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.
NEW POSTAL RULINGS require that our lists shall be composed of bona fide [actual] subscribers. We are obliged to be more strict than formerly, and all who wish to continue receiving the TOWER must send at least a request for it.
A perfect deluge of letters and orders followed the announcement in our last issue, that DAWN VOL. II. in cloth binding was ready for mailing. Such an evidence of interest is very refreshing and encouraging to us; for though we labor not for the visible results, but for the Master's approval, whether men will hear or whether they will forbear, yet none are so strong that fruit of labor will not serve to still further strengthen them. All have need to remember, however, that their efforts accomplish more than appears on the surface, and to remember well the apostle's words, that "Our labor is not in vain in the Lord," lest we should become weary or faint in our minds. Seeds of truth like natural seeds germinate out of our sight. It is only when the sprouts and fruitage appear, that we can appreciate, "what God hath wrought" by our feeble efforts.
The additional office work connected with VOL. II., coupled with the fact that many of you would be busy reading it, and the lateness of the December TOWER, led us to make but one issue for January and February. It will count, however, as only one number. As twelve papers constitute a year's subscription, this change will be of no financial loss to any one.
We bespeak for VOL. II. very careful study. Some have written us, that they have read VOL. I. three and four, and some even eight and ten times, with increasing interest and profit. We assure such, that in our opinion VOL. II. will require no less study.
The knowledge that eternal torment is not the wages of sin, and that because of Christ's sacrifice all men must sooner or later come to a full knowledge of the truth and a full opportunity of everlasting life, may have tended to decrease the zeal of some in the great present work of preaching the gospel – especially where they have met with great opposition, before they had caught the spirit of the plan of the ages, or seen that present opposition is permitted to test, develop and discipline us, and to prove our love of and faithfulness to the truth. Relieved from the false strain of error and from unholy sectarian zeal and rivalry, some sink into a spiritual lethargy and may readily become swallowed up in the maelstrom of business, etc., with the majority, and lose the very spirit of the truth which set them free. God has provided "meat in due season" to give needed strength to his saints, to enable them to withstand this tendency of the present day rush and ambition, in the knowledge he provides of the hour in which we are living. The evidences which God gives us of the time in connection with the plan, tend to redouble our zeal in his service, showing us clearly that the time is short, in which we may make our calling and election sure, by faithfulness to the light given us. In a word, the realization, that the Time is at Hand – that we are even now in the "harvest" of the Gospel age, will not only quicken to double service, but also diminish the burden. As we realize that we are now in the eleventh hour, and that soon the rewards will be given, we may cheerfully lift up our heads and rejoice, knowing that our redemption draweth nigh. The day is probably not far distant, when opposition to the truth will be so intense, that the trial will be too great to be withstood by any not strengthened by a clear understanding of the times and seasons of God's Word. Be assured, that no part of the Scriptures were prepared for us in vain. Give this subject, then, not only careful reading, but more – careful study.
One brother wrote that he staid up all the first night after the arrival of VOL. II. and read it through. This, as an evidence of interest, is excellent; but it is not the best way. A more excellent way would have been to read one chapter carefully and critically. Cramming is as unprofitable with spiritual as with natural food. To obtain the greatest nutriment and richest flavors from either kind of meat requires careful and thorough mastication.
I have read but a few chapters yet, but I am carried away with you and John the Revelator, to a very high mountain – the Kingdom of God established and blessing mankind through Him (Christ), to whom all the prophets bear witness.
I have from the first assumed that we must have a cheap paper edition – many of them I hope. And now that you call for pledges, I am sure some will expect me to take one fifth of the 5000 to be pledged, but I think it best to make it 500, or one tenth of the amount. I will see what others do – or leave room for them to do – and endeavor to do many times what I have promised before Vol. III. is ready. I expect, strange as it may seem, three classes to want Vol. I., because of having bought or seen Vol. II.
Received the December TOWER also – another bomb in the centre of the besieged N.C. – a good number. If I did not have full confidence in the justice and love of God in casting off both the stumbling houses, I would shudder at the length of apostasy and rejection to which they will go, or indeed have already gone as a mass. Wait awhile, before you call me "an enthusiast," because I say Vol. II. will in some cases sell Vol. I. But directed by the spirit we shall all do the very best thing to be done – all things considered. In Love, Faith, and Hope, fellowship and service,
Brother Rogers, who has been doing a great work with DAWN Vol. I., in paper covers, in Michigan, writes, that if a 35 cent edition is gotten out, he will with the Master's aid become responsible for the sale of 1000 copies during the present year. These and other similar expressions, [R1089 : page 1] with pledges for smaller quantities, seem to indicate that the desired number will come to hand, and the cheaper edition become a fact. We strongly advise and urge, however, that Volume I. be considered the book for all new readers; and that Vol. II. be loaned and sold only to those who have read Vol. I. carefully. No one is really ready to know the time of the fulfillment of God's plans, but the consecrated; and they not until they first see clearly, what is to be fulfilled – in the plan.
VOL. III., the title of which will be "Thy Kingdom Come," is in course of preparation, as we have opportunity. You will need to have a clear understanding of Vol. II., before you will be ready for the next, which will be a continuation of the same subject. Therefore give diligence to make its arguments and proofs your own, by tracing every statement to its source – God's Word.
"Forty additional missionaries bound for Eastern Equatorial Africa received their final dismissal in the Cathedral of Algiers, Africa. Cardinal Lavigene presided in person, and, after the usual addresses, each missionary knelt down at his Eminence's feet, and received the kiss of peace and episcopal benediction. After this the missionaries took their position in front of the altar, and stood in a row. The Cardinal, the bishops present, and all the clergy and seminary students then knelt down and humbly kissed the feet of each missionary, in memory of the passage of the Scriptures, 'How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good tidings.' [A miserable exegesis. – Editor.]
"Some ardent Protestants may see in all this nothing but opposition to Protestant missions, and a determination 'to fight a hand-to-hand battle with Protestant missionaries of all denominations.' But we think there need be no apprehensions of this sort, because even if there were any likelihood of an ecclesiastical fight between these good people, Bishop Taylor, the Methodist, is already on the ground with a large band of missionaries, and expects to establish a line of missions in the opposite direction, from the western to the eastern coast, across the continent.
"Fortunately, as it would appear, there can be no such hand-to-hand battle with any of our Protestant missionaries, for Cardinal Lavigene informed the writer in the Intelligencer, as far back as 1882, that his orders were that no Roman Catholic establishment was to be fixed within sixty kilometers of a Protestant one, and it seems that, up to this moment, this rule is still enforced."
Thus we see, that Protestants and Roman Catholics are recognizing each other in a practical manner; each thus recognizes the other as a good and proper teacher of religion; and each leaves the other in quiet possession of whatever part of the field it may enter upon first. How evident it is, that Protestants have lost sight of those doctrines, to which the "unchangeable" church was once so opposed, that she anathematized as heretics all such and burned many of them at the stake. She now calls these "separated brethren" – no longer separated much in doctrine, but chiefly now in name and forms. She waits to welcome them back to her communion, well pleased to hear some of their representative ministers declaring, "Every doctrine which we hold dear we received from Rome, our Mother."
But now note the difference: While all denominations can and do respect each other's views, what is their attitude toward the free, unsectarian teachings of [R1090 : page 2] God's Word as presented in Zion's Watch Tower publications, without fear or favor except toward God? As the apostle foretold (2 Tim. 4:3), They cannot endure sound doctrine; though they are willing to make any sort of combination and union to oppose the truth. An illustration of this is furnished by recent reports from Liberia, on the West Coast of Africa, – the very land in which Protestants and Catholics, we are told above, so harmoniously co-operate.
It is now about two years since Brother Seaton, under the Lord's providence, by some means unknown to us, receiving some of the Watch Tower publications, was led out of sectarian darkness into the Bible light. Too noble to attempt to preach covertly the Bible doctrines, while under pay to preach for an "ism," the doctrines of men, and anxious for the spread of the "good tidings of great joy," as well as for the great reward in heaven for those who suffer in its service, Bro. Seaton boldly renounced his pulpit, salary, etc., and explaining his reasons to his flock began to teach and preach the Bible only. As a result of his labors quite a number – natives and foreigners – received the truth and are rejoicing in it.
The interest may be judged from the fact that upwards of two hundred copies of DAWN VOL. I. and thousands of copies of the Arp Tract have gone to two of these mission stations, and we now have over fifty regular subscribers to the Watch Tower there.
As might be expected the Episcopal bishop there, Bp. Ferguson, was highly incensed against the Bible teacher and teachings which led men more directly to the fountain of truth – the Bible – and consequently exposed some of the absurdities, pretensions and false doctrines of sectarians. Forthwith the bishop formed a union of all the denominations represented there – Episcopalean, Methodists and Baptists, – to withstand the unsectarian Bible Teachings of Bro. Seaton and the TOWER.
A meeting was held in the Baptist church, in which ministers and officers of five churches (three Episcopalean, one Baptist and one Methodist) were present to the number of forty-four. Here resolutions were passed unanimously, by men who probably had never read Millennial Dawn, denouncing it and the Watch Tower and the Arp Tracts, as the doctrines of Satan; and requesting the prayers of all Christians that the Lord would deliver them from their false teachings. A four paged tract embodying these resolutions and warnings, and bearing the signatures of the aforesaid forty-four ministers and officers was printed and scattered; a copy of which is before us.
Truly, it is wonderful, how Satan does blindfold some of the Lord's children; for we have no doubt, that some of these are the Lord's, and that if prejudice could be removed long enough for them to get a glimpse of the questions really involved, some would gladly receive the truth. This union of all the sects against the truth reminds one of the union of the Pharisees, Sadducees, etc., against the truth in the early church. It reminds us too of the prophet's words, "Why do the heathen rage and the people imagine a vain thing. The mighty ones of the earth and the rulers set themselves in opposition to the Lord and his anointed."
Peter said to the Jews, who had crucified the Lord, "I wot that in ignorance ye did it, as did also your rulers;" and our Lord declared of the same, "They know not what they do." So ignorance, blindness, is still the real cause of most of the opposition to the truth. The time will come when those who now despitefully use and persecute the truth, and its advocates, will be brought to a knowledge of the truth, and be ashamed. Thank God there is forgiveness for such ignorant opposition to his Word. Ere long the mornlight of the grand new day will enable all to discern truth from error. Bro. Seaton's last letter tells that already prejudice is giving way to some extent. The church there requests your prayers and sympathy.
The original thought may have become corrupt, obscured, or obsolete; but the word remains "indestructible," and by it we may recover the thought. Superstition is such a word. It originally meant something standing over or above – something that remains or has taken the place of something else. It is, therefore, akin to supersede and superimposed. So the tree stands over or above the root of which it has grown; so other subsequent cities have stood over and buried out of sight the genuine Homeric Troy. But as the something to which the word refers is always false or delusive in distinction from the true, so, (we may say) does the fungus "stand over" the fallen and decayed tree in whose substance it is rooted. Nature and the world, like wheat and the corn field as well as religion, are full of such false parasitic outgrowths, bred from the decay of higher organisms which only exist in lower and degraded forms – superstition.
The word superstition, thus gives us an important thought, of which it is the "indestructible vesture." Something previous, and in a purer and better form, was before superstition. What was it? A comparative history of the oldest religions, such as those of Egypt and Persia and India and China, surprises us with many likenesses to the Bible faith. Trench has beautifully illustrated this idea in his Hulsean lectures, "The Unconscious Prophecies of Heathendom," under such headings as these: "The Vanquisher of Hades," "The Son of God," "The Perfect Sacrifice," "The Redeemer From Sin," etc. These things were in the oldest religions, anticipations of the true and obscured by myth and superstition; but how did they get there? The idea of a suffering God was not unfamiliar to the Eastern mythologies – one who, like the Egyptian Osiris, also descended into Hades and there judged the dead righteously. And in their worship these religions were all originally monotheistic. The inference is, of course, the one suggested by the word superstition. It is an independent peep into the Eastern world, far up under the dawn. Outside the Jewish nation and uninfluenced by it, before Abraham's day, before the evolution of superstition, there was among the scattered nations a purer religion, and one received, apparently, from the same general reservoir of truth. Nor, if Moses was inspired to record for us the true history, need this surprise us. And Christ must in some way be got rid of, before skeptics can get rid of "Moses and the prophets." According to the Mosaic chronology Abraham was fifty-eight years old when Noah died: he lived to be one hundred and [R1091 : page 2] seventy-five, and even then died thirty-five years before Shem! Up to that time these two patriarchs of the flood were living somewhere among those Eastern nations. They are not mentioned, nor any of the nations except Egypt, because they no longer touched the onward historic stream. But, at the dispersion of Babel, some two hundred years before Abraham's birth, these two must have gone with some of the descendants, carrying with them, as they had already made known, the true religion, and something of the earlier civilization.
This fact of an earlier religion, however soon and widely it may have become corrupted, explains some things which the brevity of Scripture has left obscure. When Abraham, himself a monotheist from the Euphrates in the East, was in the vale of the Jordan in the far West, there came to him and blest him, Melchizedec, "Priest of the Most High God;" whilst not far off there was Abimelech and his people, with whom still dwelt "the fear of the Lord." This in Canaan itself, and in the very neighborhood of Sodom! But from beyond that same distant Euphrates, 470 years later than Abraham's time, came Balaam to confront Moses and Israel; a man who worshipped the same God with Moses, and by the same name: "I cannot go beyond the word of Jehovah, my God;" the man who, when the king of Moab, in his terrible extremity, proposed to "sacrifice his first born," uttered those sublime words, recorded only by Micah: "Jehovah hath showed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God!" "Hath showed thee" – where, how, in what early record known to both Balaam and the king as the word of the "Lord?" Moreover, of this Balaam from the far Euphrates it is said, that he "knew the knowledge of the Most High" – the very word used for God by Abraham and Melchizedec in the valley of the Jordan. Except once in Deuteronomy, we do not meet it again till the history gets back to the Euphrates, to Daniel, to the Chaldeans, to Nebuchadnezzar the Assyrian, and to Cyrus the Persian. They all use it, as evidently the earliest and the descended term for the one God. It brought Cyrus, as belonging to a common monotheistic worship, into sympathy with the Jews. It is known to-day among the mountains of Thibet; and in the form of Shang-Ti, is the one missionaries in China have adopted to express the idea of God.
This word (in its different forms), Most High, the Highest, the Lord God of Heaven, is, indeed, itself pregnant with thought. It indicates a process of thought and a conviction in the earliest men as they looked up to heaven; a conviction of a One God who was above all in power and glory, and to be worshipped. It was a source of conviction independent of any other source of knowledge, as, for instance, Noah and Shem; and how strongly it impressed them is crystallized in the word they used and handed down to indicate God. David felt precisely the same when he exclaimed: "The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament showeth his handiwork." And this has an intimate bearing upon some present discussions about the heathen. Paul declared them "without excuse." Why, upon what ground? Upon the ground that "the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made." Their lapses into idolatry and superstition, with the consequences, were purely willful – they "did not like to retain God in their knowledge." Up the stream of universal history there was that knowledge, "clearly" to be derived, in all ages, from the same overspreading testimony, the heavens. The power of that testimony and its effect upon the earlier men, lives in many languages, in that "indestructible" word, the Most High God.– A. G. Vermilye.
The above observations are valuable, considered in connection with Paul's inspired account of how ignorance and superstition came to be so wide-spread throughout the world, as detailed in Romans 1:18 to 3:23. Deplorable and dense as the ignorance and superstition of the world is, it is well that all should see that it is not the fault of God, that it is not because God made men degraded and vile. It is necessary that this be fully recognized as an offset to the growing idea that God did a very imperfect work in the creation of man, and that present progress from darkness and superstition, to light and reason and civilization, is merely human development – evolution.
Be it noted, that the Scriptures everywhere give one harmonious account of the origin and cause of evil and ignorance in the world, and show that God is not guilty; they tell that "God hath made men upright but they have sought out many inventions" (Eccl. 7:29); and that it was when and because man was not desirous of retaining a knowledge of God in his heart that God gave them over to a reprobate mind. (Rom. 1:28.) Thus sin, which entered at Eden (Rom. 5:12), manifested its tendency to be continually downward, except as God introduced "the salt of the earth" (those exercised by his truth – led of his spirit) whose influence has been to keep the social mass from utter corruption. Thank God for the blessed assurances of his word, that though the world has been thus left largely to its own course, that both angels and men may see the real tendencies of sin, yet, that when this severe lesson has been well illustrated and deeply impressed, then He will through his anointed ones, Christ Jesus and his Bride the overcoming church, arrest the sway of ignorance, and sin, and superstition, and cause the knowledge of the Lord and his perfect plans to fill the earth. Thank God that his promised kingdom (the glorified church "a royal priesthood" – rulers and teachers) shall re-establish righteousness and give to the billions of earth (who, as inheritors of sin and weakness, have never known or been able to appreciate righteousness, purity, and their attendant joys), an opportunity to taste and see that the Lord is gracious and that wisdom's righteous ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace.
When thus the right is known, and its results appreciated, all will be permitted to choose good or evil, right or wrong, righteousness or sin, obedience or disobedience to God; and according to their choice, they shall receive their final and lasting reward; according as it is written, "The wages of sin is death [extinction, the withdrawal of all life], but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ," to as many as truly accept of him as their Lord and Master.
"The world is old with centuries,
But not for these she bows her head;
Close to her heart the sorrow lies,
She holds so many dead!
Sad discords mingle in her song,
Tears fall upon her with the dew,
The whole creation groans – How long
Ere all shall be made new?
"Yet brightly on her smiles the sun,
A bounteous heaven delights to bless;
Oh, what shall be that fairer one,
Wherein dwells righteousness?
Oh, happy world! Oh, holy time!
When wrong shall die, and strife will cease,
And all the bells of heaven chime
With melodies of peace.
"No place shall be in that new earth
For all that blights this universe;
No evil taint the second birth,
'There shall be no more curse.'
Ye broken hearted, cease your moan;
The day of promise dawns for you;
For He who sits upon the throne
Says, 'I make all things new.'
"We mourn the dead, but they shall wake!
The lost, but they shall be restored!
Oh, well our human hearts might break
Without that sacred word!
Dim eyes look up, sad hearts rejoice,
Seeing God's bow of promise through,
At sound of that prophetic voice:
'I will make all things new.'"
"We know that the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now,...for the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God." "And the Desire of all nations shall come." – Rom. 8:19,22; Hag. 2:7.
Thus the apostle and the prophet refer to the woes of earth and the great remedy which God has provided, and which is soon to be applied. None, experienced in life or acquainted with history, will dispute the correctness of the apostle's statement. And the declaration of the prophet, that God will eventually establish a reign of righteousness in the earth which, when realized, will indeed be the desire of all nations, is borne out by the testimony of every prophet and apostle (Acts 3:19-21), and cannot, therefore, be disputed by any who acknowledge the inspiration of the Bible.
The cause of all creation's groaning and pain is sin; for all the moral as well as the physical degradation which directly or indirectly causes the pain and groaning of humanity, is part of the wages of sin. Humanity is thus under a blight and suffers both individually and as a whole. Its own imperfect and often unjust governments, as well as its aches and pains of body and mind, are the natural consequences of its imperfect, fallen condition. And though men can do something toward general improvement, their efforts are at best, but feeble and spasmodic; they are utterly incapable of releasing themselves from their difficulties. Their varying success, but on the whole futile efforts for the past six thousand years, prove this conclusively.
They have never yet, in all the centuries they have had for experiment, succeeded in establishing a perfect government; nor have they silenced the groans and wiped away the tears of the race, or lifted it up physically, or mentally, or morally, to the image of God in which they were created, as represented in Adam. Diseases of every description still prey upon them physically. There are still burning fevers, wasting ulcers, frightful cancers, [R1092 : page 3] loathsome skin and poisonous blood diseases; and there are sightless eyes, deaf ears, dumb tongues, broken backs and limbs, and other physical disorders and deformities. Mentally, their condition is still worse: some are crazed; others are partially so; and in all the race not one is perfectly balanced. Morally, their condition is no less deplorable; selfishness, and greed, and pride, and love of display, and hatred, and malice, and evil speaking, and deceit, and envy, and contention, and war, and bloodshed, wring agonizing groans from the lips of millions; and desolate widows, and helpless orphans, and broken-hearted mothers, and grief-stricken fathers, and disappointed friends still weep over the graves of buried hopes and fond ambitions.
Truly, it is a groaning creation still; and yet, as the apostle suggests, they are not hopeless; they are waiting for something, they know not exactly what – a panacea for sickness and pain and sorrow and death, and a just and righteous government, which will lift up the poorest and meanest from the mire of ignorance and squalor, to comfort and happiness and a share of life's luxuries. They are looking forward to "a good time coming," "a golden age," of which even heathen poets and philosophers have dreamed in glowing terms. And some, catching a strain from the divine inspiration, though unconscious of how it will be brought about, sing of a blessed millennium –
"When man to man united,
And every wrong thing righted,
The whole world shall be lighted,
As Eden was of old."
But what heathen poets and philosophers, and all mankind have longed and vaguely hoped for, – but have proved themselves utterly incapable of bringing about, with all their state-craft and priest-craft, and multiplied religious ceremonies and forms of godliness without the power, – God, through his prophets, has clearly and definitely foretold, will come. And further, he has shown exactly, how it is to be brought about, – that it is to come to pass through the agency of the Lord Jesus Christ, the messenger of Jehovah, who nearly nineteen centuries ago redeemed the world, giving his life as the ransom-price for the life of the world; and who will shortly set up his Millennial kingdom and establish his authority over the redeemed world. He will not oppress the people and exalt himself, as human rulers generally do; but will "bless all the families of the earth" through a wise and righteous administration. Having "tasted death for every man," and thus secured the right to give everlasting life to all who shall prove themselves worthy of it, the object of his Millennial reign will be to so instruct, train and discipline men, as to enable them to become worthy of lasting life, on the original conditions – perfection and obedience. To this end, he will first "rule with a rod of iron" (Psa. 2:9) – with power and force, causing in the overthrow of present imperfect, selfish, proud and unjust systems, "a time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation" (Dan. 12:1); and then he will "fill the earth with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea." (Hab. 2:14.) He will restrain and humble the wicked and selfish, and bless and lift up the humble and those seeking righteousness (Zeph. 2:3; Matt. 5:5); finally making an end of sin and all its train of evils, by destroying (finally and forever) all who then, with full knowledge and appreciation, still love sin; and by bestowing upon all who shall then love righteousness "the gift of God," everlasting life. – Rom. 6:23.
All this would seem reasonable to thinking people but for two reasons. One is, that another, and an unscriptural view has for centuries predominated, and the people have been instructed from infancy in that direction. The second reason is, that so long a period has elapsed, before the establishment of this kingdom as the remedy for sin and its disorders. Yet so convinced are people of the propriety of such a divine rulership, that regardless of facts and Scripture, some claim that Christ is reigning over and ruling the world now. And yet, if posted in the world's history, and candid, all must admit that it has been a monstrously bad rule; and all might well pray that it be discontinued. Humanity, if given the entire control, certainly would not do much worse than has been done in the way of misgovernment.
As we look backward our hearts are sickened with the injustice, misery and oppression we behold. If this be God's kingdom and ruling, let it end; it is far from what sane people want. But it is not God's kingdom. On the contrary, as the Scriptures declare, it is the dominion and ruling of Satan, "the prince of this world" (John 14:30), and will cease with the introduction of Christ's Millennial Kingdom, for which his servants have long prayed, as some still do, "Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is done in heaven."
People naturally wonder that God has not long since exerted his great power (his kingdom power and authority) to suppress sin, and to lift mankind out of its present state of ignorance, superstition, groveling depravity, disease and death. But since six thousand years have passed without such an interposition, they reason that God's future dealings should be judged of by the past. And hence they think, we cannot expect such a rule or kingdom in the future, believing that all things must continue as they now are and have been from the foundation of the world. – 2 Pet. 3:4.
But what reply can be made to this objection? We answer: It can be shown that the Scriptures teach that God not only has promised such a kingdom for the purpose of blessing the world, but that he also foretold the long period intervening, in which evil has been permitted. And they show good and sufficient reasons for the six thousand years' delay. This, clearly seen, should remove every obstacle to faith in the promised Millennial kingdom. Yet, in examining the reasons for the delay of the reign of righteousness, let us not forget that it is only as measured by the shortness of present life that six thousand years seems very long. With God, "a thousand years are but as yesterday." – Psa. 90:4.
The long delay and its purposes are clearly marked in the Scriptures. Over four thousand years after the first promise of deliverance, the redemption was accomplished; and nearly two thousand more fill the measure of the Gospel age for the selection and development of the Gospel church to be the bride of Christ and joint-heir with him of the coming Millennial kingdom; while the long six thousand years were designed to give the race a necessary experience with the dreadful effects of sin, its exceeding sinfulness, and the firmness of that justice which will by no means clear the guilty violators of God's just and holy law – an experience which will be of inestimable value to all, for all eternity. By contrast, it will lead to such an appreciation of righteousness, during Christ's Millennial reign, as to make it, when realized, what the prophet predicted – "The desire of all nations."
The delay, from the time of the redemption to the Millennial age, while it served this purpose to the world, served also a further purpose – the development of the Gospel Church, a "little flock" of believers in and followers of Christ, sharers of his reproach in the present time, and thus selected to share his Millennial work and glory, – to reign with him as joint-heirs of the long promised Kingdom of God for the blessing of all the families of the earth. – Gen. 28:14; Gal. 3:16,29.
The selection of this company, as individuals, has been in process during the entire Gospel age now closing, though as a class they were foreknown from the foundation of the world. (Eph. 1:4.) That is, God predetermined to exalt to this kingdom honor and restitution work a certain class, each of whom should meet certain predetermined conditions; and the Gospel age of nearly two thousand years was appointed as the time for developing, testing and selecting the individuals who should compose that class. The election of these individuals is not arbitrary, but according to fitness; the qualifications being, first, justification by faith in Christ; then meekness and devotedness to God's service, at the cost of self-sacrifice.
Many (justified believers) were "called" or invited to share these kingdom honors, but only the above mentioned, a faithful few, will be selected or chosen; the majority even of professed Christians, we are informed, will fail to make their calling and election sure; and hence will fail to share those kingdom glories as joint-heirs with Christ their Lord – though with the world they will be blessed and disciplined under this kingdom. During the Millennial age, Christ's power will be exercised to prevent deceptions, to clear away ignorance, to strengthen the weak and lead and restore to sight those now blinded by the god of this world. (2 Cor. 4:4.) A thousand enticements to sin, which appeal specially to the depraved appetites of the fallen race now, will not be tolerated, when the new, heavenly rule is established. But the Gospel church – the kingdom class – is called and tested during this age, while evil is permitted to hold sway, in order that their testing may be like that of gold tried in the fire. This company will be complete when the present age ends, and the control of earth will then be entrusted to them, under and in co-operation with the Lord Jesus, then the King of kings. – 1 Cor. 6:2.
No student of the Bible can have overlooked the fact that the constant theme [R1093 : page 3] of our Lord and his apostles was the coming Kingdom of God. The Jewish people, as a nation, had for centuries expected Messiah's coming, to be the ruler of the world; and they naturally expected that as he was to come out of their nation, they would be his soldiers, co-workers, and joint-heirs in that kingdom. They knew themselves to be the natural seed of Abraham, and inferred that they were indispensable to God's plan. They saw not, that spiritual children of God, of the faith and loyalty of Abraham, were meant by the promise.
But the real greatness of the promised kingdom and its work of blessing were not appreciated by Israel: they expected a kingdom similar to the kingdoms of this world; that Messiah, as a fleshly being of the seed of Abraham, would establish his kingdom at Jerusalem, and that his glory would be the earthly glory of purple [R1093 : page 4] and fine linen and gold and silver and the usual accompaniments of earthly royalty. And their pride and ambition longed for the time when this promised king should exalt himself above the Caesars, and them above all the nations of the earth. Hence their rejection of him who came humbly, born in a manger, with no assumptions of titles, or earthly honors, or influence, or even friends; and yet he came proclaiming the kingdom of heaven at hand and himself the promised king.
So thoroughly impressed upon the Jewish mind, was the thought, that Messiah's coming meant the establishment of a kingdom of righteousness, that several times the "common people" would have taken Christ by force to make him king; but he withdrew, that their ardor might cool, knowing that they who shouted "Hosanna to the Son [and heir] of David" were not the class whom the Father designed should be the joint-heirs with him of that kingdom. He knew too, that the Father's time for his exaltation to power had not yet come, and that first he must die to purchase those whom he was to afterward reign over, – to whom he might therefore restore the original blessings and favors lost for all through Adam's failure. – Rom. 5:12-19.
Like others, the twelve apostles held this hope of the kingdom, and believed Christ to be the promised Messiah, or King of kings. And our Lord Jesus, so far from ever contradicting their ideas, always encouraged them, and told them that they should yet sit with him in his throne. But, he explained that "first he must suffer many things and be rejected of this generation" [people]. To the same class he explained that, as it had been written in the prophets, – "thus it behooved Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead;" and said to them: "O, slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken; was it not needful for Messiah to suffer these very things and to enter into his [kingdom] glory?"
One of our Lord's parables, given just before his crucifixion, was for the very purpose of teaching them that the expected kingdom would be deferred until his second coming. It is introduced thus: "And he spoke this parable unto them because they were near to Jerusalem, and because they thought that the Kingdom of God would be manifested immediately." (Luke 19:11-27.) That parable represents the Gospel age as the period in which Christ, "the Nobleman," went "into a far country" (heaven), to receive for himself a kingdom – to be invested with authority. The parable also shows that during the absence of the Nobleman, the opponents of his rule are in the majority and hold sway; they even declare that they do not desire him to come and establish his kingdom, preferring to be let alone as they are – "They sent an embassage after him, saying, 'We do not desire this man's rule.'"
The parable shows, too, the proper attitude of those who love the Nobleman. Obedient to his command, "Occupy till I come!" they are to use their various talents to forward the interests of his coming kingdom. And finally, the parable shows that the Nobleman will surely return with full power, and how he will use it, to reward those faithful to him with a share in the kingdom, and to destroy all opposed to his rule of righteousness. Thank God, there is good reason to believe that many now enemies to the King of kings will not be such, when present misconceptions are cured by the increased knowledge of the King's character, plan and kingdom, then to be afforded to all.
During the first century of its existence the church held firmly to the Apostolic teaching and waited for the second coming of the Lord Jesus, and the establishment then of the long-promised kingdom of God and its rule of righteousness, by which triumph all overcoming Christians were to share with Christ. The period of that reign, it was generally understood would be a thousand years. – Rev. 20:2-4.
Chamber's Encyclopaedia says, "In the first Century of the church, Millennarianism (the Greek equivalent of which, Chiliasm from chilioi, a thousand, is the term employed by the "fathers") was a widespread belief....The unanimity which early Christian teachers exhibit in regard to Millennarianism, proves how strongly it had hold."
This was the period of the church's purity and fervor, before she left her first love. But, as time passed, and the expected Lord came not, the love of many waxed cold and their hopes turned in other directions. Then, as Christianity became formalistic, Grecian philosophers came into the church, and the doctrines of Christ became blended with heathen mythologies, producing the great apostasy, or falling away from the true faith, foretold. (2 Thes. 2:3.) Nevertheless, there was always a faithful, though small minority, which clung to the truth; for the Lord has never left his truth without witnesses.
It was at this time, that the degenerated Christian system conceived the view commonly held since, that the Church was to establish Christ's Kingdom upon the earth, without waiting for the Young Nobleman's return, and that Christ would come after the Millennial reign of the Church had ended – to approve her work. This is styled the post-millennarian view of the Lord's coming. This view introduced into the nominal church an aggressive political policy; and thenceforth the Church sought influence with the civil power, – and that successfully, though to her injury and apostasy. It was not long until Christianity was recognized by Constantine, the Roman emperor. Soon, from among several aspiring chiefs, or bishops, the bishop of the city of Rome rose to prominence and influence in religious matters, and finally to influence in the empire. In 534 A.D. the emperor of Rome, Justinian, recognized the Bishop of Rome as chief bishop, or POPE – the head of the religious affairs of the Roman empire, which for centuries had ruled the world.
This great success, though accomplished by cunning, trickery and scheming political intrigue, wholly foreign to the spirit of true Christianity, and in opposition to the express counsel of the Lord and the apostles (Matt. 20:25-28; 23:8-12 and 1 Pet. 5:3), was hailed as the beginning of the establishment of Christ's kingdom in power. By this time, be it remembered, the nominal church numbered millions who were Christians in name merely, and totally ignorant of the doctrines of Christ; for the clergy had gradually lowered the true standard, amalgamated errors, and exalted themselves, to gain popularity and to draw the people, through fear and superstition, to their support. And when the imperial authority began to recognize the apostate church, and to concede its false claims, the unregenerate heathen millions rushed into her bosom, adding to her defilement their uncircumcised views and heathen superstitions. So fast did they come, that the original form for symbolizing consecration by immersion, was abandoned as no longer practicable, and the multitudes were sprinkled.
But though nominal Christianity had now gained freedom from persecution, civil recognition, and finally religious jurisdiction as Papacy, her ambition, sustained by her post-millennial error, was far from satisfied. Scheming, plotting, etc., continued, under the theory that the end justifies the means, until the power, authority and crowns of the civil rulers of Europe, were subjected to the popes. The beginning of this temporal power was gradual, from A.D. 539, but it was fully established in A.D. 800, when Charlemagne, king of France, was crowned by Pope Leo III., and accepted from him, and by his supposed divine authority, the title of Emperor of the West. There, really, what was afterward known as the "Holy Roman Empire," had its beginning.
Thenceforth it was boldly claimed and generally admitted (except by the Lord's faithful few, who discerned the apostasy and waited for the establishment in righteousness of his true, promised kingdom) that the (nominal) church was God's kingdom in the world, and that the popes successively represented Christ as King of kings, while as his joint-heirs, cardinals and bishops filled the places promised to the overcomers. In support of these claims, the universal authority of the popes in matters both secular and religious was claimed and admitted; and kings and emperors representing the greatest nations of Europe and the world (even England and Germany) prostrated themselves at the feet of the pope, acknowledging him as King of kings. Every title which the Scriptures apply to the true Christ, and every prophecy describing his future kingdom and its glory has been applied by the popes to themselves and the kingdom thus introduced, which was none other than the kingdom of Antichrist, the counterfeit of the true, predicted by the prophets and apostles. (See 2 Thes. 2:3-7; Dan. 7:25,26; Rev. 13:4-8.) The deception was so [R1094 : page 4] great and magnificent that all the nations of Europe were deceived; and as the Lord himself foretold, had it been possible, the very elect [faithful] would also have been deceived by it.
But the inevitable came: the reverence and flattery of the people, the pride and power of the clergy, and especially of the higher dignitaries, gradually sunk the doctrines and practices so low as to excite the disgust and open the eyes of the honest and blinded souls connected with the system. It was nearly a century after the invention of printing, when men were beginning to think for themselves, that the public sale of indulgences by the authority of the pope for the purpose of raising money for the completion of St. Peter's Cathedral at Rome, and particularly by one John Tetzel, a Dominican monk of notorious character and shameless effrontery, that general indignation was aroused; and under the bold leadership of Luther, Zwingli, Carlstadt, Melanchthon, and others, a Reformation movement set in, which, though beset by many hindrances, thank God, is not yet extinct. It is progressing steadily toward the utter repudiation of priestcraft and the various superstitions and errors of the dark ages, back to the old landmarks of primitive simplicity and purity which characterized the apostolic church, both in life and doctrines.
Luther, Knox, Melanchthon, Zwingli, Calvin, and others of their time, though still befogged by the errors of Antichrist, which for so many centuries held the world as under a mesmeric power, made remarkable progress out of the darkness toward the full, clear light. When all the circumstances of their time are realized, it cannot be denied that they were remarkable men, and that they not only took a courageous step, but a long one in the right direction. The trouble is that those who since have followed these leaders, have taken their names as sects, without having their spirit of reform. So far from continuing the reform movement, each party or sect set itself against all light, truth, and reformation in advance of what its leader had seen and advocated. Hence reform almost ceased with the reformers of the sixteenth century. What progress has since been made, has been in opposition, not only to Papacy, but to professed Protestants as well.
But the course of the reformers was not a wholly uncompromising one. They soon saw that the masses of the people were so steeped in ignorance that they could not appreciate the Scriptural teaching that God is no respecter of persons; and that in his sight all men are free, and that king, peasant and slave are on a common footing before God. So long had people been taught that the pope and church dignitaries represented God, and must be obeyed as God; so long had they been taught that kings and princes, when crowned and commissioned by the pope, were God's appointed rulers, reigning by God's authority in matters civil, as the "clergy" by the same authority reigned as princes in matters religious; so long had they been taught that to deny or oppose such pope-sanctioned authority, was to deny and oppose God and his kingdom, that (under this ignorance and superstition) to have declared the whole truth, would have involved all Europe in anarchy and lawlessness. Stepping out of such deep slavery of mind and body, into full liberty, the masses were far from prepared to use it wisely.
This, indeed, was the basis of the conflict between the early reformers. Zwingli in Switzerland, was a representative of some who took their stand for full liberty; he not only denied the authority of the pope to rule the church, but denied also his authority to appoint civil rulers in the name of God. He claimed for the people the right to elect their rulers, as we do in this great Republic. Here, Luther wavered for a time as to what course to pursue, when he saw that the reform, fully carried out, would not only take away the authority of the pope, but also the authority of all the princes and kings of earth appointed by him. While retired for ten months in Wartburg Castle under the hiding and protection of Elector Frederick, Luther reflected on the situation carefully; then he came forth to oppose Zwingli, Carlstadt and others under whose preaching the images in the churches were being dashed to pieces and the Mass abolished. His plea was moderation. He cooled the rising ardor of the Germans, and with Melanchthon turned the German Reformation into the channel which it finally took. The German princes on the one hand glad to be freed from their abject bondage to Papacy, and on the other hand glad to escape the growing tendency of teachings such as Zwingli's, recognized in the teaching of Luther and Melanchthon a way of escape from both, which would still preserve their powers, and even increase them. From policy, therefore, many of [R1094 : page 5] the German princes embraced the Lutheran cause, which prospered, while the yet more thorough reformers and their works went down.
Why did not God forward the greater and purer views? it may be asked. Because it was not then due time, we answer. But slowly, after three centuries, thinking people will admit that Zwingli and Carlstadt were much nearer the truth, much more thorough teachers of reform than Luther. D'Aubigne (Hist. vol. 3. p. 243.) upon this subject, cautiously but forcibly remarks: "Notwithstanding his opposition to Papacy, Luther had a strong conservative instinct. Zwingli, on the contrary, was predisposed to radical reforms. Both these divergent tendencies were needed. If Luther and his followers had been alone in the work, it would have stopped short in its progress; and the principle of reformation would not have wrought its destined effect."
Luther, though he had denounced the Papacy as Antichrist, and declared that the popes had no right or authority whatever to rule the world in the name of Christ, was led by his course of moderation into doing the very thing he had condemned in Papacy. The princes who remained in harmony with Papacy, were forward to claim its sanction as the true basis of authority over the people; and, those who espoused Luther's side, of course looked to him who claimed to represent the true reformed Church, to pronounce in their favor – as the choice of the true church, and hence the divine choice. Having taken the stand he did, escape from the dilemma was impossible; and there was considerable truth in Luther's joke, when, later on, he called himself
Thus it came that Protestantism continued the very error which lay at the foundation of the great apostasy – the very error it started out to remedy. Instead of advocating freedom – government of and by the people – it arrayed itself on the side of these false kingdoms of God whose rulers were glad to have assistance in holding the control which Antichrist had given them over the people. They desired to hold forever, for themselves and their families, the fat positions already attained. Hence, the various governments of Europe are wedded to some religious system, which they support, and at the hands of whose officers, with religious pomp and ceremony, titles and offices are entered upon. No matter how villainous, or imbecile, or insane, or opposed to both the letter and spirit of God's Word, these announce their authority to perpetuate wrongs under the hypocritical mask (authorized first by Papacy, and since conceded by all Protestant sects) – king, or queen, or emperor, "by the grace of God."
Thus we find to-day, many so-called Christian kingdoms in the world, as well as many churches, though our Lord only established one church, which in due time was to be completed and glorified to constitute the one kingdom of God promised. In the light of God's Word, we must deny that kings and emperors now reign by the grace of God, or that God is in any degree, responsible for their misruling, though he predetermined to permit these various experiments at self-government for an appointed time – "until He come, whose right it is." (Ezek. 21:27.) The facts of history corroborate the testimony of the Scriptures, that present governments are under the control of "the prince of this world." (John 14:30; Eph. 2:2.) To deceive the people he assumes a garment of light, and authority is given not in his own name, but in the name of God, at the hands of the apostate church. – 2 Cor. 11:14,15.
How much of the spirit of Christ do they manifest? Hear louder and louder down the centuries the clash of arms, the thunder of artillery, the tread of mighty armies, and the groans of the dying, in the strife of these so-called kingdoms of God to annihilate each other; and remember, that at no period of the world's history were there ever, as to-day, armies numbering eleven millions of men, thoroughly equipped and trained, ready at a moment's call to rush to battle, armed with weapons of carnage a hundred fold more dreadful and destructive than were ever before known, which make them equal to a hundred millions in former times.
Remember too, that these eleven millions must soon be called into action, if for no other reason than that the great expense of their maintenance is rapidly bankrupting these various kingdoms of Christ (?). Remember too, that when the tocsin of war shall sound, the various pulpits will support the various thrones with words of burning eloquence and prayers to God for help, each to consume the other. And with the army corps shall go chaplains, to cheer the dying soldiers of God's (?) kingdom; to assure each host that its cause is just, and that if they fall it is in support of the Lord's anointed representatives.
Mark the oppression, and injustice, and tyranny, and misrule; and behold how giant evils are licensed to enslave and oppress mankind; and say not that these are Immanuel's kingdoms. Surely, [R1095 : page 5] they bear little resemblance to the character of that kingdom promised under the "Prince of Peace." Verily, if these kingdoms of Europe are Christ's kingdoms, free America wants none of them. Away with Christ's kingdom, if such be its character; and welcome to this free soil the poor oppressed refugees from European "Christendom."
When Christ's kingdom has come, it will indeed be "the desire of all nations." It will be just what all men need. At first it will rule with a rod of iron dashing the now tottering kingdoms of this world in pieces like a potter's vessel (Psa. 2:9), breaking up every civil, social and religious system of tyranny and oppression, putting down all authority and power opposed to it, humbling the proud and high-minded, and finally teaching all the world to be still and know that the Lord's Anointed has taken the dominion. (Psa. 46:10.) Then the blessings of its peaceful reign will begin to be experienced. Truth and equity will be established on a sure and permanent footing; "justice will be laid to the line, and righteousness to the plummet" (Isa. 28:17), and the great restitution work will progress grandly to its glorious consummation. – There will be sweeping moral reforms, great educational and philanthropic enterprises, wonderful faith-cures from every disease and deformity, mental and physical. There will be awakenings also from death, and a grand re-organization of society under the new order of the Kingdom of God. And all the world's bitter experience during the six thousand years past will prove a valuable lesson, on the exceeding sinfulness of sin; helping them to appreciate the new rule of righteousness, and to live in everlasting conformity to the perfect will of God, and thus to accept God's gift of everlasting life, designed for all who will receive it on his conditions of love and loyalty and obedience to him. Then, "Whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely." – Rev. 22:17.
Such being the grand object of our Lord's return and the establishment of his kingdom, we believe with the prophet, that it will be "The desire of all nations;" and with the apostle that the earnest expectation of the creature longs, though ignorantly, for this coming revelation of the Sons of God – the overcoming Church exalted with their Lord.
"Many shall come from the east and west, and shall sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, in the kingdom of heaven. But the children of the kingdom shall be cast into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth." – Matt. 8:11,12.
Israelites were "the children of the kingdom," the natural seed of Abraham, to whom God had promised that Millennial kingdom whose power in all the earth shall, under divine arrangements, be instrumental in spreading truth and righteousness, and restraining evil, so that all the families of the earth shall be blessed. In the words above quoted, our Lord foretold the change of dispensation by which the natural seed of Abraham were cast into outer darkness – as outcasts from God's favor, and from the special light of prophecy which for eighteen hundred years had enlightened them and given them "much advantage every way" above the world in general.
Those from the east and west who come and sit down with Abraham and the faithful of the past age, are faithful ones from among the Gentiles, called to be the bride and joint-heir of the true and only heir of all things – Christ Jesus. The Jews in general, and even the disciples, could not have digested meat so strong, as this, and hence our Master left this among other of his "dark sayings," unexplained; merely saying to his disciples, I have many things to tell you, but you cannot bear them now; – the spirit of truth shall guide you into all truth and bring to your remembrance whatsoever I have said unto you. The Jews resented sternly any suggestion, that any except their own elect nation could share the kingdom honors. Even when, after his resurrection, our Lord commissioned his disciples to go teach and baptize all nations (Matt. 28:19), they seemed to understand that he meant, – every Israelite scattered throughout all nations; and it was not for some years after that they learned, that the Gentiles were to be fellow-heirs of the same promises. – Eph. 3:6.
As during the Gospel age honest Gentiles heard the "call," and came out of darkness into marvelous light and great privilege, by accepting and following Christ, so the Jews, because of pride, rejected Christ; and during this age they have been left with the heathen world, in darkness, shut out from divine favor. There they have had trouble, distress, perplexity and persecution, well described by the metaphor "weeping and gnashing of teeth."
The elect Gentiles (chosen through sanctification of spirit, by a belief of the truth), are coming to the Kingdom; coming it is true, by a narrow thorny path of trial; but they are not downcast, "not in darkness;" because the light of the glory of God as it shines in the face of Jesus Christ hath shined into their hearts dispelling the darkness. Not with weeping and gnashing of teeth do they come; for though they suffer, it is as good soldiers – rejoicing in tribulations, and that they are counted worthy to suffer reproaches for the name of Christ.
And now the coming ones have nearly all passed over the "narrow way:" a few more are to come by the same route, and then all shall sit down in the Kingdom, with Abraham and all the faithful of the natural seed of the natural Abraham, – as sharers in the joys of the Lord, and in the promised work of blessing all nations. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and the faithful prophets, will share in that blessed employment as well as Christ Jesus and his bride, – "his body." But there are last which shall be first, and first which shall be last. Those first called will receive all that was promised them, and more doubtless than they ever appreciated or expected, when they obtain the earthly phase, or human department, of the Millennial Kingdom. But the Lord, the heir of all things, and his chosen faithful bride and co-heir, will inherit what Abraham and the prophets never knew of; that which was not even made known until the Gospel age (2 Tim. 1:10), namely, the spiritual phase or department of the Kingdom; "God having provided some better thing for us [the "last" called – the Gospel church], that they [the "first" called, and all others] without us should not be made perfect." – Heb. 11:40.
The expression has been made to me by a returned missionary, that in China and Japan they are getting to find the difference between Christians and the friends of Jesus. For a time they were deceived by the name Christian. Every sailor and foreign resident in these parts called himself a Christian, as distinguished from heathens. And so as the natives found many of these men so outrivaling heathen corruption, they became disgusted. They said if these drinking, blasphemous sailors and grasping merchants are Christians, we do not want Christianity. He told me that they were calling true Christians "Jesus' people," and all the others were merely Christians. They meant that these were Christ's friends, and had his resemblance in person and character. This is the distinction I would bring before you – nominal Christianity and the Christ-life. There is all the difference between them that there is between a system of truth and a living person; all the difference there is between ideas and living, loving hearts. Christian is a name used by many, committed to certain principles. But the Christ-life is a living thing, and a divine thing.
The first thought that comes up in connection with Christ is the thought of personality. The things we value in history are not the records of events, the geographical and historical information; but what they reveal of the men and women that have lived. That which makes a country great is not its lofty mountains and beautiful plains, its magnificent scenery and Eden-like climate; for many of the fairest scenes of earth may claim all this, and yet they are waste and desolate for want of men. That which makes a country great is glorious men and women, far more than things or events, resources or incomparable advantages. That is what we cherish in our annals, – not our art, poetry, traditions and memories, but our heroes. And, if we come down to the nearer realm of our own life, what do we value most? Not our houses and lands, our commerce and wealth, nor our earthly advantages. You would give everything on earth for one frail little life that others would not give a farthing for. There is more to you in one human heart, than in all the world. Your treasures are in your friends, those that have become in some sense your own. [R1095 : page 6]
Personality, then, is the dearest and most precious thing in the world. And if this be so in secular and historical things, how easy it is to rise to the thought of personality in God. I am so glad He is revealed to us as a person and [R1096 : page 6] not a doctrine – a living being that we can touch somehow with the susceptibility of our spirit, that we can take in the arms of trust and love, that we can know in the depths of our consciousness, a good, and glorious, and divine reality, even more than any other individual. The other day in Minneapolis, a dear friend just recovering from that terrible snare of Christian Science, who had been under its power until her heart and spirit had been almost drawn away from Christ, "How strange," she said, "that I never thought; they taught me that Christ was a principle. I have been trying to love a principle. I might as well try to love a grapevine on my wall as to love a principle." And with gladness and joy she added, "O, it is a person, he is my blessed Saviour." Read the story of his life, and back of the events shines out most vividly the man Himself; alone the character so beautiful; alone that crystallization of all that was wise, and gentle and lovely, the living One, whom our consciousness can grasp and gather out of the story. Even infidelity has been compelled to say that the most remarkable thing in the Bible is the Christ, – the hardest to explain away.– Selected.
I believe that Jesus is the Son of the Living God, that after his death He was raised up a Divine being, and that now "All power in heaven and on earth" has been given him. I further believe that all "who name the name of Christ" are invited to the high calling of following his footsteps on earth, and then being raised to the same nature he now has, and joining him in the establishment of a coming kingdom, "wherein dwelleth righteousness." I also believe that the coming of this Kingdom on earth is delayed for the purpose of selecting the "bride, the Lamb's wife," which will be the "Body" and he the "Head," in the holy temple which is being prepared for the habitation of God. (Eph. 2:21-22.) I do not believe that this kingdom has yet been established on earth. Its foundations are to be in "justice and righteousness," and "They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain [government]; for the earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea." – Isa. 11:9.
These conditions do not obtain now, and though this United States' government is undoubtedly the best on earth now, its machinery is generally used – in results – for the benefit of the comparatively few, and actual justice or equality is rarely, if ever realized. This is but a new demonstration of what every other human government has proven, and of what must continue to be until he, whose right it is, shall come and take the government to himself. – Ezek. 21:27; Rev. 11:17.
Our Father has given repeated promises that this Kingdom shall be established on earth, and the Lord has joined in the assurance. God alone is capable of setting it up, and bringing humanity from its present blind, depraved condition, up to the standard where they can maintain it. It is specifically stated that this Kingdom will come "down from God out of heaven." We, who are following Christ, are now considered members of this Kingdom, and when it is set up, will be God's agents in its work. A brief study of the subject has enabled me to present the following Scripture texts: –
"For he [Abraham] looked for a city which hath foundations, whose maker and builder is God....For they that say such things declare plainly that they seek a country, and truly if they had been mindful of the country from which they came out, they might have had opportunity to have returned; but now (as it is) they desire a better, that is, a heavenly [one from heaven]: Wherefore God is not ashamed to be called their God; for he hath prepared for them a city....And these all having obtained a good report through faith received not the promise, God having prepared some better thing for us, that they without us should not be made perfect....Let us go forth, therefore, unto him without the camp, bearing his reproach. For here we have no continuing city, but we seek one to come. ...For our conversation [country or polity] is in heaven from whence we look for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall change [transform] our vile body, that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able to even subdue all things unto himself....Now, therefore, ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow-citizens of the saints and of the household of God." – Heb. 11:10-14-15-16-,-39-40; 13:13-14; Phil. 3:20-21 and Eph. 2:19.
Thus finding "exceeding great and precious promises" for those who are "new creatures in Christ Jesus who walk not after the flesh, but after the spirit," it behooves us to "prove all things" in every matter, and "hold fast that which is good." Our Lord prays that while we are in the world, we may not be "of the world." We are admonished by Paul to "be not conformed to [fashioned after] this world, but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God" (Rom. 12:27), and by John to "love not the world, neither the things that are in [of] the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust thereof, but he that doeth the will of God abideth forever." (1 John 2:15,16,17.) Jesus himself says, "No man can serve two masters: For either he will hate the one and love the other; or else he will hold to the one and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and Mammon." – Matt. 11:24.
Those who are not running in the Christian race are at full liberty, and doubtless in duty bound, to labor and study on the present political problems from human standpoints; but we who have consecrated our lives to God, and are striving to fulfill our vows, must be about our Father's work, and devote all the time we can honestly spare from the vocations necessary to enable us to "provide things honest in the sight of all men," to the work and study that will enable us to be "vessels unto honor, sanctified and meet for the Master's use, and prepared unto every good work." – 2 Tim. 2:21.
The blind and deaf leaders in the world are thus left to do their best, and if all "fall into the ditch," it will be but to fully demonstrate their inability to accomplish what God says he alone can do, and prepare them in due time to accept from God his free and gracious gift. In the "Regeneration [a literal translation of "Regeneration" is "New Birth Day." How significant!], when the Son of man shall sit in the throne of his glory" (Matt. 19:28), and the instruments the "Potter" is now preparing, (who are a "peculiar people zealous of good works,") shall be elevated to the Divine Nature (2 Pet. 1:4), the time will be ripe for the founding of this wondrous and longed for Kingdom. Until then, we must "make straight paths for our feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way." – Heb. 12:14.
By going into politics never so little, we enter one of the very "crookedest paths" the enemy has presented to this generation, and are liable to become "lame" or "turned to one side," before we are able to realize it.
However much these views may impress you as either truthful or Scriptural, you can readily see that, as they are mine, I cannot honestly do other than voice them, and take neutral ground, standing to one side, and waiting for the manifestation of the glory of God.
Very truly your friend,
Since a large proportion of those called to be saints are already charged with the care of families; and since God does in no sense release them from those cares and responsibilities, it behooves such to carefully study how they may best fulfill them according to the divine directions.
In searching the Scriptures we do not find full and complete directions as to methods and plans for the training of children, but we do find principles laid down which we are expected to study and work out with care, and which we are assured will in due time develop the desired results. Solomon said, "Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it." (Prov. 22:6.) Parents are exhorted not to provoke their children to anger, but to rebuke and punish when necessary, and to train them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord, etc. And then we have the example of our heavenly Father set forth for our study and imitation. [R1097 : page 6] A little reflection upon these simple rules, together with a close observation of God's methods of training and discipline, will supply all the needed instruction on the subject.
In the first place, if we would govern others properly, we must, God-like, govern ourselves: We must be just, benevolent, kind, thankful, patient and loving, remembering always that our most effective lessons are given by personal example. If you teach only by word, you are constantly condemning yourself and pointing out your weaknesses, and the ready perception of childhood will quickly draw the inference that you should first practice what you preach; and all your preaching will be in vain, unless you do so. Here, then, is the first rule for Christian parents – So far as possible, be what you would have your children be; Never for a moment forget that you are a teacher, and that from morning till night you are being studied and copied. If you are peevish, fretful, and complaining, disliking to do this duty, and despising that, wishing the lines had fallen to you in pleasanter places, coveting your neighbor's wealth, or health, or ease, etc., etc., do not be surprised, if you find the same dispositions cropping out in your children. And if it does, its constant friction and interference with the home duties, will necessitate force and pulling and driving and punishing, and thus greatly increase your burdens and cares.
If, on the other hand, you are cheerful and happy, regarding the duties of life as your greatest pleasure, yes, even what many are pleased to style the menial offices of home service; if you are thankful for such things as you have in the present life, and anxious and helpful in relieving the cares and lightening the burdens of your less favored neighbors, the little ones around your feet will quickly discern and catch your happy, thankful, energetic and helpful spirit; and thus half the victory in the matter of home training will be accomplished.
Dear mothers, never let the little ones hear you say, "I dislike to wash dishes," or "I dislike to cook," or that you dislike to perform any other duty that devolves upon you now; and never allow such an expression from them to pass unreproved. Rather say, "My dear children, if you will think again, you will see that you are very unthankful when God has so generously filled your plates, to be too indolent to wash them, that he may fill them again." Perhaps if we continue such ingratitude he may some time refuse to fill them, to bring us to our senses and show us, how mean we have been. Never give them the idea, by word or look of yours, that pleasure is to be sought for elsewhere than in the line of duty. Then you will be preparing them to find happiness all day long in the kindly offices of love and duty, instead of stolidly toiling all day at irksome tasks, and impatiently waiting for a little diversion or frolic at the end of the day or week as compensations. In the cheerful performance of duty is the highest form of happiness, with which an evening's diversion, a picnic, etc., are not worthy to be compared. And yet such innocent pleasures, when they come without special seeking – i.e., when they are not looked for, and longed for, and sought after, as the chief end of existence – are pleasant, healthful and happy episodes which may add greatly to the happiness especially of young life, particularly when they come not too frequently, and as pleasant surprises from loving parents or friends. The habit of some, of paying children for what they do, detracts from their sense of duty in the matter of home service and substitutes a selfish and independent spirit. Better far let any gift be understood as entirely independent of remunerative considerations.
Our second rule should be, never by word or example to encourage idleness. Idleness is the mother of vice and a fruitful source of every evil; for Satan finds some mischief still for idle hands to do. Nature itself teaches plainly that idleness is not the normal condition of any healthy human being. You cannot punish a child more severely than to require perfect idleness. The human mind is never idle except when asleep, and sometimes not then. And it is almost an impossibility for the human body to be inactive, unless disabled by disease.
To release a child, therefore, from all the restraints of duty, is not always to rest him. If no duties or responsibilities are placed upon him, he will spend the time and effort in doing as he pleases and in learning from other willful and untrained children what you may afterward find it impossible to eradicate or fully counteract. Children are better for having some responsibility and some care, though, if possible, they should not be overburdened. They will also develop more perfectly, if they have some time and opportunity to work out their own original ideas. Boys will be well and happily employed with carpenter's tools and other constructive implements; and girls with dolls and needles and pins, etc. But do not give them too many or too complete a set of toys, or you will leave no room for ingenuity. A rag doll of Katie's own make and on which Johnny has displayed his art in penciling features will often be more precious than one you might purchase. And economy and carefulness can be taught by very special care of the finer Christmas doll. And as they acquire skill, let it be applied to things useful, and let them see that you appreciate their skill by giving them this liberty to utilize it. Play should always be secondary to real service. Nellie must drop the doll quickly to heed the cry of the [R1097 : page 7] real baby; and Johnny must leave the interesting hammer and nails to run the necessary errands. If taught to do so from infancy these habits will grow, and they will be both useful and happy in so doing.
Prompt, cheerful, loving obedience should be expected and enforced – not by repeated urging to duty, but by a simple showing of duty, and a penalty of some kind for its non-performance. Do not lower your dignity, work yourself into a nervous excitement, and disturb the peace of the rest of the family, by continually upbraiding and urging a refractory one. Rather give some one else the privilege (for so they should be taught to regard it) of doing that duty, and let that one feel that he missed both the privilege and the approval that comes with it.
And this gives another suggestion, namely, to train children to be sensitive to the approval of parents, of God, and of their own consciences. If conscience is unheeded, if God is unknown or unloved, and if parents are only regarded as servants, nothing but brute force will compel submission to authority; and that submission will be an ignoble one, and at best only temporary. How can this be done? Well, it cannot be done in a day; and listless, heedless parents cannot do it at all. This is one of the fine points that will require skill and ingenuity. You will need to study the disposition of your child, to watch for the opportunities to instruct and impress him, and to let none of them slip. You will need to watch the little things in his deportment, to express your affectionate approval of his good points (when expedient, but not always, lest it cultivate vanity) and your pain and displeasure at his errors and failures. Let him feel that your eye and God's is ever upon him, just as we feel that God's eye is upon us. (2 Chron. 16:9; Psa. 34:15; 1 Pet. 3:12; Prov. 15:3.) Do not let him sit by your side at the table and eat like a savage who does not know the use of a knife and fork; do not let him be mean enough to grab the best of everything for himself and pay no attention to the wants of others. Teach them to be generous, to prefer one-another, and to be watchful for one-another's interests; and the table, however plain be the meal, is one of the best opportunities for inculcating such lessons. Let good manners and good principles be the frequent subjects of conversation at such times. In fact no other opportunity so favorable and so frequent presents itself. Make good use of them all, and study to do so. Remember, too, that your children come into the world ignorant of everything, and even the commonest civilities must be taught them by both word and example. Therefore be patient, careful, watchful and wise both in teaching them good and in counteracting evil.
Cultivate the acquaintance of your children; enjoy their society and let them enjoy yours. Be young with them, but give them the advantage of your years of experience; and to this end never let your dignity descend to the level of frivolity or foolishness. Hold your own standpoint, but sympathize with theirs, and do not forget your feelings and experiences at their age. Invite their confidence and never make light of their troubles, but comfort and advise them as your love and experience enables you to do. Never speak slightingly of one to another, nor allow them to do so without correction.
Watch for the first outcroppings of wrong principles and talk to them seriously about them. Show them the mean principles in some very small actions and what their miserable fruits are when a little more matured. Talk freely, not always to them, but before them of the wants and sufferings and trials of others, and let them see you planning and active in efforts to relieve as much of it as possible. Send them or take them with you on errands of love and mercy; and let them see that you prefer to go to the house of sorrow and mourning to comfort those that weep, rather than to the house of mirth.
Be cheerful, do not wear a long dejected face, even if you have trouble, or if you are sympathizing with others in trouble. Let the sunshine of Christian peace and joy illuminate your countenance at all times, and you can carry that [R1098 : page 7] sunshine not only into your own home, but into all the homes you enter.
Be generous, no matter how poor you are, and teach and talk of generosity and show by word and action, how it needs to be balanced by frugality, and what extremes both run to, when not rightly balanced.
Let your children have access to good books and encourage them to read for information, and to report what they read. Endeavor to give them broad ideas; do not let them think that the little home circle and their immediate friends and relatives are the largest and most important part of the world. Show them that the human race is one great family, children of one father and mother, and that as brothers and sisters they should love one another; that the dead as well as the living were part of this one family, and that history shows how they lived and what they accomplished, how good and great some were, and how wicked others were. This will serve to awaken interest in a very instructive line of reading and prepare the way for further instruction of prophecy which reveals the future destiny of the race. Instructive reading of various kinds will crowd out bad company and its attendant evils.
5. Beware of making an issue with your child, but when an issue is forced carry it out. It is with children as with men, few of whom, says Goethe, are open to conviction, but the majority of whom are open to persuasion.
All of these points good and wise worldly parents have observed and profited by; and even without the restraints and power of a religious training, they have raised sons and daughters to honor and to comfort them in their declining years. And yet, in addition to all the nice points and the fine points of wise and careful training, there is a mightier power than all else in a decided religious training. If the little ones are taught from infancy to know and love God as the wise and loving provider of every blessing they enjoy, as the rewarder of righteousness and the punisher of evil doers (not always now, but in his own due time); if they are early taught to bring their little troubles to him for sympathy and help, and their little joys and blessings to him in thankfulness and praise; and if they are taught the plan and purposes of God as they are able to comprehend it, the instruction thus received in the plastic period of childhood will never be effaced. "Train up a child in the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it." He may stray from it in youth, but by and by under the chastening hand of God, (for God will not forsake them, but will watch over them for your sake), a mother's prayers and counsel and love will be freshly recalled and heeded, – perhaps long after she has been laid to rest.
Since such carefulness and watchfulness and constant attention to the physical, mental and moral wants of children demand almost all of a mother's time and strength, and sometimes more than she has to give, but little can be expected of her beyond the family circle in the earlier years of motherhood. Her faithfulness here, therefore, will show the measure of her desire and willingness to be faithful in the greater work; and verily, she shall not lose her reward, either in the Master's approval, or in the love and respect and reverence of her family. Even if for a time wayward and thoughtless as some children seem to be naturally, they also will by and by rise up and call her blessed.
The work of Christian parents for their children now should be regarded as part of the great restitution work of the now dawning restitution age. And if the children of the saints are carefully trained and instructed in the plan of God, and the great work he is about to accomplish in the great time of trouble and after it, doubtless God will be pleased to make special use of them as the world's instructors, to point men to the real and only remedy for all their woes.
Work, dear Christian mothers, with this end in view, and God will in due time show that your labor has not been in vain, in the Lord. Humble and obscure though you may seem, you have a blessed mission to fulfill. God bless you all and give you wisdom, and patience, and constancy, and prudence, and faith, and hope, and love, and grace in every way sufficient to act nobly your part, while you walk humbly with God casting your care upon him knowing that he careth for you and yours specially, for your sake.
The Lord seems to lay hold by his truth upon a variety of characters, in his call to joint-heirship. The following letters all showing excellent spirit, represent some of these. They serve to show that the power of the truth extends to all classes and that the Lord accepts of and is willing to bless and use all who accept of his righteousness and desire to render him service.
The first is from an ex-convict, recently released from the House of Correction in Detroit, where he served a long term for highway-robbery. We know not how the truth reached him there, but it made him free from his old master Sin. Since his release he has started into what he says shall be his life-work, preaching the truth by selling DAWN, and he meets with good success. The TOWER goes to three other convicts, one in Joliet, Ills., one in Detroit and one in Allegheny.
DEAR BROTHER: – ...When I got into trouble, I did not wish to have my people exposed to the disgrace that a knowledge of my situation would be sure to bring upon them; and I adopted an assumed name and have not written to them nor heard from them since.
This pride that prevented me from writing to my people, and receiving of their assistance, would also hinder me from going home, if I did not have suitable clothing, and sufficient money to satisfy it. But I was thinking, if my parents are still living, they still have affection for me, and how much greater their joy would be to have me come home clothed in the rich robes of Christ's righteousness, than to come clothed in the scarlet and purple of sin, or soft raiment of my own provision, which would be but as filthy rags in comparison. Besides, if I am seeking not my own glory, but the glory of my Master, and if His righteousness may be clearer seen through my humiliation, it will but leave me greater cause for rejoicing. I have long endeavored to render cheerful obedience to all men have required of me. But now I should much more endeavor to yield grateful submission to my Father's will whose loving care guides and protects me, and nothing is allowed to befall me without His permission. He also assures me, that all things are working together for good for me. So, if it is his good pleasure, I may still hope to get home at the holidays. And I can be contented with Christ's righteousness as a covering, instead of fine clothing, and the gold and silver of spirit and truth, instead of money, and bearing a precious message whose value is beyond rubies. And although I may not be skillful in telling this glad message, I hope that its affect in me may be clearly manifested, as some one has written: –
"Gladly in the dust I would lay me,
That the world my Savior might see."
Hoping to see you soon. Yours in the faith,
MY DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL, BELOVED IN THE LORD: – While in Boston I was told of a sister at Winchester, about seven miles from Boston and I went to see her. Some eleven years ago she was a lawless Roman Catholic rumseller there. Her conversion (a most remarkable one) occurred in the prison, where she was confined for repeated violation of the liquor laws. When she was released, she poured to waste all of her liquors and renounced the Roman Catholic Religion. As she lived in the midst of an Irish Catholic community, her persecutions were terrible. Her children were hooted, pelted with stones, and abused in every conceivable manner. She was cursed and slandered before her face and behind her back.
They even soaped the stairs of her dwelling to cause her to fall and maim or kill herself. The priest visited her, and when he found that she was firm in her determination to serve Christ rather than the devil, he cursed her and persuaded her husband to abandon her and declared that she should never have a Catholic dollar, and said they would drive her from her home. They broke the window panes in her house, and for two years she was obliged to keep them stuffed with rags, etc., being too poor to afford to replace the glass. She united with the Baptist church and was most zealous in her missionary efforts to bring others into that "communion." She soon ceased to have her hunger satisfied with the husks of the less popish branch of Babylon and longed for [R1099 : page 7] more truth, for she saw and deplored the same spirit in Protestantism as in Romanism. About nine years ago, hungering and thirsting for the Word of Life, she heard that there were a series of meetings held at Lynn. You were the preacher and she was so well fed that she eagerly inquired, where she could continue to hear you. A friend told her that she could hear you through Z.W.T. every month. Ever since that God has fed her through your paper. When she was rejected by every body, that spoke peace to her heart. All was written in such a sweet spirit. The very pages seemed illumined by the spirit of God. She cannot write at all and can not read writing.
She has grieved because of her inability to tell you the great comfort and joy you have been to her, under God. She expressed her belief in the fact that there must be so very much of which you have never known that would so greatly encourage you, did you but know. When her boy lay dead in her house, a crowd collected opposite and cried that they wished it was the old devil that was dead, [R1099 : page 8] instead of the young one, or she along with it. Well, the next day after that she got the TOWER. For all the sorrow she had had, it brought great joy, and she felt lifted up. She could not describe the gladness God sent her through it. The Lord anointed her eyes, and she came out of the Baptist church, and her persecutions at the hands of the Protestant religionists were harder to bear than those of the Roman Catholics – a refined cruelty. She attempted to reason with them out of the Scriptures, but was called an ignorant Irish woman and was rebuked for her insolence in presuming to teach them who had been studying the Scriptures all their lifetime. But she knew she had the truth, and counted it all joy – even her severest trials – for they brought her nearer to God, and taught her dependence upon Him. She was overjoyed at the thought that at last you should know of her and of the joy you had been the means of imparting to her.
Yes, dear Brother, you'll find out concerning many a weary heart comforted and cheered and helped in the struggle against the world, the flesh and the devil, when you reach the end of your faith. Rejoice! Your affectionate brother in Christ,
Before I had seen DAWN, the Plan of Salvation was as greatly mystified, as could be imagined, according to the different doctrines I had been raised under. My wife and a sister are members of the Christian Church; my mother was a Methodist; my father thinks that all beliefs are wrong, except the hard-shell Baptist faith; and I have another sister that believes the only way to reach the place where Christ is, is through the Presbyterian Church; and a brother thinks no one will ever see Christ unless he takes, as he thinks, the only straight and narrow road through the Methodist Church.
This brother has for hours tried to show me, why I should join the church, be a better man, and be saved from everlasting torment. I could only contend, that I could not see how they could all be right, and if the different teachers or denominations were all right, why was it that God wanted men to travel so many different roads, when they were all trying to reach the same place. It was something that worried me not a little. But I could not believe in the doctrines they all preached, therefore have been traveling with the majority of the world until now. But thank God, since the truth has been made so plain, I feel that I am a better man. And I must say, my friend, that I believe the discord in the church is the cause of millions not wanting to accept Christ to-day.
About a year ago in Fort Worth, Tex., I received the DAWN as a loan with a request to read the book and return, or remit; so of course I remitted the 25 cents and kept the book. I read and re-read it, again and again, and am still reading it; in fact have read it, until it is about worn out.
Now dear friend, I have never been a Christian, though always a believer, and I never could fully explain my way of thinking, or belief, until now; so I wish to change my ways and strive to do all the good I can, that all that will, may see the light that is dawning. Therefore you will find enclosed $5.00 for which please send me – one Emphatic Diaglott $1.50, two Dawns Vol. I. cloth-bound, ten Dawns Vol. I. paper covered; also the whole list of back Nos. of Tower advertised in August, 100 Missionary Envelopes and 300 or 400 Arp Slips, which I will distribute among my friends and others in this country; for there are thousands here longing for something different from what these people preach.
Trusting this may reach you safely, I am yours,
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL: – What I want to tell you is this, I am free! The truth has made me free! To-day I was excluded from the Baptist church of which I have been a member for almost twenty years, on the charge of heresy.
But they did not exclude me until I asked the privilege of withdrawing. It came up in this way. This was regular church meeting day (business meeting). I was present as usual, but this time with my mind made up to explain to them my change of views on several so-called orthodox points. I waited until the regular business was transacted, before I arose to speak, and in the meantime they balloted for delegates to the association. No special nominations, each member voting for whom he chose; and when the ballot was announced, I was one of the chosen. At this point I remarked that they would probably want to rescind their action after hearing what I had to say. I then explained to them as best I could parts of my belief, and ended by telling them, I could not be consistent in believing and teaching as I do, and still retain my membership in the Baptist Church; in other words, I could not be two things at once without hypocrisy. Therefore, I asked the privilege of withdrawing my name from the church roll. I told them that my action was prompted by a sense of duty, and not that I held aught against any of them; for, said I, you have all been kind to me, and my relations as a member of your body, have ever been most pleasant. I believe that many of you are Christians, but blinded; and in one sense of the word, it is no easy matter for me to sever my connection with you, for I leave among you my dear old gray headed mother and father, sisters, wife, and many of my dearest friends. But brethren! Jesus said, "He who is not willing to leave all these for my sake is not worthy of me." Then I sat down. Quite a number were in tears, including our pastor; and after the question was discussed, and regrets expressed on my strange action, it was decided to exclude me for heresy. But before the question was put, a good old brother arose and suggested that I be given a letter, not of dismissal, but a letter showing that I was not excluded on account of any misconduct, but simply on account of refusing to believe and teach Baptist doctrine. But the suggestion was not acted on, and the vote for exclusion was unanimous. In regard to the letter suggested by the brother, I will here state, I did not expect and do not want anything of the kind. I then handed to the Assistant Superintendent of S.S. my written resignation as Supt. of Pierce City Baptist Sabbath School, and in a few days I expect to hand in my resignation as Treasurer of the Baptist College at this place. And so I am all alone in the "flesh," but not in the "spirit." I believe Jesus of Nazareth is with me. And I believe he will continue to walk with me, if I hold fast to the faith first delivered to the saints. Pray for me.
I have about 30 DAWNS loaned out. One Baptist sister, to whom I loaned one, said to me since my exclusion, I believe the doctrine taught in that book you loaned me, and in a short time I expect to do as you have done, withdraw from the Baptist Church. Her name is on the enclosed list of subscribers to the TOWER.
May God bless you and us all in the work, is my prayer.
A recent letter from Sister Tackabury to Sister Russell, shows that Brother Tackabury's death-bed preaching was not without its influence for the Lord and the truth. It was his earnest desire and constant endeavor to show forth the praises of him who hath called us out of darkness, into his marvelous light.
O, how thankful I am to our Heavenly Father for such friends in this time of great affliction – brothers and sisters in the Lord. Natural ties are strong and all are very kind, and thoughtful of my sorrow, but that strong bond growing out of the ONE HOPE, is dearer to me than all earthly ties; especially now. How sweet to me the words of cheer and comfort that come from the saints. I am trying to spend much of my time in reading and study for which, of course, I have had little time for months. Indeed, for the last year Mr. Tackabury's condition was such that neither of us could read much, and now I feel that a part of my work is to gain more strength from a more thorough study of the Word, and be the better prepared to give a reason for the hope that is in us.
Well, dear Sister, each week adds to my loneliness. As they go by I realize more and more that my earthly home is desolate; that there is no more happiness in it for me. How I thank God that the time is short. And yet I have my work to finish, and I shall no more than have time e'er my change shall come.
The beginning was Mr. T.'s sickness; and as people knew that we were professedly Christians, although of a peculiar sort, of course, it was Christian people who called to minister to our needs, and therefore, it was to them that Mr. T. had access, when he was able to talk, and he improved every opportunity. It also seemed usually Baptist people who came in, and we often remarked to one another that they seemed more willing to listen, and manifested more Christian spirit than any others who called. We had distributed reading matter considerably, but after Bro. Russell was here, I immediately handed out all I could, where I thought it might be read to advantage, and I found a good deal of interest among the readers upon meeting and conversing with them. They almost without exception said, they had studied the Bible of late more than ever before. When Bro. Russell was here the Baptist church in which the funeral was held was without a preacher, and had been for quite a long time. Now they have a minister, and he believes and teaches God's Word almost identically with us. The first time he came he stopped with a near neighbor of ours who had been with us a great deal during the summer and had read Millennial Dawn. They showed it to him, and he said, "That is MY belief and I PREACH it." And he surely does. He is a young man and very intelligent, superior in that respect to any one they have had here before. I heard him preach last Sunday morning and he talked the Millennium to them strong, and said during his discourse, that he believed he was telling them God's truth, and if they cast him out as a heretic, he must be cast out. Of course he has adopted these views but recently, and I do not see how he can preach them to a Baptist church, unless the church becomes revolutionized, and then surely it would not be Baptist. He also gives a Bible reading every Thursday evening and I have attended them all so far. It seems wonderful to me, how these things have been brought about, and how much sound doctrine this people will endure. How the matter will terminate, time will tell. I am trying to do what I can – I strive not to allow an opportunity to go by, where I think I can do something to honor the Master – it is my meat and my drink to do His will. O, how I long for the time when the Lord Jesus will be glorified in his saints.
Pray for me that my affliction and trials may "work out for me a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory." Remember me kindly to any who may inquire after me. May I not hear from you soon? Very affectionately, Your sister in Christ,
This small tract of 24 pages, neatly printed, is considered excellent for new readers. They are of proper size for enclosing in envelopes. We believe that one of these, and an Arp Tract, enclosed in a Missionary Envelope, would be a good means of reaching many of your friends. Those who think the plan a good one and desire to avail themselves of it can do so. We will put them up, as above described, and send one to each address sent us, as well as a sample copy of the TOWER, if you will remit two cents each for postage.
SAMPLE TOWERS. The December 1888 number is a good one for new readers. We will send free all you can judiciously use. Send addresses to us.
MILLENNIAL DAWN VOL. I. Cloth-bound, $1.00 " " " " (To Tower subscribers, 75 cts.) " " " " in paper covers, 25 cts. " " " " in German, same prices.
For the sake of new readers, we mention below special topics treated in recent issues of the TOWER of which we still have a supply. Order any one of these as a sample, free. Additional copies 5 cents each, except to those too poor to pay, who are welcome to any or all free.
THE SABBATH QUESTION. – Sept. '87.
OUT OF BABYLON, – the claims of the Episcopal Church examined. – Oct. '87.