page 221
August 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. XVIII.AUGUST 1, 1897.No. 15.
CONTENTS.

Special Items 222
Views from the Watch Tower 223
"Young People's" Societies 223
Mohammedans Insolent and Bloodthirsty 225
Poem: The Pilgrim 226
Covered Sins to Be Blotted Out 226
"I Will Come Again and Receive You" 229
Self-denial in the Interest of Others 233
Interesting Letters 235

'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.

SUBSCRIPTIONS AND BUSINESS COMMUNICATIONS
– ADDRESS TO –
TOWER PUBLISHING CO., BIBLE HOUSE, 58 & 60 ARCH ST.,
ALLEGHENY (NORTH PITTSBURG), PA., U.S.A.

SUBSCRIPTION PRICE, $1.00 A YEAR, IN ADVANCE,
INCLUDES A SUBSCRIPTION TO "THE OLD THEOLOGY TRACTS" – QUARTERLY.
MONEY MAY BE SENT BY EXPRESS, N.Y. DRAFT, MONEY ORDER,
OR REGISTERED. FROM FOREIGN COUNTRIES BY FOREIGN
MONEY ORDERS, ONLY. SPECIAL TERMS TO THE LORD'S POOR, AS FOLLOWS:

Those of the interested, who by reason of old age or accident, or other adversity are unable to pay for the TOWER will be supplied FREE, if they will send a Postal Card each December, stating their case and requesting the paper.

[R2192 : page 222]

OUR "PILGRIMS."

THE extreme heat and other considerations have necessitated slight changes of program for several of the traveling brethren; but in all cases where positive appointments had been made we were enabled to give timely notice: we hope that no serious inconvenience was experienced. Brother Ransom took unwell; Brother Cone is aged and needs a little rest; Brother McPhail's son took sick and has since died; and others had various hindrances. Remember these all with us at the throne of grace.

On the whole we have reason to rejoice that the Lord's blessing seems to go with this branch of the service in so wonderful a manner. Many of the scattered ones are reached, in parts we never expected to reach; and the meetings seem to do much good, judged by the letters and reports we receive from all along the various routes.

Whenever there are five or more WATCH TOWER subscribers we make an effort to reach them; – especially if a desire for public or parlor meetings has been expressed.

Wherever a positive appointment is made, you may expect it to be kept to the very hour. The routes are mostly arranged at the WATCH TOWER office. One to three days are all that can be spared generally, as the field is large and the laborers are few: so make the best use possible of the "pilgrims," while they are with you.

[R2192 : page 223]

VIEWS FROM THE WATCH TOWER.

THE Christian Endeavor and other societies of "Young People" are keeping well to the front, influentially and otherwise, in religious matters. When we remember that these young people's societies represent about five millions of members, and that the majority of these are no longer very young, we can readily see that within ten years these people will include the most active representatives of normal Christendom. They are likely to have considerable influence in forming the coming Protestant Federation. In view of this, we have been on the lookout for reports of what was accomplished by the recent C.E. Convention at San Francisco, California.

We have seen the report of the President of the Society, congratulating it upon its growth and size, and giving a brief account of his recent trip around the world, in the interest of the Society. But we have as yet seen no report of any important action taken, or even proposed. Indeed, it seems to be an immense combination of well-intentioned young people, anxious to do something great – and good, rather than bad. But it scarcely knows what to adopt as its mission. Hitherto this subject has not been so important; for all energies were employed in growing. Now it has corporeal size, and weight of influence, and feels strong, and realizes that it must have a policy and a mission, or else it will look foolish; and it, no doubt, will decide this question shortly.

It is fearful to adopt any very spiritual work or mission; because doctrine is more or less necessary to every such movement, and doctrines must be sedulously avoided, lest they split the organization, and thus wreck all that has so far been attained – size and union. For instance: suppose it were resolved that the Society of Christian Endeavor shall hereafter devote its main energies to Foreign Mission work, among the barbarous and heathen. Questions would at once arise, such as, Shall we determine and expect to convert the world? Shall we understand this to be God's purpose, and that he has raised us up to do it, and that [R2193 : page 223] he will give us success in its full accomplishment? And how quickly can we do this, if it has required eighteen centuries to reach the present degree of development? Or, shall we undertake it merely as a witnessing to all nations, to gather out an elect "little flock" – through whom, at the second advent of Christ God will "bless all the families of the earth"?

Here would be a split at once. Would the Y.P.S. of C.E., as a whole, declare its belief in a pre-millennial advent of Christ, or in a post-millennial advent? It would do neither; but would refuse to discuss the matter, lest it cause division; because some of its most earnest members are on each side of that question. But to avoid the question as to object of work, is to avoid those lines of work which necessitate decision as to object. And so it is with all spiritual questions and activities; they are inseparably connected with faith; and all faith is built upon doctrines – true or false, divine or human.

If, then, these societies are built upon wrong principles for spiritual work (in that they ignore doctrine, the basis of faith, as faith is the basis of spiritual activities), what will they do with their immense organizations, restless as they are for some great activity – some mission?

The next plane of labor, lower than spiritual work, is moral or social or political reform work. For activities in these directions, doctrines are unnecessary, [R2193 : page 224] or at least easily avoidable. The faith of a Buddhist, or a Brahmin, or a Christian, need not interfere if the holder thereof will sink every other ambition and work, and devote himself solely to the reform work. But which of these phases of reform work will it probably decide on – the moral, the social, or the political?

These three reforms, all good, are more or less near to religion and spiritual things. Moral reform probably comes nearest – lifting up the depraved and fallen, is next, we may say, to preaching the gospel, because it helps often to prepare the way for the gospel. In fact, moral reformers often rank their work far above the commission given by our Lord – "Preach the gospel to the meek." But the Young People's Societies are not likely to take up that field as their mission; because it is already fairly well occupied. They will want a new work, which will show as distinctly theirs.

The second reform in nearness to religion would naturally be social reform. This is a large field, in which great good to a great number would be possible, if five million Christian men and women were to take hold of it. The world's social conditions sadly need an uplift – the poor need a protecting arm, to help ward off the pinch and grind coming as a result of invention, over-production and monopolies. But this field is apt to be left to Socialists, Populists and Anarchists; for the "Young People" generally feel that they and their benefactors belong to the other side of the question.

This still leaves the door of political reform open; and we incline to believe that these societies will decide that in that direction lies their mission. In some places they are already beginning this work; and of course there are politicians who will be glad of their co-operation, and who will teach them how to make this movement somewhat of a success. But where will this leave the more spiritual work and doctrine and faith within ten years? They will evidently be obsolete – abandoned. The reform movements will come gradually to be considered the real gospel to the world. And the world will, of course, approve the change; for it never has comprehended spiritual things; these and the cross of Christ have always been foolishness unto it. – 1 Cor. 2:12-14.

*                         *                         *

Many of the C.E. Societies have adopted yells, similar to those used by college students, and these were freely poured forth as the delegations gathered at their Convention and en route. A published report of the Convention, for instance, says:

"The Colorado delegation came in with a ringing yell:

"Pike's Peak, or Bust!
Pike's Peak, or Bust!
Colorado, Colorado!
Yell we must!"

The editor of one of the Pacific coast journals writes of the Convention delegates under the caption, "Christians Who Yell," as follows:

"There is no other body in the country like that of the Young People's Society of Christian Endeavor. It is strictly a religious organization, but it is the best exemplification of muscular Christianity that ever appealed to robust piety. There is nothing sanctimonious about its members or sniveling about its methods. It unites good fellowship with Christian brotherhood, with no affectation of manner, speech or action.

"There is no other religious fraternity which goes to a convention with a college yell and a whoop. The war cry of the Spokane Club: 'Who can? We can, Spokane, Wash., Wash., Wash.,' is not only funny, but it is vastly superior to the ordinary run of baseball club and college yells, which are, indeed, frequently idiotic. The Colorado delegation also has a yell which must be very effective when uttered by a large body.

"The Christian Endeavorers have done more than any other organization to bring into the ranks of a Christian society young men and young women, and especially young men, who are ordinarily disinclined to be regarded as 'good' in the sense of being pious. There are some things which no amount of argument will change, and one of them is the suspicion and even dislike which attaches to too many young men who assume to be leaders in church work. Pastors know this, if they know anything in the world, and young men who are not professing Christians, although they may be good enough as the world goes, also know it. Although the Christian Endeavorers have been the most successful in the new departure, other organizations are awakening to the difficulty which they really have to overcome. The establishment of athletic clubs by the Y.M.C.A., for instance, has done much to impart a manlier tone to the members of that body.

"When, in order to be an acceptable member of a church organization, it is no longer necessary to wear a sanctimonious look and speak with a nasal twang, when a young man feels that he is no longer derided because he is an active church worker or a Sunday school teacher, it will be a great deal better for the churches, and we shall not hear that wail about the worldliness of the present generation. Men with fifty years of experience in English-speaking countries, at least, are aware that there has been a great improvement in the morals of the average young man. The number of those who are addicted to intoxicating drinks in an excessive degree is much smaller, and the experience of physicians is that there is much less unhealthiness due to preventable causes than there used to be, and the number of stalwart Christians who do not belong to churches is greater.

"The chief cause of this change is the realization by many pastors of the fact that all that is worldly is not vicious; there are songs which are harmless, although they are not hymns; amusements which are not sinful, although they are not strictly in the line of [R2193 : page 225] church work. Dancing is no longer condemned as it used to be, nor is whist regarded as an occupation invented by the devil. There never was a time when flirting could be entirely prevented, even by the most rigid disciplinarian and in the most Puritan communities, but it was regarded as a sin by the mistaken judgment of ministers."

*                         *                         *

The writer of the foregoing likes the change which he notices, and as much as says that he himself never was one of the over-pious, and is glad to find those of his mind greatly on the increase in numbers and influence. But Christians who have learned the way to God and the "narrow way" of discipleship in following the footsteps of Christ, will take a wholly different view of the change.

If these were claiming to be merely moral or social clubs, there would be no grounds for objection. The objection is to the desecration of the name Christian, to the erroneous thought that every man and woman who does not steal, nor get drunk, nor use vile and profane language, and who is moral and honorable, is therefore a Christian.

Here the ignoring of doctrines has a bad effect. If the doctrines of Free Grace and Election must be avoided, and if it is right to avoid and ignore them, then may not the entire subject of grace be ignored? and may not all faith be ignored as a standard by those who bear the name of Christ? This certainly is the tendency, not only of the young people, but also amongst the older Christians of all denominations. But all who see the Scriptural definition of a Christian falling into disuse and contempt, should be the more careful to hold firmly to "the faith once delivered to the saints," viz., that the steps into "the body of Christ, which is the [true] Church" are (1) Faith in the efficacy of the precious blood of Christ, shed for the remission of sins; (2) acceptance thereof with repentance and reformation: and (3) an unreserved consecration of every talent to the Lord's service.

The reason for such a falling away from doctrine is not difficult to find. It is because the doctrines of God's Word were so terribly mixed with God-dishonoring human traditions. For instance, the doctrine that an eternity of torment awaits all who are not of the elect, has brought the Scriptural doctrines of "an election according to favor" and the perseverance of the saints into disrepute. Intelligent people say to themselves, the saintly are few, the decent, moral and semi-moral are many. These are too decent and [R2194 : page 225] too good to be everlastingly tormented after death, and we must therefore suppose that they will go to heaven. And the next argument is, If they will go to heaven, can they go there without being Christians? The third step is to claim that they are Christians, and a letting down of all the terms and conditions of Christianity – on the score that if a moralist is a Christian, and will gain the reward of heaven, no one need be required to be more. Thus, the blasphemous doctrine of everlasting torment, foreign to God's Word, and invented during the dark ages, is rapidly destroying the Scriptural doctrine of the necessity of making our calling and election sure by faithfulness and holiness unto the Lord.

*                         *                         *

The "Cincinnati Post" gives the figures of a statistician, who has estimated the cost of four conventions of Young People's Societies this year, as follows:

Christian Endeavor Convention, fares etc..$2,875,000
Baptist Young People's Convention, fares,
 etc...................................... 1,400,000
Epworth League Convention, fares, etc..... 1,700,000
Brotherhood of St. Andrew Convention,
 fares, etc...............................   200,000
                                           ---------
Total.....................................$6,175,000

The Post's article concludes by saying:

"The aggregate sum equals the contributions of all Protestant denominations for Foreign Missions."

The following statement by Mr. W. N. Coler, just returned from Japan, is significant, and fully in line with the foregoing – only "broader." He said:

"In Japan there is much talk of getting up a new religion. Japanese students and thinkers are studying religion as a practical problem, which they believe will throw much light on the question they are now asking, 'Why has the West gone so far ahead of the East in civilization?'

"They are reaching the conclusion that strict morality has much to do with it, and a large body of advanced thinkers are seriously considering the proposition of getting up a new religion.

"It is proposed to do this by dissecting the Christian and Buddhist religions and Confucianism and uniting the best doctrines and principles of each into the new system.

"In Tokyo and other Japanese cities all the religions are being liberally discussed. I think they are getting to the point of believing that the Christian religion is the most civil of them all, though believing in the principle of evolution and improvement."

Mr. Coler believes that the result of missionary work in India, China and Japan has been to detach many orientals among thinking classes from Buddhism, and has made them free thinkers, who will readily attach themselves to a new religion embracing the best points of the religions named.

MOHAMMEDANS INSOLENT AND BLOODTHIRSTY.

The success of Turkey in the recent war with Greece, has a tendency to encourage the followers of Mahomet to hope that they may yet conquer Christendom [R2194 : page 226] and the world, "for Allah and his prophet." We quote from a New York "World" a cablegram as follows:

"Sayid Rayhan Allah (the Mollah) has planned the extermination of all the Hebrews in Persia. He has summoned the chief rabbi, and informed him that the Hebrews must accept the Mahometan faith, or he will do all that he can to oppress and exterminate them.

"Sayid Rayhan has formulated the following restrictions:

"Every Hebrew must have all of his hair cut off, must never ride an animal throughout the city, must wear European dress, and must wear a mark to distinguish him from the Mahometan.

"'Hebrew women must veil. They must not wear the chador, or chaghchoor, the outdoor dress which Persian etiquette expects of every woman.

"'A Hebrew must not build a house higher than that of his Mahometan neighbor. The entrance to the house must be distinguished from the Moslem's. He is not to come out of his house on a rainy day, and is not to touch articles of food.

"'When a Hebrew dies, any relative who is a convert to Mahometanism may possess all his property.

"'A Hebrew who, having once accepted Islam, renounced it, will be put to death.'"

Poor Jews! Much of Jacob's trouble lies yet ahead, before the faithful are gathered back to Palestine, there to have the eyes of their understanding opened to recognize him whom they pierced, and to mourn for him and to be accepted.

The Zionist movement, noted in our last issue, although strong and very popular with some Jews, is opposed by others, as likely to bring greater persecution.

For fear of persecution, it has been decided that the convention will be held in Switzerland, instead of in Germany, as first proposed.

[R2199 : page 226]

THE PILGRIM.

Wild shrieks the wind, how rough's the way!
But, see, one star's alight!
Up! let us follow, where its ray
Strikes through the shuddering night
O'er yonder roof, serene and clear.
And hark! what music is't we hear?

My heart scarce beats, my steps are slow,
Almost I faint and die:
Sick, worn, benumbed amidst the snow,
Ah! what a pilgrim I!
Yet will I follow stagg'ring on,
Ere light and music both be gone.

For One waits there, the only one,
Who knows my heart and me;
All that I am, all I have done,
All I may chance to be:
Who will not spurn the piteous thing,
The sole, best offering I can bring:

Who will not chide me, poor and late,
Nor scorn my sorry wit;
Who will not fling me to my fate –
O God, the thought of it!
Once that I look in those dear eyes,
What virtues shall my soul surprise!

Then up, my heart, gather thy strength
A little longer! see,
Almost our journeying ends; at length
Almost at home are we:
Sheltered, my heart, from storm and night
In that Friend's house of sure delight!
Selwyn Image.

[R2194 : page 226]

COVERED SINS TO BE BLOTTED OUT.

MANY make the mistake of confounding the "blotting out" of sins with the covering of sins; but the two thoughts are distinctly separate. The covering of sins takes place instantaneously, as soon as the believer has repentantly accepted of the redemption which is in Christ Jesus. This covering of sin, and of all the blemishes of the believer is symbolically represented as accomplished by his putting on the "wedding garment," the pure robe of Christ's righteousness imputed to true believers. This constitutes the justification by faith of which the Apostle speaks, saying, "David describeth the blessedness of the man unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works [righteousness which he had not worked out] saying, 'Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.'" – Rom. 4:6-8.

While it brings to the believer joy and peace to realize that his imperfections are covered, and not permitted to hinder his approach to the Heavenly Father, he nevertheless properly battles against those imperfections, a continual warfare – the newly-begotten and renewed or transformed mind being resisted by the natural, depraved will of the flesh. But, nevertheless, every true child of God, rightly instructed from the Father's Word, is distinctly looking forward to the end of his warfare-probation, when his "covered" sins and weaknesses shall all be "blotted out."

This blotting out of sins, so far as the overcoming [R2194 : page 227] Church is concerned, will not be completed until the first resurrection has been completed; for, as the work of grace began by the covering of the imperfections of the flesh for believers, it will end with the complete destruction of the flesh in death, and the raising of the elect Church spiritual bodies, free from all the blemishes and imperfections which belong to these present, mortal bodies. Now the consecrated "have this treasure [the new nature] in earthen vessels:" and all know how seriously marred is every one of these vessels, so that our very best intentions and desires are liable to have more or less of blemish or imperfection, when viewed from the Divine standpoint. But by-and-by this treasure, the new will, the new creature in Christ Jesus, will be delivered into the perfect condition, the new spiritual bodies, described by the Apostle (1 Cor. 15:42-44,48-50), saying: "Thus also is the resurrection of the dead [the first or chief resurrection of the overcoming class amongst the dead]...It is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption" – all the marks and blemishes of sin which belong to the earthen vessel will be destroyed, "blotted out." When buried in death, the Church is actually imperfect, dishonorable and weak, except as her Lord's robe of righteousness is her covering, and his strength is made perfect in her weakness. But all these dishonorable, weak and imperfect conditions now covered are to be completely and everlastingly blotted out with the passing of the present life; for the promise to the overcomers is, "It is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown an animal body, it is raised a spiritual body" – the image of the heavenly one, our Lord.

It was in harmony with this view of matters that the Apostle wrote "We [the newly begotten spirit beings, the Church] while in this tabernacle [earthly body] do groan; not that we desire to be unclothed [that we should lose our imperfect human bodies in death, and be obliged to wait or 'sleep in Jesus' until his second coming]; but that we might be clothed upon with our heavenly house [or spiritual bodies]" – experience the blessings of a participation in Christ's resurrection – the first resurrection. – Phil. 3:10-12; Rev. 20:6.

The Apostle had in mind the same earnest desire of the spirit-begotten ones for the completion of the work of grace in them at the resurrection, when he said: "Ourselves, also, which have the first fruits of the spirit, even we groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption – to wit, the deliverance of our body – [the Church – from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of full sonship]." Rom. 8:23. The "wedding garment" of Christ's imputed righteousness, under which are granted to us all the privileges of sons without removing our weaknesses and frailties, leaves us to wage a warfare with these, thus to prove our love of righteousness and our faithfulness to the commands of "him who called us out of darkness into his marvelous light," and to become sharers of his sufferings, and of the glories to follow. Through the merit of [R2195 : page 227] our robe we were begotten to the new mind, the new nature; and it will serve every purpose until such times as we shall have proved ourselves faithful as new creatures, and shall be permitted to pass from the probationary sonship to the enjoyment of the full measure of the Father's blessing and complete adoption into his family and nature. But there, at the moment of transition, when being received from the begotten and probationary stage of sonship into the everlasting state, it is eminently proper, and all that we would ask or desire, that every trace of the hitherto covered and forgiven sins and blemishes should be blotted out, and no longer need covering. And all this is a part of the Divine provision for those who love God, "the [faithful] called ones according to his purpose." Then, it will be that that which is perfect having come, "that which is in part [our present standing graciously covered with Christ's imputed righteousness, covering our defects] will be done away."

"Oh, hail happy day!
That ends our tears and sorrows,
That brings us joy without alloy;
Oh, hail happy day!
No more by doubts and fears distressed,
We now shall gain our promised rest,
And be forever blest,
Oh, hail happy day!"

The tears and sorrows and battlings in strife against the world, the flesh and the devil are all very necessary in the present time; and we should neither hope nor expect to be crowned as victors, without passing through such experiences. In this battle, we learn not to think of ourselves more highly than we ought to think; we learn of our own weaknesses and imperfections and our need to walk closely with the Lord, if we would keep our garments unspotted from the world. We learn also to trust his grace, and that "our sufficiency is of God." We learn that "greater is he who is on our part than all they that be against us." We learn that the victory that overcometh the world is neither the strength and perfection of our flesh, nor merely the strong resolution of our minds, but the latter helped and strengthened by him who assures us that his strength can be perfected in our weakness. It is here that we learn that all things are working together for good to them that love God.

In this battle with the world, the flesh and the devil [R2195 : page 228] we learn also to appreciate the whole armor of God: the value of the "helmet of salvation," the intellectual appreciation of the Divine plan and promises; the value of the "breastplate of righteousness," Christ's righteousness covering our most vital parts; the value of "the shield of faith," which is able to quench all the fiery darts of the Adversary; and the invincible quality and sharpness of "the sword of the spirit, which is the Word of God"; and to put on the preparation of the gospel in a meek, patient and quiet spirit, which, as sandals, permits us to pass over the sharpest difficulties of life successfully. In this conflict we learn to cultivate the graces of the spirit, through many trials and temptations; which though for the time being are not pleasant but grievous, nevertheless work out for all who are rightly exercised thereby, "a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory."

The Apostle in our text declares that the blotting out of the Church's sin shall be in connection with "times of refreshing" or spirit outpouring, at the second advent of our Lord. How consistent this is with reason, and with all the facts of the case: it was after our Lord Jesus had bought us with his precious blood that the Heavenly Father granted to his Church a great blessing, a season of refreshing from the presence of the Lord, at Pentecost, as marking his approval of all covered by the "wedding garment," and as a foretaste of his greater blessing, to be bestowed when her trial would be complete, and the sins actually blotted out. That season of Pentecostal refreshing from the Divine presence, under the blessed influence of which Peter was preaching when he used the words of our text, was only an earnest or hand-payment of the great perfect refreshment and spirit-energizing that will come to the Lord's people at the farther end of the narrow way, when the Bridegroom shall come to receive to his nature and his throne and to confess her before his Father and the holy angels. As the Apostle intimates in our text, the very first work then will be the complete blotting out of the Church's sins, in the first resurrection.

And immediately following this perfecting of the Church will come a work for the world – "times of restitution of all things which God hath spoken by the mouth of all the holy prophets since the world began." This signifies a similar blessing (blotting out of sins) upon all the world of mankind, who shall then, after being brought to a knowledge of the truth, obediently accept the Divine mercy under the terms of the New Covenant. Since man as originally created was in the moral likeness of his Creator, but has lost that likeness by the blemishes of sin, restitution to the likeness lost, would signify the blotting out of those blemishes wrought by sin. But there will be a great difference between the blotting out of the sins of the obedient, overcoming Church and the blotting out of the sins of the obedient ones of the world. The Church's sins will be instantly blotted out in the moment of the resurrection; the world's sins will be gradually blotted out during the period of Christ's reign – during the Millennium. The terms and conditions will be different also. While the Church has her sins and imperfections covered during the period of her trial, and does not have her efforts to overcome the weaknesses of the flesh rewarded by physical restitution, but is rewarded instantaneously at the end of her race, according to her faith and her endeavors to conquer, the obedient of the world, in the next age, will, on the contrary, have their sins blotted out, not as the reward of faith and effort merely; but as the reward of successful and continuous effort, which will then be possible, and be rewarded step by step with restitution blessings or the gradual blotting out of sins.

Describing the judgment (trial) of the world during the Millennial Age, our Lord shows that all will then be "judged according to their works" – not according to their faith, as the Church is now being judged. (Rev. 20:12,13; 1 Jno. 5:4.) Faith, which is now difficult and therefore highly rewarded, will by and by, when the mists have rolled away, be the most easy and only reasonable thing; and while it will be required, being easy it will not be specially rewarded as now. And perfect works, which under present conditions are impossible with all our efforts, because of our blemished bodies, will then be the standard for which and toward which all who attain to everlasting life will be required to labor, building up character in breaking off evil propensities and in bringing themselves into full accord with righteousness in thought, word and deed. And under the favorable conditions of that time, a restitutionary blessing will be present to reward every effort, not only with an upbuilding of moral character and will-power, but also with proportionate strength and upbuilding of the mental and physical powers.

Thus, item by item and step by step, throughout the Millennial Age, the worthy ones of the world will be helped out of their weakness and imperfections, back to the perfection originally lost by the disobedience of father Adam, the right to return to which (by the cancellation of Adam's sentence) was secured by the ransom-price given by our Redeemer. And since every victory over self and sin and imperfection will be promptly rewarded, it will be rightly seen that the blotting out of the world's sins will gradually progress little by little, until at the close of the Millennial Age, all who have been willing to hear and obey the voice of the Great Prophet (Head and Body), will have attained to an unblemished perfection, mental, [R2195 : page 229] physical and moral, with none of the blemishes of sin remaining.

Mankind, as originally created, as represented in father Adam before his transgression, was in the image of God: the mind, the will, the judgment were true copies of the Lord's; and thus it might properly be said that Adam had the law of God written in his heart, in his head, in his very organization. But, this Divine likeness has been marred, ruined by the fall. Man's organization, mental and moral, can no longer be said to be in the image of God. The selfish qualities have grown at the expense of the moral and intellectual qualities, so that he is very unlike his Creator, and his own original, as represented in Adam. But God's promise is that when he begins to deal with the world under the New Covenant in the hands of the Great Mediator, a great work will be accomplished for all the families of the earth who will obey him through the then exalted seed of Abraham; until all shall be blessed and be permitted to become God's people – "Israelites indeed," children of Abraham through faith – multitudinous as the sands of the sea.

Then will be fulfilled the promise of the Lord (Jer. 31:29-34), that they who die will die for their own iniquity, and not as now, for Adam's iniquity. And under the conditions of the new covenant, the Great Mediator of that covenant will re-write the law of God in the hearts of the repentant ones, as it originally was in the heart and very organism of Adam before his transgression: as it is written, "I will put my law in their inward parts, and write it in their hearts; I will be their God, and they shall be my people." This promise does not apply to the present time, but indicates the completed results of the Millennial work, when the willing and obedient of mankind shall have been brought to perfection; all their iniquities and sins being blotted out. This is shown by the context, which says, "They shall teach no more every man his [R2196 : page 229] neighbor and every man his brother, saying, 'Know the Lord'; for they shall all know him, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the Lord: for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sins no more."

This blotting out of sins for the world during the Millennial Age will begin with Israel according to the flesh; "to the Jew, first." So the Apostle informs us in so many words. Read Romans 11:25-29. As spiritual Israel is the first-fruits of all God's creatures, the first to enter into the fullness of his blessing and be recovered from death, so natural Israel is to constitute the first-fruits of the nations to be saved from the blinding influences of the Adversary, and to be granted a blessing under the New Covenant.

But, the blessing which begins with the return of fleshly Israel to Divine favor, will not end with them; for as the casting away of Israel under Divine providence resulted in the bringing in of some from amongst the Gentiles to be joint-heirs in the Abrahamic promise and covenant, so the blessing of Israel under the New Covenant means, not only an opportunity of life from the dead to them, but also a similar blessing of opportunity for all the families of the earth; because it is through the seed of Abraham (first the spiritual, secondly, the natural) that all the families of the earth are to be blessed with an opportunity of becoming children of Abraham, who is the "father" of all who are faithful to God. Thus, eventually, there shall none remain except the seed of Abraham, first the spiritual seed as the stars of heaven, and secondly, the earthly seed, as the sands of the seashore, all partakers of father Abraham's faith and obedience. See Romans 11:12,15.

The original perfection of mankind (father Adam) and the fall were symbolically represented in the first tables of the Law which God himself prepared and wrote, but which were broken, because of sin; they also represented the Law Covenant, and how it was a failure, broken so far as the people of Israel were concerned. The hewing out of the new tables of stone, whereon to rewrite the Law of God, symbolized the preparation of mankind, through the justification accomplished by the sacrifice of Christ. And not only was the preparation of the second tablets the work of Moses (type of Christ, Head and Body), but also the second writing of the law on those tables was the work of Moses and typified the work of Christ (Head and Body) during the Millennial Age – the engraving of the Law of God in the very hearts and constitutions of all of mankind, willing to submit to his gracious hands.

[R2196 : page 229]

"I WILL COME AGAIN AND RECEIVE YOU."
– AUGUST 8. – 1 THESS. 4:9-5:2. –
W
HILE our lesson deals chiefly with the second coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, it is introduced with a description of the class who will rejoice in his second coming, and with good reason. The Apostle (vs. 9-12) points out some of the true characteristics of those to whom he elsewhere says, "Ye, brethren, are not in darkness that that day should overtake you as a thief; ye are all children of the light, and children of the day."

An essential of Christian character is "the love of [R2196 : page 230] God," "the love of Christ," extending to all the household of faith possessed of his spirit; and a spirit of sympathy toward the entire "groaning creation."

Although the Church at Thessalonica was composed of those who in respect to length of Christian experience were but "babes in Christ," yet very evidently the persecution which had come upon them had caused them to grow very rapidly. It was but a year since they had received the gospel, and yet the Apostle witnesses to their rapid development, as evidenced by their love one for the other; and not only love for the company at Thessalonica, but the breadth of their love extending to and manifesting an interest in all of the household of faith throughout the Province of Macedonia. The Apostle declares that this love of the brethren was a manifestation of the fact that they had been "taught of God." This reminds us of the statement of another apostle, "He that loveth not his brother, whom he hath seen, how can he love God, whom he hath not seen."

One of the first effects of a knowledge of the grace of God in Christ, and of a full, thorough consecration to the Lord, is this love for all fellow-servants – "brethren." Would that the fervency and zeal of first love, both toward the Lord and toward the entire household of faith, might not only continue, but increase with all. But alas! many who start warmly and earnestly grow lukewarm – become captious, cynical, hypercritical, high-minded and self-assertive – and lose much of the simplicity, zeal and humility of their first faith and first love. This is the first attack of the great adversary through the weaknesses of the flesh, to re-ensnare those who have escaped his chains of darkness, and gotten to see some of the glory of God shining through Christ. If they do not resist these temptations, the effect is sure to be not only lukewarmness toward the Lord and his cause and the members of his body, but eventually the cultivation of the fruits of darkness, envy, malice, hatred, strife, instead of the fruits of the spirit of Christ, meekness, gentleness, patience, brotherly love and kindness. Hence, the Apostle urges the Church, "We beseech you, brethren, that ye increase more and more," in love and service one for the other, which imply a growth in all the graces of the Spirit.

The expression "that ye study to be quiet" might be rendered literally "that ye be ambitious to be quiet," or that ye have a quiet ambition – not a restless bustling for notoriety and great exploits, but a quiet earnest perseverance in well-doing; in which condition the fruits and graces of the Spirit thrive best. They were to be ambitious also to attend to their own affairs, and to work with their own hands: home and family duties were not to be neglected. The religion of Christ is designed to enter into and blend with all the proper duties, perplexities, trials and pleasures of the home and family; and thus the majority can best let shine the light which they have received from the Lord.

True, the light received will make a great change in many of the affairs of the home. It sets before us new ideals to be esteemed and to be copied. It introduces us to a new relationship, a new kindred – the family of God – and thus brings some new responsibilities and privileges. And if filled with the spirit of the truth, with love toward God and all who have any of his likeness, it will make us very zealous in the dispensing of the grace of God, which has brought so much blessing to our own hearts. But, we should not consider it necessarily the Lord's will that we all should go forth as public teachers, abandoning entirely our homes, trades, duties, responsibilities, etc.

The Lord's call will never conflict with proper duties and responsibilities previously upon us. The man or the woman who has a family to provide for should not think of leaving such obligations, nor consider himself called to public preaching, if it would imply the neglect of duties and obligations already resting upon him. He or she, however, should quietly and thankfully be ambitious to do all in the Divine service that a proper regard for others dependent upon them would permit. On the other hand, those who are free to give time and energy to the Lord's service, and who have talents, should when they receive the truth, humbly present their all to the Lord and seek to use their every opportunity in his service as he shall open the way; and such consecrated ones should be very careful that they do not encumber themselves so as to hinder usefulness in such service.

Not only have we duties and a ministry toward every member of the body of Christ, but (v. 12) we have certain responsibilities toward those who are without – in darkness, out of Christ. The Christian is to be a burning and shining light toward the world. The world sees not from the inside, as does the household of faith, but merely from the outside; hence the necessity that Christians should so live before the world as to be "living epistles, known and read of all men," honoring to the Lord and to the teachings of his Word. The Apostle's statement really is "walk honorably toward them that are without." The Christian life should be seen by the world, not merely as just and honest, but also as noble and honorable. There are honest people who are mean, truthful people who tell the truth in a combative and repellant manner; in the true Christian, love should produce so generous a sentiment as would ennoble every virtue. In other words, as the same Apostle expressed it, "He that giveth, let him do it with simplicity (without ostentation)"; "he that ruleth, with diligence"; "he that showeth [R2196 : page 231] mercy, with cheerfulness," etc., Rom. 12:7-20.

To this end, also, the Christian should strive "to have need of nothing" – So far as possible not to be dependent upon charity – but, rather, as the Apostle elsewhere states it, in harmony with the foregoing, he should "labor, working with his hands at useful employment [not to accumulate great wealth, but] that he may have to give to him that needeth." (Eph. 4:28.) The Lord's instruction to fleshly Israel that they should lend, but should not borrow, may well be applied in principle by spiritual Israel. And this principle applies to buying on credit; which should be avoided by the Lord's people, and as a rule would be found advantageous [R2197 : page 231] to mankind in general.

"THEM THAT SLEEP IN JESUS."

Having given us some general idea respecting the brethren, their general character, etc., the Apostle proceeds to speak of their hopes. Under the Apostle's instruction, supplemented by Timothy's, the Church at Thessalonica had in a very short time attained a considerable knowledge of the Divine plan; much more apparently than is enjoyed by a majority of Christian congregations to-day. For instance, (1) They knew what many to-day are ignorant of, that their hope centered in the second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ, and their being gathered to him then. (2) They knew that their friends who had died were "asleep," and their hope was that they would be awakened from the sleep of death by the Lord at his second coming. Realizing that all hopes of eternal life depended upon the second coming of the Lord as the great Life-giver, there was no danger that the early Church should ever lose sight of this inspiring hope set before us in the gospel. And it is because this fact (that the dead "sleep" and cannot be awakened until the second advent) has been lost sight of for several centuries past, that faith in and hope for the Lord's second coming has so generally languished. It has come to be generally believed by Christian people that the dead do not "sleep," but are more awake than they ever were – that they go to heaven or to hell in the moment of dissolution; and that these conditions are permanent, unalterable. With such unscriptural thoughts before their minds, who can wonder that to them the second coming of the Lord is an event without special interest; and hence regarded lightly, and by many wholly disbelieved, and declared to be a useless, uninteresting and pernicious faith.

However, "the brethren," who have been instructed by the Word of the Lord, and who do not follow "cunningly devised fables" originated by the deceiver, find that the Scriptures as a whole from Genesis to Revelation are illuminated with the grand hope of the coming of Messiah in glory and power, to establish his kingdom of righteousness in the earth, and to awaken and lift up those who have fallen under the hand of death; to give beauty for ashes, and the oil of joy for the spirit of heaviness – to as many as will accept his blessing, under the terms of the New Covenant sealed at Calvary with his own precious blood.

The penalty against our race, as originally pronounced, was not a sleep of death, for a few days or for a few centuries; on the contrary, it was absolute death – destruction. But God had purposed a redemption from the curse of death, and for this purpose Christ Jesus came into the world and died, the just one for the unjust, that he might bring us to God – back to Divine favor, where the gift of God, eternal life, will be a possibility to the obedient. Ever since the ransom-price was paid at Calvary, and its acceptance manifested at Pentecost, it has been proper to regard the whole world as being no longer dead – wholly cut off from life – but as merely sleeping – waiting for the return of the Redeemer as the Awakener, Vivifier, Life-giver.

In this sense of the word, all mankind, redeemed by the precious blood, may be said to "sleep in Jesus"; because, by his death Jesus bought the world, and secured for all another trial for life (instead of the one lost by father Adam through disobedience). And Jesus himself declared that as a consequence of his being lifted up as the great sin-offering upon the cross, he will yet "draw" all men unto him – thus showing that the world is not to be considered as dead, extinct, but as merely "asleep," waiting for the drawing time foreordained of the Father, and provided for by the ransom for all. This drawing, like the drawing exerted for the selection of the Church, will be through a knowledge of the truth, and signifies that all mankind will ultimately be made aware of God's gracious provision, under which if they will (when brought to a knowledge of the truth), they may obtain life everlasting. Since the majority of mankind went into death before the ransom was paid, this implies an awakening from death in order that they may be drawn or come to a knowledge of the truth. In harmony with this are the words of our Lord, that the hour is coming when all that are in the graves shall hear his voice and come forth; and then they that hear (obey) shall live (everlastingly).

All have been redeemed by Jesus, who "gave his life a ransom for all"; and the fact that their death-sentence has been met, paid by the Redeemer, makes it proper that they may now be spoken of as "asleep in Jesus," instead of as being dead in Adam. The fact that many of them did not know of their redemption would work no greater hindrance than the fact that many of the same ones had no knowledge in particular of the original [R2197 : page 232] sentence through Adam – they came under Adamic sentence without choice or knowledge, and latterly came under the benefits of the redemption similarly without choice or knowledge – Rom. 5:18.

That the Apostle in this connection in the use of the words "them also which sleep in Jesus," does not refer merely to the saints is very evident, when we remember that the gospel had only been preached at Thessalonica for one year, and that in that year not very many of the saints could have died. When we remember further that the saints are not very generally related, according to the flesh, we can readily see that in appealing to their hopes that they should sorrow not as others, the Apostle must have meant not only hopes for the saints, but also hopes for all of their friends who died – including those who had previously died. If their hopes were merely for the saints, and if they believed that all others were hopelessly and everlastingly lost, it would be in vain that the Apostle would appeal to them not to sorrow as others who have no hope; for, such bad hopes respecting the great majority of their dying and dead friends and relatives would be a cause for more sorrow than they or any other heathens could have had when they had no knowledge, and no definite hopes.

This is set forth by the Apostle (v. 14): he points out that our faith is built upon the fact, (1) that Christ died; and (2) that he rose again. He died for our sins, "and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world" (1 John 2:2). His resurrection is an evidence that his sacrifice was acceptable on behalf not only of his Church, but also on behalf of all for whom he died; and it becomes a guarantee or pledge, not only of God's gracious proposition, that he will in his own due time establish Christ and his Church as his kingdom, but a guarantee, also, of the further promise that Christ's kingdom when established shall "bless all the families of the earth," with "the knowledge of the truth." Believing this, we are bound to believe also that all who were redeemed by his precious blood shall, according to his promise, yet come forth from the sleep of death to hear his Word as the great Law-giver of the new dispensation; and by obedience to it, under the New Covenant, sealed by the precious blood, to have if they will the gift of God, eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord. (See Acts 3:22,23.) As God accepted the sacrifice of Christ and raised him from the dead, even so, them also which sleep in Jesus will God bring [from the sleep of death] with him – through his instrumentality.

But let us not confound this thought of the future of the whole world being changed from "death" to "sleep" by the ransom which Jesus gave for all, with the very different expression "new creatures in Christ," and "the dead in Christ," expressions which are applicable to the elect Church only.

IN JESUS, VS. IN CHRIST.

Many will notice at a glance that the name Jesus, which signifies Saviour, has special applicability to the ransom and restitution features of our Lord's work, while the name Christ is the title of his kingly office. The call to "be baptized into Jesus Christ" (the anointed) is an offer which is restricted to the "called and chosen and faithful," "elect" Church of this Gospel age; but the redemptive benefits covered by the name Jesus are "for all," for "every man," for "whosoever will" accept those mercies on New Covenant conditions.

So, then, in the language of the Apostle, we exhort Christians that in respect to all their dead, in Christ and out of Christ – new creatures and old creatures, those enlightened and blessed by the marvelous light of the gospel, and those who have died while yet blinded to the truth by "the god of this world," that they sorrow not as others who have no hope. We believe that Jesus died for all, and that he has risen, and that all the dead on this account are to be reckoned as sleeping, waiting for his return and his exaltation with his elect bride in glory; and that then all whom God counts as asleep in or on account of or through him and his work, shall be also brought from the dead.

And few have noticed the frequency with which the Scriptures use this word "sleep." Notice that it is used three times in three successive verses in this lesson. Notice also the following instances: Jno. 11:11,12; Acts 7:60; 13:13,36; 2 Peter 3:4; 1 Cor. 15:6,13-18,20,51; Matt. 9:24; 13:25; 25:5; Mark 5:39; Luke 8:52; 1 Thess. 5:10; Matt. 27:52; 1 Cor. 11:30.

These instances of the use of the word sleep, instead of the word death, are all from the New Testament, and used in full view of the ransom by which all were redeemed from the Adamic sentence, and a majority of them after the sacrifice had been given. What was the custom previously? Looking back we find Daniel (12:1-3) prophetically speaking of those who "sleep in the dust of the earth," and describing [R2198 : page 232] the sleepers as of two classes – some who will awake to everlasting life, and some to shame – the latter representing those whose trial will take place during the Millennium. And similarly of the kings and prophets one after another, good and bad, it is declared he "slept with his fathers."

The basis for this expression and of the faith in a future life which it implied is explained by our Lord saying, "That the dead are [to be] raised, even Moses showed at the bush" (Luke 20:37). "Have ye not read in the book of Moses, how in the bush God spake unto him [R2198 : page 233] saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob" (Mark 12:26). "He is not a God of the dead [the extinct, for whom no future is designed] but [he is the God] of the living, because all live unto him" (Luke 20:38). It was as a result of this lesson the Jews thereafter spoke of their dead as "asleep," and "waiting for the morning" to be "awakened." And, be it noticed, God's grounds for speaking of humanity as yet having a hope of life beyond the grave, rests not upon any change of the sentence from death (extinction) to a profound "sleep" for a period, but upon his predetermined plan to provide a Savior who would redeem or purchase back for Adam and all his race "that which was lost" of privilege of life everlasting in harmony with God.

If, then, sentence of death which came upon all men by Adam's transgression is changed to a sleep, through whom came the change? We answer, It is in or through Jesus that they may now be said to sleep; because his sacrifice is the ground for the expression "sleep."

Having spoken of the general hopes of the entire "groaning creation" which all centre in the second coming of our Lord, the Apostle delivers, not an opinion or a guess, but a special message, to the effect that the sleeping saints will suffer no less by reason of having fallen asleep, but that, on the contrary, they will be granted a priority over the living saints, in that they will be "changed," "glorified," be like and see the Lord, and share his glory, before those of the same class who are alive at that time. Elsewhere we have given at considerable length our reasons for believing that the shout, the voice and the trumpet here mentioned by the Apostle are symbols, as in other parts of the Scriptures – for instance, the shouts, voices and trumpets of Revelation, connected with the same topic. See Millennial Dawn, Vol. II., chapter V., particularly pages 143-150.

It would appear that the Church at Thessalonica had been studying this subject of the Lord's second coming, and were fearful lest some of them might "fall asleep" before his coming, and were doubtful as to how much of the blessing might thus be lost by them, as well as solicitous for their friends, hence the Apostle says, "Comfort one another" with these words.

We here notice that the word coming in verse fifteen is in the Greek parousia, which really does not have the significance of our English word "coming," but instead signifies presence – after arrival – giving the thought that the Lord will be present before the dead in Christ are "raised," although that will be prior to the "change" of the living. This, as well as many other Scriptures, indicate distinctly that the Lord's presence will not be manifest, visible, to the world during this time; as our Lord said before he went away, "Yet a little while and the world seeth me no more." This thought is emphasized by the Apostle's subsequent remarks respecting the day of the Lord, and the fact that the world would not know of it, but only the "brethren" who were "not in darkness."

It speaks well for the rapid growth in knowledge on the part of the Church at Thessalonica that the Apostle could say to them, "Of the times and seasons, brethren, you have no need that I write unto you: for yourselves know perfectly, that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night; and when they [the world, unbelievers] shall say, Peace and safety! then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child, and they shall not escape; but, "ye brethren, are not in darkness that that day shall overtake you as a thief." How definitely the Apostle here separates the body of Christ, the Church, from the world; and how particularly he shows that the one class may, will, must have knowledge on this subject, while the other class must be in ignorance on the same subject. And that subject is a knowledge of the day of the Lord – the day of the Lord's presence – "the harvest" or end of this age, in which the great Chief Reaper will not only gather the sleeping ones first, but proceed also to seal and to gather all the living ones of the elect class, who shall be accounted worthy to escape the great things that are about to come upon the world, in the great time of trouble which will dissolve present institutions and make ready for the establishment of Christ and his little flock of joint-heirs, as the heavenly kingdom.

[R2198 : page 233]

SELF-DENIAL IN THE INTEREST OF OTHERS
– AUGUST 15. – 1 COR. 8:1-13. –
G
OD'S Word, both of the Old and New Testaments, has been, and yet is, the very cornerstone of human liberty and independence. Every other system of religion has tended more or less to fetter the mind and the conscience with priestcraft and superstition. And the various so-called Christian religions, from Roman and Greek Catholicisms down, have likewise tended toward priestcraft, superstition and conscience-bondage, in proportion as they have ignored the teachings of God's Word, substituting therefor the "traditions of the elders," Decrees of Councils, theological dogmas, etc. As we look over the world to-day, [R2198 : page 234] it is an unquestionable fact that the largest liberty, social, political and mental is possessed by the peoples who have the Bible, and who read it freely. And the largest Christian liberty amongst these is enjoyed by those who study it with the greatest candor and simplicity.

But if this knowledge and liberty be not accompanied by a full self-surrender to God, a complete consecration of one's self to him who is the Author of our liberties and privileges, we stand in great danger; for, as the apostle here declares, knowledge alone without self-submission to God would incline to puff us up, to make us heady, arrogant, self-sufficient. But if the knowledge be accompanied by a love to God, which leads to self-consecration in his service, in harmony with his instructions, the knowledge will work good for us, by thus introducing the spirit of love as the controling factor in our lives, because the effect of love is to "build up" instead of to "puff up." Love is constructive, and tends not only to build up our own characters after the Divine pattern, but by so doing it makes us co-workers together with God, in our sympathies for and interest in others – in their upbuilding and general welfare.

After making this point clear, the apostle proceeds to apply it to the Christians at Corinth. As in all other cities of the Gentiles at that time, there were plenty of idols, plenty of gods, and plenty of temples; and it was the custom to eat consecrated food – meat that had been offered before an idol. The Apostle assures his readers that he fully agrees with their knowledge and logic upon this subject; to the effect that since the idol is not a god, therefore the offering of meat to it could not in any manner injure the meat to those who really understood the matter. Their increase of knowledge had given them a liberty which they could not have appreciated at first; but he urges that as Christians it is our duty to consider not merely our own liberties, but in such cases to waive our liberties in the interest of others, upon whom the influence might be injurious. We should, therefore, be very careful in the use of our knowledge and liberties, to see that it worked no injury to others – or otherwise to abstain from such liberties as might be injurious to others.

Every one knows how easy it is to meddle with the delicate machinery of a watch, and thus to render it absolutely useless. So the conscience is a delicate mechanism, and we should be on guard against any and every influence which might injure either our own conscience or the consciences of others. The Corinthian brethren who fully understood that an idol was nothing, and that an idol temple was therefore nothing, might be fully at ease in their own consciences, if as guests they attended a municipal feast or banquet in such an idol temple; they might be able even there to recognize the true God and to eat and drink with thankfulness to him; but there might be onlookers, or amongst them, other brethren with knowledge less clear upon these subjects, who, nevertheless, would want to follow their example, and who in so doing would be violating and injuring their consciences. And no one could know what serious results might come from such a violation of conscience; the conscience which submitted to violation reluctantly at first, would incline to become hardened, and finally would cease to speak at all. And the owner of that conscience would be likely to drift according to the inclinations of his fallen nature into the very worst extremes of depravity. For this reason those who have knowledge of the Divine Word and the liberties wherewith Christ makes free, need more than ever an increase of the Divine spirit – charity, love – which would make them careful that their every act would not only be in harmony with their own consciences, but such, also, as would not prove stumbling blocks to the consciences of others, [R2199 : page 234] whose knowledge or logic could grasp the situation less clearly.

To fail to have this love and this active, self-sacrificing consideration for the welfare and conscience of a weaker brother, the Apostle declares would not only be a sin against the brethren and wound their consciences, but a sin also against Christ – against the very spirit of his law of love one for the other. How nobly the Apostle sums this matter up when he declares that as for himself, if he found it necessary, in order that he might be a help to the brethren, and not a stumbling block to any, he would take pleasure in denying himself, not only the meat offered to idols, but all meat of every kind, as long as he lived. Paul thus manifested the true spirit of brotherly love; and every follower of the Lord Jesus Christ should seek to have this same spirit and sentiment active in all their intercourse with each other.

While there is nothing in this lesson directly bearing upon intoxicating liquors, the principle inculcated can be very properly applied to the great evil of intemperance which is doing so much injury to the whole world, and in some cases even to those who have named the name of Christ. We do not dispute the principle of liberty, that each Christian has a right to decide the right and wrong of such matters according to his own conscience, but we do offset this knowledge and liberty with the doctrine of love, as the Apostle does in this lesson. Whoever is a child of the King, not only has liberty, but must also have the spirit of love; and he who boasts the liberty and manifests nothing of the spirit of love and consideration for others, raises the question whether he is a bastard or a son; for if any [R2199 : page 235] man have not the spirit of Christ (love), he is none of his.

The Christian whose heart is full of the Lord's spirit of love will not only be careful that he may set a good example before the brethren, lest they should be stumbled, but he will also be careful of the example which he sets to his own sons and household, and to all "them who are without" – those who have not yet accepted the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, but who are reading the lives and characters of his disciples, as living epistles of his doctrines.

*                         *                         *

Incidentally our lesson brings before us a very clear and positive statement respecting God. While the world has many that it calls gods and lords and masters, to the Christian, as the Apostle expresses it, "There is but one God, the Father." The Apostle evidently knew nothing of the doctrine, started in the second century, and patterned after the heathen ideas, to the effect that there are three gods, of whom the catechisms declare that they are "equal in power and in glory." The Apostle knew of only one God who was supreme, "the Father." And he declares that of him (proceeding from him, directly or indirectly) are all things, including ourselves, who are his children.

But, the Apostle by no means ignored our Lord Jesus Christ, who claimed to be not "the Father," but "the Son of God." Of him the Apostle has elsewhere said after telling us how he humbled himself for our sakes, leaving the glory of the Father's presence in obedience to the Father's will and plan, and how he suffered for us, the just for the unjust, death itself, even the death of the cross," then adds, "Him hath God highly exalted, and given him a name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, both of things in heaven and things on earth, to the glory of God, the Father" – and that all men "should honor the Son, even as they honor the Father." Nor does the Apostle here omit to mention Jesus, but says, that to us there is "one Lord, Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him."

How clearly and how simply the Apostle states the relationship existing between the glorified Father, the glorified Son, and all the creation of God, which is or will be blessed through the Son. Although, all things are of the Father, in the sense that the original power, life, etc., proceeded from the Father, nevertheless all things are by the Son, in the sense that he from the very beginning has been the Father's active and honored agent in every feature of the Divine plan. Himself declared to be "the beginning of the creation of God," it is also declared that "all things were made by him, and without him was not anything made that was made" (though of the Father, by the Father's power, etc.). See Rev. 3:14; Jno. 1:2,3; also our issue for June '92 and April 15, '93.

page 235

INTERESTING LETTERS.

Ontario.

DEAR BROTHER IN CHRIST: – I must say that I have been surprised, delighted and astonished beyond measure at the truth revealed in your tract on hell. Oh, how I have been deluded by the traditions of men! How I have misrepresented and traduced God in preaching such a doctrine.

I have been outside of all sects and systems of men for years, yet bound by the traditions of men, when I thought myself free. May he, the spirit of truth, guide me quickly into his perfect light.

I would be pleased to circulate any literature on these subjects that you have for free distribution in this dark town in which I live, and will send you my subscription for ZION'S WATCH TOWER as soon as I am able. Yours in Christ,

I. W. HAMMOND.

Kansas.

TOWER PUBLISHING CO.: – Through the Christian kindness of my brother I have been furnished VOLS. I., II. and III. of MILLENNIAL DAWN. How blind and stiff-necked I have been, I can hardly tell. After reading the first volume I was not at all convinced, but through courtesy to my brother I re-read it, the second time comparing references carefully. Then I commenced at Isaiah's prophecy, and read all the prophets and the New Testament through. And altho I had read the same many times, I was surprised at what I found there, that I had never seen before. Five years ago I felt my ignorance of the Word of God, not being able to "rightly divide the word of truth," so I sought the Lord, pleading that promise, "If any lack wisdom, let him ask of God, who giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not." And how wonderfully he has answered my prayers! I am now feasting on the hidden manna.

Yesterday I stepped out of the ship [the nominal church – ED.], alone on the troubled sea. For a little while I felt as if I was sinking, when I heard, by faith, "Oh thou of little faith, wherefore didst thou doubt."

MRS. S. C. SMITH.

California.

DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL: – We rejoice in the truth. Our pet doctrines, immortality of the soul, everlasting torment, triune God, have been exchanged for the pure gold. Now we can do nothing against the truth, but feel it our reasonable service to do all we can for the truth.

Silver and gold we have not; but such as we have, our time, testimony and influence to serve the truth to others, we give. We appreciate your offer very much, in sending us tracts for free distribution, as it opens the way to have a little talk and then leave the silent messenger with them (the people). They will read the tract, but cannot argue with it. The tract entitled "The Wages of Sin" proved a great blessing to me. I page 236 marked it well, and accompanied with a long letter sent the same to a friend.

I have learned to appreciate this kind of reading matter so much, because of the glorious light it has brought me – "glad tidings of great joy." Blessed be God, I have learned to love him better, because I know him better and his wonderful plan; in fact it has brought me into harmony as a co-worker with him, and I am able to understand and willingly do the work he has for me to do in this harvest time.

A strong sectarian spirit prevails in this place. Something that will strike at the root of this evil with the many false doctrines and teachings of the popular denominations seems to be one thing needful. You may judge as to what tracts would suit, and I will faithfully distribute the same.

We shall be glad to take up the colporteur work and do what we can along that line. Will let you know when we are ready to take up that work. We know much good is accomplished in that way.

Yours in the love of God and the fellowship of the one spirit,

P. J. SHOQUIST.

Michigan.

DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL: – Allow me to address you a few lines concerning the effect of your work, the I., II. and III. volumes of MILLENNIAL DAWN, upon me. It found me through a friend in a creed bed. And reading and examining it I found the bed too short. I was acting as superintendent of a Sunday School at the time, and I resigned and withdrew from the Evangelical Association; not without a church meeting, however.

I was able to get a great deal of truth before them, and the minister, having more knowledge of the Scriptures than the rest, and I having given him my reason for withdrawing before the meeting, confessed to the truth privately, but simply said he would have to defend the discipline or he could not preach. He lacked a love and appreciation of the truth. He could not condemn and did not do so, but by his silence allowed the members to condemn the truth.

This step cost me the friendship of all my neighbors for a time, but they have shown every respect since, tho the minister keeps them so guarded that I cannot get them to read MILLENNIAL DAWN and examine the truth for themselves.

I am so thankful to God for his great mercy to me in revealing this truth to me. Oh! I desire strength to fight the good fight of faith to the end. I pray God to be with you in his might in strengthening you in spreading the truth, and may the Lord reward you for your good work, as no one else is able to bless. Pray for me. Yours in Christ,

L. L. PARNEY.

Ontario.

DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL: – I take the liberty of writing to thank you for your very clear, forcible, logical, convincing and satisfactory presentation of the truth in your three volumes of MILLENNIAL DAWN. Altho I have been acquainted with the Word of God from childhood, I never knew so much of my heavenly Father's glorious provision for our fallen race as I have learned since reading your valuable works. While I am surprised and ashamed that for so many years I knew nothing of what is so clearly pointed out in God's Word, I feel very thankful that at eventide it is light. Praise the Lord for clearly revealing his glorious purposes, which till lately were hidden from me. I long to tell others the blessed tidings that gladden my heart. Glory to God, my Savior is here; Christ, the divine Bridegroom is present.

Since I have seen something of the Millennial Dawn, I have been trying to point others to its glorious light. I have conversed about it whenever I had an opportunity, and lent DAWNS to any who were willing to read them. Last May I publicly left the Methodist church of which I had been a member from my youth. All our family were members of that church, but two of them have left because they are believers in the great truths you teach. Our youngest son, who lives at M., left before I did. He is very diligent and earnest in his efforts to spread the light.

The people here are strongly prejudiced against what they think are new doctrines. One of them told me he wanted to die in the same faith as his fathers. I told him that if all his forefathers had been of his opinion they would have been Roman Catholics, and farther back they were heathen. One man to whom I lent the DAWNS acknowledged that no one could disprove them, but said that it was hard to give up opinions that had been instilled into the mind in childhood. Some are so prejudiced that they will not read the books at all. We never tire of reading them and the TOWERS over and over again.

My husband joins with me in kind regards to yourself and Sister Russell. May the Lord bless you abundantly in your great work. Your Sister in Christ,

MRS. ELIZABETH HALL.

Ohio.

DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL: – I bless God for the MILLENNIAL DAWN, for it has removed all doubts and fears and revealed to me the perfect plan of God for the redemption of man, and I have since reading it made a personal acquaintance with my Savior, our Lord Jesus Christ, and he is now ruling supreme in my heart, and I am looking for his coming [the full establishment of his Kingdom?] when I shall see him as he is and be like him. O, bless the Lord all my soul!

I was groping in darkness, but I was seeking after truth, and hungering and thirsting after righteousness, and bless God he has filled me and given me the Comforter, who he has promised shall abide with me forever.

I will tell you how the DAWN happened to fall into my hands. One day in looking over the books in the Public Library, under the head of Religion, I saw this book, and in scanning its pages I thought it was just what I wanted, so I took it home and read it on three different occasions, and it has been a great blessing to me; and not only to me, but I showed it to a friend of mine who had almost fallen into infidelity, and was attending meetings of a club which is composed of Anarchists, Communists and Socialists, and proffered to believe in their teachings; but praise God, he is now interested in the truth, and my prayer is that the Lord will manifest himself to him that he may make a personal acquaintance with Him and accept the ransom provided for all who will accept its benefits.

Yours in Christ,

CHARLES PETERSON.

page 237
August 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. XVIII.AUGUST 15, 1897.No. 16.
CONTENTS.

Special Items 238
Views from the Watch Tower 239
Zeal the Measure of Love 240
"Wash One Another's Feet" 242
The Sum of All Graces is Love 244
Gifts in the Early Church 245
Fruits of the Spirit More Desirable 245
Faith, Hope and Love Abide Forever 248
The Gospel Preached at Ephesus 250

'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 238

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.

SUBSCRIPTIONS AND BUSINESS COMMUNICATIONS
– ADDRESS TO –
TOWER PUBLISHING CO., BIBLE HOUSE, 58 & 60 ARCH ST.,
ALLEGHENY (NORTH PITTSBURG), PA., U.S.A.

SUBSCRIPTION PRICE, $1.00 A YEAR, IN ADVANCE,
INCLUDES A SUBSCRIPTION TO "THE OLD THEOLOGY TRACTS" – QUARTERLY.
MONEY MAY BE SENT BY EXPRESS, N.Y. DRAFT, MONEY ORDER,
OR REGISTERED. FROM FOREIGN COUNTRIES BY FOREIGN
MONEY ORDERS, ONLY. SPECIAL TERMS TO THE LORD'S POOR, AS FOLLOWS:

Those of the interested, who by reason of old age or accident, or other adversity are unable to pay for the TOWER will be supplied FREE, if they will send a Postal Card each December, stating their case and requesting the paper.

[R2208 : page 238]

A SYNAGOGUE AND JEWS AT ATHENS.

By an oversight (which however involved no principle or doctrine) we recently made the statement that there was no synagogue at Athens, and that no Jews resided there at the time of Paul's visit, whereas Acts 17:17 plainly states to the contrary. This furnishes first class evidence of the truthfulness of our claim that the WATCH TOWER is not infallible, but liable to Editorial as well as typographical errors. Our readers will therefore do well to keep a sharp look-out: and while we are always very careful as respects doctrinal statements, it is our desire to be correct also in respect to even the comparatively unimportant features of the divine Word; and this slip will make us the more careful.

page 238

"What Say the Scriptures About Hell?" is the title of a pamphlet in which every text of Scripture containing the word hell is cited and examined in the light of Scripture and reason, together with other Scriptures and parables supposed to teach eternal torment. Price 10 cents; 50 cents per doz.; $4.00 per hundred.

[R2199 : page 239]

VIEWS FROM THE WATCH TOWER.

TWO thousand carrier-pigeons collected from various parts of Germany by the German government, sent to Dover, England, and there set free to see how many of them could be relied on to return quickly to their homes, is but a trifling incident of itself; but it has created a great commotion in England. It is interpreted to indicate that the German Emperor is considering the possibilities of a war with Great Britain; and desires to know how he could keep in communication with his army after it had landed on British soil, supposing that the telegraph cables would be destroyed or under British control. The matter was taken up in Parliament, but it was decided that the affront was of so peculiar a character that no notice could be taken officially by the Government.

In our opinion it is one of Emperor William's strategic bluffs, by which he is pleased frequently to startle the world, and keep himself in notice as a central figure – the arbiter of peace or war. It is an offset to the "Jubilee" show by Britain of a war fleet greater than that of all other European nations combined. It perhaps merely suggests, – "Britishers, when thinking of your naval strength, remember that others have greater army-strength."

But it nevertheless indicates the love of the grandson Emperor for his grandmother Queen; and indicates that the present-day inclination to peace on the part of the so-called Christian nations and rulers, springs not generally from any change of hearts or renewal of right spirits within the rulers or the masses, but from changed conditions which make results extra hazardous, as well as very expensive.

Theoretically both grandson and grandmother reign "by the grace of God;" i.e., they claim to hold power not from the peoples whom they govern, but as rulers divinely commissioned and set over the people, as representatives of the Kingdom of Heaven: and similarly all the kings and emperors of Europe claim. Yet, in the light of these false claims, how absurd are propositions of war like the above, and all the unholy wars the accounts of which cover the pages of "Christendom's" history.

*                         *                         *

An English journal, The Morning Star, is responsible for the report that Queen Victoria recently said to a minister of the Church of England, – "I am looking for the coming of our Lord, and I do not think it impossible that I may not have to surrender my crown [R2200 : page 239] till I shall lay it down at his feet."

It is pleasant to be assured that one of the potentates of earth is looking for the Heavenly King and his Kingdom of righteousness, even tho her words imply that she sees the subject comparatively obscurely. Only his special "friends" know that the Great King is already present, is assuming his great power and is about to use it as a rod of iron in dashing to pieces the human systems of church and state which falsely, and often ignorantly, call themselves by his name, – Christian governments and churches. Only these realize that the judgment of these man-made systems is now in progress. Only these have been served by the Master through his instrumentalities with the "meat in due season" for the household of faith. (Luke 12:37.) Only these know how to interpret the growing confusion and darkness coming upon the nominal churches, and the forboding "clouds" of trouble causing distress of nations with perplexity, and making men's hearts to fail them for fear in looking forward to the things coming [R2200 : page 240] upon the earth. Only these are able to see through these events to the blessings they presage, to the Church first, and to all the families of the earth later on. Only these therefore are able to lift up their heads and rejoice, knowing that their redemption draweth nigh.

*                         *                         *

Many odes and poems were written in commemoration of the Queen's Jubilee; but one of the last, and less boastful than many, seems to meet with general appreciation. It is styled "Recessional," as indicating thoughts on the conclusion of the Jubilee, and has just been published. It is as follows: –

JUBILEE RECESSIONAL.

"God of our fathers, known of old –
Lord of our far-flung battle-line –
Beneath whose awful hand we hold
Dominion over palm and pine –
Lord God of Hosts be with us yet,
Lest we forget – lest we forget!

"The tumult and the shouting dies –
The captains and the kings depart –
Still stands thine ancient Sacrifice,
An humble and a contrite heart.
Lord God of Hosts be with us yet,
Lest we forget – lest we forget!

"Far-called our navies melt away –
On dune and headland sinks the fire –
Lo, all our pomp of yesterday
Is one with Nineveh and Tyre!
Judge of the nations, spare us yet,
Lest we forget – lest we forget!

"If, drunk with sight of power, we loose
Wild tongues that have not Thee in awe –
Such boasting as the Gentiles use
Or lesser breeds without the Law –
Lord God of Hosts be with us yet,
Lest we forget – lest we forget!

"For heathen heart that puts her trust
In reeking tube and iron shard –
All valiant dust that builds on dust,
And guarding calls not Thee to guard –
For frantic boast and foolish word.
Thy mercy on Thy people, Lord! Amen.
Rudyard Kipling."

JEWISH INVESTIGATION.

"A curious movement is on foot among the Jews in one or two of the provinces of South Russia, which may result in an important religious revival. A number of pious Israelites are establishing associations for the reading and study of the Scriptures, both in the homes of the people and in their public assemblies. Much attention will be devoted to the prophetical books of the Old Testament, and to investigating the claims of Christians that Jesus of Nazareth has in his life and work and death been the fulfiller of many utterances of the prophets which have for so long been stumbling blocks to the Jews. It is further reported from Russia that a deeper religious feeling than has hitherto characterized them is noticed among the Karaim Jews of the Crimea. This sect of Israelites reject the Talmud as in any sense binding on them, their only sacred scriptures being the Old Testament. They are only found in the Crimea and in one or two isolated districts in Western Russia." – The Independent.

This is a favorable indication. The Talmud stands between the Jew and God's Word just as the creeds and decrees of Synods and Councils stand between Christians and the Word. Nothing must be allowed to separate between us and the inspired Word if we would walk in the Light. Whatever "helps" really point us to the Bible as the only authority, and assist us in rightly dividing it, are profitable to us as servants and guides: but that which attempts to be to us instead of God's Word is a dangerous foe.

[R2200 : page 240]

ZEAL THE MEASURE OF LOVE.

"There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: the one owed five hundred pence, and the other fifty. And when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell me therefore, which of them will love him most? Simon answered and said, I suppose that he to whom he forgave most. And Jesus said unto him, Thou hast rightly judged." – Luke 7:41-43.
T
HE peculiar circumstances which drew forth the above colloquy will be very generally remembered. It was toward the close of our Lord's ministry, and a prominent Pharisee had invited him to dine with him and a company of friends; and while they reclined at dinner, after the custom of those times, – the table being spread in the centre and couches surrounding it on which the guests rested upon one elbow, while their feet extended out behind the couches – there came behind the Lord a woman, Mary Magdalene, widely known as a disreputable character; she was in deep contrition and was weeping, her tears falling copiously upon the Master's feet. She had with her an alabaster box of very expensive ointment, and as she prepared to anoint our Lord's feet with it she first wiped them with her hair. Such a scene probably never occurred before or since, and was well calculated to move even the hardest hearts. But, so far from entering into the real spirit of the situation, the Pharisees were of cynical mind and merely interpreted this as a proof that our Lord was not a prophet: arguing that, if he were, he would have known the character of the woman, [R2200 : page 241] for she "was a sinner." Our Lord, discerning their hearts, gave them a better explanation of the case in the language of our text.

We are not to understand from our Lord's illustration that Mary was ten times as guilty before the divine law as was Simon, the Pharisee, but rather that in this illustration our Lord pictured the sentiments of the two sinners. Really "there is none righteous, no, not one;" "all have sinned and come short of the glory of God;" both Simon and Mary were under the Law of Moses, according to which he who was guilty of violating one feature of the Law had broken the Law as a whole; and had therefore failed of the reward promised to the one who would keep the whole, and had incurred the penalty pronounced for the violation of the whole, – death. Strictly speaking, then, both Simon and Mary owed the same amount – the lives of both were forfeited because of sin: and if either one of them were ever to obtain eternal life it could be only by the mercy of God, in the forgiveness of their sins. Strictly speaking, then, they each owed five hundred pence (were under sentence of death), and were alike unable to meet their indebtednesses.

Our Lord put the illustration of ten to one, not as representing his view of the situation, but as illustrating the sentiments of Mary and Simon. Mary realized her unworthiness, and in this respect was like the publican mentioned in one of our Lord's previous illustrations, who smote upon his breast, saying, "God be merciful to me a sinner;" – she realized her sinful load and how much need she had of the Lord's mercy in its removal. But Simon was like the other character of our Lord's discourse, who thanked God that he was not like other men, but that if not entirely perfect in every particular he was at least very nearly perfect. Alas! those who are in this condition of mind are farther from the Lord than the truly humble and penitent who realize their need of a Savior, even tho as respects many moralities they may be humanly on a higher plane. So in this case, while the Savior was present and Simon might have had a great blessing, it was penitent Mary who really received it. She heard the Master's words, "Thy sins are forgiven," while Simon who appreciated his unworthiness but slightly got no forgiveness. Here we have an illustration of our Lord's statement at another time, – "The whole need not a physician, but the sick." In reality there are none whole, all are sick; but only those who realize their sickness apply to the physician for his remedies.

Not only did our Lord justify his course in receiving the kind offices of penitent Mary, but, turning the argument, he administered a gentle but sharp reproof to Simon; he pointed out that he had neglected the common courtesies of that country and time. It was customary then to receive guests with a kiss, as it is now our custom to shake hands; it was customary then to provide water for the washing of the guest's feet, uncomfortable by reason of travel along the dusty roads [R2201 : page 241] of that time; in the case of an honored guest a servant would be sent to wash the feet. Furthermore, with special guests sometimes perfumed ointments for the hair and toilet were provided. Our Lord calls Simon's attention to the fact that these little courtesies had been ignored by him, but had been more than made up for by Mary; and that the secret of the difference of sentiment lay in the fact that Simon loved him little, and that Mary loved him much.

It could not be that Simon had accidentally omitted these courtesies, for all Pharisees were punctilious on the subject of washings; nor need we suppose that it was an intentional slight put on our Lord. On the contrary, we may reasonably suppose that Simon, like Nicodemus, had a genuine interest in the Lord, and a surmise that he was a more than ordinary prophet. But both Simon and Nicodemus belonged to the respectable class, or higher caste, and came under the description of John (12:42,43), "Nevertheless, among the chief rulers also many believed on him; but because of the Pharisees they did not confess him, lest they should be put out of the synagogue: for they loved the praise of men more than the praise of God."

Nicodemus came to the Lord by night to interview him, but Simon more shrewdly thought to get the opportunity of a conversation directly with the Lord by inviting him to dinner; but to prevent the thought that he had anything more than a general interest and curiosity respecting Christ, and thus to maintain the good opinion of his co-religionists, he treated the Lord and the disciples, who evidently were also guests, as persons of a lower caste; and as tho he thought that it was a sufficient honor to them to be his guests at all, he entertained them as inferiors; altho, probably, could he have done so without endangering his standing as a Pharisee, he would have enjoyed extending to the Lord every courtesy.

How many who like Mary have realized their sins and have appreciated the divine mercy in the forgiveness of their sins have almost envied Mary her privilege of touching the feet of the blessed Master and, as he declared, "anointing them for his burial." With us, such opportunity might properly be appreciated still more highly, because of greater knowledge; for we have learned what Mary probably very imperfectly understood, that our Lord Jesus for our sakes left the glory which he had with the Father and humbled himself to human conditions in order that we through his poverty might be made rich. And not only so: Mary at this time had no knowledge of the extent to [R2201 : page 242] which the Master would go on her behalf and ours, to redeem us from sin and its sentence of death; – Calvary was then still in the future.

What a comforting thought it should be to all who are of Mary's attitude of mind that it is still possible to wash and to anoint the Lord's feet. His own lips have declared that, whatever is done for the least one of his consecrated followers, is accepted by him as done unto himself. Ah! blessed thought; the Lord is still in the flesh, representatively; his faithful are to be esteemed "members of his body," as new creatures. And while these are still in the flesh, the sufferings of Christ in the flesh are still in progress, and will not be finished until the last member has been glorified. – Col. 1:24.

Moreover, the Scriptural figure holds good: Christ is the Head of this body which is his Church, and which for eighteen hundred years has been in process of development; and now the last members of the body are here, – "The feet of him." As members of the feet class many are weary, discouraged, needing rest, refreshment and comfort, such as was bestowed upon the literal feet of the Master.

Here comes in a test with respect to the symbolic feet of Christ, similar to that with respect to the natural feet which proved the great love of Mary and the slight of love of Simon. The members of the feet class are unpopular to-day as was the Master himself in his day, with a class corresponding to the scribes and Pharisees and doctors of the Law. Only those who love the Master much and appreciate greatly their own forgiveness will love his "feet members" in the present time to the extent that they would be willing to serve them and to fellowship them; while others like Nicodemus and Simon, altho well-meaning and considerably interested, will be ashamed of the gospel of the Nazarene in the present time, and ashamed of his feet, which published to Zion glad tidings, saying, "Thy God reigneth" – the Millennial age is dawning and the reign of Christ has already begun. (Isa. 52:7.) But those who are ashamed either of the gospel or of its servants are ashamed of the Master and of the Father; and such cannot be recognized as "overcomers" of the world, because instead they are overcome by the world and its spirit. Such shall not be accounted worthy to progress into the full knowledge and privileges of discipleship.

How few there are who seem to have a large measure of the spirit of Mary Magdalene! How few are really very helpful to one another. How few pour upon one another the spikenard ointment of comforting words, helpful suggestions and encouragements. Those who are thus helpful will be found filled with a genuine love for the "head," for the "body" in general and even for the "feet." And the secret of their love as in Mary's case will be found to be a large appreciation of their own imperfections and of the Lord's mercy and grace toward them, in the forgiveness of their sins. The Apostle expresses the sentiments of these helpful and loving members of the body, who are the only ones who are making their calling and election sure, saying, – "For we thus judge, that if one died for all then were all dead; and that we who live should not henceforth live unto ourselves, but unto him who died for us and rose again."

[R2201 : page 242]

"WASH ONE ANOTHER'S FEET."

IT WAS shortly after the incident related foregoing that our Lord, alone with the twelve disciples, took a basin of water and a towel and began to wash the disciples' feet. Strange indeed, this conduct seemed to them: not only their Master's words but also his actions were inexplicable riddles to them. He had acknowledged himself as the Son of God, the Messiah, their Lord and Master; and yet here he was, kneeling before them in the attitude of the humblest servant, washing their feet. Wondering and dumbfounded, but accustomed to obey the Master, no remark or protest was made until in turn he came to Peter. But Peter, as humble as he was bold, refused to allow the Master to perform the menial service, until assured that the explanation of it would be given after the service had been performed, and that unless he was washed he could have no part with the Master, whereupon he desired that his head and his hands as well as his feet might be washed.

Since literal feet-washing was frequent, the custom of that day, and almost indispensable to comfort, we may suppose that our Lord's example would be frequently followed in the early Church. But, we do not see in it any command that feet-washing should be performed simply as a ceremony – regardless of its usefulness and its convenience.

Our Lord's words to Peter, "If I wash thee not thou hast no part with me," certainly imply that the washing was more than a mere ceremony – more also than a mere expression of humility, as we shall endeavor to show. Nevertheless, the principle should hold good in every time and in every clime: that whatever useful service can be rendered to a fellow-member of the body of Christ, however humble or menial, it should be performed, as unto the Lord.

Having finished the service the Master explained its significance. He had set them an example (1) of humility, in being willing to perform the most menial [R2201 : page 243] service to those who were truly his; (2) the washing was an illustration of a great truth, namely, that altho already cleansed by the Lord – justified freely from all things, through faith in him – yet that there were certain defilements which would attach to each of them so long as they would be in the world, from contact with its evils and besetments. While the general washing (justification) would stand good for all time, yet they would need continually (figuratively) to wash one another's feet – with the "washing of water by the word." (Eph. 5:26.) This would signify that they should have a mutual watch-care over one another's welfare; to keep each other clean, holy, pure, and to assist one another in overcoming the trials and temptations and besetments of this present evil world; – arising from the three sources of temptation, "the world, the flesh and the devil."

This cleansing work which is to be done for one another is in harmony with the injunction, "Keep yourselves in the love of God." They could not get each other into the love of God: that could be attained only in the one way; through the original cleansing of the precious blood, through faith; and no one can thus cleanse us or help us into divine favor, except the Redeemer himself. But he having cleansed us and brought us into divine favor, has commissioned us that we should help one another to "abide in his love" and to keep ourselves unspotted from the world. The merit, the way and the privilege are all of God through Christ. The agencies used in applying these to one another are ourselves. "Ye ought also to wash one another's feet;" to help keep each other separate from the world, and clean through the Word he has spoken unto us, – by "the washing of water by the Word;" "building one another up in the most holy faith."

This again reminds us of the Scriptural statement, in reference to the Church perfected and glorified, – "His wife hath made herself ready." (Rev. 19:7.) While the entire arrangement for her wedding robes, the washing of regeneration (justification) and the water for her feet-washing, are all provided for the [R2202 : page 243] bride through the agency of the Bridegroom, and she is thus made ready, yet the use of these means, the putting on of her adornment, the embroidering of her robes and the arrangement of the jewels presented to her through the spirit, is left for herself to do; each member of the body co-operating unto the edification of the whole body in love. – 1 Thes. 5:11; Rom. 14:19.

It would doubtless be pleasing in the sight of the Master, our Head, that we should have a disposition to help and to reform the world in general, and to wash the vilest of the vile from all their sin; but however praiseworthy such a disposition might be, we are to remember that this is not the command which he has placed before us in our text. His injunction here is not to do general washing of all the unclean, but to do special washing for those whom he already has cleansed, justified, through faith. It is in respect to the fellow-members of his body that he has given this charge; and we emphasize it here, because this fact seems to be very generally overlooked by Christian people, who give their time rather to the outward cleansing, the moral and social uplifting, of those whose hearts have never been washed by the Master, and correspondingly neglect one another, his "feet." Yet, as already seen, preceding, tho it is a great honor to render such a service to one another, the privilege will be properly appreciated and much used only by the truly humble who have much love for the Master.

But, it requires peculiar qualifications to enable us to help each other in this respect; before we can help others to remove the motes out of their eyes, and to cleanse their way of life, in all its little particulars, so that every thought as well as every word and act shall be brought into subjection to the divine will, it is necessary that we have experiences along the same lines ourselves. We must endeavor to get rid of the motes and beams that would obstruct our own vision. We must cultivate purity in our own lives, – in our deeds, words and thoughts. Only as we cultivate the various graces of the spirit, – meekness, patience, gentleness, brotherly-kindness, love, can we hope to be specially helpful to others in putting on these adornments of character and purities of life, and to get rid of defilements of the world, and the flesh.

To this end it will be found helpful to remember the lesson of Mary in her service to the Lord's literal feet. Many who would reject well-meaning criticisms of conduct, resent well-meant efforts to wash their feet, as interferences with their private business, would be very amenable to the influences of the same person if he approached them with such evidences of true devotion and loving interest as would be symbolized by tears. It is the sympathetic ones who are most successful in helping the various members of the body of Christ out of the difficulties, besetments and defilements incident to the following of the Lord in this present time. Oh, let us study and strive and pray that we may be very successful in obeying the Master's words, "Ye also ought to wash one another's feet."

It will also be a great help and comfort to the fellow members of the body, if in connection with these efforts to help one another in the cleansing of our ways, by taking heed unto the Word of the Lord, we will have with us also some of the precious ointment of sympathetic and, as far as possible, commendatory and encouraging words, and helpful assistance: for all the members of the feet class who are seeking to walk worthy of the Lord need the ointment of sympathy and encouragement, as offsets to the trials, difficulties and persecutions incident to the "narrow way," coming to them from the great Adversary and his blinded servants.

[R2202 : page 244]

THE SUM OF ALL GRACES IS LOVE.
– AUG. 22. – 1 COR. 15:1-13. –
"And now abideth Faith, Hope, Love, these three; but the greatest of these is Love." – 1 Cor. 13:13.
N
EXT TO the Great Teacher's sermon on the mount, stands this discourse upon Love by the great Apostle Paul. Both discourses teach the same lesson; but they approach it from different standpoints. As pupils in the school of Christ, all the instructions of the divine Word and providences are intended to develop our hearts and influence our conduct in harmony with the lines of Love. This was the testimony of the Master when he said, "A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another." Similarly he declared that the entire law of God to men is fulfilled in Love – toward God and toward men: Thou shalt love the Lord thy God, with all thy heart, with all thy mind, with all thy being, and with all thy strength; and thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. Since, then, "Love is the fulfiling of the law," and "the bond of perfectness," without which no other grace of character would be truly beautiful, we do not wonder to find the statement in Scripture that "God is Love;" and again, that "He that loveth not, knoweth not God."

Our Lord declares, "This is life eternal, that they might know thee, the only true God" – the God who is Love. To know God in the sense here indicated means more than merely to know that there is a God; it means more than merely to know something of God's loving plan and character; it means to know God in the sense of personal acquaintance, and an appreciation of his character; and no one can have this knowledge except as he receives, partakes of, the spirit of God, the spirit of holiness, the spirit of Love. And this spirit of holiness and Love cannot be acquired instantly; it is a growth, and its development is the chief business and should be the chief concern of all who hope to know God in the complete sense which will be rewarded with life eternal.

Hence, after Love's great provision of the Lamb of God, and the ransom of all mankind accomplished by him, all of its various steps for our deliverance from sin and death have been along the line of developing in us this character of Love, the character of God, which, according to the divine standard, alone will make us acceptable before the Father and bring to us his grace of everlasting life. Oh how important then, that we should be "taught of God" and develop this his character. "Learn of me," said our dear Redeemer; and well we may, for he is the express image of the Father's glorious character of Love. And "if any man have not the spirit of Christ [the Father's holy spirit, Love] he is none of his."

To begin with, we are very poor material out of which to form likenesses of God's dear Son. (Rom. 8:29.) We were "children of wrath even as others" – the original likeness of God possessed by father Adam before he transgressed has been sadly lost in the six thousand years intervening: hence, instead of finding ourselves in the divine likeness of Love, we find that we were "born in sin, and shapen in iniquity" to such a degree that, instead of Love being the natural ruling principle in our characters, it is in many instances almost entirely obliterated; and what remains is largely contaminated with evil, self-love and sin-love and carnal-love; – perversions which are in direct antagonism with the wholly unselfish Love which is the essence of the divine character.

The work of grace for the world, during the Millennial age, will be to make known to all mankind the gracious character of God, and his provision for the salvation of all; and to transform all who are willing from the depravity of sin to the perfection of character – Love: making mankind once more images of God. It will not only transform their wills, but it will also be accompanied by a physical transformation which will remove from them all the blemishes of sin, and all hereditary inclinations thereto, and leave them in the likeness of God, with a recollection of the undesirableness of sin and its evil consequences.

The work of grace for the Church during this Gospel age is to transform our perverted characters and reestablish them in the divine character, Love. Whoever fails of attaining this fails of attaining the will of God concerning him; and must necessarily fail of winning the prize set before us in the gospel.

But since our transformation of mind or will is not accompanied by a physical transformation or restitution, it follows that so long as we are in the flesh, we shall be obliged to contend against its inherited weaknesses and dispositions to selfishness and sin. But this sharp and continual conflict not only selects a special overcoming class, but serves to develop the desired character more quickly than will the more easy processes of the Millennial age. In consequence, while it will require nearly a thousand years for the world's perfecting, the perfecting of the saints in character may be accomplished in a few years, under the special, sharp discipline and the special course of instruction designed for the "little flock." But whether in few years or many years, and whether with little or much friction of adversity, the transformation and polishing of character must be accomplished. This love-likeness of our wills to the will of God is the end to be sought, if we [R2202 : page 245] would finish our course with joy, and with good hopes for the eternal glory.

GIFTS IN THE EARLY CHURCH.

In the early Church God indicated in a miraculous manner his acceptance of those who consecrated themselves as followers of Christ, by the bestowal of what were termed "gifts of the spirit." A particular account [R2203 : page 245] of these is given in the chapter preceding our lesson. (1 Cor. 12.) The Apostle indicates that some enjoyed several of these gifts, remarking concerning himself that he had more than any of them. Not unnaturally the recipients of these gifts, while feeling thankful for such a recognition from heaven, realized that some gifts were more valuable than others: and the Apostle confirms this view and urges that they seek to use the highest and noblest gifts where several were possessed. And perceiving that the Church was likely to consider that the possession of these gifts indicated such a measure of divine favor as would imply that they were overcomers and would ultimately gain the prize of their high calling, the Apostle took this opportunity, while discussing the gifts, to point out that their possession implied far less of divine favor than the recipients had supposed. To this end he points out in our lesson that these outward gifts of tongues, miracles, healings, etc., were necessarily and properly divided between the various members of the Church for their mutual welfare, and to draw them and hold them together, making them mutually dependent upon one another. This being the case, all could not have the same gifts; but as he points out, God has divided these and set or established the various members and gifts in the body as it hath pleased him. Yet, it is proper that all should recognize the difference in the gifts, and each covet or desire earnestly to have and to use in the divine service the best gifts that God has been pleased to entrust to his stewardship. And then, the Apostle adds, "Yet show I unto you a more excellent way."

FRUITS OF THE SPIRIT MORE DESIRABLE.

This more excellent way is that, instead of seeking and striving for the "gifts," which were solely at God's disposal, they should seek for another kind of "gifts," otherwise called "fruits" of the same spirit; namely, Faith, Hope and Love. These gifts are termed "fruits of the spirit," because, unlike the others, they grow gradually, and are not given miraculously. However humble a miraculous gift any member of the Church might have, there would be nothing to hinder him from growing the largest "fruits of the spirit" by careful attention to the cultivation of his heart. If the chief "gifts" were not open to all, the greater and more precious "fruits" were open to all; and to desire and cultivate these is much more excellent than to strive after miraculous gifts or talents which God has not been pleased of his own volition to bestow.

Proceeding along this line, the Apostle calls attention to the fact that any one, or even all, of the miraculous "gifts" might be possessed, and yet the recipient be far from the condition of heart which would be fit for the Kingdom. The quality which is necessary, as a basis of character, which would make any service acceptable to God or cause it to be appreciated or esteemed by him, is Love. If Love be not the motive power, the greatest zeal and richest rhetoric and eloquence on behalf of God or on behalf of righteousness, would pass for nothing in God's estimation, and bring us no reward from him. If Love be lacking, great ability as an expounder of mysteries, and much study and knowledge would pass for nothing in God's esteem. Even a faith that could cure all manner of diseases, or, to use our Lord's illustration of the largest degree of faith of this kind, a mountain-moving faith (Matt. 21:21) would count for nothing, if, deep in our hearts as the basis therefor, God could not see Love, – for himself and for our fellow-creatures. Even the giving of all of one's possessions to feed the poor, as charity, would count for naught except the moving cause were Love. And even to be a martyr, and to be burned at the stake in the name of Christ, would pass for naught except in the recesses of the heart God could see that the moving consideration to the suffering was Love. Because, all of these things, the acquisition of knowledge, the dispensing of it with eloquence, the exercise of mountain moving faith, and the giving of all of one's goods to the poor, and his own martyrdom, might be done from selfish motives – to be seen of men, to be highly esteemed by men, for ostentation, for pride, or because of a combative disposition. For this cause the Apostle exhorted the Church to seek for this inestimable fruitage of the spirit, – Love; so that whatever gifts they might possess, either natural or miraculous, might be exercised in a manner that would be a blessing to their fellows and acceptable to God, and bring the users the great reward, – eternal life.

What then is Love, this wonderful quality without which nothing is acceptable in the sight of God? The Apostle does not attempt to define Love, but contents himself in giving us a description of some of its manifestations. The fact is that Love, like life and light, is difficult to define; and our best endeavors to comprehend it are along the lines of its effects. Where Love is lacking results are more or less evil; where Love is present the results differ according to the degree of Love, and are proportionately good. A college professor, commenting upon the word Love, said, –

"As you have seen a man of science take a beam [R2203 : page 246] of light and pass it through a crystal prism, as you have seen it come out on the other side of the prism broken up into its component colors – red, and blue, and yellow, and violet, and orange, and all the colors of the rainbow – so Paul passes this thing, Love, through the magnificent prism of his inspired intellect, and it comes out on the other side broken up into its elements. And in these few words we have what one might call the spectrum of Love, the analysis of Love. Will you observe what its elements are? Will you notice that they have common names; that they are features which we hear about every day, that they are things which can be practiced by every man in every place in life; and how by a multitude of small things and ordinary virtues, the supreme thing, the summum bonum, is made up?

"The spectrum of Love has nine ingredients: –
Patience – 'Love suffereth long.'
Kindness – 'and is kind.'
Generosity – 'Love envieth not.'
Humility – 'Love vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up.'
Courtesy – 'does not behave itself unseemly.'
Unselfishness – 'seeketh not her own.'
Good temper – 'is not easily provoked.'
Guilelessness – 'thinketh no evil.'
Sincerity – 'Rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth.'"

We cannot agree with the professor that these graces can be practiced by every man, in every place, every day. We must contend that these graces as a whole cannot belong to "the natural man." He may indeed put on some of the gentleness, some of the humility, some of the courtesy, some of the patience, some of the kindness; as men may attach grapes to thorn-bushes and figs to thistles; but with the natural man these graces are wholly put on, and not the outgrowth of the inward grace, the holy spirit, Love; – not an evidence of relationship to God. Where the imitator has not been begotten again, by the word and spirit of truth, his imitation of certain outward features of Love will not constitute him a son of God nor bring to him the rewards and blessings of sonship to which there is but one door, – Christ Jesus.

In the Christian, an outward manifestation of patience, meekness, etc., is not sufficient either in God's sight or in his own sight. These graces of the spirit must be produced by the spirit of Love, filling and expanding within his own heart. But in civilized countries many of the graces of the spirit are recognized by the unregenerate, and are imitated as marks of good breeding: and in many cases they are successfully worn as a cloak or mask, covering hearts and sentiments quite antagonistic to the holy spirit of Love.

The putting on of the outward forms of Love does however mitigate the evils and distress and friction incident to the fall, even in "the natural man," even when these graces are merely simulated with more or less of hypocrisy and deception as to the real selfishness of the uncircumcised heart. But trying times occasionally show how thin is the polished veneer of politeness and gentleness which covers selfish and stony hearts: for instance, the last reports from the recent holocaust at the Charity Bazaar in Paris, shows that the most polished and aristocratic young "gentle-men" of the most polite city and nation of earth displayed the ferocity of brute beasts when face to face with death, and that in their mad rush to escape the flames they knocked down and injured each other and even the first ladies of rank in France, to whom erstwhile they were overly polite. We cannot expect more of a love-veneered selfish heart – even the strong glue of chivalry will not hold the veneer under some such cases. And the time is not far distant when a still greater, more general and more terrible crisis will make manifest to the whole world that much of the politeness and gentleness of our day is only skin deep, and is not from the heart, the fruitage of the holy spirit of Love. In that great crisis, as the Scriptures show, every man's hand will be against his neighbor. In that Day of Vengeance the masks of formal politeness will be discarded, and the world for a short time will get such a glimpse of its own hideous selfishness as will help prepare it for Millennial lessons in Love and its graces, to be given them by the great Immanuel.

The Scriptures inform us that in our fallen state Love is foreign to our natures, and must be introduced into them by the power of God; saying, – "Not that we first loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be a propitiation for our sins." And, learning of this, God's Love, and truly believing and appreciating [R2204 : page 246] it, "the Love of Christ constraineth us [to Love]." We are "begotten by the Word of truth," – the message of God's Love toward us in the forgiveness of our sins, and his call to us to return to his favor and likeness, and his provision of the helps by the way that we might become copies of his dear Son.

The measure of our appreciation of divine Love will be the measure of our zeal in conforming our characters to the divine pattern. A naturally rough, uncouth, depraved disposition may require a long time, after the grace of divine Love enters the heart, before that grace is manifest in all the words and thoughts and acts of the outward man. Others, on the contrary, of more gentle birth and cultured training, may without the grace of God within have many of the outward refinements. None but he that readeth the heart is competent therefore to judge as to who have and who have not received this grace, and of the degree of its development in their hearts: but each one may judge for himself, and each one begotten by this holy spirit, Love, should seek to let its light so shine out, through all the avenues of communication with his fellow-creatures, [R2204 : page 247] as to glorify our Father in heaven and "show forth the glories of him who called us out of darkness into his marvelous light."

Perfect Love is patient with the weaknesses and imperfections of those who give any evidence of good intentions. More than this, it is patient even with those who are out of the way, and that oppose themselves to righteousness, realizing that the whole world is more or less under the influence of the great adversary who, as the Apostle declares, blinds the minds of the masses. This manifestation of Love was very prominent in our Lord Jesus: how patient was he with his opponents. Let us heed the Apostle's words: – "Consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied [in well-doing and patience] and faint in your minds." – Heb. 12:3.

Perfect Love is kind in its methods. It not only seeks to do good to others, but seeks to do it in the kindest possible manner. And who has not discovered that the manner and tone have much to do with every affair of life. In proportion as perfect Love is attained the effort of the heart will be to have every word and act, like the thought which prompts them, full of kindness. It is well to remember the motto of the old Quaker, – "I shall pass through this world but once. Any good thing, therefore, that I can do, or any kindness that I can show to any human being, let me do it now. Let me not defer it, nor neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again."

Perfect Love is generous and has no place for envy, which, on the contrary, springs from a perverted nature – from selfishness. Love on the contrary rejoices with them that rejoice, in the prosperity of every good work and word, and in the advancement in Christian grace and in the divine service of all who are actuated by the divine spirit.

Perfect Love is humble – "vaunteth not itself." It does not sound a trumpet before it. Its good deeds are not done to be seen of men, but would be done just the same if no one saw or knew but God only. It is neither boastful of its knowledge, nor of its graces, but in humility acknowledges that every good and perfect gift cometh from the Father; and it makes return for every mercy to him. Some one has truly said that – "Love saves a man from making a fool of himself by consequential conduct, and by thrusting himself into positions which betray his incompetence."

Perfect Love is courteous – "doth not behave itself unseemly." Pride is the root out of which grows most of the unseemly conduct and boorishness so common to those who think themselves somebody, either intellectually or financially. Perfect Love on the contrary develops courteousness along with humility. A thoughtful man has said, – "Politeness has been defined as love in trifles. Courtesy is said to be love in little things. The one secret of politeness is to love. A gentleman is one who does things gently, with love."

Perfect Love is unselfish – "seeketh not her own" interests, exclusively. Nothing in this signifies that one should neglect the duty of caring for and providing for those dependent upon him by ties of nature, that he may do good to others. In every sense, "Love begins at home." The proper thought, as we gather it, is that the men and women possessed of the spirit of perfect love, would not think exclusively of their own interests in any of the affairs of life. In bargaining they would have an interest also in the welfare of the one from whom they bought or to whom they sold. They would not wish to take advantage of a neighbor, but sympathetically and generously would wish to "live and let live." Put into exercise, this element of Love would have a great influence upon all the affairs of life, inside as well as outside the home and family.

Perfect Love is good tempered – "not easily provoked" to anger. Among the evils abounding and very common to-day, is this one of ill-temper, fretfulness, bad humor, touchiness, quickness to take offence. Yet, to whatever extent this disposition is fostered, or willingly harbored, or not fought against, it becomes an evidence of a deficiency and imperfection of our development in the holy spirit of our Father, and of the deficiency of our likeness to our Lord Jesus, our Pattern. Very few of the evidences of a wrong spirit receive as much kindness and as many excuses for their continuance as does this one. But however natural depravity, and heredity, and nervous disorders, may tend toward this spirit of fretfulness, taciturnity, and touchiness, every heart filled with the Lord's spirit must oppose this disposition to evil in his flesh, and must wage a good warfare against it. It will not do to say, "It is my way;" for all the ways of the fallen nature are bad: it is the business of the new nature to overcome the old nature in this as well as other works of the flesh and the devil: and few show to our friends and households more than this the power of the grace of Love. This grace as it grows should make every child of God sweet tempered.

Perfect Love is guileless – "thinketh no evil." It seeks to interpret the conduct of others charitably. If pure and good intentioned itself, it prefers, and so far as possible endeavors, to view the words and conduct of others from the same standpoint. It does not treasure up animosities and suspicions, nor manufacture a chain of circumstantial proofs of evil intentions out of trivial affairs. Some one has wisely remarked that "faults are thick where love is thin." Love makes all possible allowance for errors of judgment, rather than to impugn the motives of the heart. [R2204 : page 248]

Perfect Love is sincere – "rejoiceth not in iniquity." It is grieved by evils wherever encountered, sympathizes with all who fall into evil, or who are beset by temptations. In this respect Love prompts to an opposite course of action from that of Balaam, who "loved the reward of iniquity." Balaam, it will be remembered, feared the Lord, and as his prophet could not think of doing otherwise than according to the strict letter of the Lord's injunction; but he did not have the spirit of the Lord, the spirit of Love; and hence, when a reward was offered him if he would curse Israel, he was willing (in order to secure the reward) to conform to the evil proposition in spirit, in intention, while outwardly refraining from saying aught except as the Lord indicated. So, there are some amongst Christians who have a respect for the letter of the divine word through fear, but who lack the holy spirit of Love, and who by reason of a perverted love for wealth, etc., are willing to engage in various practices which come as near to the injury of the Lord's cause as is possible, without openly opposing him. Some of these Balaams are in the ministry and for the sake of salary, and the maintenance of their positions, and the friendship of wealthy Balaks, are willing to preach doctrines which they do not believe (respecting eternal torment, etc.), and in various ways to cast stumbling blocks before spiritual Israel. (Num. 22:7; 31:16; Rev. 2:14.) The Apostle mentions these Balaams as being specially represented by false teachers in the nominal Church. – See 2 Pet. 2:15; Jude 11; Rev. 2:14.

Every one who is seeking to develop in his heart the holy spirit, perfect love, should guard carefully this point of sincerity of motive as well as uprightness of conduct. The least suggestion of rejoicing at the fall of any person or thing that in any degree represents righteousness and goodness, is to be deplored and overcome. Perfect Love rejoiceth not in iniquity under any circumstances or conditions, and would have no sympathy but only sorrow in the fall of another, even if it should mean his own advancement.

Perfect Love "rejoiceth in the truth." However profitable error might be, Love could take no part in it, and could not desire the reward of evil. But it does take pleasure in the truth – truth upon every subject, and especially in the truth of divine revelation; however unpopular the truth may be; however much persecution its advocacy may involve; however much it may cause the loss of the friendship of this world and of those who are blinded by the god of this world. The spirit of Love has such an affinity for the truth that it rejoices to share loss, persecution, distress or whatever may come against the truth and its servants. In the Lord's estimate it is all the same whether we are ashamed of him or ashamed of his Word, and of all such he declares that he will be ashamed when he comes to be glorified in his saints. [R2205 : page 248]

Perfect Love "beareth all things." It is both willing and able to endure for the cause of God – reproaches, reproofs, insults, losses, misrepresentations and even death. "This is the victory that overcometh the world, even your faith" – the very center and life of which faith is the holy spirit of Love to the Lord and to them that are his, and sympathetically for the world. Perfect Love can bear up under all circumstances and by God's grace bring us off "conquerors and more than conquerors" through him who loved us.

Perfect Love "believeth all things." It is not suspicious, but on the contrary disposed to be trustful. It acts on the principle that it is better if necessary to be deceived a hundred times, than to go through life soured by a distrustful suspicious mind – far better than to wrongly accuse or suspicion even one person unjustly. This is the merciful disposition as applied to thoughts, and of it the Master said, "Blessed are the merciful, they shall obtain mercy." The unmerciful, evil-thinking mind is father to unmerciful conduct toward others.

Perfect Love "hopeth all things." It is not easily discouraged. This is the secret of Love's perseverance; having learned of God, and having become a partaker of his spirit of holiness, it trusts in him and hopes undismayed for the fulfilment of his gracious Covenant, however dark the immediate surroundings. This hopeful element of Love is one of the striking features in the perseverance of the saints, enabling them to endure hardness as good soldiers. Its hopeful quality hinders it from being easily offended, or easily stopped in the work of the Lord. Where others would be discouraged and put to flight, the spirit of Love gives endurance, that we may war a good warfare, and please the Captain of our salvation. Love's hopefulness knows no despair, for its anchorage enters into that which is beyond the vail, and is firmly fastened to the Rock of Ages.

FAITH, HOPE AND LOVE ABIDE FOREVER.

Not only is Love the greatest of all the graces, and really, as we have seen, the sum of them all in combination and unification, but it is the most lasting grace: Love never faileth – will never cease; and he who has this character of Love will never fail, will never cease: It is for such that eternal life has been provided in the divine plan.

Now bear in mind the Apostle's argument to the Corinthian friends: (1) that the gifts of miracles, tongues, etc., bestowed upon them by the spirit, were divided amongst them according to talent or divine wisdom, and were not the results of their own efforts; [R2205 : page 249] (2) that he is pointing out to them a grace much more excellent than those "gifts," something that God will be pleased to give to each one of them; a grace of more value than any of the "gifts" – of much more value than all of them together; a grace that might properly be termed a fruitage of the spirit, – Love. And the fact is that some possessed of few talents have proportionately less to contend against while seeking to cultivate the all-important Love.

Having described this wonderful and necessary element of character in its perfection, the Apostle comes back and contrasts it with those "gifts" which they so highly appreciated and coveted, and shows that the chiefest of those "gifts" are inferior to Love. The gift of prophecy he declares will fail, will cease; because the necessity for prophecy would cease: the miraculous power of speaking with unknown tongues would cease for the same reason: the knowledge of mysteries and the ability to expound the deep things of God will gradually vanish away, as the perfect light gradually comes to all men; for when the full, clear light shall have come there will be nothing hidden, all shall be revealed, and all will be able to see; hence the gifts of ability to understand mysteries of the divine plan and to expound them to others, altho two of the greatest of the gifts, will ultimately vanish in the perfect light: but Love will never fail. It is the greatest thing in this world, and it will continue the greatest thing in the world to come; for God is Love; and all who would enjoy his favor and its reward, eternal life, must possess this, his holy character.

Pausing, the Apostle remarks how little we all know in the present time; even those who have the largest amount of knowledge and who can expound the divine Word and its hidden mysteries, know only in part; they see only obscurely: and while the obscurity will gradually vanish into the perfect light as the Sun of Righteousness arises, yet we will only know in part until that time, when we shall be "changed;" when imperfection shall give place to perfection.

Looking back to childhood we can see that as we have developed physically and grown in knowledge in earthly matters, and have changed our processes of thought and conduct and language correspondingly; so in spiritual matters we should realize that in the beginning of our Christian way we were but "babes;" and we should not be satisfied to remain such, but desire individually to grow up into Christ in all things. And what is true of each individually is true of the Church collectively. The period of the gifts of tongues and miracles was the period of infancy, childhood; as progress was made, under the leading of the holy spirit, certain of those features very necessary and well adapted to the childhood stage passed away, and instead came other experiences, methods and leadings in the truth. Hence, to-day the "tongues" are gone, the "prophesying" in the sense of foretelling future events is gone, the "miracles" are gone, etc., after having served their purposes well. But the Lord still continues to provide in the Church "knowledge," even tho it be but imperfect knowledge; he still continues to provide methods for evangelizing or spreading the news of the truth to the unbelieving; he still provides teachers and helps in the Church. But these are not usually provided miraculously, as at first, but naturally and by the addition of the Lord's blessing to natural qualifications. But all these will cease so far as the Church is concerned when her course is finished; – "when that which is perfect is come," she will have no further need of these imperfect helps.

Three gifts of the spirit, of the kind developed as fruits, will survive; and these three are to be earnestly sought and diligently cultivated; they are Faith, Hope and Love: but the greatest, the chiefest, of these is Love. Faith and Hope, altho they are two of the most necessary qualities for the present time, in aiding us in making our calling and election sure, and two which will never cease to all eternity, will measurably lose their active operations, "when that which is perfect is come;" because in a large degree and in reference to many subjects, sight and knowledge will take the place of Faith and Hope. But Love will never fail, never fade, never grow dim. It will be as active and glorious and useful in the life to come as it is now. Indeed, the sum of the future perfect life will be Love.

*                         *                         *

Let us, dear readers, with all our getting, get Love – not merely in word, but in deed and in truth; the Love whose roots are in the "new heart," begotten in us by our Heavenly Father's Love, exemplified in the words and deeds of our dear Redeemer. All else sought and gained will be but loss and dross unless with all we secure Love.

The Editor has a proposal to make to every reader, which he believes will be helpful to all who cooperate. It is this: –

(1) That during the remainder of this year each of us pray every morning, that the Lord will bless us in the cultivation of Love in thoughts and words and deeds throughout the day; and that every evening, when reviewing the events of the day at the throne of the heavenly grace, we remember to report to the Lord respecting our measure of success or failure.

(2) That during the remainder of this year we read carefully and thoughtfully every Sunday morning, alternately, 1 Corinthians 13 and Matthew 5:1-16. That those who would like to read in unison may do so, we mention that the Editor will read Matt. 5:1-16 on August 22, 1 Cor. 13 on Aug. 29, and thus onward alternately. Note the results of your watching and praying; keep on the lookout for all encouraging evidences of growth in this fruitage of the holy spirit: and, when you write to us, if you please, mention your progress in willing to Love and in practicing it; we are specially glad to know of your growth both in grace and in knowledge.

[R2206 : page 250]

THE GOSPEL PREACHED AT EPHESUS.
– AUGUST 29. – ACTS 19:21-34. –
"Take heed, and beware of covetousness." – Luke 12:15.
T
HIS lesson stands related to the history of Paul's evangelistic service amongst the Gentiles, connecting with our lesson dated August 1; and the intervening verses should be considered. Leaving Corinth, the Apostle made a short stop at the important city of Ephesus, parting there with Aquila and Priscilla who accompanied him that far. He proceeded to Jerusalem that he might be in time for the feast of the Passover, purposing no doubt a visit with the Church there, amongst whom were several of the apostles and James our Lord's brother. The account of the visit to Jerusalem is briefly summed up by Luke in the statement that Paul "saluted the Church." (Acts 18:22.) Apparently, the reception accorded the great Apostle was a rather cool one, the believers there having not yet learned so thoroughly as had Paul that but a "remnant" would be gathered from the Jews, and the remainder of the elect Church be selected from the Gentiles. Cannon Farrar makes a remark on this visit by Paul to Jerusalem which is well worth repeating; he says, –

"Had James and the circle of which he was the centre, only understood how vast for the future Christianity would be the issues of these perilous and toilsome journeys,...with what affection and admiration would they have welcomed him? So far from this, St. Luke hurries over the brief visit in three words that he 'saluted the Church;'...there is too much reason to fear that his reception was cold and ungracious; that even if James received him with courtesy, the Judaic Christians who surrounded 'the Lord's brother' would not; and even that a jealous dislike of that free position towards the Law, which he established amongst his Gentile converts, led to that determination upon the part of some of them to follow in his track and to undermine his influence, which, to the intense embitterment of his later days, was so fatefully successful. It must have been with a sad heart, with something even of indignation at this unsympathetic coldness, that St. Paul hurriedly terminated his visit. But none of these things moved him."

Oh, how much some of the "brethren" missed it, when they failed to recognize the leading of the Lord's providence in connection with the work of the Apostle Paul. John-Mark, as we have already seen, and afterward his uncle Barnabas failed to see their great privilege in being co-workers together with that servant whom the Lord was pleased specially to use in the presentation of the gospel message at that time. And afterward we note how some "false apostles," not sent on any such errand, followed the Apostle into various cities where he by the Lord's grace had planted the truth and there sought, and to some extent succeeded, in overturning his work – "teaching the people that they should keep the Law of Moses," etc. But we are not to understand that they really did injury to the Lord's work; for the Lord himself is behind his own work. Their teachings served as siftings to draw off those who were not Israelites indeed, and who had not received the perfect Law of liberty through Christ. And they gave occasion for the writing of certain parts of Paul's epistles to counteract these errors, which have proven a blessing and a great help to the Lord's people for the eighteen centuries since. Thus does the Lord overrule the work of evil for good to those who love him and who are in the proper attitude of heart to be "taught of God." – See 2 Cor. 11:13; Gal. 2:4; 5:4.

Returning to Ephesus the Apostle remained there for three years, finding it an excellent field from which the influence of the gospel would radiate through all Asia-Minor. Ephesus was one of the most important cities of that time, its population being chiefly Greeks. It was called "one of the eyes of Asia." It had a colosseum or place for public gatherings, capable of accommodating fifty thousand people, and one of its chief attractions was an immense and grand temple erected to the honor of the goddess Diana, and it was the centre of her cult, whose influence and numbers extended throughout all Asia-Minor. The temple was built of the purest marble: the historian says of it: –

"It was 425 feet long and 220 broad; its columns of Parian marble were 60 feet high, and 36 of them were magnificently carved. The porticoes in front and rear consisted each of 32 columns; the entire number of columns, 127, being given each one by a king. The hall was adorned with the most wonderful statuary and paintings."

From this description we readily see that the character of the idolatry with which the Apostle had to contend was very widely different from that of the South Sea Islanders. Its majestic temples were not out of harmony with its priesthood and general features, all of which were evidently on an impressive scale, quite in harmony with its devotees, – intelligent and cultured people, as the Ephesians were.

The account shows that in the interim of Paul's visit to Jerusalem the Lord prepared the way at Ephesus for the greater work of the three years' ministry which followed; for Apollos had in the meantime visited Ephesus, – mighty in the Scriptures as far as he understood them, but "knowing only the baptism of John" unto repentance, and faith in Christ as the Messiah. Apollos, apparently had not learned particularly respecting the new dispensation, and the gifts of the spirit by which it was being introduced. But Aquila and Priscilla, altho not themselves gifted so as to be able to speak in public, hearing of Apollos and his good work, sought him out, invited him to their home and there found quiet opportunity for imparting to him a clearer knowledge of the new dispensation: thus they [R2206 : page 251] became sharers in the fruits of his subsequent efficiency.

When Paul arrived at Ephesus Apollos was gone, but some whom he had interested were soon found and instructed respecting the gifts of the holy spirit; then being baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus they received some of the gifts. The real baptism of consecration to the Lord Jesus as his servants, was no doubt part of the Apostle's explanation; but this was followed by instruction with reference to baptism in water, and these brethren, twelve in number, being of proper and teachable spirit, were not only willing but anxious to render obedience to every feature of the divine will; and having by their immersion in water publicly confessed Christ and themselves as his servants "dead with him," they were blessed with a share of the gifts, some of which were granted to every believer in that time; – as we have already seen in the lesson preceding.

As usual, wherever the truth is preached there is a division; not merely a division as between those who respect God and his Word and those who deny the true God, but further than this, amongst those who acknowledge the true God and the Scriptures; – a division respecting Christ, and especially respecting the work of Christ, the value of the cross and the blessings which now and hereafter shall flow therefrom, to the blessing ultimately of all the families of the earth. The Apostle was not surprised at the division; he expected it. He doubtless remembered the Lord's words, "I am not come to send peace but a sword" and to cause division: it was better that the sincere followers of Christ should meet by themselves than that they should meet with others whose opposition to the truth would make continual disturbance, or else hinder their advancement into further knowledge and grace. It was for this reason that the Apostle secured, probably by hire, for use on certain occasions for meetings, the school-room of Tyrannus.

Ephesus was a great city for magic, incantations, divinations, etc. The worship of Diana and the delusions connected therewith, "black art," etc., were (like all the heathen religious practices) devices of Satan and the fallen angels, whereby the people were made to believe in the power of Diana for good and evil, for health and sickness, for safety or accident. A vessel going to sea in order to have a prosperous journey it was thought must have on board a miniature "shrine of Diana." The individual who wished for luck repeated certain words or prayers to Diana and wore upon his breast a charm or amulet marked with her likeness or with a prayer to Diana (much after the manner that Roman Catholics wear upon their bosoms what are termed "scalpel," blessed with prayers to the Virgin Mary, with holy water, masses, etc.). As we have already seen,* the powers of darkness (Satan and the fallen angels) have liberty and ability to perform wonders of certain kinds under certain circumstances, just as Jannes and Jambres had power from the same source as recorded in Exodus 7:11. In consequence we are not surprised that the Lord greatly blessed the Apostle Paul in Ephesus with powers of the holy spirit which enabled him to more than meet the powers of darkness. The record is, "God wrought special miracles by the hand of Paul: so that from his body were brought handkerchiefs and aprons, and the diseases departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them." This naturally attracted the attention of all classes to the gospel which Paul preached, and to the power of God which was with him – whose manifestation was so different from the power which was with the workers of magic and incantations. The attempt of certain vagabond Jews to do the same miracle of casting out demons, using the name of Paul, their failure and the fact that they were worsted, the demons [R2207 : page 251] having no respect for them, helped to convince some respecting the gospel, – the very object intended by the Lord in the giving of "gifts."

*See "Spiritism – Demonism" in our issues June 15 to July 15.

"Many that believed came, and confessed, and showed their evil deeds [acknowledging that their works of magic were evil and from an evil source]. Many of them also which used curious arts [magic] brought their books together, and burned them before all." And when we are informed that the value of those books was 50,000 pieces of silver, estimated to be $9,300 in our money – but if calculated in proportion to the rate of wages then and now, equivalent to a very much larger sum – it will be manifest that the work of grace was moving mightily in Ephesus. When the gospel so takes hold upon the lives of believers that they are willing not only to abandon evil ways, but to destroy the instruments of evil which previously had brought them gain, it proves that it is a genuine work and not a mere emotion. It is worthy of note also that these believers did not sell their books and merely go out of business of evil, but destroyed them, lest the work of evil should propagate itself further through this agency. "So mightily grew the Word of God and prevailed." – Acts 19:20.

With this connection we are the better enabled to understand the opposition which now arose; and why those who were engaged in making small images of Diana, and miniature copies of the temple, and charms, and amulets, and "Ephesian spells" should become so excited and realize that their craft was endangered, not only in Ephesus but throughout all Asia-Minor.

Having spent about three years in Ephesus, Paul's purpose of mind was to return again to Jerusalem after visiting the Churches of Berea, Thessalonica, Philippi and Corinth; and his courageous heart was meditating a visit to the City of Rome, the seat of empire, where the gospel would have an opportunity of reaching another intelligent class and be brought more particularly in contact with the governmental and military influences and perhaps be even more liable to provoke persecution than in his previous experiences; for Aquila and Priscilla had been expelled from Rome for being Jews: in harmony with this plan he sent two of his co-laborers before him into Macedonia.

But the Lord saw best to permit the adversary to raise up a persecution about this time, and, of course, Paul would in a large measure be the centre of it. This persecution was on strictly business lines. The manufacturers and workmen engaged in the producing of the images, amulets, charms, etc., of Diana, were gotten together by one of their craft, Demetrius, who pointed out to them that the progress of Christianity meant the destruction of their various trades and that now was the time to put a stop to it and to reenkindle amongst the people a fervor of sentiment for Diana. The scheme worked well, and soon a furor was created: the less intelligent [R2207 : page 252] masses being easily aroused by the cry, "Great is Diana."

It has been surmised that this riot occurred in May, the month of Diana's Festival, when usually there was the largest demand for the charms, amulets, etc., and that on this occasion business being less brisk than usual, the depression was laid to the charge of Christianity, whose influence was by this time considerable, and certainly every item of it in opposition to Diana. Ephesus was not only the shrine of Diana, but it was a great mercantile centre for Asia, as Corinth was for Greece, and the May Festival of Diana was accompanied by not only sacrifices in her temple and processions in her honor and prayers for her protection, but with these were associated wonderful displays in their theater or Colosseum, – gladiatorial combats, athletic feats, hippodrome races, etc. These drew people from far and near, and for a time, commercially, the city was a fair, and a large amount of business was done with the strangers. It was doubtless in order to have an opportunity of presenting the gospel to these multitudes from round about, that the Apostle delayed taking his journey into Macedonia until after the Feast of Diana.

Paul being the prominent leader in the promulgation of Christianity was of course the central figure against whom the rioters moved. It is supposed that he still made his home with Aquila and Priscilla and that the mob made directly for their lodgings: apparently, however they missed getting Paul, and as the next best thing took Gaius and Aristarchus, two of his co-laborers. It is probable that it was at this time that Aquila and Priscilla, as Paul's faithful friends, risked their lives in his protection, as intimated by the Apostle's statement in his epistle to the Romans (16:4) where he says of them that they "laid down their necks" for his life. When the mob got Gaius and Aristarchus they took them to the Colosseum (theater), the general place of rendezvous for large gatherings. Here Paul, full of courage, purposed to attempt to speak to the mob in defense of the Christian cause, but the Ephesian converts would not permit him, knowing better than he the vicious and unreasoning spirit of the superstitious lower classes of Ephesus.

When the mob got to the theater it was much confused, and of different opinions respecting the object of the gathering. Many of them evidently supposed that it was a tumult against the Jews, – a very likely mistake, since the Apostle and some of his co-laborers were Jews, and since the common people would probably only distinguish Christians as being a Jewish sect. Realizing this the Jews put forward Alexander. (Probably Alexander the copper-smith, mentioned by the Apostle in 2 Tim. 4:14, possibly a convert to Christianity who subsequently apostatized. – 1 Tim. 1:20.) Alexander was put forward by the Jews evidently for the purpose of explaining to the mob that the Christians were renegade Jews, and that the Jews proper would thoroughly approve of and support their persecution as disturbers of the general peace; that the Jews in general were a commercial people, interested, therefore, in the festivities of Diana, and the associated business prosperity. However, the Lord did not permit so insidious an attack, Alexander not being permitted to speak.

The account here given is very brief, but is supplemented by the Apostle's own statement of the matter. (2 Cor. 1:8-10.) "Concerning our affliction which befell us in Asia, that we were weighed down exceedingly beyond our power, insomuch that we despaired even of life: Yea, we ourselves have had the answer of death within ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raised the dead: who delivered us out of so great a death, and will deliver."

It was probably the intention of the ringleaders of the mob to have a "spectacle" in the Colosseum, – to have the Apostle cast into the arena to be devoured by the wild beasts in the presence of the multitude. The Apostle refers seemingly to this persecution saying, "If I have fought with beasts at Ephesus" (1 Cor. 15:32) which would imply that if he did not have a combat of the kind intended for him, it came so near being such a conflict that it amounted to practically the same thing so far as his trials were concerned; – or it is barely possible that he referred to the Ephesian mob itself, as "beasts" seeking his life.

Two important lessons to be drawn from this narrative are (1) that thorough conversion to the Lord means a thorough abandonment of evil, whatever the cost, the self-denial, financial or social. (2) That the love of money is the root of all evil and a frequent cause of opposition to the Lord's Word and plan.

These principles, at work eighteen centuries ago, are still the same, and exercise similar influences to-day. And this is the very object of the truth during this Gospel age, – to be a test of our love for truth, for righteousness, for God. Sufficient evil is still permitted to test the Lord's people, to prove who are "overcomers." Those who are fully the Lord's are ready to lay down everything in his service – the service of righteousness. Just as the converts in Ephesus were willing to burn their once highly esteemed and commercially valuable books on magic, so to-day those who become the Lord's are ready to change their business if they find it inconsistent with righteousness and truth; and to lay down even life itself in the service of him who has called us out of darkness into his marvelous light.

And there is a class to-day, like Demetrius and his fellow craftsman, who, as the Scriptures express it, "look every one to his own quarter for gain." It will be noticed that the business of Demetrius and his associates might be considered a religious business, inasmuch as they were forwarders of the worship of Diana: and so it is with a certain class to-day who are financially identified with the worship of "the image of the beast." (Rev. 13:14-17.) These support various religious systems from which also they draw goodly compensation of honor, praise, titles, money and respect. These likewise often oppose the truth, and go as far as public sentiment and civil government will permit in opposing the truth and those who serve it, and in inciting opposition among the masses. Their reasons therefor are similar to those which influenced Demetrius and his companions; they realize that their "craft is in danger." It is for each individually to be on guard lest he be "led astray with the error of the wicked," and fall from his own steadfastness, and be found to fight against God either for financial interests or earthly ambition.