page 49
February 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

SEMI-MONTHLY.
VOL. XXII.FEBRUARY 1, 1901.No. 3.
CONTENTS.

Views from the Watch Tower 51
The Christian Advocate's View of the New Century 51
How the Century Looks to a Millionaire 52
God's Blessing Brings Riches 52
Heavenly vs. Earthly Riches 55
Laodicea's Counterfeit Riches 56
Parable of the Ten Virgins 57
"To Every Man According to His Several Ability" 58
Interesting Questions Answered 62
Sin and Sickness 63
Interesting Letters 63

"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 50

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

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

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

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These patent binders permit the insertion of each copy of the WATCH TOWER as received. Each binder holds two years' issues. Very durable and cheap – 40 cents including postage: British money 1s. 8d. Binders, etc., for Great Britain, can be had through our London branch.

NEW FOREIGN TRANSLATIONS.

We now have the "Parousia" booklet in French and in Swedish, and "What Say the Scriptures About Spiritualism?" in German. [R2750 : page 50]

ALLEGHENY CHURCH MEETINGS.

Preaching and divine worship every Sunday afternoon in Bible House chapel, No. 610 Arch street, at 3 P.M.

Cottage meetings for prayer and testimony on Wednesday evenings; and Dawn Circles for Bible Study on Monday, Friday and Saturday evenings – various localities, Pittsburg and vicinity – inquire at WATCH TOWER office. page 50

POEMS AND HYMNS OF DAWN.

This volume contains a very choice selection of 150 Poems and 333 Hymns, purged, we trust, from much of the too common, erroneous, hymn-book theology: 494 pages, good print, cloth binding only. It is the Gospel of the Kingdom in verse, by the pens of many of God's dear saints of all centuries. It is a companion to MILLENNIAL DAWN, and sells at the same price as the cloth-bound volumes. It is designed to lead the mind aright in meditation and worship.

[R2760 : page 51]

VIEWS FROM THE WATCH TOWER.

THE DAWN of the twentieth century has naturally led to the launching of new programs along ethical and religious lines. The United Free Churches of Great Britain, it is announced, "have been quietly working to bring about one of the greatest and most striking revivals on record." Their primary effort, for which they have prepared for more than a year, is the conversion of London, tho it expected to extend more or less to the whole world. In the same metropolis Rev. Dr. Joseph Parker has for a week tried to demonstrate the advantages of a religious daily newspaper. In our own land various Union-movements have been started which welcome Jews, Romanists, and Unitarians who deny the ransom, to unite with the so-called "Orthodox" who ignore the ransom. The general plaint of all is that an effort to uplift mankind must be made, and yet they ignorantly oppose or ignore the divinely appointed uplift so near at hand – the Millennial Kingdom of God's dear Son, the result of the great sin-offering finished at Calvary over eighteen centuries ago, but delayed until now for the calling and perfecting of the elect Church to be joint-heirs with her Savior and Bridegroom in that heavenly Kingdom.

What these various "movements" and "crusades" will accomplish is hard to guess: our surmise is that they will amount to little socially so long as times are prosperous; and that they will amount to nothing spiritually – along the lines of true spirituality – "sanctification through the truth;" because they are not built upon the truth of God's Word, but upon various human philosophies and theories.

Some, however, seem impressed with the fact that the new century opens under conditions very unfavorable to peace on earth and good will amongst men. For instance, –

CARDINAL VAUGHN DECLARES THE WORLD OUT-OF-JOINT.

In a recent address in London he is reported to have said: "The twentieth century will dawn on a world badly out-of-joint and sick unto death. The sense of uncertainty and unrest is universal. Races are exasperated against races. Rival nations have provoked each other to strife by gibes and insults, and men are asking whose influence is to dominate mankind when Asia is armed like ourselves? Will the heathen races prevail against Christian?

"Envy, jealousy, hatred, desires for revenge, avarice, greed of power and influence, have broken out among the nations like a plague of vices that threaten to destroy them. Remedies have been applied, but remedies are worthless.

"The nations called a conference for peace, but excluded the pope. They have forged weapons of destruction; harbored compulsory education without religion; preached the gospel of commerce; of the 'open door' and 'spheres of influence,' and then dispatched armies to fight the people.

"They have dug passionately into the bowels of the earth for more and more of the precious metals; yet taxation is increased and wants multiplied, and there is a chaos of conflicting cries, but no common agreement."

THE CHRISTIAN ADVOCATE'S VIEW OF THE NEW CENTURY.

"The nineteenth century goes out in war all around the world. The Hague Conference led some to sing 'Hosanna!' and to cry, 'The age of peace dawns!' We sat among the doubters; for human nature unregenerated is the same all over the world.

"The Christians are still cutting one another's throats in South Africa. The Christians are not done cutting one another's throats in the Phillipine Islands. The Christians and the pagans are but pausing for breath in China.

"Clouds are rising over various parts of Northern Africa, and the shadow of revolution is upon a score [R2760 : page 52] of nations in South and Central America and on the continent of Europe.

"An epidemic of lynching pervades this country. Prize-fighting is a great popular amusement. New York loves it, and also can breed a race riot....

"Those premillennarians who think that the world must get worse before Christ can come are solemnly pointing to these things as portents."

HOW THE NEW CENTURY LOOKS TO A MILLIONAIRE.

At the annual meeting of the Educational Alliance recently held, former Mayor of New York City, Abram S. Hewitt made caustic criticism of the rich men of New York City and of the country, and prophesied that unless they changed their attitude toward the masses of society the twentieth century would bring forth a social cataclysm such as the world has never seen. Mr. Hewitt said in the course of his remarks:

"The rich are blind. There is not one among them who is giving what he would give if his conscience were properly aroused. They do not seem to realize that this is a government by the majority. Ours is the only country in which there is universal suffrage. To be exercised rightfully and righteously, that suffrage must needs be educated. The rich in contributing to its education are but building for their own protection. If they neglect so to build, barbarism, anarchy and plunder will be the inevitable result.

"I believe that in the twentieth century the spirit of commercialism will steadily grow less strong and the spirit of altruism stronger. I believe that the rule, 'Do unto others as you would have others do unto you,' will more generally prevail than in all the centuries which have gone before.

"If I am mistaken in this – if the spirit of commercialism and greed continues to grow stronger – then the twentieth century will witness a social cataclysm unparalleled in history. It is only by the discountenancing of commercialism and the spreading of altruism that we can safeguard justice, property and liberty."

How much the above words resemble the Scriptural declarations respecting our day, and their assurances that the growing selfish rapacity will eventuate in that great time of trouble "such as was not since there was a nation," in which "every man's hand shall be against his neighbor," and lead to mutual distrust and anarchy! – James 5:1-5; Zech. 8:9,10.

The closing words of Mr. Hewitt's address remind us forcibly of Malachi's words (4:6), "He shall turn the heart [sentiment]...or else I will come and smite the earth with a curse." Here the Lord puts an alternative, as Mr. Hewitt suggests; but other Scriptures clearly indicate that no such reform will occur, and that the "curse" or trouble will surely come. How refreshing it is to have the Lord's assurance that the coming trouble (in which the groaning creation will suffer and groan still more than ever) is but a preparation for their introduction to the long promised Millennial Kingdom blessings. How the Lord links the fire upon the tare-field with the speedy shining forth thereafter of the Sun of Righteousness to heal and bless all the families of the earth! (Matt. 13:43.) How this trouble, in which every man's hand shall be against his neighbor, is prophetically connected with the building of the great spiritual temple! – Zech. 8:9,10.

All faithful "Watchers" may well lift up their heads and rejoice in the evidences which abound on every hand corroborative of what the Scriptures so clearly show is to be expected now. These evidences portend the speedy finishing of the Gospel age "harvest," the binding of Satan, and the inauguration of the reign of righteousness. Let us be glad and rejoice and give glory to God while patiently waiting for the consummation of his plans, and seeking to become more and more copies of his dear Son and meet for the inheritance of the saints in light.

[R2760 : page 52]

GOD'S BLESSING BRINGS RICHES.

"The blessing of Jehovah it maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow with it." – Prov. 10:22.

H
OW REASONABLE it seems that those who become God's friends, and especially those who are adopted into his family as children, should be blessed of him in multitudinous ways, in which others of mankind, who are aliens, strangers, and foreigners to him through wicked works (Col. 1:21), should not be blessed. We look back into the past and see father Adam, while in divine favor, very rich, – the possessor of the whole world, filled with bounties. We read of father Abraham, "the friend of God," very rich in cattle and goods; and Jacob, altho losing all inheritance in his father's estate, was blessed of the Lord, so that he became very rich in flocks and in herds. So Israel was promised that if as a nation they would be obedient to the Lord they should be blessed in all of their temporal affairs; their land would bring forth bountifully; they would not be afflicted with drought or pests; their flocks and herds should prosper and multiply exceedingly, and even their physical health was provided for, so that God guaranteed them that abiding in his favor as a people they should not be subject to pestilences, diseases, etc., for the Lord himself would be their physician to preserve to them health and every prosperity.

However, with the introduction of the new age, the Gospel age, came a great change – not in the divine [R2761 : page 53] plan, but in the divine dealings; and henceforth the favored of the Lord were not promised earthly blessings and good things, nor immunity from sickness and pain and persecution; but to the contrary of this, they were assured that whoever would be received into God's family on the high plane of sonship, begotten of the spirit, and, prospectively, heirs of God and joint-heirs with Jesus Christ their Lord, would be required to pass through experiences of suffering more than others; of trials of faith and of patience and of character to which others would not be subjected; and they were instructed that these adversities should be accepted by them as marks of divine favor, as evidences that God was dealing with them as with sons, and by these experiences fitting and preparing them for positions of honor, and untellable blessings in the future. (Rom. 8:17; 2 Tim. 2:12; Heb. 12:6-8.) "Eye hath not seen, neither hath ear heard, neither hath it entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him; but God hath revealed them unto us by his spirit." – 1 Cor. 2:9,10.

In harmony with this change of dispensation, we find the New Testament declaration to be to the effect that those accepted to this high honor of sonship (John 1:12) should not expect earthly riches or temporal blessings or marks of divine favor, but that, quite to the contrary, the Apostle says, "Harken my beloved brethren: hath not God [as a rule] chosen the poor of this world, rich in faith, and heirs of the Kingdom which he hath promised to them that love him?" (James 2:5.) And again he assures us that not many great, not many rich,* not many mighty, not many wise, according to the course of this world, are to be found amongst the called and sanctified sons of God. – 1 Cor. 1:26-29.

*Riches, while generally applied to money and physical comforts and opulence, may properly enough be applied to any valuable possession; as, for instance, one might be rich in talents of music or oratory or art; or he might be rich in mental endowment which would carry with it weight of influence amongst men.

From the foregoing Scriptures and many others we see, not only that those who become the Lord's sons are very rarely blessed with temporal riches, but we see also that the principle extends still further, and that very few who possess earthly riches in advance of hearing of the truth are very likely to attain the high calling of this Gospel age. This is not because God is opposed to riches, for he himself is rich above all others. It is rather, we might say, the outworking of a natural law or principle which has its force in the fact that all mankind, by reason of the fall, are selfish. The possession of wealth in combination with selfishness leads to a measure of satisfaction with present circumstances and conditions unfavorable to faith in God's heavenly promises. The wealthy, selfish, satisfied soul says to itself, Eat, drink and be merry; enjoy your advantages; take your pleasure out of these, rather than speculate respecting future advantages and future riches, which are intangible, and which must be accepted by faith. It is in harmony with this that our Lord declared, "How hardly [with what difficulty] shall they that have riches enter into the Kingdom of God!" – Mark 10:23.

By this term, the Kingdom of God, our Lord evidently did not refer to the earthly nominal church, for we are all aware that the rich men find very little difficulty in getting into it. Evidently he referred to the real Kingdom, the glorified Kingdom which shall be established in the end of this age, the Millennial Kingdom. It will be difficult for a rich man to obtain membership in this glorified body of Christ, to which the Kingdom work will be entrusted. But why is this so?

The reason is that God, desiring to select in this Gospel age a peculiar people to be the kings and priests and judges of the world in the next age, desires to select for the rulers and teachers only such as will come up to certain tests or requirements of character and obedience. One of these requirements is sacrifice – self-sacrifice – and hence all of this class now being selected are Scripturally designated a priesthood – "a royal priesthood," because royalty eventually is to be added to their office, partly as a reward for their faithfulness as priests in sacrificing the present life, and partly to enable them as priests in the future the better to serve and bless all the families of the earth.

The beginning of these terms or conditions of this age was with the great Head of the Church, our Lord Jesus – he must sacrifice ere he could be made the King, and have the power and authority to bless. His sacrifice, as is well known, was a comprehensive one; it began with the sacrifice of his riches, and ended with the sacrifice of his life. "He was rich, yet for our sakes became poor, that we through his poverty might [eventually, in the Millennial Kingdom] be made rich." (2 Cor. 8:9.) His wealth, consisting of heavenly glory and, subsequently, of human talents, and every kind of good possessions, was all sacrificed, including even his reputation, so that the Apostle declares, "He made himself of no reputation." His will also was sacrificed, – the strongest individual thing that any being can possess; as he himself declared, he sought not his own will, but the will of the Father who sent him. His life, the most precious thing to any intelligent creature, was freely laid down, a sacrifice, a sin-offering, in harmony with the divine plan, on our behalf. – Phil. 2:5-8Diaglott. [R2761 : page 54]

But all these sacrifices led, under divine providence and promise, to still greater riches, greater honors and greater powers, as the Apostle, after reciting how our Lord humbled himself and became obedient to death, even the death of the cross, declares, – "Wherefore, [as a reward for this sacrifice] God hath highly exalted him, and hath given him a name that is above every name;" he has been exalted "far above angels, principalities and powers, and every name that is named." He has been given a name more excellent than all others, that all men should honor the Son, even as they honor the Father. (Phil. 2:9-11.) It is by virtue of his sacrifice of riches and honors and will and life itself that our dear Redeemer is now the great and glorious Royal High Priest, with all power in heaven and in earth, which he soon will take to himself. (Rev. 11:17.) Soon he will exercise it in accomplishing the wonderful work which he already has begun, and which it is the Father's good pleasure that he shall complete; viz., of subduing all things, and bringing all sin and rebellion against divine authority into subjection, rescuing so many as desire to return to harmony with their Creator and his laws, and destroying with an everlasting destruction all who love and practise sin knowingly and wilfully.

These, our dear Redeemer's experiences, are set before believers as an example; and so many as desire during this Gospel age, and under its high calling, are permitted to become his followers, and to walk in his footsteps – to have fellowship in his sufferings, sharing in his sacrifice, that ultimately they may be sharers with him in the glorious rewards. As a matter of fact, none of these followers have anything of value to sacrifice. It cannot be said of them, as of their Redeemer, that they were rich and became poor; on the contrary, they are all poor as respects everything that could be considered true riches. Even their own righteousness was as filthy rags, which needed to be replaced with the imputed robe of the Savior's righteousness (justification), ere they could be invited to be his followers.

But while none called to the under-priesthood possess any real riches, each one possesses something of some value in his own estimation; some possess a little honor amongst men; some possess a little of this world's goods, bringing measurable comforts; some possess talents capable of exercise and development; each one possesses a will, more or less weak and imperfect; and each one possesses a little fragment of life which has not yet flickered out. The invitation to each would-be royal priest is, that being justified by faith through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus, he should sacrifice his all, and thus be reckoned a joint-sacrificer with the great Redeemer, as having fellowship with him in his sufferings, that he might also share in his glory. (Rom. 8:17.) This is the particular feature of this Gospel age: it is the age of sacrifice and self-denial as respects all earthly blessings and privileges and advantages. And the object or hope inspiring to such sacrifices of present things is, that all such shall be made partakers of far greater riches of glory, honor, immortality and eternal life, in the Kingdom. Thus we have the key to the difference between God's dealings with his faithful ones in this present age, and his dealings with some of his faithful ones in a preceding age.

From this point of view earthly riches of every kind, opulence of money, of influence, of talent, should not be despised by the Lord's people, but, on the contrary, should be appreciated – not after the worldly manner of appreciation, for selfish interests and purposes, but because those who possess riches of any kind, have that much more than they otherwise would have to offer upon the Lord's altar as a sacrifice in his service, to glorify his name, to advance his truth, to bless his people. But the consecrated should keep ever in mind that this is the only value of any kind of riches to them: they are not to seek to keep these riches, but to seek opportunities for using them wisely, [R2762 : page 54] – spending them all to the very last farthing.

There are some who are rich in talents, and who could, if they would, turn those talents into the service of the Lord and the Truth; and they make a great mistake and lose a precious opportunity if they hold them for themselves in any selfish manner or degree. There are those who have more or less of the money talent, earthly riches, and they make a great mistake if they hoard these; for their only value as respects the Kingdom, its glories, its riches and its honors, is in using them, now. If they hold and hoard their earthly riches they are burying their talent, their opportunity, instead of using it; and such will demonstrate to themselves eventually the meaning of our Lord's words, "It is easier for a camel to go through a needle's eye* than for a rich man to enter into the Kingdom." (Luke 18:25.) He cannot get into the Kingdom at all except as he strips himself of his riches, – sacrifices them, devotes them to the Lord.

*A small gate in the walls of ancient cities, for the convenience of belated travelers after sundown, after the main city gates were closed. These needle-eyes were so low that camels could enter them only upon their knees and after being stripped of their burdens.

However, the stripping of oneself of riches, sacrificing riches, does not signify the reckless and wasteful disposition of them; rather, all riches of every kind should be considered consecrated to the Lord at the time their possessor consecrates himself and his all to God's service; and thenceforth those riches should be used, not as his own, but as the Lord's riches, the [R2762 : page 55] Lord's talents, to be used according to the steward's understanding of the divine will. But certainly no steward is faithful who hoards and accumulates to hand down selfishly to his own posterity. We are not here opposing a reasonable provision being made for the steward's household, as the Apostle enjoins (1 Tim. 5:8; Rom. 12:17), but we are opposing the thought that God has ever authorized his stewards to avoid using their stewardship, and to attempt to pass that stewardship onward at their death, to others.

This is one of the fallacies with which many deceive themselves, for, as the Scriptures declare, the natural mind (heart) is exceedingly deceitful and at times misleads the new creature, the new will, the new heart. (Jer. 17:9.) It is for this reason that God in his Word gives us in so many ways line upon line, precept upon precept, that we may know the terms of our calling, that they are terms of sacrifice and not of acquisitiveness as respects earthly things, – that knowing this we may make our calling and our election sure by conformity thereto, – by becoming copies of God's dear Son, "who was rich [in every sense of the word, far beyond our comprehension], but who for our sakes became poor [sacrificing it all]."

The Apostle speaks of the deceitfulness of riches; and on every hand we may witness this deceitfulness: we see how often earthly wealth deceives and misleads and corrupts the reasoning powers, and turns aside the force of God's Word to those who possess it. We see the same in respect to the wealth of influence, how those who possess this wealth frequently deceive themselves, and hoard it, and refuse to sacrifice it for the truth, for the Lord, for his cause. We see the same deception operating powerfully in those who possess a wealth of talent in any direction; they feel like keeping all of it for self, and if not all, the larger and choicer parts; they are deceived into thinking this is the right course, notwithstanding the Scriptures so plainly declare that our privileges in connection with these is that of sacrifice. As a whole, then, we daily witness, as the Scriptures declare, that those who possess any kind of riches, wealth, talent or influence, are rarely amongst the sacrificers. We might almost say, Blessed are those who are poor in this world's goods, and in talents and in influence, for they having practically nothing to sacrifice to the Lord but their wills, find it easier to comply with the conditions, and we presume that the larger proportion of those who will through faith inherit the Kingdom will consequently be of this poor class, rich in faith only. – Jas. 2:5.

When we would see a noble example, like that of our Lord, who was rich in everything, and who gave all, we rejoice in it, and realize that as his sacrifice was so great his reward also is proportionately great. When we see the noble example of the Apostle Paul, who possessing some considerable wealth of ability, talent and influence, and possibly of financial means also, laid these all, a willing, a glad sacrifice, at the feet of the Lord, laying them all down with joy in God's service, in the service of the truth, in the service of the brethren, it causes our hearts to rejoice, and we feel sure that one so rich, and who spent his riches so faithfully, will be one to shine very brightly in the Kingdom, when it is set up and manifested. And so, undoubtedly, it will be with all the royal priesthood, – in proportion as they have sacrificed their possessions. Those who joyfully endure for the Lord's sake, the truth's sake, the greatest shame, the greatest ignominy, the greatest trials, the greatest persecutions in this present life, and thus have experiences most like those of the Master and Pattern, we may be sure will in proportion to their faithfulness manifested in such sacrifices, have a future great reward; – as the Apostle has declared, "star differeth from star in glory." – 1 Cor. 15:40-44.

HEAVENLY VERSUS EARTHLY RICHES.

We have said that the heavenly riches are to be attained in the resurrection, when the Millennial Kingdom shall be inaugurated, and the faithful overcomers, by their resurrection change, shall be richly endowed with all the good things which God hath in reservation for them that love him, and who prove their love by present-time devotions, sacrifices, etc. But, we should notice that there is a foretaste of these heavenly blessings granted to the faithful in this present life; these heavenly riches granted us now the Apostle speaks of as "riches of grace" (Eph. 1:7,18), and these grace-riches include faith, hope, and joy in the holy spirit and an ability to see and appreciate with the eye of faith things actually not seen as yet. The Apostle declares that these treasures of wisdom and grace – knowledge of divine good things in reservation, and the fellowship with God which permits us to anticipate and enjoy those blessings in a measure now, are all hidden in Christ, "in whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge." (Col. 2:3.) We must come into Christ, as members of his body, the true Church, by sacrifice, – before we can have the opportunity of even searching for these hidden treasures, or of finding any of them. And then, as we progress faithfully in our sacrificial service, as priests, walking in the footsteps of the great High Priest, we find more and more of these true "riches of grace" day by day, and year by year, as we progress.

Moreover, another kind of riches comes to the royal priesthood, faithful in performing their self-sacrifices. [R2762 : page 56] These are riches of the holy spirit. They find as they sacrifice the selfish interests, earthly aims, earthly projects, etc., in the service of the Lord and the Truth, that they grow more and more in likeness to their heavenly Father and to their Lord, and that the fruits of the holy spirit abound in them more and more – meekness, patience, gentleness, brotherly kindness, love.

Furthermore, they find a peace and a joy to which formerly they were strangers, and which the world can neither give nor take away. This peace and joy come through a realization that having given their all to the Lord, all of his exceeding great and precious promises belong to them. Now their faith can firmly grasp these promises as their own; they can realize that as their justification and call were not of themselves, but of the Lord, so all their course of sacrifice, in harmony with that call, is under divine supervision and care, and sure to work out blessings; and that to whatever extent they shall work out earthly hardships, trials and sufferings, God will proportionately make them to work out a far more exceeding and an eternal weight of glory in the Kingdom. – 2 Cor. 4:17.

With this peace of God and confidence in his leading and care, they can apply to themselves the prophetic statement, "All the steps of a righteous man are ordered of the Lord, and he [the righteous man] delighteth in his way." (Psa. 37:23.) They can delight in this way, be it ever so thorny and narrow and rugged, because of their confidence in God's love and wisdom, and that he who began a good work in them is thus completing it and blessing them with experiences which divine wisdom sees will be to their profit eventually. Thus the Lord's blessing is upon this class; and they realize indeed that, "The blessing of the Lord it maketh rich." How rich it makes their hearts in the present time – rich in noble sentiments, rich in faith, rich in love, rich in good works to all men as they have opportunity, especially toward the household of faith; and very rich in God's blessing and under his providential care, which, if rightly accepted, will ultimately make these members of the Royal Priesthood heirs of God, joint-heirs with Jesus Christ their Lord, in an inheritance incorruptible, undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for them. – 1 Pet. 1:4.

LAODICEA'S COUNTERFEIT RICHES.

We have been considering the true riches, present and future, provided for the true Israel, the Church of the first-born, whose names are written in heaven, [R2763 : page 56] and whose Head is Christ. But the Scriptures draw to our attention the fact that the nominal church of this present time, symbolical Laodicea (Rev. 3:17,18), claims also to be very rich. "Thou sayest, I am rich and increased in goods, and have need of nothing." Alas! This seems to be the prevalent condition of nominal churchianity on every hand. Only the few in her who are Israelites indeed, and who have not yet heard and obeyed the voice speaking in this harvest-time, and saying, "Come out of her my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins and that ye receive not of her plagues" – only these very few know of the true riches; the remainder are deceiving themselves with a counterfeit wealth. They look with pride upon their numbers, and count them by millions: they rejoice in this wealth of numbers, not realizing that nearly all are "tares," not begotten by the good Word of the Kingdom; – indeed very few of them know anything about the Kingdom at all, not being begotten of the Truth, but begotten of error.

Laodiceans look upon their material prosperity, and the numbers of wealthy people associated with their confederating denominations, and count their money and their donations by millions, and say, We are rich as never before. Alas! that they do not realize that these are earthly riches of the kind which our Lord declares are no evidence of his favor during this Gospel age, but rather to the contrary. And they see not the true riches which the Lord admires, and which are the foretaste of his favor and the coming Kingdom wealth.

And so the Lord declares to Laodicea, "Thou knowest not that thou art wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked." She is poor, in that she has so little of the Master's spirit, so little of the Truth and the spirit of the Truth. The only riches which God can recognize are those which he promised to, and bestows upon his people in this present time. Laodicea is blind, in that the god of this world hath blinded her perceptions of God's character and plan and is leading her further and further away from confidence in his Word, under the guidance of her chosen and well-paid lords and masters, the clergy, who under the name of Higher Criticism and Evolution are rapidly taking away from her every good possession and thing which would be estimable in the sight of the Lord, and who are thus denuding her, making her naked, taking from her the robe of Christ's righteousness, and leading her to trust, not in the precious blood of the redemption, the death of the Redeemer, but to trust in an evolutionary process which needs no Savior, which denies an atonement for sin, yea, denies that there is, or has been any sin to make atonement for; and claims, on the contrary that humanity has ground for pride in its own progress, which will be quite sufficient eventually to bring to them every desired blessing, without any Savior and without his Kingdom, which God has [R2763 : page 57] promised as the hope of the groaning creation. – Rom. 8:19-23.

Laodicea is indeed counseled to buy the true gold, the true riches of the Lord, and to use eye-salve that she may see, and to put on the garment of Christ's righteousness, that she may not be put to shame; but we have no intimation in the Scripture that she will give any heed to this counsel; on the contrary, the intimation is that more and more she will become a Babel of confusion, and that she will go down with the political and financial systems of this present age, in the great time of trouble with which this age will terminate, and which will fit and prepare mankind for the Kingdom of God's dear Son, and its reign of righteousness. "When the judgments of the Lord are abroad in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness." – Isa. 26:9.

Then, with the new Millennial age, will come a new order of things, and no longer will the blessing of the Lord entail sacrifice and self-denials, as at the present time; because the sacrificing priesthood will all have been found and proven and glorified. Then the blessing of the Lord will come, as to the Jews, in earthly favors and earthly blessings, in proportion as they shall be obedient to the laws of the Kingdom and to the spirit of those laws. "In that day the righteous shall flourish" – flourish in all temporal prosperity, and in mental, physical and moral growth, upward and still upward in the highway of holiness; in that day the evil-doer will receive the stripes, and be at the disadvantage; and, if he continue in evil-doing, ultimately he will be cut off from amongst the people, – in the Second Death. – Isa. 35:8; Psa. 37:9; Acts 3:23.

"Charge them that are rich in this world, that they be not high-minded, nor trust in uncertain riches, – but in the living God who giveth us [all his people] all things [needful] to their rich enjoyment; that they do good; that they be rich in good works, liberal, ready to bestow; treasuring up for themselves a good preparation for the real life." – 1 Tim. 6:17-19.

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PARABLE OF THE TEN VIRGINS.
MATT. 25:1-13. – FEB. 3. –

"Watch ye therefore, for ye know neither the day nor the hour wherein the Son of Man cometh."

O
F DEEP and special interest to every consecrated believer this parable should surely be, referring, as it does, to the Lord's true people only – the "virgin" or pure class – ignoring the worldly and hypocritical, and yet showing that amongst the true saints there are two classes, only one of which will enter the Kingdom and be the Bride, the Lamb's wife. Those who pin their faith to the creeds of "Christendom" find little light and comfort in this parable. Those creeds teach (contrary to the Scriptures) that death inducts the Church to heavenly joys, and all others into endless torment. No wonder those who believe those creeds seek to deny or at least to forget the Scriptural statement that there is "no other name given under heaven or among men whereby we must be saved." No wonder they seek in generosity of heart to extend God's favor, and heaven's protection from eternal misery, to hundreds of millions who have never heard of the only name, and consequently have never believed in Jesus unto justification, as well as to all except the most vicious of civilized lands. To such creed-deceived people this parable should give such a shock as would thoroughly awaken them to search for the truth in God's own Word. For to interpret this parable in harmony with their creeds would not only cut off for eternal woe all but the truly consecrated Christians, but would divide these "virgins" (pure ones) into two classes, only one of which attains the heavenly Kingdom, and joint-heirship with Christ as his Bride. All must see error in such a conception of the divine Word and plan, whether they have seen the truth on the subject or not.

For our interpretation of this parable, which we believe to be both Scriptural and reasonable, we refer our readers to MILLENNIAL DAWN, VOL. III., page 91 and on.

The Golden Text should not be overlooked; – particularly because its real lesson is the very reverse of the interpretation usually given it. It is usually quoted and considered separate and apart from its context, and understood to mean, Watch; because no one will ever know anything respecting the second coming of Christ. How absurd it would be to tell us to watch for a thing, and in the same breath assure us that our watching would be useless because none would ever know!

But this verse taken in connection with the parable of the Virgins, as our Lord gave it, and meant it to be considered, means much of great interest and importance to God's people. It means that all of God's people should watch, because if watching faithfully they will know of his second coming – it will be distinctly announced – not to the world, ignorant of the Bridegroom and non-expectant of his second coming – but to all the "virgins" (the pure in heart, the truly consecrated, the Church). These alone (not the world) are called upon to watch and wait for the Lord from heaven, the Bridegroom. And the parable shows the necessity for this expectancy, watching, and readiness on the part of the consecrated; – that only such would be ready [R2763 : page 58] for, and share in the great blessing expected. The unready were too drowsy spiritually; – overcharged with the cares of this life and the deceitfulness of riches. This proved that they did not love the Lord enough, more than earthly interest, and hence did not sacrifice the latter for the spiritual interests; and surely in this they are foolish, and will so assert some day.

The parable belongs to our day. It is now in process of fulfilment; and it is but a kindness on the part of the "virgins" who are awake that they shake and otherwise attempt to arouse the sleeping "virgins" in time for them to get the oil in their vessels and make all needed preparations, and be among the wise before all the wise have gone in to the wedding and the "door" of opportunity is shut. This is the meaning of the exertions being put forth through the circulation of WATCH TOWER literature in every conceivable way. [R2764 : page 58] We seek to awaken the sleeping "Virgins." Some of them get awake and thank the Lord and his faithful, while others are merely angered by our kind endeavors and say all manner of evil against us falsely; – thus showing that they are not of the kind whom the Lord desires shall be members of "the Bride, the Lamb's wife." – Rev. 19:7,8.

The portion or future of the foolish virgins is not shown in the parable – except that they, not getting the proper supply of the "oil" in season to go in before the "door" to this joint-heir class closes, will not be admitted to it; – its number being limited, and by that time completed. Other Scriptures seem to show us that these foolish virgins will pass through the great time of trouble with which this age is just about to close; and that in it they will be chastened and tested and made fit for a good place in the Father's house; and that tho they will never be sharers of the Bride's portion they will be of "the virgins her companions that follow her." – Psa. 45:14; Rev. 7:14-17; 19:9.

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"TO EVERY MAN ACCORDING TO HIS SEVERAL ABILITY."
MATT. 25:14-30. – FEB. 10. –

"So, then, everyone of us shall give an account of himself before God." – Rom. 14:12.

I
T WAS ON the way from Jericho toward Jerusalem that our Lord gave the Parable of the Ten Pounds, delivered one each to ten servants. (Luke 19:11,12. See our issue of Dec. 1.) The Parable of the Talents which we are now considering is a different one in several particulars, tho bearing close resemblance to the other. It was part of our Lord's teaching to his disciples during the few days preceding his crucifixion, probably the Tuesday preceding it, on the evening journey from Jerusalem to Bethany. This parable illustrates to us the differing abilities of God's people in respect to his service, and how each is accountable according to his ability, and that the same results are neither required nor expected from all, but simply faithfulness by each in the use of that ability and opportunity which he possesses.

The Revised Version notes the fact that the words, "the Kingdom of Heaven," in the opening verse, are not found in the ancient MSS., but this does not interfere with the thought that it is the Kingdom of Heaven in embryo (the Church) that is discussed, and that is likened to these servants who receive the talents; for this parable, it is to be remembered, followed immediately the Parable of the Ten Virgins, which is declared to be an illustration of the Kingdom. The Parable of the Talents, therefore, merely continues the thought respecting the Kingdom class, making these fresh observations respecting it.

Altho a number of servants are implied, yet only a sample illustration of three is given, leaving it to be inferred that the others were more or less distinctly represented in these three, without attempting to show or to teach which of the classes would predominate. In this respect also this parable corresponds to the Parable of the Pounds. This parable was evidently, like the other, to prepare the minds of the apostles for our Lord's departure from the present life – to the "far country," heaven itself, there to appear in the presence of God to present on behalf of mankind the sacrifice for sins which he was about to accomplish at Calvary; and incidentally to be crowned, highly exalted and honored far above angels, principalities and powers, at the right hand of divine favor, and there to remain till the appointed time for him to take possession of his Kingdom under the whole heavens, to subdue it and to bring it into full accord with the divine government, that God's will should be done on earth as it is done in heaven.

The expression "far country," would give the thought of a considerable time to elapse between the Master's leaving and his return to establish his Millennial Kingdom. Meantime the apostles were to understand that they themselves were his servants to whom he entrusted his property, and that he would expect them to be faithful in guarding all of his interests and affairs, and promoting the same according to their several abilities. But since the parable covers the long period of eighteen hundred years, and looks down to certain servants living at the time of the Master's return, it is evident that it was intended to include, not the apostles only, but, as our Lord's prayer expressed the matter, "All those who shall believe on me through their word." We are to notice distinctly that the parable [R2764 : page 59] does not concern the world; nor do the decisions mentioned as taking place at the second coming of our Lord in any sense of the word represent decisions respecting the world, but merely decisions respecting the Church. Nor are we even to understand that the parable includes the general "household of faith;" but simply and only the specially consecrated servants of the Lord, to whom he has committed certain responsibilities; viz., those only who have been begotten of the holy spirit.

In the early Church, following the Pentecostal outpouring of the holy spirit, every consecrated believer received a gift or talent, and some received many of these, as the Apostle says: "The manifestation of the spirit [a portion, at least one talent] is given to every man [in this consecrated Church] to profit withal." Each had a responsibility in proportion as he had talents or gifts of the spirit, and hence the Apostle Paul, having more than the others, had a greater responsibility because he had greater opportunities; and we judge that he measured up to these responsibilities in a manner most acceptable to the Master. (1 Cor. 14:18.) But those gifts must have ceased within a short time after the death of the Apostles, because we most clearly find that the gifts of the spirit were imparted to believers only through the laying on of hands of the apostles – that they did not come supernaturally from God to every individual, – and that those who possessed the gifts themselves, except the apostles, could not communicate them to others. – Acts 8:12-20.

The object of those gifts, as we have already seen, was the establishment of the early Church, but with its establishment their necessity ceased, and hence the gifts ceased in that form, and have since continued with the Lord's people in a very different form; that is to say, since then the natural gifts or talents which each person possesses through birth, education and training are reckoned, when he is consecrated to the Lord and accepted by him, as being owned or possessed by the man's new or holy spirit, and hence are reckoned as talents or abilities committed to his care, and for the use of which he will be held responsible in the outcome. If he remained one of the world he would have other responsibilities, but no such as are implied in this lesson, which represents only the responsibilities of the consecrated servants in the use of their Master's spiritual goods.

We may safely say that there are comparatively few five-talent servants amongst the Lord's people: the majority of the saints may safely be considered as being of the one- and two-talent classes. There are not many five-talent people in the world anyway, and it would appear that the world, the flesh and the devil bid so high for the services of these few that the number of them to become the Lord's servants, and to make consecration of their five talents fully and exclusively to his service, is comparatively small – "not many wise after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble."

The parable shows that five-talent people amongst the Lord's servants are not to measure themselves with others and to say, I have done enough; certainly more than A., who has one talent, but as much as B., who has two talents. Rather, each disciple is to seek to know truthfully just what talents of natural ability and opportunity the Master has committed to his care, and to seek to use everyone of these as fully, as thoroughly and as constantly as possible, so that the results may be much fruit, much praise, much service, much honor to the Lord. And as this parable should be a check upon those servants who have five talents, to hinder them from taking a slothful view of the matter so it should also be an encouragement to those having fewer talents of ability and opportunity, showing them that the Lord will not expect as great things from them as he would expect from those having greater opportunities and greater natural talents. It teaches such that they should do with their might what their hands find to do, and realize that this reasonable service is what the Lord expects and what he proposed to reward in each. The servant who had only one talent of ability and opportunity should have felt equally his responsibility, and might equally have had the Master's approval had he been faithful, in which event, no doubt, his one talent would have increased to two.

Our Lord's arrangement of the parable, that the person who received the one talent was the one who digged in the earth and buried it, should not be understood to mean that the one-talented people are more likely than others of the Lord's servants with more talents to thus neglect and misuse them. So far as observation teaches, we might conclude that proportionately [R2765 : page 59] as many of the two-talented and five-talented dig in the earth and hide their talents, as of those who possess only one; and of course their so doing would be proportionately more blameworthy than that of the one-talented man. Why, then, is the one-talented man chosen as an illustration of these talent-burials? We answer, that it is to show the responsibility of those who have least – that the Lord expects even the least of his consecrated people to know of, and to use the talents he has in his possession, and that he will not hold guiltless even those who have the smallest ability to serve him and his brethren and his truth and who neglect to use it. As the responsibilities accompanying a larger number of talents would be greater, so the losses in their case would be greater, and thus the punishment more severe.

"After a long time the lord of those servants cometh and reckoneth with them." By these words our [R2765 : page 60] Lord gave to the disciples as clear an intimation as was proper of the fact that they were not to expect him to return and reckon with them in a very few days, a few months or a few years; but when they subsequently asked him respecting the particular time, he refused them, saying that it was not for them to know the times and the seasons, which the Father had put in his own power. And so for eighteen hundred years the Lord's people have been left without clear information on this subject. This, however, does not militate against the thought that it is the privilege of God's people now to know something of the times and seasons, because the due time has come in which the Father wishes to communicate these; – the time mentioned through the Prophet Daniel, when the [truly] wise shall understand, as we saw in the preceding lesson. – Dan. 12:10; 1 Thess. 5:4; John 16:13.

There is no intimation in the parable that the disciples would die and go to their Lord, and be reckoned with and rewarded then, as many believe to have been the case. The Scriptures are harmonious and consistent with themselves in their teachings, and not only declare that "David is not ascended into the heavens," and that "no man hath ascended up to heaven" save Jesus, but they declare also that our Lord will come a second time, to receive his people unto himself and to then reward them. The Apostle Paul, who was one of these five-talented servants, declares respecting himself, "I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course; I have kept the faith. Henceforth there is laid up for me [in reservation, in waiting] a crown of righteousness which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will give me in that day, and not to me only, but also unto all them that love his appearing." – 2 Tim. 4:7,8; John 3:13; 14:3; Acts 2:34.

To our understanding we are now living in "the days of the Son of Man," and he is now reckoning with his servants in this the day of his revelation. We understand, according to the Scriptures, by faith and not by sight, that the reckoning was to begin with those servants who had fallen asleep, and that "we who are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord" should not prevent or hinder them, nor take precedence to them in this matter of being reckoned with and rewarded. (1 Thess. 4:15-17.) To our understanding, as already shown in the MILLENNIAL DAWN series, 1878 marked the date for our Lord's assumption of Kingly authority and his judgment upon Babylon the Great, characterizing her as "fallen," and calling for all the people of God to come out of her: and that it marked also the date for the faithful overcomers of the past to have a share in the first resurrection – to enter into the joys of their Lord, and hear his words, "Well done, good and faithful servants." In harmony with this, it is our understanding that all of this class are now enjoying the glory, honor and immortality promised to the faithful. This work of judging the servants is totally distinct from the judging of the world – the world's judgment is very different everyway, and is to take place during the Millennial age, and is represented in the Parable of the Sheep and the Goats, the scene of which is located "when the Son of Man shall sit upon the throne of his glory," at which time the faithful servants of the present age, whose trial is now in progress, and whose reckoning and rewards are shown in the parable of the lesson, will sit with the Lord in his throne as he has promised. – Rev. 3:21.

As other Scriptures show, "we who are alive and remain unto the presence of the Lord" will not be omitted from the company of the glorified, altho our being alive will not give us precedence to them. The inspection and rewarding of the Lord's servants having begun in 1878 as respects those that had fallen asleep, is since progressing in respect to those who remain: these are granted a reasonable time in which to finish up their contract of full consecration, – to become ripe "wheat" – and to render up their accounts. Each of the elect now, as he finishes his course, reports immediately, and does not need to "sleep" in death, to wait for the coming of the King, but is immediately, in the moment of death, changed, "in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye," experiencing fully and instantly the first resurrection blessing of glory, honor and immortality – in the moment of death.

Realizing from this view of the parable that the Lord's people of today are represented in it, it is for each one of the consecrated (while yet it is called day – before the night cometh) to make a full and thorough inspection of himself: and to determine to what extent he has talents, abilities, privileges, opportunities, to serve the Lord, and to what extent he is using these; and to remember that his share in the reward depends upon his faithfulness in the use of his talents. There may be instances in which persons of five talents will use three of them faithfully in the Lord's service, and bury the other two in business and cares of this life – "in the earth," in earthly affairs. There may be instances in which those who have two talents use one for the Lord's service and bury the other one; but the fact that our Lord does not give such illustrations would lead us to question the probability of such a course. Some might plan certain things respecting two talents for heavenly things and three for earthly things; or of one for earthly things and the other for heavenly things; but the result probably would be either that he would become thoroughly immersed in the earthly things, and bury all his talents there, or else that his heart would become so thoroughly infused with the Lord's spirit [R2765 : page 61] and the desire to serve his cause that all of his talents would be thus employed. This tendency and result is implied by our Lord's statement on another occasion: "Ye cannot serve God and Mammon." "No man can serve two masters." Experience and observation corroborate this; and hence as a rule we find that people are either cold or hot in spiritual things; either it is the Kingdom of heaven first and far above all other considerations, demanding and receiving the very best we have of time, energy and influence; or else the Kingdom of heaven is neglected and forgotten, and time and influence are spent in money-getting or other selfish and earthly occupations of mind and body.

The lesson of this to every one of the Lord's consecrated people is plain: we are to "seek first [chiefly] the Kingdom of God." It is to be our chief concern and to receive from us all the time, attention, thought, energy, influence and means we have – the things needful for the present life being understood to be excepted; and our love and zeal will be manifested by the proportion of these even, which we are willing to sacrifice in the interest of heavenly things.

The reward given to the faithful servants was the same in each case – the entering into the joys of the Lord; and we may reasonably understand that this will mean that the cup of joy to each will be full. In this, too, we have a great encouragement for all, and one which perhaps is specially needed by the majority of the Lord's servants, who possess only one or two talents of opportunity, etc. They have an equally good opportunity of entering into the joys of the Lord as tho they had five or ten talents; and the reward, "Well done, good and faithful servant," will be truly meant for, and as fully appreciated by the one as the other.

The reward to these servants is in full harmony with the foregoing application of the parable, and shows that during the Millennial age the faithful servants, the "elect" of this Gospel age, will be the rulers of the world, "joint-heirs with Jesus Christ their Lord" in his Kingdom, and upon his throne of rulership; for the reward specifies, "Thou has been faithful over a few things; I will make thee ruler over many things." If the parable were intended to represent the world's judgment, such a conclusion would be inappropriate, because by the time the world's judgment will have ended there will no longer be necessity for rulership in this sense; for, as the Apostle declares, Christ shall reign [during the Millennium] until he shall have put down all authority, etc., and then he shall deliver up the Kingdom to God, even the Father. The rule, or reign of righteousness, the Mediatorial Kingdom, is to be established during the Millennial age, – thus to overthrow the rule of unrighteousness now prevailing amongst men, and to lift mankind in general out of the present condition of sin and death – to deliver as many of them as will accept the deliverance from the power of Satan into the liberty of sons of God. And with the accomplishment of this work the time for all such ruling will be at an end; hence this parable is a strong lesson in support of the pre-millennial coming of our Lord and exaltation of his faithful, the elect Church. [R2766 : page 61]

The servant who hid his talent in the earth, and who failed to use it, endeavored to justify his course by blaming the Master with being too hard and exacting. And so it is with many, who, having taken upon themselves the vows of consecration to the Lord, subsequently fail to perform them. They are disposed to blame the Lord rather than to blame themselves; and this course indicates what their real lack is, – Love. They do not love the Lord fully, truly, sufficiently, and their course reveals this fact. Had they loved him they would have delighted to do to their ability his will; and only such are blessed with rewards.

The punishment of those who failed to perform their covenant as servants, who failed to use the talents provided for them under this covenant, is shown to be great loss; – but not the loss which many suppose, whose minds are blinded by the theory that eternal torment is the wages for sin, and that it is visited upon all except the "overcomers" of this Gospel age. Such claim that the unfaithful servant would be delivered over to Satan and be tortured in flaming fire, and so blind are many of the advocates of this theory that they read all this into our Lord's statement in this very parable; but instead of mentioning flames of fire, which would surely make the place light, our Lord mentions darkness as his portion – "outer darkness." Neither does our Lord mention the demon-tormentors, generally believed in.

We offer another and much more reasonable, much more consistent, interpretation of our Lord's words. The servant who fails to use present privileges of consecration and service and sacrifice will find the opportunity taken from him. He will have it no more; neither will he have any share in the reward given to the overcomers; – he will suffer this great loss. He is represented as going into "outer darkness," implying that he had already been in the light of divine favor, blessing, privilege, knowledge of divine things; – that he would lose this enlightenment, and that his understanding would become darkened as respects spiritual things. It is "outer darkness," because it is the darkness common to and resting upon the whole world of mankind; – only the consecrated, accepted of the Lord, being permitted to come fully into the clear light of the knowledge of the Lord and of his plan now shining. Any others than these, upon whom this light may temporarily fall, have it only in a secondary sense, at very most, and see not the glorious things themselves, but merely, so to speak, their reflections. The unfaithful [R2766 : page 62] servant is to be cast completely out of all favor; even the reflected light will be obscured from his vision, and he will find himself, now or shortly, in the darkness of the world as respects the divine plan, work, etc. And there he will share with the world in its great time of trouble with which this age is about to close, a time of trouble which is fittingly pictured in the parable by the weeping and gnashing of teeth.

[R2766 : page 62]

INTERESTING QUESTIONS ANSWERED.

Question. – Is it so that children are not amenable to the high calling, and that consequently they should be let go, without special religious instruction – into the nominal church Sunday Schools, etc.?

Answer. – Only believers have ever been amenable to the high calling of joint-heirship with Christ, and to suffering with him. The innocency of childhood is in the Scriptures set forth as a beautiful picture, and one that is to be emulated by all of the Lord's people in spiritual matters – they are to be children as respects malice; they are to be simple in their faith and love, not given to duplicity, misrepresentation, deep scheming, etc. In this sense of the word the Lord assures us that we must all become as little children, else we cannot enter the Kingdom of Heaven. But to be as a little child in these respects, and to be a little child, are two different matters. The Lord did not accept any of the infants of Palestine to be his disciples, nor has he called infants to be his disciples since.

However, the age at which an intelligent faith in the Lord might be exercised and the time, therefore, at which, after the exercise of that faith, a covenant of full consecration to the Lord's service could be intelligently entered into, must vary with the individuality of the children. We have known some that we considered quite competent both to believe and to consecrate at as early an age as fourteen, and all we should ask of any would be an evidence of their faith and an evidence of appreciation of consecration.

We have a duty to our children, even tho they be too young to appreciate matters for themselves. They are our children, and under our care, and for us to deliberately lead their young feet into the snares of the Adversary, and to assist in entangling them in sectarianism, when we know how much evil it has done us, would be a crime on our part against them and against the truth. Every parent should recognize himself as having incurred grave responsibilities toward his children, not only for their temporal necessities, but equally for their mental and moral training; and the parents who are most faithful in the discharge of this God-appointed responsibility are sure to be the ones who are running the race themselves most successfully: for they will find that every effort to make clear the divine plan to the child will bring clearness and force to the parent's mind, and every attempt to inculcate the spirit of the Lord, the spirit of holiness, the spirit of truth, will be sure to bring with it a blessing, not only upon the heart of the child, but upon the heart of the parent. And years will show that the faithful parents will have reward through their children, of joy and peace and comfort, while those parents who neglect their children, or who trust them to those who are likely to mislead them in spiritual things, are pretty sure eventually to reap according as they have sown – poor or meager results.

Question. – Would it be proper for us after withdrawing from a church to return to it and commune with it?

Answer. – There is no law to hinder the Christian from going anywhere he believes the Lord would have him go, and where he believes he can get and do good and serve the truth, and feed the Lord's flock, and use his influence to the Lord's praise. If therefore you feel that your visiting the church from which you have withdrawn would have the above beneficial results, and if you would be made welcome by the said church, we see no reason why you might not, as occasion would offer, attend such church.

However, on the other hand there is something to be said. Are you sure that your going would either do good or bring good? Are you sure that your influence would be favorable to the truth, if invested in that manner? Or would it be unfavorable to the truth and favorable to error? Are you sure that your attendance would furnish you any opportunities for speaking the truth and serving it to fellow-members of the household of faith? These are questions which each of the Lord's people must decide for himself. We think that as a general rule denominational lines are so closely drawn that there is no opportunity inside of them for bringing the truth clearly and fearlessly before the attention of the attendants.

Respecting the taking of communion: It would seem to us that to do this regularly would certainly be unwise and prejudicial to the truth, because it would be favoring what we think is not Scriptural. And yet if by accident we happened to be with Christian people when they partook of the communion we would not feel condemned by our conscience in celebrating the Lord's death with them, explaining subsequently to our acquaintances what we considered to be the Scriptural truth on this subject. But in visiting a nominal church we should, if possible, avoid visiting on the Sunday when they erroneously celebrate the Lord's death out of its memorial season.

[R2766 : page 63]

SIN AND SICKNESS.

It is frequently asserted by some of the faith-healers of the present day that personal sin is the cause of all personal sickness, and that if persons who are sick will repent and be saved from their sins they may expect to be also saved from their sickness and diseases; the one only condition being that they shall believe that the Lord does heal them in answer to prayer.

The proposition may be true that sin is the general cause of sickness, or, rather, that sickness is a consequence of sin, in the sense that had not Adam sinned death would not have entered into the world, neither sickness as an antecedent of death; yet to hold that the sickness of the individual is the consequence or result of the sin of the individual in every instance, and that salvation from sin necessarily carries with it, on the exercise of the requisite faith, the healing of the body, is a doctrine fraught with error and evil; bringing those who come under its influence into great mental trouble because they cannot exercise the necessary faith for healing, and they therefore count themselves [R2767 : page 63] base unbelievers, when they may be exercising all the faith that is required of them, and should 'rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory,' because they are receiving the end of their faith, even the salvation of their souls. – 1 Pet. 1:8,9.

It will, therefore, be a desirable thing to disprove this unwholesome doctrine, and, in order to do so, it will be only necessary to show that the Lord Jesus Christ was sick, for he "did no sin" (1 Pet. 2:22), "and in him is no sin" (1 John 3:5), and he could boldly ask, while he walked the earth, "Which of you convinceth me of sin?" (John 8:46), and, therefore, personal sin could not have been the cause of sickness in him, as it was not in the case of the man born blind, and may not be in a thousand other instances.

Jesus was a very sick man in the garden of Gethsemane. Luke, who was a physician, tells us that, being in an agony, he prayed more earnestly, and his sweat was, as it were, great drops (thromboiclots) of blood falling down to the ground. This sickness with which Jesus suffered was diapedesis, a sickness not very common, and yet frequent enough to receive note and attention in the medical works and the cyclopedias. In McClintock and Strong's great work we have several instances given, under the phrase, "bloody sweat," especially that of Charles IX. of France, and allusion is made to Dr. Stroud's book on "The Physical Cause of the Death of Christ," where the matter is scientifically treated....

No one can read the fifty-third chapter of Isaiah, in the original, without being fully convinced that (the chapter containing a prophecy of Christ) it is intended to present him as one suffering from sickness. In the third verse we have the words, "a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief." Here the Hebrew word for sorrows is "makaboth," and means pains, while the word for grief is "choli," and is from the verb "chalah," which means to be sick, weak, diseased. This word "choli" is the word used when the sickness of Hezekiah is spoken of; also when it is said, "Elisha was fallen sick of his sickness whereof he died (2 Kings 13:14), and in numerous other instances of bodily sickness. The same word is used in the fourth verse, when it is said, "Surely he hath carried our griefs." In Matthew 8:17 this word is translated in the Greek asthencias, "infirmities" in our version, but it is the word that is used in the singular when the sickness of Lazarus is spoken of (John 11:4), and as a verb in various other instances of unquestionable bodily illness. Again, in the tenth verse, "he hath put him to grief," where the reading in the Hebrew is, "he hath made him sick," as in the margin of the Revised Version.

Thus the proof from the Scriptures is ample that Jesus Christ was sick, and so able to sympathize with us in our sicknesses and "infirmities" (Heb. 4:15); being without sin, personal sin could not have been the cause of his illness, and, therefore, may not be of ours.

W. S. URMY,

Pastor of Potrero M.E. Church, California.

page 63

INTERESTING LETTERS.

DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL: – Your recent favor was received yesterday. Please accept my most heartfelt thanks for your clear and detailed explanation of the 1881 matter. Altho I felt this to be your understanding of the matter, yet several in the meeting have been greatly exercised with respect to the question. These I now rejoice to be able to comfort and encourage more positively than I could before receiving your letter. I trust I am not taking up your valuable time unnecessarily with my little questions. I felt a little guilty after reading your comment on the numerous conventions held during the past year, fearing that my correspondence may have helped to retard the sixth volume of DAWN. I most sincerely trust such has not been the case.

I visited Brother and Sister Davis at __________, Cal., last week, and they asked me to call your attention to a statement on page 16, VOL. V., where you classify the Quakers with Unitarians, which they fear will cause prejudice among the Friends denomination. They fully understand your reason for this statement, knowing that the Friends you meet in Pennsylvania are of that belief; but they are only about one-tenth of the denomination. I send by same mail a "Discipline" of Iowa Yearly Meeting of Friends, from which you can judge of their position with respect to our Lord Jesus (page 30), and I am free to confess that I have for years held the same view with yourself, having come in contact with what I supposed were representative Friends, but who I now see were "Hicksite" and "Wilburite" Quakers, and representing the "Philadelphia Yearly Meeting," one not recognized by the other Yearly Meetings as sound in the doctrines of the "Friends." I felt sure you would like to know this, for in view of the statement appearing so early in the volume, readers might feel that you had either misrepresented the matter or were misinformed, and therefore they would lack confidence in the author and not desire to pursue the page 64 study further. Bro. Davis may write you on the subject too. I feel so jealous for the Truth, that I cannot bear to have any error, however slight or unimportant apparently, go without correction. If I may suggest, I think a foot-note in future copies, or a little slip pasted in the present edition to the effect that you referred to a certain branch of the Friends denomination in your classification, would serve to counteract any erroneous impression. Dear brother, please do not think I am desirous of giving orders to you in any matter. I feel that situated as you are, and with your mind so free from the suspicions and evil surmisings of people in general, even professing Christians, you might possibly not see these matters in the light we do who come in contact with them.

I enclose a copy of a publication which truly seems a device of the Adversary, written as it is by a person of your name, and on the subjects especially treated by you, but from so opposite a standpoint. Nevertheless "no weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper," and the true sheep will not follow the "voice of a stranger." Only it makes my heart sad to see such things scattered broadcast to further deceive and delude any who may be "feeling after God."

I wish especially to thank you for the article in the TOWER on "The Song of Moses and the Lamb." Ever since I came into the knowledge of present truth I have felt that I would really be satisfied even to go into the grave never to be resurrected if only I might live long enough to see the character of Jehovah vindicated, his infinite wisdom, justice, love and power made known to all the world of mankind. How true it is that we alone of all the people of the earth are able to sing this glorious song of Moses and the Lamb! And my heart longs for that blessed time when "the knowledge of the Lord shall fill the earth as the waters cover the sea." If God has been willing to wait six thousand years for his true character to be made manifest, should not we be able to wait a few brief years to have our motives and lives, now so sadly misunderstood, cleared of every misconception? I have recently been reading the Bible through, the first time since I began to study present truth, and great was my delight at the marvelous harmony of every passage with the Divine Plan. Scriptures once as unintelligible as if written in Sanscrit now flame with light and truth and meaning! Oh, how can I ever praise my Heavenly Father for all his mercies to me! I am overwhelmed with the feeling of my utter unworthiness to have been called "out of darkness into his marvelous light!" Pray for me, dear brother, that I may be faithful to my calling and a more worthy ambassador for Christ Jesus, "approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth;" and more than that, one who not only hears and knows the Master's will, but also obeys it. I desire especially to be more humble, more like our Beloved, who had no will but that of his Father, for I realize more fully day by day that "this is the will of God (concerning me) even my sanctification," my complete submission to him in all things, if I would be with him and "see him as he is."

With much Christian love to yourself, and all the other faithful ones in the TOWER office, I remain,

Yours in the love and service of our King,

G. W. SEIBERT, – California.

DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL: – I have long desired to write to you to tell you as best I can how happy I am since I have learned of the true Gospel of Christ. I hesitated about writing for I felt that perhaps I ought not to intrude on your time, even for the few minutes that you will take to read these few lines, but I was assured by the dear brothers and sisters here in Boston that it would be all right, so I write these few lines to you at this time. I thank God, through his beloved Son every day for the true Gospel which has been revealed through the MILLENNIAL DAWN books, and I want to thank you, as the instrument in God's hands, for writing those books. I cannot tell you what they are to me, but when we "see face to face" you will know. I often wonder why his truth was made known to me, who am the least of all his children, as it seems to me, and while I realize that it increases my responsibility, yet that is not to be compared with the blessed privilege of knowing the true plan of God.

I am a constant TOWER reader, though you will not find my name on the list of subscribers, for the reason that I am blind and cannot therefore read for myself, and I feel that I ought not to have the TOWERS sent to me and be able to make no use of them. They are far too precious for that. I have had three volumes of DAWN read to me, and am now having the fourth and fifth read. I have sent to Scotland to have the first volume copies in embossed type for my use. I have often wondered if there are any more blind people who know the true gospel. Do you know of any?

Enclosed you will find a small Money Order which perhaps will help to send TOWERS or books to some of the Lord's poor. Yours faithfully,

F. B. GOULD, – Massachusetts.

MR. CHARLES T. RUSSELL,

DEAR SIR: – Some one kindly sent me a copy of your paper of March 15 and April 1, 1900, the contents of which I have just read with more than ordinary interest, the matter of which is entirely new to me, – a revelation. Will you kindly supply me with some tracts that I may more fully know whereof you speak. I am truly interested. A great deal of the contents of the paper now before me I read to another professional gentleman, Dr. J. H. Jenkins, whose office is on the same floor with mine. He too is interested.

Yours truly,

W. H. WOODSON, – Missouri.

[R2767 : page 64]

DEAR BROTHER IN JESUS CHRIST: – Your divine theology is certainly a helping hand to me. I hope, dear sir, that you will let me have many tracts and ZION'S WATCH TOWER for my religious education. I do certainly believe that the "little flock" will be an instrument by whom all the families of earth will be blessed; because all the churches are in a very poor situation and the world in great desolation [distress]. May God give me opportunity to know more about your divine mission. Come to my help and let me take the water abundantly in your publications. I am, dear sir, with much gratitude

Very truly yours,

J. R. VILATTE, Archbishop of the
Orthodox Catholic Church,
Canada.

page 65
February 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

SEMI-MONTHLY.
VOL. XXII.FEBRUARY 15, 1901.No. 4.
CONTENTS.

Views from the Watch Tower 67
Men's Hearts Failing them for Fear 68
Religious Federation in Unbelief and Works 69
Resist, Stedfast in the Faith 70
The Lord's Supper 72
First Celebration of the Lord's Supper 74
Primary Signification of the Bread and the Cup 75
The Secondary and Deeper Signification of the Loaf and the Cup 75
The Celebration in the Kingdom 76
Gethsemane – Watching and Praying 77
Items: One Day Conventions, etc 66

"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 66

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 & TRACT SOCIETY,
"BIBLE HOUSE," 610, 612, 614 ARCH ST., ALLEGHENY, PA., U.S.A.

SUBSCRIPTION PRICE, $1.00 A YEAR IN ADVANCE.
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 other infirmity or 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 continually.

ENTERED AS SECOND CLASS MAIL MATTER AT ALLEGHENY, PA., POST OFFICE.

BRITISH BRANCH NO. 131 GIPSY LANE, FOREST GATE, LONDON EAST, ENGLAND.

[R2769 : page 66]

ONE-DAY CONVENTIONS AND ALLEGHENY MEETINGS.

The Editor has accepted quite a number of invitations for one-day (Sunday) Conventions of late – at points which can be reached by railroad in one night's travel, permitting him to leave Allegheny Saturday night and to get back to his Editorial duties on Monday morning. One of these (D.V.) will be held at Canton, O., Feb. 10, one at Toledo, O., Feb. 17; another at Baltimore, Md., on Mar. 10. These are only local conventions usually attended by friends living within a radius of 50 miles.

But some dear friends from neighboring towns who have come to Allegheny at such times have felt a little disappointment at not seeing "Brother Russell" as they expected. We therefore announce, that hereafter such one-day conventions will be arranged for on only the second and fourth Sundays of each month. Brother Russell may be expected to be at Allegheny on the first and third Sundays of each month, no preventing providence.

VOLUNTEER WORK FOR 1901.

Remarks respecting the new tract "Food for Thinking Christians," No. 52, are favorable: all of our readers seem to consider it well calculated to awaken interest wherever it may be read. We are getting ready large editions for the "Volunteer" service on Sundays near Protestant churches and hope to be ready to fill orders about April 1.

It is time now to prepare by choosing a "captain" and enlisting as many volunteers as may be able and willing to serve. Let your "captain" report to us the names of volunteers, the numbers of churches, the average attendance at these, and his estimate of the quantity of the booklets needed, and the addresses to which they are preferred to be sent.

[R2767 : page 67]

VIEWS FROM THE WATCH TOWER.

NATURALLY enough at the opening of a new century thinking men inquire each other's views respecting the outlook. Naturally enough, too, hopes and fears chase each other through these imaginings, according to the temperaments of the thinkers and their experiences and their light.

The child of God, with his Father's Word of revelation in his hand, surely has much advantage every way over others as he seeks to scan the horizon of the twentieth century. But alas! how few among the millions of Christendom are in this position scanning the future through the glass of divine revelation. The masses nominally assent to the wisdom of such a course, yet will not follow it, confessing themselves "babes" as respects the Bible, – "unskilful in the word of righteousness." (Heb. 5:11-14.) Such "babes," realizing their own inabilities, look to their teachers as to nurses, care-takers; and the latter, sad to relate, are fulfilling prophecy in turning away their ears from the truth unto fables, – evolution theories and higher criticism unbelief. – 2 Tim. 4:3,4.

But the few, the very few, the Lord's "little flock," those who do trust the Lord and search his Word – the very class to whom our Lord declares, "To you it is given to know the mysteries of the Kingdom" – the very class specified by the Apostle as "taught of God" and guided by his holy spirit to an understanding of his Word – these certainly have much advantage every way; notably as respects the Kingdom, but also in respect to the affairs of the present evil world. – 1 Cor. 2:6-16; Matt. 13:11.

As this class faces toward the sunrise to note the world's prospects for the twentieth century, what a sun-burst meets their eye of faith peering with the aid of the divine glass – God's Word – through the clouds and mists! They see, just beyond the vail, the Lord of Glory ready to take possession of earth's empire, just as soon as the allotted "Times of the Gentiles" shall have run out! They see, with the same eye of faith, the Lord's jewels, his bride, his joint-heir in the Kingdom, mostly with him and waiting now while the remainder of the 144,000 finish their course and make their calling and election sure – passing one by one beyond the vail – changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, to the glorious perfection of the First Resurrection, with its glory, honor and immortality, which eye hath not seen nor ear heard, neither hath entered into the heart of man, but which, as the Apostle declares, God hath revealed unto us by his spirit.

Then looking for the world's portion through the same inspired glass and with the same eye of faith they see still other wonders and glories. They see God's (spiritual) Kingdom about to be established in the earth: they see its wonderful provisions of heavenly love, – for justice, equity, righteousness and the resultant blessings of peace on earth, good-will toward men: they see the binding of Satan and every evil principle and thing: they see the release of earth's dead and dying millions from the curse to an opportunity then to be theirs to return to full heart-harmony with the Creator through their Redeemer: they see the channel of this favor to be Christ and that the knowledge of this grace of God is yet to fill the whole earth as the waters cover the great deep.

Seeing these things their hearts rejoice and their faces are glad; – truly the holy anointing oil, the holy spirit and the blessed enlightenment which it brings them, is the oil of joy which replaces the spirit of heaviness. True, they see also the intervening trials of faith to themselves, and the sharp experiences which lie before them in the narrow way ere the goal is [R2767 : page 68] reached, and they see with even clearer distinctness than do the worldly-wise the great time of trouble coming upon nominal Christendom; but realizing all these things to be but incidentals preparing the way for the great blessing so soon to follow, they can and do lift up their heads and rejoice in the God of our salvation, saying – "Great and marvelous are thy works, Lord God Almighty; just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints."

"What if the clouds do for a moment
Hide the blue sky where morn appears?
Soon the glad sun of promise given
Rises to shine a thousand years!"

But now let us contrast with the above bright prospect the fears and doubts which trouble the wisest of the "children of this world," because they see only with their own mental eyes and lack the hearing enlightenment of the Bible spy-glass. These views have been collated by the New York World, which sent out some time since to prominent people a query respecting their view of the greatest menace to twentieth century progress. Some of the replies are summarized as follows: –

"I believe that ere the twentieth century closes, the earth will be purged of its foulest shame, the killing of men by men in battle under the name of war," says Andrew Carnegie.

W. T. Stead declares that the chief menace to man's progress is "war, which threatens Christendom as the result of ignoring Christian principles in its dealings with one-fourth of the human race which is born inside a yellow skin." Sir Walter Besant fears [R2768 : page 68] especially the increasing naval armaments, designed "apparently for self-protection," but in reality for aggression; while Lord Charles Beresford regards "the Chinese question" with most apprehension.

In many quarters the greatest menace is believed to be of a social rather than international nature. The Earl of Wemyss states it as his opinion that Socialism is blocking the march of human progress, and Arthur W. Pinero, the dramatist, attacks trades-unionism. Joseph Arch, the English labor leader, retaliates by declaring that "a large accumulation of wealth on the one hand, and a large increase of pauperism on the other" is the growing evil in society; and Samuel Gompers expresses fears for the lowering of the American standard of living, by Oriental competition.

"The greatest political danger of the twentieth century is that the increasing influence of wealth will lead to increasing disregard of the inalienable rights of man," says William Jennings Bryan. President Schurman, of Cornell University, fears most the "exaltation, worship, and pursuit of money as the foremost good of life. The salt that may save us from this blight," he adds, "is to be found in our schools and churches; in every union for a righteous cause; and most of all, in the ideals and aspirations of the noble souls who will not suffer human society to degenerate into a mere brutish struggle for life and the survival of the fittest." President Hadley, of Yale University, finds the threat to the public welfare in "legislation based on the self-interest of individuals, or classes, instead of on public sentiment and public spirit."

Among the ecclesiastics, emphasis is laid on the moral virtues. When questioned regarding coming dangers, the Bishop of Hereford replied, in the words of Col. 3:5: "Evil desires and covetousness." The Bishop of Llandaff answered: "Infidelity, anarchy." Cardinal Gibbons says that "the greatest dangers that now seem to confront us are political corruption and lust for gain and the unholy purposes to which it is perverted."

"MEN'S HEARTS FAILING THEM FOR FEAR."

"The view ten years ago showed a placid, smiling river; now we see the boiling rapids of a torrent plunging toward what abyss no one knows. War has followed war with swift succession....What the next stroke will be, who can say?"

Springfield Republican.

Lord Salisbury said of threatened wars: –

"These wars come upon us absolutely unannounced and with terrible rapidity. The war cloud rises in the horizon with a rapidity that obviates all calculation, and, it may be, a month or two months after the first warning you receive, you find you are engaged in, or in prospect of a war on which your very existence is staked."

Gen. N. A. Miles, after his European tour said: –

"I have seen all the great armies of Europe except the Spanish army. What I have seen does not indicate that the millennium is at hand, when swords shall be beaten into plowshares."

The late Bishop Newman gave his view thus: –

"This is the most unsettled condition of the world since the crucifixion of Christ. The stability of government is no longer a fact. Change is in the atmosphere. It is just as true now as a thousand years ago, 'Thou knowest not what a day will bring forth.'... Statesmen are at their wits' end. Philosophers speculate in vain."

Archbishop Ireland, Roman Catholic, declares: –

"The bonds of society are relaxed; traditional principles are losing their sacredness, and perils hitherto unknown are menacing the life of the social organism."

Prof. Andrews, ex-president of Brown University, says: –

"No well-informed person in Europe seems to believe that peace is destined to endure there very long. On all hands people are preparing for war. Armies and navies are strengthened; fortifications multiplied; immense war treasures of gold piled up; all possible hypothetical plans of campaign, offensive and defensive, [R2768 : page 69] studied and discussed; firearms, great and small, ceaselessly experimented upon and improved; civil measures subordinate to military, and statesmen to great army men and navy men."

Signor Crispi, ex-prime minister of Italy, says: –

"Europe resembles Spain from a certain point of view. Anarchy is dominant everywhere. To speak frankly, there is no Europe. The European concert is only a sinister joke. Nothing can be expected from the concert of the powers. We are marching toward the unknown. Who knows what tomorrow has in store for us?"

All of these are right to some extent, for indeed and in truth the new King, Immanuel, will bring in an everlasting peace, but his reign will be ushered in by the political and social and ecclesiastical troubles, which Bishop Heresford properly ascribes to "evil desires and covetousness" – otherwise selfishness, which, as Bishop Llandaff declares, lead to anarchy.

RELIGIOUS FEDERATION IN UNBELIEF AND WORKS.

In Great Britain and in various quarters in the United States religious federation is making progress. These unions are for greater and more effective works of righteousness according to their own statements, and religious conviction, faith, is generally lost sight of – denominations of opposite faiths seeking rapprochement, – in growing unbelief as respects Bible doctrines. Note the following public affirmation of unbelief in the reliability of the Scriptures by Rev. Rainsford, D.D., of New York City, reported in the New York Journal.

"In his sermon at St. George's Protestant Episcopal Church, Rev. Dr. W. S. Rainsford said that the teachings of Jesus Christ in regard to his second coming had been grossly misunderstood by the Apostles; that they had incorporated their mistakes into the New Testament; that the Church had been grossly misled; and that the Prayer Book's teachings had been largely influenced by a handling of the Bible which did not discriminate between the spiritual teachings of Jesus and the concepts of men.

"The preacher's thesis was that the Kingdom of God was not a world power at all, but a spiritual kingdom in all men's hearts, which could never be established by force, but could be wrought only by the persuasion of truth. Dr. Rainsford said that the prophecies of the destruction of Jerusalem, in the Gospel of St. Mark, had been understood to include the promise that the Lord would come again within the generation of the Apostles. When he did not come, St. Jude attempted to explain the apparent failure of the prophecy by saying that one day was with the Lord as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day.

"'A delightful theological subterfuge,' remarked the preacher; 'a complete twisting of the meaning of Jesus. There is no terrible judgment ahead, no physically burning hell. Judgment is a process here and now; salvation is a process here and now. There is no standing before an awful throne and the separation of impossible sheep and goats; but the separation is here and now, as men go on up or slip down into the bog and mire.'"

Here we have one of the nominal church's great men, one of its "princes," doing his best to undermine the faith of the people who pay him a princely salary to help them to see and follow the Lord's paths. Nor must we condemn the man as a hypocrite, for doubtless it is but another case of the blind leading the blind into the ditch. This learned man has possibly not yet learned that it was not Jude who wrote the words to which he objects, but Peter. (2 Peter 3:8.) He perhaps has not noted, either, that the same holy spirit indited the same lesson through the Prophet David centuries before Peter's day, saying, "A thousand years in thy sight are but as yesterday." (Psa. 90:4.) The expression was so used by the Lord himself also. – Gen. 2:17.

However, Dr. Rainsford is only following the logical course of all "higher critics," who, starting out with too much egotism, find fault not only with all of the Old Testament but also with the New – confounding both prophets and apostles by their superior wisdom, and classing our Lord with these because he quoted those very prophecies which the superior wisdom of the higher critics show to be spurious, while our Lord, lacking their wisdom, thought these to be genuine prophecies and quoted them as such. Truly, as the Prophet Isaiah foretold, the wisdom of their wise men is perished. – Isa. 29:13,14,9-12.

A PLAIN STATEMENT OF THE CASE.

The Rev. M. O. Simons, a Cleveland minister, is reported by the Plain Dealer to have summed up present conditions in Christendom as follows: –

"Rev. Simons referred to some of the old battle fields in this warfare of ideas, and indicated how recent have been the great changes in religious thinking, by referring to the fact that only in 1876 Dr. Minot J. Savage preached a series of sermons on "The Religion of Evolution." So far as known, he was the first minister in Europe and America in the regular course of pulpit work to frankly accept evolution and to frankly attempt a reconstruction of religious thinking. 'And it is hard for us to realize now,' said Mr. Simons, 'the hue and cry that was raised over these sermons. Where are we now in this conflict between the old and the new? I believe we are on the verge of a frank confession that there must be a complete religious reconstruction. The old system of Christian doctrine rested upon the fall of man as a foundation. But now modern thought has utterly discredited this story of the fall and the subsequent depravity of all human nature. What then becomes of the system that is built upon it?'

"Mr. Simons then referred briefly to some of the [R2769 : page 70] great Christian bodies to show how every one of them is yielding to the broader and more liberal interpretation of Christian doctrine. He said: 'Officially, the Catholic Church stands squarely opposed to all modern tendencies, and yet its people cannot be prevented from thinking. We find much unrest among Catholic leaders, much suspicion in European Catholicism of American Catholicism. The Catholic Church has its radical wing as truly as any Christian denomination. In the Church of England we find reactionary tendencies, but these simply indicate that the conservative element has turned to the only things left to it, the traditional value of church machinery and apostolic succession. That reaction does not represent the whole church. Some of the most enlightened scholars in the world are in that church; the great liberal interpretation of all doctrinal points is winning its way and the future of the English church is in the hands of those who are rebuilding their religious thought on new foundations.

"I may say much the same of the Episcopal Church in America. It has its conservative reactions, but the growing sentiment in the church is broad and liberal. I have friends in its ministry who are as liberal as I am. In the Congregational Church there is going on a rapid reconstruction of religious thought. A book like Dr. Gordon's 'The Christ of Today' is proof of this, not only because of its ideas, but because it did not convulse the whole Congregational body as it once would have done.

"In the great Presbyterian Church there is a great rising tide of liberal thinking. The movement for revision of the Westminster Confession, or for some relief from the outgrown ideas of that document, is plain evidence.

"In all the great Christian denominations the conservatives who would keep fighting the church upon its old foundations, are fighting a losing battle. The advance of liberal thought is irresistible."

We quote the above to prove the reverse of what the speaker intended – to prove the great falling away from the truth to vanity and fables and from vital godliness to moralizing infidelity. However, the wider the chasm grows between the "wheat" and the "tares," between the children of light and the children of darkness, the easier it will be for each to know his place, and by taking it he will make the division the more quick and complete. Who is on the Lord's side? Who? – Speak and live accordingly!

[R2769 : page 70]

"RESIST, STEDFAST IN THE FAITH."

"Be sober, be vigilant; because your Adversary, the devil, as a roaring lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour: whom resist, stedfast in the faith." – 1 Pet. 5:8,9.

T
HE SCRIPTURES set before us the thought that as Christians we are subject to assaults from three different quarters, by three different enemies, who, nevertheless, frequently cooperate the one with the other; – the world, the flesh and the devil. We are not to suppose that every difficulty and trial which besets us is of the devil; but rather to remember the Apostle's words, "A man is tempted when he is led astray of his own desires and enticed." (James 1:13,14.) Such temptations, then, are of the flesh – the result of our being members of the fallen race, whose weaknesses and imperfections have been aggravated and intensified for now six thousand years. So, then, we are to recognize as one of our chief foes our own inherent weaknesses and predisposition to things depraved, selfish, sinful.

The whole world, thus depraved and under the control of the spirit of selfishness, is largely, tho unconsciously, the tool of Satan, who now worketh in the hearts of the children of disobedience. (Eph. 2:2.) The world has become an enemy and tempter by reason of the fact that we (the Church) have been "begotten again" to new hopes, new ambitions, new aspirations, new desires, which are along radically different lines from any the world knows or has sympathy with. Our begetting is of the holy spirit, and its tendencies are heavenly and spiritual, and in harmony with principles of righteousness, truth and love. Yet it is only our hearts that are thus changed – our flesh is still much more in harmony with the world than with the new order of things established in our hearts and wills by grace and truth, through Christ. Consequently, when the world, through any of its children, by their words or writings or general spirit, comes in contact with the Lord's people, immediately they find that altho their hearts are loyal to the Lord and loyal to all the gracious things which he has promised them, and to the spirit of righteousness, love and truth, nevertheless their flesh has an affinity for and an attraction toward the world, its things, its views, its arguments, its pleasures, etc.

It is for this reason that the Christian is called upon to reckon himself dead, not only to sin, but to his own natural desires, appetites, inclinations, and to the world, which is in harmony with sin and perverted tastes and appetites. As the Apostle intimates, there is a constant battle between the new creature, the new will, and the old creature, the fleshly or depraved disposition. He says, "The flesh desires contrary to the spirit, and the spirit contrary to the flesh." (Gal. 5:17.) And even tho the advanced Christian has reached the place where he is enabled to reckon his flesh and its will completely dead and buried, he nevertheless has need continually, with the Apostle, to reexamine the matter, lest the flesh should become alive again. This was the Apostle's method; he says: [R2769 : page 71] "I keep my body under [dead, buried, in complete subjection to the new mind], lest having preached to others I myself should be a castaway." (1 Cor. 9:27.) This keeping of the body under, this watching of it lest its will become alive again, is a constant necessity to those who would be "overcomers;" for it is the victory of the new mind, the new will, over the old will, the will of the flesh, that constitutes us victors, by developing in us strong, holy characters.

And now we come to the third feature of the Christian's temptations – Satan, our Adversary; strong and lion-like, vigilant and fully awake, he seeks to use every opportunity against us, as the Apostle declares. He seeks to devour us, to swallow us up in calamity, patiently waiting and insidiously laying snares for the "new creatures," using his many blinded servants to brow-beat or cajole or otherwise inveigle us into yielding to the old will; – thus separating us from the Good Shepherd and making us more and more deaf to his Word. Since our Lord sees best to permit Satan to have this liberty, and will not take it from him until the beginning of the Millennial age, when he shall be bound, to deceive the nations no more, it implies that in some sense it is profitable to the Lord's people that this Adversary be granted liberty against them. If it were not so, faith assures us that he would be bound forthwith, – at once restrained of liberty to assault us. [R2770 : page 71]

Writing on this same subject, the Apostle Paul declares, "We are not ignorant of his devices." Again he refers to the "wiles of the devil;" implying that he is an ensnarer who seeks to entrap us. Again he declares, "For we wrestle not with flesh and blood [merely], but [our chief conflict is] with principalities and powers [unseen], with wicked spirits in exalted positions." (2 Cor. 2:11; Eph. 6:11,12.) The Apostle here seems to call attention to the fact that not Satan alone, but all the fallen angels, the demons, his coadjutors, are the foes of the Church, against whose wiles and schemes and plottings, more subtle than that of human beings, the Lord's people must be continually on the lookout.

As to Satan's methods of attack, we are given some suggestions also. Altho he is alert, like the roaring lion, he never attacks us with a roar, but, on the contrary, subtly; he creeps upon us in an unlooked for place and at unlooked for times, to devour us, to overcome us, to crush out of us the spiritual life, and particularly to deprive us of faith in the Lord.

The Apostle Paul shows us that these subtle approaches of the Adversary are to be expected through human agencies, assuring us that the Adversary worketh in the hearts of the children of disobedience, and the better and more honorable and more closely identified with the Lord and his flock these children of disobedience may be, the more pleased the Adversary will be to use them, and the more service they may render him. Thus the Apostle declares that Satan presents himself in his temptations as an angel, a messenger of God – not a messenger of darkness, of error and of gross sin, for he knows that these qualities would alarm and repel all the children of the light: rather he appears as an angel of light, a messenger of divine grace and truth. And we are not ignorant of his wiles and devices; we see that for centuries he has used not only heathen religious systems to delude and ensnare the heathen, but Christian religious systems, to deceive and ensnare God's people. At the making of the creeds of Christendom, during the dark ages, we may be sure that he was present, and that through various agencies he took an active part in framing their many blasphemous misstatements of the divine character and plan, and of deluding the people into thinking that these were the teachings of the divine Word; and so through these channels he has wrought great havoc with the truth and greatly hindered God's people from receiving both the milk of the Word, and its strong meat, and from growing by these means to the stature of the fulness of manhood in Christ.

We see again that after he could no longer control the world under Papacy and its darkness of error, when he perceived that the light of a clearer knowledge of divine things was breaking out here and there, he zealously presented himself as a messenger of light, to help on in the formation of the various sects and parties which then sprang up. How well he succeeded in getting into them all the leaven of false doctrine, and in getting each denomination, after having organized, to declare that it had the whole truth, and that there must be no further progress in the knowledge of the Lord and in the understanding of his Word, all may judge.

Coming down to our own day, we see that as the light of truth became due, and when the minds of all thinking Christians were surely awakening from many of the superstitions and fallacies of the past, Satan again becomes the leader and reformer, and starting in with the principal colleges and theological seminaries, he leads them, professedly in a search for truth, into the gross darkness of skepticism, under the names of Higher Criticism and Evolution; and through these fountains of learning and instruction his influence is permeating Christendom through the ministry, in all denominations and in every quarter of the civilized world.

But, foreseeing that all minds would not be influenced along the same lines, our wily adversary has been leading other parties into other doctrines along [R2770 : page 72] other lines, all of which, however, have the Satan mark upon them; viz., either a tacit or an active denial of the Ransom – a denial of the redemption accomplished once for all by the man Christ Jesus at Calvary, and a denial, consequently, of all the gracious things which the Scriptures declare respecting the establishment of Christ's Kingdom and the blessing of all the world of mankind with a knowledge of the truth, and with opportunities of restitution to Edenic conditions and harmony with God and everlasting love.

These various devices of the Adversary in recent times are well known. Mormonism is one of these that attracts and ensnares a certain class; Spiritualism is another which attracts and ensnares another class of minds; Christian Science is another, very distinctive and totally different from the others; Theosophy is still another that has its attractions for other minds. In testing all the "new light" theories let us not forget that the Cross of Christ and the redemption thereby accomplished are the central point of antagonism between all these spurious theories, and the doctrine of the Scriptures. "The faith once delivered to the saints" has as its foundation, "how that Christ died for our sins and rose for our justification." However much Satan's various systems of delusion may differ from one another, they all agree in opposing this central point of the truth; and however they may seek to use the name of Christ, call themselves Christians, and seek to cover themselves with that "holy name" as a garment of light, it is only to deceive; it is in full accord with the policy which our great Adversary has employed for centuries.

One of the most recent of Satan's devices to ensnare those of God's people who could not be misled by something presenting itself as another religion and another gospel, is what claims to be a Christianity of good works and good morals without respect to faith in things past or future. The good works are usually presented in the form of healing of disease. The methods employed, and the claims set forth vary considerably, yet back of and underneath all is an occult power, a hypnotic power, which, however much it claims to be "merely human power," nevertheless gives evidence in various ways that it is a part of the great deception of our day, wrought by the Adversary himself as an angel of light, and respecting which the Scriptures forewarn us that there would be such strong delusions, which, if possible, would deceive the very elect. – Matt. 24:24.

If the very elect will be in danger, what must we expect respecting the world of mankind in general, and nominal Christianity? We must expect, as the Scriptures forcefully picture it, that many will "fall from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils." We must expect the number thus to fall from the faith to be large, as again it is prophetically stated, "A thousand shall fall at thy side; ten thousand at thy right hand – but it shall not come nigh thee,...because thou hast made the Lord, which is my refuge, even the Most High, thy habitation." – 1 Tim. 4:1; Psa. 91:7-9.

This gives us a clue to the security of the saints. Their strength will lie in great part in that they are taking heed to the warnings of the Apostle respecting the present time, and hence know how to beware of the wiles of the Adversary. The "very elect" will be so in harmony with the Lord and so filled with the spirit of his Word, and so blessed by the exercise of their privileges as under-reapers in this harvest, and so disposed to lay down their lives for the truth and in its service, that none of these snares and delusions of the Adversary, promising life and health, will be special attractions for them. On the contrary, knowing what to expect, and looking forward with joy to the finishing of their course in death and thus passing "beyond the vail," they will be wholly out of sympathy with the snares which the Adversary will present. Nevertheless, as the Apostle intimates, there will be in this time also some of the Lord's people who will require the sympathy and assistance of others, respecting whom he says that we should seek to pull them out of the fire, – away from the influence and snares of the Adversary. – Jude 22,23.

The Apostle Peter's counsel respecting the way in which the Lord's people should meet the Adversary implies that they will all somehow or other be enabled to recognize him. He says, "Whom resist, stedfast in the faith." These words imply that in order to resist we must have the faith – the faith that has confidence in God; the faith that has led to a consecration on the Lord's altar, even unto death; the faith that would not take back the sacrifice under any consideration, but which delights to see it consuming, and which rejoices, hoping thereby to share in the glory that shall follow. – Jude 3; Rom. 8:17,18.

[R2771 : page 72]

THE LORD'S SUPPER.
MATT. 26:17-30. – FEB. 17. –

"This do in remembrance of me." – Luke 22:19.

V
ARIOUS ARE the theories throughout Christendom respecting the Lord's Supper – its meaning and the proper time for its observance. Most Christian scholars recognize the fact that it was instituted as the antitype of the Jewish Passover. Amongst the older churches, Roman and Greek Catholic, Episcopal, etc., there is an attempt made to celebrate our Lord's death as a memorial on its annual recurrence. Originally the celebration was according to Jewish calculations, on the fourteenth day of the first Jewish month, Nisan – the day on which the Jews kill the typical Passover lamb. Subsequently, however, a change in the method of calculation was made so as to commemorate our Lord's death on the nearest Friday and his resurrection on the Sunday – Good Friday and Easter Sunday. With the younger denominations of Christendom this custom has generally fallen into disuse, probably with a desire to put as much difference as possible between Protestant [R2771 : page 73] customs and ceremonies, and those of Catholics. As a consequence of this we find that the majority of Protestants fail to associate the Lord's Supper with the Jewish Passover, and fail to appreciate the fact that the death of the Jewish lamb celebrated annually on the fourteenth of Nisan typified the death of our Lord Jesus on the same date, the latter being the antitype, the fulfilment of the type.

Nor are they wholly without excuse in this oversight, for we are to remember that while the older churches celebrate our Lord's death upon its anniversary, they introduced other ceremonies resembling the Memorial, but not authorized in the Scriptures, nor in anything pertaining to the type. For instance, to the average Catholic mind, as well as to the Protestant, the Catholic Mass is merely a commemoration of our Lord's death; but this is not its true significance. The Mass, rightly understood, from a theological standpoint, is a fresh sacrifice, and not merely a commemoration of the one sacrifice at Calvary. Protestants, misinterpreting it to be a repetition of the Lord's Supper, have come to believe that from the earliest times the Memorial Supper was celebrated at any convenient season. Hence we find among Protestants a variety of views on the subject, some partaking of it weekly, others monthly, and others quarterly, as each esteems to be the most desirable, most profitable.

We hold that no such irregularity was ever intended by the Lord or by the apostles – that our Lord instituted it at the particular time, on the particular day of the year, that was proper; and that the words, "As oft as ye do this" had reference, not only to the bread and the cup, but also the time, – the general incident commemorated. We will not here attempt to go into detailed expose respecting the Roman Catholic doctrine of the Mass, but merely refer our readers to MILLENNIAL DAWN, VOL. III., pages 98-104, remarking incidentally that to the informed Catholic, Greek or Roman, the Mass is in no sense of the word a commemoration of the original sacrifice of Christ. The claim is that the first sacrifice of Christ was sufficient for sins that are past, but not for subsequent sins, and that God has given authority to the properly ordained bishops and priests to representatively create Christ afresh on any occasion, and then to sacrifice him afresh for any special sin or sins – High Mass for particular sins of an individual, Low Mass for general sins of a congregation.

The claim of Catholicism is that the blessing of the priest transforms the ordinary wafer and wine into the actual body and blood of Christ, who is thus re-created thousands on thousands of times every year, by thousands of priests, and re-sacrificed for thousands and thousands of sins. We, of course, object to all this as being thoroughly anti-christian, and the majority of orthodox Protestants will give their cordial assent. Nevertheless, those who organized new Protestant denominations seem to have entirely overlooked this matter when they use this frequency of the Mass in the older churches as an excuse for a frequency of commemoration of the Lord's Supper. However, the majority of Protestants seem to have been well aware that great frequency of observance (as in the Mass) would be unwise, unprofitable; and hence the majority commemorate only three or four times a year, believing the service to be thereby rendered more impressive and solemn to all who participate. We hold that the original method, of celebrating our Lord's death on its anniversary, is still more solemn, still more impressive; besides which it has the sanction of the Scriptures, which we claim no other method has.

OTHER MISCONCEPTIONS, BASED UPON SCRIPTURE.

Our so-called "Disciple" and "Plymouth Brethren" friends and others who have adopted the custom of celebrating our Lord's death every Lord's Day – on the first day of the week – seem to us to have fallen into a serious blunder. The inappropriateness of such celebrations is manifest in several ways: first they celebrate it on Sunday, which is itself the memorial of our Lord's resurrection, a totally different thing – a joyous Easter occasion. And losing sight of the importance of the date, it is not remarkable that they have likewise lost sight of the proprieties respecting the time of the day – that as originally instituted it was partaken of at night, whereas the usual custom is to commemorate in the morning or in the afternoon.

We are not to suppose that these Christian friends adopted their weekly custom without any reason whatever; but noticing the reasons they give we find them quite insufficient. It is their claim, for instance, that the statements of Acts 2:42,46; 20:7, which speak of the disciples coming together on the first day of the week "to break bread," refer to the Memorial Supper. To the contrary, we hold that these first-day-of-the week gatherings were Love-feasts, and never intended to take the place of nor in any sense to represent our Lord's Memorial Supper. It will be noticed that in these various accounts nothing whatever is said of "the cup," representing our Lord's blood, and which must be considered as important a part of the symbol as the unleavened bread, which represented his body. The Love-feasts appropriately took place on the day which celebrates the Church's joy in her Lord's resurrection, and no doubt were all suggested by the circumstances of the first Sunday, – the day of our Lord's resurrection, on which occasion he was known to the two at Emmaus in the breaking of bread, and later in the evening to the eleven as they sat at meat, saying, "Peace be unto [R2771 : page 74] you," and causing their hearts to burn within them. (Luke 24:30,31; John 20:19.) Our Lord's Supper, on the contrary, was evidently intended to be a reminder of his death and of our covenant as members of his body to have fellowship in his sufferings.

THE FIRST CELEBRATION OF THE LORD'S SUPPER.

Our lesson points us to the first institution of this memorial, indicating that it was celebrated on the day before the Passover proper began, – on the fourteenth day of Nisan. The Law respecting the Passover was very exact. The lamb was to be taken into the house on the tenth day of Nisan, was to be killed on the fourteenth, and was to be eaten during the night before the dawn of the fifteenth. In the antitype Jesus offered himself to the nation on the tenth, but they, except his faithful few, neglected to receive him, and on the fourteenth he was crucified. It was in the same Jewish day in which he was crucified that he ate the Passover mentioned in our lesson, and later on he was betrayed. (The day with the Jew began at sundown and lasted until the next evening.) There can be no doubt from the account that our Lord and his disciples ate the Passover Supper on the day preceding the one on which the Jews in general ate it; for in John's Gospel we read (18:28; 19:14) that when our Lord was before Pilate in the Judgment Hall, which was after he had eaten the Passover, the Pharisees, his accusers, had not yet eaten it – nor would they eat it until the evening after his crucifixion.

One Evangelist records that our Lord said to his disciples, "With desire have I desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer." It was his last commemoration of the Jewish rite, which as a Jew he was bound to observe legally, fully. We may not know positively the particular hour of the fourteenth day at which our Lord and the disciples partook of the Passover, but probably it was near midnight, when after the Passover had been eaten our Lord instituted the new memorial of his own death, the Lord's Supper, substituting it for the Passover supper of the Law, and intimating this in his words, "Henceforth, as oft as ye do this do it in remembrance of me." "This" represented the antitypical Lamb, "the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world," and doing this – breaking the bread and drinking of the fruit of the vine – showed forth our Lord's death and not any longer the death of the type, because the antitype had now come, and in this same day, a few hours later, he would be killed, crucified. Our Lord was thus laying a deep and broad basis for the new institution, his Church, and separating it from the Jewish type by pointing out to the believers himself as the antitype, and the higher meaning connected therewith – the deliverance of all true Israelites, not from Pharaoh, but from Pharaoh's antitype, Satan, the deliverance of all the first-born of God's people from death into life more abundant – eternal life.

All who see clearly the type should realize that it could never pass away until its antitype had come, and the antitype of the killing of the Passover lamb must occur on its anniversary, the fourteenth day of Nisan. Hence the significance of the Scriptural statement that "they could not take him because his hour was not yet come." (John 7:30; 8:20.) God had foreseen the entire matter, and had forearranged everything pertaining [R2772 : page 74] to it, and the type had marked it most definitely. We no longer celebrate the type, but believing that the antitypical sacrifice of the Lamb of God has taken the place of the type, we as Christians "do this" in remembrance of the antitype; for, as the Apostle says, "Even Christ our Passover [Lamb] is slain; therefore let us keep the feast." – 1 Cor. 5:7,8.

It was while the Lord and his apostles were eating the Passover Supper, the typical roast lamb, that our Lord said to them, "One of you shall betray me." John tells us that our Lord was "troubled in spirit," manifested emotion, at the time he said this. His emotion was not caused, we may be sure, by the matter of his betrayal, for he evidently foreknew the particulars as well as the fact of his death. The cause of his sorrow, we may reasonably suppose, was the thought that one of those whom he had so tenderly kept and cared for should now prove so ungrateful, unthankful, unholy; – evidently his sorrow was for Judas. His statement drew forth from the disciples inquiries, "Lord, is it I?" Or rather, as the Greek word would seem to indicate, the question signified, Lord, do you mean to accuse me? I am not the one, am I? And the disciples in general were sorrowful too. It was well, perhaps, that they should pass through this experience at this time, as they evidently needed it all, in order to prepare them for the trying times just before them.

Judas, of course, asked the same question with the rest, for not to have asked it would have implied that he admitted his guilt. Our Lord's answer was that it was one who supped with them, and dipping the sop he gave it to Judas, who forthwith went out. (John 13:25-30.) So far from these incidents melting the heart of Judas and leading him to change his course before it was too late, they seem to have aroused in him a malevolent spirit, just as divine mercy toward Pharaoh, in the stopping of the plagues, hardened his heart. Instead of resisting the Adversary's suggestions Judas entertained them more and more, until he was filled with the Satanic spirit, "Satan entered into him" fully, completely – took possession of his heart as an instrument of evil, and it was doubtless because he felt out of place in such society that he went out. [R2772 : page 75]

It thus seems probable that Judas was not with the others when our Lord washed their feet, and subsequently instituted with the bread and the fruit of the vine the memorial of his death. It was better that he should be absent; and so it would be preferable, where possible, that only the true, loyal, devoted disciples of Christ should meet together to celebrate his death on its anniversary. Nevertheless, let us remember that we are not competent to judge the heart, and hence in coming to the memorial table all should be invited to come who trust in the precious blood of Christ for redemption and who profess a full consecration to the Lord. Let us leave it to divine providence to scrutinize those who profess to be fellow-disciples.

PRIMARY SIGNIFICATION OF THE BREAD AND THE CUP.

In presenting to the disciples the unleavened bread, as a memorial, our Lord gave a general explanation, saying, "Take, eat; this is my body." The evident meaning of the words is, This symbolizes or represents my body. It was not actually his body, because in no sense of the word had his body yet been broken; in no sense would it have been possible for any to have partaken of him actually or antitypically then, the sacrifice not being as yet finished. But the picture is complete when we recognize that the unleavened bread represented our Lord's sinless flesh, – leaven being a symbol of sin under the Law, and specially commanded to be put away at this time. On another occasion our Lord gave a lesson which interprets to us this symbol. He said, "The bread of God is he that came down from heaven and giveth his life unto the world. I am the bread of life." – John 6:33,35.

In order to appreciate how we are to eat or appropriate this living bread it is necessary for us to understand just what it was. According to our Lord's explanation of the matter it was his flesh which he sacrificed for us. It was not his prehuman existence as a spirit being that was sacrificed, altho that was laid down and its glory laid aside, that he might take our human nature. It was the fact that our Lord Jesus was holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and without any contamination from father Adam, and hence free from sin – it was this fact that permitted him to be the Redeemer of Adam and his race, – which permitted him to give his life a ransom for all, to be testified in due time. And when we see that it was the pure, spotless human nature of our Lord Jesus that was laid down on behalf of sinners, sacrificed for us, we see what it is that we are privileged to appropriate. The very thing which he laid down for us we are to "eat," appropriate to ourselves: that is to say, his perfect human nature was given for us and redeemed Adam and all his race from condemnation to death, – to a right to return to human perfection and everlasting life if they could. The Scriptures show us, however, that if God would consider all of past sins cancelled and should recognize us as having a right to return to human perfection, this still would not make us perfect nor give us therefore the right to everlasting life. In order for the race of Adam to profit by the redemption accomplished by our Lord's sacrifice it is necessary that he should make a second advent, and then be to the whole world a Mediator, Prophet, Priest and King, to assist back to perfection and to harmony with God all who will avail themselves of the privileges then to be offered.

It is this same blessing which the Gospel Church in this age receives by faith from the Redeemer; viz., justification by faith – not justification to a spiritual nature, which we never had and never lost, and which Christ did not redeem; but justification to human nature, which father Adam did possess and lose, and which Christ did redeem by giving his own sinless flesh as our ransom-sacrifice. The partaking of the bread, then, means to us primarily acceptance and appropriation to ourselves, by faith, of justification to human rights and privileges secured by our Lord's sacrifice of these.

Likewise the fruit of the vine symbolized our Lord's life given for us, – his human life, his being, his soul, poured out unto death on our behalf; and the appropriating of this by us signifies primarily our acceptance of restitution rights and privileges which the Lord has thus, at his own cost, secured for us.

THE SECONDARY AND DEEPER SIGNIFICANCE OF THE LOAF AND THE CUP.

As we have already seen, God's object in justifying by faith the Church during this Gospel age in advance of the justification of the world through works of obedience, in the Millennial age, is for the very purpose of permitting those who now see and hear and appreciate the great sacrifice which Love has made on our behalf, to present their bodies living sacrifices, and thus to have part with our Lord in his sacrifice – as members of his body. This additional and deep meaning of the memorial our Lord did not refer to directly. It was doubtless one of the things to which he referred, saying, "I have many things to tell you, but ye cannot bear them now; howbeit, when he, the spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth, and show you things to come."

The spirit of truth, speaking through the Apostle Paul, clearly explains the matter of this secondary and very high import of the memorial, for he says, writing to the consecrated Church: "The cup of blessing which we bless, is it not the participation of the blood of Christ? The bread which we break, is it not the participation [R2772 : page 76] of the body of Christ?" – to share with Christ as joint-sacrificers even unto death, that thereby they may be counted in with him also as sharers of the glory which he has received as a reward for his faithfulness. "For we being many are one loaf and one body." (1 Cor. 10:16,17.) Both views of this impressive ordinance are important: it is necessary that we should see, first of all, our justification through the Lord's sacrifice. It is proper then, that we should realize that the entire Christ is, from the divine standpoint, a composite body of many members, of which Jesus is the Head, and that this Church as a whole must be broken, and that in this respect each member of it must be a copy of the Lord Jesus and must walk in the footsteps of his sacrifice. We do this by giving our lives, "laying down our lives on behalf of the brethren," as Christ laid down his life for all. It is not our spiritual life that we lay down, even as it was not our Lord's spiritual life that he laid down in sacrifice; but as he sacrificed his actually perfect being, so we must sacrifice our justified selves, reckoned perfect but not actually so. Likewise the cup represents suffering. It is one cup, tho it be the juice of many grapes, even as it is one loaf, tho it be from many grains. The grains cannot maintain their individuality and their own life if they would become bread for others; the grapes cannot maintain themselves as grapes if they would constitute the life-giving spirit; and thus we see the beauty of the Apostle's statement, that the Lord's people are participants in the one loaf and one cup.

Our Lord distinctly declares that the cup, the fruit of the vine (nowhere is this cup described as wine, tho it may have been) represents blood, hence life; not life retained, but life shed or given, yielded up, sacrificed life. He tells us that it was for the remission of sins, and that all who would be his must drink of it, – must accept his sacrifice and appropriate it by faith. All who would be justified through faith must accept life from this one source. It will not do to claim an immortality outside of Christ; it will not do to declare that life is the result of obedience to the Law; it will not do to claim that faith in and obedience to any great teacher will amount to the same thing, and bring eternal life. There is no other way to attain eternal life except through accepting the blood once shed as the [R2773 : page 76] ransom price for the sins of the whole world. There is no other name given under heaven or amongst men whereby we must be saved. Likewise there is no other way that we can attain to the new nature than by accepting the Lord's invitation to drink of his cup, and be broken with him as members of the one loaf, and to be buried with him in baptism into his death, and thus to be with him in his resurrection to glory, honor and immortality. – Rom. 6:3-5; 8:17.

THE CELEBRATION IN THE KINGDOM.

As usual our Lord had something to say about the Kingdom. It seems to have been associated in his every discourse; and so on this occasion he reminds those to whom he had already given the promise to share in the Kingdom if faithful, of his declaration that he would go away to receive a Kingdom and to come again to receive them to share it. He now adds that this memorial which he instituted would find its fulfilment in the Kingdom. Just what our Lord meant by this might be difficult to positively determine, but it seems not inconsistent to understand him to mean that as a result of the trials and sufferings symbolized there will be a jubilation in the Kingdom. "He will see of the travail of his soul and be satisfied." He will look back over trials and difficulties endured in faithful obedience to the Father's will, and will rejoice in these as he shall see the grand outcome in the Kingdom blessings which will come to all mankind. And the same jubilation will be shared by all his disciples who drink of this wine, first in justification and secondly in consecration, and who suffer with him. They are promised that they shall reign with him, and when the reign is begun and when the Kingdom work has been established, looking back they as well as he will praise the way that God has led them, even tho it be a "narrow way," a way of sacrifice, a way of self-denial.

Our Lord's faith stood the test of all these trying hours which he knew to be so near to the time of his apprehension and death. The fact that he rendered thanks to God for the bread and for the cup are indicative of a joyful acquiescence in all the sufferings which the breaking of the bread and the crushing of the grapes implied. He was satisfied already with the Father's arrangement, and could give thanks, as by and by he will greatly rejoice. In line with this was the singing of a hymn as they parted, a hymn of praise, no doubt, thanksgiving to the Father that his course was so nearly finished, and that he had found thus far grace sufficient for every time of need.

THE MEMORIAL SUPPER THIS YEAR.

The anniversary of our Lord's death will this year fall, according to Jewish reckoning, on Wednesday, April 3. Consequently, the appropriate time for celebrating his memorial would be on the "same night in which he was betrayed," the night of Tuesday, April 2 – not immediately at six o'clock, but later on, allowing time for certain necessary preparations then, and for certain examination of the meaning of the symbols and considering the whole subject afresh, now.

According to custom, the Church at Allegheny will meet on this anniversary date to celebrate the great [R2773 : page 77] transaction by which we were bought back from condemnation, and to celebrate also our consecration to be dead with Christ, if so be that being dead with him we shall be sharers also in his resurrection, the first resurrection, to glory, honor and immortality.

We recommend that the dear friends in various parts of the world neglect not this precious memorial, which is so full of meaning to all who intelligently appreciate it. We do not advise gathering together in large companies, but rather that each little company or band meet together as is their usual custom; for this seems to have been the method in the early Church. Let us keep the feast in joy of heart, and yet with due appreciation of its solemnity, not only as relates to our Lord's sacrifice for us, but also as relates to our own covenant of sacrifice to be dead with him. We recommend that all the leaders of the little companies of the Lord's people make arrangements to obtain, if possible, unleavened bread (from some Hebrew family, possibly) and either unfermented grape juice or raisin juice, or other fruit of the vine, as may be decided. Our recommendation is against a general use of wine, as being possibly a temptation to some weak in the flesh. However, we recommend that provision be made for those who conscientiously believe that wine was meant to be used. As satisfying to the consciences of some it might not be amiss to put a small amount of fermented wine into the unfermented grape or raisin juice.

We recommend that these little gatherings be without ostentation, – yet decently, orderly, quietly, let us come together, full of precious thoughts respecting the great transaction we celebrate, rather than with our attention much taken up with forms and ceremonies. Let us in this, as in all things, seek to do that which would be pleasing to our Lord, and then we will be sure that it will be profitable to all who participate.

We have already intimated that none are to be forbidden who profess faith in the precious blood and consecration to our Savior's service. As a rule there will be no danger of any accepting the privilege of this fellowship who are not earnest at heart. Rather, some may need to be encouraged, since wrong views, we believe, are sometimes taken of the Apostle's words respecting those who "eat and drink damnation to themselves, not discerning the Lord's body." (1 Cor. 11:29.) For the sake of these timid ones, who, we trust, will not forego the privilege of commemorating this great transaction, we would explain that to our understanding the class mentioned by the Apostle is composed of those who fail to realize the real import of the sacrifice, and who merely recognize it as a ceremonious form. They eat and drink condemnation because, if they would investigate the matter, they would clearly see the terms upon which the Lord is accepting the "little flock" being chosen in this Gospel age. Their failure to do this brings a measure of condemnation, reproof; they are more responsible than others of the world who know nothing of the Lord, his sacrifice, etc.

Let us, when we celebrate this grand memorial, not forget to give thanks to the Lord for our justification, and also for the grand privilege we enjoy of being fellow-sacrificers with our Redeemer, and filling up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ. And while sorrowful and thoughtful, meditative and full of heart-searchings on this occasion, let us, as did the Lord, triumph through faith and go forth singing praise to him who called us out of darkness into his marvelous light, and who has privileged us thus to have fellowship in the great transaction now in progress.

[R2773 : page 77]

GETHSEMANE – WATCHING AND PRAYING.
MATT. 26:36-46. – FEB. 24. –

"Not my will, but thine, be done." – Luke 22:42.

N
O ONE CAN thoughtfully read this lesson of our Lord's dark hour in Gethsemane, and his "strong cryings and tears unto him [the Father], who was able to save him out of death" (Heb. 5:7), without feeling that there is something thoroughly incorrect in the idea so prevalent amongst Christian people that our Lord Jesus was his own Heavenly Father, Jehovah; and that it would have been a pretence, a mockery of prayer, for him to have supplicated as here represented, unless it were true also that instead of being in any sense the Father, he was simply what he claimed to be, the Son, the sent of God, the only begotten of the Father, the first-born of all creation, the beginning of the creation of God. (John 10:29; 1:14; Col. 1:15; Rev. 3:14.) There is absolutely no other standpoint from which the language of our Lord and the apostles and his course of conduct are reasonably interpretable. On this point the earnest truth-seeker is referred to MILLENNIAL DAWN, VOL. V.

Our previous lesson closed with our Lord and his disciples leaving the upper room, where they had commemorated his death. They went to the Mount of Olives, to an orchard there, known as Gethsemane, – the name signifying "oil-press place," probably because olives were there pressed and the oil extracted used both for light and for food. One of the Evangelists speaks of it as the "garden of Gethsemane," but the word garden, as used in olden times, corresponds more nearly with our word orchard; it was not a flower-garden. There is a small enclosure now on the side of Mount Olivet, about 150 feet square, which is reputed to be the place of our Lord's agonizing prayer. It contains eight very old and very gnarled olive trees, and whether the exact spot or not, it represents it sufficiently well.

Our Lord probably had two reasons for going forth as he did that night. First, realizing that he would be arrested by the traitor Judas and the band he would bring, our Lord probably did not wish to bring commotion or trouble upon the friend who had so kindly [R2774 : page 78] permitted him the use of the upper room. Secondly, he desired the still quiet of midnight, out upon the hillside where he could be alone with God, to pour out his soul in prayer and obtain the strength necessary for the ordeal at hand. In harmony with this last thought, we find that when our Lord reached the entrance to the orchard he left eight of the disciples there, as an outer guard, so to speak, or as pickets, to give notice; and took with him the same three disciples whom he had specially honored on other occasions, Peter, James and John: Peter, the bold and impulsive, James and John, the so-called "sons of thunder" – the three most courageous, most zealous, most earnest, of his disciples. These he wished to have nearest to himself in this time of anxiety. And yet, on this occasion, he desired to be still more alone in his prayer, for even these truest friends could not appreciate the situation: "of the people there were none with him." Hence he left these and went a stone's throw further, where he prostrated himself upon his knees, and with his face to the earth, as the various accounts show, and thus, alone, he communed with the Father.

The different accounts of our Lord's experience on this occasion, grouped together, show us that mental anguish seemed to come upon him here with a force of poignancy he had never before experienced; and that the load became increasingly heavy – "sorrowful even unto death," a sorrow which almost crushed out his very life, says Matthew. Mark says (14:33 ) that he was "sore amazed," as tho the sorrow had come upon him unexpectedly, as tho he were bewildered. Luke, who was a physician, says that he was "in an agony," a contest, a struggle, the language used in the Greek implying a struggle of increasing force and severity, so that "his sweat became as it were great drops of blood;" and this bloody sweat is not unknown to physicians today, altho very rare. It marks an extreme tension of feeling – sorrow nigh unto death.*

*Prof. Tischendorf shows that this account of our Lord's bloody sweat is not found in the Vatican MS., and that altho it appeared in the original Sinaitic MS. it was crossed out by a later critic. The passage is therefore doubtful, or at least questionable.

Infidelity has suggested that this account of our Redeemer's sorrow, tears and prayers, attests his weakness. They argue that there have been many martyrs of various religions who have faced death with boldness, stoical firmness, sometimes with smiles, and that this account shows Jesus to have been cowardly, and inferior instead of superior to others. But there is a philosophy connected with the matter which they seem not to grasp. There is a dullness and numbness connected with fallen, degraded, coarse manhood that can regard pain and death with indifference, – which permits them either to undergo it themselves without great emotion, or to inflict it mercilessly upon others without compassion. We are glad that Jesus was not one of those cold, stoical icebergs, but that he was full of warm, loving, tender feelings and sensibilities; and that we can realize consequently that he is able to sympathize with the most tender, the most delicate, the most refined, the most sensitive, more than any other human being. He must have felt keenly the conditions under which he had placed himself, in laying down his life on our behalf; because the more perfect the organism the more sensitive and high-strung the feelings, the greater the capacity for joy and the greater the capacity for sorrow: and our Lord being absolutely perfect must have been immeasurably more susceptible to the influences of pain than others.

Besides this he had a perfect life, unforfeited, and knew it, and realized that he was about to part with it; while others of the human family possess only a forfeited or condemned existence and realize that they must part with this sometime anyway. It would therefore be a very different matter for our Lord to lay down his life than for any of his followers to lay down their lives. Supposing 100 to represent perfect life, our Lord had the full one hundred units to lay down, while we, being more than ninety-nine-hundredths parts dead, through trespasses and sins and condemnation, could at most have only the one-hundredth part to lay down. A cold, stoical indifference to the loss of life, based upon knowledge that it could last but a short time longer anyway, would therefore be a very different thing from the clear knowledge which our Lord had, based upon his experiences with the Father "before the world was," and the realization that the life he was now about to lay down was not forfeited through sin, but was his own voluntary sacrifice.

There can be no doubt that this thought of the extinguishment of life was an important factor in our Lord's sorrow. The Apostle clearly intimates it in the words (Heb. 5:7), "Who in the days of his flesh... offered up prayers and supplications, with strong cryings and tears, unto him who was able to save him from [out of] death, and was heard in [respect to] that he feared" – extinction. Intent continually upon doing the Father's will, day by day had passed in self-sacrifice, until now, in a few hours, the whole would be complete; and the thought of this brought with it another thought, viz.: Had he done the Father's will perfectly? Could he claim, and would he receive the reward promised him, a resurrection from the dead?

Had he failed in any particular to come up to the exact standard of perfection his death would have meant extinction; and altho all men fear extinction none could know the full depth and force of its meaning as could he who not only had the perfection of life, but had recollection of his previous glory with the Father before [R2774 : page 79] the world was. For him the very thought of an extinction would bring anguish, terror of soul. This thought seems not to have come to our Lord with the same force previously. It was this, therefore, that bore down upon him now so heavily as an astonishing sorrow unto death. He saw himself about to suffer according to the Law as an evil-doer, and the question naturally arose, was he entirely blameless, and would the heavenly judge thoroughly acquit him whom so many were disposed to condemn?

After praying awhile he went to the three disciples, in whom he had greatest confidence, and who, more than any others, were his tried and trusted companions, but he found them asleep. Luke explains that their sleep was the result of sorrow. The night and its lessons had been impressive; the memorial supper, which they did not fully understand, nevertheless left a weight of sorrow upon them, as the Master had intimated that it represented his death, and had further intimated that one of their number would betray him. The reaction from the sorrow brought a measure of stupor. Very gently our Lord upbraided them: "Could ye not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray lest ye enter into temptation." It is not merely that you need to watch on my account; you need to be in a watching attitude on your own account. An hour of severe trial is upon us all; watch and pray lest ye fall in this evil time.

Then our Lord went to pray again. We are told that his prayers were in the same words; that is to say, that the same sentiments were expressed; and again a third time similarly: the one matter was weighing upon his heart. Could he rely upon it now, that having sought to do the Father's will, that having finished his course, he had done it acceptably? Could he have full assurance of faith that God would save him out of death by a resurrection? In answer to his petition a heavenly messenger was sent to comfort him, to assure him, to strengthen him. We are not informed what message the angel brought, but we can see that it was a message of peace, and that he brought assurances that our Lord's course had the Father's approval, and that he would be brought again from the dead by a resurrection. These were quite sufficient to give our Lord all the strength and courage necessary for the ordeal before him; and from that moment onward we find him the coolest and calmest of the notable figures brought to our attention. When approached by Judas and his band he was the most calm and self-possessed of all; when before the chief priest, Caiaphas, it was the same way; when before Pilate the same; when crucified, the same; he had found peace in the message that he was approved of the Father, and that all the gracious promises of glory, honor and immortality were his, and now he could pass through any ordeal.

The Scriptures assure us that our Lord was tempted in all points like as we (his brethren) are, and we see in this his experience in Gethsemane an illustration of one of the most severe trials which come to the Lord's people. It would seem as tho the Adversary at times attempted to discourage us by making us think that the trials and difficulties of the "narrow way" of sacrifice will be all unavailing anyhow, and that we might as well give up. When such thoughts come to those who are earnestly and faithfully seeking to fulfil the conditions of their consecration vows they constitute one of the severest trials that could overtake them; if they have given up this world and its affections, hopes, aims, desires, exchanging all these for the heavenly, then anything which seems to becloud the heavenly hopes, leaves them in a darkness more utter, more dense, than they could have known had they never seen and appreciated the glorious promises. And what course should we pursue at such a time? We should follow the example of our Lord, and seek the Father's face, anxious to know whether or not everything is all right with him; anxious for some assurances that while the world may hate us, and say all manner of evil against us falsely, we still have his approval; anxious for some fresh assurance that it will be well with us, that the Lord will grant us a part in the better resurrection to life eternal.

But while we draw this correspondency between our experiences and those of our Lord we should not forget that there is an immeasurable difference; that we are of the dying and ninety-nine-hundredths parts dead already, and that therefore we cannot so fully appreciate the meaning of death nor the meaning of life eternal; and besides all this we have the example of our Lord, and the further assurance that our share in the First [R2775 : page 79] resurrection is not to be attained through perfection of our own, but through his perfection, provided we shall have attested to the Lord our full loyalty of heart, of intention, of will, however imperfect the results of our efforts to glorify him in our bodies and spirits.

The Evangelist records that our Lord prayed, "Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me." It may be that our Lord meant by this, If your infinite love and mercy see it possible in any manner to accomplish your purposes of salvation for mankind without it being necessary for me to die, then grant it to be so. But if this were the Lord's thought it would imply that he had not fully grasped the Father's plan of a restitution for mankind, made possible through a ransom price for Adam and his sin; for, seeing this, our Lord could not have supposed that anything short of the full ransom could secure the results. Quite possibly, however, the thought which bore heavily upon him was the realization now coming vividly to his mind that if apprehended [R2775 : page 80] as a blasphemer it would be the policy of his enemies not to destroy him secretly, but to deliver him over to the Romans; and he could realize the influence and power they would exert to secure the performance of their wishes, and he knew that the Roman method of execution was that of crucifixion, and he knew also that the Scriptures explicitly said, "Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree."

Here, then, seems to have been the centre of his thought: I shall be esteemed of all my countrymen as forsaken of God, and as accursed of him; I shall die as a blasphemer, as a malefactor; whereas my every sentiment is, and has always been, fealty, loyalty to the Father. This, we believe, was the special feature of our Lord's anxiety, called the "cup" of sorrow, which he wished, if possible, might be removed. We believe that he knew his death to be necessary, unavoidable, as he had many times informed his disciples; but that it was this ignominious form of death, "even the death of the cross," that staggered him; for it not only bespoke shame and misrepresentation before the people, and those whom he loved and to whom he sought to do good, but it carried with it also the thought that he was accursed of God; and if accursed of God he could have no hope for a realization of the glorious promise of a resurrection. But when assured through the angel that he would not be actually accused of God, even tho he would for a time take the place of the accursed Adam and be "made a curse for us," his race, then even the cross and its shame could be endured with fortitude.

WATCH AND PRAY LEST YE ENTER INTO TEMPTATION.

In the case of our Lord and the apostles we see illustrated the value of watchfulness and prayer in the dark hour of trouble. Our Lord followed the direction he gave to the disciples: he watched, he prayed, he got a blessing, he was strengthened, and came off victor. They did not watch and did not pray, failing to realize the necessities of the occasion, and as a result we find them scattered, bewildered; – and one of them, the very strongest of them all, who boastingly had said a little while before, "Tho all men forsake thee yet will not I," was so overpowered by his surroundings, and so weak through lack of the very strength he should have obtained through watching and prayer, that he denied the Lord with profanity.

Whenever we find the Lord's people attempting to live a life of holiness and consecration, yet ignoring the injunction of our Lord to watch and pray, we know that they are unwise; and that however much they may be virgins, pure ones, they are foolish: they cannot hope to gain the victory over self and sin and the Adversary, single-handed, alone. If the Master himself needed strengthening, surely we also need it; and if he received it in response to supplications with strong cryings and tears, it is an intimation to us of the way in which God is pleased to bestow the full assurance of faith which is able to strengthen us as good soldiers to endure any and everything in his name and service. Those who seek the Lord earnestly and in prayer are as sure to receive a blessing as was the Lord Jesus himself; and altho there will not come to them the same kind of heavenly messenger to comfort and encourage them, nevertheless a heavenly messenger of another kind will surely be sent. It may be in the person of a fellow-disciple, able to enter into and sympathize with us in our trials as difficulties, as none of the apostles could sympathize with our Lord or assist him. Or it may be that the messenger sent will be one of the apostles themselves, through the many gracious words of inspiration which God has communicated to us through them in his Word. But however the strength may come, it must be the assurance, not of men nor of angels, but of God, that we are pleasing and acceptable to him, – and that we may claim and expect the exceeding great and precious things which he has in reservation for them that love him.

So to speak, we are now in the hour of trial which cometh upon the whole world to try them. The present is represented in the Scriptures to be "the hour of temptation" or testing at the close of this age. It is the Gethsemane hour, in this sense of the word, to all who are the Lord's true people, fully consecrated to him. It is the hour, therefore, in which we, like our Lord, should be seeking the Father's face to receive the full assurance that we are his, and that he is ours; and that we may rely confidently on his strength to carry us through this time. It is the time in which we are to make sure, as we sometimes sing:

"O let no earthborn cloud arise
To hide thee from thy servant's eyes."

It is a time in which those who neglect the Master's words, "Watch and pray, lest ye enter into temptation," will be sure to enter into temptation, and be tolerably sure to fall therein. And the fall will be severe, – and even tho, like Peter, they should afterward be recovered out of it, it will be with weeping.

Some make the mistake of praying without watching; others make the mistake of watching without praying; but the safe and only proper method is that which our Lord directed, to combine the two. We are to watch, and to be on our guard against the encroachments of the world, the flesh and the devil. We are to watch for all the encouragements of the Lord's Word, the evidence of their fulfilment, the signs that betoken his presence and the great changes of dispensation just at hand. We are to watch for everything that will strengthen us in faith and hope and loyalty and love; and while watching we are to pray without ceasing. We are to pray together as the Lord's people; we are to pray in our homes, as families; we are to pray in secret, in private. We are to have the spirit of prayer in all that we say and do: that is to say, our hearts should be going out continually to the Lord for guidance in all of life's affairs, that we may do with our might what our hands find to do, in a manner that will be acceptable to him, and that we may be shielded by him from temptation that would otherwise be beyond our endurance, and that we may be ultimately delivered from the Evil One and have a place in our Lord's Kingdom. Brethren and sisters, let us more and more remember and put into practice, in every home in which the WATCH TOWER is a visitor, these words of our Lord, "Watch and pray, lest ye enter into temptation."