No. 151 Robinson St., Allegheny, Pa.
C. T. RUSSELL, EDITOR.
This paper will be sent free to the interested of the Lord's poor, who will send a card yearly requesting it. "Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters; and he that hath no money, come ye, buy and eat – yea, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price." And you who have it – "Wherefore do ye spend money for that which is not bread? and your labor for that which satisfieth not? Hearken diligently – and eat ye that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness." – ISAIAH 55:1,2.
With the present year almost gone and the new one at the door, we tender humble thanks to God and congratulate our readers, that we are still earnestly and lovingly and deeply interested, in the study of our Father's Word. Thank God, the truth still shines, brighter and brighter, more and more. Let us thank him warmly for the blessings past, as we earnestly implore others for the year at hand –
"More and more, more and more,
Always more to follow.
Oh, the matchless, boundless love!
Still there's more to follow."
Those of the Lord's poor who by reason of any circumstances are unable to pay for the TOWER the coming year, but who want it, should remember the offer at the head of this column, – to supply such free – and should accept it as from the Lord; as one of his numberless gifts. Such should not hesitate nor delay to write now for 1889, if they would have their papers continued.
We have pleasure in announcing this book now ready. The present edition is in cloth binding, embossed, price one dollar. It contains 368 pages on fine paper. Orders will be filled in rotation as received, as fast as the books come from the bindery.
While one dollar is but a moderate price for the book, we propose to give Watch Tower subscribers a special price upon this, as upon Vol. I. and other books. Therefore, we give notice that for $1.25 we will mail a copy of Vol. II., "The Time is at Hand," postage prepaid by us, and the TOWER during the year 1889.
We suggested in our last, that this volume would specially interest TOWER readers only, and that these would all want it in cloth binding for preservation and reference. Many have murmured against this, and urged that they had friends to whom they had sold and loaned Vol. I. who, they believed, would be interested enough to read Vol. II., if obtainable in a cheaper edition in paper-binding, – say at 35 cents.
We doubt the practicability of this; we fear that not enough would be wanted to justify an edition of ten thousand; and only by getting out such editions could the price be gotten so low as 35 cents including postage. However, to test the matter, we will agree to get out a 10,000 edition at 35 cents each, or 3 for $1.00, as soon as one half that quantity is ordered. So then, let those who favor the cheap edition, write as soon as possible, mentioning how many they can use. If this edition is issued, The Tract Fund will probably make an allowance to the Colporteurs (for expenses) on it as on Vol. I.
"This gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world, for a witness unto all nations, and then shall the end come." – Matt. 24:14.
Notwithstanding the fact that sectarianism has blinded the hearts of the vast majority of those who own Christ's name, so that they cannot appreciate the real good tidings of the coming Kingdom of God and the blessed work it is to accomplish, yet God has so arranged that the gospel itself is being preached (declared), as a "witness," for use in the coming age; even though the traditions of men, which tend to make it void and meaningless, are permitted to accompany it. God's purposes will all be accomplished, even by some who forward them with their hands, while they oppose them with their lips. For instance, note the great work which has been and is being done by Bible Societies. They are incessantly spreading the "good tidings of great joy, which shall be unto all people," before all nations, and in all languages, even though as we know, very few of those engaged in the work see with any degree of clearness, either the harmony or the beauty of the plan of God for the establishment of his kingdom and the blessing of all people.
And this work continues notwithstanding the fact that so-called "rationalism," and Elsmere-ism, are convincing thousands that the Bible is, at best, but a conglomeration of well-meant, but utterly untrustworthy traditions, colored by oriental habit and language out of all resemblance to the real truths and facts. Still the work of publishing the Bible progresses, and even its opposers assist often in its spread. An instance of this sort was witnessed in this country a few years ago, when the Revised Version of the New Testament was first published. Unbelievers took hold of it, advertised it and circulated it by the million. To satisfy curiosity and make money, they published it in the daily papers, and even in Novelette form. Now – within the past [R1078 : page 1] month – the daily press makes mention of the fact that in Italy and in Spain, where Bible Societies have long been trying to get a foothold and to introduce the Scriptures, with but slight success, because of the predominance of papal influence over the consciences of the people – even there the Scriptures are now being read by thousands. The item runs as follows: –
"A Milan (Italy) newspaper Il. Secola, is issuing in daily installments a new translation of the Bible. The enterprise is extraordinarily popular, and the circulation of the paper has reached 50,000. This success has provoked emulation, and a secular paper in Barcelona, Spain [where only recently Bibles were publicly burned], has arranged to publish a translation in Spanish. Both these undertakings are purely journalistic, and entirely unconnected with missionary societies."
Some good is being accomplished too, and some appreciation of God's character is reaching the heathen, notwithstanding the fact that those who carry the Bible, in great measure offset it with their traditions and make merchandise of the people through their creeds and sects. An illustration of this is furnished in the article subjoined, which we clip from an exchange. It is as follows: – [R1078 : page 1]
When the Japanese Empire was thrown open to American commerce, the American churches were zealous to proselyte that country to their several Confessions. The missionaries sent out found that their division would be an effectual barrier to success, and agreed to conceal their differences and work together for souls alone – simply presenting one God and Christ crucified for sinners, until they should obtain a foothold.
The dissimulation succeeded so well that in 1873 in respect to the clamor for sectarian harvests, on the part of home Boards it was agreed that the converts were sufficiently numerous to warrant a division of the spoil.
But when the deceit was carefully exposed to the converts from heathenism an unexpected difficulty arose. These poor natives assembled and drew up a petition, setting forth the joy and peace and righteousness they had found in Christ Jesus, objecting to be divided contrary to the Word and the Spirit of God, and urging the missionaries, since they had confessed such a deplorable state of things in their own country, to return to America and leave the further evangelization of Japan to them.
One of these agents, whose letter was published in the Independent, says that to these minds, just brought from the darkness of heathenism, "the simple joys of salvation overshadow all other considerations," and "it will be many years before they can be indoctrinated into the nice distinctions which divide Christendom."
The Spirit prompted these honest souls to meet in the name of Jesus only, as it always does. The most difficult thing in the work of the sectarian missionary is to "indoctrinate the convert into the nice distinctions which divide Christendom." Very few of the adherents of any sect in America are so indoctrinated. They are prejudiced and overcome by other considerations than real convictions. A very small per cent have anything like intelligent consciences about professions of faith and the distinction by which they are separated from other sects.– The Testimony.
Eighteen centuries of effort are in the past. What prospect is there that the claims of sectarianism will be fulfilled? What prospect is there of a Millennium of peace on earth being brought about by present missionary efforts? What are the evidences to support the claim that soon, or ever, the world shall willingly submit to the gospel, and voluntarily become God's Kingdom – in which his will shall be done as [perfectly as] in heaven?
This inquiry is now coming up from every direction. The nominal churches read it, and attempt to answer for themselves, to render up the best accounts they can in figures, while the world looking on draws its own conclusions. Why, we might inquire, is there so much reckoning, and figuring, and apologizing for meagre missionary results now? – a thing apparently not thought of in former times. We answer, it is because we are living in the "harvest," or reckoning time (Matt. 25:19; 7:20-23,26,27), and the Lord of the harvest, earth's new King, who is about to establish his kingdom in a totally different manner, permits those who have chosen a different plan from his, and who have boasted of what they could do by [R1078 : page 2] their own efforts in his absence, to see and to confess to each other and to the world their failures. All systems, both religious and political, claiming the name of Christ (Christendom) and to be engaged in his service, must give an account. All are on trial, and all are being proved incompetent – incapable of bringing about the desired and promised results – everlasting righteousness, God's will on earth as done in heaven. Each system must render up its own account, and some of these are now being heard by an astonished world.
A little more than a year ago Mr. Taylor read a telling paper before the English Church Congress, in which he took the ground that the Mohammedan religion is not only equal to Christianity in some respects, but is far better suited to the needs and capacities of many peoples in Asia and Africa. (In our issue of May '87 we quoted Canon Farrar and Mr. Thompson, the missionary, on this subject, under the caption "Christianizing the World." – Therein we showed the folly of comparing nominal Christianity with genuine Mohammedanism.) Mr. Taylor's article, entitled "The Great Missionary Failure," in The Fortnightly Review, is likely to attract even more attention than his paper of last year.
The most important point which he makes is, that at its present rate of progress, Christianity can never hope to overtake heathenism. Estimating the excess of births over deaths in Asia and Africa as 11,000,000 a year, and the annual increase of Christians as 60,000, it would take the missionary societies 183 years to overtake one year's increase in the heathen population. He says: –
"Dr. Bruce has complained that we do not succeed because the sums spent on missions are insufficient. It would rather seem that the floods of money which are poured out are the cause of much of the weakness of the missions. It is curious to note that the most costly missions are frequently the least successful....It is plain that the failure does not arise from a niggardly expenditure. But there can be no doubt that the vast sums of money, and the still more precious lives of hosts of devoted laborers, are thrown away in the prosecution of hopeless enterprises. In the missions to Egypt, Persia, Palestine, and Arabia, where there are no heathen,* the Church Missionary Society employs 119 agents, and has spent £23,545, 4s. 7d. in the last two years. The net results are nil.
"To extort from Sunday School children their hoarded pence, for the ostensible object of converting 'the poor heathen,' and to spend nearly £12,000 a year in fruitless missions to lands where there are no heathen,* seems to me to be almost a crime; the crime of obtaining money under false pretenses."
According to official reports cited, the 424 agents of the Church Missionary Society in Ceylon spent a little more than $55,000 last year in making 190 converts out of a population of nearly three millions. And as there were 330 relapses from Christianity the same year, this great expenditure counted for less than nothing. The same thing was true in a measure of China, Egypt, Arabia and Palestine. Moreover, the converts which are made in these countries at a cost of from $300 to $500 each, in many cases reflect no credit upon the religion whose claims they acknowledge. As an illustration of this he says: –
"Three years ago in a nominally Christian village [in Africa] a quarrel broke out, and not a few were killed. The victors cooked and ate the bodies of the slain. As a punishment the native pastor announced that they were suspended from Church privileges."
[R1079 : page 2]
"With a few very rare exceptions, those native African pastors, teachers, and catechists whom I have met, have been all, more or less, bad men. They attempted to veil an unbridled immorality with an unblushing hypocrisy, and a profane display of 'mouth' religion, which to an honest mind seemed even more disgusting than the immorality itself."
"In Egypt, last year, there were two 'inquirers,' one a negro, and the other an Egyptian, but the inquiries did not lead to any further results. In Arabia a sick robber who was doctored by a missionary, promised to abstain from robbing for ten days. In Palestine, the one Moslem Convert of last year, a weakminded orphan girl, who required constant guidance, and for whom the prayers of all English Christians were evoked, has gone over to Rome, and is now in a nunnery. In Persia we are told that a 'great and wondrous door has been opened for the Gospel,' but no converts are mentioned, and the door seems to consist of a Persian who reads the Bible, which is one of his own sacred books. I have several correspondents among the Persian Moslems, and they constantly quote the Bible, with which they seem to be almost as familiar as with the Koran. It is plain that these futile missions should be given up. A few Eastern Christians may be perverted, but the missionaries make no way among the Mahommedans."
In giving his opinion of the cause of missionary failures: that it is Sectarianism, together with lack of full consecration on the part of the missionaries, who endeavor to live as princes surrounded by more than European luxuries, instead of consecrating time and all to the work of evangelization, Mr. Taylor refers to "Dr. Legge, a missionary of 34 years standing," saying: –
"He thinks that we shall fail to make converts so long as Christianity presents itself infected with the bitter internal animosities of Christian sects, and associated in the minds of the natives with the drunkenness, the profligacy, and the gigantic social evil conspicuous among Christian nations. Bishop Steere thought that the two greatest hindrances to success were the squabbles among the missionaries themselves, and the rivalry of the societies."
Thus the results of eighteen centuries look very meagre from the standpoint of nominal Christianity; and notes of their apologies and perplexity are constantly appearing through the secular and religious press. They do not see, as we do, that the object of preaching the gospel in all the world now, is, to witness to the world, and to select a "little flock" of saints, to whom with Christ their Lord, it is the Father's good pleasure to give the Millennial Kingdom, – which shall bless the world, by both ruling and instructing it in righteousness. – Luke 12:32.
For some years the facts have been known to the officials, who, hoping for some miraculous change, have presented the brightest possible view of matters and urged larger and larger contributions. But finally, the facts are coming to the ear of the public, producing general consternation. It can no longer be boastfully and falsely claimed, that a few more millions and a few more years will see the world converted by present missionary arrangements. On the contrary, it must be admitted that according to statistics, at home as well as in foreign lands, Protestantism not only is not making headway at converting the world, but is actually going backward, not anything like keeping pace with the natural increase of population. Only this last month a general meeting of Protestants was held to account, if possible, for the great falling away in its influence and numbers in New York, the principle city of this land.
What a commentary upon the failure of man's plans are these reports and confessions! And when it is remembered that it was to carry out these plans, and insure their success, that 1500 years ago and since, the eternal torment doctrine and others, blasphemous and dishonoring to God, were invented, and all the creed- bondages of to-day manufactured, how great is the failure. How, with shame and confusion of face should Christian people acknowledge their failure, and their own utter inability to conquer evil, and look to God for help. In his plan, recorded in the Bible, they would find it speedily. But no, they are not ready for this yet; they must try their own way further.
What shall we do about it? they inquire one of another; and church Congresses meet in various parts, to help fix up an answer. Let us ignore all differences in our various creeds, say many voices, and band ourselves together as one, for mutual assistance, and that will make a larger showing. Count in all the nominal as well as the real Christians, say another set. And count the baptized children too, say others. And count in all the big sects that can be induced to associate themselves. And don't forget "that great Christian Camp, the Holy Catholic Church of Rome!" calls out a Methodist bishop; and amen! amen! chime in his many retainers. And many in other sects re-echo the sentiment, saying, with a Presbyterian Minister of this city: We must not longer reject the "holy mother, from whom we received every doctrine that we hold dear."
But hold! says Mother Rome, I make no compromise! I am infallible! I will gladly receive you to my arms, but only on condition of submission to my authority. Here all pause and hold their breath in fear, as visions of her past authority and power flit before the mind. But what is to be done? they cry, hard pressed on every side. A Presbyterian minister replies, "We must make repeated advances until we gain her support."
Together they will attempt to show that all the civilization and progress of the world is due to sectarian efforts, and will entirely ignore the influence of the great truths of God's Word, which, notwithstanding misrepresentations both by friends and foes, has really been both the light and salt of the earth. Lowering the standard, and ignoring faith in the doctrines of Christ and the Apostles, morality and civilization will be the new standard or platform. It will be broad enough to include all grades of outwardly moral people – the various grades and shades of Protestants, including Unitarians, Roman Catholics, Greek Catholics, Jews, Brahmins, and Mohammedans. Under this new standard the world will be re-examined and found almost converted – almost up to the standard. But, what a standard!
However, even this seeming successful union will be of short duration, for it is written: "Associate [unite] yourselves, O ye people and ye shall be broken in pieces;...take counsel together and it shall come to naught." And again, "He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh, the Lord shall have them [their futile schemes] in derision. Then shall he speak unto them in his wrath, and vex them in his sore displeasure" – declaring, Nevertheless I have appointed to set my King upon Zion, my holy mount or kingdom. Isa. 8:9,10; Psa. 2:4-6; Prov. 1:24-33.
But the appointed work of the Gospel age, as shown in the Scriptures, has been going on and is almost accomplished, just as intended and foretold. The Word has gone forth as a witness to all nations; and the end, the "harvest" is here. As foretold, the Lord's word has not gone forth in vain; it has accomplished that which he pleased; it has prospered in the thing whereto he sent it (Isa. 55:11); the "little flock" is almost complete, and should now lift up their heads and rejoice, knowing that their redemption draweth nigh, and that their prayer – "Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as in heaven" – is about to be fully answered.
It is some time since we made any mention of the work being done by Brother Adamson. He is not idle, however, but fully in the harness is spending himself daily in the Master's service, Sister A. sharing his encouragements and discouragements, also, as a true helpmate.
Bro. A.'s preaching or "gospelling" as he calls it, is chiefly by the sale of DAWN VOL. I. His plan is to make some town or city his headquarters, from which he makes trips to surrounding smaller towns and villages, selling DAWNS. Thus he makes thorough work, changing his base of operations about every four months. Toward the close of his stay in a place, he makes the acquaintance of some of the truth-hungry and holds some meetings, which serve to further establish, and to introduce to each other, those of like precious faith, who frequently meet regularly after he has gone further – without any covenant or bondage other than that of love, which fealty to the Lord and the truth produces. May He who has said that he "abhorreth the proud, but giveth grace (favors) to the humble, continue to greatly bless and own our Brother's efforts in the present "harvest" work. We give below one of his recent letters.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL: – Yours of 24th received to-day. I see you and Bro. Ball are doing all you can to get the DAWNS to me and save unnecessary trouble on my part. Sold 50 copies on Saturday – a good day again.
I will mention that the main avenues of Indianapolis radiate from the centre like spokes in a wheel. This centre was a park 150 feet in diameter with some seats and most of the space made into broad, gravelled walks. Here I preached while here four years ago, spending most of my Sundays there.
After I left, the Bible Christians held meetings in this Circle Park, but were soon restrained by the Mayor and Council on the ground that they are not a religious denomination. Now the Park space is being filled with monuments of "great" men, such as Senators Morton and Hendricks, which with their broad bases occupy about all the space, leaving no room for either seats for the weary passers to and fro, nor for the preaching of an unsectarian gospel.
With much love, joined by Mrs. A., to you all. In Gospel bonds,
O God! this is my plea,
What'er the process be,
This love to know.
And if the prize to gain,
Through sorrow, toil and pain
I go, e'er self be slain,
Amen! I go.
Rooted and grounded! yes,
For this I plead, O! bless
My waiting soul.
Will not this proud heart melt
Unless the rod be felt?
In mercy be it dealt,
And make me whole.
To Thee I humbly bow
And pray Thou wilt e'en now
The work begin.
'Tis all that I desire
This fulness to acquire;
This one great purifier
"For God hath not given us the spirit of fear, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind." – 2 Tim. 1:7.
The word spirit is here used in the sense of mental disposition. Thus we sometimes speak of a bad spirit, meaning an evil disposition; or of a good, true spirit, meaning a pure, noble and amiable disposition. So the Apostle here refers to the disposition of a sound mind.
A sound mind, is a mind in a sound healthy condition, and in full possession of all its faculties. Its perceptive faculties gather up various data and store them away in memory's garner; and its reasoning faculties arrange and compare them, and thus arrive at conclusions that otherwise could not be gained. However, if the mind is not in a sound, healthy condition, reason will not act properly. It will receive memory's store of facts, and by misapplying and misappropriating them, arrive at erroneous conclusions. If the mind is disturbed by undue fear and dread, or by superstition or prejudice, or hate, or revenge, or undue ambition, or pride, or self-conceit, or avarice, or any [R1080 : page 3] depraved passion, reason will be so influenced by such dispositions as to render its conclusions, or judgement, untrustworthy. The mind is only sound when in the full possession of all its faculties, and when it is entirely free in the use of those faculties – free from prejudice to bias it in any direction. Those among men who are freest from prejudice in the use of reason, we sometimes, and very properly, speak of as cool-headed, while those of the opposite disposition are called hot-headed.
Strictly speaking, there is not a perfectly sound mind in the world. The mind could not be perfectly sound unless the body were so. Both mind and body are sadly bruised by the fall; and in the fallen race we see all shades and grades of mental as well as physical derangement. Mark the varieties of physical derangement: Here is one with a deranged stomach – a dyspeptic; and that derangement affects the whole body to a greater or less extent. Another is afflicted with an improper action of the heart: and the whole body is therefore in trouble. The same is true if the lungs will not fill their appointed office, or if the liver will not do its duty, or if the nervous system be unstrung. In such cases the mind is always more or less unfavorably affected. If the body is burning with fever, or racked with pain, or agitated by an excited nervous system, or oppressed by the distresses of a dyspeptic stomach, or excited by a palpitating heart, or enfeebled by inactive and diseased lungs, the mind is correspondingly weak and diseased; it is unsound, fettered in the use of its powers, and unable to fully govern and rightly use them.
The curse of sin and its penalty has laid its heavy hand on the entire man – mind and body. If one member of the body suffer, the whole body, and no less the mind, suffers with it. And in addition to those sufferings of the mind which come directly from physical disabilities, are many others which come from its own derangement, from the undue cultivation of its inferior instincts and the dwarfing of its nobler faculties through sin and the necessities of painful toil – the labor and sweat of face which are parts of its penalty. Truly, as the prophet expresses it, There is none perfect (sound, either in mind or body), no, not one. (Psa. 14:3.) All are covered with wounds and bruises and putrefying sores – both mentally and physically, though there are various degrees of unsoundness.
O, says one, I do not see that the world in general is so much out of gear mentally. Men are considerably out of order physically, greatly out of order morally, but it seems to me that mentally they are pretty straight. What evidence is there of such general mental derangement?
Well, let us see. If we go into an insane asylum we find people who are so far unbalanced mentally as to be incapable of managing their own affairs, and often in danger of damaging the interests of others as well, because unable to exercise even moderate judgement. But we all know that we have neighbors on every hand whose judgements, as well as our own, are very imperfect. And not infrequently many give evidence of inability to manage their own affairs creditably, who are a great annoyance in attempting to manage the affairs of others. Through self-conceit they are gossips and busy-bodies in other men's matters though incapable of managing their own. This is one evidence of an unsound mind – a measure of insanity.
What business man will not admit that, over and over again, when he has used his very best judgement, he has actually done the wrong thing when he should have known better? The large number of failures in business, and ill-successes generally, attest that the majority of people are very unsound in judgement. And likewise the numbers of badly raised families, of mismatches in matrimony, of ungoverned tempers, and of miserly, or extravagant, or foolish habits, etc., etc., all bear witness to the same fact. The great trouble in every case is an unsound mind. And no one knows better than the man who has precipitated financial disaster, or who has made a bad mistake in choosing a wife, or the woman who accepted a worthless man for a husband, that bad judgement, unsoundness of mind, was the cause of the trouble. And so avarice, selfishness, and other bad habits are evidences of mental as well as of moral and physical unbalance. Sometimes a man has average soundness of mind on most subjects, but is greatly astray on some one. He can reason intelligently on other subjects, but on this one he cannot; he reasons absurdly and draws false conclusions. There are some subjects on which so many are astray that mankind in general do not regard the wrong course as wrong, and are ready to pronounce those unbalanced who do not run with them to the same excesses.
Suppose a man down on the river bank with a long rake, raking up old corks, and sticks, and rubbish out of the water, and having them at considerable expense carted off and stored in a barn somewhere. You see him day after day toiling away to no reasonable purpose and you say, the man is insane. Why do you think so? Because he is spending his time and effort at that which, when looked at from a reasonable standpoint, is unreasonable. Now while all are not as bad as the illustration there is a disposition of the same kind running through the whole race with reference to some subjects: For instance, that of accumulating money. That is an evidence of an unsound mind, but the popular opinion does not so regard it. There are thousands of men who have plenty of money, more than they know what to do with. It gives them great care and anxiety to take care of it, and great labor and weariness in one way or another to accumulate it. And yet, notwithstanding their superabundance, they will lie, and cheat, and steal, and defraud their best friends to get more; only to add greater burdens to their already heavy load, and to heap upon themselves the calumnies and hatred of those whom they have unjustly defrauded. What is the natural inference? The man who acts so, has an unsound mind. But it is on a popular subject; and others of similar disposition, though not always so successful, say, That is a great man; his aim is the grand acme of life; go on, become a ten times ten-millionaire (unless I should succeed in outwitting you).
How should a really sound mind regard such proceedings? How does God view it as he looks down upon men cheating and fighting and stealing from one another to get money, or wheat, or corn into a "corner" from other men, then guarding it, and keeping it, and fighting for it, as if it were very life itself.
He sees it as the result of an unsound mind, as the mental and moral unbalance brought about through sin. If the mind were well balanced its energies would be divided between accumulating and using; and good and noble uses would be thought out whereby he and his fellow-men might receive some real advantage. But the common practice of all the world is to lay it up for posterity, and posterity receives it with mean ingratitude and generally uses it to its own injury. – Psa. 49:10,13.
Another subject upon which the masses of men are of unsound mind, but which is not popularly so regarded, is the reckless propagation of the race without due regard to means of support, or health, or the Lord's special service to which some have consecrated their all, and often regardless of the barest necessities of life, overburdening wives whom they profess to love and covenanted to support and defend, with weights of care which they are mentally and physically unable to endure, and from which they often gladly find refuge in the silent tomb; while the mentally and physically diseased offspring, which she was thus unfitted to rear, and which the father is incapable of supporting, are left to add their burden of misery, and mental and moral and physical depravity to the world's long moan of distress and sorrow.
True the command was given, increase and multiply and fill the earth, but human fatherhood should be after the likeness of the divine fatherhood, which provides for every son – "If a son, then an heir." If a sound mind were in control, a man would not incur the responsibilities of husband, or of fatherhood a numerous family, with known inability to produce a healthy offspring, or to provide for them the necessities of life until able to do for themselves. The unsoundness of mind thus displayed has raised the wail of distress from thousands of homes, and nipped in the bud the tender plants of love and peace; and the struggle for bare existence has driven out every element of harmony and right-mindedness.
If the spirit of a sound mind were in control here, love and harmony would prevail to a vastly greater extent, and a healthy, happy, and welcomed offspring would rise up to bless a mother's training hand of care, to honor a father's kindly providence, and to walk in their honorable footprints.
Is it not true too, that such as have consecrated all to the Lord's service have little enough to give at best without tying their hands with more than indispensable earthly burdens and cares? Is it not, rather, the mission and privilege of such, to feed and clothe, spiritually, God's little ones?
But there are many other evidences of unsoundness of mind not so general among men, and yet very numerous in one form or another. For instance one is a miser: he clutches a penny with almost a death grip; he would bargain and contend with a poorer man to induce him to undersell his little stock of goods on which he depends for the support of his family; he would deprive his own family of the necessary comforts of life, which he and they know he is able to supply, but will not, and thus introduce an element of discord into what might be a happy and prosperous home. Hugging his hoarded dollars he goes to his grave, and his children gather them to quarrel over them and to hate his very memory. O, what a mistake!
Another man is a spendthrift; self-gratification he will have, in every possible [R1081 : page 3] direction, regardless of consequences for the future. This is better than the miserly extreme, yet it is founded in the same mean principle of selfishness, regardless of the interests of others, and even of self-interest beyond the present moment. Neither of these extremes of unsoundness is realized by those so afflicted: The miser congratulates himself that he is not a spendthrift, and the spendthrift that he is not a miser, and neither ever dreams that he has gone to the opposite extreme.
O, that all the world might be blessed with a sound mind! What a renovation it would make! What a transformation of all things! This is just what men will have when the great restitution work is all complete.
But, notice that the Apostle in the above text speaks of the saints as now having the spirit of a sound mind. They are not actually sound, either in mind or body; they have mental and physical and moral weaknesses like other men, but they have received from God the spirit, the disposition of a sound mind, which, under God's direction, is able to a very great extent to correct, control, and direct the whole man. To have a sound mind, then, is the thing to be desired above all others, and all who realize their unsound condition should apply at once to the great Physician, who says, "Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." And those who have come to this great Physician can testify to his healing power; for lo, under the magic of his healing touch, old things – the old dispositions of fear and superstition, and evil inclinations, and weakness, and imbecility, have passed away, and all things have become new. The spirit of love and of a sound mind has taken its place, giving increasing power to govern the whole being as we grow up toward the stature of men in Christ Jesus.
In coming to our Lord, his first requirement is, that we submit our minds entirely to his control, setting aside our [R1081 : page 4] ideas and plans entirely, to henceforth be guided by his sound mind. And only those thus consecrated to the doing of his will, have the spirit or disposition of a sound mind.
As soon as this spirit of a sound mind comes in, it begins at once under the divine guidance to set the whole man in order. And it begins in the right place: It commands the will to assert its power and hold its commanding place over body and mind; it puts reason at the helm with the divine Word as its guide book; it searches the heart with the lamp of divine truth lighted by the holy spirit, to see what form the malady of sin has taken; and then looking to the divine healer by faith and the energy of resistance, the transforming work begins and progresses, bringing the mind into a more and more sound and healthy condition, notwithstanding the infirmities of the body may tend in an opposite direction. Thus the children of God are "transformed, by the renewing of their minds."
Sometimes the children of God get cold and listless and almost cease to aspire to and seek this soundness of mind, but let such remember that this is the lukewarm condition of which the Master declares his abhorrence. (Rev. 3:16.) Let the consecrated ones who look for the reward of our high calling remember that ceaseless vigilance and earnest striving against the dispositions of the old unsound mind, and a constant submission to the divine will in the smallest affairs of every-day life, are the most thorough proof of our faithfulness to God. It is all-important that while we endeavor to faithfully serve the Lord by bearing the good tidings of his truth to others, we should not fail in this most important work of self-discipline and self-culture under the divine direction. The every-day life of faithful saints will preach a sermon to all who know them, which their lips could never speak. And if it does not do so – if avarice, or penuriousness, or pride, or selfishness, or bad tempers, or slovenly habits in conversation still continue, our lips had best keep silence, regarding godly matters except before God in our closets. There we may speak freely, and ask largely for fresh supplies of grace to help us overcome the dispositions of the old unsound mind, that our daily life may speak a volume to our Redeemer's praise. Our children, our neighbors, our friends, and all who know us as exponents of divine truth, are looking for its fruits in our daily life, and judging of it accordingly, whether they tell us so or not. Let us endeavor to let our light shine in this way. We should never be too busy to let those about us see that our mind is under control of the divine mind – to let them see what carefulness the spirit of a sound mind hath wrought in us.
As the divine mind takes the control of our minds, it cultivates the nobler qualities; it nourishes them with divine truth and bids them expand and take possession of the man; it subdues the lower propensities and appoints their definite and proper place in the service of the new higher nature. It also lifts the mind out of the narrow sphere of self, and sets the man to work in the Lord's benevolent service of blessing others; it shows him the divine plan and tells him he may have a share in it – not only in its benefits, but also in its great work as a co-laborer together with God. Thus the saint approaches the divine likeness and enjoys communion and fellowship with God.
Well, says one, while we criticise some who spend their lives in gathering dollars, and others who spend it otherwise, they also criticise us, and say that we are unsound in mind, "peculiar," because our view of life is turned so much from the ordinary. What shall we say of this?
We cannot help that – we once thought much as they do, but now have received the mind of Christ. We cannot expect any but those governed by the same heaven-directed view of matters, to agree with us, or to commend our mind and course. The only way we could please all the insane people in an asylum would be to agree with their ideas and do as they do. And just so, the only way we can please the unsound world is to agree with their erroneous ideas and do as they do; but when we receive our ideas from God's Word, and recognize the world's ideas as contrary to that Word, then we know on God's authority that we have the spirit, the disposition of a sound mind, though we are constantly reminded of the unsoundness of our natural mind by the effort which it costs us to keep it in subjection to the divine ruling. Naturally, the children of God are no better than average men of the world, and often worse. Among them, as natural men and women, there are all sorts of mean dispositions, but when the spirit of a sound mind, under God's direction, takes hold, it transforms and beautifies them in deed and in truth. And, dearly beloved, if this transforming work is not going on within us, we are either dead or dying, branches that must sooner or later be severed from the vine. "Every branch in me that beareth not fruit [fruit of the spirit] he taketh away." – John 15:2.
We must then let the transforming work go on within our own hearts, while we do all in our power to inspire and cultivate the same spirit in others. God hath not given to us the spirit of fear and superstitious dread of him, but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. And when we have discarded our own unsound mind, and taken God's mind as expressed in his Word, we know that we have the disposition of a sound mind, no matter how other men regard it.
There is an aspect of redemption which many Christians overlook, and which is important to a right understanding of the Gospel of the resurrection. That gospel is the glad tidings to the human race that the life of man, which in this world has been so weighted with evil as to sink into the mire of sin and death, is to be delivered from this bondage to corruption, through resurrection. There are numerous passages of Scripture in which this present world or cosmos is viewed as a hostile kingdom, which is to be reckoned with for this long and degrading captivity of its highest creature – man. It harbors those hostile forces which Scripture designates by such titles as "Prince of the Power of the Air," "Rulers of the World-Darkness," "The Enemy," which have power over the bodies and souls of men, and to whose malign energy not only diseased cravings of the mind but diseases of the body are due. The power of death is ascribed to the arch adversary, the devil. In an important sense, therefore, these enemies share in the responsibility for human wickedness. And they have been radically dealt with in the redemption of the race effected by the Son of Man. He was manifested to destroy the works of the devil, and "him that hath the power of death." – Heb. 2:14.
The redemption of the human race would be therefore incomplete were not all mankind to be rescued from the evil conditions under which they have been brought in the present system of the world. They are by nature children of wrath (Eph. 2:3). It is often affirmed that this downward drag is effectually resisted in the case of every man by the Spirit of God striving in all, and that on the platform of this present world all have a fair chance for eternal life. But the facts do not bear out the assertion. How many of the vast and varied multitudes of the race succeed in this conflict, and by patient [R1082 : page 4] continuance in well-doing win life eternal? What sort of a chance is that in which almost everybody fails? And Scripture teaches that but few enter along this way into life. "There is none righteous, no, not one." Indeed, if eternal life consists, as Jesus declares (John 17:3), in the knowledge of God and of Jesus Christ whom He has sent, then how can there be a trial for eternal life where Christ is not known? Therefore He gave Himself a ransom for all, in order that, set free from the evil conditions of their life in this present world, men may have the opportunity to know Him in the world to come.
[It is the second probation for the race as a whole, though not as individuals. In the first trial or probation the entire race was represented by one man – father Adam. In that trial or probation all failed, and all was lost. It was to secure a second probation to all (this time an individual trial) that Christ died. By paying our death-penalty, he settled for all the disastrous consequences of failure in the first trial. Thus a second trial (to prove worthiness or unworthiness of everlasting life) is assured to all – to each. And as knowledge and freedom of will are essential to trial, it is written concerning the Millennial age, that then "the knowledge of the Lord shall fill the whole earth," and then, "whosoever will may take of the water of life freely." Then the ransom and its value will be testified to all, with full opportunity for each to avail himself of its benefits, and by hearty obedience to make them everlasting blessings. – EDITOR.]
They were born into this world under condemnation. Only those who are here tested under the gospel of Christ may be said to be now under probation for eternal life. The emancipation then of the human race from under the yoke of this system is to be through death and resurrection. And this deliverance is connected with that of the system itself (Romans 8:19-23). The enemies who have defiled this heritage of creation, and debased its appointed heir, must be dealt with and cast out. "Now is the judgment of this world, now shall the prince of this world be cast out." (John 12:31). We see thus why Jesus immediately adds, "And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me."
The casting out of the prince of this world would be the deliverance of those held captive by him. The prison doors of death were to be opened for all. Their resurrection will be their emancipation not only from bondage in death, but from the yoke of Satan. On the platform of the life to come they will be free to serve God and to choose life. The freedom of the will, about which men now harp so much, will only then be fully realized. Most men are not now free to choose the right. They are born slaves – slaves to natural appetites and natural laws, which drag them all the other way. This reckoning by God with man's natural enemies would fall short of its object unless man himself were lifted on to this high vantage ground above them. An incomplete and unworthy result would be this redemption of creation from the bondage of corruption, with the vast mass of men – God's highest creatures – left crushed in the mire. Therefore He has provided to deliver them by raising them from the dead. Indeed, the redemption of the creature is in order to provide them a proper platform on which to work out their destiny. If they fail under these, their failure must be final.
But salvation attained now, when such a battle is required and such yielding up of self on God's altar, will be a far grander thing than salvation in the world to come. The church of the first-born whose names are written in heaven – these are to be God's kings and priests through all the ages. Courage, then, Christian, for this wrestling with principalities and powers! We are passing through the very forms of trial which shall fit us to reign with Christ. In some form, we too must bear the burden of the world's evil, and feel the stress of conflict with the power of darkness; in order that through victory over the world we may take part with Christ in the world's deliverance. This discipline of life through which we are daily passing has a wondrous meaning for us if our eyes were only opened to perceive it. Under this our Father's training, we should learn to rejoice in the Lord always, and in everything to give thanks, casting all our care upon Him, for He careth for us.
Inasmuch as there was a council at Jerusalem (which council was temporary, for a specific object, and under the declared guidance of the Holy Ghost), many Christians now assume divine warrant for other councils, associations, conferences and assemblies, whose organization shall be self-perpetuating, with supervision and control over a number of churches, and whose decision shall be final.
Let us look at this original council, and see if there is anything in its organization, duration and authority which warrants such assumptions. The church at Jerusalem was the first local New Testament church. At the persecution of Stephen, members of this church were "scattered abroad." "Some traveled to Antioch, preaching the Lord Jesus. Many believed and turned to the Lord. When tidings of these things came to the ears of the church which was at Jerusalem, they sent forth Barnabas, that he should go as far as Antioch; who, when he came, exhorted them all that with full purpose of heart, they would cleave unto the Lord. And much people were added unto the Lord." (Acts 11:22,23). After the departure of Barnabas and Paul from Antioch, "certain men came down from Judea and taught the brethren 'except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses ye cannot be saved.'" (Acts 15:1). This the church at Antioch regarded as contrary to the teachings of Barnabas and Paul, and as an infringement upon their Christian liberty. Also, the requirement to be "circumcised," appears to have been conveyed as a command from the church at Jerusalem; for reply was, "we gave no such commandment." We now note –
1. The question to be settled was not the propriety or duty of circumcision, any where and every where, but whether any command of its observance was from [R1087 : page 5] the mother church at Jerusalem to the church at Antioch.
Now whilst this council did not pretend to settle the propriety or impropriety of circumcision for all people, it did decide concerning those who "went out from us troubling you" – the church at Antioch – "saying you must be circumcised," – "to such we gave no such commandment." See Acts 15:24.
2. This convention was not composed of ministers and delegates alone, nor of ministers and "elders" alone, nor of bishops and presiding elders and deacons alone, but of the one local church at Jerusalem. Note the language – "When they," (the messengers from Antioch), "were come to Jerusalem, they were received of the church, and the apostles and elders." v. 4. Again: "Then pleased it the Apostles and elders with the whole church." v. 22. The apostles and elders were members of the church, just as "men and brethren" were members of the church. The men were not a separate class from the brethren. The address to the "angel" – minister – of the church at Ephesus was an address to the church at Ephesus, as the context shows. See Rev. 2:1. So here. Hence when Peter and James, (the latter was pastor of the church), arose to speak, they addressed "all the multitude, men and brethren."
3. The decision was not the mere judgment of men; whether clergy or laity or both, but the decision of the Holy Ghost – for "it seemed good to the Holy Ghost and to us." v. 28.
4. Lest these converts from the Gentiles might infer that because they were not under obligations to observe one of the laws of Moses, they were alike exempt from all others, even such as were necessary to morality and true piety, and the canon of Scripture being not yet fully established, the church at Jerusalem, guided by the Holy Ghost, directed in reference to non-observance of heathen vices around this church and said "abstain from pollution of idols and fornication and from things strangled and from blood." Let the reader now fix in his memory the fact that the council at Jerusalem was not a body of clergymen, with delegates gathered from different provinces or districts, to decide whether a church should be formed or not, and how it should be formed; nor was it a body of clergymen and delegates met to declare that the acting pastor of a local church, within the boundary of an "association" was heterodox, and not a suitable person to be installed over another church, but it was simply one local mother church having the mind of the Holy Ghost, answering a pertinent inquiry from a child, another local church; and then, the canon of Scripture not fully complete, and the church at Jerusalem being guided by the Holy Ghost, gave instructions in reference to certain vices, which if practiced would have been subversive of true piety. This was the work and the manner of it.
Now, until these modern "councils, associations, conferences and assemblies" can show that they are, in their organization and duration, like the precedent in Jerusalem, and having also the voice of the "Holy Ghost" in the formation of their creeds, regulations and edicts, we shall challenge their assumptions, and maintain for ourselves the strict independency of the local church, guided by the now complete and inspired word.
In the city of Boston Roman Catholics predominate and fill the principal city offices, having a majority on the school Board, City Council, etc. Not a great while ago we noted the fact that several Protestant ministers were arrested and fined for attempting to preach to the people on Boston Common – one of them, the widely known H. L. Hastings, being imprisoned because he did not pay the fine. More recently Swinton's History has been rejected from being a school text-book. It tells some truths about the past, which Romanists would fain cover up rather than repent of.
"When Leo X. came to the Papal chair he found the treasury of the church exhausted by the ambitious projects of his predecessors. He therefore had recourse to every means which ingenuity could devise for recruiting his exhausted finances, and among these he adopted an extensive sale of indulgences, which in former ages had been a source of large profit to the church. The Dominican friars, having obtained a monopoly of the sale in Germany, employed as their agent Tetzel, one of their order, who carried on the traffic in a manner that was very offensive, and especially so to the Augustinian friars. The indulgences were in the early ages of the church remissions of the penances imposed upon persons whose sins had brought scandal on the community. But in process of time they were represented as actual pardons of guilt, and the purchaser of an indulgence was said to be delivered from all sins."
Victor Durney, the renowned Frenchman and historian, himself a Roman Catholic, in his history (Historic des Temps Modernee, page 128), says on this same subject, what confirms the above, as follows: –
"The wars of Julius II. had exhausted the pontifical treasury. Afterwards came the magnificence of Leo. X., who dispensed 100,000 ducats at his coronation, and gave 500 for a sonnet. He was likewise compelled, in order to live, to pledge the jewels of St. Peter and to sell some charges, which increased by 40,000 ducats the annual expenses of the government. The splendid temple commenced by Julius II. on a plan which should make it the grandest basilic of Christendom, St. Peters of Rome, threatened to remain uncompleted. Leo. X. accorded indulgences to all those who contributed of their money for its completion. The archbishop of Mayence charged with the publishing of these indulgences in Germany, caused them to be preached in Saxony by the Dominican Tetzel.
"There were great abuses committed, both in the exaggerated promises made to the faithful who purchased these promises of salvation, and in the employment that was made, even under their eyes, of a part of their money. The Augustines, heretofore charged with the sale of indulgences, were irritated to see that lucrative mission pass into the hands of the Dominicans. Spite uncovered to them abuses, and these abuses were strongly attacked by their most eminent doctor, Martin Luther, whose theological studies led him to take a view entirely opposed. He had, in effect, already arrived at the principle which remained the foundation of the Protestant churches, – justification by faith alone, – whereas the doctrine of indulgences supposes also justification by deeds. Such was the beginning of reform."
The above mentioned treatment of the ministers, and also that of Swinton's History, serve to show what toleration means, to Roman Catholics. They appreciate tolerance when it is extended to them, but then only. When President Cleveland's gift, of a copy of the Constitution of the United States, was presented to the Pope, he expressed great admiration for the religious tolerances of this land, no doubt longing for the power to crush it under the heel of Roman intolerance and bigotry. We do not forget that while the pope was a temporal sovereign, no protestant congregation was permitted to worship within the city of Rome. The pope would tolerate none now, if it were in his power to prevent it. The power alone is lacking – not the will.
Archbishop Ryan, of Buffalo, who was one of the committee to present President Cleveland's gift to the Pope, made a statement in Philadelphia not long since which, as reported in the public press, is as honest an admission of Romish intolerance and its cause, as could be asked. We quote as follows, from the columns of the Methodist Advocate: –
"We maintain that the church of Rome is intolerant – that is, that she uses every means in her power to root out heresy. But her intolerance is the result of her infallibility. She alone has the right to be intolerant, because she alone has the truth. The church tolerates heretics where she is obliged to do so, but she hates them [R1083 : page 5] with a deadly hatred, and uses all her powers to annihilate them. If ever the Catholics should become a considerable majority, which in time will surely be the case, then will religious freedom in the republic of the United States come to an end. Our enemies know how she treated heretics in the middle ages, and how she treats them to-day where she has the power. We no more think of denying the historic facts than we do of blaming the Holy Ghost and the princes of the church for what they thought fit to do."
Since writing the foregoing we learn that the Archbishop denies the accuracy of this report. It cannot be denied however, that the past history of this "unchangeable" church, agrees perfectly with the words of the Archbishop, as reported. Indeed they are tame when compared with some of the well authenticated utterances of popes during the period of Papacy's triumph: and though her people have changed by the advance of civilization, in the Reformation (still in progress), her clergy and their general policy are unchanged; and they themselves claim that they are unchangeable. The same errors of false doctrine which led to persecution and general corruption in the past, still remain, and would undoubtedly produce the same fruits again if favored by opportunity, power, etc.
Our next question, as to whether the duties of Christian women as probationary members of the church of Christ, conflict with their duties in the various natural relationships in which they find themselves – as wives, mothers, daughters, sisters, neighbors and friends – is one of very great importance. But let us first notice what our duties and responsibilities are, in the anointed body.
Like our brethren, we are told that "we are all called in one hope of our calling;" that we are "new creatures in Christ Jesus;" that we are "all one in Christ;" and that in Christ there is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female." (Gal. 3:28.) And the Prophet Isaiah (61:1,2; 2 Cor. 6:1) shows, that all the anointed ones are anointed to preach the gospel – the good tidings of redemption and restitution, and the special high calling and privilege of the Gospel age, to all who have an ear to hear.
Our commission is plain, therefore, and is the very same under which our brethren go forth. And if we ignore it and excuse ourselves, we are certainly slothful servants, proving our unworthiness of the high position to which we are called. The harvest field and the harvest work are before us; and lo, the fields are white, the harvest is great, and the laborers are few, comparatively, though many precious saints are devoting themselves to the work.
The harvest work is not the training of and caring for our families, nor the instructing of the worldly, but it is to seek out the saints already consecrated to God and of meek and lowly spirit, and to acquaint them with the plan of God more perfectly; that as they study it in outline and detail they may discover the blessed truth, that it is now time to lift up their heads and rejoice, knowing that their deliverance draweth nigh; and that as they more freely receive the truth and partake of its spirit, they may make ready to receive the King in his beauty, and to be united to him as his glorious bride.
This is a work in which every consecrated one should be engaged to the extent of ability. And to do so, if we have the spirit of the Master, that is if we have the work at heart as he has it, we will be willing to sacrifice other engagements to accomplish it, and will learn to so bend and turn and manage our earthly affairs as to make them hinder this first and most important work, as little as possible. This effort to so manage the earthly affairs, and take full cognizance of our talents and apply them to the best advantage in the interests of the great harvest work, is part of the privilege and duty of every steward in the Lord's service. And it is because the Lord desired us to do this that he called us his stewards. He would have us as wise and faithful stewards study to show ourselves approved unto him – study our abilities, circumstances and opportunities after we have learned his will, that to the extent of our ability, we may accomplish it.
The duties of the earthly and the heavenly relationships, do not however, conflict. Duties never conflict, though sometimes in our perplexity to discover the exact line of duty, they may seem to. The Scriptures clearly explain, that no matter what may be the circumstances in which we are placed, when called to be the bride of Christ, it will be possible to make our calling and election sure. The straight and narrow path will be made very plain no matter how rugged. If you are called being a servant, you need not ignore the duties and responsibilities of a servant, or esteem yourself too highly to meet a servants obligations. Fulfill them with dignity and grace; not with eye-service as men-pleasers, but with singleness of heart as unto the Lord. – Eph. 6:5-8.
So also, art thou called being a mother, do not count yourself released from the duties and obligations already incurred, or perform them with the least carelessness or indifference. Study God's methods, plans and precepts, and do your best in applying them to the training of your children, with the single object of glorifying God by training them up to honor and serve and praise him.
Beyond your own family extend your influence for the truth as far as your talents and opportunities will permit, among neighbors and friends and relatives – by word and deed and example, by letters or by printed matter, and by training your children in the love and service of God, to co-operate with you in his work, and to look forward to the good time coming [R1083 : page 6] when full grown, they can engage in it more effectively.
Yet, in consideration of the great harvest work, and of the fact that the time is short for its accomplishment (See 1 Cor. 7:29; also TOWER of Feb. '87), earthly cares and responsibilities not yet incurred should be regarded as so many hindrances to the great work to which time and talent are already consecrated. And no entanglements of an earthly character which are likely to hinder or retard our usefulness in the great special work of the hour should be entered into.
The Apostle says, "Let every man [or woman] abide in the same calling wherein he was called," whether the position be that of husband, or wife, or mother, or servant. And though we serve our families or our fellowmen, even more faithfully than before, yet we may remember that "he that is called in the Lord, being a servant, is the Lord's freeman, and likewise also he that is called, being free, is Christ's servant." All service, in whatever capacity should be rendered unto the Lord – that is with the single desire and effort to please him. Ye are brought with a price; be not ye the servants of men – serving with eye-service as men-pleasers. – 1 Cor. 7:20-24.
However, the Apostle shows (verse 21), that to remain in the very same position in which we were called, is not always obligatory. If the nature of the contract be such that it can be broken, or in some degree compromised, and that to the advantage of the Lord's work, then it should be done. – "If thou mayest be made free, use it rather." The marriage contract being one of peculiar sanctity, and solemnly entered upon for life, may never be broken because you see better opportunities for service in other directions – "Art thou bound unto a wife [or a husband]? seek not to be loosed." (verse 27) Yet the Christian husband or wife should not be distressed if, because of his or her fidelity to the Lord, the unchristian partner depart: – "Let not the wife depart from her husband. But if she depart [if it must necessarily be so] let her remain unmarried, or be reconciled to her husband: and let not the husband put away his wife....If any brother hath a wife that believeth not, and she be pleased to dwell with him, let him not put her away. And the woman which hath a husband that believeth not, and if he be pleased to dwell with her, let her not leave him....But if the unbelieving depart, let him depart. A brother or sister is not under bondage in such cases: but God hath called us to peace." – 1 Cor. 7:10-15.
How very plainly the course of the called ones who are already entangled, by what sometimes proves to be one of the most detrimental hindrances, is thus mapped out, while those not so entangled, are warned not to be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. In other words, we are taught to do the best we can in whatever circumstances we find ourselves when called, unless the circumstances are such as we can control and improve. And we are assured that not the measure of our actual service, but of our faithfulness in the little or great opportunities afforded us, will be the measure of our acceptableness, and worthiness of the Lord's final approval.
The parental tie is another which can never be broken, nor its duties and obligations disregarded until the children [R1084 : page 6] have reached maturity. And even then parental interest, counsel, etc., should not be deemed unnecessary. These duties, therefore, the Lord would have us do – not as unto them, to please them, or their friends, or your friends, or the world in general – but as unto him.
We conclude, therefore, that the real duties of Christian women in the various relationships wherein they find themselves when called, do not conflict with other duties of the higher work. God does not expect impossibilities of any, but he does expect great and studious faithfulness on the part of all, especially of those called to be joint-heirs with Christ.
The first of the following letters is from a brother in Connecticut, who has been for years the minister for a German Baptist congregation; it speaks for itself, and will be read with great interest. It is only a few months since his investigation of the Bible, from the standpoint of the Plan of the Ages, began. The second letter is from New Jersey, from a superannuated Methodist minister, coming into the clearer light. The third letter is from a Baptist minister in Florida, who has gotten quite free, and is full of zeal for the truth, and anxious to counteract the influence of former false teachings. The Lord's words are being continually fulfilled: "If any man will do my will he shall know of the doctrine;" and "Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." The Lord bless these each and all. May they learn to expect and love the wages promised by the Lord to his faithful servants – in the present time "tribulation," "persecution" and "all manner of evil," and in the age to come everlasting life and glory, as his joint-heirs. – Mark 10:30.
DEAR BRO. RUSSELL: – I must let you know that the blessed truth has reached my heart and mind so deeply, that since I received the MILLENNIAL DAWN and ZION'S WATCH TOWER, both German and English, last July, I have read and re-read, and studied nothing else but these blessed truths which I have been comparing with the different translations of the Bible, German, English and Greek. I have since that time done as the Bereans did, which received the Word of God with all readiness, daily examining the Scriptures whether those truths which Paul preached unto them were so; and I have so far found them Scriptural: "How precious unto me are they thoughts, O God! how mightily great is their sum!" So must I say over and over again, while I read, and study, and compare M.D. and Z.W.T. with the Bible. Yes, the dear Lord has blessed my dear companion and me through these Scriptural truths so much, that we cannot find words to tell it, though we speak of it whenever we can. We are not ashamed of these glad tidings; because they are unto us a power of God. One thing I do know, that having been blind (in regard to these real Scriptural truths) now I see." Now I know the truths which are so graciously given to us by God through Jesus Christ. Words not taught by human wisdom, but by the teachings of the mind of God; comparing spiritual truths with spiritual, as the spiritual man can examine, indeed, all truths! Praise the dear Lord for it; I find that this is so now! All the sectarian doctrines, traditions of men, etc., which I studied in the Theological Seminary, I can now examine no longer by comparing spiritual truths with human wisdom, doctrines and traditions, but, by comparing spiritual truths with spiritual; Scripture with Scripture; I see now wherein I failed to see and know, the real mind, will and glorious plan of God!
With the help of God I am now determined to preach and teach these truths. I am willing, with the grace of God, to suffer the loss of all earthly things. I will give my life, my time, my talents for the service of the truth. I have heard already his voice, saying, "Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? And I said, Here am I; send me." I say this not hastily, but with consideration. Indeed, when I remember how, under false training in the theological seminary (though I have no bitter words or thoughts towards those men), I was led away from the real truth, now having obtained this glorious knowledge, and this strength which God supplies, should I not be willing to give up all? Yes, dear Lord I will; here am I! O, how I wish that others may know and believe. But knowing that wishing don't bring the truth to them, I will leave my church-parish, in order to bring the truth to them by canvassing for Dawn. I have already handed in my resignation as the first step toward it.
O, what a heart-cheering joy and willingness fills my heart and mind, when my whole being is centered in this perfect, beautiful, grand and harmonious Plan of the Ages! O, how it agrees with all the plain declarations of the Holy Scripture, from first to last – from Genesis to Revelations! How these truths uphold the true character, righteousness, justice, love, mind, will and plan of God. And, how gloriously it relieves him of those fearful aspersions which a heathen philosophy and the human wisdom of the different sectarian doctrines and traditions of men have cast upon it! O, how in vain they do worship Him, by teaching as doctrines the precepts of men; and laying aside the commandment of God, by retaining the traditions of men. So did Jesus say: "Well do you annul the commandment of God, that you may keep your own traditions; making void the Word of God by your traditions, which you have delivered; and many such like things you do."
For this high and heavenly calling of God by Christ Jesus I desire, and I shall forget all things behind, and will stretch forth under the grace of God towards the things before; yes, I will press along the line (as dear old Bro. Paul says), toward the prize of the high calling of God. I praise God through Christ Jesus, my Lord, that I, even I, can be an associate of that heavenly and high calling. (Phil. 3:14; Heb. 3:1.) My dear brethren I would not want to miss this high and heavenly calling; no, not for all the wealth, honor and office of this world. It makes the tears flow for joy and gladness since my heart and mind is centered in these glorious and harmonious truths. O, how these truths, when we have learned them in the real theological school of God, confirm and beautify every doctrine of the blessed Bible! I have already found out that it is of no use to patch the Baptist sect with the doctrines of the new dispensation; and therefore will not try to patch this old worn garment, falling now to pieces, with the glorious and harmonious new stuff. – Matt. 9:16.
In regard to your questions of DAWN Vol. I., page 347, let me say that, having counted the cost, the value, and the profit, I am ready and willing to leave all, earthly friendships, social ties, church-parish, ministerial-office, salary, and even my own brothers and sisters and parents, if required. Yes, solemnly I can say, I am willing to give myself with all I am, and have, and shall be, to the ministry of this blessed truth, as a bond-servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, knowing that the time is short. Your Christian brother.
DEAR BROTHER: – I have lately seen "Millennial Dawn Vol. I.," and am delighted with it. I am a Methodist minister in broken health, and laid aside for the present. I am seeking information on the second coming of Christ, and the true meaning and object of the Millennium, etc., feeling confident that the Methodist view on the subject is not Scriptural. The lady whose book I read, has kindly offered it to me, and I would like to pursue the subject further, but I am not able to purchase now. I would be very thankful if you could send me occasionally ZION'S WATCH TOWER, if you could not afford to send it regularly. I might, after I get work be able to subscribe for it. Pray that the dear Lord in whom I do trust most implicitly, may soon make some provision for me and mine. My family are 1900 miles away from me in the West Indies, while I am here for my health, and to try to earn a living for them. Pray for us. I know that the Lord hears prayers, and will help me soon; but I believe it is Scriptural to request the prayers of God's people for those in distress. Yours in the fellowship of Christ.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL: – Again I feel that I must write you a few lines, to let you know how I am progressing. God be praised, dear brother, I am FREE from Babylon. Inch by inch, I have progressed until I have now passed and left far behind me, I trust forever, the musty traditions of men, and have been able to enter into the glorious liberty of the gospel. Oh, how happy I feel! Yet I am persecuted, by those who once called me brother, and have to contend with ignorance and prejudice. At times I am cast down in heart, faint and weary, but I can never give up the fight. The pleasure and consolation I now derive from reading the Word, I never felt before. And ZION'S WATCH TOWER, what a white winged messenger of peace it is to my soul. I read it carefully, and send its glorious message to others. It is beginning to bear fruit in a small way; but I have faith in small beginnings. I have been preaching the gospel now, for some time, until finally the chief priests, scribes and pharisees, commanded me not to preach "this way." I answered, "Whether it be right to obey God or men judge ye – I can but preach what I have learned from the Word of God." I have sent a letter to the association to which I formerly belonged, announcing my withdrawal [R1085 : page 6] from, not only the Baptist denomination, but from all purely sectarian societies. But I have decided to let my church (where I am a member) bring me to trial, – instead of withdrawing as they wanted me to do. My object in this is, to use the opportunity this will afford me, in exposing the errors of so called orthodoxy.
I hope and pray this may prove acceptable to our heavenly Master in a manifestation of the truth, and the consequent conversion of some from error. Already some are almost persuaded. One old brother, a deacon, says he is going to withdraw, and a few more are fast coming to the light. Two of my former churches want me to preach for them, which I will do as long as I am permitted.
God helping me I will do my very best to dissipate the mists and fogs of so called orthodoxy, in this country. Oh how blind, how utterly blind is sectarianism! It is hard to realize that people who profess to be Christians, with an open Bible in their hands, can be so utterly blind to what the Word of God so plainly teaches.
Enclosed you will find cash for one copy of Millennial Dawn, paper cover, and one subscription for the TOWER for myself. If you have any spare numbers Z.W.T. that you think would suit my work now, please send them to me, and also a supply of Arp slips.
Oh how I need help! What a large field, and no laborers. God bless you dear Brother and Sister Russell. Pray for me, and for all the poor blinded ones. God bless all the brethren. If you have time, please write me, and advise me in regard to my contest with my church. Help me dear brother all you can.
I am discouraged, I am all alone here as far as I know. Can get no one to take any interest in these things. It is hard to hold fast when one stands all alone without one congenial spirit to cheer him on the thorny way. Were it not for the comfort and strength I get from the monthly visits of the TOWER, I think I would lose my grip. Yours in despondency.
DEAR BROTHER P.:
Your prayer is heard, your desire for companionship and fellowship of a congenial spirit. We wish to introduce you to one who we know will prove a friend indeed, one with whom you may frequently have communion and counsel. We fear from the tone of your letter that you, though acquainted with him, had forgotten him – we refer to our Lord Jesus. Surely you could not feel lonely or discouraged [R1088 : page 7] if you had remembered, that "greater is he that is on our part than all they that be against us." Better is the communion of this one, than the fellowship of all on earth beside.
Now, dear Brother, enter into your closet and hold communion with this friend more and more frequently. Advise with him. You will soon find that this, and the openings for communion which he will provide – the TOWER, DAWN, etc., – will be a comforting and satisfying portion. Meantime of course be on the lookout for means of spreading the truth. Those who most love the truth, love most to serve it: and the appreciation and the service and the refreshment from it, go hand in hand. "Wherefore," dear brother, "gird up the loins of your mind, be sober and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ." – EDITOR.
The teaching of "Orthodoxy," that the wages of sin is everlasting torment, is emphatically contradicted by the above words of inspiration, and by many others, direct and indirect, which might be cited. How reasonable is the Bible statement, and how absurd the common view, which is founded neither in reason nor in the Scriptures, and which is in most violent antagonism with the plan and character of God, as presented in his Word.
The eternal torment theory had a heathen origin, and began very gradually to attach itself to nominal Christianity during its blending with heathen philosophies in the second century. The credulity of the present day, therefore, receives it as a legacy, not from the Lord, or the apostles, or prophets, but from the compromising spirit which sacrificed truth and reason, and shamefully perverted the doctrines of Christianity, in an unholy ambition and strife for power and wealth and numbers. Eternal torment as the penalty for sin, was unknown to the patriarchs of past ages; it was unknown to the prophets of the Jewish age; and it was unknown to the Lord and the apostles; but it has been the chief doctrine of Nominal Christianity since the great apostasy – the scourge wherewith the credulous, ignorant and superstitious of the world have been lashed into servile obedience to tyranny. Eternal torment was pronounced against all who offered resistance or spurned her authority, and its infliction in the present life was begun so far as she had power; and the pains of purgatory she promised, in such measure as she should dictate, to any of her votaries who showed the slightest disposition to be refractory. Under the terrible bondage of a superstitious reverence for self-exalted fellow-men, in dense ignorance of God's real plan, and tormented with a wretched fear of eternal misery, the masses of men resigned their reason; and even yet, under the increasing light and liberty of this nineteenth century, men scarcely dare to think for themselves on religion and the Bible.
Let God's inspired writers be heard in opposition to heathenized church traditions, and let reason judge which is the sensible and Godlike view, and which the unreasonable and devilish. The prophets of the Old Testament do not mention a word about eternal torment, but they do repeatedly mention destruction as the sinners' doom, and declare over and over again that the enemies of the Lord shall perish. The Law given to Israel through Moses, never hinted at any other penalty than death, in case of its violation. The warning to Adam when placed on trial in Eden, contained not the remotest suggestion of eternal torture in case of failure and disobedience; but, on the contrary, it clearly stated that the penalty would be death – "In the day that thou eatest thereof, dying, thou shalt die." – Gen. 2:17, margin.
Surely if the penalty of disobedience and failure is everlasting life in torment, an inexcusable wrong was done to Adam, and to the patriarchs, and to the Jewish people, when they were misinformed on the subject, and told that death is the penalty. Surely Adam, the patriarchs, or the Jews, should they ever find themselves in eternal torment, where the various sectarian creeds shamelessly and falsely assert that the vast majority will find themselves, will have sufficiently good ground for an appeal for justice. Such, no less than the heathen billions who died without knowledge, and hence surely without faith, would have just ground for cursing the injustice of such a penalty as a most atrocious misuse of power – first, in bringing them into a trial subject to such an awful and unreasonable penalty, without their consent; and secondly, for leaving the one class wholly ignorant of such a penalty, and for deceiving the others by telling them that the penalty of sin would be death, – to perish. It must be admitted that the presumption to declare that death, destruction, perish, and similar terms, mean life in torment, belongs to word-twisting theologians since the apostles' days.
Look next at the New Testament writings: Paul says, he did not shun to declare the whole counsel of God (Acts 20:27), and yet he did not write a word about eternal torment. Neither did Peter, nor James, nor Jude, nor John; though it is claimed that John did, in the symbolic figures of Revelation. But since those who make this claim consider the Book of Revelation a sealed book, which they do not and cannot understand, they have no right to interpret any portion of it literally in violation of its stated symbolic character, and in direct opposition to the remainder of the Bible, including John's plain non-symbolic epistles.
Since the apostles do not so much as mention eternal torment, all truth-seekers, especially Christians, should be interested to search what they do teach concerning the penalty of sin, – remembering that they, and not the apostate church of the darker ages, taught "the whole counsel of God."
Paul states the matter thus: – "The wages of sin is death;" The disobedient "shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of his power;" and "Many walk who are the enemies of the cross of Christ, whose end is destruction." – Rom. 6:23; 2 Thes. 1:9; Phil. 3:19.
John says: – "The world passeth away and the lust thereof; but he that doeth the will of God abideth forever....He that committeth sin is of the devil, for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested that he might destroy the works of the devil....He that loveth not his brother abideth in death. Whosoever hateth his brother is a murderer, and we know that no murderer hath eternal life abiding in him....He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life." – 1 John 2:17; 3:8,14,15; 5:12.
Peter says: – The disobedient "shall be destroyed from among the people:" that the evil-doers "bring upon themselves swift destruction;" that the Lord is "not desiring that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance." – Acts 3:23; 2 Pet. 2:1 and 3:9.
No one who has studied the subject, can consider the penalty of sin, as Scripturally set forth and defined, too slight a punishment. When understood, it is seen to be neither too slight, nor too severe, but simply a just recompense of reward. "The gift of God," says the apostle, "is eternal life." And that gift or favor bestowed upon Adam, and through him upon his posterity, was to be lasting only on condition of its proper use, which was to glorify God in its well-being and well-doing, and not to dishonor him by rebellion and sin. And when God creates, he reserves to himself both the right and the power to destroy that which he considers unworthy of continuous life. When man sinned, therefore, God simply withdrew the favor he had granted which had been misused, and death (destruction) followed: preceded naturally by the dying process – pain, sickness, and mental, moral and physical decay. [R1086 : page 7]
Had God not provided redemption through Christ, the death penalty which came upon our race in Adam would have been everlasting; but in mercy all have been redeemed from death; yet all are again, individually, put under the same law, which changes not – "The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord."
Did our Lord Jesus ever use the expression, eternal torment? or even once hint that he came into the world to save men from eternal torment? No, never! Yet, if this were the truth, and if they were in danger of a penalty so terrible for not receiving him, it would have been neither just, nor kind in him, to have kept back the truth whatever it might be. He did tell them, however, that he came to save them from death, from perishing. The penalty of sin, death, being against all, none could hope for a resurrection to any future life, but all were hopelessly perishing, unless Christ should redeem and restore them from death, to that which was lost in Adam, – to righteousness and its privileges of everlasting life and favor. The Lord's title, Savior, has a weight too in this examination. It does not imply a deliverer or savior from torment, but a savior from death. The Greek word translated Savior signifies literally Life-giver.
What did our Lord say of his mission? we may well inquire. He said that he came "to preach deliverance to the captives." What captives could he refer to but the captives of sin, receiving daily its wages – dying by inches and entering the great prison-house, the tomb. He said he came to "open the prison-doors" – what prison, but the tomb? of which also the prophet had spoken. (See, Isa. 61:1; Luke 4:18.) He declared that he came that mankind "might have life;" that he came "to give his life a ransom for many" lives – in order that by believing in him men "should not perish, but have eternal life;" and again, "Narrow is the way that leadeth unto life," and "broad is the way that leadeth to destruction." – John 10:10; Matt. 20:28; John 3:15; Matt. 7:13.
It will generally be admitted by Christians that our Lord Jesus redeemed mankind by his death; that he endured willingly the penalty of man's sins, in order that man might be released from that penalty. "Surely he hath borne our griefs and carried our sorrows." "He was wounded for our transgressions; he was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement for our peace was upon him; and by his stripes we are healed." (Isa. 53:4,5.) This being admitted, it becomes an easy matter to decide to an absolute, unquestionable certainty, what the penalty of our sins was, if we know what our Lord Jesus did endure when "the chastisement for our peace" was inflicted upon his willing head. Is he suffering eternal torment for us? If so, that would thus be proved to be the penalty against our sins.
But no one claims this, and the Scriptures teach that our Lord is now in glory, and not in torment, which is incontrovertible proof that the wages of sin is not torment. But what did our Lord do to secure the cancellation of our sins? What did he give when he paid our ransom price – the price or penalty against sinners? Let the Scriptures answer. They repeatedly and explicitly declare that "Christ died for our sins;" that he gave his life a ransom to secure life for the condemned sinners; that he bought us with his own precious blood; that for this purpose the Son of God was manifested in flesh, that his flesh he might give for the life of the world; that as by man came death, by man ("the man Christ Jesus") might come the resurrection of the dead. – 1 Cor. 15:3; Matt. 20:28; 1 Tim. 2:6; Hos. 13:14; 1 Cor. 6:20; 1 Pet. 1:18,19; 1 John 3:8; John 6:51; 1 Cor. 15:21; 1 Tim. 2:5,6.
Is there room to question further the clear Bible doctrine that "the wages of sin is death"? Is there room to doubt further either the unscripturalness, or unreasonableness of the heathenish dogma of eternal torment? We answer, No! Let the God-dishonoring, saint-perplexing, scoffer-making, and wholly absurd blasphemy go – back to its vile and worthy source, the devil.
Limited space will permit merely a glance at certain of our Lord's parables and dark sayings, which, with the popular idea of torment firmly entrenched in the mind from childhood, appear to many to support that doctrine. We will, however, briefly notice two of these, generally considered impregnable – the parable of the sheep and goats, Matt. 25:4-46, and the parable of the rich man and Lazarus, Luke 16:19-31. We shall find that properly interpreted, they teach nothing of the kind.
Not to enter into details – the parable of the sheep and goats describes a trial of the world of mankind in the coming Millennial age – "When the Son of man shall sit upon the throne of his glory." The separating work will be according to character, and will require all of that period of a thousand years. Verses 41 and 46, which give expression to the final sentence upon all the lovers of unrighteousness, the goats, are the points upon which the interest of our topic centers.
Verse 41 reads, "Depart from me accursed ones into lasting fire, prepared for the devil and his messengers" (servants). We must infer that the fire here is as symbolic as the goats which go into it. As goats fitly represent wayward and unrighteous [R1086 : page 8] men, so fire fitly represents destruction. Fire is always destructive, never preservative. The goat cast into a fire would be consumed, destroyed, if the fire did not too soon become extinct. And hence in the parable, in order to show the certainty and completeness of the destruction of the finally incorrigible, the symbolic goats are represented as being cast into a lasting fire, i.e., a lasting or perpetual destruction – extinction.
Verse 46 reads, "And these shall go away into everlasting punishment." We are not questioning that the unrighteous are to be punished, nor that the punishment upon this class is to be everlasting; the nature of the punishment is the question we are investigating. We have seen that the punishment or wages of sin is death, and nothing else, as clearly stated all through the Scriptures; and this parable certainly teaches nothing to the contrary. Only the prejudice of deep-seated error makes this passage even appear, to some, to teach anything to the contrary. The Greek word rendered punishment in this verse, speaks positively regarding the kind of punishment. The original word is kolasin, whereas if torment were meant, the Greek word basinos would have been used. Kolasin, on the contrary, derived from kolazoo, signifies, 1., To cut off; as in pruning off branches from a tree; 2., To restrain, or repress. The Greeks write, – "The charioteer restrains his fiery steeds;" 3., To chastise, to punish; to cut off an individual from life or society, or even to restrain his liberties. That the first definition, "to cut off," is the proper one in this case is evident from the antithesis of the succeeding and last clause of the verse, where life, the reward of the righteous, is put in contrast with the death, or cutting off from life of the unrighteous.
While this is admitted to be a parable, it is generally treated as if it were a literal statement. To regard it as a literal statement involves several absurdities; for instance, that the rich man went to hades because he had enjoyed many earthly blessings and gave nothing but crumbs to Lazarus. Not a word is said about his wickedness. Again Lazarus is blessed, not because he was good, or full of faith in God, but simply because he was poor and sick. If this be interpreted literally, the only lesson to be logically drawn from it, is, that unless we are poor beggars full of sores, we will never enter into future bliss; and that if now we wear any fine linen and purple, and have plenty to eat every day, we are sure of future torment. Again, the coveted place of favor is Abraham's bosom; and if the whole statement is literal, the bosom must be literal, and surely would not hold very many of earth's millions of sick and poor. But why consider absurdities? As a parable, it is of easy interpretation. In a parable, the thing said is never the thing meant; as for instance in the parable of the wheat and tares, the Lord explained that wheat meant children of the kingdom, and tares the children of the devil; and similar classes in another parable were represented by sheep and goats. So in this parable the rich man must represent a class, and Lazarus another class; and the narrative applies to these classes.
The rich man represented the Jewish people which up to and at the time of the parable "fared sumptuously," as the special recipients of God's favors. As Paul said, the Jews had "much advantage every way, chiefly because to them were committed the oracles of God" (the Law and Prophecy). The promises to Abraham and David invested that people with royalty, as represented by the rich man's "purple." The typical sacrifices of the law, constituted them in a typical sense, a "holy nation," represented by the rich man's "fine linen" – symbolic of righteousness. – Rev. 19:8.
Lazarus represented the God-fearing people of other nations debarred, until the close of the Jewish Age, from those blessings conferred upon Israel specially. As the linen represented Israel's justification, so the sores represented moral defilement in this class, for whose justification no sin-offering had at that time been made. They were not even typically cleansed, and had as yet no share in the rich promises of the kingdom. They were on the contrary outcasts, strangers from the commonwealth of Israel. (Eph. 2:11-13.) As to how these ate of the "crumbs" of divine favor which fell from [R1087 : page 8] Israel's table of bounties, and how they accounted themselves as companions of "dogs," the Lord's conversation with the Syro-phenician woman, who was one of this class, offers a clear explanation. – See, Matt. 15:27.
But there came a change to both of these classes. The "rich man" (the Jewish nation) died, ceased to exist as a nation, and as the national representatives of God's favors, when God's favors were taken from them (Matt. 21:43) and given to those formerly outcasts.
The "rich man" class was cast out of favor, into trouble. And from then till now, the Jews as a people have been in torment; yet were hindered by their law prejudices (as a great gulf) from accepting of Christ. The "Lazarus" class also died, or ceased from their former condition, and were received into the favor of God. (Acts 10:28-35.) Accepting of Christ, these henceforth were received to Abraham's bosom – esteemed the true children of believing Abraham, and the true heirs of the promise made to him. – See, Gal. 3:16,29; Rom. 11:7-9,12-25.
Having demonstrated that neither the Bible nor reason offer the slightest support to the doctrine that eternal torment is the penalty of sin, we note the fact that the various church creeds, and confessions, and hymn books, and theological treatises, are its only supports; and that under the increasing light of our day, and the consequent emancipation of reason, belief in this horrible, fiendish doctrine of the darker ages, is fast dying out. But alas! it is not because Christian people generally are zealous for the truth of God's Word and for his character, and willing to destroy the grim creed-idols. Ah no! they still bow before their admitted falsities; they still pledge themselves to their defense; and still spend time and money for their general support, though they are at heart ashamed of them and privately deny them.
The general influence of all this, is to cause the honest-hearted of the world to despise Christianity and the Bible; and to make hypocrites and semi-infidels of nominal Christians. Because the nominal church clings to this old blasphemy and falsely presents its own errors as the teachings of the Bible, the Word of God, though still nominally reverenced, is being practically repudiated. Thus the Bible, the great anchor of truth and liberty, is being cut loose from, by the very ones who, if not deceived regarding its teachings, would be held and blessed by it.
The general effect, not far distant, will be first open infidelity, then anarchy. For much, very much of this, lukewarm Christians, both in pulpits and pews, who know or ought to know better, are responsible. Many such are willing to compromise the truth, slander God's character, and stultify and deceive themselves, for the sake of peace, or ease, or present earthly advantage. And any minister, who by uttering a word for an unpopular truth, will risk the loss of his stipend, and reputation for being "established" in the bog of error, is considered a bold man, even though he ignominiously hide his identity by withholding his name from his published protests.
If professed Christians would be honest with themselves and true to God, they would soon learn that "their fear toward God is taught by the precepts of men." (Isa. 29:13.) If all would decide to let God be true though it should prove every man a liar (Rom. 3:4), and should show all human creeds to be imperfect and misleading, there would be a great creed-smashing work done very shortly. Then the Bible would be studied and appreciated as never before; and its testimony that the wages of sin is death (extinction), would be recognized as "a just recompense of reward."
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL: – I have just returned from Marietta, where I sold 165 copies of DAWN. As my method of canvassing (by which I also sold nearly four hundred copies at Zanesville), differs, so far as I know, from that of any of our brethren, it is here given.
Take a supply of "Arp" slips and colporteur cards, and visit each house, giving a slip and a card in a manner like this: "Good morning! Please read this when you have time; show it to your family; keep it until I call in a day or two." Keep a diagram of each street in a small blank book, taking in so much of each cross-street that no house will be missed. Put out several hundred slips before commencing to solicit. Then calling again you say: "You remember my leaving a slip lately. ["Oh! yes."] Did you read it since? ["I did."] Now I have stopped a moment to show you the book spoken of. The slip gives you some idea of it; now notice its appearance – its size, its good clear print. It has thrown much light on Bible study; is entirely unsectarian, builds up no denomination or creed. It is not paid for until delivered, a week from next Monday." This is about all, except as circumstances require slight additions. If the slip was not read, request that it be, and you will stop when passing next time. On your diagram you had made a straight mark for each house where a slip was left, a cipher for each where none was left. If you now sell a book, with another line make a cross at the place; if you fail to sell, put a cipher on the straight mark. This diagram is useful until your last book is delivered; and it will save hours of time and much labor and worry. A few initial letters can be added when necessary, to show that you are to "call any time," "call later," "call on delivery," etc.
Try to keep slips enough out among the people to furnish you work for a day or two ahead. Put out many at the end of the week, for Sunday reading. – Let your address be always pleasant and polite. Some book-agents employ importunity and even insolence, and we must make the difference between them and us manifest. If a person shows a bad spirit, or from any cause seems a hopeless case, make the interview very brief.
Will the "Arp" slips excite the prejudice of some? Yes; but they will create a desire in the minds of others. And the new slips are not so likely to offend those who hate the very mention of hope for man after death.
Then, if you feel that you are not a good talker, and reflect upon the great number of book-agents who are now talking the people overmuch, take the "Arp" slip in your hand, and on your tongue the words, "Please read this."
The above is an excellent suggestion, especially for those who are not professional canvassers, nor great talkers; it will, therefore, suit well the majority of our readers, each of whom seems to be doing what he can to thus serve and spread the truth. The greatest difficulty on the part of many seems to be, that their hearts are so full of the good tidings, that they are tempted to tell a little too much concerning the Plan of God. Remember, that the errors are so deep-seated, that no one can remove them in a few moments' conversation, and that to suggest them without fully meeting them, is often, to prejudice their minds against the truth and the book. The "wise as a serpent, harmless as a dove" plan is, to speak of the book and plan in general terms, – to present it as a "Bible Key," a "Helping Hand to Bible Study," without telling how it helps, or what is the plan of God which it presents. Awaken interest, curiosity, etc., and let the reading of the book gradually remove their errors, disarm prejudices, and implant the true knowledge of God's character and plan.
The price will be 25 cents each, the same as the English edition, that being the popular limit. The same "expense allowance" as on the English edition will be granted. See June '88 TOWER, page 1. Order at once.
1 year's subscription to Tower and 1 book, $1.25 1 " " " 7 " 5.00 1 " " " 15 " 10.00 1 " " " 40 " 25.00
We are in receipt of many letters asking, whether this work is of any value to English readers who have no knowledge of the Greek. We answer, Yes; it is specially designed for such: and the Diaglott, together with Young's Analytical Concordance, are worth more than a year's study of the Greek. Both should be in the hands of every Bible student; but if you cannot afford both, the Diaglott is the most valuable – indeed almost indispensable.
Many orders come for the Diaglott from persons not subscribers to the TOWER, and for extra copies for friends from those who are subscribers. Hence, we must explain particularly, why we can supply this work to TOWER subscribers only, and to these only one copy each, at the special price $1.50. The reasons are as follows:
Some years ago a Brother, who is a great friend to the TOWER, and a great admirer of the Emphatic Diaglott also, suggested that, Every student of God's plan, as presented in the TOWER, ought to have the aid which the Diaglott affords. The difficulty which seemed to stand in the way was, that it is of necessity an expensive work (Retail price in cloth binding $4.00, postage 16 cts. = $4.16.) and the great majority of our readers are far from wealthy, like the majority of the saints in all ages. To meet this difficulty, the Brother proposed to the TOWER PUB. CO., that, if they would be at the trouble and expense of mailing the books, he would supply one copy each to all TOWER subscribers, at a price to bring the book within the reach of all, viz. $1.50, including postage.
This was begun when our subscription list was much smaller than now, and is still continued: New readers of either DIAGLOTT or TOWER need both. Subscribers will please save us the annoyance of refusing, and returning their money, by ordering only one copy of the Diaglott: unless your first copy has worn out, – in which case, in ordering another, mention this fact. The only way for others to get the book at this special price is to subscribe for the TOWER: and the Diaglott must be mailed direct to the subscriber and not to another person.
YOUNG'S ANALYTICAL CONCORDANCE.
Our supply of this valuable work, at $3.50, is now exhausted. Hereafter, we can give our subscribers the benefit of a wholesale price only, as competitive editions are about exhausted, and the "Author's Edition" is able to command its price, – which, the value of the work considered, is very cheap. The retail price of the book is $5.00, with postage 55 cents added – $5.55. Our price to our readers will hereafter be $4.25 by mail, postage prepaid by us; or $3.70, if sent by express at your charges. As it is quite a large volume (weight seven pounds), it will be cheapest for most purchasers, to get it by mail.
This is a translation of the Old Testament Scriptures into the English language by a Hebrew. It is chiefly valuable for comparison in studying. This lot we can supply – postage paid by us – at $1.50, in sheep binding.
Our meetings are held in G.A.R. Hall, over the Third National Bank, No. 101 Federal Street, Allegheny City. Readers and friends will be warmly welcomed. Preaching every Lord's-day afternoon at 3.30 o'clock; Bible Class at 2.30 o'clock. Services in German at 10.30 A.M. of the same day.