page 221
October 15th
ZION'S
WATCH TOWER
and
Herald of Christ's Presence

ROCK OF AGES
Other foundation can
no man lay
A RANSOM FOR ALL

"Watchman, What of the Night?"
"The Morning Cometh, and a Night also!" Isaiah 21:11

VOL. XVI.OCTOBER 1, 1895.No. 19.
CONTENTS.

Special Items 222
Views from the Tower 223
The Typical Red Heifer 225
Pittsburg Prophetic Conference 227
Your Safety in the Coming Trouble 229
Bible Study: The Triumph of Gideon 231
Bible Study: Ruth's Choice 231
Encouraging Letters 232

'I will stand upon my watch, and set my foot upon the Tower, and will watch to see what He shall say unto me, and what answer I shall make to them that oppose me.' Hab. 2:1

Upon the earth distress of nations with perplexity: the sea and the waves (the restless, discontented) roaring: men's hearts failing them for fear and for looking forward to the things coming upon the earth (society): for the powers of the heavens (ecclestiasticism) shall be shaken. . . .When ye see these things come to pass, then know that the Kingdom of God is nigh at hand. Look up, lift up your heads, rejoice, for your redemption draweth nigh. – Luke 21:25-28, 32.

page 222

THIS JOURNAL AND ITS MISSION.
T
HIS journal is set for the defence of the only true foundation of the Christian's hope now being so generally repudiated, – Redemption through the precious blood of "the man Christ Jesus who gave himself a ransom [a corresponding price, a substitute] for all." (1 Pet. 1:19; 1 Tim. 2:6.) Building up on this sure foundation the gold, silver and precious stones (1 Cor. 3:11-15; 2 Pet. 1:5-11) of the Word of God, its further mission is to – "Make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery which...has been hid in God,...to the intent that now might be made known by the Church the manifold wisdom of God" – "which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed." – Eph. 3:5-9,10.

It stands free from all parties, sects and creeds of men, while it seeks more and more to bring its every utterance into fullest subjection to the will of God in Christ, as expressed in the Holy Scriptures. It is thus free to declare boldly whatsoever the Lord hath spoken; – according to the divine wisdom granted unto us, to understand. Its attitude is not dogmatical, but confident; for we know whereof we affirm, treading with implicit faith upon the sure promises of God. It is held as a trust, to be used only in his service; hence our decisions relative to what may and what may not appear in its columns must be according to our judgment of his good pleasure, the teaching of his Word, for the upbuilding of his people in grace and knowledge. And we not only invite but urge our readers to prove all its utterances by the infallible Word to which reference is constantly made, to facilitate such testing.

TO US THE SCRIPTURES CLEARLY TEACH
That the Church is "the Temple of the Living God" – peculiarly "His
workmanship;" that its construction has been in progress throughout the Gospel age – ever since Christ became the world's Redeemer and the chief corner stone of this Temple, through which, when finished, God's blessings shall come "to all people," and they find access to him. – 1 Cor. 3:16,17; Eph. 2:20-22; Gen. 28:14; Gal. 3:29.
That meantime the chiseling, shaping and polishing, of consecrated believers
in Christ's atonement for sin, progresses; and when the last of these "living stones," "elect and precious," shall have been made ready, the great Master Workman will bring all together in the First Resurrection; and the Temple shall be filled with his glory, and be the meeting place between God and men throughout the Millennium. – Rev. 15:5-8.
That the Basis of Hope, for the Church and the World, lies in the fact that
"Jesus Christ, by the grace of God, tasted death for every man," "a ransom for all," and will be "the true light which lighteth every man that cometh into the world," "in due time." – Heb. 2:9; John 1:9; 1 Tim. 2:5,6.
That the Hope of the Church is that she may be like her Lord, "see him
as he is," be "partaker of the divine nature," and share his glory as his joint-heir. – 1 John 3:2; John 17:24; Rom. 8:17; 2 Pet. 1:4.
That the present mission of the Church is the perfecting of the saints for
the future work of service; to develop in herself every grace; to be God's witness to the world; and to prepare to be the kings and priests of the next age. – Eph. 4:12; Matt. 24:14; Rev. 1:6; 20:6.
That the hope for the World lies in the blessings of knowledge and opportunity
to be brought to by Christ's Millennial Kingdom – the restitution of all that was lost in Adam, to all the willing and obedient, at the hands of their Redeemer and his glorified Church. – Acts 3:19-21; Isa. 35.
CHARLES T. RUSSELL, Editor; MRS. C. T. RUSSELL, Associate.

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[R1871 : page 222]

WE RENEW our thanks to the dear friends who send us news clippings from all over the world. We have but little time for general reading, yet feel the necessity of being thoroughly informed. Of course but few of the items are even referred to in the TOWER; but many others, nevertheless, are very useful and highly appreciated. We much prefer clippings to whole papers; but please give name and date of paper from which clipped.

DAWN VOL. II. IN SWEDISH AND IN DANO-NORWEGIAN.

These volumes are now ready. Orders sent in now will be filled in rotation as received.

Although the cost of these foreign translations is much greater than the English, because the demand is less and the editions smaller, yet the price of MILLENNIAL DAWN in the German, Swedish and Dano-Norwegian languages will be uniform with the English. Some warm-hearted friends of the Truth, knowing that the English editions are sold at cost, and realizing that the foreign editions would cost nearly double, because smaller, volunteered to pay the difference through the Tract Fund, so that the foreigners, who often are less able to purchase, might have the benefit of the low prices of the English. Their donation amounts to four hundred and twenty dollars on each foreign volume.

[R1870 : page 223]

VIEWS FROM THE TOWER.

BOTH the United Presbyterian and the Lutheran young people are organizing after the manner of the Epworth Leaguers. The latter are styled the Luther League. About 100,000 are already enrolled. Their motto is – "Non-Synodical, Strictly Conservative, and Thoroughly Lutheran."

It is almost as difficult for sectarians to get free from their denominational bondages as for a leopard to change his spots. The Christian Endeavor movement was the purest and freest, and at least took the name of Christ. But all efforts to make either "worldings" or Christian "babes" into Christian free-men by means of organization and rules must always prove futile. The only Christian freemen are those who are no longer "babes tossed about by every wind of doctrine," but who, feeding first as babes upon the sincere milk of the Word, have grown thereby in grace and knowledge and love, and who by use of the strong meat of God's Word have had their senses exercised and have become strong freemen in Christ – free from the world and its spirit, and free from self; reckonedly dead to all such influences, and alive to God and his will, and in bondage only to God's will through him who bought them with his own precious blood. And we have the Lord's assurance that this class, being selected during this Gospel age, will in all be but a "little flock."

*                         *                         *

The usual triennial conclave of the Protestant Episcopal Church of the United States will open October 2 in Minneapolis.

It was at a similar Convention of this same religious body that the proposition for a Protestant Union or Confederacy was first extended to other Protestant denominations. This proposition is still under consideration, especially by the Presbyterian Assembly.

The coming Convention will attract more than ordinary attention, for it proposes a number of important steps in connection with its organization. (1) It is proposed that the triennial Conventions shall be superseded by General Synods, which shall meet triennially. (2) It proposes to have two divisions or "houses" hereafter – a House of Bishops and a House of Delegates – similar to the two houses of Congress and of Parliament. (3) It is proposed to elect one of the Bishops to be their chief or President, who shall be known as "Primus" – which signifies, one who is first. The Scottish Episcopal Church has long had such an officer, who presides, and is otherwise privileged.

This movement is quite significant in connection with the Protestant confederacy which the Scriptures clearly indicate will take place. (See our issue for Dec. 1881 – now out of print.) It will make ready for the "Image" to "speak" promptly as soon as it receives the "life" of Apostolic succession and supposed "authority." – Rev. 13:15.

*                         *                         *

Sept. 20 was the twenty-fifth anniversary of the fall of Papacy's temporal power. Roman Catholics everywhere are being urged to pray for the restoration of temporal sovereignty. A statement is going the rounds of the press to the effect that, in view of the bankrupt condition of the Italian treasury, the plan of proposing to purchase the freedom of Rome and some surrounding territory for the Papacy for $1,000,000,000 is being seriously considered.

On Scriptural grounds we doubt the success of this project. Our expectation is that the present government of Rome will continue in some form or degree until utter collapse and anarchy shall put an end to all government, political and religious, in the great time of trouble which [R1870 : page 224] prepares for the better conditions symbolically called the "new heavens and new earth."

*                         *                         *

Professor Treitschke, lecturing recently before the Berlin University, said:

"Reverence, called by Goethe the ultimate object of all moral education, is vanishing most alarmingly in the new generation. They respect nothing, neither God, nor the barriers which nature has set up between the sexes, nor patriotism, which by them is made to give way to the mercenary desires of a race bent on enjoyment only. Education, extended to all, becomes more and more shallow. The deep thought of the ancients is despised, and only that which serves the purposes of the near future finds favor. Every one talks about everything, guided by the newspapers and encyclopedias, consequently the creative power of intellect becomes rare. Science, once tempted to be too profound, now loses itself in platitudes; only a few noble giants of original thought continue to stand out among the underwood of mere gatherers of notes. Taste has degenerated, the love of truth has given way to a morbid love of actualities. Hence a wax figure often gains more applause than a work of art. The people lead an empty life, which they seek to fill out by killing time in giving undue attention to sport and betting. When we think of the manner in which the heroes of public games and of the circus are overrated, we are filled with loathing."

Thus we see that the trend is the same in the monarchies of Europe as in this Republic. By inspiration the great Apostle Paul gave a still clearer and truer picture of nominal Christendom, saying: –

"In the last days perilous times shall come. For men shall be lovers of their own selves [selfish], covetous, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, unthankful, unholy, without natural affection, trucebreakers, false accusers, incontinent, fierce, despisers of those that are good, traitors, heady, high-minded, lovers of pleasures more than lovers of God, having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof: from such turn away."2 Tim. 3:1-5.

*                         *                         *

"A curious mode of worship was introduced by the Salvation Army at Detroit recently. A lecture was delivered by two "captains," on the analysis and dissection of the devil's body, the parts being pride, whiskey, etc., immediately after which the lights were suddenly extinguished, and the form of his Satanic Majesty was brought out, made of paper, and colored to suggest the analytic description. Red lights were thrown upon the stage to represent the fire of hell, and horns, hoofs and tail were terrible in appearance. A red bonnet decorated with roses represented pride, while cards and liquor indicated ruin and destruction. The effigy was then set on fire, amid shrieks and yells which reminded the beholders of Milton's Pandemonium."

Alas! how many of the "babes in Christ" are ignorant of Satan's devices; and do not see that the great Adversary might even help along such a sham battle against himself, if thereby he could fasten the more firmly upon the consciences of the people the errors [doctrines of devils] which are keeping them from real love and worship toward God. The Lord's prescription for holiness – "Sanctify them through thy truth, thy Word is truth" – is far better, more successful, than this and all other unscriptural methods. This is the Chinese method of serving God by using fireworks to scare off the devil. But Satan is too subtle to be thus dealt with.

*                         *                         *

A New York journal reports that at a meeting of the S.S. Missionary Association of the Presbyterian Church held in Detroit not long since "The Presbyterian Board of Publication was severely scored for the alleged antiquated and attenuated tracts that it sends out. A committee was appointed to draw up resolutions asking the Board for a higher grade of tracts."

A Sister suggests that "possibly the live and good-sized Old Theology Tracts going all over the world from the WATCH TOWER office have something to do with this discontent. Ordinary tracts are so stupid that intelligent [R1871 : page 224] people feel offended if handed one. The O.T. Tracts are always crisp and fresh because full of the spirit of the Truth – index fingers pointing and referring constantly and truly to the Word of God."

Many are finding this sort of "Silent Evangelism" a blessing to themselves and to others and orders are coming for "more tracts" from every quarter of the world. For instance, since our last issue we have sent tracts and DAWNS to the following foreign countries: viz., England; Scotland; Denmark; Germany; Sweden; Jamaica, West Indies; Cape Colony, S. Africa; New South Wales, Australia; and Colombia, Central America. The reading matter sent out amounted to five hundred and twenty-five copies of MILLENNIAL DAWN besides over ten hundred thousand pages of Old Theology Tracts.

Our readers who are of German extraction will be pleased to learn that a Sister in the Lord, a representative of the TOWER TRACT SOCIETY in Berlin, Germany, reports favorably respecting a new method adopted lately to gain the attention of consecrated Germans. A Berlin journal has recently given her a most excellent notice of MILLENNIAL DAWN, and she is finding quite a number willing to hear. She now has seventy-five copies of DAWN loaned in Berlin.

Next week a Brother starts for Sweden, and in about a month two others will start for Switzerland, all seeking to carry to their native lands the gospel of "a ransom for all." The tract and colporteur work all over the United States progresses valiantly.

*                         *                         *

A strong movement is on foot amongst Methodists seeking "lay-representation at the Annual Conferences." A circular has been issued from Baltimore, Md., claiming to voice the sentiments of 2,500,000 Methodists who demand this reform. The ministers do not favor it, desiring to keep the power in their own hands. An additional reform urged is that the laymen should have a voice in the election of Presiding Elders; and that the latter be given equal powers with Bishops. [R1871 : page 225]

This is part of the general tendency toward equal rights and privileges. As it increases, the M.E. Bishops will wish that they could put forward the claim of "divine authority through Apostolic succession," as is claimed by Episcopalians and Roman and Greek Catholics. This will tend to draw them toward a general Protestant Confederacy possessed of the ability to make the claims and exercise the Apostolic authority coveted.

*                         *                         *

A Baptist division of the Boy's Brigade went "into camp" at May's Landing near Philadelphia during September. Some boys of the town "raided them for fun," and the young Baptists who had put on carnal armor were "forced to defend themselves" with their bayonets, and murder was narrowly averted. Warfare for the Lord according to unauthorized methods is, and always will be, dangerous. "All they that take to the sword shall perish by the sword."

*                         *                         *

At the Presbyterian Ministers' Association meeting, in Philadelphia, Sept. 16, it was decided not to permit the discussion of the question: "Is the Presbyterian Church firmly established in the Confession of Faith, and, if not, whither is she drifting?" They all knew that she is not firmly established upon it, and that she is drifting into four factions – (1) The "higher criticism" or infidelity party; (2) the form-of-godliness-social-club-no-doctrine party; (3) the well-intentioned-but-superstitious party, ever learning but never able to come to a knowledge of the truth, because they are looking backward to the dim lights of human tradition; (4) the children of the light and of the day, who, looking in the direction of the sun of righteousness, are beginning to get rays of the Millennial dawning; and who are compelled to "come out of her" because, with present light, they can no longer stay where their presence means the misrepresentation of God's Word and character as well as their own stultification. The ministers, therefore, very wisely, concluded that they needed no information on the subject; and that the opening of their mouths on the subject would hasten the dissolution already in progress. But the sooner it comes the better for the fourth class mentioned.

[R1871 : page 225]

THE TYPICAL RED HEIFER.
NUMBERS 19. –

A BROTHER not very long in the truth sends us a little tract bearing the title, "The Red Heifer Type of Sanctification, by J. H. G.," and inquires what we think of it.

We reply: The application is quite incorrect; but the tract itself is not likely either to benefit or injure any one. The danger of injury would chiefly be that as an entering wedge it might lead to more serious errors; and in a general way of course even the most insignificant error may hide some truth and thus prove an open switch for Satan to use in side-tracking us, should our hearts ever get out of harmony with the Lord and his plan.

The writer of the little tract falls into the very common mistake of failing to note that the Jewish code respecting sacrifices divided them (1) into sacrifices for two distinct classes, – the Levites (the High priest's household), and all Israel (the general congregation excepting the Levites); and (2) into sacrifices of two distinct times; viz., those of the Day of Atonement, and those of the year following the Day of Atonement. This is the key to the understanding of the types of Leviticus, and without it no one can obtain clear or consistent views.

The High Priest and under Priests (consecrated to sacrifice) represent Christ and the Church, the royal priesthood. The Levites (consecrated to service, not to sacrifice) represent believers in this Gospel Age – the household of faith.

The Day of Atonement, in which the sacrifices for all sins were made (the bullock and the goat for sin-offerings, together with their accompanying burnt offerings), represented this Gospel Age, beginning with the great and all important sacrifice of Christ, and finished with the "filling up of that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ" by the royal priesthood, the members of his body. (Col. 1:24.) At the close of this Great Day of Atonement (the Gospel Age) the Great High Priest (head and body) will come forth and bless the people who desire to be God's people (represented by all Israel except the tribe of Levi), and the effect will be to lift them from the dust and grant them forgiveness and restitution.

The sacrifices and offerings of the people after the Day of Atonement, and based upon its work, represent penances for shortcomings after being cleansed by the great Atonement, and thank offerings, pledges, vows, etc., which the world will offer during the Millennium or "times of restitution."

The Red Heifer was not only not one of the Day of Atonement (or Gospel age) sacrifices, but it should not be counted a "sacrifice" at all; for only those animals were sacrifices of which a portion was placed upon God's altar. The High Priest killed all the sacrifices of the Atonement Day; but Aaron, the High Priest then, had nothing to do with the killing and burning of the Red Heifer. All sacrifices were killed in the "court of the Tabernacle," [R1872 : page 225] but the Red Heifer was killed outside the camp. The priests killed the sacrifices, but they did not kill the Red Heifer. We thus prove most positively that the Red Heifer represented neither Christ nor his Church, the "better sacrifices" [R1872 : page 226] of this Gospel age. And as the time for the righteous to suffer "without the camp" will end with the close of the Gospel age, we cannot apply the killing and burning of the Red Heifer as a type of anything that will occur in the Millennium. What then did that heifer represent?

It represented a class of people who died ignominiously; for "outside the camp" is used to represent ignominy, worldly disapproval or detestation. (Heb. 13:13.) The ancient worthies, whose faithfulness unto death outside the camp is recorded in Heb. 11:32-38, was just such a class as the one we are seeking, – represented in the Red Heifer burned without the camp, whose ashes served to purify those contaminated or unclean through association with death.

It represented a class of people not of the Gospel Church, but who in God's sight were justified, and by faith, as is represented by the fact that the heifer was without blemish and completely red – the color which represents the blood of Christ. All this well represents the worthies of Heb. 11:32-38. By faith they looked forward to the atonement for sin which God had promised; they caught a glimpse of Christ's day and were glad; they "endured as seeing him who is invisible," and "pleased God" (Heb. 11:5,27,39), and hence must have been justified, even though (the sin-offering not yet having been made) they could not be received into the liberties of sons of God. – Gal. 4:4-7; Heb. 3:5,6.

In that it never wore a yoke it represented a class of free men, just such as are mentioned in Heb. 11; for although some of those were born under the Law, and some before it, yet since all are mentioned together as equally approved in God's sight, and since we know that "by the deeds of the Law no flesh shall be justified in God's sight," therefore we are bound to conclude that all these were reckoned as free from the bondage of the Law, and accepted by faith with Abraham, under the Abrahamic covenant, and not as under the "yoke" of the Law, which condemned all who ever attempted justification under it. – Gal. 5:1; Acts 15:10.

The priest did not kill the Red Heifer: one of the under-priests merely sprinkled some of its blood toward the Tabernacle door: thus typically showing that the lives and deaths of the class represented pointed toward the Tabernacle, its door [Christ] and the atoning sacrifices to come. "They drank of the spiritual Rock [Christ] which followed them," and their lives given (their blood) pointed toward Him.

The "worthies" of Heb. 11, although equally as faithful as the "overcomers" of the Gospel age, could not be counted as sharers in the sufferings of Christ and joint-heirs of his glory. The great Creator has chosen to prepare some vessels to more honor and some to less honor; and some that resist the moulding and shaping influences of the great Potter will be neither, but will be vessels for destruction, unfit for his service in any capacity. (2 Tim. 2:20; Rom. 9:21,22.) The vessels for less honor were selected first, "until John" the baptizer, who was one of the chief of the ancient worthies, the house of servants; and yet the least one in the house of sons, the vessels unto greatest honor, is greater than he. – Matt. 11:11.

Christ Jesus our Lord was the first, the Head, the Leader of his elect Church, his body, which must follow his footsteps of suffering to glory, before others can be blessed. After the great antitypical Day of Atonement is ended, the sufferings of Christ finished, and the glorious reign begun, then the faithful worthies of the past shall be blessed, "God having foreseen some better things for us, that they without us should not be made perfect." – Heb. 11:40.

The sin offering of Christ has laid up a great store of grace, merit, not only for his Church, but for all the families of the earth; and it will be the work of the Royal Priesthood to dispense that grace to those of earth's families who, when they come to a clear knowledge of the truth, obediently apply for forgiveness and help.

The faithfulness of the ancient worthies, even unto death, could not take away sin, and could not be presented before God as a sin offering, nor as a sacrifice at all, the altar [Christ] not having yet been set up. (Matt. 23:19.) But the faithfulness of the ancient worthies did yield some results (represented in the ashes of the Red Heifer) – it yielded a store of valuable experiences to them, by means of which those beautiful graces of character were produced which also adorn "the sons of God," who have now received the spirit of adoption. The Lord thus wrought in them the blessed fruits of holiness, though they could not be recognized as "sons," nor made partakers of the divine nature, nor joint-heirs with Christ, because not called to be vessels of the highest honor. They have thus "laid up in store" (1 Tim. 6:19), as the result of their fiery experiences (represented in the ashes of the burned heifer), characters precious in God's sight, which he intends by and by to use for the blessing of the world, after the Day of Atonement is ended. This is represented in the ashes of the heifer carefully gathered into a clean place for use in the purifying of the people who become defiled after having been cleansed with the atonement of the "better sacrifices" of the Atonement Day.

When the spiritual Kingdom has been set up, when the First Resurrection has taken place at the end of the Gospel age, then these "worthies" of the past will be blessed (Heb. 11:40,35), and enjoy a "better resurrection" than the world in general, in that theirs will be an instantaneous raising up from death to human perfection and life everlasting; while others of the world, even if obedient, must come up slowly to perfection, step by step. Then, too, as perfect men they will be the superiors and natural leaders of the world, and, according to promise, Christ will make them chiefs or "princes in all the earth." (Psa. 45:16.) They will be the seen representatives (Luke 13:28) of God's Kingdom, while Christ and the Church, the real spiritual rulers, will be unseen. – 1 Tim. 6:16; Heb. 1:3; 1 John 3:2. [R1872 : page 227]

Then, like the ashes of the heifer laid up in a clean place, the results of the painful experiences of the "worthies" will be a store of blessing, instruction, and help to these "Princes." And each pardoned one who would be cleansed perfectly must not only cleanse himself with water (truth) but must also have applied to him the instructions of these "Princes;" represented by the ashes of the heifer in water applied with "hyssop," which represented "purging" or cleansing. – Ex. 12:22; Lev. 14:4,49; Psa. 51:7; Heb. 9:19.

The cleansing was from all death-defilements – dead bodies, graves or the bones of the dead, – thus indicating that the agency through which men shall be fully cleansed from death and its degradation, lifted up in restitution, will be this work, of these whom the Lord for this purpose, shall "make princes in all the earth."

[R1872 : page 227]

PITTSBURG PROPHETIC CONFERENCE.

THE announcement has been very generally made that there will be a Prophetic Conference at Pittsburg in October; and quite a number of TOWER readers are inquiring what part the Editor will take in the Conference. We answer that we have nothing to do with it; and as an explanation lay before our readers an article on the subject by the Editor published in a Pittsburg paper July 25, last.

Mr. Editor: – With others of your readers I have been interested in the announcement of a prophetic conference, soon to be held in our city. I cogitate upon the projects as follows:

That the Scriptures teach that our Redeemer will "come again" at the close of this Gospel Age cannot be disputed. That he comes to inaugurate a reign of righteousness in which the saints of the present age will be the kings and priests (rulers and instructors) to bless and lift up out of ignorance and sin and death whosoever wills of the at present "groaning creation," (Rom. 8:19-22; Rev. 20:6) should not be disputed by any who have studied the Bible and who have intelligently united in the Lord's prayer, "Thy Kingdom come; thy will be done on earth as it is done in heaven."

This being the case, all Christian people should be interested in "conference" on the subject; in order that nothing that God has declared by the mouth of his holy prophets, bearing upon this subject, should be overlooked. (Acts 3:19-21.) And such a "conference" could scarcely fail to have the Lord's blessing and to bring clearer views of the subject to all concerned.

But, sir, all who know the history of these "Prophetic Conferences," held from time to time in the past, know very well that no real conference is proposed. The true idea of conference is discussion, examination, consultation; but if the proposed "conference" shall resemble those in which some of the same gentlemen took part in the past, there will be no opportunity for conference; every utterance will be shaped and trimmed beforehand, by a committee so as to prevent conference. For instance, at the New York Prophetic Conference some years ago, when Mr. Charles MacKay, of Scotland, an invited and announced speaker, was asked to present his MS. to the critical committee, it [R1873 : page 227] was feared he would be hindered from speaking because he had no MS. prepared, not being used to "cut and dried" conferences in Scotland. He explained that he usually spoke extemporaneously, but would confine himself strictly to the Bible testimony; and he was then permitted to be the one exception to the rule.

But, mark you, sir, my objection is not to the character of the meeting, as it is proposed, but merely to its misleading name; for "those who pay the piper have the right to choose the music." If, therefore the present program be maintained, I beg to suggest that the promoters would reflect much more credit upon themselves as straightforward, candid men, by calling their meeting a "Pre-millennialist Convention," which would be a truth-telling name, whereas "Prophetic Conference" is misleading. But lest it be said that I am prejudging the coming conference, which may be held upon different lines, we note the fact that it has already been announced that "fools" and "cranks" are not connected with the movement. This clearly implies that they have already fixed their standard and decided who are the wise and who the foolish. Perhaps they forget, however, that much of the wisdom of this world is foolishness with God, and that in their day our Lord and his prophets and apostles were all accounted "fools" and "cranks;" and that the same worldly estimate will continue to the end of this age. (See 1 Cor. 1:18; 2:14; 3:18; 4:10,13,14; Acts 17:18.) I very much fear that if Jesus and Paul and Peter were to attempt to join this "conference," they would be hustled out as "cranks." Yet, to those who have ears, "The testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy," and there can be no understanding of the prophets without it.

I object to the word "prophetic," as well as to the word "conference," as inappropriately used. Those who will attend the meeting will not only find that it will be a conference at which there will be no conference, no discussion, no hearing of "the other side," but they will find the very prophecies mentioned by St. Peter (Acts 3:19-21) almost ignored. Why? Because, forsooth, some of God's people who denominate themselves "Second Adventists" have made themselves foolish in the sight of the world by defective interpretations of the prophecies. Agreeing with "Second Adventists" respecting the manner of Christ's second coming (the writer differs widely, and he believes Scripturally, from both), they want to mark themselves out as entirely separate from them respecting the interpreting of prophetic times and seasons; and they therefore are obliged to pass by the prophecies which abound with figures, periods, etc. – especially Daniel's. But why then use the word prophetic?

In one of your issues I notice that the views of the conference are already fixed in several respects which I consider erroneous. I therefore criticize them, briefly, and thus afford the coming "conference" an opportunity to examine its faith afresh, in the light of the Scriptures which I shall cite.

They do not pretend to fix the time of the Lord's second coming. They hold that of that event no man knows the date nor will any ever know beforehand. They feel positive of this because of the Lord's statement in St. [R1873 : page 228] Mark 13:32. But they overlook the fact that if our Lord meant to tell us that no man would ever know he did not so state himself. And since he included himself and the angels, it would equally imply that neither he nor the angels would ever know, which would be an absurdity; for our Lord could not come a second time without knowing it some time previously. The time was unknown then and was to so continue until God's due time for making it known; for "the Lord God doeth nothing but he revealeth it to his servants the prophets." And this is all clearly stated and explained in Daniel 12:9,10.

If the times and seasons of prophecy give them no light, why do they surmise that the event is nigh? Is it not with them a guess in the dark? If they have not trimmed their lamps, and gotten more light on the subject than had those who have vaguely looked and hoped for the Lord for eighteen centuries, why do they think the great event near? (Matt. 25:1-13.) Do they not see that the repeated injunction, "Watch!" implies that the "wise virgins" did not know, but were to watch in order that in due time they might know? Wherein would be the necessity of watching for an event that would be known to them no sooner nor more surely than to others? Does not the command, "Watch!" imply that at the proper time the watchers will be rewarded by a knowledge which the unwatching will not have? – 1 Thes. 5:1-3,4-6.

These Christian friends have a fixed belief respecting the manner of Christ's second coming, which we believe it would advantage them to refix more in harmony with reason and Scripture. They believe that he will come literally, but by that they mean that they expect him again in the flesh. Do they forget that when he "was made flesh" at his first advent it meant the laying aside of the superior glory and honor of the spirit nature, a humbling of himself to "the form of a servant;" and that, thus, he who was "rich" as a spirit being, became "poor" when he became "the man" Christ Jesus? How can they think of his body as being marred and yet being of transcendent beauty? How can they expect to see those scars for all eternity and yet expect that things of the present time will no more be remembered? How can they suppose that the Lord has the same wounded body without supposing that the saints also in their resurrection will have deformed and sin-scarred bodies, such as they have at present?

Surely they admit that Christ finished the work for which it was necessary for him to take man's nature; viz., "for the suffering of death," that he might give his flesh "for the life of the world." (John 6:51.) How can they think he is still flesh and will come a second time as a flesh-being? Surely they will admit that "him hath God highly exalted" again. (Phil. 2:8,9.) Surely they will admit that he was "put to death in the flesh but quickened (made alive) in spirit." Do they not remember, also, that "flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God"? How then can they expect a flesh and blood Christ to be the great King and to set up the great Kingdom promised?

Do they not remember that one apostle explains that "it doth not yet appear what we shall be," but that "when he shall appear we shall be like him, and see him as he is?" – not he like us, that we might see him as he was. – 1 John 3:2.

Do they not remember that another apostle declares that the church must be "changed" by resurrection power, from animal bodies to spiritual bodies, in order that she may be united to the Lord in the Kingdom which flesh and blood cannot inherit? – 1 Cor. 15:44,49-53.

Do they not remember that after his resurrection our Lord not only showed the apostles that he was alive again, but proved to them that he was no longer "the man Christ Jesus who gave himself a ransom," but the King of Glory – a spirit being. He proved this by showing them that he was no longer limited to human conditions. He came into the room where they were met, while the doors were shut. He vanished from their sight when the interview was ended. Indeed, they saw but little of him during the forty days after his resurrection, and the world saw him not at all. And during his interviews with his disciples he showed himself in various forms or bodies, just as he did before he became man, when as a spirit being he appeared to Abraham in human form but without being of human nature. – Gen. 18:1-8.

But they tell us that their belief that Christ's coming will be in the flesh is based upon the facts recorded in Acts 1:9,11; especially the declaration, "This same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven."

We inquire, Is there in this anything difficult? or that would demand that all of the foregoing Scripture teachings respecting our Lord as a spirit being should be cast aside, ignored? I think not. I suggest that this passage when rightly understood, is in full accord with the others. It is the manner of our Lord's coming again that is to resemble the manner of his going away. Was the manner of his going quiet, unaccompanied by outward display, unknown to the world, and known and recognized only by his chosen? Yes. Then surely in "like manner," and not in a different manner, should his chosen look for him to come again. Quietly, unknown to the world, known only to those who "watch," he will come again.

A mistake of these friends has been to infer that "manner" means flesh, and they have failed to notice the real "manner" of his going – quietly, unobserved of the world. Our Lord had a body of flesh when the disciples beheld him taken up into heaven, but the flesh was no longer he, as before his resurrection, but merely a form, like his clothing, that represented (but veiled) his real, glorious, spiritual body, which St. Paul saw afterward, at the cost of his sight. – 1 Cor. 15:5-8; 9:1; Acts 9:3-18.

The fact that our Lord manifested himself in a body of flesh after his resurrection, before his ascension, by no means proves that he will similarly manifest himself in a fleshly form at his second advent; for "manner" and condition are wholly different things. I believe from other Scriptures that instead of his appearing in the flesh, his saints when "changed" to spirit beings will "see him as he is," as St. Paul saw him "before the time;" but with the [R1874 : page 228] powers of their "changed" conditions they will not suffer from the sight of the Lord's glory, but will be with him and behold and share his glory.

We would like, too, that these gentlemen, when they meet, should not fail to notice the peculiar Greek word parousia – rendered "coming" in connection with our Lord's second advent, the signification of which is presence. Notice that Matt. 24:37 contains the word, declaring: "As it was in the days of Noah, so shall it be in the presence of the son of man." In the time of the Lord's second presence the world will proceed as usual – eating, drinking, planting, building, etc., and know not of his presence and the approaching trouble, as in Noah's day they knew not of the coming flood. Compare also Luke 17:26. Our friends err also in their interpretation of Zech. 14:4, "His feet shall stand in that day upon the Mount of Olives." The passage does not refer to the literal feet of Christ at all, but symbolically to the feet of his father, Jehovah, as will [R1874 : page 229] be clearly seen by reference to the preceding verse, if the English reader will remember wherever the word "Lord" occurs in the Old Testament in small capital letters, the original (Hebrew) is Jehovah – exclusively the Father's name.

A very large proportion of Christian people are post-millennialists (believers that Christ will not come until the church shall have introduced and finished the Millennium). Nevertheless they see that eighteen centuries have done but little even in the most civilized parts, toward bringing about the condition in which God's will shall be done on earth as (perfectly as) it is done in heaven; and they see that even now the nominal conversions in heathen lands are not five per cent of the births, while in the most civilized lands the really sanctified are few. Many of these would be prepared to look for the Lord's coming and kingdom as the only tangible hope for the groaning creation: but they are repelled by such pre-millennialists, as propose this "Prophetic Conference," who claim that Christ will come again in the flesh marred and wounded, but shining, and that with his saints, also in the flesh, with their deformed features shining, he will set up a fleshly kingdom, an earthly court, after the order of kings, emperors and popes of the present time, but more magnificent and beneficent.

If, therefore, the coming meeting could be a real conference, and if the conferees could come to see that Christ at his second advent, and his associated saints, will be no longer flesh and blood, but spirit beings, whose majesty will be completely hidden from mortal view, but whose power and authority will be everywhere in evidence (as Satan, "the prince of this world," a spirit being, is present, and invisible, but nevertheless powerful, working in and through, the "children of disobedience"), it would do much to convert thousands to pre-millennial views; for thousands are too consistent and too spiritually minded to suppose that God, having begun in the spirit, will perfect his plan on such a plane of the flesh.

I would be glad to see these brethren make their proposed meeting a genuine prophetic conference; and, if they will confer thereupon, we will cheerfully and freely supply them the evidences, chapter and verse, that demonstrate that the Lord has come upon them "as a thief," and that, not watching aright, they "knew not" that the day of the Lord's spiritual presence (parousia) began in the autumn of A.D. 1874, as is abundantly attested by the prophets and corroborated by the "clouds" of trouble in which he first reveals himself to the world in judgments; to be followed by his revelation as the "Sun of Righteousness," to heal and bless all who will accept his grace.

To me the Scriptures clearly demonstrate that the great antitypical Jubilee began with our Lord's presence in 1874, and that the little period of forty years between then and 1915 is in Scripture called the "day of vengeance" in which God will overturn all present institutions, financial, social and religious (the smiting time of Daniel 2:44,45), preparatory to the inauguration of the Kingdom of Righteousness symbolised by the divided Mount of Olives (the two parts of God's kingdom), upon which symbolically Jehovah's feet shall rest, when he shall make the place of his feet (the earth, his footstool) glorious. – Isa. 60:13.

C. T. RUSSELL.

[R1874 : page 229]

YOUR SAFETY IN THE COMING TROUBLE.

"The sinners in Zion are afraid; fearfulness hath surprised the hypocrites. Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings?" "He that walketh righteously, and speaketh uprightly; he that despiseth the gain of oppressions, that shaketh his hands from holding of bribes, that stoppeth his ears from hearing of blood, and shutteth his eyes from seeing evil: he shall dwell on high; his place of defence shall be the munitions of rocks; bread shall be given him, his waters shall be sure." – Isa. 33:14-16.
T
HE fear here spoken of by the prophet is the fear that is now beginning to be experienced throughout the lengths and breadths of nominal Zion – Christendom (Christ's kingdom), so called. The Prophet, as he frequently did (e.g., Isa. 55:3-9), took the standpoint of the future, – of our day, – and thus speaks for the Lord of the work he is now about to do – "Now will I rise, saith the Lord: now will I be exalted; now will I lift up myself. [The appointed time to overthrow the present order of things and to establish the Kingdom of God having come.] Ye [the same class referred to above – the sinners in Zion. See also verse 1] shall conceive chaff; ye shall bring forth stubble [Such will be the result of the great efforts to draw numbers into the membership of nominal Zion – the efforts to stamp all the world who will submit to it with the name Christian, as manifested in the recent movements toward so-called Christian Union, which would not only baptize the ignorant infants and count them as born into the Church, and recognize all the adherents of Apostate Christianity, but seeks also to gain by compromises and by flattery the adherents of Judaism, who totally repudiate Christ, as well as the blinded millions of heathenism that bow to idols of wood and stone and know not God nor his dear Son, our Lord and Redeemer] – Ye shall conceive chaff: ye shall bring forth stubble: your breath [your false doctrines of belief and policy] as fire shall devour you [Your unprincipled policy which would thus sell the Lord and the truth for gain – in numbers and prestige and power before the world – shall lead to dire results – to fearful trouble and destruction]. And the people [there assembled and compacted in a false Christian, or as some suggest, religious union. – See also Isa. 8:9-13] shall be as the burnings of lime [self-consumed; the very nature of an organization of such heterogeneous elements must of necessity be self-destructive, the process also being a painful one]; as thorns [Yes, it will be a union of thorns; each will be a thorn in the flesh to the other] cut up [made ready] shall they be burned in the fire."

Observe, it is "the sinners in Zion," not the humble sincere people of God, that are afraid; and fearfulness hath surprised the hypocrites. To the former class, as in the end of the Jewish age also, belong those wilfully blind [R1874 : page 230] leaders in Zion and all their wilfully blind followers, who refuse to see the truth when it is testified to them and who love and prefer the error and devote their energies to bolstering up and reinforcing the systems of error with which their temporal interests, social and financial, seem to be identified. And in doing this, ostensibly to promote the interests of the Redeemer's Kingdom, but really in opposition to its establishment, their course is surely hypocritical, as the Prophet declares.

While the great theologians, whose leisure and learning have afforded them special facilities for coming to a knowledge of the truth, have wasted their talents in building up and supporting with their influence great systems of error, and while it has been and still is their great ambition to draw into these systems great numbers, according to the Prophet, they have been only preparing stubble for the fire of this evil day. And already, as the Prophet declares, "fearfulness hath surprised the hypocrites." Does it seem surprising to some that the Prophet should so irreverently handle some of the reverend gentlemen of to-day who so wisely (?) descant upon the credibility and authority of the sacred Scriptures, and who, while condemning them, with a great show of learning and eloquence, offer in their stead the miserable substitute of their own false reasonings utterly regardless of the divine revelation? For the beautiful record of man's creation in the image of his Maker they substitute the ape origin, or, going back of that, they find him in the protoplasm. For the account of his fall and redemption they substitute the theory of his evolution by what they call a natural process, from lower to higher conditions. And for the clearly defined destiny of man revealed in the Scriptures they substitute the vain and idle speculation of endless progression. [R1875 : page 230]

While all of the leading or clerical class in nominal Zion have not yet fallen into this snare, the great ones have, and their ideas are fast taking possession of the theological seminaries, and their public teachings from the pulpit, the religious press and the professor's chair are fast moulding the thought of all "Christendom." And it is from this source, and as a result of the "fears" of this very class, whose learning and positions of influence enable them to see, as people in the humbler walks of life have been less able to see, the trend of events toward disaster and ruin – the great time of trouble foretold. And instead of using their powerful influence for truth and righteousness, which would of course necessitate the repudiation of their own past erroneous teachings, and humbly endeavoring to lead the people back to the old paths pointed out by the Lord and the apostles, in their pride of heart and consequent blindness they are leading them further into the labyrinths of error; and, according to the Word of the Lord (Luke 6:39), both leaders and people shall fall into the ditch.

But while the most intelligent and influential, who are thus misusing their talents and betraying their trusts as stewards of the Lord's goods, as did their prototypes in the Jewish age (Matt. 15:7-9,14), are the greatest sinners in Zion, those also who blindly follow their leading become partakers of their sin (Rev. 18:4) and share the same penalty – both together "fall into the ditch" and, as "stubble," are prepared for the fire.

While in their fear of the fiery trouble which they now see coming upon the earth, they anxiously soliloquize (for they hesitate to express their fears openly) – "Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? Who among us shall dwell with the everlasting burnings [the consuming burnings, the trouble threatening to last until the whole present order of things is consumed]?"

If these inquiries were made of the Lord, and with a disposition of heart to obey his voice, the fearful calamities now, alas! soon to be experienced, would be averted; but such is not the case. These are mere soliloquies, the underbreath expressions of their fears, the only result of which is the leaning still more to their own understandings, the compromise of truth and righteousness and a determination to band together for mutual protection and the resistance of the righteous judgments of God. As to the results of such a union, see Isa. 8:9,10; 28:17,18.

But hear the word of the Lord, ye who have no part nor lot with the workers of iniquity, and who would inquire of him upon what conditions any may stand in this evil day; for thus saith the Lord, "He that walketh righteously and speaketh uprightly, he that despiseth the gain of oppressions, that shaketh his hands from the holding of bribes, that stoppeth his ears from the hearing of blood, and shutteth his eyes from seeing evil: he shall dwell on high; his place of defence shall be the munitions of rocks; bread shall be given him, his waters shall be sure." And if ye know these things, happy are ye if ye do them.

In these days when iniquity abounds and the love of the many who profess the name of Christ waxes cold, only those who have the stamina of character can fulfil these conditions. Those who reverence God more than men, however great may be their pretensions to wisdom, piety and learning; who rest their faith implicitly upon the inspired testimony of the Apostles and Prophets; and who exercise their own God-given right of private judgment and so prove all things by an appeal, not to human philosophies and idle speculations, but "to the law and the testimony" (Isa. 8:20), and hold fast to that which is good – those only can fulfil these conditions.

To walk righteously means to walk contrary to the course of this present evil world. It means to take the unpopular side of the questions of the day in nearly every case, and thus to be misunderstood and misrepresented and have our names cast out as evil; in a word, it means to suffer for righteousness' sake.

To speak uprightly is to go a step further than to walk righteously: it implies not only personal effort to withstand evil and error in their effects upon one's own character, but [R1875 : page 231] also the fortitude to withstand error with bold and fearless presentations of the truth, regardless of the cost of such faithfulness, which we are assured not only by the Word of God, but by observation and experience as well, will be persecution in some or possibly in many forms. Such a course of righteousness in "this present evil world," when the powers of darkness are in the ascendency, inevitably leads to social ostracism and hatred, in proportion to the zeal for God that is manifested, and persecution in some form is sure to follow. But those of the class here described cannot be bribed by any of these considerations. If one has been a clergyman and his eyes have been opened to the truth, he cannot be bribed by any considerations of salary or prestige or fame to stifle his convictions – "he shaketh his hands from the holding of bribes."

If he be a merchant or mechanic, and the multitudes say, Come, join our fraternity and band together with us to conserve our interests or to fight for our rights, he replies, No, "They that are of a froward heart are abomination to the Lord, but such as are upright in their way are his delight. Though hand join in hand, the wicked shall not be unpunished." (Prov. 11:20,21) Let the rich consider the interests of the poor and needy, lest they fall under the fearful condemnation of the oppressor (James 5:1-5); and let the poor commit their cause unto the Lord, who has pledged himself on behalf of all those that trust in him.

To all thus minded, who unflinchingly stand for truth and righteousness in this evil day, is the blessed promise of God – "He shall dwell on high [above the fears, the unrest and the distress which will overwhelm the world]; his place of defence shall be the munitions of rocks [the Lord, the Rock of ages, the Most High shall be his hiding place]; bread shall be given him, his waters shall be sure [he will be sustained with the bread of life and refreshed with the water of life both spiritually and physically]. Blessed are all they that put their trust in the Lord, for they shall never be confounded.

[R1875 : page 231]

THE TRIUMPH OF GIDEON.
– OCT. 13. – JUDGES 7:13-23. –

Golden Text – "Though a host should encamp against me, my heart shall not fear." – Psa. 27:3.
T
HE selection of Gideon's army was an illustration of the Lord's method in the selection of a "peculiar people" who shall share with him the honors of victory in the conquest of sin and all its defiling host. [R1876 : page 231]

At the sound of the trumpet thirty-two thousand were gathered together unto Gideon to fight against the hosts of Midian. (Verse 3.) But the Lord said to Gideon that there were too many, and that all were not of the kind desired. Then the Lord commanded Gideon to prove them. From the human standpoint the thirty-two thousand of Israel had no show of conquering the hundred and thirty-five thousand of their enemies (Judges 8:10); but from the standpoint of faith in God, who called them to this service, victory was certain, though none could foresee in what way it should be brought about.

The Lord had in mind a glorious victory, but it was to be achieved by his might and power alone. The honor due to the human instruments who were privileged to share in it was not to be in their skill and strength in battle, but in their faith in God and their zeal in obeying his orders, as an evidence of the strength of their confidence in God.

Accordingly, the first test of faith applied was permission for all the fearful to return home. This reduced the army to ten thousand. The next test was a test of zeal. When led down to the brook to drink, all but three hundred halted very leisurely and knelt down to drink, which required the loosening of their armor and unfastening of their swords. But three hundred did not stop to do this, but hastily scooped up a little water and lapped it from their hands. This zeal, inspired by a living faith in God, was just the element of character for which the Lord was looking; and these three hundred "peculiar people," full of faith and active zeal, were the only ones acceptable to God and privileged to share the honors of delivering Israel from a mighty host of oppressors.

Just so the Lord Jehovah contemplates the conquest of the world for Christ (Zech. 14:3); and Christ, like Gideon, is called of God to lead a "little flock" of "called and faithful and chosen" ones (Rev. 17:14) forth to the conquest of the hosts of sin.

All that have been called during the entire Gospel age have been but a few in comparison with the opposing forces of the world. The call was first to a justifying faith in Christ. Then the privilege was offered to these to present themselves as living sacrifices to God (Rom. 12:1), and thus to go forward to the battle. But that was more than the weak faith of the multitudes could endure; and thousands therefore returned, shunning the hardships of the way, and faithless as to the Lord's ability to grant them the victory.

But still quite a multitude made the full consecration; and, buckling on the armor of God, they pressed forward. Of these the hardships of the way are continually thinning the ranks. Many grow weary in well-doing, and zeal abates, and love grows cold, and faith declines, and they fail to push on to the end. Beloved, let us not be of those who draw back, or of those who faint by the way; for glorious will be the victory of faith and zeal. Blessed is he that shall endure unto the end. Such shall indeed be "a peculiar people, zealous of good works."

[R1875 : page 231]

RUTH'S CHOICE.
– OCT. 20. – RUTH 1:14-22. –

Golden Text – "Thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God." – Ruth 1:16.
M
ANIFESTLY the chief object in the brief narrative of Ruth and Naomi was to preserve an authentic record of a link in the chain of our Lord's human ancestry. Though a Gentile by birth, Ruth was a sincere Jewish proselyte, incorporated into the commonwealth of Israel, and as such she was recognized of God as one of his chosen people. And not only so, but she was also honored with a place in the line of our Lord's human ancestry, being the great-grandmother of David. The same was true of Rahab, also a Jewish proselyte, who became the mother of Boaz, the great-grandfather of David.

The story of Ruth and Naomi is an interesting one [R1875 : page 232] as an item of Jewish history. It has its lights and also its shadows; for the characters were but samples of our fallen humanity coming gradually under the influence of divine grace. All that was noble in them therefore calls forth our admiration and esteem, while the blemishes are to be deplored.

Naomi and her husband, Elimelech, pressed by hard times and a threatening famine, decided to leave the land of Israel and the people of God, and try their fortunes among the Gentiles in the land of Moab. In doing so they were leaving the special privileges of association with God's people, and failing also to contribute their part toward their comfort and encouragement and godly counsel in the time of general distress. They were also exposing themselves and their children to the unhallowed influences of an idolatrous people. This was the part they chose merely for temporal advantage, rather than to share the hardships at home and trust in the Lord to supply their needs.

The result of this wrong course was only trouble. Elimelech died there, and Naomi was left alone with her two sons to raise. By and by the two sons married heathen wives who knew not the God of Israel. Then they also died; and Naomi, bereft of all but her two daughters-in-law, feeling that the hand of the Lord was against her in that she was thus sorely chastened, decided to retrace her steps to the land of her nativity, and again to cast in her lot with the Lord's people.

When she had thus, by sad experience, learned the needed lesson and determined again to submit herself to the Lord's leading, the favor of God began to return to her. She found a great comfort and blessing in the manifested love and devotion of Ruth, her daughter-in-law, and in her conversion to the Jewish faith. "And Ruth said, 'Entreat me not to leave thee, or return from following after thee: for whither thou goest I will go; and where thou lodgest I will lodge; thy people shall be my people and thy God my God. Where thou diest I will die, and there will I be buried. The Lord do so to me, and more also, if aught but death part thee and me.'"

That this was not a mere impulse on the part of Ruth is also manifest from her subsequent course of faithfulness to her mother-in-law; and Naomi's appreciation and devotion to her interests were just as manifest. Evidently though Naomi and her husband had erred in judgment and had been faint-hearted they were still loyal to God and let their light shine in the land of Moab, and both the daughters-in-law had been influenced by it, while Ruth was fully converted to God.

Their kindly reception by the people of Bethlehem and the sympathy and kindness shown them were other great blessings. And finally the marriage of Ruth to Boaz, a man of character, wealth and influence, furnished a happy home to the desolate women and Ruth was honored of God in the line of our Lord's ancestry.

The advice of Naomi to Ruth concerning Boaz was not, however, of unalloyed wisdom. Such a course today would brand any woman as a loose, if not a disreputable, character. And that Boaz feared such reproach is also clear from his request of Chap. 3:14. In advising such a course Naomi again betrayed the weakness of her trust in God. But God in kindness had mercy on her weakness; and, their hearts being free from evil, God overruled all for good.

page 232

ENCOURAGING WORDS FROM FAITHFUL WORKERS.

DEAR BROTHER: – Enclosed you will find check to be placed to the credit of the Church of Boston. We are all out of "Do You Know" tracts. There is a great interest among the brethren here to spread the glad tidings, and we find use for lots of printed matter. We generally meet the people coming out of meetings.

Enclosed find clipping. How true it is that these "powers" shall be rolled together as a scroll. (Isa. 34:4.) Our hearts should be continually at the throne of grace, knowing just where we stand; and God grant it may be our privilege to help with our dear Head to bring all things to a condition of peace.

Yours in Christ,

A. SIMPSON.

[R1875 : page 232]

MY DEAR BROTHER AND SISTER RUSSELL: – Though never have we met (and perhaps never shall we) in this life, yet for the last eight or nine years my spirit has been oft refreshed from yours. At the first reading of The Plan of the Ages I was interested, impressed, converted. Before that my soul had been wandering and searching and longing for the pure waters, in a wilderness of theologies, theories, philosophies and fictions – groping after the "unknown God."

You have known something of the development of my thought in the later years by kindly exchanging your publications for mine – The Grand Army Advocate; and though it is a secular paper, yet never has a number left me without bearing a word for the King. Meekly and humbly, I trust, have these gone forth from my hand, and the purpose has been to stir up thought and direct the seeing eye toward the "old paths;" how far successfully I do not know – God knoweth.

And now I am full of thankfulness and praise to our Father for the new light which in these last times hath been shed abroad eminently through your ministry. The truth which makes and keeps you free has graciously gone forth in freedom to many a searching soul, and its work, mayhap, is only yet commencing.

I have just read your last Old Theology Quarterly. Its compact scope and perfect impartiality are marvelous. I can wish that every thoughtful mind might read it. Of course, however, conviction of truth comes only through the ministration of the spirit of truth; and ears must be opened or they cannot hear.

We have here, under the faithful teachings of Brother Page, a little band. The dear Lord is in our midst when only two or three meet together; but generally there are more, and I am sure that enlargement of thought and research in Scriptural matters are rapidly opening up the gates that the King of glory may come in.

And now, dear Brother and Sister, that the cry goes loudly up to you, "Watchman, what of the night?" may the Lord God of Hosts sustain you and keep you faithful unto the end.

Sincerely yours in Christ,

J. F. BISHOP.

page 233
October 1st

ZION'S
WATCH TOWER
and
Herald of Christ's Presence

ROCK OF AGES
Other foundation can
no man lay
A RANSOM FOR ALL

"Watchman, What of the Night?"
"The Morning Cometh, and a Night also!" Isaiah 21:11

VOL. XVI.OCTOBER 15, 1895.No. 20.
CONTENTS.

Special Items; Letters of Withdrawal 234
Views from the Tower 235
The Hope of Immortality 237
What is the Soul? 240
Bible Study: The Child Samuel 243
Bible Study: Samuel the Judge 244

'I will stand upon my watch, and set my foot upon the Tower, and will watch to see what He shall say unto me, and what answer I shall make to them that oppose me.' Hab. 2:1

Upon the earth distress of nations with perplexity: the sea and the waves (the restless, discontented) roaring: men's hearts failing them for fear and for looking forward to the things coming upon the earth (society): for the powers of the heavens (ecclestiasticism) shall be shaken. . . .When ye see these things come to pass, then know that the Kingdom of God is nigh at hand. Look up, lift up your heads, rejoice, for your redemption draweth nigh. – Luke 21:25-28, 32.

page 234

THIS JOURNAL AND ITS MISSION.
T
HIS journal is set for the defence of the only true foundation of the Christian's hope now being so generally repudiated, – Redemption through the precious blood of "the man Christ Jesus who gave himself a ransom [a corresponding price, a substitute] for all." (1 Pet. 1:19; 1 Tim. 2:6.) Building up on this sure foundation the gold, silver and precious stones (1 Cor. 3:11-15; 2 Pet. 1:5-11) of the Word of God, its further mission is to – "Make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery which...has been hid in God,...to the intent that now might be made known by the Church the manifold wisdom of God" – "which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed." – Eph. 3:5-9,10.

It stands free from all parties, sects and creeds of men, while it seeks more and more to bring its every utterance into fullest subjection to the will of God in Christ, as expressed in the Holy Scriptures. It is thus free to declare boldly whatsoever the Lord hath spoken; – according to the divine wisdom granted unto us, to understand. Its attitude is not dogmatical, but confident; for we know whereof we affirm, treading with implicit faith upon the sure promises of God. It is held as a trust, to be used only in his service; hence our decisions relative to what may and what may not appear in its columns must be according to our judgment of his good pleasure, the teaching of his Word, for the upbuilding of his people in grace and knowledge. And we not only invite but urge our readers to prove all its utterances by the infallible Word to which reference is constantly made, to facilitate such testing.

TO US THE SCRIPTURES CLEARLY TEACH
That the Church is "the Temple of the Living God" – peculiarly "His
workmanship;" that its construction has been in progress throughout the Gospel age – ever since Christ became the world's Redeemer and the chief corner stone of this Temple, through which, when finished, God's blessings shall come "to all people," and they find access to him. – 1 Cor. 3:16,17; Eph. 2:20-22; Gen. 28:14; Gal. 3:29.
That meantime the chiseling, shaping and polishing, of consecrated believers
in Christ's atonement for sin, progresses; and when the last of these "living stones," "elect and precious," shall have been made ready, the great Master Workman will bring all together in the First Resurrection; and the Temple shall be filled with his glory, and be the meeting place between God and men throughout the Millennium. – Rev. 15:5-8.
That the Basis of Hope, for the Church and the World, lies in the fact that
"Jesus Christ, by the grace of God, tasted death for every man," "a ransom for all," and will be "the true light which lighteth every man that cometh into the world," "in due time." – Heb. 2:9; John 1:9; 1 Tim. 2:5,6.
That the Hope of the Church is that she may be like her Lord, "see him
as he is," be "partaker of the divine nature," and share his glory as his joint-heir. – 1 John 3:2; John 17:24; Rom. 8:17; 2 Pet. 1:4.
That the present mission of the Church is the perfecting of the saints for
the future work of service; to develop in herself every grace; to be God's witness to the world; and to prepare to be the kings and priests of the next age. – Eph. 4:12; Matt. 24:14; Rev. 1:6; 20:6.
That the hope for the World lies in the blessings of knowledge and opportunity
to be brought to by Christ's Millennial Kingdom – the restitution of all that was lost in Adam, to all the willing and obedient, at the hands of their Redeemer and his glorified Church. – Acts 3:19-21; Isa. 35.
CHARLES T. RUSSELL, Editor; MRS. C. T. RUSSELL, Associate.

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IF YOU wish for extra copies of this issue send for them at once. Five cents each; fifty cents a dozen. [R1883 : page 234]

LETTERS OF WITHDRAWAL FROM BABYLON.

Frequently those who leave Babylon get no opportunity to communicate to their Church brethren the cause of their withdrawal; because the officers of many churches in their zeal for the prosperity of their denomination (we regret to say it) seem to forget that honesty is an important element of Christian character, and either smother the matter of the withdrawal and permit the impression that the brother or sister who has withdrawn is still a member, but no longer faithful to his church engagements, or else hasten to spread a false report of his belief (as much by insinuation, tone of voice and manner, as by words) in order to forever break his or her influence. To thus bear false witness against God's faithful children is mistakenly considered a service to God, – it is really against the Lord's cause and for the upholding of sectarianism, lest the influence should open the eyes of others of the Lord's sheep and they too escape from the bondage of human traditions, into the light and liberty of the truth.

To meet such emergencies we have prepared, for those who may desire them, Letters of Withdrawal, which express about what would be your sentiments and merely require the signature of the user and the date. These might be sent by mail, to each member of the church from which you withdraw, as well as to the minister; for you joined the church membership and not merely the minister. We suggest that with the letter you enclose copies of tracts Nos. 1, 21 and 27 in a Missionary Envelope. All this, unsealed, will require but one cent postage, each. We will supply the tracts free and the letters (envelopes included) for two cents each, or free to those too poor to purchase. The printing is in type-writer characters. Printing these in quantities permits this low price.

[R1876 : page 235]

VIEWS FROM THE TOWER.

THE attack upon and killing of Christian missionaries in the interior of China, by the sect known as "Vegetarians," continues to attract attention. Six of the rioting Chinese are reported sentenced and decapitated; but the general opinion is that Chinese antipathy to missionaries continues and is fostered by the magistrates. Five English gunboats are said to be advancing up the river leading to the scene of the disturbance. However, neither England nor any other nation is anxious for a Chinese war, especially an interior war, where China's 300,000,000 population would be difficult to handle.

All intelligent people know that "the opening of China to the gospel" was advocated by many who were much more interested in opening China to European commerce, and who knew that the success of the former would mean the success of the latter. Now that the doors of trade are wide open and only the mission work is attacked, the question of the real value of missions amongst the nations which have a civilization and religion of their own is being much discussed; – especially in view of the fact that the representatives of these religions, Buddhism, Brahminism and Confucianism, were invited to and warmly welcomed at the World's Parliament of Religions in 1893.* Of course, the friends of missions defend their usefulness; as for instance, Ex-Secretary Foster who, at the Mass Missionary Meeting in Minneapolis, Oct. 5, declared that "Practically the whole world is open to the missionary," and that "The various Mission Boards are better equipped than ever for doing effective work." "The various schools and colleges established in heathen lands can turn out all the native workers that the liberality of the churches at home can support, and the great need of the mission cause to-day is not so much men as money, to carry to success the Christianization of the world."

*See our issue of Nov., '93.

As the other side of the question has been examined but little, we quote two paragraphs from a very moderate article entitled "Civilization," in The Spectator (London, Eng.), a very conservative journal, as follows: –

CIVILIZATION.

"It is difficult to exaggerate the importance of the subject which Mr. Flinders Petrie brought before the British Association last week in his paper on "Civilization," and continued in a speech on Tuesday. Western Europe is expending a great part of its surplus strength, intellectual and physical, in the effort to re-civilize the dark world, Asiatic and African; and Mr. Petrie, who has watched the experiment for years from the inside, believes that its object and its methods are alike mistaken. There would be little gained, he thinks, if it succeeded, for the inferior civilizations are developments as natural, and as fitted for those among whom they arise, as the higher, and it cannot succeed by the means it has adopted. It is impossible to [R1877 : page 235] supersede rapidly a low civilization by a high one, because the indispensable pressure so affects the brain that it either destroys the race subjected to it, or positively lowers instead of raising its intellectual capacity. Savages perish under the burden of European education; while the semi-civilized races when taught to read and write – i.e., we presume, taught the European curriculum – become positive fools. The Arabs of Egypt, for example, become comparatively idiots. The strength which was in them is overtasked, and they lose most of the efficiencies they originally possessed. That is a very serious indictment of Europe, and its methods of improving the races it has conquered or intends to conquer, and as the question concerns the whole future of the world, and as Mr. Flinders Petrie is a man whose opinion on such a subject deservedly carries weight, it is worth while to consider for a moment how far his decision appears to be justified by the facts. [R1877 : page 236]

"There can be no question of a great mass of evidence in Mr. Flinders Petrie's favor. European civilization has undoubtedly killed out or is killing out the Polynesian races, one of which, at least, was possessed originally of remarkable intellectual as well as physical powers. It has failed to impress, though it has not killed out, the wild Indian of America, who, in several places where he was partially civilized, has in his horror of the process recoiled to barbarism, while it must be considered, on the whole, to have lowered rather than raised the civilization of the partially civilized races of America, such as the Mexican, and more especially the Indian of Peru. It has lowered, Mr. Petrie affirms, the settled Arab of the Egyptian Delta, while close observers doubt whether it has made the Hindoo, the Turk, or the Chinese either an abler or a better man. The Frenchified Pasha is a great deal worse than the old Turk, the educated Chinaman is not better than the Chinaman proper, while the cultured Bengalee has lost many beneficial restraints and gained nothing except a power of expressing European ideas upon which he does not seem disposed to act. To attribute the failure to reading and writing is, of course, a mere fashion of speech, Asiatics not being made feeble by knowledge of their own literatures; but it is true that Asiatics learned in the knowledge of Europe are often mere "blotting papers of civilization," – persons who derive from Europe nothing but certain inkstains, which leave them rather more rotten than before. Moreover, it is true that originality seems to die away in the races brought into violent contact with a superior civilization, that their very arts decline, till they cannot even repeat their own artistic triumphs, and that they appear incapable of producing fresh literature of any mark. This has been acknowledged by many among themselves with deep sadness, and has so impressed experienced observers among the superior race, that many of them have doubted if the whole experiment is not a waste of force; and others have discussed plans for carrying on the native philosophies to a higher point, instead of superseding them. It must be added that what Europe rather foolishly considers the machinery of civilization – the railway and telegraph and sanitation – appears to have no effect whatever in raising the people compelled to adopt it, they all remaining barbarians, as in South Africa, or semi-civilized, as in Spanish America and the provinces of India."

The fact is that all thinking people, friends and foes of missionary effort alike, begin to realize that if God's Kingdom will not come nor his will be done on earth, until present missionary methods shall convert all or even a majority of the heathen into saints, either the standard of saintship must be lowered so as to take into Christ's fold all except the positively black sheep (including with what Bishop Foster calls "the ring-streaked and speckled" masses of Christendom all the similar masses in heathendom), or else there is no hope of God's will ever being done on earth as in heaven.

Seeing this, and not seeing that it is God's Kingdom that is to bless and enlighten the world – "all the families of the earth" – the worldly wise are disposed to say, We must have set our estimates of saving faith and practice too high. These people of China and India are Christianized (by that they mean civilized, for with many the word Christ has degenerated to mean civil or polite) as well as we: only heirs is civilization of a different type from ours, taught by different Masters. But the pupils of these different Masters need not oppose each other and seek to convert each other. All are right. All are heathen. All are children of the one Heavenly Father, by whatever names he may be known (or unknown?) to them. And with this class of worldly-wise thinkers stands an ever increasing number of worldly-wise Reverend gentlemen and Doctors of Divinity, as was shown at the World's Parliament of Religions.

Others refuse to lower the standard of faith and holiness and try to hope, against all the evidences of their senses, that they will speedily "capture the world for Christ."

Still others, with greater enlightenment, realize that the hope for the world lies not in the hands of mortal men, but in the power of God, as it will be manifested at our Lord's second advent in the setting up of the Kingdom of God.

But the readers of ZION'S WATCH TOWER and MILLENNIAL DAWN, still further enlightened by the Lord's Word, see that all the preaching done, or designed and commanded to be done, during this Gospel age was, so far as the world is concerned in the present age, only for a witness, a testimony, unto them; its special object being the perfecting of the Church, the "little flock" to whom (with their Head and Bridegroom) God has promised to give the Kingdom, the dominion under the whole heavens, through which all the families of the earth shall be blessed. – Gal. 3:8,16,17,29; Gen. 28:14.

We see, too, that the time for this work of witnessing is nearly ended; and that by the Lord's command the work in this time, the "end" or "harvest" of this age, is reaping, rather than sowing, – making ready a prepared people already justified and called, rather than preparing a people to receive the high calling, which we understand has ceased, so far as the unjustified and heathen world is concerned.

From the vantage ground mentioned by the Apostle when he said, "Ye, brethren, are not in darkness that that day should overtake you as a thief" (1 Thes. 5:4), by the Prophet when he said, "None of the wicked shall understand, but the wise [amongst the holy, – the "wise virgins"] shall understand" (Dan. 12:10), and by our Lord when he said, "Blessed are those servants whom their Lord when he cometh [arrives] shall find watching" (Luke 12:37) – from this vantage standpoint we see that all the heathen are graciously provided for in God's great plan of the ages. We see that our dear Redeemer bought "the whole world" as well as the Church with his precious blood; and that this gracious fact is the center and essence of the gospel and must sooner or later be testified to all (1 Tim. 2:6) with full opportunity for all to benefit by it and lay hold on eternal life. And we see that the Gospel age just closing, in which the dim light of faith has been a light to the path of only the few who have been made free from the blinding influences of the god of this world (2 Cor. 4:4) is part of the world's dark night of groaning [R1877 : page 237] and weeping (Rom. 8:22; Psa. 30:5), and is about to give place to the Millennial morning of joy, when the Sun of Righteousness shall arise with "healing [restitution – Acts 3:19-21] in his beams." – Mal. 4:2.

But this harvest message is going to heathen lands also; it goes, however, to the missionaries and others already "called" and "accepted," to ripen them, and separate them from the "tares," and get them into the Lord's "barn." Yes, the message is being carried by willing messengers, and is gathering together [to the Lord, and into oneness of faith, – not into a new denomination] the elect, from one end of heaven [the nominal church system] to the other. – Matt. 24:31.

From our position, therefore, we can rejoice at every effort to advance the world's intelligence and civilization, and every missionary and reform movement; even while we know from our Lord's Word that they will all fail to accomplish what their chief patrons are hoping and striving for; such results being obtainable only through the channel of God's appointment, for which his Church has long prayed, – "Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is done in heaven."

[R1877 : page 237]

THE HOPE OF IMMORTALITY.

If a man die shall he live again? All the days of my appointed time will I wait till my change come. – Job 14:14.
T
HERE is a longing hope within men that death does not end all existence. There is an undefined hope that, somehow and somewhere, the life now begun will have a continuation. In some this hope turns to fear. Realizing their unworthiness of a future of pleasure, many fear a future of woe; and the more they dread it, for themselves and others, the more they believe in it.

This undefined hope of a future life and its counterpart, fear, doubtless had their origin in the Lord's condemnation of the serpent after Adam's fall into sin and death, that [R1878 : page 237] the seed of the woman should bruise the serpent's head. This was no doubt understood to mean that at least a portion of the Adamic family would finally triumph over Satan and over death, into which he had inveigled them. No doubt God encouraged such a hope, even though but vaguely, speaking to and through Noah, and through Enoch who prophesied, "Behold the Lord cometh with ten thousand of his saints." But the gospel, the good tidings of a salvation from death to be offered to all mankind in God's due time, seems to have been first clearly stated to Abraham. The Apostle declares: "The gospel was preached before to Abraham, – saying, 'In thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed.'" This at least was the basis of the Jewish hope of a resurrection; for since many of the families of the earth were dead and dying, the promised blessing implied a future life. And when Israel was scattered among the nations at the time of the Babylonian captivity, they undoubtedly carried fragments of their hopes and promises everywhere they went.

Sure it is, that whether it came as a result of an admixture of Jewish thought, or because hope is an element of man's nature, or both, the whole world believes in a future life, and almost all believe that it will be everlasting. But such hopes are not proofs of the doctrine; and the Old Testament promises, made to the Jews, are too vague to constitute a groundwork for a clear faith, much less for a "dogmatic theology," on this subject.

It is not until we find, in the New Testament, the clear, positive statements of our Lord, and afterwards the equally clear statements of the apostles, on this momentous subject of Everlasting Life that we begin to exchange our vague hopes for positive convictions. In their words we not only have positive statements, to the effect that the possibilities of a future life have been provided for all, but the philosophy of the fact and how it is to be attained and maintained are set forth there as nowhere else.

Many have not noticed these points, and hence are "weak in the faith." Let us see what this philosophy is, and be more assured than ever that future life, everlasting life, is by our great and wise Creator's provision made a possibility for every member of the human family.

Beginning at the foundation of this New Testament assurance of Life Everlasting, we find to our astonishment that it first of all assures us that we have nothing ourselves which would give us any hope of everlasting life; – that the life of our race was forfeited by the disobedience of our father Adam; that although he was created perfect and was adapted to live forever, his sin not only brought to him the wages of sin – death – but that his children were born in a dying condition, inheritors of the dying influences. God's law, like himself, is perfect, and so was his creature (Adam) before he sinned; for of God it is written, "His work is perfect." And God through his law approves only that which is perfect, and condemns to destruction everything imperfect. Hence the race of Adam, "born in sin and shapen in iniquity," has no hope of everlasting life except upon the conditions held out in the New Testament and called the gospel, – the good tidings that a way back from the fall, to perfection to divine favor and to everlasting life, has been opened up through Christ for all of Adam's family who will avail themselves of it.

The key note of this hope of reconciliation to God, and thus to a fresh hope of life everlasting, is laid in the statements (1) that "Christ died for our sins" and (2) that he "rose again for our justification;" for "the man Christ Jesus gave himself a ransom [a corresponding price] for all." Adam and his race, which when he sinned was yet in him and shared his sentence naturally, have been [R1878 : page 238] "redeemed [bought] by the precious blood [death] of Christ."

But although the Lord's provision is abundant for all, it is not applicable to any except on certain conditions; namely, (1) that they accept Christ as their Redeemer; and (2) that they strive to avoid sin and to thenceforth live in harmony with God and righteousness. Hence we are told that "Eternal Life is the gift of God through Jesus Christ our Lord." (Rom. 6:23.) The following Scripture statements are very clear on this subject: –

"He that hath the Son hath life [a right or privilege or grant of life as God's gift]; but he that hath not the Son shall not see [perfect] life."

None can obtain everlasting life except from Christ the Redeemer and appointed Life-giver; and the truth which brings to us the privilege of manifesting faith and obedience, and thus "laying hold on eternal life," is called the "water of life" and the "bread of life." – John 4:14; 6:40,54.

This everlasting life will be granted only to those who, when they learn of it and the terms upon which it will be granted as a gift, seek for it, by living according to the spirit of holiness. They shall reap it as a gift-reward. – Rom. 6:23; Gal. 6:8.

To gain this everlasting life we must become the Lord's "sheep" and follow the voice, the instructions of the Shepherd. – John 10:26-28; 17:2,3.

The gift of Everlasting Life will not be forced upon any. On the contrary, it must be desired and sought and laid hold upon by all who would gain it. – 1 Tim. 6:12,19.

It is thus a hope, rather than the real life, that God gives us now: the hope that, because God has provided a way by which he can be just and yet the justifier of all truly believing and accepting Christ, we may ultimately attain it.

By God's grace our Lord Jesus not only bought us by the sacrifice of his life for ours, but he became our great High Priest, and as such he is now "the author [source] of eternal salvation to all them that obey him." (Heb. 5:9.) "And this is the promise which he hath promised us, even eternal life." – 1 John 2:25.

"And this is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life [now by faith and hope, and by and by actually, "when he who is our life shall appear"], and this life is in his Son. He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life." – 1 John 5:11,12.

This everlasting life, made free to Adam and all his race, by our Creator through our Redeemer, but intended for, and promised to, only the faithful and obedient, and which at present is only given to these as a hope, will be given to the faithful actually in the "resurrection."

It will be noticed that the explicit promises of God's Word differ widely from the worldly philosophies on this subject. They claim that man must have a future everlasting life because he hopes for it, or in some cases fears it. But hopes and fears are not reasonable grounds for belief on any subject. Neither is the claim that there is something in man which must live on and on forever, – when no such part of the human organism is known or can be proved or located.

But the Scriptural view of the subject is open to no such objections: it is reasonable throughout to consider our existence or life as therein presented – as a "gift of God," and not an inalienable possession of our own. Furthermore, it avoids a great and serious difficulty to which the idea of the heathen philosophies is open; for when the heathen philosopher states that man cannot perish, that he must live forever, that eternal life is not a gift of God, as the Bible declares, but a natural quality possessed by every man, he claims too much. Such a philosophy not only gives everlasting existence to those who would use it well, and to whom it would be a blessing, but to others also, who would not use it well, and to whom it would be a curse. The Scripture teaching, on the contrary, as we have already shown, declares that this great and inestimably precious gift will be given only to those who believe and obey the Redeemer and Life-giver. Others, to whom it would be an injury, not only do not possess it now, but can never get it. "The wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." The wicked (all who, after coming to a clear knowledge of the truth, wilfully disobey it) shall be cut off from among God's people, in the second death. They "shall be as though they had not been." "They shall utterly perish." "Everlasting destruction" shall be their doom – a destruction which will last forever, from which there will be no recovery, no resurrection. – Psa. 37:9; Job 10:19; Psa. 37:20; 2 Thes. 1:9.

God's gift of life eternal is precious to all his people, and a firm grasp of it by the hand of faith is quite essential to a well-balanced and consistent life. Only those who have "laid hold on eternal life," by acceptance of Christ and consecration to his service, are able to properly and profitably combat the tempests of life now raging.

A DISTINCTION AND A DIFFERENCE.

But now, having examined the hope of Immortality from the ordinary understanding of that word (everlasting life) and having found that everlasting life is God's provision for those of Adam's race who will accept it "in due time" under the terms of the New Covenant, we are prepared to go a step farther and to point out that Everlasting Life and Immortality are not synonymous terms, as people in general suppose. The word "immortal" means more than power to live everlastingly; and, according to the Scriptures, millions may have everlasting life, but only a very limited "little flock" will be made immortal.

Immortality is an element or quality of the divine nature, but not of human or angelic or of any other nature [R1879 : page 238] than the divine. And it is because Christ and his "little flock," his "bride," are to be partakers of the divine [R1879 : page 239] nature that they will be exceptions to all other creatures either in heaven or on earth. – 2 Pet. 1:4.

The word Immortal signifies not mortal – death-proof, indestructible, imperishable. Any being whose existence is dependent in any manner upon another or upon conditions, such as food, light, air, etc., is not immortal. This quality inheres in Jehovah God alone, as it is written, – "The Father hath life in himself" (John 5:26); i.e., his existence is not a derived one, nor a sustained one. He "only hath immortality" (1 Tim. 6:16) as an innate or original quality of being. These scriptures being decisive authority on the subject, we may know beyond peradventure that men, angels, archangels or even the Son of God before and during the time he "was made flesh and dwelt among us" were not immortal – all were mortal.

But the word "mortal" does not signify dying, but merely die-able – possessing life dependent upon God for its continuance. For instance, angels not being immortal are mortal and could die, could be destroyed by God if they became rebels against his wise, just and loving government. In Him [in his providence] they live and move and have their being. Indeed, of Satan who was such an angel of light, and who did become a rebel, it is distinctly declared that in due time he will be destroyed. (Heb. 2:14.) This not only proves that Satan is mortal, but it proves that angelic nature is a mortal nature – one which could be destroyed by its Creator. As for man, he is "a little lower than the angels" (Psa. 8:5), and consequently mortal also, as is abundantly attested by the fact that our race has been dying for six thousand years and that even the saints in Christ are exhorted to seek for immortality. – Rom. 2:7.

So then, Adam did not become mortal by reason of sin, but was created mortal – by nature he was subject or liable to the death penalty. Had he been created immortal nothing could have destroyed him; for, as we have seen, immortality is a state or condition not subject to death, but death-proof.

What then was Adam's condition before he sinned? and in what way did the curse affect him? – What life had he to lose if he was created mortal?

We answer, that his condition in life was similar to that of the angels: he had life in full measure – lasting life – which he might have retained forever by remaining obedient to God. But because he was not death-proof, because he did not have "life in himself," but was dependent upon conditions of divine pleasure and favor for its continuance, therefore God's threat, that if he disobeyed he should die, meant something. Had he not been mortal God's sentence would have been an empty threat. But he did die.

Jehovah God, "who only hath immortality" of himself, or "life in himself" innately, and of whom are all things, having created various orders of beings, angelic and human, in his own moral and rational likeness, but mortal and not of his divine nature, has declared that he designs a new creation, – an order of beings not only morally and rationally in his resemblance, but in "the express image" of his person and partakers of his own divine nature – a prominent constituent or element of which is immortality. – 2 Pet. 1:4.

With amazement we inquire, Upon whom shall this high honor and distinction be conferred? – Upon angels, or cherubim, or seraphim? No; but upon his Son – his specially first-born and only begotten Son, that he who was always his obedient Son should in all things have the preeminence. But before he could be so highly honored he must be tested, proved "worthy" of so great a distinction and so high an exaltation "above his fellows." This test was in view when the sentence of death was pronounced upon Adam and all his children in his loins: it was that he, Christ, should lay down his life as a ransom price for the life of Adam and all who lost life in his transgression. And he was equal to the test and gained the prize of "the divine nature," "life in himself," "immortality."

Consider him, who, for the joy set before him, endured the cross, despising the shame, and is now in consequence set down at the right hand [place of favor] of the throne of God. He was rich, but for our sakes he became poor. Inasmuch as the man and race to be redeemed were human, it was needful that he become human so as to give the ransom or corresponding price. He therefore humbled himself and took the bondman's form; and after he found himself in fashion a man, he humbled himself even unto death – even unto the most ignominious form of death – the death of the cross. "Wherefore God hath highly exalted him [to the promised divine nature at his resurrection], and given him a name that is above every name [Jehovah's excepted – 1 Cor. 15:27]. – Heb. 12:3,2; 2 Cor. 8:9; Phil. 2:8,9.

"Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing." – Rev. 5:9-12.

But more, the opulence of divine favor does not stop with the exaltation of one, but has arranged that Christ Jesus, as the Captain, shall lead a company of sons of God to glory, honor and immortality (Heb. 2:10; Rom. 2:7), each of whom, however, must be a spiritual "copy" or likeness of the "first begotten." And as a grand lesson of the divine sovereignty, and as a sublime contradiction to all evolution theories, God elected to call to this place of honor (as "the bride, the Lamb's wife and joint heir" – Rev. 21:2,9; Rom. 8:17), not the angels and cherubs, but some from among the sinners redeemed by the precious blood of the Lamb. God elected the number to be thus exalted (Rev. 7:4), and predestinated what must be their characteristics if they would make their calling and election sure, to a place in that company to be so highly honored; and all the rest is left to Christ, who worketh now as the Father worketh hitherto. – John 5:17. [R1879 : page 240]

The present age, the Gospel age, from Pentecost to the present time, is the time for the selection of this elect class, variously termed "the Church," "the body of Christ," "the royal priesthood," "the seed of Abraham" (Gal. 3:29), etc.; and the permission still of evil is for the purpose of developing these "members of the body of Christ" and to furnish them the opportunity of sacrificing their all in the service of him who bought them with his precious blood; and thus of developing in their hearts his spiritual likeness, that when, at the end of the age, they are presented by their Lord and Redeemer before the Father, he may see in them "the image of his Son." – Rom. 8:29.

As the reward of glory, honor and immortality, and all the features of the divine nature, were not conferred upon the "First-begotten" until he had finished his course by completing his sacrifice and obedience in death, so with the Church, his "bride," – counted as one and treated collectively. As our Lord, the First-born and Captain, "entered into his glory" at his resurrection; as he there became partaker of the divine nature fully by being "born of the spirit;" as he there was highly exalted to the throne and highest favor ("right hand") of God, so he has promised that his Church, his "bride," shall in her resurrection be changed by resurrection power from human nature to the glory, honor and immortality of the divine nature.

And so it is written respecting "the resurrection" of the Church: "It is sown in corruption; it is raised in incorruption [immortality]. It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory. It is sown in weakness, it is raised in power. It is sown a natural [animal] body, it is raised a spiritual body." – 1 Cor. 15:42-44.

Although God's plan for the race of Adam is to extend to each member of it, during the Millennium, the offer of eternal life upon the terms of the New Covenant sealed for all with the precious blood of the Lamb, there is no suggestion anywhere that Immortality and the Divine Nature, will ever be offered or granted to any except the "elect" of the Gospel age – the "little flock," "the Bride, the Lamb's wife." For the others of Adam's race the offer will be "restitution" (Acts 3:19-21) to life and health and perfection of human nature – the same that Adam possessed as the earthly image of God before his fall from grace into sin and death. And when at the close of the age the willing ones shall have attained all that was lost in Adam and redeemed by Christ, – then all, armed with complete knowledge and experience, and hence fully able to stand the test, will be tested severely (as was Adam), but individually; and only those found in fullest heart-sympathy, as well as in outward harmony with God and his righteous arrangements, will be permitted to live and go beyond the Millennium into the everlasting future. All others will be destroyed in the second death, – destroyed from among the people. – Acts 3:23.

But although there shall be no more death, neither sighing nor crying, it will not be because the victors of the Millennial age will be crowned with Immortality, but because, having learned to judge between right and wrong and their effects, they shall have formed characters in full accord with God and righteousness; and because they shall have stood tests which will demonstrate that they would not wish to sin if the way were opened and no penalties attached. They will not have life in themselves, but will still be dependent upon God's provision of food, etc., for the sustenance of life.

Seen in this Scriptural light the subject of immortality shines resplendently. It leaves the way clear for the general "gift of God, eternal life," to be extended to all whom the Redeemer shall find willing to accept it upon the only terms upon which it could be a blessing; and it leaves the unworthy subject to the just penalty which always has been enunciated by the great Judge of all, viz.,

"The wages of sin is death." – Rom. 6:23.

"The soul that sinneth, it shall die." – Ezek. 18:4,20.

"He that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God [the curse, death] abideth on him." – John 3:36.

Thus, again, we find on this subject as on others, that the philosophy of the Word of God is deeper as well as clearer, and more rational by far, than the heathen systems and theories. Praise God for his Word of Truth and for hearts disposed to accept it as the revelation of the wisdom and power of God! page 240

Let us consider, What is the Soul? and Can it die?

[R1880 : page 240]

WHAT IS THE SOUL?

SOME one will possibly say, Ah! No one believes in the immortality of the body. Everybody knows that the body dies, that it needs resupply continually and that hence it cannot be immortal. But the Scriptures speak of souls. May it not be that the soul is indestructible? – that God having made a soul cannot destroy it?

We reply that it stands to reason, unless there be clear evidence to the contrary, that whoever can create is able also to destroy that which he created; and that which can be destroyed is not immortal. Now notice that the Scriptures nowhere speak of the immortality of the soul as some people seem to suppose – neither in the translations nor in the original text. Take a Concordance and try to find the expression "immortal soul," and thus you can quickly convince yourself that no such expression is found in the Scriptures. On the contrary, they declare that "God is able to destroy both soul and body;" and again, "The soul that sinneth, it shall die." And in [R1880 : page 241] the previous article we saw that that which can die, which can be destroyed, is not immortal, is not proof against death, destruction.

Then comes that much misunderstood word soul, and the inquiry is, What is the soul?

The general idea of the soul is that it is an indefinable something in us (they know not what nor where), which is the real, intelligent being, while the body is merely its house or tool. A Methodist bishop once defined it as "a thing without interior or exterior, without body, shape or parts, of which you could put a million in a nutshell" – a very good definition of nothing, we should say!

Further, the body is not the soul, as some affirm: this is proved by our Lord's statement that "God is able to destroy both soul and body." And now, in view of the foregoing, if our minds be freed from prejudice, we ought to be able to learn something on the subject by examining the inspired record of man's creation. Turning to Genesis 2:7, we read, –

"And the Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground, and breathed [Heb. blew] into his nostrils the breath [Heb. wind] of life [Heb. "lives," plural – i.e., such as was common to all living animals]; and man became a living soul [i.e., a sentient being]."

The body was formed first, but it was not a man. It had eyes, but saw nothing; ears, but heard nothing; a mouth, but spoke nothing; a tongue, but no taste; nostrils, but no sense of smell; a heart, but it pulsated not; blood, but it was cold, lifeless; lungs, but they moved not. It was not a man, but a corpse, an inanimate body.

The second step in making man was to give vitality to the properly "formed" and in every way prepared body; and this is described by the words "blew into his nostrils the breath of life." When a healthy person has been drowned and animation is wholly suspended, resuscitation has, it is said, been effected by working the arms and thus the lungs as a bellows, and gradually establishing the breath in the nostrils. In Adam's case it of course required no labored effort on the part of the Creator to cause the perfect organism which he had made to breathe the life-giving oxygen of the atmosphere.

As the vitalizing breath entered, the lungs expanded, the blood corpuscles were oxygenized and passed to the heart as a pump in turn propelled them to every part of the body, awakening all the prepared, but hitherto dormant, nerves to sensation and energy. [please see R2489 where Z.W.T. Editor corrects the preceding sentence. – site Editor] In an instant the energy reached the brain, and thought, perception, reasoning, looking, touching, smelling, feeling and tasting commenced. That which was a lifeless human organism has become a man, a sentient being: the "living soul" condition mentioned in the text had been reached. In other words, the term "living soul" means neither more nor less than the term "sentient being" or "being capable of sensation, perception." Moreover, even though Adam was perfect in his organism, it was necessary for him to sustain life by partaking of the fruits of the trees of life. And when he sinned, God drove him from the garden, "lest he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree [plural, trees or grove] of life, and eat, and live forever [i.e., by eating continuously]." (Gen. 3:22.) How the fogs and mysteries scatter before the light of truth which shines from God's Word!

Now we can see why it is that the Scriptures speak of "souls" in connection with the lower animals. They, as well as man, are sentient beings or creatures of intelligence, only of lower orders. They, as well as man, can see, hear, feel, taste and smell; and each can reason up to the standard of his organism, though, none as abstrusely nor on as high a plane as man. We read (Gen. 1:30) "To you it shall be for meat, and to every beast of the earth, and to every fowl of the air, and to every thing that creepeth upon the earth, wherein there is life [Heb. "nephesh chaiyah" – a living soul]. Again (Gen. 1:20) "Let the waters bring forth the moving creature that hath life [Heb. – a living soul]." – See marginal readings.

The same lesson, – that the life principle is no different in mankind from what it is in all other creatures whose breath is taken through the nostrils, as distinguishing them from fish, – is taught in the account of the destruction wrought by the Deluge. (Gen. 6:17; 7:15,22.) This is in full accord with King Solomon's statement that man and beast have "all one breath" [Heb. ruach, spirit of life] – one kind of life; and that "as the one dieth, so dieth the other." (Eccl. 3:19.) When he asks (Eccl. 3:21), "Who knoweth the spirit of man that [it] goeth upward, and the spirit of the beast that [it] goeth downward to the earth?" he is controverting the heathen theory, which had begun to speculate even at that time, that man had some inherent thing or quality which would prevent his death, even when he seemed to die. The wise man challenges any proof, any knowledge to such effect. This challenge to others to produce proofs, or admit that they have no such knowledge, follows his statement of the subject in verses 19 and 20. The distinction between man and beast is not in the kind of breath or life, but in that man has a higher organism than other animals; possessing moral and intellectual powers and qualities in the image or likeness of those possessed by the Creator, who has a still higher organism, of spirit, not of flesh. And, as already shown, man's hope for a future life lies not in his inherent powers, but in his Creator's gracious provision which centered in the redemption of every soul of man from death, by the great Redeemer, and the consequent provision that whosoever will may have everlasting life by resurrection, subject to the terms of the New Covenant.

Our Redeemer "poured out his soul [being] unto death," "he made his soul [being] an offering for sin" (Isa. 53:12,10); and it was the souls of Adam and his posterity that he thus bought with his precious blood – by making his soul (being) an offering for sin. Consequently it is the souls that are to be awakened, resurrected – not the bodies, which are buried and which go to dust.

Here is another common error – many suppose that the bodies buried are to be restored atom for atom, but, on the contrary, the Apostle declares, "Thou sowest [in death] not that body which shall be." In the resurrection God will give to each person (to each soul or sentient being) such a body as he pleases.*1 Cor. 15:37,38.

*Inquire for further reading matter on Resurrection, if interested.

As the bringing together of an organism and the breath of life produced a sentient being or soul, so the dissolution of these, from any cause, puts an end to sentient being – stopping thoughts and feelings of every kind. The soul or sentient being ceases; the body returns to dust as it was; while the spirit or breath of life returns to God, who imparted it to Adam, and to his race through him. (Eccl. 12:7.) It returns to God in the sense that it is no longer amenable to human control, as in pro-creation, and can never be recovered except by divine power. Recognizing this fact, the Lord's instructed ones commit their hope of future life by resurrection to the Father and to Christ, his now exalted representative. (Luke 23:46; [R1880 : page 242] Acts 7:59.) So, then, if God had made no provision for man's ransom and for a resurrection, death would be the end of all hope for humanity. – 1 Cor. 15:14-18.

But God has thus made provision for our re-living; and ever since he made known his gracious plan, those who speak and write intelligently upon the subject (for instance, the inspired Scripture writers) as if by common consent, speak of the unconscious interim between death and the resurrection morning as a "sleep." Indeed, the illustration is an excellent one; for the dead will be totally unconscious of the lapse of time, and the moment of awakening will seem to them like the next moment after the moment of their dissolution. For instance, we read that speaking of Lazarus' death our Lord said, "Our friend Lazarus sleepeth, I go that I may awake him out of sleep." Afterward, because the disciples were slow to comprehend, he said, "Lazarus is dead." (John 11:11.) Were the theory of consciousness in death correct, is it not remarkable that Lazarus gave no account of his experience during those four days? None will claim that he was in a "hell" of torment, for our Lord calls him his "friend;" and for the same reason if he had been in heavenly bliss our Lord would not have called him from it, for that would be an unfriendly act. But as our Lord expressed it, Lazarus slept, and he awakened him to life, to consciousness, to sentient being, and that as a favor greatly appreciated by Lazarus and his friends. [R1881 : page 242]

The thought pervades the Scriptures, that we are now in the Night as compared with the Morning of the resurrection. "Weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning." – Psa. 30:5.

The Apostles also frequently used this appropriate, hopeful and peaceful figure of speech. For instance, Luke says of Stephen, the first martyr, "he fell asleep;" and in recording Paul's speech at Antioch he used the same expression, "David fell on sleep." (Acts 7:60; 13:36.) Peter uses the same expression, saying (2 Pet. 3:4), "the fathers fell asleep." And Paul used it time and again, as the following quotations show –

"If her husband be dead [Greek, fall asleep]"1 Cor. 7:39.

"The greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep."1 Cor. 15:6.

"If there be no resurrection,...then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished." – 1 Cor. 15:13-18.

"Christ is risen from the dead and become the firstfruits of them that slept."1 Cor. 15:20.

"Behold, I show you a mystery; we shall not all sleep."1 Cor. 15:51.

"I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them that are asleep. – 1 Thes. 4:13.

"Them that sleep in Jesus, will God bring [from the dead] with [by] him." – 1 Thes. 4:14.

When the Kingdom, the resurrection time, comes, "we who are alive and remain unto the presence of the Lord shall not precede them that are asleep."1 Thes. 4:15.

They "fell asleep" in peace, to await the Lord's day – the Day of Christ, the Millennial Day – fully persuaded that he [Christ] is able to keep that which they committed unto him against that day. (2 Tim. 1:12.) This same thought runs through the Old Testament as well – from the time that God first preached to Abraham the Gospel of a resurrection. The expression, "He slept with his fathers," is very common in the Old Testament. But Job puts the matter in very forcible language, saying, "Oh that thou wouldest hide me in the grave, that thou wouldest keep me secret until thy wrath be [over] past!" The present dying time is the time of God's wrath – the curse of death being upon all, because of the original transgression. However, in due time the curse will be lifted and a blessing will come through the Redeemer to all the families of the earth; and so Job continues, "All the days of my appointed time will I wait, until my change come; [then] thou shalt call (John 5:25) and I will answer thee; thou shalt have a desire unto the work of thine hands." (Job 14:14,15.) And we of the New Testament times read our Lord's response, "all that are in their graves shall hear the voice of the Son of God [calling them to awake and come to a full knowledge of God and to a full opportunity of everlasting life]." – John 5:25,28.

BODY, SOUL AND SPIRIT.

That the terms body, soul and spirit are not identical and interchangeable as many assume is shown in the use of all three terms by the Apostle (1 Thes. 5:23), when he writes, "I pray God [that] your whole spirit, soul and body be preserved blameless, unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ." This prayer must be understood to apply to the Church as a whole – the elect church whose names are written in heaven. The true spirit has been preserved in the little flock. Its body is discernible today also, notwithstanding the multitudes of tares that would hide as well as choke it. And its soul, its activity, its intelligence, its sentient being, is in evidence everywhere, lifting up the standard for the people – the cross, the ransom.

In no other way could we apply the Apostle's words; for, however much people may differ respecting the preservation of the individual spirits and souls of God's people, all will agree that their bodies have not been preserved, but have returned to dust, like those of others.

"ALL LIVE UNTO HIM." – LUKE 20:37,38.

Our Lord in contradicting the Sadducees (who denied that there would be a resurrection or any future life) said that the resurrection (and hence a future life) was proved by the fact that God, in speaking to Moses, declared himself the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. Our Lord suggests that this of itself is a proof "that the dead are [to be] raised," because God would surely not refer thus to beings totally blotted out of existence. Our Lord then shows that God's plan for a resurrection is fixed, and that those whom men call "dead" "all live unto Him." God's Word, therefore, speaks of them as "asleep" and not as destroyed. In saying, "I am the God of Abraham," etc., he speaks not only of things past as still present, but also of things to come as if already come to pass. – Rom. 4:17.

SOME QUESTIONS WITH INSPIRED ANSWERS.

Question. Are the promises to the saints of the Gospel age heavenly or earthly promises?

Answer. "As we have borne the image of the earthly, we shall also bear the image of the heavenly." We are "partakers of the heavenly calling." – 1 Cor. 15:49; 2 Tim. 4:18; Heb. 3:1; 6:4; Phil. 3:14; Eph. 2:6,7; 2 Thes. 1:11,12; 2 Tim. 1:9,10.

Question. Will the elect Church, the "overcomers," the "saints," continue to be human beings, "of the earth earthy?"

Answer. "God hath given unto us exceeding great and precious promises, that by these we might become partakers of the divine nature" – "new creatures." – 2 Pet. 1:4; 2 Cor. 5:17; Rom. 8:17,18. [R1881 : page 243]

Question. When will the full change (begun in us by a change of heart, called the begetting of the spirit) be completed? – When shall we be made like Christ our Lord?

Answer. "We [saints] shall all be changed."... "The dead [saints] shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. In a moment, in a twinkling of an eye ...this mortal shall put on immortality." "Sown a natural [animal] body, it is raised a spiritual body." "Thus is the [special] resurrection of the [special, elect] dead." – 1 Cor. 15:50-53,42-44; Phil. 3:10.

Question. Are full recompenses, either rewards or punishments, to be expected before the resurrection?

Answer. "Thou shalt be recompensed at the resurrection of the just." – Luke 14:14; Rev. 11:18; Matt. 16:27.

Question. What is the hope held out for all except the elect Church of the Gospel age?

Answer. "The whole [human] creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together until now, waiting for the manifestation of the sons of God [the saints]." Then shall follow "times of restitution of all things which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began," in which "all the families of the earth shall be blessed" through the elect "seed" of Abraham. – Rom. 8:22,19; Acts 3:19-21; Gal. 3:16,29.

Question. Are the dead conscious or unconscious?

Answer. "The dead know not anything." – Eccl. 9:5; Psa. 146:4; Isa. 38:18,19.

Question. Have the departed saints been praising the Lord all along during the past ages?

Answer. "The dead praise not the Lord." – Psa. 115:17; Eccl. 9:6; Psa. 6:5.

Question. Did the prophets receive their reward at death, or was it reserved in God's plan to be given them at the beginning of the Millennium, the age of judgment?

Answer. "The time of the dead, that they should be judged, and that thou shouldst GIVE REWARD unto thy servants the PROPHETS," is at the beginning of the sounding of the last trumpet, the seventh trumpet, at the end of the Gospel age – Rev. 11:15,18; Psa. 17:15.

Question. Were the apostles promised translation to heaven at death?

Answer. "As I said to the Jews, Whither I go ye cannot come; so now I say TO YOU [apostles]." – John 13:33.

Question. Should the saints of the Gospel age, except such as are now living, expect to be crowned at death?

Answer. "When the Chief Shepherd shall appear, ye shall receive a crown of glory that fadeth not away." – 1 Pet. 5:4; 2 Tim. 4:8; 1 Pet. 1:4,5.

Question. Did the Apostles expect glory at death, or at the second coming of Christ?

Answer. "When Christ who is our life shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory." – Col. 3:4; 1 John 3:2.

Question. Were the saints to "shine" in death?

Answer. "Many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake,...and they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament [as the sun]." – Dan. 12:2,3; Matt. 13:40-43.

Question. Did our Lord promise to receive his saints at death or at his second coming?

Answer. "I will come again and receive you unto myself." – John 14:3; Rom. 8:23.

Question. Were the ancient worthies rewarded at death?

Answer. "These all died in faith, not having received the promises;...that they without us should not be made perfect." – Heb. 11:13,39,40.

Question. David was one of the holy prophets: Was he rewarded by being taken to heaven?

Answer. "David is not ascended into the heavens." – Acts 2:34.

Question. How many had gone to heaven up to the time of our Lord's ascension?

Answer. "No man hath ascended up to heaven but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of Man." [R1882 : page 243]John 3:13.

Question. Can he who created man destroy him? Can the soul be destroyed by its Creator?

Answer. "Fear him who is able to destroy both soul and body in Gehenna* [the Second death]." "He spared not their souls from death." "The soul that sinneth, it shall die." – Matt. 10:28; Psa. 78:50; Ezek. 18:4,20; Psa. 22:29; Joshua 10:35; Isa. 38:17; Psa. 56:13; 30:3; 119:175; Matt. 26:38; Isa. 53:10,12.

*Concerning the character of Gehenna, see TOWER, Feb. '93.

Question. How great importance did the Apostle Paul attach to the doctrine of the resurrection?

Answer. "If there be no resurrection of the dead, then is not Christ risen....Then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished."1 Cor. 15:13-18.

Question. Are the unjust now being tormented in some unknown hell? or do they always meet the full penalty of their unrighteousness in the present life?

Answer. "The Lord knoweth how to...reserve the unjust unto the day of judgment [the Millennial day] to be punished." – 2 Pet. 2:9; Job 21:30.

Question. What will be the end of those who when tried are found incorrigible, wilfully wicked?

Answer. They shall "go away into a cutting off from life," "be punished with everlasting destruction [a destruction which will never be terminated by a resurrection];" for still "The wages of sin is death," "the second death;" and still the gift of God, eternal life, is to be had only in Christ. "He that hath the Son hath life;" he that hath not the Son shall not receive that gift. – Rom. 6:23; Rev. 20:14,15; Matt. 25:46; 1 John 5:12; 2 Thes. 1:9.

[R1882 : page 243]

THE CHILD SAMUEL.
– OCT. 27. – 1 SAM. 3:1-13. –

Golden Text – "Speak, Lord; for thy servant heareth." – 1 Sam. 3:9.
I
T HAS been truly said that the education of a child should begin a hundred years before it is born. Wholesome parental influences are potent agencies in the formation of character. Samuel was the son of godly parents, a child desired and requested of the Lord, the request being accompanied with a solemn covenant that, should it be granted, he should from earliest infancy be dedicated to the Lord. Thus he came into the world richly endowed with an inheritance which only godly parents can bestow, – with a mind tending toward God and righteousness.

As soon as it was possible to do so, Hannah took her son to the temple and there left him to be trained and used in the Lord's service under the care of the high-priest Eli, who was a devoted servant of the Lord. That Samuel was prompt, obedient, teachable and easily led in the right way, because his heart was right and well-disposed, is manifest from his readiness to obey the supposed calls of Eli.

Eli's mild disposition and gentle manners and his [R1882 : page 244] righteous life and teaching were all that were necessary in the way of human training and restraint to keep this well-disposed child in the way of righteousness from infancy up to manly vigor. Under his influence the child grew and waxed strong in a noble and righteous character, and was active and diligent in the service of the Lord. But it was not so with Eli's own family. His own sons were wayward, disobedient, unthankful, unholy and profligate. Eli sought to correct their waywardness by the same mild measures that were natural to him, but when these measures failed he did not further restrain them by the severer measures so necessary in their case; and so they continued to bring disgrace upon their father and upon the cause of God which he as high priest represented.

This negligence was culpable, and it displeased the Lord. Hence the warning message to him through the child Samuel, as recorded in verses 11-13.

It was hard for Eli to realize the displeasure of the Lord, the waywardness of his sons, and his own unfaithfulness and culpable negligence; but he received the reproof with becoming meekness and humility, saying: "It is the Lord: let him do what seemeth him good." And when the tidings came of the fulfilment of this prediction – the tidings of the defeat of Israel before the Philistines and the death of his two sons in the battle, it was a terrible blow; but not until he heard that the ark of the Lord was in the hands of the enemy did his deep sorrow overwhelm him, and he fell from off the seat backward and broke his neck, and died. (Chap. 4:18.) But notwithstanding his weakness, his heart was always loyal and true to God, and the cause of God was dear to him; and God who is merciful and gracious and slow to anger, though he thus severely punished Eli's negligence, will doubtless remember in mercy and forgiveness his servant in the day he judges the secrets of men by Jesus Christ. – Rom. 2:16.

This incident brings forcibly to our attention the estimate which the Lord places on strength of character. After reasonable instruction in the ways of righteousness the Lord expects, and has a right to expect, strong characters. Wherefore the Apostle says, "Be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might....Quit you like men, be strong." (Eph. 6:10; 1 Cor. 16:13.) We should be strong in faith and strong in character: so shall we be pleasing and acceptable to God. If weakness and indecision be a natural failing with us, we are not excusable in failing to strive against it. Some of the noblest characters are those achieved through earnest striving against inherited weaknesses. God is also always ready to supplement our efforts with his strength, if we invoke his aid.

One lesson to be drawn is respecting God's view of parental responsibility in training up children in the knowledge and reverence of the Lord. We here emphasize the fact that duty always begins at home, however far it may reach beyond it. It is the mistake of some, to be less zealous in preaching and exemplifying the gospel in their own families, than among those outside of them. Charity (love, care, benevolence) should begin at home, and should continue there. That field, more than any other, should be prayerfully and patiently worked, even though it be slower than others to yield fruit.

Another good lesson is found in the Golden Text – Samuel's answer to the Lord: "Speak, Lord; for thy servant heareth." Too often the uninstructed or wrongly instructed "servant" wants to do all the talking, and to have the Lord hear him and perform his will. How few of God's children are quick to learn the lesson that God has a message to communicate to them through his Word by which their thoughts, words and deeds are to be directed.

Let us never forget that the Bible is God's Word to us. And while prompt to acknowledge the channels and agencies honored by the Lord in bringing to our attention the things of his Word new and old, let us never forget that the Word itself is the final arbiter, and that if any teaching fails to harmonize with that Word it is because there is no light in it. (Isa. 8:20.) Then, as the Apostle says, we are to be not only hearers, but also doers, of the Lord's Word. (James 1:22.) And "He that hath my Word let him speak my word faithfully" (Jer. 23:28) – not uncertainly, doubtfully, but "If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God." – 1 Pet. 4:11.

[R1882 : page 244]

SAMUEL THE JUDGE.
– NOV. 3. – 1 SAM. 7:5-15. –

Golden Text – "Hitherto hath the Lord helped us." – 1 Sam. 7:12.
S
AMUEL succeeded Eli as Judge in Israel, and was the last of the judges, the office of Judge being superseded by that of king. Chapter 12 contains his farewell address as judge, after he had anointed Saul to be king. But nevertheless it is written that "Samuel judged Israel all the days of his life." (Verse 15.) In a sense – in the estimation of the people – the office of judge was superseded by that of king, and Samuel's term of office ended with Saul's elevation to the throne. But in God's reckoning he was a judge over and above the king to the end of his life; and in this capacity, under God's direction, he anointed Saul as king, and later he anointed David to be Saul's successor.

Prior to the events of this lesson Samuel had spent some years in endeavoring gradually to influence the public sentiment toward repentance and reformation; and finally he gathered them together at Mizpeh that there he might intercede with God on their behalf, and that they might there make a solemn confession of their sins to God and covenant afresh to walk in his ways. This solemn return of the nation to God was, in answer to the prayer of his faithful servant Samuel, followed by an immediate manifestation [R1883 : page 244] of the Lord's acceptance and favor toward them in delivering them from the yoke of the Philistines.

In observing these remarkable providences on behalf of the nation of Israel, we should never lose sight of the fact that these special dealings with that nation were peculiar to them only; and that because they had come into covenant relationship with God. God's care and favor were over that nation only, of all the nations of the earth. Even their national penalties for sin were marks of the divine favor; for God wisely disciplined them for their good – to purge them from sin, to correct them and keep them near himself. And this divine favor was never taken from them until, as a nation, they rejected and crucified the Son of God. Since that time they have had no favor. Nor will God's favor return to them until, as Paul states, the fulness of the Gentiles shall have come into possession of the chief blessing, which time is now at hand.

In the interim the special favor of God has been shown to the spiritual seed of Abraham, the faithful overcoming saints of the Gospel age. As God led and disciplined and delivered and cared for his ancient people, so now he bestows the same attentions upon his faithful church, both collectively and individually. And how often we are similarly impelled by a sense of his care and love to sing –

"Here I'll raise my Ebenezer, hither by thy help I'm come!"

We now are God's covenant people: let us be faithful followers; "for, as many as are led by the spirit of God, they are the Sons of God."