|VOL. XII.||JULY, 1891.||NO. 7.|
Those who, when reading the above and similar expressions of Scripture, suppose them to refer to the heaven of God's throne and to literal earthquakes, fail to comprehend their true signification, and are unprepared to see that they are now in process of fulfilment. When, however, it is recognized that, in Bible symbolism, the earth represents the law-abiding classes of society, that mountains represent kingdoms, that seas represent the restless and anarchistic classes, and that heavens represent the religious powers and influences of the world, then it can be seen that the shaking of "the heavens" is already begun.
A great and very general storm is even now in progress. The thunders roll and the lightnings flash in every quarter of the ecclesiastical heavens – among the Presbyterians, Reformed Presbyterians, Baptists, Methodists, Episcopalians, Roman Catholics – yes, the entire heavens are being shaken; and many stars [bright ones] are falling from heaven. The true gospel sunlight is already darkened; and the light of the moon (the reflected sunlight of the gospel, shining in the typical sacrifices of the Jewish law) has become obscured. The effect already is to cause the hearts of the great and rich and mighty (ecclesiastically and socially) to fail for fear and for looking forward to those things coming upon the earth – society. (Luke 21:26.) They see that the creed-smashing already begun will, if it continue, release from the bonds of superstition and ignorance many who know no other restraints. And they see that the result of such a liberation of such a class means a shaking of the earth (society) as it has never before been shaken.
Nor are these fears of the great ones of earth unfounded; for the Scriptures reveal the fact that the shaking, unsettling and incidental trouble will be such as was not since there was a nation (Dan. 12:1; Matt. 24:21), the only settlement of which will be accomplished by the establishment of the kingdom of God, for which his saints have long prayed, "Thy kingdom come! Thy will be done on earth as it is done in heaven!"
But not in a day, nor in a year, will the great crisis be reached, though events are progressing to that end at tremendous speed, and the storm is daily gathering momentum. True, if things were to continue as at present, three years of such commotions would shake the present heavens to fragments; but this is merely a time for the letting loose of opinions by men who think it a favorable time to strike the chord of public sympathy to the advancement of themselves to public notice. Men who lacked the courage of their convictions, and who did not speak out their sentiments before, are now vying with each other as to which can most loudly proclaim that he does not and never did hold [R1305 : page 82] the doctrines of the sect with which he has stood associated. They thus declare, to thinking people, that they joined those sects and subscribed to those confessions and vowed to teach what they believed to be false doctrines simply for the purpose of grasping, wielding and diverting to their own aggrandizement the denominational influences. However much or little truth such men may utter, they surely have forfeited the respect and confidence of truth-loving people. Does it not seem that any man who solemnly avows faith in and allegiance to certain doctrines which he does not believe, is unworthy of belief in matters of subsequent utterance, even though he may again vow that he speaks the truth? And does not the man who has outgrown the creed he once held, and who, for the sake of financial and social advantage or other reasons of policy, continues a representative of doctrines which he no longer believes, equally forfeit the respect of the truly noble and truly honest? And now that public sentiment and sympathy is ebbing away from the dead creed-carcasses, when such ministers speak out boldly against those creeds to which they subscribed, and yet stay under the banners and influences of those creeds and dare their more conscientious colleagues to brave public sentiment by expelling them, are such policy-men, we ask, likely to get the truth? No matter how much "orthodox" error they get rid of, there is little hope that such will get the truth. "Light [truth] is sown for the righteous," and "the meek will God teach his way." And he is able to "hide it from the wise and prudent and to reveal it unto babes." (Psa. 97:11; 25:9; Matt. 11:25.) Would men who thus stultify themselves be the Master's choice for servants, to bear the pure and precious bread of life to the awakening and hungry people who have been so long fed upon the husks of human tradition? Will not the Master rather show favor to the humble, pure in heart, honest ones who, as they get the true light, walk up to it; who leave the Confession found to be false, and the denomination found to be in error, regardless of the loss of earthly name, position and emoluments? True, some may in the present commotion come to see matters in a new light, and may step out and speak out; but such should, and if honest will, declare that their change of view is recent and that they acted as soon as convinced.
The present shaking has not only afforded an opportunity for some to manifest their unfaithfulness to the dogmas hitherto confessed, but it has also indirectly done some good in awakening thought and bursting some of the fetters of superstition which will never be refastened. But while making an opening for the spread and influence of the Truth, it has as well opened the way for the spread of general infidelity under the guise of advanced thought and higher criticism, which will spread much faster than the truth – the faith once delivered to the saints but early swamped, and so sadly mixed since with the errors of the dark ages from which but few have yet gotten entirely free.
So far from all denominations being suddenly wrecked, the finger of divine prophecy points out that a grand union of all Protestant denominations is to be the next great evil, which will be generally esteemed as a blessing and hailed as a mark of divine favor and of great spiritual growth. Our anticipation, therefore, is that the conservative men of all Protestant denominations will be forced by circumstances into a church confederacy or church trust. But the same finger of prophecy indicates that such a confederacy and its Roman Catholic colleague will last but a short time, and that they will be wholly and forever dissolved when anarchy shall shake and dissolve the earth – society. [R1306 : page 82]
Those in Zion who are awake and watching, and who are heartily serving the truth, and they alone, can sing in the words of the prophet (Psa. 46): – "We will not fear though the earth be removed, and though the mountains be carried into the midst of the sea; though the waters thereof roar and be troubled, though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof. The heathen raged, the kingdoms were moved; he uttered his voice, the earth melted. The Lord of hosts is with us; the God of Jacob is our refuge."
(a) An account of the confirmation, as an Episcopalian, of Dr. Bridgman, recently a Baptist minister, who, having lately declared his unbelief in the doctrine of eternal torment, was given to understand that he was no longer a good Baptist. The gentleman has not yet experienced fully the freedom wherewith Christ makes free, and believes that he has found a bondage with a longer chain in the Episcopal church. Dr. Bridgman is quoted as follows:
"Baptist churches are independent communities. It is claimed on behalf of their polity that it allows private judgment beyond what is tolerated in other communions. Of course, there is a general understanding that the churches must be in harmony with the orthodox Christian faith and be in accord as to the subject and method of baptism. If any one of these should be untrue to Baptist traditions and practice a council could be called by the local association of which it is a member, to decide whether it should be retained in the fellowship of the Church.
"So a minister is subject to the same method of discipline. But there may be such an assumption of authority by certain theological teachers and religious editors and such a violent assertion of it that the whole denomination may be subdued to their will. Word has come forth from Rochester that unless a man believe the doctrine of endless torment he is no longer to be recognized as a Baptist minister, and except the Christian Inquirer, of this city, and the National Baptist, of Philadelphia, every other denominational paper is ready to enforce such a mediaeval doctrine."
"Theoretically and ideally I have always held that our denomination is the freest in the world. Sadly has it fallen short of its ideal. We have had Pharisees and Popes. We have felt the tyranny of creeds – that very tyranny against which the existence of the Baptist Church is an historic protest."
(b) Dr. Abbott preached from 1 Cor. 1:10 – "Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions [sects] among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment." He said in opening, "This seems a pretty good text to preach on at this time to all the various Protestant denominations." The gentleman proceeded, however, to show his disagreement with, and misunderstanding of, his text, giving it as his opinion that, "It is better to think and not think the same thing than to stop thinking and let somebody else do the thinking for you." He, however, wound up his discourse with the sensible observation that Christ and his apostles did not attempt to produce union by stopping thought, but by assisting it to a correct plane or basis of reasoning. "Christ did not say, 'Come unto me, all ye that believe in the thirty-nine articles, or the thirty-four articles, or the five articles.' That which Christ made the centre of unity was personal loyalty to him."
Yes, we reply, the one article of Christ's doctrine is, faith in God and in Christ as the Son of God, whose willing sacrifice for the sins of the world is available by all who repent of sin and come unto God for forgiveness through the merit of that sin-offering. Upon this one article, comprehensive but simple, there is room enough for all true Christians to stand as individuals and to grow in grace, knowledge and love to full faith-stature in Christ.
(c) Rev. Dr. W. Rainsford, of St. George's Episcopal church, preached from the text, "For through him we both have access by one spirit unto the Father." – Eph. 2:18.
In the course of his observations (says the reporter) Dr. R. touched quite extensively on the question of creeds, declaring that they might do as crutches for the lame of humanity to hobble with, but should not be used as clubs to break each other's heads. "It is deplorable that some good Christian men are so misled and so carried away with prejudice that they want to insist upon the acceptance of their own crude conception of a creed." He claimed that it is folly to claim that any of the many humanly formed creeds are of divine authority; for they are merely human deductions.
(d) Rev. B. F. De Costa, in his sermon, said: "Do not come to the holy communion with doubts and misgivings. Do not come to discuss or argue the truths of the Bible – have faith. Our reason cannot comprehend the various marvelous ways in which God makes himself known to us. Therefore let us not doubt, discuss or argue, but let us have faith."
(e) The spiritualists of Brooklyn discussed the subject of "Heresy – what shall we do with heretics?" A tribute was paid to Heber Newton, Doctor Briggs, and other clergymen recently made prominent by difficulties with the denominations with which they are connected.
(f) A hundred or more members of a Methodist [R1306 : page 84] Episcopal congregation, of Elizabeth, N.J., have recently bolted and organized as a congregation of the Methodist Protestant denomination.
(g) The Rev. Dr. Talmage, in a discourse on Psa. 19:8 – "'The statutes of the Lord are right' – scored young 'scientists,' who, when they have learned the difference between a beetle and spider, think they know more than the Bible." He showed how other books of olden time have lost their interest and value and become obsolete; declared that many large libraries are simply cemeteries for dead books; and then contrasted with these the Bible, the oldest of all, and showed its freshness, and that nearly all the great books of the world are only the Bible diluted. He concluded: "There are only two doctrines in the Bible – man a sinner and Christ a savior."
(h) Dr. Heber Newton (Episcopal) preached about church creeds. "He threw down the gage of battle to those clamoring to have him turned out of the Episcopal Church. He practically threw overboard the 'thirty nine articles' and declared that they contained no statements of faith that were binding upon him."
(i) The Rev. G. H. Smyth (Collegiate Reformed Church) resigned his pastorate, but ingeniously, if not ingenuously, made it to take effect from next September, and is taking advantage of the interim to batter down the sect under whose name he still sails. His apology for this course, which violates his ordination vow, is, that under that arrangement (common to all sects), if lived up to, he would be obliged to "crawl out as if he were a mean criminal," without explaining matters to his congregation.
"'The Church has always fought new ideas, and the man who has a new understanding of things is always a hated man. No matter what his character may be, no matter what his integrity, no matter how profound, no matter how willing he may be to lay down his life for the truth, as he apprehends it, he is a feared and hated man, and they always try to kill him. Of course as civilization has advanced, modes of burning and burying alive have been modified and have assumed more aesthetic forms.'"
And the New York Herald, quoted above, is only one of the hundreds of journals reporting the utterances of hundreds of pulpits in hundreds of cities. We will quote a few extracts from other journals of recent date:
"In the Evangelical Alliance last evening Bishop Huntington, of New York, spoke on 'The Gospel of the People,' and queried: 'May not the non-acceptance by the masses of the gospel we preach be because it is not in fact the gospel?'"
[If the meaning of the word gospel – good news – is borne in mind it can readily be seen that what is generally preached and believed by all the sects of Christendom, viz., that the vast majority of mankind are en route for eternal torment, is not gospel, not good news in any sense? Can it be that the common sense of the masses has instinctively helped them out of the errors of the dark ages, while theologians and Bible students, bound by sectarian creeds and perversions, are now behind the world so far as an appreciation of the gospel is concerned?]
The Rev. J. C. McFeeters, of Philadelphia, preached from Isaiah 26:21. He said, among other things:
"The signs of distress are everywhere, in all nations and in all the callings of life. The nations are disturbed, and even the people of God and God's Church are in the path of the storm. [R1307 : page 84] The countries of the world are preparing for disturbances of the future that seem to beat hard, and even our own peaceful land must take part by demanding sea coast defenses and a navy. The country is disturbed in its commercial relations by the troubles and distress of labor. While all this is taking place the Church, and I speak in a collective sense, has also been found to be directly in the path of the storm.
"The long-established laws of Episcopacy have been rent; the old usages and forms of the Presbyterian Church with its Calvinism have been assailed; our own little Church [the Reformed Presbyterian] has not escaped and is as badly hurt as any. The trouble among us, which we all know so well, is deplorable and is the cause for this day of prayer. It is said with a display of confidence that all these things will disappear before the Word of God and the work of God's people as the mist before the rays of the sun. This is a most lamentable folly. What has the Church accomplished and where does she stand in the contest? Here in this great country of ours the Church is sinking in its work."
[Truly this is a comprehensive statement of the case. Yet how strange it seems that with [R1307 : page 85] such a realization of their need of the truth, ministers of all denominations are the least ready to receive it. Their difficulty evidently is the same that our Lord pointed out among the Doctors of Divinity – Doctors of the Law – at the first advent, when he declared that it was their love of the good opinion of each other and of men in general that blinded them to the truth – "How can ye believe who receive honor one of another and seek not [solely] that honor which cometh from God?" If the truth were popular, or if the divine plan of the ages were but championed by some of the great ones of the theological world and backed by influence and wealth, it would be generally and speedily received.]
"If some one were to reproduce faithfully in a novel the scenes and language of the Reformed Presbyterian Synod sitting in Pittsburgh he would be execrated as a slanderer. There are thousands of innocent souls who would refuse to believe that representatives of a faith of love and charity would so misrepresent both.
"The passions displayed there originated in a question of creed. It was not necessary for Heber Newton to refer to the synods and councils of the early church to show that the spirit in which most creeds were made was anything but Christian. There were living illustrations for him. Is it a wonder, then, that the authority of creeds is questioned? In business one would not leave his interests to men whose judgment was so warped by anger. In politics a platform made under such circumstances would not command the respect of the party. A creed is an intensely human thing. The trouble which the churches have now is due to the fact that the world is finding that out.
"A majority of the New York Presbytery voted for the report which found Dr. Briggs guilty of heresy, but the majority must feel alarm at its victory. That 31 of the 75 members stood by him was as much a revelation as were some of the remarks made in that Presbytery when the revision of the Westminster Confession was under discussion. It is true that this Presbytery is more advanced in opinion than many others in the Presbyterian Church, but if this vote is at all near the division which will occur in others when the case is finally met, it may well be deemed a case which the Church approaches with trepidation.
"Unsettled questions forbid the repose of nations. Repose of the Church is impossible so long as the questions raised by Dr. Briggs remain open. They go to the very roots of dogmas which are essential to the existence of orthodoxy. The founders of New England Unitarianism did not go so far in some particulars as he does. Unitarianism would hardly ask for a better hold in orthodoxy than he furnishes, for it knows that his views lead straight to the broadest of free thought. If, for instance, the Scriptures are inspired only in concept, every man must be at liberty to determine what the concept is, and it will not take long to reduce the inspiration of the Hebrew prophets to the inspiration of some of the classical philosophers. It is impossible to see how orthodoxy is to be reconciled to this.
"But if not reconciled, what? It will be a dangerous undertaking to put down such a minority as stood up for Dr. Briggs yesterday. This is not an age of divisions, and the prediction that a split in Presbyterianism is inevitable, made by a New York paper, may be doubted. There are equally wide differences in the Episcopal Church, and it never was more prosperous than now. It escapes the effect of the differences by ignoring them.
"That, judged by the standards of orthodoxy, Dr. Briggs is heretical, it would be preposterous to deny. The triumph of his teaching would be the death of orthodoxy according to the standards. One should never lose sight of the fact, though, that orthodoxy in life and orthodoxy in the books are two different things. There is not a Protestant Church in the United States that would dare to enforce the orthodoxy of its standards. By laymen and preachers alike it is constantly ignored, now in one particular and now in another, but not in an offensive way, and it is overlooked. To call every one to account for an expression of opinion against the leading tenets of the fathers would cause such an explosion as was never seen in the theological world. Orthodoxy in life is a pulsating thing, inspiring hope and cheering to good deeds; orthodoxy in the books is the grinning skeleton of a thing which ceased to live long ago. The offense of Briggs is in preferring the living thing to the dead.
"It has been remarked that this trouble in the Presbyterian Church has been brought on entirely by the ministers, and that is what [R1307 : page 86] makes it serious. The men who were expected to keep peace in Zion are they who have drawn the sword. After the sword is drawn it is hard to make peace. It must puzzle all Presbyterians to know how the living orthodoxy of Briggs and all who agree with him, in the pulpits and training schools for ministers, is to be reconciled to the dead and buried orthodoxy of the books."
[Yes; this secular journal sees the true state of the case. The cause of the present unrest in all the sects of Christendom lies in the fact that the masses of the people, as they become informed, are losing faith in the creeds that have so long fettered their thoughts and bound them to the opinions of men who lived in a darker age, and who, however good, were sadly in error. The trouble is that the present and increasing enlightenment is fast tending to infidelity. As sectarians awake and throw away their musty creeds, which for so long they have almost worshiped, they are likely to discard the Bible at the same time, believing that if the various creeds of Christendom are all wrong, the Bible, upon which they all claim to be based, must be radically wrong, and hence not at all a divine revelation. They did not consider, as they should, that the fact of the radical disagreements between the creeds proves that some, if not all of them, have misinterpreted the Bible's teachings. How thankful we should be who see the real gospel. How we are lifted out of the perplexity now upon the nominal churches, out of the miry clay of human tradition and given a firm foundation upon the Word of God. Ours is a foundation that is reasonable in itself, as well as supported by every testimony of the Bible – neither of which can be claimed for any of the creeds of Christendom.
Blessed are our eyes for they see, and our ears for they hear; for verily many prophets and righteous persons have desired [before the due time] to see the things which we see and to hear the things which we are hearing from the Lord's Word. – Matt. 13:16,17.
Since the Scriptures have foretold this present shaking, and have indicated that many will fall into doubt and infidelity, let us remember that God is at the helm: we need not fear. We see that in the very midst of the great commotion God is surely and steadily working out his deep designs for the final and complete overthrow of false doctrine, superstition, hypocrisy, injustice and every iniquitous device and institution of men which sought to hide truth and to establish and maintain oppression. He shakes and sifts because he would separate the many who have assumed the name of Christ but who are not truly his people. It is because only one in a thousand of nominal Christians are really consecrated wholly to the Lord that "a thousand shall fall at thy side." (Psa. 91:7.) The genuine saints will not fall, even though some of them may for a time stumble; for the Lord will uphold such with the right hand of his righteousness (with the power of his truth). – Isa. 41:10; Psa. 91:11,12.]
"Christendom is torn and dismembered before our eyes. It is paralyzed with doubt. It is distracted with the contentions over dogma. Through every branch of Christendom the strife of creeds is seen. The mind of man is seeking a creed form for his faith under which he can rest with intellectual honesty and with spiritual satisfaction. He cannot find such a shelter under the reformation confessions of faith, with their long-drawn metaphysics, their intolerable opinionativeness, their infallibility in points where knowledge is blasphemy. He [R1308 : page 86] who reads the signs of the times sees clearly two alternatives before our American Protestantism: the throwing overboard of its creeds or their simplification."
"It was the above theme which the Rev. Mr. Phelps, of Albany, N.Y., selected for his evening sermon, and his text was John 16:13: 'When the spirit of truth is come, he will guide you into all truth.' He said substantially: 'That a mighty uprising of religious thought is taking place throughout the world must be evident to even a careless observer. Scientific research has made great inroads upon certain forms of belief, the veil of centuries is being uplifted, the darkness is being dispelled and the light of truth is illuminating the hitherto impregnable strongholds of tradition and dogma. It is true that criticism, heartless and cynical, has been pursuing shadows and phantoms; but its value is now becoming manifest in the awakening [R1308 : page 87] of dormant energies, and in the liberating of chained minds."
[Yes, truly, the present commotion, not only upon religious but upon social questions, is the result of the uplifting of the veil of centuries. God is letting in the light, and those who love darkness and error rather than light are put to confusion. The lifting of the veil began with the invention of printing in the fifteenth century. So long as knowledge was confined to the wealthy and the clergy, no considerable trouble could result; for these had common interests to subserve, and the masses, bound by ignorance and superstition, were the tools of the educated. But the sudden enlightenment of the masses through public schools, a free press and other sources has considerably reversed the situation.
This condition of things the Lord predicted long ago by the mouth of Daniel the prophet, saying: "In the time of the end...many shall run to and fro and knowledge (in general) shall be increased, and the wise (toward God – the humble disciples of the Lord) shall understand (God's plan); but none of the wicked shall understand (it)....And at that time shall Michael [Christ] stand up [to render judgment], and there shall be a time of trouble such as was not since there was a nation – no, nor ever shall be (afterward)." – Dan. 12:1-4.
The trouble and shaking of the Church, to shake out of profession of faith all who are not really saints, built upon the rock (Matt. 7:24-27), is because the election of the Church is almost complete; and the shaking will be the means of God for the liberating of some now chained by superstition. The trouble upon the earth [society] will not reach its intensity until the shaking of the heavens [ecclesiasticism, or the church nominal] has broken the fetters of superstition and plunged the masses into skepticism and open infidelity. Then the many kingdoms of God, so called, and the many churches of God, will pass away to make room for the one true kingdom of God, which will be the one true Church glorified (composed of all the truly consecrated "overcomers" in Christ from Pentecost down). It will take the place of power, and the Millennial blessing of the world will begin – first with those then in the world, and afterward extending to all that are in their graves, who shall be awakened and come forth to a full knowledge and to a full opportunity of reaching perfection and everlasting life, which opportunity was secured for all in the ransom-price given once for all.
The General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church voted last year that some amendments to its creed should be made, and appointed a conservative committee to make suggestions as to just what the changes should be, enjoining, however, that no modification of the Confession should be considered which would not be within Calvinistic limits. That committee has reported and its suggestions have been accepted by the General Assembly; but they will not be passed upon finally until next year, so as to give all the Presbyteries an opportunity to pass upon them.
Quite apropos in this connection is the opinion of this revised Confession recently expressed by one of the leading Presbyterian ministers, Dr. C. A. Parkhurst, whose discourse is thus reported in the daily press.
"'The attempt to make of Presbyterianism an aggressive, widening, moving power in the world, and yet break it on the wheel with the name of John Calvin or any other name, is like getting into your carriage with a crack of your whip and a great show of travel before you have loosened your horse from the hitching post. To tie it to the 16th century is an attempt to drive the Presbyterian buggy with a hitched horse, and any one who supposes that that kind of a church in this age of the world is going to draw into its membership a great many people besides children before they begin to think and old men and women after they have gotten through thinking is badly mistaken. There would have been no Princeton Theological Seminary in existence to-day if the Apostles had looked at it as Princeton does. The spirit of such an institution is to make theology as the shoemaker makes the pegs; as the baker turns out the crackers, all the crackers from the [R1308 : page 88] same dough and with precisely the same stamp upon them.
"'The question that is on the lips of thousands of young men that are on the threshold of the ministry, and that are looking in the direction of the Presbyterian Church, is: 'Can I enter the Presbyterian ministry and still retain my intellectual self-respect? Must I pluck out my eyes and replace my brains with sawdust, as candidacy for Presbyterian orders? Can I be an independent thinker and at the same time a loyal Presbyterian?' It was in view of such interrogatives, Dr. Parkhurst continues, that he would go on to express it as his frank conviction that the General Assembly stultified itself one year ago, when it bound its revision committee to confine its modification of the confession within Calvinistic limits. 'Our objection,' he said, 'is to the idea of trying a great Church in a live century to a man that has been 300 years under ground. It touches the spot in a keen, wide awake man when he keeps his disappointment and his contempt to himself. Perhaps we can never improve on Calvin, but it hurts my feelings to feel that the Church that my heart and life are bound up in is anchored to a cemetery.'"
This Reverend Doctor of Divinity evidently sees the question clearly, but we consider that he has thus far set his young friends – the students – a very poor example of the courage and loyalty to conviction which, as he intimates, is the only true manly or Christian course. Would it not be much easier for him than for them to act conscientiously? Has he not under the care of Presbyterianism earned a reputation which would give him an influence and call and salary outside as well as inside that denomination? Does not his example speak to them as loudly as his words and say that as he for years has been able to stay inside the system whose Calvinistic faith he does not believe, so can they? May we not rest assured that so long as Presbyterianism is popular and its ministers well paid, so long there will be a good supply of young students willing to stultify themselves, by taking vows which they cannot and will not live up to; so long will they teach what they do not believe though they will not for shame's sake teach any more of it than they can avoid?
And have not Doctor Parkhurst and others "highly esteemed among men" (Luke 16:15) shown these young students (who look up to them as models of Christian nobility and honor) how to secure and retain the emoluments of their respective sects without "plucking out their eyes" or "substituting sawdust for their brains?" And moreover some of the reverend gentlemen are showing them how they may now go a step farther and cheaply gain reputations as independent thinkers, and still hold on to their honors and salaries as ministers in those sects. Dr. Parkhurst and all others who thus talk about love for and "loyalty to Presbyterianism," and who at the same time ridicule and stab her, force thinking people to the conclusion that it is the great name, the influence and the wealth of Presbyterianism and not itself that they love – for in the creed alone consists the ism.
The Doctor supposes a student asking, "Can I enter the Presbyterian ministry and still retain my intellectual self-respect?" He does not tell us how it is with himself and others, old in Presbyterianism, but he leaves us to the inference that he has realized the loss of his own self-respect when he remains in a system with which he professes radical disagreement. The gentleman should awake to a realization of the fact that it is such double dealing as his own that is fast making the name Christian a synonym for anything else than candor.
And the same principle holds good in other matters. He that is unfaithful in that which is small will be unfaithful in greater matters, is the Master's decision (Luke 16:10), which we must expect will hold good in every case. Those who can treat lightly their vows to men, and twist and turn a human creed to suit their own convenience, and whose consciences are elastic in such matters, thereby contract habits which do them untold injury. When they come to God's word the same spirit of conscienceless twisting and avoiding issues will hinder their getting at the simplest elements of divine truth. [R1309 : page 88]
Honesty is the need of the hour, both in the pulpit and in the pew, among Presbyterians and among all professing Christ. If honesty were practiced, present pews and pulpits would lose half their occupants and the other half would speedily overthrow the error and the superstition fostered by the creeds and traditions of men, and very shortly there would be a oneness [R1309 : page 89] of faith among the real children of God, and a realization of that glorious liberty which the spirit of the truth alone can give, and which but few understand or appreciate now.
But instead of this noble, honest course, which would deserve and share the respect of all honest people (though it would wonderfully sift and humiliate the nominal Church before the world), the method pursued in all denominations is the very reverse of this. Ministers and laymen stultify themselves by remaining in, and thus upholding before men, denominations whose creeds, if ever believed, they have outgrown. So common is this form of deception and hypocrisy that few realize it under its proper name; and the clergyman who now publicly confesses his dishonesty in this respect is lionized as a most courageous person, whereas really this is glorying in his shame.
Dr. Parkhurst declares that his heart and life are bound up in "a cemetery" – the Presbyterian Church. What is there about that cemetery that he so dearly loves? Not the dead Calvinism, he freely confesses. What, then, but the living honors and emoluments of Presbyterianism?
Not such was the love of Christ and the Apostles. They neither knew of nor loved either Calvinism, Presbyterianism or any other ism. They rebuked just such sectarianism and declared it an evidence of carnality. (1 Cor. 3:1-4.) The Church which they loved, and served to the extent of laying down their lives, was the one Church, the members of the one body of Christ, whose names are written, not on earthly scrolls, but in heaven. – Col. 1:24,28; 1 Jno. 3:14,16; Heb. 12:23; Luke 10:20; Phil. 4:3; Rev. 13:8.
The Doctor is correct when he infers that there would have been no such institution as Princeton if the Apostolic teachings had prevailed. And, we may add, there would have been no Presbyterianism, no Roman Catholicism, no Methodism and no other ism, but one Church, with one Lord, one faith and one baptism.
The changes in the Presbyterian Confession, we believe, are improvements, though they will be found still very far from satisfactory to thinking people. Dr. Parkhurst and others admit that they are still a "cemetery" faith, and it is concerning the proposed amended confession that he charges that thinking students will see that to accept it they cannot retain their self-respect, or think independently while loyal to Presbyterianism. Dr. Parkhurst, the students and all others endowed with reason should at once consistently step out from all confessions of men and believe and teach all that they find taught in God's word. Then they would be members of the Apostolic Church and in fellowship with all the saints.
OF GOD'S ETERNAL DECREE.
IV. These angels and men, thus predestinated and fore-ordained, are particularly and unchangeably designed; and their number is so certain and definite, that it cannot be either increased or diminished.
V. Those of mankind that are predestinated unto life, God, before the foundation of the world was laid, according to his eternal and immutable purpose, and the secret counsel and good pleasure of his will, hath chosen, in Christ, unto everlasting glory, out of his mere free grace and love, without any foresight of faith, or good works, or perseverance in either of them, or any other thing in the creature, as conditions or causes moving him thereunto; and all to the praise of his glorious grace.
VI. The rest of mankind God was pleased, according to the unsearchable counsel of his own will, whereby he extendeth or withholdeth mercy as he pleaseth, for the glory of his sovereign power over his creatures, to pass by, and to ordain them to dishonor and wrath for their sin, to the praise of his glorious justice.CHAPTER III. (Amended).
III. God, before the foundation of the World was laid, according to his eternal and immutable purpose, and the secret counsel and good [R1309 : page 90] pleasure of his will, hath predestinated some of mankind unto life, and hath particularly and unchangeably chosen them in Christ unto everlasting glory, out of his mere free grace and love, without any foresight [on God's part] of faith, or good works, or perseverance in either of them, or any other thing in the creature, as conditions or causes moving him thereunto; and all to the praise of his glorious grace.
V. The rest of mankind God was pleased, according to the unsearchable counsel of his own will, whereby he extendeth or withholdeth mercy as he pleaseth, not to elect unto everlasting life, but to ordain them to dishonor and wrath for their sin, to the praise of his glorious justice; yet so as thereby neither is any limitation put upon the offer of salvation to all, upon condition of faith in Christ; nor is restraint laid upon the freedom of any one to hinder his acceptance of this offer.
[The statements in italics are merely subterfuges to take off the harsh edge of Calvinistic doctrine, which right-minded people can no longer accept. For if Section III. be true – if all who are saved are saved not on account of faith or good works or any other thing – it is very manifest that non-election is a most decided limitation, and that there is no salvation or offer of it to any but the elect, and the non-elect are restrained and have no freedom to accept an offer of salvation never made actually to them.]
CHAPTER VI.OF THE FALL OF MAN, OF SIN, AND OF THE PUNISHMENT THEREOF.
IV. (Amended) From this original corruption, whereby we are utterly indisposed, disabled, and made opposite to all that is spiritually good, and wholly inclined to evil, do proceed all actual transgressions. Nevertheless the Providence of God, and the common operations of his Spirit, restrain unregenerate men from much that is evil, and lead them to exercise many social and civil virtues.CHAPTER IX. (X.)OF FREE WILL.
III. (Original) Man, by his fall into a state of sin, hath wholly lost all ability of will to any spiritual good accompanying salvation; so as a natural man, being altogether averse from that good, and dead in sin, is not able, by his own strength, to convert himself, or to prepare himself thereunto.
III. (Amended) Man, by his fall into a state of sin, hath wholly lost all ability of will to any spiritual good accompanying salvation; so as a natural man, being altogether indisposed to that good, and dead in sin, is not able, by his own strength, to convert himself, or to prepare himself thereunto. Yet is his responsibility as a free moral agent not thereby impaired.
[Here we find another unsuccessful attempt to straddle both truth and error. If man is morally so fettered and enslaved that he has lost all ability to will any good thing, how can it be consistently said that his responsibility as a free moral agent is not thereby impaired? This is nonsense. The truth which they are "feeling after" is this: By their fall into sin and under its penalty, men have become morally and physically impaired, and their wills or desires perverted so that they do not naturally recognize or choose the ways of God. Nevertheless, when the revelation of the grace of God in Christ reaches any of them they are thereafter responsible for the exercise of their wills to the extent of their understanding of that revelation; because their wills remain free to choose between right and wrong, when they discern them, whether or not they have the moral and physical strength to carry out such will or choice.]
CHAPTER XI.OF THE UNIVERSAL OFFER OF THE GOSPEL.
I. God so loved the world that he provided in the covenant of grace, through the mediation and sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ, a way of life and salvation sufficient for and adapted to the whole lost race of man; and he doth freely offer this salvation to all men in the Gospel.
II. The Gospel declares the love of God for the world, and his desire for the salvation of all men. It sets forth fully and clearly the only way of salvation, which is through Christ alone; promises that all who truly repent and believe in him shall be saved; commands, exhorts, and invites all to embrace the offered mercy; and urges every motive to induce men to accept its gracious invitations. This free and universal offer of the Gospel is accompanied [R1310 : page 90] by the Holy Spirit, striving with and [R1310 : page 91] entreating men to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.
III. It is the duty and privilege of every one who hears the Gospel immediately to accept its merciful provisions. Great guilt and danger are incurred by delay or neglect. And they who continue to disobey the Gospel perish by their own fault and are wholly without excuse, because they have resisted the Holy Spirit and rejected God's gracious offer of eternal life.
IV. As there is no other way of salvation than that revealed in the Gospel, and as in the divinely established and ordinary method of grace faith cometh by hearing the Word of God, Christ hath given to his Church the written Word, the sacraments, and the ministry; endowed her with the Holy Spirit, and commissioned her to go with his Gospel into all the world and to make disciples of all nations. It is, therefore, the duty and privilege of all believers to sustain the means of grace where they are already established, and to contribute by their prayers, gifts, and personal efforts to the extension of the kingdom of Christ throughout the whole earth.
[This is a new chapter added to the confession because the old confession lacked any statement of divine sympathy for the world. It is decidedly the best and most Scriptural chapter. But who cannot see that it is the reverse of Calvinistic? and that it is directly opposed to the statements first above quoted from the same Confession?
If God loves the whole world and has made provision for the salvation of "the whole lost race of men," and if in his Word he declares "his desire for the salvation of all men" and "uses every motive to induce them to accept" it, how can it also be true that only the elect are chosen of God's free grace and love, irrespective of faith or good works or any other thing in said elected ones; and that he "withholdeth mercy as he pleaseth not to elect unto everlasting life but to ordain to dishonor and wrath?" Whence comes this conflict? and how can men of intelligence stultify themselves by declaring before the world that they believe these opposite statements? It is evident that if the revision committee had discarded the old confession and had made a new one, they would have come much nearer the truth. But then what would have become of Presbyterianism, Calvinism? It would be gone; and many of the ministers and people would have felt that they had lost their faith and wished they had died before the doctrine of election without reference to faith or works ended. They would have been in a pitiable condition for a while; but how much more they would have been blessed in finding afterward the true Bible doctrine of election – that God, having predetermined that every individual member of the redeemed race shall come to a knowledge of the truth and to an opportunity for faith and obedience and eternal life, has predestinated the election (or selection) of a Church under the headship of Christ Jesus, their Redeemer, composed of a "little flock" of overcoming saints, who, after being tried in all points, and found faithful, will be highly exalted as God's spiritual, Millennial kingdom, and shall then, as the Royal Priesthood, with Christ Jesus, their great Chief Priest, fulfil the promise made to Abraham (Gal. 3:16,29), by blessing all the families of the earth with knowledge and every assistance, bringing back to God whosoever freely wills to come.
This glorious election once seen in its true light, the Apostle's injunction to make our calling and election sure, by so running as to obtain the great prize, would be appreciated as their error on the subject will not now permit them to appreciate it.]
CHAPTER (X.) XII.OF EFFECTUAL CALLING.
II. (Original) This effectual call is of God's free and special grace alone, not from anything at all foreseen in man, who is altogether passive therein, until, being quickened and renewed by the Holy Spirit, he is thereby enabled to answer this call, and to embrace the grace offered and conveyed in it.
II. (As amended) This effectual call is of God's free and special grace alone, not from anything at all foreseen in man, who is altogether passive in the act of regeneration wherein, being quickened and renewed by the Holy Spirit, he is enabled to answer God's call, and to embrace the grace offered and conveyed in it.
[Here is another futile endeavor to bend the word of God into harmony with the false view of election. The Scriptures declare that "many are called but few are chosen" or elected to the [R1310 : page 92] high honor of being Christ's bride, joint-heir and co-worker in the Millennial work of blessing the world in general. But this scripture did not harmonize with what John Calvin had decided on the subject; so he got around the statement that "many are called and few chosen" by making two calls – the effectual call for the elect and, as a matter of course, the ineffectual call for the non-elect. But the framers of the confession, ashamed to attribute such double dealing to the great Jehovah, refer to the ineffectual call only inferentially and logically. If the "effectual call" includes the giving of an indispensable ability to accept, then any other call would not only be ineffectual, but a hollow mockery and fraud.
On the contrary, how simple and easy of explanation is the testimony of God's Word upon the subject: that all were unworthy of any favor, but that God graciously provided a ransom for the condemned ones, and then offered justification to all who, when they understand, accept of his favor of justification, not by works, nor without faith, but by faith. Then, so many, during the Gospel age, as hear and believingly accept of this justification are called or invited to become sons of God on a higher plane – to "become partakers of the divine nature" and joint-heirs with their Redeemer in his Kingdom.
Many – all believers during the Gospel age – are thus called, but all do not care to accept the conditions of sacrifice which are attached to the call. "If we suffer with him we shall also reign with him." (2 Tim. 2:12.) "If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me." (Matt. 16:24.) He that loveth not less than me, houses and lands, father and mother, sisters and brothers, yea, and his own life also, is not worthy of me. (Matt. 10:37,38; Luke 14:26.) Because few live up to these conditions, therefore few of the many called are chosen. The call was a genuine or effectual call in every case; but the response of the called ones was frequently insincere and ineffectual because they did not comply with the conditions. They did not so run as to obtain the prize, and thus make their calling and election sure or effectual.]
III. (Original.) Elect infants, dying in infancy, are regenerated and saved by Christ through the Spirit, who worketh when, and where, and how he pleaseth. So also are all other elect persons who are incapable of being outwardly called by the ministry of the word.
III. (As amended.) All infants dying in infancy, and all other persons, who, from birth to death, are incapable of being outwardly called by the ministry of the word, are redeemed by Christ and regenerated by the Spirit, who worketh when, and where, and how he pleaseth.
[Another inconsistency. This statement belies the statement or confession first quoted above (Chapter III., Sections III. and IV.), on election and predestination. If it be true that "God hath predestined some of mankind unto life," and "the rest of mankind God was pleased – not to elect unto everlasting life, but to ordain them to dishonor, and wrath," then it cannot be true that all infants and others incapable of understanding are saved. Or, if it be true that all infants and all others without understanding are saved, it proves conclusively that the doctrine of the election of the saved and the non-election of others is a gross error – unless it be claimed that God's elections are according to unfitness, ignorance and degradation. And who would take such a position?
This is the question specially troubling Doctor Briggs. He sees, sensibly enough, that if the non-elect class includes the majority of the thinking people, and if the elect includes with the "little flock" of saints all the insane and savages and infants, heavenly society would be rather undesirable unless some instructive training were given to the ignorant ones before full induction to the heavenly experiences, felicities and liberties. He, therefore, has adopted the very erroneous idea of an intermediate state of purgatory which, he presumes, such as are unsanctified and unfit for heaven enter at death.
We shall not attempt here to give the true or Scriptural solution of the question of the future of infants and others incapable of faith, but will leave that for our next issue, to be treated in connection with a criticism of Dr. Briggs – his rights and his wrongs.*]
IV. (Original.) Others, not elected, although they may be called by the ministry of the word, and may have some common operations of the Spirit, yet never truly come to Christ, and therefore cannot be saved; much less can men, not professing the Christian religion, be saved in any other way whatsoever, be they never so diligent to frame their lives according to the light of nature, and the law of that religion they do profess; and to assert and maintain that they may is very pernicious, and to be detested.
IV. (As amended.) Others, not elected, although they may be called by the ministry of the word, and may have some common operations of the Spirit, yet inasmuch as they never truly come to Christ, they cannot be saved: neither is there salvation in any other way than [R1311 : page 93] by Christ through the Spirit, however diligent men may be in framing their lives according to the light of nature, and the law of that religion they do profess.
[How inconsistent to say that the non-elect, though called, cannot be saved; and what a slur upon God's honesty to say that his Word calls those who are not elected and who consequently cannot be saved!
That the hearts of our Presbyterian brethren are better than their heads and their Confession is evident from the endeavor to throw the blame off God and upon men by the statement that they are such as never truly come to Christ. But the effort is unsuccessful, for this portion of the Confession must be interpreted in harmony with the definition of election and non-election which precedes it, and which, as amended, declares that the elect are not chosen because of foreseen faith or good works, but purely of grace were predestinated to life, and that the rest of mankind God was pleased...not to elect unto everlasting life, but to ordain them to dishonor and wrath for the same sins which in the elect he forgives.
Again, does it not seem to our Presbyterian friends rather a reflection upon the Lord's character to declare, as this revised clause does, that there is no hope of salvation for the millions who profess other religions than that of Christ – not even for the honestly deluded ones who are striving to shape their lives according to the light of nature they possess? Those in the class described are certainly honest if living up to the light of nature they do possess. If God loves them, why should he not give them, as he has given the elect, "a light to shine upon the road that leads men to the Lamb?"
They are Scriptural in speaking of an elect class, the Church; they are correct, too, in calling the remainder of the human family non-elect. They are wrong, however, in the inference they draw, that all the non-elect are damned to torment forever. No scripture so teaches. The Scriptures show, on the contrary, that the elect little flock, when completed, is to be the long-promised "Seed of Abraham," by whom God declares all the families of the earth (the non-elect) shall be blessed. (Gal. 3:16,29.) To support the Presbyterian view, that passage should read, In thy seed shall all the families of the earth be hopelessly damned. This is their mistake. The Bible doctrine of Election is a grand one when rightly seen: the elect Church, with her elect Head, Christ Jesus, is to constitute the Kingdom of God, to be exalted to glory and honor at the second advent, for the very purpose of blessing all for whom Christ died – all the human family – by bringing all to the full knowledge and full opportunity necessary to their acceptance of Christ and his proffered gift of life everlasting.
They are right, too, when they declare that there is no salvation except through Christ and the spirit of the truth, however diligent men may be in framing their lives according to the light of nature and the laws of other religions; but they are wrong in the meaning which they attach to these words, indicated by the remainder of the Confession.
The Scriptural view is that man has no claim upon the Creator for lasting life; that the giving of the ransom for all as an offset or cancellation of the claims of justice against all was an act of God's free grace, unmerited by any; and that the conditions upon which each may avail himself of this favor is by an acceptance of the fact and a framing of the life in obedience to the new covenant. There is no other name or way or light by which full salvation can be attained by any. But God, who provided this way, this [R1311 : page 94] only way, this light, this only light by which men may get back to God and to life, has made a broader provision for men to find that way and to see that light than our Presbyterian brethren realize. Our Redeemer not only gave himself a ransom for all, but the knowledge of this shall be testified in due time to all. (1 Tim. 2:6.) Nor can this be assumed to be a mere casual hearing of Christ and his work without satisfactory evidences to convict and satisfy the hearer as to the facts; for a preceding verse, 4th, declares positively that it is God's will that an accurate knowledge (see Greek text) of the truth on this subject shall reach all, in order that this salvation which he has provided in Christ for all may thus be available to all.
No one can dispute that the vast majority of the living as well as the dead members of our race have never yet come to an accurate knowledge of God and Christ, and of the plan and conditions upon which eternal life is provided for them in the ransom sacrifice given for all, eighteen centuries ago. For those who have not received that knowledge in the present, there remains the sure promise of a coming blessing – the very blessing so long promised, that all the families of the earth shall be blessed in and by the Church, the little flock, with the Master – the Christ.
It is evident that those persons who frame their lives according to the light of nature and those religions which they do profess are such as would gladly accept of Christ if they ever came to an accurate knowledge of the truth. They are evidently using the best light they possess. God's promise to these benighted ones is much better than our Presbyterian brethren confess, and it would be much more to their comfort and much more to God's glory if they confessed the truth as God's Word states it, that Jesus Christ is the true light which lighteth [or will light] every man born into the world. (John 1:9.) None will dispute that this light is the truth – the knowledge of God's plan; yet it must be evident to all that thus far only the few have seen it. It is in the future that this promise will be fulfilled – when the Christ, the Sun of Righteousness, shall arise with healing in his beams. (Compare Mal. 4:3 and Matt. 13:43.) "Then shall the blind see out of obscurity." – Isa. 29:18; 32:1-5; 35:1-5.]
CHAPTER (XXV.) XXVII.OF THE CHURCH.
VI. (Original.) There is no other head of the Church but the Lord Jesus Christ. Nor can the Pope of Rome in any sense be head thereof, but is that antichrist, that man of sin, the son of perdition, that exalteth himself, in the Church, against Christ, and all that is called God.
VI. (As amended.) There is no other head of the Church but the Lord Jesus Christ, and the claim of the Pope of Rome to be the vicar of Christ, and the head of the Church universal, is without warrant in the Scripture or in fact; and a usurpation dishonoring to the Lord Jesus Christ.
[This is a denial of the original basis of the word Protestant. Calvin, Luther and others who protested claimed that there should be only one Church, but excused themselves from acknowledging the Church of Rome as that true Church because of its being Antichrist. Now they deny that it is Antichrist, and accordingly withdraw their protest by the above change.]
CHAPTER (XXX.) XXXII.OF CHURCH CENSURES.
II. (Original.) To these officers the keys of the kingdom of heaven are committed, by virtue whereof they have power respectively to retain and remit sins, to shut that kingdom against the impenitent, both by the Word and censures; and to open it unto penitent sinners, by the ministry of the Gospel, and by absolution from censures, as occasion shall require.
II. (As amended.) To these officers the keys of the kingdom of heaven are committed, by virtue whereof they have ministerial and declarative power respectively to retain and remit sins, to shut that kingdom against the impenitent, both by the Word and censures; and to open it unto penitent sinners, by the ministry of the Gospel, and by absolution from censures, as occasion shall require.
[Another very good, sensible change. Yet how inconsistent still – to tell us first that God has unalterably fixed the election or non-election of all, regardless of their faith or works, and then to say that the officers of the Presbyterian Church can in any sense either open or close the Kingdom for any whose fate God has fixed from all eternity!]
We have several objects in view. We want to see the conditions of European society, in view of a preparation for the writing of the fourth volume of the MILLENNIAL DAWN series – "The Day of Vengeance."
We desire also to consider, from that standpoint, what can be done to forward the spread of the Truth among the people of foreign countries. Even should we conclude that nothing more can be done than is being done at present, it will at least be a satisfaction to have made sure of it.
Finally, we desire to meet with and to greet and encourage some of the dear fellow-servants there. This last feature, however, we fear will be disappointing to many of them as well as to us; for to accomplish the first two items (which are the real objects of the journey) will involve so extended a tour that the brief space of time at our disposal will necessitate rapid and constant traveling, and will consequently prevent our holding any meetings, except, possibly, in London. Nothing would please us better [R1312 : page 95] than to be able to go from town to town throughout England, Ireland and Scotland, spending a week at each, and holding meeting with the dear friends there whom we know by correspondence. But this is not possible: such a trip would require at least six months for Great Britain alone, and we have only about two months at our disposal for the entire trip outlined below. We will probably stop over one night at Belfast, Ireland, and one day each at Glasgow and Edinburgh, Scotland, in going, and two days in London, and, if possible, one day in Liverpool, on returning. We will send postal cards giving our address to the TOWER readers residing in those cities, and will be most happy to meet all who call on us.
Think not, dear friends, that we would prefer visiting those haunts which usually attract merely pleasure-seeking tourists. Not so: ours is a journey in the honor of our King and for the better qualifying of ourselves to spread his truth. We care nothing for curious and ancient ruins, castles, etc.: we want to see the people, to judge of their modes of living, habits of thought and tendencies – the very things which few think or care about.
We leave New York City on the Inman Line steamer, "City of Chicago," on July 1st, for Queenstown, Ireland: thence to Belfast, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Copenhagen, Berlin, Leipzig, Vienna, Kischenev (Russia, where we hope to meet the converted Jew, Mr. Rabinowitz, whose work among the Jews so closely corresponds to our work among Christians, and whom we hope to persuade to accompany us to Jerusalem), Constantinople, Athens, Jerusalem; returning via Cairo (to see the Great Pyramid), Rome, Berne (Switzerland), Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam, London, Liverpool, and thence by steamer for New York and home.
We want you to feel, as we shall, that our eyes and ears are yours representatively. And whatever we learn by this trip that would be of interest and profit to you all, we shall consider it a trust, as well as a pleasure, to deliver to you all, through the mediums of the TOWER and the future volumes of the DAWN.
Meantime the office work is left in the charge of competent and deeply interested friends, who will do all they possibly can to fill your orders carefully and promptly; and matter for the next two issues of the TOWER is left ready. And not knowing what may be the Master's will in reference to our return, or when our "change" may come, we have left our affairs in such shape that the work would continue – others, under the Lord's guidance, filling our places.
Although our first intention was to publish the third volume of DAWN in cloth binding only, we finally concluded that this would hinder many from possessing it who would greatly desire and enjoy it. We therefore published a paper-bound edition at 25 cents per volume. Although many readers had already ordered it, others wrote that they could not pay for it at present, and still others, aged, maimed, and otherwise dependent, who are regularly on the TOWER poor list, we knew would lack means to purchase it as well as the TOWER. Love for the truth and love for the poor of the flock led to the plan adopted, and we sent out the paper-bound edition as the June issue of the TOWER, to all paid up subscribers and to all of the Lord's poor who, as directed, sent us a postal card at the beginning of the year requesting its continuance and stating their inability to pay for it. So far as possible we avoided sending extra copies to those who had already ordered and received the book; but we know of quite a few mistakes by which extra copies did go out. We trust that the friends receiving such may know of some good ways of using them to interest others in the truth.
The sending out of so many books is of course quite an expense, but the message is for all the Lord's people alike, and we could not feel satisfied to do less. No extra charge has been made; but so many as can afford it of those who have not paid for their copy may, if they choose, accept their own copy free as a number of the TOWER, and at the same time have a share in the work of feeding such as are spiritually hungry by paying whatever they choose toward the expense of sending the book to others.
If any who have paid for the TOWER for 1891, or any who have asked for it for this year, stating their inability to pay for it, have failed to receive the third volume, they will know that the omission was accidental, and they can have it rectified by advising us at once.
Subscriptions will not, hereafter, begin at any time, but only with the quarters, January, April, July and October. For instance, new subscriptions sent in during July, August or September are reckoned as beginning with July issue, and will be marked as ending June '92, and TOWER issues from July are sent at once.
The offer of the MILLENNIAL DAWN in paper covers at 15 cents to those who give a portion of their time in helping to circulate it has heretofore been made only to those who purchased as many as ten copies of any single volume at one order. We have many inquiries for smaller quantities, however, and have decided that hereafter we will supply as few as five copies of any one of the three volumes in paper covers at colporteur's rate, 15 cents each, five for 75 cents.
Please do not ask us to deviate from this rule. We must have system to avoid waste of valuable time. If you want more than five of a kind take ten; if more, then take twenty, thirty or forty. Remember that the books for colporteurs are put up in packs of fives, tens and twenties.