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 you 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.
You will all be anxiously waiting to know about the anniversary meetings, and nothing would give us more pleasure or be more to your profit, possibly, than a full report of the session. But this is impossible. We can only give you a brief, summary view.
It seemed to be conceded that though former meetings of the sort had been seasons of wonderful blessing, this one was the most blessed in many respects. One very marked feature was the spirit of full consecration which seemed to be manifested by all in the evident brotherly love, patience and sympathy which pervaded the meetings and the social chats between meetings.
As announced, the session opened on Thursday morning, April 3rd, and we might say continued as one meeting until Sunday night (though some stayed until Wednesday night following and continued the meeting after the formal close). The only intermissions were for food and sleep. One aged brother, who had been in the U.P. ministry for years and attended many of their conventions, declared that he never saw the like. He said that since his arrival in the city – whether in the meetings, on the streets going and coming, at the table, or even in the bed-chamber, late and early, where seven brethren were lodged with him – he had heard nothing discussed from first to last but God's word. It was the first thing on waking and the last thing on retiring, and talked of between bites at every meal. Thank God that this was true. Can you wonder that with such a company of God's children gathered together, the Lord's blessing and spirit would be felt and manifested? It was, in a most marked degree; and this was attested by the joyful faces of all; and by the tongues of those who spoke at the first meeting, which was one of general introduction of the visiting brethren and sisters, and also at the Sunday night meeting, which was one for general testimony.
There were about seventy-five in attendance from outside the city, and many of them came long distances. Four were from Wisconsin; one from Nebraska; two from Minnesota; four from Manitoba; some from New England, quite a number from New York, Ohio, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Indiana and Illinois, and of course most of all from Pennsylvania.
About two hundred of God's ministers were in attendance, all told – for all are ministers, servants of the truth, from our standpoint and from the standpoint of God's word; in which all are recognized as priests – of the royal priesthood – who, justified by the precious blood, have offered themselves living sacrifices to God and his truth. Among these two hundred were some who had been public pastors in various human organizations and who had been formerly accustomed to the title of Reverend, etc., but here all of God's priests stood on a common footing and recognized the one Chief Priest of our order, Christ Jesus, and each other as brethren. Among these ex-Reverends were some who had served the Lutherans, Presbyterians, United Presbyterians, Baptists, Methodists, Protestant Methodists, and United Brethren. It was a glorious sight to see these all confessing only the one Church, whose names are written in heaven, and the one creed, God's Word, and the one Lord and Teacher, Christ Jesus, and the one title of brethren, and the one holy order, the Royal Priesthood. It reminded us of the Pentecost occasion when Parthians, Medes, Elamites and dwellers in Mesopotamia and beyond Jordan (Acts 2:8-12), united together in praising God; for all these were of one heart and one mind to know and serve the truth.
All in all, it was good to be here, and we trust that every soul received a blessing. And more, we trust that a great blessing may extend to all quarters of the vineyard; as those who were present and filled their vessels with the holy oil of God's spirit of truth go forth to water and bless others with the same. We learned of some indeed who, being too poor to pay their way, were assisted by others, who said, Go to the meeting, and returning bring some of the overflow blessing to us.
And the dear scattered ones who were not permitted to be present with us were not forgotten in the words and prayers of those present. They were tenderly and fervently remembered, both those known to us to be already free from much of the sectarian error and misconception, and those yet in bondage who are really and truly God's saints, and whose names are written, we trust, with ours, in the Lamb's book of life. The general sentiment of those who departed was, that they would be all the more diligent hereafter to pass the pleasant bread of truth to the hungering sheep of the Lord, both in and out of Babylon; and be all the more wise in reaching it to them, not to be unmindful of the weaknesses, prejudices and fears which so interfere with their receiving the good tidings of great joy. On the contrary, all seemed to purpose to be yet more tenderly affectionate and loving in the presentation of the message of the love of God, which so far surpasses men's understandings.
Water baptism and its symbolic import was the subject of one discourse, in which it was scripturally shown that the real baptism is the full consecration of a believer – his burial to the world and every worldly ambition – into the will and name of Christ; and that the immersion in water, enjoined and practiced by our Lord and the apostles, was merely a symbol of that reality. Thirty-one availed themselves of the opportunity offered and were thus symbolically buried and raised in illustration of the reality begun in them, which it so beautifully expresses. A few of these were new beginners in the Christian pathway, but mostly, they were such as had long been buried with Christ in the real baptism of consecration to death with him; and who only now had come to see the beauty and propriety of the water symbol of that death.
As we parted, singing that beautiful hymn, "Blest be the tie that binds," it was with the thought that now, free from all fetters of sectarian union, we have, thank God, reached the perfection of union – union in Christ, union of heart, union in the truth.
[Brother Adamson sends us the following as his view and report of the Memorial Meetings, and says he hopes we will let him have his "say" in full – without any editorial trimming. We have, therefore, handed his letter to the type-setters without even reading it. – EDITOR.]
With much pleasure I give a few of my impressions regarding the late Memorial Supper and succeeding meetings to the household of faith scattered abroad. The feast began on April 2nd when brethren and sisters of like precious faith began to assemble and greet each other in joy and love most fervent, but followed quickly by the opening and study of Bibles.
I cannot here report the numerous questions asked and answered, or even name the topics taken up, during the sessions which filled almost the whole days. One after the other testified that Brother R. is "apt to teach" and agreed that they would return home with all their questions answered and all shadow of doubt removed.
But in a general way we can note that on Thursday forenoon a number of quiet but thrilling testimonies were given as to how the truth reached the speakers, and concerning their bitter experiences after having eaten the "little book," and yet how faithful God is to all those not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ.
Of the following glorious six days we can say no more than name some of the topics discussed, viz.: Tabernacle Teachings; The Wages of Sin; Faith Cure, as seen from the standpoint of God's Plan; The Unpardonable Sin; The Seven Millennial Views of Rev. 20 and 21; etc., etc.
On Sunday night another series of testimonies to God's favor and faithfulness were given. Bro. Louder was specially "loud" in expressions of joy and thankfulness to God for the knowledge gained and the richness of the spiritual food, and this he could do with much more reason from the standpoint of God's loving plan than when shouting as a "pillar" of Methodism under its limited, confusing view. Another, but a few months ago a champion of Presbyterianism, was almost as "loud" as any, stating that during this one meeting he had learned more about God's love and wisdom as expressed in his holy word than in all the Presbytery meetings he had ever attended.
In large attendance, ability, earnestness and love of those who either spoke publicly (we regard all as preachers) or heard, we believe each succeeding Passover meeting is more successful than the preceding, and this just held has filled all its participants with joy and peace confidence and love, faith and hope. Who can doubt that still more desirable results will follow than from previous quickenings? The harvest is surely riper than it was a year ago, while Satan with his delusive seductions and in garments of (new) light (another gospel) is busy. It becomes us then to know and hold firmly the one gospel – the ransom – and thus clothed in the panoply of Christ's righteousness we shall be able to stand in the faith and in love.
"The Memorial Meeting confirms the thought that the time has come for the gathering together of the saints in oneness and expectation. Though many members, there seems to be but one spirit; many diversities, but one desire to know page 2 the Lord and his will concerning us as individuals.
"The meeting also helped us to realize that the secrets of the Lord are with those that love and reverence him. A few days communing with saints is better than a whole year with the world. Such a manifestation of the influence of the spirit of Christ among his followers, now, makes us long for the time when all things will be in blessed harmony with the Creator. And if we are given such things now, what will be given to those who are found in his likeness.
"To suffer and live for our Saviour in this life is worthy to be compared with the privilege of reigning with him in the future."
Being permitted to attend the Allegheny meeting in which our Lord's death was commemorated, as well as the subsequent meetings of the week, I was especially impressed with the truth that it was the Lord's death which, through justification, opens up the way for consecration in this and the Millennial ages; and that it is now the particular privilege of the saints to be consecrated into his death. We read, "This is he that came by water and blood, even Jesus Christ; not by water only, but by water and blood." Our Lord's way was not by consecration (water) only, but through consecration carried to entire completion during a reign of evil and ending in death. Through this utter self-abnegation and its lesson of complete obedience to the Father's will, our Lord was prepared for the great work he will complete, and in which we are invited to join. Only by following humbly and willingly on the same rough road, can we be fitted for joint-heirship with him in the restitution work now beginning. It is written "Though he were a son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; and being made perfect [as a new creature], he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him."
The entire meeting furnished "meat in due season" both in "things new and old," and I rejoice that I was permitted once more to join so many brethren and sisters in worship and study before the "night cometh," and thus to be strengthened and encouraged to work more faithfully while the day lasts. W. E. PAGE.
[A brother who until recently has been a minister in the United Presbyterian ranks, and who only within the past few months came to a knowledge of God's plan of the ages, and who was present at the Memorial Supper and subsequent meetings, writes as follows: –
DEARLY BELOVED BRETHREN: – I cannot express in language the sweet peace in my soul since I returned from the meeting. I feel like singing all the time. Those sweet Songs of the Bride still ring in my ears, and I expect they will until Christ reveals to us his glory. I was not ashamed to come home and tell my family and neighbors what a blessed meeting we had in Allegheny, and when I would describe to them the workings of the meeting, they would say, What church was it in, I replied, in the church of the first born, whose names are written in heaven. Blessing and glory and honor and dominion and power be unto God and the Lamb forever and ever. The veil of predestination is rent, and my soul is free. I am trusting that the Lord will show me what he would have me do, and rain or shine, late or early, night or day, I am happy in Jesus. Lord, let thy will be done in me. I must now close trusting that the Redeemer's presence may ever be ours to enjoy.
DEAR TOWER READERS: – We want to testify to you all that the meeting of the past week in Allegheny has been a season of spiritual refreshment to us. We have been drawn into closer sympathy and fellowship with the brethren and sisters of like precious faith, not only those present, but all that in every place call upon the name of our Lord and Master.
Our hearts have overflown with love to Bro. Russell as we witnessed his patient labor for the edification of the household of faith. We have been stimulated more and more to henceforth know nothing save Jesus Christ and Him crucified; to be broken and emptied vessels for the Master's use made meet. Yours in fellowship,
It has been suggested that the period of Israel's history from the death of Jacob to the death of Christ was not a period of favor to that people; that the very beginning of it was a period of affliction in Egypt. Hence it is suggested that our treatment of the subject in Millennial Dawn, Vol. II., Chapter VII., is correspondingly weakened.
Our readers must learn to be more discriminating; they should not hastily suppose that because some one says thus and so, that therefore it is thus and so. Remember that some good men jump at conclusions hastily, and some who are not so good would no more hesitate to twist our words on this subject than they would to twist the words of Scripture on the doctrine of the ransom, – and for the same reason, that they might sustain their theory. Beloved, believe not every spirit that even says, Lord, Lord, but try the spirits (doctrines), whether they be of God.
In the question now before us, notice that we never referred to that period of Israel's history, from the death of Jacob to the death of our Lord, as a period of great worldly prosperity to Israel; nor do the Scriptures so refer to it. It was, however, a period of favor, nevertheless; for it is always a favor to be under divine direction and supervision. What Christian has not learned that God's care is blessed, even when that care is exerted in our correction and chastisement, or in discipline and experiences which tend to bring us into a humbler, closer walk with God, into a condition where we can the better enjoy present privileges and growth in grace? And so it was with Israel during the period named. They had special favor, in that God was leading them as a nation through a varied experience for their humbling and discipline; an experience most favorable for them, as fitting them for that place which God had called them to fill as a people, under the promise made to Abraham, that his seed should bless all nations. As a preparation for that work of blessing, as God intended it, their discipline was indispensable, and it was therefore a part of their favor to have just the discipline which they passed through.
And let it never be forgotten that though Israel as a nation failed to make full use of these disciplines, and failed consequently to be in readiness for the chief blessing when God's time for it came, and was consequently rejected as a nation until after the selection of the Kingdom class from all nations, yet that period of disciplinary favor was not fruitless; for it did make ready "a remnant" of Israel (Rom. 9:27), prepared, instructed and adapted to receive and transmit to the world the good news of the New Covenant, sealed with the Blood of Christ. And their period of disciplinary [R1202 : page 2] favor, all the way down, developed noble characters "of whom the world was not worthy" (Heb. 11:38), who will yet occupy honorable positions as chiefs among men, under the Kingdom, when it is fully set up and the times of restitution have begun.
With this all in mind, recall our statements and the Scripture testimonies on the subject of Israel's double; – that the first part, from the beginning of the nation at the death of Jacob to the rejection of the nation at the death of Christ, was a period of 1845 years of waiting for the promised kingdom, during which they had divine favor and supervision (discipline, etc.); and that when they then rejected and crucified the Redeemer, they were sentenced to a "double" or repetition of their already long period of waiting – during which God would show them no favor, manifest no interest in them. Every Jew of intelligence and piety is able to recognize the fulfilment of these predictions of the prophets. – Zech. 9:12; Jer. 16:18; Isa. 40:2.
And note the fact so pointedly marked – that where their double of waiting for the Kingdom expired, the kingdom did come in 1878; which we think MILLENNIAL DAWN, Vol. II., clearly proves from the Scriptures.
If these Japanese understood that the Christian religion inculcates sacrifice, would they for a moment consider its national adoption? No. The very reverse of the truth seems to have been presented to them in the name of Christ, though in opposition to his words in Matt. 10:33-39.
The Japan Weekly Mail, in a recent issue, summarizes a discussion now being carried on in Japan by eminent publicists respecting the advisability of the people of that country embracing the Christian religion. "A movement supported by some very prominent men is on foot to give an impetus to the spread of Christianity by laying stress on the secondary benefits its acceptance insures." Those connected with the movement say that Christian dogmas are a bitter pill to swallow, but advise that it be swallowed promptly for the sake of the after effects. Mr. Fukuzawa, a well known writer, urges this course, although he says he takes no personal interest whatever in religion and knows nothing of the teaching of Christianity; but he sees that it is the creed of the most highly civilized nations. To him religion is only a garment, to be put on or taken off at pleasure; but he thinks it prudent that Japan should wear the same dress as her neighbors, with whom she desires to stand well. Prof. Toyama of the Imperial University has published a work to support this view. He holds that Chinese ethics must be replaced by Christian ethics, and that the benefits to be derived from the introduction of Christianity are: first, the improvement of music; second, union of sentiment and feeling, leading to harmonious co-operation; and, third, the furnishing a medium of intercourse between men and women. Mr. Kato, the late president of the Imperial University, who says that religion is not needed for the educated and confesses his dislike for all religions equally, urges the introduction of religious teaching into the government schools, on the ground that the unlearned in Japan have had their faith in old moral standards shaken and that there is now a serious lack of moral sentiment among the masses. Among the replies to this is one by a Mr. Sugiura, who is described as "a diligent student of western philosophy for many years." He speaks of the specially marked lack of religious feeling and sentiment in his countrymen; the Japanese, he says, have no taste for religion whatever, and it is impossible that they should ever become a religious people. The youth of Japan, he argues, being free from the thraldom of creeds and free to act according to reason, are so far in advance of Europeans; and instead of talking about adopting a foreign religion, Japanese should go abroad and preach their religion of reason to foreign countries. Other writers urge the same views. The writer in the Yokohama newspaper says that those who urge the teaching of Christianity represent an influential section of educated Japanese opinion; they are signs of the times. "To Japan, in an emphatically agnostic mood, came western science with all its marvelous revelations and attractions. At the shrine of that science she is worshiping now."
January 16, Lyman Abbott, D.D., was installed pastor of the Plymouth church, Brooklyn, N.Y., as the successor of Henry Ward Beecher. In the presence of the Council of Installation he made a lengthy statement of his religious belief, which was published in full in the Independent of January 23. On the subjects of the immortality of the soul, and the final disposal of the wicked, his views were not only quite pronounced, but of such a nature as to render his installation something of a surprise from the standpoint of the popular theology. On the subject of the immortality of the soul, he said: –
"On this and on every other spiritual theme, I more and more distrust the vaunted 'scientific method,' and more and more rest upon personal faith in the Christ of God, bearing a witness confirmed by the experience of God in my own soul. And I more and more incline to believe that immortality is not the universal attribute of humanity – that God alone hath immortality; and that we have it only as here or hereafter we are made partakers of the divine nature.
"And when that glad day comes, the song of rejoicing will rise from every creature in heaven, and on earth and under the earth, and such as are in the sea. If there are then any voices not joining in that choral of redeeming love, I believe it will be because they are silent in that second death from which there is no resurrection."
O friends! with whom my feet have trod[R1203 : page 3]
The quiet aisles of prayer,
Glad witness to your zeal for God,
And love of man, I bear.
I trace your lines of argument;
Your logic, linked and strong,
I weigh as one who dreads dissent,
And fears a doubt as wrong.
But still my human hands are weak
To hold your iron creeds;
Against the words ye bid me speak
My heart within me pleads.
Who fathoms, the Eternal Thought?
Who talks of scheme and plan?
The Lord is God! He needeth not
The poor device of man.
I walk with bare, hushed feet the ground
Ye tread with boldness shod;
I dare not fix with mete and bound
The love and power of God.
Ye praise his justice; even such
His pitying love I deem:
Ye seek a king; I fain would touch
The robe without a seam.
Ye see the curse which overbroods
A world of pain and loss;
I hear our Lord's beatitudes
And prayer upon the cross.
More than your schoolmen teach, within
Myself, alas! I know;
Too dark ye cannot paint the sin,
Too small the merit show.
I bow my forehead in the dust,
I veil my eyes for shame,
And urge, in trembling self-distrust,
A prayer without a claim.
I see the wrong that round me lies;
I feel the guilt within;
I hear, with groan and travail cries,
The world confess its sin.
Yet in the maddening maze of things,
And tossed by storm and flood,
To one fixed stake my spirit clings:
I know that God is good!
Not mine to look where cherubim
And seraphs may not see;
But nothing can be good in him
Which evil is in me.
The wrong that pains my soul below
I dare not throne above:
I know not of his hate – I know
His goodness and his love.
I dimly guess, from blessings known,
Of greater out of sight,
And, with the chastened Psalmist, own
His judgments, too, are right.
I long for household voices gone,
For vanished smiles I long,
But God hath led my dear ones on,
And he can do no wrong.
I know not what the future hath
Of marvel or surprise,
Assured alone that life and death
His mercy underlies.
And if my heart and flesh are weak
To bear an untried pain,
The bruised reed he will not break,
But strengthen and sustain.
No offering of my own I have,
Nor works, my faith to prove;
I can but give the gifts he gave,
And plead his love for love.
And so beside the silent sea
I wait the muffled oar;
No harm from him can come to me
On ocean or on shore.
I know not where his islands lift
Their fronded palms in air;
I only know I cannot drift
Beyond his love and care.
O brothers! if my faith is vain,
If hopes like these betray,
Pray for me, that my feet may gain
The safe and surer way.
And thou, O Lord! by whom are seen
Thy creatures as they be,
Forgive me, if too close I lean
My human heart on thee.
Ho! weary, longing, fainting soulspage 3
Who thus in darkness grope,
And drift amidst the dang'rous shoals –
Steer by yon star of hope!
That star of hope, our risen Lord,
Jesus, the crucified,
Will guide you safely into port,
Beyond this stormy tide.
I, too, have drifted on that sea,
Its rocks and shoals have feared;
But, praise the Lord who leadeth me!
The shores of rest I've neared.
And to-day I'm in the harbor,
And the dawn of earth's new age
Is brightly beaming on me
Through the blessed, sacred page.
O! midst "the maddening maze of things,
And tossed by storm and flood,"
I'm glad thy faith with patience clings
To hope that God is good.
Indeed he is both good and wise,
A Friend and Helper true.
His plan, discovered to our eyes,
To hope gives courage new.
Thou sayest, "Who talks of scheme and plan,
Or fathoms God's deep thought?
He needeth not device of man."
O! hast thou not forgot –
That in his Word the promise lies,
"The wise shall understand,"
That all its hidden mysteries
In "due time" shall be scanned? –
And that "the pathway of the just
Is as the shining light,"
And that it "shineth more," and must,
Till faith is lost in sight?
True, none hath been God's counselor,
And none could trace his thought,
Till the divine Instructor,
The truth to light had brought.
Thou needest not to "dimly guess"
That God some good will bring,
For lo! in pow'r and righteousness,
Behold earth's coming King!
Do the Scriptures not declare it?
Hast thou not clearly read
That which all the holy prophets
From dawn of time have said? –
O! "the time of glad refreshing
From presence of the Lord"
Is the blissful hope of blessing
We have from his sure Word.
Give o'er the clashing creeds of men,
And vain tradition's lore;
Trust not to reason's feeble ken,
But search the Scriptures more.
Keep the bright star of hope in sight,
And past the dang'rous shoal,
Into the port of rest and light,
'Twill guide thy weary soul.
And yet before thou comest down
To the dark and "silent sea,"
The blessings of God's truth shall crown
Thy four-score years and three.
Thy love and rev'rence, faith and hope,
Are precious in God's sight,
While in the darkness thou dost grope
And hope and pray for light.
Behold One standeth at thy side,
All glorious and fair!
'Tis earth's new King, thy risen Lord,
Who marks and heeds thy prayer.
Far out upon the stormy tide
To thee he comes, O see!
And reaches out a "Helping Hand,"
To cheer and comfort thee.
Nor canst thou lean too heavily
Upon his might and strength;
His arm is strong, his grace is free;
Here thou mayst rest at length.
Wilder waves may lash in fury
About thine anchored soul;
God's truth will hold thee steady,
Storms must yield to his control.
His truth, thy shield and buckler too,
Thy strong support must be,
And every line both old and new
Be meat and drink for thee.
A few words upon this topic are requested by several readers. We will be brief, as the subject has already been touched upon in "The Plan of The Ages" and in the TOWER, and will be thoroughly dealt with under the topic of "The Resurrection" in Vol. IV. of MILLENNIAL DAWN.
The Apostle's theme is the resurrection of the dead. He declares the resurrection to be the very essence of the Gospel (good-tidings) – the great result which our Lord Jesus died to secure; the great object for which he has promised to come a second time. He declares that the resurrection of Jesus from the dead is itself a first-fruit and a pledge of the resurrection of those whose resurrection God has promised. He shows (verse 21) that since by a man (came) death, by a man also (is to come) the resurrection of the dead; that as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive; God having arranged, through the ransom which Christ Jesus gave for all, that all who come into relationship with Christ the Redeemer may inherit lasting life, even as all by relationship with Adam the transgressor inherited his condemnation to death.
But, the Apostle explains, while all those who come into relationship with Christ shall receive lasting life, all will not receive it at the same time. There is to be an order in Christ's work of life-giving. And (verse 23) every man who receives life from the Life-giver will belong to one or another of these orders. As our Lord himself is head and chief of all, so those of the little flock counted worthy to constitute the body of Christ will have preeminence over others and will constitute the first order or rank in resurrection – "The Resurrection" – "the first resurrection" (Phil. 3:10-11; Rev. 20:6). And after Christ and his little flock have thus been resurrected as a first-fruits, the work of resurrecting men shall continue – every man in his own order, until ALL WHO ARE CHRIST'S at (or during) his presence, during his Millennial reign, until all who under the full light and privilege of the Millennial age come into him by faith and become inheritors of the life which he gives shall have availed themselves of the privilege. This will be at the close of the Millennial Age; for he shall reign a thousand years. (Rev. 20:6). "Then the end, when he shall have delivered over the Kingdom to God, even the Father." – 1 Cor. 2:24.
The thought is this: The earth as a province of God's Kingdom got into a state of rebellion and alienation from God through the disloyalty of its first king, Adam. The entire province was therefore justly placed under interdict of the King, and its prince, Adam, and all his house, sentenced to death – destruction.
Yet the great King, Jehovah, was full of compassion for such of the culprits as were repentant and who desired to return to harmony and obedience. He therefore arranged a gracious plan for the recovery of such: a plan by which his justice and the original law of his empire – death to all unholy traitors – should remain, and yet these repentant ones be released from the penalty of this one transgression. He gave his Son to be their Redeemer.
The redeeming of some meant the redeeming of all; for all were under the one sentence through the one king's rebellion; hence he redeemed all and proposed to give an equal opportunity to all, to return to the Lord and be abundantly pardoned, by arranging that the Son who performed the redemptive work should establish a Provisional Government among the degraded rebels, in and under which all should be compelled for a time to witness and share the operation of laws of righteousness and love, and be made aware of the cause of their degradation and of the plan of reconciliation held out. This reign will be so ordered as to give to all the fullest knowledge and opportunity of reconciliation, and each one who accepts the conditions obediently, and proves his fellowship with this kingdom of God, shall receive its blessing, and be enabled to progress onward to the full perfection of life and manhood lost by Adam. This new king of earth, deputized for this very purpose, shall effectually put down all misrule, and all authority and power opposed to the law of the great Jehovah. Every enemy shall be trodden under foot, – destroyed. Even death, the penalty or wages of sin, in the sense that it is an enemy, when it would destroy those under its power, who have come back into the family of God through the Redeemer, is to be "rendered powerless." It shall no longer have any power as an enemy, to triumph over those whom Christ has redeemed and reconciled. But death as an enemy will be the last enemy to be set aside or rendered powerless. The Redeemer and King will subdue the various other enemies of his ransomed people first; and even those who fully return to allegiance to God during that Millennial reign will be subject or liable to this enemy's power in a limited degree, down until the full close of his reign, when evil doers shall all have been "cut off" from all hope of life in "the second death," the penalty of their own wilful sins. And when the Lord's redeemed ones shall have been brought to full perfection, moral and physical, under his care and tuition, the death which came upon all through Adam's disobedience – which was the enemy or opponent of such as desired harmony with God, the enemy from whose dominion and power Christ died to redeem such – shall no longer exist in any degree.
The rebellious province having thus been redeemed and conquered by the Prince and Savior, in the Father's name and as his representative, establishing his laws and obedience thereto (every enemy to righteousness and truth having been either corrected by a fuller knowledge of the truth or "destroyed from among the people" (Acts 3:23), the Lord Jesus will deliver up the then rectified and peaceful province, henceforth to be a portion of the one kingdom of God under the one Sovereign – Jehovah – that God may be the recognized head over all – the All over all.
What the Lord Jesus and the glorified "body," his "bride" and "joint-heir," are to do, after the Millennial reign, is not clearly revealed. But of this we may rest well assured, that the Almighty Jehovah's plan, hitherto so grand and so far above all that we could have asked or thought of, has with equal bounty arranged for our future work in his service.
Continuing his argument (v. 27), the Apostle recapitulates the case thus: –
"For he [Jehovah] hath [promised to] put down all things under his [Christ's] feet [to make him Lord of all], yet, when he [Jehovah] saith [of Christ] that all things are put under him [or are to be subject to him], it is manifest [that Jehovah did not mean by that promise of the high exaltation of Christ that he would exalt him and his authority superior to himself and his own authority] that he [Jehovah] is excepted which [by his plan and power, by promise gave to [R1204 : page 4] Christ this high station and] did put all things under him."
"And [hence] when [i.e. after] all things shall be subjugated unto him [Christ], then shall [Christ] the Son also, himself be subject unto him [Jehovah] that [by promise as well as by delegated authority and power] did put all things under him [Christ], so that * the God [Jehovah] may be the All in all – [the supreme over all]."
"Prove all things; hold fast that which is good." – 1 Thes. 5:21.
A wise suggestion, Paul, says one, but not altogether practicable in my case. I am a plain man with little education and many pressing cares which leave but little time or mental vigor to grapple with the theological questions which exercise the minds of many, or to prove or disprove the leading dogmas which characterize the various religious factions. Why, it seems to me it would require a life-time given exclusively to the work, to prove all things. There are the scores and hundreds of sectarian creeds of Christendom with their great and multiplied volumes of theology and fine-spun theories, each pushing its claims to the front. And in these days the new factions and theories coming up are legion. Indeed, every day's mail carries thousands of religious journals advocating the claims of some theories, claiming to be truth; and if a man were to do nothing else, he could not possibly read the thousandth part of such literature.
Now what is a plain man like me to do? I want the truth, but how shall I find it and prove it? I believe the Bible to be indeed the Word of God given to us through his inspired apostles and prophets. I believe in the God of the Bible and have long trusted in the salvation provided through the sacrifice of his dear Son. But while I hold these precious old doctrines and will not relinquish my interest in them, my Bible teaches me to expect an increase of light, and specially in the last days of the age, in which all Christians admit we are living. Daniel (12:4,9,10) says that in the time of the end, the wise shall understand, and that knowledge shall be increased. I am looking for this promised increase of knowledge, for the light "shining more and more unto the perfect day;" but how [R1205 : page 4] shall I prove which is advanced truth and which the error, against which the Apostle forewarns us, saying, "In the last days perilous times shall come," etc.? Is it possible, I ask, for a plain, common sense Christian man, without any special learning, to comply with the Apostle's injunction and prove all things? and if so, how shall I go about it?
Yes, we reply, it is possible. If the desire for truth is paramount to every other desire, so that the inquirer will so bend his circumstances as to make opportunities for study and investigation of the truth, as it becomes due, he shall find and rejoice in it. And though at a cursory glance the wide field of investigation is indeed formidable, there is a short and feasible process, by which both the learned and the unlearned, if simple-hearted and sincere, may arrive at clear and positive convictions, and henceforth be able to give to every man that asketh a reason for the hope that is in them.
We find our infallible rule, for measuring and proving all things, in the Bible. By its testimony every doctrine having any claim upon our attention must be measured. If any system presented to us finds its main support outside the Bible, it must at once be labeled, suspicious, even though it call in occasional scripture texts to support its theories; for we well know that almost every pernicious doctrine that could be conceived of has claimed Bible support by quoting passages and perverting them.
Bear in mind that the doctrine of the Lord and the apostles clearly accepted the account in Genesis – of man's creation in the likeness of God, pure and sinless, "very good;" of his fall into sin and the consequent penalty of death, entailed not only upon himself, but also upon all his posterity, whom he represented in trial. Then it set forth the remedy for sin and its consequences, showing that the death of Christ on Calvary was the appointed means for the world's redemption. And to this fact all the Old Testament prophets also testify, showing that without the shedding of blood there could be no remission of sins.
This doctrine was first enunciated in the promise of deliverance given in Eden and typified in the clothing for Adam and Eve provided by the shedding of blood. It was foreshadowed in the sacrifices of Abel and all the early Patriarchs, and by all the blood of bulls and goats and rams that for centuries flowed around the typical altars of the typical tabernacle. It was foretold by the prophets who prophesied of the coming One as the lamb for the slaughter, and foretold all the painful circumstances of his sacrificial death. (See Isa. 53; Zech. 11:12; Psa. 27:12; 35:11; 109:2; Zech. 13:7; Psa. 22:14,17; 89:45; 102:24; 69:21; 34:20; 22:18; Isa. 53:9,12; Zech. 14:4,6; Amos 5:20.
Then, the accomplished fact was recorded by the Evangelists who were his disciples, the companions of his ministry, and eye-witnesses of his sufferings and death. This was the grand foundation stone upon which the whole superstructure of the apostles' doctrine was systematically built up. Paul, the great builder of the Christian system, gathering the data of his arguments from the law and the prophets and the notable events of the ministry and sacrifice of the Lord in his own day, weaves the whole into a grand and logical system of faith, of which Christ crucified is the foundation stone, and Christ glorified, the hope of the world's restitution, is the crowning feature. Then, so confident is his faith in this divinely attested truth, that he adds, "Though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other doctrine, let him be accursed;" – for he should know better in view of all the divine testimony herein furnished. – Gal. 1:9.
This foundation doctrine, therefore, is the first measure by which we must test every religious system presented to us which is at all worthy of our consideration. If it is not built squarely upon this foundation, it is utterly unworthy of further investigation, whatever may be its claims; but if built upon this foundation, it is worthy of at least some further attention.
In applying this first rule, the work of proving all things is quickly simplified. We do not need to examine into all the intricacies of every elaborate system concocted by diseased human imaginations, which would be a worse than useless waste of time. Simply looking at the foundation will decide the matter in very many cases. If they are wrong here, further examination is unnecessary: they cannot be true, and however plausible they may appear, they can only be the efforts of thieves and robbers who attempt to show men how to climb up some other way into the sheep-fold. And only idle curiosity, to see what human ingenuity can suggest as another way of salvation, can be interested in such investigation. Bear in mind that fundamental principle of all sound reasoning, that the superstructure of any system can only be brought to the same level of credibility as the premise or foundation with which it starts, and upon which it is built. If, therefore, the foundation is wrong, the whole superstructure is erroneous; and every moment of precious time spent in studying the fine-spun theories of such a system, which you have thus already proved to be erroneous, is time taken from the study of the truth, from putting on the armor of God, and is filling the mind with the subtle sophistries of the adversary, instead of the sound logic of divine truth, and thus preparing the way for the overthrow of faith, instead of establishing it in sound doctrine.
By promptly applying this rule you can quickly determine what is of God and what of man, prompted by the seductive spirit of our great adversary. It may come to you even from the hands of an angel of light – a messenger of truth, a brother in Christ who has not discerned the sophistry of error and who therefore needs your assistance to discern it. It may come clothed in the garments of light – with smooth and pious phrases about the wonderful love of God and the spirit of his word, and the glorious hope of the world; but all these are often merely the cloaks of that pernicious no-ransom, evolution doctrine, which denies that man was created in the image of God; that he fell from that high estate, and that through the fall of that representative one sentence came upon all men to condemnation, as Paul declares (Rom. 5:18); which consequently goes further and denies the necessity of a redeemer, or that Christ came for any such purpose; which claims therefore that Christ was the Savior of the world merely by setting a good example for men to copy, and not by giving his life a ransom. Then they laud this Savior of the world (who saves them by his good example only, but whose precious blood availed nothing for them); and they talk loudly of the wonderful love of God, while they kick from under his love the firm support of his justice, which the Scriptures declare could by no means clear the guilty, until the handwriting of the law, which was against us, condemning us to death, was canceled by the "precious blood of Christ." (Col. 2:14). And in their zeal to magnify his love and make their theories look plausible, they run to an excess which denies man's free agency and God's expressed purpose of destroying the wilfully disobedient ones in the second death. Thus they misrepresent the love of God as a weak and fickle element of the divine character, falsify the real spirit of his word and build up a false and delusive hope for the world – a hope founded upon a supposed weakness of the divine character.
Some who advocate these doctrines once enjoyed the clearer light of present truth, having escaped from many of the errors of the great nominal churches, and consequently they are able to weave in with the error some of the beautiful features of present truth and therefore they are all the more able ministers of error, all the more calculated to lead astray and again entangle those who had clean escaped from the errors of great Babylon.
They talk of the doctrine of Restitution (restoration), but seem not to notice its utter incompatibility with their evolution theory. If man never was perfect and in the image of God and never fell, but has been coming nearer to perfection, to restore him would only be to degrade him.
Beware of such doctrines, even though they come clothed in garments of light. They are revolutionary of the whole Christian faith: their reasoning is the subtle sophistry of the adversary, voiced by his deceived and deluded ministers, and their hope is vain and delusive. It is these stumbling-blocks and snares which constitute a large part of the peril of this evil day; but how quickly and promptly they may be dispatched if we apply the infallible Bible rule above referred to. And as you value your privilege of building up your brother in the "most holy faith," beware how you place in his way any of these stumbling-stones. Remember Paul's injunction, "If any man speak, let him speak as the oracle of God." Let his words be "words of truth and soberness," and let him lead on in the pathway of light, strengthening the weak hands and confirming the feeble knees.
But, says our inquirer, are there not some systems right at the foundation and far astray from truth in the superstructure? and how shall we prove them? Yes, very true. Such is the case with the various Protestant systems. They all hold the foundation doctrine of the apostles and prophets, and they have always made prominent the vicarious atonement, but on this foundation O! how recklessly they have built. Finding them right here, we have proceeded further, only to find the buildings each and all miserably constructed of the wood and hay and stubble of human imaginations and traditions, evidently put together in a most haphazard way, without plan or design or square or [R1206 : page 4] compass; yet each has in it some valuable elements of truth, vaguely perceived and often greatly mixed and confounded with errors and gross absurdities. None of them, however, present that system of truth for which our inquirer is in search.
Indeed, after nearly two centuries spent in building these various Protestant structures, though they stand as nearly complete as human ingenuity has been able to make them, propped at the corners by the great piles of theological works of Watson, Calvin, Hodge, Clarke, Benson, et al., in the light of the present day of intellectual awakening, what a ludicrous spectacle they present. Indeed, they begin to look so even to those inside. The thoughtful among them are actually getting ashamed of them and talking about revision; but in all probability before they are fully waked up to the necessity for revision, the winds and the storms of the coming trouble of this day of the Lord will accomplish the work most thoroughly by razing them to the foundation.
While we see that by first examining the foundation principles, to discover if they are sound and scriptural, we dispose of a large class of this latter-day teaching quickly and promptly, and without danger of contamination, we will also see that it will be no Herculean task to dispose of the many wood, hay and stubble superstructures which reckless builders have erected on the true foundation. "To the law and to the testimony;" says the prophet, "if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them." (Isa. 8:20.) Every doctrine, therefore, which has any claims upon our faith, should, from the foundation up, (as far as it seems worthy of investigation) step by step, be brought to the test of the word and the testimony; and all for which [R1206 : page 5] there cannot be found a "Thus saith the Lord," must be promptly rejected, and all to which his word testifies as truth, "held fast" and not allowed to slip. – Heb. 4:14; 2:1; Rev. 3:11.
Thus the stones of our faith-building may be received through whatsoever channels the Lord may be pleased to send them. They must all have been quarried out of the Bible mine, but God may send one or another of his blessed angels (ministers, servants) to point them out to you or to help you to place them. He may be a very humble servant and one through whom you would least have expected the enlightenment of God's truth; but no matter if he be ever so insignificant in the estimation of men, remember that God hath chosen the things which in the world's estimation are foolish and weak to confound the things which are mighty, and the things which the world counts mean and despises as unworthy of notice, to bring to nought the things that are – the great and long established systems of error. – 1 Cor. 1:26-29.
Thus systematically built up, stone by stone, proved and carefully fitted together and founded on the solid Rock of ages, your faith will be a symmetrical, harmonious structure, strong, secure and beautiful, which the winds and the floods cannot damage or overturn. "My sheep hear my voice," said our Master, "and they follow me, and a stranger they will not follow, for they know not the voice of strangers." (John 10:1-5,27.) They shun all profane babblings of science, falsely so-called (2 Tim. 2:16; 1 Tim. 6:20), and being close students of the divine word – living very close to that fountain of truth and drinking deep of its spirit – they are prepared to quickly detect error, even though it lurk behind a very plausible semblance of truth. And the Lord who puts forth his sheep and goeth before them, and calleth them all by name, will not leave his obedient ones in doubt and fear. And they will ever beware of the thieves and robbers who attempt to climb into the fold in any other than the appointed way which God hath ordained.
A very great mistake which some have made, in view of the conflicting ideas as to what is truth, has been to discard every human instrumentality and expect God's guidance through the Bible alone. Such forget that God gave some apostles, and some prophets, and some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ;" that we are exhorted to build one another up in the holy faith and to esteem the servants of God for their work's sake. Ever since the church has had an existence God has raised up some from its midst, as special servants of the body, some who had special teaching ability. And blessed is that servant who at the Master's appearing is found giving the meat in due season to the household of faith. (Matt. 24:46.) And no less blessed is the faithful household, who, like the "noble Bereans" of old, search the Scriptures daily to see if these things be so – who prove all things, as the apostle exhorts, and hold fast that which is good.
In both searching for truth ourselves, and in giving it to others, we need to take heed to the methods and instrumentalities which God is making use of. Thus, for instance, in the days of the early church oral teaching, with gifts of tongues and interpretation of tongues, and miracles, etc., were the principle instrumentalities for the edification of the church, because books and general education were not the privileges of the masses of the people, and the New Testament Scriptures were not completed and compiled until about the close of the first century of the Christian era. In the days of the great Reformation, while oral teaching was most largely used, the newly invented printing presses came in for a large share of the work, in placing in the hands of the people, not only the Bible, but also the stirring exhortations and teachings and various helps of brethren in the faith. And in the present time by far the largest part of the work of disseminating present truth is through the agency of the press, and comparatively little oral teaching of present truth is found expedient, since God has raised up very few with the talent for public speaking; and to the few who possess it, the opportunities for using it are remarkably limited, as it is found by experience that very many more can be induced to read than to attend public lectures on present truth. And God is honoring this method by bringing very many of his consecrated children into this line of service as traveling colporteurs and blessing their work to the awakening and sealing of his own elect, wheresoever they may be scattered.
Thus, through humble instruments, who as the angels of God quickly and quietly do their work and disappear, God himself is honored, and they await his appearing and kingdom for their exaltation and reward. The proud and unworthy ones esteem them not and will not hear their message, but those who hunger and thirst after truth and righteousness are filled. God bless his faithful messengers and all the elect who are being sealed through their ministrations.
SIR, – Anything indicative of an awakening and a revival of energy in the Holy Land, especially at Jerusalem, must prove of especial interest to every Christian who is watching the signs of the times. Being now on a visit to the Holy City for the seventh time, after a considerable interval, I find the changes that have recently occurred so marked and suggestive that I am induced to indicate some of the most prominent for the information of your large circle of readers, many of whom, I feel sure, are deeply interested in the future of this land of sacred memories.
On approaching the city from the west, in former years, there were scarcely any buildings except the Russian Convent and the Montefiore Almshouses to intercept the view of the city walls; now the whole plain is covered with private residences and colonies of Jews, whilst near to the Jaffa Gate are large numbers of shops already tenanted, and numerous others in course of construction. This extension beyond the walls has become necessary, on account of the rapid increase of the population. I am informed by Mr. Moore, British consul here, that within the last three or four years about 20,000 Jews have come to Jerusalem for permanent residence in and around the city, and that of the entire population of about 70,000, it is estimated that nearly 40,000 are Jews. He also stated that the influx of Jews into other parts of Palestine during recent years has been entirely without precedent. The principal streets, which, but a few years since, were almost impassable in rainy weather, have been paved with stone, a new wide street has been opened up through a densely-populated quarter, and five hotels are now open for the reception of the annually-increasing number of visitors and traders from all lands. Public works of importance have been erected, and others are in progress. The road from Jaffa to Jerusalem, at one time all but impracticable, has been reconstructed by an eminent engineer, and over it our own and other carriage services are in full operation. A good road has been formed from Jerusalem to Bethlehem, and another from Jerusalem to Hebron; several others are rapidly approaching completion – from Jaffa to Nablous (Shechem), 40 miles; Jerusalem to Jericho 20 miles; Caipha to Nazareth 20 miles; and Nazareth to Tiberias 18 miles. Jerusalem has hitherto been almost wholly dependent [R1207 : page 5] for its water supply upon its large underground cisterns for the reception of rain water, which, after a summer's drought, often proves insufficient in quantity, and almost unfit for use. The Government is now about to introduce an unfailing supply from a spring of pure water beyond Solomon's Pools – about nine miles distant. A large flour mill, established by the Messrs. Bergheim, has proved both a great benefit and a financial success, and others with large steam power are in progress of erection; soap factories have commenced operations, and at Jaffa steam saw-mills have been established. Colonies of Jews following agricultural pursuits, stated to be successful, are located, one about five miles from Jaffa, and a larger one at Limerin, near Caesarea, originated and assisted by the Rothschild family. The before-named road to Jericho is being constructed by the Government, which has taken up all the land available in the best parts of the Valley for the development of an extensive scheme of agricultural operations, which, with such a temperature, so fertile a soil, and well watered by the copious stream from Elisha's fountain, should promise abundant and remunerative crops. Grapes, bananas, sugar-cane, cotton and various fruits and vegetables have for some time past been cultivated here with much success. The increased amount of rain which has fallen the last few years in Palestine has had a most marked effect in larger and more abundant harvests than hitherto known.
The most important results, however, of all may be anticipated from the railway about to be constructed between Jaffa and Jerusalem. As rumors in former years have prevailed which have never been realized, I called upon Mr. Frutiger, the banker, to whom the concession has been granted by the Turkish Government, and was assured by him that the necessary capital has been subscribed, and that the work would commence immediately upon the close of the rainy season in the early spring, and pushed on urgently to completion. The influence such a line of communication between Jerusalem and the coast may be expected to exert is incalculable, for as a natural sequence the harbor, which is now inaccessible to Mediterranean steamers, must be deepened and enlarged, and the rocky barrier which prevents ingress removed. It is contemplated to subsequently extend this line via Gaza and El-Arish over the Short desert to Port Said and Ismaila on the Maritime Canal, thus connecting with the railway system of Lower Egypt for Cairo, Alexandria, and Suez, and to the Fayoum and Upper Egypt. Such important action for the improvement of the Holy City and the development of the resources of Palestine, and opening up the country to commerce, is without precedent in modern times. These facts must encourage every lover of God's ancient people to hope that His set time to favor Zion is fast approaching. Yours faithfully,
Cable dispatches have pointed out the most interesting fact that his election completes the seventh century of the title's existence, and that in the year when history first mentions it – that is in 1189 – there was a most furious and relentless persecution of the Jews in London, and, for that matter, throughout England, when it was thought a specially clever and fitting thing to wring out of the Hebrews the expenses for an expedition to rescue the Holy Sepulchre. The fatuity of those crusades, which so occupied succeeding generations of Europe's strongest manhood, is almost grotesquely apparent when we reflect that, while seven hundred years later the Paynim infidel is still the master of Jerusalem, a Jew holds the office which Richard invented as a part of his general plan of exterminating Moslem and Jew alike. History contains no grimmer sarcasm on race hatreds and religious idiocy.
The triumph of the Jew is quite a recent thing in England, but it is none the less complete. Of course, the barriers remained against his religion long after those reared against his nationality had been swept away. The Christianized Disraelis were able for more than one decade to look over the fence at the Isaacs and Cohens and Levys huddled forlornly outside the pale. It is now barely over thirty years since the first Jew, Baron Lionel Nathan de Rothschild, was allowed to take his seat in the House of Commons. And up to 1830 they were rigorously shut out of not only municipal public life but out of many professional avocations. The Jew, sixty years ago, in England, could not enter the army or navy; he could not be a barrister or solicitor, or even a solicitor's clerk; he could not even be a schoolmaster or usher at a school. He had no right to vote, even, if any one chose to challenge him.
To-day there are some fifteen orthodox Hebrews in the House of Commons, and as many more, perhaps, who are wholly or in part of the ancient Hebraic blood. Baron de Worms, Rothschild, Mundella, Goldsmid, Montagu, Jacoby, Samuelson, and many other equally obvious and familiar names appear now on the roll which could not be signed thirty-one years ago save "on my true faith as a Christian." There are numerous other most Christian-looking names which mask Jewish identity.
Commercially the Jew is, of course, at his very strongest in London, but only because London is his largest field. He is scarcely stronger here, relatively, I should think, than in New York, Paris, Berlin, Frankfort, or Vienna. But socially and professionally he has a position in England immeasurably superior to that which he has been able to win elsewhere. He is in the peerage here in his own male right, as well as by proxy through daughters married to nobles like Lord Rosebery. He blossoms luxuriantly all over the baronetage and the list of knights. In science, art, literature, music, politics, the law, the stage, and latterly even in the army, he flourishes like a green-bay tree. In every circle which talent or [R1207 : page 6] culture, or even mere liking for these, makes for itself, you find admirable representatives of the race at its best. For here it is at its best.
One proof – a signal proof – of this is that practically no disposition exists to evade or deny the historic descent from Israel. The London Jew is now proud of his race, and of its achievements and astonishing virility, and likes to talk about them with people who are interested.
To the contrary, there has always elsewhere been a certain constraint in touching upon this subject of race, much as if there had been a recent death in the family. This was ten or a dozen years ago as true of London, but that is all changed now.
As a straw indicating what we have for some time pointed out – the tendency of Protestantism to fraternize with Roman Catholicism – we note the fact that when Cardinal Gibbons visited Charleston, S.C., recently to lay the cornerstone of a new Cathedral, he was given a public reception, and a number of Protestant ministers and a Jewish rabbi occupied seats upon the platform beside the Cardinal and his under bishops during the services. Only one protestant, W.T. Thompson, pastor of the Scotch Presbyterian Church, was found, and his protest reads thus: –
"The presence of these Protestants was doubtless intended only as a courtesy, but it was more – it was a virtual endorsement of those proceedings, and a godspeed to the gigantic ecclesiastical organization that conducted them. It is the boast of that church that it is the only church of God. The Cardinal said as much yesterday. It brands all others as heretics. A former bishop of Charleston declared, 'Within thirty years the Protestant heresy will come to an end.' It claims for itself temporal and spiritual supremacy. It tolerates those who differ from it, only where it has not the power to enforce its claims. Its spirit has undergone no change since those days when it gave its order for, and sang its Te Deum over, the wholesale, indiscriminate slaughter of helpless Protestants.
"Its fundamental principles are antagonistic to our government and its most cherished institutions. Its growth in this country menaces some of our dearest rights and privileges. Notes of warning have come to us from many of the foremost [R1208 : page 6] statesmen and thinkers as to what we may expect, should it ever gain the ascendancy; and yet we have the spectacle of Protestant preachers and laymen, some of them the descendants of Huguenots, glorifying a Romish Cardinal and encouraging the extension of the spiritual despotism here presents. Had the circumstances been reversed, Romanists would have been conspicuous by their absence.
"I contend that Protestants are sacrificing their history and are putting contempt upon their martyr dead, are stultifying their former testimony and are sweeping the ground from under their feet as to mission work in Romish lands, and are imperiling the future of their country by favoring Romish pretension and progress."– W. T. Thompson, Pastor.
Is it not quite evident that the world is rapidly getting ready for a Religious-Union-Trust, in which Protestants will unite, and then join hands with Rome to carry forward their plans and schemes which have so much in common, and to oppose the development and promulgation of any further light upon God's plan? God's word clearly indicates this outcome, and we see the signs of it increasing daily.
If this desire for union were upon a proper basis, if all were willing to abandon sectarian names and bonds and confessions to come together voluntarily as one company, recognizing all who love the Redeemer and desire to serve him and to secure and preserve to themselves and to each other the freedom which God designed for each, and desiring each one to study God's Word to learn his will without prejudice – that would be a proper union, a union such as our Lord designed and every true Christian should rejoice in and co-operate with. But we all know that such a union without bondage is not contemplated and no such suggestion would for a moment be entertained by any of the various sects.
The union they desire and are striving for will be an additional bond and not a dissolving of present sectarian shackles. They propose that each sect shall still fetter thought among its own people and preserve its own peculiarities, traditions, customs, names, doctrines, etc., but that in addition another robe be thrown around all, which will merely conceal the factions and make the really many and discordant factions of the nominal Church appear as one before the world for the sake of the influence. But the patching of the old garment will be in vain: the rent will be made worse. The Lord's plan is to dissolve the old, worn-out system which has for so long misrepresented his word and his plan and deceived many into bondage and error.
The Lord will organize and establish his Church in glory and power very soon, and it will be found to contain all the faithful believers who in their day were "overcomers" and valiant for the Truth – one church under one head – Christ.
"A discussion on card-playing and theater-going before the Ministers' Association to-day was suddenly ended by the forcible remarks of the Rev. S. Halsey, pastor of the Grand Avenue M.E. Church. 'A minister of the Gospel in Milwaukee might as well pack up and prepare to leave town if he intends to go to a prominent society woman in his church and inform her that she shall not play cards,' he said, and then inquired: 'What minister is there in this city with backbone enough to go to a man worth $100,000 or more, a member of his church, and say, Here, I understand you were at the theater last night or at a card-party. Now if that happens again there will be trouble? Where is the minister who has the backbone to do it?' The thirty or forty ministers present were silent, and the entire question was dropped with a suddenness that seemed enough to cause the ministerial head to swim."
If these human ministers' lives, or their all which they would give in exchange for their lives, were wholly consecrated to the Master, would they hesitate to carry a message or admonition from the Master? Would the fact that the member might be a leader in the church, paying a large proportion of the expenses and of large influence, make any difference with the pastor who has nothing at stake? Would the frown of the society lady frighten him whose only object in this life is to obey his Master's will?
Does it not appear that these ministers, who are frightened from their self-imposed task by the mere mention of opposition from the acknowledged worldlings of their respective flocks, show that they, who are so easily influenced by the effects of these worldly desires in others, are themselves largely tinctured with worldliness? – that they are time-servers? And is it an evidence of good judgment to follow leaders tinctured with cowardice? What confidence can be placed in a general who weakly yields to the enemy without a word of remonstrance? Yet this is exactly what these alleged "ministers" or servants of our Lord and Master have most ignominiously done.
Mind, we are not discussing the propriety or impropriety of card-playing or of theater-going. Their impropriety was an accepted premise in their argument. It was assumed by them to be in violation of His commands (though we have thus far failed to find the prohibitory clauses in His word), yet they dared not remonstrate. These modern Jonah's dare not speak in the streets of Nineveh. Does Jonah's experience symbolize that which must sooner or later happen to them?
When any class of people, in any imaginable association, by virtue of its position, or circumstances, exercises a dominating influence, does not the whole association partake thereof? If worldly – confessedly worldly – influences predominate in the Grand Avenue M.E. Church, is it not a worldly association? No matter what its members may call it, is not such the fact? Is not its "Minister" the chief servant of a worldly organization, instead of a faithful minister of "the Church of the living God, the pillar and ground of the truth?" The trouble with these double-minded servants is that they permit their own selfish personal interests to come in between them and the fulfilment of their duty to the Master. Complete consecration to Christ would at once result in the loss of their positions as leaders of, and of their emoluments from these worldly organizations, miscalled Churches.
Does it not indeed seem due time that these chilly, scarcely luke-warm, systems should be "spewed out of His mouth?" See Rev. 3.
The above is from the pen of the dear Brother whose letter in defense of the Episcopal Church was published in the TOWER of November [October - site Editor], 1887. We rejoice that he now sees clearly which is the one true Church founded by our Lord and which are the imitation systems organized since by men. Yet let us always remember to "speak the truth in love." Let us remember that still there are true sheep in Babylon's bondage as we ourselves once were. Thanks be to God for the light of truth which has made us free in Christ and yet his bond-servants.
SIR: I cannot tell how glad I am in reading in the Tribune of to-day of the unanimous decision of the Presbytery of New York in regard to the revision of the Confession. When I uttered my opinion on the subject, in my Presbytery on October 1, I had no clear idea as to how Presbyterian sentiment was tending, and it was with considerable anxiety that I uttered my views as to what was right and wise in opposition to the majority of the brethren. How pleased I am that the Presbytery of New York has come to the same conclusion that I did. It is clear that we are to have the obnoxious passages in the Confession withdrawn in the course of a year or two, and that there is to be no new Confession sanctioned till the subject has been carefully weighed. It is now seen clearly by the public that there is to be no revolution or fundamental change in the Presbyterian Church. In the attempt to adjust our Standards I see the means of bringing about a Pan-Presbyterian Union.
But this is not all I look for. I hope that the Presbyterian churches, as they view the substantial agreement of the creed, will look with more favor on other evangelical churches, such as the Episcopalian, Reformed, Methodist and Baptist. If this does not issue immediately in a union, it may end in a federation like that of the United States. Let a federation be made, to secure that the whole country be divided into parishes or districts, and that each be provided with a Gospel minister, with a lay agency put [R1209 : page 6] under obligations to have the Gospel preached to every creature, young and old. To remove difficulties, it should be allowed to every minister to visit his people and do good in his neighbor's district as well as his own. I will be glad to correspond with those who are ready to carry out this view.JAMES McCOSH.
Here we see a fresh proof of the general and increasing tendency of the leaders of thought and action, among all the great sects of "Christendom," toward the very union so clearly pointed out in Prophecy.
In the recent interview with Professor Schaff, of the Union Theological Seminary, on the revision of the Creed, he advanced the argument that the defenders of the symbols were unduly exercised about the proposed changes, as though revision were a new thing, when, as a matter of fact, the Presbyterian Church of to-day is only moving along in the lines marked out by the fathers soon after the American Revolution. He said:
"A century ago there was an important change made in regard to the union of the Church and State. The old confession is based on such a union, and assigns to civil magistrates the power and the duty of protecting and supporting orthodoxy and of punishing heresy. The Westminster Assembly was itself the creature of the Long Parliament, and ejected 2,000 ministers from their benefices for non-conformity. The Westminster divines regarded toleration as a most dangerous error, and would have looked upon the separation of Church and State as down-right political atheism. The articles relating to the State had to be radically changed after the American Revolution. In the old Confession we find this section:
"'The civil magistrate may not assume to himself the administration of the Word and sacraments, or the power of the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven; yet he hath authority, and it is his duty to take order, that unity and peace be preserved in the Church, that the truth of God be kept pure and entire, that all blasphemies and heresies be suppressed, all corruptions and abuses in worship and discipline prevented or reformed, and all ordinances of God duly settled, administered and observed. For the better effecting whereof, he hath power to call synods, to be present at them, and to provide that whatsoever is transacted in them be according to the mind of God.' [R1209 : page 7]
"'Civil magistrates may not assume to themselves the administration of the Word and sacraments, or the power of the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven, or in the least interfere in matters of faith. Yet, as nursing fathers, it is the duty of the civil magistrate to protect the Church of our common Lord, without giving the preference to any denomination of Christians above the rest, in such a manner that all ecclesiastical persons whatever shall enjoy the full, free and unquestioned liberty of discharging every part of their functions, without violence or danger. And as Jesus Christ hath appointed a regular government and discipline in his Church, no law of any Commonwealth should interfere with, let or hinder the due exercise thereof among the voluntary members of any denomination of Christians, according to their own profession and belief,'" etc.
The following, which we clip from the editorial columns of the Philadelphia Public Ledger of March 27th, 1890, furnishes a marked illustration of how human life and limb are often sacrificed to mammon. The responsibility is readily seen when we reflect that there is a patent "frog," the use of which would obviate largely if not wholly this terrible yearly sacrifice, and that the only reason it is not adopted by railroads is that it would cost a few dollars to make the change, and because prominent railroad men are interested financially in the manufacture of the death dealing frog. The world sadly needs the strong government of the Millennial age to enforce the use of every means which will protect fellow beings. The clipping referred to is as follows: –
"A Railroad Employe writes to the New York Tribune: It actually requires an act of congress to compel railway companies to do anything for the protection of their employes. The 'Railroad Gazette' and 'The Scientific American,' two excellent authorities, have stated in recent issues that there will be legislation by Congress this winter on this important subject, in response to a suggestion in the President's message that a stringent law is really necessary for the protection of railway employes, many of whom have been killed or seriously injured by accidents that could be easily prevented by proper safety appliances. In making this suggestion the President has made a move in the right direction, as the following facts will illustrate the imperative necessity for speedy legislation. The Iowa Railroad Commission of 1886 reported that there were over 450 brakemen killed annually, 4,088 crippled for life, and 13,770 seriously injured, that is, bones or limbs broken, or part of the hand or foot taken off, making it a total of 18,308 victims. At the conference of the State Railroad Commissioners of Iowa, held last March, ex-Railroad Commissioner Coffin stated: 'In the last ten years we have killed and maimed 2,429 men in this State, and last year there were 349 employes killed or crippled in Iowa.' In the third annual report of the Inter-State Commerce Commission we find it stated that 2,070 railway employes were killed, and 20,148 injured or crippled for life last year. But these reports, alarming as they are, do not cover the total railroad mileage of the United States. If the accident rate was the same on the roads not reported, it would swell up the grand total to over 27,000. These facts present a deplorable state of things in connection with railway life, neither creditable to the companies or the Government, who have it in their power to reduce this immense sacrifice of life to a minimum by proper legislation. In the reports quoted the blame of all this slaughter is charged to the old hand brake and link-coupler, and not a word about the murderous railroad frog. Any yard hand or brakesman will tell you that the frog is the cause of more fatal accidents than the other two combined. The life of a railroad employe is a hard, laborious one, working day and night in rain or storm; hard enough without the constant dread of these two deadly traps – the old link-coupler, ready to snap off hand or arm, while under foot is the cruel frog, out of which there is no escape from a horrible death. If President Harrison will get a protective act passed, which will relieve the employes from the dangers referred to, which hourly confront them in their duties, he will have done much in the interest of humanity that will cause his name to go down to posterity as the workingman's friend."
We are requested to re-examine the first clause of Rev. 20:5, by some who feel that a great weight rests upon that passage; that if that clause be a part of the inspired record it would flatly contradict all hopes of a probation during the Millennial age for those who have died.
This is a great mistake. If the doctrine of a trial of all the world of mankind during the Millennial age were dependent for proof upon any clause in the symbolic Book of Revelations we would decline to preach it. And those who oppose us should likewise determine that if this one verse of a symbolic book is the only objection they can find, they have practically no opposition to offer, and should confess it. But let us review the subject.
(1.) Our original statement relative to the clause – "The rest of the dead lived not again until the thousand years were finished" – stands uncontradicted, undisputed. Some, in attempting to resist the [R1210 : page 7] statement and its force, have indeed succeeded in raising a dust that has confused and blinded some of their followers for a time, and led them to suppose that our statements were untrue, but it was only a deceptive use of language; for when their words are sifted it will be seen that they do not deny our position – which indeed cannot be gainsaid.
Our statement therefore stands undisputed, and it was and still is – That the above quoted words are not only not found in the very ancient Syriac and Coptic MSS., but neither are they found in any Greek MS. written earlier than the fifth century. And we may add, they are lacking in many Greek MSS. of later date; and among these are some of the admittedly most exact and careful MSS., such as Codex Cantabujiensis of the seventh century and Vatican MS. No. 1160 of the eleventh century.
But an opponent, recently, after a rambling article upon the old MSS. in which, instead of stating facts clearly, as we have done above, he confused his readers, so that they should not understand the facts, then proceeded to make the statement that the passage in dispute had been quoted by one of the so-called "Fathers" in the first century. But he took care not to cite the reader to volume and page where this statement might be verified or disproved. And while we very much dislike to question any man's veracity, we shall feel justified in discrediting this unsupported statement regarding the quotation of this passage by one of the Fathers until some evidence is offered – especially so in view of the equivocal handling of the subject as it relates to the Old MSS. in the same article.
But here let us make the suggestion, that the "writings of the Fathers" have been more liable to interpolations, etc., than the Scriptures; for it would appear that the expression of Rev. 22:18,19 has always more or less deterred men from falsifying the canonical books. We believe that very few interpolations into the text of the Bible have been made intentionally (that of 1 John 5:7 being a bold and notable exception). Other interpolations were, we believe generally the result of accident – usually the copying of a marginal comment into the text, at a time when all copying was done by pen.
But having repeated our statement of the facts regarding the first clause of Rev. 20:5 let us see that even if it were proved, either by the finding of another and yet older Greek MS. or in any other way, to be a genuine part of what John the Revelator wrote, it would in no way conflict with the plan of the ages, which provides that after the Jewish age had selected and proved an earthly class of rulers and this Gospel age has selected and tried the heavenly class of joint-heirs, God's Kingdom under Christ as King shall be established; which will rule and bless the world and put down all insubordination and sin in every form, lifting out of evil and degradation to perfection and life all the willing and obedient ones and destroying as part of evil all who love sin and who refuse to abandon it when every opportunity to do so is offered; – a work which, we are specifically informed, will be accomplished in a thousand years. Let us see this in the articles on the third page and the one following: – THE REST OF THE DEAD LIVED NOT UNTIL THE THOUSAND YEARS WERE FINISHED.
Give the words lived and died their full meaning. We speak correctly of our father Adam, who was made a perfect man and possessed of life in full, perfect sense, when we say that from the moment he was cast out of divine favor and out of Eden he began to be a dying man, and this dying process continued for 930 years until it was finished – Adam died. And if we would think and speak correctly of the world of mankind during the Millennial age, "the times of restitution," we would think and speak of their gradually living, – getting more and more perfect and more and more alive in all their qualities and powers, mental, physical and moral, until perfection of life and of being should be attained at the close of the Millennium. There all mankind desirous of LIFE – under the terms of the New Covenant – perfect life such as Adam possessed, and lost for himself and all his race – shall have attained to all that was lost, and all that was redeemed through the precious blood; while others will by that time have been cut off from life entirely in the destruction of the second death.
It is then very easy to see, regardless of this passage, that though the little flock – the body of Christ, whose trial ends with this age – will be raised out of death fully and completely, to the perfection of life (but as spirit beings), by a sudden resurrection change, "in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye" at the beginning of the Millennium, the contrary will be true of the world in general. They are to stand trial for life during that thousand-year-judgment-day, and who in God's plan are to get LIFE step by step as a reward for obedience. And in the end of that, their trial-day, the fully obedient shall in the fullest sense of the word live again. Such will then be like unto Adam, perfect, and the earth will then be like unto Eden – a paradise of God.
"Come up hither, I will show thee the bride, the Lamb's wife. And he carried me away in the spirit to a great and high mountain, and showed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, having the glory of God." – Rev. 21:9-11.
All along through the Gospel age the saints have realized the blessedness of walking with God and the sweetness of fellowship with Christ in enduring hardness as good soldiers for his dear sake. With many obstacles to surmount in the way of perils to faith, a few walked humbly and lovingly apart from the world, guided by the great Shepherd of the sheep, feeding upon his precious promises, comforted in the darkest hours by his loving voice, and cheered and made glad by his approval. In hearkening to and obeying his voice, they felt that there was not only present but also future reward, though they little realized to what heights of glory they were called. Having walked with God in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, and having kept their garments unspotted from the world to the end of their pilgrimage, they sweetly fell asleep in Jesus. Ever precious in the sight of the Lord has been the death of his saints; and such at his coming are raised in his likeness. – Psa. 116:15; 1 Thes. 4:14,15.
Some such, of hallowed memory, do the saints of the present time remember, whose words and acts were blessed testimonies to the efficacy of divine grace, and loving exhortations to others to be faithful unto death. And yet those dear ones did not enjoy the glorious outlook which is now our privilege. Ours is a time of special favor, as well as special trial. The church being now so near the consummation of its glorious hope, she is permitted an inspiring view of her future glory, such as has never before been enjoyed.
Like Moses, before we drop this earthen vessel, we are summoned to Pisgah's height to view the promised inheritance. We are carried hither "in spirit" (mentally) and showed (mentally, by faith in God's Word) the bride of Christ in her future glory.
Let us for a moment take as wide a view as is possible to human vision, aided by the divine telescope, the Word of God. By faith we see the bride of Christ "having the glory of God" – the divine nature, of which she was promised to be made partaker with her Lord. (Rev. 21:11; 2 Pet. 1:4.) We see her "made like him," "the express image of the Father's person." (1 John 3:2; Col. 1:15; 2 Cor. 4:4; Heb. 1:3.) We see her shining forth as the sun in the Father's kingdom. (Matt. 13:43.) She is caught up to heaven and actually seated with Christ in the heavenly place – at the Father's right hand. (Eph. 2:6; Heb. 1:3.) She beholds her Father face to face, and sees her Lord "as he is." (1 John 3:2.) She is endued with power and covered with glory. She is exalted far above angels. And as she followed the Lamb whithersoever he went when here, so she accompanies him withersoever he goeth there: Is he seated at the Father's right hand – in the highest position of his favor? so is she; is he at home in all the vast realm of the universe, which in ages past he was privileged of the Father to create (John 1:10,3)? so is she.
While perfect human minds with telescope and scientific investigation will delight [R1210 : page 8] light to trace the wonderful works of God, his bride shall be conducted hither and thither through the boundless realms of space in company with her Lord. And as she views his works of ancient time, she glories in the privilege of henceforth being an efficient co-worker together with him in all that the Father's plans mark out for the ages to come.
Is he commissioned to reign on earth a thousand years, and during that time to bring all things in heaven and in earth into perfect harmony with the will of God, judging both angels and men? she [R1211 : page 8] also shall reign with him. (2 Tim. 2:12; 1 Cor. 6:2,3.) And when that blessed, benevolent enterprise is accomplished, and the restored sons of God are presented to the Father without spot, or blemish, she still accompanies her Lord in the yet unrevealed enterprises for the blessing of all his creatures in the ages of glory to follow. And together they receive the love and praise and adoration of all creatures in heaven and in earth, who with united hearts ascribe glory and honor and blessing unto him who sitteth upon the throne (Jehovah), and to the Lamb, forever and ever. – Rev. 19:6,7; 5:12,13.
And truly she is a glorious bride – "without spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing." (Eph. 5:27.) Once she was a sinner under condemnation of death, but she was justified, washed and made white in the blood of the Lamb – redeemed by her beloved Lord and sanctified by his truth. And this fact that she was so loved and sought for at such cost, while a sinner, fills her heart with a love that shall never grow cold while the years of eternity roll. And the faithfulness of her Lord in waiting for her two thousand years, while the painful, tedious process of making her ready progressed; and his preferment of her in passing by angels, of nobler birth and higher standing, and condescending to her low estate, that in her might be shown forth the exceeding riches of divine grace, while it clothes her with humility, inspires her with a loving zeal to reverence him, and to find her chief delight in doing his will.
Such is the view of the Bride of Christ as seen from Pisgah's mountain. Thus "in spirit" (mentally) we may by faith behold her glory; but let us not forget that we have not yet fully proved our worthiness. "Faithful is he that has called us" (1 Thes. 5:24; 1 Cor. 1:9; 10:13.), but faithfulness on our part is also required. If our Lord could wait two thousand years for his bride, we must show our appreciation of his love by faithfulness during our brief three-score and ten, or during the briefer period since brought to the knowledge of the call.
If neither angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any creature, can separate us from the love of Christ, shall we let any earthly thing come between our hearts and him? or shall any earthly love, or any tie of nature, however strong, separate us from this marvelous love of Christ? This love of Christ rightfully expects love in return; and he therefore says, "If any man love father, or mother, or wife, or children, or houses, or lands, or anything more than me, he is not worthy of me." Love – pure, holy, unwavering and true – is the one requirement of the bride of Christ. If the love of God dwells richly in our hearts we shall be approved. Love fulfills the law.
Some of the saints, particularly young mothers, who have not sufficiently contemplated the love of Christ to realize it clearly, find it difficult to prefer Christ before the tender tie of motherhood. And when they realize that their children will be on the human plane of existence while they may be on the spiritual, such a separation looks like a great obstacle. But why should it? Take a little wider range of vision, and you will see that time will bring changes anyhow. This strong, parental love was given you by the same loving God who calls you to set your supreme affections on something still higher. Your patient care and service for the little ones around your feet you feel is amply compensated for by their winning, endearing ways and your natural love for them. For this you should thank God, who so ordained it for your comfort and their good. But observe that years will bring a change in the character of your love. Though it will be no less strong, it will be less parental. You will not feel that care over them, nor they that dependence upon you. You will be willing and glad to see them in happy homes of their own, and with other partners in life. You cannot and would not keep them together always under your roof and serve them always; and the now winning, childish ways, if never outgrown, would become actually painful to you.
Thus you see what years will do even in the present life. Now carry the thought further; remember that we are to live eternally, and you will see that our sphere must be greatly enlarged. As the race matures – for it is now only in its infancy – and as it reaches perfection, love will be based more upon character than blood-relationship; and the loves thus based on a surer and firmer foundation will never be disappointed or grow cold, but will intensify as the ages pass.
We should therefore remember that we are planning and building for eternity – for a life that is to outgrow the fitful feelings produced by present circumstances. And therefore we should enlarge our range of thought; we should contemplate the wonderful length and breadth and height and depth of the love of God, and endeavor to view things from the standpoint to which we are called.
From the standpoint of the divine nature, know that parental affection will have its widest scope, as well as its greatest power to bless. The affection that now goes out so strongly to the one or two or half-dozen that nestle around you, will then go out with greater intensity to all your children; for know you not that the Christ (head and body) is to be the "Everlasting Father?" With your present capacity you may think this impossible, but we cannot compare the capacity of the divine nature with the human. Think of God's love for us, not only as a race, but also as individuals – "Can a woman forget her sucking child? Yea, they may forget, yet will not I." (Isa. 49:15.) And he so loved us, even while yet sinners, as to give his only begotten Son to redeem us.
What we need, then, is to contemplate the character and plan of God more constantly; let it be our meditation as continually as possible. Let us endeavor to take God's standpoint of observation, to think as he thinks, and to act as he acts, remembering that our life is not spanned by the brief space of three-score years and ten, but that it stretches on into eternity. Let the strongest earthly ties augment the heavenly, but in no case let them triumph over it.