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.
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This work is at once a Greek and Hebrew Lexicon giving the meaning of the original terms in English, and also a Concordance giving each word of Scripture and the words which they translate. The value of the work is becoming more apparent daily, as theorists attempt to palm off a private interpretation under a guise of "a better definition of the original."
In this superb volume every word is arranged under its own Hebrew and Greek original, exhibiting 311,000 references and 30,000 various readings. Its size is large quarto, 1094 pages. Price to our subscribers, $2.50; usual price, $5.00. If sent my mail, the postage should be added, viz.: 56c., and 10c. additional if you wish it "registered." It cannot be sent to EUROPE. This is the latest revision. – "THE AUTHOR'S EDITION."
For the benefit of new readers we would state that this is a Greek Testament. Under each Greek word the corresponding English word. It is thus the most literal translation of the New Testament. Besides this, it has in another column alongside a very clear and emphatic translation, showing the emphasis of the Greek, which is generally lost to the English reader.
The regular price for the work in cloth is four dollars – which, everything considered, is not too high; but by special arrangement we are enabled to offer it at $1.50 per copy to our subscribers, postage prepaid. We cannot take postage stamps in payment, as we must pay cash.
Hereafter it will not be sufficient, that one write us to send them the TOWER another year, without mentioning money or their intent to pay at some time, or their inability to pay. Say, what you mean.
Neither will it be sufficient that some one write and send us an address without money, saying that the party is poor. We do not offer to send the TOWER to all the poor of the world. To the poor who are the Lord's children, and as such are sufficiently interested in the truths published in the TOWER to write us, and say so, and request it – to these only we offer it each year, so long as it is published.
Let such not be backward to ask; we are anxious that such should have it. Accept it as from the Lord – it is from him. Not only are the truths it bears from his Word, unfolded to us by his favor, but the money with which it is published is all consecrated to Him. Hence those who have no money to pay for it, can and should accept it from Him, as per the notice above from Isa. 55:1,2.
Should you learn of any who have asked as above, or who have subscribed and paid for the present year, who do not receive the paper, advise them to write us again, for there surely is some mistake, which we will be most glad to have rectified. Almost every mail brings some letters either without the writers name, or with insufficient address.
Remember the date for the commemoration of the death of Christ, our Passover – on the anniversary of his last celebration, April 7th., evening. Meet with fellow members of the one body so far as possible, but eat it alone, if you know of none with whom you could celebrate it in spirit. If you cannot do better make a substitute for wine of raisin juice.
We will be glad to have as many as possible meet with us in this city on that occasion. We anticipate a precious season. Warm hearts here will make you welcome, and endeavor to carry out Paul's and Peter's suggestions. – 1 Pet. 4:9; Rom. 12:13; Heb. 13:2. Review the subject in last (February) TOWER.
"He shall send his messengers with the great trumpet [Seventh Trumpet], and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of heaven to the other." – Matt. 24:31. [Sinaitic and Syriac MSS. omit sound.]
"Gather my saints together unto me; those that have made a covenant with me by sacrifice." – Psa. 50:5.
Millennial Dawn Vol. I. both in cloth and paper covers has already sold very largely and every mail brings fresh orders and grateful acknowledgement of it as God's instrumentality of blessing and enlightenment. But some of the friends connected with the work and the Tract Fund declare that they want to see the volume in its Fiftieth Thousand by January '88, believing that that number of such preachers and teachers would do a great work in forwarding the truth, blessing God's children and honoring their Father and Lord. To accomplish so desirable a result, it is proposed to reduce the paper bound 50 cent edition to one-half its present price, and make it hereafter 25 cts. per copy for any quantity – one copy or a thousand copies, postage prepaid by us.
Surely at that price even a child who could show the book should be able to sell numbers of them wherever thinking people are to be found, particularly thinking Christians. If you have read it carefully yourself, ask yourself how many you can place in the hands of readers, and get to work at once. The harvest truly is great and the laborers are few. Pray ye the Lord of the harvest that he will send forth more laborers, and if you are not one of them, pray that He will accept of your service granting you the great privilege of being a co-worker with him in filling the earth with the knowledge of his glorious character and plan – a service which angels would fain be engaged in. If you are in earnest in your prayer, believe that you have the privilege you ask, and go forward. The way will open before you.
Another matter – We remember that some who are willing and anxious to serve the truth, are so circumstanced that they must derive some income from their time, to support themselves. Such could make no profit in buying the book at 25 cts. if they sold it at the same. This matter has been arranged for thus: Out of the Tract Fund, an allowance of 10 cts. per copy will be made for expense money to any canvasser. Such, in ordering should state the matter clearly thus: "Please send me ten copies of Dawn Vol. I. paper covers, price $2.50 less "expense money" allowance 10 cents each. I enclose $1.50." Or reckon it and state it in the same manner whatever the quantity ordered.
The supply of FOOD being exhausted for the present, will enable those who have been using the "packets" to give their attention to "DAWN." A plan has been suggested by which each one can make a thorough canvass of his own and neighboring towns. We have prepared circulars which give the Table of Contents, and Kind words of Commendation, to which we have affixed a small slip which calls attention to the book, states the price, and [R908 : page 1] tells the reader that an agent will call to show him the DAWN and to take his order for it. These circulars can be sent out by the hand of trusty boys or girls, whom you can employ. And if you cannot visit all your neighbors yourself to show the book and take their orders, these same boys or girls could do it. [Girls would generally succeed best.] You could pay them a commission out of each day's sales – so much on each copy disposed of. Let them so far as possible collect the circulars as they show the book, so that the same may do to use again and again, until too much soiled. Of course you can do better yourself than boys or girls could do, but all cannot give so much time.
Now what think you, can we not thus bring the thinking people of every city and town in contact with the light of the Millennial Dawn? The joy, quickening and comfort which it will bring to one truly receptive heart, should you with much effort reach but one, would more than repay you, even aside from the joy it will give you to be a co-worker with God and our Lord Jesus Christ.
The fact that you have canvassed your town with the "Packets" will be no hindrance, but rather an aid to the work now suggested. Your conversation and their examination of FOOD awakened an interest or at least a curiosity which passing events have not permitted to die out, and they are now more ready than ever for Millennial Dawn – The Plan of the Ages. Harp [the Word of God] in hand, strike up the Song of Moses and the Lamb.
"Wake the song of Jubilee;
Let it echo o'er the sea."
DEAR BRO. RUSSELL: – Last March a Brother of this city employed me to work in his paint store. Every day more or less men gathered in the store and would engage in argument on different topics, and sometimes on religion, and by the grace of God I preached to them Christ, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of them that believe. I explained to them how Christ had paid the debt, and there was now justification for believers, a crown for overcomers, and restitution for the world. The grace of God began to work in my employer's heart, and one day he brought down stairs a large Bible and said to me, "William, it is not everybody wants that book in his store, but I am going to have it here from this on," and I praised the Lord. I had the FOOD for Thinking Christians that you sent me several years ago, and began reading it in the store, but he did not believe in restitution, and fought hard against it for a long time. I tried to get him to read FOOD, but he said, "No, that is all man's work, I won't have anything but Scripture." I said I was glad he wouldn't have anything but Scripture, and if he would only read FOOD and search the Scriptures, he would be surprised to see how the little book agreed with the Scriptures. But no, he would not touch it. I had almost dispaired of him, but I told it to the Lord, and left it all with him. I had put the FOOD in the show case, where he could see it, and one day I came in the store, and there he was, behind the counter, all broke up, and the tears running down his cheeks, and FOOD in his hands. I was sure it had entered his heart, as he said, "God bless him! God bless him!" and he has been preaching restitution ever since. Of course you hear from him, and know all about it. One day Bro. Hickey came in the store, to buy a brush to paste up Eternal Torture around the city. I told him about restitution, but he, being a regular ordained minister of the Presbyterian Denomination, could not see it, and thought I was a little off. Another day, I was reading out of FOOD in the store to a crowd of men, and Bro. Hickey was present. He came over to me and said, "What have you got there?" I told him it was a little book called "FOOD FOR THINKING CHRISTIANS." He asked me where I got it, and I told him. He said he would write to you, and he did. You sent him MILLENNIAL DAWN, and you know how he was closeted for three days with DAWN and the Bible, and when he came around to the store again, he was very happy, and praising the Lord. You know the rest. Dear brother, I write this for your encouragement, and to let you see how the Lord can use one little FOOD; that little book is bringing light and peace and joy to many a household. I received MILLENNIAL DAWN; it is a wonderful book, and has the right ring, and I am sure the Lord will [R908 : page 2] use it to his honor and glory. I am out of employment, and if you will send me some packages, I will spread the glad tidings, and take subscriptions for the WATCH TOWER.
Your brother in Christ, and his labor of love,
I informed you previously that I aided Brother Hickey four Sundays in succession. I then turned my attention to my own immediate neighborhood above Harlem Bridge, N.Y., and was instrumental in awakening some interest. Sold several FOODS and took some subscriptions for the WATCH TOWER, a list of which I here inclose. The "FOODS" I ordered were for this purpose and came duly to hand.
I expect (D.V.) to see you in about a week. Until then, farewell. With love to your household, I remain yours in the glorious Lord.
DEAR BRO. Russell: – The Z.W.T. of February received, I was glad to see it once more. I hailed it with joy, for its teachings lead to a higher plane of life. I have read and re-read M. DAWN, and every time I read, I see something that I overlooked previously; in fact I would not be without it for anything. I find, the more I read it the more I think of my God and every thing he has done and created. I used to blame men unmercifully, and thought they did not get punishment enough for their wickedness, but as I become more acquainted with God's plan for their redemption, my heart grows softer. I gradually take in their situation in their fallen nature, and I feel more like pitying than blaming them. A Methodist Minister said that by talking of this I would become unpopular. Such an idea! I would like to meet with you April 7th., and celebrate the Lord's Supper, but being so far away I see no chance of coming.
DEAR BROTHER: I appreciate the teachings of the TOWER very highly, except upon one point. You seem to ignore or deny the Sabbath kept by our Lord and all the Jews – for he was "born under the Law," and bound by it so long as it held dominion (Rom. 7:4-6). I am not able to see clearly, as yet, that the keeping of the seventh day (Saturday) is not binding on Christians as it certainly was upon Jews. It seems to me that the observance of Sunday, the first day of the week, instead of the seventh, was a change for which Papacy is responsible. What say you?
DEAR BROTHER: – General articles on the Sabbath question have already appeared in the TOWER (Oct., 1883, Dec., 1885, etc.) Have you carefully read them? If not, read them and wait for Millennial Dawn in some of its future volumes to deal with the subject at length.
The Sabbath was a part of the Law. It and all other parts of the Law on stones was given to the Jew. I never was under the Law as a covenant of life, thank God, else I would have found it as the Jew did a covenant of death.
As regards the Papacy's substitution of Sunday instead of the seventh day, we do not dispute it; but had they or any one else a right to make a substitute for a law that was never given except to the Jew, and which even to them ended as a "covenant of death" when Christ died for them and for all, becoming the end of that covenant, its fulfiller? The text you quote (Rom. 7:4-6) is against you, and says No. No day is commanded to the church. We are glad that a day is observed, but sorry that any suppose it to be a substitute for the day fixed by the Mosaic Law. Such bring themselves under a law not put upon them by God, but by Rome. I am glad to be of those who, in the liberty wherewith Christ makes free, am not under the law – neither that of Moses, nor that of Papacy.
The Sabbath is not a "moral" law, as some claim; there was never any thing moral or RELIGIOUS about it. It was not a command to worship nor to study nor anything of that sort – but merely to DO NO WORK.
It has a typical feature and lesson and NO OTHER: it illustrated or typified the REST OF FAITH from our own works – rest in Christ's merit and sufficiency as the one who fulfilled all righteousness for us and redeemed us all from death.
I and every Israelite indeed (antitypical) keep this Sabbath or REST, not on one day of the week but EVERY DAY. I am ALWAYS RESTING. I have FOREVER ceased from my own works, ceased trying or hoping to justify myself by my own deeds or works.
This glorious peace and rest which I enjoy is the antitype of the typical and enforced rest or Sabbath-keeping put upon the typical people, just as much as their Temple and all their sacrifices were types of which we have the higher and real antitypes.
DEARLY BELOVED AND FELLOW LABORER. – Grace to you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. I give thanks to my God always, making mention of thee in my prayers, (knowing thy love and faith which thou hast toward the Lord Jesus, and for all the saints) that the fellowship of thy faith may become effectual...for we have much joy and consolation over thy Love, Brother! Because the tender sympathies of the saints have been refreshed through thee. The February '87 TOWER has been a refreshing draught from the wellspring of truth. The "View from the Tower" has confirmed our position; "The Lord's Supper" has awakened pleasurable anticipations; "The Easy Yoke" has been more perfectly adjusted; that "The Time is Short" has been more fully realized, and our grave responsibility more deeply felt; "Bible Light on Probation After Death" dispels still more fully the awful gloom that so recently enveloped us because of the God-dishonoring creeds of Babylon; "Living by Faith" becomes a sweeter experience, and the things that are not seen and eternal, more and more real; "No Variableness neither Shadow of Turning" is the attribute of our God that gives stability to every doctrine of his word, and is the ground of all our confidence and all our boasting, for He hath spoken and He will bring it to pass; "Extracts from Interesting Letters" stir our hearts within us, as we learn of like blessing received by other members of the body of Christ, and of their work and labor of love in the Harvest.
Altogether we have been strengthened and encouraged, hand and heart for the warfare and still more greatly rejoice, and more fervently thank Christ Jesus our Lord that He counted us faithful putting us into the ministry. I enclose list of subscribers to Z.W.T.
In Christian Fellowship and Service affectionately yours,
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL: – Since removing here I have had my faith in the correctness of your teachings relative to the coming of the Lord a spirit being and not flesh, assailed and shaken by parties who claim that you are Anti-Christ. They base the charge upon what they claim is the literal translation of 2 John 7. They render it thus: "Who confess not that Jesus is coming in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist." If they are correct, then to deny that our Lord's second coming will be as before, viz. in the flesh, is wrong. Looking at the word for word translation of the passage in the Diaglott I find the Greek word is there translated coming, though in the regular reading translation in the side column of the Diaglott it is rendered did come. Doubtless the Diaglott's word for word translation gave rise to the application of this Scripture against you here. But no matter, the question is an important one, and I write you to know, if you can solve the difficulty. I called upon Prof. Kendricks of the Rochester College and asked him for the most literal meaning of the Greek word in dispute, and he said that its most literal meaning was coming.
Hoping to hear from you soon I am
[The above is not the exact wording as our brother's letter got mislaid. We recall the main points from memory. We replied at once as below and now lay it before our readers that all may be armed on this point.]
DEAR BRO. G.: – Yours of the 23d came duly. I am glad to see the candor with which you approach the question which you present to me, and that before deciding on the matter you write to see what I know of it. This is right, and your course may save you from being stumbled.
The Greek word used in 1 John 4:2, and that of 2nd John 7, for "is come," are from the same Greek root, and might like our English words came, come, and coming, be used to indicate a past, or present, or future coming according to the way in which it is used. A strict translation of the two words would be (1 John 4:2.) came, and coming (2 Jno. 7.); but the weight you, and perhaps others, give this fact, is not justified, and probably arises from an imperfect knowledge of the Greek. To make the matter quite plain, let me show you how the English word coming, may clearly refer to a past coming, and let this be an illustration of the Greek: for instance when we say – It was not the time, but the manner of our Lord's coming, that surprised and deceived the Jewish Doctors of the Law – or that, He who denies that coming, stands where the Jew stands to-day, and must therefore be an opponent of the truth, a contradictor of the Apostle's testimony, and hence an opponent of the entire work of grace in progress during the Gospel age – Antichrist.
It is after this manner that erchomia is used in 2 John 7; and it is repeatedly used similarly elsewhere. Take your Young's Concordance, turn to pages 181 and 182. Note the instances in which this same word is used in the various tenses, past, present and future – came, come, cometh, coming. If you will examine the context you will find that in the majority of cases in which it is used it relates to transactions already past, just as in the cases under consideration – 1 John 4:2. and 2 John 7.
You mention the literal word for word translation of the Diaglott in 2 John 7. We agree with it fully, you see, as to the literal meaning of the Greek word standing alone disassociated from the limitations of the sentence. Professor Kendrick answered your question as to the literal meaning of the word, in the same way; so would any Greek scholar. But the translator of the Diaglott, as also Professor Kendrick, and every other person who knows what he discusses, will agree with me that the word can be used to refer to a past coming, just as our English word coming, can; as illustrated in above examples. Furthermore, they will all agree that the construction of the Greek in 2 John 7. signifies a past coming.
You will notice that while the Diaglott in its literal translation, gives coming as the meaning of the disputed word, yet when giving the sense of the sentence, it in very unmistakeable terms shows that the coming was in the past, there rendering it did come. The author evidently was guarding the unscholarly against an error to which they would be very liable. Young's Bible gives only the very literal translation, coming, but when posted, any one can see from the construction of the sentence, that a past, and not a future coming is referred to.
Notice too that nearly all Translators would naturally be favorable to the view that our Lord's second coming will be again in the flesh; for they so expect him – among others, the Author of the Diaglott. Hence it cannot be claimed that they were influenced in their translation in our favor.
An answer to the above received before going to press, says that Bro. G. called upon Prof. Kendrick again, to inquire concerning the sense of the entire sentence (2 Jno. 7.) referred to above. The Professor fully agreed with us that the reference was to a "coming in the flesh" already in the past, and had no reference whatever to a future event.
To those who are loath to part with the first clause of Rev. 20:5. (See Millennial Dawn Note p. 287) we would suggest, that it probably crept into the text by accident in the fifth century; for no MS. of earlier date (neither Greek nor Syriac) contains this clause. It was probably at first merely a marginal comment made by a reader, expressive of his thought upon the text, and was copied into the body of the text by some subsequent transcribers who failed to distinguish between the text and the comment.
However, the repudiation of this clause is not essential to the "Plan" as by us set forth, as will be clearly shown in a subsequent volume of "Millennial Dawn." For, the word resurrection, it will be shown, has been misapprehended greatly: it signifies to raise up. As related to man it signifies to bring up to the full perfection of manhood – the thing lost through Adam. The perfection from which our race fell, is the perfection to which they will gradually rise during the Millennial age of restitution or resurrection (raising up). The Millennial age is not only the age of trial, but also of blessing through resurrection or restitution to life – to that which was lost. The process will be a gradual one, requiring the entire age for its full accomplishment. Consequently it will not be until the thousand years are finished, that the race will have fully attained to the complete measure of life lost in Adam. And since anything short of perfect life is a condition of partial death, it follows that it would be strictly true to say, the rest of the dead lived not again (did not regain fully the life lost) until the thousand years of restitution and blessing were complete.
God turned a leaf, and this world was fitted for human residence. About two thousand more years passed along and God turned another leaf, and it was the Deluge. About two thousand more years passed on, and it was the appearance of Christ. Almost two thousand more years have past by, and He will probably soon turn another leaf. What it shall be I cannot say. It may be the demolition of all these monstrosities of turpitude, and the establishment of righteousness in all the earth. He can do it, and he will do it. I am as confident as if it were already accomplished. – Talmadge.
"We seek not, Lord, for tongues of flame,
Or healing virtue's mystic aid;
But power thy Gospel to proclaim,
The balm for wounds that sin has made.
"Breathe on us, Lord; Thy radiance pour
On all the wonders of the page
Where hidden lies the heavenly lore
That blessed our youth and guides our age.
"Grant skill each sacred theme to trace,
With loving voice and glowing tongue
As when upon thy words of grace
The wondering crowds enraptured hung.
"Grant faith, that treads the stormy deep
If but thy voice shall bid it come;
And zeal, that climbs the mountain steep,
To seek and bring the wanderer home.
"Give strength, blest Saviour, in thy might
Illuminate our hearts, and we,
Transformed into Thine image bright,
Shall teach, and love, and live, like thee."
"I fear lest by any means, as the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, so your minds should be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ.... Such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into the apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light. Therefore it is no great thing, if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness, whose end shall be according to their works. – 2 Cor. 11:3,13-15.
The early church was surrounded with many bitter and outspoken enemies, but against these the apostles never needed to warn the sheep. But continually they sought to put believers on their guard against false teachers, professing much, clothed as ministers of light, with morality etc., but teaching errors which would confuse and befog the minds of the saints, and tend to hinder them from the full accomplishment of their covenant of self-sacrifice. The great shepherd of the sheep warned them to take heed to His voice and to heed not the voice of strangers, intimating that others would seek to call the sheep in his name, and to direct them, whose leading would be contrary to his. – John 10:1-5.
The apostle Peter referred pointedly to this same evil when he said, (2 Pet. 2:1,2.) There were false prophets also among the people [Jews], even as there shall be false teachers among you who privily [in a subtle manner] shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them."
This does not signify that these teachers will deny our Lord as a person, nor deny his Lordship or authority over the church. Such a teacher never was countenanced in the church; none would recognize such an one as a Christian at all. He would be an out and out Infidel; and so open a course would prevent any deception of the sheep. On the contrary those whom the adversary has used to advance errors, have always been loud in their professions of faith in the Lord. They thus wear a garment of light, as Paul calls it, and the more successfully serve the error which they "privily" bring in and set before the church.
In this text Peter's words would be better translated thus: "The having bought them sovereign Lord denying." It is a rule in the Greek to put the important or central thought first in a sentence. This the translators have not generally observed in this case, not noticing that the ransom is the central thought. In the Greek it stands as we quote it above, showing clearly that the denying referred to by the apostle is a denying of the ransom – denying that our Lord gave for us and all men "a corresponding price." To deny this, is to deny all: for it is the removal of the very foundation of all our hopes and of Christ's Lordship. For if we were not "bought with a price, even the precious blood of Christ," then we are yet in our sins, condemned still, and without hope. If he has not bought us, he is not our Lord, and has no right or control, present or future. Hence those who deny the ransom, really deny the Lordship of Christ, no matter how much they may claim to acknowledge Jesus as Lord.
The seriousness of this which Peter calls "damnable heresy," is far reaching, and leads into a great variety of errors and heresies, reflecting against other truths and laying a foundation for other errors. Peter adds: "Many shall follow their destructive ways [destructive of the very foundation of hope and its corresponding licence in dealing with scriptures which oppose them] by reason of whom the way of truth [the true way of salvation – through the ransom – the way of the cross] will be reviled."
It is against such teachers, who, whether knowingly or ignorantly, are serving Satan and error, and are the enemies of the cross of Christ, that Paul speaks in our text. As Satan through the serpent beguiled Eve with crafty sophistry, he would now through such teachers among you beguile and lead astray the chaste virgin church espoused to Christ. Of course from time to time throughout the age Satan has sought to and did test the nominal virgin of Christ, but much more so now in the end of the age, when the church is almost complete, and as he sees the plan of God unfolding, and that he has not thwarted it thus far, Satan seems to redouble his efforts; for as each new ray of light shines out for her assistance, in this the dawn of the coming day, he matches it or counterfeits it, with rays of false light to draw attention away from the true.
Various have been the delusions of our subtle adversary, but in this instance as in many others, the apostle's words seem to apply directly to our day. His words were a prophecy to us, now being fulfilled; for now the form of error is again presented as it was with Eve,
The argument used to Eve was that she would not die at all, and when the reality of death was established beyond a question in the death of Abel, he changed the argument, and ever since he has unceasingly taught through deceived poets, philosophers and priests, heathen and Christian, that mankind does not really die, but only appears to; that when dead they are more alive than ever before. And in every age among heathens and Christians he has succeeded in gaining a majority to believe his lie, in direct opposition to God's statement, "Thou shalt surely die." "The soul that sinneth, it shall die." – Gen. 2:17. and Ezek. 18:4.
This lie Satan started with, for he was a liar (and thereby the slayer of our race) from the beginning and abode not in the truth (John 8:44.), and he has since kept it up, and the sophistries used to back it up are truly wonderful, and worthy of such a Master deceiver. Upon this lie he has built his entire system of error with its God-dishonoring doctrines of a present or future place of anguish, in which the dead are doubly alive and suffering. And on it he builds the further idea of the endlessness of their torture, that they not only are not dead, but cannot ever die; that God, though he can create, cannot "destroy soul and body in Gehenna" – the second death [See October 1886, Tower]. Thus for centuries he has maligned God's character and cultivated a fear and abhorrence of God which repulsed all true love, and hindered that depth of consecration in his service which can spring only from love and appreciation of God and his plans.
And not only so, but by and in support of this same lie, the adversary has warped and twisted and perverted the Scriptures so that all the exceeding great and precious and various promises of God's Word have come to mean only what might be interpreted in one sentence, thus: You must either spend an eternity in awe, fear and trembling in the presence of a fiendish God, or else in everlasting torture with devils. And of the two evils men have hoped to get the least, and dreaded almost to read the Bible whose every parable and symbol was caused to smoke and flame and to reflect the words ETERNAL TORMENT, under the lurid light cast upon it by the adversary, through hymn-books, prayer-books, and commentaries, in harmony with his original lie, "Ye shall not surely die."
This lie has had a long run, of six thousand years; it has served his purpose well, and yet serves in most cases. But now in the dawn of the morning the light of truth begins to shine unto some, showing the Scripture to be in perfect harmony with God's original declaration, "In the day that thou eatest thereof, dying thou shalt die" [margin]. At first he merely cast odium upon it and was content to let a few get free from this error, but it led so rapidly from darkness to light that he must do something to oppose it, and to deceive and ensnare the espoused virgin of Christ, as in the past. [R911 : page 3]
And what could be more taking or deceptive now, than the same lie he took at first, only newly applied, to the second death, instead of to the first. Surely this would be his wisest plan; for already he had the prejudices of many and a reflected bias cast on Scripture to favor his old and popular error. Hence as Paul prophesied he has concluded to attempt to deceive the "virgin of Christ" on this line. He now again declares through some willing to deliver his message to the church, as the serpent did to Eve, the same denial of God's sentence against sinners; and now as at first declares, "Ye shall not surely die" – every human creature that God ever made, will be saved everlastingly – not one will be cut off from life.
We have not a full account of the sophistry used to Eve, but it was probably one or all three of these: Either, that God was not able to destroy as well as to create; or that he was too loving to punish and might be disobeyed with impunity by those who would take advantage of his mercy and love; or else that God had a plan arranged which would be interfered with if death were permitted, and which must not be interfered with, and that hence the threat was only a threat, and really a lie on God's part.
Whether or not those were the arguments used to Eve, Paul's words seem to indicate considerable argument, and sophistry – "As the serpent beguiled Eve by his subtilty." And certainly these are the arguments now being advanced by the same adversary. And as the light has begun to make the old doctrine of eternal torture unpopular, it seems as though the adversary by one bold move on the same line would swing the general sentiment to an exact opposite, and past the centre of truth. From thinking of God as the great monster delighting in the everlasting unmitigated torture of billions of his creatures – all except the handful of saints, the little flock – he would now have them to think of God as so loving and gentle and weak that he could not carry out his own just sentence of death upon wilful sinners, that therefore he must coerce all and accept an enforced obedience instead of a willing one, because he is so oversensitive and weak that he could not blot out of existence those who after having had the fullest opportunity of light and favor under the Millennial reign still wilfully and deliberately oppose him. How weak such an argument! In view of the past six thousand years – when we consider what God has permitted man to bring upon himself of pain, sickness and woe, is there room for such conclusions? None; that display of God's justice and firmness should leave no doubt on this subject. The fact that God so loved all while sinners, as to redeem them from Adamic death and grant to all another, this time an individual trial for life, should not be mistaken for a weakness on his part, nor used as an argument for further trials after all have had full individual trial and opportunity. It is because we were not wilful sinners, against full knowledge and opportunity, but sinners through the disobedience of one who sinned without full knowledge, that God redeemed all, and has provided under the Redeemer a second trial and second chance of life for all. – See "Second Chance" in TOWER of December, 1884.
But glance for a moment at a sample of the sophistry now used to beguile the virgin of Christ on this subject. The first penalty, death, is denied by the claim that it referred not to the death of the man, but to the death of righteousness in the man. The same argument exactly that the adversary has used for centuries, is thus taken up again to form part of a specious argument, that the second death means the reverse of that death of man's righteousness, or the dying of the sinner to sin – the death of sin in him. Otherwise stated, the claim is that the first death was a death to righteousness making all sinners, and that the second death is to be a death to sin making the sinners all righteous. What perversion! What subtilty, as the apostle terms it, is here advanced to entrap the feet of Christ's little ones, now escaping from darkness to the light. Let us open up and examine this sophistical* argument.
We deny both claims: The second death has no reference to the death of sin in sinners, and the first or Adamic death was not the death of his righteousness. These are figurative uses of the word death drawn from the one great actual death illustrated for centuries before all mankind, namely, ceasing to be. We have no right to object to the proper use of any figure, but when any attempt is made to set aside the reality entirely, and put a figure, based upon it, in its stead, we seriously object. The errors into which such a course would lead are legion.
Of the first death, or Adamic death, the Apostle says: "By one man sin entered into the world and death by [as a result of] sin; and so [thus] death passed upon all men, by the one offence" (marginal reading). "As by the offence of one condemnation came upon all men [condemning [R911 : page 4] all to actual death] even so by the righteous act of one [by the actual not figurative death of Christ] favor has freely come to all men, justifying them to life. (Rom. 5:12,18.) Those whom we criticize claim that the sin (or death of righteousness in Adam) was the Adamic death, while we with Paul and the entire record of Scripture hold firmly that death was the penalty for sin inflicted after and because of that [figurative death to righteousness] sin.
But why pursue such a foolish and inconsistent theory? it cannot stand the least examination. The death penalty came after and because of Adam's disobedience [figuratively speaking, because of his death to righteousness]. Adam had all to do with the sinning [ceasing from righteousness] and did it wilfully; but he had nothing to do with inflicting the death penalty which followed as its just punishment.
This penalty was inflicted by God [no matter into whose hands he commits the power of death as his executioner, Heb. 2:14.]; and it was inflicted against Adam and all his race, much against their wish, and against their every struggle. Adam had already become a sinner when God inflicted the literal penalty. It was because he was already dead to righteousness (or had ceased to be righteous) that God pronounced the sentence or curse of the law against him – "Dying thou shalt die." God would not permit one dead to righteousness (who had ceased to be righteous) to live on everlastingly in that condition, and hence he deprived him of life – not instantly, but by a dying process, the result of casting him out of the garden, from access to the life-sustaining trees. As it is written: "Because thou hast done this [become a sinner – died to or ceased from righteousness]...unto dust shalt thou return."
The apostle James, also an authority, declares that sin when it is accomplished bringeth forth death – a return to dust. Neither Paul nor James (standard theologians) confounded the sin which is a ceasing from righteousness, with its penalty, which is death actual – a ceasing to exist.
So then the death penalty is a return to dust, and is not at all the same as that implied in the figurative expression of dying to righteousness. It follows the other, and could not be mistaken for the other except under the deceptive sophistry of the original liar, who alas now works most successfully through those who have fallen away from the truth.
Nor is the SECOND DEATH, a death to sin, a making alive to righteousness again. It is never used in such a sense anywhere in the Scriptures; only the desire to uphold and advance the original lie "Ye shall not surely die," coupled with a slight respect for some who use their Bibles (and could not be led off the track without the twisting and plausible and subtle perversion of those Scriptures which mention the Second Death,) could have induced reasonable beings to offer such a subterfuge in the name of truth and "New light."
The Second Death [See October Tower 1886.] is the same in kind as the First. It is inflicted as the penalty of the same law, and by the same Law-giver, and upon the very same class (wilful sinners fully able to have resisted, forewarned, and fully forearmed;) as the first death. The second death is the penalty of wilful sin under the second trial, as the first death was the penalty of failure in the first trial. This, when seen, establishes the fact that God's law is and always shall be the same unchangeable law; that He will always refuse the privileges and blessings of lasting life to those who, when enlightened and able, refuse to conform to his just and wise arrangements willingly.
There could be no second death except the first death had been cancelled, since so far as man is concerned, the first death's condemnation passed upon all. And since a second trial implies a second chance for life, it is manifest that none could be granted a second chance for life until the first sentence of death was settled. And at the same time, a second chance for life implies a chance for a second death.
As the law of the Creator is perfect, it can never change, hence a second trial, (which only a few have yet enjoyed, and which for the vast majority will be in the coming age of judgment), must be on the same conditions as the first, viz.: Obey and live forever, disobey and die forever. Not to be forever dying but to be dead, extinct, [R912 : page 4] "cut off from life" forever – the second death penalty for failure under trial, from which there is no redemption and no release. Such "shall be as though they had not been."
Glance at the uses of the expression "Second Death," a glance is sufficient to convince any unprejudiced mind. Paul refers to it as a possibility in this age only to those who have first been enlightened, who have tasted of the good word of God, who have been sanctified and become partakers of the Holy Spirit, and who have been able by faith to grasp and apply to themselves now the cleansing and justification which will belong to the age to come. He says, "If these fall away it is impossible to renew them again unto repentance." Such wilfull sin on their part proves them unworthy of the favor of God – the gift of life.
John the apostle mentions the second death when he says: There is a sin unto death – I do not say that ye should pray for it. (1 John 5:16.) To pray for it would be to oppose God's expressed will, which we have no right to do. Rather, we must study his plan and will and consent thereto as the wisest and best for all concerned.
Jesus the Great Teacher spoke of the second death using Gehenna as a symbol of it. (See October 1886 TOWER.) He said, God is able to destroy both soul and body [being] in Gehenna (the second death), and that it would be better to sacrifice, cut off, evil desires and practices even though loved as an eye or as a right hand and (if it were necessary) enter into life maimed, than to be destroyed utterly in the second death.
Paul says that such as wilfully reject the favor of God through the ransom after they have once fully seen it and partaken of its benefits, have no further interest or share in the sacrifice, and for them naught remains but a fearful looking for of judgement which will devour (destroy) them as adversaries. He calls attention to the type, Moses, and to the fact that those under him who would not obey died without mercy, (Heb. 6:1-6; 10:26-31,38,39; Acts 3:22,23.) and asks whether a severer penalty is not due to wilful sin against the Great Teacher. The penalty under the type, was the taking away of a life already forfeited, and to be restored; but the severer penalty of wilful rejection of Christ is the second death – the cutting off forever from life without remedy or hope.
The same law or rule will apply to the world in general in the next age: All will come to a knowledge of the truth, partake of the fruits of the ransom in restoration etc., etc., and such as wilfully spurn God's favor and cling to sin when able to avoid it, are fit subjects for destruction – the second death. Of such a class we read in Rev. 20:14,15: "Whoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the [symbolic] lake of fire." "This is the Second death." Again, the same class proved unworthy of life in that Millennial trial are described (Rev. 21:8.) as the "fearful, unbelieving, abominable, murderers, whoremongers, sorcerers, idolaters, and liars" who have their portion [reward] in the [symbolic] lake which burneth with fire and brimstone, which is [literally] the second destruction. Fire is always a symbol of destruction, and when brimstone is added in the symbol, the destruction is intensified; for burning brimstone is a most destructive agent against life in every form and degree, known to science to-day.
Now what can any sane man think of the classes here referred to as subjects of the second death – who after a thousand years of most impartial trial, under most favorable circumstances, under the judgement of him who bought them from the first or Adamic condemnation (death), and who in spite of all this opportunity and favor are pronounced by the judge "abominable", and whose names he refused to write among those worthy of life? Can any sane man think or honestly claim that the sentence of second death pronounced against these, means that they shall die to sin and live to righteousness? Surely any not totally blinded by the great deceiver must see, that it is because they have refused to cease from sin, and refused to live in righteousness, that, as the "abominable" filth – pestilential, noxious, and contagious – they are destroyed in (Gehenna) the Second death – outside the New Jerusalem, even as the literal filth was destroyed in literal Gehenna outside the literal Jerusalem.
Look again, and notice that of the holy ones it is written – They "shall not be hurt of the second death," and "On such the second death hath no power" – and ask yourself, how this could be, if, as this theory would teach, the second death means a ceasing from sin? If the second death is a ceasing from sin, it is a grand thing, and no one could be hurt by it; all would be benefited. In that case the saints would be the first to plunge in and cease from sin. The fact that on the saints the second death has no power, and that its power is wholly upon the "abominable" rejectors of divine favor, proves that it is not a blessing, but a curse – the second curse – that it is not a death to sin, but a death of the sinner, blotting him from existence because of wilful sin.
We showed in the October '86 issue that the offer in the next age to the whole world, was typified in the offer of life or death made to Israel through Moses the typical lawgiver, which because of the weakness of the flesh they were totally unable to comply with.
Now some one wants to know whether we think that any would choose death, when a full opportunity is granted to all in the next age, of taking their choice. We answer that if the question were put to them in that form, Whether do you choose life or death, all would undoubtedly choose life; but it will not be put in that form. In that trial, obedience will stand for life and disobedience for death. So it is now: a thief does not choose imprisonment nor does a murderer choose the gallows; but in knowingly and wilfully choosing those crimes they virtually are choosing the known penalties. Those who will accept of God's plan and choose well-doing will be choosing life, and those who choose otherwise will be choosing death, the declared and sure wages of sin.
Those who shall experience the second death will doubtless not be expecting it. By disbelieving God's plain statements with reference to it, they will doubtless deceive themselves. Such are ever deceiving others and being deceived themselves, and doubtless the goodness and favor of God manifested toward them so long (during the Millennium) will lead them to believe as some now conclude, that God either could not, or would not "cut off" wilful sinners. The statement is, that they will be deceived (Rev. 20:7,8.) by following the same deceiver who beguiled Eve and who now seeks with the same lie to deceive the virgin of Christ – the Gospel Church. Doubtless his deception then as now will be based upon the same lie, "Ye shall not surely die."
Error is far reaching; one error serves as a foundation for another, and so it is with this one, "Ye shall not surely die." Looked at from one standpoint some might say that it could affect other doctrines little whether we claim that all will be saved everlastingly, or that a comparatively small number will be cut off in the second death. But such do not see the full logical outcome of the proposition; for the doctrine of the everlasting salvation of all,* in spite of the wills of some, proves either that God is so loving, that he cannot and would not execute his just sentence, "The soul that sinneth it shall die," or else that though desiring to carry out his sentence he is unable to destroy the [souls] beings that he has created.
If God is unable from either of these causes to destroy in the second death, then he was unable to destroy in the first death, for the same reasons. And if unable to destroy them, or in other words, if they were not lost in the first death, then the Bible teaching that our Lord Jesus gave himself a ransom for all and thus saved the lost, is false; for if God could not (from any cause) destroy them, they were not lost and consequently were not redeemed.
Look at it again from another standpoint and we will reach the same conclusion; namely, that the everlasting salvation of all, stands logically opposed to the doctrine of the ransom. And it is for this reason that those who deny the ransom always sooner or later claim universal everlasting salvation.
None will question from the account of the Scriptures, that in the trial of the next age there will be some wilful sinners (Jer. 31:28-30; Isa. 65:20; Matt. 25:41,46; Rev. 20:12-15; 21:8,27; and Ezek. 20:29.). And these being on as fair and full a trial as Adam was, and with greater experience, will be as culpable as he, and as worthy of condemnation to death under the law, "The soul that sinneth it shall die." And since it is recorded that "Christ dieth no more," it follows [R912 : page 5] that not one of such condemned ones can be redeemed or ransomed as Adam was. And it logically follows that if God can excuse sinners and clear or acquit the guilty without a ransom [corresponding price], then, where the guilt will be even greater than Adam's, because of greater knowledge by experience, then God's [R913 : page 5] ways were not equal when he inflicted death as the penalty upon Adam and all his children, refusing to release them from its condemnation until he himself had provided the ransom. And if God can and will excuse many wilful sinners in the next age without a ransom, He could have forgiven the one sin of Adam without a ransom. Seeing this to be the logical conclusion of the theory of everlasting salvation of all, four out of five of its advocates deny the ransom, and the remainder must choose the one or the other position as soon as they come to see the two sides of the question and their bearing upon each other. We recognize the fact that God's dealings with our race in the past, in condemning sin and sinners, is his one unalterable law, which for the security and good of his creatures he will not permit even himself to set aside, and that when he would save mankind from the Adamic sin and penalty it must be by providing a ransom [a corresponding price] for the sinner, in the death of our Lord Jesus. This rule being unalterable it follows that the wilful sinner in the second trial will be condemned to death – the second death. And since divine Justice and Love could not grant more favorable conditions than they will have enjoyed, any further trial would be useless; and being useless, will not be granted. Hence there has been no ransom provided for those condemned in the second trial; and no ransom being given, their recovery from it is impossible.
Further, notice that if the total number of those out of harmony with God in the end of the Millennial age, and therefore (by believing his lie) deceived by Satan into outward opposition (Rev. 20:8.), be but ten thousand out of all the billions then tried and tested finally, their ransom would cost the sacrifice of ten thousand redeemers, just as surely as the sin of one man cost the death of one as his corresponding price – each wilful sinner requiring one to pay his price and to redeem him. And then all this would be useless, since they could have no more favorable opportunity in a thousand trials, than God promises to all in the second trial.
In conclusion then, The second death like the first is a penalty for wilful sin. It means the taking away of the gift of God, the taking away of life because not used in accordance with his will for the creature's good and the Creator's glory. In neither is the penalty completed in the process of dying, but in the sinner's remaining dead – without life. Had the penalty been completed in the dying, so that the culprit might then be awakened free from condemnation, no ransom would have been needed, for each sinner in dying would pay his own penalty. But no, the penalty was real and lasting; for six thousand years sinners have died and remained dead; and none have been able to escape the verdict of the Great Judge. There is only one hope of deliverance. It is based on the Bible testimony that Christ died for our sins, and redeemed us from sin and its penalty, death, by paying our penalty. And this is man's hope of release from the first sentence in due time. So surely as a ransom was needed from the first penalty, one would be no less necessary from the second death penalty. But that trial being complete, no ransom should or has been provided; hence the second death is final and irrevocable.
Let us be on our guard, lest, As the serpent beguiled Eve through his subtilty, our minds should be corrupted [warped, twisted] from the simplicity which is in Christ. Note this simplicity: Life, God's gift to man, lost through sin – death passed upon all. Christ Jesus, God's gift, became a man and paid man's ransom, or corresponding price – he died for our sins and the sins of the whole world. God raised him from death to a higher nature and commissioned him to dispense the favor which his death secured for all, and has appointed the Millennial age for that great work of giving men another chance for life, under the same perfect, divine law which condemned and sentenced Adam; and the law, unchanged, still declares death to be the wages of sin, and life the wages of righteousness, and thus puts the lie upon all such statements as that "Ye shall not surely die."
"The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up; and the reproaches of them that reproached thee are fallen upon me." – Psa. 69:9.
Zeal in the Lord's service is that eager arduous active interest in the Lord's plans and their development, which is begotten of sincerest love for the Lord and for all those dear to him. The soul that is really in love with the heavenly Bridegroom will most naturally express its devotedness in such activity. And while ardent love is in the heart and prompting to action, we cannot contentedly be otherwise than active. We will seek and we will find avenues for usefulness. Since the special work of the Gospel age is the selection and development of the church, our zeal and service, like that of the Lord and the Apostles, should be spent chiefly for the church – in searching them out and doing all in our power to develop, strengthen, and encourage them to persevere to the end in the narrow way of sacrifice. It is in this service of the house or church of God that the Psalmist declares that the zeal of the Lord's anointed is expended – "The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up" – hath consumed all my energies.
As we engage in that service, a growing interest will increase the desire to be more and more active until in the end like our Lord we can say, The zeal of thine house hath eaten me up, hath consumed me. If we are following closely in the Master's footprints, we will find this consuming process going on and increasing from day to day. We will find his work consuming our time, our energies, our money, our reputation, our former earthly hopes and ambitions, and every talent we possess however great or small; and realizing how little it all is, even when judiciously used, the language of our hearts will be
"O for a thousand tongues to sing
My great Redeemer's praise,
The glories of my God and King,
The triumphs of his grace."
And just as surely as the fire of zeal is brightly burning and consuming our sacrifice, we will realize also that the reproaches of the same class who reproached our Lord will fall upon us. The reproaches will come thick and fast particularly from the nominal church. The world will have little interest in either opposing or defending us, but will coolly regard us with indifference, perhaps think us fanatical extremists, and will not desire to associate with us lest a measure of the same reproach should attach to them. But the devotees of Babylon will not fail to point the finger of scorn, to shoot the arrows of calumny and to instigate open opposition against the little flock of the anointed cross-bearers. But blessed are those who shall endure unto the end, until the zeal of God's house has eaten them up, entirely consumed them. Those faithful unto death shall receive the crown of life.
We should not be troubled then if we find that we are being used up in the Lord's service. Through zeal for the spread of his truth and the honor of his name do you find that your time is so used up that you scarcely have enough left for your personal necessities? that whereas you were once in better circumstances when your earnings all or nearly all were expended on self, you now find that gradually as the necessities of the work seem to need it, the hard earned savings of the years past are diminishing and with increasing prospects of larger demands? Do you find that your reputation as a Christian and as a man of sound common sense is about gone? Do you find that your present course if continued will put an end to the ambitions you once deemed of so much importance? Do you find your friends fewer, (but thank God, these are generally truer) than formerly? Do you find yourself often weary, your energies largely spent, and that physical strength is actually wearing out in the service, in doing what your hand finds to do with your might? Then you can truly say, The zeal of thy house is eating me up. And when your sacrifice is ended in the complete exhaustion of all your powers, you will have fought the good fight of faith, you will have finished your course; and as he who has called you is faithful, you shall receive the crown of life that fadeth not away.
The measure of our zeal in the service is the measure of our love for the heavenly Bridegroom who is now looking for his jewels, for such as he desires to make his bride. And only those who prove by the sacrifice of earthly things their supreme love for the Lord, will be counted worthy of such honor and exaltation. If our harmony and sympathy with him and his great work for others is so great as to prompt us to sacrifice all other ambitions and hopes, even unto death, then we are giving most satisfactory evidence of our love and interest, and will most assuredly be chosen; and even now such may reckon themselves his bride elect.
There is no punishment for those who do not manifest such zeal. Such service is not forced nor unduly urged upon any. The Lord does not want for his bride one who needs to be forced or even coaxed to engage with him in carrying out his plans. He wants such as from the heart, and not by constraint are in deepest love and sympathy with him. He will not take for his bride one whose heart is divided, or whose love is chilled, or who cannot enter heartily [R914 : page 5] into his plans, esteeming it a privilege to endure hardness in doing so.
Those who do not manifest such zeal are simply showing themselves unworthy of this great favor to which they are called, and shall not be numbered among his jewels. The marriage of the Lamb is based on supreme love and tenderest devotion, a matter of choice and by no means of compulsion or constraint, and their hearts are most truly united long before the consummation of their hope.
It is quite an erroneous idea that it is possible to be over zealous in the Lord's service. Yet such is the impression which many give who receive the truth, yet never allow it to spur them to more than ordinary activity. If we really appreciate the truth, it ought to arouse and utilize all the enthusiasm of our nature; not in noisy and unreasonable demonstration, neither in words only, but in unusual efforts by every method which we can devise. And if we do so, we will very soon find the reproaches of the lukewarm and indifferent cast upon us.
Dearly beloved, let us examine ourselves by the tests which the Lord is applying to us, and he will soon show us how we personally stand in his estimation. And if we find that we are falling short of a full and complete sacrifice, let us strive yet more diligently to fully render that which we covenanted to give – our all. Yet let none be discouraged as they look at the steady steps and more rapid progress of Christians of maturer growth. The babe's effort to walk and the young child's unsteady steps are none the less appreciated by the Lord. With continued effort will naturally come the strength in due time. If you cannot command sufficient courage at first to do some parts of the work which cost much in the way of self-denial, let yourself come to it by degrees. Do something at first which you can do, and keep on gradually increasing your efforts and trying your strength, and while thus endeavoring to develop strength go to the Lord and ask for more. Ask him to give you a fuller realization of the privilege of engaging in the work and of suffering for the truth's sake. Tell him of your weaknesses and your desire and determination to overcome them by his help. Do you imagine for a moment that he will leave you to struggle alone with your infirmities, or allow you to be overcome by them when you thus lay hold upon his strength? Never! no never!
"That soul which on Jesus hath leaned for repose
He'll never, no never, desert to its foes.
That soul, if all powers should endeavor to shake,
He'll never, no never, no never forsake."
None are so matured and so sure footed as to be able to tread steadily onward in the narrow way without constantly invoking and laying hold upon divine strength. Even our Lord sought frequent opportunities for private communion with the Father. And if he, the perfect one, needed divine help to enable him to sacrifice himself, how much more do we need to lay hold upon that power to carry us through.
Watch then and pray that the fire of zeal may not go out until it has entirely consumed your sacrifice. And when the reproaches of them that reproached your Lord fall upon you rejoice in your privilege of showing your sympathy with his sufferings by sharing in the same to the extent of your opportunity. When for your sake he agonized in Gethsemane's Garden you were not there to speak a word of comfort. When he stood before the High Priest and false witnesses testified against him and the lawless authorities pronounced him guilty of death, you were not there to defend him. When they spat in his face and buffeted him and smote him with the palms of their hands and taunted and reviled him, you were not there to resent such treatment, or to give him even a look of sympathy. When they scourged him and derided him and planted the cruel crown of thorns upon his brow and nailed him to the cross you were not there to sympathize or pity or to appreciate the love that prompted to such suffering for you. But to fill up our measure of the sufferings now, manifests the same love which would then, had we fully comprehended the situation, have hastened to comfort and help so far as possible. It is our privilege to share some of the ignominy, some of the reproach, and the promptness and zeal with which we do it will manifest the strength of our devotion and love.
"If ye, then, be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affections on things above, not on things on the earth; for ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God." – Col. 3:1-3.
It is evident that the apostle Paul is here addressing a particular class – not the world, nor mere believers, but that comparatively small class who have made a covenant with God of entire consecration to his service, even unto death. This class, he affirms, is dead (reckonedly), and his language also implies that they have (reckonedly) risen as new creatures, and from these two facts the apostle draws certain reasonable conclusions, and upon them bases a timely exhortation.
Let us consider first the sense in which the consecrated are dead and risen, that we may clearly see our present position and its responsibilities. Once we were dead with Adam in trespasses and in sins. That is, we with all the rest of mankind were under the condemnation; the death sentence had passed upon us; and, as we sometimes say of a condemned criminal, "he is a dead man," although the sentence is not yet executed, so we were likewise all dead men – reckoned dead already. But being redeemed, purchased, from that condemnation, we, by faith in that transaction, passed from death unto life – from under God's condemnation of death, into his favor and into justification of life. And yet it was only a reckoning – a right or title to life, secured, and not yet the actual possession of it.
In due time ("the times of restitution") that title would have been made good, had we not again lost it – disposed of it. None have lost it except those who have first accepted of it, and then presented themselves to God as living sacrifices – holy (because justified), and (therefore) acceptable unto him. (Rom. 12:1.) This covenant of sacrifice, even unto death, is the same covenant which Jesus made. All who make it, thus solemnly engage to die, to spend and surrender human life in God's service. By faith (i.e., reckonedly) we are risen from the Adamic condemnation (death); we have consecrated the life reckoned as restored; we have counted ourselves dead with Christ as actually we were dead with Adam; and further we reckon ourselves as though risen with Christ and now, like him, no longer human, but "new creatures," "partakers of the divine nature," and as though seated with him "in heavenly places." We are thus reckoning to ourselves all the promises of God in advance, because we realize that "It is a faithful saying: If we be dead with him we shall also live with him." – 2 Tim. 2:11,12.
It is in this sense that the apostle speaks to us of being both dead and risen – dead and risen a second time: first dead through sin with Adam and redeemed and risen with him and all men to human perfection; but now dead with Christ our Redeemer as sharers in the sacrifice for sin, and risen with him as new creatures.
Actually, we are not yet either dead or risen with Christ, but if our covenant was sincere, and if our faith in the promise of God, who raised up Christ from the dead, and that he will raise up us also, is firm, we may reckon the transaction as sure as though it were already actually performed, as though we were already in actual possession of the glory which shall be revealed in us.
It is to these embryo "new creatures," before whom is set such a sure and glorious hope, that Paul gives counsel and exhortation, saying: "Mind the things above, not the things on the earth; for you [as a human being] died, and your life has been hidden with the Anointed One by God. When the Anointed One, our life, shall be manifested, then you also will be manifested with him in glory. Put to death, therefore, those members on the earth – fornication, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness [money loving], which is idol-worship; on account of which things the wrath of God is coming [the "time of trouble"].
It would scarcely seem necessary to thus exhort those who have covenanted to become dead to all earthly things, even to the sacrifice of life itself; yet Paul saw the necessity and did not neglect the duty of faithfully warning those inclined to forget or ignore their covenant. We find him again writing to the Philippians, "Brethren, become joint-imitators of me, and watch those who are thus walking, as you have us for a pattern. For often I told you, and now even weeping, I say, many walk as the enemies of the cross of Christ; whose end [if they pursue that course to the end] will be destruction, whose God is the stomach, and their glory is their shame; they who are engrossed with earthly things." – Phil. 3:17-19.
Our acquaintance with the truth and the remembrance of our covenant is all that should be necessary to inspire zeal and constancy in the Master's service; but alas! such is not always the case, for many of those called to be saints we now see walking as men – minding earthly things, cumbering themselves with earthly [R915 : page 6] cares, hampering and fettering themselves, so as to hinder their usefulness in the great work of the present hour, and often cutting off all opportunity in this direction. The heart thus turned to earthly things, and the attention fastened there by increasing earthly cares, it becomes an easy matter to let the whole current of thought and interest turn toward earthly things – food, raiment and the provision for present and future emergencies. In every condition in life it is much easier to follow the bent of the old nature than to crucify it.
The earthly things are present with us; the world and its ideas and interests, in which we also formerly shared, still draws us, and we must resist its spirit and influence, else we are in no sense overcomers. We must be willing to be thought peculiar, to be separated from their company and to bear the reproach of Christ as we go forward, steadily pushing aside the earthly interests, while, denying ourselves, we spend our time and strength and means for the advancement of the heavenly kingdom.
If we are minding the heavenly things and not the earthly, we will be planning and arranging and endeavoring to devise ways and means to advance the Lord's work, to spread the knowledge of his truth. If our sphere is narrow, we will be seeking to enlarge it, just as a prudent business man will study to increase his business and to make the most out of it.
Some will undoubtedly find that they cannot do a great deal in this direction, but in all probability they can do something; they can at least try. It is a very indolent and indifferent steward who concludes without an effort, that almost nothing, is the full measure of his ability to serve the Master. And while it is far from our province or intention to pass judgment upon any one, yet the aggregate of the effort put forth to advance the truth is far short of what it should be if all the consecrated were fully awake to their opportunities and privileges, minding chiefly the heavenly things, and studying how to most advance the heavenly interests, and giving to the earthly things only the needful thought and attention, such as decency, order and honesty require. If all the Lord's stewards were spending time, physical and mental effort, money, influence and every talent as wise stewards, and in full harmony with their covenant, we would be able to see much larger results than we do see. And yet the results show a degree of faithfulness which gives evidence of some effort on the part of many, and great effort on the part of some. Our desire here is not to discourage any, but to awaken to greater diligence the many who should be more active and faithful.
Paul advised the church to take himself as an example, and to mark for imitation others who walk in harmony with their covenant. The daily walk and conversation of all the saints, and their untiring zeal in the Master's service, should be such as to be worthy of imitation. Paul's zeal for the truth would have made him active and useful in any position in life, and we may be sure that no position would have held him long which furnished no opportunities for the divine service to which he had consecrated all. He did not permit business or worldly prospects, or friends or foes to interfere. Nor did he take upon himself domestic cares to limit and fetter him in the service. Dearly beloved, mark Paul and all who so walk, and let your zeal abound yet more and more to the glory of God. Spend and be spent in the service. If you grow weary mentally and physically in the service, rejoice in the privilege of wearing out in it; for when worn out you shall receive the crown of life.
To walk otherwise than in full accord with our profession is to walk to that extent as the enemies of the cross of Christ. To claim to be running for the heavenly prize, while actually grasping after and minding chiefly the earthly things, is to misrepresent the truth; and others who mark our course will do likewise, mistaking the way. Thus we would be misleaders and "enemies" or opposers. Let us faithfully push aside the earthly cares and ambitions, and run with zeal and patience to the end, taking heed that we be not stumbling-blocks in the way of other runners. If ye be risen with Christ, seek and set your affections on the things above, not on things on the earth; for your interests are heavenly. The earthly blessings of restitution, and all the good things in store for the redeemed natural man are not your future portion. Look into the exceeding great and precious promises of the blessings in store for the new creatures in Christ, that you may catch more of the inspiration of that glorious hope. Then forgetting the things behind, press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.
Dr. S. G. Howe found that the parents of one hundred and forty-five, out of three hundred idiots, were habitual drunkards. He attributed one half of the cases of idiocy in the state of Massachusetts to intemperance, and he is sustained in his opinion by the most reliable authorities.
"They which shall be accounted worthy to obtain [attain] that world [age] and the resurrection from the dead, neither marry nor are given in marriage, neither can [will] they die any more; for they are equal [like] unto the angels, and are children of God – being children of [by] the resurrection." – Luke 20:34-36.
This passage seems to open up anew of late, and furnishes a light upon the future not elsewhere provided. We at one time held the view that the resurrection here referred to was the First Resurrection, the resurrection of THE CHURCH to spiritual perfection. But if so, the Greek word translated resurrection should be emphatic, so as to show that a special or particular resurrection is meant. But on critical examination, we find that anastasis as here used is not specially emphasized. Besides, as we examine the context it is evident that not the resurrected condition of the Church is discussed, but the resurrected condition of the World, as represented by the woman who had been married successively to the seven husbands. Our Lord's reply as above is an answer to the query, "In the resurrection, whose wife shall she be?"
The Saducees with whom our Lord held this conversation were disbelievers in a resurrection. They held that death ended all existence forever, as much to mankind as to beasts; and they held up the case of this woman with seven husbands, as an argument to prove that if a resurrection should take place, it would produce an endless jangle by reason of mixed and confused social arrangements.
Our Lord's answer is that they erred from not appreciating the power of God to control and arrange all the minutia, as well as the grander and greater features of his plan, and from not understanding the Scriptures. The Scriptures now opening up in the dawn of the approaching Day, disclose to us the fact that the world's resurrection (Greek anastasis – raising up) will be a gradual work covering a period of a thousand years, and not a momentary work as the Saducees and others, and ourselves until four years ago, supposed.*
Our Lord's answer steps right over the Millennial Age or period of attaining perfection (resurrection), with the answer that they must learn to trust "the power of God." His explanation shows how it will be in that great everlasting future which stretches out beyond the Millennium, and to which the Millennial Age serves but as a gateway, to admit the willing and worthy, and to "cut off" the unwilling and disobedient.
Thus viewed, mark the import of our Lord's words: "They which shall be accounted worthy to obtain that world [age] and the resurrection, neither marry nor are given in marriage." It is evident from a close examination that our Lord refers to a period after the world has been tried. The words "shall be accounted worthy," show that those referred to were not yet accounted [R915 : page 7] worthy; and that some future trial must be undergone by them, which would demonstrate their worthiness to attain the resurrection, and their right to live under the new order of things, where sin and sinners are inexcusable and will not be permitted.
The Bible teaches that "in death there is no remembrance of God, and in the grave [Hebrew sheol, Greek hades,] none can give God thanks (Psa. 6:5); and that there is no knowledge, nor wisdom, nor device, in the grave [sheol, hades,] whither all go (Eccl. 9:10.) Hence we know that no progress can be made by these in attaining or being "counted worthy," until the great Redeemer shall become their Deliverer to set them free from the curse or penalty of the first failure, under the first trial, in Eden, and to grant each for himself a second trial under himself as Judge and Teacher. Thus Jesus' words teach a future trial for mankind in general, in which the woman and seven husbands who were already dead, and who were not believers in Christ, may have a part. For if the woman and her husbands and such like were not to have a further trial for attaining that world, in which they might be "accounted worthy," it certainly would have been in order for our Lord to have then and there stated the fact plainly. We know that some theologians of our day would from their erroneous views have answered quite differently. Instead [R916 : page 7] of saying those who "shall be [future] accounted worthy" to attain to the resurrection, they, would probably have said nothing about a resurrection and an age to come and a future trial, but would have stated it thus – Those who lived perfect lives before they died [that would be none] and who believed in and fully accepted Christ before they died [none of them] went at death [past tense] to heaven, while the others all went to a place of everlasting torture, where they will have too much pain to think about their marriage relationship. But, thus modern theologians differ in their teachings from the Great Master whom they claim as the author of their faith and teachings. Surely they have gone far from the truth, and are teaching for doctrines the theories and traditions of men.
Man in his perfection is "a little lower" than angels, a human, earthly being, while angels are spirit beings. The work of perfecting or raising up the fallen race to the perfection from which it fell, will not change man to a spirit-being such as angels are.
But while men and angels are of different natures, they will be alike in some respects. The Lord mentions the particular point of likeness here referred to, viz., that they will no longer marry, neither will* they die thereafter.
The thought is this, the trial or judgment of the Millennial age will be so complete and the lessons of obedience so well impressed upon men that only the "worthy" will attain to that condition of perfection and on these the lesson of the bitterness of sin and the blessedness of obedience will be so deeply impressed that eternity will not efface it, and they will never again choose sin; and consequently "neither will they die thereafter." All who attain that age at all will be so, because all not "counted worthy," the great Judge will "cut off," or "destroy from among the people." – Acts 3:23.
Now let us notice the likeness of men to angels, which will abolish marriage after the Millennium. Marriage is proper in this age. It is of divine arrangement. It is the method by which it pleased God to create a race – by creating one pair with whom he lodged the powers of procreation, to "multiply and to fill the earth." – Gen. 1:28. And our Lord signified his approval of marriage by his presence at the Cana wedding, and by his endorsement of the Mosaic law which prohibited the separation of man and wife. Therefore "Marriage is lawful in all etc." (Heb. 13:4.) even though this and other lawful things be generally inexpedient to the saints (1 Cor. 6:12.). See article, The Time is Short, February TOWER.
Angels are probably without sex – neither male nor female as we use those terms, though like God generally referred to as masculine. Man as originally created in God's image was probably the same in that regard, like unto the angels. Afterward "male and female created he them" for the very purpose of thus filling or populating the earth. And the reasonable deduction is that when the earth shall become as the "Garden of Eden" and shall be fully populated, then the "filling of the earth" by the multiplying of the race will cease, according to the proper outworking of the plan of him who formed the perfect man into a perfect pair, for the purpose of filling the earth. And we inquire why God chose to make the man perfect in himself at "first," and then to sex him into twain, if it were not for an intimation and illustration of what the race shall be, when God's plans concerning it are full-filled?
The fact that Adam was without companionship among the beasts, and that woman became his help-meet does not prove that he would not have been as happy among companions like himself as originally created. Angels are surely meet companions for each other, yet not male and female. But in the plan God had in view, of producing a race from one, who in trial would represent all, in order that by one also he might redeem all, prevented the creation of a companion like himself and made proper the division of the one into two, mutually adapted to the various necessities of the situation.
So then our Lord's words teach us, that when the restitution age and its restoring or resurrecting work are complete, all who being worthy shall be thus perfected, shall be as Adam was at first – in regard to sex, and freedom from death – "like unto the angels."
These worthy ones will be "children of God," – becoming such by the resurrection. To appreciate this we must remember God's manner of using the word "children". Only those who bear his image and are in harmony with Him, does he recognize as His children; others who are impure and disobedient and who bear the image of Satan, are called "children of wrath," "children of the devil," etc. In accordance with this, angels are called "sons of God," and Adam in his first estate (sinless) is called a "son of God," and we though not actually released from the imperfection are reckoned perfect, being justified by faith, our acceptableness being in and through merits and perfections of our Lord Jesus imputed to us. Yet in the fullest sense God will not recognize us as sons until our Lord shall present us actually perfect before the Father in the end of the Gospel age. Then we shall in the fullest sense enter into the fullness of sonship. – Compare Jude 24,25; Col. 1:22,23,28; 2 Cor. 4:14; 5:1-6.
So too it will be with the world, in the Millennial age. Though God has planned the work in its every particular, and though he so loved the world while sinners as to give his Son for their redemption and restitution, yet he will not recognize them as children, until the "worthy" ones have been perfected (raised up to perfection) in the end of that age. Meantime the world can only recognize God as their Father by faith, aspiring to be counted worthy to come to that perfect condition in which alone they can be recognized as God's children, and dealt with as such. To be recognized as God's child is to be recognized as one entitled to the "liberty of the sons of God" – freedom from pain, death, etc., etc. Until that grand consummation is reached the world can deal with the Father only through the Royal Priesthood of which our Lord is the head or High Priest.
When this Royal Priest has completed the work of judging the world, and shall have destroyed evil in every form (including wilful sinners of whom Satan is chief) he will present to the Father perfect and complete, all those counted worthy to attain to that age and full perfection of being. He will present them then (even as the Gospel little flock now) blameless and unreprovable before him. (Phil. 2:15; Col. 1:22.). Their perfection will be that of manhood, while ours is that of the new nature to which we were begotten as joint-heirs with Christ. (2 Pet. 1:4.). Thus the Royal Priest and King will deliver up the Kingdom of earth to God even the Father, that God may be "all in all." God will then be recognized fully by all his creatures as they could not recognize him while in imperfection and sin. And all will then realize that the plan of salvation from first to last was of the Father and by the Father, however he may have used others as co-workers by whom to accomplish his glorious and successful plan.
The figure of husband and wife is used frequently to represent the closeness of union and interest existing between the Lord and the church; particularly as showing the period of interest before and at the time of their uniting: but in no case does the figure go farther, to represent anything akin to motherhood on the part of the church. On the contrary the figure, generally used in reference to the period beyond our union, represent the twain as one – Head and Body; the Prophet, Priest and King of the world, during its age of trial.
So then we, in the light of the dawning Day, seeing more clearly the teachings of the Scriptures and the power of God to be revealed during the age of restitution, can appreciate the Lord's answer to the Sadducees' question – Whose wife of the seven husbands shall she be? – in a way which it was not possible for them to understand. We see, that this woman and her husbands, and all other men and women who during the Millennial age of trial may be proved worthy to reach perfection and to enter upon the great Eternity beyond, will no longer be male and female, but reaching perfection – full restitution – each individual will be complete and perfect in himself, as Adam was before made twain.
"Continuing instant in prayer." (Rom. 12:12.) To continue steadfastly in prayer is of vital importance. Prayer is necessary to the continuance of our spiritual life. We cannot continue alive to God without prayer any more than we can continue to live without breathing. We should have stated seasons of prayer, and should be continually in the spirit of prayer. There is so much for which to pray, that we cannot afford to be slack in this Christian duty. We are dependent upon our heavenly Father for everything we need, and it is our privilege to come to Him like little children, and to ask Him to supply our wants. Are we sorrowful? we can go to him for comfort. Are we tempted? we can pray for grace to overcome. Are we in danger? we can cry to Him for help and deliverance. Are we in distress? we can seek relief at his hands. Are we poor, broken-hearted, despised or persecuted? He can supply our necessities, heal our wounded spirits, and clothe us with blessing and salvation. Does the answer to our prayer seem to linger; let us not be discouraged and give up, but persevere till the desires of our hearts be fulfilled, so far as they are according to the will of God. Let us continue steadfastly in prayer both for ourselves and for others, and for all things which pertain to the coming of the kingdom of God, when his will shall be done in earth as it is done in heaven. "Distributing to the necessity of saints." (Rom. 12:13.) As a rule, God's saints are poor. But some are better supplied than others. Those who have more than they need should share with their brethren in necessity. By so doing they benefit themselves more than those whom they supply. Moreover they know not how soon matters may be reversed, so that they may need the benefactions of those whom they had relieved. By this interchange of benefits we show that we are members one of another. In ministering to our brethren in Christ we minister to Christ himself. What saint would not regard it an inestimable privilege to minister to the blessed Master? It is blessed to receive, but it is more blessed to give. By distributing to the necessity of saints, brotherly love is demonstrated and nurtured and increased. The giver and the receiver are drawn more closely together. It also calls forth thanksgiving and glory to God from the recipients, and checks the spirit of selfishness in the donors. [The greatest necessities to the saints are spiritual ones; – THE TRUTH therefore is the greatest gift to such; her price is above rubies. Hence while doing them good in any way we can let us not forget their greatest necessity and our grandest opportunity of ministering to it. – EDITOR Z.W.T.]
"Given to hospitality." (Rom. 12:13.) Hospitality is the "reception and entertainment of strangers or guests without reward, or with kind and generous liberality." It is the opposite of narrow-heartedness and selfishness. Abraham showed hospitality when he entertained the three angels with the best he had. Lydia showed hospitality, when, after her baptism, she besought Paul and his companions, saying, "If ye have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house and abide there," and constrained them. Publius showed hospitality to Paul and his shipwrecked companions, when he received them and lodged them three days courteously. The Apostle Paul says, [R917 : page 8] "Be not forgetful to entertain strangers; for thereby some have entertained angels unawares." And the Apostle Peter exhorts the brethren to "use hospitality one to another without grudging." We lose nothing by the practice of hospitality. There are a thousand ways in which the Lord can repay us for our generosity. But above all, He enriches us with his grace. Our hearts are made better; our souls are ennobled.
"Bless them that persecute you; bless and curse not." (Rom. 12:14.) It requires grace to bless those who persecute us, but grace shall be given if we seek it. The Spirit of Christ teaches us to return good for evil. Nothing will so break down those who ill-treat us as to manifest a Christian spirit towards them. Moreover, by so acting we adorn the doctrine of Christ which we profess. God is thereby pleased, and the religion of Christ is commended to the world. We should bless others as we hope to be blessed of God. To curse our fellow-mortals does not become us, even though they may have sorely wronged us. God has called us that we should inherit blessing, though we had done worse to Him than our enemies could do to us. Amiable is that Christ-like spirit which returns blessing for cursing. Valiant is the Christian soldier who can face the enemy with weapons of peace. Victor indeed is he who so rules his own spirit as not only to bear reproach, but so as to bless the reproacher. – Dawn of Morning.
A London correspondent writes as follows: "The public are not probably aware that the system of purchase in the church of England is as rife at the present time as it ever was in the army. Some interesting disclosures on the subject appeared in the Pall Mall Gazette recently, from the chairman of the 'National Committee for Abolishing Purchase in the Church.' According to his statement, the traffic had almost become a scandal. Livings are offered in the most open way by clerical agents, the prices are stated in the advertisements, and the incomes and advantages are set forth as matters usually are in the bills of auctioneers. For instance, the following advertisement recently appeared in a paper: –
"'Bershire: First presentation, or a moiety of advowson; gross income from tithe rent charge, and about 230 acres of glebe, $8,780 per year. Four beautiful churches, about two miles apart. The parish can be worked with the assistance of two curates. Superior residences, numerous principal and secondary bedrooms, etc.' The very desirable rectory of Crayford, near Dartford, has, he says, been very much offered for sale. – The net income is nearly $5,000 per year. The rectory has 'well timbered pleasure grounds.' The price was – there is no knowing what it now may be – $42,500 in March, 1882.
"Among the big properties there is also 'a very valuable and desirable rectory' within a short drive of some of the most favorable parts of the river Thames. Net nominal value of the living, close upon $6,000. 'A beautiful church rebuilt and enlarged under Sir Gilbert Scott. There is a prospect of immediate possession.' The clerical agent has much pleasure in calling attention to this unusually choice property; $60,000 is the price asked for it. The same clerical agent offered a rectory in the Diocese of St. Alban's; net value upwards of $5,000 per annum; price, $52,500. Also a very valuable living in Yorkshire, of the net value of about $7,000 a year; price, with a prospect of immediate possession, $75,000. For the pastoral charge of Yalding, near Maidstone, a very old standing dish of certain clerical agents, $60,000 was asked, 'subject to the life of the present incumbent in his 81st year.'
"Numerous other instances are given of equally fat "livings," which are at the disposal of the highest bidder. The publication of these facts will not, of course, check the traffic in the least; but it will undoubtedly give an impetus to the agitation for the disestablishment of the church, which is fast taking hold in this country."
A celebrated skeptical philosopher of the last century – the historian Hume – thought to demolish the credibility of the Christian Revelation by the concise argument: "It is contrary to experience that a miracle should be true, but not contrary to experience that testimony should be false." Contrary to experience that phenomena should exist which we cannot trace to causes preceptible to the human sense, or conceivable by human thought! It would be much nearer the truth to say that within the husbandman's experience there is no phenomena which can be rationally traced to anything but the instant energy of creative power.
Did this philosopher ever contemplate the landscape at the close of the year, when seeds, and grains, and fruits have ripened, and stalks have withered, and leaves have fallen, and winter has forced her icy curb even into the roaring jaws of Niagara, and sheeted half a continent in her glittering shroud, and all this teeming vegetation and organized life are locked in cold and marble obstruction; and, after week upon week, and month upon month, have swept, with chilly rain, and howling storm, over the earth, and riveted their crystal bolts upon the door of nature's sepulchre – when the sun at length begins to wheel in higher circles through the sky, and softer winds to breathe over the melting snows – did he ever behold the long-hidden earth at length appear, and soon the timid grass peep forth; and anon the autumnal wheat begin to paint the field, and velvet leaflets to burst from purple buds, throughout the reviving forest, and then the mellow soil to open its fruitful bosom to every grain and seed dropped from the planter's hand; buried, but to spring up again, clothed with a new, mysterious being; and then, as more fervid suns inflame the air, and softer showers distil from the clouds, and gentler dews string their pearls on twig and tendril, [R918 : page 8] did he ever watch the ripening grain and fruit, pendent from stalk, and vine, and tree; the meadow, the field, the pasture, the grove, each after its kind, arrayed in myriad-tinted garments, instinct with circulating life; seven millions of counted leaves on a single tree, each of which is a system whose exquisite complication puts to shame the shrewdest cunning of the human hand; every planted seed and grain which has been loaned to the earth, compounding its pious usury thirty, sixty, a hundred fold, all harmoniously adapted to the sustenance of living nature, the bread of a hungry world; here a tilled cornfield whose yellow blades are nodding with the food of man; there, an unplanted wilderness – the great Father's farm – where he "who hears the raven's cry" has cultivated, with his own hand, his merciful crop of berries, and nuts, and acorns, and seeds, for the humbler families of animated nature, the solemn elephant, the browsing deer, the wild pigeon whose fluttering caravan darkens the sky; the merry squirrel who bounds from branch to branch, in the joy of his little life – has he seen all this? Does he see it every year and month and day? Does he live, and move, and breathe, and think, in this atmosphere of wonder – himself the greatest wonder of all, whose smallest fibre and faintest pulsation is as much a mystery as the blazing glory of Orion's belt? If he has, and if he does, then let him go, in the name of heaven, and say that it is contrary to experience that the august Power which turns the clods of the earth into the daily bread of a thousand million souls, could feed five thousand in the wilderness. – Edward Everett.
Those who hold to the Word of God on the subject of the RANSOM, have no need whatever to go outside of that word for full denunciation of all who oppose it. Our Lord and the apostles use words stronger and severer than we would otherwise feel at liberty to use. But it is right, nay, a duty incumbent upon us, to apply their words "damnable heresy" etc., where they belong – to the doctrine of NO RANSOM, to which they apply them. What else is a teacher's duty? He has no other duty. He must not speak his own opinions, and he must not neglect to call attention to the errors which the inspired apostles fortold and described, though of course the advocates of such errors will not appreciate either the apostle's words or the faithfulness of those who call attention to them. This, too, is what we must expect. These think the only possible application of the apostle's words uncharitable. So also the great Master of the apostles was considered uncharitable, when He declared that there was only one door into the sheepfold. No other name is given under heaven or among men whereby we must be saved, and no other way than by the ransom. All who attempt to lead to salvation in any other way are branded by the Lord "thieves and robbers." So long, then, as we have strength, we shall endeavor to point out to these leaders, and those led by them, that they are building on a sandy foundation, without the only ROCK for a foundation, and that consequently, all their faith building reared thereon, must sink, and ultimately fall.
Yet we must be content, as were the Apostles and the Master himself, to be counted of such their enemies, because we tell them the truth. But even at this cost thank God, we are able to save some from the snare of the "great Adversary" – "that old serpent."
We cite the no ransom advocates to 1 Tim. 2:6., which alone out of hundreds of texts, should convince them of their error. It is right to the point, and no amount of twisting can turn it aside. Will they not take it up, and convince and convict themselves of the "damnable heresy" of their teachings, and abandon the heresy, and accept the truth? Why not? We know this would cost the overthrow of much of the error built upon their sandy foundation, and we know that this would be hard for the self-willed to do, but is it not the best thing they can do, – turn right around, and confess the error of their teachings, since they left the rock, and return to it? But if they have done this willingly – if they have knowingly and deliberately counted the blood of the covenant wherewith once they had been sanctified, common, (Heb. 10:29.) denying its redeeming and sin-cleansing power, such, we know, will not return, for the Apostle declares their repentance "impossible." (Heb. 6:4.) But doubtless some, we hope many, of the deceived ones are merely blinded, and have not wilfully rejected the only gateway to the fold of God, and to lasting life.
These no ransom advocates, by the way, will never admit that they deny it; but claim to believe in a ransom in some other sense, just as if there could be any other sense than the one – a price instead of – "a corresponding price." We request them to take that text (1 Tim. 2:6.) with its connections, examine the word ransom therein in the Greek and in the Syriac, as well as in the English, and please show in WHAT sense they believe in the ransom therein taught. It is high time for honest men who do not wish to be deceived, who think the word ransom as here used, may have a sense different from bought, to examine the matter, and find out to a certainty what it does mean. It not only meant bought, but bought with a price which CORRESPONDED to the thing purchased – a life for a life, a being (soul) for a being, in the sense of instead of or in the place of. We hope they will not dodge the question by telling us what they think the text does not mean, but take up the text and handle it thoroughly and show in WHAT SENSE "the man Christ Jesus gave himself a corresponding price for all." Handle this text thoroughly and honestly, and accept of its teachings as final, and you accept of the ransom in the same sense we do, – the only sense which lutron and antilutron have. There is no getting around this text. If they are resolved not to accept of its testimony, it would be far more honorable to deny it and reject it as uninspired, and cast it away; and with it all those Scriptures which teach that our Lord was the ransom or substitute for all men, giving for them the thing which they had lost all right to, – a "corresponding price."