure at his feet and pass into his prison-house, from whose dark recesses no sound ever yet fell on mortal ear. Relentlessly he pursues all, unmoved by the sighs and groans and tears that reach to heaven.
When one contemplates the misery, the untold suffering, the anguish that for six thousand years have been permitted to prey upon the race, it seems a wonder that despair has not taken possession of almost all hearts, and hurried them rashly to terminate an existence that offered them so little of enjoyment – so much of pain. But here was another opportunity for God to manifest his love. He so loved the world that he gave, to accompany man on his weary pilgrimage, HOPE. Like a good angel, Hope enters the heart of the weary toiler, and beguiles him with visions of ease and plenty. Hope transforms the chamber of suffering and woe into an abode of happiness and peace.
She approaches the weary watcher keeping vigil at the bedside of some loved one, and quickly the pallor of death gives place to the flush of health, and the emaciated form recovers its fair proportions.
To-day the storm rages and darkness prevails, but to-morrow the sun will gild the heavens, and no storm traces remain. Hope whispers in the ear of that mother whose first-born has been smitten by an arrow from Death's quiver; her grief is assuaged, her tears are dried, and life is again possessed of some joys. The light from this good angel's presence penetrates the prison-house of Despair, and the strong bolts melt away; the chains that bound the many victims become as ropes of sand, and the prisoners arise and walk forth. When the shadow of Death darkens our threshold, and benumbs the senses, and the heart has almost ceased its pulsations, Hope whispers, "You shall live again," and points to an existence unfettered by the restraints of the present life, and unaffected by its evils. Not the Christian alone is blessed by her ministrations, but the vast millions unlightened by revelation as well.
To the former she brings sweet comfort from God's promises, which never have failed those that have trusted in them. To the latter she points out the many evidences of a Creator's love, for he hath not left himself without witnesses of this. (Acts 14:17.) Soon these promises will be more than realized in manifestation of the "sons of God" commissioned to "restore all things." Then shall Death be compelled to release his prisoners, for at the command of the Son of man all that are in their graves shall come forth to the judgment of Jesus and the saints. John 5:28; 1 Cor. 6:2; Psa. 149:9.
Then will be accomplished that which so long ago was promised to faithful Abraham, that in his seed all the families of the earth should be blessed. (Gen. 22:18.) Then all the ends of the world shall remember and turn unto the Lord; and all the kindreds of the nations shall worship before him. Psa. 22:27.
Of necessity, the preaching of the gospel must precede all possible action for the teaching of those who are thus called out from the world. Because of this priority some seem to reckon gospel preaching the supremely important apostolic institution, and that therefore the chief, if not sole, object of the church's existence is to evangelize the world. We cannot but question this view when we examine the conduct of the apostles, coupled with the abundant and special provision made for the edification of the church.
"When the Lord ascended on high he gave gifts unto men...for the perfecting of the saints unto the work of the ministry, unto the building up of the body of Christ, till we all attain unto the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a full-grown man, unto the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, that we may be no longer children." Eph. 4:7-16.
The teaching of this oracle convinces us of two things: – First that the service of those several gifts was for one main object – "the perfecting of the saints unto the work of the ministry;" and second, that the purpose of that ministry was for "the building up of the body of Christ." A great work was to be done, and the spiritual "gifts" speedily or instantaneously prepared men for that work. But this rapid preparation of the men did not necessarily imply that their work was speedily done – it was a life-long labor, and ever permitted the exercise of patience, forbearance and prudence. The teaching of the apostle in 1 Cor. 14. shows how, in a church company richly endowed with these "gifts," it was necessary to be cautious in the use of the special capacities, in order to the general good of the whole. First, the service was to be intelligible – "let him that speaketh in a tongue pray that he may interpret;" then it was to be respectful to one another, for "if a revelation be made to another sitting by, let the first keep silence, for ye all can prophesy one by one, that all may be comforted:" and again, all was to be "done decently and in order." However great the variety – though "psalm, teaching, revelation, tongue, and interpretation" crowded upon each other, this order was possible, because "the spirits of the prophets were subject to the prophets," and we may presume that the exercise of all other gifts were equally under personal control. The "word of wisdom," "the word of knowledge," and the discerning of spirits" – appearing in the spiritual category of 1 Cor. 12 – were also gifts to be exercised in the church; finding their most evident scope among the brethren. And thus we have a very abundant provision made for the teaching of those who had put on Christ.
But teaching is not a sufficiently comprehensive word to use in defining this work in the Church; rather say Edification; that is, building up. The man who essays the building of a house for himself and his goods, has not only to select his material, but to rear it after a definite plan and on correct architectural principles; else, if his house do not tumble about his ears, it may perhaps be a laughing stock to all gazers. How much more important is the building up of "the house of God." And though the master builders may lay the foundation ever so well, there is still great care and much wisdom needed in the superstructure.
In the Scriptures there are frequent references to the style of building necessary – as to quality (See 1 Cor. 3:10-15). The "gold, silver and costly stones" contrasting favorably with the "wood, hay and stubble," which the fire of trial is sure to destroy. As to kind, Peter gives it without a figure in his second epistle, chapter 1, where faith grows into virtue, virtue into knowledge, knowledge into temperance, followed by patience, godliness, brotherly kindness and love. This is the edifying or upbuilding which results in noble, good, and holy character.
Our own words, instruct and inform, carry with them the same idea of building; and whether in natural or spiritual things we cannot reckon a man to be properly taught or trained unless he is built up within – in-structed; neither can he be perfectly fitted for all service till he adds to his outward and visible aspect the quality of being informed – furnished unto every good work. It is easy to see how good a structure the spiritual house must be when it is built up of such elect, precious, living stones as these.
We presume it was in pursuance of such service as this that Paul and Barnabas retraced their steps in Asia Minor – confirming the souls of the disciples and confirming the churches. (Acts 14:21-23; 15:36-41.) A necessary work; for how else could those who were called to holiness and virtue maintain their stand against evil, and grow up unto Christ?
It is true we lack those primitive spiritual endowments so well fitted to qualify for the building up of the Church; but we are not deprived of their utterances. If the gospel of the grace of God, originally ministered by apostles and evangelists, has been written and "set forth in order" that thus we may be taught what was surely believed by the first disciples; we are no less fully supplied with "the words of wisdom and knowledge" and even much of "the discerning of spirits" of the olden times – all faithfully expressed, not in words and sentences of man's wisdom, but in those of the Spirit of God. Therefore to us most precious; the living oracles and divine testimonies by which we are to be built up, and brought to the inheritance of the kingdom of God. [R781 : page 7]
The teaching of those inspired Scriptures is inexhaustible; they furnish instructive lessons and educative provision for ages of disciples and students; possessing a living and growing power like the other works of God, which forbids them ever becoming stale or useless. The Word of God has all shades of power, and every possible degree of fitness. If it is like the thunder blast to split the cedars of Lebanon, it is no less the gentle electric current which thrills in the telephone; a hammer so heavy as to break in pieces the rocks, yet anon so light that its pulsations on the tenderest chords of the human heart can elicit sweet music; a two-edged sword piercing even to the dividing of soul and spirit, and of both joints and marrow, [R782 : page 7] yet so delicate a probe as to discern the thoughts and intents of the heart. Wonderful treasure! How can we be poor or void of ability when thus furnished?
Whatever we may be short of in our Church needs for building up; it is a great fallacy to look for help to mere professional teachers. We may not have spiritual gifts, neither have they. We may not be able to show any speciality in our call to particular service, neither can they. They are to be tested simply by experience of their certain or probable utility. Are churches better taught by hirelings? Is it indeed likely that they should be? It is easy to compare the real intelligence of churches with or without "clergy"; and always to the disadvantage of the former. And it would not be reasonable to expect otherwise, because for this kind of moral building there is of necessity moral training. Mere faculty of speech, or depth of knowledge, or power of discernment, or even prophetic insight, must be qualified by love of the truth, by faith in God and devotion to personal holiness. No man can know the doctrine who has not done the work of God. (John 7:17.) This was true in apostolic times, and is true to this day. How little are we the better of those scholastic men who affect to be pastors and teachers in the Church of God: hiring out their learning by the month and year, and seeking for preferment to good livings in virtue of their college breeding.
"A peasant may believe as much As a great clerk, and reach the highest stature:" not only in faith, but in church service. Witness the choice of the all-wise Master, when the foolish and weak and base things of the world were chosen to confound the wise and great and honorable; that no flesh should glory before God.
By the good providence of God we have most excellent translations of all the Holy Scriptures, and in addition, have access to a large amount of illustrative literature and biblical criticism calculated to awaken a still deeper and more permanent interests in the meaning and application of Scripture. And again, the occurrences of ordinary life and the relations of society, in and out of the Church, when viewed through the divine medium of faith and holy life, are instructive and suggestive in the highest degree.
Not everyone is qualified to be a prominent teacher or exhorter in the Church; but everyone may do something towards edification or correction. The most diffident may find opportunity in private; and, indeed, in the family of God, where all are closely knit together, there never fail times and occasions when a quiet word, an earnest appeal, or a friendly remonstrance may be used. Where everyone has access to the divine library, all may be wise; and who is there to forbid the loving and hearty service of the humblest in the Church?
The whole drift of the apostolic exhortation and teaching is toward universal, personal interest. They were to speak to one another in psalms, and hymns, and spiritual songs; they were to examine themselves, to confess their faults one to another, and to pray one for another; they were to build up one another in their most holy faith; and was there an urgent call for help, they were all to contribute according as God had severally prospered them. Now if this spontaneous and general ministry was the rule in early times when they were so beholden to spiritual gifts and spiritual guidance, and before the copious Scriptures of the Apostles were written out, surely we should be no less energetic in the cordial exercise of every power. The counsels of divine wisdom sound down the long ages, and demand attention at this hour. Only when they are faithfully attended to, can the Church be built up, and subsist as the pillar and ground of the truth.– G. Dowie, in Messenger.
Sister A.J. Cowles of Massachusetts sends us an account of her very remarkable cure in answer to prayer. This occurred in 1881. Since that time she has become deeply interested in the Scripture teaching relative to RESTITUTION, that it is due to the world and that physical healing can only be claimed consistently for such as have not consecrated the human nature even unto death. Were she in the same condition again she could only present her case before the Lord, saying, "Thy will be done." She could not with her present light make positive request for things and rights of the human nature she has sacrificed, to obtain the new nature and joint heirship with Christ. Nevertheless God is pleased to heal some of the consecrated ones even though they do not request such blessing.
"I received an injury to the nerves of the spinal cord while practicing gymnastics at Glenwood Ladies' Seminary. My physicians have given as their opinion, that "there was spinal weakness some years previous to this," and those who have studied the case most, say that this trouble existed from childhood and was probably a constitutional weakness from birth. They have also said that ultimately I "would have been a sufferer from spinal disease had this accident not occurred; but this hastened it, and caused a complication of diseases and greater suffering." My whole system rapidly became diseased in sympathy, and at last I was confined to my bed helpless. But scarce five months had passed ere I was seized with a severe attack of cerebro-spinal meningitis. I was taken to Boston for treatment. At Dr. Estabrook's Institute I received the tenderest treatment night and day, and Dr. Benjamin Codman being called in, fitted for me a spinal prop that supported the whole body. With the treatment and the aid of the prop, and a ten months' course of treatment at the Homoeopathic Hospital a year later, I was benefited so far as to be able to walk from room to room on the first floor, but was liable to fall at any moment. From the very commencement of my disease, the spine between the shoulders would suddenly give way, and I would fall to the floor without an instant's warning, and intense agony always followed. I was always suffering; never had one night's refreshing sleep, and severe attacks of neuralgia of the heart, alarmed my physicians and friends. I was shut in from all that made life dear, and the days, nights, months and years were one terrible great pain. O, those years of agony! No one but God can ever know what I suffered. One bitter trial came after another – everything seemed to slip from my grasp. No words can in the slightest degree, express what I suffered, with never one hour's freedom from pain. The doctors comforted me for years by telling me that if I did not get better I could not live long, but I lived on and on.
I prayed to be made willing to live God's time; and through all these years I tried faithfully, cheerfully, lovingly, to bear my heavy cross and not cast a shadow over the pathway of others, and I earnestly strove to keep my eye of faith fixed on Christ; and he did sustain me.
In April, the physicians decided that there was no earthly help for me, and told one of my former physicians and friends their decision, but he urged them to try again, and tried to think that they had made some mistake in the diagnosis of the case. Although he felt I could never be well, he had great sympathy with me and hoped that I could be a little relieved while I lived. The new attending physician, the 1st of May, finally decided to take up my case, and I was removed to a private room, forbidden to take one step or sit up for one moment. I was not allowed even to feed myself, but was given my food and drink like a babe – there remaining the hope that perfect rest might quiet the intense pain in my spine, but much to our disappointment the disease increased and I failed even more rapidly.
Through these years I have been under the care of the best physicians. They all spoke of my courage, and of trying with all my strength to be well, but all my courage and will-power could not conquer disease.
Through these years various kinds of treatment had been tried: electricity in its most approved forms, electro-magnetism, hydropathic treatment, the massage, plaster jackets, etc. My spine had been blistered over and over again, and burned with chemicals. The freezing process has been tried hundreds of times. Indeed it seems as if nearly every kind of torturing treatment had been tried, as I was willing to endure anything that held out the slightest hope of quieting that pain. After all those months at the Nervine, I was called to pass through the severe operation of having my spine burned with hot irons. Three times did I pass through that severe operation of having my spine cauterized with the thermo-cautery, and then the physicians thinking I was receiving injury, it was not tried further.
I shall always remember the day that the superintending physician entered my room, and kindly, tenderly, even sympathetically, tried to give me the physicians' opinion. He said, "Miss Cowles, the doctors of this institute have done everything in their power for you. You have been under the care of such men as Dr. Eades, Dr. Putnam and Dr. Webber, who [R783 : page 7] stand at the head of the medical profession throughout New England. Indeed you have had the best medical skill of the country, and you, by your courage, have aided us by being willing to endure anything that we suggested; but you have failed rapidly, and now it is hard for me to say it, and for you to hear it, but you must go home and never try to step again." I said, "Doctor, I shall try to step while I live," but he answered, "Do not try to step much – if you do not you may live for a time – we cannot say how long, but if you do step much, or catch a little cold, sudden congestion will set in and you will die, for you know whenever we have yielded to your entreaties and allowed you to step, those hard pains have increased." After a somewhat lengthy conversation, the doctor turned to leave my room, and I said, "Doctor, you have convinced me that you are right. I fully realize that there are diseases that you physicians cannot reach, but if human power cannot reach me, Divine power can."
Through these years the mystery of suffering had troubled me, not alone my own pain and sorrow, but the suffering of the world seemed a problem I could not solve. Gradually I was led to see that there was much in our Bible that was passed over at the present day, and that we did not receive all the blessings promised in God's word. As I look back now, I can see that several times I was very near my present belief, and then in conversation with others I found those far wiser than myself could not believe it, and fearing it was sin in me I was thrust back again into the darkness; but through those last terrible months at the Nervine, as I grew weaker my faith grew stronger, and more and more firmly I believed that this blessing which was in the world in Christ's time, was being brought back again. I did not at this time realize, that this was coming to me, but I felt sure, and said to others, "This light is in the world, and to those who live it will be revealed." You may ask what first led me to this belief; I can only answer, hungering and thirsting after righteousness, striving to live near to God and being guided by him, longing for a higher, purer spiritual life; for, although I had been a Christian all these years, there was something beyond my experience that I craved, and my most earnest supplications rose to God for spiritual blessing.
After a complete consecration to God and his service, those petitions were answered. That precious gift was mine. Then, God taught me that we must look to him for physical blessings, even as for spiritual, and I asked Jesus to take me where I should be under no doctor's authority, that I might discard all human aid and claim him as my physician.
August 25th, 1881, I was discharged from the Nervine as incurable. Dr. H. sent me to "St. Luke's Hospital" for a few days, until the papers were made out for me to go to Brooklyn to the "Home for Incurables."
When I reached St. Luke's, owing to a peculiar web of circumstances, I was under no doctor's care. Dr. H. had power to place me there, but the attending physician insisted on not admitting me regularly, as he had conversed with the doctors from the Nervine, and feared I would fail and die; he would not regard me as a patient. This at first tried me, but here was a link in God's chain to answer my prayer. I left off taking medicine, although I had it with me, and claimed Christ as my physician.
At this time I had never been under the influence of any faith people, indeed the influence had been all to the contrary. Never had I met one who understood this faith. God, through my Bible, had been my only teacher.
I gave up medicine on Thursday, and through the days following, in spite of the unbelief that surrounded me, I was trying to press through the crowd of doubts and fears to touch the hem of Christ's garment, but all was dark.
I earnestly requested Dr. Codman to bring me some faith people, and he very kindly came on Tuesday with Dr. George B. Peck and Miss Charlotte Hawes. When they reached St. Luke's, the matron, a noble woman and earnest loving Christian, objected to their being admitted, saying: "It is not right to believe that one with incurable diseases can be healed." Dr. Codman replied: "Miss Cowles has the faith, and it would be a great comfort to her to have these people pray for her. I have something at stake as a physician, but under the circumstances I will go up with them, and as a physician watch the case, and see that she is not injured or excited in any way. Can they pray with her?" The matron answered: "I really have no right to forbid your going to her room, as she is not our patient." If I had been a regular patient, these friends could not have prayed with me. They came to my room. After a preliminary conversation, Dr. Peck prayed that I should be given more faith. Throughout that prayer I had the most terrible battle, but Christ overcame the adversary for me when I was too weak to battle longer. Dr. Peck then said: "We will go now and come again;" but I begged them not to leave me. I cried out: "Lord, I believe. Help thou mine unbelief!" The battle was over. I was calm then and ready for the second prayer. Dr. Peck anointed me with [R783 : page 8] oil in the name of the Lord, and claimed the promise in James 5:14,15. He then said: "Stand still and see the salvation of the Lord," and bidding me good morning, he and Dr. Codman went down stairs. At my request Miss Hawes lingered for a moment, and knelt by my bedside. I said: "Would it be right for me to rise and dress and go down stairs?" She simply answered: "Ask the Lord." We remained in silent prayer a moment. I then arose. For years the cords in my limbs had hurt me intensely in stepping. When I placed my feet firmly on the floor those cords relaxed at once. I walked the length of the room without the pain. I lay no stress upon the words, "I walked," but I do emphasize decidedly the words without the pain, for I was free from that agony that had been my constant companion day and night all those thirteen years. You cannot realize that glorious freedom that was mine. I knelt, praised God for his wonderful gift, rose, dressed, stepping freely and naturally, without one indication of falling, and in God's strength walked down stairs, very much to the surprise of Dr. Codman, who was waiting for Miss Hawes in the room below. I refused to sit, wishing to glorify God by standing. After conversing for a time with these friends, and as they were leaving me, Miss Hawes said: "As this gift is given you, you must not be presumptuous. You had better lie down for awhile." I obeyed, and for an hour great strength came to me that I could feel to my finger-tips. O! such strength and power was poured into my body. One lady patient said to me afterwards: "Were you suffering intensely that hour? Your face was almost purple, but we did not dare speak to you." I found afterwards that they thought I had become suddenly insane, and went down stairs and came back, and was dying. As I look back now I do not think it strange that they should have thought so. Would it were in my power to describe the experience of that hour, for it was glorious. You may ask, "Did this pain ever return again?" Yes! twice; once as a temptation, and must I confess it? once for a sin. That afternoon as I thought, now I will rise again, the pain came back and seized me in its firm grasp from head to foot. If they had only told me what I always tell an invalid to-day, Satan may be allowed to place pain in your body just like the old pain, to test your faith, I should have been prepared, but that was not God's way for me, and it came to me like a terrible shock, "O! I am not healed after all!" Then the thought came, I have been down stairs; that alone was a miracle, and I looked to God for an explanation. He taught me that it was a temptation, and giving myself into God's hands, and trying to rise in his strength, the pain vanished in an instant. Two days after this I limited God – not willfully, but thoughtlessly – but it was a sin nevertheless. I was thinking, "How glorious it is to be free from this pain, to be well once more," and then I thought, "It is not possible all that tenderness in my spine is gone," and I placed my hand upon my spine to test it. The pain came back. In an instant I realized I had sinned; I had limited God's power. I prayed earnestly for forgiveness, and the pain went away never to return again.
The day after I was healed I received this message from Dr. C., "I am anxious about you, but cannot leave my office. Do send me a word." I obeyed him literally, and sent the one word, "Victory." Later, another message came, "Please write me a few lines on a card." I again obeyed, and wrote him, "Victory! Victory! Victory! through our Lord Jesus Christ!"
Dr. C. came to me, and as a physician tested me, and the very tests that proved disease three weeks before, failed now. I was wholly healed, and gained in strength rapidly. The most precious gift of all was sleep. All these years I had never known what sweet sleep was, and in those months at the Nervine the physicians had ordered for me all kinds of medicine, chloral, etc., and the little sleep that they succeeded in giving me was filled with terrible dreams and agony; but now I slept like a little child.
By this time the papers were made out admitting me to the "Home for Incurables," but lo! Christ had healed me! I wrote to those who had obtained the permit, and said how wonderfully I was doing, but received word to wait until they had seen the Dr. H. who sent me to St. Luke's; and so I waited until they met, and he told them to allow me to go home, as I was perfectly able to do as I pleased. I was "now no case for any hospital," and three weeks from the day I was healed, I went home alone to surprise my friends. I had written them once, but they did not understand the [R784 : page 8] full extent, as my thoughts at that time were more on the spiritual blessing.
On that beautiful afternoon, as I crossed the threshold of my home, my friends looked upon me very much as Mary and Martha must have looked upon Lazarus, when he was risen from the dead. My dear father said, "Allie! Allie! if you had been brought in here in your coffin to-day I should not have been surprised, but what can I think now?" and a neighbor calling him outside, said, "Mr. Cowles, how is Allie?" and he answered, "O, don't ask me! she is so well that I do not dare to think or speak of it."
God has led me forward, and my faith has grown firmer and stronger as I have witnessed Christ's wonderful power in others. Often have I been told by even good people, "This was a wonderful gift to you, but do not tell others they can be healed." Ah! their eyes are blinded, and they do not see Christ as a perfect Saviour able to save to the uttermost.
The benediction of undisturbed rest is a blessing sought and eulogized wherever man is known, but experienced by a surprisingly small fraction of the race. Everyone craves rest. Careworn souls, turning away from the vision of weary years of trial and bereavement to friends upon whom sorrows press but lightly, wonder at the beauties life seems to hold for them, and ask the secret of their peacefulness, enquiring where this rest is to be found. Disappointed hearts, turning from the futile chase for joys which kept so near, but just beyond their reach, tantalizing, beguiling, inviting, yet receding faster than the swiftest feet could follow, come, breathless and panting, ready at last to relinquish the long-continued pursuit, and, dropping with weariness, imploringly ask for rest. Beautiful home-circles, long unbroken by the ravages of the destroyer, and all the more perfect by the firmness of affection's cords, grown to be so mature, must be broken now. The cords must be parted, and all the attendant pain endured. Hearts must bleed, tears must flow. And now the bereaved, sighing for an hour of forgetfulness, in which they may recruit their vigor, looking away from this, the keenest sorrow they have known, with swollen eyes and with sobs that melt the sternest heart, appeal to our sympathies and ask, "Can you not tell us where we may find rest?"
All classes are in search of rest. The cry for it reverberates upon a thousand hill-tops, and echoes along the fertile valleys of the earth. It comes to us from the north; the south also is calling for rest. They seek it in the east, nor is the west satisfied without it. Millionaires have everything beside it; the penniless desire it above the bread they crave. Health cannot satisfy without it; with it, sickness is powerless to disturb. Ease becomes wearisome if rest of soul be absent; its presence makes the heaviest burdens light. Without it, we sigh; but this soul-rest turns our sighing into singing. Bitter tears flow where it does not abide; but with rest, tears lose their bitterness. What price is too dear to pay for rest of soul? Cheerfully will they endure hardness for a season, if but the assurance of its coming attend the labor of its famished seekers. They will work till hands are brown and callous from their toil; till brains are weary, eyes are dim, and limbs grow feeble. They will deny themselves the comfort of the present, modify arrangements for the future, to prepare for its enjoyment, and engage every power, to the end that this priceless boon be made their own.
Yet while it stands knocking at their very doors, they will not take it! While it sits awaiting entertainment, they turn away as if it were an intruder upon their time! While it offers itself, saying, "I will confer enduring comfort," they refuse, as if because so readily obtained it could not be worth the taking. They would work for it, yet seem unwilling to accept it as a gift. But oh, wearied, one, have you not labored long enough to no account? Have you not yet borne enough? Have you not suffered enough, sighed, wept, sought, agonized and called? Have you not already spent too much time and means without avail, conscious, after all this anxiety, of the same hungering, thirsting, aching heart? Have you not experimented until convinced that such is not the means by which the pearl may be discovered? Have you not tried all that reason bids you venture? Alas, 'tis true! but your soul is burdened still. Now cease your random search, and embrace the blessing just outside your heart. Rest is there! Rest for you. Rest now. Rest forever. The grace of God includes it, and comes to you laden with its sweetness. Walk with God, and it shall be yours this day and evermore! "Come unto me," said Christ, "all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." That means you if you are burdened. Surely you do not doubt it! You would not say that because your burdens are peculiar, and unaccountably afflicting, that therefore Christ is unable to fulfill his word? Then he must mean you just as you are; and the heavier the burden the greater is your need of relief. It signifies nothing whether the burden be great or small. He can bear it in either case. Therefore, bring it to him, and having done so, leave it with him. You must do it; the privilege is too great to be neglected. Christ loves you and would not see you burdened thus. He commands you to do it, and if you love him you will obey. Having "come" to Christ, having "taken" his "yoke," and "learned" of him, the unqualified promise is, "you shall find rest." Now, if you do not find rest it will be because of some reserve; for the promise stands unchanged. Rest is always given when the conditions are fully met. Then plead no excuse; your case is not an exceptional one. You shall have rest if you will accept it. Then do so and "go in peace."
The cause of unrest among believers is not the excessive weight of burdens, not the severity of trial, for often the fully consecrated, who enjoy the sweetest rest, are they whose material surroundings are of the most distressing character, subjecting them to sorrows calculated to harrow beyond expression; yet they ride on victoriously, while others with far less reason for complaint are disturbed much of the time. The cause lies within themselves; and consists in a partial reception, only, of the grace which would drive forever from their lives such inconsistencies as are often deplored in penitence and sorrow. Neither victory nor rest shall ever gladden our hearts by the simple absence of the ills of life, but rather through divine strength being brought to our assistance. And this can only be done by the concurrence of our wills; including, and indeed, necessitating an unreserved surrender to God. Oh, if this work be accomplished what mighty results will follow! It will be as natural for us to rest in God as it is for us to breathe. Soul-rest will be ours continually, and effective labor for God the outward expression. As the child, timid, fearful, unwilling to venture, when alone, becomes wonderfully brave when conscious of his father's presence, so we, though formerly helpless, will, by the abiding presence of our God, venture anything, everything so long as it be IN THE DEFENSE OF TRUTH and in obedience to the Father, who has promised to protect us.
And what shall be able to disturb us while God's strength is still our own? Shall it be the remembrance of weary years of trouble? Shall it be a death-bed scene? Shall it be painful memories of loved ones who have failed, and thus mortified or grieved us? I tell you it will not be found in these things to molest the repose abiding in our hearts. While the surface may sometimes show agitation, the peaceful currents of the soul will move on toward the boundless ocean – God himself, whence came this wondrous grace; then the tide of his love will come, overwhelming the little disappointments of an hour, drowning our sorrows, washing away the stains our tears had left, and thrilling with a heavenly joy our souls, as, standing in bewilderment, we demand, with the astonished Paul, whose words were unequal to his rapture, "Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."– H. Roissy.
Some who engaged plots of the land donated to "Z.W.T. Tract Society" at Pinellas (see Supplement), finding that circumstances do not favor their going, have donated the installments paid to the Fund and returned the land for sale. Besides this, another Brother interested in the truth, has donated to the Society near the other donated lands four ten-acre plots.