page 281
October 15th
ZION'S
WATCH TOWER
and
Herald of Christ's Presence

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

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

VOL. XIX.OCTOBER 1, 1898.No. 19.
CONTENTS.

Views from the Watch Tower 283
The Czar's Peace proposal
The Second Zionist Congress 284
The Kingdom of Judah More Faithful than Israel 286
Jehoshaphat's Good Reign 290
God's Word the Lamp of Liberty 291
Evil Companionship Baneful 292
Repairing Solomon's Temple 293
"A Little Leaven Leaveneth the Whole Lump" 293
Letters from Earnest Colaborers 295

'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 282

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

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

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

SUBSCRIPTIONS AND BUSINESS COMMUNICATIONS
– ADDRESS TO –
WATCH TOWER BIBLE AND TRACT SOCIETY,
"BIBLE HOUSE," 56-60 ARCH STREET, ALLEGHENY, PA., U.S.A.

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MONEY MAY BE SENT BY EXPRESS, N.Y. DRAFT, MONEY ORDER, OR REGISTERED.
FROM FOREIGN COUNTRIES BY FOREIGN MONEY ORDERS, ONLY. SPECIAL
TERMS TO THE LORD'S POOR, AS FOLLOWS:

Those of the interested who, by reason of old age or accident, or other adversity, are unable to pay for the TOWER will be supplied FREE, if they send a Postal Card each December, stating their case and requesting the paper. We are not only willing, but anxious, that all such be on our list constantly.

COUNCIL BLUFFS CONVENTION.
– OCT. 1st-5th. –

Indications are that the attendance at the Convention will be good. We trust that all of the class invited in our last issue, who come, will come as full as possible of the Lord's spirit – Love; and that all departing shall overflow with the same, and carry home a blessing. Let each one watch and pray to this effect. "Brethren, pray for us!"

Any who intend coming, but have not sent definite word to Allegheny, should send a postal card at once, stating number in their party, for whom lodgings should be reserved, to –

C. F. ADAMS, 200 BROADWAY, COUNCIL BLUFFS, IOWA. The meetings will commence Sunday, Oct. 1st, at 9 A.M., at No. 400 Broadway, "Temple Hall."

[R2360 : page 283]

VIEWS FROM THE WATCH TOWER.

CZAR NICHOLAS, Emperor of Russia, has startled the world with a proposition looking toward universal peace – "a durable peace" – by the disarmament of the larger proportion of the armies of Europe. He asks a conference of representative men of all nations to consider the subject; and all the leading nations, including the United States, have responded favorably, promising to send delegates to the Peace Conference. The London Chronicle considers the Czar's note the most striking document of the century, and the London Telegraph says, "Rarely, if ever, was there a more important document in the history of the world." The Press (New York) says, "The document is epochal....The millennium of European disarmament is brought within the range of profitable discussion." The Public Ledger (Philadelphia) says, "It may not lead at once to a national disarmament and an agreement to refer all matters in dispute to arbitration, but it will pave the way for this desirable result." The Times (New York) says, "It may be the beginning of the most momentous and beneficent movement of modern history, indeed of all history."

Among other reasons prompting to the humane course suggested, the Czar calls attention to the fact that present vast armaments were prompted by a desire for peace, but have proved ineffectual and instead are increasing financial burdens. He says: –

"All these efforts have not yet been able to bring about the beneficent result desired – pacification. The financial charges following the upward march strike at the very root of public prosperity. The intellectual and physical strength of the nations' labor and capital are mostly diverted from their natural application and are unproductively consumed. Hundreds of millions are devoted to acquiring terrible engines of destruction, which, tho to-day regarded as the last work of science, are destined to-morrow to lose all their value in consequence of some fresh discovery in the same field. National culture, economic progress and the production of wealth are either paralyzed or checked in development.

"The economic crisis due in great part to the system of armaments a l'outrance, and the continual danger which lies in this massing of war material, are transforming the armed peace of our day into a crushing burden [R2361 : page 283] which the people have more and more difficulty in bearing.

"It appears evident that if this state of things were to be prolonged it would inevitably lead to the very cataclysm it is desired to avert, and the horrors whereof make every thinking being shudder in advance.

"To put an end to these incessant armaments and to seek the means of warding off the calamities which are threatening the whole world – such is the supreme duty imposed upon all states.

"This conference will be, by the help of God, a happy presage for the century which is about to open. It would converge into one powerful focus the efforts of all states sincerely seeking to make the great conception of universal peace triumph."

*                         *                         *

Right glad would we be to hope just such a universal peace and maintenance of the present order of things, "the present evil world," if we had no better hope, no better prospect. But as Watchers we have been "taught of God" through his Word to expect no permanent peace from even the best intentioned monarchs and governments during these "times of the Gentiles." (Dan. 2:34,35,44,45; 7:4-13,14,27; Luke 21:24.) Not until Immanuel shall, in Jehovah's appointed times and seasons, take his great power and reign and bind Satan, "the prince of this world," who now "worketh in the hearts of the children of disobedience," can we look for the Golden Age of prophecy. Then humbled under the mighty hand of God, the world will "seek peace and ensue it." [R2361 : page 284]

But, notwithstanding the welcome given the Czar's suggestion, few on sober second thought see reasons to hope for practical results: it is accepted rather as a benevolent wish rather than even the Czar's hope. Our own expectation is that such a disarmament as is proposed will come within about six years: whether or not it will be preceded by a great general European war, only the Lord knows, but we incline to think it will not. We expect such a disarmament surely within the next ten years for several reasons: –

(1) Because within that time commercial competition will make merchandise of all kinds very cheap, and debts, interest charges and government expenses proportionately the more burdensome. To reduce the burden upon the masses it will by that time be necessary to force it disproportionately upon the wealthy, or else reduce the burden; and disarmament will probably result.

(2) Humanity will delude itself with the thought that such disarmament is the prelude to the Millennium: and so it will be, but in an opposite sense from what they expect. "The wisdom of their wise men shall perish and the understanding of their prudent men shall not be manifested (Isa. 29:14); and when thus they shall be disarming, saying, Peace and Safety! they will be very close to the great cataclysm of trouble, and doing the very thing to hasten the overthrow of the present social structure. Because

(3) The present glut of the labor markets of "Christendom" will be intensified by further application of machinery within the next ten years; and the tremendous effect of augmenting the supply of labor to the extent of from one to five millions of men in the prime of life would surely mean a financial depression and social upheaval which would shake the thrones of Europe and overthrow many of them.

(4) Such social upheavals, eventuating in world-wide anarchy, are what the Scripture prophecies lead us to expect as the precursor of the Millennium which God has promised, when our Redeemer and his glorified Church shall intervene to deliver mankind from the oppression of its own selfishness, and to bless it with an enforced rule of righteousness along the lines of the heavenly law of Love.

THE SECOND ZIONIST CONGRESS.

The Second Congress of Israelites from all parts of the world, to consider the interests and welfare of the natural seed of Abraham, and especially looking to a reestablishment of Israel as a nation in the old homestead, Palestine, has closed. Like the first it was held in the city of Basel, Switzerland. All reports indicate that the Zionist movement has gathered much momentum since the Congress of a year ago: about four hundred delegates were present – nearly seven times as many as at the first one.

Addresses were delivered by a number of prominent Israelites, setting forth the necessity and urgency of the movement, and pointing out that prophecy and the traditions of the nation as well as the growing hostility toward their race, everywhere, all urged forcefully in the direction toward which they were heading. In view of the fact that Palestine is under the control of Turkey, and that foreign Jews have been prohibited from emigrating thither for now seven years, suggested the idea that the duty of the hour would be to labor for the betterment of the conditions of Jews already there, and to wait and trust for the Providential opening of the "door" in the near future. To this end a Palestine Banking Company, "The Colonial Bank," of $10,000,000 capital was provided for – to promote and foster various enterprises in Palestine – all of which shall in every sense of the word be in Jewish hands and employ Jews only. An advance intimation of this matter had gotten abroad, and as a result it was announced that $1,000,000, one tenth of the capital, had already been subscribed, and over ninety-six per cent. of it in single shares of $5 each, by Jews in all parts of the world. This indicates that the movement is taking hold of the hopes of the race. A new flag was raised; – a white six-pointed star on a blue ground – and it served to add to the patriotic fervor. Even the populace of Basel caught the inspiration seemingly and cheered – "Hoch die Juden!" i.e., Hurrah for the Jews! Has this occurred before for over eighteen hundred years? Not that we know of. God's time has come for regathering Israel, and those who lend a hand will receive encouragement.

For twenty-three years past we have been calling attention to Isaiah 40:1,2, – showing that it became applicable in April, 1878, and that within forty years (before 1915) the prophesied divine favor beginning by regathering Israel from all lands "into their own land," would be an accomplished fact. "Adventists" ridiculed, declaring that much sooner than that this earth would be in cinders; "orthodoxy" sneered that Israel's regathering and the Millennium were thousands of years off and that first the gentiles must all be converted; Jews themselves were of two opinions – one class declaring that they and the leaders of Jewish thought and the rising generation had abandoned all hope of a Palestine home and ignored the prophecies relating to the regathering, or else applied them to the United States – the "new Promised Land;" the other class expressing hope and faith in the prophecies, declared that according to Jewish chronology (not the Bible chronology which we follow) over three hundred and fifty years yet remained before the completion of six [R2361 : page 285] thousand years from Adam; and that nothing could be hoped for sooner.

Only one-half of the forty years have passed, and what do we see! Palestine is rejuvenating: not only has it been connected with civilization by railroads, telegraphs and telephones, but the seasons are becoming more regular as respects rain, and the thousands of Jews driven thither by Russian persecution some ten years ago are taking root and are now to be helped with money, in a practical way, and the eyes of Israel and the world are opening to the fact that "The testimonies of the Lord are sure, making wise the simple," and that prophecies over two thousand years old are being fulfilled before us.

But the "Watchers" should not for a moment lose sight of the chief lesson which Israel's revival teaches us, namely that every evidence of the return of divine favor to fleshly Israel is an evidence that divine favor to spiritual Israel is gradually drawing to a close, because the divine purpose respecting this Gospel age has about reached fulfilment – in the selection of the Gospel Church, spiritual Israel, the Bride, the Lamb's wife. – See Rom. 11:25-33.

We add a few extracts from a Jewish journal, interesting and corroborative: –

ZIONISTS AND THE PEACE PROPOSAL.

"On Monday, Aug. 29th, the ordinary business proceedings were stopped in order to discuss the Czar's message, the most remarkable document of the century. Dr. Herzl said, amid tremendous applause:

"'Since Israel's mission in the world is peace, anyone who labors to attain this end is ideally a brother in Israel! The universal peace manifestation of Czar Nicholas is now in order!'

"After a lengthy discussion of its various political and national aspects a congratulatory resolution was adopted and a telegram was sent to His Majesty the Czar, who, with the stroke of his pen, has conquered the world and is destined to become the Cyrus of the nineteenth century.

"There was a large attendance of delegates, the most numerous and most widely representative of Israelites that the world has seen for centuries, if ever before. The enthusiasm was unbounded, the confidence manifested, while too exuberant, running over into acts of aggression against anti-Zionists, yet sufficiently proved the ardor of the leaders; the harmony was unshattered, the deliberations were dignified and at times inspiring. [R2362 : page 285]

"It was officially reported that there are nine hundred and thirteen associations now identified with this movement. From the half shekel subscriptions received it would seem to be certain that the number of Zionist adherents already largely exceeds two hundred thousand, compared to which all other organizations in Israel, local, national or international, dwindle into insignificance....The wide-spread character of the movement was not due to any propaganda carried on from any particular centre, but to the natural force and intrinsic attractiveness of the movement itself all over the world.

"The one great instrument that has been constructed by the Congress for the execution of its purposes is the Colonial Bank. An institution like this may become a powerful means for the accomplishment of great and definite results. These, it will be observed, are to be secured in Palestine, and nowhere else. That the construction of such an institution is practical with so numerous a constituency, there would seem to be no inherent reasons to doubt, and sufficient material evidences are at hand to fully substantiate. There is every prospect that those placed in charge will be both responsible and able to honestly and efficiently carry out the important trust that will be reposed in them.

"As to colonization itself, the present activities of the movement seem necessarily limited to the advancement of those interests which are already located in Palestine. The Sultan's prohibition of further Jewish immigration may not work inharmoniously with the best interests of Zionism if it shall result in first securing the welfare of the Jews now inhabiting that country before being burdened with new and large accessions from without. When this has been done the Sultan's fears may be dissipated, or the new arrangements in the European kaleidescope may have placed this territory under more favorable conditions than at present.

"Perhaps the most remarkable achievement of the Congress was to dispel the doubts that existed as to the true relation of Zionism to Judaism. Dr. Gaster, the haham of London, in his masterly address, declared: 'It is this religious element which knits us together much more strongly, tho often unconsciously, than mere principles of a political or racial unity.... Whatever the difference between individuals may be, the unity of religious sentiment remains with us; it is the abiding factor in our whole movement; it may lie deep down, hidden away in the breast of our people; it is there incontestably. It blends itself, here in our Zionist movement, into one harmonious whole....I, therefore, propose, for your adoption, the following resolutions: Zionism aims not only at the economical and political, but also at the spiritual regeneration of the Jewish people; it thus rests upon the foundation of modern culture and adheres to its achievements. Zionism will not undertake anything which would be contrary to Jewish religious law.'"

"WE DO NOT WORSHIP THE PAST."

Said another speaker at the Congress: –

"We do not worship the past, we alone hold that the future is better than the past, we are known as optimists, and whenever any wrong is done to us or we are exposed to hardships, we are comforted by the thoughts that it must be better, and it will be better. We do not commence with an age of gold that deteriorates in time to a silver and then an iron age. We, on the contrary, look to the continued improvement and progress of mankind, and that is what we understand under the Messianic Age, and that hope has been the solace of our race in its wanderings through the [R2362 : page 286] world. The light of culture and education has never been extinguished in our midst."

THE ZIONIST CONGRESS-MEDAL.

"On a large, peaceful landscape bordering on the seashore, at a well, shaded by a very old tree of Southern type, there rests a Jewish family composed of father, mother and three children, with eyes turned upon the ocean, where the sun is mirrored in myriads of waves. The father, in the prime of life, leans on his travel-staff, the tragic symbol of the lot of his race on earth. The mother nurses the infant at her breast. A little child is seated on the floor; an older boy, stronger and determined, stands erect and already holds the travel-staff in his hand, which is to become the symbol of his destiny, as it is that of his father.

"A supernatural vision appears to these exhausted and aimless wanderers; it is the personification of the Jewish ideal – the ideal of Zionism. Her left hand she lays on the shoulder of the father and points with her right hand in the distance to that land across the sea where he shall secure at last a home. Her expression is full of sympathy and love. Her arm and the movement of the hand illustrate destiny. The father gazes with a heart overwhelmed with emotion at the golden hope of the future which this genius has awakened in his soul. He resolves at once to follow his guide. The mother, half doubtful and half relying, grasps the strong hand of her husband, – she is the typical Jewish wife, that loyally speaks to her husband: 'I follow thee to the end of the world; where thou art there is my home; thy destiny is mine.' The little child is only curious, it does not comprehend yet the great event that is happening before his eyes. Not so the boy. The 'Arba Kanfoth' – the religious 'garb of fringes' – on his naked breast, teaches him symbolically that his race will eventually be 'gathered from the four corners of the earth.' He turns, therefore, with keen earnestness and profound determination to the destiny foretold by the heraldress, drinking in her words and impressed by her sympathetic features; he is ready to go with her, no matter what sacrifices this may require, what battles he will have to wage, nor in what struggles to endure.

"This is the explanation of the symbolic figures on the Congress medal, translated from the official Zionist organ, Die Welt, of Vienna, while the reverse side of the medal contains the Hebrew letters, of which the following is the translation: –

"Thus saith the Lord God: Behold, I will take the children of Israel from among the nations, whither they have gone, and will gather them on every side and bring them into their own land.' – Ezek. 37:21.

"Who of those that read the signs of the times can shut their eyes to the important part that the restoration of Israel to Palestine is destined to play in the progress of humanity?

"In reviewing the events of the year, none appears to me so great, none so significant, none so fraught with incalculable blessings for the future of our people as the awakening of Israel, manifested by over 400 delegates hailing from every country and clime to the Second Congress at Basel."

[R2362 : page 286]

THE KINGDOM OF JUDAH MORE FAITHFUL THAN ISRAEL.
– OCT. 2. – 2 CHRON. 14:2-12. –
"Help us, O Lord our God: for we rest in thee." – 2 Chron. 14:11.
W
ITH this lesson commences a series of studies in the history of the Kingdom of Judah – the two-tribe kingdom, as distinguished from the ten-tribe kingdom, which, because of its greater area and numbers, held the name of Israel. In our studies of the course of the ten tribes, we intimated that the division of the kingdom had worked to the advantage of the two tribes, Judah and Benjamin, known as the Kingdom of Judah, in that it had humbled them, drawn them nearer to the Lord, and made them more zealous of his worship, and more faithful in resisting idolatry of the surrounding nations: much of this, no doubt, resulted from the division of the empire, and the very wrong idolatrous course taken by the ten tribes.

The inspired record indicates that King Rehoboam, the son of Solomon, after he was deserted by the ten tribes, was considerably affected thereby, so that he and the people of Judah experienced a sort of religious reformation, as a result of which we are informed that not only the priests and Levites, but also the more religious of the people, Israelites indeed, deserted the ten-tribe kingdom, and allied and associated themselves with and made their home in Judah. "So they strengthened the kingdom of Judah, and made Rehoboam, the son of Solomon, strong, for three years: for three years they walked in the way of David and Solomon." – 2 Chron. 11:13-17.

Before long, however, Rehoboam, finding himself strong in the kingdom, became lax in respect to its religious conditions, so that he and the people became negligent of the divine law. (2 Chron. 12:1.) As a rebuke for this, and as a lesson, the Lord permitted the army of Egypt to come up against Judah, "because they had transgressed against the Lord." The victories of the Egyptian army under Shishak brought Rehoboam and the rulers of the people to their senses, and caused them to seek unto the Lord for help. "The princes of Israel and the king humbled themselves, and they said, The Lord is righteous." Wherefore the Lord stayed the Egyptians, and did not allow them to overwhelm the kingdom, saying, "My wrath shall not be poured out upon Jerusalem, by the hand of Shishak; nevertheless, they shall be his servants; that they may know my service, and the service of the kingdoms [R2362 : page 287] of the countries. So Shishak, king of Egypt, came up against Jerusalem, and took away the treasures [R2363 : page 287] from the house of the Lord, and the treasures of the king's house; he took all: he carried away also the shields of gold which Solomon had made." Thus Rehoboam for a time was reduced to a subservient position. His kingdom had lost much of its wealth, accumulated under the reigns of Solomon and David, and all this was intended of the Lord to teach them an important lesson – that if the Lord let go of them they would be swallowed up of their enemies, and that the Lord, while demanding their obedience, always made that obedience profitable to them in their temporal welfare.

All this is very contrary to the Lord's present dealing with the house of sons – the Gospel Church. God's covenant with the twelve tribes of Israel was that he would give them earthly (temporal) blessings, as a reward for their faithfulness to him, and that he would give them temporal adversities as punishments for unfaithfulness to him. That was under the covenant made at Sinai. (See Lev. 26.) It is well that we should note that that covenant, with all of its arrangements, was confined to the natural seed of Abraham – to typical Israel (divided into Israel and Judah) and that a wholly different arrangement and covenant has been made by the Lord with the spiritual Israelites of this Gospel Age, under the terms of the New Covenant. The New Covenant does not promise earthly blessings, nor freedom from earthly tribulations, but it does promise to the faithful spiritual Israelite that all the tribulations permitted of the Lord shall work out some good, some blessing, as respects his new nature and his preparation for future good things in the life to come, which God hath in reservation for them that love him. Natural Israel's promises were all earthly, while spiritual Israel's promises are all heavenly.

The lesson learned from Shishak's invasion seems to have profited Rehoboam and the people of Judah throughout the remainder of his reign of seventeen years, and it does not surprise us that his son and successor, Abijah, was a king who acknowledged the Lord. This is particularly shown in the war with the ten tribes of Israel, which speedily followed Abijah's succession to the throne of Judah. Addressing the ten tribes, drawn up in battle array, he sends them a message: "And now ye think to withstand the Kingdom of Jehovah, in the hands of the sons of David; and ye be a great multitude, and there are with you golden calves which Jereboam made you for gods. Have ye not cast out the priests of Jehovah, the sons of Aaron, and the Levites, and have made you priests after the manner of the nations of other lands?...But as for us, Jehovah is our God, and we have not forsaken him; and the priests which minister unto Jehovah are the sons of Aaron, and the Levites....And behold, God himself is with us for our Captain, and his priests, with sounding trumpets to cry alarm against you. O children of Israel, fight ye not against the Lord God of your fathers, for ye shall not prosper." – 2 Chron. 13:8-18.

Thus the three years reign of Abijah, altho a very short one, seems to have been a good reign in many respects. Nevertheless, his loyalty to the Lord did not lead him to make a thorough reformation, and to utterly put away the groves and high places devoted to improper worship, which began to be established in Solomon's day, and consequently he failed to have the Lord's approval, as it was subsequently pronounced upon his son, Asa. "Asa did that which was good and right in the eyes of the Lord his God." "The heart of Asa was perfect all his days." – 2 Chron. 15:17.

Likewise to-day there are those who are on the Lord's side, and get a blessing as a result, who, nevertheless, fail to have the Lord's hearty approval. It is not sufficient that we outwardly acknowledge the Lord to be our God: if we would have the fulness of the divine approval we must be zealous, not only in having the Lord on our side, but zealous also and faithful in serving his cause. Such faithfulness means activity in the cause of truth, and effort to bring others into full accord with the divine law.

Asa's course was approved more than that of his father, Abijah, because, as it is stated, his heart was perfect: he was not serving the Lord because it would be the most profitable course for himself and for the nation – not merely to obtain divine blessing – but he served from a heart that was in harmony with God, and which wished to accomplish the divine will. So a right heart made of Asa a great reformer: he destroyed the idols out of the land, and the groves and high altars, some of which were dedicated to false gods, and some to Jehovah, – the latter being, nevertheless, contrary to the divine instruction, which was that no other place of sacrifice should be recognized than the one – the Temple. Asa's fidelity to God laid him open to the charge of narrowness and bigotry on the part of those who at that day considered themselves broad-minded, liberal. Asa even destroyed the idol which his mother had set up; and because she was using her influence in favor of idolatry he removed from her the dignities of her position as a queen. All this showed a great loyalty to the Lord, and indicated that Asa's zeal for the Lord was a zeal from the heart, and not a mere caprice, nor from a selfish motive.

In harmony with the divine covenant, a great blessing rested upon Asa and upon his kingdom, and during the first ten years of absolute peace he fortified [R2363 : page 288] his country, and strengthened the kingdom. It was now twenty-five years since Shishak had his victory over Rehoboam, and carried away the gold and treasures of the kingdom: and now another Egyptian army came against Asa, probably intent upon getting more booty. But as God, according to his covenant with Israel, had prospered the Egyptians because of unfaithfulness on the part of Rehoboam and his people, so now the Lord, under the same covenant, prospered Asa and his army, because of their faithfulness to him, and gave them a great victory over the Egyptians.

That Asa and the people might know assuredly that their victory was of the Lord, a prophet was sent to them, saying: "Hear ye me, Asa, and all Judah and Benjamin: The Lord is with you while ye be with him; and if ye seek him he will be found of you; but if ye forsake him he will forsake you....Be ye strong, therefore, and let not your hands be weak." This message, we are informed, encouraged Asa to still further prosecute the warfare he had been waging for some time against idols: the result was the utter abolishment of idols "out of all the land of Judah and Benjamin, and out of the cities which he had taken." More than this, as his zeal, and the zeal of his people increased, a great convention was held – a holiness convention – and "they entered into a covenant to seek the Lord God of their fathers with all their heart, and with all their soul, resolving that whosoever should not seek the Lord God of Israel should be put to death, whether small or great, whether man or woman; and they sware unto the Lord [to this effect] with a loud voice, and with shouting, and with trumpets and with cornets, and all Judah rejoiced at the oath: for they had sworn with all their heart, and sought him with their whole desire, and he was found of them; and the Lord gave them rest round about...and there was no more war unto the five and thirtieth year of the reign of Asa." – 2 Chron. 15:12-15,19.

Many Christian people, making the very serious mistake of not noticing the difference between the covenant which God made with fleshly Israel, and the different covenant and different regulations with spiritual Israel, have naturally fallen into the mistake of seeking to follow after the course of natural Israel, improperly. For instance, while it was perfectly right for Asa to interfere with the other religions in the land under his control, and to overthrow the false worship, and to burn the idols, and to destroy the altars and groves, it would be entirely wrong for any Christian king, president, governor, mayor, or one of any other position, to attempt to do similarly with the religious arrangements of others of to-day, either in Christendom or in heathen lands. The duty of the spiritual Israelite is to worship the Lord according to the dictates of his own conscience, and to leave everybody else free to do the same – not molesting him, his institutions or arrangements in any manner whatever.

The only way in which he would be permitted to interfere with others would be by preaching, by making known to them the true God and the true worship; – and even in this he would have no privilege to intrude upon others contrary to their wishes, but may merely make known the good tidings to those who have "ears to hear" – to those willing to be taught. It was a wrong view of this matter, and a copying of Israel's doings, and of the things which God approved in Israel, which, misunderstood and misapplied, undoubtedly led to many of the religious excesses and violations of justice, as well as of love and mercy, during the Dark Ages. It was a failure to recognize the different law of this Gospel Age, over spiritual Israel, that led to much of the religious persecution of the dark ages, the burning of church edifices of so-called heretics, the burning of the heretics themselves, and of their Bibles, their persecution by Inquisitions, etc., etc. Christendom in general is outgrowing these false ideas, especially in Great Britain and the United States, where religious liberty for all denominations, all religions, and toleration for all creeds is recognized, demanded and enjoyed, in harmony with the enlightened judgment of their peoples. But those who thus recognize religious [R2364 : page 288] liberty as the proper thing now, very generally fail to see how or why anything else than religious liberty could have been proper at any other time. Such are inclined to look upon the Bible as not up to date – as countenancing bigotry, persecution, etc., and so long as they regard the matter from this standpoint they are in great danger of a growing agnosticism and infidelity. Let us understand clearly, therefore, why the course of Asa was approved of God, and blessed, while a similar course to-day, in any nation of Christendom, would be disapproved of the Lord, and of those who have his spirit.

The explanation of the difference is that Israel, as a nation, took upon itself a special covenant with God at Mount Sinai, by which every individual of that nation, including the children, became bounden nationally and individually, to God, to be his people; while God bound himself to them to be their God, their king, their protector. In the compact or covenant the people further guaranteed that they would neither have, nor make images of, nor worship any other god. That covenant constituted Israel God's peculiar people; they became his typical Kingdom; he was the recognized King amongst them, and so it is written, "Solomon sat on the throne of the Lord, as King, instead of David his father." (1 Chron. 29:23.) It was God's [R2364 : page 289] throne all along, and earthly representatives sat upon it. Hence, so long as that nation was preserved as a kingdom amongst the nations, it was bound by the will or law of its King, the Lord, which specifically demanded that all idolatry should be put away. And as we have previously seen, God separated this one nation from all the other nations of the earth, in order that he might make of them a typical nation or kingdom, foreshadowing in them the "holy nation" of spiritual Israelites which he is now gathering out of every kingdom, people, nation and tongue, and which shortly he will organize under Immanuel, to be the Kingdom of Heaven, and to rule and bless all the families of the earth. – 1 Pet. 2:9,10; Luke 12:32.

It would be wholly improper, now, for the people of the United States, for instance, to attempt to decide what is false worship and to abolish it; or to interfere in any manner or degree with absolute religious liberty; because the people of the United States are not God's Kingdom, as Israel was God's kingdom. God never did recognize any other nation than Israel (Amos 3:2); nor did he ever make covenants with other nations. On the contrary, the present governments of earth are all of them reckoned as "kingdoms of this world," in contradistinction to the Kingdom of our Lord and of his Anointed, – the "holy nation" now being prepared. While the heavenly Kingdom, the antitype of Israel's kingdom, is not yet set up in glory, as the holy nation, the peculiar people, the royal priesthood, nevertheless, in each individual heart of this "elect" class this principle applies: each Israelite indeed has entered into a covenant with the Lord that he will have no other gods, and that he will render worship to no other, but will serve the Lord with all his heart, with all his mind, with all his being, with all his strength. And as the nation of Israel was obligated, by its covenant, to abolish all idols, so each individual Christian, of this new holy nation, is obligated, by his covenant, to destroy every idol from his heart, and to worship the Lord only, and in the beauty of holiness.

Altho Asa's heart was loyal to the Lord, his judgment was not always sound: for instance, when toward the close of his reign the king of Israel (the ten tribes) manifested some hostility, Asa sent a present of gold and silver to the King of Syria to obtain his aid against Israel. This ordinarily would be termed shrewd statesmanship, and would be a wise enough and proper enough course to take, as between nations – viz., the use of a little money as a peace agent, to thus avert war. Asa's statesmanship was successful, and did prevent the war and no doubt he congratulated himself on his wisdom; but it was an error on his part, as the Lord pointed out to him, through the Prophet Hanani, who after upbraiding Asa for his insufficiency of faith, and his forgetfulness of divine deliverances in the past, said to him, "The eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the earth, to show himself strong in the behalf of those whose heart is perfect toward him. Herein thou hast done foolishly: therefore from henceforth thou shalt have wars." Asa even resented this criticism of his policy and thrust the prophet into prison. Thus we see that the statement that his heart was right before God does not at all signify that he was right in the sense that we would use the word in connection with the Lord's people of Spiritual Israel, during this Gospel Age. The expression that his heart was right evidently signifies merely that he honestly, conscientiously, sought to do the Lord's will, as the king of Judah, in the putting away of idolatry, and in the enforcement of the Mosaic law. The use of the same expression in respect to the Lord's consecrated people of this Gospel Age would mean a great deal more – a full consecration in thought, and, so far as possible, of word and deed.

Much ado is made by some out of the statement that when Asa was subsequently diseased in his feet, "In his disease he sought not to the Lord but to the physicians. And Asa slept with his fathers." From this it is argued that it is a sin for anyone to make use of medical assistance, and that God's displeasure was manifested in Asa's death as a lesson to his people then and now. We will not attempt to controvert the claim that much of the medicine given by physicians does more harm than good, but we deny that there is any ground for using this case as a basis for such an argument as the foregoing suggested. We must not forget that God's covenant with fleshly Israel, made at Sinai, implied that he not only would be their Captain, and give them deliverance in the time of war, and that he would be their Law-Giver and King, to rule them for their best welfare, but also that observance of his laws would, under his providence, protect them from pestilences and the common diseases of life, so that, as expressed in one of the commandments, their "days should be long in the land" which the Lord their God gave them. This being the case, it is understood amongst scholars that the physicians here referred to were enchanters and magicians who affected to heal diseases, and who undoubtedly performed some cures, after the manner of clairvoyant physicians and Voodoo and black-art doctors of to-day, by Satanic power. Hence, altho it was a mistake on Asa's part to seek to the physicians of his day, and to neglect the divine covenant with his people, we see no intimation here that it would be wrong for mankind in general to make use of bona-fide medical skill and aid to-day.

We are permitted to select from nature's provisions [R2364 : page 290] such foods as we find to be most suited to our health and occupation; so also we may reasonably use anything from nature's laboratory which ourselves or others may be able to compound which would serve to correct or tone up our physical systems for greater usefulness in life. It is a mistake of some to suppose that God has promised to keep spiritual Israel free from sickness, pain and trouble. On the contrary, we know that he permits the difficulties of life to afflict some of his most loyal children. What he does promise is that whatever he may permit to his people will work out something for their good, for their blessing, if they will be rightly exercised thereby, and seek for the blessings.

True, as we have frequently pointed out, those who live near to the Lord, and who are guided by his counsel respecting moderation in word, in thought, in act, are better prepared than others to withstand disease, or if attacked by disease are better prepared to recover from it, and on the whole we believe that the Lord's consecrated people enjoy much better health after than before giving themselves fully to the Lord, seeking to live according to his standard. But this, we take it, is generally the result of a better course of living, rather than the interposition of divine providence. Looking back to the days of the Apostles, we find that there is no record that the Lord or the Apostles ever healed the infirmities of the consecrated ones. Our Lord and also the Apostles healed the multitudes, but not the disciples. And the Apostle Paul, who sent handkerchiefs and napkins to the sick, far and near (Acts 19:12), sent no napkin or handkerchief or anointing oil to Timothy when he was sick. On the contrary, he advised the use of wine medicinally, and remarked that Timothy's ailment was not a trifling nor a temporary one, but rather a chronic disorder – "thine often infirmities." (1 Tim. 5:23.) We note the same thing in respect to Epaphroditus (Phil. 2:26) and Trophimas. (2 Tim. 4:20.) And the Apostle Paul had the same experience himself, and says, "Most gladly, therefore, will I rather glory in my infirmity, that the power of Christ may rest upon me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ's sake: for when I am weak then I am strong." (2 Cor. 12:7-10.) Our sicknesses and diseases from which we are wholly relieved by the value of the precious blood administered by the Good Physician are soul-sicknesses. We are now justified freely, made every whit whole, and shall shortly be saved from (out of) death by him, through resurrection.

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JEHOSHAPHAT'S GOOD REIGN.
– OCT. 9. – 2 CHRON. 17:1-10. –
"In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths." – Prov. 3:6.
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EHOSHAPHAT succeeded his father, Asa, as King of Judah, following well in his footsteps and "in the first ways of his father David," copying after David's earliest course of devotion to the Lord. He sought not unto Baalim (plural of Baal), the various forms of Baal-worship which, as we have seen, had become the worship of the ten tribes, as it was the worship also of the various nations about them. The spectacular features of Baal-worship and the licentious orgies connected therewith were evidently strong attractions to the depraved heart, and must therefore have exercised continually a seductive influence upon the people of Judah, who worshiped the unseen God, of whom no images or idols or sensual worship were permitted.

The result of this course on the part of the king and the kingdom was the divine blessing, according to the covenant, resulting in peace with the nations round about and prosperity in temporal things – "riches and honor in abundance." Rightly exercised by these blessings, the king's heart was "lifted up," not in pride and self-adulation, but with encouragement, as recognizing the fulfilment of the divine promises in the blessings enjoyed. This stimulated the king to still further energy in the Lord's service, and to a still further movement in the putting away of the "groves and high places." These had been prohibited and destroyed by his father Asa, but apparently some had still been preserved by the people in a kind of secret way, or had sprung up again, like thrifty weeds, so as to need continual attention and removal. We may suppose that these were not all high places and groves of Baal, but that some of them were attempted modifications or "improvements" in the worship of Jehovah. So amongst Christians, there are some who are continually seeking innovations, variations from and additions to what the Lord instituted, in which they take pleasure, to the neglect of the Lord's wishes and regulations. It is hard for such to learn that "obedience is better than sacrifice," that the following of the Lord's will is far better and more acceptable in his sight than any amount of unauthorized denominational contrivance and "machinery." Every alteration of the divine arrangement must eventually prove injurious.

Perceiving the necessity of knowledge, as a basis for faith and obedience, the King Jehoshaphat very wisely instituted a general system of instruction throughout [R2365 : page 291] his kingdom, so that the people in general might become intimately acquainted with the Word of the Lord. Thus he was laying the ax of truth at the root of the evil tree of idolatry and disobedience, and preparing the people for a more hearty obedience to the demands of the Lord and the worship of the one God, Jehovah, with all their heart.

GOD'S WORD THE LAMP OF LIBERTY.

Christian experiences are in full accord with the course which Jehoshaphat followed. We find that in proportion as the Word of the Lord has free course amongst his people, in proportion as they are intimately acquainted with it – its instructions, its promises and its threatenings – in that proportion are they made free indeed, as respects earthly affairs, and in like proportion do they realize their obligations to the King of kings and Lord of lords. The "Dark Ages" was the period in which the Bible was hidden from the people, under a foreign language, and the Reformation movement started with and accompanied the translation of the Scriptures into the living languages of the people, and the progress of the Reformation and of civilization has kept pace with the study of the Scriptures. As the influence of the Lord's Word in Israel's day extended doubtless far beyond those who heard it taught, so likewise the influence of the Scriptures extends far beyond those who study the Scriptures: the spirit of the truth is a spirit of liberty and of civilization, even amongst those who receive it not in the love of it, and who do not obey it, nor walk according to its spirit of love.

The question may arise, Why is it that with the greatly increased circulation of the Scriptures in civilized lands – millions of copies every year – that a still greater blessing does not go with it, to lead all mankind into the right ways of the Lord, into appreciation of his grace and truth, and to obedience to his requirements, instead of bringing, as we see it is bringing, and as the Scriptures forewarn us, a time of trouble such as was not since there was a nation? We answer that this can be accounted for in two ways: –

(1) The study of the Scriptures is handicapped by the many and variously conflicting false theories, human traditions, creeds, which, handed down from the Dark Ages, still fetter the minds of the vast majority, and are an agency in the Adversary's hands of blinding the eyes of many, hindering them from seeing the grand simplicity and beauty of the divine plan of the ages. Many who are helping along the circulation of the Scriptures, are likewise helping along the misunderstanding of them, and thus hindering the truth of the Lord's Word from having its full and designed effect. As our Lord said at the first advent, so it might be truly said now of the majority of religious teachers, "Ye do make void the law of God through your traditions" – the traditions of the ancients, the creeds and dogmas of the Dark Ages.

(2) Many of those who "seem to be religious" to the extent of attending religious meetings and having Bibles in their homes, are not religious at heart, but the contrary – are seeking not to know and to do the will of God, but selfishly seeking to do their own wills, and merely using the cloak of religion hypocritically to further their selfish schemes and purposes in life. Upon such the influence of the Bible, with the liberty which it inculcates, and the release of superstition which it gives, is really injurious in one sense of the word: release from the bondage of fear and superstition by the light of divine truth reflected from those whom Christ has made free indeed, merely makes them the more free to do evil, and hardens their hearts. They use the liberty for an occasion of the flesh (along lines of selfishness); and it is along these lines, which are the prevailing ones, that the great time of trouble is approaching, in which liberty will run riot in those who have received from the divine Word merely the breaking of the shackles of superstition, and whose hearts are not thereby brought into captivity to the will of God in Christ.

The result of Jehoshaphat's course in increasing intelligence amongst the people led to a greater respect for Jehovah, not only amongst the people of Judah, but also amongst the nations surrounding. The nations in the vicinity of Palestine evidently considered that each nation had its own God; but apparently they knew that Israel's God, Jehovah, was a God of gods, the Almighty God, superior to their own. Some of the heathen kings even seemed to grasp the situation so clearly as to say to themselves, If we can cause the people of Israel to reject Jehovah, and to commit idolatry, then Jehovah, their God, who has hitherto given them marvelous success, will work against them, and we shall have victory over them in battle. We remember that this was exactly the course of Balak, who tempted Israel to sin in order that he might defeat them in battle. Thus it was that when the nations round about saw the growing devotion to Jehovah amongst the people of Judah, they correspondingly feared them, and the power of the Lord amongst them, as it is written, "The fear of the Lord fell on all the kingdoms of the lands that were round about Judah, so that they made no war with Jehoshaphat."

So it is often with the world in respect to spiritual Israel: the world recognizes in a general way that there is some truth in Christianity, and the worldly fear to do injury to those whom it recognizes as humble, faithful, true and obedient children of God. They know, and so does the great Adversary, Satan, "the god of this [R2365 : page 292] world," that greater is he that is on our part, than all that be against us. Hence his effort and that of his willing servants is to lead us into temptations of pride and fond desire, selfishness, and thus to raise earth-born clouds between us and our Lord, as the beginnings of a course of evil.

EVIL COMPANIONSHIP BANEFUL.

The record of Jehoshaphat's reign seems to show only three serious mistakes, and the implication is that none of these was recognized by the Lord as being wholly intentional, but as being partly errors of judgment.

(1) His prosperity brought to him the friendship of the king of Israel, the weak and wicked Ahab, and with a desire to seem courteous, and possibly with the thought of re-uniting the separated ten tribes at some future time, Jehoshaphat accepted the friendly advances of Ahab, and visited him, with some of his troops, and out of courtesy, and with a desire to cement the friendship, he joined with Ahab in battle against the Syrians. And notwithstanding the fact that he suggested inquiry of one of the prophets of Jehovah what would be the Lord's will respecting the battle, yet when the one prophet of the Lord, Micaiah, foretold the disaster of the battle, in opposition to the testimony of four-hundred false prophets, Jehoshaphat nevertheless yielded, and went with Ahab to battle. In the defeat which followed the declaration of the Scriptures is that the Lord spared the life of Jehoshaphat, while Ahab was killed. On his return home the Lord sent to him one of the prophets, saying, "Shouldest [R2366 : page 292] thou help the ungodly, and love them that hate the Lord? Therefore is wrath upon thee from before the Lord. Nevertheless, there are good things found in thee, in that thou hast taken away the groves out of the land, and hast prepared thine heart to seek God." (2 Chron. 19:2,3,7.) That the lesson was not lost upon Jehoshaphat is evidenced by the fact that shortly after this, when appointing judges throughout Judah, he instructed them, saying, "Take heed what ye do: for ye judge not for man but for the Lord, who is with you in judgment. Wherefore now let the fear of Jehovah be upon you; take heed and do it, for there is no iniquity with the Lord our God, nor respect of persons, nor taking of gifts."

Jehoshaphat's desire to be upon friendly terms with Ahab, and the wrong course to which this led him, contains a lesson for spiritual Israelites who are seeking to follow the Lord's counsel. If it was improper for the king to "help the ungodly and to love them that hate the Lord" it would be still more improper for spiritual Israelites to follow such a course. How many have been led into disobedience and various improprieties by neglect of the admonition that "evil companionship corrupts good conduct!" Let us learn the lesson of keeping company with those that love the Lord, so that all of our special friends and companions, in business or in pleasure, shall, so far as we are able to control the matter, be the Lord's friends who honor him with their lips and serve him from the heart. "Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful." – Psa. 1:1-3.

(2) Subsequently, Jehoshaphat joined in partnership with Ahaziah, the son of Ahab, in the construction of a fleet of vessels, to trade as Solomon had done, in the gold of Ophir; but the Lord sent a rebuke to him, through the prophet, saying, "Because thou hast joined thyself with Ahaziah the Lord hath broken thy works. And the ships were broken, that they were not able to go to Tarshish." (2 Chron. 20:37.) Here is another lesson for the Lord's people not to choose for their associates those upon whom the Lord's blessing might not reasonably be expected, especially not to make such an alliance with those who are the enemies of the Lord.

(3) Jehoshaphat's third mistake was in arranging a marriage between his son and the daughter of Ahab and Jezebel. No doubt his thought was to thus possibly re-unite, in the hands of his son, the divided kingdom. He seemed to forget that the Lord was abundantly able to re-unite the kingdom, if he saw fit, and that any union not of the Lord's approval would be a disadvantageous one. The wickedness of the daughter of Jezebel, who subsequently became the queen of Judah, rivaled her mother's and is a further illustration of how baneful an influence may be exercised by an ambitious and bad woman, as we have many instances of how good an influence may be exercised by a humble and godly woman.

There is a lesson in this for all of the spiritual Israelites, that they should not seek advancement of the interests of their children through ungodly alliance, marriage. How many Christian parents allow the lessons of their own experience to go for naught and allow pride and ambition and selfishness to influence their counsel of their children so that they consent to and aid their marriage with the unconsecrated. How often these find subsequently that they have sown thorns in their pillows and in the pillows of their children. The difficulty is one or both of two: (a) Either they are not fully and faithfully consecrated to the Lord, and possessed of faith in his wisdom and power to guide their affairs, and hence attempt to shape their own affairs; or (b) they have not learned that the Lord's will by which we are to regulate our course in life on every subject, is found in his Word, and is to be followed implicitly, leaving [R2366 : page 293] all results to his providence, and trusting absolutely to his Wisdom, Love and Power. With the Lord's people the rule of life in everything should be to seek first the Kingdom of Heaven and its righteousness, trusting that under divine providence all things will work together for good to those who love God.

[R2366 : page 293]

REPAIRING SOLOMON'S TEMPLE.
– OCT. 16. – 2 CHRON. 24:4-13. –
"And the men did the work faithfully." – 2 Kings 12:15.
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HE ERROR of Jehoshaphat in seeking an alliance with ungodly Ahab, king of Israel, through the marriage of his son to the daughter of Ahab and Jezebel, was a serious one. The daughter seems to have inherited all the evil nature of her mother, and as soon as her husband came to the throne of Judah, she seduced him, and through him the nation of Judah, from the worship of Jehovah to the worship of Baal, with its sensual orgies, attractive to the grossly depraved. And this evil influence continued during the reign of her husband, eight years, during the reign of her son, one year, and during her own reign (after murdering all but one of her grandchildren), six years, when she was killed, in a revolt of the people against her evil course: at which time her grandson, Joash, then seven years of age, was anointed king.

His grandmother evidently supposed that she had destroyed all of the royal family, but the infant Joash had been secreted by his aunt, the wife of the Lord's high priest, Jehoiada, who hid and cared for him in one of the rooms connected with Solomon's temple. During the period of the reign of the wicked queen the temple of the Lord had been suffered to go to decay, while an imposing temple of Baal had been erected, and thither the worship and wealth of the people had been directed. Consequently the rooms of the priests, in connection with the temple of Jehovah, being generally neglected, were a very safe place for the rearing of the young king.

"A LITTLE LEAVEN LEAVENETH THE WHOLE LUMP."

The lessons we might draw from this are numerous. (1) The error of seeking worldly alliances, political or social. (2) The error of being unequally yoked with unbelievers in marriage, and the fallacy of relying upon good influences to overcome the evil. A careful mother, watching out for the youthful companions of her son, forbade him to make companions and playfellows of certain boys whose influence she perceived would be impure and injurious. Her son urged, on the contrary, that his influence upon the bad companions should be greater than their influence upon him, and that thus he should be able, by keeping their company, to do them good. The mother sent her son for a glass of water and a bottle of ink. When they were brought she instructed him to put a drop of water into the bottle of ink, and see whether it would clarify it. Of course it made no visible impression. She then instructed him to put a drop of ink into the water, and the result was that the entire glass of water was beclouded. This furnished her a suitable illustration of how the good intentions and purity of her son would have practically a very small influence upon the companions already corrupted under evil influences, and the deleterious influence upon a pure heart of even the smallest amount of impurity. None can be too careful in this direction; evil in every form should be shunned, especially little evils and impurities, which constitute the entering wedge for greater ones.

In olden times, before the art of soap-making was learned, it was the custom to use a sort of clay, called fuller's earth, after the manner in which we now use soap, and based upon this is an ancient Persian fable, which runs thus: "One day, as I was in the bath, a friend of mine put into my hand a piece of scented clay. I took it and said to it, 'Art thou musk or ambergris? For I am charmed with thy perfume.' It answered, 'I was a despicable piece of clay, but I was some time in the company of the rose, and the sweet quality of my companion was communicated to me.'" This well illustrates the fact that every Christian, as a member of the body of Christ, must of necessity have more or less of his sweet spirit, meekness, patience, gentleness, brotherly-kindness, love, and that worldly people thrown into the association of such should absorb from them much of this spirit of gentleness and kindness. And as the spirit of Christianity is received in turn from the Lord, so it is necessary that all the members of the body of Christ should be much in the company of their Head and Lord, that they might be thoroughly filled with his spirit. Let us remember, however, that as the clay was susceptible to the delicate and sweet odor of the rose, it would have been equally or more susceptible to stronger vile odors, had it been in the company of that which is vile; and that if it had been thrown simultaneously equally near to the influence of the rose perfume and to the thing of vile odor, the latter would have been the stronger, and the result would have been an offensive odor. So with the Lord's people. It is as necessary that we shun the evil as that we cleave to that which is good.

The young King Joash, under the tutelage of his foster-father Jehoiada, the chief priest, walked faithfully [R2366 : page 294] in harmony with the law of the Lord, as long as his foster-father lived. He even seems to have been deeply imbued with a heart desire to serve the Lord, for it [R2367 : page 294] would appear that the repairing of the temple was of his own thought, and not suggested by his adviser, the priest. The command first given by the king, for a collection of money throughout all Israel, to repair the Temple, seems to have been comparatively neglected, probably because the people of Judah had very generally come to doubt the priesthood, and to query how much of the money that would be collected would ever be directly applied to Temple repairs. But the king was in earnest and, seeing that this method failed, he adopted a new one, of placing a large contribution box at the entrance of the Temple, and then all Israel was exhorted by the priests to remember the commandment of Moses in respect to their giving.

The Mosaic Law called for a tax of half a shekel (about 33 cents) on each male of twenty years old and upward, for the service of the Tabernacle, now the Temple (Exod. 30:11-16), besides which they might freely offer as much as they chose. It would appear also (2 Kings 12:13-16) that a regular accounting and division of the money was made, so that the people knew how their contributions were now being used, and could give directly to the Temple repairs. The result was a spontaneous giving of money enough for the work and to spare: and the awakening of the people to their sense of duty and obligation, and additionally their benevolence in the Lord's cause seems to have been generally profitable, arousing fresh interest in the proper worship of the true God.

We may draw some profitable lessons from all this, altho the Temple did not typify our church edifices, and its gorgeous adornment and costly furnishments do not convey a lesson favoring extravagance in church building to-day. Quite to the contrary, the plain synagogues of the Jews corresponded to church buildings, while the Temple typified the true Church, the glorified Ecclesia. (1) We may remember the Apostolic statement that as Christians our mortal bodies are individually and severally temples of the holy spirit, if so be that the Lord's spirit dwells in us (1 Cor. 3:16,17), and consequently it is our duty not only to keep our bodies pure and undefiled as possible, in thought, word and act, outwardly and inwardly, but it is a part of our duty also to take reasonable care of our physical systems to the intent that they may be the better exponents and channels through which the spirit of the truth in us may glorify God and bless those with whom we come in contact. This does not imply excessive carefulness or pampering, nor hesitation to use our strength to the very last in the service of our Lord, and in faithfulness unto death; but it does imply that we should seek to regulate our lives and so restrain our appetites that our eating and drinking and general course in life may be such as will fit us for usefulness in divine service. The Lord's people are not to live to eat, in self-gratification, but to eat to live, that they may be the better qualified to render service to him to whom they have consecrated themselves living sacrifices.

(2) The Apostle refers to the Church as a whole as the antitypical temple of God, in which each individual Christian is a member in particular: our Lord spoke of his Church from this standpoint when he said, "Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up" – he spoke of the temple of his body, and the glorification of that body on the third thousand-year day, namely, at the beginning of the Millennium. In respect to this Temple of the Lord, each one of his people is to be very zealous that the Temple be kept in good condition, in good repair. To this end we are exhorted by the Apostle to build one another up in the most holy faith, to help one another, to encourage one another, to "restore one another," "if any be overtaken in a fault."

During the "Dark Ages" the nominal temple of God, the nominal church, fell into great disorder through false doctrines, false practices, priestcraft, superstition and general defilement. The Reformation movement of the sixteenth century did much to cleanse and renovate this nominal temple, but those who see in the divine Word the clearly drawn outlines of the true Temple of God, realize that the nominal temple is still in a deplorable condition. Our King enlightens us through his Word that the nominal temple is not the real Temple, and is shortly to be abandoned, with the close of this age. He shows us that the real Temple is yet to be built, and that the work of this Gospel age has been to quarry, then chisel and fit and shape, and then polish, the "living stones" for places in the true Temple of God, which is not yet completed.

He thus shows us that it is still our privilege to be co-workers together with God, and to help forward in this great work of preparing the great Temple, the spiritual, of which he is the foundation and capstone, and of which his faithful followers shall be living members and pillars. (Rev. 3:12; 1 Pet. 2:5.) Our great work, therefore, is in connection with this future glorified Temple of God, (a) to co-operate with God in his work of grace in our own hearts, by which we are being fitted and prepared for a place in the Temple of his glory, and (b) to assist others, both by precept and example, for places in the same. Like Solomon's typical temple, this great Temple will shortly come together "without the sound of a hammer," every part fitting to its place perfectly. Then, shortly, the glory of the Lord will fill the temple; "then the righteous shall shine forth as the sun in the Kingdom of their Father;" then in and through this glorious Temple all the world of mankind shall be privileged to draw near to God, for forgiveness of sins and for reconciliation through the precious blood of Christ, and the great work of the Millennium will begin – the blessing of all the families of the earth through the "elect," the "royal priesthood."

page 295

LETTERS FROM EARNEST COLABORERS.

Texas.

DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL: – I was much encouraged to receive yours of the 8th instant, and you indeed stated the matter correctly, for it was a great pleasure to me to be able to minister the truth to others, and where the opposition was the strongest, the Lord stood the closer by me and strengthened me. How I wish I could labor more in the service of the Lord than I do, just for that "sweet comfort and peace" that the Lord gives to those who rejoice in telling his truth. I find the more I labor the more I receive.

I am very glad to hear of Brother Ransom's contemplated tour in Texas this Winter, and I am sure that his visit will be productive of much good here. I have often wished I could meet some of the "pilgrims," and now it seems that my wish is to be gratified. As soon as I receive card announcing the time Bro. Ransom will arrive, we will make all necessary arrangements, and I will be glad to meet Bro. R. at the depot. I am of the opinion that the conditions existing here in the past have been an exception to the general run of events in other cities, and on account of such conditions I think the Lord has by various circumstances withheld the sickle of truth from being thrust in as thoroughly as it would otherwise have been. We wish to begin a systematic distribution of tracts at the different churches in this city, and to this end will be glad to have a further supply of tracts, and for the German-Lutheran churches we would be glad to have some tracts printed in the German language. Another Brother and myself have been distributing tracts in this manner, standing about a block away from the church; – so as to avoid the appearance of a "special attack."

If you arrange for Bro. R. to stop at the places I have just recently visited, I would be glad to render what assistance I could in notifying interested ones of his arrival. If I can be of any service, advise me.

Yours in Christ,
E. J. COWARD.

Kansas.

DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL: – I wish to tell you that your recent TOWER articles have been a great help to me, especially the one entitled "Purify Your Hearts, Ye Double-Minded." It led me to examine myself more closely, and in so doing I found in myself more or less of double-mindedness which, by the grace of God, I am earnestly endeavoring to overcome, and I am so pleased to tell you that I am making blessed progress. I more than ever realize my privilege of being an overcomer if I only will to do his will. The article, "Ye Serve the Lord Christ," has also been a great help to me; it has taught me to be more faithful in little things in my every-day life, seeking to please him and cultivating Love more diligently in thought, word and deed; and Oh, the result is so grand: it gives sweetest rest and holy peace. It also serves to stir others up around us to let them know by our conduct that we are seeking to come closer to Jesus and more nearly to overcome the weakness of the fallen flesh, thereby making of ourselves living epistles. Oh, that we may all be kept humble and faithful to the end of our journey, is my earnest and sincere prayer. I desire an earnest interest in your prayers as I also always remember you with all the faithful of the household of faith. With warmest Christian love, I remain,

Your humble servant in Christ,

MRS. R. FRITZ.

Indiana.

DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL: – Brother M. L. McPhail came Saturday and held a meeting at Bro. Zorn's that evening. There were about fifteen present. On Sunday we had three meetings at our home, and many more came than I expected. I was so hungry to hear from "home" and to have someone to commune with who could expound these precious truths. When your card came, saying that Brother McPhail would be here on the 14th, I at once conferred with Bro. Zorn, arranged for the meetings and met Bro. M. at the depot.

There are quite a number of Seventh-day Adventists in this neighborhood, and some came to ask questions and to tell what their belief is; and how patient Bro. M. was, and how determined that all questions should be settled by God's Word alone! I cannot tell you how much good it did to those who came to hear him; but I can tell you that it filled my heart with gladness to hear him preach the good tidings. How any one can hear and not believe is a wonder to me, and I thank our Lord for his blessing. Hereafter, whenever any of our "Pilgrim" brethren pass near us, surely have them stop – my home will welcome all whom you may commend.

The WATCH TOWER is a great comfort to me, and my prayer to God is that he may bless and strengthen you. Your Sister in Christ,

CAROLINE M. SMITH.

Iowa.

DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL: – I want to give you a brief report of the meetings held here in conjunction with Brother Rogers' visit. We anticipated his coming with pleasure, and our expectations are more than realized. We had a blessed time indeed. How kind and gracious the Lord has been to us! Altho some outsiders received a blessing, it seems that the Lord intended specially to confer a blessing upon the little, lonely, scattered flock in this neighborhood. Our meetings were well attended, especially the second one, at which I think there were over 30 present. Brothers Jordan, Hampton and Weir were with us during the entire time, and symbolized their consecration by immersion with four of us here, making seven immersions. Bro. R. will no doubt give you all the names in full. The Baptist people kindly consented to let us use their baptistry, so we gathered there after the evening service to obey the Lord's command, and after the service we all felt happy and realized the Lord's favor and blessing more than ever. It has stimulated us to zeal and energy in overcoming and serving him more faithfully and joyfully with the best of our time and talents. One visible result of the meetings is that we have found several brethren and sisters who have been for some time searching for light in different directions, and we trust that they are true wheat and will be found of the truth and gladly receive and embrace it. We are truly grateful to our Lord for his kindness and mercy to us and also to his humble servants who were used of him to confer the blessings. Trusting that he will deem us worthy of another shower of the same kind before long and praying a continuance of his favors and blessings upon all his faithful servants and indeed all the household, we remain,

Yours in Love and fellowship of the truth,

G. B. IMHOFF.

page 296

Florida.

DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL: – Our August WATCH TOWER has just come, and I wish to thank you again and again for the words of strength and encouragement in its first article (have not had time to read all). It seems that as the time is shorter for you to work here in the body, you are given words to say, just the words that shall be a mighty power through God's blessing, when you shall be through with the work of writing with pen. Many faults in myself that I little thought were in me have you brought to my knowledge, and have opened my own heart, and I earnestly and joyfully thank you that you wounded to heal. We need not say we wish to be cleansed from all unrighteousness and then flinch when the cleansing comes. I think the very fact that some, yea many, sharp truths cut as we read them, is something to make us rejoice, as it shows that our Father is answering our prayers for cleansing: that we are his loved children tho we be still far from perfect. Because only those whom God loves as sons have their eyes opened to self to any extent; others, if they get but a glimpse of some hidden fault, will take refuge in anger and go faster and faster backward.

Our daughter is an earnest Christian, doing every thing unpleasant or pleasant, as the duty may be, as unto the Lord. She and I both pray earnestly each night for you, never forgetting, no matter how weary or sick we may be, and I am sure there are very many who have been blessed by your ministry who, like us, daily pray for you.

Your Sister in the faith,

MRS. M. E. JOHNSON.

Washington.

DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL: – A letter received from my people at home and one from Brother Draper go to show that great good has been accomplished by his visit to that locality, and that his visit was highly appreciated. I am truly thankful for this good news. About thirty attended each of the three meetings he held there, and all were interested, and those in the truth greatly benefited. As the Brother gave several discourses last year without the chart, he used it this time to good advantage.

The Washington friends are very glad to know that Brother Henninges will so soon be with us, and I am sure his visit will be timely and, I might say, providential; as just at this time there are several newly interested ones who have expressed a great desire to have someone give a chart discourse for their own benefit and the benefit of some of their friends who are likewise becoming interested through them. There will be about eight for immersion on this occasion, and this truly is a reason for much rejoicing and praise to God.

It seems that those coming into the truth now make much faster progress in knowledge of the deep things of God than heretofore, and I have been wondering if this is true in other places. May it not be that, as the time draws on for the closing of the door of opportunity, they who enter become more speedily enlightened regarding the deeper things? It certainly would seem that way so far as my observation goes.

Brother Hayes, formerly of Rock Island, called on me to-day, and we had a pleasant visit together in the office. He and Sister Hayes will meet with us next Sunday at our Anacostia meeting and will remain over to the meetings to be held by Bro. Henninges. We are having more than our usual allotment of meetings of late, and the more we have the better the friends here seem to like it. We certainly cannot have too many of the character we are having here now. We all enjoy them so much. We know that your prayers are with us, and you may be sure that all the Bible House friends have a share in our prayers, and may the dear Lord shower rich blessings upon all of like precious faith with us, be they near or far.

With Christian love to all the Church at Allegheny, I remain, – In Christ, – Brother J. A. BOHNET.

[Since the above was written, Brother Henninges has visited the Church at W. We have further good reports; eight were baptized. – EDITOR.]

Chicago.

DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL: – Thank you for your letter of last week with its good wishes for my brother and his wife. I have not pressed the "present truth" upon them very urgently, but will still watch for opportunities and use them gladly. [R2367 : page 296]

Yesterday (Sunday) I found my way out to the foot of Wilson Av., where our "brethren" gathered on the Lake front for a symbolic baptism service. We had our morning service in a fishing tent, seated around upon boards, caring little indeed for our surroundings, feeding upon the Word of life as set before us by Bro. M. L. McPhail, and showing forth God's praises in hymns and prayers from full hearts. Then followed eleven baptisms, six men and five women. Then we spread lunch under the trees on a pretty little hillock, and afterward held an open air meeting on the same spot. Bro. McPhail discoursed by request upon Paul's "absent from the body, present with the Lord" and context, answering questions and inviting them. He had a very quiet and earnest little flock of listeners – of several nationalities, American, Scotch, Irish, Swedish, Norwegian, Danish, German and Polish, certainly, and possibly others. About fifty in all, men, women and children.

Before the morning service I looked in some wonder at the unattractive faces of some of the women, evidently used to continuous hard work and weariness. When I talked to them my wonder changed to another sort: the heavy faces lighted, and I discovered that their owners were not so dull as they had appeared; they seemed to know just where they stood, and were able to give a reason for the hope that is in them. And then I realized that even the plainest countenances were free from all hardness and bitterness, and I praised God for his great power unto salvation, and his sweet and wonderful ways.

The Lord's poor, – how different from the rest of the poor! And the quiet ways of these people, how different from some of less understanding in the divine Word! "The grave in front, a hating world in rear" seemed only to make them earnest, sober, patient, but not to have any terrors for them. "We must suffer with Christ before we can reign with him," a Danish Sister said, quite understandingly setting "Christian Science" aside. I am told that some of these people have scarcely missed a Sunday meeting in five and six years. Praying ever the Lord's blessing upon you all at the Bible House, with much Christian love,

Your Sister,

ALICE L. DARLINGTON.

page 297
October 1st

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

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

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

VOL. XIX.OCTOBER 15, 1898.No. 20.
CONTENTS.

Views from the Watch Tower 299
Council Bluffs Convention 299
"Man Proposes, God Disposes" 300
Emperor William's Ambition 301
Another Motive Back of the Ambition 302
Italy's Internecine War 303
Poem: "Good for those Who Love God" 304
The Prophet Isaiah's Vision 304
The Messianic Kingdom Foretold 307

'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 298

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

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

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

SUBSCRIPTIONS AND BUSINESS COMMUNICATIONS
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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 send a Postal Card each December, stating their case and requesting the paper. We are not only willing, but anxious, that all such be on our list constantly.

[R2368 : page 299]

VIEWS FROM THE WATCH TOWER.

COUNCIL BLUFFS CONVENTION is a thing of the past; but it will never be forgotten by those who participated. The attendance was much larger than we had expected – 175 from abroad, and at the principal sessions about the same number from Omaha and Council Bluffs, friends of the truth and their friends. The visitors were chiefly from Iowa, Nebraska and Kansas; but other States were fairly represented – Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Dakota, Missouri, Illinois, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Maryland, Georgia, Oklahoma, Colorado, Kentucky, California and Washington.

The four days were a season of blessed refreshing to all, and were faithfully spent from 9 A.M. to 9 and sometimes 10 P.M., with intermissions for meals; and another day was spent in private conferences with colporteuring brethren and sisters, some of them beginners. It was remarked by many that they had never seen a convention so free from jar and friction, nor one exhibiting the spirit of meekness, patience, forbearance and brotherly love in so marked a degree. Neither the Chicago Convention of 1893, nor the previous ones at Allegheny (precious as they all were) were better than this one, if they equalled it.

The public speakers were Brothers M. L. McPhail, F. Draper and the Editor of this journal; but nearly all took part in the prayers, praises and testimonies. Testimony meetings preceded the regular meetings and were extremely profitable – not a moment was lost, sometimes two or three being on their feet to speak at one time. And such testimonies – such beaming faces – such gratitude to God for the light of present truth – such love for the brethren – were the general comments. Visitors wondered that no collections were taken, no appeals made for money, but on the contrary, offers were made to assist any attending the meeting short of funds, – tho evidently none were wealthy. During the session a discourse was preached on the real baptism and its water symbol, after which twenty-one brethren and twenty sisters were symbolically baptized. The youngest of these was about thirty years of age and the eldest two, Bro. Gephart and wife, looked to be over seventy years old. Altogether, we all rejoiced in the divine favor enjoyed, and quite a number expressed the hope that another Convention might be held ere long.

*                         *                         *

The convention spirit was contagious, and many who could not attend at Council Bluffs, because of the distance and expense, urged sub-conventions which we might attend enroute to Council Bluffs. We were obliged to decline most of these, for lack of time – the general work being retarded by every day's absence from Allegheny. We did, however, engage to meet with the Chicago Church on Sunday, the 10th, and found that notice of the meetings had brought friends from nearby points in Illinois, Indiana and Michigan. These, with the friends of the four Chicago meetings, the friends of these and others, aggregated three to four hundred. The meetings were held in the Masonic Temple and lasted from 3 P.M. until 9:30 P.M., with an intermission for luncheon, which the Chicago friends provided free, and which was shared by about one hundred and fifty, with zest and appreciation, and every way all the friends of the truth had a most enjoyable time, judging from their words and faces and [R2368 : page 300] hearty greetings and farewells, and assurances that the work centered at Allegheny has their heart-felt sympathy and prayers.

Meantime the friends at Sippo, Ohio, concluded that they, too, must have a sub-convention, and Brother Henninges of the WATCH TOWER force went to assist. He reports a most enjoyable time – the attendance running as high as one hundred and fifty. This meeting lasted three days. About the same time, also, Brother Koetitz of the WATCH TOWER force answered a similar call from Eastern Pennsylvania. It is a good sign of the spiritual condition, when there is so burning a desire to commune together respecting the exceeding great and precious promises of our Father's Word. And "love of the brethren" is one of the strong impelling promptings to these meetings, as it should be in all our assemblings, and so much the more, as we see the Day drawing on, with its increase of light and blessing to the "wise" in heavenly wisdom, and its increase of opposition to the light by the Prince of Darkness and his deluded servants.

*                         *                         *

We arrived home on the 11th, to find Allegheny and Pittsburgh in gala dress, festooned with bunting, interspersed with cross and crown emblems. The streets are crowded with thousands of citizens and visitors decorated with the same sacred emblems of our faith, and each bears a sword whose hilt is a cross. What does it mean? Has "the offense of the cross" ceased? – are these all true knights and soldiers of the cross? – and are they on some heavenly errand bent?

Alas no! they are merely one of the sects of our time which have "a form of godliness" and use the emblems of the true Church and her Lord, because nominally they have become popular. The Sir Knights are parading as we write, and, as we look at so fine a body of men, we wish indeed that they were all soldiers of the cross in the true sense: and we know not but what some of these, as well as some in all the various divisions of the nominal church, belong indeed to the Lord our King and will yet be amongst those gathered as the "elect," the "jewels," for the Kingdom.

We see by the press reports that Rev. C. I. Twing, of New York City, Grand Prelate of the Grand Encampment, preached a discourse in Trinity church (Episcopal), opening the conclave, on Sunday, the 9th inst. In that discourse, as an officer of the order, he made an announcement, and presumably not without authority, which, if lived up to, would imply that this ancient order will in the near future cease its opposition to Romanism and become her ally. The Grand Prelate in his discourse said of the order: –

"We have enlisted in a glorious warfare, and we have vowed to wield our swords, not to rescue the sepulcher, or any part of the holy land from the hand of the Saracen, but in defense of the Christian religion. It is assailed not by the followers of Islam, but by those who would supplant its teachings by a system of materialism, and a denial of the doctrine of the immortality of the soul."

"MAN PROPOSES, GOD DISPOSES."

"The world by wisdom knows not God." "Going about to establish a righteousness of their own they have not submitted themselves to the righteousness of God." – 1 Cor. 1:21; Rom. 10:3.

Men of energy and ambition are, more frequently than others, used of the Lord; because they are instruments ready for service. If the energy and ambition be thoroughly subjected to the Lord, – controlled by a high spirituality, humility and veneration toward the Creator, and with large individuality and independence of character and firmness toward men, – it will lead to reverent and careful study of the divine will and to persistence and assiduity in its prosecution. Such characters God is pleased to use for the great things of his service. Next to our Lord Jesus, the Apostle Paul is an ideal illustration of such a character: God was pleased to use him largely as a mouthpiece and as a servant of the truth – in proportion to his humility, loyalty and energy.

And likewise, but in an opposite direction, God has been pleased to use the energetic and ambitious among the worldly – whose motive power was not love, loyalty and humility, but to the contrary – selfish pride, vain-glory. God often uses such characters in another kind of service – causing their ambitious energies ("wrath") to praise him, and the remainder (beyond what suits his purposes) he restrains. Illustrations of this stamp of character are seen in Satan, in Judas, and in persons in less prominent positions in the Church, – even to-day. These are active in planting "roots of bitterness, by which many are defiled" and sifted out, stumbled – leaving the remainder stronger and purer. See the inspired Word on this subject, – "I hear that there be divisions among you; and as to a certain part I believe it: and there must needs be also partyism among you [permitted of the Lord], that they that are approved may be made manifest among you." "Brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offenses, in violation of the doctrine which ye have learned [ – the royal law of Love]; and avoid them." "They went out from us, but they were not of us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us: but they went out that they might be made manifest that they were not all of us." (1 Cor. 11:18; [R2368 : page 301] Rom. 16:17; 1 John 2:19.) It is doubtless as necessary that the Church be sifted, purged, tested, as that it be "built up;" and for either work God uses the ready and willing.

But our thoughts run specially in the channel of God's supervision of earthly affairs and his use of [R2369 : page 301] worldly ambitions in world-affairs. In this direction Pharaoh, Nebuchadnezzar, Cyrus, Alexander and Napoleon I. are notable examples of the past, – men of destiny, over whose affairs Providence had a supervision. God utilized the energies and ambitions of these men in the forwarding of his plans and the fulfilment of his predictions – and their further ambitious efforts he restrained by his superior power, as it pleased him. Our thoughts pursue this course, because we perceive such a worldly ambition to do something notable, to achieve a world-wide fame, possessing a man of opportunity to-day – the German Emperor: and we regard him as likely to be to some extent another "man of destiny."

EMPEROR WILLIAM'S AMBITION.

As Lord Hershel was guided by his science to search for a new planet and thus discovered one, so the students of the greatest of all sciences – the divine revelation, the Bible – are guided thereby to search for its promised "things to come" (John 16:13), and, as was promised, they find them and thus are permitted to anticipate history. For instance, the "Watchers" know, from the unfolding of the Scriptures which God has provided them, that astounding changes, social, religious and political, are just before us – to be accomplished within the next sixteen years: we note the Scripture testimony that just prior to the great collapse in anarchy there is to be a revival of Papal influence in the world, and that Protestantism, considerably unified or federated, will be in practical sympathy and cooperation with Papacy: and that in fact (tho not in theory) Catholicism and Protestantism will for a short time jointly rule the civilized world (through the civil powers) and appear to have begun a human Millennium; but while the cries of Peace! Peace!! are still heard, will come the great cataclysm of social revolution which shall demolish all present institutions and demonstrate the futility of all selfish human schemes, and by heart-broken discouragements prepare mankind for the great blessing which God has in store – the Kingdom of God.

Naturally, the "Watchers" are on the lookout for every sign of the times seeming to harmonize with the known coming events. Indeed, our interest in the "news of the day" is chiefly with the fragments which seem to have a connection with or a bearing upon the fulfilments of prophecy. And knowing that God generally uses "a man of opportunity" for his work, we are struck with the fact that the German Emperor, who evidently is seeking a notable destiny, has lately been giving expression to ambitions that seem closely related to Scriptural predictions. And his determination and pride will impel him so far as possible to make good his boasts: added to which he freely and repeatedly declares that he feels himself led and impelled in this direction by an unseen power, or "voice," which spurs him on to success. And a success on one point or issue would surely lead such a man to larger schemes in the same direction. God "raised him up" to the throne of the German Empire (in probably the same way that he raised Pharaoh up to the throne of Egypt at the time of Israel's deliverance) by taking out of the way, by death, his father – a man of very different temperament and ambitions. What would be more reasonable than to suppose of William III. that (as it is written of one brought miraculously to the throne of old) God brought him "to the throne, for such a time as this," and for the work he is ambitious to accomplish.

The Emperor's ambition is to restore to "religion" some of its former power by which it cooperated with the civil rulers in the control of the world. Not that he would desire to reproduce "the dark ages" of priestcraft and superstition, and of inquisition, the stake and the rack; but that he considers those evils not in the light of the Scriptures, but in the light of to-day's world-wisdom, attributing those evils to the ignorance of the times and not to the false teachings of Anti-Christ.

He reasons that Romanism is rejuvenating and adapting itself to twentieth century conditions and can be trusted as much as Protestantism, so far as the maintenance of present governments is concerned; – and that, after all, is to him the all-important matter. Indeed, he seems to feel that the revival of Papal influence is a necessity anyway on the ground that of two evils the least should be chosen to avert the greater. Therefore he proposes to be the mediator between King Humbert of Italy and the Pope, and to endeavor to bring about a reconciliation of interests. His thought apparently is that after some parley both will consent to modifications of their claims in the interest of harmony. The pope will probably be asked to waive all claim of civil power over the provinces once known as the States of the Church, and the King be asked to grant the pope civil control of Rome. It is barely possible that this will succeed on the basis of Rome or some portion of the claimed papal territory being placed under papal control or princedom by popular vote – which would make of the pope a sort of President rather than a prince. Such a reconciliation would [R2369 : page 302] reconcile the Catholic party throughout Italy and establish Humbert's shaky throne: and it would reinstate the pope amongst the "sovereigns" of earth. Additionally it would bring the blessing of the pope and of all the Catholics upon the German Emperor and establish his throne more securely. Finally – the governments of earth being then all at harmony with Papacy, its representative could pose as arbiter of disputes of national and international importance, – his old role.

The German Emperor's scheme is even broader than this; for, while yet his name is popular amongst Romanists, he will attempt to exalt it amongst Protestants by assuming the part of defender, father, pope to the Lutherans of all nations. It is in this role that he has planned a visit to Jerusalem ere long – to preside with great display at the formal opening and consecration of a Protestant Cathedral (under construction twenty years), which he has about finished. This is to be specially German, but also international – for Lutheran churches of all lands have been invited to send representatives to take part in the ceremonies (and incidentally to admire and bless and honor the Emperor – who will be the centre of interest and the recognized head and front of Lutheranism).

From the Emperor's own statement of his ambitious designs (published in the public prints) as related to General Hoffmann Scholz, and doubtless designed for publication, we furnish an extract. After telling of his various past efforts to bring about a reconciliation between the Papacy and the monarchy of Italy, he said: –

"But the good that was to be done is still to do, and I am resolved to go on with my undertaking. The entire world will gain if I can bring about the rapprochement of Leo XIII. and Humbert I. No one will doubt the sincerity of my Protestant leanings. But it is precisely because I am a Protestant that I have a clear and accurate conception of the power and influence of the Papacy.

"At the present day two great evils threaten humanity. They are Socialism and Atheism. Against each of these the pope is a bulwark. In fighting infidelity no aid should be neglected. Socialism is infidelity to the monarch or the State, and Atheism is infidelity to God.

"The Pope is the spiritual ruler of the largest communion on earth, and he is by far the most powerful and authoritative of spiritual rulers. His word is promptly and willingly obeyed by hundreds of millions of people spread throughout the globe. He can order and direct the consciences of these multitudes. He can say: These are your religious tenets: those must be your social sentiments; and suddenly he is obeyed. His power therefore for good is immeasurable.

"Kings and emperors are the divinely ordained guardians of social order and directors of social well-being, just as the leaders of religious bodies are the divinely ordained moderators of conscience. But just as kings and emperors can have their beneficent influence in the religious order, so can spiritual guides help and promote the social weal.

"The pope's range of power is the vastest of all, and consequently the possibilities of the good he may do are the most far-reaching. I think it imperative therefore that he be put in a position to freely accomplish all the good of which he is capable. He must be liberated from his self-imposed imprisonment in the Vatican. All the trammels that surround and harass him in his daily life must be removed, so that he will then be at liberty to fight the common enemies, Socialism and irreligion. And he will be in a position to make his voice heard in the interests of peace, when nations go to war without just motive, and in the interest of humanity, when acts of cruelty or injustice are being anywhere committed.

"I have meditated long and deeply on this subject. The fact that it preoccupies me so much convinces me that I am inspired to take action in the matter. It is like one of the voices that Socrates had about with him which whispers in my ear that this also is my mission to remedy the pope's position and open up the field for his range of well-doing. It daily urges me to act. Whether I shall succeed or not it is beyond my power to foretell. Judging from the circumstances there is every evidence that success should not be outside the bounds of possibility. I am going to do my utmost, and more than this no man can do.

"I feel for the moment that I have no other concrete and practical mission before me. To succeed in [R2370 : page 302] such an undertaking would be a climax and a crowning worthy of any man's life. As I say, I will energetically attempt it. The small preternatural voice unmistakably spurs me on, and I think than this no better augury of success could be desired.

"For this moment I can say no more, and it does not behoove me to be too explicit about my plans. They are already laid, and my immediate actions will be a development of them. Their result will be their justification, and it will also be the justification of many acts in the past, which may have seemed strange and unaccountable to my good Protestant subjects, but which had their motive and their origin in a desire to accomplish great and enduring events...

"I shall not die until my ends in this regard are attained. Death otherwise would find a void in my existence; and I feel within me that I have not been born in vain."

ANOTHER MOTIVE BACK OF THE AMBITION.

Doubtless the Emperor thinks most, and would have others think most, of his disinterested benevolence, in the matter of the proposed peacemaking. Nevertheless, every thoughtful observer can read between the lines another motive. It is not because William loves Catholicism more or Protestantism less, that he thus exerts himself; but because he loves both Protestantism and Catholicism in proportion as they make his own imperial power secure: and he sees correctly, and so do other potentates, that all monarchs [R2370 : page 303] stand or fall together. The wealthy class sees also, as well as the royal class, that growth of general intelligence amongst the masses leads to broader views and greater demands on their part, based on new views respecting human equality, rights and privileges, incompatible with the principles of monarchy and the exploded theory of "the divine right of kings" to rule and of others to unquestioningly obey their behests.

This disposition of the people to claim and so far as possible grasp all that they consider to be their rights (sometimes unjustly and unwisely making extreme claims) is creating a reaction against liberty, not only on the part of rulers, who are put on the defensive as to every feature of law and order, but they have with them an increasing number of those who love peace and order, and who realize that too much power in the hands of the officers of the law is preferable to too much liberty in the hands of rash, inexperienced and irresponsible people, whose well-meant panaceas for the ills of human society are at very most experiments, whose success (if successful) would mean momentous changes, unfavorable to royal and financial princes and incidentally also for all either directly or indirectly associated with or dependent upon these. For instance, the ministers and churches of all denominations in Germany are supported by the Government at public expense, and would not be sure of an equivalent support for a while at least if the Government were in any manner changed.

Emperor William views with alarm the condition of things prevailing in Italy, considerable districts of which have lately been placed under martial law to prevent bread-riots. The government claims that these were incited by Roman Catholic priests, who, it claims, are continually intriguing and endeavoring to prejudice the populace against the monarchy, in hope that the latter will yield to the Pope's demands and restore his sovereignty over the "Papal States," or that, failing in this, a revolution will overthrow the present kingdom and establish a republic under which the pope could fare no worse. Already the Socialists and Radicals hold the balance of power in the Parliament of Italy, and hence the government greatly desires the aid of the Papal influence to maintain order, but it cannot do otherwise than meet Papal intrigue with force, to preserve the trembling monarchy. On this subject a well informed writer says: –

ITALY'S INTERNECINE WAR.

"The scarcity of news from Italy at the present time is indicative of the policy of suppression begun by the new Premier, General Pelloux. He has begun his career by stifling the newspaper press of that country in a manner that has no equal in Europe. Not even Russia is under such stringent rule regarding her press as is Italy.

"Italy's new Prime Minister has declared war upon the Vatican. Every step that his Cabinet takes is with a view to curtail the power of the pope... One feature of his program is the suppression of all societies that have or are suspected to have religious affiliations. The laws of Italy prohibit clerical ownership of property. This law was passed years ago, and was thought to be a death-blow to religious corporations. Since that time a large number of lay societies have sprung into existence, and, acting as agents for the clericals, have secured the ownership of vast and important properties. During the past five years no less than 1200 rural banks have been established, the religious character of which is shown by their being under the absolute control of the local ecclesiastics. A circular is now being drafted by the government to be sent to the local authorities, ordering the beginning of the campaign against the societies.

"With the growing dissatisfaction over high taxes on wheat, which has raised bread to famine prices, and the large internal taxation, the Vatican has forced the Quirinal to rule by the force of arms. Two generals and two admirals hold seats in the Ministry, and they hope to retain them by a policy of suppression.

"What is to be the end of all this? Already there is a cry throughout Italy that the monarchy is doomed and that the best thing that could happen would be for it to split up into a number of small republics under the general temporal control of the pope. Certainly, as matters stand now, the State can expect no aid from the clergy. The latter, as a matter of fact, are the most tireless agents in spreading the crusade against the King."

This is the spectre that is haunting Emperor William: he fears that the trouble of a brother sovereign may result in trouble within his own empire. He realizes that one or many republics in Italy would be much more dangerous than a visit from the Cholera and the Bubonic Plague together. Royalty is in dread of the spread of popular government. Besides, he is kept busy at home, watching and circumventing the rapidly growing numbers and influence of Socialists and Radicals in the German Reichstag. If we digest the following facts we will see the mainspring of the German Emperor's efforts as a peace-maker. He realizes that he must have aid of the Romanists, or else destroy the present form of his own government and proclaim himself an Autocrat, a Dictator, a Czar, – too dangerous an experiment to be entertained, unless all else fails. The facts referred to are these: –

Twenty-eight years ago, in the first imperial election the Socialists polled only 102,000 votes, and elected but one Deputy to the Reichstag or Parliament. In [R2370 : page 304] 1890 they elected thirty-five Deputies, in 1893 the number of Deputies was increased to forty-five, and this year polling a vote of over two million ballots they have increased their representatives to fifty-seven. There are four parties in Germany – (1) The "Centrists" or Roman Catholic party (professedly under the guidance of Papal influences) has 102 Deputies, (2) The Conservatives, 80 Deputies, (3) The Socialists, 57 Deputies, (4) The National Liberals, 47 Deputies. From this it is evident that the Socialists are already quite a factor throwing their influence with one or another of the larger parties and bartering for their support in return: but the most striking thing is their rapid growth. They are conducting their efforts wisely and making no end of trouble for the Kaiser. To add to this trouble, the largest party, the "Centrists" (the Papal party) has recently started on an aggressive campaign of cooperation with the Socialists and thus will put it within the power of both of these parties to enact laws which each has coveted for years, but been unable to attain for lack of numbers in cooperation. All this seems to imply considerable and speedy trouble to Emperor William, unless he can gain the good will and cooperation of this "Clerical" or Centrist party by good offices toward the pope in his dispute with the Italian government.

The pope is a very shrewd man: he sees the trend of events too, and is working every lever that will help his cause: undoubtedly the proposed move of the Centrists of Germany was ordered from Rome and will continue to be manipulated in the interest of Papacy. The whole civilized world is to be made to feel, as far as possible, that its only bulwark against Socialism is Romanism. It is because Protestants everywhere are catching this thought that so many advances are being made Romeward by all denominations.

[R2367 : page 304]

"GOOD FOR THOSE WHO LOVE GOD."

"They tell us that in Pisa's old cathedral
All noises, harsh and loud –
Grating of ponderous doors, shrill tones, the tramping
And murmur of the crowd –
Are caught up, softened, harmonized and blended
Within the lofty dome;
Then echoed back in one great wave of music,
Sweet as a dream of home.

"So all the harsh notes in life's mingled music:
The burden and the woe;
The stroke that almost snaps the quivering heartstrings,
The loss that grieves us so;
In heaven's o'er-arching dome of perfect wisdom,
Power and love, shall be
Gathered and blended in divinest marvel
Of matchless melody.
– M. L. UPTON.

[R2370 : page 304]

THE PROPHET ISAIAH'S VISION.
– OCT. 23. – ISA. 6:1-13. –

"I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, Whom shall I send, and who will go for us? Then said I, Here am I; send me." – Isa. 6:8.
P
RECEDING lessons have traced for us the history of the ten tribes, Israel, and afterward the two tribes, Judah, down to about the time of Isaiah the prophet. We have noted the truthfulness of the Lord's expression respecting Israel, that they were a "crooked and perverse generation," according to their own history. They were continually gravitating toward [R2371 : page 304] idolatry, and even when corrected and brought back, through divine judgments at the hands of their enemies, their prosperity lasted but a brief season, until they were delving again in idolatry, and required fresh chastisements. The first five chapters of the prophecy of Isaiah are denunciations against Israel and Judah, mingled with exhortations to reformation, in which the Lord calls to them, saying: –

"The ox knoweth his owner and the ass his master's crib, but Israel does not know, my people doth not consider...Wash you, make you clean: put away the evil of your doings from before your eyes; cease to do evil, learn to do well....Come now and let us reason together, saith the Lord; tho your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; tho they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. If ye be willing and obedient ye shall eat the good of the land; but if ye refuse and rebel ye shall be devoured with the sword."

But these divine offers of mercy fell upon heedless ears, and consequently the Lord sent a different message, to which this lesson specially relates. And since the new message would be a difficult one to proclaim, a vision was given to Isaiah to encourage him, and to lead him to volunteer to be the bearer of that message. The vision represented the majesty of God, his greatness and glory: and his holiness is markedly brought to attention by the acclaim of the seraphim, "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory." In this vision Jehovah presents himself to the attention of Isaiah as a King above all kings, as tho to suggest to the prophet, and to all to whom the vision [R2371 : page 305] would be related, the thought of divine majesty, which ultimately shall be revealed to the whole world of mankind, in the light of whose glory the majesty and tinsel-grandeur of earthly kings will be the veriest dross. The vision is a prophecy of the future, when the "glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together" in the establishment of the Kingdom of God during the Millennium. – Isa. 40:5.

Only from this prophetic standpoint would the words of the seraphim be true, for the whole earth has never yet been filled with the Lord's glory. Quite to the contrary, the earth is full of sin and violence, and every evil work prospers under the dominion of the great adversary of God and righteousness, "the prince of this world." But God would have Isaiah, and especially the spiritual "sons" of this Gospel age, for whose benefit the prophet specially wrote (1 Pet. 1:12), know that evil shall not always prevail, but that, as expressed in our dear Redeemer's model prayer, eventually God's Kingdom shall come, and his will shall be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Then, with evil and evil-doers destroyed, and the knowledge of the Lord filling the earth, this prophecy will be fulfilled, and the whole earth shall be full of the Lord's glory. But meantime the Lord's people are to wait patiently for him – for his time for the bringing in of everlasting righteousness. And meantime his servants are to serve him, and to endure opposition from the world, as seeing him who is invisible, and as recognizing the glory of the Lord, which is as yet only in vision and promise.

The repeating of the word "holy" has an intensifying effect, as signifying superlatively holy, most holy. Thus, in vision, did God impress upon his servant, Isaiah, his own holiness and indirectly as well his grace. All the surroundings of the vision were such as to support these thoughts, the very door-posts being seen to reverberate, and the prophet's own person thrilled with the sight and the message. Naturally and properly, his first thought was of his own unholiness, imperfection, as a member of the fallen race: he felt himself unworthy even to see so great a sight, or to be in the divine presence in vision, and immediately began to lament his own infirmity and his unworthiness, saying, Woe, I am a man whose lips are not clean enough to join with you seraphim in praising the Great King, much as I should like to do so.

Thus we ever find it: those who are brought closest to the divine presence, and who see the divine glories and majesty most distinctly, with the eyes of their understanding, and who realize most fully the holiness and perfection of our God – these feel, more than do others, their own blemishes and shortcomings and unworthiness, altho actually they are far superior to others of the human family, else they would never be granted such insights to the divine plan, character and coming glory. Humility is not only an appropriate grace for all who are blemished through the fall, but it is appropriate also to the angels, for is it not one of the fruits of the holy spirit, as pointed out by the Apostle? Whoever has a deep humility of heart, an intense appreciation of his own demerits, and of the divine perfection, is in a condition of heart ready for divine blessing and for usefulness in the divine service, while the pharisaical, who claim perfection for themselves in thought, word or deed, are in a condition of heart that is deplorable, and are wholly unfit to be used of the Lord as messengers of divine grace.

When Isaiah, in the vision, cried out lamenting his own imperfection, and that his lips were wholly inadequate to the telling of the divine glory, one of the seraphim brought a live coal from off the altar, and therewith touched the prophet's lips. Thus, in the symbolic language of the vision the Lord said to Isaiah: Since you have realized your own blemishes and divine goodness, you shall be granted powers of speech and eloquence and words that are not your own, but which are beyond your natural ability, and inspired by the Lord; – your lips shall be inspired with the message of the great salvation, the message of love, the fire, the zeal, which shall prompt and consume that sacrifice, and with the grand results which shall flow from it: you may, in your lips at least, be cleansed from all sin, even in advance of the great sacrifice of which you shall speak as my prophet and mouthpiece.

The vision had its designed effect upon Isaiah, establishing more firmly his faith, manifesting to him the divine greatness and power, to him the highest of holy things. Thus Isaiah's heart was quickened with a desire to further engage in the divine service, no matter what the message which the Lord would send. Consequently, when further on in the vision he heard the Lord inquire for a faithful servant, he immediately responded, offering himself, and was accepted, and the message given to him.

Thus it is also with those whom the Lord would specially use in his service during this Gospel age. None are forced into divine service: all soldiers of the cross must be volunteers – none will be drafted. The Lord does not even press us to become his servants, but, as was illustrated here with Isaiah, he shows to his faithful his character and plan, and lets them know that he is seeking such to worship and serve him, as worship and serve in spirit and in truth, and this knowledge is his "call." This is quite sufficient for all who have tasted of the Lord's grace appreciatively: for such to know that there is an opportunity of rendering service to the King of kings is to volunteer their services, to pray that the Lord will grant them a privilege of doing [R2371 : page 306] all their talents will fit them to do in his service. Only such are true mouthpieces of the Lord. The false prophets and teachers of error are those who affect to serve the Lord's cause, for hire of money or for praise of men, for self-adulation or aggrandizement.

The message of which Isaiah was thus made the channel or mouthpiece of the Lord, was, as already intimated, an unpleasant one. It was a message to the effect that the divine counsel had already foreseen that all the warnings, threatenings, chastisements, which had come upon Israel and Judah, and which would yet come upon them, would fail to reach their hearts and turn them to repentance; and that, as a consequence, the land would be made desolate, the people being carried away into captivity. Such a message would be difficult to deliver to any people, yet this was the message which the Lord sent, and for which he specially prepared his servant. We are not surprised to learn that the message was resented, and altho Isaiah lived to the good old age of seventy, there seems to be reasonable ground for the truth of the claim made by tradition that he eventually died a martyr's death, being sawn asunder. Even the ray of hope which his message contained, to the effect that a remnant of the people would be spared and returned to their land, and that the national hope would thus be revived, was no doubt considered to be the addition of insult to injury by the proud and self-willed people to whom the message was delivered.

It was not long after Isaiah had this vision that the ten tribes were carried away into captivity, and altho a reformation set in with Judah, it was but temporary, and Judah's share in the prophesied captivity occurred about one hundred and fifty years later.

This same message of the Lord was quoted by the Lord Jesus and the Apostle Paul, as further applicable to Israel, at the first advent, when, on their rejection of Messiah, the nation as a whole was rejected of the Lord and scattered amongst all the nations of the earth, and only a "remnant" of Israelites indeed, who accepted the Messiah, were received into the higher dispensation of divine favor of this Gospel age, as sons of God and joint-heirs with Jesus Christ our Lord. – Matt. 13:13-17; Jno. 1:12; Rom. 11:5-11.

Finding, as we do, in the Scriptures, that natural Israel was a type of nominal spiritual Israel, we are not surprised to find also that there is a somewhat similar message due to the spiritual house now, in the end of this age. The Lord's message now is that the harvest of the earth is ripe, that the time of harvest has come, [R2372 : page 306] that he is seeking Israelites indeed, that he is gathering out his jewels, which, during the prevalence of evil in the past, have been undergoing polishing to fit and prepare them for coming glory, and to reflect the divine light and beauty. The message now is that nominal Christendom is hereafter to be known as "Babylon," confusion, and that all who are truly the Lord's people are now to hear his voice and to flee out of Mystic Babylon, that they be not partakers of her sins, and that they receive not a share of her plagues from the vials of wrath which shortly shall be poured out upon her. – Rev. 18:1-4.

While the Lord has indeed put into our mouths a new song, that we may show forth the praises of him who has called us out of darkness into his marvelous light, and that we may tell of his loving-kindness and his tender mercies over all his works, and that eventually all shall come to a knowledge of the Lord, that they may be saved, if they will, nevertheless, this particular feature of the message of present truth, which calls God's people out of Babylon, is, in many respects, like the message which Isaiah was bidden to deliver to the faithful of Israel in his day: it is a message that is not favorably received; a message that is resented, and that brings upon those who present it, even in the most gentle and loving manner, the maledictions and the scowls of those who love sectarianism and the worship of human theories and creeds better than they love the Lord and his message.

Those who would speak the message of present truth in love, and yet with courage and fearlessness of man, need just such an encouragement as the Lord granted to Isaiah. They need that the eyes of their understanding be granted a vision of the King in his beauty; and they need to hear distinctly uttered the fact that ultimately the Lord shall establish his Kingdom, which shall fill the whole earth with his glory. And just such a view and such a message the Lord is now granting to those whom he would use as servants and mouthpieces. The present truth, the eating of the "meat in due season," now provided by our present Lord, affords his faithful a waking vision of the Lord's glory, never conceived of before, but now clearly recognized by the eye of faith, in the light of the clearer truth. In this light of the divine plan of the ages we indeed see the divine character as never before, – divine wisdom, divine justice, divine love and divine power, fully coordinated, operating in absolute accord in all the great work of our God, comprehending the past, the present and the future.

In this our vision there comes to us also the seraphic testimony, "Holy, holy, holy is the Lord of hosts. The whole earth is [to be] full of his glory." From this standpoint of the future work of our God, through the Millennial Kingdom of the glorified Christ, Head and Body, who shall bless all the families of the earth, we can see divine holiness, love, wisdom and justice, as it is not possible for them to be seen from any other. As it is, those who thus see divine grace in its effulgence, [R2372 : page 307] and who, nevertheless, realize their own imperfection and unworthiness, these it is who to-day have granted to them the opportunity of being mouthpieces of God by being touched with an antitypical coal from the antitypical altar, – touched with the consecration of the great sacrifice. And these are they who are anxious to render service to our Lord, and who are commissioned to bear the message of present truth to others.

[R2372 : page 307]

MESSIAH'S KINGDOM FORETOLD.

OCT. 30. – ISA. 11:1-10.

"The earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea."
O
NLY those who recognize the typical character of God's kingdom of old, and the typical character of the kingdom of Babylon which overthrew it, are prepared to understand the prophecies: because in the prophecies the affairs of Fleshly Israel and those of Spiritual Israel, and the affairs of literal Babylon and those of mystic Babylon, are so interwoven as to be unintelligible, absurd, from any other standpoint. There are some who fail to recognize antitypical Spiritual Israel, who, nevertheless, distinctly see that the Babylon of old, which perished more than two thousand years ago, was not the Babylon of Revelation – mystic Babylon, – whose surpassing power and greatness were not even dreamed of in the days of the type. Many who distinctly discern mystic Babylon, and her approaching fall, have failed to discern that the natural Israelites were broken off from the root of divine promise made to father Abraham, and that the spiritual Israelites were grafted into that root, and have become heirs of its chief promises and blessings, taking the chief place of the natural Israelites, so that when they are restored, it will be to a lower, an earthly favor. The proper standpoint of view from which the entire plan of God is clear and reasonable takes cognizance of both of these facts.

In our last lesson we considered the Prophet Isaiah at the time when he was commissioned to declare to his people their utter overthrow in captivity, and that but a remnant would remain. There were three distinct climaxes to the complete fulfilment of the message: (1) It was about one hundred and seventy years from the time of his vision and the last year of King Uzziah, before Judah was carried captive to Babylon, from which only a remnant returned seventy years later. (2) The vision and the message were about eight hundred years before the final rejection of Israel by Messiah at his first advent, when only a remnant was accepted into the Gospel age, the house of sons, and the people as a whole were scattered into every nation. (3) Isaiah's vision and message were about 2650 years before the rejection of nominal Spiritual Israel, preparatory to gathering out of the "Israelites indeed," the Royal Priesthood, the holy nation, which, with Messiah as its Head, is now shortly to be invested with divine power and majesty, as the Kingdom of God which shall rule and bless all the families of the earth.

The remnant of natural Israel, delivered from literal Babylon, was but a type of the remnant of God's people now about to be delivered from symbolic Babylon, Christendom, and the fall of literal Babylon, at the hands of Cyrus, was but a foreshadowing of the fall of mystic Babylon as a result of the battle of the great day of God Almighty under the antitypical Cyrus, the Captain of our salvation. And the extravagant language used throughout the prophecies in respect to the fall of Babylon was made extravagant because the divine testimony had reference to mystic Babylon, more particularly than to literal Babylon. Thus have the divine purposes been hidden, and yet declared, throughout the ages. – Compare Isa. 13:1-15 with Rev. 17 and 18, – the latter part of Isa. 13 evidently referring only to literal Babylon.

In harmony with the above suggestions, it will be found that Isaiah's prophecies repeatedly mingle and commingle the events of his day with the events of our day – God's providences toward his people then, and his subsequent deliverance of them to Babylonian captivity, and his later judgments upon Babylon, all of which were accomplished literally within two hundred and fifty years of Isaiah's vision, are interspersed with declarations respecting Messiah and his everlasting Kingdom, and the blessing of the remnant of Spiritual Israel, and the eventual healing and recovery of all Israel to divine favor. An illustration of this intruding of the Messianic Millennial Kingdom into the prophecies which specially related to natural Israel and the condition of things present in the Prophet's day, is afforded in this lesson; also in chapters 2:2-4; 8:14-18; 9:1-7; 32:1-4; 33:5-24; 52:7-15; 60:1-5; 61:7-11; 65:17-25.

In the prophecy under consideration the Lord pictures natural Israel as entirely cut off, leaving nothing behind but the root of divine promise, and yet he shows that out of this root shall ultimately come all the blessings originally promised to Abraham, and confirmed unto Isaac, unto Jacob, and unto David, the last confirmation reading, "I will set up thy seed after thee, which shall proceed out of thy bowels, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. I will be his father and he shall be my son." (2 Sam. 7:12,13.) [R2372 : page 308] This prophecy seems, indeed, to have a fulfilment in Solomon, but only because Solomon was a type of the greater son of David, who was also the son of God. Solomon indeed built the typical house of the Lord, but Christ, the antitypical son of David and Son of God is now building the true, the antitypical Temple, the Church which is his Body, a temple of the holy spirit, a house of sons. David himself prophetically grasps the truth of this promise, saying, "Jehovah hath sworn in truth unto David; he will not turn from him; Of the fruit of thy body will I set upon thy throne." (Psa. 132:11.) The Apostle Peter, moved by the holy spirit on Pentecost, refers to this same promise, and definitely applies it to our Lord Jesus. – Acts 2:30.

In the prophecy our Lord is not spoken of as the root out of David, but as the root out of Jesse, David's father; because David himself is a type of Christ, his name signifying beloved. Hence also the fact that in [R2373 : page 308] many prophecies our Lord's Millennial reign is spoken of as the reign of David, the reign of the Beloved.

It is worthy of note that the Scriptures, in speaking of the Gentile governments, symbolize them as trees, and their destruction as the cutting down of those trees. Many trees do not sprout again from their roots when once cut down, as for instance, the cedars of Lebanon to which great Babylon was likened. On the contrary, the Lord speaks of Israel as a vine of his own planting; and one peculiarity of the vine is that it seems to thrive the better in proportion as it is pruned. Thus our Lord also speaks of Spiritual Israel, as branches of himself, the true Vine, and declares that the Father prunes the vine to the intent that it may bring forth more fruit. It is said that amongst the vine-growers of Palestine it is customary to cut back the vine clear to the roots yearly, in order to get fresh sprouts therefrom. And so we find that the Lord, with Fleshly Israel, frequently pruned them by disciplines, captivities, etc., cutting off many of the branches, and preserving only a remnant. This process was followed at the first advent in the cutting off of Israel from all further share in the spiritual features of the Abrahamic promise, – except the remnant which received the Lord, and on this account were granted privileges to become members of the house of sons. (John 1:12.) During this Gospel age the Lord deals with his people not collectively, not as a nation, but individually: each branch is pruned, and every branch is expected to bring forth fruit, or else it will be entirely lopped off.

Here, then, we have the thought of the Lord, expressed through the Prophet, respecting Christ Jesus, our Lord, that he from the time of his baptism and anointing with the holy spirit, became the new spiritual shoot out of the Abrahamic promise, and out of the roots of Jesse. But they greatly err who see in this study our Lord Jesus only, and who fail to recognize the fact that he is the Head of the Church, which is his Body. The true vine is therefore the entire body of Christ, as our Lord explains. (John 15.) This stem or new Vine had its start in our Lord Jesus, and has grown and prospered and had branches which have borne their fruit under the great Husbandman's care in all these centuries of the Gospel age. But neither the Vine nor its fruitage have been specially delightsome either to the Fleshly Israelites or to nominal Spiritual Israelites: on the contrary, our Lord's prophetic declaration has been accurately fulfilled: "Ye shall be hated of all men for my name's sake." Our Lord and the Apostles were hated by the chief religionists of their day, not because they were evil, but because of their faithfulness to God; because that faithfulness, as a light, rebuked, as darkness, the unfaithfulness of those who hated them.

The prophecy does not touch upon our Lord's pre-human existence, nor upon his earliest experiences while coming to manhood, nor need we. It begins with our Lord at the time when he reached manhood's estate, at thirty years of age, when he made his consecration, and was accepted, and the acceptance was sealed by the impartation to him of the holy spirit, of which John bare record. (John 1:32.) From that time onward the spirit of Jehovah rested upon him, and was in him a spirit of wisdom, understanding, counsel, strength, making him alert in the use of his knowledge in reverence and submission to the divine will. Thus it is written by the Prophet again, "By his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many, for he shall bear their iniquities." (Isa. 53:11.) While his perfection of being (in that he was holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners) had undoubtedly much to do with our Lord's obedience to the divine will, yet his knowledge of God, based upon his prehuman existence, had also much to do with his implicit confidence and trust in Jehovah, that his every requirement and condition would be found eventually to be the embodiment of justice, wisdom and love – this knowledge undoubtedly was the main-spring of our dear Redeemer's implicit obedience in all points to the Father's will.

And the same observations are applicable in respect to the Church of Christ – the members in particular of his Body, of which he is the Head. Like their Master, each branch in the Vine is the recipient of the holy spirit, through him – for the anointing oil (typical of the holy spirit) was all poured first upon the head of the high priest and subsequently flowed down over his person. Those who are made partakers of the Lord's spirit have that spirit as the beginning of their new life, for "if any man have not the spirit of Christ he is none of his." And this spirit of Christ and of Jehovah, coming upon the Body of Christ, from the Head, is to [R2373 : page 309] each (as it was to the head) a spirit of wisdom and of understanding and of counsel and of power; and a spirit of obedience to the Father's will, in proportion as this spirit dwells in them. And herein we see the distinction that our Lord Jesus, being perfected, could receive of the Father's spirit unlimitedly, "without measure," while we who are imperfect, blemished through inherited weaknesses, can receive the spirit only limitedly, by measure – according to the capacity and condition of our "earthen vessel," into which we receive this new treasure. (2 Cor. 4:7.) It is of course a part of our duty and privilege to do all in our power for the repair of the blemishes of the earthen vessels, to the intent that we may receive larger measures of the spirit of holiness, and may be the better able to retain the same.

Suddenly passing from the perfecting of Christ, Head and Body, under the influence of the spirit of the Father, down to the time when these graces which are supplied in this present age (and under which the body of Christ groweth unto a holy temple of the Lord, by the fitting, molding, polishing and fashioning, of each member), shall have been perfected, the next suggestion of the prophecy is the exercise of these graces of the divine spirit by the complete Christ in the Millennial Kingdom – in judging, blessing, correcting and assisting the world of mankind, or so many as will avail themselves of their help, to return to divine favor. The thought is that, as soon as the entire Christ (Head and Body) has been prepared for the work to be done, the work itself will be commenced. It is in full accord with this that the Apostle says that the prophets spake beforehand of the sufferings of Christ, and of the glory that should follow.

Not that the sufferings of Christ were completed more than eighteen centuries ago, and the glory failed to follow; but that the sufferings of Christ, which began in our Lord, the Head of the Body, are being filled up or accomplished in all the members of his body, and, as soon as the last member of the Body has been made perfect through suffering, and been fitted for his share in the glory, then at once the glory shall follow, – follow the completion of the sufferings. (Compare Col. 1:24.) It is because there are some members of the Body of Christ still lacking to make up the elect and predestinated number, foreknown of the Lord (Rom. 8:29), that the glory has not yet been ushered in. And fortunate this is for us who hence still have hopes of attaining to this high calling of God in Christ Jesus, to become heirs of God, joint-heirs with Jesus Christ our Lord, to an inheritance incorruptible and never-fading, reserved in heaven for those who shall make their calling and election sure.

The glorified Church, Head and Body, will be so filled with the spirit of Jehovah – his wisdom, his love, his power – that they will be fully qualified to do all the great work which divine love and wisdom has purposed and arranged for, since before the foundation of the world.

Accustomed to the misgovernment, as the Israelites were, and as all mankind since have experienced it, it was necessary that they and all who would appreciate the coming Kingdom, should be given some assurance that the new ruling power would not only have good and wise motives and intentions, but also possess superior power of knowledge and judgment. And this is what is pointed out: that the new King would not need to rely upon the common channels of information in the giving of his blessings, and in administering of his reproofs and chastisements, but will have a super-human endowment of power, by which he shall know the very thoughts and intents of the heart, and need not to judge either by the hearing of the ear nor by the sight of the eye, as must all earthly rulers, however well intentioned. It was proper also that the Israelites and others should know that the new Kingdom would be an absolutely just and impartial one, for their experience had been that the very wisest and best of their kings had been governed largely by selfishness, so that they amassed wealth at the expense of their subjects, and made special friends of the wealthy, and granted them special privileges oftimes at the expense of the poor, the helpless, the despised. Hence, the Lord, through the Prophet, assures us that the special care of the new King will be to administer his office with equity toward all, and that the meek, the backward, the modest, undisposed to press their claims and to assert their rights, will have his special care; likewise the poor, that in the present time find few to sympathize with or to encourage or to help them, shall find in the new King a friend.

The ordinary idea of the method by which the Lord will introduce the Millennium is wholly at variance with all the testimony of the divine Word, in that it presupposes that the world will be converted to the Lord through the efforts of the Church along its present lines of progress, and that thus the world will get better and better, until the full noontide of Millennial blessing [R2374 : page 309] is everywhere spread abroad. According to this idea, the Lord began setting up his Kingdom eighteen centuries ago, and at the same rate of progress it may require, according to the most optimistic view, thousands of years to reach the Millennial degree of blessing. But, according to the facts of the case impartially considered, we can readily see that the Kingdom, which God has promised, could never come as a result of efforts such as have been put forth during the past eighteen centuries. We mention but the one fact, known to all mankind from the published reports; viz., that the increase [R2374 : page 310] of nominal Christian professors annually is small, out of all proportion to the natural increase of the human family annually, so that if every Christian professor of to-day were a very saint, and if the same ratio of conversions continued for a thousand years as at present, or if the number were doubled or trebled, the result, at the end of the thousand years would be a much smaller percentage of professing Christians than now. Those who cannot see so simple a proposition as this are evidently blinded by their love of error – their love of their own theory. Similarly blinded are those who cannot see that only a small percentage of the nominal Christians of to-day are true saints of God, and that, if the whole world were converted to the same degree as the best cities in the most civilized and Christianized countries in the world, it would still not be true that God's Kingdom had come, in the sense that our Lord Jesus taught us to expect it: for in his model prayer he taught us to pray and to expect, not only that God's Kingdom would come, and that it had not already come, but also to expect that, when it shall be fully established, God's will would be done on earth even as it is done in heaven – absolutely, perfectly.

Those who expect the Millennial Kingdom to come as a result of present efforts along present lines, and who believe that the world is gradually approaching that condition by an evolutionary process, should consider the Word of the Lord through the prophet, to the effect that, when Messiah takes the reins of government, his first step will be to judge the poor, and to reprove the rich with equity, in the interests of the meek of the earth. How could this be possible, if equity had already prevailed by a gradual process, so that there were no poor, and no rich, and so that all were meek? Other Scriptures, in harmony with this, show that the very object of the beginning of our Lord's reign is to correct the wrongs that will then be prevailing, and he himself implies that the earth will not be in a faithful and blessed condition at his second advent, by asking the question, whose answer is implied – "When the Son of Man cometh, shall he find the faith on the earth?"

The Scriptural position throughout is harmonious and consistent. It describes the present time of evil as "the present evil world," in which "the prince of this world" rules, and in which the Lord's people, "the body of Christ," the heirs of the Kingdom, "suffer violence," and that this violence, through suffering persecution, is working out for those who are rightly exercised thereby a preparation for the time when the entire body of Christ, having been thus purified and prepared, will be given the Kingdom under the whole heavens, the said dominion of earth being wrested with force from the prince of this world, and the kingdoms of this world, and bestowed upon the Son by the Father's power, and through the great time of trouble with which this age shall end, and in which the prince of this world will be bound.

The Lord, through the Prophet, shows the means by which the righteous reign of the Messiah shall be inaugurated – the time of trouble such as was not since there was a nation, predicted by the Prophet Daniel, – saying, "He shall smite the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips shall he slay the wicked." It is evident, then, that there will be not only poor, needing assistance and equity, but there will be wicked at the time the Kingdom is established. (Compare Mal. 4:1,6; Rev. 19:15.) The rod of Messiah's mouth signifies the judgments which he has already expressed, and which have very largely gone unheeded by Christendom. We remember his declaration, "He that rejecteth me and receiveth not my words hath one that judgeth him; the word that I have spoken, the same shall judge him in the last day." Christendom in general has admitted the righteousness of the Lord's Word, but those who attempt to live according to that Word are remarkably few. Consequently, when the time shall come that judgment shall be laid to the line, and righteousness to the plummet, and when this judgment shall begin at the nominal house of God, the nominal system in general will fall – will fall condemned under that Word. Only the faithful few, the Lord's jewels, shall be "accounted worthy to escape those things coming upon the world," when the Lord shall smite the earth, Christendom, the present social order, with the rod of his mouth, when, as elsewhere described, "The Lord shall speak to them in his anger, and vex them in his sore displeasure" – when he shall render vengeance to his enemies, and recompense to those who have known the Master's will and have done it not. "Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord." "Wait ye upon me saith the Lord, for my determination is to gather the nations, that I may assemble the kingdoms, to pour upon them mine indignation, even all my fierce anger: for all the earth shall be devoured with the fire of my jealousy." And "then will I turn unto the people a pure language, that they may all call upon the name of the Lord, to serve him with one consent."*

"Righteousness shall be the girdle of his loins,
Faithfulness the girdle of his hips."
*See MILLENNIAL DAWN, VOL. IV., "The Day of Vengeance."

The girdle figuratively represents mercy, diligence, service, and the proclamation here is that the Messiah shall be a faithful, a diligent servant of Jehovah, in accomplishing all the work entrusted to his care.

The reference to the change of disposition in the animal kingdom, so that the wolf and the lamb, the leopard and the kid, the calf and the lion, will dwell in [R2374 : page 311] harmony, is in full accord with the general Scriptural outlines of the "times of restitution of all things." Not only is mankind to be restored, or brought back to his primeval condition of human perfection, and harmony with God, like Adam before the fall (tho with increased knowledge and experience), but the lower animals also, which have shared in the ruin and disorder resulting from the fall, will also share in the blessing and restoration of order to be accomplished by Messiah.

In the first account of the lower animals, furnished us in the Scriptures, there is nothing to imply that they were wild, vicious and at enmity with mankind; on the contrary, the implication is that they were all thoroughly in subjection to the perfect man. We may reasonably suppose that when, under the influence of the sentence of death, mankind gradually lost more and more of the image of God originally possessed, he at the same time lost his power over the lower animals. The nature of the power possessed by the perfect Adam may still be imperfectly traced in the superior powers of certain of the fallen race in controlling the brute creation. Thus we see that some men can exercise mental force and control, not only over wild horses, but also over the most ferocious beasts of the jungle, so that they are known as horse-tamers, lion-tamers, serpent-charmers, etc. Adam was declared by the Lord to be the king of the earth, and as such he was recognized by the brute creation. (Gen. 2:19,20.) After mankind had lost the original mental power to control the lower animals, a warfare sprang up between them, in which mankind has been obliged to pit force against force, having so largely lost the power of mental control. The restoration of mankind to that condition which was lost through sin implies naturally, therefore, a restoration of the brute creation to primeval conditions, such as are suggested in the prophecy before us. The same thought is conveyed in the statement that "A little child shall lead" or control the wild beasts when brought into their proper relationship with mankind.

All of the foregoing, and, indeed, the entire Scripture testimony, shows that the heavenly rest and blessing which God has in reservation for mankind in general is earthly. It would be utterly and wholly unnecessary to change the disposition of the brute creation, if mankind were to be changed to another nature, and to become as the angels. Other prophecies speak of mankind in the restitution condition as perfect human beings, of the earth and adapted to the earth, and tell us that in the perfect condition they shall sit every man under his own vine and fig-tree, with none to molest or make him afraid, and that they shall long enjoy the work of their hands. These promises, which are the lights of the world's hope during the Millennial age, have nothing whatever to do with the hope set before the Gospel Church of this age – a heavenly hope, the realization of which, our Lord and the apostles assure us, will require that all who would attain to it must of necessity be changed from animal to spiritual bodies, from weakness to power, from human nature to spiritual nature; because flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God.

The difficulty with many is in the failure to discern that the Kingdom of God per se consists of our Lord Jesus and the Church – the little flock, to whom it is [R2375 : page 311] the Father's good pleasure to give the Kingdom. These constitute the royal or reigning class or family of God. The world of mankind in general shall at first be the subjects of this spiritual kingdom, and afterwards become citizens or members of it, to the extent that they come into harmony with its rules and regulations, and are accepted back into reconciliation with God, and thus again become his children through Christ. Thus it is that the Scriptures declare that when this Kingdom shall be set up it will be but a small stone, a little flock, which in the end of this age shall, with divine power, smite the dominion of earth, and crush it to dust in the great time of trouble. (See Dan. 2:34,35,44,45.) But after crushing present institutions under and connected with the prince of this world, God's Kingdom will not remain small, but will gradually expand, until it shall fill the whole earth. This is the holy mountain mentioned in the prophecy under consideration, a mountain being a symbol of a kingdom. Nothing shall be permitted to do violence or work injury throughout all God's holy kingdom, as a result of its establishment. Love shall be the law, and divine power shall be the force which will enforce that law, and all who will not conform thereto shall be "cut off from among the people," as the Lord has declared through the Apostle. (Acts 3:23.) How evident it is that this Kingdom has not yet come, when we see that so far from love being the rule of mankind, selfishness is the rule, individually and nationally, and that there are many influences of evil, hurting and destroying throughout the world to-day. This is an evidence that God's kingdom is not yet set up, and hence we continue to pray, "Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is done in heaven."

The power by which the Lord shall accomplish the blessing of mankind, after he has crushed the power of evil and established the reign of righteousness is stated to us in this prophecy – it is to be by the spread of a knowledge of the Lord. The Apostle assures us (1 Tim. 2:4) that it is the will of God that all men shall come to a knowledge of the truth that they may be saved. He assures us that there can be no salvation without knowledge (Rom. 10:14,15), consequently the knowledge of the Lord being very limited throughout this [R2375 : page 312] Gospel age, only comparatively few of earth's millions have come to such a knowledge of him as to permit them to exercise faith in God, and in the great sacrifice and pardon for sin which God has provided in Christ. But the fact that few in the present life have come to this knowledge shall not in any degree thwart the divine plan, nor make the death of Christ on their behalf of no avail, for the Lord assures us that in due time the true light of the world, Jesus, shall lighten every man that cometh into the world – this includes all the heathen, all those of imbecile mind, who could not grasp the truth, and all the infants who die without a knowledge of the only name under heaven whereby we must be saved. God has thus made ample provision, first, in the redemption which is in Christ Jesus, our Lord, and secondly, in the Millennial age which he has provided through him, in which the knowledge of the Lord shall be caused to fill the whole earth.

Nor are we to suppose that this will be merely a little sprinkling of knowledge, such as has come to a very limited portion of the world of mankind here and there in spots during this Gospel age. The Lord's people have received these showers of grace and truth, and sometimes appropriately sing and pray for more abundant showers for their refreshment, but the Lord's provision for the world of mankind in general, under the Messianic Kingdom, during the Millennial age, is that this knowledge of his shall be world-wide, and ocean-deep, so that none shall thereafter be able to plead ignorance or any other excuse for failure to avail themselves of the grace of God in Christ. Hence again it is written by another prophet, that whosoever dies in that age will die not for Adam's sin, but for his own sin; because the death of Christ has cancelled the Adamic condemnation, and has thus secured to every member of the human family a full, impartial opportunity for eternal life through faith in the Redeemer and obedience to his requirements. The Apostle says of the Jews that they are blinded; that a vail is over their hearts, that they cannot see, and he points us to the fact that in God's due time this vail of ignorance shall be removed from Israel, and that they shall be saved from their blindness, and "shall obtain mercy through your mercy" – shall obtain mercy at the hands of elect spiritual Israel, the Body of Christ, now being selected, which will then be in power, as the kings and priests to bless and judge the world in righteousness. (1 Cor. 6:2.) Similarly, the same Apostle assures us that the god of this world is exercising a blinding influence upon the whole world of mankind (2 Cor. 4:4), and the prophets point us to the time when Satan shall be bound, and when all the blind eyes shall be opened, and when the vail of the covering of ignorance shall be destroyed from over the face of all the people, that all may look, with the eyes of their understanding, upon him who was pierced, and through whom all may have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.

The last verse of our lesson points us to the Millennial day, and seems to suggest another root of Jesse, as connected with the blessing of the Gentiles, and as an ensign or standard for all the people to pattern after. We understand this to signify that after the spiritual seed of Abraham and David has been exalted to the Kingdom glory, then an earthly seed, out of the same root, shall come into prominence in connection with the heavenly, and be the agent and representative of the heavenly Kingdom in the blessing of the world of mankind. The Apostle Paul in Rom. 4:16, seems to imply that while Christ and his spiritual Church of the Gospel age are the seed of the promise, nevertheless there is another subordinate seed, which shall be used of the Lord in the blessing of mankind. This latter seed seems to be referred to also in Heb. 11:39,40, where the Apostle, after mentioning the faithful worthies of the past as approved unto God, most positively states that they are not of the Gospel Church, not, therefore, of the Kingdom class per se, but that they, nevertheless, having obtained a good report through faith, will receive a share in the original promise, and be participants in the work of blessing the Gentile world, but not with or as a part of the Church, "God having provided some better thing for us [the Messianic body] that they without us should not be made perfect." Under the ministration of the spiritual Kingdom, the ancient worthies, restored to human perfection, shall not only be the princes, the representatives of the spiritual, invisible, Kingdom, but shall also be the grand ensigns or standards set up before mankind, as illustrations of what all mankind may attain unto, if they will render faithful obedience to the laws of the Kingdom – the conditions of the New Covenant.

THE BIBLE.

Whence but from heaven could men unskilled in arts,
In various ages born and various parts
Weave such agreeing truths? Or how or why
Should all conspire to cheat us with a lie?
Unasked their plans, ungrateful their advice,
Starving their gains and martyrdom their price.
Dryden.

It is, indeed, very generally supposed that the souls of good men, as soon as they are discharged from the body, go directly to heaven: but this opinion has not the least foundation in the oracles of God.

John Wesley.

There is not one place of Scripture that occurs to me, where the word death, as it was first threatened in the law of innocency, necessarily signifies a miserable immortality of the soul, either to Adam, the actual sinner, or his posterity.

Dr. Watts.