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.
THE SUPPLY of Old Theology Tracts is for the present exhausted. But orders will not long be delayed, for over ten millions of pages of these are now on the press. Orders will be filled in rotation as received. Many are joining in the good work of scattering this hail of truth. – Isa. 28:17.
MISSIONARY ENVELOPES. – The price of these is reduced to 25 cents per hundred, or $2.00 per thousand. (This includes expressage or mail charges of delivering them to you.) We want these messengers to go everywhere, bearing testimony to the Truth, and calling attention to God's gracious Plan of the Ages.
But we have something else which we trust will be a pleasant surprise for you all – a volume of poems and hymns, which, we believe you will all agree, well represent our glorious hopes and grateful sentiments. Some of these are from the pens and hearts of God's children long since dead, and some from the living. Some of them are altered in some points of theology to bring them into closer union with God's Word, and some are as we found them. The harmony of heart sentiment between the Lord's consecrated ones now, and in the past, is made very noticeable by this collection from the writings of many.
We cannot hope that we have found all the gems, or only gems, but we assure you that we are well pleased with what we have here collected. We know of no collection which will compare with this one. We can speak the more positively our opinion, because we praise not our own efforts to serve the Lord and the truth, nor our own writings, but those of God's saints of the past, as well as of the present time – though among the latter you will be pleased to know are some from the pen of our beloved helpmate, Sister Russell.
Just such a book is greatly needed, by us all. It is not sufficient that we delve into God's great plan, study the ages and their work and the times and seasons for the accomplishment of all his gracious promises; but while doing this we need to digest it, and to meditate upon the goodness of God, recounting his mercies and blessings past, present and future, and to praise him in our hearts and also with our voices. We believe that this volume of poems and hymns will assist you to thus cultivate the spirit of devotion. May God richly bless it to this desirable end.
We believe, therefore, that as a spiritual feast and blessing, it will be equally as profitable to us all as the volumes of the Millennial Dawn series. There are indeed many collections of poems and hymns which contain features of truth, but how often we have all found that theological errors marred the pleasure and profit, as dead flies in precious ointment. (Eccl. 10:1.) Here we trust you will find naught to mar your pleasurable communion, but much to stimulate the fragrant [R1212 : page 1] odor of worship and praise as it arises from your own hearts, a grateful incense to God, acceptable through Christ Jesus, our Lord and Redeemer.
The book will contain poems representing the beginning, the progress and the culmination of Christian growth and experience. These are followed by 333 hymns, of worship and praise, covering not the experiences and hopes of sinners coming to God for pardon, but the experiences, hopes and thanksgivings of those who have found the Lord precious to their souls. It will be a book of over 450 pages, clear types, neatly bound in cloth. We want you all to possess and use and enjoy with us this additional means of grace and helping hand toward Christian development and perfection. And knowing that most of you are poor in this world's goods, the price is accordingly put at the very lowest notch – 50 cents per copy, postage prepaid by us, or 40 cents per copy if sent by express at your charges. And all readers of the TOWER for the past year on the Poor List, crippled, aged, or for any other reason unable to pay the above price, or any price, yet appreciative of the subject and anxious for this helping hand, can have a copy free – a gift of Jesus' love.
The eyes of the civilized world are at present turned toward Saratoga, N.Y., where the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church is now in session. Over one-half of all the Presbyteries having voted for a revision of the Confession of Faith, those who object to revision are now claiming that it should not be altered without the approval of two-thirds of them. Two-thirds of the vote would be one hundred and twenty-six Presbyteries, and about one hundred and twenty-two have already voted in favor of revision.
"The conservatives are afraid of the movement because it establishes the principle of revision. I am one of them. We are willing to have some of the particulars in the Confession changed, but we are afraid that it will be followed next year by another tidal wave.
"The decision of the question will have far-reaching results. It may, quite possibly, end in the splitting of the Presbyterian Church. The question of the session of the present Cumberland branch of our Church will be involved. Possibly we have been wrong during all these fifty years? If a revision is decided upon, the Cumberland church was right in separating from the main body, and is, therefore, at perfect liberty to come back into the fold. If it is decided against a revision, two factions will be formed. One, the revisionists, will join the Cumberland Church; the other, the anti-revisionists, will join the United Presbyterians."
At this writing the Assembly has not reached the question of Revision, but is hearing reports on other subjects. Concerning some of the subjects already discussed a journal of this city makes the following report and comment: –
"One of the reports presented to the Presbyterian Assembly, which is in session at Saratoga, makes the statement that nearly one-fifth of all the Presbyterian churches have vacant pulpits; and that 1,100 churches have died in twenty years. In another report the statement is made that almost two-thirds of the Presbyteries have expressed a desire for a revision of the Confession of Faith. The ordinary mind among Presbyterians – to say nothing of the world at large – associates these two statements in some sort as cause and effect. The vacant pulpits and the death of churches are pointed to as the result of a Confession of Faith which not more than one-third of the Presbyterians believe in, so that we hear the cry raised: revision or death, – that is, without revision death is certain. A confession that holds persons to what they do not believe can be said to have but one vital element, and that is self-destruction. Two-thirds to-day, say the revisionists, will grow into one solid whole, and they are right. Call it what you will, explain it as you can, this is the situation under which the General Assembly has met and is debating the question of faith revision at Saratoga."
Senator Blair, under date of April 18th, gives to the press a statement of his views on religion and education. We agree with him as to the generally growing sentiment against full religious liberty, but we disagree with him in his supposition that Romanism is about to be crushed out. In the troublous times coming, Papacy will convince the people, for a time at least, that her strong arm is needful to the bridling and restraining of the people. However, the Scriptures indicate that this return to influence on Papacy's part will be of short duration, and will be followed by its complete overthrow and destruction as a system. Mr. Blair says: –
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It is becoming more and more evident that the forms and methods of education are the subjects of increasing interest among the people in all parts of the country. The heterogeneous composition of our population and the vast space over which it is scattered, combined with the strong tendency to local independence which is characteristic of our form of government, are sure to result in the segregation of this continental mass into sections and non-affiliating and perhaps antagonistic communities unless there be some general system of education and training extending to the whole during the formative period of life, and reaching all parts of our vast domain.
Three centuries since our continent was substantially as vacant as the spaces between the planets. The scattering savages, who did not constitute a population of more than one person to five square miles of territory, were so few that it could hardly be said that the surface constituting what now are the United States and Canada was inhabited at all. Instead of being the arena for the gradual development of savage tribes into civilized nations through periods of almost interminable time, our country has been filled, as it were, in a day, historically speaking, by conflicting races, nations and civilizations, so that we exhibit all the elements of both life and destruction in full and contemporaneous action. Now the American people behold and are beginning to comprehend their own condition. They are admonished by the lessons of history. They realize that their existence in any desirable sense depends upon the nature of the religion and of the education which shall prevail among them and fashion the generations as they play their part and replace each other upon the soil.BUT ONE FAITH CAN PREVAIL.
Only a homogeneous people can be great. No nation can exist with more than one language, more than one religion, more than one general form of education for the masses of the people. There may be change, modification, improvement in all these, but community of language, of religion and of educational forces are indispensable to the development of nationality, and there is no hope [R1212 : page 2] of prolonged existence in great communities where there is not either already complete unification in all these respects, or a strong increasing tendency to the same. The American people instinctively feel and know these things to be so. Hence it is that everywhere we now find the public mind arousing itself and grappling with the adverse and hostile elements which are almost everywhere to be found in our physical, mental and spiritual life.
I do not believe that it is possible that the American nation will develop in the direction of toleration of all religions – that is, so-called religions. Whether the general public conviction shall be right or wrong, I yet believe that instead of selecting and finally tolerating all so-called religions, the American people will, by constant and irresistible pressure, gradually expel from our geographical boundaries every religion except the Christian in its varied forms. I do not expect to see the pagan and other forms existing side by side with the former, both peaceably acquiesced in for any considerable length of time. I do not think that experience will satisfy the American people that the inculcation of any positive religious belief hostile to the Christian faith or the practice of the forms of any other worship is conducive to the good order of society and the general welfare. There may not be an exhibition of bigotry in this. I believe that religious toleration will yet come to be considered to be an intelligent discrimination between the true and the false, and the selection of the former by such universal consent as shall exclude by general reprobation the recognition and practice of the latter.
No religion which interposes any agency between man and God is Christianity. No other religion than Christianity – and Christianity as I have thus defined it – is consistent with the existence of human liberty and republican institutions. This country will not long exist as a free country if any other religious teaching comes generally to prevail. No one human being is the superior of any other human being in kind, however much we may differ in the extent of our several endowments, and no religion which finds space for an authority between the creature and the Creator can prevail without destroying the republic. Now, religious belief is a matter of education, and hence no free people will, or at least can, safely permit a system or a practice of education which sets up any human master of the human soul – save only the supremacy of each soul over itself.
This does not imply that the people will undertake to teach affirmatively the dogmas of religion in the sectarian sense, or perhaps, even, in the most general and fundamental sense. But it does imply that the people of the Republic shall see to it that certain things are not taught to the American child. The people will not rest until they have subverted all schools and teachers who create in the soul of a child a belief in a power greater than the right of public judgment and less than the authority of God – an allegiance to any spiritual power except the highest, or any prince, potentate or power, save only the Eternal King, which can inflict pains and penalties of a spiritual nature, or in any other life than this on earth.
The people will not rest in their study of the subject, nor in the regulation of the educational forces of the land, until they have compelled all citizens to be the masters of the English tongue – until they have secured the eradication of all religious teaching which enslaves the soul of the child to any other master than its Supreme Father, or which clothes a mere man with powers which partake of the prerogatives of God.
The people are studying these subjects anew. They are questioning as to whether there be not some mistake in theories of religious liberty which permit the inculcation of the most destructive errors in the name of toleration, and the spread of pestilence under the name of that liberty which despises the quarantine.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL: – Sister Page and myself have much sweet joy in our study, which seems to grow more and more precious to her. I am sure our Lord will enable her to grow more and more in favor and knowledge. I can hardly express how precious it is to me to be thus joined by my wife in pursuing that "holiness without which no man shall see God."
Now, dear Brother, do not think it necessary to write me, because I insist on writing you. Save your time and energies for the glorious work you are permitted to do. You know I love to hear from you, but I will be satisfied by "Tower" talk, until we commune in the kingdom, if so be I am accounted worthy to join you there. Even in this I thank God I can leave the result in His hands, daily trusting Him for strength to fulfil my consecration. Much love to Sister Russell, and all the saints.
MR. EDWARD BELLAMY, – DEAR SIR: – Having given your "Looking Backward" a careful reading, and believing with you that a "Golden Age" is coming, when men will act from the principle of love which Paul applies in his exhortation, "Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others" (Phil. 2:4), instead of from the principle of avarice which finds its expression in the maxim, "Every man for himself and the Devil take the hindmost," I am led to send you a copy of the work entitled, "The Plan of the Ages," which elaborates the same idea from a Bible standpoint, and which I commend to your earnest consideration. If you will pardon a humble reader's boldness, I will say that it appears to me that "Looking Backward" is most defective in that it leaves Christ and His Ransom entirely out of consideration.
Adam had the entire race in his loins when he sinned, and so the entire race died because of his sin. God made Christ a sinless and perfect man by transmitting an untainted life principle. Thus Christ was able to, and did, keep God's perfect law of love (1 Cor., 13 chap.), and by thus remaining a perfect human being was not subject to death. So Jesus says, "No man taketh my life from me. I have power (authority) to lay it down, and I have power to take it again." – John 10:18.
Otherwise his death would have been contrary to God's will, and thus a suicide and a sin. But in laying down his life, "the just for the unjust," he simply assumed Adam's penalty, or debt, and paid it, giving his life a ransom – corresponding price – for the life of the world (Matt. 20:28 and 1 Tim. 2:6), and had become heir (through his resurrection from the dead by God) to all that Adam was originally heir to and lost: which was perfect life, under perfect conditions and surrounded by a perfect family. And in "due time" he will lead forth, through a resurrection, the entire human race (John 5:28-29 and Acts 24:15), give them a full knowledge of the truth and full ability to live up to it. Only those who wilfully sin will be cut off (Heb. 10:26.) Thus will be fulfilled Paul's prophecy, "As in Adam all die, even so, in Christ shall all be made alive." (1 Cor. 15:22.) Witness also Paul's statement, "As by the offence of one, judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of one, the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life." (Heb. 5:18). "In due time," God's kingdom, founded on equity and justice, must fill the entire earth (Jer. 23:5; Psa. 72:2; Isa. 32:1,18), and then men will not only live eighty-five years in happiness, but will never die, so long as they obey God's law of love and life which they will fully know and keep (Isa. 11:9 and Hab. 2:14). But the foundation of this Kingdom is Jesus Christ and His Ransom (1 Cor. 3:11), and it cannot be built on human development or education merely. The brighter men's minds become while their hearts remain evil, the more perfectly they will put into execution the evil principle of avarice before quoted. All classes of society are now forming into organizations of different kinds to enforce this hideous teaching, their main lines being seen in Capital and Labor agitation and trouble. As I view it, it is an "irrepressible conflict," and will not down, until the various forces have spent themselves. Then, when men give up the contest, God will exalt Himself and fully set up his government (Psa. 46:9-10; Isa. 2:11), and all men will flow into it. – Isa. 2:2.
Thus briefly have I set forth the central thought of "The Plan of the Ages," hoping that my effort will interest you and cause you to give the book careful consideration, Bible in hand. The great importance of the subject under consideration is, I am sure, ample apology for this lengthy communication from a stranger.
Very sincerely yours,
At one of his recent meetings in New York, Mr. Moody quoted this sentiment in beginning his address: "The Bible is a lamp to direct us; a guide to conduct us; a bit to restrain us; a sword to defend us; water to wash us; fire to inflame us; salt to season us; milk to nourish us; rain to refresh us; treasures to enrich us; and a key to unlock for us heaven's gate." All this it is, he added, and much more. The man who came to a meeting to get an anointing that would last a lifetime was compared to the man who ate a breakfast to last a lifetime. Daily, hourly feeding on the Word is necessary, if the soul would grow.
The higher critic and the scientific skeptic would not receive much encouragement at these meetings. From cover to cover Mr. Moody believes the Bible. A man brought a difficult passage to him with this question:
"Certainly, I believe it. There are lots of things I believe that I don't understand. There are a good many things in astronomy, a good many things about my own system that I don't understand, yet I believe them. I am glad there are heights in that Book which I haven't been able to climb. I am glad there are depths I haven't been able to fathom. It is the best proof that the Book came from God."
"Yes, I do. We have one Bible, not two. The very things in the Old Testament that men cavil at the most to-day are the things the Son of Man set his seal to when he was down here, and it isn't good policy for a servant to be above his master. The Master believed these things."
The stories of the Deluge, the Destruction of the Cities of the Plain, Balaam's Ass, and Jonah and the Whale, were next taken up, the objections to them considered, and Christ's own references to these very matters given. Mr. Moody advised every one of his hearers to buy a concordance before luncheon, and then to take up the study of the Bible systematically, prayerfully. He commended highly a study of prophecy, especially those given by the so-called Minor Prophets. Glancing hastily at the prophecies concerning Babylon, Nineveh and Tyre, he showed how one after another had been fulfilled, and added:
"The best way to convert an infidel is to take him to the prophecies fulfilled. Look at the prophecies concerning Christ. There are over two hundred about him in the Old Testament. Think of those which concern his life on earth: His miraculous birth, not at Nazareth, but in Bethlehem, 'that the Scriptures might be fulfilled;' his dwelling at Nazareth, in Egypt, his riding into Jerusalem, his cruel treatment, his death. The Bible is not worn out, any more than the sun is worn out. Let us study the Book more and ourselves less."
We rejoice that many of God's children are able to stand firmly on the Bible and realize its superhuman wisdom who cannot understand it to any great degree. We are glad that this is, and during all the past of this age has been true. It is a fresh illustration of the Lord's words – "Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear (understand) the sayings of this book." (Rev. 1:3.) And now that we are living in "the time of the end," when the knowledge of God's plan, as well as general knowledge, was to be and is being increased, the greater blessing of understanding is daily being realized by larger and larger numbers.
Therefore, while commending Brother Moody's faith in things not yet understood, we believe that he would endorse our statement, that none should be satisfied with saying, I don't understand and cannot explain certain parts of God's Word; but, knowing that we are in the time of the uncovering of God's truth, each child of God should earnestly seek to grow in knowledge as well as in the grace of the Lord. Alas! too many of the teachers, as well as the church in general, are in the condition mentioned with reproof in Isa. 29:10,18.
"Blow ye the Trumpet, blow
The gladly solemn sound;
Let all the nations know,
To earth's remotest bound,
The Jubilee of Earth is come,
Returning ransomed sinners home.
"Jesus, our great High-Priest,
Hath full atonement made;
Ye weary spirits, rest;
Ye mournful souls, be glad.
The Jubilee of Earth is come,
Returning ransomed sinners home.
"Extol the Lamb of God,
The all-atoning Lamb;
Redemption through his blood
To all the world proclaim.
The Jubilee of Earth is come,
Returning ransomed sinners home.
"Ye who were sold for nought,
Whose heritage was lost,
May have all back unbought,
A gift at Jesus' cost.
The Jubilee of Earth is come,
Returning ransomed sinners home.
"The Seventh Trumpet hear,
The news of heavenly grace;
Salvation now is near;
Seek ye the Savior's face.
The Jubilee of Earth is come,
Returning ransomed sinners home."
Our Christian experiences differ; no two have exactly the same: because our temperaments and talents differ as well as our surroundings. But we may rely upon it that no real son of God is exempted from the needed trials of patience, faith and love. No matter how strong the character or how seemingly impregnable to the ordinary besetments, we may rely upon it that such have as great trials and crosses as others – perhaps greater – perhaps such as would prostrate weaker ones, whom the Lord will therefore in love and mercy not suffer to be tempted above that they are able to bear.
Even our blessed Lord Jesus, though perfect, had to pass through an experience to test and prove his complete submission to the Father's will. Looking at our Lord's testing, we cannot doubt that his strong character was measurably unmoved by the sarcastic, bitter words and threats of the Scribes and Pharisees, and that likewise he speedily and firmly settled Satan's temptations negatively. And none of these things which would have been the greatest temptations to others seemed to move or even to greatly annoy him. He answered coolly and often sarcastically and ironically the attacks of open enemies.
It was when those who "dipped in the dish with him, lifted up the heel against him" and left him, that his heart was troubled; – wounded by professed friends. The only discouraged expression recorded, relative to his work, was toward the close of his ministry when the test became more and more severe and "many went back and walked no more in his company," saying of his doctrines, "This is a hard saying; who can hear it?" His unreproachful but sorrowful words, then expressed to the twelve specially staunch, were full of pathos and disappointed grief: "Will ye also go away?" The prompt response of Peter – "Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of lasting life" – must certainly have come as a comforting balm to that noble, loving heart whose only impulse was to do good and bless others.
And yet, as it came to the close of his ministry, the time came that he must still further suffer wounds from those he most loved. And catching a clear view of how his sacrifice was to be completed, how all his bosom disciples would forsake and disown him, and how one of them would betray him with a kiss, no wonder that was one of his most sorrowful trials and disappointments. He was sorrowful, troubled in spirit, and testified, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, that one of you shall betray me." And when Peter courageously said, "Though I should die with thee, yet will I not deny thee" – and so said they all – Jesus saw that all would be scattered, forsaking him in his most trying hour, and that courageous Peter would be so terribly sifted of Satan and prove so weak that he would even swear that he had never known him. Truly these trials from "brethren," some of whom were only weak, and some false at heart, must have been among the sorest of our Lord's experiences, during his period of trial. Yet none of these things moved him or for a moment influenced him to choose another course. He cheerfully followed the narrow path and left it for God, in his own time, to bring forth his righteousness as the light of noonday. He was obedient to God, and faithful to the truth, and it was thus that he suffered not only at the hands of evil men but also from the misunderstandings of his closest friends, who did not clearly understand the situation, nor see how needful it was that he should first be Redeemer before he could become Restorer and King.
We never hear from him a complaint about the way the world rejected his message and spoke evil of him and maltreated him as the leading exponent of the unpopular doctrine of the cross of Christ, which was opposed both by the stumbling, blinded Jews and by the worldly-wise philosophies of the Gentiles. Indeed, instead of being downcast or discouraged at his past experiences and in the future prospect that bonds and imprisonments awaited him, he boldly and cheerfully declared, "But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself." – Acts 20:19-24.
But, like the Lord Jesus, Paul had his severest trials from "false brethren;" who, instead of being faithful yoke-fellows and co-workers with Paul as good soldiers of the cross, became puffed up, heady, anxious to be leaders. These, being unwilling or unable to see the truth as fully and clearly as did Paul, because of their wrong condition of heart, and being envious of his success, and the results of his zeal and labor, followed after him in the various cities where he had labored, and by misrepresentation of his character as well as of his teachings sought to lower him in the esteem of the household of faith, and to thus open the way for various sophistical theories which would reflect honor upon them as teachers of what they claimed were advanced truths, though actually subverting the real truth in the minds of many.
The only annoyance ever manifested by the Apostle Paul, in any of his letters, was upon this subject of his misrepresentation by false brethren. Referring to these false apostles by name, that they might be known and recognized as such (See 1 Tim. 1:19,20; 2 Tim. 4:10,14-17; 2 Cor. 11:2-23), he clearly exposed their unholy motives, of pride, ambition and envy, which scrupled not to make havoc of the church and of the truth. Especially did he point out that in their attempt to be leaders, they had manufactured a different gospel, built upon a different foundation than the only true foundation – the death of Christ as man's ransom-price.
Paul was zealous for the truth's sake, lest these false apostles should, by smooth words and by misrepresentations of his character and the truth, use that as a lever to turn men aside from the true gospel.
He warns them against those teachers, not to keep himself uppermost in their hearts, but to put them on their guard, lest receiving the new teachers they should be injured by the false teachings they presented, and lest in rejecting him and losing confidence in him as an honest and true man and teacher they should discard his teachings which were the truth. Hence his reference to himself was not a self-defence and self-laudation but a defence of the truth and an endeavor to have them see that his character and career as a true teacher comported well with the true message he bore to them.
And he fearlessly pointed out that men might claim to present the same Jesus, the same spirit and the same gospel, and yet be false teachers and deceitful workers transforming themselves into apostles of Christ. And he says, marvel not at such a thing as that men should be great workers in the name of Christ from ambitious motives: "No marvel, for Satan himself fashioneth himself into an angel of light. It is no great thing, therefore, if his ministers also transform themselves as ministers of righteousness."
Paul's letter to the Galatians, too, was written evidently to counteract the false representations of false brethren. (See Gal. 1:6; 3:1.) To re-establish confidence in the gospel message he had delivered, it was needful that he should rehearse to them something of his history. In doing so it was necessary to again refer to the false brethren (Gal. 2:4), who claimed to be of the same body and who yet in opposition to the truth brought again upon God's children the bondage of errors already escaped from.
Many are the inquiries relative to the truths presented in the TOWER and MILLENNIAL DAWN, as to whence they came and how they developed to their present symmetrical and beautiful proportions. – Were they the results of visions? Did God in any supernatural way grant the solution of these, hitherto, mysteries of his plan? Are the writers more than ordinary beings? Do they claim any supernatural wisdom or power? or how comes this revelation of God's truth, any how?
No, dear friends, we claim nothing of superiority, nor of supernatural power, dignity or authority; nor do we aspire to exalt ourselves in the estimation of our brethren of the household of faith, except in the sense that the Master urged it, saying, "Let him who would be great among you be your servant." (Matt. 20:27.) And our position among men of the world and of the nominal church is certainly far from exalted, being everywhere spoken against. We are fully contented, however, to wait for exaltation until the Lord's due time. (1 Pet. 5:6.) In the apostle's words, we therefore answer, "Why look ye upon us, as though by our own power we had done these things?" We also are men of like passions with yourselves – of like infirmities and frailties, earnestly striving, by overcoming many besetments, discouragements, etc., to press along the line toward the mark of the prize of our high calling, and claiming only, as faithful students of the Word of God, to be simply index fingers, as we have previously expressed it, to help you to trace for yourselves, on the sacred page, the wonderful plan of God – no less wonderful to us, we assure you, than to you, dearly beloved sharers of our faith and joy.
No, the truths we present, as God's mouthpieces, were not revealed in visions or dreams, nor by God's audible voice, nor all at once, but gradually, especially since 1870, and particularly since 1880, a period of about twenty years. And this present clear unfolding of truth is not due to any human ingenuity or acuteness of perception, but to the simple fact that God's due time has come, and if we did not speak and no other agent could be found, the very stones would cry out.
We give the following history not only because we have been urged to give a review of God's leadings in the path of light, but specially because we believe it to be needful that the truth be modestly told, that misapprehensions and prejudicial mis-statements may be disarmed, and that our readers may see how hitherto the Lord hath helped and guided us. In so far as the names and views of others, who have parted company with us, may be associated with this history, we shall endeavor to bring forward only such points as are necessary to an understanding of our position and of the Lord's leadings. Nor can we name all the little points of divine favor in which faith was tested, prayers were answered, etc., remembering that our Master and the early church left no such example of boasting of faith, but rather admonished otherwise, saying, "Hast thou faith, have it to thyself." Some of the most precious experiences of faith and prayer are those which are too sacred for public display.
We will not go back to tell how the light began to break through the clouds of prejudice and superstition which enveloped the world under Papacy's rule in the dark ages. The reformation movement, or rather movements, from then until now, has each done its share in bringing light out of darkness. But confining ourselves to the consideration of the harvest truths set forth in Millennial Dawn and Zion's Watch Tower, we begin the narrative at the year 1868, when the editor, having been a consecrated child of God for some years, and a member of the Congregational Church and of the Y.M.C.A., began to be shaken in faith regarding many long-accepted doctrines. Brought up a Presbyterian and indoctrinated from the Catechism, and being naturally of an inquiring mind, I fell a ready prey to the logic of Infidelity as soon as I began to think for myself. But that which at first threatened to be the utter shipwreck of faith in God and the Bible, was, under God's providence, overruled for good, and merely wrecked my confidence in human creeds and systems of misinterpretation of the Bible.
Gradually I was led to see that though each of the creeds contained some elements of truth, they were, on the whole, misleading and contradictory of God's Word. Among other theories, I stumbled upon Adventism. Seemingly by accident, one evening I dropped into a dusty, dingy hall, where I had heard religious services were held, to see if the handful who met there had anything more sensible to offer than the creeds of the great churches. There, for the first time, I heard something of the views of Second Adventists from the preacher, Mr. Jonas Wendell, long since deceased. [R1214 : page 4] Though his Scripture exposition was not entirely clear, and though it was very far from what we now rejoice in, it was sufficient, under God, to re-establish my wavering faith in the divine inspiration of the Bible, and to show that the records of the apostles and prophets are indissolubly linked. What I heard sent me to my Bible to study with more zeal and care than ever before, and I shall ever thank the Lord for that leading; for though Adventism helped me to no single truth, it did help me greatly in the unlearning of errors, and thus prepared me for the truth.
I soon began to see that we were living somewhere near the close of the Gospel age, and near the time when the Lord had declared that the wise, watching ones of his children should come to a clear knowledge of his plan. At this time, myself and a few other truth-seekers in Pittsburgh and Allegheny formed a class for Bible study, and from 1870 to 1875 was a time of constant growth in grace and knowledge and love of God and his plan. We came to see something of the love of God, how it had made provision for all mankind and how all must be awakened from the tomb in order that God's loving plan might be testified to them, and that they might then, by knowledge and help, through obedience – as a result of Christ's redemptive work – be brought back into harmony with God. This we saw to be the Restitution work foretold in Acts 3:21. But though seeing that the Church was called to joint-heirship with the Lord in the Millennial Kingdom, up to that time we had failed to see clearly the great distinction between the reward of the Church now on trial and the reward of the world after its trial, at the close of the Millennial age – that the reward of the former is to be the glory of the spiritual, divine nature, while that of the latter is to be the glory of restitution – restoration, to the perfection of human nature once enjoyed by their representative and head, Adam, in Eden.
However, we were then merely getting the general outlines of God's plan, and unlearning many long-cherished errors, the time for a clear discernment of the minutiae having not yet fully come. And here we should and do gratefully mention assistance rendered by Brothers George Stetson and George Storrs, both now deceased, the latter the editor of The Bible Examiner. The study of the Word of God with these dear brethren led, step by step, into greener pastures and brighter hopes for the world, though it was not until 1872, when I gained a clear view of our Lord's work as our ransom price, that I found the strength and foundation of all hope of restitution to lie in that doctrine. Up to that time, when I read the testimony that all in their graves shall come forth, etc., I yet doubted the full provision – whether it should be understood to include idiots or infants who had died without reaching any degree of understanding, beings to whom the present life and its experiences would seem to be of little or no advantage. But when, in 1873, I came to examine the subject of restitution from the standpoint of the ransom price given by our Lord Jesus for Adam, and consequently for all lost in Adam, it settled the matter of restitution completely, and gave fullest assurance that ALL must come forth from Adamic death and be brought to a clear knowledge of the truth and to fullest opportunity of everlasting life in Christ.
Thus passed the years 1869-1872, and the years following, to 1876, were years of continued growth in grace and knowledge on the part of the handful of Bible students with whom I met regularly in Allegheny. We progressed from our first crude and indefinite ideas of restitution to clearer understanding of the details, God's due time for clearer light not having come until 1874.
During this time, too, we came to recognize the difference between our Lord as "the man who gave himself," and as the Lord who would come again, a spirit being. We saw that spirit-beings can be present, and yet invisible to men, just as we still hold and have set forth in Millennial Dawn, Vol. II., Chap. x. And we felt greatly grieved at the error of Second Adventists who were expecting Christ in the flesh, and teaching that the world and all in it except Second Adventists would be burned up in 1873 or 1874, whose time-settings and disappointments and crude ideas generally of the object and manner of his coming brought more or less reproach upon us and upon all who longed for and proclaimed his coming Kingdom.
It was about January 1876 that my attention was specially drawn to the subject of prophetic time, as it relates to these doctrines and hopes. It came about in this way: I received a paper called The Herald of The Morning, sent by its editor, Mr. N. H. Barbour. When I opened it I at once identified it with Adventism from the picture on its cover, and examined it with some curiosity to see what time they would set next for the burning of the world. But judge of my surprise and gratification, when I learned from its contents that the editor was beginning to get his eyes open on the subjects that for some years had so greatly rejoiced our hearts here in Allegheny – that the object of our Lord's return is not to destroy, but to bless all the families of the earth, and that his coming would be thief-like, not in flesh, but as a spirit-being invisible to men, and that the gathering of his Church and separating of the wheat from the tares would progress in the end of this age without the world's being aware of it. I rejoiced to find others coming to the same advanced position, but was astonished to find a further statement very cautiously made, that the editor believed the prophecies to indicate that the Lord was already present in the world (unseen and invisible) and that the harvest work of gathering the wheat was already due.
Here was a new thought: Could it be that the time prophecies which I had so long despised, because of their misuse by Adventists, were really meant for us – to indicate when the Lord would be invisibly present to set up his Kingdom – a thing which we clearly saw could be known in no other way? It seemed, to say the least, a reasonable, very reasonable thing, to expect that the Lord would inform his people on the subject – especially as he had promised that the faithful should not be left in darkness with the world, and that though the day of the Lord would come upon all others as a thief in the night (stealthily, unawares), it should not be so to the watching, earnest saints. – 1 Thes. 5:4.
I recalled certain arguments used by the Adventists to prove that 1873 would witness the burning of the world, etc. – the chronology of the world showing that the six thousand years from Adam ended with the beginning of 1873, and other arguments drawn from the Scriptures and supposed to coincide. Could it be that these, which we had passed by as unworthy of attention, really contained an important truth which they had misapplied?
Anxious to learn, from any quarter, whatever God had to teach, I at once wrote to Mr. Barbour, informing him of our harmony on other points and desiring to know particularly why, and upon what Scriptural evidences, he held that Christ's presence and the harvesting of the Gospel age dated from the Autumn of 1874.
The answer showed that my surmise had been correct, viz.: that the time arguments, chronology, etc., were the same as used by Second Adventists in 1873, and explained how Mr. Barbour and Mr. J. A. Paton of Michigan, a co-worker with him, had been regular Second Adventists up to that time, and that when the date 1874 had passed without the world being burned, and without their seeing Christ in the flesh, they were for a time dumb-founded. They had examined the time-prophecies that had seemingly passed unfulfilled, and had been unable to find any flaw, and had begun to wonder whether the time was right and their expectations wrong, – whether the views of restitution and blessing to the world, which others were teaching, might not be the right thing to look for. Not long after their 1874 disappointment, a reader of the Herald, who had a copy of the Diaglott, noticed something in it which he thought peculiar, – that in Matt. 24:27,37,39, the word which in our common version is rendered coming, is translated presence.
This was the clue, and following it, they had been led through prophetic time toward proper views regarding the object and manner of the Lord's return. We of Allegheny on the contrary were led first to proper views of the object and manner of our Lord's return and then to the examination of the time for these things, indicated in God's word. Thus God leads his children often from different starting points of truth; but where the heart is earnest and trustful, the result must be to draw all such together.
But there were no books or other publications setting forth the time-prophecies as then understood, so I paid Mr. Barbour's expenses to come to see me at Philadelphia (where I had business engagements during the summer of 1876), to show me fully and Scripturally, if he could, that the prophecies indicated 1874 as the date at which the Lord's presence and the harvest began. He came, and the evidences satisfied me. A person of positive conviction and fully consecrated to the Lord, I at once saw that the new light had an important bearing upon our duty and work as Christ's disciples; that being in the time of harvest, the harvest-work should be done, and that present truth was the sickle by which the Lord would have us do a gathering and reaping work everywhere among his children.
I inquired of Mr. Barbour as to what was being done by him and through the Herald. He replied that nothing was being done; that the readers of the Herald, being Adventists, had nearly all lost interest and stopped their subscriptions – and that thus, with money exhausted, the Herald might be said to be practically suspended. I told him that instead of feeling discouraged and giving up the work since his newly found light on restitution (for when we first met, he had much to learn from me on the fulness of restitution based upon the sufficiency of the ransom given for all), he should rather feel that now he had some good tidings to preach, such as he never had before, and that his zeal should be correspondingly increased. At the same time I felt that the knowledge of the fact that we were already in the harvest period gave to me an impetus to spread the truth such as I never had before. I therefore at once resolved upon a vigorous campaign for the truth.
I determined to curtail my business cares and give my time as well as means to the great harvest work. Accordingly, I sent Mr. Barbour back to his home, with money and instructions to prepare in concise book form the good tidings so far as then understood, including the time features, while I closed out my Philadelphia business preparatory to engaging in the work, which I afterward did, traveling and preaching.
The little book of 196 pages thus prepared was entitled The Three Worlds, and while it was not the first book to teach a measure of restitution, nor the first to treat upon time-prophecy, it was, we believe, the first to combine the idea of restitution with time-prophecy. From the sale of this book and from my purse, our traveling expenses, etc., were met. After a time I conceived the idea of adding another harvest laborer and sent for Mr. Paton, who promptly responded and whose traveling expenses were met in the same manner.
But noticing how quickly people seemed to forget what they had heard, it soon became evident that while the meetings were useful in awakening interest, a monthly journal was needed to hold that interest and develop it. It therefore seemed to be the Lord's will that one of our number should settle somewhere and begin again the regular issuing of the Herald of the Morning. I suggested that Mr. Barbour do this, as he had experience as a type-setter and could therefore do it most economically, while Mr. Paton and I would continue to travel and contribute to its columns as we should find opportunity. To the objection that the type was now sold, and that the few subscriptions which would come in would not, for a long time, make the journal self-sustaining, I replied that I would supply the money for purchasing type, etc., and leave a few hundred dollars in bank subject to Mr. Barbour's check, and that he should manage it as economically as possible, while Mr. Paton and I continued to travel. This, which seemed to be the Lord's will in the matter, was done.
It was after this, while on a tour of the New England states, that I met Mr. A. P. Adams, then a young Methodist minister, who became deeply interested and accepted the message heartily during the week that I preached to his congregation. Subsequently, I introduced him to little gatherings of interested ones in neighboring towns, and assisted otherwise, as I could, rejoicing in another one who, with study, would soon be a co-laborer in the harvest field. About this time, too, I was much encouraged by the accession of Mr. A. D. Jones, then a clerk in my employ in Pittsburgh – a young man of activity and promise, who soon developed into an active and appreciated co-laborer in the harvest work, and is remembered by some of our readers. Mr. Jones ran well for a time, but ambition or something eventually worked utter shipwreck to his faith, and left us a painful illustration of the wisdom of the Apostle's words: "My brethren, be not many of you teachers, knowing that we shall have the severer judgment." – James 3:1.
"Satan hath desired to have you that he might sift you as wheat." – Luke 22:31.
Thus far all had run smoothly and onward; we had been greatly blessed with truth, but not specially tested in our love [R1214 : page 5] and fidelity to it. But with the Summer of 1878, the parallel in time to the Lord's crucifixion and his utterance of the above quoted words, the sifting began, which has continued ever since, and which must, sooner or later, test every one who receives the light of present truth. "Marvel not, therefore, concerning the fiery trial which shall try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you;" for this "fire shall try every man's work, of what sort it is" – whether he has built his faith flimsily of wood, hay and stubble, instead of with the valuable stones of God's revealed truth, or whether he has built it upon the shifting sands of human theory – evolution, etc. – or upon the solid rock, the ransom, the only sure foundation, which God has provided. They who build upon that rock shall be safe personally, even though they may have built up an illogical faith which the "fire" and shaking of this day of trial shall overthrow and utterly consume; but they who build upon any other foundation, whether they use good or bad materials, are sure of complete wreck. – See Luke 6:47-49; 1 Cor. 3:11-15.
The object of this sifting, etc., evidently is to select all whose heart-desires are unselfish, who are fully and unreservedly consecrated to the Lord, who are so anxious to have the Lord's will done, and whose confidence in his wisdom and his way and his Word is so great, that they humbly refuse to be led either by the sophistries of others, or by plans and ideas of their own, away from the Lord's Word. These, in the sifting time, will be strengthened and shall increase their joy in the Lord and their knowledge of his plans, even while their faith is being tested by the falling into error of thousands on every hand. – Psa. 91:7.
The sifting began thus: Regarding Paul's statement (1 Cor. 15:51,52): "We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed – in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye," etc., we still held the idea which Adventists, and indeed all Christians hold, that at some time the living saints would be suddenly and miraculously caught away bodily, thenceforth to be forever with the Lord. And now, our acquaintance with time-prophecy led us to expect this translation of the saints at the point of time in this age parallel to the Lord's resurrection; for many of the parallelisms between the Jewish and Christian dispensations were already seen by us, and formed one of the features of the little book above referred to – The Three Worlds.
We did not then see, as we now do, that that date (1878) marked the time for the beginning of the establishment of the Kingdom of God, by the glorification of all who already slept in Christ, and that the "change" which Paul mentions (1 Cor. 15:51) is to occur in the moment of dying, to all the class described, from that date onward through the harvest period until all of the living members ("the feet") of the body of Christ, shall have been changed to spirit beings glorified. But when at that date nothing occurred which we could see, a re-examination of the matter showed me that our mistake lay in expecting to see all the living saints changed at once, and without dying – an erroneous view shared in by the whole nominal church, and one which we had not yet discarded or observed. The clear view just stated, and which has been presented through the TOWER, was the result of the examination thus started. I soon saw that in the Apostle's words, "We shall not all sleep," the word sleep was not synonymous with die, though generally so understood; that on the contrary the expression sleep, here used, represents unconsciousness; and that the Apostle wished us to understand that from a certain time in the Lord's presence, his saints, though they would all die like other men (Psa. 82:6,7), would not need to remain for any time unconscious, but in the moment of dying would be changed and would receive the spirit body promised. Throughout this Gospel age, dying has been followed by unconsciousness, "sleep." This continued true of all saints who "fell asleep in Jesus" up to the time when he took the office of King (Rev. 11:17), which we have shown (in Millennial Dawn, Vol. II., pages 218, 219) was in 1878. Not only did the King at that date "awaken in his likeness" all the members of his body, the church, who slept, but for the same reason (the time for establishing his Kingdom having come) it is no longer necessary that the "feet" or last remaining members should go into "sleep," or unconsciousness. On the contrary, each now, as he finishes his course, faithful unto death, will at once receive the crown of life, and being changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, cannot be said to sleep, or to be unconscious at all. Here, too, Rev. 14:13 is applicable – 1878 – "Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from henceforth."
But while I was thus helped to clearer views and brighter hopes, and while I diligently endeavored to help others, the Spring of 1878 proved far from a blessing to Mr. Barbour and to many under his influence. Rejecting the plain, simple solution presented above, Mr. B. seemed to feel that he must of necessity get up something new to divert attention. And alas, how dangerous it is for any man to feel too much responsibility and to attempt to force new light.
To our painful surprise Mr. Barbour soon after wrote an article for the Herald denying the doctrine of the atonement – denying that the death of Christ was the ransom-price of Adam and his race, saying that Christ's death was no more a settlement of the penalty of man's sins than would the sticking of a pin through the body of a fly and causing it suffering and death be considered by an earthly parent as a just settlement for a misdemeanor in his child. I was astonished, supposing that Mr. B. had a clearer understanding of the work of Christ as our sin-offering, our willing Redeemer who gladly, co-operating in the divine plan, gave himself as the ransom or corresponding price to meet the penalty upon Adam, that Adam and all his posterity might in due time go free from sin and death. A totally different thing indeed was the willing, intelligent, loving offering of our Redeemer, according to the plan devised and revealed by infinite wisdom, from the miserable caricature of it offered in the above illustration. I had either given Mr. B. credit for clearer views than he ever had, or else he was deliberately taking off and casting away the wedding garment of Christ's righteousness. The latter was the only conclusion left; for he afterward stated that he had previously recognized Christ's death as man's ransom price.
Immediately I wrote an article for the Herald in contradiction of the error, showing the necessity "that one die for all" – "the just for the unjust" – and how Christ fulfilled all this as it had been written, and that consequently God could be just and forgive and release the sinner from the very penalty he had justly imposed (Rom. 3:26.) I also wrote to Mr. Paton, calling his attention to the fundamental character of the doctrine assailed, and pointing out how the time and circumstances all corresponded with the parable of the one who took off the wedding garment when just about to partake of the wedding feast. He replied that he had not seen it in so strong a light before, that Mr. B. had a strong, dogmatic way of putting things which had for the time overbalanced him. I urged that, seeing now the importance of the doctrine, he also write an article for the Herald, which, in no uncertain tone, would give his witness for the precious blood of Christ, which he did. Those articles appeared in the issues of the Herald from July to December, 1878.
It now became clear to me that the Lord would no longer have me assist financially or to be in any way identified with anything which cast any influence in opposition to the fundamental principle of our holy Christian religion, and I therefore, after a most careful though unavailing effort to reclaim the erring, withdrew entirely from the Herald of the Morning and from further fellowship with Mr. B. But a mere withdrawal I felt was not sufficient to show my continued loyalty to our Lord and Redeemer, whose cause had been thus violently assailed by one in a position to lead the sheep astray – and in that position too very largely by my individual assistance and encouragement when I believed him to be in all sincerity true to the Lord. I therefore understood it to be the Lord's will that I should start another journal in which the standard of the cross should be lifted high, the doctrine of the ransom defended, and the good tidings of great joy proclaimed as extensively as possible.
Acting upon this leading of the Lord, I gave up traveling, and in July, 1879, the first number of Zion's Watch Tower and Herald of Christ's Presence made its appearance. From the first, it has been a special advocate of the ransom, and by the grace of God we hope it will never be any thing else.
For a time we had a most painful experience: the readers of the Herald and of the TOWER were the same, and from the time the latter started and the supply of funds from this quarter for the Herald ceased, Mr. B. not only treated all he had in his possession as his own, but poured upon the editor of the TOWER the vilest of personal abuse in order to prevent the TOWER and the doctrine of the ransom from having due influence upon the readers. This of course caused a division, as such things always do. The personal abuse, being regarded by some as true, had its intended effect of biasing the judgments of many on the subject of the ransom, and many turned from us.
But the Lord continued his favor, which I esteem of more value than the favor of the whole world. It was at this time that Mr. Adams espoused the views of Mr. Barbour and likewise forsook the doctrine of the ransom. And, true to our interpretation of the parable of the wedding garment as given at the time, Mr. Barbour and Mr. Adams, having cast off the wedding garment of Christ's righteousness, went out of the light into the outer darkness of the world on the subjects once so clearly seen – namely, the time and manner of the Lord's presence; and since then for ten years they have been expecting Christ, Spring or Fall, down to the present Spring, which was their latest disappointment.
During this ordeal, or we might truly call it battle, for the cross of Christ, we had the earnest co-operation of Mr. Paton, who, up to the Summer of 1881, was an appreciated co-laborer and defender of the doctrine of coming blessings through Christ based upon the ransom for all given at Calvary. The book The Three Worlds having been for some time out of print, it seemed as if either another edition of that, or else a new book covering the same features, should be gotten out. Mr. Paton agreed to get it ready for the press and Mr. Jones offered to pay all the expenses incident to its printing and binding and to give Mr. Paton as many copies of the book as he could sell, as remuneration for his time spent in preparing the matter, * provided I would agree to advertise it liberally and gratuitously in the TOWER – well knowing that there would be a demand for it if I should recommend it, and that his outlay would be sure to return with profit. I not only agreed to this but contributed to Mr. Paton's personal expenses in connection with the publishing, as well as paid part of the printer's bill at his solicitation.
In the end I alone was at any financial loss in connection with that book, called Day Dawn, the writer and publisher both being gainers financially, while I did all the introducing by repeated advertisements in the TOWER as well as in Food for Thinking Christians, of which over a million copies were circulated. We need to give these particulars, because of certain one-sided and only partial statements of facts and misrepresentations, which have recently been published and circulated in tract form by Mr. Paton, who is also now an advocate of that "other gospel" of which the cross of Christ is not the center, and which denies that he "bought us with his own precious blood." Mr. P. has gotten out another book, which, though called by the same name as the one we introduced, being on another and a false foundation, I cannot and do not recommend, but which I esteem misleading sophistry, tending to undermine the whole structure of the Christian system: yet retaining a sufficiency of the truths which we once held in common to make it palatable and dangerous to all not rooted and grounded upon the ransom rock.
The false foundation which it presents is the old heathen doctrine of evolution revamped – which not only denies the fall of man, but, as a consequence, all necessity for a redeemer. It claims, on the contrary, that not by redemption and restitution to a lost estate, but by progress of evolution or development, man has progressed and is still to progress from the lower condition in which he was created until he ultimately reaches the divine nature by his own good works. It claims that our blessed Lord was himself a degraded and imperfect man, whose work on earth was to crucify a carnal nature, which, it claims, he possessed, and to thus show all men how to crucify their carnal propensities or sinful desires.
And here we remark that the darkness and degradation, which came upon the whole world in its fallen, cast-off condition, and which was only intensified by Papacy's priestcraft during the dark ages, when contrasted with the light of intelligence, which God is now letting in upon the world, have gradually led men to esteem present intelligence as merely a part of a progress of evolution. This view, as we have shown (Millennial Dawn, Vol. I., page 156), though quite incorrect, is nevertheless the occasion of the predicted great falling away from the faith of the Bible during the harvest period. (Psa. 91:7.) And few Christian people seem to be well enough grounded in the truth [R1214 : page 6] to be able to withstand this trial of the evil day, in which the many will fall, while only the few will stand. For this cause, we use great plainness of speech.
The little history of the way in which Mr. Paton came to turn from us and the ransom, to oppose that which he once clearly saw and advocated, is important, as it became the occasion of another sifting or testing of the WATCH TOWER readers, by that time a much larger number; because Mr. Paton had been a respected brother and co-worker with us, and because as a traveling representative of the TOWER and its doctrines, his expenses being met in part by TOWER subscriptions and renewals, as well as by money from me, he was personally known to a larger number of the readers than was the editor of the TOWER. It came about thus: –
In the year 1881, Mr. Barbour, still publishing the Herald, and still endeavoring to overthrow the doctrine of the ransom, finding that on a preaching tour I had used a diagram of the Tabernacle to illustrate how Christ's sacrifice was typified in the sacrifices of typical Israel, etc., wrote an article on the atonement, in which he undertook to show that the sacrifices of the Day of Atonement typified almost anything else than what they do typify. I could readily see through the fallacy of his presentation, which made of the bullock a type of one thing in one verse and another thing in each other verse in which it was mentioned, and so too with the goat. But I well knew that people in general are not close reasoners, and that with the cares of life upon them, they are too apt to accept a seeming interpretation, without a critical examination of the words of Scripture and their context.
I thought the matter all over; I examined the chapter (Lev. 16), but while seeing the inconsistency and error of Mr. Barbour's interpretation, I could only confess that I did not understand it and could not give a connected interpretation which would fit all the details so plainly stated, and all of which must have a particular meaning. What could I do? Those reading the Herald as well as the TOWER would probably be misled, if not helped out of the difficulty; and to merely say that the Herald's interpretation was inconsistent with itself, and therefore a misinterpretation, would be misunderstood. Many would surely think that I opposed that view from a spirit of rivalry. (There are always people with whom every thing resolves itself into personality, rivalry and party spirit, and such cannot understand others who take a higher and nobler view, and who think always and only of the truth, regardless of persons.) I went to the Lord with this as with every trial, told him just how it seemed to me, how anxious I felt for the dear sheep, who, having their appetites sharpened by some truth, were by their very hunger exposed to Satan's deceptions.
I told him that I realized that he was the Shepherd, and not I, but that I knew also that he would be pleased at any interest in the sheep, and my desire to be his mouthpiece to declare the truth, the way and the life to them; that I felt deeply impressed that if the time had come for the permission of a false view to deceive the unworthy, it must also be his due time to have the truth on the same subject made clear, that the worthy ones might be enabled to stand, and not fall from the truth. Believing that the due time had come for the correct understanding of the meaning of the Jewish sacrifices, which all Christians see were typical of "better sacrifices," and that the Lord would grant the insight as soon as I got into the attitude of heart best fitted to receive the light, I prayed with confidence that if the Lord's due time had come, and if he was willing to use me as his instrument to declare the message to his dear family, that I might be enabled to rid my heart and mind of any prejudice that might stand in the way and be led of his spirit into the proper understanding.
Believing that the prayer would be answered affirmatively, I went into my study next morning prepared to study and write. The forenoon I spent in scrutinizing the text and every other Scripture likely to shed light upon it, especially the epistle to the Hebrews, and in looking to the Lord for wisdom and guidance; but no solution of the difficult passage came. The afternoon and evening were similarly spent, and all of the next day; everything else was neglected, and I wondered why the Lord kept me so long; but on the third day near noon the whole matter came to me clear as the noon-day sun – so clear and convincing and so harmonious with the whole tenor of Scripture, that I could not question its correctness; and no one has ever yet been able to find a flaw in it.
Then I knew why the Lord had led me to it so slowly and cautiously. I needed a special preparation of heart for the full appreciation of all it contained, and I was all the more assured that it was not of my own wisdom; for if of my own why would it not have come at once? I found that the understanding of that subject was bound to have a wide influence upon all our hopes and views of all truths – not in that it overturned old truths or contradicted them, but on the contrary, in that it set them all in order and harmony and straightened out little knots and twists. For instance, the doctrine of justification by faith had always been more or less confused in my mind, as it is in every mind, with the doctrine of sanctification which calls for self-sacrifice and works. This was all made clear and plain at once; for the types showed that we all, as sinners, needed first of all Christ's ransom sacrifice, and that we appropriate its merits (justification – forgiveness) to ourselves by faith, and that thus we are justified (reckoned free from sin) when we by faith accept of Christ's sacrifice on our behalf. The type showed, too, that it was only after being thus cleansed in God's sight (by our acceptance of Christ's finished work as our ransom-sacrifice) that God was willing to accept of us as joint sacrifices with Christ, and if faithful to the end, following in his footsteps, we should be granted the favor of joint-heirship with him.
Here I first saw that the great privilege of becoming joint-heirs with Christ and partakers with him of the divine nature was confined exclusively to those who should share with him in self-sacrifice in the service of the truth. And here, too, I saw for the first time, that the Lord was the first of these sacrifices, the Sin-Offering; consequently, that none of God's servants, the prophets, who lived and died before Christ, were priests after his order, nor sharers in sacrifice with him, even though some of them were stoned, others sawn asunder and others slain with the sword for the cause of God; that though they would get a good and great reward, they would belong to a separate class and order from those called to sacrifice and joint-heirship with Christ on and since Pentecost. Here, too, I first saw that the acceptable day of the Lord signifies this Gospel age – the time during which he will accept the sacrifice of any who come unto God through Christ, the great Sin Offering, and that when this acceptable day ends, the reward of joint-heirship and change to the divine nature ends; and that when this great day of sacrifice, the Gospel age (the real Day of Atonement), has closed, when all the members of the body of Christ have participated with him in the sacrifice of their lawful rights and privileges as justified men, then the blessing will begin to come to the world – the Millennial blessings purchased for men by their Redeemer according to the grace of God.
This first brought us to a clear recognition of the distinction of natures – of what constitutes human nature, what constitutes angelic nature and what constitutes divine nature, as shown in Millennial Dawn, Vol. I., Chapter x. And whereas we used to use the word RESTITUTION in a general way to mean some sort of blessed change, now, under the clearer light, we began to see that the great work of restitution could only mean what the word implies – a restoration of that which was lost (Matt. 18:11) – a restoration to the original condition from which man once fell. Then I saw that God's plan when carried out would not bring all his creatures to the one level of the divine nature, but that he purposed to have an order of creatures called Angels, who, though perfect, would always be of a different order, or nature, from the divine nature, and he likewise purposed to have a race of beings of the human nature, of whom Adam was a sample or pattern and of whose future earthly home, Paradise, Eden was a sample or pattern. I also saw that God purposed that Christ and his joint-sacrificers and joint-heirs are to be God's instruments for blessing the fallen race and restoring them to the condition of perfection enjoyed by Adam in Eden – a condition which God said was "very good," and an image of himself. And these joint-heirs with Christ, I saw, were to be highly exalted to a nature higher than restored and perfect manhood, higher too than the angelic nature – even to be partakers of the divine nature.
When all these things so unexpectedly shone out so brightly and clearly, I did not wonder that the Lord gave me several days of waiting and preparation for the blessing, and to him I rendered praise and thanks. All my faintness of heart and fear of the bad effect of the wrong view fled before this evidence of the Lord's leading in the pathway that shines more and more unto the perfect day. I saw at once that these new developments would probably prove a stumbling block to some, as well as a great blessing to others who were ready for it. Instead, therefore, of publishing it in the next TOWER, I determined to first present the matter privately to the more prominent brethren; – remembering Paul's course in a similar matter. – Gal. 2:2.
Accordingly I sent invitation and the money necessary for traveling expenses to four of the more prominent brethren, requesting a conference. Mr. Paton from Michigan was one of the four, and the only one who rejected the fresh rays of light. Nor could he find any fault with the exegesis, though urged, as all were, to state anything which might seem inconsistent or to quote any passages of Scripture thought to be in conflict. But there were none, and every question only demonstrated the strength of the position more fully. I therefore urged that what was beyond the criticism of those most familiar with the plan of God must be the truth, and ought to be confessed and taught at any cost, and especially when it arranged and ordered all the other features of truth so beautifully. I pointed out, too, how necessary it was to a logical holding of the ransom, to see just what this showed – viz.: the distinctions of nature – that our Lord left a higher nature, and took a lower nature, when he was made flesh, and that the object in that change of nature was, that he might, as a man, a perfect man, give himself a ransom for the first perfect man, Adam, and thus redeem Adam, and all lost in him. I also showed how, as a reward for this great work, he was given the divine nature in his resurrection – a nature still higher than the glorious one he had left, when he became a man. But either his mental vision or his heart was weak, and he never took the step, and before long, alas! he too, as we had foreseen and forewarned him would be the natural course, forsook the doctrine of the ransom. Yet he still uses the word, ransom, while denying the idea conveyed by the word, nor can he give the word any other definition, or otherwise dispute the correctness of the meaning, which we attach to it – which may be found in any English dictionary and is true to the significance of the Greek word which it translates.
Notwithstanding our best endeavors to save him he drifted farther and farther away, until I was obliged to refuse his articles for the TOWER for the same reason that obliged me to refuse to longer spend the Lord's money entrusted to me to assist Mr. Barbour to spread the same pernicious theory.
It was about this time that Mr. Jones informed me that the copies of the book Day Dawn which I had purchased last were all that were left; and announcing it so that no more orders for it might come to the TOWER office, I took occasion to promise MILLENNIAL DAWN, which should present the Plan of the Ages in the clearer, more orderly manner made possible by the new light shed upon every feature of it by the lessons from the Tabernacle. About this time Mr. Paton concluded that he would publish another Day Dawn, revised to harmonize with his new views ignoring the ransom, ignoring justification and the need of either, and teaching that all men will be everlastingly saved – not in any sense as the result of any sacrifice for their sin by Christ, but as a result of each one's crucifying sin in himself – the Law under which the poor Jews tried to commend themselves to God, but which justified none.
During this time I was busied by an immense work known to many of you – the issue and circulation of over 1,400,000 copies of the two pamphlets entitled "FOOD FOR THINKING CHRISTIANS" and the "TABERNACLE TEACHINGS," whose united matter was in sum about the same as Dawn, Vol. I.; and besides this I was flooded with thousands of joyous and joy-giving letters, from those who had gotten and were reading the pamphlets thus distributed, and asking questions and more reading matter. To add to our throng, financial complications came, and thus for four years I was hindered from fulfilling my promise of MILLENNIAL DAWN. Nor will our promise be fulfilled for several years yet; for though two volumes are now out and a third on the way, I purpose several more, as the Lord shall give grace and strength, in connection with the other features of his work entrusted to my care. But because, during those four years in which we were struggling through an immense amount of labor and many draw-backs (all cheerfully undergone for the sake of the Lord and his saints), when each year we hoped afresh to be able to gather the hours necessary to complete the first volume of MILLENNIAL DAWN, and after the [R1214 : page 7] old edition was exhausted, notified all applicants that the Day Dawn advertised and recommended by us was out of print and could no longer be supplied, I have been made the target of innumerable petty misrepresentations too small to notice, and malicious insinuations told in a sly but slanderous manner and circulated in print, which a noble nature would disdain, but which are often successful, as intended, in stirring up bitterness, and injuring the influence of the truth. What do I do about it? I thank the Lord for the privilege of suffering some of the reproaches of Christ and the cross, and for grace sufficient that none of these things move me from the utmost determination to always hold up Christ and him crucified, as the Redeemer, who in due time shall restore whosoever wills to all that was lost in Adam.
Some who have The Three Worlds or the old edition of Day Dawn would perhaps like to know my present opinion of them – whether I still think them profitable books to loan to truth-seekers. To this I reply, Certainly not; because the very immature views of God's truth therein presented fall far short of what we now see to be God's wonderful plan. Things which are now clear as noonday were then cloudy and mixed. The distinctions between the perfect human nature to which the obedient of the world will be restored during the Millennium, and the divine nature to which the little flock, the sacrificing elect of the Gospel age, are soon to be exalted were then unnoticed. All now so clear was then blurred, mixed and indistinct. Neither had we then seen the steps or planes, shown upon the Chart of the Ages, in Millennial Dawn, Vol. I., which have assisted so many to distinguish between justification and sanctification, and to determine their present standing and relationship to God's plan. And the time reckonings which those books present, lacking point and leaving the reader in doubt as to what the author is attempting to prove by them, tend only to confuse the mind and to give the impression that time prophecies are merely clues and serve no definite purpose or object. Hence, I answer most decidedly, I would not recommend nor use either of those books to-day. Once I was much less careful about what I circulated or commended, but I am learning every day to be more careful as to what sort of food I put before any of the Lord's hungry sheep. The Lord has taught me that it is a responsible matter to be a teacher, even to the extent of circulating a book or a paper.
Another chapter in our experience needs to be told, as it marks another shaking and sifting. Mr. A. D. Jones proposed to start a paper on the same line as the WATCH TOWER, to republish some of the simpler features of God's plan and to be a sort of missionary and primary teacher to draw attention to the TOWER, etc. Knowing him to be clear on the subject of the ransom, we bade him God speed and introduced a sample copy of his paper, Zion's Day Star (now for some years discontinued), to our nearly ten thousand readers – only to stumble some of them into rank infidelity and others into the rejection of the ransom. For though the Day Star for a few months steered a straight course and maintained the same position as the TOWER with reference to the ransom, and for the same reason refused the no-ransom articles sent for its columns by Mr. Paton, yet within one year it had repudiated Christ's atoning sacrifice, and within another year had gone boldly into infidelity and totally repudiated all the rest of the Bible as well as that which teaches the fall in Adam and the ransom therefor in Christ.
All this meant another strain, another sifting, another cutting loose of friends, who erroneously supposed that our criticism of the false doctrines were prompted by a spirit of rivalry, and who did not see so soon whither the teachings were drifting, nor how great the importance of holding fast the first principles of the doctrines of Christ – how Christ died for our sins and rose again for our justification.
This brings the history down close enough perhaps to the present time; but we want to put you all on notice that the shaking and sifting process, so far from being over and past, is bound to progress more and more until all have been tried and tested thoroughly. It is not a question of who may fall, but of "Who shall be able to stand?" as the apostle puts it. And we have need again to remember the admonition, "Let him who thinketh he standeth (who feels very confident, as did Peter when he said, "Lord, though all deny thee yet will not I") take heed lest he fall."
This doctrine of another way of salvation (and salvation for all, too,) than by the cross of Christ is not only the error which is, and has been since 1874, sifting all who come into the light of present truth, but it is the trial that is to come upon the whole Christian world to try them. (Rev. 3:10.) It already is spreading among all classes of Christian people, especially among the ministers, of all denominations. The number who believe that Christ's death paid our sin-penalty is daily getting smaller, and before very long there will be a regular stampede from the doctrine of man's fall in Adam and his ransom from that fall by the man Christ Jesus. (1 Tim. 2:5,6.) As David prophetically pictured it, a thousand will fall to one who will stand. – Psa. 91:7.
The time has come for each one to declare himself boldly. He who is not for the cross and the ransom there effected, is against it! He that gathereth not, scattereth abroad! He who is silent on this subject, when it is being assailed by foes on every hand, whether it be the silence of fear, or of shame, or of indifference, is not worthy of the truth, and will surely be one to stumble quickly. He who from any cause sits idly by, while the banner of the cross is assailed, is not a soldier of the cross worthy the name, and will not be reckoned among the overcomers, who shall inherit all things. And God is permitting these very siftings, in order to sift out all who are not "overcomers," and test and manifest the little flock, who, like Gideon's final army, will, though few, share the victory, and the honors, with their Captain in glory.
Are you prepared for the issue, dear Brethren and Sisters? The armor of truth has been given you for some time past; have you put it on? – have you made it your shield and buckler? – your defence against all the wily arts of the evil one?
Do not be deceived by the agents he often makes use of. In this he will be as cunning as in his presentation of the deceptive misrepresentations of truth, making unwitting use of many a weaker brother, and to some extent of every stumbling and deceived one, to spread the infection of false doctrine farther. And while every child of God should take earnest heed, that he prove not an occasion of stumbling to any, we cannot doubt that every one will, through some instrumentality, be assailed by it.
Aptly indeed did the prophet liken it to a pestilence. (Psa. 91:6.) A pestilence spreads because people are in a physical condition which renders them susceptible to disease. Physicians will tell you that those whose systems are in good, healthy order are in little danger of any disease. So it is with a spiritual pestilence: it will flourish not only because all will be exposed to it who have not a clear intellectual appreciation of the doctrines of Christ, but from another cause also. Out of the heart are the issues of life, and most needful of all to be in right condition is the heart. How is your heart, dear Brother, dear Sister? Is it proud, boastful, independent, self-conscious and self-willed? If so, take care; you will be very liable to this epidemic, no matter how far from it you may seem to be. Make haste to labor and pray for
"A heart resigned, submissive, meek,
The dear Redeemer's throne,
Where only Christ is heard to speak,
Where Jesus reigns alone."
With such a heart you are safe. In meekness and lowliness, you will never think of redeeming yourself from the condemnation that you inherited through Adam, by sacrificing present sinful desires, but you will flee to the cross, where God himself opened the fountain for sin and uncleanness, present as well as past.
We expect that it will offend some, though it is not designed to offend any. It is written for the defense of the meek, against the sophistries of error. "Who shall ascend into the hill of the Lord [into the kingdom offered]? or who shall stand in his holy place? He that hath clean hands and a pure heart [who is diligently fashioning his life after the principles of holiness]; who hath not lifted up his soul unto vanity [who cultivates no earthly ambitions or pride, but patiently waits for the glory to follow the course of present self-sacrifice], nor sworn deceitfully [ignoring or despising his covenant with God]: He shall receive the blessing of the Lord, [the kingdom glory and joint-heirship with Christ] and righteousness [perfection – full deliverance from present infirmities, etc.] from the God of his salvation." (Psa. 24:3-5.) "Seek righteousness, seek meekness: it may be, ye shall be hid in the day of the Lord's anger" [in this "evil day" – this day of snares, and pitfalls, and flying arrows, and destructive pestilences]. "Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation" – that "your minds be not corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ." Let all the meek fully awake to the trial of the hour; and while many are putting stumbling blocks in the way of the "feet" of the body of Christ, let each soldier of the cross be vigilant not only to stand but to assist others – bearing up the "feet." – Psa. 91:11,12.
"Having put off the old man with his practices...put on the new one, being renewed by knowledge according to a likeness of him who created him." – Col. 3:9,10.
The great work of the consecrated in this present time is this process of putting off the old defilements and putting on the new character. However zealous we may be in our efforts to spread the truth, to enlighten those about us, and to see the great harvest work progressing, we should ever keep in mind this one element of the work, which, to each of us personally, is the all important work; for it is possible that after having preached to others, we ourselves should come short and be counted unworthy of a place in that chosen company to which we are called, and to which we aspire.
Let us then consider what it is to put off the old nature, and how we may put on the new. The Apostle tells us, saying, "Put to death, therefore, those members on the earth – fornication, impurity, passion, evil desire and inordinate lust, which is idol-worship; on account of which things the wrath of God is coming." And "Put off also all these – Anger, wrath, malice, evil-speaking, vile words out of your mouth. Do not speak falsely to each other, having put off the old man with his practices."
Here are two sets of evil dispositions to be put to death by patient and continuous [R1215 : page 7] resistance: the one gendered by perverted love, which is idolatry, and the other by hatred. These are the filthy rags of sin with which the old nature is clothed since the fall, and these must be put away. We cannot keep and cherish them and put on the new nature too; we must be washed, cleansed, sanctified by the blood of Christ and with the washing of water by the Word; and then we may begin to put on the new man – the new nature. "As chosen ones of God, beloved saints, be clothed therefore with a merciful mind, kindness, humility, meekness, patience, endurance, bearing with each other, and freely forgiving each other, if any one for some things may have a cause of complaint; even as the Lord forgave you, so also do you forgive."
What a transformation it will make when all of those are put off and all of these are put on! How like the Lord himself, when so cleansed and attired in the livery of heaven! Consider each item of this apparel and daily strive to have it all on. But, "besides all these things, put on love: it is the bond of the completeness:" it is the girdle which binds and fits them all close to the person. "And let the peace of the Anointed preside in your hearts...and be thankful."
With such a cleansing and robing comes the delightful refreshment of that peace which passeth the understanding of the old, sinful man. The feeling of spiritual refreshment is akin to that of the natural refreshment when the body has been cleansed in water and clothed in clean linen, pure and white.
Thus cleansed and clothed, we are ready to put on the whole armor of God and to go forth to battle for truth and righteousness. Without the invigorating cleansing and the robing of righteousness, we would be unable to bear the heavy armor; but thus attired the armor fits, and is well sustained; and the man of God, thoroughly equipped, may confidently and courageously go forth to battle.
"As the individual members of the church of Christ cannot be joined to the world without being counted by the word of God as adulterers against him, so also the church as a body cannot be joined in any way to the power of the world without likewise being declared by the word of God an adulteress and a harlot.
"Let not the professed Protestant churches blame us for this application of the scripture. They themselves have acknowledged the church of Rome as their mother, and they need not blame us if we call attention to the Scripture description of the family. In the New York Evangelist of February 9, 1888, Rev. Charles W. Shields, D.D., of Princeton [R1215 : page 8] College, in proving that it would never do, in the re-union of Christendom, to forbid a doctrine of Apostolic Succession, said: – 'You would exclude the Roman Catholic church, the mother of us all, the church of scholars and saints....You would exclude also the Protestant Episcopal Church, the beautiful daughter of a beautiful mother.'"
Possibly the prophecy that the mountains shall be brought low, and the valleys filled, is to have a literal as well as a symbolical fulfilment. The following which I clip may interest you and others.
"According to La Gazette Geographique the Cordillera of the Andes are gradually sinking. In 1745 the city of Quito was 9,596 feet above sea level; in 1803 it was only 9,570; in 1831, 9,567; and scarcely 9,520 in 1867. This amounts to a lowering of 76 feet in 122 years, or at the rate of 7½ inches per annum. We are also told that the farm of Antisana has sunk 165 feet in sixty-four years, or more than two and a half feet per annum. This is the highest inhabited spot on the Andes – about 4,000 feet higher than Quito, the highest city on the globe. The peak of Pichincha was, according to the same authority, 218 feet lower in 1867 than in 1745, a sinking of nearly two feet per annum. Assuming the accuracy of these figures, they present a curious geological problem, especially as there is no record of a corresponding change at sea level or at the foot of these same mountains, which descend rather steeply to the Pacific. If the plasticity or viscosity of the earth's crust be such as I have contended in this magazine, it follows almost of necessity that such a mass of mountain land as that in this region of Quito and Chimborazo must be squeezing itself downward into the subcrust of the earth by its own enormous weight. Although the highest of these peaks are not quite so high as the highest peak of the Himalayas, the concentration of elevation in a given area, or, otherwise stated, the mass standing above sea level in proportion to the base on which it stands, is greater than can be found in any other part of the world, and its downthrust is similarly pre-eminent. Such down squeezing and sinking must be accompanied with corresponding lateral thrust, or elbowing that should produce earthquake disturbances on every side. The facts fully satisfy this requirement of the theory, as the country all around the region in question is the very fatherland of terrible earthquakes."
Note also that the "Church" speaks to them, not through the inspired word of God, but by the prayer book ["Rubric"], confessedly of human origin, and which they openly talk of remodeling at an early date. – W. M. W.
Bishop Tuttle, speaking of the practice of some ministers in simply sprinkling the head of the person baptized, says: "May I call attention to the fact that the Church never in the Prayer Book says one word about 'sprinkling.' Her words are 'Shall dip in the water or pour water.' I may, therefore, be permitted to say to the clergy that it is well worth their while to take pains to fill the palm of the hand full of water and pour upon the head when they baptize, in order, first, to ensure that the water does indeed touch the person so as to make the sacrament valid, and secondly, to comply with the exact injunction of the rubricand to help banish the unfounded accusation that we have aught to do with any such thing as 'sprinkling.'"
I had been sitting alone in the little chapel for some time, busy at the organ in preparation for a meeting, and was about to leave the room, when an old man who had been in the reading-room adjoining came slowly toward me, and lifting his face toward mine, said:
He was eighty-four years old, as he told me afterward. His body was bent under the burden of years, and as I seated myself again at the organ he came and stood beside me, fully ripe, as it seemed, for heaven. He was alive to only one great thought – Jesus, the Savior and Master!
Softly and very slowly I followed him, as with a broken voice, often scarcely audible, he tried to sing:"Take the name of Jesus with you,
Child of sorrow and of woe;
It will joy and comfort give you;
Take it, then, where'er you go."
It was little more than a whisper song; but as he took up the words of the chorus a glad smile spread over his face, and his voice seemed to gather strength from his heart as he looked rather than sang:"Precious name! O, how sweet!
Hope of earth and joy of heaven."
It was true worship: the simple, glad expression of a loving, loyal heart. Verily, I sat alone with a saint that day, for as the other verses of the hymn were sung their wondrous meaning was interpreted by the face of the singer, and the vail seemed almost to fall away, revealing to me the things unseen.
I had never seen the old man before; it is not probable I shall ever see him again in the flesh; but his life touched mine with blessing that day, for he had unconsciously brought the Master very near. God's work in the world calls loudly for consecrated talent, vigorous minds, songful voices, physical strength, business tact, enterprise, money and time. We realize this, and perhaps, finding that we have none of these things, think that we have nothing that would be "acceptable in God's sight." He wants the best we have, it is true; but if the best is very, very poor, it is acceptable to the Father, who cares more for the love which prompts our service than for the service itself. There was no music in the old man's voice; indeed, it could truthfully be said that he almost had no voice; but he drew a soul a little nearer to its Savior with what he had. God owned and blessed his weakness. "If there be first a willing mind it is accepted according to that a man hath, and not according to that he hath not."– Selected.
UNDER Bible influence all the finer faculties are expanded, invigorated and elevated; all the purest and best emotions of the heart are refined, exercised, and ennobled; all the highest, manliest, and most beautiful attributes and virtues of the character are moulded into symmetry, and assimilated to the likeness of Christ and of God.