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.
It is past our usual time for revising our list and striking off the names of all who have not renewed their subscription for the present year. We must do so now. None need expect the next issue, except those who have renewed in one of the three following ways; –
2nd, By sending a card or letter, saying – "Please renew my subscription for the TOWER for the present year. I cannot conveniently send the money at present, but will do so as soon as possible – I hope during the year;" or
3d, By sending a card or letter to the TOWER TRACT SOCIETY, saying, "I am so circumstanced that I cannot pay for the WATCH TOWER for the present year – (aged, invalid or whatever) – Yet I am deeply interested in its teachings, and desire that my subscription shall be paid for out of the Tract fund, as one of the Lord's poor."
This arrangement complies with both the letter and spirit of the Postal Law, yet provides amply for all the truth-hungry; for none are so poor as to be unable to purchase a postal card. And all such orders, without money, are as promptly and carefully attended to, as those which contain money. If you need to avail yourself of this arrangement for the Lord's poor, do not let a false pride hinder you. Consider that it is of the Lord and not of us, though through us, that the favor comes. It is because we partake of his spirit that we take pleasure in distributing the truth to you, regardless of your ability to share in the cost of the service. Be free then, to accept of our offer. We well know that all of the saints would rather, far, contribute to the Tract Fund than receive from it – hence we urge you thus to partake of the bounties of our Master's table, if you have a relish for the food there supplied.
So many appeals have come to hand, from those who feel that they cannot afford to purchase MILLENNIAL DAWN Vol. II. in cloth binding, desiring that "The Time is at Hand" be issued in magazine form, to bring it within the reach of all, that we have concluded to issue it as we did Vol. I., "The Plan of the Ages;" viz., as a special issue of the WATCH TOWER.
It is proposed, therefore, that it shall represent the April and May issues, No. 6 and 7, of TOWER Vol. X. We expect to mail it about April 15th next, to all whose subscriptions on our books shall stand renewed for 1889, as above explained, on the first day of April next.
This special issue will of course be a great expense to us, but reflecting that [R1100 : page 1] about two thousand, now on our poor list, would not, possibly, otherwise get the important truths which Vol. II. presents, decided us that such a course would be to the Lord's glory. Many of these have waited long for this "meat," hoping that the Lord would provide it for them in some manner. And we would have presented this subject-matter long ago, in TOWERS of the usual shape and size, but the subject is such, and so connected, that much of its strength and force would be lost, if spread over a year's issues of the TOWER. Besides, the subjects are such as will need to be referred to continually, and this would be less convenient in our usual shape. In fact, all who can afford it, should also have both "The Plan of the Ages" and "The Time at Hand" in cloth binding, for preservation and frequent reference. And such will surely want some extra copies for their friends, if they appreciate the subjects treated.
Do not hasten through, in reading The Time at Hand. The subjects will require at least two readings to get their force and beauty. And you will probably find, as so many have written of DAWN VOL. I., that the second or third reading was even more enjoyable and profitable than the first. So then, the two months which that special issue will supply, April and May, can be abundantly and profitably occupied by the study of its topics – a subject of deep interest to all who have caught a glimpse of the Plan of the Ages, and seen that in its sublime culmination, in the Millennium, center all our good hopes. None such can be indifferent to whatever testimony our Heavenly Father may have supplied us with, in the Scripture, touching the time for the beginning of the Restitution work of blessing.
To all who truly realize that the "wages of sin is death" – and that the ransom given for all, by our dear Redeemer, was his life, – his death, his cross, must always be the central point of interest from which all our hopes of future life and blessing emanate. All such will esteem it a privilege to commemorate the dying love, the redeeming love, the enduring love, the powerful love manifested at Calvary. Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends. But the love of God is specially commendable, as beyond all other loves in that it was while we were yet sinners and enemies, that Christ died for us, the just for the unjust, that he might lead us to God; that he might have the right and opportunity of effecting human restitution to the state of perfection and harmony with God, forfeited by Adam's transgression.
As foreseeing this desire in his loyal followers, and as indicating his approval of it, and the propriety of it, our Lord instituted that very simple, yet very impressive remembrancer known as "The Last Supper." It was instituted the day before the beginning of the Passover Festival, – in the same night in which he was betrayed, and in the same day in which he was crucified; – the 14th day of the month Nisan.
The Hebrews reckoned their day differently from what we do. With them it began at sunset or at 6 o'clock P.M. Thus it was that our Lord and the apostles could eat the Last Supper probably about 8 o'clock, then go to the Garden of Gethsemane, to Pilate and Herod and be crucified the same day in the afternoon. Probably it was in view of the fact that both the symbolic supper in commemoration of our Lord's death, and the death itself, might be upon one and the same day, that the Hebrews had the custom mentioned, of reckoning the 24 hour day as beginning with the night. Again, the night represents the dark period of sin, and sleep in death, to be followed by the glorious and everlasting day, of resurrection and heavenly light and blessing, which begins with the rising of the Millennial Sun of Righteousness with healing in his beams.
The fact that the Lord instituted his memorial supper of bread and wine as taking the place of the Paschal Supper of the literal lamb, coupled with the fact that the Passover lamb and the deliverance from Egypt which followed the eating of it, were typical of the Lamb of God and the deliverance of all who partake of his merits, leads us to recognize the propriety of commemorating on its anniversary, the death of its antitype, "the Lamb of God who taketh away the sins of the world," as the only intended and proper and significant time. We believe too, that this was what our Lord intended to be understood by his words, "As oft as ye do this, do it in remembrance of me;" i.e., as often as ye celebrate this Passover Supper, henceforth, you who believe in me as the antitype, the Lamb of God, should think of me and the real passing over due at the resurrection, and not any longer do this in commemoration of the typical lamb and the typical deliverance from Egypt.
Christians in every age have recognized the propriety of celebrating in some manner this great event of Calvary, and the purchase of the life of the world there effected; and many commemorate "Good Friday" and "Easter Sunday" in remembrance of the crucifixion and resurrection. But as for celebrating the Lord's death in the Supper, upon its anniversary, the very commemoration which he approved, that has been lost sight of for now nearly sixteen hundred years. It was dropped from policy, for two reasons: First, because of the animosity engendered between professed Christians and Jews: to cut the cord which would link the new religion with the old, for fear of the influence of other Jewish rites and customs over Christians; and secondly, because when Papacy had general control the "Sacrifice of the Mass" (which claims to be a fresh sacrifice of Christ repeatedly) was substituted for the one and true death, which alone and once for all time, taketh away the sins of the world.
Protestants coming out of papal darkness generally saw enough to lead them to reject the Mass – "the abomination" – and to re-establish the Lord's Supper in much of its early simplicity. They are in doubt, however, as to how often it is proper to celebrate it; some doing so every Sunday, some monthly, some quarterly, etc.
Scripture evidence upon the subject, however, removes all doubts and conjectures, and presents the ordinance in its primitive simplicity, and full of typical significance. As this subject was treated at some length in our issue of March 1888, we refer new readers to the article, "This Do in Remembrance of Me," in that number. We have a few copies on hand which we will be pleased to supply gratis, to such as are desirous of studying the subject from this standpoint.
It is our custom to celebrate this event on its anniversary as reckoned by the Jews – the reckoning followed by the apostles and the early church in general – lunar, not solar time. Following the lunar time exactly, as the early church did, the celebration may fall upon any one of the [R1100 : page 2] days of the week.* This year it will be upon Sunday evening April 14th (after six o'clock). At six o'clock of that evening, the 14th day of the Hebrew month Nisan begins, and lasts until Monday evening at six o'clock, where the 15th of Nisan commences the first day of the seven days festival of the Jews, called the Feast of Passover. We, however, do not celebrate their feast, neither do we use the literal lamb. Ours is the antitypical, the true Lamb of God, of whom the bread and wine are but emblems. And by and by we shall celebrate the antitype of their seven days feast of rejoicing, when all of God's people (all who have and will come into harmony with him, typified by Israel), shall have passed the Red sea of sin and its consequence, death, and stand on its further shore; and when Satan and all his willing followers with their slings and spears and chariots of evil devise, who now seek to hold in bondage, the first-born (the church) and all who desire to follow them and to serve the Lord, shall be finally and everlastingly overwhelmed in death – the lasting or second death. These and their final destruction were typified by Pharaoh and his horsemen, overwhelmed in the Red sea. From that calamity all who were under the blood of the Lamb were saved, – not only the first-born saved (spared) in that night (the present Gospel age), but also all the hosts of the Lord who followed their lead the next (the Millennial) morning.
Wherever two or three or more believers in the efficacy of the precious blood of our Lamb can do so, let them not forget to assemble themselves and "do this" in remembrance of him who did so much for us. But while desirous of thus meeting as many members of the Lord's body as possible, do not urge any, nor feel that numbers, or the presence of any particular one of your company, is essential; indeed meet the Lord alone and celebrate his great sacrifice if you can find no others near you who would enjoy the privilege with you.
Think not that the handling and commemorating of this simple ordinance belongs to a special class, called the "clergy," as some teach and as many believe. The Lord recognizes no such caste among [R1101 : page 2] his true followers, but declares, "all ye are brethren, and one is your Master, even Christ." All ye are ministers (servants) of Christ; all ye are preachers (declarers) of the good tidings, showing it in your cheerful words and looks and deeds, as well as telling it with your tongues and pens and through the printed page; all ye are priests, not of human ordination, but by divine acceptance as members of the body of our great High Priest – "the High Priest of our order" – "the Royal Priesthood" "after [like] the order of Melchizedek." – Matt. 23:8; Rev. 1:6; Heb. 3:1; 4:14; 7:21.
But while not seeking the company of any but the consecrated, be not close-communionists; attempt not to decide the rights of others at the Lord's table. If some of whom you disapprove draw near and desire to commemorate, remember that one at the table with the Lord was a deceiver and that very night betrayed him for money. If the Lord endured Judas, until the devil whom he served led him to "go out," so can you wait for the separation to come voluntarily, on the part of a similar class now.
It has been the custom of the church at Allegheny to invite all who can do so to meet with us here, to celebrate, and so far as possible to entertain those who come from a distance; and this invitation is warmly extended again, this year. Come, all who can; that we may celebrate our Redeemer's sacrifice, and in the three days following contemplate its fulness and sufficiency – as regards the consecrated church now, and as regards "all the families of the earth" shortly. Wait not for any further or private invitation. All who come will be welcomed, and this is your special invitation. But, let none come with bitterness of heart, or pride, or vain-glory; but with hearts overflowing with love to the Redeemer, and full of desire to know him, and to know his will and plan and our respective privileges therein more perfectly, let us meet.
Decide as soon as possible whether you can probably come. If you think you will come, please write us a letter or postal card on this one subject alone. Give your address very plainly and mention if others will be with you, what rail-road you will take, and when you expect to arrive here.
In reply to inquiries, whether there will be an opportunity during the meeting for water baptism (in symbolization of the real baptism or immersion into Christ – into his death) we would say, Yes! good opportunity. Both the "Baptists" and the "Disciples" have kindly placed their baptistries, robes, etc., at our disposal, for several years past. So many as feel that they have already been immersed into Christ, and are desirous of following the example of the Lord and the apostles, in the water symbol, will have the opportunity afforded them in the afternoon of Sunday April 14th. All such are requested to study the subject carefully with their Bible, Concordance and the May 1888 WATCH TOWER. Twenty-three rejoicingly availed themselves of this privilege just before our last Anniversary Supper. But we urge no one to thus openly confess his consecration. Nor do we make it a test of fellowship: we believe, however, that sooner or later the fully consecrated will be led to see the beauty and propriety of the water-symbol, and that whenever seen it becomes a test of the depth of our consecration, the reality of our death with Christ to the world and its opinions.
The bread used by the Lord was unleavened bread, bread made without yeast rising, much like water crackers but in large thin sheets. If you can procure such bread from a Hebrew family, do so; or if more convenient use water crackers. Not that it is essential to have bread made without yeast, for "we are not under Law" but controlled by love and privilege in this, as in the matter of the time of observing the supper. But as we desire to observe at the proper time, when we see its special appropriateness, so in the matter of the bread, when we see it to be a symbol or representation of our Lord's body, and when we learn that leaven or yeast is used in the Scriptures as a symbol of corruption and sin, we naturally desire to use as pure a bread-symbol as we can conveniently obtain, to represent the pure One – holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from the race of sinners.
The wine used by our Lord, to represent his shed blood, we have no doubt was made (as "orthodox" Hebrews still make their Passover wine) without any yeast or leaven being added to the grape juice to hasten fermentation. But nevertheless it was fermented wine; the elements of fermentation inhering in the grape juice, led by slower process to fermentation and clarification, and thus it became "wine." But while it is clear to us, that the wine used by our Lord at the Supper, was pure wine (but not simple grape juice, which would not keep without fermentation from fall to spring) and of the same sort mentioned elsewhere in Scripture, an excess of which would make drunk (Eph. 5:18; John 2:10; Luke 5:39), still, we feel convinced, as we view the havoc made by the adulterated wines and liquors of commerce, and the wrecking of health and homes which it has accomplished and is accomplishing, that our Lord would neither use those adulterated and injurious wines as a symbol of his precious life-giving blood, nor any other, even pure wine, calculated to awaken or revive an appetite for alcoholic liquors. We believe that he would regard in this matter the growing weakness of our dying race. And when we thus judge of our Lord's sentiments on the subject, and reflect that the celebration of his death in the use of emblems is not a command, but a privilege, we see that as it would not be wrong for us to use leavened bread, so it would not be a wrong, nor a neglect of the ordinance, for us to use something that will not tempt any, as a substitute for the wine; especially as this principle is strongly inculcated by the apostle, who says, "It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any thing whereby thy brother stumbleth, or is offended, or is made weak." "If meat make my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world standeth, lest I make my brother to offend." – Rom. 14:21; 1 Cor. 8:13.
What can we use instead of wine? We can do as the Hebrews used to do during the Passover week in which all leaven was forbidden them under the law. If their supply of wine ran short and they could obtain no more into which they were certain that no leaven or yeast had been put to hasten fermentation, they made of raisins a substitute for wine, equally a "fruit of the vine." We can all easily do the same. Get the common raisins, which are strongest in sugar, and after stewing them in a little water strain off and use the juice. And will not this be as really a "fruit of the vine" as though it were real wine? Therefore while not claiming that our Lord and the apostles used raisin-juice or grape-juice, but the real wine, we believe that because of our climate, and the push, drive and fast living of our day, and the present weakness of self-control among men, the Lord would approve our use of the raisin-juice fruit of the vine, rather than real wine, because of the changed circumstances.
For some years past a few of the friends at Allegheny have attempted to entertain all the visitors at these anniversary meetings, but as our gatherings increase each year, and will probably be much larger this year, this will be no longer possible.
It is proposed this year to divide this honor of serving the Lord's body, so as to give a larger number a share in the privilege, by dividing the visitors. One of the marks of female saintship in the early church was, "if she have washed the saints' feet." (1 Tim. 5:10.) Feet-washing being a necessity of that time, became a synonym of service and kindly hospitality. To illustrate this same principle of service and humility, our Lord used this same custom on the night of the Last Supper: and the entertainment of any of the household of faith, is really the fulfilment of our Lord's injunction, "See that ye wash one another's feet." But none should be permitted to overdo themselves in this blessed service, nor to deprive themselves of the spiritual communion of the meetings: to this end all have been urged to make only very simple arrangements, that both visitors and entertainers may have their principal feast upon the spiritual meat. Come then, expecting a warm welcome to such plain things as we have ourselves.
Those who may arrive on Sunday morning, April 14th, should come direct to our Meeting Room, No. 101 Federal Street, Allegheny, where there will be meetings at 10 A.M., 2 P.M., Baptism service at 4.30 P.M., and the Anniversary services at 7.30 P.M. The hours for meetings on succeeding days will be arranged later.
For the information of the friends, we announce, that we have arranged with restaurant-keepers here, so that all can have dinner and supper, near our hall, at 10 cents each, – no more than car-fare would cost you: the difference being made up by some of the friends here. Come to the morning meeting, therefore, with all your arrangements made to spend the entire day in spiritual communion.
Pennsylvania R.R. and branches. – In fact all rail-roads, members of "The Central Traffic Association," and "The Trunk Line Association." And these include most of the Rail Roads as far West as the Mississippi river.
To obtain this reduction, the following directions must be carefully followed, viz., Apply to the ticket agent of any of the roads named above (the one in your own town, or the nearest station to it on one of these roads). Ask him for a certificate with a first class limited ticket to Pittsburgh, Pa. (or better still to Allegheny, if their road enters Allegheny, which is just across the river from Pittsburgh). This certificate must not be dated earlier than April 11th, hence you must defer purchasing your ticket until ready to start for the meeting, though you had best inquire about price of ticket, route, certificate, etc., sooner.
You will be required to pay the full price for the limited ticket coming, but hold on to the certificate, and when properly signed by the clerk of our meeting here, you will be supplied a first class ticket back home, over the same route you came; at one third the usual first-class price, – good to reach home on, by or before April 21st. Follow these instructions carefully and you will have no difficulty whatever.
To all who write to us, as above suggested, saying they think of coming to the meeting, we will mail a sample of the sort of certificate they should expect to get (properly filled and signed) from their R.R. ticket agent.
"Why don't you enter in?
Into the work that calls for you,
Into the promises grand and true,
Into the inheritance that waits:
Why stand and weep without the gates,
O sorrowing one?
"You say you cannot see
Why, if He loves, He grieves you so,
Why thro' this path He made you go;
O if you'll enter in to-day,
He'll show you in His own sweet way,
Dear suffering one.
"But you will enter in,
I am so sure, some blissful day,
And then, you'll joy to hear Him say,
Why you have suffered and wept so sore,
And you will see your sorrow was the door
To let you in.
"He lets us in, –
O Alchemist divine, O wondrous sight!
Our counted tears all changed to jewels bright,
When we have entered in the secret place,
Where He reveals the wonders of His grace.
Then we can see the "all things" of His Word!
When we have fully entered into the will of God.
"For our conversation [lit. community – the government or polity in which we are sharers] is in heaven, from whence also we look for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who shall change our vile [ignoble] body that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body, according to the working whereby he is able even to subdue all things unto himself." – Phil. 3:19,20.
There is a very general misunderstanding among Christians with reference to the body here mentioned by the apostle. He is here supposed to teach that these human bodies are to be changed and made like Christ's glorious body; and that the promise is to all of mankind who will be saved. But, while it is true, and elsewhere taught, that the "little flock" shall be changed and given spiritual bodies like that of Christ, and that they will thus be like him, yet, this is not what the apostle is here teaching. It should be noticed that the word body is not plural, but singular; and that this letter is addressed to the saints in Christ. And since the apostle likens the church to a human body, the head of which represents our Lord, and the various other members the individual members of the church, we are warranted from the context in believing that the body to which he here refers, is the church, and that this is another instance in which he employs this figure.
The body or the church, in its present condition, is called a vile body, not because it is actually vile, but because it is so considered by the world. In the Emphatic Diaglott it is translated, "the body of our humiliation." And this body, the church, which in God's estimation is a holy body, a body justified, and consecrated to his service, and therefore acceptable to him, and by him anointed for the glorious work of carrying into execution his great plan of salvation by the restitution of all things, is to be changed from its present condition of humiliation to a glorious condition – to a condition suitable to its real character, and the high position it is destined to fill as the bride of Christ.
While, in God's estimation, the church is now regarded from the standpoint of her future exaltation as a glorious body, yet now, in the estimation of men, she is despised, rejected and hated, as was her Lord; because the world knows her not even as it knew him not. The world does not realize that this body, now in humiliation, is a body of kings and priests who shall by and by bear rule over angels and men. If they thought so, the saints would be very differently regarded and treated. They have found their Lord's prediction fully verified in their experience, – "Ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake." (Matt. 10:22.) They must, however, be patient in their humiliation and suffering unto the coming of the Lord. Their exaltation and glory is not due until then.
Though our Lord was changed from his condition of humiliation, and highly exalted to his present glorious condition nearly two thousand years ago, mankind in general is not even yet aware of his exaltation. Though they hear the church speak of it, they see no evidence of it, and have no faith in what they hear. The time when his glory will be manifested to all, so that none shall fail to recognize it, will be at his second advent; and we are further assured that the church's exaltation and glory shall occur, and shall be manifested at the same time – "When Christ ...shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory." (Col. 3:4.) Then, the church shall in reality be a glorious body, a body suitable in every way for the high position she shall fill as the bride of Christ – the companion of the Son of God for all eternity, his joint-heir in all things, and his efficient and thoroughly capable co-worker in the great mission to which Jehovah hath appointed the Christ – head and body – bridegroom and bride. Together they shall constitute the great Prophet, Priest and King whom Jehovah hath anointed; and their glory shall appear to all intelligent creatures in heaven and in earth.
But before this glorious exaltation, must come the deep humiliation of every member; and if we have no part in the humiliation, we have no share in the glory; for only the meek, the humble, faithful ones who prove their loyalty to the divine will by most severe and humbling tests, will be worthy. They must manifest their disposition toward God by obedience even unto death; strengthened while walking down into the very depths of humiliation, by faith in the promise of God, to exalt them in due time. We must close our eyes and ears to the world, let them think and talk of us as they will, only giving no real occasion, by any actions which our enlightened conscience cannot approve. We must be willing to be counted a "vile body," the refuse and dross of society, the offscouring of the church, and as fools and fanatics to be persecuted for righteousness sake. We must be willing to do good, to forward the truth and to suffer for it, and to continue on in the course directed by God, regardless of the losses and sufferings it will cost; through all waiting patiently, until in his own good time, God shall make our righteousness to shine forth as the noon-day, and silence all our opposers. – Psa. 37:6.
Not forgetting that there is but one such body let us look about us to discover it. Is it the great Roman Catholic Church? – Or the Episcopal, or the Lutheran, or the Baptist, or the Methodist, or the Congregational, or any of the numerous other religious "bodies" or organizations known by distinctive names? Are any of these organizations despised, rejected and counted "vile" by the world? No, not one of them. From the least to the greatest they are all respected, and thought and spoken well of; but the measure of their respect and esteem among men, is always in proportion to their numbers and wealth. Some of the smaller organizations, comparing their own with the larger and more influential, might say they are lightly esteemed and less favored by the world, but this does not answer the description of the true church. God's Word points out the true church, not by naming the organization, but by naming certain features by which it can be recognized.
First of all, he would have us bear in mind that there is but one true church (Col. 1:24; Heb. 12:23), and that other organizations called churches are not so recognized by him. Secondly, that this one church which God recognizes, is only a "little flock." (Luke 12:32.) So we need not be on the outlook for the largest organization as the true church of Christ. Thirdly, we are informed, that this "little flock" does not contain many of the rich, or great, or wise according to the wisdom of this world. (1 Cor. 1:26.) It may contain some of the rich and learned, but not many. The rich and learned generally esteem the honors of this world (which their riches and learning secure), too highly to associate themselves with the humble and despised. Fourthly, it is shown that while the church does not contain many of this class, it is composed almost entirely of the poor of this world. (James 2:5.) And though they are not generally learned, neither are they ignorant; for they are close students of God's Word and learned in the Scriptures; and the heavenly wisdom derived therefrom, gives them an education to which the wisdom of this world can never attain.
Fifthly, all the members of this little church are to be known, chiefly, by the spirit they manifest, which is the spirit of Christ; for, "If any man have not the spirit of Christ, he is none of his." (Rom. 8:9.) He is not recognized of God as a member of the church, however much he may profess to be. But here there is some danger of being mistaken, unless we observe very closely what the spirit of Christ is; for the world and nominal [R1103 : page 3] Christians have, and very positively assert, their idea of the spirit of Christ, and bitterly oppose those who truly manifest his spirit. Their idea of the spirit of Christ, is simply that of a tranquil, peaceful disposition, which manifests itself always and only in kind deeds and kind words which the world can recognize as such – a disposition which can never be roused to indignation, and to words and actions manifesting it. Study carefully the spirit manifested by our Lord, and you will find that while he was courteous and kind, he expressed his righteous indignation against evil-doers, and particularly against hypocritical evil-doers, who pretended to be faithful servants of God, and exemplary keepers of the law. He never avoided declaring the truth, even though it placed him in direct opposition to all the religious teachers of his day. And so far from maintaining peace and order, was the course which he pursued, that to those who had the same idea now so prevalent – that his words and actions should always be for peace – he said, "Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword; for I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law; and a man's foes shall be they of his own household. He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. And he that taketh not his cross and followeth after me is not worthy of me." (Matt. 10:34-37.) Mark also, that the spirit of our Lord was one of meekness and humility, and that so he taught his disciples, saying, "Take my yoke upon you and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart." In him, truth, humility and love found an exponent, who at the same time was bold as a lion in their true defense. Though we will not find the spirit of the Master exactly duplicated in the members of the true church, we will at least find in every member a measure of that spirit, and an effort and progress toward a fuller development of it, some being much more advanced than others.
Finally, we are told, that the true church is to be found walking in a very narrow way which few find, and in which fewer yet care to walk. It is the way of sacrifice, of suffering for righteousness' sake, and of humiliation even unto death.
This class with such experiences as we have described, would be esteemed by the world a very miserable "body" as well as a very ignoble one; but in this they are mistaken also, for not only is it very honorable and destined to exceeding glory and honor in God's due time, but it is also a very happy, joyful "body." Those of its members who sacrifice, suffer and endure most in the cause they serve – the Lord and the truth – are "always rejoicing" and "in everything giving thanks." They have a "peace which passeth all understanding" and a "joy which no man taketh from them;" because, having done the Father's will, they know of Christ's doctrine (John 7:17), and "the light of the knowledge of God as it shines forth in Christ, hath shined into their hearts (2 Cor. 4:6), giving beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness (Isa. 61:3), for as much as they "know that their labor is not in vain in the Lord," and that what he hath promised he also will perform. Hence these, outwardly buffeted, have the greatest peace at heart; and these, outwardly troubled, have the deepest real joys – the joys of the Lord.
Here is the description of the church. But comparing it carefully with every organization great and small, we find that not one of them answers the description. The true church is not a visibly organized body, and is not known among men as a church at all. Many of its members have been, and some still are, in the various nominal churches, and others are separate from all of them, so that you cannot point them out as a visible company and say to the world, This company is the true church. But, "The Lord knoweth them that are his" (2 Tim. 2:19), and they know each other wherever found, by the description which God has given. During this entire age it has been in existence, and has always been known and loved of God and nourished and sustained by him, though its scattered members have grown up as wheat in the midst of tares. Now, in the time of harvest, they may be more readily discerned as a company than ever before (except in the beginning of the age, before the tares began to mix in with them and to overshadow and hide them), because the Lord is calling them out, and separating them from the tares; and the table he has spread before them in the very presence of their enemies – the glorious truths now in due season revealed to them – is attracting them – in person so far as possible, and into sympathy and co-operation, however far separated personally.
Bear in mind, then, fellow-Christian, that this body, the church, which is to be changed and made glorious like her Lord, at his appearing, is now a vile (ignoble) body in the estimation both of the world and nominal Christians; that her present condition is as the body of humiliation; and that her chief ambition and effort now, is to use all her powers to the best advantage for the Master's glory, in the advancement of his cause and in the interests [R1103 : page 4] of his kingdom, rejoicing even in the midst of present persecutions, in hope of the coming glory, now shortly to be revealed. And if any Christian would make his calling and election sure, he must see that he is one of this "vile body," bearing some of the reproach of Christ. The present humiliation and sacrifice of the church, as well as her more glorious future work, is all for the grand purpose of subduing all things unto Christ. It is the indirect means which has for its grand ultimate object the restitution of all things.
Such being the hope of the church, her interests are not in the things of this present time – what shall we eat, and what shall we drink, and wherewithal shall we be clothed? – how shall we plan for the future comforts and good things of this life, etc., etc.? These are not the questions of chief interest among the saints. The King and kingdom to which they owe allegiance are heavenly, and wherever the forwarding of their interests requires the sacrifice of earthly good things, that sacrifice for that object becomes a pleasure; and hence the saints have no interests here which they do not expect to sacrifice for the interests of that kingdom in which they shall be sharers, and to which they are even now heirs and reckoned of God as sharers. They count that already their citizenship is in that heavenly kingdom, and that here they are merely aliens and foreigners.
Therefore, under the kingdoms of this world they have a right to expect only such rights and privileges as are accorded to aliens and foreigners, yet they know that even such rights and privileges may in many cases be denied them; for now "the kingdom of heaven [represented by the church] suffereth violence," and it shall continue to suffer violence to some extent until it is set up in glory and power.
The "body" of Christ in its present condition of humiliation, is actually a very imperfect body, though reckoned perfect through the imputed righteousness of Christ; for we have the heavenly treasure – our new, transformed mind – in earthen vessels, full of imperfections inherited through the fall. These we strive continually to overcome; yet we shall never be fully able to eradicate them all. Our weaknesses of mind and body and bias of disposition, must be fought down, and kept under, every inch of the way. Inherited, and formerly cultivated, sinful dispositions, such as pride, love of display and praise of men, love of ease, selfishness, indolence, and every other sinful propensity, will prove a means of discipline to us in our efforts to overcome them, and to oppose them by doing the will of God. And the patience with which we bear with each other, as we gradually grow up into Christ, will prove the measure of our love both for each other and for our Lord, whose we all are.
The various members of the body of Christ, knit together in love, should bear with each other, giving and receiving reproof in the spirit of meekness; each being careful not to put a stumbling-block or cause of offence in his brother's way; or if he has unwittingly done so, to quickly remove it as soon as he is made conscious of it. We are not to judge one another after the flesh but after the spirit, remembering that the flesh warreth against the spirit, and that it requires a desperate struggle in many cases to keep it down. If a brother through the weakness of the flesh has stumbled, remember it was through his weakness, and be patient and helpful, unless he manifests no disposition to regret it or to reform, in which case he needs counsel and reproof; for unless he reform he will be considered by the Lord as unworthy and will be cut off from the body.
In the preceding verses, Paul speaks of some in his day, who after identifying themselves with the church, became the enemies of the cross of Christ by walking after the flesh and minding earthly things, and shows that the end of such a course is destruction. He warned the church against such, that they might not assimilate with, or recognize them, or be deceived by them into the idea that we can mind the earthly things, giving our effort and time and attention and interest to them, and still be of the little flock which God recognizes as his church, the body of Christ.
Now we wish to talk a little to those sisters in Christ who have some talents, however great or small, which they desire to make use of in the interest of the great harvest work. We have nothing to say at present to those Christian women who find both the center and circumference of their desires and efforts to do good, within the comparatively narrow sphere of home, except that they are living far below their privilege, and that selfishness, and not the glory of God chiefly, is the mainspring of their efforts whether they yet realize the fact or not.
Let us not be too quick to conclude that we have no talents. All the called ones have at least one, though the majority have more. Remember that health, money, time, influence, mental activity, education, and every advantage we possess, is a talent, to be used or abused. And while we should not think of ourselves more highly than we ought to think, neither should we underrate our abilities. We should think of ourselves soberly, and take as nearly as possible a correct estimate, in order that we may make the best possible use of our powers.
We have heretofore shown the principles which should govern Christian women in all their work – that modesty of demeanor, dress, etc., should always be observed, and that every thing approaching a boastful, heady, high-minded spirit should be studiously avoided. Bearing this in mind, let us inquire then – In what way can we do harvest work to the best advantage?
On this point several suggestions might be made. They will not fit every case and some of them may be impracticable in many cases, but we can make use of any or all of them as we find ability and opportunity. We should not forget that the strongest influence is generally that which comes closest to the heart, and here is woman's opportunity. The truth may be presented ever so clearly and eloquently in a public discourse, and the majority of its hearers will soon forget it in the multitude of other cares. But a woman whose heart is filled with the truth and the spirit of the truth, can drop in for a neighborly call and brush away the rubbish of care, water the seed with a little Christian sympathy, warm it with the happy sunshine of her living faith, and loosen the soil about it by tenderly showing how helpful such a faith is in lightening the cares of life, and how much it has done for herself in this way.
Then, is any one sick in your neighborhood? You are generally welcome with your helping hand, your cheerful smile, and words of comfort, both to the sick and to the anxious friends who watch over them. Let your words be seasoned with the hope of the gospel, in such measure as may be most helpful to them, while your kindly offices give them confidence in your Christian spirit of love and self-sacrifice, and prepare the soil for the reception of the truth. Sometimes you will find it expedient to thus prepare the soil by more or less acquaintance before you drop any of the seeds into it. In this be wise and harmless, as the Master directs, but not too slow and over cautious else you will fail of your important work.
Then remember, "the poor you have always with you;" and generally they are the class most ready to receive the truth. Some of them may be rough and rude and by no means congenial to your tastes. And when you were of the world you may have shunned them, and thus incurred their displeasure. Ah, what a mission you have here! and what a test, too, of your standing, and measure of your growth. Stop first and measure yourself, before you think of what you can accomplish in this way. Is your former pride crucified, so that you would not be ashamed to be seen with that coarse, uncouth neighbor, or to be called her friend, if thereby you can feed her with the bread of life? Would you be ashamed to say before your friends, as the Lord said to Zaccheus (Luke 19:5), I will dine with thee to-day, or Thou shalt dine with me? Have you learned to mind not high things, but to condescend to men and women of low estate, for the privilege of helping them up? (Rom. 12:16.) – and that, too, not in a condescending, patronizing way, but with true sisterly sympathy and love, manifested in your kindly courteous manner, plainness of dress, and simplicity of home appointments?
If so, you can carry the blessed tidings to many a lowly, and to many a wretched home. And among them you will occasionally find one of the Lord's precious jewels, perhaps unfortunately united to a depraved character who calls himself husband, though he never knew the meaning of the name, and never filled the office. Crushed under a load of care and sorrow, and shunned by the more fortunate, what a comfort and blessing you may be, with your true friendship and the good tidings of great joy.
Then there are children in your neighborhood. The children of the rich you may not be able to reach, but the children of the poor may be reached, if you use tact and discretion. You might gather a class of children about you to meet with yours at stated times, and then tell them the old, old story in as pleasing and simple a way as you can. Inspire the little ones with the hope of the glorious restitution of all things to Edenic glory and beauty. Paint the glowing details before the simple mind of a childhood and let them carry it home, being careful not to give meat too strong. Your own children, too, carefully instructed, may be little messengers of God. If they like the service, tell them they are God's little angels (messengers) and that all their little services are appreciated in heaven, where their names are written and they are personally beloved.
As to your children's associations, you need to bear in mind that "evil communications corrupt good manners;" and, therefore, in the impressible period of childhood it will not do to let your children mingle indiscriminately with others, much as you may love the parents and desire to show yourself friendly to them and theirs. Indeed they will be better, especially in these days, to be kept to themselves as much as possible. And if your principles on this point are made known to your friends, they will not misunderstand, but will probably endeavor to imitate you. On very special occasions, however, you might find it expedient to call in your neighbors' children, even if they are rude and ill-mannered, that yours may treat them kindly and show themselves friendly. Under your eye, politeness and kindness and good feeling will readily take the place of rude ways. The strongest characters to resist evil are not those who never meet it, but those who do meet it, and overcome it. If your children at school and in the neighborhood meet rude children, and their rudeness is never commented upon or discountenanced by you, they will surely imitate it. Yet such comments should always be with charity and pity, and should never be made before others. While you teach your children to dislike the evil, teach them also to love and pity the evil-doer, as God does, and to study how they may help them. Be on the alert for all such opportunities, and by so doing you will develop strong characters able to resist the evil, which sooner or later they must meet, and to overcome it with good. Thus trained, you will soon have them as active co-workers with you and with God in the great work.
If worldly ambitions for your children as well as for yourself, have been sacrificed – as they must be with the faithful, consecrated ones – and your chief desire for them is to have them faithful, humble and competent servants of God, you have here a grand opportunity to prove your faithfulness – or vice versa; and it will affect all your plans for them. As a servant of God you will bring them up as near to his idea as possible, teaching them that the adornments of the mind and heart are the chief adornments in God's sight.
Another quiet unobtrusive way of working would be to visit the various churches, particularly their prayer and conference meetings and the Methodist class meetings, dropping a seasonable word where you can, and observing those who appear to be most earnest and devoted to the Lord, in order that you may acquaint yourself with them, or hand or mail them something to read, or visit them.
Then again, there are both friends and strangers near and far, who may be reached both by personal letters and printed matter. Here lies a wonderful fruitful field of labor – practically unlimited. Mark, too, your privilege of spreading the cheerful meal – not elaborately, but plainly, and such as the humblest might imitate – and calling in, not your friends and rich neighbors, but any of God's children without respect to their earthly condition, who may be blessed by such a season of communion with saints. And verily, you shall not lose your reward, even in the present life. Remember, too, the old proverb which you can apply to advantage in the Lord's service, viz., If you would have friends you must show yourself friendly. Teach the little ones too, to enjoy and assist in such hospitality with you; and show them that [R1104 : page 5] this is the way, God's way, for us to find real happiness – in blessing and serving each other.
On such and on all occasions discountenance everything approaching gossip, and show most decidedly that you have neither an ear nor a tongue for any such thing, and make some features of the truth, or of the harvest work, the topic of conversation.
Then, in addition to these ways, in which it would seem very many could engage, there are the more fruitful means, such as those free from domestic encumbrances find – in canvassing town and city and country, and spreading the truth broadcast in printed form, leaving it to do its blessed work in silence, or to be watered and cultivated by some neighborly Christians who see in this their opportunity for service. But the above means will be open to the greatest number.
Some, not fully understanding the spirit of consecration, may feel inclined like a certain class mentioned in one of our Lord's parables, to at once make excuse, saying, "I have no time, no money to spare for feasting friends and neighbors, too much opposition at home to claim such privileges, no talent to talk of the truth. I do not like to associate with people I have always considered beneath me, or to have my children mingle with theirs. I have no special aptitude to serve the sick, and my neighbors are generally well again, before I know they have been sick, etc."
Well, then my dear friend, the principle difficulty with you is that you are not very anxious to find work in the vineyard; and if so, then you are not wanted there. Where there is a will, there is always a way to do something. You have not much time, but by economy of labor, in simplicity of house-keeping, of cooking, of dress, etc., by regularity and system, by seasonable times for rising and retiring, etc., and in various ways you can gain some time. If you have but little means, do not be too proud to be hospitable in a plain simple way. The Lord and his disciples often had nothing more than bread and fish. You have opposition from the worldly-minded in your home, but why allow all your rights to be rudely trampled under foot? If you have faithfully served the interests of husband and family these many years, or if as a young mother and wife, you are doing so now, it is your right and privilege to extend your simple hospitality to your friends as well as theirs. And you should claim and use the right. As your children grow up let them see that you expect their services, and while they are growing speak of the time when you will need it. Train them to the idea of relieving the cares of father and mother as soon as they are able. And as they are able, put little responsibilities on them, and use the time so gained in the Master's service. Some selfish, worldly husbands need to have this thought kept before them, too; for many such will see a faithful wife plod on year after year under burdens which they would not touch, and then feel that they are greatly wronged, if she seeks to have them lightened, when such a thing is possible. But remember that our first allegiance is to our heavenly Bridegroom; and where his counsel is called in question, there is but one proper course, and that is, loyalty to him at any cost. For this same reason, that you may have more time for the Lord's special work, be less particular than you would prefer to be about non-essential features of your housekeeping. Do not be too hard to please in your house assistant. She will not do the work so well, or systematically as you have done it yourself; but be satisfied with the best she can do under your direction and training.
You will probably find, too, after faithfully making the effort a few times, that you have a better talent for talking of the truth than you now know of. Indeed you will often surprise yourself; for the Lord has promised you a mouth and wisdom that none of your adversaries can gainsay or resist. Sometimes you will find your opportunity best used in reading to others, or in merely talking enough to introduce the reading matter, and to lead your neighbor or friend to investigate.
The excuse that you do not like to associate with some of the humble ones, savors both of the spirit of the world, and also of a seeming necessary prudence; and therefore it may be well to consider it carefully. The first thought is of the old nature – an outcropping of its pride and high-mindedness. Resist it, remembering the Master's words: – "Except ye be converted and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven. Whosoever shall humble himself as a little child, the same is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whosoever shall receive one such little child (a humble teachable believer, or one likely to receive the truth) receiveth me." – Matt. 18:3-5.
Thus, in very many humble ways, the watchful faithful stewards will find opportunities to invest their talents with a good hope of considerable interest. He that is faithful in that which is least, will be faithful also in much. (Matt. 25:21,23.) Study to show yourself a workwoman approved unto God.
The reader is reminded that these words, though given as part of Rev. 20:5 in our common version Bibles, are not found in the oldest and most reliable Greek manuscripts; – in none written prior to the fifth century, nor even in Vatican MS. 1160, of the eleventh century; neither does the Syriac MS. contain these words: but many MSS., not so old nor so exact generally, do contain the words. Whether they were originally a memorandum by some copyist, who thus commented for his own subsequent remembrance and jotted down his thought of the meaning of the text, afterward copied by others as part of the text, or whether the words really belong to the text and were accidentally omitted from the best, oldest and most reliable manuscripts, we will know, when we know all things. To us, these facts are of sufficient weight to warrant the conclusion that they are spurious.
However, for the sake of those not so fully convinced, let us here consider the words as though they were part of John's inspired revelation. And it will be seen that even if they are not spurious, but properly of the text, yet they are in perfect harmony with the plan of the ages. The difficulty in the minds of those troubled by this expression, arises mainly from their failure to fully appreciate the terms "lived" and "resurrection."
The passage when rightly understood is not at all in conflict with the Bible teaching, that all that are in their graves shall come forth, and that all shall be brought to a knowledge of the truth, and to a full opportunity for accepting or rejecting it, during the period of Christ's Millennial reign, and that with its close comes the end of human probation, when the willingly obedient shall all enjoy everlasting life, and the willingly disobedient will all be cut off in the second death; and that Adamic death shall cease, being destroyed by the Redeemer and Life-giver; and when, consequently, pain, sorrow and weeping, incidents of that Adamic penalty shall be forever at an end.
The word life, really signifies that perfect state of existence from which death and dying, sickness and pain, and all the elements of death and condemnation, are excluded. Adam and Eve (before they sinned, and passed under condemnation of death and began to decay), and our Lord Jesus who was sinless, alone, of all human beings, ever had life; they alone ever "lived" in the full proper sense of the word; all others, born under Adamic condemnation (Rom. 5:12,17-19), are properly speaking dying, not living now. The death sentence having passed upon all, from the true standpoint of life all are in death – dying. All inherit the weaknesses, the imperfection and sin, and like-wise the penalty, dying and death. Thus our Lord also, at times, spoke of the race as a whole – "Let the dead bury their dead."
We all know what it is to be dying until totally dead; let us all learn that it means to reverse this order, when we speak of living until perfectly alive. As the present and the past six thousand years, have been a dying time, – a time in which DEATH HAS REIGNED and triumphed and conquered the race – so the coming thousand years, the Millennium of Christ's reign, is to be a re-living time, a time in which LIFE WILL REIGN, the result of Christ's obedient sacrifice. – Rom. 5:17-19.
Many make the mistake of supposing that death was conquered when our Lord Jesus arose from the dead. True, there death was forced to surrender Him who is to be the destroyer of death, the life-giver to as many as will receive everlasting life as a gift of God upon his conditions, but Adamic death was not conquered then, nor its power even restrained. The long six thousand years reign of death has not yet been interrupted, except by the resurrection of our Lord. Death reigned before the Law – from Adam to Moses, – and during the Law or Mosaic dispensation, which gave release to none; and it has also reigned during the Gospel age over all except Christ. And since, we walk by faith and not yet by sight; trusting our Lord's promises of final victory through a resurrection out of death's domain and power.
The apostle after relating (1 Cor. 15:42-54) the particulars of the first resurrection, that of the Gospel church, to the likeness, glory and power of her Lord, which he shows to be due at the appearing of her Lord, in the beginning of the [R1106 : page 5] Millennial age (1 Pet. 1:7; Titus 2:13; 2 Tim. 4:8), exultantly exclaims: "Then shall be brought to pass [to fulfilment] the saying which is written, 'Death is swallowed up in victory!'" But it is a further mistake to suppose the apostle to mean that the victory over death is gained when the church is completed, in the first resurrection. Not so; on the contrary he shows, that then shall be brought to pass, or from then on shall be accomplished, the victory over death.
The resurrection of the Church, with the change of the living members of the same, marks the period of the inauguration of Christ's Kingdom, and from then on the reign of sin and death must give place to the reign of righteousness and life. The victory of the Life-giver, assured eighteen centuries ago by his resurrection from the dead by the power of the Father, will begin with the deliverance of his joint-heirs, the first resurrection, but thank God it does not end there.
"Dear dying Lamb, thy precious blood
Shall never lose its power,
'Till all the ransomed hosts of earth
Are saved from Satan's power."
Then the general resurrection, of the dead and dying world, will begin. But it will not be at all like what is generally surmised. It will be the work of the entire Millennial age, a gradual lifting up to perfect life of those of mankind who shall then be found worthy of it. And though this work of resurrecting will be gradually progressing throughout the Millennial age, yet the rest of the dead (aside from those who share in the first resurrection, and live and reign with Christ) will not live again in the full sense of living – in the sense of regaining the perfection of life lost in Adam, – until the thousand years are finished.
"The wicked shall never see life," in this full sense (Psa. 49:19,20; John 3:36), though all the families of the earth shall be awakened and brought to full clear knowledge of the truth, before being sentenced as "wicked." – 1 Tim. 2:3,4; Heb. 10:26.
Let us contrast briefly the trial of those who shall share the first resurrection, with that of those who shall share the general resurrection; and the Lord's method of giving the reward to the worthy of this trial and to the worthy in that; and the reasons for the differences; in order that we may comprehend the situation more clearly.
The first resurrection at the beginning of the Millennial age and the completion of the general resurrection at its close, reminds us of the fact that our Lord was raised from the power of death, perfect, in the beginning of the Gospel age, but the church lives not until the end of the Gospel age. But while there is this general resemblance between the two ages, in the fact that trial and testing come throughout, and the reward of life at the close, there is a wide difference between them in other respects. For instance: –
First, the kind of "life everlasting" to be bestowed in the end of the Gospel age to the Gospel church, will differ from that to be given the faithful of the Millennial age – or rather, to express it correctly, the Gospel church will obtain similarly everlasting life, but will have bestowed upon them a higher nature or finer organism. Both classes when perfected, will have perfect everlasting life, but the one will be a perfection of human nature, – "very good," grand indeed, an image and likeness in the flesh, of the divine while the other will be superlatively grand, of a nature, organism, etc., not only higher than human, but "far above angels" – the express image of the Heavenly Father's substance – "partakers of the divine nature."
Second, the kind and degree of trial will be very different. In the Millennial age all who would have the perfection of human life, then to be freely bestowed [R1106 : page 6] upon all worthy of it, will be required to prove their worthiness by willing conformity, not only to the righteous laws which will then prevail, but also to principles of righteousness. They must come to love righteousness and hate iniquity, not merely from fear of penalties, but on principle. But then knowledge will be clear and all things favorable to righteousness. In the Gospel age much more exacting and crucial is the test. All who shall share Christ's nature and throne are obliged to prove their worthiness by enduring much opposition from the wicked and blinded in the present age, as well as from their own physical and mental weaknesses and imperfections. They must prove themselves "overcomers" by patiently and perseveringly doing the Lord's will as best they can understand and do it.
Third, the methods of giving the reward of life will differ. The Gospel church must walk by faith all the way, being treated as other men, subject to many of the vicissitudes of disease and death much as others; and they must trust, believe and hope for the life promised at the close of the age without experiencing any evidence of it on the way, except by faith. They, like others, have pain, sickness, sorrows and difficulties; they are men of sorrows and acquainted with grief, and are finally sown in death. Though trusting in Christ as their Savior and Life-giver, and publicly declaring it, yet they must in dishonor and weakness fall under the blow of the now reigning prince of darkness – death – hoping, praying, trusting for the resurrection-life promised, but not in any measure actually accomplished in them. "I have said, Ye are gods, all of you sons of the Most High; but ye shall all die like men and fall like one of the chiefs." (Psa. 82:7.) [We do not fall in death as sinners, like Adam, but as sacrifices for the truth in opposition to error, like the other chief – Christ Jesus – with whom we are reckoned joint-sacrificers.] These, having passed all their trial satisfactorily, without rewards, will be given the great reward all at once, without further trial. Their resurrection or perfecting as new creatures, spiritual beings, will be an instantaneous one – in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye.
But with the world, during the Millennial age, it will be very different. They will not be promised life and restitution, yet be deprived of it entirely until the close of their age, and be obliged to sicken and die. No; on the contrary, Death shall reign no longer. At the very beginning of the Millennial age, Life will begin to reign, and will begin to pay his wages unto all obedient unto the spirit of the law of life. Each act of obedience shall be rewarded; each effort to honor and obey and uphold the right and the truth, will bring its compensation; not only of pleasure and a sense of heavenly approval, but also of health and strength – a gradual release from death, and a gradual bestowal of life. The work of restitution, as it relates to mind and morals and physical development is the resurrection work; – lifting the race up, out of the death state and all the degradation into which the penalty of Adam's sin plunged it. This is the true meaning of the word resurrection.
It is a serious and blinding mistake, made by very many, to suppose that the raising of a corpse out of a tomb, or even the re-animation of a dead person, such as Lazarus, the widow's son, Jairus' daughter, etc., to be resurrections. Not at all; the term resurrection is never applied to such cases in the Scriptures. Of Lazarus our Lord said, I go to awake him out of sleep. He was re-animated or awakened to a former degree of life; or rather, we might more properly say, to the former degree of death. Of little value would the promise of resurrection be, to any, if it merely signify awakening and re-animation to our present, poor, dying state. Thank God it means in the fullest sense "to raise up again" not partially, but up, up, up to perfection. To the majority, as already shown, this will mean a lifting up, or back, to the perfection of human nature lost by father Adam – gradually, during the Millennium, and in co-operation with their own efforts and longings for righteousness and perfection, mental, moral and physical. To the "little flock," who, under the favor of the Gospel call, have exchanged human nature (by its sacrifice) for divine nature, it means, the lifting up (at one bound – in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye) to the full perfection of the new nature – the divine nature; not gradually, but instantly, from mortality to immortality, from weakness to power, from dishonor to glory, from a natural body to a spiritual body; because their trial is fully past before death. And all who shall be accounted worthy of the first [chief] resurrection will have been already proved "overcomers," "faithful until death," and "worthy," or they would not have part at all in that chief resurrection.
Blessed and holy, proved and accepted, are all they that have part in the first resurrection. And while all others shall share in the general resurrection, none but holy ones shall ever reach its grand climax – perfect life; – for everlasting life is the gift of God (through Jesus Christ our Lord); and he gives it to none of the wilfully wicked or rebellious, but only to such as will serve, honor and obey him, when their knowledge and opportunities are perfect. All shall be awakened and brought to full knowledge before being sentenced as "wicked." But the wicked shall never see life. – Psa. 145:20; Heb. 10:26,27; John 3:36.
"They that shall be accounted worthy to obtain that age and the resurrection from among the dead, neither marry nor are given in marriage." – Luke 20:25.
We do not here treat the subject, "Whose wife shall she be?" having already considered it. (See, TOWER of March '87.) We wish now merely to draw attention to the harmony between the above words of our Lord and the foregoing view, on the meaning of the word resurrection, as applied to the world, showing the class worthy of it, and how the worthiness or unworthiness of each will be demonstrated by their conduct, when awakened from death.
We cannot understand our Lord's words, to apply to the saints, the church, who will share in the first resurrection; for the inquiry and conversation were regarding another class, and by another class. The Lord's answer applied to ordinary Jews who knew nothing about the first resurrection, the reward of following the Lord in sacrifice.
The Millennial age is an age of trial, a transition period, and hence was not the age looked to by the question of the Sadducees who wished to know how matters would be finally and everlastingly. Our Lord's answer meets the question exactly; he does not explain how it will be during the Millennial age, while the race is being awakened, and while the willing ones are being restored from death to life, but pointing his words to "that age" of perfection which will follow the Millennium of testing, he informs them first of all, that it is an open question as yet whether the woman and the seven husbands will be accounted worthy of that age, worthy of resurrection, – of being raised up again to the perfection lost in Adam, and entering the everlasting state. Thus our Lord clearly teaches that though all that are in their graves shall hear his voice and come forth, some [the church] will come forth to a resurrection of life, and some will come forth to a resurrection of judgment or trial, – a resurrection work being begun which for its completion will depend wholly upon the faithfulness of those being tried in it. If in that period of judgment-resurrection any shall be proved worthy of the perfect age and everlasting life, he shall have it; and any found unworthy in that time shall not obtain access to the perfect age, nor to the perfection of life: They are "wicked" and "shall not see life," nor be worthy of complete resurrection.
But, let us remember, that since a full release from the wages of Adam's sin (death – everlasting destruction) has been granted, it follows that the Millennial trial of each, individually, will be as though each were perfect, as though they had never been condemned in Adam, – full allowance being made by the Judge for the weaknesses, from the fall, remaining in them. Each will be judged by his own attitude toward righteousness, under the clear light and full understanding of the Millennial age. Only those wilfully opposed to righteousness, when clearly seen, will be condemned as unworthy of life; and such as then die, will die the second death; for if never fully lifted up out of the present dying state, it will be their own fault entirely – an evidence of their unwillingness to have life upon the only conditions it ever will be offered – obedience to God's righteous law.
Hence, when we read, "Even death the last enemy shall be destroyed," "Death shall be swallowed up in victory," etc., we should "rightly divide the word of truth," and note that it is the release of humanity from the penalty which came upon all through Adam's sin and not from the second death, which will come upon wilful sinners only.
Adamic death, though a just penalty, is an enemy or opponent, because it slew all – both the wilfully wicked, and the ignorant and blinded, and those also who willed to do well and loved righteousness. It was because God foresaw that there would be such lovers of righteousness under the death condemnation, that Christ Jesus died for our sins and released all from that penalty so as to give life to as many as would take pleasure in using it to God's glory and their own everlasting well-being.
The second death, on the contrary, is not an enemy but a blessing; just as the destruction of useless, injurious and filthy rubbish, is a blessing. If the second death meant everlasting torture, the case would be different: No excuse could be offered to justify the perpetuation in misery of the existence of any creature, however wicked. Extinction (death, without hope of resurrection) is certainly a just penalty upon those who are wilfully wicked, after they had full knowledge of good as well as evil, and the results of each. But the second death is an enemy to none of the righteously disposed; to them it is a blessing. The utter destruction of such as are proved unfit to have life, is needful to the harmony of God's kingdom and the peace and happiness of such as love righteousness. And this is the testimony of God's word concerning his plan: "All the wicked will he destroy." He will "destroy those that corrupt the earth. These are the symbolic "goats" of Matt. 25:41,46, also called the angels, messengers or servants of Satan, and the symbolic "fire" destroys them. The second death will be proportionately as great a blessing, in ridding the earth of the evil-disposed incorrigible, as the Adamic death was an enemy, destroying the well-disposed with the evil-doers and the ignorant.
Some seem to get the impression, that for the Lord to finally destroy some of his creatures – Satan, and such as have his spirit of opposition to righteousness, – would imply a failure of the divine plan. Such ask, Is it not written that "All his purposes shall be accomplished?" and, Cannot God melt the hardest hearts? and will not Christ subdue all things unto himself and reign until he has put down all enemies?
Yes, we answer; God's plan will be fully accomplished, but it does not follow that every human plan is the divine one. Nowhere has God declared it to be his plan to preserve everlastingly every creature he has made, and to force all such into obedience. To suppose such pride on the part of the Almighty would be to accuse him of folly. And if such a pride of workmanship related to man would it not extend to all of his creation and insure the resurrection to everlasting life, of every animal, fowl, fish and insect that ever lived?
But such is not God's declared plan. On the contrary, while the Scriptures declare that God takes no pleasure in the death of any of the human family, but would or is willing that all should turn unto him and live, and has made abundant provision in harmony with this, his will, through Christ's sacrifice and coming Millennial reign, yet he declares clearly, that as sin in Eden brought death (from which we were redeemed by Christ's death, because it was not the penalty of our own wilful sin) so when each stands trial for himself the penalty will be no different; for God and his law have not changed. "The wages of sin is death," still. And in the individual trial, "The soul that sinneth [wilfully], it shall die," though in that [Millennial] day none shall die for another's sins, as now.
So far from planning to coerce all men into his service, God's plan is the very reverse; only the willingly obedient shall eat the good of the land – shall partake of his bounties of lasting life and favor. Had God chosen to make man a mere machine – without will of his own, acting only as acted upon – would he not after making the machine right, keep it right; and not permit it to fall into destruction? Experience would be worse than wasted on such beings. But this theory would necessitate the conclusion, that God is responsible for all the sin and misery of the world. It implies that the fault is all with God, and starts the inquiry, Why did he not make the human machine as he wanted it at first? If this theory were true, God would be the great and only sinner; the only one justly worthy of punishment.
But this theory would make God a liar, a deceiver, a hypocrite and unjust; for he tells us that the sin was man's, and that the penalty inflicted was just. Let us believe God. The man he created was a fleshly image of himself. He was in a fit condition to be tried or tested, to prove [R1107 : page 7] himself worthy or unworthy of life. He was organically perfect; nothing imperfect would be an image of God; nothing else could be tried or condemned, justly. To set Adam on trial, not only for his own life but also as the representative of the race in him, and to have him fall because created imperfect, would be unjust; and such a trial would be a farce, a deception, a great wrong. Any penalty would be unjust under such circumstances.
Not only organically perfect, but also favorably situated in Eden, Adam had no reasonable temptation to disobey God's command, as would have been the case had other food been scarce and he about to die of hunger. If, having promised him life, God had made insufficient provision of food, etc., and forbidden a fruit necessary to his existence, Adam would have had some excuse for his disobedience and might have said, Lord you promised me life, but I was dying of hunger, and therefore I ate supposing you had forgotten your promise. In such a case the disobedience would not have been wilful, but under provocation – temptation. But God tempteth no man.
It is true, though Adam had a perfect brain, he had not reached perfect knowledge and experience at the time of his trial. It was not needful to a fair trial that he should have had experience in disobedience, [R1108 : page 7] or a knowledge beyond what he possessed. He knew that God was his Creator and Benefactor and that he ought to render obedience to his commands, if he would continue to enjoy his favor and blessings. Nor was it needful to the trial that he should have large experience in the use of his perfect mind, for instance for the construction of apparatus for analyzing the forbidden fruit, to see whether it contained something really injurious, or for reasoning out the cause of its prohibition. The reason and propriety of this as a trial or test of his obedience, he no doubt would have been permitted to fully understand afterward, had he continued obedient to God.
Adam was not deceived even (1 Tim. 2:14); he disobeyed God knowingly and willingly, evidently with the expectation and intention of dying; because his loved companion had been deceived into disobedience. As a free moral agent, he was left to do as he chose, and he wilfully chose to disobey and received the penalty – death.
This power of will or choice belongs to human nature as God made it. Were it otherwise, human nature could not be called an image or likeness of God's nature. God has a will and exercises it. Man, made in God's likeness, must have a similar will of his own, and must be similarly free in its exercise. Adam's proper course would have been to say, Though all my happiness seems lost by the disobedience of my dear companion, for I know that God meant all he said, when he pronounced the penalty for disobedience, yet two wrongs will never make one right. I will be obedient myself, and go to God and confess with sorrow the case as it is, and solicit his mercy in view of the extenuating circumstance of Eve's deception. I will lay the case in the hands of our kind benefactor, praying that whatever his love and wisdom and power and justice can arrange may be done for her atonement and recovery. Peradventure he may see a way to maintain his own justice, and yet spare the only companion I have on earth. But self-will chose the independent course; and Adam determined to share the fate of his wife. His was really a case of suicide.
Human nature has not changed, though our free agency is very largely curtailed by our unfavorable surroundings and our unbalanced, unsound minds on all subjects. With the restoration or resurrection, under the advantageous surroundings and allowances of the Millennium, the free agency or free will of man so far from being utterly destroyed will be restored, perfectly and completely; and by their will all will be judged worthy or unworthy of life everlasting. If it were a labor for the Almighty to create human beings or to destroy them, or if numbers were a necessity in his plan, there might be some room for questioning whether ages and ages of effort would not be made to bend the wills and turn the hearts of those found incorrigible during, and at the close of, the Millennium. But, when to create or destroy, are as easy with the Almighty as to preserve us alive, we see the wisdom of his plan of giving and continuing life to only such as appreciate it as his favor, and who, when fully informed, will rejoice to co-operate with God in recognizing it as the all in all of wisdom and righteousness – their wills being in perfect harmony with his.
The promise that all things shall be "subdued," or "put under Christ," refers to the power that will coerce active evil during the Millennial age. All things actively in opposition to God's plan and law will be subdued, restrained, hindered. And if, after being for a time outwardly forced to obey the laws of righteousness, the former evil-doers continue opposed at heart they shall be cut off (Isa. 65:20; Rev. 20:7-10,15), that evil may be rooted out and righteousness firmly and lastingly established in and through them that love it.
DEAR SIR AND BROTHER: – I have read with much interest your work "MILLENNIAL DAWN," and I agree that the theory it presents, though new [The original, old theology of the Bible, we call it. – EDITOR.], ought not to be rejected because so. But that passage in Rev. 20:5, "But the rest of the dead lived not again, until the thousand years were past," arose in my mind at once as a barrier to the reception of your view. You state it to be an interpolation, and that the words are not found in the best and most ancient manuscripts. I wrote to Dr. Manly of the S.B. Theological Seminary as to his knowledge of the matter. He writes to me, that so far as his investigations have gone there has been no dispute as to the authenticity of the passage, but some as to the verbal construction. He further says, that in his opinion there is no copy of Revelation ante-dating the fifth century.
Now I am anxious to know just what God's Word teaches. Will you please give me the source of your information upon which you state that it is not in the ancient copies? Do you know from a personal investigation? Are there no copies of Revelation ante-dating the fifth century? I am anxious to be informed on the subject, for your theory will relieve my mind on some things that have been hard to understand. I want to believe it, if the Scriptures will allow me. But while that passage remains, it effectually bars the door to belief. I have been a pre-millennialist for nearly thirty years, and the doctrine becomes clearer with the coming years. Now, if your theory be true, a beautiful harmony will exist in my mind.
There are but two known copies of the New Testament, in Greek, ante-dating the fifth century: these are known among scholars as the Sinaitic and Vatican manuscripts. They are given the same date, – about A.D. 350 – though by some the Sinaitic, which was most recently found, by Prof. Cons. Tischendorf in 1859, is supposed to date a little earlier.
The Vatican MS. came into the possession of European scholars in 1475 A.D., and is known from other more recent Vatican MSS. by its number, 1209. It is very accurate so far as it goes, but it is of no authority on the clause of Rev. 20:5 in question, because it is defective, incomplete, – the Epistle to the Hebrews from 9:15 to close is lacking, as well as all of the Epistles to Timothy, Titus, and Philemon, and the book of Revelation.
The Sinaitic MS., remarkable as being the oldest as well as for its completeness and accuracy, is therefore the only Greek authority on Revelation ante-dating the fifth century: and it does not contain the clause, of Rev. 20:5, in dispute.
Regarding your question, as to our authority and information, we would say: We do not possess these old manuscripts and do not hope to – they are esteemed as of almost priceless value among scholars. The Sinaitic is now in the possession of the Russian government at St. Petersburg. However, at great expense, borne by the Czar of Russia, Prof. Tischendorf, the finder, published an exact copy of this MS. And later, for the benefit of the general public, Mr. T. prepared and published, in 1869, the common version of our English New Testament, with foot-notes showing all instances in which it varies from the three oldest Greek MSS. – the Sinaitic, and Vatican, above mentioned, and the Alexandrine, a later and less accurate MS. This work in a small form, cheaply bound in cloth, can be ordered through your nearest book-seller. Its retail price is one dollar.
We hope, at some time ere long, to get out a copy of this last mentioned edition in cheaper form, for the benefit of all our subscribers; being desirous that they should all enjoy the benefits and information thus afforded.
[The following is from Brother Weber of Maryland. Though a florist and gardener on a large scale, he is not seeking worldly prominence or wealth, but divine approval and heavenly riches. To do this he uses his garden, hot-houses, etc., as ways and means for honoring the Lord by spreading the truth. He is out as much as possible in the "harvest" field selling DAWN Vol. I. A man of keen business judgment and good address, he enlists his best endeavors in this highest service – the service of God – and we believe is laying up treasure in heaven. – EDITOR.]
MY DEAR BRO. RUSSELL: – After taking leave of you, Wednesday evening 6th, I arrived in Frederick, Md., next morning at 9:30 A.M., and started out by 10 o'clock and distributed Arp tracts the remainder of the day. Next morning I started out at 8:30 and sold that day 32 of DAWN Vol. I., and next day 22. Saturday being a pleasant day, a great many were not at home, which cut my sales short that day. The week previous I used a day and a half in the same way and sold 55 books; and altogether in the 4¼ days I have sold 109 books. I only wish I could give my entire time to this blessed work, but other duties will not permit me yet to do so. But I hope as soon as I see my way clear, nothing shall prevent me from doing so. I realize the privilege of being [R1109 : page 7] a co-worker with the Lord in this evil day; and selling DAWN is certainly the most effective way of preaching the real Gospel, thus placing these blessed truths right in the hands of the people. This certainly is the best way of preaching, and if we are confronted with the blind leaders who will not buy them, we have then an opportunity of bearing witness to the truth by word of mouth.
May our dear Brethren and Sisters who can give their time, see the privilege of doing all they can, so they may have the Master's approval. I will close with best regards joined by Sister W. to you and Sister R. and all the friends. Yours in fellowship and service of the truth.
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, 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.
It is proposed to issue these tracts quarterly. They will vary in the number of pages. To conform to the requirements of the Postal Laws, a price must be fixed on these and subscriptions received, – same as with TOWER. We have fixed the price at 10 cents per year, which would cover the cost, including postage. If we can get them out in large quantities, we will be able to produce them cheaper, and the more issued the more good results we may hope for. We therefore propose a large discount on quantities, thus –
25 copies – quarterly for 1 year (100 tracts) for .............$ 1.00 50 copies – quarterly for 1 year (200 tracts) for.............." 1.75 100 copies – etc. (400 tracts)....." 3.00 500 copies – " (2000 tracts)....." 13.50 1000 copies – " (4000 tracts)....." 25.00 3000 copies – " (12000 tracts)....." 68.00
The topics selected for these will be chiefly selections from TOWER matter, specially suitable for general, promiscuous use. The cost of 1000 copies, quarterly, for a year, would be no more than some of you used to pay for pew-rent, – to have your understandings darkened by misrepresentations of God's character and plan. It is for you to consider, whether you can not better use that sum hereafter in preaching the Old Theology of the Bible, to your former fellow-sectarians and others. This number of tracts distributed quarterly at mills, shops, among clerks in stores, printers, editors, reporters, school teachers, at offices of lawyers and physicians, and at church doors, by yourself, or others employed by you, could scarcely fail to accomplish some good, in opening the eyes of some who would thank you for it eternally, as God's agent and light-bearer.
Perhaps you used to give a like sum toward Home Missions, and as much more toward Foreign Missions – $75 per year toward religious teaching. It is for you to consider that under this plan this $68 would enable you to preach 3000 sermons quarterly, to your own and neighboring townsmen.
You used to think that one-tenth of your earnings or profits should be used in the Lord's service; now you see, that that tithing system was the law to the Jews only, and that we are not under the Law, but under grace. As followers of Christ, we covenanted to give not merely one-tenth of our profits, but all that we have and are and shall be, – time, money, influence, all and forever – to the Lord and his service. It is for each to consider whether or not the Lord's favor toward us, in opening our eyes and delivering us from the bondage of fear and error, has drawn our hearts closer to him and made us anxious to spend and be spent more and more to honor him; or whether the removal of the chains of error's bondage and fear of future torment, has made us harder and more selfish. We may be assured that if the truth produces a hardening effect on us, it would not only prove us unworthy of the high-calling to joint-heirship, but [R1109 : page 8] unworthy of life on any plane. Pharaoh is an example of those whose hearts harden instead of melt, under the influence of God's mercy.
Consider, too, that what you now do and spend, is in part at least to offset that formerly spent; to counteract former errors and misrepresentations of God's character with the clearer light now shining. Some of us who were for years very zealous in the spread of error, before the truth reached us, and who like Paul verily thought thereby to do God service, might almost despair of ever offsetting it with the truth, but for the fact that the money and energy we then spent accomplished little, compared with what even the same amount of each would accomplish now, in the service of the truth, in this harvest time and with the facilities our Lord has now put into our hands.
Consider that "the time is short:" that where we used to give one dollar, or a hundred, or a thousand, we now have the privilege of showing the Lord our appreciation of the truth by using five times as much, both of time and money; the results of which are beyond comparison.
Can we preach the good tidings in a better way than in circulating DAWN VOL. I., and these tracts? If some can afford to pay for the tracts, but cannot attend to having them circulated (and all should be able to do this also, unless invalids), there may be other brethren and sisters who would be glad to distribute more tracts than they can purchase, and we will find such agents for you, if you desire.
But we are not urging this work, but merely asking you to consider the matter and act according to your own judgment. Here is an opportunity for extensive harvest work; and the time between the quarterly issues is ample for thorough distribution.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL: – Your book, The Time is at Hand, has been received and read with avidity. I can scarcely restrain myself from continually crying aloud, "Glory to God in the Highest!" Hallelujah! for evermore. May the praises of God and the Lamb be upon every tongue! How can it be otherwise? Who so great or so glorious as our Redeemer who gave himself, was slain, for the sins of the whole world – save the Great Jehovah who planned the redemption. I rejoice daily that I am made wise even at this day, and yet my heart grows sad when I think of the years that I have been led by the blind. Why was I not permitted to know sooner? Your book MILLENNIAL DAWN came to me last Fall – the first hint I ever had of such a work. I received it on a Saturday evening, commenced to read it immediately and never laid it aside, except when obliged, until finished. Its truth captured my heart at once; forthwith I withdrew from the Presbyterian Church where I had so long been groping in the dark for the truth, and found it not.
The DAWN came as a light in a dark place and you cannot know the eagerness with which I have devoured all that I could get of your writings. My first impulse was to deliver the tidings to all I knew, but especially immediate friends, that they too might be made wise, and have cause for rejoicing; but they one and all discarded the book and TOWER, as the theories of one man trying to start a new religious sect for his own aggrandizement, I suppose, instead of an effort to place us upon the original Christian basis, which Christ and his apostles outlined for all the true followers down to the end of the age. I sometimes grow discouraged; still I cannot help rejoicing that I have found the true version of the Scriptures, even if others will not accept. I cannot tell you how happy it makes me. I try to do what good I can, but when others deem me crazy or lost to all my former senses, where is my influence?
I long to tell you all that is in my heart, of joys and hopes, but cannot at present. May God bless you through time and eternity, which I know he will do; but what will become of such as I, who have never known the Scriptures aright, nor even concerning our Lord's presence and the harvest, until so late.
[This must not discourage us; we must expect just such results; they were promised. (Matt. 10:22; 1 Cor. 4:10.) Even our Lord's faithfulness made him of "no reputation." And Paul and the early church were "counted fools for Christ's sake." Yea, and whosoever will live Godly, in this present time, "shall suffer persecution" of some sort – according to the degree of civilization by which surrounded. While pitying their blindness and longing for the clearer, fuller dawn, when all shall see clearly, let us rejoice that we are counted worthy of an experience so much like that of our dear Redeemer. – EDITOR.]
Still, I will praise him. I cannot help being so late to know the truth. For many years have I prayed and striven to lead a [R1110 : page 8] Christian life, but with only blind leaders what could I know? I blush to think of my ignorance. Your last book is so conclusive in all its proofs; who can doubt them? I must read it over and over again. I do not feel able to say much to others, until I have informed myself more perfectly. How chilling such retorts as the following: After reading all the chronological facts and Scripture bearing upon them, my heart was so filled with joy that I mentioned them to a friend of Christ's coming, when he remarked, He has set the time, has he? I cannot tell you, how it makes me feel. You do not set the time; 'tis God, and undoubtedly there is a set time, as all will yet see.
Your Sister in Christ,
[Be of good courage, dear Sister, consider that the readiness of heart in which the truth found you, indicates that you were a true child of God before, and that it was sent to you by our Master; because, blinded and starved by human tradition, you were hungering and thirsting for righteousness [truth]. He now invites all such to be filled, both with the truth and with its spirit. What VOL. II. has made clear to you regarding the "harvest," etc., will be emphasized and clinched by VOL. III. in due time, making very clear the importance of the work of harvest. Meantime enter as fully as possible into the present blessed opportunities of service, making known the good tidings of great joy – The Plan of the Ages – whenever and wherever you can find or make opportunity. The results to you will be deeper joy and clearer insight, whether they hear or whether they reject. Faithfulness in receiving and confessing the light, as God supplies it, is imperative. Yet, let us be "wise;" let us feed the "milk" before the "strong meat."
"The Plan of the Ages" (Vol. I.) should, therefore, always be presented first, before any mention is made of "The Time at hand." If they cannot digest the "milk," we may be sure they cannot the "meat," and the result would be only the greater and stronger opposition. Remember how our Lord exemplified this in his teaching; he even said to his followers once, "I have many things to tell you, but ye cannot bear them now." To us, as well as the apostles, our Lord's words apply: "Be ye wise as serpents, and harmless as doves." – EDITOR.] page 8
GENTLEMEN: – I came into possession of a copy of MILLENNIAL DAWN VOL. I., The Plan of the Ages, a short time ago, which I read with a great deal more than ordinary interest. Though there are a few paragraphs I do not altogether comprehend, yet as a whole, it has given me an entire new channel of thought relative to the impenetrable future. I carefully compared all your Bible references, and became so favorably impressed with your version of Scripture and so hungry for more of the same kind of spiritual food that I feel I must have the second volume.
I have enlisted in the service of the Lord Jesus Christ for the remainder of my life; and it is my heart's desire to be even more faithful to Him than I was to the stars and stripes during the dark days of the rebellion. Oh! how I should love to be one of that "Little Flock," one of the Lord's daring soldiers, to help bind the great dragon, Satan, the vile enemy of all those faithful to the Lord.
Please let me know if you have any other religious literature. Very Respectfully, Yours in the Love of Jesus.
MY DEAR SON: – Your welcome letter is received. We are glad to know that you are in usual health, and I trust and pray that your labors are still being blessed to yourselves as well as all others who have ears to hear and eyes to see.
As for myself I have been greatly blessed by the reading of Vols. I. and II. of DAWN. I have just finished reading Vol. II. and I feel that it would be impossible to ignore the truthfulness of these wonderful developments. The types and antitypes of the Jewish and Gospel dispensations, The Times and Seasons, the Manner of our Lord's Second Advent, Earth's Great Jubilee, Parallel Dispensations, Elias shall First Come, and the wonderful unfolding concerning Antichrist, the Man of Sin, – these contain very much that I had never fully understood before. I am perfectly astonished at the array of Scriptural argument to substantiate every position taken; and I can only say, To God let us give all the praise. It seems to me that no one can overthrow these arguments and conclusions except they deny the truth of the Scriptures.
I am very sorry to know that Brother Clowes is so very low. Possibly before this time he has gone to his rest. But his works will follow after; and may we also be ready, for we know not when our change may come. We are all in usual health at present, and hope you are all well. Joined by Wife and Mabel in love to you all, I am your loving Father,
[The above is from the Editor's aged Father, whose appreciation, love and zeal for the truth, seem to grow with his years. Now in his seventy-fifth year, he is more and more seeking to let the light shine, loaning DAWN, tracts, etc. His fellowship is highly appreciated.
On Jan'y 25th our dear Brother Clowes, with whom some of our readers were acquainted, having heard him preach the word of truth at various points near Pittsburgh, passed away full of triumphant faith and glorious hope. "Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from henceforth. Yea, saith the spirit, they shall rest from their labors, but their works follow with them."] page 8
DEAR BROTHER AND SISTER RUSSELL: – I would like to tell you how much we enjoy the Second Volume but haven't the words. I shall be very glad when the next Vol. comes, but expect to read this over many times yet; and having the "Sure Word of Prophecy," there is no lack of food, until it is ready.
It is true that comparatively few are yet interested, but some of this sowing is for the future harvest and the truth must be first made known before it can be received. Our heathens are at our own doors. "Who is blind but my servant?" I send a check for $30, toward the fund for paper bound "Time at Hand." If you do not think it best, however, or if means are not sufficient, use the money in any way that you deem proper or in the Tract Fund.
In your last you expressed the desire to hear how the good work prospered with us. Although "our report" is looked upon as foolishness, and ourselves as deluded, I do not at all feel disheartened, for the rumblings of our chariot wheels sound all around. The papers have to announce sermons upon special subjects by the different pastors to notify the people of very interesting themes, viz., Immortality, Future Punishment, etc. DAWN has stirred up the waters any way! If none believe, it is not surprising, no man has helped them yet to get into the water and be healed, but they will soon get help and then they will proclaim the goodness of the Lord. (Psa. 107:10-16.) The greatest obstacle in the way is the denunciations of the clergy. They tell their sheep this is poisonous food and they are so ignorant of God's Word, that they are afraid of the unpardonable sin if they dare to read for themselves and trust to the spirit of truth to interpret for them. Truly "they sit in the shadow of death and are bound with fetters of iron and brass. But when they cry unto the Lord he will hear and deliver them." "Wait upon the Lord and ye shall see his salvation," is good enough cheer. In most kind remembrance and love in Christ, Your fellow-workers,
DEAR BRO. RUSSELL: – I enclose a letter which is so full of interest and encouragement to me, that I thought it might be interesting to you also. I am sorry to say that I am unable at present to do much in the cause of truth, as I cannot leave home, but expect to go on the road again about April 1st. Then I shall use every possible opportunity to distribute Arp tracts and sell as many DAWNS as I can. Yours,
I feel that Mr. Russell has been entrusted with the key which has unlocked the prophecies. It seems that the blessed time we have been so long praying for is very near, even at the door. I am trying to spread these truths as much as I am able. I talk to every one I can reach. Does it seem possible that 25 years more will see evil overthrown and the "King of Righteousness" reigning in the Earth? Will there then be no more, agonizing wives in behalf of drinking husbands? No longer shall mothers on bended knees cry to God: how long, O, how long!
Thank God, the clouds are parting, and we begin to catch glimpses of the great plan which was laid before the foundations of the earth. Evil has had its day. The good have been powerless to turn back the tide of wrong-doing which has flooded the whole earth. How we have suffered on account of evil, but could not see why we were not able to subdue wrong. I have verily thought myself to blame for many things which I now see I was powerless to control.
I trust I shall ever feel grateful to you, brother, for calling my attention to these things, when in agony of soul, God was leading me through affliction away from the love of earthly things, that I might be prepared with those who love Him for that rest that remaineth for the people of God. I am trying to spread the truth and with some success, apparently.
Mr. P. sends kind respects. Yours in Christ,
If there is a mark, thus X, it indicates that you are owing for the past year; and two such marks (XX) indicate that you are several years in arrears according to our books. If you think our record in error, advise us. If you cannot pay such arrearages, write and tell us so; and we will CANCEL THE DEBT. We want to square up all accounts to Jan'y 1889. Then, if ever you become able, you may, if you choose, contribute to the Tract Fund account, to help carry the good tidings to others.