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April 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. XXIII.APRIL 1, 1902.No. 7.
CONTENTS.

Views from the Watch Tower 99
A Presbyterian Minister's Longings 99
Absurdities of the Higher Critics 100
God First – His Appointments 100
Visiting with Peter, the Primitive Saints 103
"The Saints which Dwelt in Lydda" 104
God is no Respecter of Persons 107
"Words Whereby Thou Shalt be Saved" 108
Judgment of the Quick and Dead 109
Questions and Answers 110
The Memorial Supper 111

'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 98

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

SPECIAL EDITION OF THE LINEAR BIBLE.

nnounce the completion of the printing of our new Bibles, with wide margins and references thereon to the five volumes of Millennial Dawn, and Tabernacle Shadows, and Zion's Watch Tower, 1895 to 1901. The binding and shipping will probably require some six weeks more. We regret the delay, but the time as well as the labor and expense were much more than contemplated at first. Its Topical Index alone will be of great value to us all as an aid in studying the divine Word. We trust that under the Lord's blessing this Bible will prove of inestimable value in the "perfecting of the saints for the work of ministry."

The total edition will be 5000 copies; and the interest felt in the work by our readers is manifest from the fact that nearly all of these books are already bespoken, and more than half of them paid for in advance. There will not be nearly enough to fill orders as soon as the books are seen and their value realized; but we see no prospect of getting out another edition.

ABOUT ORDERING DAWNS IN QUANTITIES.

We entertain but slight hope of a revision of the Postoffice rulings; – granting us the second class rates of postage on the Dawns, clearly our right under the law. We suggest to the friends, therefore, that in every little group one be chosen to act as agent for all, to procure the desired books and tracts by freight. Thus ordered the paper bound volumes would cost but ten cents, plus perhaps one or two cents per copy by freight.

[R2983 : page 99]

VIEWS FROM THE WATCH TOWER.

A PRESBYTERIAN MINISTER'S LONGINGS.

REV. HENRY VAN DYKE, one of the prominent ministers of the Presbyterian denomination, has felt constrained to give utterance to his conception of the needs of his church for a better and clearer statement of its present belief. We clip the below quotations: –

"There is a twofold need for revision of the Westminster Confession of Faith. In the first place, the church has been studying her supreme standard, the Bible, for two hundred and fifty years since the Confession was written. She has been educated by Christ for one hundred years in the great work of missions. It is reasonable to suppose that she has learned something. Why should she not express it in her creed?

"Another reason for revision arises out of the fact that the Westminster Confession was made in a time of fierce conflict and controversy. It was natural that certain things should be stated then with greater emphasis than they would have otherwise received; that the metaphysics of the seventeenth century should creep into certain chapters; and that certain points should represent a judgment of that age rather than a permanent truth. For example, the Westminster Confession speaks of the Pope of Rome as the Antichrist. Presbyterians today do not generally believe this. Again, by expressly mentioning 'elect infants,' the Westminster Confession leaves open the supposition that there may be 'non-elect infants.' Presbyterians today believe that all who die in infancy are saved by Jesus Christ. The Westminster Confession has a long metaphysical chapter on God's eternal decree, which at least seems to teach that some men are created to be saved and others created to be damned. The Presbyterian Church today does not believe this, and to guard against misapprehension on the subject it wishes to say clearly and unmistakably that God has not put any barrier between any human soul and salvation.

"Moreover, the Westminster Confession has no chapter on the love of God for all men, on the Holy Spirit, on the Gospel, or on missions. Now the Presbyterian Church has come to believe in these things with all its heart; and it wishes to put its belief into words.

"Therefore revision is needed, not because of a conflict in the church, nor because of a lack of liberty, but because faith, deepening and broadening through the study of God's Word, craves an utterance in the language of living men.

*                         *                         *

"Finally, this revision movement should give us a stronger emphasis on the truth that God is love.

"Sovereignty and grace have always been the two great pillars of the Reformed faith. Sovereignty [R2984 : page 99] means that God is supreme. Grace means that God alone can save.

"Take these two words separately, emphasize the sovereignty, limit the grace, and you have a hard creed. But take them together, believe in the sovereignty of grace and the grace of sovereignty and you have a creed that is infinitely sweet and glorious.

"No man can be saved without God. There is no man whom God is not willing to save.

"That is the whole of it. That is the creed which is incarnate in Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world. That is the creed which our faith longs to utter."

We rejoice that this gentleman, and others of the Presbyterian connection, realize the situation thus, if not more intensely. We hope they may soon secure all the relief they so earnestly and so properly crave. At the same time we cannot avoid a few reflective questions: –

(1) Have these learned men, who have been posing for years as ambassadors for God, only now awakened to thought upon so important a subject? – only now begun to feel uncomfortable in respect to their creed? Their answer would probably generally be, – No; we have long been troubled, – long felt our bondage.

(2) Why, brethren, did you not end your difficulties long ago by asserting your moral and religious [R2984 : page 100] stamina, and withdrawing from the denomination whose creed, you admit, has not been the creed of your heart for many years, – possibly was not such even when you subscribed to it and took your present ministerial vows to uphold and teach it? Was it because you supposed that creed inspired? Was it because you believed that our Lord and the twelve Apostles established the Presbyterian system? – Surely not; surely as educated men you made no such mistake, but knew that it was instituted nearly fifteen centuries after the death of the founders of the Lord's one true Church. – What can have held you, fettered you, in thought and word and act so long and so thoroughly? The answer should doubtless be; – No good opportunity presented itself, until now. We could not think of withdrawing from the system on so slight an account as that of a defilement of our consciences and a misrepresentation of the divine character and plan. We, therefore, bore the burden without much inconvenience until now popular thought favors a change; – yes, we might almost say demands it. No, we hope to carry the denomination for a creedal restatement.

(3) Another query, friends: – Since you knew that the Presbyterian system was no more the church which our Lord and his Apostles founded than others of the sects, – Methodist, Roman Catholic, Lutherans, Episcopalians, etc., etc., and since that idea did not hold you all these years, and still, – was it not the honor, the salary, the good name, the social standing you had in Presbyterianism that fettered you? And, if so, instead of praising and lauding your present belated movement, which you hope will bring you some "honor of men," should we not rather pity you and sympathize with you, not to say despise you, for your supineness? – for having failed to break your creedal fetters long ago? Should we not fear for you that for years you have been willing to sell God's character and your own consciences for earthly considerations? Indeed, since you now admit that your present action is because you believe it the more popular, can we give you any credit at all, or see cause to believe you one whit more honest or noble than you were in previous years? Their answer to this would doubtless be, – We all stand or fall together, and we do not believe that the world or the nominal churches take a higher plane of thought or action than we have taken. And their estimate is probably a correct one; alas, that Christian conscience in general is not on a higher plane!

THE ABSURDITIES OF THE HIGHER CRITICS.

Dr. Eaton, editor of The Western Recorder takes firm ground against the absurdities of the methods and logic of the so-called higher critics of our time. As illustrating their fallacies he furnishes the following incidents: –

"At the Baptist Congress in Detroit (1894) Dr. Howard Osgood – the greatest Hebrew scholar in America – in the presence of men who were well informed on the subject and who were quite favorable to the alleged 'results of the higher criticism,' stated what those 'results' are, as told by their advocates. He asked to be corrected if in any particular he erred; but no correction was offered. From slips of paper he read statements of these 'results,' and when all present had assented to the correctness of the presentation, Dr. Osgood startled them by saying that all his quotations were from Thomas Morgan, a Deist of the early part of the eighteenth century, and from Tom Paine, the well-known infidel of the latter part of that century."

"Not long ago two leading ministers in the North united in writing an account of a great religious gathering, and they sent their combined article to a number of 'higher critics,' requesting that they separate it into the two documents, giving to each of the two authors his portion. Their failures were most egregious, and no two of them agreed, because they worked independently. And yet these men, utterly unable to resolve an article, avowedly written by two men, in plain English, and written in their own time and country, into its original documents; these men are cock-sure they can correctly divide a book, written in Hebrew thousands of years ago, with no evidence of composite authorship, so as to give each supposed author his exact portion! And they claim to do this so accurately that they divide a single sentence among three authors, with perfect confidence!"

[R2984 : page 100]

GOD FIRST – HIS APPOINTMENTS.

"Giving thanks unto the Father...who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the Kingdom of his dear Son...He is the Head of the body the Church: who is the beginning, the first born from the dead; that in all things he might have the preeminence." – Col. 1:12-18.

S
CARCELY could we hope to find a more suitable motto for the Lord's people during the present year, than, the words, "God First." A thorough devotion to him, a full recognition of all his appointments, acknowledges our Lord Jesus: as our text declares, he has the preeminence, – he is Lord of all. This motto was adopted by the Allegheny Church for the present year: assuredly all who shall endeavor to live up to this motto to the best of their ability will enjoy much of divine favor, and make considerable progress in the narrow way.

The text suggests the thought that the divine government is an autocratic one – the reverse of a democratic government, "of the people, by the people, for the people." As we look over the governments of civilized nations, we find that the more autocratic the government the less intelligent the people who will support it. For instance, the Russian government is autocratic; the authority, the power, being very largely held by the Czar, without responsibility to a parliament or Congress representing the people. As an example of a liberal monarchy, Great Britain is perhaps best, for there the powers of the sovereign are quite limited; the aristocracy being represented in the House of Lords, and the populace in the House of Commons; these two representative bodies share with the monarch the responsibilities of the government. The government of the United States, in which all the citizens are ostensibly on an equality, and in which the Citizen President, as their [R2984 : page 101] choice, is the chief executive, is recognized as the highest type of civil government, most favorable to the masses – a republic, a democracy.

It may at first seem strange to some that the type of earthly government least favorable, least esteemed by the intelligent, – the autocratic form, should most nearly represent the form of government which the Almighty has instituted for the entire realm of creation. If an autocratic form of government has proven itself so unfavorable to human liberty and progress amongst men now, can it be possible that this form of government is the very best for the universe in general, and forever? If so, wherein lies the difference? By what process of reasoning shall we demonstrate that that which experimentally amongst men has proven itself to be bad, should ultimately prove itself to be best? We answer that the difference is because all men are fallen and imperfect; hence are under the dominion of sin and selfishness to a greater or less degree; and additionally, all are imperfect in knowledge and in judgment, even if their hearts were fully disposed for righteousness. On the contrary, the Almighty is perfect in his attributes, and in his knowledge; and the law of his being as well as the law of his empire is – the reverse of selfishness – the law of Love. It is indeed dangerous to be fully under the power of any fallen imperfect being, however well intentioned; but it is a most desirable thing to be under the guidance and control of a perfect being, possessed of all knowledge, wisdom, justice, love, power. This is the situation: Jehovah, our God, is a dictator, his laws are perfect, just and good, and all of his creatures subject to those laws are blessed. Under these conditions, the autocratic, theocratic government which now obtains in heaven, is the most desirable one of all; hence, as our Lord suggests, we pray that this same government may ere long come to earth; saying, – "Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done in earth as it is done in Heaven."

Altho Jehovah God, our Creator, is not elected to his position, and does not hold it through the consent [R2985 : page 101] of his creatures; yet all of his creatures who are in harmony with the principles of righteousness delight to hold him as their King and Lord, – their Dictator, whose every wish it is their pleasure to obey. As a Dictator he has appointed Christ Jesus to be "Head of the body, the Church." But although we are not asked to vote, as to whether or not Christ shall be the head of the Church, God, nevertheless, respects our free moral agency, to the extent that we are not compelled to accept his arrangement in this matter. But, if we object, it means that we are not of the body, the Church; for the Almighty proceeds with his own plans, and those who do not fall in with those plans merely fail to that extent to secure to themselves the proffered blessings.

Similarly the Almighty did not inquire of the angels whether or not they would accept the glorified Jesus as their Lord: he autocratically elevated our Lord Jesus, because of his implicit obedience even unto death, even the death of the cross, as the Apostle declares, "Wherefore [on account of his obedience unto death] God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name; that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow...and every tongue confess...to the glory of God the Father." Similarly, our context declares, that in his prehuman condition our Lord Jesus was from the beginning the head, the chief of all his Father's creatures, works, arrangements. "For by him were all things created, that are in heaven and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers; all things were created by him, and for him: and he is before all things, and by him all things consist." (Col. 1:16,17.) This agrees also with the statement of John's Gospel (1:1), "In the beginning was the Logos, and the Logos was with the God, and the Logos was a God: the same was in the beginning with the God. All things were made by him; and without him was not one thing made that was made."

It appears from this, that the Heavenly Father has exercised his autocratic government from the beginning; choosing his first-born Son to be his representative in the entire work of creation. It appears further that it was to this first-born Son that the privilege or opportunity of becoming man's Redeemer was first proffered – as a privilege; because the Almighty autocratically intended that this matter of man's redemption should not only display his Justice and Love, his Wisdom and his Power, in respect to mankind, but it should additionally be a test, a manifestation, of the loyalty of his First-begotten; and that such loyalty, being fully demonstrated, would properly become the occasion for the still further advancement of his First-begotten One, – to the divine nature, "glory, honor, immortality," – demonstrating his worthiness in all things to be preeminent.

It is not, of course, the Apostle's thought that the Father made the Lord Jesus preeminent above himself, Jehovah. We are continually to remember the Apostle's suggestion of I Cor. 15:27, where, after declaring that the Father hath put all things under the Son, he adds, "It is manifest [need not be stated] that he [Jehovah] is excepted, which did put all things under him [Jesus]." So, gathering the proper thought of our text, we are still to remember that God is first: and that our Lord Jesus is first to us, as the Head of the Church, because God has given him this preeminence. In recognizing Jesus' full authority and headship of the Church, we are honoring him who appointed him, and thus we keep God first: as our Lord declares, "All men should honor the Son, even as they honor the Father." (John 5:23.) They are not to confound the two, but are to worship and reverence and obey both the Father and the Son; for the latter seeks not, and does not his own will, but the will of the Father who sent him, and who exalted him to his position of preeminence over all his creatures. The Apostle explains this relationship fully and emphatically when he declares that, – The head of the woman is the man; and the head of the man is Christ; and the head of Christ is God – Jehovah. – I Cor. 11:3.

While rejoicing in liberal governments amongst men, and esteeming popular governments the most desirable under present conditions, we, nevertheless, recognize that this is so merely because present conditions are evil ones; because selfishness is the reigning [R2985 : page 102] law amongst men: the selfish interests and instincts of the masses may be trusted as safer for the whole population than the selfish instincts of one individual or one class. Consequently, while rejoicing in the government of this land, and in the favor which comes to us under this government, we are still praying for the glorious Kingdom which God has promised, in which his will alone shall be the law, and his representative, the King over all the earth.

In the Church the divine law or theocracy is already to some extent established. We do not refer to the human institutions called churches, but to the Church "whose names are written in heaven," and whose leadership and membership as a body are directed by the Lord Jesus, their appointed Head. As for religious systems amongst men, we believe that on account of the weaknesses of the race and the fact that even the best are more or less contaminated by selfish impulses, the despotic forms of church government are most evil, and the democratic forms of church government proportionately the less evil, after the same manner as in civil governments. And here we note the Lord's arrangement for his Church to be a combination of the two forms of government. (1) It is democratic, inasmuch as the choice of the leaders is to be determined by the judgment of the members. (2) It is theocratic in the sense that the members are not to exercise their own preferences in respect to their choice (votes), but are to use their best intelligence in ascertaining the will of the Lord, their Head, in the matter; and hence are to express by their votes so far as they are able, not their own wills, but the will of the Lord. Here is the most harmonious and simple and beneficent arrangement imaginable under present conditions. Each individual, or unit of the Church, member in the "body" of Christ, is to say within his own heart, "God first," and God's appointment of Christ as a Bishop or Shepherd of his flock makes him and his will preeminent in our thoughts, in our hearts, in our words, in our deeds. We must, so far as we can discern his will, follow the same; so far as we can understand his Word, we are to speak his Word; and in our choice of leaders his will and not our own is to control. Thus in the Church, in the "body," in all of its associated interests and affairs, God first and Christ, his representative, preeminent, is to be the order, – in proportion as each member grows in grace and in the knowledge of the divine will. Thus God, through his faithful, still sets in the Church the various members, according as it pleases him. (I Cor. 12:18.) But this applies to each little group of the Lord's people, and to the whole church in general, only in proportion as they conform to his will and Word, – making God first and Christ, the Head, preeminent.

This same principle is to be carried beyond the Church into the homes of the Lord's people. There, also, God is to be first and his representative, Christ, to be preeminent. If the head of the family be a member of the body of Christ, and recognizes him to be his Head, he must recognize his laws in the family as well as in the Church. And recognizing his law he must oppose every thing approximating anarchy – lawlessness; he must hold up before the family as well as before himself, Jehovah the autocratic governor and law-giver; and Christ Jesus his autocratic representative; and the perfect law of Love, which he sets forth, to be the law of all those who are members of his body; – to rule in their hearts perfectly, and in their mortal flesh as far as lieth in them, – to the extent of their ability. The reign of law in every family should be enforced both by precept and example; but it must never be forgotten that it is the law of Love – prompted by love, executed in love, accompanied by every kind and helpful influence possible.

This will mean that so far as possible each member of the Church recognizing Christ as his Head, will seek to do the will of God in his family; and this will mean that if he has not already established the Family Altar of prayer, he will immediately do so, – to the extent that this is possible. If on account of work or business it is impossible to have family devotions daily, he can probably have them weekly, and we presume that the Lord will accept the good intentions and best endeavors thus evidenced. If the man, the divinely appointed head of the family, is not a member of the body of Christ, the wife, though a Christian, is to recognize the divine law upon this subject, that the man is the head of the woman and of the family, and she is not to establish family worship in any manner in conflict with the expressed will of her husband. She should seek the Lord's blessing and guidance and over-ruling providences, that her husband may be agreeable to the arrangement, and should await the results. The husband who is not a Christian but is, nevertheless, morally and religiously disposed, will under these conditions feel all the more the responsibilities of his position; and the wise and moderate and noble conduct of the wife will have the greater weight with him because of her moderation in this matter, and the evidence he has that she is subject to a higher law and lawgiver, to whom he also should be subject.

Putting God first, and Christ preeminent as his representative, should have an influence also upon our business dealings in which we come in contact with the world: so that in our buying or selling, or whatsoever we do, we should remember continually to seek to do those things pleasing in the sight of the one whom we desire to please, and who is preeminent in our hearts. This will mean a decrease of selfishness and an increase of love, and a decrease of meanness [R2986 : page 102] and an increase of nobility of character toward all; and the result will be as our Master suggested, saying, "Let your light so shine before men that they seeing your good works shall glorify your Father which is in heaven."

But while this matter of putting God first, and recognizing his appointments, laws and will in all of life's affairs, will exercise the foregoing influences in matters of the Church, matters of the home and family and matters of business and contact with the world, yet the chief influence of all will surely be found in our own hearts and lives. The thought of the will of Christ preeminent, connecting with all the doings of life in public and in private, – the thought that we wish God to have the first place in our affections, and his blessing in respect to our influence, our joys, our pleasures, our hopes, our aims, – what [R2986 : page 103] a blessing this will bring! – what godliness, what growth in the fruits and graces of the spirit! Very quickly this preeminence of Christ will expand beyond the actions of life and attach itself to our words. The true Christian will seek not only to act gently, as he believes the Lord would be pleased to have him act, but additionally, he will seek to speak gently, kindly, moderately, modestly, – and thus to show forth the praises of him who hath called us out of darkness into his marvelous light. No better homage and worship can we offer to the Lord, and no greater honor can we do to his name amongst men, than by exemplifying his teachings in the words and acts of our lives.

But now we come to the most important point of all; for behind all our doings and teachings, in public and in private, are our thoughts. It is of paramount importance that in seeking to have God first in life's affairs, we shall see to it that he is first in our thoughts; – that Jesus there has the preeminence which God intends he should have; – that our affections should be preeminently set upon him more than upon husband, wife, or children; more than upon houses or lands; more than upon honors of men. Christ is to be enthroned in our hearts preeminent over all things, – yea, preeminent over self, and with many this submission of self is the most difficult proposition. This is exactly what our Lord taught, saying, – "If any man come to me, and hate not [love not less] his father, and mother, and wife and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, his own life, [being] also, he cannot be my disciple." – Luke 14:26.

Recurring to the illustration of our text – that of the human body, of which Christ is the head and all we are members: let us notice how intimate is the connection between the head and the members in a healthy, properly constituted body. Each member is in direct communication with the head by means of the nerves (however rapidly it is effected); in case of trouble, accident, pain, – the matter is at once reported to the head, and immediately a member of the body, perhaps a hand, is prompt to give service. The head has full direction because the spirit of the head pervades all the members of the body; so that, – "If one member suffer, all suffer with it;" and every member, in proportion as it is in harmony with the head and its spirit of love for the members, will be prompt to act. Sometimes in our human bodies the hand may stretch forth assistance to the injured member so quickly that it seems impossible to conceive that the message first went to the head, and that our hand was subsequently directed by the head to assist; and so it is with the members of the body of Christ; those who are in full touch and sympathy with the Head, the Lord, are to so large an extent of "one spirit" with him, so anxious to do his will, and so well informed in respect to what his will is, that they sometimes seem to act almost automatically, in respect to rendering help by word, or deed, or otherwise to those with whom they are in contact.

Let us, dear brethren and sisters, during the year dating from the Memorial Supper, have for the watchword of our hearts, "God First" – and Christ "preeminent" by divine appointment; – remembering that it is out of the abundance of the heart that the mouth speaketh, and the general conduct of life proceeds. "Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life." – Prov. 4:23.

[R2986 : page 103]

VISITING, WITH PETER, THE PRIMITIVE SAINTS.
ACTS 9:31-43. – APRIL 13. –

"Jesus Christ maketh thee whole."

T
HE PERSECUTION which scattered the disciples from Jerusalem throughout all Judea, and of which Paul was one of the leaders, subsided shortly after his conversion; and was followed by a period of rest, recuperation, edification, etc., as mentioned in the first verse of our lesson. Paul's conversion may have had something to do with this, but in all probability a trouble which arose about this time between the Jews and their Roman rulers had more to do with it.

About the year A.D. 38 the Emperor, Caligula Caesar, who had but recently come into his office, promulgated an order that his statue should be set up in various quarters of the empire, and should be worshipped. When the Jews learned of this order, and that it was the intention to put these statues in Jerusalem, and even in the Temple itself, as well as elsewhere, their indignation and trouble knew no bounds. They gathered in great masses, young and old, to entreat the local governor to intercede for them that such a desecration of their holy temple and holy city and holy land should not be permitted. Speaking of one of these protest-gatherings, the historian says: "A vast throng, arranged in six columns of (1) old women, (2) matrons, (3) maids, (4) old men, (5) men in their strength, and (6) boys, gathered before the palace of the procurator, and threw themselves on the earth, with wild and piteous cries of despair, when he showed himself on the balcony. They declared they would die, but never give way. Petronius [the governor] made every effort to have the Emperor change the edict, but the most he could arrange was a command to leave the Temple untouched. But many altars were raised to the Emperor outside of its gates; and news came that all the synagogues in Alexandria had been turned into temples to Caesar. These things lasted till January, A.D. 41, on the 24th day of which Caligula was murdered."

It is not surprising that such outside persecution and interference with their own religious rites and liberties caused the Jews to relax their persecutions of the Christians, and thus brought about the period of rest mentioned. Persecutors never like persecution for themselves. Those who have the mind of Christ are never persecutors; they feel it to be their bounden duty not to cooperate, not to assist, things which they believe to be wrong; they may even find it necessary or expedient to denounce the wrong, and to show up its inconsistencies; and in some instances to name the active agents in these wrong teachings and wrong doings – as the apostles have done on several occasions in their writings. But as for persecuting others, the Lord's people can take no part [R2986 : page 104] in this: we are hindered by the spirit of love, the mind of Christ, which directs that we should do unto others as we would they should do unto us – our Golden Rule, our "perfect law of liberty."

The record says that the churches were edified. This word edified carries in it the thought of construction or building. We get the thought, therefore, that this time of peace was a time of upbuilding amongst the little groups of the Lord's people in Palestine. There is a two-fold sense in which the Church may be built up or edified – in numbers, and also in the graces of the spirit. Apparently the infant Church was edified both ways. It was growing in numbers, and growing in grace. That the latter is included is shown by the following declaration, that the believers walked in the fear of the Lord and in the comfort of the holy spirit.

The Scriptures declare that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom (Psa. 111:10) – not a selfish fear; but a reverential fear; not a fear that the Lord is evil instead of good; not a fear that he will eternally torment or otherwise unjustly deal with his enemies; but a reverence of the Lord which recognizes his greatness and his goodness, appreciates the same, and fears to do aught that would be displeasing to him or that would separate from his love and favor. This proper kind of fear, which is the beginning of wisdom will never be lost, so long as the wisdom is maintained. We creatures of the dust, "by nature children of wrath, even as others," and transformed and renewed only by the Lord's grace and power and truth, must never lose sight of our own littleness and insufficiency, and of our complete dependence upon the Lord's mercy and favor. To lose sight of this would surely mean our fall. Hence, altho the Apostle declares that perfect love casteth out fear, we esteem his meaning in this passage to be the dread fear rather than reverential fear. Perfect love will cast out dread and slavish fear, but it will cultivate and stimulate and increase our reverence for the Lord; so that, as the Apostle again declares, even the advanced Christian who has lost his slavish fear, will, from love of God, and from a desire to please him and to attain the end which he has indicated for us, "fear, lest a promise being left us... any should seem to come short of it." – I John 4:18; Heb. 4:1.

But reverence of God was not the only grace developed in the primitive church. To it was added [R2987 : page 104] the comfort of the holy spirit. (The use of the word "ghost" as a translation of the Greek word pneuma is very unfortunate, and confusing to the English reader. The word should never be used. Pneuma should invariably be translated "spirit."*) The holy spirit is the spirit, mind or disposition of God; and the primitive Church was cultivating this, developing it in their hearts, walking in it, that is, living it. The word comfort signifies united, cemented or strengthened together; and the thought of the passage as a whole, therefore, would be that the Church was not only multiplying in numbers, and being edified or built up together as God's holy Church or temple, but that the various "living stones" were being cemented or bound together by the holy spirit. This is a forcible and graphic description of a glorious condition in the primitive Church. It is what should be striven for by the Lord's dear people everywhere today as well; indeed it is as true of the true Church of Christ now as it was then.

*See MILLENNIAL DAWN Vol. V. Chap. 8.

The thought of building together, building up, etc., when applied to the individual, signifies his own faith structure, which the Apostle tells us is to be composed of gold, silver and precious stones – divine truth and character – from which should be excluded all wood, hay and stubble of error, sin and hypocrisy. The same thought may be applied to the Church assemblies in a slightly different way; for each little congregation of the Church may be considered as a temporary temple, or abiding place of God in the world, as represented by his holy spirit indwelling. In a still larger sense the whole Church in any period may be considered as God's temple, in which he representatively resides, and through which he speaks to such as have an ear to hear. It is in this sense of the word that the seven churches of Revelation represent the one Church of the Lord throughout the world, in seven different epochs of its history. But let it be distinctly borne in mind that none of these proper enough uses of the word "temple," etc., interfere at all with the still larger, and still more exact thought respecting the divine Temple, the Church.

This still more exact thought is with reference to the Church glorified, which has not been under construction, upbuilding, during the Gospel age, but is to be constructed speedily at the second advent of the Lord and the gathering together of his saints unto him. In this last view, be it noticed, each of the Lord's followers is symbolically a "living stone," now being chiseled, fitted, polished, prepared, for a place in the glorious Temple, whose construction was delayed until the end of the age, when, as typified by Solomon's Temple, each part will come together with exactness, "without the sound of a hammer," – without the slightest need of trimming or altering any of those perfected ones, all of whom together will constitute the glorious Temple of God, which will be filled with his presence in the fullest and most complete sense, and constitute the center of his blessing and instruction to all the families of the earth during the Millennium; – "the New Jerusalem, which cometh down from God out of heaven." – I Pet. 2:4-7; Rev. 21:27,10; I Kings 6:7.

"THE SAINTS WHICH DWELT AT LYDDA"

We see from this narrative that altho the Apostles made Jerusalem the headquarters for their work they, nevertheless, went hither and thither throughout Judea, meeting with the Lord's people scattered by the previous persecution, etc., and forming nuclei of little congregations in every direction. In these travels Peter came to Lydda, the chief city in the Plain of Sharon (Saron), about midway between Jerusalem and Joppa – about ten miles from each; and his special mission, we are told, was the visiting of the saints. We like this word "saints." It signifies holy, set apart, sanctified believers in Christ. There is much opposition to the use of the word today, attributable, we believe, to two reasons. One is that the vast majority of professing Christians know that they are not saints, not sanctified, not living as near to the Lord as they could live, – not separate, even in [R2987 : page 105] heart, from the world, the flesh, and the devil. Such persons have strong reasons for disliking the word "saints," realizing that it would exclude them and nearly all of their friends and special associates in Christian work. Another reason for opposition to the word "saints" is that in the dark ages it became the custom for the Roman and Greek Catholic churches to "canonize," or legally set apart as objects of reverence, certain persons respecting whom, after several centuries had elapsed, nothing specially evil was remembered, but only things esteemed as honorable and praiseworthy. The word, saints, thus became separated from living Christians; and, indeed, this may have been because there were few Christians really so "alive toward God" as to be representatives of saintship. Another reason why some dislike this term, "saints," is that they consider it to be rather boastful, – some would even say hypocritical; because having lost sight of "justification by faith" in its proper application they have become accustomed to think of and to pray for all Christians as "miserable sinners" – overlooking the fact that there are some in whom "the righteousness of the Law is fulfilled," because "walking not after the flesh, but after the spirit," the merit of Christ covers all their unwilling shortcomings. – Rom. 8:4.

The Lord's people, however, are to remember to apply and take pleasure in all the names and practices authorized by apostolic usage; and the term "saint" certainly thus approves itself to us. Almost all of the epistles of the New Testament are addressed to the saints; and those who can not properly apply the term to themselves can not properly apply to themselves the exceeding great and precious promises contained in those epistles, – for all the promises are addressed to and meant for the saints – the sanctified in Christ Jesus. (Rom. 1:7; I Cor. 1:2; 2 Cor. 1:9; Eph. 1:1, etc.) Let it be borne in mind that the word "saint" does not signify actual perfection, merely, as in our Lord's case, but also those reckoned holy through him; and that the apostles who were saints, and who classed themselves with the saints of God, declared respecting themselves, "We also are men of like passions with you." – Acts 14:15.

The term saints, then, properly applied in the Church refers to those who altho originally "children of wrath, even as others," have been rescued from that condition of condemnation, and been washed, cleansed, and thus brought into accord with God through the forgiveness of their sins and the covering of their weaknesses and blemishes; and who, in connection with these blessings of God, and in appreciation of them, became the "sanctified in Christ Jesus" by making full consecration of themselves to live, not perfect lives (an impossibility), but as nearly perfect as they may be able; – the Lord's grace making them continually "holy, acceptable to God" the Father, through the merit of Christ Jesus. Let us not be ashamed of this name, "saints": if it present before our minds saintship, holiness, separateness from the world, that is just the very thought which should be there continually. It is a thought which will help us, and enable us the better to live separate from the world, as our Master indicated, saying, "They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world." – John 17:16.

"JESUS CHRIST MAKETH THEE WHOLE."

Our Golden Text is from Peter's words to AEneas, the paralytic, whom the Apostle found at Lydda and healed. We are not told that he was one of the saints; the presumption, therefore, is that he was not, but that at most he was a friend to some of them, and that thus the Apostle's attention was drawn to him. The fact that he had been bedfast, helpless, eight years, testified that the healing was a miracle. Its fame spread abroad, and resulted, we are told, in the drawing of many unto the Lord and to the Church. Thus did the Lord establish the Church and attract to it those who were in the right attitude of heart, using miracles then, as he now uses other means. Those miracles, as already pointed out, can not have lasted much longer than the apostles themselves; the gifts of healing, etc., being granted only through the laying on of the hands of the apostles – and the twelve had no successors – the heavenly Jerusalem had twelve foundations, and no more, and in them were written the names of the twelve apostles, and no others.

"THIS WOMAN WAS FULL OF GOOD WORKS."

One of the disciples, that is, one of the saints, residing at Joppa, on the seacoast, was apparently a woman of means and education, and if her name represented her appearance, she was very beautiful. Tabitha, in the Syriac language, Dorcas, in the Greek, signifies graceful, beautiful. But this woman was famed for a beauty and a grace entirely separate and distinct from whatever she possessed of these qualities naturally. Hers was the beauty of a meek and quiet spirit, full of love and helpfulness. She was a burning and a shining light for the Lord in that vicinity, evidently. She was not "a Bible reader," for there were no Bibles in the language of the people at that time. She was not a tract distributor nor a colporteur, for there was no printing done then; but she did what she could; she served the Lord, his brethren and all needing help, according to the best opportunities afforded her. She helped the poor, and particularly widows, who as a class at that time were apt to be in a very trying position, especially if poor. Dorcas had been in the habit (the Greek text indicates) of assisting the poor with garments, etc., probably, almost certainly, assisting them also with words of encouragement and helpfulness, and ministering to them the truth. Under these circumstances it is not strange that her death should have produced sorrow, especially amongst the beneficiaries of her charities, and amongst the numerous friends which a beautiful Christ-like spirit of this kind is sure to make.

While it is very true that the civilized conditions of the present time take from us many of the opportunities possessed by Dorcas, by supplying means of employment for poor widows and others indigent, and by providing County Homes, etc., for the needy, nevertheless, all who have the spirit of the Lord, which Dorcas had, and which she so nobly exemplified, will surely still find opportunities for laying down their lives, some way or other, in the service of the household of faith. As the Apostle says, "We ought also to lay down our lives for the brethren." (I John 3:16.) Some one has suggested that possibly Dorcas was a martyr – that her death probably resulted [R2988 : page 106] from her service to others. A Christian poet has said of such as she: –

"These, tho their names appear not on the scroll
Of martyrologists, laid down their lives,
No less a martyrdom in Jesus' eyes –
For his dear brethren's sake; – watching the couch
Of loathsome sickness or of slow decay,
Or visiting the captive in his cell,
Or struggling with a burden not their own,
Until their weary life sinks slow away,
These, too, are martyrs, brother."

Yes, all of the Lord's saints are to be martyrs; – their consecration is to lay down their lives in the service of the Lord, the brethren and the truth; and as nearly as they can understand in the way which he shall direct them, through his Word and his providences. Our covenant is not one of self-preservation, but one of self-sacrifice. True, we are looking for and hoping for a life eternal and glorious as spirit beings; but the terms and conditions upon which we are scripturally hoping to attain that perfect and new life are that we shall sacrifice what remains of this present earthly life. Another thought, that comes in this connection, is that while, undoubtedly, our chief service under present conditions is the ministry of the spiritual food, spiritual drink and spiritual clothing, to the household of faith, yet nevertheless we are to remember that to the extent of our abilities and opportunities we are to do good unto all men, as the Apostle enjoins.

Everyone of the Lord's saints should be recognized in his neighborhood as of generous heart, of kindly impulses; whether he have dollars to give, or only pennies. Of kind words at least he should be noted as a giver, remembering that it is more blessed, and more God-like, to give than to receive. And those who lack the wherewithal for generosity in this world's goods, so that they have nothing wherewith to minister in a temporal way, to the necessities of the saints or others, are not to forget that they have the still more precious, more valuable, more helpful, more cheering, consolations of the spirit of the truth, and kindness to dispense to such as are in any need. Would that all of the Lord's people would cultivate these Dorcas qualities, and thus become more and more beautiful and graceful in the eyes of their Lord, as well as in the eyes of the world!

Today, as the traveler passes from Joppa, going toward Jerusalem, the guide shows him on the outskirts of Joppa, at the side of the public road, a large, and at one time very beautiful and costly, monument to Dorcas. It is a fountain at which many weary ones have refreshed themselves. The narrative of Dorcas' good works and Christ-likeness, like the waters of a fountain, have come down the rugged channel of the centuries, – encouraging, refreshing, and stimulating God's people all the way. Nevertheless, quite probably some in her day spoke evil of her; perhaps even some who were the recipients of her favors may have declared that she performed her charities that she might glory in them, and to be seen and known of men, rather than for the love of those to whom she ministered: and such may be our experience, as we seek to do good unto all men as we have opportunity. But the fact that good may be evil spoken of must not deter us. We seek to please the Lord, and to cultivate in our hearts his spirit, and to exemplify this spirit before others, thus letting our light shine: this is our only proper course, whatever may be said of it by the skeptical world, or an envious class of "tares." We are to seek chiefly the approval of our Father and our Bridegroom; – to be content therewith, and to be content with nothing less.

Apparently Dorcas took sick and died suddenly, at about the time that others of the saints at Joppa heard of Peter's being at Lydda and the cure performed there. They sent for him immediately; probably with no thought of his performing such a miracle as to bring Dorcas back to life; but rather with the thought that they had lost a highly esteemed member of their little group, and that Peter could give them some consolation at this time. There was no telegraph or telephone or mail service then, and some of the brethren became the messengers to take the word to Peter, – to request his presence, and that he would not delay. In the city of Jerusalem a corpse must be buried the same day, but in the smaller cities and villages they might remain as much as three days unburied. Peter's presence was wanted without delay, before Dorcas would be buried; and he went at once.

An affecting scene was before Peter as he entered the death-chamber. Poor widows and others were lamenting the loss of their friend, and showing the garments which she had made for them. That surely was a noble tribute to the usefulness of her life. No millionaire has ever left monuments which will endure so long, or which will reflect so much glory upon his character, as were left by this humble woman. And even the humblest and poorest of us may to some extent emulate this example and leave some such monuments of love and testimonies of appreciation behind us when we die. It is a sad end when any, especially of those who have named the name of Christ, die and leave none who sincerely, truly, mourn for them and miss them. It testifies to a life that was either selfish or misunderstood. We who are looking forward to the close of our earthly journey, and that before very long, should see to it that our lives are spent day by day in such a manner that some will be the happier for them; and that our decease will be recognized by some, at least, as a loss.

Peter's most notable miracle was the bringing of Dorcas back from the portals of death. Like the other miracle, it was peculiar to that time, and for the special purpose of the establishment of the Church. We are not to suppose that it was the Lord's intention that all of his people during this Gospel age should be thus snatched back from death, nor that they should be all relieved from beds of sickness, nor that they should all have powers such as the Apostle here exercised. There is a ministry of evil – of calamity, sickness, death, etc., – which has often been valuable indeed to the Lord's people, inculcating various lessons and developing various fruits of the spirit, meekness, patience, gentleness, etc. Let us after consecrating our all to the Lord, and while using our consecrated all as wisely as we know how, accept whatever divine wisdom shall mete out to us. Let us remember our Lord's words, – "The cup which my Father hath given (poured for) me, shall I not drink it?" – John 18:11.

[R2988 : page 107]

"GOD IS NO RESPECTER OF PERSONS."
ACTS 10:34-44. – APRIL 20. –

M
ANY SEEM totally to misunderstand the Apostle's statement that "God is no respecter of persons"; – they apply these words in a very different way from that in which the Apostle used them. The Apostle perceived that God is a respecter of character; but that he is not a respecter of outward appearances, conditions, color of skin, nationality, etc. That this is the Apostle's meaning is evidenced by his next statement, "But in every nation he that feareth him and worketh righteousness is accepted of him." It is a misapprehension, far too common, that anybody and everybody may come to the Lord upon terms of intimacy and familiarity. In consequence of such misapprehensions many approach the throne of heavenly grace without authority, without invitation, and without acceptance; – because (reversing the Apostle's words) they do not fear the Lord, are not workers of righteousness, and are not accepted with him. Lack of instruction, and misinstruction by Christians, are responsible for much of this wrong condition existing in nominal Christendom. Let us learn to follow carefully the Scriptural program and precedent; let us not give the misimpression that God is no respecter of character. Let us, on the contrary, as Peter did, point out that reverence for God is an essential; that an endeavor to live righteously is an essential, – a reformation of life, a turning from sin to righteousness; and that, even then, none can be acceptable to God except through the appointed way – faith in the atonement work of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Cornelius, the centurion, whose acceptance with God is the subject of this lesson, was evidently converted to God and to righteousness years prior to this incident. This is the testimony; – he was a worshiper of God, a benevolent alms-giver, and his love of righteousness and his consistent life were recognized amongst those with whom he had to do; yet, nevertheless, something was necessary before he [R2989 : page 107] could be accepted with God in the proper sense of that word. There is a lesson here for those who imagine that a reverence of God and morality are all that are necessary to divine acceptance. As Cornelius had these qualities in large measure for some time before his acceptance, the Lord's dealing with him may well be a guide for all others who desire to approach him in covenant relationship.

Altho devout, etc., as we have seen, Cornelius was not a Jew; and realized himself to be outside the pale of special divine favor. Still he prayed to God; – we are not told for what he prayed, but in harmony with the records, we may readily suppose that he prayed for enlightenment respecting the divine character and plan, and for a closer approach and a realization of divine favor and acceptance. Perhaps he had heard of Jesus and was perplexed on this very subject; perhaps this led him to the earnest prayers which the Lord saw fit to answer in a miraculous manner, sending an angel to him, assuring him that his prayers and his alms were appreciated of the Lord as memorials of his piety. (Verse 4.) The angel intimated that something further than prayers and good deeds was necessary; but the additional things the angel was not commissioned to tell. Cornelius needed to know of the Lord Jesus from the true standpoint; he must exercise faith in him as his Redeemer, before the memorials of his piety would count for anything with God, or bring him into the desired relationship and under the divine favor.

We know very well that the Lord could have promulgated the gospel through the instrumentality of angels; but here, as elsewhere, we see that this was not his purpose – that he was pleased to use consecrated human sons as his ambassadors, to proclaim the "good tidings of great joy – for all people." What a great honor God has thus done us who "were by nature children of wrath, even as others" of the race, but who, having accepted divine favor in Christ, are not only "accepted in the Beloved" but are made the channels of divine blessing and favor in the calling out of others. The divine course in this respect has not only been an honor to his adopted children, but, additionally, it has been a blessing; – for what Christian does not know from experience that great blessing comes upon all who are faithful in serving the Word to others.

Cornelius was instructed to send for the Apostle Peter, and was informed in advance that certain words he would tell him were of importance; – essential to his further progress in knowledge and in faith, – and through these into divine favor. Cornelius' readiness of mind is shown by the promptness of his obedience. He not only prayed, but prepared to cooperate with God in the answering of his own prayer. The three persons sent (two of them household servants, and one of them a soldier, all devout persons, who feared God) give us good evidence that this Gentile who was feeling after God, and striving to the best of his ability to please and honor him, had not been keeping his light and his faith under a bushel. It had shone out before his family and servants, and before the soldiers under his control. This is the kind of man whom God delights to acknowledge, whatever may be his nationality or the color of his skin, and all such are recognized of the Lord, and favored above others with light and truth – ever since the close of typical Israel's special favor. There is a lesson here that some of the Lord's people need. It is that they should let the light of truth shine through them upon all with whom they come in contact, – that the spirit of devotion should pervade every family, every household, including the servants.

Evidently Cornelius was full of faith in the Lord. He did not wait to see if Peter would come; he knew that he would come; he had faith in the Lord's promises through the angel: accordingly he gathered together his friends and relatives and household – those upon whom he had been exercising an influence, and who, like himself, were pious and earnestly desirous of knowing all that they might learn concerning the way of life, – the way of reconciliation and harmony with God and all the principles of righteousness which he represents.

Meantime Peter, with all the prejudices belonging to the Jews for centuries, needed to be prepared to receive this first out-and-out Gentile brought into the Church. This was done by means of a vision, so that Peter, with six brethren from Joppa, came promptly [R2989 : page 108] to the centurion's home on the following day – "doubting nothing," because evidently the Lord was leading him in the matter. We see, too, that of all the disciples Peter was the best one to be chosen for this work, because of his impetuous disposition and zeal to follow the Lord's directions quickly and heartily; secondly, because being the oldest of the apostles, and in many respects the most influential one, his course would have the greater weight with the others. It is difficult for us to conceive the prejudice of centuries, in the minds of the Jews, against any thought of the Gentiles being fellow-heirs with them of the Abrahamic promises. They considered it a settled matter that God's favor had been set apart to their nation; and that it could not possibly go outside that nation to others, in the sense of making those others equally acceptable to God. These views were based, first, upon the promises of God to Abraham, "Thy seed," etc.; secondly, upon the fact that Israelites were not permitted to have general dealings with the Gentiles, nor to intermarry with them; thirdly, added to all this, the rulers of the Jews had even gone further, and exaggerated to some extent these differences.

But now a new dispensation had come; the "seventy weeks" of favor to Israel had expired; and the Lord began to extend his favor beyond the Jews – as we have already seen, to the Samaritans and the Ethiopian eunuch. We may readily suppose that those innovations, altho causing surprise to the apostles, would be much easier for them to grasp than the extension of favor to the Gentiles: they perhaps paved the way to the latter. When Peter arrived at the house of Cornelius, and the latter saw him and recognized him as God's appointed servant for the bringing of this message to him, he prostrated himself at Peter's feet in worship. How different Cornelius was from the majority of Romans, – especially of Roman soldiers and officers! Instead of looking down upon the Jew, – instead of thinking of himself as a representative of the greatest government in the world, at the time, Cornelius was filled with the spirit of humility, and the fact that his visitor represented the Lord called forth from him some of the same feelings that were filling his heart in respect to the Lord himself, – feelings of reverence.

But if the centurion was noble and humble, the Apostle Peter showed himself in response to be no less noble and loyal to God – for he at once began to lift up the centurion, saying, "Stand up; I myself also am a man." (Verse 26.) Peter commends himself to our hearts by this noble course – by this refusal to receive unauthorized homage; and he saved himself also from a great deal of trial by thus disowning supernatural honor and authority promptly, – by recognizing his true position, that he was only a broken and emptied vessel, valuable only because of the filling of the vessel with the Lord's spirit; – distinguished only because the Lord had been pleased to use him as a vessel of mercy and truth. Not many today are disposed to offer worship to fellow-creatures, and not many, except high dignitaries in the nominal churches, such as popes and prelates, consent to receive worship; but all such have a rebuke in the course of the Apostle Peter in this case. There is perhaps little danger in our day that any of the "brethren" would receive too much honor of men, because the spirit of our time is running in the opposite direction. Nevertheless, wherever a spirit of servility is manifest, it becomes the duty of the brother to whom it is offered to refuse it; and to point his fellow-servant to the Lord, as the real benefactor of us all, – from whom comes every good and perfect gift, by whatever channels he may be pleased to use.

"WORDS WHEREBY THOU SHALT BE SAVED."

Peter coming into the house, and finding a congregation of earnest God-fearing Gentiles assembled, asked the pointed question, "For what intent have ye sent for me?" (Verse 29.) Cornelius then related something of his past experience, his desire for fellowship with God, his endeavor to live in a manner pleasing to him, the vision that he had received, and now Peter's arrival in response to that vision, and his expectancy that he was about to hear what had been promised him – "words whereby thou and all thy house shall be saved." (Acts 11:14.) He was not saved by his almsgiving, not saved by his prayers, nor yet by the message which Peter delivered; but Peter's message, "words," explaining matters, enabled Cornelius and his household to grasp by faith the great redemption which is in Christ Jesus, – and thus to be saved. Saved at once from alienation from God and from condemnation, as sinners; a foretaste of the complete salvation to be granted unto them at the second coming of the Lord.

We note with keen interest the Apostle's preaching, that we may clearly discern the life-giving message which he brought, from which Cornelius and his associates derived their saving faith. We find that Peter's discourse was the same gospel message which he had delivered repeatedly before. It was Jesus – the good, the obedient – and the sacrifice for sins which he accomplished when he died on the cross. It was the message of the hope of a resurrection from the dead through him, as attested by his resurrection by the mighty power of God. It was the message that a ransom for sinners having been paid to Justice the Lord is now pleased to accept sinners on conditions of faith, reverence and obedience to righteousness according to ability. Peter's discourse was "the old, old story" which to many has become tedious and distasteful; but which to every soul, in the right attitude, is the Father's message of forgiveness of sins, and reconciliation, through the death of his Son. This is the same message which God is still sending by all who are his true ambassadors. There is no other gospel, and those who present another message are not, in their service, ambassadors for God, messengers and mouthpieces of his spirit.

The Apostle Paul tells us that "It pleased God through the foolishness of preaching to save them which believe" – that is, it pleased God to adopt this method of declaring the truth respecting his redemptive plan, and to accept and justify those who would believe and accept this testimony. The testimony may reach people today through letters or tracts or books, or through oral preaching; it matters not in what manner; it merely matters that the true message shall be delivered, and received; but the message [R2990 : page 109] goes, invariably, through the human channel, and not through angels, nor by the holy spirit's power or operation aside from human agents. We are to bear in mind these lessons of God's methods, and to apply them appropriately in connection with the affairs of life. We are not to expect the Lord to move upon or instruct our friends or kindred or neighbors; but are to remember that this honor he has conferred upon his "royal priesthood;" and accordingly we are to be "not slothful in business; fervent in spirit; serving the Lord;" – serving the truth in any and every manner open to us.

THE JUDGMENT OF THE QUICK AND DEAD.

After telling the message itself, Peter explained to Cornelius that Jesus commanded the apostles to preach unto the people, and to testify that it is he which was ordained of God to be the Judge of the quick and the dead. (Verse 42.) The coming judgment, or trial, of the world, is an important part of the gospel message; and is not to be neglected in the preaching of the gospel.

What advantage could accrue to the world through the death of Christ if there were no future judgment or trial for them? All were judged once in the person of Adam; and his condemnation passed upon all. The world needs no further judgment along the lines of the Adamic transgression and its weaknesses. The sentence for that transgression was complete, and leaves nothing that could be added; – the Judge was Jehovah himself, and the sentence was death. And now the good tidings includes the fact that Christ is to be the Judge of the world – which signifies that a new trial for life is to be accorded to Adam and his race. This of itself implies a release from the original death sentence; it implies a redemption from Adam's sentence, and an individual trial to determine which members of the redeemed and to-be-tried race will be accounted worthy of everlasting life. Yes, this is "good tidings of great joy" for the world; – even tho the great Adversary has deluded the vast majority, even of Christians, into thinking to the contrary – that no new trial such as Adam had at first is to be granted to the whole world, bought with the precious blood of Christ.

All are witnesses that this trial could not have begun before Jesus became the Judge – hence that none of those who had died in the four thousand years preceding could have been judged by him; – none of them could have been on trial for eternal life. All should likewise be aware of the fact that the world in general has not been on trial since our Redeemer was appointed the Judge, and that it is not on trial today; – that, on the contrary, the great mass of the world neither knows the Judge nor understands the law, nor has any conception of the conditions and requirements necessary to life everlasting. This agrees exactly with the statement of Peter, under consideration; and it agrees also with the statement of the Apostle Paul, "God hath appointed a day in the which he will judge the world in righteousness by that man whom he hath ordained." (Acts 17:31.) The appointed day, as the Apostle indicates, was still future in his day, and is still future in our day. That day, as we see from other Scriptures, is the Millennial day, "a day with the Lord, a thousand years." (2 Pet. 3:8.) The only judgment – trial – since our Lord's resurrection, which has resulted to any, determining the question of life or death eternal, has been to the Church. The Church, as spiritual Israel, has had much advantage every way over the remainder of mankind; because, during this Gospel age, it is being "called of God according to his purpose," – that the overcomers may be joint-heirs with Jesus in his coming work of judging the world. "Know ye not that the saints shall judge the world?" – I Cor. 6:2.

Peter, in discoursing on the matter, evidently had his mind more widely opened than ever before to a realization of what our Lord meant in giving the general commission to preach the Gospel, not merely to the Jews, but to whoever would have an ear to hear. Peter was not expecting "ears" amongst the Gentiles; but now he perceived that God was not a respecter of nations and features, etc., but that the message was open for all, and he did his best to present it. He proceeded to show that Jesus, as the Messiah, was not evidenced merely by the things connected with his ministry, and the ministry of his followers; but that all these things were foreknown to God, and planned, and foretold through the holy prophets of Israel, and that only in and through the name and merit of Jesus, – only to those exercising faith in him, was God pleased to show a reconciled face, and from such only was he willing to take away all sin and shame, and to adopt them into his family.

Cornelius and his devout household and friends had been waiting for just such a message of divine grace; and as the words fell from Peter's lips they were quickly and gladly appropriated in the hearts of his hearers, who were by this time accepting Jesus with the same fullness and appreciation as Peter himself. Their hearts being thus in the right condition before God, it would have been appropriate for Peter to have said to them, Now brethren, your proper course will be to be baptized into Jesus by a water baptism, – symbolizing your faith in him and your full consecration to be dead with him, as his faithful followers. But Peter was not ready to take such a step, we may be sure. He was surprised that God was willing that the Gentiles should even know about the wonderful provisions of salvation in Jesus; which of itself would have been a blessing. But he was not yet prepared to expect that the Gentiles would be received of the Lord on practically the same terms, and with exactly the same manifestations of divine favor as were the Jews. To make good Peter's insufficiency of knowledge to baptize them, and to lay his hands upon them that they might receive the gifts of the spirit, – and as a lesson to Peter also, – the holy spirit was given to Cornelius and his companions without the laying on of hands – in the same manner that it was bestowed upon the assembly at Pentecost.

Peter quickly learned the lesson, and undoubtedly his readiness to learn it was in large measure due to his humility and sincerity of heart, the fulness of his consecration to the Lord, and his desire that the divine will should be done in every particular. Peter and his companions from Joppa, "they of the circumcision," were astonished at God's favor upon the Gentiles, yet they were not envious. They were [R2990 : page 110] glad to welcome as cleansed, as brothers, all whom the Lord indicated that he had received into his fellowship. The result of this outpouring of the spirit was a grand testimony meeting. The record is that they "magnified God," praising him, rejoicing in their acceptance, etc. Then Peter drew their attention to the symbolical baptism and the propriety of observing it. We are not given his arguments on the subject; possibly he explained that in thus publicly symbolizing their consecration to the Lord they would be strengthening their own faith; buttressing their own determination to live and die the Lord's; possibly, too, he showed them how beautiful is the significance of the water immersion as a symbol of death and burial with Christ; as a symbol also of a resurrection to newness of life in the present time, and to a newness of life in perfect bodies at the second advent of the Lord. Or possibly he merely contented himself with explaining to them that it was the Lord's own method of doing, and that he commanded that all of his followers should similarly be immersed.

Having called for an expression from those present – especially from the brethren who accompanied him from Joppa – to know if any objection could be thought of why these dear brethren, who had believed in the Lord, who had given evidence of their consecration and good works, even before they knew of the Lord and his glorious plan, and who now had been accepted of God, and his acceptance manifested – why these should not be admitted to every blessing and arrangement which God had provided for his faithful ones – irrespective of their being Gentiles by birth. No objection being offered Peter commanded [directed] them to be baptized in the name of the Lord. He had been sent to teach them, and he delivered his message with no uncertain sound. Similarly the Lord directs all of his people, all who have an ear to listen and to hear his message, through the Apostle Peter, in this lesson. We command no one, for we have no authority; we are not apostles. We can merely point out the command of the apostle; the example of all the apostles; the example of our Lord, etc., and leave the matter with the "ear" and conscience of each. Indeed, where we recognize that the true immersion of the will, into the will of Christ, has been accomplished, we may properly recognize the brother or sister in full fellowship, even tho he or she has not performed the outward symbolic immersion in water; because we are living in a time when great confusion on this subject prevails, and when it would be improper that we should cast off, reject, or even temporarily disfellowship any brother or sister who gives evidence of having had the real antitypical baptism into Christ. For a general examination of the question of Baptism, see our issue of June 15, 1893. A copy supplied free on application.

[R2991 : page 110]

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS.

"ELSE WERE YOUR CHILDREN UNHOLY."

Question: The Apostle says in I Cor. 7:13 that "the believing husband sanctifieth the unbelieving wife; likewise the believing wife sanctifieth the unbelieving husband; else were your children unholy, but now are they holy." (1) In what sense of the word does the believing one sanctify the unbeliever? Is it not the truth that sanctifies? and is it not God who sanctifies through the truth? and is it not ourselves he sanctifies, in the sense of setting apart to the Lord and to his service? What does the Apostle mean by a different statement? (2) In what sense are the children holy in this text? Is there any imputed holiness? Can they be said to be partakers of the divine nature through their parents? What does the Apostle mean?

Answer: The words "sanctify" and "holy," as used in this text, do not have at all the same signification that is properly attached to them elsewhere in the Scriptures. The Apostle is discussing the fact that amongst the consecrated of the Lord's people were some unequally yoked with unbelievers – married to unbelievers before receiving the truth and coming under the enlightening influence of the spirit of truth and counsel from above through the Word.

The question discussed is respecting the holiness of the children born of mixed (believing and unbelieving) parentage. Would such children be counted strangers, aliens and foreigners to God and his favor, because of the unbelieving parent, or would they occupy the relationship of favor with God through the believing parent? This important question is not so clearly discerned today as it was in the days of the apostles, when people knew from the Jewish pattern that all the posterity of Adam shared in his fall and in the condemnation which came upon all through him, and that all by nature were "children of wrath." (Eph. 2:3.) They perceived that Israel had been lifted out from amongst the nations by the Lord through a Law Covenant, and that all born into that nation were born under the terms of that covenant, while all born outside of it were strangers and aliens and foreigners to God and his provisions. Now they understood that a New Covenant had been introduced, taking the place of the Law Covenant; but they could readily discern that as it requires some means of coming under the Law Covenant in order to be recipients of its favors, so now it requires some process to come under the terms of favor represented in the New Covenant. They could see that the believing husband or the believing wife would be under the New Covenant, but they could see equally that the unbelieving husband or unbelieving wife would have neither part nor lot in the matter. The query which the Apostle is answering may be stated thus: How about our children? Must we wait until they come to years of discretion before we can introduce them to the Lord, and consider them to be under his protection, if they then accept him? or is there any way in which children might be brought under the terms of the New Covenant? The Apostle's answer is that God counts the children as belonging to whichever parent belongs to him; and thus counting the children, they are reckonedly treated of him, not as sinners, but as without sin, that is, justified. [R2991 : page 111] As the unjustified state is a state of sin, so the justified state is one of removal or covering or passing over of sin, and hence one of holiness – though not what is generally represented as holiness in the Scriptures, through an entire consecration to the Lord as living sacrifices. Such children partaking of the justification of their parents, might properly be considered as belonging to the "household of faith," altho they had not in any sense of the word become saints, by a presentation of themselves as living sacrifices. Hence also they could not in any sense of the word be considered "members of the body of Christ," nor as being begotten of the spirit of adoption to the spiritual nature.

As respects the sense in which the believing husband or wife sanctifies the unbelieving one: The thought is that in the exercise of the procreative powers the Lord's favor upon his consecrated child extends, to this necessary degree, to the partner in life – so that the children shall not be counted as partially the Lord's and partially children of wrath; but shall be counted as entirely the Lord's and as under his protection and care during the period of infancy, to the same extent as is the believing parent.

IF ANY MAN DRAW BACK.

Question: A brother who has manifested considerable interest in present truth in the past, seems to have lost it to some extent, and has re-united with the denominational sect he withdrew from previously. In what position would you think such a course places an individual? What is the right and wrong involved in such conduct?

Answer: (1st) While we may safely reckon that many members of denominations are properly true children of God, and may properly fellowship them as brethren in Christ, notwithstanding the fact that that they are still in Babylon, and blind to the harvest message, yet the case seems quite different when we apply it to those who by God's grace have once been delivered out of Babylon, and who return thither "as a dog to his vomit, as a sow that was washed to wallowing again in the mire," of sectarianism and blasphemy against God. I think this is a case such as the Apostle Peter mentions, where "it would have been better for them that they had never known the way or righteousness, than that they should know it and turn again from the holy commandment." – 2 Pet. 2:21,22.

(2) However, on the question of right, I suggest that it is all right that those who are not appreciative of the light should go into the outer darkness. It is all right, because it is the divine arrangement, that those who have tasted of the good word of God and the powers of the age to come, and have not appreciated them, should lose them. We are not saying that they lose them forever; that is not for us to decide, but for ourselves we safely can say,

"My soul, be on thy guard:
Ten thousand foes arise.
The hosts of sin are pressing hard
To draw thee from the prize.

"Ne'er think the victory won,
Nor once at ease sit down;
Thine arduous work will not be done
Till thou hast gained thy crown."

[R2991 : page 111]

THE MEMORIAL SUPPER.
– APRIL 20TH, 1902. –

A
S ALREADY ANNOUNCED, the true anniversary date for the commemoration of our Lord's Memorial Supper, according to Jewish reckoning, will this year be the evening of Sunday, April 20th, after six o'clock. The fact that Roman Catholics, Episcopalians, and others, will this year celebrate Good Friday as its memorial nearly three weeks earlier than the true date has caused confusion of thought to some, who have written inquiring if we had not miscalculated. We answer, No. The discrepancy is the result of a change of method of counting, adopted in the second century for the purpose of avoiding the Jewish Passover. By this the first Friday after the 14th of the Jewish month, Nisan, took the place of the irregular days upon which the 14th of Nisan itself would occur. Later this was confirmed by the Council of Nice, – "which decreed that Easter (Passover) should be celebrated throughout the Church after the equinox, on the Friday following the 14th of Nisan."McClintock & Strong's Ecclesiastical Encyclopaedia.

We still pursue the earliest method of reckoning, which was long and strenuously defended by the Churches of Asia Minor, to whom most of St. Paul's epistles were addressed; – counting Nisan from the Spring equinox, the usual Jewish method, and letting the date fall as it may on any day of the week. Respecting this early observance, the authority quoted above (McC. & S.E. Encyclopaedia) says: –

"In the earliest ages of the Church, the day of our Lord's crucifixion was religiously observed, not independently, but as part of the sacred season of Easter [Passover] which was celebrated by Christians instead of the Jewish Passover, in commemoration at once of the death and resurrection of Christ."

*                         *                         *

The meaning of this Memorial Supper and its appropriateness as the time and manner of commemorating our Lord's death has already been presented in these columns. (March 1st, 1898, Dec. 1st, 1901.)

We hope that the celebration this year will be quite general among our readers; – not only where there are little groups or churches to assemble themselves, but also where there are only "two or three" to meet in the Lord's name; or where solitary individuals must perforce celebrate alone. We are solicitous because we know that those who observe it in the right spirit will have a special blessing and uplift, and that those who neglect it will miss correspondingly.

The Allegheny Church will convene for the celebration at 7:30 p.m., in Bible House Chapel. Friends [R2992 : page 111] will be cordially welcomed; but we advise that on such occasions each should so far as possible avoid absence from his usual meeting. If unfermented wine cannot be procured, "fruit of the vine" can be made by stewing raisins. If regular unleavened bread cannot be secured from some Jewish baker or family, biscuit would be the best substitute.

We hope that each little gathering will appoint one of its members to send us a postal card report of the number attending and the interest manifested.

page 113
April 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. XXIII.APRIL 15, 1902.No. 8.
CONTENTS

Great Voices in Heaven 115
Time of the Dead – to be Judged 116
All Rewards and Punishments Under Seventh Trumpet 117
Whose Are the Great Voices? 117
The Privilege of the Service 119
Volunteer Work for 1902 119
What Doth It Profit? 120
Noting Dispensational Changes 120
The Charges Against Peter 121
"The Disciples Were First Called Christians at Antioch" 123
An Interesting Question Answered 126
Letters of Interest 127

'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 114

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.

LETTERS FOR THE EDITOR SHOULD BE SENT TO ALLEGHENY, PA., U.S.A.
BUSINESS COMMUNICATIONS AND REMITTANCES
– ADDRESS TO –
WATCH TOWER BIBLE & TRACT SOCIETY,

"BIBLE HOUSE," 610, 612, 614 ARCH ST., ALLEGHENY, PA., U.S.A.
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MONEY MAY BE SENT BY EXPRESS, BANK DRAFT, POSTAL 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.

OLD THEOLOGY TRACTS.

Your recent valued orders for tracts have about exhausted our supply but plenty more are being printed, and orders will be filled soon; if not, order again.

THE NEW BIBLES WITH DAWN, ETC. REFERENCES.

We have received a small sample lot of the new Bibles and they are very satisfactory. It will require considerable time to bind and prepare for shipment the entire 5,000; but some of them will go out soon. If your address has changed since you ordered, advise us at once of old and new residence, as labels are written as soon as payment is received.

We announced an advance of $1.00 on each style, after December 1, 1901; but we do not feel quite satisfied with this, especially since we find that those who have delayed ordering number many of the poorer brethren who can least afford the extra dollar. True, the original prices, $2.00 bound in "French Seal," and $3.00 in genuine morocco, silk sewed, proved to be too low; – less than cost when the postage is added. However, the loss will amount to but little more if all get the books at the same prices; so we have concluded to supply all at the same figures – so long as the lot lasts; – and there will probably never be another edition embodying the same features.

Those who have sent the extra dollar on account of these Bibles will please notify us what else we shall apply it to; or if they prefer to have it returned in cash.

1902 – PILGRIM VISITS – 1902.

If you desire a Pilgrim visit, free, be sure to respond to the questions of page 2 of our January 15th issue.

[R2992 : page 115]

GREAT VOICES IN HEAVEN.

"And the seventh angel sounded; and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdom of this world is become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever." – Rev. 11:15. R.V.

W
E ARE NOT SURPRISED that it is difficult for the Lord's people, and impossible for the world, to recognize clearly and distinctly the fulfilment of prophecy at the time of its fulfilment. It has ever been thus. Looking back to the first advent of our Lord, where many prophecies converged and met fulfilment, we notice with what difficulty even the "Israelites indeed" were then enabled to grasp the reality of their fulfilment. We remember how the Lord's brethren and his disciples, although in close contact with the Master, hearing him who "spake as never man spake," and seeing miracles performed such as had never been performed before, were, nevertheless, "slow to believe all the things written [concerning the Messiah] in the law and the prophets" – slow to realize the fulfilment of these predictions. Even John the Baptist, who realized that he had been specially commissioned of God to do the work of a forerunner, to introduce Messiah, and who had been given the token that the one upon whom he should see the dove descend, he might know to be the real Messiah, – after he had borne this witness to Jesus, saying, "Behold the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world" – after all this, was not thoroughly convinced of the fulfilment of either his own prophecies or the prophecies of others; and while languishing in prison sent messengers to our Lord inquiring, "Art thou he that should come, or look we for another?" Jesus offered him no new demonstration, but merely pointed out that the Scriptures were being fulfilled by him day by day, – demonstrating that he was the very Christ.

Indeed, we see clearly that all prophecies were written with the divine intention that they should be so obscured as to be unintelligible except to a particular class for whom their information was intended; and to be made known to these only through the guidance and interpretation of the holy spirit. It is in perfect accord with this that we find that our Lord's teachings at his first advent were spoken in parables and dark sayings; that hearing his hearers, might not understand – except the few, the "Israelites indeed," the chosen, the elect. To these our Lord so explained his course; saying, "Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the Kingdom of God; but unto them that are without [to outsiders] all these things are done in parables [and dark sayings];...that hearing they may hear and not understand." (Mark 4:11,12.) And these chosen "Israelites indeed" needed special instruction even after his resurrection; for we read that he explained unto them the Scriptures; saying, "Thus it is written and thus it behooved the Son of Man to suffer and to enter into his glory." Similarly it was with difficulty, and only under the guidance of the specially instructed apostles, that the primitive Church learned of the partial fulfilment of Joel's prophecy in the Pentecostal blessing; and, later on, were taught respecting the fulfilment of other prophecies through the widening of the message of reconciliation and joint-heirship in the Kingdom, so as to include such Gentiles as would come unto the Lord through faith and obedience.

These things being obviously true, we are not to wonder that the fulfilment of prophecies now, in the end of the Gospel age, in its harvest time, should be similarly obscure, and require elucidation, and then be comprehensible only to the true spiritual Israelites, now keenly awake, and seeking to know and to do the Lord's good pleasure. In the Millennial Dawn series, we have called attention to many of these prophetic fulfilments now transpiring; – to the end of the 6,000 years of the reign of evil, and to the opening of the seventh thousand, or period of rest and blessing; – to the great antitypical Jubilee, a thousand years long, in whose beginning we are now living, and whose trumpets of Jubilee announcement are now antitypically being blown in the proclamation of the restitution of all things which God hath [R2992 : page 116] spoken by the mouths of all the holy prophets (Acts 3:21); – to the "Times of the Gentiles" whose full end will be with a great time of trouble, political, ecclesiastical, social, witnessing the full establishment of Christ's Kingdom upon the ruins of present institutions; – to the close of the 2,300 days of Daniel's prophecy, and the cleansing of God's antitypical temple, the true Church, from the defilement of the dark ages, as now being due; – to the end of the 1,335 days of Daniel's prophecy which were to bring in the present "harvest" time, which, as foretold, has brought, and is bringing to God's people great joy and blessings through an expanded view of the divine plan of salvation, enabling them to appreciate better the heights and depths and lengths and breadths of the love of God, which manifests itself in the divine plan; – to the completion of the parallels between fleshly Israel, the type, and spiritual Israel, the antitype, by which we see that we are now in the "harvest" of the present age, and can know what to expect in its remaining years if we look back at the closing years of the Jewish harvest, the type. As our Lord Jesus said to some of his faithful ones when explaining the prophecies due at the first advent, so, also, might now be applied, to some of God's people, the Master's words, – "Oh, slow of heart to believe all that the prophets have spoken."

Our text is another prophecy which we believe applies in this harvest time, and which, consequently, has a beginning of its fulfilment now. As already pointed out in these columns, we, in common with almost all expositors, recognize that the seven trumpets of Revelation are symbolical and not literal – indeed that this entire book is a book of symbols, and that so far it has been symbolically fulfilled. Christian people in general understand that five of these trumpets have already "sounded" and are in the past; – we would say six. It is admitted that those that have already "sounded" have not been literal blasts of a bugle on the air, but divine decrees and their fulfilments; and we esteem that it is reasonable to expect that the seventh trumpet will be similar in this respect to the preceding six. But literal things are so much more easily received by the natural man that, even though absurd, they commend themselves as instead of the truth, – until our minds are guided of the holy spirit into the proper channel by "comparing spiritual things with spiritual" – by comparing the seventh trumpet with the preceding six trumpets, and not with a natural blast upon the air. So firmly entrenched is the error that many advanced Christians, Bible students and ministers are really expecting some day to hear what is sometimes denominated "Gabriel's horn," shrill enough and loud enough to awaken the dead. It is both proper and necessary that we exercise great patience with Christian brethren, who thus display their infantile development of knowledge in respect to spiritual things, while we point out to them that this seventh trumpet – "The Last Trumpet" – "The Trump of God," is as much symbolic as were its predecessors, and marks a much larger and more important fulfilment than any of them. Its fulfilment extends through a period of 1,000 years; its events mark and coincide with all the various features of the Millennial reign of Christ. Its beginning, we understand, was in 1878, and its termination will be a thousand years future from that date. It will be "sounding" for all that time – during which its events will be in process of accomplishment.

What the events represented by this Seventh Trumpet are, is briefly explained in the verses following our text (17,18). The first feature of this Trumpet is the announcement of Christ's Kingdom in the earth – the assumption of his great office, the beginning of his reign. This, as we have already shown from other Scriptures, was chronologically due to begin in 1878. The results of this assumption of authority by Messiah follow in due course as narrated. (1) "The nations were angry and thy wrath is come." The laying of judgment to the line and justice to the plummet, and the sweeping away of the refuge of lies, an early feature in our Lord's reign, as described in the prophecy of Isaiah (Isa. 28:17), will necessarily result in great commotion in the affairs of the "present evil world"; because its social, financial, political and religious conditions and arrangements will not square with the Lord's line and plummet of righteousness. And because he will not [R2993 : page 116] put a new patch upon an old garment, present institutions in their entirety will be overthrown, as has been predicted, in the "time of trouble such as was not since there was a nation" – no, nor ever shall be afterward. How graphically in a few words is this trouble pointed out, – "The nations were angry, and thy wrath is come."

TIME OF THE DEAD – TO BE JUDGED.

Then follows a statement of the object of the establishment of the Kingdom upon the ruins of present institutions; namely, because that will be "the time of the dead that they should be judged." The dead – who are they but the whole human family which came under divine sentence of death? "Death has passed upon all men, for that all are sinners." Only those who have heard of and have received Jesus upon divine conditions have life; all the remainder of mankind, from the divine standpoint, are dead – under sentence of death, and rapidly hastening to the tomb. "He that hath the Son, hath life; he that hath not the Son of God, hath not life." – John 5:12.

But are the dead to be judged? If they have not already been judged, why should they be dead? Is not death the penalty of sin, the sentence, the result of a judgment? Truly so; but a redemption has taken place. All became involved in sin and its penalty, death, through one man's disobedience (Adam's), and even so through the obedience of one (Jesus) justification to life has passed upon all the condemned, – the dead world. As a result of the atonement the whole world of dead humanity is to have an opportunity of hearing the voice of the Son of Man (his commands), and of obeying, and of thus being judged by his words, to be either worthy or unworthy of everlasting life. They cannot be judged without his words, and the vast majority, – "dead in trespasses and sins," blinded and deafened by the Adversary, through sin, – have not thus far been enabled to hear their Redeemer's wonderful words of life. In the present age only "so many as the Lord your God shall call" have been able to hear with any distinctness; only such, therefore, have had any responsibility for, or been able in any degree to reject, the wonderful [R2993 : page 117] words of life, and to bring upon themselves afresh the sentence of death, – the Second Death. The present age, therefore, witnesses the call and the acceptance of only a "little flock" to whom it is the Father's good pleasure to give the Kingdom, – to make joint-heirs with Jesus Christ their Lord in the Millennial Kingdom. They will be with him in all the work of his one thousand years' reign, for the blessing and uplifting of the dead. The dead world will then have the eyes of its understanding opened and its ears unstopped, and the knowledge of the Lord shall fill the whole earth and reach every member of the dead race, not only those who have not yet gone down into the tomb, but "all the families of the earth;" for, "all that are in the grave shall come forth" for the very purpose of hearing the "wonderful words of life," and of being judged by them. If they shall accept them heartily they shall, by restitution processes, be brought fully up to life conditions; such as Adam possessed before sin and death took hold upon him; if they shall reject them and cling to sin and injustice, they shall be adjudged worthy of the Second Death and be "destroyed from amongst the people" – Acts 3:23.

What is here termed "the time of the dead that they should be judged," is elsewhere termed the "day of judgment," of which the Apostle declares, "A day with the Lord is as a thousand years" – with men. We remember that the inspired declaration respecting this day of judgment is – "God hath appointed a day [the Millennial day – the thousand years of Christ's reign], in which he will judge the world [dead in trespasses and sins, but redeemed by the precious blood] in righteousness [that is with a just trial or judgment] by that man whom he hath ordained" – the Christ, Head and body." – Acts 17:31.

What a glorious judgment day that will be, and how miserably false have been our conceptions of it in the past – how foolish, how ridiculous, how dishonoring to God and repulsive to justice, wisdom and love divine! Yes, this is an object worthy of the Millennial Kingdom; – it is emphatically "the time of the dead [world] that they should be judged," that they should have their trial for life or for death everlasting, – their share of the great ransom. Then will not be the time for the judgment of the Church, for that takes place in the present age; as it is written, "Judgment must begin at the house of God"; as it is written again, "When we are judged of the Lord, we are chastened, that we should not be condemned [judged] with the world" – in the coming Millennial age of judgment or trial.

ALL REWARDS AND PUNISHMENTS UNDER SEVENTH TRUMPET.

After having thus summarized the work of the Millennial age to be a work of judgment, beginning with a national judgment and wrath upon the nations in the establishment of God's Kingdom, and gradually accomplishing for every member of the race of Adam an individual judgment, the declaration proceeds to give certain particulars; saying, – it is the time "That thou shouldst give reward unto thy servants the prophets, and to the saints, and them that fear thy name, small and great; and shouldst destroy them that corrupt the earth." Here the entire work of the Millennial age, all the events covered by this seventh symbolic trumpet, are enumerated, the prophets, the ancient worthies, and the teachers or exponents of the Lord's words, of this Gospel age, together with all the saints, all the faithful in Christ Jesus, all the holy ones, are to be rewarded early in this Millennial day: their reward is to be amongst the first events under this seventh trumpet. Subsequently, all the dead world shall "hear the voice of the Son of God; and they that hear [obey] shall live [attain to full perfection of being, life everlasting];" thus will be fulfilled the rewarding of "them that fear God's name, small and great." They that reverence God will reverence his laws, and come into full and hearty obedience to the same; and to all such the Lord will be pleased to give the great reward of life eternal.

As for the others, such as will refuse to hear the voice of the Son of Man, such as will neglect, when they hear them, the wonderful words of life, such as will prefer injustice, in-equity, even when they know thoroughly the good from the evil, – what of these? These are corrupt, and their influence will be corrupting, defiling; and hence the divine decree is that they shall be destroyed in the Second Death. And all this rewarding and judging and cleansing of the earth from every defilement, bringing it back to its primitive holiness, perfect harmony with God – all this will be accomplished under the sounding of the seventh trumpet – by the time Immanuel's reign of righteousness shall have accomplished its intended work; for, "he must reign until he hath put all enemies under his feet"; – until he shall have rescued from condemnation and death, and brought back into harmony with the Almighty, every member of the human family desiring such reconciliation with God and found to be a lover of righteousness and a hater of iniquity.

WHOSE ARE THE GREAT VOICES?

If now we have gotten a glimpse of the purport of the Seventh Trumpet, and are no longer expecting its fulfilment as a voice upon the air, but in the glorious events of the Kingdom, what shall we say respecting the "great voices" which, at its very beginning, are to announce that the time has come for the establishment of the Kingdom? We answer that we are not to expect them to be angelic shoutings in the sky, nor mutterings of thunder. We are to remember that the voices are symbolic as well as the trumpets, and in this direction we look for the fulfilment of this declaration which must be due at about the present time, if we are correct in our understanding of the prophetic teachings, to the effect that the Kingdom power of Messiah was assumed in 1878, and that the King has since been ordering the events which will shortly bring about the great time of trouble, the angry nations, and the wrath of God manifesting itself in their destruction, as nations and institutions – not as people, though, undoubtedly, many human lives will be sacrificed in that trouble.

As we examine some of the parallels given to illustrate the work of this Gospel age, especially the work of this "harvest" in the close of the age, we learn that like as the Lord and his followers at the first advent did a reaping work in the harvest of the Jewish age, separating the "wheat" from the "chaff" – gathering the wheat into the garner of the higher [R2993 : page 118] spirit dispensation, and leaving the chaff to be consumed with the fire of trouble which came upon the Jewish nation utterly destroying its polity, – so likewise will it be in the harvesting of this Gospel age, in the separating here of the "wheat" from the "tares;" in the gathering the wheat to the garner of the heavenly Kingdom and the abandonment of the tares to the burning time of trouble which will destroy the present institutions of the angry nations. As the reapers, who in the Jewish harvest gathered the wheat into the garner, were the Lord's faithful servants (men in the flesh), so the reapers in this present harvest will be the Lord's faithful servants (men in the flesh), under the guidance and instruction of his Word.

Similarly we find that the Lord's people living at the present time are again referred to by the Lord in figurative language, when he declares that he will send forth his messengers with the sound of the great [R2994 : page 118] trumpet [the Seventh Trumpet] and shall gather together his elect unto him, from the four winds of heaven. This work we understand to be now in progress; each one who receives a knowledge of present truth is not only made glad and strengthened, refreshed individually, but is also put into service forthwith and permitted in a special sense to be a co-worker with his Lord in the harvest work, – the gathering unto the Lord of all the ripe wheat of this present time. According to the parable the wheat and the tares were to grow together until the harvest; – there was to be no general gathering or separating before the harvest: and so we see that, in all denominations, wheat and tares are to be found very generally commingled. But now the harvest time has come, and the harvest truth, as a sickle, is to separate and gather the wheat, that it may all be safely garnered. The wheat is not to be gathered into another new sect, or denomination, with another new sectarian name, but is to be gathered to the Lord, – "Gather my saints together unto me; those who have made a covenant with me by sacrifice." (Psa. 50:5.) This work is going onward gradually, steadily; more and more the Lord's true people are coming to a knowledge of his true plan and getting free from the ignorance and superstition and blindness of the dark ages, superinduced by the great adversary, Satan. Gradually these faithful ones are being individually ripened, perfected and made meet for the Kingdom, and passing into it, they shall be "changed in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye" – the moment of death.

As in these various parables and figures, representing the end of this age, the living members of the Church are evidently the active agents in the Lord's service – as we do not see angels going about through the world binding the tares with literal cords into literal bundles, and gathering the wheat into a literal barn, – neither do we see the angels flying through the heavens [symbolic of the religious institutions of the present time]; so we are not to expect that the voices under the Seventh Trumpet, proclaiming the Kingdom, will be any more than human voices and human agents. Nor should we expect them to be other than the voices of those who have some measure of light in respect to the times in which we are now living, the harvest time, the time of the establishment of the Kingdom. Those who utter these voices declaring that the "Kingdom [dominion] of this world, has become the kingdom of our Lord, and of his Christ" must of necessity be such as have first learned this fact from some quarter.

There are some of God's people in all parts of the world (and their number is increasing daily) who do realize fully and thoroughly these very things, and who are doing all in their power to gather together, unto the Lord, all who are his consecrated ones; – seeking to separate the wheat from the tares and to prepare them for the garner, the Kingdom; and to these we must look expecting to hear from them the "great voices" announcing the Kingdom.

We might say that the volumes of Millennial Dawn have to some extent been such voices, announcing the Kingdom, and giving the reasons for believing that it began to be established in 1878; that it will reach full establishment in October, 1914; and that ultimately it shall bless all the families of the earth. These voices have been circulated here and there throughout the whole civilized world, not by worldly agents, not through book-sellers, but by those who have themselves been blessed by the light, and who desire to render a service to the Lord and to the truth, and to lay down their lives for the brethren by taking to them the glorious and encouraging message now due to the Lord's people. These voices have been uttered, and to some extent heard, in the symbolic heavens, the nominal church; yet they do not seem to fulfill all that is implied by the "great voices" of our text; – we note other voices, all however, from the –

"HERALD OF CHRIST'S PRESENCE."

For some three years past a "volunteer work" has been steadily progressing amongst the brethren – the work of rendering assistance to the members of the household of faith still in Babylon, still in darkness respecting the Lord, his true character, his true plan, and respecting the nearness of his Kingdom. This consists generally in the circulation of printed matter, not far from the exits of the various churches of all denominations, especially in the United States, Canada and Great Britain. Their services are all rendered freely "as unto the Lord" – time, energy, carfare, etc., are gladly sacrificed in the service of the truth and of the brethren; and, additionally, contributions are sent in from which the "ammunition" is provided, – the tracts, booklets, papers, etc., for free distribution. These "Voices," uttered for the past three years, have been "great voices" in the sense of being widespread and in the sense of exercising considerable influence – they have been heard by many. But although they have been tending in the direction of the announcement mentioned in our text, they have not, up to the present time, made a distinct annunciation of the important matter mentioned in our text; namely, that the Kingdom time has come; that the King is present and has assumed the authority, and that his work is henceforth to be accounted the chief factor in connection with all of earth's affairs; – as leading up to the great disintegration of present institutions in the approaching time of trouble which shall make his people willing to hear his voice – when many nations and peoples shall say, "let us go up to [R2994 : page 119] the mountain [kingdom] of the Lord's house; he will teach us of his ways and we shall walk in his paths" – when he "will turn to the people a pure language [a pure word of instruction which they can understand – in contrast with the present mysticism and confusion] that they may all call upon the name of the Lord, to serve him with one consent." – Zeph. 3:9.

The volunteer matter prepared for this present year (the issues of our journal for February 15 and March 15) had already been prepared, and contracts had already been made for a million copies of these issues, in equal parts, for this volunteer season, which will begin immediately after the Memorial – April 27th – before we thought of how wonderfully this year's distribution will agree with the declaration of our text. The matter was called to our attention by one of the brethren of the office force. Here will be a million voices proclaiming throughout the nominal Church (symbolic heavens) the great message of this present time; namely, the second presence of our Lord as the reaper of the harvest of the Gospel age, gathering the wheat into the "garner" and destroying the tares (as tares – not as human beings) and establishing his glorious Kingdom upon a firm foundation of righteousness and equity, for the blessing of every creature redeemed by his own precious blood. These voices summarize in a brief way some of the testimonies of the Scripture respecting the presence of Christ, its time, its order of events, and his final manifestation in the glory of Kingdom power. We have no assurance that the "heavens" will hear, or respond to the message, and glorify God on this behalf; indeed we can only expect that at most only a remnant will be counted worthy to understand respecting the great work of God now in progress – just as only a few in the end of the Jewish age were found worthy to understand and appreciate the truths concerning their harvest time.

THE PRIVILEGE OF THE SERVICE.

Referring to the reapers of the Jewish harvest, his faithful disciples, our Lord said, "He that reapeth receiveth wages and gathereth fruit unto eternal life." The same words are evidently applicable in this present harvest: it is a privilege to serve our Lord at any time and in any manner, but a special privilege came to the faithful in the end of the Jewish age; and similarly a special privilege of service has come to God's people now, in the end of the Gospel age. The message may indeed be resented, and those who promulgate it may be spoken evil of and persecuted, as were the apostles and faithful brethren in the past; but what of this? Shall we not like them and like our Lord "learn obedience" by the things which we may suffer for the truth's sake? Shall not we also learn to "rejoice in tribulation" and to "count it all joy" when our names are cast out as evil, and when all manner of evil is said against us falsely for Christ's sake? Yea, verily! We do rejoice, and we will rejoice yet more, in the great privilege granted us of being co-laborers together with God in this grandest and most momentous day the world has ever known.

The number of those engaging in this volunteer service is quite considerable – especially in some localities where the love, the zeal for the Lord, and for the truth, abounds greatly. (Those who cannot thus engage can find other opportunities tho none better, except, perhaps, the colporteur work.) In Washington, Toronto and Boston, are found three of the most energetic companies, probably 70 per cent of whom are so full of zeal as to be able so to arrange their affairs as to participate in this service of the truth. It is not surprising to know also that nowhere does the love of the Lord, and interest in his cause more abound than among the brethren of these three cities. The friends participating gratefully acknowledge that they have received blessings far more than compensating them for every trial and every sacrifice involved. Yes, indeed "He that reapeth receiveth wages," daily, hourly; – his service brings its rich recompense; he realizes that God is accepting his imperfect work through Jesus, and that thus he is confirming and establishing his faith and demonstrating the honesty of his consecration to the Lord, the reward of which God has promised shall be life everlasting through Jesus Christ our Lord. [R2995 : page 119]

We hope, dear brethren and sisters, that in view of what we saw in our issue of December 1, 1901, respecting the "Three Signs" and respecting our share in the making of those signs; and in view also of what we saw respecting our privilege as reapers in the harvest, gathering the "wheat"; and what we saw respecting the gathering together of the elect unto the Lord; and what we see in this article respecting the "great voices" which are to declare the dominion of this world transferred to the Lord; and that now he is a King among the nations; and that it is our privilege to be engaged in the work of sounding forth the announcement in the "heavens"; – in view of all these things we trust that fresh zeal, fresh energy, fresh courage, will be the portion of each of the Lord's consecrated ones, so that this year more than ever we may show forth the praises of him who hath called us out of darkness into his marvelous light.

Should all the Lord's people, who enjoy this light of present truth, become thoroughly awake to their privileges, it would probably require two million papers to supply their requirements during the coming season, and if this quantity should be called for, we believe that the Lord would, in due time, enable us to meet the requirements. Let us each resolve that others may do as seems proper to them; but that we will exercise our God-given judgments and opportunities in the service of the truth – as the feet members of the body of Christ "saying unto Zion, – Thy God reigneth" – the reign of the anointed one has commenced.

1902 VOLUNTEER WORK AND AMMUNITION ORDERS, 1902.

Let each little group elect as its captain for this "volunteer" service the brother manifesting the greatest executive skill and judgment. Ascertain how many "volunteers" you can secure. Meet weekly for conference, prayer and encouragement. Estimate the quantity of papers necessary to serve the attendants at all the churches you can serve, and order from us at once one-half of these. Order the remaining half one month before you will be ready to use them.

The object in having the two different papers for this year is, to avoid sending duplicates into the [R2995 : page 120] homes – because members of the same family usually leave church together. We will send the papers of equal parts in each bundle; but when you open the bundles, please, first thing, separate the two kinds and then combine them so that each paper of one date will be followed by another of the other date in the entire pile. Then as they are handed out they will go equally and alternately. We have no opportunity for thus mixing them before sending to you. Large orders will be filled in bundles of 800 and 1,600 (half and half, the two dates) and will be shipped by our printers by freight. Use up whatever old "ammunition" you have on hand, but order no more for this service.

WHAT DOTH IT PROFIT?

"What doth it profit me?" I hear a weary pilgrim say,
As he sinks beside his burden upon the "narrow way."
"What do I gain," he plaintive moans, "in service of my God,
Save weary pain and labor, bearing this heavy load?
For many dreary years I've toiled through sunshine and through rain,
Through chilling winds and wintry blasts, I've suffered keenest pain,
The rocks have cut my weary feet, I've left a bleeding track,
I cannot climb this mountain side, my feet are slipping back.

Why should I suffer day by day, bearing this heavy cross?
Why may I not the 'promise' gain without this pain and loss?
I see so many all around who do not serve the Lord,
Yet they are not thus burdened and their lives hold rich reward;
Their barns are filled with plenty and their vats with wine o'erflow,
While I am made to drink the dregs of bitterness and woe."
And thus he faints upon his way, and darkness fills his heart.
O, foolish one! with "armor" loosed, and pierced by Satan's "dart" –

Dost thou not hear the Master: "The servant's like his Lord,"
O, listen to His message and heed His Holy Word:
"If ye will suffer with me, then with me ye shall reign;
He who would shine in glory, is perfected through pain."
We cannot walk with Christ our Lord and still find flowery ways,
The path that leads to Heavenly heights finds many sunless days;
The "narrow way" to Life Divine, oft leads through shadow-land,
Yet the loving Master walks beside, and holds our trembling hand.

The "shield of faith" we must not fail to use as on we go,
For "darts" are flying thick and fast from the Christian's wily foe;
The world has not been "called" to walk upon our "narrow way."
The shallow pleasures they enjoy are only for a day.
O, who would covet their poor joys, or look with envious eye
Upon the flow'rs which deck their path and blossom but to die?
Happy your lot, ye sons of God! O, "Jewels" of the Lord
Press on! Nor faint upon the road that leads to your reward!

The way is weary, yet it ends in life, in bliss, in God!
Press on! Nor longing look ye back o'er the path that ye have trod.
Keep looking upward toward the "Prize," and let its glory wake
Glad "Hallelujahs" to our King, who suffered for our sake;
Who died to give us life, that we might also with Him die,
Then share "His Resurrection" and His glorious throne on High!

– Alice G. James.

[R2995 : page 120]

NOTING DISPENSATIONAL CHANGES.
ACTS 11:4-15. – APRIL 27. –

"Whosoever believeth in him shall receive remission of sins." – Acts 10:43.

T
HE NEWS of Peter's visit to Cornelius and the baptism of the latter, a Gentile, into the Christian Church, created quite a hubbub – not in Jerusalem only, but throughout Judea. Peter may have been called to Jerusalem by the brethren to give some explanation of such an innovation; – or, learning of the commotion, he may have gone voluntarily to explain the situation and to set the minds of the brethren at rest respecting the propriety of his course. He took with him the six of the Joppa brethren who had accompanied him to the house of Cornelius. This was a wise course; Peter recognized that however well satisfied he himself might be respecting the propriety of what he had done, it was but just to the brethren to give as explicit a testimony on the subject as possible – to avoid the least ground for criticism or division of sentiment in the Church.

We note the divine providence which guided in this matter – that (1) it was Peter, the eldest, and in some respects the strongest of the apostles who was chosen for this service; and (2) that he was guided in judgment in respect to taking with him six of the prominent Joppa brethren. Thus does the Lord supervise the affairs of his people, while yet leaving the matter without a special direct revelation – teaching them rather by their experiences and his providential leadings. He could have sent an angel to the apostles, at the appointed time, to inform them definitely that the "seventy weeks" of Israel's favor had expired; and that now, in harmony with the divine plan, the gospel was to be preached not to Jews only, but to people of any or every nation who might be found with "ears to hear" – with hearts to appreciate it. But to have made such a revelation would have had three disadvantages; (1) the Church would thus be caused to walk by sight rather than by faith; (2) a precedent would have been established under which at any future time the Lord's people would have been warranted in expecting miraculous instruction, and thus their minds would have been diverted from the Scriptures which God intended should be the light upon our pathway; (3) miraculous instruction is opposed to thought, reflection and examination of underlying principles – so important to the progress of the Lord's people in grace and in knowledge.

We should not be surprised that the apostles [R2996 : page 121] would be opposed to Peter's going to the Gentiles with the gospel message; such a course was contrary to all the traditions of their nation for over sixteen centuries – seemingly in contradiction of many of the statements of the prophets: prudence, therefore, bade them beware lest the new light and blessing which they had received should mislead them into too great liberty – into license contrary to the Lord's Word. They probably called to mind that the promises indicated that God's blessings were to come to the world through Israel – "the forces of the Gentiles should come unto thee" – the "sons of strangers shall build up thy walls" – "the nation and kingdom that will not serve thee, shall perish," etc. They may also have recalled our Lord's words at the beginning of his ministry when sending forth the apostles, and subsequently, the "seventy," he said, "Go not into the way of the Gentiles, and into any city of the Samaritans enter ye not; for I am not sent but unto the lost sheep of the house of Israel." – Matt. 15:24.

In view of these things the apostles and brethren did only their duty in calling Peter to account – in seeing to it that they took no liberty with the Lord's directions – that they did not attempt to get beyond, or to circumvent his arrangements. They did realize that a change of dispensation was upon them, and that in some important sense Israel was rejected by the Lord, so that only the remnant accepting Christ were now in divine favor; but they did not realize fully what this meant, nor see clearly how the Lord's promises centering in Israel were yet to be fulfilled. We can see now, in the light of providential leadings and apostolic teachings, and in the light of prophetic fulfilment, what it was not possible for them to see clearly at that time.

We can see that natural Israel was being rejected, – blinded with a blindness which would last for nearly nineteen centuries. We can see God's purpose to elect, in the interim, the spiritual seed of Abraham; taking, firstly, from the natural Israelites all found worthy; and secondly, completing the election with chosen ones selected from among the Gentiles – possessing the spirit of Abraham, the spirit of faith and obedience. We can see, that this Spiritual Israel was not fully explained through the promises and through the prophets; but that the elect church in the prophecies was counted in the Messianic promises – as members of the body of Messiah of which Jesus is the Head, "God blessed forever." (Rom. 9:5.) We can see, that not until this body of Messiah shall be complete will the Lord's promises to natural Israel have fulfilment; – then their blindness being turned away (Rom. 11:26-32), they will become the leading nation of earth, representative of the spiritual Kingdom of God, the glorified Church, the Messianic body: then the forces of the Gentiles will come to them, and all earthly interests will co-operate, and a blessing through Israel shall proceed to all the families of the earth.

THE CHARGES AGAINST PETER.

It is rather peculiar, that the charges made against Peter were not that he had recognized Cornelius as a Christian and baptized him and his household, but that he had gone into their house and had eaten bread with them – proceedings which were contrary to Jewish custom entirely – the recognition of the Gentiles as being on an equality with the Jews – a matter which had been settled to the contrary with them, from time immemorial. Singularly, too, the Apostle Peter in his defense entirely ignored their charges and proceeded to acquit himself as though they had charged him in the way we would have expected – with receiving a Gentile into Christian brotherhood. Yet Peter's course was just the proper one, and, undoubtedly, he was guided thereto. There is a lesson in this for the Lord's people to the effect that it is always better to discuss fundamental principles and divine laws than to dispute over traditions of men and mere technical observances, customs, etc. When Peter got the fundamental features straight before the minds of all, the question of social customs was settled; whereas, if he had discussed the proprieties of the social custom, the larger question would still have been unsettled.

Peter's simple, humble, unvarnished explanation was a rehearsal of the facts in the case. He considered that the evidence which had convinced him that he was right, would similarly convince the others; and he was correct in this. He might on the contrary have "stood on his dignity" and have insisted that what he did was none of the business of the others – that he was an apostle and the eldest of them, and specially guided of the Lord; and that the Lord had even declared in advance that he should have and use the keys of the Kingdom; and that as he had used the first of these in announcing the divine favor on the day of Pentecost, so now he had used the other in opening the door of favor to the Gentiles. Such a course while it would have had a great deal of truth in it, would have been an unwise one to say the least; – the humbler, kinder, more brotherly course he did take speaks well to us of his heart condition, his humility, his love to the brethren, his desire to make matters so simple, so clear, so explicit, that none could have any occasion for stumbling over his action. Had he been arrogantly disposed, a great breach in the church might have resulted; – but no; the Lord was at the helm, and had Peter been out of proper condition of heart would not have used him, but some humbler brother for this service. There is a good lesson in this for us all – especially for such as are chosen leaders of the various little companies of the Lord's people: the lesson is, humility, brotherly kindness, love. Any appearance of haughtiness, anything dictatorial in manner or tone would be unbecoming in any of the Lord's people, but especially so in any seeking to serve him: leaders manifesting a haughty spirit should be considered, in that respect and degree, unsuited to the position they fill, – while those who manifest the humbler manner and spirit of Peter on this occasion, should be proportionately the more esteemed by all.

Peter rehearsed his experiences, the Lord's leadings, going into the smallest details, so that the brethren might have the benefit of the situation as fully as though they had been in his stead; and to their credit, the record says, that, when they had heard the particulars, so far from further murmuring against Peter or finding fault with his course, they [R2996 : page 122] glorified God. This shows us clearly that their opposition to the extension of the gospel favor was not the result of any narrowness or meanness of heart; but was the result of conscientious conviction respecting the divine program. They were gradually learning the lesson that a new dispensation was being ushered in, by divine providence, and their entire anxiety was that they might run no faster than the Lord's spirit, through his Word and providences, would direct them – glad, however, to note the leadings and to receive the lessons and to act accordingly.

Similarly, we today are living in a time of changing dispensations; similarly, the Lord's providence is now guiding his people to a clearer appreciation of his plan – to a discernment of certain changes of dispensation now in progress: First, that as in the end of the Jewish age the nominal systems of fleshly Israel were rejected of the Lord, and ignored, so now the nominal systems of spiritual Israel are rejected of the Lord, and all "Israelites indeed" are being gathered out of them. Second, as it was a difficult matter for the Jews to realize that divine favor would extend beyond their nation to the Gentiles, so now it is a difficult matter for Christian people to comprehend that divine favor does not end with the election of the Christian Church; but that, on the contrary, the blessing of all the families of the earth must there begin; and that the new dispensation, the Millennium, in which this favor to the world is to be bestowed by the Church, is nigh, even at the door. As Peter was patient in his explanation of the Lord's providence and leadings in respect to the greater lengths and breadths of divine favor, so now it behooves all of the Lord's people to be very patient, very gentle, and as wise as serpents in presenting to their fellow Christians, true Israelites, the evidence which the Lord's providence has furnished to us, in respect to the world-wide blessings and their nearness. Our Lord's words are applicable, "Be ye wise as serpents, harmless as doves." – Matt. 10:16.

Peter explained to his hearers the simple gospel message which he had presented to the Gentiles, and which they had so gladly received; that it was in no sense a perversion of the message preached to the Jews, and in no degree were any of the gospel's conditions modified to win Gentile approval; it was the same gospel that had blessed them which now refreshed and blessed the Gentiles. He told them of his surprise when the Lord manifested his favor toward the Gentiles by bestowing some of the gifts of the holy spirit upon them – similar to those bestowed upon the Jewish believers at Pentecost, and subsequently transmitted through the apostles. He declares that this manifestation of divine favor called to his mind the words of the Lord, "John indeed baptized with water; but ye shall be baptized with the holy spirit." (Acts 1:5.) By this he understood clearly that the holy spirit baptism was of much greater importance than water baptism; and he understood, further, that only the "you" class would be baptized with the holy spirit; and hence he could not logically ignore the fact that the Gentiles having received the same spirit must be in the Lord's estimation reckoned as members of the same body of Christ, and eligible to baptism, etc. He concluded his argument with a question which must have appealed to all of his hearers; "Who was I that I should withstand God?"

The whole company agreed, that Peter would have had no right to withstand the will of the Lord; but that every propriety called upon him to conform his teachings and his conduct to the Lord's arrangements; and so under this wise presentation the entire company came into full harmony of heart and mind, on an important subject which, had it not been [R2997 : page 122] properly handled, might have meant rending and discord in the early Church, and have made two or more factions of those who were at heart desirous of being right and in accord with the Lord's will. Let us each and all resolve to follow Peter's example in every such matter, and thus to study the welfare, the best interest, the peace, of Zion.

The decision of the conference was, that the evidence educed by Peter was unquestionable, that a new step in the divine plan had been taken, and that henceforth God had granted to the Gentiles as well as to the Jews the privilege of "repentance unto life." Very properly none of them thought of calling into question God's right, God's privilege in this matter of granting repentance unto life. These faithful brethren were not disposed to run into either of two extremes common to some today – they neither claimed that God was bound to give his favors only to Israel, nor on the other hand did they claim that he was bound to make a free offer of repentance unto life to everybody alike. Some today go to even a greater extreme than this, claiming not only an opportunity for repentance unto life to all, but that God must eventually and everlastingly save all – grant all everlasting life. Let all the Lord's people beware that they do not attempt to dictate to the Almighty; that they recognize him as a sovereign, and seek to know his will, and not to dictate according to their wills.

The brethren evidently drew the lesson which the Lord wished them to draw; namely, that God was thenceforth willing to grant forgiveness of sins to Gentiles as well as Jews who would repent and seek to be in harmony with him. There is no suggestion in this of coercion nor of acceptance upon any other condition than repentance and pardon of sins; and this implies faith in the Lord Jesus and in his work as the ransom for sinners, and turning to God with full sincerity of heart, to know and, as far as possible, to do those things which would please him. This is still the position of the Lord's people and must be to the end of the age; it is the established principle underlying all of the Lord's dealings and promises.

Our Golden Text is in full accord with this. The remission of sins, typically, year by year, was Israel's favor only, for centuries; and when the real sacrifice for sin had been offered, the privilege of repentance unto remission of sins, tho confined for a time (three and a half years) to the Jews was thereafter thrown open to all alike – "He that hath an ear let him hear" the message. There is no other means of approach to God than through the remission, the covering of our sins; and there is no other means of covering than through faith in the precious blood of Christ. "No man cometh unto the Father but by me." "There is none other name under heaven given among men whereby [R2997 : page 123] we must be saved." All suggestions therefore of salvation without a belief in Jesus, – all suggestions of salvation of the heathen in ignorance, all suggestions of their being no necessity for a knowledge of the historic Christ, – all suggestions that a recognition of the Christ spirit of righteousness is sufficient, – all suggestions of harmony with God through any other than the one, appointed, "Mediator of the New Covenant," – receive a thorough condemnation in the words of this text. The entire plan of God sets forth and honors not only divine justice, wisdom, love, and power, but it likewise sets forth and honors the Lord Jesus as the only way by which, access may be had to the Father, and by which everlasting life may be attained by any. In view of these limitations, how comforting are the assurances of the Scriptures, that for the vast majority of our race the time of knowledge and, hence, the time of probation for everlasting life is future; during the Millennium. In that, their "due time," all the deaf ears shall be unstopped and all shall hear the voice of the Son of Man (and his Bride, glorified) directing in the right ways of the Lord; – "and they that hear [obey] shall live." – It is a further cause of joy that this blessing and opportunity for resurrection to perfection, under the judgments of such gracious judges, is to extend also to "all that are in their graves." – John 5:25,28; I Tim. 2:6.

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"THE DISCIPLES WERE FIRST CALLED CHRISTIANS AT ANTIOCH."
– ACTS 11:9-30. – MAY 4. –

"The hand of the Lord was with them; and a great number believed and turned unto the Lord."

A
NTIOCH, at the time of our lesson, was the third city in the world in rank of commercial importance and population, the latter being estimated at 500,000. Its situation was about 300 miles north from Jerusalem, – a long distance in those days of foot and camel and sailboat traveling. It is noted as being the first city outside of Palestine in which a Christian church assembly was formed; and indeed, we might say that as Jerusalem was the center of influence in Palestine, so Antioch became a center of influence as respected the gospel amongst the Gentiles. It seems that the start of the work of the Lord at Antioch, the little spark of light and truth which started that important work, resulted from the persecution at the time of Stephen's death. Some of those forced out of Jerusalem by the persecution settled in Antioch, and, of course, they could not live and walk in the light of the gospel without letting the light shine out for others. This at first was done only toward those who were of the Jewish faith, for in a large commercial city such as Antioch there were sure to be large numbers of Jews. We know not how many of these were reached with the gospel; but it was confined to them, surely, until the end of Israel's seventy symbolical weeks – until A.D. 37. At the same time that the Lord was sending Philip to the Samaritans and to the Ethiopian eunuch, and opening the door to the Gentiles through the Apostle Peter, he was ready to open the door to the Gentiles everywhere; and under the leading of divine providence some of the Christian Hebrews got the proper thought at the proper time, – that a Gentile who would receive the Lord Jesus, and conform his life to his teachings, could be classed as a disciple equally as tho he had been born a Jew. The work thus started amongst the Gentiles at Antioch spread considerably, the Gentiles seeming to take more notice of it than had the Jews to whom the gospel was first preached, and, as our Golden Text assures us, large numbers believed. There is a lesson here, to the effect that while the Lord made clear to the apostles first the matter of receiving the Gentiles into the Church, he, nevertheless, did not confine his message to them, but was willing to use any convenient disciple, no matter how humble, as a mouthpiece for the truth, and was pleased to bless the consecrated ambassadors and their service. So today let each and all of the Lord's people be alert to notice opportunities for service, and let those who occupy a position as teachers in the Church emulate the example of the apostles, who manifested no spirit of jealousy in respect to this broadening of the work – rejoicing, rather, at the spread of the good news by whatever instrumentality the Lord might be pleased to use. This is the true spirit of discipleship, the spirit of humility. It is in accord with the Apostle's words, "In honor preferring one another;" "Rejoice not in iniquity, but rejoice in the truth."

The news of the gospel going to the Gentiles at Antioch, and that large numbers were turning to the Lord, reached the Church at Jerusalem – the head-center of the Christian work, so to speak. The apostles and all of the brethren had already been prepared by the Lord's manifest dealing in the case of Cornelius, and this, undoubtedly, would take away from their surprise and largely correct any prejudice on the subject of the Gentiles as fellow-heirs of the promises which had previously pertained to them alone. Nevertheless, we note that the record does not say that this news caused rejoicing in the Jerusalem Church. We may infer, therefore, that they heard with some considerable trepidation that large numbers of the Gentiles were attaching themselves to the faith, and may have reasoned that this would have an injurious effect upon the cause they loved to serve – inasmuch as the Jews would say, Yes, your message is good enough for the barbarians or the Gentiles; it takes hold of the non-religious; but it attracts very few of the deeply pious of God's chosen people, to whom belong the promises and the covenants of the Lord, etc. It would appear, then, that the original motive in sending Barnabas to Antioch (visiting other intermediate churches en route) was that he might see and judge of the true condition of things, and give some report as to whether the new converts were worthy in their lives and characters to be recognized as fellow-heirs with the saints. Barnabas, when he had come, took note of "the grace of God," manifested amongst the believers at Antioch – it must have been manifested not only in their faith in the Lord as their Redeemer and Master, but also in their conduct as disciples or followers of Jesus. It is written, [R2998 : page 124] "He that hath this hope in him purifieth himself even as he is pure," and we may suppose that Barnabas quickly discerned the cleansing and sanctifying power of the truth amongst these believers at Antioch, and thus realized that the cause, instead of being hindered by such accessions, would be honored. We read that he was glad; and we may assume, altho it is not stated, that he promptly made a report to the brethren at Jerusalem, and that they were glad also. A good man, out of the good treasure of his heart, is always made glad by evidences of God's grace operating in himself and in others. It is one evidence of the possession of the holy spirit, and that in good measure, when we rejoice in all good things – "Whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things." – Phil. 4:8.

The apostles evidently made an excellent choice when they sent Barnabas. We remember that he was a Levite by birth, and this, unquestionably, would make him very careful of every Jewish interest connected with the faith, and, undoubtedly, he was well learned in the Law. We remember, too, that he was a native of Cyprus, an island in the Mediterranean Sea, near Antioch. Born thus at a distance from Jerusalem, amongst Gentiles, he was probably a broadminded man, as well as familiar with the dialect of the people of Antioch, and added to these good reasons for sending him, was a fourth; namely, his beautiful character, his helpfulness as a brother and a teacher in the Church. We remember that he sold a part of his property in the interest of the poor in Jerusalem. We remember, too, that he received the name Barnabas as a title of love and respect in the Church, which thus designated him "a son of consolation," a "helper." The fact that this good man was glad, is an assurance to us that the conditions he found in the Antioch Church were good conditions, for a good man "rejoiceth not in iniquity, but rejoiceth in the truth."

Barnabas at once overflowed toward the Antioch brethren, and in the same comforting and helpful manner as at Jerusalem he exhorted them all. The Greek word here is from the same root as his name, and signifies comfort, stimulation, assistance. No doubt he saw various things needing to be corrected; but instead of beginning with fault-finding, instead of lacerating their feelings and chiding them, he began, properly, by acknowledgment of what he saw in them as a cause for rejoicing. His comforting message was to the effect that they should cleave unto the Lord with purpose of heart. The word "cleave" here in the Greek signifies to glue, to adhere. He wished the dear brethren, new in the truth, to see to it that their hearts were firmly united unto the Lord, that their minds were fully made up, that their consecration to him was complete. This was the matter of first importance. Later on he might show them kindly, gently, certain weaknesses of the flesh to which they were addicted; or their hearts being more firmly united to the Lord they might very speedily see these inconsistencies of themselves, without a word being said. The point we would impress is that it was not a restraining of the flesh, nor a perfecting of it, that was sought, but a much deeper work of grace than this; a purity of heart, of intention, a heart-adhesion to the Lord. We today cannot do better than follow this same course in our endeavors to do good unto others as we have opportunity. The brethren needed strengthening rather than tearing. They needed building up in the most holy faith and love. They needed encouraging in heart-adhesion to the Lord, and that criticisms of the flesh come in afterward gradually and very carefully and kindly. There were three elements co-operating which made Barnabas so suitable a person for this service, and the same three elements in any of us today will surely make us able ministers of the truth. Those elements are stated here; viz., "He was a good man [moral, upright, reverential] full of the holy spirit [he had not received the grace of God in vain; it was in him a living power, the new mind guiding and controlling in all of his affairs] and of faith." However good a man may be, and however much of the Lord's character and spirit he may have, faith is essential. "Without faith it is impossible to please God." Let us strive to have all of these qualifications in our ministry, that we may be true sons of consolation, helpful in the Lord's service, and to his people wherever we may be. No wonder we read that as a result of his labors at Antioch much people was added unto the Lord!

The last we heard of Saul of Tarsus (Acts 9:30) was that after the opening of the eyes of his understanding, after he became the disciple of the Lord Jesus, and had preached in Damascus, and then in Jerusalem, his life being endangered the brethren sent him down to Caesarea, and then probably by ship to his native city, Tarsus. We are not informed regarding the nature of his work in his home city, but can readily suppose that one of his character and disposition would not long remain idle. And if the sphere of outward activities was a narrow one we may be sure that his mind was active in the study of the divine plan, and that his great heart was active too, in comprehending the divine grace and considering ways of service. He was in Tarsus while Barnabas was at Antioch, and the latter now had in mind the talents, the force, the logic, of Brother Saul, whom he had met in Jerusalem, and he concluded that Tarsus being not very far from Antioch he would look him up, interest him in the service of the Antioch Church, etc. He probably remembered that Saul's ideas were extremely broad in respect to the gospel – too broad, perhaps, for the brethren at Jerusalem to fully appreciate him when he was amongst them. But by this time all the brethren, and especially large-hearted Barnabas, had come to see the divine plan in a broader light – more nearly as Saul of Tarsus had comprehended it. Barnabas concluded that the conditions at Antioch were just such as would deeply interest Saul, and that the brethren there would be greatly profited by his assistance. He found him; he brought him to the Church at Antioch, where his influence was no doubt great for the good of all. We rejoice in noting the heart nobility of Barnabas. Many Christian men of smaller caliber would have [R2998 : page 125] reasoned themselves into a different course, and a wrong one; saying, As it is, I am the chief one amongst the brethren here, having had larger opportunities than the others, and having had close contact with the apostles at Jerusalem; but if I bring Saul into our midst his superior abilities as a logician, as an expounder of the Scriptures, will cast me quite into the shade, etc. Brethren who reason thus are misguided by their own selfishness. They forget that the Lord's work is in his own hands, and with such a spirit they could neither please him nor be prospered in his service, and that the reactionary effect upon their own hearts would be a serious one. All of the Lord's people should be noble and unselfish; and the closer any of us approximate this character the more will we be loved of the Lord, the more will we be loved of the brethren, and the more useful will be our sphere of influence for righteousness, for truth, for the Lord.

DISCIPLES WERE FIRST CALLED CHRISTIANS.

It is noteworthy that our Lord never gave any name to his people; he called them disciples, which signifies pupils, learners. The apostles have applied to the Church various terms, "church of the living God;" "church of God;" "church of Christ;" "the church;" but gradually the name "Christians," identifying God's people with their Redeemer and leader, came to be the general name throughout the world. It is a pity that any have thought it necessary to adopt any other names than these, common to the entire church of Christ, or to use these names in a sectarian manner. Evidently the name Christian should represent one who trusts in Christ as the Messiah – one, therefore, who trusts in him also as the Redeemer, and who accepts all the fundamental doctrines of the Scriptures, based, as they are, upon these two declarations – (1) that men were sinners, needing to be redeemed before they could be acceptable to God, and that they were redeemed by the precious blood of Christ; (2) that they have accepted the name of their Redeemer, and are seeking to walk in his footsteps. There was a start toward sectarianism in the early Church, some saying, I am a Christian, but of the order of Paul; others, I am a Christian, but of the order of Apollos; others, I am a Christian, but of the order of Peter, etc. But the Apostle promptly rebuked this spirit, assuring them that the relationship in Christ was all that was necessary; that neither Peter nor Paul had redeemed them, and that neither, therefore, could occupy the place of a head to the Church. The Apostle, furthermore, calls our attention to the fact that such a spirit on their part was an evidence of that much of carnality still remaining; that much of a worldly partisan spirit contrary to the thought and teaching of the holy spirit. It is to be regretted that ever since the Reformation times this spirit has prevailed to a large extent, some taking the name of Luther, others of Wesley, others of Calvin, others non-personal, but, nevertheless, sectarian or party names, as Methodist, Presbyterian, Congregational, Baptist, etc. We are not claiming that those who do these things are wholly carnal, without the Lord's spirit, but we do claim with the Apostle that a disposition to such a partisanship is contrary to the spirit of the Lord, and to that extent is carnal, fleshly, and should be overcome by all who would be recognized of the Lord as overcomers.

Let no one misunderstand us to advocate one sect or party as instead of many. On the contrary, we know that if there must be sects there is an advantage in having many, as they serve to keep each other within more reasonable bounds, serving to some extent to hinder gross arrogance and persecution. What we ought to have is one church, one household of faith, accepting the plain fundamentals of Scripture, and with limitations as to acceptance of more or less conjectural views outside of those fundamentals – all fraternizing, fellowshipping each other, and all known as Christians, and thus separated from all who deny the atonement, from all who deny the results of the atonement, in the resurrection, and from all who deny the propriety of a newness of life in the present time. In this view of the matter each individual Christian would have an independence as respected his own thought, aside from fundamentals [R2999 : page 125] which are clearly stated in the Scriptures.

BENEVOLENCE A FEATURE OF PIETY.

In view of the fact that the condition of the Antioch Church made Barnabas glad, and in view of the instruction and assistance rendered it by Paul and Barnabas, we are not surprised that it was a living Church, instead of a dead one, and we are not surprised that, an opportunity offering through a famine especially affecting the vicinity of Jerusalem, this congregation of believers at Antioch was prompt to make up a relief fund and send it to the Church at Jerusalem, as an expression of its love and sympathy and oneness of spirit. It is more blessed to give than to receive, not only as respects the sentiment of the matter, but the results are still more blessed. No doubt the contributions sent were a comfort and a help to the Jerusalem brethren, but the blessing to the givers we may be sure was far greater. The Lord would reward them, and that in proportion as they had given, at some sacrifice as respects earthly things, luxuries, etc.

"Is thy cruse of comfort failing?
Rise and share it with another,
And through all the years of famine
It shall serve thee and thy brother.
Love divine will fill thy storehouse,
All thy handful still renew;
Scanty fare for one will often
Make a royal feast for two."

We do not mean to say that this principle could be worked out now, under present conditions, with the nominal church full of "tares," and thoroughly soaked in false doctrines. What we do mean to say is that had it not been for the sectarian spirit which early crept into the Church after the death of the apostles, there would not have been the present number of tares, professed Christians, nor the same amount of false doctrine discounting the true. Ambition for numbers and for influence led to the formulation of doctrines which attracted the tares into the Church. Without these false ambitions, and with the fundamentals of the ransom and full restitution [R2999 : page 126] clearly recognized by all, the nominal Church today would be amazingly smaller than it is, but it would be comparatively pure, and it would be at one with itself, and there would be no desire for any other name than that of the one Lord and Head.

The question then may arise, In view of this what should we do? Should we join with those who are trying to form a federation of all the churches? We answer, No, for two reasons: First, because common sense tells us that such a union as is proposed is not along the principles which the Lord laid down, but is merely a human expedient. (Second) The Lord's Word shows us an illustration in the harvest time, and that it is not the time for organizing, etc., but a time for reaping, separating, threshing, winnowing, and gathering into the barn of the true wheat – the time also in which the tares will be bundled for the day of burning or great time of trouble with which this age shall close.

Our proper course is to separate ourselves from all the Babylonian systems and to "stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ has made free," and to own no other name than his, and to accept no other standards than those of his Word. Our duty, after coming ourselves into this position, is to help others into the same liberty, and to avoid putting restraints upon the brethren, or making tests of any kind, except such as are fundamental – faith in the ransom and full consecration to the Lord, which would include an honest desire to know the meaning of his Word. There can be no danger amongst such as are taking this position, and where only this class is recognized as the Church, and where this liberty wherewith Christ has made us free is strictly observed.

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AN INTERESTING QUESTION ANSWERED.

LIFTING THE CURSE.

Question. – When and how is the Adamic sentence lifted from the human race – the Church and the world?

Answer. – This subject has been treated at length in Dawn Vol. V., and also in our issue of August 1, 1901. For these reasons our answer here will be brief, for so large a question.

(1) The legal condemnation of the race has rested upon the world since Adam's disobedience, and this has led to the actual sufferings and dying of mankind. There is a difference, however, between the legal and the actual "curse." The legal curse or sentence went into force against Adam immediately after he had sinned, but the effects of that legal sentence in pain and suffering came on him and his posterity gradually, and are still with them. Similarly, there will be a difference between the cancellation of the legal sentence and the rescue of man from the difficulties which came upon him as the result of the legal sentence.

(2) The work of Christ, the work of the atonement, embraces both of these features – man's release from the legal sentence of the divine law, and subsequently his release from the actual pains and weaknesses which came upon him as a result of that divine sentence. Our Lord's death was a full offset to the sentence against Adam, and could have been so applied at once, had this been the divine arrangement. If so applied it would have canceled at once the legal sentence against man, but it would have done nothing in the way of recovering him from his fallen and dead condition – that work of restitution is separate and apart from his redemption or purchase from the curse or legal condemnation of the law.

(3) Instead of applying his death at once, as a full cancellation of the legal penalty against the race, the teachings of the Scriptures give us the thought that our Lord Jesus presented the whole matter of his death sacrifice on man's behalf before the Father, and that it became a credit on his account, but that it was not yet applied to the world. The next step in the divine [R3000 : page 126] program was the arrangement for the justification of the Gospel Church – not actually, but by faith, reckonedly. So many as believed, so many as accepted Jesus, were reckonedly justified – reckonedly had the legal curse lifted from them, tho they were actually allowed to remain under the weaknesses and difficulties resulting from that curse. To such of these, reckonedly justified ones, as made full consecration of themselves to the Lord, the privilege was granted of walking by faith in the footsteps of Jesus, and being conformed to his sacrificial death; – the promised reward for this being a share in the Lord's glory, honor and immortality. But not until the last member of this elect body of Christ shall have been accepted as faithful will this Gospel age of sacrifice terminate.

(4) As the Apostle explains, the Lord is reckoning that the various members of the body of Christ are filling up a measure of the afflictions of Christ (they are joined with him in the atonement sacrifice; not that their sacrifices could have been acceptable with God at all without that of their Lord Jesus, but that they are acceptable to God through and under the merit of his sacrifice). "I beseech you, therefore, brethren, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, your reasonable service." (Rom. 12:1.) When the Church's sacrifice is complete the whole work of suffering for sin ends, and forthwith the Church will be received to conditions of glory with her Lord, in the first resurrection, as he was received by the Father from the dead after he had finished his sacrifice. Then, according to the Scriptures, the Lord will appropriate on behalf of the whole human family so much of the merit of his own sacrifice, and of the entire sacrifice of the Church, as Justice could demand, and Justice will be fully satisfied of all its legal claims against mankind.

(5) As a result of such a legal satisfaction of the claims of Justice, early in the Millennial day, there will be no hindrance whatever to prevent the institution of the restitution arrangements which God has provided in Christ and the Church, and of which all the holy prophets have spoken since the world began. – Acts 3:19-23.

(6) Thus seen, the curse or condemnation for Adam's sin will be no more – as a legal sentence against mankind from thenceforth forever. Full atonement will have been made and accepted, for the [R3000 : page 127] sins of the whole world.* But this will not mean that the effects of the curse will then instantly disappear; just as if a man imprisoned for crime by an earthly court lost his hair, his sight, his hearing, and in general his entire health, while serving out the imprisonment; if he were then pardoned and set free the pardon would not restore to him his hair, his sight, his hearing, all his health. These must be sought for in some other direction. Justice is not responsible for their loss, and has nothing to do with their restoration. The freed man must look for some good physician. Just so with the race and its release from the sentence – from the condemnation to death. It must also look to the "Good Physician." And this is just what God is providing for the world in the glorified Christ – a wonderful and faithful Prophet, Priest and King – to rule and bless and uplift the redeemed world, or so many of the race as will accept his just and gracious terms.

(7) Here, then, we see the distinctions between Christ, the Redeemer, and Christ, the Life-giver. We were redeemed by the sacrifice of Christ, and through the merits of that sacrifice all will be freed from the condemnation; and then, as the Life-giver, he who previously redeemed will restore as many as will accept his favors, bringing them back to the conditions of perfection from which they fell – back to a condition in harmony with their Creator, and thus back to a condition of at-one-ment with God by the close of the Millennial age.

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LETTERS OF INTEREST.

Dear Brother Russell: –

Having just finished carefully reading the recent "Watch Tower," and with profit comparing spiritual things in them with the spiritual things contained in the Book (I Cor. 2:13); and having found much food, both milk and meat (Heb. 5:12-14), I discovered among the papers in the hotel in Mt. Jewett, the March, 1902, number of "World Wide Missions," a twenty page monthly, now in its fourteenth year, and which from its attractive appearance bade fair to furnish an appetizing dessert to the full meal just partaken. But I studied its aggressive frontispiece and turned its pages in disappointment. At her bare cupboard Mother Hubbard's poor dog was equally fortunate; no food was there, not even a discussion of the Sunday School lesson.

What it did contain was five portraits of as many Reverend gentlemen, and two groups of missionary subjects; ninety-four articles of various lengths concerning meetings, work, services, revivals, conferences, discipline, rum and opium, church erection, impecunious missions, money, Buddhist opposition, addresses, colleges, health and food, Epworth League, charcoal, one short poem, New England, China and war, travels, Africa, Europe, Mexico, Korea, Porto Rico, Chicago, self-denial, charity, mission-giving, benevolence and six complimentary notices and six personals; it believes they are just on the eve of success in China, and that by proper effort the world will be evangelized during the twentieth century. There was much regarding persons and things, in which the first person, singular and plural, predominated; and finally, six and one-half of its twenty pages were devoted to thirty-eight miscellaneous and illy selected advertisements.

The brethren who edit the paper seem full of zeal; but, alas! it does not appear to be according to knowledge (Rom. 10:2). There was not a single Scripture reference, nor did I notice any Scripture quotations. They were very anxious to prevent the use of profanity, liquor, opium and tobacco, but the coarser sins are not mentioned, while the more refined, as envy, lust, gossip, are overlooked. Meekness is mentioned approvingly, as an adjunct to benevolence, and for the benefit of the missions' coffers; but love, joy, peace (Gal. 5:22,23) receive little attention. "Zions Watch Tower," on the contrary, contains of Scripture references nearly a thousand a year, and of quotations several times as many.

But if we are more favored by the light now due and shining upon us from the pages of the Bible, the "Dawns" and the "Towers," we have nothing of which to boast, nothing that we have not received (I Cor. 4:7); and we may well remember with fear that our duties and obligations increase as we advance from opportunity to knowledge, and from knowledge to still farther opportunity. Will you not pray for me, dear brother, as I do daily for you, that this wonderful glorious opportunity and light may not have come to us in vain.

With Christian love,

Your fellow-servant,
Wm. M. Wright, – Pennsylvania.

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Dear Brother: – From the amount of publishing that you are doing, it is quite evident that your time must be fully occupied. On this account I have long hesitated to trouble you with my difficulties and hindrances to advancement in present truth. About one and a half years ago I received my first number of "Watch Tower," which I perused with pleasure and profit. Other numbers followed full of good Bible teaching.

I read the first volume of "Dawn" with much interest, and thought I had now found what I had been seeking for, – a substitute for the prevailing delusions of the day. I read and reread it and talked as much as I read, and gave to friends four or five copies. I then took up the succeeding volumes. I soon began to find things so contrary to my preconceived notions that I laid them aside and read volume V, which proved really "meat in due season." I have since been reading the three volumes laid aside and making some advancement. And now comes "Tower," March 15, containing the very subject I am stumbling over. I am reading them carefully and prayerfully, and hope to find the truth. Your effort to publish the truth is commendable.

"Old Theology Quarterly," in Yiddish is quite opportune. I think you hit the right thing to publish for Hebrews in that language which is spoken at the present moment by some millions of that people.

I am earnestly and prayerfully studying "Dawns." I have not much time for anything else at present.

Yours in the love and fellowship of the Truth.

C. C. Stanbro, – New York.