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March 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.MARCH 1, 1897.No. 5.
CONTENTS.

Can You Do More? 62
Views from the Watch Tower 63
"Collapse" of Foreign Missions 63
The Arbitration Treaty 64
The Problem of Church Unity 66
Real Import of Modern Criticism 67
The Memorial Supper 68
Millennial Dawn Misrepresented 70
"Why Persecutest Thou Me?" 72
Christian Liberty and Self-Restraint 74

'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.

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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.

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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.

[R1910 : page 62]

CAN YOU DO MORE TO SERVE THE TRUTH?

WE hope that each TOWER reader will ask himself this question; and then act according to his answer. Furthermore, we want to assist whoever will accept our assistance.

The past three years of financial depression have greatly hindered what we esteem to be the chief branch of the work – the colporteuring of MILLENNIAL DAWN – and the circulation, instead of increasing yearly, has been decreasing, because many of the colporteurs, unable to make expenses, have been obliged to go into other employment.

It occurs to us that if this fact were realized by the friends of the truth it would lead them each and all to say, "In that event I must step into the breach; I must be that much more active in the service; I must devote that much more time in letting the light shine out upon others." And to such we proffer cooperation as follows: –

(1) We cannot make any concession on tracts, for they are already supplied by the Tract Fund free, in any quantity, post free, to any TOWER reader. Avail yourself of this arrangement. No other tracts were ever offered so cheaply. The poorest, who desires to serve the Lord and his cause thus, has no excuse.

(2) The price of the paper-bound DAWNS, when sold by Colporteurs will hereafter be 25 cents instead 35 cents, which will enable a larger number to purchase.

(3) We will hereafter supply the paper-bound edition of MILLENNIAL DAWN (any language or any assortment) in packages of ten volumes to one address, post paid, for one dollar; – larger orders at the same rate. Five or more volumes, to various addresses, at 15c. per Vol.

Let all who can avail themselves of this offer. If the new postal bill now pending would pass, it would make the postage alone seventy cents on these packs of ten, and would necessitate the cancelling of this offer, – except by freight.

(4) The DAWNS bound in leatherette, embossed (English only), 35 cents per vol., we will supply in packs of six for one dollar, post free; or by freight, at colporteurs' charges, for 12½ cents per volume.

(5) Where a town has been thoroughly canvassed for DAWN we advise a canvass for "Tabernacle Shadows" and "Reply to Robt. Ingersoll," leatherette, embossed, 10 cents, three for 25 cents; or for What Say the Scriptures About Hell? For this purpose we will supply these pamphlets at 50 cents per dozen, assorted as you may please.

Those who use one hour or one afternoon a week may by these terms be enabled to devote two hours or two half-days per week. Those who loan the DAWNS may increase their work. (One sister in Allegheny has eighty copies constantly loaned out – changing them, about every three weeks.)

Let us, dear Brothers and Sisters, by the Lord's help, take a fresh hold of his work. The people never needed the truth more! It is the only thing that will keep them from Infidelity! People never were more ready to receive the truth! They realize that some great changes are at hand, and many want to understand them. "When the judgments of the Lord are abroad in the land, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness [truth – justice]." If we are anxious to serve, the Lord will give us an opportunity. Here it is!

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VIEWS FROM THE WATCH TOWER.

DANGER OF THE "UTTER COLLAPSE" OF FOREIGN MISSIONS.

THE Missionary Review of the World has been edited by Rev. A. T. Pierson, D.D., for ten years. Its editor is well posted in everything pertaining to missions, has written a number of books and pamphlets and delivered hundreds of addresses on this subject. Its opinions therefore are entitled to the greatest respect. In its January issue it declares: –

"Without claiming any undue capacity for observation, sagacity in discernment, or accuracy in judgment and induction, the calm conclusion reached after thirty years of study of this theme and of active participation in the actual machinery of missionary enterprise, is, that at no time during the half-century now closing have missions to the heathen been at greater peril of utter collapse! Wide doors are open, immense fields invite, some soil calls for the sower, while harvests demand the reaper; we never knew so well how much territory there is to be possessed, and how deep is the need of mankind; never had the church such opportunities and facilities, never such large numbers and wealth at her disposal; and yet, with doors open wider than ever, and candidates offering in unprecedented numbers, the giving of the people of God is so utterly inadequate and disgracefully disproportionate, that where every divine sign of the times is a call for rapid advance and expansion, our drums beat a retreat, and our boards loudly call for retrenchment!

"And – what is to our view most fraught with risk – there is a growing apathy about the whole question of the world's evangelization, which seems to argue a decay at the very root of missionary enterprise. The causes for this we can not for ourselves either doubt or deny. On one hand there is laxity of doctrine, which, at least, leads disciples to indulge a vague 'eternal hope,' like Dean Farrar, that the heathen are not really lost without Christ: and on the other hand, there is a laxity in practice, which leads to a practical recognition of all religions as belonging to a universal brotherhood of faiths, and to the fellowship of their representatives as entitled to our 'Christian charity,' forgetful of the famous proverb quoted by Dr. John Ryland to Robert Hall, that 'charity is an angel while she rejoiceth in the truth, but a harlot when she rejoiceth in iniquity," embracing those whom she should rather pity and weep over."

The following is given by the same journal as a survey of the condition of the nominal church which has led, and is leading, to this threatened "utter collapse." It declares the cause to be the decline of "vital godliness." It says: –

"Look at the church pervaded by sectarianism, sacramentalism, ritualism and Romanism, and an even more fatal secularism. Behold the awful lack of gospel preaching, the reckless extravagance that reigns and practical denial of stewardship, the low level of piety, the prevalence of prayerlessness and the encroachment of virtual infidelity. See the church confronting the world with its more than thousand million unconverted souls, scattered over a wide unevangelized territory, with its unoccupied and neglected fields continental in breath; yet unable to grapple with the awful problems of society, conscious of a widening gap or gulf between itself and the world, yet unable to bridge the gulf, while the intemperance, licentiousness, and anarchy of society takes on a more and more revolutionary aspect."

*                         *                         *

It was necessary that the gospel should be preached in all the world, to every nation, for a witness, before the end of this age should come. This work, we believe, has been accomplished. We should be glad indeed if as good a civilization as our own could be carried to the uttermost regions of earth, but the civilizing and social uplifting of the world we clearly see from the Scriptures does not belong to this age, but to the next, [R2112 : page 64] the Millennial age. Those who are hoping for the conversion of the world along the lines of present missionary effort, or any effort possible under present conditions, are hoping against hope. Not only can they see such discouragements as are above pointed out by the Missionary Herald, a "danger of utter collapse" because of lessening of interest in civilized lands, but, on the other hand, they must look squarely in the face the fact that while their most sanguine and exaggerated estimates of this century's success with the heathen claims one million converts, the same period of time has witnessed a natural increase of those heathen peoples of over two hundred millions. Why cannot all true Christian hearts, which long for the blessing of their fellow creatures, see that there is something wrong with their expectations, which now after fifteen centuries are as far as ever from realization, so far as the complete conversion of the world is concerned? Why will they not turn to the Word of the Lord and there see with us that the divine purpose in this age is the election or selection of a Church, a "little flock," of which our Lord Jesus is the Head and of which all his fully consecrated and faithful ones are members? Why can they not see that this Church, through trials of faith and oppositions from the world, the flesh and the devil, and through much tribulation, is being prepared of the Lord to be "his Kingdom and priesthood," through which, clothed with divine power – glory, honor and immortality – God will be pleased shortly to bless all the families of the earth according to his original promise as made to father Abraham. – Gal. 3:16,29.

Those who have been blessed by the Lord with the light of present truth have no such cause of despondency as others; nor have they any lack for fields of work. The Chief Reaper sends us, as he did the disciples in the Jewish age, with the message of present truth – "the kingdom of heaven is at hand," – not to the wild savages of foreign lands, but to the fields "white already to harvest" – to those who have already heard the gospel, – to gather the "wheat" into his garner before the "fire" of the great trouble shall come upon the "field" – the whole civilized world.

And wherever there are ripe grains of "wheat," there we believe the Lord is sending the sickle of truth. In our last issue we gave letters from some interested in present truth from the various quarters of the world, and we might have added to them others from South America, Africa and India. Wherever there are ripe grains of "wheat," thither we believe the Lord will send the separating present truth. It will be first of all a test as to loyalty to him, and worthiness to be gathered into his "garner," as one of his faithful ones; secondly, if the test of faithfulness be passed successfully, it will serve to bless and uplift and strengthen, and to prepare the true believer with an understanding of many things that were, many things that are, and much respecting the things that are yet to be, – that he may not walk on in darkness and stumble into the ditch of unbelief with the masses.

RELIGIOUS AND SECULAR AFFAIRS COMMINGLING.

The general tendency for religion and politics to draw together is illustrated by the recent decision of a New York supreme judge, denying a Jewish organization a certificate of incorporation because its annual meeting was fixed for Sunday. The journals of the larger religious denominations very generally approve the judge's decision, while the organs of the smaller denominations, and Hebrew papers, very generally, condemn the decision as unjust and an attempt to control by the power of the state questions that are purely religious. The smaller denominations very properly see that if the views of the majority are permitted to control in any religious matter, it will be an entering-wedge for almost absolute majority control in all religious matters and liberties. The Jewish Messenger, commenting on this decision, says: –

"It has served the purpose of again making the Jew appear as under proscription, and at the hands of a jurist who, both by birth and training, was supposed to be above such bigotry. One cannot but feel ashamed that our age and city should witness such a revival of the blue laws. Perhaps Judge Pryor has been influenced by the recent opinion of the New York Presbytery as to the doubtful character of Jewish moral environment. Judge Pryor's ruling should not go unchallenged, and his violation of American civil and religious liberty merits a more effective rebuke than it has yet received."

THE ARBITRATION TREATY.

The U.S. Senate has not yet confirmed the Arbitration Treaty between the United States and Great Britain; but there is every probability that it will be approved with perhaps slight amendments. The measure is extremely popular both in Great Britain and here, and that with all classes. The disposition with many is to consider this the beginning of universal peace, with Reason as the arbiter instead of the Sword. The suggestion is freely made that it will not be long before all the nations of Europe will practically disarm. In this, and in connection with the hope for "union" amongst Protestant denominations, the worldly Church is looking for the realization of its ideal of the Millennium, when the whole world will be converted; not by the preaching of Christ, and him crucified, as the only name given under heaven or amongst men, but by harmonizing the Christian religion with the various religions of the world, saying, "There is some [R2113 : page 65] good in every religion, and the important things are civilization and prosperity, with some outward form of religion."

Alas! how far short all this would come of the grand hopes set before us in the gospel – even if it could be attained. If the whole world were as peaceful and as unarmed as are these United States, and if the whole world had a great civilization and prosperity as have these United States, and if the whole world had as much formalistic and true religion as have these United States; alas, how far we would still be from the blessed condition for which our Master taught us to hope and to pray, when he said, after this manner pray ye – "Our Father which art in heaven....Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is done in heaven."

The following from the Jewish Exponent shows that the Hebrews are looking at the matter in a very proper light: – "THE BEGINNING OF INTERNATIONAL ARBITRATION."

"'And it shall come to pass in the last days that the mountain [kingdom] of the Lord's house shall be firmly established on the top of the mountains, and shall be exalted above the hills; and unto it shall flow all the nations. And many people shall go and say, come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; that he may teach us his ways and we may walk in his paths....And he will judge among the nations and decide for many people; and they shall beat their swords into ploughshares and their spears into pruningknives; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, and they shall not learn war any more'

"This prophecy of Isaiah and Micah dates at least as far back as the eighth century before the Christian era. At the end of the nineteenth century of the Christian era it begins to find actual realization in the affairs of two great nations.

"In presenting the treaty of arbitration between the United States and England to the Senate of the United States, President Cleveland intimates that the result reached may not meet the views of the advocates of immediate, unlimited and irrevocable arbitration of all international controversies."

How far from such an ideal the present measure is may be judged from those of its provisions which limit its duration to five years, and make it include but a limited class of subjects within its scope. Compare this with Isaiah's prophecy of universal and perpetual arbitration, disarmament and peace, under the guidance of divine justice and law, and then judge how far off yet are those "last days" of which the prophets speak. Over two thousand six hundred years have elapsed, and this is all that the most enlightened and most closely affiliated of nations are as yet prepared for.

"Nevertheless, the President declares that this treaty cannot fail to be everywhere recognized as making a long step in the right direction, and will mark the beginning of a new epoch in civilization. If this be true, Israel's prophetic writings can hardly be considered obsolete. On the contrary, they promise to attain a new and increased importance from the fact that the policies they prescribe are now beginning to be practically carried out among the nations. As in many other fundamental principles, a remarkable unanimity is here seen between the teachings of Israel's faith and the highest ideals of the American people."

"As it was in the days of Noah," men do not realize that we are now in the last days of this "present evil world [order]." The new dispensation is coming so differently from what they expect. Alas! how the bright hopes of this nineteenth century must shortly be dashed to pieces. What chagrin there will be as, one after another, present institutions shall be drawn into the vortex of the great time of trouble which is near at hand and hasteth greatly. The Lord has not only declared through the prophets that the sword shall be beaten into plowshares and the nations learn war no more, but he has also declared through the same channels that this blessed time shall be introduced by a time of trouble such as was not since there was a nation. And of that time of trouble it is declared that then many shall beat their ploughshares and pruninghooks into spears, and the whole world be involved in the great battle. The battle will eventuate in the utter prostration of the world in the zenith of its power and glory. But, praise God, those days of trouble will not be permitted to continue, else as our Lord declared, "there would no flesh be saved." For the sake of the elect – because of Christ, the elect Head, and the Church, his elect body, and the acceptableness of the sin-offering, – the Kingdom of God shall be established under the whole heavens, to lift up and bless the groaning creation, and to grant eternal life and joy to all who will accept them under the conditions of the New Covenant.

*                         *                         *

Meantime even the blind can see that the common hopes of peace are not built upon a change of the controlling principles of human hearts from selfishness to love. For instance, note the fact that the French government appointed M. de Kerjegn to examine into and report upon the French Naval equipment as compared with that of Great Britain. He has filed his report, which, after pointing out the great superiority of the British Navy, urges a large increase of the French navy, and concludes thus: "The aim of every patriotic Minister of Marine ought to be to push on to the possession of a fleet capable of ruining the commercial supremacy of England at a given moment." Germany also is increasing her naval armament, so are the United States, Japan and Russia, while Great Britain feels [R2113 : page 66] bound to keep her fleet ahead of all, to prevent the ruination of her commercial supremacy. Evidently the lion and the lamb are not yet ready to lie down together in peace; – the lion must first get a new disposition.

Lord F. von Luttwitz, writing recently in a Berlin journal, commenting on the determination of the German government to greatly increase its navy, says: –

"A second partitioning of the world is at hand. We need only remember the dissolution of Turkey and the opening of China in order to realize what great opportunities for colonial enterprise [commercial warfare] still exist. Nor should the restless condition of some of the South American republics be forgotten, for these to many offer future advantages. But we will miss our chance again unless we have a fleet. We must become so strong at sea that nations which can afford to snap their fingers at our army cannot afford to ignore us in partitioning the world. We must have a navy, and we must not lose time in getting it. Our alliances are of no value in this matter. We cannot afford to go to war for the sake of some miserable little piece of land far from us, yet we will have to do so if we have no navy. It may be assumed that the next partitioning of colonies will be eminently peaceful. But unless we have a navy powerful enough to take possession of our share and to defend it, the maritime powers will not even consider us as competitor, and we will go out empty."

*                         *                         *

On the other side of the question a new factor is discovered. The soldiers of Europe are beginning to think, and are not so anxious as they once were to give up their lives at the behest of kings and princes. A recent dispatch from Brussels, which will be read with interest, is as follows: –

"The disaffection in the Belgian army, founded on the Socialist propaganda against the use of armed force, appears to be making headway. The Soir announces the discovery of organized Socialist clubs in barracks, whose members, while submitting to the rules of the service, are pledged to refuse active service should occasion arise.

"Inquiry in one large center has already revealed the existence of a club of this description, and seventeen non-commissioned officers have been suspended."

THE PROBLEM OF CHURCH UNITY.

Under this caption the Christian Statesman says: –

"What we maintain is no mere speculative theory, away up in the ecclesiastical clouds, and impossible of realization in this matter-of-fact world. On the contrary, it is the simple, practical, Scriptural rule by which the Church of Christ, according to her divinely ordained nature, is under obligation to order her earthly life....We believe that the church cannot effectively meet concentrating hostility in her present divided condition, with her separate denominations often failing to cooperate and not infrequently working at cross purposes. We further believe that she will be compelled in the near future to search for the true solution of the problem of her imperatively needed organic unity. We are constrained, therefore, to point out what we are fully convinced is the remedy that must soon be applied for the healing of her sectarian divisions....The church, like the state, is a social being made up of individual members. Each of these collective beings, by divine ordainment, is clothed with authority in its appropriate sphere of action. And in each of these collective or social beings are found subjects of authority. Christ is the Sovereign Lord and King over both church and state. His Word, given in the sacred Scriptures, contains supreme law for each of these social bodies in its distinct sphere.

"Due regard in the state for the law of Christ secures for it the balance of political authority and the liberties of the citizen, and thus the establishment and preservation of national organic unity. And in like manner due respect for the law of Christ will secure to the church and all her individual members the balance of ecclesiastical liberty and law and consequent enduring [R2114 : page 66] organic unity. The admitted differences between the sphere and functions of the church on the one hand and the sphere and functions of the state on the other hand will not affect this analogy. Ecclesiastical authority wields no material sword. Its penalties are spiritual."

It is seldom that we find the advocates of Church Federation so outspoken as this; but we admire honesty and frankness even in a bad cause; – and as our readers well know we esteem the movement for the proposed organic union of the churches and then their cooperative union with the state a very bad cause; – one fraught with danger to the liberties of all classes – but foretold in the Scriptures as associated with the great trouble with which the social and ecclesiastical order of this Gospel age will come to an abrupt end.

We deny every proposition of the quotation. (1) We deny that the church (collectively) is "clothed with authority." On the contrary, we hold that the individual Christian is free from authority except that of the head of the true Church – Christ. His fellows may advise with him or may withdraw from his fellowship, but they have no "authority" over him according to the Scriptures. Since there are none "clothed with authority," there can be no "subjects of authority." The object of Satan, and unwittingly of those whom he deceives, has ever been to deprive the individual Christian of the liberty wherewith Christ has made him free, and under one pretext or another to sink the individual in the mass, under human heads and authorities. Papacy is a woeful illustration of Satan's successes in this direction in the early centuries of this age; and the Protestantism of the sixteenth century, which never entirely rid itself of that influence, is now being drawn into the same snare.

(2) It is not true, as stated, that God's Word given in "the sacred Scriptures contains supreme law for each of these bodies." On the contrary, the Lord's commands and counsels and promises were first to the [R2114 : page 67] little nation of Israel only, and secondly to the peculiar people, royal priesthood and holy nation – the Church called out of the world and begotten of a new spirit through that Word. And the Lord's words to the Church are not as an organization but as individuals only. "If any man [individually] will be my disciple, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. He that hath an ear let him [individually] hear."

So far from recognizing the state, the nations, and giving them laws, the Lord's Word declares that they are all "kingdoms of this world" and under "the Prince of this world" – Satan. And through the prophet he has pictured these Gentile governments or states as ferocious beasts, and told of their utter destruction at the time of the establishment of his Kingdom for which he taught us to pray, "Thy Kingdom come!"

(3) It is not true that "Due regard in the state for the law of Christ secures for it the balance of political authority." Quite to the contrary, the balance in politics often goes to the side of the corrupt and the saloon element. The history of the various so-called Christian States of Europe, written in blood, shows that none of them have ever been controlled by the laws of Christ, but all of them per force on contrary lines. Christ gave no national laws because his kingdom is not of this world. He rules individually each citizen of his heavenly kingdom.

(4) The claim that such an organized and dominating Ecclesiastical Authority would need no sword but would merely execute spiritual penalties is delusive. This was Papacy's claim in the zenith of her power. For instance, she damned the Huguenots as "heretics," told how God would torment them in the future, and declared that "heretics" had no rights which governments or people were bound to respect, and promised eternal rewards to all who would oppose them. And when the French king, thus incited, entrapped and massacred them Papacy struck medals to his honor and made him a saint. Thus spiritual penalties and rewards was interpreted not very long ago. We do not presume that Protestant authority would at once become so arrogant, but in some form all dissenters would be considered "heretics" or "anarchists," and persecuted to the extent that public sentiment would sanction.

THE REAL IMPORT OF MODERN CRITICISM.

The editor of the New York Sun has devoted considerable space to the discussion of modern criticism of the Scriptures, as recently publicly voiced by Rev. Lyman Abbott. The editor shows himself as ever to be a logician. Of course, his editorials have aroused opposition from many who seek to defend this modern infidelity. Referring to these defenders, the Sun of Feb. 9, says: –

"They all miss the point, which is that if there is not supernatural authority for Christianity it becomes simply a system of moral philosophy, regarding whose soundness disagreement is justifiable and inevitable. If it is not believed in as coming from God by supernatural revelation, but is treated as simply human in its origin, it will be criticized on its merits alone, as the Jews, for instance, criticize it, and as it was criticized by the Romans. The Romans opposed the Christian system and tried to destroy it as essentially inimical to the state and the established social order. They viewed the Christians and dealt with them as we now regard and treat Anarchists. If, then, the supernatural origin and character of Jesus are denied, his teachings will be examined in a light radically different from that in which their discussion has proceeded hitherto. They will cease to be the foundation of a religion imposing an obligation of belief as essential to obedience to God, and become debatable propositions made by a human teacher of philosophy, and therefore properly and necessarily examinable to determine their intrinsic value....

"It is this destruction in which Dr. Abbott and his defenders are now engaged. If the Biblical story of Jonah and the whale is to be regarded as purely a parable, an allegory, whose actual occurrence was impossible and therefore unbelievable, Christianity must descend from its exaltation as a religion of divine authority, and drop to the level of a system of religious philosophy or speculation, of human authorship. If the story of Jonah is merely allegorical, a fable, every other Biblical tale, from the creation of Adam and Eve up to the supernatural birth and resurrection of Jesus, is likewise allegorical, for they conflict equally with the possibilities under merely natural law. In other words, the arguments of Dr. Abbott and his defenders shatter the whole fabric of religion built by faith, and put the Scriptural reports of supernatural occurrences in the same category with the tales of mythology. This is a conclusion which the theologians of the school of Dr. Abbott try to avoid, with a timidity which may be natural in view of their ecclesiastical relations, for it takes away the reason for their existence....

"Our correspondents who discuss the case of Dr. Abbott, have no conception of the tremendous revolution in sentiment of which it is a symptom. All the infidelity of past periods has been of no consequence as compared with the present infidelity, of which, for the moment, he has made himself an example. It is an infidelity which strikes at the supernatural basis upon which Christianity rests, and therefore relegates the religion of Christendom to the position of mere mythology and fallible human philosophy."

We freely endorse the editor's arguments and his definition of modern criticism as the rankest infidelity.

*                         *                         *

The disposition of many to fail to discriminate on such subjects is witnessed by the fact that Dr. Buckley, of the New York Christian Advocate is rated as an utter repudiator of the Bible, worse than Dr. Abbott, – simply because he declared his disbelief that every word, punctuation and fly-speck of our English translation of the Bible is inspired. Nobody of sense could dispute [R2114 : page 68] his proposition. It is the original Scriptures that we hold were inspired; not the translations of it. Vastly different is Doctor Buckley's position from that of Doctor Abbott.

*                         *                         *

The start of modern criticism or "higher criticism" may be said to have been in the theory of Evolution – which is diametrically opposed to the Bible theory of the creation of man in God's likeness, his fall into sin, imperfection and death, his redemption by a ransom and the restitution to come.

"But according to the following clipping from the New York Tribune, the most intelligent Christians are already perverts from the Bible faith to the protoplasm and monkey doctrine of Evolution, and hence to its associated doctrines known as "higher criticism." It says: –

"To-day, though evolution is not a demonstrated truth, and perhaps never will be, it is practically accepted by most intelligent Christians as the best explanation of life....

"Quite as terrible at first seemed the blow which evolution aimed at the literal interpretation of the Scriptures. Most of those who first read The Origin of Species believed literally in the creation stories in Genesis; and, of course, any theory that made such a belief impossible must have seemed a denial of God's Word. That view of the matter has been abandoned long ago by Christians....Thirty-six years ago it was Darwin against the whole Christian world. To-day Darwin lies among Christian England's honored dead in Westminster Abbey, and the man who publicly protests against elevating to the chair of St. Augustine a clergyman who holds the views of Darwin is contemptuously brushed aside as a crank."

*                         *                         *

The man referred to, who was treated as a "crank," is the clergyman mentioned in our issue of January 15, [R2115 : page 68] who protested against the enthronement of Dr. Temple as Archbishop of Canterbury and Primate of all England, because as an Evolutionist he was necessarily lacking in all the fundamentals of Christianity. Now hear Brother Moody, the Evangelist. Before a large audience in Carnegie Hall, New York City, he said: –

"Nineteen hundred years have rolled away since Christ found no place on earth to lay his head. His gospel is now preached in all parts of the world, but is it not a fact that even now there is not room on earth for the Son of God, and no nation wants him?

"Does America want him? It is a Christian nation. England claims to be the most Christian nation, but if a man stood up in Parliament to-morrow to advocate – could it be possible – that Christ should come in person to rule England, he would be hooted down. France, Germany, Italy and Spain are Christian nations. Is there room for him in either?

"Has not Christianity settled down to be a mere lifeless form? Suppose it were possible to petition Christ to return to earth to rule us. How many of the people of New York would sign the petition? Would business men sign it? They would have to change their methods first. Would stock-brokers sign it? It would smash up their business pretty quick. Would saloon-keepers sign it? They would find their occupation gone should they do so.

"I'll bring the question closer home to you. How about the churches? Do they want him? Pride and form and dignity in the church would have to step down.

"But we can bring the question even closer to us. How many ladies here would vote to have him come? I think but few hands would be raised should the vote be taken this afternoon. Thank God, there are a few who have stepped out of the world who would welcome him!"

[R2115 : page 68]

THE MEMORIAL SUPPER.

AS instituted by our Lord, and perpetuated by the apostles and the early Church, the Memorial Supper took the place of the Passover Supper – on the fourteenth day of the Jewish first month Nisan. This custom of the early Church is still preserved in the English, Roman, Greek, Armenian and other so-called "Catholic" churches and by Lutherans. But soon after the death of the apostles, ceremonialism gradually crept in and very greatly altered the original simple Memorial services. Then, too, the idea of the Mass was evolved – a fresh sacrifice of Christ as the basis for forgiveness of special sins. Masses are not figurative sacrifices, remembrancers of the great sacrifice at Calvary, but meant as new and real sacrifices. The priest is specially commissioned to turn plain ingredients of bread and wine into the actual body and blood of Christ in order that the priest may make a fresh sacrifice of Christ, with fresh efficacy for the forgiveness of the special sins for which the Mass (sacrifice) is performed. These Masses appear in many respects to merely elaborate the Lord's blessing and breaking of the bread and wine at the institution of the Memorial Supper, only that they may be and are celebrated at any hour of any day or night.

It is not surprising that after a thousand years of false teaching and false practice along these lines, Protestants, when awaking and seeking to find the old paths, failed to discern all of the Papal error on this and other subjects. Accordingly, while discarding the Papal Mass (called in Scripture "the abomination that maketh desolate") as additional sacrifices for sins, and properly holding and teaching that "by one offering he [Christ] hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified" (Heb. 10:14), they overlooked the fact that the added [R2115 : page 69] times for what they term "Communion" were added for Masses, and that the anniversary of our Lord's death is the only appropriate and the only appointed time for its commemoration.

Accordingly, some celebrate three times a year, some four and some weekly. If the contention, "the oftener the better," be correct, why should they not celebrate it every day? While we cannot say that done in sincerity it is at any time a sinful abomination like the Mass, we may be sure that men of to-day are not wiser than our Lord and the inspired teachers of the Church – the Apostles – and that any change from the original institution must result unfavorably. The occasion loses its weight and impressiveness by repetitions disconnected with the fact memorialized. How national memorials would lose their intended significance if repeated three to fifty times a year! The fourth of July, for instance, celebrates a great event, the institution of the United States Government, and it is generally celebrated. But suppose instead it were celebrated weekly or quarterly – would not this deprive the celebration of weight and influence? Assuredly; and so with the Memorial of our Lord's death – its anniversary is its only proper or designated occasion for celebration. But once the origin was lost sight of, general carelessness and indifference prevailed, so that although always mentioned in the Scriptures as a "Supper," it is now generally observed at dinner time; and rarely or never as a supper or evening meal, like its pattern.

The expression, "As oft as ye do this, ye do show forth the Lord's death, till he come," has been misinterpreted by many to mean, – Do this as often as ye choose. But the emphasis should be put upon this – As oft as ye celebrate this annual Memorial, instituted by our Lord, ye are showing forth his death, and are to so do until his second coming – until the establishment of his Kingdom and your glorification therein will fulfill or complete all that is symbolized in the Memorial.

As the people of God "seek for the old paths" (Jer. 16:6), the light of present truth spreads and the number who celebrate the central fact of redemption (the great Sin-offering) on its anniversary increases; and this year probably more than ever before, since the fifth century, will "Do this" in remembrance of their Redeemer, on the anniversary of his death.

The "Catholic" churches slightly changed the method of reckoning the anniversary so that they always celebrate a Friday for our Lord's death (Good Friday) and, on the Sunday following, his resurrection (Easter Sunday). The early Church, however, followed the Jewish custom of counting, regardless of the days of the week, and so we do. In fact, it is claimed by some that, as the Jews had an abrupt beginning of months every Spring, with the appearance of the new moon at or after the vernal equinox, so they had an abrupt beginning of weeks with the beginning of Passover, which was always counted a Sabbath and the new start of the cycle. However this may be, their Passover week always began with the fifteenth day of Nisan by divine direction. – Exod. 12; Num. 28:16,17.

We Christians, however, do not celebrate the Passover week. That will find its anti-type by and by, when the glory of the Kingdom shall be enjoyed. We celebrate the fourteenth; a day of which the Jew takes little or no account. It would appear that the fourteenth of Nisan should have been generally observed, but that the Jews seemed to begrudge the time, and generally crowded the supper over onto the fifteenth day, to gain one more day for business. Certain it is that it was proper to both kill and eat the Passover lamb on the fourteenth, for our Lord and the twelve apostles so did, and our Lord was crucified on the same day; this being provided for in the Jewish arrangement of time, which began each day at six P.M. – Lev. 23:5,6.

Reckoning according to the Jewish rule, the fourteenth of Nisan will this year commence Thursday, April 15, at six P.M. At 8 P.M. a few earnest Christians all over the world, including a little company in Allegheny, will break the memorial bread and taste the memorial fruit of the vine, in grateful remembrance of him who loved us and gave himself for us; and in pledge of our fellowship with him and all who are his, in the sufferings and trials of this present time; and in testimony of our hopes of fellowship by and by in his glory. Reader, will you not join with us at that hour? Whether alone, or as little groups, hundreds of miles asunder, we will surely have a special blessing; and, if we seek it, no doubt we will be welcomed specially near to our Heavenly Bridegroom, and be specially strengthened to share his cross, and to withstand the wiles of the devil.

We do not invite a general convocation to Allegheny as formerly, for two special reasons: (1) we are so situated as to be unable to entertain as formerly; and (2) we believe that the cause in general is benefited by having all of each little group meet together on this occasion. Every family together, was the law for the Jews; and it seems appropriate and profitable for us.

As we have heretofore pointed out, anyone of the Lord's people, the choice of the company, may serve the emblems of our Master's broken body and shed blood. The distinctions of "clergy" and "laity" are not of God, but of mistaken men. All who are true "disciples" are invited to take, eat, drink and distribute the emblems. It would surely require a great amount of authority and ordaining to qualify any man to "create God" out of bread and wine, as it is claimed [R2115 : page 70] the Catholic priests do; but it requires only a fully consecrated, humble believer to do any and every thing commanded by our Lord in respect to this beautiful Memorial. Let us, therefore, – all who are his and who see the beauty of his arrangement – obey, and "do this" in remembrance of him. Unleavened bread is [R2116 : page 70] best to use, as an emblem of our Lord's purity, his freedom from sin, which leaven symbolizes. Fruit of the vine may be wine or (preferably, we think) unfermented grape-juice, or the juice from stewed raisins; – "fruit of the vine" is quite a broad term.

MAKE DUE PREPARATION.

In the type only the circumcised were allowed to eat of the Passover supper. Circumcision of the heart is the antitype, as the Apostle explains, and signifies a full consecration to the Lord and a separation from the filth of the flesh and sin in general. Let us note, also, that none but those consecrated to be broken with him, and to share his cup of suffering and self-denial, are truly "disciples," and invited to "do this." – See Matt. 20:22,23.

Note, also, that even the "circumcised" were to cleanse their dwellings and put away sin, symbolized by leaven. And faith in the blood must be publicly confessed as symbolized by its being sprinkled on the front of their houses. All these things represented Christian life during this Gospel age. The eaters are to be Pilgrims who seek a heavenly country; our "bitter herbs" are the trials and persecutions and revilings and disappointments, incident to our faithfulness to the Lord; – they will only sharpen our appetites for more of our Lamb – Christ our Passover (lamb) slain for us. (Exod. 12:8,11,12; 1 Cor. 5:7.) And, inasmuch as the law provided that none of the lamb must remain over to be eaten on the morrow, it seems to signify, typically, that the privilege of participation in the Lord's sacrifice is meant by the eating; and that this fellowship or communion in sufferings is confined to this Gospel age. This is intimated also by the Apostle. – 1 Cor. 10:16,17.

Let all of the Lord's people examine themselves to see that their hearts are circumcised, separated from the will of the flesh and fully subjected to the will of God in Christ. Let us see to it that we purge out any of the old leaven of malice, envy and strife (1 Cor. 5:8), that the thoughts and intents of our hearts are pure and sweet and clean, and that unavoidable weaknesses are under cover of the precious blood. Although the Lord and the Apostles gave no command to fast forty days, as is the custom of the "lenten season" with many, and although we deprecate such formal commands of men, nevertheless, we believe that those who as a preparation voluntarily do some fasting, as well as praying, will be blest according to their faith and love and devotion.

[R2116 : page 70]

MILLENNIAL DAWN MISREPRESENTED.

A SEVENTH-DAY Adventist journal contains the following misrepresentation: –

"If it was expedient that Christ should pass the portals of the tomb to save men from the Adamic death, then it is equally expedient that he should pass the second death tomb, in order to save those who fail in the first opportunity, that they might have the second probation as per Millennial Dawn theology. A second probation for all mankind, and especially the heathen, is a corner-stone in Millennial Dawn theology. We ask, Where is the scripture to show that Christ passed the second-death tomb? If not, can he, or will he, save man from the second death, through a second probation?"

As a Seventh-day Adventist, the writer of the above no doubt acknowledges himself amenable to the command which says, "Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor." In the above statement he violates that rule: he bears false witness against MILLENNIAL DAWN and should make amends by reading the book unprejudicedly and then correcting the misrepresentation.

MILLENNIAL DAWN teaches the very contrary of what is here attributed to it. It teaches that there will be neither redemption nor recovery from the Second Death, but on the contrary, that it is the everlasting punishment predicted for all intelligent and wilful evil doers.

The merest babe in spiritual things should know that under the divine sentence against Adam, which was shared by all of his race, not one of the human family could have everlasting life; – no, nor even a trial for it, which was what Adam had and lost, – except as the ransom-price first secured a release from that original Adamic sentence. This is the plain argument of the great Apostle Paul in Romans 5:12,17-19.

This one opportunity or chance for life, secured by the great sin-offering finished at Calvary, is the only one recognized in MILLENNIAL DAWN. And it is quite sufficient. The Scriptures assure us that it was "for all," for "every man," "a propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world;" and logically this implies that "all," "every man," "the whole world," will be granted an opportunity to profit by it, and, if they will, to come into harmony with God, under the merciful provisions of [R2116 : page 71] the New Covenant, and thus gain the gift of God, eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord. This one chance is to be so complete, so ample, that there will be no reason for another. It will be a second chance, individually, to but one person, Adam. It can only be considered a second chance for the entire race by reckoning the entire race as having its first chance while in the loins of Adam, in Eden. That Eden chance or trial resulted in loss to Adam and all in him; none gained life under that chance or trial; and it is from that loss that all have been redeemed by the Second Adam who came to seek and to save that which was lost; and who under the New Covenant, sealed with his own blood, provides an opportunity for the whole race to return to life and harmony with God – (1) the Church as his bride; (2) the world as his children, to the willing and obedient of whom he shall become "the everlasting father." – Isa. 9:6.

This chance, secured by Christ for all through his atoning-sacrifice; – this chance which dates from our Lord's resurrection (except as in a typical manner it was previously faintly revealed to the faith of the patriarchs and prophets and in the Law to Israel); – this chance, call it first or second as any may please, is the only one we find in the Scriptures, and the only one presented in MILLENNIAL DAWN. But let us see how ample it is, and how few have yet enjoyed this chance of trial for eternal life, secured by the precious blood.

Did the millions who lived outside of the favored nation of Israel for the period of over forty-one centuries before Christ, whom the Apostle describes as being "without God and having no hope," – did those millions have any share in this chance or trial purchased by the precious blood? Surely not! – See Eph. 2:12.

Did the millions of Jews who lived and died before Christ, and who at the very most had only typical atonements for sin, year by year, which could never take away sin, nor make the worshipers perfect; – did these have a chance or fair trial for eternal life under the New Covenant, which had not in their day gone into effect? Surely not! – See Heb. 9:9; 10:4.

Did the Jews of our Lord's day who rejected him have a full chance? No; for our Lord and the prophets and the apostles testify that "they were blinded" and that "through ignorance" they crucified Christ, "as did also your rulers." (Acts 3:17.) And we are clearly informed that their national blinding was for a purpose, and is to be removed; and that then the New Covenant will go into effect toward them as a people. – See Rom. 11:25-27-33.

How about the heathen of to-day, and the hundreds of millions of the same class who have died since the true Light, the great Light came, since the Atonement sacrifice was slain at Calvary; – have they had any chance of everlasting life, in the remotest sense, never having so much as heard of the New Covenant or of the only name given under heaven or among men, whereby we must be saved? Knowledge is essential to a trial for life everlasting.

How about the other millions who have lived in so-called Christian lands, and have heard church bells ring and seen Bibles, and heard perhaps the preaching of clashing creeds – that we are saved by works and it matters not what is believed; – that we are saved not by works but by faith; that we are saved by both faith and works; – that we are saved by water baptism; – that it should be done by sprinkling; – that it should be by immersion; – that it is for the forgiveness of sins; – that it is not for the forgiveness of sins, but for induction into the elect Church; – that there is but one true Church, one Lord, one faith, one baptism; – that the Roman Catholic Church is that one and all others false; – that the Lutheran is the one, and all others false; – that the Presbyterian is the one, and all others more or less in error; – that the Methodist church is the one, and all others confused. What shall we say of those who in all this din and confusion ("Babylon") do not believe, because they know not what to believe?

Shall we say that such have had a full, fair chance for eternal life; and that their failure to believe marks them as fit for the Second Death? No; we will rather hear the Word of the Lord on the subject. (1) The Apostle's declaration that "the God of this world hath blinded the minds of them that believe not, lest the glorious light of the goodness of God should shine into their hearts. (2) We will remember the promise of our Lord's Word, that times of refreshing and restitution shall come at his second advent (Acts 3:19-21), and that then Satan, who now blinds and deceives men, shall be "bound" and "deceive the nations no more" [R2117 : page 71] for the thousand years of our Redeemer's reign. (3) We will remember the promise through the prophet (Isa. 29:18; 35:5; 42:7,16) that in that Millennial day all the blind eyes shall be opened, and the light of truth made seven-fold clearer, – perfectly clear – so that the knowledge of the Lord shall fill the whole earth, ocean deep (Isa. 11:9); and then all the families of the earth who have not had "ears to hear" during this age shall be blessed with a chance or trial for life under most favorable conditions, according to the blessed terms of the Abrahamic Covenant through the Seed of Abraham (Christ Jesus, the head, and the Church, the body). – Gal. 3:16,29; 1 Cor. 6:2.

Let us remember that trial always precedes sentence. Adam was on trial for everlasting life: the [R2117 : page 72] result of his failure was the penalty, Adamic death, in which we all share. Adam and all of his race were bought back from that sentence by the great sin-offering which God accepted. As a result another "chance" or opportunity for trial for everlasting life comes to Adam and to his race. But since the race is no longer "in Adam" this trial must be an individual one. (See Jer. 31:29-34; Ezek. 18:2-4.) As a full, fair opportunity was necessary under the first trial in Eden, so now all must come to a clear knowledge of the conditions of life and death before he can be condemned or justified. This trial will be so complete that there would be no use for another, a third trial, and hence there is no provision for recovery from the Second Death.

[R2117 : page 72]

"WHY PERSECUTEST THOU ME?"
– MARCH 14. – ACTS 9:1-12,17-20. –
"This is a faithful saying, and worthy of acceptation, that Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief." – 1 Tim. 1:15.
S
AUL'S transformation, from an enemy of Christ and his Church to a friend and zealous servant, is generally termed his conversion. In our opinion, however, the term "conversion" would scarcely be appropriate in such a case. Saul of Tarsus was either a bad man and a hypocritical Pharisee, a money-lover and self-lover, as were many, or else he was an Israelite indeed, whose aim and object was the service of God, and whose persecution of the early Church was prompted by his fidelity to God. We believe that the latter description is the one which fitted his case; it is in harmony with his own testimony on the subject: "I verily thought that I did God service." If then Saul was not only a member of the favored nation of Israel, but a true and loyal member of it, thoroughly consecrated to the Lord and serving him to the best of his knowledge and opportunity, but merely blinded for the time by prejudice and misconception, we can no more think of his case as a conversion than the cases of the other apostles. The Lord chose the original twelve because they were Israelites indeed; and he gave them the needed instruction for his service; and this he did also for Saul, though in a more striking manner. The word convert signifies to turn about in an opposite direction. But Saul was already going in the right direction; namely, in a whole hearted service of God, though his efforts were expended upon the wrong thing in the right direction. The Lord merely opened the eyes of his understanding and showed him the better how his efforts should be used. Saul needed no conversion and needed merely to be shown aright; and he proved this by as much fidelity and energy in the Lord's service afterward as he had ignorantly misused previously.

Saul was one of those Israelites who lived amongst the Gentiles, but who occasionally went up to Jerusalem to certain of the feasts. His home was in the city of Tarsus, one of the notable cities of that date – said to have been excelled in scholarship and fine arts by the cities of Alexandria and Athens only. He not only had the advantages of a home in such a city, but his family was one of the influential ones, as is implied in the fact that he was not only a citizen of Tarsus but also a citizen of Rome. In addition to the education of his home city he had received a special course in theology or Jewish Law at Jerusalem, under Gamaliel, one of the greatest teachers of that time. His early training, therefore, and all of its conditions were favorable to producing in him a breadth and refinement of thought equaled by few; and these conditions combined with his honesty of heart and his zeal for God, though not at first according to knowledge, fitted him to become just what the Lord subsequently made of him; namely, "A chosen vessel unto me to bear my name before the Gentiles and kings and the Children of Israel." – Acts 9:15.

(1) It would appear that the circumstances connected with the stoning of Stephen only incited Saul to the greater energy in stamping out what he believed to be a very injurious doctrine – a heresy. Our own experience confirms the thought that an earnest, conscientious opponent is more to be respected than a cold, indifferent professed friend, and we are reminded of the Lord's words, "I would thou wert cold or hot. So then because thou art lukewarm, and neither cold nor hot, I will spew thee out of my mouth." Let us have respect, therefore, for all who are warm-hearted and zealous; remembering that there is more hope of their being pleasing to God, and being accounted worthy to receive the truth, than for the lukewarm.

(2) The Jewish priesthood was granted and exercised considerable power under the arrangements of the Roman government. It had come to exercise very much of the power subsequently used by the Popes of Rome. They had power to authorize arrests and imprisonments for the infractions of their religious rules and regulations. Saul, exercising the same respect to law and authority that subsequently marked all of his dealings and teachings as a Christian, did not attempt to take matters into his own hands in the persecution of the Christians, but went about it in the manner recognized as legal – under the sanction and authority of the highest religious tribunal. Let us remember that nearly [R2117 : page 73] all persecutions have been sanctioned by some human law, and regulate ourselves under the divine code.

(3-9) The account here given of the opening of the eyes of Saul's understanding is that of Luke, and was doubtless received directly from the Apostle Paul himself – with whom he traveled for a time. Two other accounts are given by the Apostle Paul himself. (See Acts 22:6-11; 26:12-20.) The three accounts are in practical agreement, and show only such variations as might reasonably be expected, considering the fact that they were delivered under different conditions; as it was sought to emphasize or elaborate different points. Had the three accounts been exactly alike, word for word, there would have been just ground for supposing a special preparation of the text with this harmony in view. Even the seeming discrepancy of the account, when rightly seen, are additional evidences of the truthfulness of all. The account itself being simple, we need give attention only to those points which apparently conflict. All three accounts say that Saul himself heard the voice, saw the light and fell to the ground. One of the accounts adds that all with him fell to the earth as well. The account in our lesson tells that the men of his company "stood speechless, hearing a voice but seeing no man." Another account says, "They beheld indeed the light, but they heard not the voice of him that spake to me." These accounts can be harmonized in this way: Saul himself was evidently the center of manifestation – "a great light shone round me." His companions doubtless saw something of this light in a general way, but they did not see the source of the light; they did not see the glorious body of our Lord Jesus – "seeing no man." Saul, however, saw the glorious body of our Lord Jesus, as he himself subsequently testified, "last of all he [Jesus] was seen of me also." Although none but Saul was smitten to the ground, the others who stood speechless and terrorstricken no doubt soon kneeled reverently about their leader. Respecting the voice – Saul and all that were with him heard a sound, "the voice," but only Saul could distinguish the words – which were meant for him alone. A similar case is recorded in John 12:28,29, where it is stated that our Lord Jesus heard a voice from heaven, saying, "I have both glorified it, and will glorify it again." But the people that stood by and heard the voice understood not the words, but said that "it thundered." Saul and all of his company in one sense of the word heard the sound or voice, but in another sense of the word he alone heard the voice. We use this same form of expression in our daily conversation to day. If some one speaks to us in a low or indistinct voice, we say that we did not hear – we mean that although we heard the voice we did not understand or comprehend it.

The feelings of Saul, as he heard from the Lord of glory a reproof of his misdirected zeal, can be better imagined than described. Nevertheless, we can but admire the promptness with which he at once laid down the arms of his opposition, and placed himself on the side of the one whose cause he had so recently persecuted. We can imagine him praying, Lord, teach me! In my blindness and ignorance I have been fighting against thee, the Only Begotten of the Father, the Messiah; while "I verily thought I did God service." Having made such a great mistake I [R2118 : page 73] am thoroughly humbled, I can no longer trust to my own wisdom nor to the wisdom of those in whom I have heretofore confided; – the chief priests, the scribes and Pharisees. Now Lord, I come to thee: Show me how I can undo some of the great wrong I have done ignorantly: show me, and I will be glad to promptly follow and obey.

How deep a hold the matter took upon the mind of Saul may be judged from the fact that he neither ate nor drank for three days. He could not think lightly of his own blinded course. Deep contrition is always a good evidence of genuine repentance of wrong. No doubt his thoughts were busy, and, well educated in the Law and in the Prophets, and familiar with what he had learned concerning the Nazarene and his teachings, we may reasonably suppose that those three days of blindness and fasting were days of prayer and reflection, in which he diligently compared the testimony of the Law and the Prophets with what he knew of the Nazarene and his teachings. His natural sight had been destroyed, but his mental vision had been opened, and he now saw matters in a new and wonderful light.

(10-17) The name Ananias in a previous lesson was associated with ungodliness and falsehood, but here we find another Ananias of a totally different character – a true servant of the Lord. His hesitation (vs. 13-16) does not seem to have been caused by opposition, nor faithlessness, but rather a reasonable caution. He had heard of Saul and possibly also knew Saul's host to be an enemy of the cause of Christ, and therefore wanted to assure himself that he was not misunderstanding the Lord. The Lord very graciously made the matter clear to him, as he always does to his faithful ones, and Ananias promptly fulfilled his mission. Here again is an illustration of divine methods: The Lord sent upon this important errand one who apparently was a very humble member of the Church. He did not send Peter and John and James the apostles from Jerusalem with great pomp and show to receive the penitent enemy of the cross and to make a public triumph, but used an instrument ready and willing that was nearby. This should be a lesson to us that the Lord is both able and willing to use in his service [R2118 : page 74] the humble ones who are ready and waiting – "Emptied, that he might fill them, as forth to his service they go; Emptied, that so unhindered his life through them might flow."

(18-20) The scales which fell from the eyes of Saul would seem to indicate that a certain portion of the eye had been thoroughly destroyed by the great light; and the healing may be said to have been in a natural way by the removal of the injured cornea. [Please see editor's correction of this phrase – R2489 – site Editor] Although informed that he received his sight, we are not informed that his eyes were made whole. Indeed, it seems very evident, from subsequent statements, that to his dying day his eyes never recovered their soundness and his sight was never again normal. It has been surmised, and we think with good reason, that the continued weakness of his eyes constituted what he terms "a thorn in the flesh." Although under the power of the holy spirit he was granted many gifts of the spirit, amongst others the gift of healing, and although he exercised this gift of healing upon many (see Acts 19:11,12), yet the Lord did not relieve him from his own weakness in this respect. This must have been all the greater trial; it would seem all the more strange that he who could heal others could not heal himself; that he who had divine power for the blessing of others in this way, should not have the divine power for his own blessing. Our Lord's answer to his petition was, "My grace is sufficient for thee, my strength is made perfect in weakness." The noble Apostle exclaims, Therefore most gladly will I suffer, if thereby the grace of God toward me shall be the greater: and thereafter he never requested the removal of this "thorn." Several incidents in his experience confirm this conclusion. (1) Although an educated man, he seldom wrote his own letters; and of the one letter which he did write, although one of the briefest, he remarks (Gal. 6:11), "Ye see how large a letter I have written unto you with my own hand." The Greek would even give the thought that these words apologize for the use of very large characters in the writing, – such as a semi-blind person would use; (2) the Apostle comes down to us in history as "the bleared-eye Jew;" (3) when standing before the tribunal of the chief captain he declares that he did not know Ananias as the high priest; whereas, if his eyesight had been good, he could not have well helped knowing him, on account of his gorgeous apparel (Acts 23:5); (4) in writing to the Galatians he tells them (4:15) that, when he first met them, their love and sympathy for him were such that they would willingly have plucked out their own eyes for him – an expression which would be meaningless, unless his eyes were defective.

After a few days to gain strength from his fasting and the nervous excitement incidental to his experiences, days of communion with those whom he had come to persecute, and whom now in his renewed condition of mind he recognized and fellowshiped as dear brethren, he promptly began to preach Christ as the Son of God – publicly using the opportunities afforded in the Jewish Synagogues.

Those who think of the Apostle Paul's experiences as on a par with the conversion of sinners greatly err. Such conduct as is here related is not the conduct of sinners, enemies of God. The account of the Apostle's enlightenment in the gospel is the account of a most noble character which commends the respect of every class in every time. And we are inclined to regard the Apostle Paul as in some sense of the word a figure, or likeness, or type of his race – Israel – and the opening of their eyes now shortly due to take place. Amongst the Jews are many who seem to be Israelites indeed, merely blinded, as the prophet and the apostle have described. (Rom. 11:7-12.) That nation whose blinding took place in the fifth (1,000 year) day, and which has been blinded throughout the sixth (1,000-year day), is to have its eyes opened on the third day, which will be the seventh (1,000 year) day – the Millennial Day. Israel also has been without food or drink of a spiritual kind during all this time. Israel also is to be a chosen vessel in the Lord's hand as connected with the earthly agencies in bearing the message which shall bless the Gentiles and all the families of the earth. We are near to the time for the opening of Israel's eyes. When the time shall have fully come, the Lord will send some Ananias whose touch and blessing under divine favor shall bring sight. The name Ananias signifies, "Jah is gracious."

[R2118 : page 74]

CHRISTIAN LIBERTY AND SELF-RESTRAINT.
– March 21. – 1 Cor. 9:19-27. –
"Every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things." – 1 Cor. 9:25.
D
OUBTLESS it was in great measure because of his breadth of learning, as well as the result of his deep consecration, and hence his nearness to the Lord and fellowship in the divine plan, that the Apostle Paul was enabled to grasp the conditions of the New Covenant and the Gospel dispensation more quickly than did the other apostles. Although the Apostle Peter took as broad a view as others of the original twelve, and although in addition the Lord gave him the vision to indicate that the Gentiles were no longer [R2118 : page 75] to be considered unclean by the Jews, and sent him direct to preach the Gospel to Cornelius, the first Gentile convert, and although he witnessed the gifts of the holy spirit communicated to him, yet the Apostle Paul seems to have grasped the whole situation much more comprehensively than did even Peter; so that when Peter was confused on this subject, and stumbling, Paul was both able and willing to help him to clearer views. (Gal. 2:14.) It was Paul who first saw "that the righteousness of the law is fulfilled in us, who walk not after the flesh but after the spirit"; and that amongst those who have come under the new order of things there is no distinction of Jews and Gentiles, male and female, bond or free, because they are all one in Christ Jesus. It was Paul who recognized the fact that those who had accepted Christ were entirely free from the Law of Moses; that to them Moses was dead and they were married to another, even Christ, and were under his law; – the law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus which made Israelites free from the law of sin and death. – Rom. 7:4,6.

(19-23) But though realizing his liberties in Christ, his freedom from all bondage, as of holy days, new moons, sabbaths, meats, etc. (Col. 2:16; Rom. 14:5), the Apostle was not anxious to use his liberty except as between the Lord and himself, and such of the brethren as could appreciate the matter. Those who were weak and bounden by laws and ceremonies and human traditions received from the elders, found in the Apostle one who did not seek to triumph over them by boasting of his liberty and their bondage. On the contrary, if they were in bondage to the Law he waived for the time his own liberties that he might thereby through sympathy and patience help them to the same liberty which he enjoyed at heart. And so we find him advising and urging others. He said: –

You find yourselves free from the law and those restraints which are upon your brethren, the Jews, you now say they are no longer bondages to you. You are thus greatly relieved: nevertheless, use not your [R2119 : page 75] liberties for an occasion of the flesh. You may know that an idol is nothing, and that meat offered to an idol (the custom amongst Gentiles) is not thereby injured, and you may feel perfectly free to eat that meat; but if a brother is with you who does not yet realize this freedom and see matters from this loftier standpoint, do not put a barrier between your heart and his by using your liberties, but rather for his sake avoid the use of that liberty that you may have the greater influence with him and bring him to appreciate the still greater liberties which are ours through Christ.

The blessings of the Kingdom of God are not merely these liberties to eat what we please without condemnation, and to be without restraint from fast days, new moons and sabbaths! No, no; the liberties which we have as the incipient Kingdom of God are far better than these, though they include these. The more important things are the freedom from sin, the communion and fellowship with the Lord, and the prospect of a glorious inheritance in the future. Righteousness, peace, joy in the holy spirit, these are the fruits of our new relationship to Christ which are to be specially enjoyed, and in comparison to which our liberty to eat and not to eat what we please and to observe such holy days as we may please are insignificant. – Rom. 14:17-20.

This is the Apostle's meaning in this lesson. He did not mean that he dissembled or deceived or pretended to be a Jew, etc., but that having and realizing his liberties, he did not always choose to exercise his liberties in Christ if he found better opportunities for usefulness by simply neglecting to claim or use liberty. Principles may never be abandoned for any consideration; but liberties and personal rights may be ignored in the interest of others, frequently and to divine pleasing; the Apostle was ready to go any length in defense of principle, and could not be budged an inch (Gal. 2:5,11); but in the sacrifice of his earthly rights and privileges and liberties for the sake of Christ and his Church, the Apostle evidently came next to our Lord Jesus, and is a noble example to all the Church, as shown in this lesson.

An illustration of such a proper ignoring of liberties without abandonment of principle is found in connection with Sunday observance. To our understanding Sunday, the first day of the week, is in no sense of the word the Sabbath Day that was commanded to the Jews, – which was the seventh day. The Christian is not commanded by the Bible to keep any particular day, in any particular manner different from other days; but by his covenant with God he is to keep every day holy unto the Lord. He has no more right to do wrong on one day than on another. His rest in Christ under the New Covenant is not the physical rest of the Jew under the Law Covenant. It is higher: it is a rest of faith that brings joy and refreshment; not only physical, but mental and spiritual.

This rest is not merely for one day in the week; the true Christian is to rest in Christ, and have joy and peace in believing every day. Instead, therefore, of having a seventh day rest in each week the Christian has seven days of rest in each week – a rest and a peace which the world can neither give nor take away.

Not by divine appointment but of their own volition the early Church began to keep as a day of special gathering together the first day of the week, as a Memorial of our Lord's resurrection from the dead, and the new life and new joy which began with that day. For a time they continued to observe also the seventh day, until they learned through the apostles' instructions that they were dead to the Jewish law and had become "new creatures" in Christ under the law of the spirit of life, – which has but one commandment and that an all comprehensive one, – Love.

The majority of Christians to-day seem to have drifted away in part from the liberties and appreciations of the New Covenant and to be attempting to mix the Jewish Covenant with the Christian Covenant, the Jewish law of ten commandments with the Christian law of one commandment – love. Accordingly Sunday, the first day of the week, is by many regarded as the Sabbath day of the Jews; and they mentally attach to it all the requirements of the Jewish law, and yet they continually feel a heart-condemnation in respect to it, as did the Jews, because they rarely or never live up to the requirements of the Law for that day. The law demanded that no work of any kind should be done by parents, children, servants or cattle; and as exemplifying [R2119 : page 76] the rigor of that law there is a record in the Scriptures that a man was stoned to death because he gathered sticks for a fire on the Sabbath day. By reason of this false conception that the first day is the Sabbath day or that somehow or other (they know not how or when or where) the authorities and ordinances respecting the Jewish Sabbath Day were transferred to Sunday, the first day, many are continually under condemnation to conscience – a consciousness of sin.

With some of those who learn the truth on this subject there is a combative disposition which leads them to wish to display their liberties by doing on the first day of the week that which their fellow Christians regard as improper – sinful. Such a combative spirit is a sign that the spirit of Christ is not dwelling richly within – that more knowledge has reached the individual than he has been able to wisely use. It indicates that such have need to grow in grace, in love, proportionately as they grow in knowledge.

The Apostle's declaration, in the lesson before us, is an illustration of the right spirit concerning every such question. If our neighbors meet in worship on the first day of the week, because they believe it to be the command of God, our liberty can be just as fully exercised meeting on the same day; not from a sense of obligation, not under law, but in the full enjoyment of the liberty wherewith Christ makes free. Indeed, we can enjoy the day very much more when we realize it as a liberty and privilege rather than as a duty and command. Yet there are trifling liberties which we should yield; for instance, our neighbor, thinking that he is under the Jewish law, might consider the driving of a tack to be a violation of the day of rest. We who know that we are not under the law but under grace, realize that no sin would be committed in driving a tack; but nevertheless we can well and properly set aside our liberties in that matter and conform and cooperate in the maintenance of the peace and quiet of the day. Indeed, we realize that the mistake of our friends is in many respects a blessing and a mercy to us. For if many appreciated the matter as we do, as a liberty and privilege and not as a law of God, quite probably a majority would pay no respect whatever to the day, and very soon it might be as other days. We are very glad, therefore, that a day for rest and quiet and study and meditation on holy things is set aside by the laws of the land in which we live. But even if we saw no reason whatever for observing the day, the fact of its legal secular appointment is a sufficient ground for abstinence from earthly labors. But on the contrary we see the wisdom of having a day for special fellowship in spiritual things and the day adopted by early Christians is eminently proper. The opening day of a new week symbolizes our new rest, new hopes and new life – all of which spring from the resurrection of our Lord.

We advise those who are seeking to walk in the "narrow way" to follow the Apostle's counsel and example closely, and while realizing themselves free in Christ to make themselves servants unto all – "doing good unto all men as we have opportunity, especially to the household of faith."

The Apostle was not moved to this abrogation of his own liberties from any selfish motives, but by his love of the gospel and his desire to supply to others its blessed healing balm, which had come to his own spirit. Wherever the spirit of Christ is, this spirit is received; and if developed it will manifest itself sooner or later by this disposition of self-negation in the interest of other – especially in spiritual interests and affairs.

(24-27) The Apostle would have us see that while we are granted liberties in Christ, nevertheless the essence of Christian teaching is to deny ourselves the use of those very liberties. As slaves of sin we were set free in order that we might become the voluntary bond-servants of righteousness – serving with self-sacrifice "even unto death." The Jews, as a house of servants under Moses, were bound as servants by rigorous laws, the meaning and object of which were not even explained to them. But the house of sons, of which Christ is the Head, is left free from any law, except the one – to love God with every power of being and our neighbor as ourself. But this very liberty, which is granted to us on the one hand, is the greater trial on the other hand. It leaves with us each the responsibility of proving our love to God and to his cause and to his people, and our sympathy for the world, by the extent to which we are willing to abandon our liberties for these – as their servants.

The Apostle illustrates this by the Olympic games of his day, prominent amongst which was foot-racing. Racers were set free to run, so we as Christians are set free from the law that we may run our race and win the great prize; but he that complies with certain recognized conditions, and "so runs," shall be crowned an overcomer.

Consecrated Christians have entered the lists, to run the great race for the prize of our high calling in Christ Jesus – the prize of joint-heirship with him in the kingdom of glory, to be established at his second coming. We start on our race course not aimlessly, not hopelessly, not simply for the sake of denying ourselves, not to do penance for sins, nor simply for the sake of developing character; but the Lord has graciously arranged the matter so that we will have a grand and noble incentive to self-denial. The prize at [R2120 : page 76] the end of the race is his "Well done, good and faithful servant;" and to the faithful little flock "the crown of life" and the glory of the Kingdom. Therefore we are not running uncertainly, doubtfully, not knowing what the prize will be, for we are instructed by the Lord's own words.

The Apostle points out in this connection that if we hope to be overcomers and approved of the Lord we must be moderate, temperate, self-denying in all things. This he emphasizes in verse twenty-seven. It is not only necessary that our whole being should be consecrated to the Lord at the beginning of the race, but it continues necessary all along the way, that it shall be continually subject to the new mind, the mind of Christ, which is to dwell in us richly and abound. Otherwise, if we allow the old, fallen nature to rise up and hinder the new mind, the mind of Christ in us – if we permit the will of the flesh thus to come into control again, we may count the race as ignominiously terminated and ourselves as "castaways;" because the mind of the flesh leads to death, but the mind of the new spirit of life in Christ, by which we are begotten through the Word of truth, leads to life everlasting, and through faithfulness to eternal glory.

page 77
March 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.MARCH 15, 1897.No. 6.
CONTENTS.

Special Items 78
The Unconditional Oathbound Covenant 79
The Law Covenant Added 81
The New Covenant Added 82
"Our Sufficiency is of God" 84
Interesting Questions Answered 86
13 Questions on the Anglo-Israel Theory 86
Miracles at Lydda and Joppa 90
Interesting Letters 91

'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 78

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.

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THINGS ACCEPTABLE TO GOD.

"...We cannot always be doing a great work, but can always be doing something that belongs to our condition. To be silent, to suffer, to pray, when we cannot act, is acceptable to God."

Fenelon.
"Charge not thyself with the weight of a year,
Child of the Master, faithful and dear;
Choose not the cross for the coming week,
For that is more than he bids thee seek;
Bend not thine arms for to-morrow's load –
Thou may'st leave that to thy gracious God;
Daily only he saith to thee,
'Take up thy cross and follow me.'"
[R2126 : page 78]

"Never let your Christian life disown its past. Let every new and higher consecration and enjoyment into which you enter be made real to you by bringing into it all that Christ has already trained within you of grace and knowledge."

Bishop Phillips Brooks.

"Only love seeks after love. If I desire the love of another, it can surely only be because I myself have love toward him. We care not to be loved by those whom we do not love. It were an embarrassment rather than an advantage to receive love from those to whom we would not return it. When God asks human love, it is because God is love."

Spurgeon.
ALLEGHENY CHURCH MEETINGS.

"THE MEMORIAL SUPPER" will be celebrated April 15, at 7.30 P.M. Baptism services and worship at 4.30 P.M. of same day. See our last issue.

Preaching and divine worship every Sunday afternoon in Bible House chapel, No. 56 Arch Street, at 3 P.M.

Cottage Meetings – for prayer and testimony on Wednesday evenings; and Dawn Circles for Bible Study on Friday evenings – various localities – inquire at WATCH TOWER office.

[R2120 : page 79]

THE UNCONDITIONAL OATH-BOUND COVENANT

AND THE "OLD" AND "NEW" COVENANTS ADDED THERETO.

"Though it be but a man's covenant, yet if it be confirmed, no man disannulleth, or addeth thereto." – Gal. 3:15.
A
CLEAR appreciation of the divine covenants is important and valuable to the Christian. In the knowledge of these he possesses the key to the understanding of the entire plan of God.
THE NECESSITY FOR A COVENANT.

It was because of man's fall into sin, and its accompanying degradation, mental, moral and physical, which followed ejectment from Eden, and especially because of the sentence of death pronounced against him, that he had need of the divine arrangements for his recovery and blessing provided in these covenants – original and added. The failure of Adam had cut off himself and his race from divine favor and placed them under divine sentence; and nothing that man could do would restore divine favor. The initiative toward reconciliation must come from God if at all; and the Covenants were his statements of his proposition for a reconciliation, and how and with whom and by whom it should be accomplished. God did not make his plan because of Abraham; but merely made known his predetermined purpose to faithful Abraham; and chose his family as the one through which Messiah would be sent, for the accomplishment of that plan. The plan itself was, we are told, predetermined – from the foundation of the world. Abraham's faithfulness merely brought him and his family into relationship to that plan of the ages.

To enforce the sentence of death, Adam was at once driven out from Eden and its grove of life-giving trees into the wilderness of earth, infested with thorns and briers, "accursed" or unfit for the sustenance of life. There he was permitted to prolong his days as best he could, until the sentence which was upon him should accomplish his destruction – dust to dust.

From the moment of his rejection and sentence, degeneration set in; affecting all his posterity. The unfavorable conditions of the soil and climate have since had their effect upon the physical man, and incidentally upon his mental and moral status; for since an imperfect body cannot sustain a perfect mind, the elements of decay quickly fastened themselves on the mental powers; and mental and moral impairment are the result. The undesirable conditions of the new surroundings, so different from what had previously been experienced, gradually developed selfishness as the leading characteristic of his being. Thus did the sentence, "dying thou shalt die," surely go into effect along all the lines of his organism.

With all the race since, the tendency has been downward; so that in the course of six thousand years man's physical powers have become so impaired that instead of living nine hundred and thirty years, as did Adam, the average of life is now only about thirty-five years, despite all the efforts of medical science to lengthen the span of life. And although improved nursing and medical skill and surgery have lately increased the average of life about five years (from thirty to thirty-five years), yet this longer survival of the physically impaired evidently means a general weakening of the race as a whole. Surely all can see, and should admit, that everlasting life is abundantly proved to be beyond the reach of Adam's race. Nothing that any of the condemned can do can perfect himself or his [R2120 : page 80] fellows. Hence, as death reigned from Adam to Moses, and from Moses till now, so it must continue to reign over the race unless God shall interpose for the relief of his condemned creatures, and in some manner provide a release from the death sentence.

Many are inclined to consider the term "sin" applicable only to murder, theft, and such like heinous crimes; and not having been guilty of these, they consider themselves good, exemplary people. They fail to see that from God's standpoint and standard of righteousness anything short of perfection is imperfection, wrong, out of harmony with his original creation, "sinful." "All unrighteousness [imperfection] is sin," and the "wages [result and penalty] of sin is death."

It is written, "All his [God's] work is perfect." It was so in Adam's case and with the angels. Whatever imperfection – mental, physical or moral – there may be, is therefore, directly or indirectly, the result of disobedience to divine arrangement and command. Imperfection, therefore, is an evidence of disobedience to God and the laws which he ordained for the well-being of his creatures; – an evidence that sin lieth at the door.

But although God "could by no means clear the guilty," he nevertheless sympathized with his fallen creatures, and made provision for their uplifting, – from degradation back to the plane of perfection, where he can fellowship and bless them as at first. In order to accomplish this gracious plan, God "gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him [obediently] should not perish, but have everlasting life." (John 3:16.) Thus the man Christ Jesus became the mediator between God and man.

In his dealings with mankind God is manifesting to all his creatures, angels as well as men, the various attributes of his character – Justice, Wisdom, Love and Power. In his condemnation of Adam's sin, God brought forcibly to the notice of all the attribute of Justice, the basic principle of his character; as it is written, "Justice and judgment are the foundation of his throne." (Psa. 89:14; 97:2.) This feature of his character (viz., Justice) God continued to make prominently manifest for more than four thousand years; until Christ came and suffered and died, the just for the unjust, by which act the beautiful, divine quality, Love, was made manifest; as it is written, "In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him. Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins." (1 John 4:9,10.) "God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for the ungodly." – Rom. 5:8.

Until then the world knew nothing of God's love, practically. There it was demonstrated. He had indeed made some gracious promises to the seed of Abraham, but as yet they were unfulfilled, while all others of mankind were without God and without hope. – Eph. 2:12.

THE UNCONDITIONAL OATHBOUND COVENANT.

It was in view of his desire and intention to bless the world of sinners, Adam's race, that God, as indicating that intention and the lines or conditions to be followed, made the great Abrahamic Covenant, and later its two dependents – (1) The Law Covenant, (2) The New Covenant. The original covenant or promise includes all that its added or dependant covenants include in the way of blessing; while the latter constitute but proper and reasonable limitations and regulations, by which the blessings promised may be made everlasting blessings to all the worthy.

Though little is said of Abraham prior to God's making the covenant with him, we may suppose that he was a man of honesty of heart, of good intentions, and one who had already manifested a strong faith in God. When Abraham was living in the land of the Chaldeans, God called him out from his relatives and friends, and directed him to go into the land of Canaan, where he would make of him a great nation; promising, further, that in his seed all the families of the earth should ultimately be blessed. This covenant was [R2121 : page 80] a definite declaration of God's benevolent intentions toward humanity in general, and that it had pleased him to select Abraham's posterity as the line through which to communicate the great and much needed blessing. The only condition to the covenant was obedience in going a stranger into a strange land. Abraham's obedience manifested his faith; and his continuance in Canaan marked the continuance of his faith (see Heb. 11:15); and this faithful obedience was the only condition imposed or connected with this great Covenant. If Abraham would exercise obedient faith, God would do all therein promised through his seed. If Abraham had failed in faith and obedience, the same good things would in due time fulfil the divine purpose, but through another man's seed.

Abraham no doubt wondered at times how God intended to fulfil his Covenant, seeing that the Canaanites continued to live in the land, while he was never more than a sojourner in it. God's promise concerning his seed seemed also to fail; and after many years, when Isaac was born, he proved to be only a type or foreshadow of the true "Seed" through whom the promise of great prominence and world-wide influence and blessing would be fulfilled.

Four hundred and thirty years after making this Covenant with Abraham, God manifested another feature [R2121 : page 81] of his plan. When bringing Abraham's posterity out of Egyptian slavery to establish them in the promised land of Canaan, he brought them to Mount Sinai, and there entered into an additional covenant with them, known as, –

THE LAW COVENANT, ADDED.

God wrote his law in ten commandments upon two tables of stone, as representing his requirements, and appointed Moses the mediator between himself and the people of Israel, to ratify the covenant and in his name to promise the people escape from death and from every evil and blight, upon condition of their living up to the requirements of that law; as it is written, "The man that doeth them shall live in them." – Gal. 3:12; Lev. 18:5; 26:3-11,14-44.

Israel, hopeful that the long deferred blessing of the original promise was now to be fulfilled, readily assented to the terms of this Law Covenant addition, and said, "All that the Lord hath spoken we will do" (Ex. 19:8); and no doubt they honestly intended full obedience and considered it possible. Moses, fulfilling his part, ratified the covenant on behalf of God and the people, by sprinkling the blood of the sacrifice on the people and on the tables of the Law, saying, This is the blood of the Covenant which God hath enjoined unto you, – or by which you and God are joined in Covenant. – Heb. 9:19,20; Exod. 24:8.

This covenant was unlike the original Abrahamic Covenant, which required no mediator, because it was unconditional on Abraham's part except as to obedient faith. When Abraham entered Canaan, the terms on his part were complete, and God at once announced the Covenant and confirmed it with his own oath, thus assuring Abraham, and all who are similarly full of faith in God, that all of its provisions will surely be fulfilled regardless of human cooperation. Abraham's Seed shall bless all the families of the earth.

The Law Covenant, whatever its object, the Apostle assures us, could not (and hence it did not) make the original or Abrahamic Covenant useless, nor could it in any manner or degree impair its gracious promise; for it was complete in itself, and God had confirmed it most absolutely. – Gal. 3:8,17.

What, then, could be God's object in making the Law Covenant with Israel, and (so far as they were concerned) adding it to the Abrahamic Covenant? The Apostle answers our query, saying, "It [the Law Covenant] was added because of transgression [sin], till the promised seed should come." (Gal. 3:19.) The promised seed of Abraham, which God had in mind when he made the Covenant with Abraham, was Christ our Lord (and incidentally the Church which is his body, his bride, whose blemishes he covers). And by giving Israel the Law Covenant God purposed – (1) to show them their own sinfulness and unworthiness to be the "Seed" which could and should bless all mankind. (2) The Law addition to the Abrahamic Covenant insured that the "promised seed" would be a perfect man, able to keep all the requirements of the Law Covenant perfectly, as our Lord Jesus alone did or could do. (3) If the Israelites learned the lesson of their own inability to fulfil the requirements of the Law Covenant, it would prepare them to expect Messiah's birth out of the usual order, to insure his freedom from Adamic condemnation and weakness.

Thus the Abrahamic Covenant and its confirmations assured that the "Seed" must be of Abraham's descendants, while the Law addition just as surely proved that he would be "holy, harmless, undefiled and separate from sinners."

It would appear that Israel never fully appreciated the requirements of their Law Covenant, which no one but a perfect man could fulfil; for a very large class, Pharisees and others, claimed that they kept it inviolate – "trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others" (Luke 18:9), who made no such claim. But our Lord's definition of the Law showed that anger with a brother may contain the spirit of murder and be a violation of the command, "Thou shalt not kill;" and that the command, "Thou shalt not commit adultery," may be broken in the secret thought of the heart. And, summing up the whole Law, as meaning supreme love for God (more than for self) in every word, thought and act, and love for our neighbor as for one's self, his teachings brought conviction to all honest Jews who heard him, that none of them ever had kept or ever could hope to keep the conditions of that Law Covenant perfectly. Such saw that they could no longer hope for eternal life through their Covenant, and said, like Peter, "Lord to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life." Such honest Jews realized what the Apostle Paul so graphically describes in Romans 7, that their Law Covenant was not able to deliver them from death because of their inherited imperfections, the "dead body," sin-impaired, which hindered the obedience they would gladly have rendered to God's just, wise and good law. But by these the gospel of Christ was then seen to be a God-send; and the Jew whose heart was in proper condition, catching sight of the mercy of God offered in Christ, exclaimed, as represented by the Apostle – "I thank God [for deliverance and life] through Jesus Christ our Lord; for what the Law [Covenant] could not do [for us Jews], in that it was powerless because of [our fallen] flesh, God accomplished [in another way; viz.,] by sending his own Son in the likeness of the flesh condemned for sin and as a sin-offering [R2121 : page 82] for sin-condemned flesh; that [under the mercy of the New Covenant] the righteousness of the divine Law might be reckoned as fulfilled in us, who [however imperfectly], walk not after the flesh, but after the spirit of the divine law. – Rom. 7:25; 8:3,4.

Our Lord Jesus could and did fulfil the demands of the Law Covenant: he proved his supreme love for the Father by his obedience to the divine arrangement "unto death, even the death of the cross." Thus he demonstrated that he was the Seed of Promise, and became sole heir to all of the provisions of the Abrahamic Covenant, promised to Abraham's Seed. Hence, now, in him, and in him only, "shall all the families of the earth be blessed."

Thus our Lord Jesus, having fulfilled the conditions of the added Law Covenant (thus proving himself the "Seed," and heir of the Abrahamic Covenant), made an end to the Law Covenant to every Jew who believed, nailing it to his cross (Rom. 10:4; Col. 2:14), and was ready to begin the work of blessing.

THE NEW COVENANT, ADDED.

The Law Covenant did indicate the perfect one, the "Seed," the true heir; but it was God's purpose, additionally, to select "brethren" of Christ to be his "joint-heirs" in carrying out the original, the Abrahamic Covenant of general blessings to the world; and, as we have just seen, the Law Covenant could avail nothing in this selection – its requirements being too severe for any except perfect beings, and our race being all imperfect.

On the other hand, to bless the world with a knowledge of God and the lengths and breadths and heights and depths of his wisdom and love and power, and yet to have made no provision for the race, for justification to life everlasting, would have been but a temporary blessing; for after seeing and tasting they would have been obliged to die under their original just sentence.

It was expedient, therefore, and as an addition to the blessing of the Abrahamic Covenant, that divine mercy added the New Covenant, that through it the original blessings may become everlasting – to all who conform to the terms of the New Covenant. The "New" Covenant addition is to indicate the way by which convicted sinners may return to divine favor, obtaining mercy and finding grace to help in the merit of its Mediator, Christ – in whom their holy efforts and intentions can be accepted as perfect, although actually imperfect. The "Law" addition was to the Jew only; the "New" addition is for "all the families of the earth;" for whoever of Adam's race may choose to accept its provisions.

Since all men are sinners and consequently incompetent to make a covenant of full obedience to all the requirements of the perfect, divine law (as was proved to be the case with Israel), the New Covenant must needs have a mediator, as did the Law Covenant. Moreover, it required a better, more capable mediator than Moses, or else it could be no more efficacious to mankind in general than was the Law Covenant to Israel.

The work or office of Moses as a mediator was to effect reconciliation (harmony) between God and Israel – the two parties to the Covenant, both of whom [R2122 : page 82] desired reconciliation. Similarly, the work of our Lord Jesus, as the mediator of the New Covenant, is to bring into harmony with God so many of Adam's race as may wish peace with God upon his terms; viz., faith and obedience to righteousness.

Question: – What did our Lord Jesus do as a mediator for all mankind that Moses could not do, and did not do, for Israel? This: (1) he, being holy, harmless and separate from sinners, fulfilled the requirements of the Law in his own person; and (2) he gave himself ("the man Christ Jesus" and the seed of an unborn human race in his loins) as a ransom-price or corresponding purchase-price for Adam and his race (which was an unborn race in Adam's loins at the time of his trial and failure and death sentence). Because this was done in obedience to the divine will and plan, our Lord Jesus was perfected as a "new creature," partaker of the divine nature, in his resurrection from death, and is now highly exalted "far above" men, angels, principalities and powers, in heavenly glory; – sharer of the Heavenly Father's throne.

By means of his sacrifice of himself as "the man Christ Jesus," a ransom-price for the first man, Adam, he, as we have just seen, redeemed (purchased) Adam's race from the divine sentence – death, extinction. Not that the race was set free by his sacrifice, but that the divine law (justice) having been met, the race is delivered over to him who "bought" it with his own precious blood, that he may release from death and bring to everlasting life the willing and obedient. – John 3:36.

Thus, by purchase, by the full satisfaction of the claims of Justice against Adam, the new Mediator has a great advantage over Moses, and is thus a "better mediator," competent to do all that can be done to reconcile, or make at-one, God and his sinful, fallen creatures. As the sentence of death brought exclusion from the grove of life-sustaining trees in Eden (Gen. 3:22-24), and death as the result, so now by reason of having paid man's ransom-price, the great Mediator is permitted to feed his people with "the bread of life which came down from heaven," and thus to revivify them.

But the Mediator can do nothing for the redeemed except in harmony with the spirit of the divine Law, nor [R2122 : page 83] does he otherwise desire. Hence the New Covenant, sealed and ratified by the Mediator's blood, and under which alone the blessings are obtainable, demands: –

(1) Faith in God, acknowledgement and repentance of all sins, a full recognition of the Mediator, and of the fact that this, the only covenant of grace, mercy peace, was sealed and ratified by "the precious blood of Christ" – his sacrificial death.

(2) It requires also obedience and reformation from sin to the extent of the sinner's ability, and a full desire of heart and effort of life to live righteously, soberly and godly – a desire to know and to do the heavenly Father's will, under the guidance and help of the Mediator. – James 1:25.

WHO WILL BENEFIT BY THE NEW COVENANT?

Thus the rights, privileges and blessings of the New Covenant, while open to all, as required by the original Covenant, will be of everlasting benefit only to the willing and obedient – such as desire and seek God and his [standard of] righteousness; and they alone will gain everlasting life under this Covenant, either in this or in the coming age.

Since the trial for everlasting life under the New Covenant has as its primary qualification faith, it is evident that only a very small proportion of the world's inhabitants have yet benefited by it. As the Apostle says, – "How shall they believe on him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher? and how shall they preach except they be sent? (Rom. 10:14.) But any doubt that the blessings of this New Covenant are to be extended ultimately to every member of Adam's race, by bringing each one to this necessary knowledge, is not only set at rest by the Apostle Paul's declaration that it is the will of God that all shall come to the knowledge of the truth, and that it shall be testified to all "in due time" (1 Tim. 2:4-6), but it is guaranteed by the oath by which God attested the original covenant with Abraham, saying, "In thy Seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed." – Gal. 3:16,29.

The whole subject becomes transparent when we see that the Abrahamic Covenant (which needed no mediator because it was God's unconditional promise, confirmed by his oath) is the full, broad statement of the divine plan, and that as the Law Covenant was added (to illustrate the inability of sinners to help themselves and) to manifest Christ Jesus as the Seed of Promise, so the New Covenant is added (to the Abrahamic Covenant) also, – not to hinder the "blessing" of every creature, but to make that "blessing" of knowledge and the Millennial Kingdom opportunities more effective, – even unto everlasting life – to those approved under it.

THE FULFILMENT OF THE ABRAHAMIC COVENANT.

From this standpoint we can see that the only steps thus far taken in the fulfilment of the original and comprehensive statement of the divine plan, the "Covenant with Abraham" (which, as the Apostle declares, was an advance declaration of the whole gospel – the good tidings in an epitomized form – Gal. 3:8), are: –

(1) The manifestation of God's only begotten Son as "the man Christ Jesus," and his approval as perfect under the Law.

(2) By the same act of obedience and faithfulness he "bought" Adam and his race; and by meeting the terms of their sentence, according to the divine plan, he has made it possible for God to be just and yet be the justifier of him that believeth in Jesus; and made it possible for himself, as the divinely proposed and foreordained "Seed of Abraham," to make the blessing upon the willing and obedient an everlasting blessing.

(3) According to the original divine plan a multitudinous "Seed" was contemplated from the beginning (Gal. 3:29; Eph. 1:4) – the fullness, power and authority of which should always reside in Christ Jesus, our Lord and Redeemer. The next step in the divine plan has been the selection from among men of this special class, – called the Church of Christ – of which Jesus is the Lord and head (Eph. 1:22,23); called the Bride, the Lamb's wife and joint-heir (Rev. 19:7); called also "members of his body," controlled by him as the Head (1 Cor. 12:27); called also his "brethren" (Heb. 2:11); called also the "royal priesthood," under him as the High Priest or Chief Priest, and sharers of his glory, honor and immortality, and joint-heirs in his Kingdom and in his inheritance in the Abrahamic Covenant as the "Seed" to whom belongs the promise. – See Rev. 20:4; Gal. 3:29.

This selection of the Church is along lines of severe testing; for God has predestinated that all who will constitute members of the multitudinous Seed must "be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren." (Rom. 8:29.) And since none are "called" to this high honor except the "justified," and none justified except through faith, under the terms of the New Covenant, it follows that, since the vast majority thus far are blinded by the prince of this world so that they cannot believe (2 Cor. 4:4), and since even after believing and being called many fail to make their "calling and election sure;" therefore this elect Church, when completed and perfected and glorified at the end of the "narrow way" which few find (Matt. 7:14), will be a "little flock," – containing "not many great," rich or wise, according to the estimate of this world. – 1 Cor. 1:26-28; Jas. 2:5. [R2122 : page 84]

(4) When the elect number has been selected, and been glorified with their Head, Christ Jesus, as associates and joint-heirs in his Millennial Kingdom – then, and not till then, will the "Seed of Abraham," contemplated in the divine Covenant and oath to Abraham, have fully come. And then, immediately, the way being all prepared, the blessing of all mankind (eventually "all that are in the graves") shall begin. All shall be blessed with the knowledge and opportunity of the gracious provisions of the New Covenant, and all who heartily accept its provisions shall have life and joy everlasting.

(5) Incidentally, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and the holy prophets, faithful before the New Covenant, will receive a special blessing and be associated as earthly or human representatives of the spiritual Kingdom of God in blessing the world; but their part and service will be under the direction of the Church, God having provided some better thing for US, that they without US should not be made perfect." – Heb. 11:40; Luke 16:16.

(6) Incidentally, also, another class, "a great multitude whose number no man knows" (Rev. 7:9,13-15) will be developed; but not being "overcomers," having failed to "make their calling and election sure – although they will be privileged to "serve" – will constitute no part of the elect "Seed" in whom will reside the blessing power of royalty and priesthood.

(7) Incidentally, also, the preaching of the gospel in connection with the "calling" of the "Seed" has had a civilizing influence throughout the world. It has scattered some of the "gross darkness" by which Satan and sin have enshrouded the world of mankind. But still it is dark; – still "gross darkness covers the people;" still the god of this world blinds the minds of them that believe not; still "the whole creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together," waiting for the glorious Millennial morning which shall accompany the shining forth of the Seed of Abraham, the Sons of God in glory, as the "Sun of Righteousness with healing [restitution] in his beams."Isa. 60:2; Rom. 8:22,19; Mal. 4:2; Acts 3:19-21.

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"OUR SUFFICIENCY IS OF GOD."
2 COR. 3:5. –
"Wherefore,...work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God which worketh in you, both to will and to do of his good pleasure." – Phil. 2:12,13.
T
HE thoughtful reader of the Scriptures must often be impressed with that intensity of zeal and earnest striving urged upon all the followers of Christ who would so run as to obtain the prize of our high calling which is of God in Christ Jesus. For instance, we read: –

"Strive to enter in at the strait gate; for many I say unto you will seek to enter in, and shall not be able, when once the Master of the house is risen up and has shut to the door"; "Strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, that leadeth unto life, and few there be that find it"; "Whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple"; "Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin that doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus"; "Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life"; "Watch unto prayer"; and, then, "Be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that shall be brought unto you at the appearing of Jesus Christ." And Peter again adds, "Beloved, seeing that ye look for such things, be diligent, that ye may be found of him in peace, without spot and blameless....Seeing that all these [present] things shall be dissolved, what manner of persons ought ye to be in all holy conversation and godliness." – Luke 13:24; Matt. 7:13,14; Luke 14:33; Heb. 12:1; 1 Tim. 6:12; 1 Pet. 4:7; 1:13; 2 Pet. 3:14,11.

How different all this appears from that easy-going Christianity which seems but a very little removed from the spirit of the world, and which is so common that the zeal which strives and runs and fights and watches with sober vigilance that the sacrifice of self is kept upon the altar is generally regarded as extreme, peculiar, fanatical and foolish. Nevertheless, in the face of this latent opposition, as well as of all open opposition, the course of the overcomer is right onward. It is a course of self-denial and cross-bearing, even unto the end. It is a dying daily to the spirit, hopes, aims and ambitions of the world which control other men and women, so that in the end of our course we may be of that happy "little flock" of "overcomers" of whom it is written, "Blessed are the dead that die in the Lord." – Rev. 14:13.

These thoughts are strongly suggestive of what it is to be an overcomer. It is, as the Apostle Paul expresses it, to become dead with Christ; – "Now if we be dead with Christ, we believe that we shall also live with him"; "If so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together." (Rom. 6:8; 8:17.) If we would reach that point of deadness to the world which will in the end constitute us overcomers, we must die daily. But herein is a deeper significance than may be apparent at first glance. To die daily, to deny self and humbly take up and patiently bear the [R2123 : page 85] daily cross, to mortify the deeds of the body (i.e., to put to death the former dispositions, etc.), means a great deal. It means more than merely the putting away of sin. As human beings we have no right to sin, and must renounce it when we first come to Christ, as only such can be accepted of him. But as new creatures, partakers of the divine nature, through a subsequent more intelligent re-dedication of all our ransomed powers to the service of God alone, and a consequent begetting of the holy spirit to a new divine nature, our business is to die daily to the ordinary and otherwise legitimate ambitions, hopes and aims of the present life. Or, as Paul expresses it: – "Be not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed, that ye may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God" (Rom. 12:2); that is, we are to submit our minds, not to the earthly, but to the heavenly influences which will dictate to us in every matter great and small.

The heavenly influences draw a distinct line of demarkation between things earthly and things heavenly. Upon the one side are the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, which are of the world (1 John 2:16); while on the other side is that "simplicity and godly sincerity" whose delight is in the beauty of holiness, and whose adornment is a meek and quiet spirit, submissive to discipline, patient in tribulation, always abounding in the work of the Lord and delighting only in his manifest favor. – 2 Cor. 1:12.

But who is sufficient for these things? Who can walk so contrary to the course of this present world? Surely none who have any considerable measure of the world's spirit. It is only as we become filled with the spirit of God that we can do these things. Our sufficiency is not of ourselves; but "our sufficiency is of God." "It is God that worketh in you, both to will and to do of his good pleasure." (Phil. 2:13.) He it is who, for the asking, will so fill us with his spirit that we can go forth from victory unto victory. – "If ye... know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your heavenly Father give the holy spirit to them that ask him." – Luke 11:11-13.

God bestows this grace upon all that diligently seek it of him, through our Lord Jesus Christ, our Redeemer, our Head, our Leader and Teacher. Therefore, says Paul, "I can do all things through Christ, who strengtheneth me"; and again, "The love of Christ constraineth me." (2 Cor. 5:14.) Those who have the spirit of Christ, which is also the spirit of God, the holy spirit, are his disciples under his teaching and training. "If any man have not the spirit of Christ, he is none of his." Thus it is, that God works in us through Christ to will and to do his good pleasure, while in his strength we work out our own salvation with fear and trembling. (Phil. 2:12.) And he also further works in us to this end by all the incentives of his exceeding great and precious promises, his providences, his discipline, training and teaching and also by the sweets of that fellowship with himself, with Christ and with his saints, which is our present and daily privilege.

It is plain, therefore, that as Christians we have a life work before us. It is not enough that we covenant with God to follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth, and that we find ourselves accepted in the Beloved: that is only the beginning of this higher life. Then begins the work of overcoming, of dying to self and to the world. And who ever found it easy to die?

But now, look away from the struggle of this death to the old nature, and consider the new nature that at the same instant is developing its powers. Every victory gained in the crucifying of the flesh gives the new nature more room to develop and to expand its powers; and as the spirit of the world and the will of the flesh recede, we find ourselves more and more in the company and fellowship of our Lord. True, it is, on the one hand, the fellowship of his sufferings, but on the other, it is the fellowship also of his joys. We enter with him into the joy of knowing and doing our Father's will. Like him, we have meat to eat that others know not of; and we sit together with him in the heavenly places of communion and fellowship. The deep things of God are ours, the precious things symbolized by the gold within the typical Tabernacle, – "the exceeding great and precious promises" and a lively appreciation of them, the deeper experiences of divine grace, the abiding presence of the Father and the Son realized, the fellowship with the Father and with the Son, and the communion of saints.

These are some of the present rewards of dying daily to the world and becoming correspondingly alive toward God. The new nature, daily becoming more and more alive toward God, has an increasing sense of the value of these spiritual blessings; and with such appreciation comes a more earnest, ardent longing after more and more of the fellowship and favor of God, and more intense longings after holiness. The language of every such heart is beautifully expressed by the Psalmist, – "As the heart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God?" – Psa. 42:1,2.

This hungering and thirsting after righteousness, this reaching out after God, this patient, loving submission to all the heavenly influences of divine grace through whatsoever channels they may flow to us; these are all parts of the transforming work that will, in the end, make us overcomers. To resist continually those influences which would conform us to this world is to die daily to [R2123 : page 86] the world, to overcome the world, and to refuse to be conformed to this world; while to cultivate the higher spiritual aspirations is to be transformed, changed, to be developed as new creatures begotten to the divine nature. This process of dying daily to the things that belong to this world and of being transformed by the renewing of the mind to the divine nature and likeness is the Christian's most important life work; and if it be diligently pursued we shall at last be accounted worthy to be of the spiritual seed, which, in the resurrection, shall receive its own appropriate body, like unto Christ's glorious body. (1 Cor. 15:38,48,49.) But this selfward work does not end with self, for it includes a glowing zeal for God which, by example and precept and diligent service, ever strives to push forward the great work of the Lord.

In this view of the matter it is clear that this great work before us requires patient, watchful diligence, spiritual ambition and effort, fervency of spirit and persevering energy and faith in God. Only those who have and who cultivate these qualities can ever hope to be "overcomers" – "dead with Christ." It was [R2124 : page 86] such considerations that prompted those earnest exhortations of the Lord and the apostles to faithfulness and diligence in our warfare against the world, the flesh and the devil. We are reminded, too, that in our warfare we wrestle not with flesh and blood, but with the invisible powers of darkness strongly intrenched both in the world and in the downward tendencies of our fallen flesh; besides which there are innumerable arts and wiles of the adversary, against which we must maintain a vigilant watch.

We cannot afford, therefore, to slacken our diligence, or to grow negligent in availing ourselves of any of the means of grace, or to waste the precious time granted to us for this overcoming work in idly dreaming of the crown, while we fail to bear the cross. Let us be up and doing, for "the time is short," the work is great, the way is narrow, the obstacles are many, the foes and their devices increase: let us be sober, let us be vigilant. But let us not forget that the work is the Lord's, in the sense that his strength supplied to us is vouchsafed to accomplish it, and that he who has begun the good work in us is able to complete it; and he will do so, if we let him; i.e., if we obediently follow his leading, doing his will.

To do this requires faith: "This is the victory that overcometh the world, even your faith." A wavering faith will hold on, with one hand at least, to the things of this world, as "something tangible," being afraid to let go and trust in the things unseen and to live for them alone. But our Lord encouragingly says, "Be of good cheer, I have overcome the world." (John 16:33.) Having overcome, he has long since entered into his glory; and it is the Father's good pleasure to permit those to share that glory with him who, when tried and proved, as he was proved, under the discipline of fiery trial, shall not be found wanting in faithfulness and zeal for God.

Let us, then, as many as would be counted worthy to live and reign with Christ, take heed, not to the examples of the multitudes of those who name the name of Christ, but, first of all, to the perfect pattern, Christ Jesus, and secondly to those most faithful ones who follow in his footsteps of self-denial and of zeal for the cause of God.

M. F. RUSSELL.

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INTERESTING QUESTIONS ANSWERED.

RECKONING THE PASSOVER DATE.

Question. – How do the Jews reckon the date for the Passover?

Answer. – Their first month Nisan (also called Abib) was reckoned as beginning with the first new moon after the Spring equinox, in Palestine, – not quite the same as here. And if the new moon preceded the equinox a day it did not matter: the important point was that the moon should be at her full on the 14th of the month, the day for the killing of the Passover lamb.

The importance of the moon's being at her full was that the moon symbolized the Law Covenant as the sun symbolizes the Gospel or New Covenant (Rev. 12:1) and the offering of our Lord to Israel as their King, the day before he was crucified, represented the full of their blessing: from his rejection, then, they as a nation began to wane.

THIRTEEN QUESTIONS ON THE ANGLO-ISRAEL THEORY.

One who read the treatise on this subject in our issue of Jan. 15, asks several questions, which we answer in order below: –

Question. – (1). – If the "ten tribes" do not exist as a nation, but returned to Palestine with the Jews under Cyrus, how do you account for the failure of Amos 9:15?

Answer. – We did not say that the ten tribes returned to Palestine with the Jews under Cyrus. We said that during that long captivity the division and jealousy disappeared; and that then, and ever since, the names Jews and Israelites no longer distinguished as between descendants of the two and the ten tribes, but were used indiscriminately in referring to the same people. We proved this by many New Testament references; and referred to the fact that no Jew to-day will pretend to say from which tribe he descended. [R2124 : page 87] Although the tribal lineage of but few of the early believers is given, these show that the Jews were mixed tribally; – Paul was of the tribe of Benjamin, Barnabas of the tribe of Levi, and Anna, the prophetess, of the tribe of Asher. We proved that only a few of all of the tribes returned to Palestine when Cyrus gave the permit to all under the name (not of Judah but) of Israel. We proved from the Scriptures that such of all the tribes (a remnant) as accepted Christ became spiritual Israel, that many ("all Israel") were blinded and will not have their eyes opened until the full number to complete the bride of Christ has been taken from the Gentiles. (Rom. 11:25-33.) We showed that all of that nation who abandoned the promises and circumcision ceased in every sense of the word to be of either natural Israel or spiritual Israel.

We are not obliged to account for the failure of Amos 9:15, for it has not failed. It is not yet fulfilled in the return of the "Jews," "all Israel" to Palestine. This Scripture was evidently in the mind of the Apostle James, when, after hearing Peter's explanation of God's sending him to preach the gospel to the Gentiles, he said: –

"Simeon hath declared how God at the first did [or made a beginning to] visit the Gentiles, to take out of them a people for his name. And to this agree the words of the prophets: After this I will return, and will build again the tabernacle of David." – Acts 15:14-16.

The throne of David was over all the tribes and here represents the throne of the greater David – the Beloved Son of God – about to be established after this.

Question. (2). – Zechariah, who prophesied about 250 B.C., after the return of the Jews from Babylon, mentions the return of Joseph as yet future. Why, if Joseph had already returned?

Answer. – Your question indicates great prejudice and blindness which you must get rid of if you would see the truth. You say, "the return of the Jews from Babylon," but Ezra (3:1; 7:13; 9:1) says that it was Israel that Cyrus set free, and Israel that came to Palestine with him. And the next company under Nehemiah, ninety years after (and after Zechariah's prophecy), knew no division in Israel. – See Neh. 9:1,2; 11:3,4,20.

Turn now to Zechariah's prophecy. Note that the theme beginning chap. 9:9 and concluding chap. 10:4 relates to and was fulfilled at our Lord's first advent; as also the 11th chapter. (See particulars in MILLENNIAL DAWN, VOL. III, chap. 8.) Chap. 10:5-12, to which you refer, evidently applies to the second advent of our Lord. Notice that while Judah, Joseph and Ephraim are mentioned (See 9:13; 10:6,7) they are not, as formerly, mentioned as antagonistic or even rival kingdoms, but as unitedly sharing divine favor; – of the same kind and at the same time. The Lord does not mention Israel as one nation and Judah as another; but mentioning the chief tribe of each part of the once divided nation, he so to speak clasps their hands and assures them that the coming favor will be to both and to all the tribes of the covenanted seed.

Question. (3). – At what time in the forgotten history of the race did the house of Joseph enjoy the birthright blessings of Gen. 48:19?

Answer. – The birthright, with its "double portion" of the promised land (Deut. 21:15-17), went to Ephraim and Manasseh, the sons of Joseph; and the blessing, "let them grow into a multitude in the midst of the earth [margin, land]," made the double portion almost a necessity. Nevertheless, notice carefully that the ruling power went to Judah. – See Gen. 49:8-12.

You possibly refer specially to Jacob's declaration, Ephraim "shall become a multitude of nations." The marginal reading corrects this to read "fulness of nations." But the fulness of what nations? We answer, Ephraim became the fulness of multitude to the tribes, or nations, or peoples* of Israel. Look in your "Teacher's Bible" at a map showing Canaan as divided among the tribes, and note the goodly portions given to the children of Joseph (Ephraim and Manasseh) on the west of Jordan; and then note how the "branches went over the wall" or river; see the large tract east of Jordan. In all they had about one-half of Canaan. These large appropriations of the best of the land were because these tribes were multitudinous amongst the tribes or nations of Israel. The map shows Manasseh more numerous than Ephraim at the beginning: but soon, as Jacob had prophesied in this blessing, Ephraim became the greater, so that when the federation of tribes split and formed rival kingdoms the influence of Ephraim's multitudes among the nations or tribes was so great that the side which he espoused took the name Israel, and sometimes because of his numbers and influence all were called Ephraim.

*The same Hebrew word rendered nations in Gen. 48:19 is rendered the people in referring to the twelve tribes, in the following passages: – Josh. 3:17; 4:1; 5:6,8; 10:13; Judges 2:20.

Now turn to Gen. 49 and compare the blessings upon Judah in vss 8-12 with those upon Joseph (including Ephraim and Manasseh) in vss 22-26. Both blessings are great, but that of Judah is by far the greater. [R2125 : page 87]

The statement, "The archers have sorely grieved him, and shot at him, and hated him: but his bow abode in strength, and the arms of his hands were made strong by the hands of the mighty God of Jacob, by the name of* the Shepherd, the Stone of Israel; [R2125 : page 88] even by the God of thy father, who shall help thee," is not a promise for the future but a recounting of Joseph's past experiences at the hands of his brethren. His blessings, as enumerated, are multitudes of children and estate. If any think the prosperity of Joseph's children among the tribes does not fulfil all this, let them recognize the fact that Ephraim and Manasseh constituted a majority of the dispersed Israelites now commonly called "Jews" after the name of their great capital city, Jerusalem. Surely, the Jews are a fulness amongst all nations, and prosperous as no other people. They are, as predicted, lenders to many nations (Deut. 28:12), and in a peculiar manner are pushing or goring all peoples to the ends of the earth. (See Deut. 33:17, Revised Version.) So much so that every nation is seeking to get rid of them. – "These are the ten thousands of Ephraim and the thousands of Manasseh."

*Preferred reading of old MSS.

Question. (4). – Must not Israel exist as a nation before the fulfilment of Jer. 3:18? Answer. – No; neither will Judah exist as a nation at that time. This verse merely tells of the gathering of Israel and Judah for the purpose of reestablishing them in their own land. This prophecy corresponds to that of Isaiah 11:12-16. They walk "with" each other and "come together out of the land of the North [where they have been together, all recognized as Jews] unto the land that I have given for an inheritance unto your fathers." Those who think erroneously that the Jews are only two of the tribes, and that the peoples of Great Britain and the United States and the British colonies are parts of the ten tribes, would have all these peoples – over one hundred millions – go with the Jews to the little corner of the earth called Palestine.

Do you ask, why are Judah and Israel mentioned separately by the prophets if they are to be one people, dwelling together as Jews, at the time of the fulfilment of the prophecy? We answer: Because these prophecies were written before all had gone into captivity to Babylon; and had the national name Israel alone been used Jeremiah's hearers would have supposed that Judah was not to share in the promised blessing. For this reason also it is shown that there will no longer be factional differences between the two members of the one nation, – as there had been for over two centuries up to that time.

Question. (5). – Has Deut. 32:26 ever been fulfilled?

Answer. – This prophecy by Moses was not concerning a part but against "the whole house of Israel." If taken literally as it reads in our common version of the Bible it has not yet been fulfilled, for the remembrance of Israel continues. The Hebrew word here used, translated remembrance, does not signify knowledge (as the questioner evidently supposes), but rather memorial or scent. Pleasant remembrance of Israel is to cease – we may say has very generally ceased (except with themselves and the true spiritual Israel). The modern name for Israelites – "Jews" – is becoming a stench instead of a scent in the nostrils of the world, which shortly will "drive them" into their own land as predicted in the Word of the Lord.

*The same Hebrew word here rendered remembrance is rendered "scent" in Hos. 14:7 and "memorial" in Esther 9:28.

Do you object to this answer? Then we will refer you to the inspired Apostle Paul. Let him settle the matter as to whether or not "all Israel" as he knew them in his day – not lost – is here referred to by the Prophet Moses. Paul quotes part of verse 21 verbatim, with other prophecies against Israel, and applies them without qualification or limitation to "all the house of Israel" living in his day – not lost, but well known, called "Jews" – living at Jerusalem and scattered throughout the world. He specially addressed some living at Rome. – See Rom. 10:19-21; 11:1,7-12,25-32.

Question. (6). – What did the Jews mean when they said, "Will he go to the dispersed among the Gentiles?" – John 7:35.

Answer. – The meaning of this is plain. There were probably more "Jews" living outside Palestine, among the nations, than resided in Palestine. The latter, however, were accounted the more faithful and devoted, in that they clung to the land of promise as well as to the promise. It would not occur to a Jew that anyone claiming to be the Jewish Messiah would go to the Gentiles; and so when our Lord spoke of going away they wondered if he would go to the Jews residing in the surrounding nations. The Apostles did this afterward – preaching to the Jew first and afterward to the Gentiles. It was to these "dispersed" "Jews," "Israelites" of "our twelve tribes" that James and Peter wrote epistles.

Question. (7). – Can we imagine all the branches of the olive tree broken off, and only wild branches in their stead?

Answer. – If you refer to the Apostle's illustration, we refer you to his own words, Romans 11:15-21. The Apostle does not say that all, but some, of the natural branches were broken off. Our Lord and the Apostles and the several thousand brought to Christ shortly after Pentecost were Israelites, natural branches, and were not broken off. And doubtless many others among the Jews were found worthy of the light and blessing then due.

Notice that none of the savages living at that time in Britain and Ireland (without knowledge of God or of Moses or of the Law, or of Abraham, or of the [R2125 : page 89] promises, or of circumcision) could be here referred to. Such could not be branches of the "olive tree" to which the Apostle refers, whoever their ancestors may have been. The olive tree existed complete in the Apostle's day; – then some were broken off and cast away, in order that the wild branches from the Gentiles might be grafted in.

Question. (8). – Does the declaration of Matt. 21:43, "The kingdom of God shall be taken from you [Jews], and given to a nation [Greek, ethnos] bringing forth the fruits thereof," mean what it says, or that it was to be given to the conglomerate mass of nations known as the Gentile Church?

Answer. – The church which you describe as the "Gentile church" (or churches?), composed of a "conglomerate mass of nations," is not recognized of the Lord's Word, except it be as mystic "Babylon." Your description fits Babylon, – it is "conglomerate;" it is composed of "nations," gentiles, aliens; it might therefore perhaps be called a "Gentile church." But it will inherit nothing but tribulation and destruction, as promised. – Rev. 18:4-12.

The Kingdom heirship was taken from "Israel," the "Jews," as the Apostle testifies. (Rom. 11:7.) It was transferred to the nation bringing forth the proper fruits. (See Luke 22:27; 12:32; 2 Tim. 2:12; Matt. 11:12.) Which nation? do you ask? Well, not the British nation nor any nation of "this world." None of these "bring forth the fruits thereof." The best of them are Ishmaelitish. In none of them can we see even a prospect of the fulfilment of our Redeemer's prayer, "Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is done in heaven."

Let us ask the inspired Apostle Peter to definitely and positively point out to us the nation to which the promise of the Kingdom was transferred when it was taken from Israel after the flesh. The Apostle replies: –

"Ye [new creatures in Christ are neither Jew nor Gentile, bond nor free, but ye] are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people." – 1 Pet. 2:9; compare Exod. 19:6.

Is the questioner a member and heir of this Kingdom and yet ignorant of it? Perhaps he has been so mistaught in the "Gentile church" (good name!) that he knew of no other church than "the conglomerate mass" called Christendom, and had not heard of "the gospel of the Kingdom" and the "peculiar people."

Question. (9). – Jeremiah says, "Behold the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah." (Jer. 31:31.) Does not this mean that the covenant made with the Hebrew race is for them alone?

Answer. – The Law Covenant was with the Hebrew race alone; but the original promise to Abraham was for the blessing of all the families of the earth. The New Covenant began to operate as soon as it was sealed with the precious blood of Christ, and throughout this Gospel age it has "justified" all who come unto God through Christ – the household of faith. When this age ends it will be made effective as a covenant with "all the house of Israel" whose blindness will be turned away that they may "look upon him whom they have pierced." But next in order the light and knowledge of the blessing and privileges of this New Covenant will be granted to every creature – for all of whom it was sealed. See the leading article in this issue. Jeremiah's prophecy mentions both Israel and Judah because when he wrote they had not been reunited, and to have used the name Israel alone or even "all Israel" might at that time have been misunderstood as not including Judah, whereas he specially addressed Judah, with whom he resided.

Question. (10). – What is implied by Simeon's words, – "Mine eyes have seen thy salvation, which thou hast prepared before the face of all people, a light to lighten the gentiles [heathen] and the glory of thy people Israel?" – Luke 2:30-32.

Answer. – Jesus is not only to be the glory of Israel, but the light of the world; – eventually, he shall lighten every man that cometh into the world. (John 1:9.) As to Israel – What Israel is here meant? is probably [R2126 : page 89] your inquiry. We reply, (1) Christ is the glory of the Church, the true Israel of God (Rom. 11:7); and (2) he will be the glory of fleshly or natural Israel when their eyes are opened and they are received by him under the New Covenant. Earthly Israel (under Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and all the prophets) shall then as the agents and representatives of the heavenly Zion become a blessing and a praise in the whole earth – as the earthly representatives of the spiritual Kingdom of Christ.

Question. (11). – When will Isaiah 41:21,22 be fulfilled?

Answer. – Evidently at the close of this Gospel age, as indicated by the Apostle Paul, who almost quotes the words. – See Rom. 11:26,27.

Question. (12). – Isa. 48:11,12 says, "I will not give my glory to another. Hearken unto me, O Jacob, and Israel, my called." Will this glory ever be given to Gentiles? Is it not for Israel only?

Answer. – You totally misapprehend the Scripture you quote. God gives his glory to no one (neither to Jews nor to Gentiles), but keeps it for himself. Read verses 9 to 11 as one subject. Verse 12 begins a new subject. Compare Isa. 42:8.

Question. (13). – Does the Apostle Peter (1 Pet. 2:9,10,25) refer to Gentiles? If so, when were they [R2126 : page 90] sheep, and when did they wander away so as to make return possible?

Answer. – Peter was the Apostle to the circumcision, Paul to the uncircumcision. (Gal. 2:7,8.) Peter accordingly addresses those who had been Jews, Israelites, non-residents of Palestine. But please note carefully that he is not addressing "lost" Israelites; but the large class of Israelites of all tribes, who after the Babylonian captivity made their homes amongst the Gentiles. Peter knew and tells where they resided. See 1 Pet. 1:1.

However, do not lose sight of the fact so clearly stated (Gal. 3:5,6) that these called from amongst the Gentiles are fellow-heirs and of the same body, priesthood, or holy nation, with the remnant of all Israel which received Christ. – Eph. 3:6.

[R2126 : page 90]

– (MARCH 28. – S.S. LESSON, REVIEW) –

MIRACLES AT LYDDA AND JOPPA.
– APRIL 4. – ACTS 9:32-43. –
"Jesus Christ maketh thee whole." – Acts 9:34.
T
HIS lesson calls us back to the period when the Church had rest from persecution – probably about A.D. 40. In divine providence it was a time for the rooting and establishing of the Christian faith. The general dispersion of believers noted in a previous lesson had not yet taken place; but the apostles were actively circulating throughout the towns and villages of Palestine; – as is here stated of Peter's visit to the believers at Lydda. We pause to remark that believers in the days of the apostles lived lives so separated from the world, that the name "saints" (holy ones) was appropriate to them. So let all true Christians today live – consecrated, holy, separated lives, copies of God's dear Son, to the extent of their ability. The habit in the Roman Catholic Church is to wait several centuries; until his evil deeds are forgotten, and then to canonize a man or woman as a "saint," often in recognition of services rendered to Papacy and against the truth.

The healing of the paralytic, Eneas, was a very notable evidence of the power of the Lord, very similar to the healing at the temple gate, Beautiful. Here, as always, the great Apostle made sure that none should think the power exercised to be his own; – distinctly affirming that Jesus, the Messiah, whom their rulers had crucified, had performed the cure and was therefore not dead, as they supposed, but risen.

The valley called Sharon, very fertile, was thickly settled, and Lydda was one of its towns. We are not to presume that all the people became true Christians, but that they were convinced of the power of Jesus; and doubtless some of them consecrated themselves to him and became true disciples.

The holy spirit was evidently guiding the apostle and using these occasional miracles to draw attention to the Gospel which Peter preached. Thus he "found" the man who, under divine providence, was to be cured. Thus also at the right time, when he was near (about nine miles away), Tabitha (Aramic language) or Dorcas (Greek) died, and afforded the opportunity for one of the most remarkable miracles ever performed; – a parallel to our Lord's greatest. It would not, however, be correct to suppose that thus our Lord's words were fulfilled, which say, "He that believeth on me, the works that I do, shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do." (John 14:12.) These words can only be understood to refer either (1) to a future work, in which the Church will share with her Lord, during the Millennium, or (2) it may be understood as ranking the works of spiritual quickening and revival as higher than physical healing and revival. Our Lord's ministry was prior to his offering of the sin-offering, and the general impartation of the holy spirit to believers; and hence his work was chiefly physical healing and the uttering of parables and dark sayings not to be fully understood by any not imbued with the spirit of adoption.

We must dissent also from the views of some, that this power or gift, exercised so readily by the Apostle Peter, is a general power possessed by all of God's people – then or now. Peter did not upbraid the believers, the "saints," saying, Why did you not heal Dorcas, when sick, or revive her, when she died? Even Peter himself healed comparatively few; probably there were plenty of palsied and blind and otherwise sick in the valley of Sharon; surely, there were multitudes of dead. But every evidence proves that these powers were special and for a special purpose – to introduce the Gospel to the attention of the people, and not for the purpose of dispelling sickness and death, either in or out of the Church. On the contrary, the Apostles taught that this age is the time in which the faithful are to suffer, if, by and by, they would reign with Christ: to rejoice in tribulations, knowing that these, rightly endured and enjoyed, will work out for the faithful a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, in the Kingdom.

The name Tabitha signifies Gazelle; "called Dorcas by the Greeks on account of its bright, flashing [R2126 : page 91] eyes." Whether or not this name was appropriate, whether Dorcas was a graceful, bright and beautiful woman, we cannot know; but it evidently fitted her well as a noble Christian woman. Nay, her face must have beamed and her eyes must have sparkled; for she had a warm, generous spirit, as testified by her sympathetic and energetic helpfulness of others. O that the spirit of loving self-sacrifice for others might more and more abound in God's people, male and female! O that more might be able to surround the coffins of true Christians and testify to evidences of loving service – earthly food or clothing or, better still, spiritual food and robes of Christ's righteousness or, still better, if possible, – both.

page 91

INTERESTING LETTERS.

Illinois.

DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL: – Yours of Feb. 15, explaining Isaiah 40:3, etc., was received. Many thanks for your help to me. May the Lord richly reward you! The truth grows brighter and brighter every day, and though there is much darkness most everywhere, yet the glorious truth of Jehovah's love as revealed to us through Jesus Christ doth illuminate my heart, and cause me to rejoice, yea, even more and more, so that my delight is to do God's will at any cost.

I desire the prayers of the saints; and I want to keep so meek and humble, that any lesson which I need to learn may be quickly understood; for, above all things else, my heart's desire is to learn and to do the will of our kind heavenly Father, who doeth all things well.

My prayers continually ascend to God for your blessing – that you may be blessed yet more and more in the giving out of truths both "new and old." O! what blessings are already ours: reconciled to God, accepted in the Beloved, given exceeding great and precious promises, and sealed in our foreheads with the truth – the present truth, the wonderful plan of redemption, and the knowledge of our Lord's presence. Surely, it is a joy to know these things; and I pray that I may be loyal and faithful as a true follower of our blessed Master.

I am glad to say that we have found a few who are much interested in the truth, so far as learned, and it appears that they are wheat, or else will become such, as soon as they know what the Lord requires of them. I will not trouble you for an answer to this, as your time is very valuable. Again I thank you for your brotherly kindness; and we both send Christian greeting and love to you and all the brethren and sisters at Allegheny. May the Lord bless Sister Russell also.

Your brother in Christ,

JAS. MCFARLAND.

Michigan.

DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL: – We are still striving daily to make our calling and election sure; and we can do this only by God's grace. Praise him for his great grace manifested in Christ Jesus our Lord!

Our meetings during last Summer were hindered somewhat by not having a convenient place for them, but we have held a few meetings out of town, and we trust some good may have been done. We have commenced our meetings again here. At one time we spoke on the subject, "What manner of persons ought we to be." (1 Pet. 3:11.) We realize more and more that it is not safe to neglect the assembling of ourselves together, but to be more diligent in this matter as we see the day approaching. We find that we need each other's prayers, encouragement and help; especially in the present hard times the cares of life bear down heavily upon some of us; and the enemy takes every advantage. In reading again the chapter on the "Times of the Gentiles," in DAWN, Vol. II., I have been more forcibly struck than ever with the thought of the shortness of the time. And while I am led to rejoice that the struggle will soon be over, I am also led to renewed energy in the use of all my consecrated powers in the blessed Master's service. God help us to be faithful to the end!

The TOWER continues to be a great help. Each number seems better than the one preceding it. Please send me a few dozen tracts for free distribution. I send greetings on behalf of the Church here.

Yours in the Lord,

JOHN N. LATHWELL.

California.

DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL: – Brother Florey (colporteur) thought I ought to write to you and let you know how great a blessing to me has been your MILLENNIAL DAWN series. I published in a recent number of my paper a favorable review of the first volume, a copy of which paper Brother F. sent you. Since then I have read the second and third volumes, and have given the first two as close a study as my duties will permit. I am already quite satisfied that you have the exact key to the "Plan of the Ages," and the more I study the subject with the aid of that key, the stronger and more completely satisfying the evidence becomes. The second volume I regard as a complete mathematical demonstration of the time features of the Plan.

Having had, in my student days, a special delight in Thomas Dick's works on Astronomy, I am prepared to say that I can surely discern in the complex yet beautiful harmony of the divine plan in reference to man the same Architect who adjusted the motions of the planets in their orbits and made the starry systems of the "heavens declare his handiwork."

The Colporteur found me in the ripest condition possible to accept and appreciate the truth which is now "due" to be revealed. I had considered and rejected, one by one, all the creeds and theories of the churches and the scientists as wholly speculative and unsatisfying. I could see abundant evidence of an all-wise God in everything but the affairs of men. There all the harmony of creation was reduced to "confusion worse confounded." My observations as an editor revealed to me an irrepressible conflict between the contending elements of society which threaten the near destruction of the whole existing order of things. That selfish and shortsighted man is incapable of controlling the destructive forces, or of properly distributing the page 92 blessings which modern invention has called into existence, has been long so clear to my mind that, without the intervention of a higher power, I could see no possible escape from utter collapse. What to expect beyond, I knew not.

At this critical point of my threatened descent into pessimism your MILLENNIAL DAWN series turned a flood of blessed light upon my benighted mind. It has given me a new and glorious lease of enthusiasm, where every hope for myself and the world had been abandoned to despair. My only regret is that I cannot yet see my way clear to reconciling my duties as editor of a local paper, and in the support of my family, to any active work in this new field of the "harvest." I trust, however, that, with divine assistance, I may.

In my earlier days, before the cares of the world dragged me from my first love, I found peace in the Master, and had an era of joyous meditation on his promises. Whether, since my backslidden state, I may yet be counted worthy of the high calling is not now clear to my mind, though the facility with which I have been led to see the truth when properly presented, and the boundless desire I feel of witnessing its fulfilment, I am thankful to construe as a favorable indication. With a lively hope and faith in the continued success of your work, I am

Sincerely Yours,

C__________

[Yes, dear Brother; the fact that the Lord has counted you worthy to see the light, coupled with the fact that you love it and are anxious to serve it, argues that your "backslidden state" was largely, if not wholly, the result of prevalent misrepresentations of the divine plan of the ages. Ah yes, our Lord's words, "Sanctify them through thy truth," is pertinent: sanctification through error and fear tends to backsliding. Ten thousand WATCH TOWER readers rejoice with you as they read your letter, and we join in prayer that, as you see the great privileges of service in the Lord's cause and the obstacles in the way, you may have grace and strength to overcome them and at last have an overcomer's reward. – Rev. 2:7,11,17,26-28; 3:5,12,21. – EDITOR.]

Illinois.

DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL: – I will write a few lines to-day in answer to your kind letter which reached me at – almost three months ago. I am still rejoicing in the Lord and present truth, and am still "looking unto Jesus" who is the author and who will be the finisher of my faith, – if I submit fully to him, as it is my desire to do. Because of my poor success at colporteuring I have sometimes thought that the Master did not want me to serve in this way, but I now seem to see the matter in a different light. I think it is for my good that I am not more successful. It seems that the Lord would teach me a lesson of confidence and trust in him. If this be so, then I can rejoice in poor success; if it be part of the "fire" that is to try my faith, I can say, Amen. I desire the transforming work to go on to the end of my race, and want to submit cheerfully to whatever our wise Heavenly Father sees best for me, for –

"God knows – not I – the devious way
Wherein my faltering feet must tread,
Before into the light of day
My steps from out this gloom are lead.
And since my Lord the path doth see,
What matter, if 'tis hid from me."

I certainly would be glad if I could put out five thousand DAWNS a year, as I know that those who read them will be blessed thereby; but if I can put out only five hundred a year, it will still be a little mite for the Master, and it may cheer some weary pilgrim along the rugged way. I wish to continue in the work as long as possible, for this favorable time will evidently not last many years longer.

I was much pleased with the Tract Society's report. I felt a little solicitude for the Society, as money seemed so very scarce; but the Lord does surely provide, and we praise his name for the funds so graciously provided through Bro. Hay and others. I trust that the present year may be better for all lines of the work. It seems impossible for me to realize the great importance of the work as I would like to do. And I feel that I need above all things more burning zeal and love. Oh! how I long for such zeal, devotion and love as characterized so many of the Lord's dear saints all the way down the Church's history to the present time. And I know that there are some to day just as zealous as the Apostle Paul.

May the Lord bless you abundantly in the great work that he has committed to you, is my earnest prayer. I trust that 1897 may be a grand year for the spread of the truth, and for the upbuilding of the prospective members of the Christ.

With Christian love to you and Sister Russell and the Church at Allegheny,

R. H. BRICKER.

England.

DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL: – It gives me much pleasure to report an increasing interest in the truth and in opportunities of telling the glad tidings. We have now four Bible classes in friends' houses, one every week, one every fortnight, and two once a month. Beside this, a small mission hall work is becoming a general centre for the saints of like precious faith to meet together on Sundays – morning and evening. Bro. Ashton, one who has been abundantly honored by the Lord, was the beginner of it.

This dear Brother is a remarkable man: converted from Romanism at Oakfield Mission shortly before your visit there. He has made astonishing progress in the truth and has been a constant witness in that place. Last month he had given him an opportunity of speaking upon the second parousia [presence] of our Lord, in the Mission, and he spoke freely – on two occasions. His testimony, however, was not received nor in any way supported.

How careful we all should be to hold fast the faith once delivered to the saints, and, being established, to "walk by the same rule." Would like a supply of tract No. 1, when convenient to send them. With good wishes for a bright and successful New Year in the Lord's work, to Sister Russell and yourself, in which my wife joins,

Yours in the Master's service,

JAMES HAY.