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We are in receipt of a number of letters, calling attention to what seems to the writers an error in the Chronology given in MILLENNIAL DAWN, VOL. II., relative to the date of Abraham's birth, his entrance into Canaan, etc. For the sake of these, as well as others who may have the same difficulty, we here enlarge upon what is stated in VOL. II., pages 44-47.
Gen. 11:32 says that at his death Terah's age was two hundred and five years; Acts 7:4 says that then Abraham removed into Canaan; and Gen. 12:4 states that Abraham was seventy-five years old when he left Haran. Hence Terah's age at Abraham's birth must have been one hundred and thirty years.
But is not this out of harmony with Gen. 11:26, which says: "And Terah lived seventy years, and begat Abram, Nahor and Haran"? We answer, No. The point of confusion is in the fact that Haran, the eldest, is mentioned last, while Abram, the youngest, is mentioned first – possibly because of his greater prominence in the narrative, or, possibly, as a little stumbling-block to hinder us from seeing the facts except as guided by the Lord, in his due time.
That Haran was the eldest of the sons of Terah is quite evident from the recorded facts. His son Lot was old enough to be the companion of his uncle Abraham. Lot and Abraham were probably nearly of the same age, as each had his own flocks and herds and herdsmen. When Sodom was destroyed Lot had two daughters of marriageable age and others already married. This was before Isaac was born, Abraham being then ninety-nine years old. – Gen. 17:24; 18:1,16; 19:8,14.
Again, notice the likelihood of Haran's being much the eldest of Terah's sons, and Nahor the second, thus, – Nahor married one of his brother Haran's daughters (Milcah – See Gen. 24:15), whose grand-daughter, Rebecca, became the wife of Abraham's son, Isaac. – Gen. 24:67.
We would remind the dear friends who receive the WATCH TOWER free, because poor through misfortune or infirmity, that we expect them, as well as paying subscribers, to renew their subscriptions yearly. A postal card will serve the purpose, if on it you repeat your request to have the TOWER continue its visits. If still unable to pay, state the fact, and it will be cheerfully continued. We like to hear from all at this season of the year. Those who can pay later, but to whom it is not convenient just now, will please so state themselves. A + indicates Lord's Poor.
In our Terms, above, it will be noticed that we request such responses sometime during the month of December; – this because we have your names and addresses in type, and the labor and expense of distributing thousands of addresses and then, later, resetting many of them, is considerable. [R1599 : page 354]
The Swedish translation of the first volume of MILLENNIAL DAWN is now ready, and waiting orders have been filled. It can be supplied in both cloth and paper bindings, at same prices as the English edition.
Friends of the truth who have knowledge of the subject, are requested to let us know of Swedish settlements – giving some idea of the population of such colonies; also of colonies of Danes and of Norwegians; for we hope to have the Dano-Norwegian translation ready about March next. We shall soon have some tracts in these languages, and shall be pleased to send freely whatever quantity you will use judiciously.
|VOL. XIV.||DECEMBER 1, 1893.||NO. 23.|
"Wherefore, gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; as obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: but as he who hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; because it is written, Be ye holy, for I am holy." – 1 Pet. 1:13-16.
Though written so long ago the above words of exhortation lose none of their force to us. They were penned for the instruction of the whole Church, down to the end of the age. The introductory, "Wherefore," refers us to the glorious hope of our high calling, and of the necessarily severe measures required to fit us for our exalted inheritance, as mentioned in the preceding verses. Peter would have us appreciate what it is to be called with such a high calling – to an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for those who are kept by the power of God through faith. (Verse 4.) He would have us know that, if faithful, we are to be made "partakers even of the divine nature," and that we are to be joint-heirs with Jesus Christ, of all things. – 2 Pet. 1:4.
As the spirit of God draws our hearts into closer fellowship and sympathy with the divine mind, the value of these "exceeding great and precious promises" is more and more fully realized, until there glows in our hearts the same holy enthusiasm that so filled the hearts of the apostles. And only when our hearts are thus warmed and our minds thus awakened, are we prepared to understand the Apostle's "Wherefore," upon the inspiring comprehension of which depends our ability to heed the earnest exhortation which follows.
If our hearts are not duly inspired with this hope – if we have begun to lightly esteem it, or to forget it, or to think of it as an idle tale – to heed the counsel of Peter, here given, will be impossible. If, therefore, we realize that a spiritual lethargy has to any extent been creeping over us, imperceptibly benumbing our spiritual senses, so that the truth is losing its inspiring power upon us, our first duty is to betake ourselves to prayer and to communion with God through his Word, that its sanctifying power may be realized.
"Wherefore," then, you that discern the prize of your high calling, and who are endeavoring to press along the line toward it, "gird up the loins of your mind" – as in the illustration, strengthen and fortify your purposes and efforts, renew your determination, redouble your diligence, cast aside the weights of unnecessary worldly cares, increase your [R1595 : page 356] zeal; and, as the Apostle Paul also urges, run with patience the race set before you. Run, not like one who is merely beating the air, but like one who has a purpose in view, and who, in desperate earnest, is determined to make his calling and election sure.
Having thus "girded up the loins of your mind" for a long, steady and determined effort, he further counsels, – "Be sober:" do not allow yourself to become excited and, under the spur of excitement, to exhaust all your spiritual vitality in a very short time, and then to suffer a relapse into coldness or discouragement; but thoughtfully consider and prepare for a long and patient endurance of all the discipline and trial of faith and patience necessary to prove an overcomer and worthy of the blessed reward promised "to him that overcometh." The race before us is not one to be run by fits and starts, but by "patient continuance in well doing." Soberly, thoughtfully, we are to weigh and endeavor to realize the import of the exceeding great and precious promises and to gather from them their invigorating inspiration; earnestly we must apply our minds and hearts to the instruction of the inspired Word of God, availing ourselves also of such helps – of "pastors and teachers" and their literary productions which prove harmonious with, and helpful to, the study of the Scriptures; diligently and patiently we must submit ourselves to all the transforming influences of divine grace and truth; and then loyally and faithfully we must devote our consecrated talents, however few or many, to the great work of preaching this gospel of the Kingdom to all who will hear.
Such a sober view of the situation fortifies the mind against discouragement, and enables us, as the Apostle suggests, to "hope to the end for the grace to be brought unto us at the revelation of Jesus Christ." Such a sober view keeps Reason on the throne of our minds. And Reason says, The divine call to joint-heirship with Christ clearly implies eligibility to the exalted office; the divine promise clearly insures divine grace to enable us to fulfil the conditions; the divine provision for my justification, by faith in the precious blood of Christ, releases me from the condemnation to death; and the righteousness of Christ, imputed to me by faith, fully supplements all my weaknesses, so that before God I stand approved in him. Sober Reason also says, the directions given in the Scriptures to those who would run the race are clear and explicit, and make plain every step of the way to those who are truly and fully consecrated to the Lord. The examples of the Lord and the Apostles on the pathway shine with a moral luster and glory that cannot lead us astray. If we walk in their foot-prints we will assuredly reach the same goal.
Therefore, in this sober view of our high calling and privileges, and the abundant resources of divine grace, let us not be discouraged or overcome in any way, but let us hope to the end for the grace (favor) that is to be brought unto us at the revelation of Jesus Christ – at his second advent. The Church has enjoyed much of the divine favor all through the age of her probation and trial; but the grace to be revealed at the revelation of Jesus Christ – when he comes to reign in power and great glory – is her exaltation with him to sit with him in his throne. This glorious consummation, the Church all through the age must steadily keep in view: but how glorious is the privilege of those of its members living in this end of the age, when already, even before our change into his glorious likeness – in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye – we begin to enter the joys of our Lord.
Those who are still sober and faithful, and who have not cast away their confidence, have been led into the secret of the Master's presence; and they have been made to sit down to meat, and the Master himself has come forth and served them. Yes, our hearts have been made to burn within us while he has opened up the Scriptures and made us understand, from the testimony of the law and the prophets and the apostles, that the time is fulfilled – that the end of the age is now here, and that the Lord of the harvest is present to direct and supervise the great work of reaping the fruit of precious seed long ago sown in tears, and now to be gathered with joy and singing; [R1595 : page 357] while he has opened up to us the treasures of divine wisdom and grace displayed in the plan of the ages, which God purposed before the foundation of the world, which he has been gradually working out in the ages past, and which is now nearing its glorious consummation.
Oh! what feasting, what rejoicing there has been around the table of the Lord, as one after another the treasures of divine grace have been opened to us, revealing the glories of the new heavens and the new earth and the blessedness of all the obedient subjects of him who sitteth on the throne to reign in righteousness; how all tears shall be wiped away from off all faces, and how the reproach of God's people is to be taken away. Well indeed did Daniel prophesy, saying, "O the blessedness of him that waiteth and cometh to the thousand, three hundred, thirty and five days" – the days of the Lord's second presence, when all that is written to be accomplished by his glorious reign shall begin to come to pass.
Seeing then that such are our privileges and hopes, "what manner of persons ought we to be in all holy conversation and god-likeness." (2 Pet. 3:11.) Being purified by this hope, ought we not, as the Apostle exhorts, to fashion ourselves, not according to the former lusts (desires and ambitions, which we had) in our ignorance, but as he who has called us is holy, should not we also be holy in all manner of conversation – in all our words and ways? Since it is written, "Be ye holy; for I [the Lord] am holy" (1 Pet. 1:15,16), should not we who are called to be partakers of his own nature and glory be holy also?
Some Christians have the erroneous idea that God does all the fashioning, and that his children are to be merely passive in his hand; but Peter does not so express it. He exhorts us to fashion ourselves according to the divine instructions. There is a work to be done in us and about us, and those who are not up and doing, but who passively sit and wait for the Lord to work miracles in their behalf, are greatly deceived, and are giving the enemy great advantage over them, which he will certainly use to bind them hand and foot and cast them into outer darkness, unless they bestir themselves to work out their salvation with fear and trembling, while God, co-operating with their earnest effort, works in them, to will and to do his good pleasure. (Phil. 2:12,13.) "Watch and pray," beloved, lest any of these snares of the enemy entrap you and beguile you of your reward.
"Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed; and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." – John 8:31,32.
Those who followed the Lord only for a little season and then forsook him, of course ceased then to be his disciples and were no longer so recognized; nor did they presume longer to claim to be his disciples. A disciple is a pupil, a learner; and when any man ceases to be a student and pupil of Christ, the great Teacher, he is no longer a disciple of Christ. This was very manifest when the Lord was present, and when his name was one of reproach among men; but later, when his presence was withdrawn, and when his doctrines were unscrupulously mixed with human philosophies to such an extent as to divest them of their reproach, and to really make them void, then men began to claim to be his disciples long after they had utterly repudiated his doctrines.
The Lord's expression – "disciples indeed" – implies a distinction between real and merely nominal disciples. And since we desire to continue to be his real, sincere disciples, let us mark the expressed condition: "If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed." The hypocrisy of merely nominal discipleship is an abomination to the Lord.
It is a blessed thing to take the first step in the Christian life – that of belief in and acceptance of Christ as our Redeemer and Lord; but the reward of this step depends entirely upon our continuance in his Word, in the attitude of true disciples. It is not difficult to do this, yet the disposition of human pride is to wander away from the simplicity of divine truth and to seek out new theories and philosophies of our own, or to pry into those of other men, who desire to be considered wise and great according to this world's estimate.
The reward of continued discipleship is, "Ye shall know the truth" – not that we shall be "ever seeking and never coming to a knowledge of the truth." (2 Tim. 3:7.) Here is the mistake that many make: failing to continue in the Word of the Lord, they delve into various human philosophies which ignore or pervert the Word of the Lord and set up opposing theories. There is no promise, to those who seek for truth among these, that they shall ever find it. And they never do. Divine truth is never found except in the divinely appointed channels: and those channels are the Lord and the apostles and prophets. To continue in the doctrine set forth in their inspired writings, to study and meditate upon them, to trust implicitly in them, and to faithfully conform our characters to them, is what is implied in continuing in the Word of the Lord.
But the idea is entirely compatible with that of heeding all the helps which the Lord from time to time raises up from among our brethren in the body of Christ, as enumerated by the Apostle Paul. (Eph. 4:11-15; 1 Cor. 12:13,14.) The Lord always has raised up, and will to the end raise up, such helps for the edification of the body of Christ; but it is the duty of every member to carefully prove their teaching by the infallible Word.
If we thus continue in the Word of the Lord, as earnest and sincere disciples, we shall indeed "know the truth," be "established in the present truth" [the truth due], and be "rooted and grounded in the truth;" we shall be "firm in the faith," and "able to give a reason for the hope that is in us," to "earnestly contend for the faith once delivered to the saints," to "war a good warfare," to "witness a good confession," and to firmly "endure hardship as good soldiers of Jesus Christ," even unto the end of our course. We will not come into the knowledge of the truth at a single bound; but gradually, step by step, we will be led into the truth. Every step will be one of sure and certain progress and each one leading to a higher vantage ground for further attainments both in knowledge and in its blessed fruits of established character.
The truth thus acquired, step by step, becomes a sanctifying power bringing forth in our lives its blessed fruits of righteousness, [R1595 : page 359] peace, joy in the holy Spirit, love, meekness, faith, patience and every virtue and every grace, which time and cultivation will ripen to a glorious maturity.
And not only shall the true disciple thus know the truth and be sanctified by it, but the Lord also said, "The truth shall make you free." Those who have received the truth know by blessed experience something of its liberating power. As soon as any measure of it is received into a good and honest heart, it begins to strike off the fetters of sin, of ignorance and superstition, and of fear. It throws its health-restoring beams into the darkest recesses of our hearts and minds, and thus invigorates the whole being. Sin cannot endure its light; and those who continue to live in sin when a sufficiency of light has been received to manifest its deformity must inevitably lose the light because they are unworthy of it.
Ignorance and superstition must vanish before the light of truth. And what a blessed realization it is to be thus liberated! Millions are still under this galling yoke. Under its delusions they fear and reverence some of the basest tools of Satan for their oppression and degradation, because they hypocritically claim divine appointment; and they have been made to fear God as a vengeful tyrant consigning the vast majority of his creatures to an eternity of torment. Thank God, we who have received the truth have escaped that terrible nightmare, and the bondage of Satan over us is broken.
We are made free, too, from the fear that we now see coming upon the whole world as the great civil and ecclesiastical systems that have so long ruled the world are being terribly shaken. All thinking people are in dread of the possible outcome of anarchy and terror. And the alarm of all will increase as we near the awful crisis toward which we are rapidly hastening, and as the danger becomes more and more visible. Yet, in the midst of it all, and with the fullest assurance of the infallible Word of God of the terrors of the conflict through which the world will have to pass within a few years, the true disciples of Christ who abide in his Word are not afraid, but rejoice, because they know that God's object in permitting the storm is to clear the moral atmosphere of the world, and that, after the storm, there shall come, by his providence, an abiding peace. Instructed in the truth, they realize the necessities of the situation, and have confidence in the divine providence that can make even the wrath of man to praise him.
Blessed promise! – "If ye continue in my Word, then are ye my disciples indeed, and ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." Dearly beloved, having received this favor from the Lord, shall we not continue in it, giving no heed to seducing doctrines? And shall we not be faithful to it under all circumstances, defending it against every assault, and with it bearing its reproach? Let us prove our appreciation of it by our loyalty and faithfulness to it.
Grieving and worn, discouraged,
Sick of the day-long strife,
Bruised by the restless tossing
Over the sea of life;
Hurt by the hands I trusted,
Yearning for rest and home,
Famishing, faint and doubting,
Unto the Book I come.
One of the sweet, old chapters –
Sometimes a verse or two –
Falls on my troubled spirit
Like to a healing dew.
Soothing the fevered pulses,
Comforts the soul's despair;
Lifts from my path the shadows;
Banishes clouds and care.
"Ye that are heavy-laden,"
Burdened with woe and grief,
"Knock and the door shall open;"
Here you will find relief.
"Let not your hearts be troubled;"
"Only believe and trust:"
Thus do the healing waters
Flow o'er Life's desert dust.
MR. Nobuta Kishimoto, in his interesting address on "The Future of Religion in Japan," expressed his hope for the ultimate triumph of Christianity, although he showed that the religious impulses of the people are divided between Shintoism, Confucianism and Buddhism. He said: –
"The prevailing attitude of the educated classes toward any religion is one of cold indifference, if not strong antagonism. Among them the agnosticism of Spencer, the materialism of Comte and the pessimism of Schoppenhauer and Hartmann are most influential. To them, God is either the product of our own imagination or, at most, unknowable. To them, religion is nothing but superstition; to them, the universe is a chancework and has no end or meaning. Again, to them, men are nothing but lower animals in disguise, without the image of God in them and without a bright future before them."
He reports a Christian population of 100,000, of which the Roman Catholic is the strongest in membership; then the Protestant, which is represented by thirty-one different denominations; and, finally, the Greek Catholic. But which is to triumph? That is the question, to which he replies: –
"We do not want Catholic Christianity, nor do we want Protestant Christianity. We want the Christianity of the Bible....We do not want the Christianity of England, nor the Christianity of America: we want the Christianity of Japan....We Japanese want the Christianity of the Christ. We want the truth of Christianity; nay, we want the truth, pure and simple. We want the spirit of the Bible. at least in spirit, if not in form. But we Japanese Christians are hoping more: we are ambitious to present to the world one new and unique interpretation of Christianity as it is in our Bible, which knows no sectarian controversy and which knows no heresy hunting. Indeed, the time is coming, and ought to come, when God shall be worshiped, not by rites and ceremonies, but in spirit and in truth."
"The progress of Christianity in Japan is quite remarkable. It is only thirty-four years since the first Protestant missionary put his foot on its shore. And it is scarcely twenty years since the first Protestant church was organized in Japan. Yet now there are more Christians there than in Turkey, where missionaries have been working more than seventy years; and there are more self-supporting churches there than in China, where a double or triple number of missionaries have been working nearly a century. In Japan, Christian papers and magazines are all edited by the natives, not only in name but in reality. Christian books, which have been most influential, have nearly all been written or translated [R1596 : page 360] by them, while in other countries it is very rare to find the native Christians writing Christian books or editing papers. Only recently The Christian, the most influential Christian paper in Japan, had a Symposium to name fifteen books which are most useful in leading men to Christianity, instructing Christians and giving good counsel to young people; and it is interesting to see that most of the books named are those written or translated by Japanese Christians.
"Christianity in Japan has already reached a stage that no other missionary fields have ever attained. Their native Christians not only take part in all discussions, but they are in fact leading all kinds of discussion, theological as well as practical. They are leading, not only all kinds of Christian work, literary and evangelistic, educational and charitable, but they are also leading Christian thought in Japan. Let me relate one or two instances.
"Some six or seven years ago, when we were contemplating the union of the Itochi and Kumiai denominations, the two most powerful Christian bodies in Japan, among twenty members of a joint committee appointed by the Synod of one and the General Council of the other, there were only four missionaries. When, a few years ago, the Kumiai denomination adopted a new confession of faith, the missionaries took almost no part. This confession was drawn up by a committee, consisting entirely of Japanese, and adopted in the General Council, in which missionaries took very little or no part. In Japan, missionaries are really "helpers," and I should say to their credit they, in most cases, willingly take secondary positions in all Christian works. All this, I say, is not to disparage the work of [R1596 : page 361] missionaries, but only to show the progress of Christianity among the natives of Japan.
"There are many peculiar features in Japanese Christianity which are seldom seen in other countries....For instance, while in most of the churches in this country female members are almost two to one in proportion to male members, it is quite otherwise in Japan. There female members in relation to male members are nearly three to four. This is almost in inverse ratio to their proportions in the United States. Another is the predominance of young people in our churches. You may step into any of our churches in any city or village and you will be struck by the great preponderance of young faces. We have not yet taken statistics of members as to their age, but any one who has experience in Christian work there notes this peculiarity....
"One more point is the predominance of the Shizoku or military class. They have been and still are the very brains of the Japanese people. Though they are not usually well off in material wealth, they are superior intellectually and morally. Christians in other missionary fields are usually from the lower classes. In India the Brahmins rarely become Christians, neither do the literary class in China. But in Japan the Shizoku class take a lead.
"These peculiarities in the constituency of the membership of Christian churches in Japan may be accounted for by the simple fact that the males, the young and the Shizoku classes are most accessible. The Shizoku class, as a body, has had hitherto almost no religion, and they have been mostly Confucianists. By the last revolution they lost their profession as well as their means of support, and thus they are all unsettled in life, and so accessible to every kind of new influence and truth. Young people have also no settled opinions and are open to new influences and thus accessible to new truth. And so it is with men as compared with women. They are generally more progressive, and hence more accessible....
"As the Japanese Christian population is of such a constituency, the native Christians are more progressive, more active, more able to stand on their own feet, and more capable of establishing self-supporting churches. But this strength is also their weakness. They are more liable to be drifted, more apt to be changed and more disposed to be flippant.
"The next peculiar feature of Japanese Christianity is lack of sectarian or denominational spirit. About thirty different denominations of Protestant churches, represented by about an equal number of missionary boards, are on the field, each teaching its own peculiar tenets. But they are making very little impression on our Christians....We have been having, at first annually, but lately once in three years, what was called "Dai Shin Baku Kwai," which was afterward changed into the Evangelical Alliance, the meeting of all Christians in Japan, irrespective of denominations or churches – the most popular and interesting we have. Again, Japanese Christians did not know any distinction of denominations or churches. But when they found out that there are many different folds, and that one belongs to his denomination, not by his own choice, but simply by chance or circumstance which could in no way be controlled, there is no wonder that these Christians begin to ask: Why should not we, all Christians, unite in one church?
"The union movement in Japan rose at first in some such way. Though we have now lost much of this simple spirit, still, Japanese Christians are essentially undenominational. You may see that the church which adopted Presbyterian forms of government refused to be called 'Presbyterians' or 'Reformed,' and adopted the broad name 'Itschi,' the 'United;' but, not content even with this broad name, it has recently changed it to a still broader name, 'Nippon Kinisuto Kio Kwai,' – 'The Church of Christ in Japan.'
"The church which has adopted an Episcopal form of government lately dropped the name Episcopacy and adopted instead the name of 'The Holy Church of Japan.' Kumiai churches for a long time had no name except this: 'A Church of Christ.' When it was found out that it was necessary to adopt some name to distinguish itself from other churches, its Christians reluctantly adopted the name of 'Kumiai,' which means 'associated;' for at that time they happened to form an association of churches which were until then independent of each other. They always refused to be called the 'Congregational churches,' although they have adopted mostly Congregational policy of church government.
"The third distinctive feature of Japanese Christianity is the prevalence of a liberal spirit in doctrinal matters. While missionaries are both preaching and teaching the orthodox doctrines, Japanese Christians are eagerly studying the most liberal theology. Not only are they studying, but they are diffusing these liberal thoughts with zeal and diligence, and so I believe that, with a small exception, most of Japanese pastors and evangelists are more or less liberal in their theology.... [R1596 : page 362]
"While the American Board of Foreign Missions is strenuously on the watch to send no missionary who has any inclination toward the Andover Theology, the pastors and evangelists of the Kumiai churches, which are in close connection with the same board, are advocating and preaching theology perhaps more liberal than the Andover Theology. Just to illustrate: Some years ago, in one of our councils, when we were going to install a pastor, he expressed the orthodox belief on future life, which was a great surprise to all. Then members of the council pressed hard questions to him so as to force him to adopt the doctrine of future probation, as though it were the only doctrine which is tenable.
"Only recently, when a bishop of a certain church was visiting Japan, he was surprised to find that a young Japanese professor in the seminary connected with his own church was teaching quite a liberal theology, and he gave him a strong warning.
"As to the creeds: when 'The Church of Christ in Japan' was organized, it adopted the Presbyterian and the Reformed standards; namely, the Westminster Shorter Catechism, the Canon of Dort and the Heidelberger Confession of Faith. But Christians of the same church found them too stiff, one-sided and conservative, and thus they have lately dropped these standards as their creed altogether. They have now the 'Apostles' Creed' with a short preface attached to it.
"When the Kumiai church was first organized, it adopted the Nine Articles of the Basis of the Evangelical Alliance as its creed. But Christians of the same denomination became soon dissatisfied with its narrowness, and so in 1890 they made their own creed, which is far simpler and broader. But even this creed is not understood as binding to all, but only as a common expression of religious belief prevailing among them in general.
"Though Japanese Christians are largely on the side of liberal theology, they are not in any way in favor of Unitarianism or even Universalism. ...The most of our educated classes have no religion. Though they favor certain kinds of Christian ethical teachings, they have no faith in any religion or supernatural truth. Christ, and are all to be characterized as evangelical....
"There was a time when Christianity was making such a stride in its progress that, in one year, it gained 40 or 50 per cent increase. This was between 1882 and 1888. These years may be regarded as a flowery era in the annals of Japan. It was in 1883 that, when we were having the 'Dai Shin Boku Kwai' in Tokyo, perhaps the most interesting meeting in its history, one of the delegates expressed his firm belief that in ten years Japan would become a Christian country. This excited quite an applause; and no one felt it as too extravagant to cherish such a hope, for such was the firm belief at that time. Since then, progress in our churches has not been such as was expected. Not only have members not increased in such a proportion as in years before, but in some cases there can be seen a decline of religious [R1597 : page 362] zeal and of the self-sacrificing spirit. And so in these last few years the cry heard most frequently among our churches has been 'Awake, awake as in the days past!'
"To show the decline of that religious enthusiasm, I may take an illustration from statistics of the Kumiai churches as to its amount of contribution. In 1882 this amount was $6.72 per Christian; in 1888 this amount ran down to $2.15, and in the last year there has been still more decline, coming down to $1.95. In amount of increase of membership there has been a proportional decline. Why there was such a decline is not hard to see. Among various causes I may mention three principal ones.
"Public sentiment in Japan has been always fluctuating from one side to another. It is like a pendulum, now going to one extreme and then to another. This movement of public sentiment, within the last fifteen or twenty years, can easily be pointed out. From 1877 to 1882 I may regard as a period of reaction that of revival of the antiforeign spirit. During this period the cry, 'Repel foreigners,' which was on the lips of every Japanese at the time of the revolution, and since then unheard, was again heard. It was at this time that Confucial teaching was revived in all the public schools; and the Emperor issued a proclamation that the western ethical principles were not suitable to the Japanese, and were not to be taught in our public schools.
"Then the pendulum went to the other side. And now another era came in. This was a period of western ideas, which covers the years between 1882 and 1888. This was the age of great interest in everything that came from abroad. Not only was English eagerly taught, but all sorts of foreign manners and customs were busily introduced. Foreign costumes, not only of gentlemen but of ladies, foreign diet, as well as foreign liquors, became most popular among all classes. Every newspaper, almost without exception, advocated the adoption of everything foreign, so that Japan [R1597 : page 363] seemed as if it would be no longer an oriental nation, but would become occidentalized. It was at this time that such a paper as Jiji Shimpo advocated adoption of Christianity as the national religion of Japan. It was no wonder that people poured into Christian churches, and that the latter made unprecedented strides in progress.
"But the pendulum swung to its extreme, and now another movement came in. The sign of reactionary and antiforeign spirit might be seen in everything – in costumes, in sentiments, as well as in opinions. Then the cry 'Japan for the Japanese' became heard in all corners of the empire. Everything that has flavor of foreign countries has been stigmatized as unworthy of adoption by the Japanese, and, instead of it, everything native is praised as superior or worthy of preservation. Buddhism, which has been regarded for years as a religion of the ignorant and inferior classes, is now praised as a superior religion, much superior to Christianity; and many who once favored adoption of Christianity as the national religion are seen publicly in Buddhistic ceremonies. Christianity is denounced as antagonistic to the growth of our national spirit, in conflict with our best morality, and also as against the intent of the imperial edict which was issued two years ago as the code of morals in all our schools. Conflict between Christianity and national education has become the most popular theme among certain classes of the people. Strong sense of national feeling has been aroused among all classes of people, and now it is not strange that Christians also feel its influence.
"And thus the doors to Christianity seem to have been closed, and we have a great decline in its growth. But now, again, the pendulum has reached another end, and there are signs that another era is ushering in. 'Every movement has rhythm,' says Herbert Spencer, and this is true in the progress of Christianity in Japan.
"One word as to the prospect in the future. That Japan will not become a Christian nation in a few years is a plain fact. But that it will become one in the course of time is almost above doubt, and it is only a question of time. Still, 'Rome was not built in a day,' and so it will take time to Christianize Japan. That there are strong obstacles and great hindrances can easily be seen. It may be easy to show the reasonableness of Christianity, but to instil true Christian spirit into the heart of the people is not an easy task. We can show them more easily the folly of other religions, but to build up a true Christian church requires a long time....I am not at all anxious about the future of Christianity in Japan, as far as its final victory is concerned. But there are many difficult problems pressing us hard for their solution. I shall here simply state these problems in a few words.
(1) "The first problem that comes under our notice is that of relation between Christianity and our nationality, namely, our national habit and spirit. Professor Inonge and others have been raising their voices against Christianity, claiming it is in conflict with our national spirit. And this cry against Christianity has become so popular among Buddhists, Shintoists and Reactionists that they make it the only weapon of their attack against Christianity. But in my belief this problem is not so hard as it looks. What outsiders think to be the real conflict seems to us only shadow and vapor.
(2) "Relation between missionaries and native Christians is another problem. How must they be related? In other countries, such as India or China, such a question, perhaps, may never arise; but in Japan it is entirely different. Japanese Christians will never be satisfied under missionary auspices. To be useful to our country the missionaries must either co-operate with or join native churches and become like one of the native workers.
(3) "Problem of denominations and church government is another difficulty. Of course we shall not entirely dispense with denominations and sects. But it seems rather foolish to have all denominations, which are peculiar to some countries and which have certain peculiar histories attached to them, introduced into Japan where no such history exists and where circumstances are entirely different. And so we think we can reduce the number of denominations. But how to begin is a hard problem.
"So also with the form of church government. It is needless to say that we need not, or ought not, to copy in any way the exact forms of church governments which are in vogue in the United States or in any other countries. But to formulate a form of government that suits our country the best, and at the same time works well elsewhere, is quite a difficult task.
(4) "Whether we need any written creed, and, if so, what kind of creed is best to have, is also a question. In all teachings of missionaries and others there is always more or less of husks mixed with genuine truth. And at the same time every form of Christianity has some excellent truth in it. And it is hard [R1597 : page 364] to make distinction between essentials and non-essentials, between creed and husks. This is a hard problem for Japanese theologians to solve. [DAWN will solve it for you as it has for others!]
"Japanese Christians must solve all these problems by themselves. I believe there is a grand mission for Japanese Christians. I believe that it is our mission to solve all these problems which have been, and are still, stumbling blocks in all lands; and it is also our mission to give to all the oriental nations and the rest of the world a guide to true progress and a realization of the glorious Gospel which is in Jesus Christ....Our prayer is and always must be: 'Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done, as in heaven, so in earth.'"
LIBERALITY, generosity, is essentially a Christian grace. God is love, and all who partake of his spirit must be proportionately loving and generous. But as we are instructed not to be wise in our own conceits, nor to be wise above what is written in God's Word, so likewise it is well for all true children of God to beware of assuming to have a greater, wider or deeper love than that clearly set forth in God's Word as the only real and true standard. God's people are to set up a standard neither for God nor for themselves; but as obedient children they should not fashion their minds and faith after their own defective conceptions, but according as the Lord has revealed.
That Word nowhere teaches that everlasting torment is the wages of sin, but that the wages of sin is death. Every plain (non-symbolic) statement of the Scriptures agrees that "the soul that sinneth, it shall die." Surely, then, no one is justified in maligning, yea, blaspheming God's character and plan by teaching directly or indirectly the contrary – that he will keep the sinner's soul alive to all eternity in order to torment it. There would be neither love nor justice in such a course.
On the other hand the Word nowhere teaches Universalism, – that the entire human [R1598 : page 364] family will be everlastingly saved to divine favor and blessing. And those who rush from the one extreme of faith in an almost universal torment, to the other extreme of belief in Universalism are carried from one human error to another human error. However, the finding of the one error to have been the result of a too careless handling of God's Word and a leaning to perverted human reason and judgment should put all upon their guard thereafter: but frequently it does not, as we see; and, getting filled with the thought of God's love, they seem to forget that God has more than one attribute of character and that these must all be co-ordinated in any plan that is his – that his Wisdom and his Justice each join with his Love in his plan for man's salvation from sin and its penalty, death.
The Scriptures do, indeed, teach that the great ransom-sacrifice given by our Redeemer will sooner or later bring to every member of the human family fullest opportunity for the recovery of all that he lost in Adam. But they forget that although Adam had life, its everlasting continuance was not assured: for this he was on trial when he wilfully sinned and thus cut short his trial and brought upon himself, and upon us in his loins, the sentence of death.
It is what was lost, and all that was lost that our Lord came to save. The salvation made possible by his ransom-sacrifice is a new trial for life everlasting, the results of which are expressed in John 3:36; Rev. 21:7,8.
It is sufficient that God should grant a universal, impartial trial to all; that those who, under the favorable conditions of the New Covenant, will fully submit themselves to God may have life, and that others may be manifested and, as cumberers of the ground, may be destroyed in the Second Death. Love, Wisdom and Justice could never agree to let a wilful sinner live to mar the peace of the holy; nor could they consent that such should be deprived of their own wills in order to their everlasting existence, for their companionship is not sufficiently desirable; nor could they consent that they should be kept alive, and that their wills should be kept under divine restraints to all eternity. Such lives and such companionship are undesirable: the remainder of God's universe would be blessed by their destruction in the Second Death. Let us not be more [R1598 : page 365] wise, more loving, or more just than the only living and true God who dwells in a light which no man can approach unto, and whose mind is communicated to us through his Word. – 1 Tim. 6:16; 1 John 5:9,10.
IV. QUAR., LESSON XI., DEC. 10, 1 PET. 1:1-12.
Out of a heart inspired with the glorious hope set before the consecrated saints of the Gospel dispensation flows the impassioned and eloquent greeting of the Apostle Peter to others of like precious faith. To "the elect according to the foreknowledge of God, And every line of his epistle, even the words of greeting, are full of instruction.
VERSE 2 shows that the election referred to was not an arbitrary election, but that it was conditioned upon three things – (1) the sanctification or full consecration of the believer; (2) his implicit obedience to the divine discipline and teaching; and (3) his full reliance upon the precious blood of Christ for cleansing and salvation from sin and death.
VERSE 3 gratefully and joyfully points to the resurrection of Christ as the assurance of our final triumph through him.
VERSES 4,5 declare that the glorious inheritance of the saints was not for immediate possession at the instant of death, but that it was reserved, and that it would be revealed in the last time – at the second advent of the Lord. So the Apostle Paul also taught, saying, when he was about to die, "Henceforth, there is laid up for me a crown which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me at that day; and not to me only, but to all them also that love his appearing." – 2 Tim. 4:7,8.
VERSES 6-9 are precious reminders of the joys of faith, to attain the full fruition of which, the endurance of present afflictions are causes for thanksgiving, because their discipline is necessary to prepare us for the glorious inheritance of the saints in light.
VERSES 10-12 declare that the revelations of divine truth concerning the glorious inheritance of the saints of the Gospel age were never made known in former ages, even to the faithful prophets, nor to the angels who earnestly desired to know, and who diligently searched and sought to discover the deep significance of the prophecies of these things, which are now made known to us by the holy Spirit which inspired the apostles and through them instructs the Church.
And this high calling of "the elect" "Church of the First Born, whose names are written in heaven," is still a blessed secret among the saints, which "none of the princes of this world [the great ones of the world – "the princes," either ecclesiastical or civil] knew." (1 Cor. 2:6-10.) Nor do they yet know of the glory to be revealed in the saints. The religious princes of all the religions of the world, which from the four corners of the earth recently assembled in Chicago, only verified and emphasized this fact, and proved their utter ignorance of this secret of the Lord, in which his humble, faithful ones are rejoicing to-day with joy unspeakable and full of glory. "Howbeit, we speak wisdom among them that are perfect [that are of a perfect heart, disposition or intention, the humble and obedient, the truly wise – Dan. 12:10]; yet not the wisdom of this world, nor of the princes of this world that come to nought. But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom which God ordained before the world for our glory; which none of the princes of this world knew....Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard; neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them to us by his Spirit" – through his holy apostles and prophets in whose divine inspiration we have the fullest confidence, [R1598 : page 366] notwithstanding the efforts of the princes of this world to shake it. God be praised for the abundant testimony of his inspired, holy Word! [R1598 : page 366]
IV. QUAR., LESSON XII., DEC. 17, REV. 1:9-20.
VERSE 9. John, who received this vision, and was commissioned to convey it to the Church, so far from being puffed up by this privilege, humbly reminds us that the vision was from God, and that he who received it made no claims of superior sanctity or worthiness, and that he was simply their brother and companion in tribulation, a member with them of the embryo Kingdom of Heaven, which now suffers violence (Matt. 11:12), but nevertheless in patient waiting for its glorious triumph at the second advent of Jesus Christ.
Because of his faithfulness in believing and teaching the Word of God and the testimony of Jesus Christ, John had been banished to the lonely and sterile isle of Patmos; but the place of his exile was made glorious with the presence of the Lord and the manifestations of his grace, not only to his faithful Apostle, but also to all of the Church through him.
VERSE 10. The expression, "I was in the spirit on the Lord's day," we understand to mean that on that day (the first day of the week) John was specially filled with the holy Spirit of love and adoration and joy in God as to be mentally lifted above his surroundings and out of the thoughts and feelings of the old nature; so that, forgetting for the time the things of time and sense, there came to his soul an overwhelming sense of the divine presence and favor. To such a condition his circumstances were peculiarly favorable, isolated as he was from all human intercourse, and alone with God. His was not a sickly sentimentalism causing him to shirk the duties and responsibilities of active life and impelling him to that of a recluse. No; far from it. He had been active, faithful and loyal to God and zealous for his cause; and when the enforced seclusion came as a penalty for such faithfulness, he rejoiced also in this "tribulation," – this privilege of enduring hardness as a good soldier; and from his sense of the divine approval, both of his faithfulness in activity and of his patience in this enforced inactivity and seclusion, sprang the joy which only those know who have endured something for Christ's sake and experienced the fellowship of his sufferings.
In such times of tribulation the Lord's presence and comfort are most precious to his saints, and they begin to learn what it means to live "in the spirit" – above the world, and hence to a great extent unaffected by its conditions and circumstances.
Thus, as the Apostle drew near to the Lord, the Lord drew near to him; and on [R1599 : page 366] this occasion, as there was a special message to be conveyed to the Church, this beloved and faithful disciple, being in the proper attitude of mind and heart – "a broken and emptied vessel," fit for the Master's use – was the chosen and honored instrument. And, therefore, he was permitted to see and hear, in symbolic visions, the wonderful things which God had to reveal to his Church.
VERSE 11. The first announcement identifies the speaker as our Lord and Redeemer, the beginning and the ending of Jehovah's direct creation – "the only begotten Son of God" – the alpha and the omega, the first and the last. See verses 8,17,18; John 1:2,3; Col. 1:15-17; Rev. 3:14; also WATCH TOWER, April 15, '93.
Then followed the instructions to write what he was about to see, and to send the book to the seven churches mentioned. The number seven, being a symbol of completeness, meant here not merely the churches named, but the complete nominal Gospel church of the entire age; – the special addresses to each of these being specially applicable to the several stages of the Gospel Church which they represent: Ephesus representing the Church in apostolic times, Laodicea representing the church of the present time.
VERSES 12,13. When the Apostle turned to see the speaker, he saw an appearance like unto a son of man – representing our Lord Jesus (not really the Lord, but a vision, an appearance) – standing in the midst of seven golden candlesticks, which represented the above seven phases of the church.
Gold being a symbol of the divine nature, the seven golden candlesticks indicate that the divine institution of the Church is for the enlightening of the world, the same symbol [R1599 : page 367] used in the Jewish Tabernacle and later in the Temple, indicating the same thing.
VERSES 13-16. The Son of man is seen "clothed in a garment down to the foot" – a long, full flowing robe such as was worn by kings and priests; not the dress of the common people. And he was girded about the paps (not about the loins as one about to toil or run, but about the paps as of one in the repose and dignity of sovereignty) with a golden girdle.
The whiteness of the hair indicate both age and purity; the brightness of the eyes symbolize acute discernment; the polished and glowing feet indicate power; the voice as the sound of many waters indicate the universality of his authority and power; and the shining countenance – as the brightness of the sun in his strength – marks the glory and power and blessing of his presence and Kingdom. The seven stars – the angels or ministers of the Church, those whom the Lord recognizes as teachers in the Church (verse 20) – are held in his right hand, showing that the teaching, power and authority are vested in Christ, the head of the Church, and that the human teachers are only instruments in his hands, and accountable to him. And the two-edged sword out of his mouth symbolizes the mission of his truth and its final victory. The sword of the spirit – the Word of God.
VERSE 17. The vision had an overpowering effect upon the Apostle's physical frame; and from excitement and fear, like Saul of Tarsus and like Daniel, the Prophet, he fell as one dead, until a kindly hand imparted new strength, and an assuring voice said, "Fear not; I am the first and the last [the only begotten Son of God]; I am he that liveth and was dead; and, behold, I am alive forevermore, Amen; and have the keys of hell [hades, the grave] and of death" – the power to open the graves and to loose the bands of death and set the captives free.
VERSE 19 commands the writing of the vision of the things past, present and future that the Church to whom the message is sent may ponder its deeply significant symbolisms.
The Golden Text is aptly chosen, pointing as it does, to the humiliation and vicarious sacrifice of Christ as the cause of his present exaltation and glory and power – "Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him," etc. – Phil. 2:8,9.
I think the most important matter which now concerns us is the dissemination of the truth. Error is abroad in the land: we meet it on every hand, and it seems to be the most difficult matter to get people interested in the plain and simple teachings of the Bible. I trust that the TOWER and other helps may continue to a far greater extent to present the truth in its wonderful power and purity, and that the Editor and his associates may be blessed of the Lord abundantly, in the great work which has already carried light and gladness to so many hearts, now rejoicing in the truth.
Yours in the service,
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL: – I have not for some time tried to sell or to distribute any DAWNS, as I was in doubt about some of their teachings. I have since, however, by a great deal of study, found that I was in error. This is indeed an evil day, full of snares and pitfalls, and none shall be able to stand, who do not humbly accept God's Word as their only and all-sufficient ground of faith and practice, in opposition to all church-creeds and church-authority; for even those churches, which claim to have no creed, claim to have, by divine right, the power to make teachers, and if they fail to teach according to their liking, they have the same divine authority to unmake them.
REPLY. Your letter is at hand, and I am glad it reveals you as again rejoicing in the truth, and, I trust, this time more firmly established therein. Severe tests come to all, in proportion to the measure of light possessed; and having, by the Lord's grace, overcome in this one instance, I trust you will be on the lookout when future trials come, and better ready to resist the temptations of the Adversary. But, be assured, you will not entirely escape temptation in [R1599 : page 368] future; yet if you make the Lord your refuge, you will not be overcome, but find in him constant strength and protection. See Psalm 91.
I do not quite coincide with you in the opinion that the nominal churches have no right to unmake teachers. True, they have no authority to make representatives of the Lord, and each follower of the Lord should recognize no other commission than that given in God's Word; yet so far as the systems are concerned, they have as much right to authorize individuals to teach their doctrines as an individual has to appoint another as his representative, or as any secular institution has to control its representatives. The ability to use and make a representative implies the ability to withdraw consent at pleasure, unless bound by contract. And any one preaching by the authority of any part of Babylon, and supposed to teach its particular theories, should first dissolve his contract with such system before preaching or teaching contrary to its standards; and if he does not voluntarily do so, it is certainly the privilege of the institution to withdraw its sanction and support, and to give them to other individuals who will abide by their contracts.
It is a blessed thing, however, to be free in Christ from bondage to earthly, ecclesiastical rule and human creeds, and subject only to the one Lord and Head of the Church, and to the one infallible guide of faith. We are admonished to maintain a clear conscience, and to labor diligently to learn and to teach all that he is pleased to reveal through it – his Word.
BRETHREN: – Find enclosed the amount of my subscription to the "Good Hope" fund, for the last quarter. How thankful I am that I am counted worthy to be admitted to the "household of faith," to the race for the prize of the high calling, and to the inspiring truths set forth in your publications. How surely the truth drives error from the mind; and how much more satisfying is a faith in a doctrine that harmonizes the whole Word of God, than the conflicting creeds of men! How much greater is the reward promised "To them who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory, and honor and immortality." (Rom. 2:7.) How satisfying the thought that the words, "Ye brethren, are not in darkness that that day should overtake you as a thief," were addressed to us who are on the "Watch Tower," and by the light of his Word are proclaiming his presence.
Surely the struggle is now commencing, the "strong man" is being bound and hope is increasing in the hearts of the Lord's longing children, while dismay fills the hearts of the unfaithful and disbelieving.
Yours in the love of the truth,
DEAR SIRS: – I herewith remit amount of my quarterly "Good Hopes." Your publications have done me a world of good, in clearing up dark points in modern religious teachings. They are too potent for good not to receive the help I can give.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL: – We had very good success in M__________, considering the hard times. We sold over one hundred books there, and I believe we could have sold as many more, if the people had not been disappointed in getting their pay. It is a railroad and mining town, and the laboring class have had considerable trouble lately in getting their money, as they are paid in store-orders instead of money; so on that account we could reach only the wealthier class. However, we feel very thankful for the privilege of putting out as many DAWNS as we did.
I feel more encouraged than ever to press forward in the narrow way, and the dear Lord and his saints seem nearer and dearer to me since our last Convention than ever before. I can truthfully say that now is my salvation nearer than when I first believed. Praise the Lord for his loving kindness! Pray for me that I may prove faithful to the end; for I realize that only those that are faithful even unto death shall hear the "Well done, thou good and faithful servant, enter thou into the joys of thy Lord."
Yours in our dear Redeemer,
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Our readers received from our office, some months ago, a tract entitled "Bible Study and Needful Helps Thereto." In the back part of said tract we gave descriptions and prices of various styles of Bibles, etc., which we supply at the wholesale rates in any quantity. Please note the reductions in the wholesale prices of the following numbers:
Bagster Bible, No. 8215, reduced 25 cents, now, $2.00 " " " 8315, " 48 " " 2.00 Holman " " C, " 50 " " 2.00 " " " D, " 17 " " 3.00 Oxford reprint, " 707, " 25 " " 1.50 " " " 713, " 25 " " 2.00
WALL ROLLS. We have secured three styles of Wall Rolls. They are to hang upon the wall, and can be read at a distance. There are thirty-one leaves to each roll: one leaf for each day of the month; size 13x20 inches. We will supply these at 50 cents each (postage 10 cents extra). The usual prices are 75 and 85 cents each. All excellent, the Picture Roll is especially suitable where there are small children.
(1) Mottoes on dark green and dark red heavy card-board, stamped in silver. These are of various shapes and sizes, and the mottoes are various – all good. Prices 10 cents, 15 cents, 20 cents and 25 cents each, post-paid.
All disposed to suggest what they desire and hope to be able to give to the Watch Tower Tract Society's fund, for 1894, for the spread of the doctrines inculcated by the WATCH TOWER publications, will find a printed supplement with this issue. After being filled out, it should be torn in two, and the one half kept as your memorandum, while the other half should be sent to the Secretary of the Watch Tower Tract Society at Allegheny.
As will be seen by our terms, above, ZION'S WATCH TOWER desires to visit regularly all who desire its visits. The terms are so liberal that none need be without it – for all can command at least a postal card for a request to have it as one of the Lord's poor. We desire, however, to hear from all if they desire to have these semi-monthly calls; for we do not wish to send it where it is unwelcome or merely tolerated.
We, therefore, ask to hear from all readers as promptly as possible. If the money for 1894 is not convenient to you now, say so. If too poor to afford it, state that. Do so before your name is taken off our lists. Expect tag on January 15th TOWER to show credits sent us up to December 31.
The Tract Fund still has some of the Jerusalem mementoes presented to it by Brother Russell; viz., olive-wood paper-weights and flower cards made from the wild flowers and grasses of Jerusalem and its vicinity.
We will send two paper-weights and six flower-cards for 50 cents; or one paper-weight and two flower-cards for 25 cents. To those on the TOWER list as "the Lord's Poor" a flower-card will be sent free, on request.
|VOL. XIV.||DECEMBER 15, 1893.||NO. 24.|
"The human race was tried in Eden in the person of Adam its representative. His failure was the failure of those whom he represented, and hence the whole race was sentenced to death. Again, God purposed another trial, and this time put Christ Jesus as man's representative. Christ's obedience was perfect; and hence not only did he thus secure everlasting life for himself, but the same also for all the race whom he represented in his trial. Is not this the correct, the Scriptural view? If not, wherein is it at fault? Please answer through the WATCH TOWER."
Christ's death was man's ransom (corresponding price), substituted for Adam's death; and hence applicable to all who lost life under his sentence. Christ's death being substitutionary was of course a representative death, for or instead of the dead race of Adam; i.e., a corresponding price in exchange for a purchase, which makes possible their release from the death penalty, in God's due time. But during the thirty-three years before he died, Christ represented not the world but himself: and since his resurrection he represents, before the bar of divine justice, not the world but believers. "He died for all;" and will bring all to a knowledge of this truth: but he represents or advocates for only "the household of faith." "We have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous."
Instead of saying that Adam represented the race in trial, let us say that he was tried individually, and that the race in his loins (as part of himself) shared his sentence and all that he actually (not representatively) entailed upon them – mental, moral and physical decay – death. Adam's trial, even if passed successfully, [R1601 : page 371] would not have entitled anyone but himself to everlasting life. His children would each have been obliged to stand an individual trial before being adjudged worthy of either everlasting life or death.
Similarly, Christ's trial was an individual trial. His faithfulness proved him worthy of everlasting life. It in no sense proved any one else worthy of everlasting life; and no one gets everlasting life as a consequence of his obedience.
But divine mercy and justice had arranged that another great transaction should be accomplished by the same act of obedience (the surrender of his life) which proved our Lord's love of the Father to be perfect. That other thing was God's acceptance of that death as a sacrifice, a ransom, a substitute, a corresponding price for the life of Adam and the race which lost life in him. This substitutionary (not representative) sacrifice of our Lord, by meeting the claims of justice against Adam and his race, sealed the New Covenant and made divine mercy possible.
We answer, In full harmony with the divine will, he purchased all, for the very purpose of granting to each member of the race an impartial trial for everlasting life. All worthy ones will be proved and granted "the gift of God, eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord." All those proved unworthy will be destroyed by the second death.
It comes to all men proportionately as each comes to a knowledge of the truth. But during this age only the Church of believers comes to a sufficiency of light to make the trial complete, with a final verdict. All others, the masses of mankind, will receive their trial later on – in the blessed Millennial age, the great "day of judgment" (or trial) which God has graciously ordained. – Acts 17:31.
No; he bought all, but he does not represent all. He represents only those who "come unto God by him" – faithful believers. (Heb. 7:25). It is also clearly stated by John that Christ's sacrifice is the propitiation for the sins of all, but that only we (believers) have him as our advocate or representative. (1 John 2:1,2; Rom. 3:25.) Having mediated and ratified the New Covenant, he has opened the door of its blessed provisions to all; and all shall come to a knowledge of the truth. Then any and all who accept the conditions of the New Covenant are represented before justice by the value of the "blood of the New Covenant," which speaks pardon for all of their weaknesses and shortcomings, in proportion as these are not wilful.
Whenever any member of the race enters, by faith in the ransom-sacrifice, into the provisions of the New Covenant, that moment he has a reckoned standing before God, a reckoned covering of his sins, which continues so long as he continues under its protecting, sheltering mercy. That covering is Christ's meritorious sacrifice (made once for all), applied for all in a general way by the New Covenant provisions, but specially only for those who come under that New Covenant's terms, all of whom are represented by their Redeemer before the bar of justice as perfect, – reckonedly.
This covering by the provisions of Mercy under the New Covenant, and this representing of the mercy-covered ones by Christ, will last as long as it will be needed – until all of the weak and fallen race who thus come to God through Christ, desiring divine favor and seeking to render obedience, shall have attained perfection – mental, moral and physical: which will be at the close of the Millennial age. Then this covenant will cease; for perfect beings require no mercy. Perfect beings can render perfect obedience to the perfect law; and mercy or any excuse for failure could not be granted. When Christ has finished his work at the close of his Millennial reign, he will first have destroyed the reign of sin and death, begun by Adam's fall, will have granted each member of the human family a full and gracious opportunity of reconciliation with God, under the terms of the New Covenant, and will have destroyed all wilful sinners (Psa. 145:20; Heb. 10:26,27; Rev. 21:8); – and then all the remainder he will present before the Father, perfect and unreproveable. – 1 Cor. 15:24; Col. 1:22.
This New Covenant of mercy, under which God accepts those who approach him, in the merit of Christ, is therefore for the very purpose of permitting the work of restitution. Under its provisions, the fallen but penitent sinner is accepted as though he were perfect, and is treated as a child of God during the period of his reformation of character and constitution – during the period in which, under the Lord's supervision, he is being restored, with added experience, to all that was lost in Adam.
What we have described relates to the world in general. Now **let us look at the Church under the New Covenant. Her relation to the New Covenant is during the Gospel age. But to her the covering mercy of that Covenant is not to permit time for reaching physical, mental and moral perfection by a process of restitution, but to give her a standing before God [R1601 : page 373] where she can offer herself unto God a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God through the merit of Christ – under the merciful provision of this New Covenant.
** Please see correction of this paragraph in September 1909 – site Editor]
The call of the Gospel age is for the Bride class. The condition of that call is – obedience, faithfulness, self-sacrifice in God's service, even unto death. But only perfect ones are eligible to such a call, even as no blemished animal could be laid upon God's altar during the typical Law dispensation. So, then, **the New Covenant is absolutely necessary, with its provision of covering of our sins by the merit of our Redeemer's sacrifice. All who come under the blessed provisions of that New Covenant are acceptable as sacrificers during "the acceptable year of the Lord" – the Gospel age, until the foreordained number shall have made their calling and election sure. Then the call to sacrifice and its very high reward of spirit-nature and joint-heirship with our Redeemer, being at an end, the New Covenant will thereafter, during the Millennial age, shield all of the remainder who may desire to benefit by it and thus to return to divine favor and everlasting life.
Please see authors later comment on this statement in September 1909 – site Editor.
Thus we answer, at length, that the idea of Christ's representative work as set forth by the Brother's question is wholly incorrect. **Our Lord gave himself a ransom, a corresponding price a substitute for all, but he represents before the bar of justice since his resurrection, only those who come unto God by him under the gracious terms of the New Covenant, sealed or ratified by his death.
Please see authors later comment on this statement in September 1909 – site Editor.
Adam's trial was a personal one and not a representative one; and so was our Lord's trial a personal and not a representative one. As the effects or results of Adam's failure were inherited by those in him, so the results of Christ's obedience will be shared by all who believe INTO him. – Rom. 5:18,19; John 3:16.
SOME Christians, whose hearts have been greatly blessed by the opening of the eyes of their understanding, on the subject, "The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord," – ask, with fear, Is it not dangerous to give this teaching to our unconverted friends and children? Will it not hinder their coming to God? If they have for years failed to come to God while under the fear of eternal torment in hell, would not the gospel of God's love and mercy merely harden their hearts and prevent their coming at all?
We answer, No; there need be no such fears. The professing Christian who would become an evil doer upon learning that his fears of everlasting torment are groundless, never was a Christian; never was a child of God; – was at best only a tare, a "child of the wicked one."
And as for those who for years have had the fear of eternal torment before their minds, we suggest that what fear failed to do, God's love may do for them. It is written, "The love of God constraineth us" – or draws us – to him and his service. True, "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom" – but the true fear or reverence of God's mighty power is meant; – that inspired by the Scriptures and not that which results from human misrepresentations of the divine character. Concerning the latter the Lord says, "Their fear toward me is taught by the precepts of men." – Isa. 29:13.
Many unsound minds have been completely unbalanced by these awful fears. And no sound mind can weigh and then accept the thought that an infinitely wise and just being could have arranged such a plan as is generally accredited to our God by his people, – That he created billions of human creatures under conditions which (all denominations agree) exposed them to the risk of an eternity of misery. Some even go further in saying that he predestinated [R1603 : page 374] which should go into this unthinkable misery before he began the work of creation; and that, although he has created billions, he has unalterably arranged that only a "few" shall find the narrow way and that, all told, only a "little flock" shall be saved from everlasting misery.
True, some comparatively sound minds, some seemingly wise people, do accept these doctrines; but we deny that they ever really weighed them. They were told that the Bible so taught, and that "to doubt is to be damned." So they believed without proof or any kind of evidence, – except that certain parables of our Lord and certain symbols of Revelation might be so construed.
Indeed, those persons who have persistently refused to believe such doctrines (presented by all denominations in the name of over one hundred millions of the most intelligent people of the world) deserve credit for having more than ordinary soundness of judgment.
As the truth was the very food that your soul needed and still needs, so it is the food needed by all sound minds; and it is still more needful to those of unsound minds. Let the light of God's Word shine out. It will scatter darkness, and bring, instead, joy and peace and blessing.
If you know one upon whom the truth has had no good effect, you know a score upon whom its effect has been blessings beyond price; and you know of not a single one that has been injured by it. The man or woman who becomes outwardly more wicked by a knowledge of God's goodness and love manifested in Christ's sacrifice for our sins, – to grant to the children of Adam a full individual opportunity of gaining everlasting life by obedience to the terms of New Covenant – is really none the worse at heart, but merely acts out his true character more openly. But these, if there are such, are very few. On the contrary, the instances of conversions through the knowledge of the truth are very many – not only infidels and skeptics, but many open law-breakers. Three prisoners in Sing Sing Prison, N.Y., are rejoicing in the truth, and preaching Christ and a gospel of the love and justice of God, of which they and we are not ashamed. – Rom. 1:16.
However, while doing good in spreading the truth to all whom we can reach, as we have opportunity, we are to remember that the special design of the present truth is for the household of faith, and for them we do and should make our special effort, as the Apostle enjoined.
THE following from the pen of a worldly man – an editorial in a secular journal – expresses our sentiments excellently. The "world" is awaking, faster than the nominal church, to the facts of our times, which the TOWER for fourteen years has been showing to be the forecast of Scripture prophecy. We quote verbatim.
"One of these days there is going to be the greatest upset of political institutions which has ever occurred. That it has been often predicted ought not to blind us to the fact that the time for it is steadily drawing nearer. An unexampled preparation for it has been made by applied science in the realm of war as well as industry and by the undermining of the foundations of religion.
"Take France. The new session of its Parliament opened with a declaration against Socialism as the chief feature of the Administration program, and Socialism has rent the Cabinet to pieces. Socialism is beyond peradventure the one supreme issue before the French people. It was not long ago that a group of Bishops declared France atheistic, and the declaration is neither extravagant nor absurd. The church there, whatever its name, has ceased to have authority. It can command nobody. It is powerless in the cities: it is as powerless as during the Revolution.
"Take Italy. The Cabinet there went to pieces after a riot in the Parliament house, and the King is at his wit's end, no statesmen having the courage to try to carry on a government in the face of the raging discontent, for which the bank scandals were only an outlet. Every revolutionary ism thrives in that country; always has, but formerly was in a measure controlled by the church. The church [R1604 : page 375] now can do nothing. The Italian newspaper press is directed almost entirely by men indifferent to the church when not hostile to it, and not a few of the most influential papers in the chief cities are owned by Jews.
"Take Germany. It was only a few weeks ago that the report to the Congress of Socialists was printed in this country, showing that the Socialist vote will soon exceed that of any other party in the Empire. The discontent there has been increased by the agrarian campaign, caused by the high prices of land and consequent high rents, by the sharp competition from abroad and by the treaties, which Bismarck denounced, passed in pursuance of the Emperor's scheme to form a commercial union for Central Europe. One dispatch yesterday announced that the Parliamentary situation in Germany is so complicated that no one ventures to forecast the issue, and that the peasantry are threatening to go over bodily to the Socialists. Another dispatch relates that an editor was sentenced to prison for six weeks for insulting Caprivi; which undoubtedly means, severely criticising him on account of his policy. Another dispatch relates that an infernal machine was received at the Chancellerie yesterday, but happily discovered to be such before it exploded and killed some one. And the church in Germany can assist the State no more in preserving order than in any other European country, Catholic or Protestant.
"And the policy all over Europe is to keep adding to the weight on the safety valve. Immense armies are maintained not only against aggression but against rebellion. People are taxed to poverty to support soldiers to crush them. This cannot continue much longer. There will be an outbreak one of these days, and then such a tumbling of institutions as was never seen before. The applications of science and the undermining of the foundations of religion have prepared the way for the crash."
IN the hope of deepening the sympathy of God's consecrated people for the whole world which "God so loved," even while they were yet sinners, and which Christ shed his blood to redeem, and which he comes again to restore and bless, and in which mission of his Millennial reign we are called to be workers together with him, we publish the following interesting paper on "The Work of Social Reform in India," by B. Nagarkar, a native representative at the World's Parliament of Religions. We publish the address in full, both for the information it contains, and also as an illustration of the indirect influence of the Bible upon the character and sentiments of at least one of that benighted race – and not only one, but of a considerable class who are feeling after God. Mr. Nagarkar said: –
"Mr. President, Ladies and Gentlemen: The conquest of India by England is one of the most astonishing marvels of modern history. To those who are not acquainted with the social and religious condition of the diverse races that inhabit the vast India peninsula, it will always be a matter of great wonder as to how a handful of English people were able to bring under their sway such an extensive continent as Hindoostan, separated from England by thousands of miles of the deep ocean and lofty mountains. Whatever the circumstances of this so-called conquest were, they were no more than the longstanding internal feuds and jealousies – the mutual antipathies and race-feelings – between caste and caste, creed and creed, and community and community, that have been thrown together in the land of India. The victory of the British – if victory it can be called – was mainly due to the internal quarrels and dissensions that had been going on for [R1602 : page 375] ages past between the conflicting and contending elements of the Indian population. Centuries ago, when such a miserable state of local division and alienation did not exist in India, or at any rate had not reached any appreciable degree, the Hindoos did make a brave and successful stand against powerful armies of fierce and warlike tribes that led invasion after invasion against the holy home of the Hindoo nation. Thus it was that from time to time hordes of fierce Bacteians, Greeks, Persians and Afghans were warded off by the united armies of the ancient Hindoos. Time there was when the social, political and religious institutions [R1602 : page 376] of the Aryans in India were in their pristine purity, and when as a result of these noble institutions the people were in the enjoyment of undisturbed unity, and so long as this happy state of things continued the Hindoos enjoyed the blessings of freedom and liberty. But time is the great destroyer of everything. What has withstood the withering influences of that arch-enemy of every earthly glory and greatness? In proportion as the people of India became faithless to their ancestral institutions, they fell in the scale of nations.DIVISION AND DEPREDATION.
"At first they fell a prey to one foreign power and then to another, and then again to a third, and so on, each time degeneration doing the work of division, and division in its turn doing the ghastly work of further and deeper degeneration. About two hundred years ago this fatal process reached its lowest degree; and India was reduced to a state of deadly division and complete confusion. Internecine wars stormed the country, and the various native and foreign races, then living in India, tried to tear each other to pieces! It was a state of complete anarchy, and no one could fathom what was to come out of this universal chaos.
"At this critical juncture of time there appeared on the scene a distant power from beyond the ocean! No one had heard or knew anything of it. The white-faced sahib was then a sheer novelty to the people of India. To them in those days a white-faced biped animal was synonymous with a representative of the race of monkeys, and even to this day in such parts of India as have not been penetrated by the rays of education or civilization, ignorant people in a somewhat serious sense do believe that the white-faced European is perhaps a descendant of apes and monkeys! For aught I know the ever-shifting, ever-changing, novelty-hunting philosophies of the occult world and the occult laws, of spirit presence and spirit presentiment in your part of the globe may some day be able to find out that these simple and unsophisticated people had a glimpse of the "Descent of Man" according to Darwin. Whatever it may be, no one could ever have dreamt that the people of England would ever stand a chance of wielding supreme power over the Indian peninsula. At first the English came to India as mere shopkeepers. Not long after they rose to be the keepers of the country, and ultimately they were raised to be the rulers of the Indian empire. In all this there was the hand of God. It was no earthly power that transferred the supreme sovereignty of Hindoostan into the hands of the people of Great Britain. Through the lethargic sleep of centuries the people of India had gone on degenerating. Long and wearisome wars with the surrounding countries had enervated them: the persistent cruelty, relentless tyranny and ceaseless persecution of their fanatic invaders had rendered them weak and feeble, even to subjection, and a strange change had come over the entire face of the nation.DECAY OF ANCIENT INSTITUTIONS.
"The glory of their ancient religion, the purity of their social institutions and the strength of their political constitution had all been eclipsed for the time being by a thick and heavy cloud of decay and decrepitude. For a long time past the country had been suffering from a number of social evils, such as wicked priestcraft, low superstition, degrading rites and ceremonies, and demoralizing customs and observances. It was indeed a pitiable and pitiful condition to be in. The children of God in the holy Aryavarta, the descendants of the noble Rishis, were in deep travail. Their deep wailing and lamentation had pierced the heavens, and the Lord of love and mercy was moved with compassion for them. He yearned to help them, to raise them, to restore them to their former glory and greatness; but he saw that in the country itself there was no force or power that he could use as an instrument to work out his divine providence. The powers that were and long had been in the country had all grown too weak and effete to achieve the reform and regeneration of India. It was for this purpose that an entirely alien and outside power was brought in. Thus you will perceive that the advent of the British in India was a matter of necessity and, therefore, it may be considered as fully providential.
"It is not to be supposed that this change of sovereignty from the eastern into the western hand was accomplished without any bloodshed or loss of life. Even the very change in its process introduced new elements of discord and disunion; but when the change was completed and the balance of power established, an entirely new era was opened up on the field of Indian social and political life. This transfer of power into the hands of your English cousins has cost us a most heavy and crushing price. In one sense, it took away our liberty; it deprived us, and has been ever since depriving us, of some of our noblest pieces of ancient art and antiquity which have been brought [R1602 : page 377] over to England for the purpose of adornment of, and exhibition in, English museums and art galleries.
"At one time it took away from the country untold amounts of wealth and jewelry, and since then a constant, ceaseless stream of money has been flowing from India into England. The cost, indeed, has been heavy, far too heavy, but the return, too, has been inestimable. We have paid in gold and silver, but we received in exchange what gold and silver can never give or take away – for the English rule has bestowed upon us the inestimable boon of knowledge and enlightenment. And knowledge is power. It is with this power that we shall measure the motives of the English rule. The time will come, as it must come, when, if our English rulers should happen to rule India in a selfish, unjust and partial manner, with this same weapon of knowledge we shall compel them to withhold their power over us. But I must say that the educated natives of India have too great a confidence in the good sense and honesty of our rulers ever to apprehend any such calamity.
"Our Anglo-Saxon rulers brought with them their high civilization, their improved methods of education and their general enlightenment. We had been in darkness and had well nigh forgotten our bright and glorious past. But a new era dawned upon us. New thoughts, new ideas, new notions began to flash upon us one after another. We were rudely roused from our long sleep of ignorance and self-forgetfulness. The old and the new met face to face. We felt that the old could not stand in the presence of the new. The old we began to see in the light of the new; and we soon learned to feel that our country and society had been for a long time suffering from a number of social evils, from the errors of ignorance and from the evils of superstition. Thus we began to bestir ourselves in the way of remedying our social organization. Such, then, were the occasion and the origin of the work of social reform in India.SOCIAL REFORM NEEDED.
"Before I proceed further, I must tell you that the work of reform in India has a two-fold aspect. In the first place we have to revive many of our ancient religious and social institutions. Through ages of ignorance they have been lost to us, and what we need to do in regard to these institutions is to bring them to life again.
"So far as religious progress and spiritual culture are concerned, we have little or nothing to learn from the west – beyond your compact and advanced methods of combination, co-operation and organization. This branch of reform I style as reform by revisal. In the second place, we have to receive some of your western institutions. These are mostly political, industrial and educational; a few social. But in every case the process is a composite one. For what we are to revive we have often to remodel, and what we have to receive we have often to recast. Hence our motto in every department of reform is, 'Adapt before you adopt.' I shall now proceed to indicate to you some of the social reforms that we have been trying to effect in our country.
"The abolition of caste – what is this Hindoo institution of caste? In the social dictionary of India, 'caste' is a most difficult word for you to understand. Caste may be defined as the classification of a society on the basis of birth and parentage. For example, the son or daughter of a priest must always belong to the caste of priests or Brahmans, even though he or she may never choose to follow the ancestral occupation. Those who are born in the family of soldiers belong to the soldier caste, though they may never prefer to go on butchering men. Thus the son of a grocer is born to be called a grocer; and the son of a shoemaker is fated to be called a shoemaker. Originally there were only four castes – the Brahman, or the priest; Kihateiya, or the soldier; Vaishya, or the merchant; and Shudra, or the serf. And these four ancient castes were not based on birth, but on occupation or profession. In ancient India, the children of Brahman parents often took to a martial [R1603 : page 377] occupation, while the sons of a soldier were quite free to choose a peaceful occupation if they liked. But in modern India, by a strange process, the original four castes have been multiplied to no end, and have been fixed most hard and fast. Now you find, perhaps, as many castes as there are occupations. There is a regular scale and a grade. You have the tailor caste and the tinker caste, the blacksmith caste and the goldsmith caste, the milkman caste and the carpenter caste, the groom caste and the sweeper caste. The operation of caste may be said to be confined principally to matters of (1) food and drink, (2) matrimony and adoption, (3) the performance of certain religious rites and ceremonies.CASTE DEFINED AND EXPLAINED.
"Each caste has its own code of laws and its own system of observances. They will eat with some, but not with others. The higher [R1603 : page 378] ones will not so much as touch the lower ones. Intermarriages are strictly prohibited. Why, the proud and haughty Brahman will not deign to bear the shadow of a Shudra or low caste. In the west you have social classes; we in India have 'castes.' But remember that 'classes' with you are a purely social institution, having no religious sanction. 'Castes' with us are essentially a religious institution, based on the accident of birth and parentage. With a view to illustrate the difference between 'classes' and 'castes,' I may say that in western countries the lines of social division are parallel, but horizontal; and, therefore, ranging in the social strata one above another. In India these lines are perpendicular; and, therefore, running from the top to the bottom of the body social, dividing and separating one social strata from every other. The former arrangement is a source of strength and support, and the later a source of alienation and weakness. Perhaps at one time in the history of India, when the condition of things was entirely different, and when the number of these castes was not so large, nor their nature so rigid as now, the institution of caste did serve a high purpose; but now it is long, too long, since that social condition underwent a change. Under those ancient social and political environments of India, the institution of caste was greatly helpful in centralizing and transmitting professional knowledge of arts and occupations, as also in grouping, binding together and preserving intact the various guilds and artisan communities. But centuries ago that social and political environment ceased to exist, while the mischievous machinery of caste continues in full swing up to this day. Caste in India has divided the mass of Hindoo society into innumerable classes and cliques. It has created a spirit of extreme exclusiveness. It has crowded and killed legitimate ambition, healthy enterprise and combined adventure. It has fostered envy and jealousy between class and class, and set one community against another.
CONSIDERING the financial depression of the year ending Dec. 1, '93, which has very generally affected everybody and everything, it is not surprising that the work of the WATCH TOWER TRACT SOCIETY also has been somewhat hindered.
We have many indications that the spiritual condition of the WATCH TOWER subscribers is better – their love and zeal stronger – than ever before; and this naturally would have meant larger donations to the Tract Fund and more of them, – had it not been for the financial stringency. Under the circumstances, therefore, the showing of this report, below, is most satisfactory. [R1600 : page 378]
The fact that the donations aggregated little less than for '92 may therefore be considered an improvement of one-half over that year; and it will be remembered (refer to our report of one year ago) that '92 was a marked improvement over the several years preceding it.
Another item which no doubt influenced the total was the Chicago Convention. An estimate, made at the time, showed that the total expense of those who attended that Convention was five thousand dollars or more. This extra expense no doubt affected the Tract Fund receipts to a considerable extent. And while we have had many reports of good accomplished by that Convention, it is still a question whether the same time and money spent in colporteuring DAWNS, publishing and distributing Tracts, etc., might not have accomplished still more good – have yielded still greater returns to the King's glory.
Indeed, we have been favorably impressed with a suggestion made by one who was present at the Chicago Convention, and who usually attends the Allegheny Convention, that hereafter our Conventions, held for several years past, be discontinued; that thus the interests of the general work would be conserved. And although we have enjoyed these annual gatherings greatly – the personal greetings and communions with visiting saints – we feel that there is wisdom in this suggestion of their discontinuance in favor of the Fund for the propagation of the truth by means of tracts, etc.
Another reason, almost as weighty, and one of growing importance to the work, is the [R1600 : page 379] item of time. Each year, as the number in attendance increases, the demands upon the time of the Editors of the WATCH TOWER increases; so that the time for preparation before these Conventions, and the time spent after them in getting caught up on work which meantime gets behind, in addition to the time spent during the Conventions, means in all two months – the one-sixth of each year. We of course enjoy this use of our time; and our only question is, regarding the best and wisest use of that time. It seems to us wisest and most to our Lord's praise to use this time for the benefit of all the saints in preparing and publishing truth in a printed form, at least until the MILLENNIAL DAWN series has been completed. Together, these considerations seem to us a sufficient reason for discontinuing the General Conventions heretofore held at Allegheny on the anniversary of our Redeemer's death. At all events, we can well dispense with the meeting next Spring, since it is so short a time since the Chicago Convention. And this economy will undoubtedly redound to the benefit of the work for '94.
During the year, Dec. 1, '92 to Dec. 1, '93, there have been circulated, free, the following:
Copies OLD THEOLOGY, Tracts, 1,082,011 " ZION'S WATCH TOWER, 139,577
Receipts from Good Hopes, $5100.40 " " other sources, $2798.86 -------- Total............................. $7899.26 Expended for Tracts, TOWERS, etc., sent out free,........... $5794.88 " Postage on same,......... 355.80 " Labor, mailing same,..... 708.00 " on Foreign translations of M. DAWN, VOL. I, and in forwarding the work in general,................. 1519.18 -------- $8377.86
We point with pleasure to this showing. While our total receipts would not amount to one half the salary of a popular preacher, the results are large. Our Society has no salaried officers, and the item of "Labor" is for mailing and other necessary work. Your donations go directly for the spread of the truth, according to our best judgment. We trust that all the friends will be pleased with the showing, especially those whose contributions are therein represented; and, more than all others, we trust that our Lord approves it.
The "Good Hopes" plan has proved so much of a blessing to those who have adopted it, that no doubt many will desire its continuance (It is not our plan but the Apostle's – 1 Cor. 16:2), laying by them on the first day of each week something for use in the Lord's cause.
We urge no one to give to this Society (those who approve the work and its methods need only to know of their opportunity), but we do urge all of our readers to follow the apostolic rule and set apart for the Lord's service a weekly thank-offering. If it be but one cent a day, or one cent a week even, it will surely bring a blessing.
It is fair to presume that all Christian people set apart some portion of their incomes for the propagation of what they believe to be truth. WATCH TOWER readers have learned that in the past they have unintentionally helped to spread error. The question for each to decide is, How can I now use time and means at my command, to the best advantage, in counteracting those errors and spreading the truth? – for the glory of God and the blessing of his people? To all such we say, Consider carefully to what extent the WATCH TOWER TRACT SOCIETY can assist you in this matter, and act according to your judgment.
While the colporteur work, for the circulating of MILLENNIAL DAWN, is under the supervision and patronage of this Society, it is self-supporting to a very large degree; – the only [R1600 : page 380] liabilities being in the way of credits to Colporteurs (the Society now stands responsible for about $7,000.00 of such accounts, much of which, however, will yet be paid by the Colporteurs), and in the preparation of foreign translations – on which account an item appears above in the Treasurer's account.
The number of Colporteurs engaged in this ministry of the truth is one hundred and fourteen: of these seventy-two give their entire time and the remainder almost all of their time to this service. Many of these have started quite recently. And besides these there are probably two thousand of our readers who do what they can, in connection with their ordinary duties of life.
All who report any effort expended in the service of the truth report corresponding blessings in their own hearts. They that watered others were themselves watered. They whose hearts burned with love to the Lord and his people, so that they were led to service and sacrifice, have been kept firm by the power of God in the truth.
Let us each watch, pray and labor during the new year. All who do so will be blest. He who is most faithful and earnest will be the most blest. The "harvest" is great indeed, and the laborers are few in comparison.
IV. QUAR., LESSON XIII., DEC. 24, MATT. 2:1-11.
We have elsewhere presented the Scriptural evidences that the date usually celebrated as the anniversary of our Lord Jesus' birth is incorrect and that, instead of being Dec. 25, B.C. 4, it really was about October 1, B.C. 2*; nevertheless this need not mar our pleasure, nor our appreciation of the great fact so generally celebrated on the wrong date; for its lessons are as appropriate to one date as to another.
The great thought of this lesson is that the first-born of every creature left the glory of a spirit existence, the glory which he had enjoyed with the Father before the world was made, and in conformity to the divine plan for human salvation "humbled himself" to human nature, became a man, "was made flesh, and dwelt among us." – John 1:14; Phil. 2:7-9.
But why did he do this? The Scriptures reply that he took our form and nature – the form of a servant – for the suffering of death. It was for the sin of man that he was to atone; and, to do so, to pay our debt, to give our ransom price, to be our substitute, he must be a man; – that as by a man came death, by a man also should come the resurrection of the dead.
No wonder, then, that the birth of the babe Jesus, the first step in the divine plan for our salvation from sin and death, was hailed by angels as well as by the wise men and the shepherds as a most notable, a most momentous event. And only those who [R1604 : page 380] see quite clearly the necessity for a ransom (a corresponding price), before sin could be forgiven or one member of the condemned race of Adam could be set free from the death penalty resting upon all, can appreciate the depth of meaning there is in that song which the angels sang: "Glory to God in the highest; on earth peace, good will toward men."
The great salvation of which the man Christ Jesus is the center is all of divine arrangement – to the Father of glories therefore we ascribe the "highest" glory for all the blessings which through it we enjoy.
The infant Jesus was the first ray of light and hope to men; because he would become a man, and as the man would give his life a ransom for Adam and all condemned in him; and thus, by virtue of having paid our price, "bought us with his own precious blood [his life given]," he would be legally [R1604 : page 381] qualified before the divine law to be the "Mediator of the New Covenant," which he sealed or made effective with his own precious blood; – "the blood of the New Covenant shed for many for the remission of sins." – Matt. 26:28.
The great plan for human salvation, begun by the birth of Jesus, has not yet reached completion. It will not be complete until his people have been saved from their sins and from the penalty of their sins – death, which includes degradation mental, moral and physical. The ransom, thank God, has been paid, and Justice has accepted it; and now the Mediator of the New Covenant is seeking out "his people." First, during this Gospel age, he seeks his peculiar people, his "Bride;" and in the age to follow this, the Millennium, he will cause the knowledge of the divine offer of life under the terms of the New Covenant to be made general: all shall know, and then "whosoever will may take of the water of life freely." And all whom he now is or ever shall be willing to own as "his people" will gladly avail themselves of that New Covenant's gracious arrangements and return to full favor with God; – all others will be wilful sinners, and as such will be cut off from life in the Second Death.
Let us, then, who know the blessed story of the love of God in Christ tell abroad the gracious message, the foundation for which was laid in the birth of Jesus, – "Behold, we bring you glad tidings, of great joy, which shall be unto all people." "He shall save his people from their sins." Let us make sure that we have accepted him and are "his people." Let us be true wise men and present to him our treasures – all that we have and are – our hearts. page 381
IV. QUAR., LESSON XIV., DEC. 31.
"It came upon the midnight clear,
That glorious song of old,
From angels bending near the earth,
To touch their harps of gold:
'Peace on earth, good-will to men'
From heaven's all glorious King.
The world in solemn stillness lay
To hear the angels sing.
"And lo, the days are hastening on,
By prophets seen of old,
When with the ever-circling years
Shall come the time foretold,
When the new heaven and earth shall own
The Prince of Peace their King,
And the whole world send back the song
Which now the angels sing."
It has been my privilege for about a month past to give Scripture readings every Sunday morning at a Gospel Temperance mission near my home, and some of those who attend have ears to hear the truth; and I hope a few, at least, will before long be led out into the full light.
Our meetings on Sunday afternoon are well attended, and are very profitable to us all. We adopted the suggestion in the TOWER, and changed our Friday evening meeting from a Bible study to a devotional meeting, and are delighted with the results. We feel that it fills a long felt want, and that the Lord has directed his people in this matter, giving them meat in due season.
My attention has been very much attracted of late to the manner in which the world is being prepared for the truth. The people could never accomplish their own liberation from the thraldom of sin and death, but they are being so thoroughly educated by the thousands of methods now at work, that I do not doubt that they will readily accept the new conditions when offered. For instance, the new Populist party is growing so rapidly that its adherents confidently assert that they will elect the President in 1896. One of the fundamental doctrines of this party is nationalism, or government control of, first, such enterprises page 382 as railroads, telegraphs and banks, and, finally, all the industries, for the benefit of the masses – a refined socialism – which would relieve the people of the burdens imposed upon them by capitalists and monopolists.
Reformers are writing and preaching wholesome truths everywhere to the common people, while above all the true Church is announcing the glad tidings of the Kingdom so near at hand. So we see by the signs of the present that it is high time to awake. The Day Star has already arisen, and soon the Sun of Righteousness in full splendor will shed his rays over all the earth; but the vail is still upon the face of the nations, and it will be a little while yet before it is removed by the rude hand of experience, God's great teacher. "Be wise, therefore, O ye kings, and be instructed, ye judges of the earth. Serve the Lord.... Kiss the son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way....Blessed are all they that put their trust in him."
Yours in Christ,
I have been something of an invalid the past few weeks by reason of trouble with my eyes – thus precluding the possibility of reading or study. So I have tried to digest some of the impressions received in the past season; and, first, I cease not to give thanks to God for the truth (as shown to me through the DAWN series and WATCH TOWER), which is gradually enabling me to see and understand the signs of the times; for without this light the recent Religious Congress would have seemed altogether different. I should have looked upon the coming together of the representatives of all known religions and creeds upon a common platform (i.e., a universal acknowledgment of a God), as the beginning of the new age or Millennium, and have thought that the gospel, through these representatives, was being preached to all nations, and that peace and righteousness were beginning to fill the earth.
But now the case seems different. These representatives seemed anxious to impart to others supposed light and wisdom, not thinking they stood in need of any themselves; and so they seemed to part as they came: each more firmly than ever convinced that he and his followers alone understood God's dealings with the children of men – many leaving out our dear Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, and nearly all forgetting him as the ransom-price. Verily, they are "blind leaders of the blind."
Yours in our Redeemer,
DEAR SIR: – I enjoy the DAWNS and the TOWER greatly. The last number, containing the article on the Religious Parliament, is excellent; – a grand, Christian analysis of that Babel-like gathering. I sent mine, to-day, to one who will thoroughly appreciate it. Do you know, Mr. Russell, many of your warmest "followers" are Episcopalians – born and raised in that great old church – and among the number your sincere friend,
MY DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL: – I have just completed the reading of the November TOWER; and the strange doings of the great Religious Parliament, held in the name of Christianity, must convince any candid mind that God has no hand in such strange vagaries, other than a hand for chastisement. It must inevitably further bewilder the unstable, and in its result make the darkness ten-fold more dense.
My heart blesses Him who is the light of the world, that I reached the light of his eternal truth before the doings and sayings of that Congress reached me. Once, in my younger days, I barely escaped confirmed skepticism by contemplating a compound of such strange contradictions; and my heart swells with gratitude to Christ that he is using you and others of his children in defense of the truth and, more, that I also am permitted to do something for its spread. It is little indeed that I can do, but all I can do is done gladly. He has ever held me above the sinking point, just able to swim; but, thanks be to his dear name, he has ever kept me safely amid a cloud of trials and dangers; and now, when the "clouds and darkness" that are round about him are rolling down upon us, my soul rests calmly, sweetly trusting his precious blood to save. How sweet to lift our eyes above the gloomy clouds, and to contemplate the bright morning soon to dispel the gloom!
Your brother in Christ,
DEAR FRIENDS AND CO-LABORERS: – My present judgment is that during the year 189 , by denying myself and taking up my cross, I shall be able to lay aside on the first day of each week for Home and Foreign Mission work – to assist in publishing MILLENNIAL DAWN in other languages, in publishing the series of Old Theology Tracts quarterly, and in reprinting old ones, in various languages, in the gratuitous circulation of large quantities of them through the mails as sample copies and by the hands of brethren who have the heart and the opportunity so to use them, and, in general, as the officers of the Society may deem best – the amount of__________ per week, as per my letter on the other side.
That the work be not hindered, I will endeavor to send you what I shall have laid aside for this cause at the close of each quarter. I will secure a Bank Draft, Express Order, Postal Money Order or Postal Note, as I may find most convenient, and will address the letter to
WATCH TOWER TRACT SOCIETY,
"BIBLE HOUSE," ALLEGHENY, PA. Signed__________ Post Office__________ State__________
The plan here proposed we designate "GOOD HOPES," because nothing is actually promised – only your generous hopes expressed, based upon your future prospects as they now appear to you. The plan proved not only so beneficial to the cause of truth, but also so blessed to the hopers, last year, that we again commend it to all as Scriptural and good. Those who desire to make use of this plan can tear out and fill both of these memorandums. One should be kept for the refreshment of your memory: the other please mail to us at your earliest convenience.
DEAR SISTER: – I have read with interest of the openings for the DAWN and Tract work in foreign lands and here at home. I need not tell you that I am deeply interested in the spread of the Glad Tidings of the lengths and breadths, the heights and depths of redeeming love expressed for us in God's great Plan of the Ages.
I am anxious to use myself – every power, every talent, voice, time, money, influence, all – to give to others this knowledge which has so greatly blessed, cheered and comforted my own heart and placed my feet firmly upon the Rock of Ages.
I have been considering carefully, and praying to be instructed, how to use my various talents more to my Redeemer's glory and for the service of his people – those blinded by human tradition who are, nevertheless, hungering for "the good Word of God," and those, also, who are naked, not having on the wedding garment of Christ's imputed righteousness, the unjustified, who stand at best in the filthy rags of their own righteousness. I have decided that so far as my "money talent" goes, I will follow the rule so clearly laid down for us by the great Apostle Paul (1 Cor. 16:2), and will lay aside on the first day of each week, according to my thankful appreciation of the Lord's blessings during the preceding week. Out of this fund I wish to contribute to the several parts of the Lord's work specified on the back of this letter. Of course I cannot in advance judge or state particularly what the Lord's bounty may enable me to set apart weekly, and hence you will understand the sum indicated to be merely my conjecture or hope, based upon present prospects. I will endeavor to contribute more than I here specify; and should I not succeed in doing as well, the Lord will know my heart, and you, also, will know of my endeavors.
My only object in specifying in advance what I hope to be able to do in this cause is to enable those in charge of the work of publishing and circulating the Tracts, etc., to form estimates, lay plans, make contracts, etc., with some idea of what I will at least try to do in the exercise of this my highly appreciated privilege. (For my "GOOD HOPES," see over.)
|The Prevailing Type of Preaching||2|
|Retrospective and Prospective||3|
|The Political Outlook||4|
|Exaltation via Humility||5|
|At Close of Day. (Poem.)||7|
|In Our Day||7|
|A Momentous Struggle Begun||10|
|"Always for All Things."||11|
|Bible Study: Joshua the Typical High Priest||13|
|" " Zerubbabel the Typical Builder||14|
|Encouraging Words from Earnest Workers||15|
|Special Items: Calendars, Memorial Supper, etc||18|
|A Word to Methodists – from Bishop Foster||19|
|The True Church. (Poem.)||23|
|Some Congregationalists Waking Up||24|
|Our Lord's Sermon on the Mount||25|
|Fulness of Joy||27|
|Bible Study: Dedicating the Temple||29|
|" " Nehemiah's Prayer||29|
|Encouraging Words from Earnest Workers||30|
|Special Items: The Spring Meeting. Christian Home-Schools Wanted||34|
|What Saith the Scriptures about Hell. (An examination of every Bible expression on the subject.)||35|
|Bible Study: Rebuilding the Wall of Jerusalem||62|
|" " Reading the Law||63|
|" " Keeping the Sabbath||63|
|Special Items: Our February Issue, Tracts in Swedish and Norwegian, etc||66|
|From Glory to Glory||67|
|Jesus in the Synagogue||69|
|I am my Beloved's. (Poem.)||71|
|The Desire of All Nations shall Come||71|
|"Live Peaceably with all Men." (A Correction)||74|
|Bible Study: Esther Before the King||77|
|" " A Temperance Lesson||77|
|Out of Darkness into His Marvelous Light. (Letters.)||78|
|To TOWER Readers and Colporteurs (Letter by Brother Adamson)||82|
|The Memorial Supper||83|
|Christian Union vs. Unity||84|
|The Oneness of the Divine Family||86|
|Bible Study: The Resurrection of Christ||89|
|" " The Book of Job||90|
|" " Afflictions Viewed Differently||94|
|" " Job's Confidence||94|
|" " Job's Confession and Restoration||94|
|Encouraging Words from Earnest Workers||94|
|The Memorial Celebration||98|
|The Resurrection of the Dead||99|
|Through Favor of our God. (Poem.)||108|
|Israel Returning to the Holy Land||109|
|Treasures in Heaven||109|
|Out of Darkness into His Marvelous Light||110|
|Church Statistics of the U.S. The Outlook||114|
|Jewish Riots in Russia||114|
|"The Word was a God."||115|
|Judge Not. (Poem.)||117|
|The Race in Adam||117|
|Romanist Designs on American Cities||119|
|Bible Study: Solomon and His Writings – Proverbs, Ecclesiastes and Solomon's Song||121|
|Bible Study: Wisdom's Warning of Present Danger||122|
|" " The Value of Wisdom||125|
|" " Fruits of Wisdom||126|
|" " Wisdom of Temperance||127|
|" " A Wise Woman||127|
|Encouraging Words from Earnest Workers||127|
|Interesting Items: Clippings, Address Wrappers, etc||130|
|The Twelve Apostles||131|
|The Growth of Ritualism||144|
|A Valuable Manuscript Found||146|
|MILLENNIAL DAWN, Special Lot||146|
|Taking God's Name in Vain||147|
|A Gracious Prince. (Poem.)||150|
|Resurrection Without Commotion||150|
|Practical Questions: Sanctification, Serving on Jury||153|
|Grace and Peace Multiplied||155|
|Are the Latter Days at Hand||156|
|Bible Study: Reverence and Fidelity||157|
|" " The Creator Remembered||159|
|Out of Darkness into His Marvelous Light. (Letters.)||160|
|Further Jewish Expulsion||162|
|The Relative Claims of Love and Justice||163|
|The Lord's Sheep||165|
|Be Ye Wise as Serpents – Harmless as Doves||166|
|The Remedy Co-Extensive with the Curse||169|
|Face to Face with Trouble. (Poem.)||171|
|Bible Study: Messiah's Kingdom||172|
|" " Quarterly Review||173|
|Encouraging Words from Faithful Workers||175|
|The Gospel of the Kingdom in Great Britain||178|
|Colporteurs, Take Notice!||178|
|Baptism and Its Import||179|
|Bible Study: Paul called to Europe||191|
|Harvest Work Before the Storm||194|
|View from the TOWER: Church Union||195|
|The Next Religious Conference at Jerusalem||197|
|"Religious Riots are Abroad."||198|
|Rest in the Lord. (Poem.)||199|
|Man and Woman in God's Order||200|
|"Be Not Unequally Yoked."||212|
|Our Convention at Chicago||216|
|Bible Study: Paul at Philippi||218|
|" " Paul at Athens||218|
|" " Paul at Corinth||220|
|" " Paul at Ephesus||220|
|" " Paul at Miletus||221|
|" " Paul at Jerusalem||223|
|Encouraging Words from Faithful Workers||223|
|Our Chicago Convention||226|
|Brother Rabinowitch in Allegheny||226|
|Prosperity in Jerusalem||226|
|Special Divine Providence||227|
|Keep thy Heart||233|
|Lead Me. (Poem.)||234|
|Questions about Politics, Voting, etc||235|
|Bible Study: Paul before Felix||236|
|Out of Darkness into His Marvelous Light. (Letters.)||237|
|Our Convention in Chicago||242|
|MILLENNIAL DAWN, VOL. III., in German||242|
|Christ in You, the Hope of Glory||243|
|Sometime We'll Understand. (Poem.)||246|
|The Office of Reason||247|
|A Peculiar People||250|
|Bible Study: Paul before Agrippa||253|
|" " Paul Shipwrecked||254|
|" " Paul at Rome||256|
|Brother Rogers in Great Britain||258|
|A Famine in the Land||258|
|"The Church of the Living God."||259|
|Our Chicago Convention||278|
|The Embryo Kingdom of God||280|
|"The Sea and the Waves Roaring."||281|
|Bible Study: Personal Responsibility||282|
|" " Quarterly Review||282|
|" " The Power of the Gospel||283|
|" " Redemption in Christ||284|
|Encouraging Words from Faithful Workers||285|
|Special Lot DAWNS, DAWNS in Quantities, Envelopes||290|
|View from TOWER: The Drift of Religious Teachers||291|
|Though Ye Be Established||294|
|A Practical Suggestion||296|
|"Who is Sufficient for these Things?"||297|
|Bible Study: Justification by Faith||299|
|" " Christian Living||300|
|" " Abstinence for the Sake of Others||302|
|Out of Darkness into His Marvelous Light. (Letters.)||303|
|News from Foreign Fields||306|
|The True Fold Not a Pen||310|
|A Question Concerning the Ransom||312|
|Opinions of Baptists Not Baptist Doctrine||313|
|Bible Study: The Resurrection||316|
|Encouraging Words from Faithful Workers||318|
|Interest in Germany, Special Cloth DAWNS||322|
|View from the TOWER: Echoes from the World's Great Parliament of Religions||323|
|Nominal Church Peculiarities||349|
|Bible Study: The Grace of Liberality||349|
|" " Imitation of Christ||351|
|" " The Christian Home||351|
|" " Grateful Obedience||352|
|Abraham's Age on Entering Canaan||354|
|The TOWER for 1894||354|
|MILLENNIAL DAWN in Swedish||354|
|The Apostle Peter's Exhortation||355|
|Disciples of Christ||357|
|Healing for Broken Hearts. (Poem.)||359|
|A Glimpse of Christianity in Japan||360|
|True Christian Liberality||364|
|Bible Study: The Heavenly Inheritance||365|
|" " The Glorified Savior||366|
|Encouraging Words from Faithful Workers||367|
|Bibles and Bible-study Helps||370|
|Christian Home Embellishments||370|
|"Good Hopes" Supplement||370|
|Renewals for 1894||370|
|Mementoes of Jerusalem||370|
|Representative or Substitute?||371|
|Is Not the Doctrine Dangerous?||373|
|The Coming Crash in Europe||374|
|Echoes from the Parliament of Religions||375|
|Annual Report Watch Tower Tract Society.||378|
|Bible Study: The Birth of Jesus||380|
|The Angels' Song. (Poem.)||381|
|Encouraging Words from Faithful Workers. (Letters.)||381|