BUSINESS OFFICE: NO. 40 FEDERAL ST. ALLEGHENY, PA.
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.
THE PASSOVER anniversary occurs this year in April and will be announced particularly in our next issue. We hope that all who can possibly spare the time and money, will arrange matters so as to commemorate with us here. We hope to have a very general meeting. Let all the preaching brethren make an extra effort to be present with us.
AN INDEX to Young's Concordance. We have obtained a lot of these cloth bound, which we can furnish at 25 cents each by mail. They are very useful to those who have learned to appreciate the Concordance.
"And Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues and preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing every sickness and every disease among the people. But when he saw the multitudes he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted and were scattered abroad as sheep having no shepherd. Then saith he unto his disciples: The harvest truly is plenteous, but the laborers are few; pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest that he will send forth laborers into his harvest?" Matt. 9:35-38.
That was the "harvest" or closing period of the Jewish age, and we to-day find ourselves and the work similarly circumstanced in the "harvest" of the Christian age. All who realize the importance of the work, and are following close to the great Chief Reaper, are not only praying that others may be sent, but are themselves laboring and gathering fruit. All who have the compassionate, loving spirit of the Master, are to-day moved with compassion for the multitude of the blind following their blind leaders, as together we see them going toward the ditch of unbelief and infidelity, and passing by the opportunity to make their calling and election sure to the great prize of our high calling.
The preaching and labors of Jesus and the apostles in that typical "harvest," was not often in the synagogues, but generally by private talks to individuals, and from house to house. Many of the deepest sermons of the great Teacher were delivered to congregations of one or two, or a dozen. Jesus sent the twelve and afterwards the seventy, also, "two and two before his face into every city." They were not orators, nor with the exception of Paul, were any of them graduates of Theological schools, else probably they would have been so full of the traditions of their day, that they would have had no "ear to hear," or hearing, would have been too great to utter the simple message of "good tidings," which the Master commissioned. They attempted not dramatic attitudes, they simulated not a superior dignity and austerity, they used not "feigned words" and tones, but in simplicity like their Master, their lips expressed the overflow of their hearts, as here to an individual, and there to a group at the corner or in the public parks, they sought to inform the people of the Lord's presence and the kingdom which he was to establish, but which few of the Jews were ready to receive (as God had foreseen and announced), and which being withdrawn from them (as a nation), the Gentiles were invited to share; which kingdom is now – even at the door.
The work in this harvest is very similar in respect to its being mainly individual effort, and that of the humble and not too "wise and prudent" according to this world's wisdom. The synagogues of to-day are even more closely guarded than those of the typical harvest, so that rarely indeed is there in any of these any opportunity to deliver the message of the kingdom to the Lord's sheep, who may be bound up and starving therein; hence the work now as then, is more of an individual and private character. Consequently its rewards are not enticing to those who look for rewards popular among men – popularity, money, etc. Those who labor for the wages now offered for this service, must have higher than selfish motives – love for the Lord, his truth and his children. These take willingly (Heb. 10:32,33) the present wages of reproach, etc., and wait for the equally sure and great reward of honor and glory in the future. By this arrangement, the Lord chooses his ministers (servants), thus securing though in all a "little flock," a ministry under whose faithful efforts now and hereafter, his infinite plans will reach a glorious consummation.
In the issue of September last, we mentioned a plan we had in view, by which the humblest could share in the privileges and blessings of the harvest work now, investing so much time and talent as they could command. The responses were more than we had expected. About five hundred eagerly grasped for the opportunity, and in response we sent to each a printed, private letter, explaining the method proposed, and over three hundred are now at work, laboring, enduring and sacrificing for the truth's sake, and for the sake of him who said, "Feed my sheep" – gathering fruit unto eternal life; and still applications continue to come in from others. Should no more engage in this service, we reckon that these now laboring will succeed during the present year in having the "Food" read by not less than twenty thousand thinking people; possibly fifty thousand. The result of this work in enlightening the minds and renewing consecrated hearts, none can estimate now; and the results we find are even more marked upon the hearts of the "laborers," than of those for whom they labor, the promise that he that watereth others shall himself be watered, being verified to each.
The results of the work of these as thus far prosecuted, reveals the fact that the harvest is truly great, and that many hungry, starving, fainting sheep are famishing for the bread of life. Many of the workers tell us that they are encouraged, and indeed surprised to find some fruit of their labors where they had not expected it. This searching work reveals the fact that there are more truth hungry than we had supposed, who are trying to feed upon the husks of tradition, and who though almost disheartened and blinded by error are still striving and feeling after the true God of justice and love. To search these out and feed and enlighten them is the present great harvest work. In view of the great work to be done, and the privilege of doing it, the thought is suggested, why may not many more be thus engaged? and we have therefore concluded to lay the plan before all our readers in this issue of the TOWER. Why may not five or ten thousand, instead of three hundred be thus laboring for and blessing others? By thus preaching from house to house why not reach half a million or a million, and have that number read of these refreshing "good tidings?"
It is with these thoughts that we now lay before you all the plan already working good results with some. We know of no better method available to most of you for spreading the truth, than to get people to read the pamphlet "Food for Thinking Christians," and to know of the publication of the TOWER. And while bringing them and their topics to the attention of the people a most favorable opportunity is afforded you for reaching the truth-hungry who have "an ear to hear" by bringing you in contact with such, manifesting them, and thus affording you opportunities to tell the dear story with your own lips, also.
To this end, as an aid to such laborers we have prepared a large quantity of large printed envelopes, each containing a sample copy of the TOWER and a copy of "Food." These can be distributed from house to house and called for and collected a few days later, at which time you could take subscriptions, or sell the sample packets, or have conversations, etc., as you may find possible and expedient.
We need scarcely say to you that ZION'S WATCH TOWER is not a money-making enterprise. (Your own experience [R825 : page 2] probably proves this.) It has never yet repaid the cost of paper and printing any year since it was started. Nevertheless, if you are dependent for your living on your daily labor, you must needs have some income, or you could not give your time in the manner suggested. To such we would say that the following provision is made for this contingency: – You may retain ONE-HALF of all the receipts obtained as described from NEW readers to go towards your support, your traveling expenses, and the support of any one dependent on you, returning to the Tract Fund any surplus you may be able to spare.
Those who find themselves possessed of the gift of teaching (1 Cor. 12:8,11,18,22,29; 13; and 14:1,3,9,15,22,24) – ability to make clear to others, the plan of our Father from his Word of truth, will thus be provided a grand opportunity for holding public meetings in school-houses, halls, churches, court-houses, market places, parks, and vacant lots, to which the public might be invited; or private gatherings for the help of those found truth-hungry during the canvass, might be held where and when possible.
As you go, let it not be for strife or vain glory, but that the spirit of the truth filling you may overflow upon others. Speak the truth in love, love for the truth, and love for those you would assist. Be not ashamed of the Sword of the Spirit, the Word of God; handle it with confidence, but not boastfully, it is not thine, but God's. In speaking of the plans of the great Jehovah, let it be with reverence, as well as love. Do not for a moment forget the responsibility and humble dignity of your mission as an ambassador and herald of the Lord of life and glory. Go forth each day from your closet, from private reflection upon the glorious message you bear, forewarned and fore-armed also, to meet the reception you may expect from many who know us not; that being thus shod with the preparation needful, you may not so much feel the sharpness and ruggedness of the way. Even so it was with our Master also. Consider this lest ye be weary and faint in your minds. (Eph. 6:15; Heb. 12:13). Prepare [R825 : page 2] from the first to endure hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ. This is your ministry. Make full proof of your ministry. Keep the object well in view, and look unto Jesus for an example of how to endure, as well as for grace to help you. You may not see much of the fruit of your labors, yet the Lord may show you some, for your encouragement by the way. The fruits will be better seen by and by.
"Be ye wise as serpents, and harmless as doves." (Matt. 10:16.) We suggest the following method of leaving the sample "packets":
Do your scattering of the packets and your after canvassing in a systematic manner so that you will know just where you have been and where you have not been, and generally finish one street and town or city before beginning in another.
Remember the OBJECT before you; that it is not the selling of the packets, nor the taking of subscriptions, but the spread of the truth, by getting people to read. Endeavor as far as possible to forget the money feature of the work. It might be possible to take a subscription from a party who would never get much good of it, nor read it, or it might be possible to get a party to read by wise and fitly spoken words at the time of leaving the packet, who, after reading, would not subscribe, nor yet purchase the packet, but the latter would probably in the end yield most fruit to the Lord's glory; for the thoughts implanted while reading would probably never die if the heart-soil was good, and in the future might bud, blossom and bear good fruit. We must not measure success entirely by the present results. We would not, however, have any one think that the taking of subscriptions even from those but slightly interested, is valueless; far from it. Some have had the TOWER in their hands repeatedly without having their attention riveted and their interest fully awakened, who, by and by were wonderfully aroused and blessed. Of such was our Brother Zech, mentioned in the Dec. '85 "View." So then take all the subscriptions you can, and sell all the packets you can, while bearing in mind that your OBJECT is, above all, to attract attention to the beauty and harmony of THE TRUTH concerning the teachings of the Bible.
"Be wise." – To secure attention to your mission and packet of reading matter, you must be neat and respectable in appearance; kind, interesting and dignified in your language and manner, leaving no doubt in the minds of those you meet that your service is from your heart, and rendered to the Lord, and that not their money, but their hearts you seek specially. Take advantage of all the circumstances to so deeply interest, by conversation, those upon whom you call, and with whom you leave the "Packets," that they CANNOT HELP READING to satisfy interest or curiosity. Do not attempt to tell them all about the plan of God; the reading will do that better. Tell them just enough to make them desire to know more. Take advantage of their present religious views, as the Apostles did (2 Cor. 12:16). If they are Presbyterians, Baptists, or Methodists, call their attention to the fact that "Food for Thinking Christians" harmonizes the hitherto supposedly contradictory doctrines, Election and Free Grace, and makes them both clear and beautiful, aiding greatly in the study of the Bible, and stimulating both heart and mind to Bible study. To one who is skeptical, point out the fact that this treats religious matters from a reasonable standpoint; and make clear to him that the creeds of the sects, and not the Bible, are unreasonable and contradictory. Many Infidels and skeptics have been led to the Lord through reading "Food"; and hundreds write that they sat up all night to finish reading it the first time, only to read it over more carefully several times after. When, after leaving the packets several days, according to circumstances and appointment, you call to collect or take subscriptions, do all the preaching you can. The Lord has promised, "I will give you a mouth and wisdom which all your adversaries shall not be able to gainsay or resist." (Luke 21:15.) And you will find this true to the letter. You will find that none, even those professing to be teachers and ministers of the gospel, will be able to withstand the "Sword of the Spirit" with which the knowledge of the truth arms you.
The best point to make prominent in these brief conversations is the ransom, its completeness and efficacy (Rom. 5:17-19), as far-reaching in its influence for good, as the curse for sin was far-reaching in evil effects – "a ransom for ALL to be testified in due time" to all; and made available to them. Study these your sermons and points and texts; be thoroughly familiar with "FOOD" and its references. Refer them to it, and its arguments, and its Scripture citations. STUDY with all your heart to show yourself approved unto God, and to be used more and more of him to his glory; and study his Word with all the helps he has provided you, that you may "be ready to give an answer to him that asketh you – A REASON FOR THE HOPE that is in you, with meekness and fear." Meek and humble in your deportment, remember that you are sent with this balm, not to curse, but to bless; not to smite and wound, and drive the sheep, but to heal and help and draw them nearer to the true Shepherd, and his green pastures. Fear, lest you should let a precious moment or opportunity be wasted, wherein you might honor the Master or bless a brother. Fear, lest you yourself should through pride or vain glory, or unfaithfulness, fail to attain the glorious, heavenly prize of which you teach others.
One Sister of this city reported as many as ten subscribers obtained in one day and many very interesting conversations with some evidently truth-hungry. There are more, many more of the Lord's children – our brethren and sisters – who are starving spiritually, and each faithful servant, each steward of the manifold grace of God should remember his commission to preach (Isa. 61:1 and Matt. 5:16 and Mark 16:15). "Let your light shine," and Go ye into all the world and preach the "good tidings" to every creature. Sound forth the glad song of full redemption by a mighty God and Saviour. Flash forth the truth into every nook and corner where dark creeds and black theories have so long lain. The harvest is ripe, let every servant thrust in the sickle. The Lord is with us; in his name alone and by his word alone we conquer.
Do not be discouraged; you will daily learn better how to awaken and interest the sheep; at first you may frighten the sheep only and have little success, but "Study to show thyself approved unto God," pray for help and let the Master's voice speak more and more in all your words and looks and deeds, and soon you will be used to bless and feed some. Spare not the steps nor the time; sow beside all waters and in due time ye shall reap if ye faint not.
Send for the Sample Packets as you need them, but don't let any be idle, re-distribute them over and over again, except where you make sale, or take a subscription, or give to one who is much interested, but too poor to purchase.
So surely as you are of the "body of Christ," so surely you will have a strong desire to "Preach the gospel to the meek." You have often sighed perhaps that you had but little money you could give to spread the message, and that you had neither the ability nor opportunity to publicly proclaim, "I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ." Now God opens up this method whereby the humblest may, if they will, do effective preaching, much after the manner of the Master and the Apostles. [R826 : page 2]
Of course those whose hearts are not absorbed in the "good tidings" and a desire to obey the injunction, "Feed my sheep," can go, one to his farm, and another to his merchandise or household affairs and find no time to be thus co-workers with the Master; and of course those whose hearts are full, will find some way to render service. They will find opportunities in which self-denial (self-sacrifice) will enable them to do what they can, and the warmer the interest the more time can and will they spend in this or some form of service appreciated by the Master.
One Sister can only find time as she goes and comes from market and shows her will in the matter, by using that. Another commenced by giving one half-day each week, and is now deeply interested and giving nearly four days of each week in this preaching. One Brother writes that he uses the evenings after his day's labor; another, that he finds the Lord's Day especially favorable to the work, and much more profitable than anything else to himself as well as to those whom he endeavors to interest, and whose minds and bodies are more at rest and who are more easily interested then, than upon other days. Next to meeting fellow saints for Bible study, no work could be better adapted or more suitable to the day which memorializes the resurrection of our Lord after having given himself a ransom for all; witnessing as it did, to the perfectness of that ransom which is the foundation of all the glad tidings of forgiveness of sins and full release of all, from sin's penalty. Be not in too great haste; wherever you find a hearing ear give it plenty of time and call back repeatedly to assist. Be instant in season and out of season – when convenient and when not convenient to you. Take along a note book; keep a note of those specially interested, of those you failed to see, and where you began and left off distributing on a street, etc.
N.B. – In answering this state yourself clearly, and give your full address very plainly. Should you send in any lists of subscribers, six months and yearly subscribers should always be on sheets of paper separate from your letter.
MY DEAR BROTHER AND SISTER: – How natural it is to share with each other in joy and sorrow. Now rejoice with me, dearly loved ones, that the good seed sown here has fallen in much good ground. The prospects are bright and encouraging beyond all my expectations. It is so cheering to me, and of course, to you also. I drink deeper than my parents, who are very religious, but they, whom you would think, in their tender regard for me, their first – and if possible, their dearest child – would say, go sow the good seed, are trying to have me stay at home, saying, Don't go out to-day, people will think strange to see you on the street so often, etc., etc. I try to preach to them by manner, look, and word, I try to be gentle, meek and mild, like the pattern, but firm. I tell them it would be pleasant to stay with them and sit in my easy chair, by the comfortable fire, and read, work and talk, but dare not. My time for rest is in the near future. My crown depends on running faithfully to the end.
"He that loves father, or mother, or anything more than me, is not worthy of me." I have willingly, yes, very joyfully, given my little all. I do not think this trial strange; it is the order now. We will be associated with the Saviour soon, and like him know how to succor others. Blessed privilege! If the contemplation is so glorious, what must the reality be. I am unspeakably happy, not only now, but all the time and under all circumstances. When a great grief comes suddenly, I say to myself over and over again, "I am a child of the King."
Where shall I begin to tell you all the good news? New Year's Day, 1886, I sent a TOWER and "Food" to the Congregational minister here who lives in an adjoining town, dividing his time between the two places, and lecturing once a week to the Y.M.C.A., of San Francisco. I have heard the best speakers on this coast, and I believe he is the star, so earnest and faithful. It is less than a month since I first saw him. He took right hold of the soul-inspiring truths. Next time he came here to preach I went to hear him, with a family of his members. As we went home they said "he beat himself." I knew why, but said not a word about it.
Next morning he called on them and said, "I have just got the best book I ever saw. It has helped me right out of the ruts, I don't know who sent it, and no mark tells where it came from. But it is addressed in a lady's hand."
When I saw them next, they told me about it, and said, "When we asked him the name and he told us, 'Food for Thinking Christians,'" you ought to have seen his surprise when we told him we had it, and brought it out and showed it to him! We have had Bible class in his church Sundays, also in our house during the week, but now we have him lead the one during the week too. This is only a drop of the good. Our nearest neighbor is a German Lutheran, set, and with stakes driven, till I went to have her translate for me dear Brother Zech's tract. The truth broke the hard shell, and as we read "Food" together, you would be glad to see her countenance beaming as the truth entered. I think she will take the German TOWER.
GENTLEMEN: – Have you anything in the way of books or papers which you would send to one who, for the last fifteen years, has borne the title of Infidel, because of an inability to accept any of the doctrines at hand? A few days ago I got a glance at a little book from your place; and must confess myself much interested in what I read therein. I want to follow this first gleam of light till I reach the full brightness, if such a thing is possible for me.
DEAR BRO. RUSSELL: – I received the German WATCH TOWER, and I am thankful that a new light is dawning upon my work, by which I am able to do ten times more work and with better results than with English papers. All here are Pennsylvania Germans with but little knowledge of the English language. I will do all I can for the cause of Christ.
Trusting in the Lord for his help and support, I am your brother in love.
I can now say I enjoy more peace of mind than I ever did before and am willing to give up all to follow my Master, although I cannot hope to escape the ignominy and shame. My trial of faith began at the mention of coming out of the church, and I realize the persecutions I shall have to endure, especially from those of my own household. But I pray God to show me his will, and give me strength and grace to do it. I hail with joy the arrival of every TOWER and have commenced canvassing with the "Food" as directed, and have already seen some fruits of my labor.
Please send me another copy of "The Tabernacle" (paper July, '85); also send two of the TOWER each month. There are evidently many truth-hungry Christians in this city, and I want you to pray for me that I may have strength to help them.
MY DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL: – Please send the TOWER one year to the enclosed list....Many are ready to receive the precious seed and to listen to the "glad tidings." I rejoice that I, although so unworthy, am permitted to labor with the saints in the vineyard of the Lord. I see nothing discouraging in the great plan of feeding the sheep of our blessed Master. May God help us all so to live and work this year, as to produce much precious fruit. Your fellow worker in the Lord.
DEAR BROTHER: – I can do a good work with a few copies of the German TOWER in print. There seems to be quite an awakening of late among the people seeking and asking after the truth. Many are reading the "TOWER." Many who have long known of it and its teaching, now begin to enquire. Brothers, what think you of this? I am, dear brother, yours in Christ,
Great truths are dearly bought. The common truth,
Such as men give and take from day to day,
Comes in the common walk of easy life,
Blown by the careless wind across our way.
Great truths are greatly won; not found by chance,
Nor wafted on the breath of summer dream;
But grasped in the great struggle of the soul,
Hard buffeting with adverse wind and stream.
Not in the general mart, 'mid corn and wine;
Not in the merchandise of gold and gems;
Not in the world's gay hall of midnight mirth:
Nor 'mid the blaze of regal diadems:
But in the day of conflict, fear and grief,
When the strong hand of God puts forth in might,
Ploughs up the subsoil of the stagnant heart,
And brings the imprisoned truth seed to the light.
Wrung from the troubled spirit in hard hours
Of weakness, solitude, perchance of pain,
Truth springs, like harvest, from the well-plowed fields,
And the soul feels that it has not wept in vain.
Words are mediums for communicating thoughts. Where the same word is used in giving expression to various thoughts, we must judge of the meaning or sense in which it is used in any particular case from the context. This rule applies to the use of the preposition in of our English language, and also to its corresponding word en in the Greek. As an illustration of this, take the following sentence:
In this sentence, the word in is used to convey five different thoughts which though correctly stated, might be as well or better expressed by other prepositions. Thus, in the above sentence, the first in has the strict or primary meaning of in, while the second might more accurately be rendered through, the third by, the fourth with, and the fifth under.
The same is true of the corresponding Greek word en; its primary significance is (1) in, as, "in thy heart and in thy mouth" but en is also used as signifying (2) through, and (3) by, and (4) with, and (5) under.
This word (en) is translated (2) "through" in our common translation of the Bible, as the following instances will illustrate: "He casteth out devils through [en] the prince of devils." (Matt. 9:34.) "Sanctify them through [en] thy truth." (John 17:17.) Also Acts 4:2, Titus 1:3, and 2 Cor. 11:3. It is forcibly translated by (3) when the Apostle says, I would stir up your pure minds by [en] way of remembrance." (2 Pet. 3:1.) It is, with evident correctness, rendered with (4) in Matt. 26:52, "They that take the sword shall perish with [en] the sword." (See its similar use, Matt. 20:15, 22:37, and 25:16.) The same word [en] is well and properly rendered under sometimes, as for instance (Matt. 7:6), "Lest they trample them under [en] their feet": and (Rom. 3:19), "What things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under [en] the Law."
With the above demonstration of the meaning and use of the word in mind, it must be evident to every reader that the accurate meaning of these little words "in" and "en" in any case must be determined from the context, and from the general teaching of Scripture. To this we now direct attention in connection with the following texts:
(1) "If any man be in [en] Christ, he is a new creature." 2 Cor. 5:17.
(2) "The dead in [en] Christ shall rise first." 1 Thess. 4:16.
(3) "As in Adam all die, even so in [en] Christ shall all be made alive." 1 Cor. 15:22.
(4) "That in the dispensation of the fullness of times, he might gather together in one all things in [en] Christ, even in [en] him. Eph. 1:10.
(5) "God was in [en] Christ reconciling the world unto himself." 2 Cor. 5:19.
Those who have not noticed that, as above shown, the words in and en have no less than five significations, or who fail to make use of their knowledge and always give the words in and en their primary signification, must of necessity be somewhat bewildered by the foregoing texts; and gathering them together they would conclude that finally God, angels, men, devils, and the lower animals, would all be in Christ – "new creatures." And finally when asked, how and in what sense these would ever be in Christ, they would doubtless be puzzled for an answer.
In examining these Scripture statements, let us avoid such a stupid and bewildering error, and noting the connecting text, let us rightly divide the word of truth (2 Tim. 2:15), applying the proper significance to the word in as when reading any other book. By recognizing the foregoing rule, we can readily bring all these texts into harmony with each other, and with all other passages of Scripture.
We start with the unqualified statement that the Scriptures everywhere recognize the Christian Church as Elect, according to the foreknowledge of God, and being selected through faith and obedience through the Christian age – "the acceptable year [epoch] of the Lord" – as the members of or in the body of Christ, joint-heirs with Jesus their Head and Forerunner, to the great prize and inheritance of "glory, honor and immortality" – the divine nature. All these are "new creatures." (2 Peter 1:4.) These alone may therefore properly be said to be members in the body of Christ; and they are in all but a "little flock" of "overcomers." This being true, and we shall give yet further proof of it shortly, it follows that the other texts under present consideration should not be so construed as to nullify and contradict this plain and general testimony, and as we look at them we will find that they do not.
The second text corroborates the first and the above view when it refers to a [R827 : page 3] "first" or chief resurrection; for if all are to be in Christ as members of his body, why separate the members of one body? Furthermore this text separates and distinguishes between the dead in Christ, and other dead not in Christ, and thereby contradicts the idea some have drawn from the third text in the list.
The third text would have been more clear for the average reader had the Greek word en been translated through or by instead of "in" for this is the evident sense: As by or through the act of Adam our first representative all died, even so by or through the act of another representative shall all be made alive. The one caused the death of all, the other causes the re-living or resurrection of all. This text has the same significance as another by the same writer (Rom. 5:18,19): "By one man's disobedience the many [all] were constituted sinners, so by the obedience of one shall the many [all] be constituted righteous."
Besides if we were to attempt to put upon this third text the primary signification of in, would it not imply that the dead would get into Christ first and be made alive afterward? And would not this imply an absurdity?
In the fourth text in the above list the word en might better have been translated under as in the other cases it has been rendered thus, and properly. (See illustrations given.) Jehovah has not only appointed Christ to be the "head over the Church which is HIS BODY" and which is to be associated with him in all his work in the future dispensations, but He also appointed the Christ (including the body) to be head or ruler over all things, purposing thus to again bring under one rule all things and beings earthly and heavenly, putting all things under Christ – under his feet or control, excepting only himself (1 Cor. 15:27). Thus understood this text is in harmony with all others, as well as grandly sublime in itself.
In the fifth text the word en may be translated advantageously, by either of the words, by, in, or through. The thought is, that Jesus did not form the plan in the execution of which he has had and will have so important a place: for it was Jehovah's own plan. "God was [operating his own plan] in [or by or through] Christ; reconciling the world unto himself."
Let it be noticed, moreover, that while "by" suits the third of the above texts, and "under" suits the fourth, and either "by" or "through" suits the fifth, yet none of these can be applied to the first and second. These are sensible and reasonable only when en is translated in, and understood in its primary sense.
We trust that the above is hereby made clear to all; yet lest any should thus far have failed to note how clearly and forcibly the Scriptures everywhere separate those "in" Christ as body members, or under the other figure members of his espoused Bride, from the world which is to be blessed after the body or bride is complete (Rev. 19:7), and by that bride or body in connection with, and under control of the head, we will cite some Scriptures relative to this point below: –
Because of the close relationship of this company, and because of their joint-heirship with Him, as the wife is called by the name of her husband, so these are called by the name of Christ and are the body of Christ.
The entire nominal Church is nominally "the body of Christ," but only the faithful "overcomers" who take up their cross daily and follow him, are worthy of him, and are really his body (Matt. 10:38), and the names of them he will not blot from the roll (Rev. 3:5); but he will eventually own and glorify them with himself as members of his "body," his "bride" and joint heir.
The present Christian age has for its special object the selection of this ONE BODY, of which Jesus is the head and chief. And as soon as the last members of this select company are prepared by discipline, etc., they will all be glorified by resurrection power, made like their head, and with him they will enter upon the great and long prophesied work of blessing all the families of the earth. Gal. 3:29.
How any one can read the Scriptures with interest and care, yet fail to see (notwithstanding occasional imperfections of translations) that the Christian Church is separate and distinct in the promises made to it, and in the hopes set before it, and in every sense, from the world, is more than we can understand.
Note the following references: – "There is one body even as ye are called, in one hope of your calling"..."one Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and Father of all."..."And He gave indeed the Apostles and the Prophets and the Evangelists and Shepherds and Teachers for the complete qualification of the saints for the work of service, in order to the building up of the body of the Anointed One."..."Being truthful, in love we may grow up in all things into him who is the head – the Anointed One – from whom the whole body...by means of every assisting joint...affects the growth of the body for the building up of itself in love." (Eph. 4:4-16). Thus the Apostle clearly shows that the work of the Church in the present time is for the completion of the Church – the body of Christ, as he had already shown (chap. 2:6,7) that after our exaltation with Jesus to heavenly honors God would exhibit "in those ages that should come after, the surpassing riches of his favor, in graciousness on us, in [en] Christ Jesus." [Rotherham's translation.]
In the same letter (chap. 1:4-11) Paul tells us of the predestination of this body for this work "according as he chose us in him before founding a world,...in love marking us out beforehand unto adoption of sons...according to the riches of his favor which he made to super-abound toward us; in all wisdom and prudence" [i.e., as we could bear it] "making known unto us the mystery of his will" [or plan] "according to his good pleasure which he purposed in him, with a view to an administration [dominion] of the fullness of the seasons – to reunite for himself under one head [or rulership] the all things, in [en – under] the Christ [head and body] the things on the heavens and the things on the earth, in [en – under] Him; in whom also we were taken as an inheritance, being marked out [as a class or body] beforehand, according to a purpose of him." – Rotherham's translation.
And in the same chapter verses 21 and 23 we are told that God exalted Jesus above all others, both for the present and all future ages, "and subjected all things under his feet and constituted him a Head above all things for that Church which is His Body – the full development [or completeness] of Him [the Christ] who the all things in all, is for himself filling up."
How well these statements from one epistle agree with the words of the Master himself, who said, "I pray not for the world but for them which thou hast given me" [the disciples]. "Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word." [The entire previously marked out "Church," "body," "bride," or "brethren" of Christ.] That they all may be one...that they may be made perfect in one and [as a result of the perfecting of that one body] that the world may know [in that due time] that thou hast sent me and hast LOVED THEM as thou hast loved me. John 17:9,19-23.
We might multiply references to the [R827 : page 4] oneness of the Body of Christ (into membership in which, consecrated believers now reckonedly come,) whose worthiness to be of His Body and share his name and coming glory is made to depend upon their faithfulness in suffering with him in this age in which sin and suffering are permitted for the development of this very Body of Christ. But this we leave with the reader to do for himself, merely citing you now to a few illustrations as follows:
Phil. 3:14,21. This refers to the one body of many members. "Our inglorious body" as viewed by the world. Also note Paul's anxiety to be "found in Him," and at what cost he sought membership in that "body," and the superior or chief resurrection it will enjoy. Phil. 3:7-11. Also Col. 1:16-18,24-28; and 3:1-4,15. Also compare the account of the completion of the body of Christ by the gathering of the dead in Christ together with the last members, alive when their head returns, as given in 1 Thes. 4:16-18 with the account of same in 1 Cor. 15:51-53. Glance also at 1 Cor. 9:24-27 and at Rom. 12:4-6 and Acts 15:14.
Finally, notice also that in the ordinance of Baptism, the consecrated are baptized "into" Christ, by their sacrifice or burial in death with him (Rom. 6:3), and that in the breaking of the "one loaf" in commemorating the Lord's Supper, we signify our knowledge of, and membership in, and fellowship with, the "one body," now being broken. 1 Cor. 10:16,17.
Elsewhere we have shown from Scripture that in the consummation of God's plan there will be various orders or classes of beings, all fully and completely saved or released from sin and its effects, and all perfectly happy, all in perfect oneness of harmony with their Creator, and hence with each other, and yet as classes and as individuals differing one from another, [R828 : page 4] yet each rejoicing in his own station and appreciating it most.
Some will be heavenly or spirit beings, while others will be earthly or flesh beings; and as the Apostle informs us, there will be distinctions or different classes on both of these planes. (1 Cor. 15:38-40.) Among the earthly there will be differences, even as now there is one kind [or order] of flesh of beasts, another of birds, and another of fishes, and chief over and Lord of all these (Psa. 8:5-8; Gen. 1:28) is man. And when all things are brought into perfect harmony with God (all that will not after full opportunity come into harmony being "cut off" from existence), then these classes or orders will each be perfect, yet retain the Creator's originally intended differences from the other classes. Hence, "in the fullness of times," there will be on the earthly plane perfect fishes, perfect birds, perfect beasts, and over and above them all their king and ruler, perfect man; himself and his dominion restored (by the great Deliverer whom God provided – Christ Jesus and his "bride" or "body") to the original likeness of his Creator, and to his dominion over all.
And there will be likewise different orders or classes of beings on the heavenly or spirit plane of existence, all likewise perfect and happy and holy, and at one yet differing even as one star differs from another star in position, magnitude, and orbit (1 Cor. 15:41).
Most excellent and exalted above all others, the centre around which all others shall revolve, owning allegiance and rendering loving obedience and service, is the class of spirit beings of the divine nature – "far above all principality and power, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come." Eph. 1:21.
As already shown, Jehovah alone possessed this divine nature originally, but has, because of his fidelity and obedience even unto death, "highly exalted" Jesus our Lord to this sublimely grand position, "so much better than angels," giving him the heirship and rulership of the universe. And not only so, but God hath promised and will not repent, that the "body members," otherwise called the "Bride" of Christ, sharers of "the sufferings of Christ" shall share also in his glory, honor and exaltation to the "divine nature," as heirs of God and joint-heirs with Jesus Christ their Lord. (2 Peter 1:4, Rom. 8:17, and 1 Cor. 6:3.) These wait until their foreordained number is complete and made perfect, to enter into the honors and joys of their Lord – to be "glorified together" with him. Rom. 8:17, and John 17:21.
How many different orders or classes of heavenly or spirit beings there are we know not, but one of the lower orders is that of "angels," only "a little" higher than perfect men (Psa. 8:5), though "far" below the divine order (Eph. 1:21), yet all perfect, all happy, all at one or in harmony.
Another class we know of who will in their powers, etc., be lower than the divine nature, yet spirit beings, probably much on the same plane as "angels," viz., the large class who, during the present age, made consecration vows, but who through "fear" (Heb. 2:15) hesitated and kept back the sacrifice and failed to suffer with Christ, when to have boldly advocated his teachings would have cost them earthly comforts, honors, ease, etc. These not being "overcomers," cannot be of the "Bride" – cannot sit with him on the throne of highly exalted dominion. (Rev. 7:9,15; 14:3,5.) Yet, thank God, there is a place provided for these "before the throne." They cannot have crowns, but they shall have palms, and shall serve God in or through or by means of the temple, though they cannot be parts of that temple which is the body of Christ. And this is a great company, while the temple class, the enthroned class, the crowned class, the body class, the overcomers, the joint-heirs, who shall partake of the divine nature, and receive the great dominion is a "little flock." Compare Rev. 7:9 and Luke 12:32.
Thus seen, the hopes of all God's creatures for restitution and every blessing, is made dependent on Christ Jesus our Lord, and his perfect work – the ransom which he gave. Hence all hopes centre in him, and every blessing and favor of God comes to men in [en] or through or by Christ, but in the sense of having membership in the select body, the Ecclesia (Church) – called "the Christ," of which He is the Head, only those are in Christ who, after accepting justification as God's gift at the hands of Jesus the Redeemer, also accept of God's call to sacrifice with Jesus; joint-sufferers, they are joint-members and joint-heirs with him.
If any man be thus in Christ, he is a "new creature" – reckonedly of the "divine nature," now. And these things shall be actually so, when the time for exaltation and change comes – when the selection of the entire body is completed. "We shall all be changed" and thereafter "we shall be like him" who is "the express image of the Father's person."
In the Revised Version of Gen. 37:35, the words of Jacob to his sons and his daughters, after Joseph's coat dipped in blood, had been shown to him, are rendered, "I will go down to the grave to my son mourning," Sheol being translated, to the grave. The Common Version reads, "I will go down into the grave unto my son mourning," – the only change made by the Revisers consisting in a substitution of to for into and unto. But they have inserted in the margin the following explanation of the grave: "Heb. Sheol, the name, of the abode of the dead, answering the Greek Hades, Acts 2:27." This explanation is correct and sufficient; but the necessity of making it, and of referring to it in subsequent passages, shows that the translation was not esteemed wholly satisfactory.
It is not, therefore, surprising that the same word has received other translations, after the manner of the Common Version. For instance, in the account of the overthrow of Corah, Dathan and Abiram (See Num. 16:30,33), it is translated, the pit, probably because this expression was supposed to agree with the form which was given to the judgment of God, viz., "The earth opened her mouth and swallowed them up... and so they...went down alive into the pit." But while retaining this translation, the Revisers have admitted the need of some explanation by inserting sheol in the margin, yet without referring as they should have done, to the passage in Genesis where this Hebrew word is explained by them as "the name of the abode of the dead." For how can the word Sheol shed light on the English expression, unless its meaning is known to the reader? And if it could be assumed that the English reader would know the meaning of Sheol, why should not the word have been put in the text, instead of the margin? Without a reference to Gen. 37:35, the marginal sheol is practically useless to an English reader.
Indeed, we find such a reference in Isa. 5:14, where the word is translated hell; for the margin accompanies this third rendering by the following note: "Or, the grave, Heb., sheol. See Gen. 37:35." With this note the reader, provided he consults the margin, and then examines the explanation in Genesis to which he is referred, will obtain a tolerably correct view of the meaning.
Briefly, then, the treatment of sheol in the Revised Version is as follows: It is translated the grave, fifteen times (Gen. 37:35; 42:38; 44:29,31; 1 Sam. 2:6; 1 Kings 2:6,9; Psa. 141:7; Prov. 30:16; Eccl. 9:10; Cant. 8:6; Isa. 38:10,18; Hos. 13:14); the pit, five times (Num. 16:30,33; Deut. 32:22; Psa. 55:15; 86:13); and hell fifteen times (Isa. 5:14; 14:9,11,15; 28:15,18; 57:9; Ezek. 31:15,16,17; 32:21,27; Amos 9:2; Jonah 2:2; Hab. 2:15). It is also Anglicized as sheol in twenty-nine places (2 Sam. 22:6; Job 7:9; 11:18; 14:13; 17:13,16; 21:13; 24:19; 26:6; Psa. 6:6; 9:18; 16:10; 18:6; 30:4; 31:18; 49:15,16; 89:49; 116:3; 139:8; Prov. 1:12; 5:5; 7:27; 9:18; 15:11,24; 23:14; 27:20). Thus it is translated in thirty-five places, and Anglicized in twenty-nine. And it is noticeable that all the passages in which it is Anglicized (including 2 Sam. 22:6 – Psa. 18:6) are poetic. It is also noticeable that all the passages in which it is translated hell are in prophetic books (Isaiah, Ezekiel, Amos, Jonah, Habakkuk).
But is there any sufficient reason for this varied treatment of the word? We could answer this question in the affirmative, if there were evidence, (1) that in the Hebrew language sheol had more than one meaning – e.g., a primitive meaning and a derivative, or (2) that in the progress of religious knowledge among the Jews, it exchanged one signification for another, or (3) that it always had an indefinite, shadowy meaning, dependent on the context. Upon examination, however, we do not discover in the Old Testament use of the word evidence that it had more than one signification, or that its latter signification was different than its earlier.
Sheol is represented in some of them as vast, cavernous, unfilled. In it the dead are spoken of as asleep, or inert, or as deprived of the honor and power which they had in life, (Isa. 14:9,11,15; Ezek. 31:14-18; Amos 9:2; Jonah 2:2; Hab. 2:5). We are unable to discover any valid reason for rendering the word hell, rather than pit, in these passages, or indeed any reason for translating [R829 : page 4] it at all, which would not require its translation in any of the places where it is treated as a proper name.
The statement in the Preface to the Revised Version is as follows: "The Revisers, therefore, in the historical annotations have left the rendering 'the grave' or 'the pit' in the text, with a marginal note 'Heb. sheol' to indicate that it does not signify 'the place of burial;' while in the poetical writings they have put most commonly 'sheol' in the text and 'the grave' in the margin. In Isa. 14, however, where 'hell' is used in more of its original sense, and is less liable to be misunderstood, and where any change in so familiar a passage, which was not distinctly an improvement would be a decided loss, the Revisers have contented themselves, with leaving 'hell' in the text, and have connected it with other passages by putting 'sheol' in the margin," (p. 7). The reasons here assigned for leaving the translation 'hell' in the text, do not seem to us very cogent, and the neglect to allude in any way to the twelve other places in which the same translation is retained, is remarkable. Probably, however, it was thought that the explanation of their course with Isaiah 14, would be considered, without remark, as applicable to the other cases. But it would have been better to have represented the Hebrew word everywhere by Sheol or Hades, its Greek equivalent.
Notwithstanding the criticism which we have ventured to make on the treatment of sheol in the Revised Version, we desire to say that, as far as we have been able to examine that Version, it is a great improvement on the one in common use. Though more changes, wisely made, would have been welcome to many scholars, it was certainly better to err on the side of caution than on the side of rashness. And in spite of all the just or unjust criticism upon it, the Revision is a work of high and reverent scholarship, contributing to a more correct view of the original text.– Alvah Hovey.
"Blood, blood! strange, why so much about blood in the Bible?" said Mr. M__________ one day, laying down the sacred volume on the table. "Exodus," continued he, "is filled with it, and so is Leviticus. The historical parts of the Old Testament are crowded with accounts of sacrifices; and so are the prophetical; and as to the New Testament, it is the most prominent thing in it – strange!" He sat awhile in silent thought, while his mind ran over the principal contents of the great volume with which he had been familiar from childhood. "Why," said he, "every one of the patriarchs, from Abel downwards, shed the blood of victims, and offered sacrifices on altars. Noah did, and so did Abraham, over and over. Then Moses instituted a whole system of sacrifices: – there was the blood of the Passover, and the blood of the consecration of everything that was consecrated – altars, vessels, priests, etc., and the blood of all the cleansings of lepers and persons ceremonially defiled, and the blood of all the different offerings – burnt-offerings, peace-offerings, sin-offerings; and the blood of various victims on the great day of yearly atonement; and then there was the regular sacrifice of a lamb every morning and every evening. Why, the Jewish priests were shedding blood every day of their lives, and often many times a day – and this for centuries, and sometimes offering hecatombs of sacrifices, as in the days of Solomon, at the consecration of the temple, when literally rivers of blood streamed from the place of sacrifice. And this blood was all by God's appointment, too, and continued for ages, existing until Judaism gave place to Christianity. And then, when I turn to the New Testament, I find the Lord Jesus solemnly insisting on the necessity of drinking his blood in order to have eternal life, and speaking of his blood being shed for the remission of sins; and Paul, in Romans, speaks of propitiation through blood, and being justified through blood; and in Ephesians, of redemption through blood, and being made nigh by blood; and in Colossians of peace through blood; and Hebrews is completely crimson with this doctrine from first to last; and Peter speaks of the sprinkling of the blood, and John of the cleansing of the blood, and Revelation is interspersed with songs concerning the blood of the Lamb. Really, the Bible seems to me to be stained through and through with the scarlet dye of blood; and when I soberly ask myself, what it all means, I am at a loss for a satisfactory reply. I know the doctrines commonly taught about the remission of sin through the blood-shedding; but what the true connection is between blood and pardon I do not understand. I wish I did. Some people seem to have rest to their souls in views they entertain about it. Whatever that rest is, I have never experienced it. I know I am a sinner. The thought of eternity is altogether dreadful to me. What would I give if it were otherwise. Oh, if I could only be what I ought to be, and do what I ought to do! But I feel powerless to obey God when I try. I cannot love him; I cannot keep that high and holy law which forbids me an evil thought or feeling, however transient, and accepts nothing but absolute perfection. As to delighting in such a law, I cannot do it; and if I could for the future, the sins I have already committed would be sufficient to condemn me. God be merciful to me! Oh, that he would! I am weary, weary. Yes, more, I am wicked and helpless too. I believe there is help for me in him. Oh, that he would grant it! But why have I not asked it? I have said prayers, but my heart has not really prayed. I feel now as if I must pray. Oh, is there not some secret power in that blood which the Bible speaks of to cleanse me? The thought of it encourages me to kneel down and cast myself at God's feet, and cry to him to have mercy upon me. Mercy is what I want. Nothing else will do. 'God be merciful to me a sinner.'"
So saying, he fell on his knees, and covered his face with his hands; his bosom heaved, sobs burst from his burdened heart; petitions and confessions poured out in broken sentences. His whole soul seemed absorbed; everything else seemed forgotten. At length he rose, and, clearing his eyes from tears, sat down, and again opened the Bible. The page which lay before him was one in Leviticus, Chap. 17 ; his eye fell upon the eleventh verse, "For the life of the flesh is in the blood; and I have given it to you upon the altar to make an atonement for your souls; for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul." As he read these words, a beam of light seemed to shine into his soul; the word "life" arrested his attention. It appeared to stand out in large letters before his mind. He saw that God connects "the life" and "the blood." "The life" is in "the blood." That precious thing we call "life," – that thing which man esteems most precious, is in "the blood." And this is what gives "the blood" its value. He saw blood to be the rich equivalent to life. Blood and life are one. To shed blood is to take life. The words blood and life are interchangeable. For general purposes it matters not which you use. The one represents the other.
As these thoughts passed through his mind, all the passages he remembered in the Scriptures, in which the word "blood" occurred, seemed illuminated with the precious thought of "life." In this blood was "life." Every sacrifice was the sacrifice of "life." Thus he saw in the Divine law yearly sacrifices of life, and daily sacrifices of life; every morning and every evening were marked by the offering of life; and all the sprinkling of blood on persons and things to be hallowed, was but the putting upon them the scarlet token of life – of life taken – life poured out – life sacrificed. He saw in all this a constant sacrifice of life on the sinner's behalf. It was altogether for the sinner. All this pouring out of life was for the sake of transgressors. When any sinned, they were to bring a victim to the altar of God and have it slain. The sinner was to lay his hand on the head of the victim, and then the victim was to be slain. The one sinned, the other suffered. The one forfeited his life, the other lost it. The judgment passed from the one to the other, from the guilty to the innocent. "The soul that sinneth, it shall die." Here a man sinned, but the sentence of death for his sin is not executed upon him, but upon the victim which he brings to the altar of God. Thus life is taken because of sin, but not the life of the sinner. The life of the innocent victim is taken, and the life of the guilty sinner spared. Here is life for life; life exchanged for life; one life given for another life; one life taken instead of another life; the sentence executed, yet the sinner spared. Oh, justice and mercy joined! Full justice and full mercy; no blot on either; no imperfection in either. Mercy sparing the transgressor, while Justice slays him in the person of his Substitute. Justice asks no more. Mercy can do no more. The law has its free course, and so has grace. Both are glorified.
As he thus meditated, thoughts of JESUS began to fill his mind. His was the life thus "taken from the earth." All the countless lives of victims slain on Jewish altars were but the emblems of his one life "poured out." All told of him. All were shadows of his sacrifice. They could not take away sin: he does. They were nothing: he is all. His own words were, "The Son of Man came to give his life a ransom [Greek – lutron – a price] for many;" Matt. 20:28, Mark 10:45; "the Good Shepherd giveth his life for the sheep." "I lay down my life." And the words of John are, "Hereby know we the love of God, because he [Jesus] laid down his life for us." While thinking on these passages, he began to see a connection between his own sins and the death of Jesus. My life, thought he, has been forfeited; and he loved me and gave his life for mine. His precious life given for my worthless life! His life for my life! Yea, since his life has been taken, mine shall never be, for I believe in him; and he says of all who believe in him, "I give unto them eternal life, and they shall never perish." Joy now began to flow into his heart, and a feeling of gratitude and love to Jesus. How wonderful the thought! His life and my life linked together. The one given for the other. His for mine – himself for me! And I a sinner and an heir of wrath, while he is the Son of God, and heir of all things! His holy, precious, sacred life – a life linked with eternal glory, laid down because mine was forfeited, and because he loved me; that my life might be spared, that I might live. Gladly, then, will I give him the life he has redeemed! Henceforth, thought he, henceforth I live, not to myself, but to him who died for me and rose again.
Reader, have thine eyes been opened thus?– H. G. Guinness.
The Greek is remarkably perspicuous in construction, and definite in significance. There are terms expressing the application of liquids in almost every conceivable manner: – Cheo, I pour; Raino, I sprinkle; Louo, I wash, bathe; Nipto, I wash my hands or a part of my person; Bathizo, I immerse or plunge, well deep, from Bathos the bottom; Rantizo, from Raino, I sprinkle, shed forth; Bapto, I dip, I dye; Baptizo, I dip or immerse.
That this was the original institution, is beyond a doubt, and it continued the only form of the ordinance for more than 1300 years, except in cases of inability on account of sickness, or in present danger of death. In such cases it was thought that affusion would answer for baptism.– Bible Banner.
"And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself even as he is pure." 1 Jno. 3:3.
It has probably been noticed by our readers that but little has been said in the TOWER upon the subject of morality, and that the various Christian graces, such as benevolence, kindness, gratitude, love, etc., have received but little special attention; while there has been no urging of Christians to be honest, to be truthful, to forego certain worldly amusements, to disregard the fashions of this world as to manner of dress, etc., etc.
These and kindred topics are generally regarded both in pulpits and in the various religious papers as matters of greatest importance. But it should be noticed that the bulk of Bible teaching is not morality, but "doctrines," revelations and teachings relative to God's plan and our part in it, from which, as fruits, morality and the graces are expected to grow. "Exceeding great and precious promises" are planted, and where these enter good and honest hearts, faith and hope and love spring up with their various fruits of purity of mind and body, meekness, gentleness, benevolence, and self-sacrifice for the good of others, and above all, in the service of God and his truth. Thus morality and the cultivation of the various graces are by no means ignored in Scripture; and though accorded a less prominent place than other features of their teaching, they are thus most emphatically taught.
Because the Bible does so, the TOWER aims at the root of the matter, to get the heart right; for "out of" the heart "are the issues of life." (Prov. 4:23.) An impure fountain cannot send forth sweet waters; neither can a pure fountain send forth bitter waters. But how shall the heart be made right? by telling a man that he must not be intemperate, that he must not be dishonest, that he must not be unkind and selfish, etc.? No; you will never convert a man by laying down the law to him, nor by merely telling him the disadvantages of wrong doing. Men know what they ought and ought not to do generally, but the tendency of the fallen nature is downward, and they need to be converted from the heart before they can resist it. That is, the affections must first be turned away from sin to righteousness.
Nothing is calculated to do this so effectually as to let men see the glorious plan of God as revealed in the Scriptures. This is to be God's plan in the age to come; for the knowledge of the Lord revealed by his plan shall fill the whole earth as the waters cover the sea. Men will not then be scared into the service of God by the false threat of eternal torment; but being constrained by the love of God, the abundance of the nations shall be converted. (Isa. 60:5.) God does not desire the service of fear, except that filial fear which is inspired by love, which dreads to incur his displeasure, or to appear ungrateful for his favors.
The Bible, in type, and prophecy, and copious expositions of the same, shows how fully and completely our sins have been cancelled, and our lives redeemed, by the precious blood of Christ; how it has been done in strictest harmony with the justice of God, who had justly condemned us to death (extermination) on account of sin, but who now as justly awards to all who will accept of it, eternal life through the gift of his Son, our [R829 : page 6] Lord Jesus Christ, who paid our ransom price. And this is shown to be our strong consolation, which leaves no room for doubt of our everlasting inheritance thus purchased for us, unless after being brought to a knowledge of it, we refuse to accept the favor of God which few will do.
The Bible not only gives this sure foundation for our faith, but it fills our hearts with joy unspeakable and full of glory through the revelations of the blessings to come, the further manifestations of the love of God. And in the presentation of so grand a plan for the redemption and restitution of mankind, the glorious character of our God is made to shine with such lustre that as men come to see it, they will be constrained to admire, to love, and to imitate.
Thus it will be with all men, when all men are brought to the knowledge of the Lord; and thus it is now, with those who are now made acquainted with him. His love begets our love and gratitude in return; his justice awakens our sense of justice; his benevolence leads us to deeds of benevolence: and thus we grow up into his likeness. We can show our love and gratitude to God by manifesting his character to our fellowmen, both in our common dealings with them, and also by doing good to all men as we have opportunity; especially to the household of faith (Gal. 6:10); in making known to all the exceeding riches of his graces. And if any man love not his brother, how dwelleth the love of God in him?
And every man which hath this hope which the Bible inspires, in him, purifieth himself even as he (God) is pure. Beholding the character of God as it shines in the face of Jesus Christ, he endeavors to eradicate from his own character and disposition that which is impure and out of harmony with the perfect pattern. Seeing God's benevolence, he gets ashamed of his own selfishness; seeing God's energy, he gets ashamed of his own indolence; seeing in God the beautiful balancing of a wise economy with a bountiful and loving providence, he comes to despise both meanness and extravagance, and attempts to wisely balance his own character in this respect. And thus the purifying process progresses from day to day in all who are truly his children.
And yet it is not by this purifying process that we render ourselves acceptable to God, though we are not acceptable to him without it. We were justified (reckoned perfect) at the very outstart – as soon as we believed – through the merit of our Redeemer; but if we would continue to be so reckoned, we must continue our endeavor to reach perfection. And he who does not make such endeavor has by no means the spirit of Christ. It is impossible to conceive of one filled with the spirit of Christ yet lacking in love to others, especially to them of the household of faith, or wholly lacking in effort to show that love. Love will show itself in deeds of kindness and acts of service, and love will return the evidences of grateful acceptance, and thus love cements the hearts of the truly consecrated.
A heart destitute of that love which delights to render service, or destitute of gratitude for favors received, either from God direct or through others, is not fully in fellowship and communion with God. How dwelleth the love of Christ in such a one? When God's truth takes proper hold upon the heart, it begins at once its moulding, shaping influence, bringing the child of God day by day into closer conformity to his will. And love will not render service grudgingly with a sigh and a groan at every effort. Such service is not pleasing to God. "The Lord loveth a cheerful giver," of whatever nature may be [R830 : page 6] the gift or service to him or others.
Every one that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, for it is vain to hope for future glory if we are not trying to subdue sin now. God provides the helps in the promises, etc., but leaves us to do the purifying in ourselves, as the text asserts. To the extent that we let His truth dwell in and operate in and control us, to that extent will the purifying progress. The Bride makes herself ready (Rev. 19:7) for union with the Bridegroom by using the means provided by the Bridegroom.
Dr. Charles Hodge once declared that he never saw a Calvinistic theologian who held the doctrine that only a certain part of those who die in infancy are saved. Dr. Krauth replied that he had seen more than one such; and certain of the species survived down into the beginning of this century, and perhaps still linger about Steubenville. Dr. Krauth unkindly proceeded to give superabounding evidence that it was the general belief of the Reformed Church for a century or two after Calvin, that unbaptized infants are lost.
Prof. George L. Prentiss, of Union Theological Seminary, publishes an able and significant paper in The Presbyterian Review, in which he not only admits that the doctrine of general infant salvation has begun to prevail only in this century, but gives the credit for its victory in this country to Dr. Lyman Beecher and Dr. Charles Hodge. He proves conclusively from the teachings on the subject of the framers of the Westminster Confession that when it confines salvation to the elect infants, it was understood to hold that there was another class of unsaved, non-elect infants. He reminds us that even gentle Dr. Watts could, at the best, only hope for the annihilation of the infants of the heathen, and that Dr. Emmons could find no reason for believing that they would be saved.
But the more interesting feature in this admirable article is not its honest confession of unwelcome historical fact, but the presentation of the theological bearings of the doctrine which have never been fully considered. Read first this pregnant paragraph in reference to the complete overthrow within our own century of the belief held by Augustine and Calvin, and the Westminster divines and Dr. Watts:
"The lesson taught us by such strange facts in the history of religious belief is not self-complacency, but charity and self-distrust. Very likely some of our opinions, which we identify with revealed truth, will be justly regarded a hundred years hence as wholly contrary alike to reason and to Scripture."
That is very pregnant and very true. It means that theology is a progressive science. It means that discussions of Inspiration, Atonement, and Eschatology are to be not merely tolerated, but welcomed in any church which will not be left far behind the truth a hundred years hence.
But Professor Prentiss proceeds to specify somewhat more carefully some of the theological bearings of the new doctrine of Universal Infant Salvation. It must have serious bearings if it teaches us that God, out of his infinite love, saves the majority, perhaps, of those who are saved, without regard to their original sin or their actual sin (for most of them have committed some actual sins) without probation and without repentance and faith. The doctrine of Universal Infant Salvation abandons the doctrine that renewing grace comes through baptism, or that children are saved through a covenant with their parents. It rests their salvation solely on God's goodness.
The doctrine of universal salvation, says Professor Prentiss, also "involves some very difficult, as well as very interesting questions in eschatology." How, he asks, does grace operate in them? Is it imparted before death, in death, or after death? What is the process, and what is the intermediate state by which the child, born unregenerated and under the curse of native depravity, nay, already beginning its actual sin, becomes fitted for the companionship of the holy? Truly here is a revolutionary element introduced into theology. However true the probation view in the case of adults, as compared with that of gracious election and sanctification, it has no relation to infants. By grace they are saved, without probation or faith.– N.Y. Independent.
Our friends seem to be getting at some of the leading questions even though still so bound by their traditions and "standards" as to be unable to get at the answers. Cast but a glance at the theories suggested above and in the light of scripture and reason, one or both, they all crumble and fall.
If as Calvinists (embracing all Presbyterians and regular Baptists) once claimed, only elect believers and their baptized (sprinkled) children are "saved," then all others must be considered "lost," by which they give us to understand they mean, sent to a place and condition of endless torture; either physical torture, or as some of them express it, "mental agony which is worse."
But as above shown this barbarous view is giving place to a more enlightened one, by which all infants whether of believers or of unbelievers, washed or unwashed, sprinkled or unsprinkled are transferred at death to heavenly bliss and none to torture. And if this change of theory be considered by our friends to alter the future for the thousands of heathen infants dying to-day, they must, if they would be just, transfer (in theory) from torture to bliss the millions of heathen infants who died before they changed their theory, and thus at one stroke they would transfer probably more than fifty billions of infants from torture to glory. Truly our Calvinistic friends are rapidly turning into Universalists, and if they keep on at this rate another stroke of the pen in their theory could as easily elect everybody.
We say "could as easily," and we add as reasonably could all adults be elected, as all infants, under this rule. How so, you ask? We answer that if, as is claimed by Calvinists, the electing was done before the foundation of the world, and if all so elected are saved, and only these, then from the above method of reasoning, it follows that all infants are elected and will all be saved; and since all adults were once infants, it follows that they were elect at that time. And according to Calvinism, once elected, they are always elected, and hence the present theories of Calvinists virtually make of them Universalists.
But while as above shown, Dr. Hodge, Prof. Prentiss and others recognized as representatives and leaders in religious thought from the standpoint of Presbyterianism, have modified their views, and the general views of their church to the extent of recognizing all infants as elect, yet they do not accept the reasonable deduction of their theory, which we have just presented, viz., universal election; nor do they act upon their theory as it relates to the infants. Their confession of faith still discriminates between the sprinkled children of believers, and the unsprinkled, and children of unbelievers, and they still treat the sprinkling of unbelieving (?) infants as of vital importance.
Furthermore, if they really believe that the heathen dying in infancy, all enter an eternity of bliss, and all heathen adults dying, enter an eternity of woe and torture, why, if this is really their view, do Presbyterian missionaries so valliantly assist in stopping heathen parents from destroying their infant children? Why with such a faith, do they not rather use every means to kill off the children? If their theory be correct, the missionaries would save more by far in this way than by present methods of helping preserve the lives of the children, knowing full well that they do not gain one in a thousand of those who reach mature years?
The reason is, that these advanced thinkers do not believe their own theories; they are in utter confusion on all doctrinal matters; and we fully agree with the quotation above, that some of their doctrines "will be justly regarded a hundred years hence as wholly contrary alike to reason and Scripture." Our prayer and labor and hope is that this desirable conclusion may be much sooner realized, in order that the Election which is reasonable and Scriptural and beautiful, may be seen by the thousands now blinded by "Confessions of Faith," traditions, superstitions and errors received from the past.
We will in our next examine the doctrine of Election as taught in the Bible, and would only here say that our friends above quoted while stepping out of the awful and barbarous view which consigned billions to torture simply because God wanted to have them tortured, and predestinated that such should be their portion, they are stepping out in the wrong direction: in a direction which denies the necessity of faith in the Redeemer, which ignores original sin and the necessity and fact of the ransom therefor. They are stepping out of heathenish error, not into the light of God's revelation, the Bible, but simply into a ray of light from their own intellects.
The fact is, that in this step out, and forward, the Bible is ignored because it is supposed to be in harmony with the original doctrines of Calvinism, and thus in seeking light of human reason separate from the Bible, they are in a fair way to stumble shortly into a denial of original sin, a denial of the ransom (or corresponding price) paid by Jesus, and finally a denial of all which does not suit their un-ruddered and un-anchored reason. [R831 : page 6]
Let us use our reasoning powers as God intended, but let us not launch out upon the great sea of thought without a rudder and compass and Pilot. If we have not these, better far that we should stay at anchor and hold to the Word of God with blind faith and never reason at all. But rightly equipped and manned let us go on in grace and knowledge and love unto perfection. Thus all would soon see that in our first trial all were condemned in and through our Father Adam. God had arranged for our redemption, and in due time the ransom was given for all who were condemned in the original sentence. And in due time (the Millennium) all will be brought out of their graves to a knowledge of the Lord: and his plans and laws being then made known to all, their acceptance will be required. Hearty acceptance of God's plan, and obedience to it, will then be rewarded with life, and any other course will be punished with the second [R831 : page 7] death [extinction], leaving the culprit in the same state he would have been in had Christ not redeemed him.
Meantime an election progresses and two classes are chosen, one from among those living before God sent his Son, and one since – a house of servants and a house of sons (Heb. 3:5,6), an earthly and a heavenly "little flock." Yet not an infant in either, they are all "called and chosen and faithful," elected according to the plan which God originally purposed, viz.: "Through sanctification of the spirit [i.e. consecration of their hearts or minds] and belief of the truth, which truth, is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth. 1 Pet. 1:2; 2 Thes. 2:13.
I suppose there are few readers of the Bible who have not felt, if I may use the expression, a little puzzled as to the real meaning of St. Paul's language when, in addressing the Philippians, he says, "Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife, and some also of good will; the one preach Christ of contention, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my bonds; but the other of love.... And I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice." Phil. 1:15-18.
How any man could preach Christ of envy and strife, and how St. Paul could experience gratification in consequence, appears to us almost a paradox. Now every difficulty removed is a step gained; and although I would not venture to affirm that the solution I am about to suggest is indisputable, yet it commends itself to my judgment as at least highly probable; and if I can help any inquirer after truth to the removal of even one difficulty, whether of more or less importance, it is certainly not labor thrown away to make the effort.
We must remember that these words were written by St. Paul when he was a prisoner in Rome. We know that he was suffered to dwell by himself with a soldier who kept him. Can we doubt that he spoke of the things of the kingdom to that man, and preached to him Christ crucified as the sinner's only hope? or is it very difficult to suppose further that under the great Apostle's teaching and prayers this man became a convert to Christianity? If so, his conversion would soon become known to his fellow-soldiers, and he would become to them an object of scorn and derision.
Now the excavations of recent years at Rome have brought to light a very remarkable drawing commonly known as the "Blasphemous Graphite," which was found on the plaster wall of a guard-room of the Imperial barracks in the substructions of the Palatine, and which, I think, gives us the clue we are seeking. It is a rude representation of the crucifixion. The Saviour is represented extended on the cross, having a human figure with the exception of the head, which is that of an ass, from which circumstance the epithet "blasphemous" has become irrevocably connected with the drawing. On the left hand is a rudely-drawn figure of a supposed worshipper; and in ill-formed letters, such as we might suppose an illiterate soldier would draw, there is the inscriptionALEXAMENOS SEBETE THEON(Alexamenos worships God).
The whole purport of the designer of the sketch is evidently to hold up to scorn some fellow-soldier of the Praetorian guard as a worshipper of a God who was at the best only half-human, and who underwent the ignominious punishment inflicted only on slaves and the vilest criminals. See, he seems to say, what kind of God Alexamenos the Christian worships!
"Little," says the Rev. Dr. J. R. Macduff in his most interesting remarks on this drawing, "did this jeering Pagan dream that his blasphemous work would be one day dug up as one of the evidences of Christianity, proving as it does in the most incontestable form that the early converts believed the great doctrine that the crucified Man was none other than God," [i.e. "manifest in flesh."]
But important and interesting as is the inference drawn by this distinguished author from the discovery of the Graphite, I think we may safely proceed a step farther. St. Paul tells us that his bonds became manifest in Christ throughout the whole "Praetorian guard," – as the word in the original means, and as indeed it is translated in the Revised Version; and then in the same connection he proceeds to use the language we are considering: – "Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife; not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my bonds."
Does not all difficulty in understanding the passage now vanish? The scoffing author of the Graphite only intended to cast ridicule and contempt upon his fellow-soldier and his religion, but notwithstanding, whether in pretence or truth, Christ was preached, and "I therein," said Paul, "do rejoice, yea and will rejoice."
God manifest in the flesh, the sinless one dying on the cross for the sinful – thus preached of envy and strife by the Pagan soldier in the early ages of Christianity, but by a most remarkable providence of God, has been preserved for centuries in the Praetorian guard-room, and is now brought up from its long burial in the dust to proclaim anew the foundation truth of the gospel, and incidentally to throw light on a somewhat obscure passage in the writings of St. Paul.
If this be so, do we not here see another instance of God's over-ruling of all events to the fulfilment of his own purposes? Has he not once more made even the wrath of man to praise him?– P. C. Hill.
Great effort is made to confirm this view, and it is even declared from the pulpit that "the church" was never possessed of as great Spiritual power as at present. The work of Christianizing the world is reported to be progressing rapidly, and it is claimed that only a liberal amount of material aid is needed to speedily accomplish this grand result. Bishop Foster, of the M.E. Church, in the part of his address quoted in January No. of Z.W.T., makes an arraignment of the clergy that ought to make both the cheeks of all the guilty ones burn with shame; and which does cause God's people to mourn, that those professing to be commissioned from on high, should for any consideration, lend themselves to the work of deceiving the people of God.
In commenting on the slow progress of Christianity among the heathen, the Bishop is reported to have said, "The facts are mis-stated daily in the pulpits all over the country." The reason given by the Bishop for this deception is, that the truth would cause discouragement. This charge may well be so extended as to include modern revivals, which are heralded over the country by means of the church periodicals, and for the encouragement of the church, piously mis-stated as in the case alluded to by Bishop F. That these revivals are more imaginary than real, a little examination will show. A few years ago, Mr. Moody and his army of co-workers set England all ablaze with revival fires. Their success was such that the more enthusiastic supposed the whole world was about to be converted, and the millennium was to be speedily inaugurated. London was especially favored, and Mr. Moody is reported to have pronounced it the most religious city in the world.
A little later, and just as it might be expected that this seed-sowing would produce a bountiful harvest, all Christendom stands aghast as Editor Stead tears the mask from London society, and reveals a depth of depravity that might well shame any heathen city in the world.
Nor is this an exceptional case. It is very plain that the moral condition of communities is not generally improved by the modern revival. Neither are the churches that have been thus blessed (?) [R832 : page 7] spiritually improved. The contrary is rather the case.
Moved by the eloquence of these evangelists, seconded by the personal appeals of friends, and made doubly effective by the songs and singing, thousands have been floated into the church, only to weigh her down so heavily with worldliness, that but little more is wanted to sink her beneath the waves that already rise up for her destruction. These are represented in the Saviour's parable, by the seed that falls in shallow soil, and immediately it springs up, "because it has no depth of earth." These thousands do not examine the Word of Truth to inform themselves "whether these things were so," but accepting all as truth, and embarking in the undertaking without counting the cost, is it any wonder that they so soon wither when the sun's rays reach them?
Let none of God's people be deluded by these representations, but if they hear the call to "come out from Babylon," let them obey the command, and at once separate from a system which God no longer recognizes as an agency for the extension of his kingdom.
"No man or woman of the humble sort can really be strong, gentle, pure, and good, without the world being better for it; without somebody being helped and comforted by the very existence of that goodness."
"THE deep mysteries of faith are not given to the lukewarm and the idle, but to those who are 'watching thereunto, with all perseverance and supplication,' and who make no bargain as to the way the Lord shall lead them."
DEAR BROTHER: – Enclosed I return with hearty thanks the two sermons you sent me. I also received the German edition of Z.W. TOWER. It is precious, and we have been very much blessed by it. We are convinced of the truth, and I should like to resign my office in this worldly congregation and in the nominal church as soon as possible; but my wife is solicitous for the future. O if the Lord would show me a way, that my dear wife and children need not suffer want by this step, I would take it and henceforth labor in his service only. To go out as a book-seller separated from wife and children, would be too hard. The Lord has ways and means when his hour has come – we know of none. Please send me three copies of the German TOWER regularly.
[We sympathize with this dear Brother and there are on our lists probably three hundred ministers in the same quandary: we sympathize with them all. Yet we must in love and the truest sympathy tell them, that if they are consoling and excusing themselves as the above brother, by saying "The Lord has ways and means when his hour has come – we know of none;" then, they are deceiving themselves and letting slip their hold upon the great prize of our high calling.
True, the Lord could so arrange things that you could follow the truth without effort or self denial or loss of influence, salary, etc., but reflect that the united testimony of his Word is, that the present age is a trial under disadvantageous circumstances, purposely permitted to be so, in order to give the consecrated ones an opportunity to show the strength of their love by the greatness of their sacrifices; and thus to select the "little flock" of "overcomers," who rejoicing to suffer for the truth, shall be esteemed "worthy" to share the throne and glory of the great overcomer Jesus, in whose footsteps of self denial they have rejoiced to be counted worthy to walk, and whose afflictions they have with joy sought to fill up. (Eph. 4:1; and Rev. 3:4; and Rom. 8:18).
It is because our Lord desires us to make our calling and election sure, to win the great prize he has set before us, that he does not smooth the way before us now (as he will before the world in general during the Millennial age when the "righteous shall flourish"). While he sympathizes with us fully he sees more clearly than prejudice sometimes admits of our seeing, the necessity of our trial, without which we could have no victory. And hence he tells us kindly, but firmly, that if we love houses, lands, wife or children or any other thing more than him, we are not worthy a place among his disciples to whom he promised the kingdom. He is then proving us, by the present discipline and watching to see how fully we meant it, when we professed to leave all else to be his followers. He tells us that in representing the truth we are representing him, and that to be ashamed of the truth is to be ashamed of him; and that whosoever is ashamed of him now, such will he be ashamed of and not acknowledge as members of his Bride before the Father of the angels of heaven. [R832 : page 8]
Really, when we think of it, we should be ashamed to stultify ourselves, by the thought even, that we are useless in the world, except to preach errors which we see to be contrary to God's Word and a libel on his great name and character. If, indeed, we are so useless and helpless that we can make a living in no other way, would it not be far more honoring to ourselves and all other honest souls that we should starve to death rather than dishonor God, deceive the people and make merchandise of Babylon's errors? But why should we fear to starve? can we not earn enough for bread and water to keep us from starvation? Can we not rely fully upon God's promise to this effect? (Isa. 33:16; Psa. 37:25 and Matt. 6:30.) Is our faith so small?
Nay, doubtless each has confidence regarding the bread, water and plain clothing, but what they fear is the loss of some of the comforts, the luxuries which God has not guaranteed us. Whatever we have more than the actual necessities, we should wear as a loose garment to be cast aside for the spread of the truth or any other service of the Master in which its use may be needful. Nor should we do this grudgingly, but rather of a willing mind. We should remember the example of the Apostles who left all to follow the Master, counting home comforts, influence, etc., as but loss and dross, enduring stripes, imprisonments and hunger, if by any means they might be accounted worthy a place in the kingdom with the Master; as members of his body (Phil. 3:7-11). And above all, dear brethren, let us not forget him who set us an example that we should walk in his footsteps. Remember how he left home, and comfort, and riches, and glory, and heavenly honors in his desire to fulfill the Father's plan and bless us. Consider him lest ye be faint in your minds. Act out your convictions promptly, for the Lord loveth a cheerful giver. Every cross seems harder before than after we lay hold to lift it. The Master himself will come the closer and help us. He will not suffer us to be tempted above that we are able, but will with the trial provide a way of escape which he will reveal to us after we have conquered self and its fears and laid hold of the cross. – [EDITOR.]
THERE are no times in life when opportunity, the chance to be and do gathers so richly about the soul as when it has to suffer. Then everything depends on whether the man turns to the lower or higher helps. If he resorts to mere expedients and tricks, the opportunity is lost. He comes out no richer nor greater; nay, he comes out harder, poorer, smaller for his pain. But if he turns to God, the hour of suffering is the turning hour of his life. Opportunity opens before him as the ocean opens before one who sails out of a river. Men have done the best and worst, the noblest and the basest things the world has seen, under the pressure of excessive pain. Everything depended on whether they looked to the depths or to the hills for help.– Phillip Brooks.
"THERE is no friendship that is strong enough to get along unless it can take faults for granted. Saints may be plenty in heaven, but they are very scarce on earth, and if you are going to form friendships, you must form them so that they will be able to swallow up the faults of those you love."
It is a pleasant thing to discover that there may be more of truth held by Christians outside the pale of "Orthodoxy," than they have been given credit for. We fear that there are but few Unitarians to-day whose faith is so pure and Scriptural. The building of the First Unitarian Church of Philadelphia, erected in 1821, has been recently demolished, and in its corner stone was found the following inscription, written on parchment:
"This house we appropriate to the honour and sole worship of the High and Lofty One who inhabiteth eternity; the Blessed and Only Potentate, whom the heaven of heavens cannot contain; who dwelling not in temples made with hands, but in unapproachable light, is not worshipped by men's hands, as though he needed anything, seeing he giveth unto all life, and breath, and all things: This is that One God, beside whom there is no other; and who, being rich in mercy, for the great love wherewith he loved the fallen race of mankind, hath sent them the message of grace, truth and salvation by his beloved and chosen Son, Jesus of Nazareth, whom by anointing with the Holy Spirit and with power he hath constituted the Messiah, the Christ, the one Mediator between God and man, and in whose resurrection and exaltation he hath given assurance unto all men that he will by him judge the world in righteousness. Deo. Optimo Maximo. In raecula saeculorum Gloria."
IS YOUR work a task? If so, why? Is it because – of your own self-will and against God's ordering – you have chosen some labor of which he does not approve? Is your trade or your profession a dishonest one? Does what brings profit to you bring evil to others or dishonor on the cause of God? Then the quicker you abandon that work the better. However profitable it may seem to you, however much it coincides with your own most intense desires, it can never be otherwise than a task. You will never find your calling, until you listen to the voice of God; you will never find freedom save in obedience to the law of God.
But if your work is a task simply because your answer to God's cause has been half hearted, or because you think you could have chosen your work more wisely had the choice been left to you, the remedy is easy. Give the whole heart to God's service; cast out the rebellious thought – it is a delusion born only of your discontent and brooding. The moment you accept God's ordering, that moment your work ceases to be task and becomes your calling. The secret of what is best in the Christian life finds expression in the precept of Paul, "Work heartily!...ye serve the Lord Christ."– Sel.
THE venerable Mr. Sewall, of Maine, once entered a meeting in behalf of foreign missions, just as the collectors of the contributions were resuming their seats. The chairman of the meeting requested him to lead in prayer. The old gentleman stood, hesitatingly, as if he had not heard the request. It was repeated in a louder voice, but there was no response. It was observed, however, that Mr. Sewall was fumbling in his pockets, and presently he produced a piece of money, which he deposited in the contribution box. The chairman thinking he had not been understood, said loudly, "I didn't ask you to give Mr. Sewall, I asked you to pray." "O, yes," he replied, "I heard you, but I can't pray till I have given something."– Sel.
Nothing is more remarkable in the Bible than to see how God, as if to teach us to trust in nothing and in none but himself, selects means that seems the worse fitted to accomplish his ends. Does he choose an ambassador to Pharaoh? – it is a man of stammering tongue. Are the streams of Jericho to be sweetened? – salt is cast into the spring. Are the eyes of the blind to be opened? – they are rubbed with clay. Are the battlements of a city to be thrown down? – the means employed is, not the blast of a mine, but the breath of an empty trumpet. Is a rock to be riven? – the lightning is left to sleep above, and the earthquake with its throes to sleep below, while a rod is used which is more likely to be shivered on the rock than to shiver it. Are men to be converted by preaching, and won from sensual delights to a faith whose symbol is the cross, and whose crown is to be won among the fires of martyrdom? Leaving schools, and halls, and colleges, God summons his preachers from the shores of Galilee. The helm of the church is entrusted to hands that had never steered aught but a fishing boat; and by the mouth of one who had been its bitterest persecutor, Christ pleaded his cause before the philosophers of Athens and in the palaces of Rome– Guthrie.
Ans. We understand the Scriptures to teach that the invitation to run for the great heavenly prize, the divine nature, closed there, though many who had already accepted the invitation are still running, and will not attain the prize until our course ends faithfully in death. That "door" of opportunity to run in the narrow way has stood open since Pentecost, and was entered by consecration to God. All who consecrated, and thus entered the door, may run the race by obeying or carrying out their consecration, by self-denying obedience to the truth.
The door being closed, implies no more entrances for that race and under that "call." But this in no way interferes with those already entered, who must "press with vigor on;" nor does it hinder the opening of the great "highway of holiness," which is to be open to all the redeemed race during the Millennial Age, now overlapping the Gospel Age; and all who shall run that race faithfully will receive a great reward – everlasting life and joy. Similar to this was the lapping in the close of the Jewish age. The Jewish "call" was closed, and Jesus opened up the new way of life (Heb. 10:20), the "narrow way" (Matt. 7:14), at Pentecost.
But your question has another point – Was it necessary to have an understanding of the things we now see – present truth? No; it was not possible for you to see the "deep things of God" clearly and really until after you had entered the "Narrow way" of consecration; not until after you had entered the "Holy" could you see the Golden Lamp, and by its light partake of the holy bread of hidden truth. No one ever saw the deep things of God really and clearly except the consecrated, the begotten ones, (1 Cor. 2:14); and thus we see that we were not invited to run the race, because we first saw clearly the prize; but having consecrated, the prize is made more and more clear to us, to enable us to "so run as to obtain" that prize. An appreciation of the exceeding great and precious promises is granted us, that by these we might become partakers of the divine nature. (2 Peter 1:4).
If you have since been able to see the grand spiritual promises of Scripture, and to rejoice in and appreciate them, it is an evidence that you did make a consecration which God accepted, whether in explicit words or only in mental resolutions.
The full evidence that the "door" of invitation to the "high calling" has closed, like the prophetic proofs of our Lord's presence, etc., but few of our readers have been made aware of. We trust that the long-promised book "Millennial Dawn" will supply this much-needed assistance. It has been much delayed, but will be announced in these columns soon as ready. [R833 : page 8]
Ques. Please explain Matt. 27:52,53?
Ans. We can explain little more than you can read in this passage. The object of the awakening we know not. Two things we do know, however, from other Scripture teachings, viz.: These were not raised spiritual beings and were not members of the class denominated "the body" or "the bride" of Christ; for this company like the head, or Bridegroom, is to be of the spiritual order. We know this, because this occurred previous to Pentecost, and none but Jesus himself was begotten of the Spirit to the new nature until Pentecost. Nor can these have been fully resurrected, i.e. brought to perfection as men, for even the worthy patriarchs and prophets cannot be perfected, or take precedence of the Christian Church, the spiritual selection, the body of Christ. We presume, therefore, that they, like Lazarus, awaked for a time and then died again. Nor does the narrative call it a resurrection; it merely says, came out of their graves, as Lazarus "came forth."