page 161
June 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.JUNE 1, 1902.No. 11.
CONTENTS.

Views from the Watch Tower 163
"Making Void the Word of God" 163
The Next Great Religious Awakening 164
Navajo Indians 165
Rome's Position in the Coming Conflict 166
Bishop Quigley on Socialism 166
Attaining Christian Liberty, Wherewith Christ Made Us Free 167
Abiding in Divine Love, Conditional 171
What are the Commandments? 171
God's Supervision of His People and His Message 173

'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 162

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

WE ARE NOT COMPLAINING, BUT –

As the Editor goes from place to place holding "One Day Conventions," he finds that about one-half of those who greet him heartily are not Watch Tower subscribers; – many of them coming long distances, at considerable expense. There is encouragement as well as discouragement in this: it is encouraging to know that the 13,500 names on our lists are by no means all of those deeply interested in present truth. The discouragement comes with the thought that these dear friends surely need the twice-a-month visits of the Watch Tower to encourage and assist them in this evil day; and yet, that all we have done, or seem able to do, avails little in the matter of getting and keeping their names on our list.

(1) We have offered credit on subscriptions as long and as often as desired, with the privilege of writing us at any future time requesting the cancelation of the debt. (2) We have offered the Watch Tower free to those requesting it, and saying that their circumstances do not justify their sending the money. (3) We have asked all the dear friends who do get the Tower, and who believe that it would benefit others, to draw it to their attention and get their subscription – cash or credit.

We felt specially hopeful of the last of these recommendations in connection with the others; but only a few, comparatively, seem to have noticed the request or put forth any successful effort. What more can we do, to secure the other 13,500 interested friends for our list – for their spiritual upbuilding? We have well-nigh exhausted our ingenuity. No; we will not resort to "Premiums"; – we should feel ashamed to offer our readers "premiums" for subscriptions. The Lord's approval and the privilege of helping to wash fellow-members of the "feet" class is premium enough, surely. We appeal to all who desire a service to the Lord and to the brethren to put forth another effort to gather to our lists all who are interested in present truth in any degree – either for a cash subscription or on either of the terms mentioned above.

This is not a matter of personal, financial profit; for the Tower now belongs to the Society, and hence if more money were received than would meet the cost of publication, it would be spent in sending out God's light and truth to reach others as it reached you. Our whole concern is that what is being published may reach as many eyes and hearts as possible to encourage and bless them.

[R3015 : page 163]

VIEWS FROM THE WATCH TOWER.
MAKING VOID THE WORD OF GOD BY YOUR TRADITIONS."
MARK 7:13.

C
OMPARATIVELY FEW of the "common people" of Christendom realize how thoroughly the Word of God has already been rejected by the leading Doctors of theology. When, over twenty years ago, we pointed out from the Word of God that all classes of Christendom were about to be tested on the fundamentals of Christian faith, and that according to Psalm 91, a thousand would fall into unbelief to one who would stand faithful, some mocked – considering that no more absurd proposition could possibly be made. Apply this rule now to the 300,000,000 of Christendom and the number to stand would be 30,000.

In our last issue we noted that some candidates for ministerial office in the Presbyterian Church had publicly disowned belief in Adam and Eve as the first parents of our race – considering that portion of the Scripture mythical, unreal, untrue; and how the Elizabeth (N.J.), Presbytery finally passed such an one, – who purposes to become a missionary. Since then the subject has been considerably discussed in the secular and religious press, and so far as we have noted, generally in sympathy with the unbeliever; – generally in condemnation of those who called in question the unbeliever's right to acceptance as "orthodox." This is truly a peculiar world: any one who believes in the Second Coming of our Lord to be the King of earth, as foretold in the Scriptures scores of times, is "off-color," "tainted" or "non-orthodox," according to the bias of his critics. The man who denies eternal torment as both unreasonable and unscriptural, and who calls for proof texts from the Bible (not parable and symbolic statements, but literal), or who denies that the Bible offers immortality in any sense or condition to the wicked, and asks for proof texts, – is denounced as a "heretic," as is also the man who declares that he believes in the Father and in the Son and in the Holy Spirit, and that these are at one, or in full harmony, but who denies that it can be true that they are one in person, or that the Scriptures so state, and invites proof texts. On the other hand, whoever professes to believe these things which the Bible does not teach, and which reason repudiates, and who denies the Bible record of creation, accepting instead the unscriptural theory of evolution, – that man is promptly labeled orthodox, and any unwilling to so concede are promptly denounced as unenlightened fossils. Surely this is what the Lord referred to as putting light for darkness and darkness for light – calling evil good, and good evil. – Isa. 5:20.

The following is from the comment of the New York Independent, one of the leading "orthodox" religious journals of the world: –

"We venture to say that there is not a competent educated professor of biology or geology in the obscurest Presbyterian college in the United States who believes that the Adam and Eve of Genesis were historical characters. One would have to rake all our colleges and universities with a fine-toothed comb to find such a teacher, and very few they would be. The belief, in scientific circles, of such an Adam and Eve is dead, and is no longer considered or discussed. Of course, the doctrine of a literal Adam lingers in popular belief, just as once did the belief in the world made in six literal days; but it is held by those who got their education a generation or two ago, or who never got any education at all. The older men in the presbyteries, especially those who have, for one reason or another, dropped out of the educative stress of pastoral life, have not learned what the colleges now teach; and it is they that oppose their large ignorance to modern knowledge."

What plainer statement of present conditions could we ask? and from what higher authority could it come? Notice again the last sentence, which we have italicized: only old fogies – country preachers and the unlearned – any longer believe the Bible to be God's revelation. To the "cultured" it is a book of fairy tales mixed with pessimistic nonsense of weeping prophets who never dreamed of the grand time coming when the trust-giants shall hold full sway and bring in the Millennium of wealth and aristocracy. Not knowing so much as these modern teachers, "higher critics," the prophets dreamed and wrote of [R3015 : page 164] a second coming of Christ, and of the establishment of a Kingdom of God under the whole heavens; – of a lifting up of the poor and the needy and a humbling of the great; – of a laying of righteousness to the line and justice to the plummet. Well, we prefer to be with the Lord and the Apostles: we prefer to believe "all things spoken by the mouth of all the holy prophets since the world began." – Acts 3:19-21.

The editor of the (New York) Mail and Express, not being a trained theologian and Doctor of Divinity, shows his "backwoods" ideas on the subject as follows: –

"It is one thing to say that the story of Adam and Eve is a myth, and quite another to say that it is false. Embodied in the Scriptural account in the first chapter of Genesis is the most profound bit of wisdom, the most searching dip into the springs of human action in the face of the great mystery of life and divinity that surrounds us, the most vivid revelation of the power of God and the helplessness, yet hopefulness of life, that all the world's literature has brought down to us. It is fundamental in many ways. That the guardians of religious doctrine should seek to hold neophytes to a belief in it is not to be wondered at.

"A myth is but old, old speech. All things are spoken in some shape before they are written. The myth is the spoken, elder Scripture. Not all myths are entitled to become Scripture; but this one was so entitled – and it is true. If anything possesses authority in this doubting age, this record does. There may be more wisdom in the act of simple dominies who require rigid adherence to its letter than in the proceedings of those who treat it with flippant doubt."

This learned editor, in his anxiety to "straddle" the subject and to please both parties, has used the word myth in an unusual and unauthorized manner, which merely shows that he and others are well shaken in their credence of the Bible, tho not yet ready to abandon it completely. We quote the Standard Dictionary's definition of this use of the word myth, as follows: –

"A fictitious or conjectural narrative presented as historical, but without any basis of fact; hence, an imaginary or fictitious person, object, or event; as Santa Claus is a myth.

"The difference between legend and myth is now well known....The myth is purely the work of imagination, the legend has a nucleus of fact."

"Synonyms, Antonyms and Prepositions," says: –

"A legend may be true, but can not be historically verified; a myth has been received as true at some time, but is now known to be false."

How long will it require for people to learn that the Bible is so thoroughly one, and its story one, that a repudiation of one part means the repudiation of the whole? For instance, some may reason that the truth or falsity of the story of Adam and Eve and their original perfection in their Eden home, has no bearing upon the general plan of salvation presented in the Scriptures; but in this they greatly err. If there was no fall from holiness and perfection, there could be no need of a Redeemer to ransom him and his posterity from such a condemnation; and the promised blessing of a restitution of man to Adam's primeval estate would be an absurdity.

But let the good work go on. For, as the Apostle said in his day, – "There must be heresies also among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest." (I Cor. 11:19.) Much more is this the case now: the "harvest" time of separating wheat from tares having come this seems to be the Lord's method of hastening it in its due season. "None of the wicked will understand, but the wise shall understand." (Dan. 12:10.) The wise toward God, counted fools by the wisdom of this world, will begin to open their eyes to the true situation as this breach grows wider. They will begin to "inquire for the old paths," and then will be in the right condition to hear and heed the true Shepherd's voice and to comprehend with all saints the divine plan of the ages. These ("not many") are hungry for it now, but are deterred by the misrepresentations of the shepherds of Babylon whom they trust too implicitly, – taking their word without proving it by the Word of the Lord.

RUSSIAN SOLDIERS REFUSE TO SHOOT AT MOB.

The following quotation from the London Pall Mall Gazette, indicates that already the great "European public school" (the standing army), is learning its lesson and getting ready for the coming conflict: –

"During the demonstration in the Hazan Square, in St. Petersburg, a detachment of infantry was called upon to fire upon the crowd. The men thrice refused to obey, and were marched back to barracks, no inquiry being subsequently held. Similar incidents have occurred elsewhere. With universal service, the army is only the people in uniform. Any popular feeling must, sooner or later, touch the army, and if the soldiers cannot be depended upon to shoot, the game of absolutism is up."

[R3016 : page 164]
THE NEXT GREAT RELIGIOUS AWAKENING.

The Rev. Dr. John Watson ("Ian Maclaren"), in a recent widely quoted sermon at the London Wesleyan Mission's anniversary, noted the fact that in late years great spiritual revivals have been lacking in England and that the present temper of mind is not prepared for such revivals. He went on to say that he believed we are on the eve of a great revival, but that it will be primarily a social revival, inspired by the religious spirit. What if God be calling on men, he asked, not to build more churches, but to secure better and purer homes for His people? To cleanse communities of liquor saloons and haunts of vice? To see that every man for whom Christ died should have a fair chance to do honest work with honest pay, and to have a home where he can live in decency with wife and children? May not these be the most efficient means to bring men into conscious fellowship with God?

The Rev. Dr. Josiah Strong, of New York, takes the same position in his new book, "The Next Great Awakening." All great religious revivals in the past, declares Dr. Strong, have come as the result of "the preaching of a neglected Scriptural truth which was precisely adapted to the peculiar needs of the times." Wesley and Whitefield, in an age in which religion seemed to be given over to outward and formal observances, preached the need of "conversion," the conscious beginning of a new spiritual life. Charles G. Finney, at a time when "the divine sovereignty of God was held in such a way as to destroy all appreciation of human freedom," thundered forth "the neglected [R3016 : page 165] truth of man's free-agency and guilt, and the retribution due to sin." Moody, following close upon the Civil War, when "millions of hearts were longing for consolation," preached "the love of God." And now, declares Dr. Strong, the church is on the verge of a new spiritual awakening:

"It is quite obvious that the great questions peculiar to our times are social. The industrial revolution has produced a social revolution; we have passed, within three generations, from an individualistic to a social or collective type of civilization. Relations which a hundred years ago were few and simple are now becoming many and complex. New questions concerning rights and duties are being asked. Society is gaining self-consciousness, which marks one of the most important steps in the progress of the race. We are beginning to see that society lives one vast life, of which every man is a part. We are gaining what Walter Besant calls 'the sense of humanity.' We are discovering that life is something larger and farther related than we had thought; and with this perception of wider and multiplied relations comes a new sense of social obligations. That is, a social conscience is growing, tho as yet it is uninstructed.

"The wonderful increase of wealth and of knowledge during the past century has served to create a new discontent and to kindle a new hope. It has transferred the golden age of the world from the past to the future; and this golden age, yet to come, constitutes a new social ideal.

"The social ideal of Jesus is precisely what is needed to inform and spiritualize and perfect this new social ideal, and the social laws of Jesus are precisely what is needed to educate the new social conscience."

Dr. Strong interprets the "social laws of Jesus" under three main heads, as follows:

(1) The Law of Service. Our substance, our time, our powers, our opportunities are all entrusted to us for service. Life itself is a sacred trust, and the whole life of every disciple of Christ is to be spent, like that of his master, in the service of the kingdom, and in hastening its full coming in the earth.

(2) The Law of Sacrifice. The spirit of sacrifice gives all, and longs for more to fill the measure of the world's sore need. It is the high prerogative of conscious and intelligent man to offer conscious and intelligent sacrifice. He receives according to his need that he may give according to his ability; receives food that he may give strength, receives knowledge that he may give it forth as power.

(3) The Law of Love. This is the supreme social law, the great organizing, integrating power, precisely as its opposite, selfishness, is the great disorganizing, disintegrating, anti-social power. Disinterested love is divine; it is the love that God is, and makes possible Christian service and Christian sacrifice.

Dr. Strong proceeds to ask whether either church or society is making any serious attempt to realize these fundamental Christian laws, and he answers in the negative. "To be enthusiastic about the church in its present condition," he says, quoting the words of Professor Bruce, "is impossible." The church has become "a very respectable institution which must be 'sustained.'" It is doing "much to conserve the heritage of the past, but not much to mold the future." Dr. Strong continues: –

"Let us suppose a church somewhere, whose members have such an enthusiasm for humanity that when they lie awake nights they are planning, not how to make money, but how to make men. Their supreme desire is to help the world in general and their own community in particular. They are striving daily to remove every moral and physical evil; trying to give every child who comes into the world the best possible chance; longing and working and praying and spending themselves and their substance to save men from sin and ignorance and suffering. Let us suppose the whole church is co-operating to this end. What a transformation such a church would work in any community! How it would 'reach the masses'! How it would grow! How it would be talked about and written up! Men would make pilgrimages to study its workings and its success. Yet such a church ought not to be in the least degree peculiar. This is simply the picture of a church whose membership is imbued with the social ideal of Jesus, and has taken seriously his social laws of service, sacrifice, and love; and this picture ought to be the likeness of every Christian church in every community. If it were, how many hours would it be before the kingdom would come with blessed fulness?" – Digest.

INEFFECTUAL LABORS AMONG NAVAJO INDIANS.

A Christian minister and his wife who left a Colorado pastorate six and a half years ago to do what they could to civilize and Christianize the Navajo Indians, gives the following report:

"We cannot either civilize or Christianize this tribe of Indians. We are not sure we can accomplish that for a single one of them. We cannot overcome the barriers of ignorance, superstition, barbarian language and physical contour of the country, that in every way prevents practical and effective evangelistic work. We cannot go beyond individual and domestic adaptabilities and limitations, which in so many ways determine our place and our calling.

"What we can do is to wait on God by prayer, believe his Word, follow him wholly, and try at least to prepare the way of the Lord in the hearts of the children, that he entrusts to our care. Perhaps, after a while we can have access to some of the older ones, through the children, or the children may be able to do it, when they have themselves learned the Gospel, and we have passed on to our reward.

"Will not our friends all pray often, that the Word of the Lord may have free course and God be glorified among this poor heathen people? And the work that we do, be wholly unto his pleasing, and the accomplishment of his will?

"We are not so much concerned over the question as to what good we can accomplish here, as we are about our own conformity to God's purposes and methods of work for us, and our appointed part in the fulfilment of his Word. It is his 'counsel that shall stand.' (Isa. 46:11.) He 'has spoken, and he will bring things to pass; He has purposed and he will do it.' If, therefore, we can only know, morning by morning, our place and work and really be co-laborers with him in the fulfilment of his purpose; and if we will honestly and loyally 'walk as Jesus walked,' intent only on pleasing our Father, we shall feel that we have at least approximated the fulfilment of our calling, though to human sight it may seem that we have spent all our strength for nought, and all our labor has been vain."

*                         *                         *

We heartily sympathize with these dear fellow-servants in their disappointment, but believe that their [R3016 : page 166] efforts and labors have not been in vain; – that they themselves have been blessed, because they self-sacrificingly have sought to do the Lord's will – to be co-laborers with him. We trust that they and others like them may soon learn "the way of the Lord more perfectly"; – may soon learn of the Divine plan of the ages. Then they will see that the poor Indians are in no danger of eternal torment; but will in God's "due time" (during the Millennium – I Tim. 2:6) be brought to a knowledge of the truth in a way they cannot bring it to them now. The same great plan of the ages will show them that our Lord Jesus and his apostles did not carry the gospel to the most degraded nations, but to the most intelligent people they could find. And that the gospel is intended now only to select an "elect" or bride class as their Master's joint-heirs in the coming Kingdom – who, jointly with their Lord, shall "bless all the families of the earth." But their labor, honestly tho not wisely spent, shall not be in vain in the Lord. He is speaking now to all such, and they will hear and will know the great Shepherd's voice. [R3017 : page 166]

ROME'S POSITION IN THE COMING CONFLICT.

In accord with the Pope's recent Encyclicals, Roman Catholic newspapers and clergy are seeking to unify all Roman Catholic societies, and to put them on more of a political basis; and are correspondingly opposing Labor societies and especially Socialism. The object evidently is to make every Catholic vote here count for the interests of Rome, as in Europe – only more so, on account of our more liberal laws. A prominent Roman Catholic bishop recently expressed in public the conviction that ere long Catholics will be in practical control of the United States government. Nor was this an idle boast. If the Romanist vote can be controlled solidly by their clerics they could ask almost anything they please of politicians and be sure of getting it, – from one party if refused by another.

We are not to forget either that the Scriptures clearly show that Church influence (Protestantism cooperating with Catholicism) is soon to gain control of Christendom and rule the world with an iron hand. The combining of the Catholics may soon lead to semi-political combinations amongst Protestants – Good Citizenship Leagues, etc., for which Christian Endeavor, Epworth League and similar societies, are preparations. All this is in full accord with the desire now so prevalent to have a Church Trust or combine for the "control" of the world's spiritual interests. All this, as our constant readers well know, we consider part of the evil which the Lord is permitting, and which will result in the complete collapse of present institutions in anarchy; – preparatory to the establishment of the Kingdom of Heaven.

BISHOP QUIGLEY ON SOCIALISM.

As indicating the line of battle outlined, we quote from Bishop Quigley's address as printed in the Catholic Union and Times, Buffalo, N.Y., as follows: –

"As a political party Social-Democracy is a recent importation from continental Europe. Here, as there, its avowed object is the creation of a new order of things totally destructive of the existing social, political, and economic conditions under which we live. The attainment of this new order of things is to be effected by political agitation in the main, but revolutionary and violent methods are freely urged by its leading advocates as soon as the masses shall be sufficiently organized to cope with the powers of capital and class.

"Everywhere this movement is characterized by unbelief, hostility to religion, and above all, uncompromising and bitter hatred and denunciation of the Catholic Church. Its official programs, the platforms of its party conventions, the public utterances of its leading advocates, its newspaper organs and periodicals, breathe hatred and threats against revealed religion, its doctrines and institutions....

"Social-Democracy denies the existence of God, the immortality of the soul, eternal punishment, the right of private ownership, the rightful existence of our present social organization, and the independence of the church as a society complete in itself and founded by God. Therefore no Catholic can become a Social-Democrat. Therefore no Catholic can become a member of a Social-Democratic organization or subscribe for or in any way contribute to the support of a Social-Democratic newspaper organ."

THE REPLY OF SOCIAL-DEMOCRACY.

Under the caption, – "Shall the Church Rule the Labor Movement?" The Worker of New York City says: –

"The bishop's charge is a sweeping one. We now challenge him, as bishop or as honest man, to prove, not the whole, but one-hundredth part of what he has alleged. He can not do it, for it is not true. Our national party platform is printed in this paper; let readers search there for 'hatred, denunciation, and threats' against the Catholic Church or any other. We have in our ranks, not only men holding to the beliefs of Protestant churches, but men belonging to the same communion with Bishop Quigley and wearing the same cloth of priesthood. In the Socialist movement we ask no man his creed. We demand only his faithful adherence to the working class in its battle with the forces of capitalism....

"Bishop Quigley, let us advise you to reconsider your action. Your attack is an unprovoked one, for the Socialist party makes no attack upon you or your church or your beliefs. But if you persist in the attack, let us tell you that there is no organization on earth that can fight as we can. Bismarck has measured strength with us, and failed. Russian czars and French dictators have tried to crush our movement, and they have failed. You will not succeed.

"There is nothing more fearful than the fires of religious prejudice and antagonism. We have sought to let them slumber till they should at last die out. Beware how you stir them up. The people of America are patient and good-natured; they endure much. But at heart – Catholic and Protestant and Jew and Atheist alike – they hold dear the principle of religious liberty and the separation of church and state. Once awake them and it will not be well for him who attacks that principle.

"The Democratic party may be afraid of you, bishop. The Republican party may be afraid of you. But the Socialist party is not afraid of you, because it is right, because it stands for all that is best in American history and in the world's history, and because it knows that, the fiercer your attack, the greater forces will you rally to our side."

[R3017 : page 167]
A PECULIAR ITEM FROM A CATHOLIC JOURNAL.

"How can we describe it so as to make it real! Some day this old earth will be perfect. Sin and wrong, passion and conflict, danger and weakness will be driven away, and only the good and the beautiful things will remain. Some day our powers will be unlimited and we can do just what we purely desire. No mistakes then in reaching the highest ideals! No failures in bringing the noblest sound with musician's finger, or the most glorious scenes from artist's brush! No misunderstandings or misconceptions, no criticisms to cut and hurt; for our work will be perfect. Some day our friendships will be rich and lasting and without disappointment, and heart will touch heart with an enduring love." – Rev. F. W. Tomkins.

WHAT HIGHER CRITICISM HAS DONE.

A writer in the Washington Post, summarizing an article on this subject in the Outlook, says, among other things, of the higher critics' useful (?) work, –

"The divinity of Christ is retained, but in a new sense. He is divine just as all men have that spark of divinity, although not to such a marked degree. His divinity rests not on proof texts of doubtful interpretation, but on the evident manifestation of his whole life.

"The plan of salvation is not founded on a vicarious sacrifice where God bargains to accept the punishment of the innocent for the sins of the guilty. Redemption is the result of repentance, a psychological process thoroughly logical, and in the light of human frailty perfectly adequate.

"Our faith in future life is not less firm, although our conception of immortality is not so clear. The wonders of the hereafter, so vivid to the Indian, who believes in his happy hunting grounds, do not present themselves in a definite form, and this may seem to many a distinct loss. Its compensation is found, however, in the fact that we do not regard the attainment of heaven our only aim in life. Right for right's sake, with the barter element eliminated, cannot be less noble than living up to the best that is in us, with the hope of reward or the fear of punishment continually hanging over us."

*                         *                         *

We can see no reason in the world why any infidel or agnostic in the world should object to Higher Criticism; but we do see every reason in the world why true Christians who trust for salvation in "the precious blood of Christ" should disown all fellowship and brotherhood with such unbelief. Yet some good men as well as many others, have fallen into this error: the only safeguard against it to a reasonable mind is the Divine Plan of the Ages. We must do all in our power to get it into the hands and heads and hearts of such before the error catches them; for those who once get the poison of human philosophy into their hearts, and reject the ransom, are, so far as observation goes, beyond help in the present age.

[R3017 : page 167]

ATTAINING CHRISTIAN LIBERTY.
ACTS 15:22-33. – JUNE 8, 1902. –

"Stand fast, therefore, in the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free." – Gal. 5:1.

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HRISTIAN LIBERTY is to be sharply differentiated from the liberty of license, lawlessness, anarchy; and this lesson furnishes a good illustration of this fact. To the Jews who had been under the Mosaic ritual and its washings, fastings, feasts, new moons, sabbaths and holy days, Christian liberty meant a release from a considerable measure of these institutions, many of which were typical and educational – suited to the "house of servants," but not appropriate to the "house of sons." To the Gentiles, to whom God had never given the Law, and who were therefore not under any of its provisions or conditions or requirements, but who were under certain superstitions, wrong appetites and customs, Christian liberty meant the abrogation of all [R3018 : page 167] wrong customs and superstitions, and, additionally, the imposing of a law; – not the Mosaic Law and its institutions and ceremonies, however, but "the Perfect Law of Liberty;" the "Law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus" – restraints of the will of the flesh, under the law of love. (Jas. 1:25; Rom. 8:2.) We are not to be surprised that both Jews and Gentiles, coming from opposite directions into the Church of Christ and its perfect law of liberty, were somewhat confused and bewildered respecting its requirements and proprieties.

It was nearly twenty years after the day of Pentecost that the conference noted in our lesson took place in Jerusalem. It was held for the purpose of reaching a decision respecting this very subject – the Law of Christ, its bearing upon Gentile converts, and upon Jewish converts – to what extent the Mosaic requirements were abolished as regarded the Jews, and to what extent the Law of Christ put restraints upon the converts from amongst the Gentiles, and to what extent these two classes, previously separated socially and religiously, by the requirements of the Mosaic Law, might now come together with full brotherly fellowship and affinity, without the violation of the consciences of any, and without unnecessary restraint of the liberties of any.

The Church at Antioch had become the center of Christianity amongst the Gentiles, and Jews born in Gentile lands. Its Gentile surroundings, no less than its membership, tended to cultivate in it a broad spirit of Christian liberty; – some of its membership, under the influence of brethren who had come from Jerusalem, feared that it had gone too far in the matter of Christian liberty, and held that Gentiles, upon accepting Christ through faith, should likewise accept Judaism and the Mosaic Law, and come as fully under the conditions of these, including circumcision, as tho they had been born Jews. Certain brethren who had recently arrived from Jerusalem accentuated these fears, and as a result there was quite a dissension in the Antioch Church, amounting, as the Greek word shows, almost to a schism, a split. But the right spirit evidently prevailed; because, instead of splitting over a vexed question, each party respected the conscientious convictions of the other, and it was wisely determined to appeal the matter to the Church at Jerusalem for such words of counsel and advice as its leaders, the apostles and elders, should see fit to give. The Antioch brethren evidently had full confidence that God had appointed the apostles, and that their conclusion on the matter would ultimately be the correct one. At the same time, knowing that the brethren at Jerusalem were surrounded by the Judaizing [R3018 : page 168] influence, tending rather to narrowness of view as respected the Mosaic customs, they sent their two leading representatives, Paul and Barnabas, to present before the Jerusalem Council the views which seemed to the majority of the Church to be the correct ones, – that thus the entire subject might be fully, fairly, thoroughly investigated, and the mind of the Lord determined as accurately as possible.

This was a beautiful spirit – the right spirit; far more commendable in God's sight and in the judgment of sound-minded men than any immoderate course they could have taken. People who take the immoderate course are generally those who do not have sufficient faith in the Lord as the real Head of the Church, and in his overruling providence in the affairs of those who are seeking to know and to do his will; – they are generally those who feel too much self-assurance, as did even the meek Moses, when he erred in smiting the rock in the wilderness the second time saying: "Ye rebels, must we fetch you water out of this rock?" – Num. 20:10.

The truth has nothing to lose by fairness, openness, and a reasonable moderation and the turning on of all light obtainable. And while the Church at Antioch evidently had great confidence in Paul and Barnabas, they properly also had great confidence and respect for the apostles at Jerusalem, and reasoned that since these men all gave evidence that they were truly the Lord's special servants and mouthpieces, it would be strange indeed if meeting together and hearing all that could be said on both sides of the question, they could not arrive at a unanimous decision respecting the Lord's will, that would assure the Church in general. We commend this noble principle which is as applicable now as it was then. Today, however, as we cannot refer questions to the living Apostles, we must refer them to the recorded teaching of our Lord and the apostles, – seeking assistance in this amongst the brethren who appear to have the best knowledge of God's Word and the greatest insight into the divine plan.

EN ROUTE TO THE JEWISH CONFERENCE.

The journey from Antioch to Jerusalem brought Paul and Barnabas in contact with many of the household of faith, a few, here and there, in almost every city through which they passed. Of course, the brethren were glad to hear, as these ex-missionaries were glad to tell them, of God's favors upon their missionary labors in Galatia and vicinity; and altho the brethren reached were almost exclusively Jewish converts, it is with pleasure we read that the report "caused great joy unto all the brethren." (Acts 15:3.) This shows that they had the true Christian spirit – that they had largely, if not completely, lost the Jewish prejudice and jealousy, as concerned the giving of the gospel to the Gentiles. It shows us that with the majority of the previously Jewish brethren the contention for the Mosaic Law and ceremonies implied no opposition to the Gentiles themselves, but merely a confusion of mind concerning the Lord's will on these subjects; – they had not yet discerned the lengths and breadths and heights and depths of the divine plan, as they subsequently learned these, and came to appreciate the perfect Law of Liberty wherewith Christ make free indeed, in the true sense, all who become truly his.

Arrived at Jerusalem, the representatives of the Antioch congregation were met with a hearty welcome, for such is the significance of the Greek word rendered "received," in verse 4. As they had given to the others en route, so the returned missionaries gave the Jerusalem brethren detailed accounts of the Lord's blessing upon their journey, telling what miracles and wonders he had wrought, that a considerable number had believed, and how loyal, faithful and enduring were some of these newly-found brethren in Christ, who had previously been aliens, strangers, Gentiles.

There is some reason for believing that previous to this Paul and Barnabas and Titus had made a visit to Jerusalem, in which they did not, as now, appear publicly before the congregation to give their testimonies, but had secret conferences with the apostles and chief brethren, Paul explaining to them what he understood to be the perfect Law of Liberty under the New Covenant – the will and plan of God regarding the gospel amongst the Gentiles. It would appear that the apostles had been largely influenced by those presentations, altho they had not uttered any public testimony on the subject, nor engaged in any manner in the missionary work amongst the Gentiles. Apparently they had not considered it necessary to stir up the subject to any extent, and thus possibly to breed more or less of strife amongst the Jewish converts. Thus the subject had been left for some years for gradual development and enlargement of heart and mind on the part of the believers. This thought is based upon the Apostle Paul's statement in his letter to the Galatians, on this subject. – Gal. 2.

But now the question of receiving Gentiles, and how they should be treated, and what were their obligations, etc., came up in a natural way, without forcing – rather, it forced itself for decision. The apostles and elders heard the reports of God's blessing upon the Gentiles, and offered no objection, evidently being quite in accord with the matter from the first; but, as was to be expected, there was dissatisfaction amongst brethren who previously had been Pharisees. This sect of the Jews was firmly set, not only for the Law of Moses and all of its ceremonies, but also for many additions and accretions to it; so that they were quite dissatisfied, we remember, with our Lord's observance of the Law, which we know was perfect. These, in all honesty, objected that the missionaries were too lax, too slack in their work, and that all believers should be required to be circumcised and to keep the Mosaic laws respecting fasts, new moons, sabbath days, washings, etc.

Thus the question was brought forward, and a special meeting was appointed, at which the apostles and elders heard all that was to be said on the subject, – and we read that there was "much dispute." We do not want to say a word in favor of disputes, wrangling, etc., amongst the Lord's people. On the contrary, we understand the Scriptures to teach that wranglings in general are improper, out of order, injurious to the interests of the Church and of the truth; – because such wranglings and disputes are generally about things to no profit, but to the subverting or unsettling of the believers, and especially of those who [R3018 : page 169] are new or weak in the faith. But it is a different matter when the question is an important one, as was this under discussion; and at such a time dispute, in the proper manner, with the spirit of love, with force and yet with kindness, love and gentleness of word and manner, is most appropriate.

We rejoice that there was such a spirit of broadmindedness in the early Church as is represented by this statement – we rejoice that when an important subject was to be considered, with a view to knowing the mind of the Lord, that there was fullest liberty granted for as much dispute or debate, in a proper manner, as was necessary to bring the whole subject before those who had it under consideration. There is a difference, however, between disputes and discussions inside the pale of faith and disputes outside [R3019 : page 169] that boundary. As the Apostle says, "He that is weak in the faith receive ye [do not reject him because he has not such full, strong, vigorous faith as we should like to see], but not to doubtful disputations" – do not receive him to dispute his doubts, – what he does not believe. Let him have a full opportunity for hearing the faith discussed; if his doubts do not then disappear probably he himself will disappear, – drop out of the assembly. In harmony with this we are not to recognize disputes respecting the foundation principles of the gospel of Christ. The Church is composed only of those who recognize the foundation – that Christ died for our sins, for our redemption from sin and from its penalty; and that all who would share his blessing must accept these simple facts of his death for us and his resurrection by the power of God for our ultimate deliverance; – and then in harmony with their desire to be his disciples they must make a consecration of themselves to him, to do his will and to serve his cause. These foundation principles of the Church of Christ are not subject to dispute. Those who reject these are not of the Church and should not be heard in the Church. They are intruders; doubtless wolves in sheep's clothing, of evil and not of good intentions and ultimate results.

But as respects discussions amongst those who are truly the Lord's on any point of importance, – opportunity for freedom of discussion, within reasonable limits, is absolutely necessary to spiritual health and progress. To shut it off means to crush proper activities of thought, and in many instances means to accumulate a force which would ultimately result in an explosion, which would be damaging in some respects at least. Let us remember, in this matter, the Golden Rule; and let us accord to others differing from us the same reasonable liberty, inside the boundaries of foundation principles, that we would like to have them accord to us, if our positions were reversed.

The fact that the question at issue was – the obligation of Gentile converts to the Law, is not to be understood as signifying that the Law of Moses was recognized as being of binding force upon Jewish converts. All were bound to concede that the Law-Covenant had saved none – that Christ's fulfilment of it brought all under divine grace. It was more a question of usage – the Jews were used to circumcision which preceded the Law, used to abstaining from pork, not only merely because the Law forbade it, but because aside from the Law they considered it unclean. What the Jew did in the exercise of his liberty he thought the Gentile should be forced to do; – a very common error with many. It requires development to learn to use our consciences and liberty and to let others use theirs, even tho they differ.

When a fair hearing had been granted to both sides of the question, Peter, one of the leading apostles, and doubtless the eldest, rehearsed his experiences with Cornelius; then Paul and Barnabas were heard, and James closed the discussion. All upheld the teachings and practices of Paul and Barnabas, and cited the leadings of the Lord's spirit, as well as the prophecies of the Old Testament in corroboration of this position which, doubtless, as above suggested, they had held tentatively for some time, tho they only now thought it necessary to make a public statement regarding it. The conclusion was satisfactory to the apostles and elders and the whole Church; and an answer in harmony with this was sent to the friends at Antioch, Syria, and throughout Silicia – the regions which had been affected by the Judaizing teachers. It is here that the lesson proper begins.

To give weight to the letter, two of the prominent brethren of Jerusalem were sent with Paul and Barnabas and the letter, that they might confirm the letter orally, and thus establish the hearts of those who had been somewhat troubled by the false teachings. The letter first disclaims any authority for those persons who had, however honestly intentioned, taught error with truth, and confused the hearts of the believers on the subject of circumcision and the Law. It states also the conclusions of the conference, and commends Barnabas and Paul, calling them "beloved," and noting the fact that they had hazarded their lives in the Lord's cause. The decision rendered is expressed as being the mind of "the holy spirit and us." We may reasonably presume that the meaning of this is that the Church not only found the teachings of the Scripture and the leadings of the divine providence to be in favor of the acceptance of the Gentiles to Christian liberty, without becoming Jews or coming under the Law, but that this finding of the Lord's will was not against the wishes or prejudices of the apostles and elders at Jerusalem; – that it found a ready echo, a hearty response in their hearts.

RECOMMENDATION RESPECTING OUTWARD CONDUCT.

God's dealings and instructions commended themselves both to their hearts and to their reasons, and covered four points. (1) Abstaining from meats offered to idols, which might appear to be giving sanction to idol worship. (2) Abstaining from the eating of the blood of animals. (3) Abstaining from eating things that had been strangled, in which the blood would remain, which would imply the eating of blood. (4) The avoidance of fornication.

In considering these rules we are to keep in memory the circumstances and conditions of the times, and the objects sought to be attained. (1) The idol worship which prevailed at that time had connected with it a great deal of sensuality, which would be contrary to the spirit of Christ in every sense of the word. (2) The object was to permit a ground of fellowship and brotherhood between those whose previous experiences and instructions had been lax, and those whose previous instructions had been rigid. And the things here required of the Gentiles were not [R3019 : page 170] merely features of the Mosaic Law, for the forbidding of the use of blood, and the explanation that it represented the life, was given long previous to Moses' day – to Noah after the flood, when he and his posterity were granted the privilege of eating meat, because of the changed conditions and the impoverishment of the race, and the need of more stimulating food. The use of blood was still more common then than now, being used not only in blood puddings, but also as a drink mixed with wine, as some today use beef extract blended with wine.

The message was received in faith by all, and caused universal rejoicing in the Church. There was a general recognition of the Lord's providential care in the Church's affairs, and this faith and confidence in God prepared all parties to receive the message on this subject, which they believed God would assuredly give them, and which they had rightly looked for through the channels which God had previously been using for their blessing and edification. Thus we have a lesson respecting the proper course of the Lord's dear people today, – not to carry disputes, even on important matters (not fundamental) to the length of rupture, division, but, with hearts anxious to know and to obey the truth, inquiry should be made of the oracles of God, and the results, after a fair hearing of all the testimony, should be conclusive, satisfactory, and bring consolation – peace and joy – so that the unity of the faith in the bonds of love may continue within the walls of Zion.

The two brethren who came as representatives of the Jerusalem Church were prophets, or public teachers, and, as was intended, they exhorted the Church in harmony with the letter they bore, and confirmed and strengthened them. Thus what might have been a serious rupture, resulting in much damage and in many roots of bitterness, antagonisms, etc., became really a means of increased blessing to all connected therewith, because wisely and properly handled. May such occasions be likewise treated by the Lord's people today, and with similar blessed results, under the guidance of the same Lord and Master who more than eighteen centuries ago guided by his Word and spirit.

THE LIBERTY WHEREWITH CHRIST HAS MADE US FREE.

Our Golden Text is a precious one. The value of true liberty amongst the Lord's people cannot be overestimated. It becomes a part of their very life. It was because, under a wrong conception of union, this spirit of true liberty was crushed out of the Church shortly after the apostles fell asleep in death that the "dark ages" resulted, – with all their ignorance, superstition, blindness, persecution, etc. The Reformation movement of the sixteenth century was but a re-awakening of the spirit of liberty mentioned in our text, – liberty to think inside the foundation lines of the doctrines of Christ; – liberty to believe as much or as little more, in harmony with this, as the mental conditions and circumstances will permit, without being branded as a heretic or persecuted by brethren, either in word or deed.

Strange to say, a peculiar combination – of too much liberty and too little liberty – is creeping over nominal Christendom today. The too little liberty feature objects to any discussion of the doctrines of Christ, and the teachings of the apostles, for fear some differences of opinion should be manifested. This is an endeavor to have an outward "union" without a union of the heart and a union of the head. It is injurious, both to those who hold the error, which cannot be exposed, and injurious also to those who hold the truth and who permit themselves thus to be bound, and hindered from growth in grace and knowledge by the proper exercise of the liberties wherewith Christ has made his people free. The general trend along this line favors the covering over, the concealment, of truths as well as errors, in a wrong assumption that the appearance of union will serve the purpose of real union, and be really effective as respects the prosperity of the true members of the body of Christ. [R3020 : page 170] Such a false union, however, is coming and will be effected, and to such extent cause prosperity in the nominal church, but only for a brief season, when the time of trouble shall overwhelm all.

On the other hand the too great liberty which we see drawing on, is that represented by the teachings of the higher critics and evolutionists. Their teachings are given in quiet, in the theological seminaries, at the fireside, in the daily interchanges, and in the pulpit; and any attempt to contradict these false doctrines is tabooed, as being calculated to stir up strife, and destroy the unity of the Church. Thus the too great liberty and the too great bondage are working together in the nominal church systems today, to thoroughly expel and ostracize the truth, and all who love it and wish to stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ has made them free. It is calculated to install and multiply and qualify and honor the error, which so rapidly is gaining control, altho the control be generally denied. Let all who are the Lord's people, and who have tasted of the liberty wherewith Christ makes free, see to it that they stand fast in that liberty, and as soon as an attempt is made to restrain it, if not sooner, let them get out completely from all the bondages of human systems, that they may stand firmly and loyally with the Lord, our Redeemer, our Instructor, our King.

The question may arise, Does this direction to abstain from meat offered to idols conflict with the Apostles' later teachings addressed to the Corinthians? (I Cor. 8.) We answer, No. The Apostle is not advocating the eating of meat previously offered to idols; but on the contrary, is answering some who so practiced. He is admitting the logic of their argument, that an idol being nothing but so much wood or metal or stone the meat could be neither benefited nor injured by the offering. But he shows that the restriction should be practiced in the interest of some of less logical mind who would be unable to comprehend this and who would thus be led to defile their consciences, and thus into sin; – which might abound more and more, eventually, to their destruction. For the voice of conscience must be obeyed: it is at our peril that it is violated – no matter how erroneous and superstitious may be its standards. Let conscience be educated; but let its ignorance never be violated. Every violation of conscience is so much of character destruction. All need to remember this in respect to their own consciences as well as in dealing with others – especially with children.

[R3020 : page 171]

ABIDING IN DIVINE LOVE, CONDITIONAL.

"If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love; even as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love." – John 15:10.

S
INCE ALL MANKIND are alienated from their Creator through sin and its condemnation, the application of the text by any individual implies that previously he has come to a knowledge of God's grace in Christ, and has accepted his share of the same through faith and has thus had access to the love of God, as one of the sons of God, begotten by the holy spirit. This is an important matter overlooked by very many who think to keep themselves in divine love and under divine protecting care without first complying with the conditions of admission to membership in the Lord's family. There is but one doorway of entrance "into this grace wherein we stand and [as sons of God] rejoice in the hope of the coming glory," and that is the doorway of faith in and acceptance of the atonement, accomplished for us by our Redeemer at the cost of his own sacrifice at Calvary. Anyone attempting to climb into the family of God otherwise "the same is a thief and a robber" – a rejector of the only way and name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved. – Rom. 5:1,2; Acts 4:12.

But our text, like all of the holy Scriptures, is addressed to the Lord's people, who once were "children of wrath even as others," but have come into divine favor through the appointed way; and it calls our attention to something that is necessary to us beyond, after our full conversion or consecration to the Lord. It implies that getting into God's love is by no means the end of the Christian way, but merely the beginning of it: after we are in the way the Lord gives us commandments as his sons, and expects us to manifest the spirit of loyal sonship by obedience; – full obedience so far as the heart or intention is concerned, and as complete obedience as possible so far as the control of the flesh is concerned. Whoever neglects either to learn or to obey the commandments of the Lord, thereby manifests a lack of the true spirit of sonship, and thus condemns himself as unworthy to be longer reckoned or treated as a son of God. Thus seen the commandments of the Lord to those who have consecrated themselves and enter his spirit-begotten family, are tests, proving them either worthy or unworthy of the divine favors and promises assured to the faithful overcomers.

The object of these tests is manifest from the time we come to understand the divine plan of the ages – to comprehend how the Lord is now making selection of a royal priesthood to be joint-heirs with Christ the great King, and to join in the work of succoring, ruling, blessing and uplifting the world of mankind in God's due time, the world's "day of judgment," the Millennial age. We can readily see that divine law is necessary, in heaven and in earth, in order that God's will may be done – that righteousness, truth and love shall prevail; and it is manifest that whoever is not sufficiently in sympathy with the principles of righteousness expressed in the Lord's commandments, so as to will and to strive to obey them, would not be a fit person to be used of the Lord in enforcing the divine laws during the Millennial age, and assisting mankind in discerning their righteousness and the blessing which will follow their observance.

WHAT ARE THESE COMMANDMENTS?

Properly, we inquire, What are these commandments, the keeping of which is attended with such momentous results, and the neglect of which would mean the loss of our Redeemer's love and favor, – and hence, the loss of all the blessings specially prepared for those who love him? We answer, that our Lord's statement of these commandments briefly comprehends them all in one word, Love. Dividing the matter, we find that it has two parts – love for God and love for our fellows. Without this quality or characteristic, of Love, being so developed in us as to be the controlling influence of our minds, we cannot hope to abide in the Lord's favor. True, he does not expect to gather ripe grapes from the new vineshoot when first it makes its appearance; rather, the great Husbandman (I Cor. 3:9) waits for the gradual development of the fruit, if after the shoot has come forth he sees upon it the bud of promise, which quickly develops, manifesting itself as the flower of the grapes. Nevertheless, manifestations of a coming fruitage of love are expected of the Lord, quickly after our union with him; and any smallness of development of this fruitage would indicate a corresponding lack of love and appreciation on our part, and would mean correspondingly small love for the truth and its principles: hence, the Lord's love for us would be correspondingly less than if more rapid progress were made.

Love would, necessarily mean the according of justice; because the law or requirements of the Lord are based upon justice, "the foundation of his throne." We are to view the commandments of the Lord from this standpoint, therefore, and to see first that our love for God is just, – must recognize that we owe him love, devotion, appreciation, because of what he has done and promises yet to do for us. Justice calls for our loving, reverential obedience to the Lord. It is the same with respect to our love for our fellowmen. Justice, as well as respect for our Heavenly Father's regulations, calls on us to do right to our neighbor, – to do toward him as we would have him do toward us. This is not more than absolute justice, and yet it is the very essence and spirit of the divine law of love. But while justice is the first feature of the commandment of love, it is not the end of its requirements: it requires that going beyond strict justice, our love shall prompt us to the exercise of mercy and forgiveness. And in thus exercising mercy, we are again but copying divine love; for our Heavenly Father not only deals with all his creatures according to justice but going beyond the lines of justice, in great compassion and mercy he provided in Christ Jesus a Redeemer for sinners. True, he did not provide this in violation of his justice; yet so far as we are concerned it is just the same as though, out of love and compassion, he had overridden justice in our assistance. Hence in our dealings with others, who like ourselves, are fallen and imperfect, we are to remember this feature and not only be just toward them but additionally to be merciful, generous, kind, even to the unthankful, – that thus we may be children of our Father in heaven. [R3021 : page 172]

The Lord through the Prophet expresses this thought of how the law of love is divisible and covers all the requirements of Christian character; he says, "What doth the Lord require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?" (Micah 6:8.) That these are very reasonable requirements will be conceded by all; that God could not require less from those whom he is educating for the future judging of the world, is evident: and, yet, all three of these qualities specified through the Prophet, are comprehended in the one word love. Love requires that we shall deal justly with our neighbors, with the brethren, with our families, with ourselves; that we shall seek to cultivate our appreciation of the rights of others, – their physical rights, their moral and intellectual rights, their liberties; and that, appreciating these, we shall in no sense of the word, seek to abridge or deny them.

To "love mercy" is to go even beyond loving justice, and signifies a delight in yielding personal rights and privileges in the interest of others, where no principles are involved. It implies readiness to forgive the faults of others – a disinclination to be too exacting in respect to others, as well as a desire to be very exacting in respect to our treatment of others. The humble walk with God is included, also, in the commandment of love; because, whoever loves his Creator and appreciates his provisions for his creatures, in natural and in spiritual things, will love and appreciate God in return. And having such a proper conception of the greatness of the Almighty and of his own littleness and insufficiency, except by divine grace, he will be disposed indeed, to walk humbly with the Lord – not seeking paths of his own, but, trustingly, seeking to walk in the path which the Lord has marked out – in the footsteps of Jesus.

The same Apostle John who recorded our Lord's words of our text, commented further upon this subject of the love of God and of Christ, saying, "This is the love of God [i.e., proves or demonstrates our love of God], that we keep his commandments, and his commandments are not grievous." (I John 5:3.) This gives us the suggestion that the Lord not only expects us to keep his commandments of love to him and to the brethren, but that he expects also that in keeping these we should become so filled with an appreciation of the commandments and the principles that underlie them, that we would delight therein; not merely because they are God's commandments, but, additionally, because they are right, good, proper. This thought the Apostle expresses in the words, "And his commandments are not grievous." It is one thing to keep the divine commands or to seek to do so, all the while feeling more or less of restraint, lack of liberty, compulsion, duty, etc.; it is another thing to obey joyfully.

It is not improper to expect something of this spirit at the beginning of our experience as the Lord's people, seeking to keep his commandments; but we should expect, also, that as we grow in grace and grow in knowledge and grow in love, all these feelings of constraint, duty, etc., would disappear; so that, instead, we should delight to do the Lord's will, delight to keep his commandments of love, delight to do justly, to love mercy, to walk humbly with God, – and that there should be a total absence of the feeling that the Lord's commandments are grievous, burdensome, irksome. This is the higher Christian development, and can only be found where the individual has become truly "a copy of God's dear Son," where the Father's spirit has developed and brought forth the ripe fruits of the spirit in abundant measure – meekness, patience, gentleness, brotherly kindness, love.

Recurring to our text, we note that our Lord's words also imply the same thing; – the necessity for obedience to the commandments of love, and to such a growth ultimately as would separate them from any feeling of bondage or grievousness. Our Lord's words, showing this, are in the latter part of the text – "even as I have kept my Father's commandments and abide in his love."

As we look back at the beautiful character of our Lord Jesus and see his love for righteousness, for truth, and his willingness to be obedient to his Father's arrangements – even unto death – we can perceive readily that our dear Master had a love for the principles which lie back of the Father's commandments. He obeyed the Father, not through restraint, not through fear, but from a perfect love. Recognizing the Father's commandments, but not as being grievous, using the language put by the Prophet into his mouth, his sentiment was, "I delight to do thy will, O my God, thy law is in my heart." (Psalm 40:8.) We are to understand the Lord, therefore, to mean, that in order to abide in his love we must reach such a heart condition as this which he had; – a love for the Father's ways, for the principles of righteousness and truth. We may abide in his love at first under other conditions, feeling through our love the restraints of his commandment of love, but as we grow in knowledge, we must grow in grace, and outgrow those sentiments, and grow up into the Lord's spirit and sentiment in this matter; so that obedience to the Lord will be the delight of our hearts, and any failure to do his will would cause a pain, a shadow, an earth-born cloud, to hide us from the Father's smile.

Seeing the depths of our Lord's requirements, many will be inclined to say, Ah, yes, it is true that we must attain to such character-likeness of our Lord, but that transformation and renewing of the mind is not our part of the work but the Lord's: He must do this for us, else it will never be done. Partly right and partly wrong, we answer. It is true that when we consider ourselves, how weak and imperfect we are according to the old nature, according to the flesh, we have good cause for despairing and deciding that we never could accomplish such a great transformation from selfishness to love, in our own strength. It is true, also, that the Lord proposes to work in us – "both to will and to do of his good pleasure." (Phil. 2:13.) But it is just as true that we have a burden of responsibility in respect to this matter of overcoming. It is the Lord's part to provide the way, the truth, the life, – the means by which we may attain unto the condition to which he has called us; but it is our part to use the means and thus to attain the prize.

The Lord has provided for our justification, our reconciliation to himself, our acceptance to sonship, our anointing with the holy spirit, our instructions [R3021 : page 173] with the word of his grace, the word of promise: He works in us, to will and to do, through these exceeding great and precious promises and the glorious prospects and rewards that attach to them; but the amount that he will work in us and the results that will be worked out through these promises, depend upon us. As it depended upon us whether or not we would come into the grace which he has provided for us, and as we could have kept ourselves out of the love of God by refusing or neglecting the offer of his mercy and love, so we could neglect the word of his promise, neglect the various means of grace which he provides for our strengthening, establishing and upbuilding in the knowledge and grace of the truth. And thus neglecting his provisions we would proportionately fail to abide in his love – fail to obtain the promised favors. The Apostle intimates this, saying: –

"KEEP YOURSELVES IN THE LOVE OF GOD." – JUDE 21.

What, then is the essence of what we have foregoing found to be the divine instruction upon this subject? It is this.

(1) Our hearts from the very beginning are to appreciate the imperfections of our own flesh and to look away to the Lord for the needed assistance to abide in his love.

(2) The exceeding great and precious promises must be studied, earnestly, that we may thus have them constitute in us "the power of God" for good – keeping us in the knowledge of the Lord and, through obedience, in his love.

(3) This knowledge will profit us only as we put it in practice and seek to regulate our minds, our thoughts, our words, and so far as possible all our actions of life, according to this standard which God through his Word, established before us as an ideal. We are to remember that if we had all knowledge yet had not love, it would profit us nothing, but we are to remember, also, that in the divine arrangement it seems to be impossible that our knowledge should progress much in advance of our obedience to what we already know.

(4) We are to appreciate every evidence which we find, in ourselves or others, of such growth in obedience to the law of God, – the law of love with its connections of justice and mercy and reverence.

(5) We are not to expect the full results of joy in doing the Father's will in the beginning of our experiences, nor are we to feel discouraged if in the beginning the motive be, to a considerable extent, duty-love instead of a love for principles. We are to seek at the Lord's hand further blessing and further filling of his spirit of love. We are to seek to study and to appreciate the basic principles upon which the Lord governs the universe, and are to seek to bring our hearts into sympathetic accord with that law and principle and spirit of righteousness. We are to remember that much of our lack of appreciation of the principles of righteousness is due to our ignorance; and we are to expect that as we come to know the Lord and to understand his plan better, the eyes of our understanding will open the wider so that it will be possible for us not only "to comprehend with all saints," but to appreciate with all saints, the principles underlying and constituting the divine law of love.

Thus we may daily and hourly keep ourselves in the Lord's love by obedience to, and a growing love for, the principles of righteousness. And we are to rejoice in every experience in life, – its trials, difficulties, sorrows, disappointments, etc., no less than in its pleasures, if by any or all of these means the Lord shall instruct us and give us clearer insight into our own deficiencies, and a still clearer insight into that perfect law of liberty and love which he has established, and to which he requires our full and loyal heart-submission.

[R3022 : page 173]

GOD'S SUPERVISION OF HIS PEOPLE AND HIS MESSAGE.
ACTS 16:6-15. – JUNE 15. –

"Thou shalt be his witness unto all men." – Acts 22:15.

F
OR HIS SECOND missionary tour Paul chose Silas for a companion. The original plan was that he and Barnabas should go together again, but they disagreed respecting the suitability of Mark to be their companion. The result was a division of the work, Barnabas taking Mark, and revisiting the brethren in the Island of Cyprus, while Paul went overland to the churches of Galatia, probably visiting en route his home city of Tarsus. Apparently Silas, whose home was at Jerusalem, found it necessary to go there to close up his affairs, before starting on the tour, and joined Paul later in Asia Minor. This inference is based upon the fact that Luke, the historian, says "he" instead of "they," at the beginning of Paul's journey; then uses the word "they" after Paul had been joined by Silas and Timothy at Lystra, and finally uses the word "we" when he would include himself; – Luke probably joining the company at Troas.

The apostle's journeys amongst the churches of Asia Minor, planted in his previous tour, was for the purpose of their encouragement, strengthening, advancement in knowledge, and incitement to growth in grace. Doubtless also the Apostle experienced refreshment from contact with these fruits of his labor. At Lystra he found that the grace of God and the knowledge of the Gospel had reached a considerable development in a young man, probably about twenty-one years of age, named Timothy, whose father had been a Greek and his mother a Jewess, – the latter at this time, according to the Greek text, apparently a widow.

Although devoutly raised, Timothy had never been circumcised according to Jewish regulations, and when it was determined that he should accompany Paul in his missionary work the latter caused him to be circumcised. To some this has seemed strangely inconsistent, in view of the fact that the Apostle at the same time was calling to the attention of the Christian brethren wherever he went the decision of the Council of Apostles at Jerusalem – to the effect that circumcision was not necessary to Christian brotherhood. We are reminded also that the Apostle would not consent to the circumcision of Titus, who was a Gentile. (Gal. 2:3.) In view of these things, why did he countenance the circumcision of Timothy? We [R3022 : page 174] answer that, properly understood, the Apostle's conduct was thoroughly consistent; circumcision was no part of the Mosaic Law, but was instituted with Abraham, centuries previous, and was intended as a mark or sign upon all the children of Abraham. The council at Jerusalem did not decide that no Jew must be circumcised thenceforth; but it did decide that circumcision should not be considered necessary to a Christian. The Apostle Paul's own argument on this subject is most specific: he says, "In Jesus Christ neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision; but faith which worketh by love. – Gal. 5:6.

The thought is, that being children of Abraham, according to the flesh, is not sufficient to make us new creatures in Christ Jesus; and therefore circumcision of the flesh will not accomplish this. As the new creature is received of God as a member of the body of Christ through a living faith, he must as a new creature have the circumcision of the heart, in order to be a Spiritual Israelite, whether he was previously a Jew or a Gentile. Circumcision of the heart signifies a cutting off – a separation from the flesh, its aims, hopes, desires, etc. We see, then, that there could be no objection to the circumcision of Timothy – it would neither help nor hinder him spiritually, – if done with the clear understanding that it was only a figure, and not the real circumcision which constituted Timothy a member of the body of Christ, the Church. Timothy's mother being a Jew, he was a Jew, – even tho his father had been a Greek. And this fact becoming known to Jews in general with whom in traveling they would come in contact, inquiry might be made as to whether or not he had been circumcised. If the answer were No, the implication would be that he had never been a good Jew but a renegade. If the answer were Yes, it would remove this obstacle and grant him correspondingly greater influence with them – a closer access to their hearts.

If there was one thing more than another characteristic of the Apostle Paul it was his honesty, his candor; and it is necessary that we should see his conduct in respect to Timothy and Titus in the proper light, in order to do him justice; – in order also to counteract a compromise spirit in some who consider that Paul's course in this matter justifies them in duplicity and compromising. It was in this perfectly legitimate way that Paul meant, "Unto the Jews I became as a Jew, that I might gain the Jews." (I Cor. 9:20.) That he had no thought of compromising the truth in any degree, is evident from his withstanding of Peter on one occasion, when the latter to some extent dissembled in dealing with Jew and Gentile believers. (Gal. 2:11.) This is manifest also in his letter to the Galatians, in which he most positively declares to those who had been Gentiles, that to them circumcision was not an optional matter as with the Jew; but that if they should become circumcised it would imply that they were not trusting wholly to the merit of Christ's sacrifice for their acceptance with God, their salvation; but were trusting partially to laws and ceremonies. His words to them are, "If ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing.... Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the Law: ye are fallen from grace." (Gal. 5:2-4.) Let us likewise clearly distinguish between concessions in respect to forms, dress, ceremony, etc., which may properly be made to the prejudice or ignorance of those about us, and concessions of principles, which are not permissible to anyone under any circumstances.

The journey through Galatia and Phrygia having been accomplished, the next question was respecting future labors, – other fields. The Apostle's intention was to "go into [lesser] Asia" – the region in which subsequently the seven Churches of Asia were located. But for some reason this was not the Lord's plan at this time; and so we read that they were prevented or forbidden (whichever way the word might be translated) to preach the Word there. We are neither informed why nor how. The Lord possibly had some other agent or better means or more favorable time for sending the word of his grace into that quarter, as well as some other work for Paul and his company. As soon as the missionaries discerned the Lord's leading in this respect they turned their attention northward, to go into the province of Bythinia; but again the Lord's spirit, power, influence, hindered their proposed plans. So they passed onward to the coast – to Troas – doubtless wondering at the Lord's providences, and speculating as to whether or not this meant that their work for the present was accomplished, and that they should return homeward. It was at this juncture that the Lord instructed them respecting their journey, by means of a vision or dream, in which Paul saw a man dressed in the garb of Macedonia, standing before him, and beseeching him, saying, "Come over into Macedonia and help us!"

In these verses we have three positive, distinct statements, showing the Lord's supervision of his cause and of his servants. And when we remember that our God changes not, that he is the same yesterday, today and forever, it gives us assurance that he is still careful and interested as ever in his work, and in the affairs of all his servants. It gives us assurance that the harvest work in the end of this age is not going haphazard, as it extends hither and thither from one to another, by letter, by tract, by book, by word, to the uttermost parts of the earth. What a comfort there is for the Lord's people in this! How completely overwhelmed we would be if we were to lose sight of this fact, and feel the weight and burden of the responsibility of the work pressing us down! In proportion as we are able to exercise faith, trust in the Lord in regard to the work, in that same proportion are we enabled to joy in the Lord and to possess the peace of God which passeth all understanding; – and to have it ruling in our hearts, controlling our lives and keeping us balanced, not only regarding the things of this present time, but also concerning the glorious outcome, – things to come.

This faith is largely a matter of education, too; for instance, as we observe the Lord's providential care, as taught us in this lesson and other lessons from his Word, we are more and more enabled to apply the same care and the same promises to ourselves. Nothing will calm our fears more than this, and enable us to be strong in the Lord and in the power of his might; and in our confidence that he will ultimately bring off his work victorious. "This is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith." "Lord, increase our faith." The Apostle's confidence in the Lord's supervision of his work enabled him to read the lessons [R3022 : page 175] of his time, and to act accordingly with full faith respecting the results. The Lord could have directed him otherwise, and could direct us also otherwise than as he does – could speak to us audibly, if he chose. We are, therefore, to presume that it is for some wise purpose as concerns the development of our faith that he requires his followers to walk by faith, – not by sight and sound.

As soon as the Lord's guidance was recognized no time was lost, and matters in general seemed to co-operate for the journey of the missionaries into Macedonia. They went direct to Philippi, the principal city in that vicinity. Apparently they found no Jewish synagogue there, but outside the place they found a spot on the river bank where services were customarily held. This place is supposed to have been a temporary shed, such as, it would appear, was not [R3023 : page 175] unusual where the numbers were insufficient to erect a synagogue. It is possible, too, that this city, being directly under the Roman government, prohibited synagogues within its walls.

We note the course of the apostles here, in the presentation of the gospel. They did not go to the chief magistrates of the city, and say, Please direct us to your most degraded population, the wickedest people you have in this city, for we wish to preach the gospel to them and reform them. On the contrary, they evidently made inquiries respecting people who already knew God, and reverenced and worshiped him; and however small their number and unimposing their meeting place, thither the Apostle and his companions went. He knew, as many at the present time seem not to know, that God's work now is not that of reforming the world, is not a "slum work," but a seeking and gathering of the "jewels;" – a mission for those who are hungering and thirsting after righteousness; – a hunt for those whose hearts are tender and broken, and therefore ready for the balm of Gilead, the gospel message of redemption and deliverance from sin and its penalty. Whatever others may do, let us follow the Scriptural precedents – let us be laborers together with God in his work; the results will justify this course, when this age shall have fully ended, and the things now hidden to so many shall be revealed, and they shall learn that God's ways were not their ways, nor his plans their plans, but that his were higher, broader, grander, as the heavens are higher than the earth – that his time for the reformation of the world is future, and that the present is his time for selecting the Kingdom class which shall bring about this reformation.

The text of the Apostle's discourse is not given. We know, nevertheless, quite distinctly what his message was. He had only the one message; viz., that God's promises made to Abraham were beginning to be fulfilled; that Messiah had come and had paid the ransom-price for the world, as its sin-offering, and that now forgiveness, reconciliation to God, and a privilege of joint-heirship in the Kingdom, was being offered, "to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile;" – and that whosoever accepted the call in honesty of heart, and was faithful to it, would have not only the joy and peace of the Lord's spirit and blessing in the present time, but also a share in the glory to follow by and by.

In the audience was a woman from Thyatira, of the very district (Asia Minor) into which the Apostle was not permitted to enter and preach. She was in Philippi, probably temporarily, engaged in merchandising – a seller of purple – perhaps of purple dyes, or possibly of purple-dyed cloth. Dyeing and dyes had not reached present development, and the processes were generally secret, and profitable to those who understood them. It is presumed, therefore, that Lydia was well to do in this world's goods, as well as rich toward God in faith. Like the Apostle, she had sought out the place of prayer, and now the Lord had rewarded her and answered her prayers by sending her the truth for which she had been hungering and thirsting. She and some of her household believed, and were promptly baptized in confession of their faith; – possibly on this very Sabbath day in which she first heard.

Where the heart is in a condition of readiness, obedience does not need to be delayed, nor does it require long to decide to be on the Lord's side, and to be obedient to the voice of the good message which he sends us. This attitude of Lydia's heart is noted in the lesson, in the words, "whose heart the Lord had opened." We are not to suppose a miracle wrought in her case, to open her heart to the truth; we are rather to suppose that it was in her case as it is in the case of all the Lord's people; that none are ready for the truth unless the Lord has prepared their hearts. And O, how much this preparation of heart means! – often trials, disappointments, difficulties, etc. – the processes by which the Lord breaks up and mellows and makes the soil of our hearts fit for the receiving of his truth and grace. No doubt Lydia, after receiving the truth, looked back at past experiences, severe ordeals, etc., and could praise God for the leadings of his providence by which her heart had been "broken" and humbled and made ready for the seed of truth – ready to appreciate, not only the good things which God hath in reservation for them that love him, but ready also to appreciate his promised watch-care in their affairs in the present time, guaranteed to work out blessings to those who abide in his love.

Having received the truth, and some of its joy, Lydia not only confessed the Lord, but sought means to serve him. She could not join the Apostle's company as an evangelist of the good tidings, but she could entertain and serve Paul and his associates, and did so. No doubt she received more than compensation for the expense and trouble, in spiritual riches and refreshment; – but nothing in the narrative implies that even this laudable selfishness actuated her. Apparently her sole desire was to serve the Lord, and she saw the opportunity for this in rendering service to his representatives. She esteemed it a privilege, and so expressed herself, saying, "If ye have judged me to be faithful to the Lord, come into my house and abide."

When we remember the Master's own words, "He that receiveth you, receiveth me; and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me," we can see that Lydia took no extreme view of her privilege and opportunity in connection with this service. Her whole question was whether the Apostle and his companions would honor her dwelling with their presence. The same principle is true and applicable today, and [R3023 : page 176] conduct similar to that of Lydia is always to be considered a favorable sign indicating deep love for the Lord and for the good tidings. The messengers of the good tidings must necessarily always be associated in our minds with the message which they bear, and the great King whom they represent.

Our Golden Text calls for just a word of comment. It represents the Lord's message to Paul. It can be understood only when we remember that up to that time God's message was not sent to all men, nor to all nations, but merely to the men of one nation, the Jews. Henceforth it was open to all; – to be delivered to all, as they might have ears to hear it. This explanation will be found a key also for various other Scriptures, referring to all people, all nations, and the preaching of the Gospel to them during the present age. It is to and for as many as "have an ear to hear" – we are to let such hear. Tho these will in all be but a "little flock;" yet it is the Father's good pleasure to give to this little flock the Kingdom under which all the families of the earth shall be blessed and brought to an accurate knowledge of the truth. – Luke 12:32; I Tim. 2:4, Diaglott.

page 177
June 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.JUNE 15, 1902.No. 12.
CONTENTS.

Views from the Watch Tower 179
The Unrest in Russia 179
Concessions to Young People 180
Social Emancipation Leads Not to Godliness 180
The Progress of Ritualism 181
Presbyterian Creed Revision 181
The Text of the New Creed 181
Let Us Put On the Armor of Light 187
High Time to Awake Out of Sleep 189
The Armor of Light 189
Interesting Questions Answered 191

'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 178

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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[R3023 : page 179]

VIEWS FROM THE WATCH TOWER.
THE UNREST IN RUSSIA.

UNDER THIS heading the London "Spectator" (a very conservative journal) gives further details of recent occurrences and grounds for expectation that some sort of a revolution in Russia is rather to be expected soon. It represents the Czar as the helpless and unwilling tool of the Russian nobility, and points out that the latter may feel forced to go to war in order to awaken "patriotism," and keep its hold on the government. Evidently Russia will hold together as a great nation for some time, for it seems indicated as one of the leading actors, up to the close in the great time of trouble impending. We give some extracts from the "Spectator," (May 3) which go to show that the least enlightened of the civilized peoples of the world is awakening and getting ready for the great affray, – as follows:

"Accounts of the unrest in Russia grow more serious. It is stated that the sufferings of the peasantry in the South, the most populous and richest division of the Empire, involve actual hunger, and that in the provinces of Pultawa and Kharkoff the peasants have proclaimed 'war to the castle.' Eighty residences of landlords have been sacked, and the local officials are so terrified that the Minister of the Interior, M. Plehve, has gone himself to the disturbed districts to brace up the bureaucracy. The artisans everywhere are clamouring against their employers, who, poor people, find orders so short that they recently appealed for Government help, and circulars have been discovered directed against the 'foreign devils' who as foremen and overseers try to execute the owners' commands. The students have, it is said, circulated a forged ukase bestowing the land on the peasantry, and the leaders of the artisans have formulated their demands, which are the ordinary demands of English workmen, with the significant exception that they ask for a day of ten and a half hours. It is reported, moreover, that the 'moral tone' of the non-commissioned officers can only be trusted when they are peasants, and that peasants of sufficient cultivation are not always in the ranks. Altogether, there is an ominous stirring among the dry bones, society in St. Petersburg and Moscow is divided, and there are furious dissensions among the group around the Czar.

"The unrest is more serious even than we thought....As far as we can ascertain, the case stands thus. There has [R3024 : page 179] been all over Southern Russia, where, be it remembered, the mass of Russian cultivators, have since the emancipation elected to live, a fall in prices so serious that the peasant cannot pay either his taxes or his debts, which nevertheless are relentlessly exacted.

"There have always been agitators in Russia, and just now they are very numerous, the educated having convinced themselves that they must convert the cultivators before anything will be done to modify the system. They, therefore preach insurrection as a panacea, and are holding out to the peasants the hope that the land, which they, like Irishmen, believe would belong to them if right were done, will be restored by decree. They have even, if a correspondent of the Morning Post may be trusted, resorted to an expedient not without precedent in Russian history, and have forged a ukase from the Czar bestowing the land upon them by what they themselves regard as a supreme fiat.

"UKASE OF HIS MAJESTY THE EMPEROR NICHOLAS."

"My grandfather now resting in God, the Emperor Alexander, by abolishing serfdom gave you peasants liberty, and at the same time divided the land among you. The magnates of the land, however, were discontented with this, and they brought the land again into their possession, and thus robbed you. The country which, for a needy wage, you cultivate in the sweat of your brows is your own land, and the corn in the barns of your oppressors is your corn. I love you, and as I desire to be a just Emperor I allow and command you to demand back your property and to divide it among yourselves as your legal possessions. If they refuse to give it to you peaceably, then take it from them by force, together with the cattle in their stalls and the corn in their barns."

"In the peasant's eyes this is simple justice, and he demands the land of the stewards, who, and not the landlords, manage the estates. Being refused, and probably mocked, he seizes any arms he can find, and proceeds to destroy the [R3024 : page 180] chateau and its papers....If their feeling spread to the Army the cataclysm so long dreaded for Russia would have arrived, and the Empire so slowly and so strongly built would be thrown into the crucible."

The same journal elsewhere says: –

THE UNREST OF THE CONTINENT."

"The dry bones are stirring on the Continent in a way which, even if the ultimate result should prove not to be great, should keenly interest all politicians. We write in this country about Continental 'Socialists,' and 'Collectivists,' and 'Radicals,' and 'riotings,' but those familiar words do but obscure the great general movement actually going on. Everywhere, except perhaps in Switzerland, those who work with their hands, including in all countries the agricultural labourers, and in some a large section of the peasants besides, are expressing with violence three ideas: one that they are overworked, another that they ought to have, and therefore will have, more physical comfort in their daily lives, and a third that they can alter neither toil or payment for toil until they become an effective force in the government of the country. The cause of the rapid growth of the first idea is still obscure, for men who are not yet old can remember when the governing notion of the immense majority was that a working man when not eating or sleeping was bound to be at work, – a notion which still rules throughout the greater part of Asia. We fancy the change is one consequence of the small modicum of education which has at last filtered down to the bottom, but of the revolt against the traditional opinion there can be no doubt whatever."

CONCESSIONS TO YOUNG PEOPLE.

CHICAGO, April 25. – "If the clergy of the Methodist Episcopal Church expect to keep their young men and women in the field, they must do away with their restrictions against card playing, dancing and attendance at the theaters. If they are not allowed to follow the dictates of their conscience they will attend churches where they will be allowed to do so or they will not attend church at all."

This, in substance, was the declaration set forth at the dinner last night at the Union League Club, attended by sixty-five prominent Methodist ministers and laymen of Chicago. The proposition received general discussion, in which Bishop J. W. Hamilton, L.D. Condee and Robert Quayle took leading parts. Mr. Quayle said: –

"If we do not take active steps toward arousing interest in the church on the part of our young men and women we shall stand alone in our old age; there will be none to take the burden from our shoulders when we pass away. If we seek to bind the young people down too closely or draw too tight a rein we cannot hope to keep them with us.

"I recommend that all laymen and clergymen to whom the interests of the Methodist Church are dear organize around this question and insist that at the next general conference the present regulations and restrictions be removed."

– Washington (D.C.) Star.
SOCIAL EMANCIPATION LEADS NOT TO GODLINESS.

We often hear of the prosperity of Australia, and of its people being farther advanced along lines of social emancipation than are others; – indeed, that in it the poor man's interests receive greater consideration than in any other land on earth. A reasonable question is, To what extent are these blessings working out spiritual advantages? The following article, sent us by a brother who resides there, and who endorsed the sentiments expressed, is from an Australian journal, the Northern Advertiser. It shows deplorably immoral conditions, – such as we must expect everywhere in proportion as prosperity, short hours and idleness prevail. Evidently that feature of the curse which declares, "In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread," was necessary to our race in its fallen condition.

We could not hope that a Millennium of the kind generally wished for and expected by the world, would be a real blessing. Our confidence inspired by God's Word is, that when those blessings and releases which he has promised, come, the Kingdom of God will be here in power; and that it will enforce righteousness and a proper use of the liberties and blessings it will bring; – until all shall have had full opportunity to develop characters. Then whoever shall not have reached the place of loving righteousness and hating iniquity, will be cut off in the Second Death.

The fact that present-day blessings are producing an increase of crimes and a lowering of moral standards, is in full accord with the Scriptural portrayals of the ending of this Gospel age. – 2 Tim. 3:13.

The article follows: –

"The increase of crime, not only in the State of Western Australia, but also all over Australasia, is a matter of deep regret to the community as a whole and must cause those responsible for the moral and religious well-being of the people profound pain as well as distress. Crime is rampant everywhere, and the cases that are tried in our law courts only too plainly manifest the corruption of society and the loss of moral influence in restraining from vice. There is no effect without its cause, and hence the cause of the moral decadence of our people should command careful and prudent inquiry.

"That our boasted civilization is only a sham it would be idle to deny. The list of crimes which weekly fill the newspapers of the Commonwealth is only too direct proof of the low standards of our people, socially and morally. Vices that would disgrace pagans are common amongst us, and crimes that make us hang our heads with shame are committed with comparative impunity. Laws, both human and divine, are scouted and openly violated. The principles of honor and good faith are ignored and ridiculed. Theft, embezzlement, fraud, forgery – without mentioning more revolting crimes – are seemingly the appreciated pastime of a numerous class that live and thrive in our midst. The guide of conscience is apparently lost. People take oaths now-a-days without any reference to conscience. Moral responsibility is not generally recognized, and, as a consequence, our downward grade is yearly becoming more and more pronounced. Drunkenness, of course, is prevalent everywhere, and Bacchus is worshipped in every city, town, hamlet, or camp in Australasia. Excessive drinking, no doubt, leads to crime, but drunkenness will not account for the low state of civilization which is perceptibly ruining Australian society. The cause which is effecting such dire calamities must have a deeper depth than even drunkenness itself, baneful as that vice is in its effects.

"No one can view the moral state of Australia without feelings of dismay. Christianity, it cannot be gainsaid, is fast losing its influence, and in its place we are substituting [R3024 : page 181] a gross form of paganism, and being dominated by a corroding system of infidelity which, if not arrested, will compass the complete destruction of society. Crime in Australia is alarmingly on the increase, and if the friends and admirers of Christian civilization do not make a bold attempt at stemming the visible torrent of vice, there is a danger of their being carried away in the fast approaching cataclysm of shocking immorality."

THE PROGRESS OF RITUALISM.

The New York Sun commenting on this subject, says: –

"On Easter Sunday the Washington Heights Baptist Church (New York) started the innovation of a vested choir of sixty voices, with cassock and cotta and the women wearing also mortar-board hats. That is, the vestments are the same as in Episcopal churches. The introduction of [R3025 : page 181] such a choir into the Metropolitan Methodist Temple, a year ago, proved so successful, apparently, that the example has been followed by other Methodist churches, one at Chicago having come into line recently and conspicuously.

"This is very suggestive because the two Protestant churches which in the past were always most distinguished by the extreme simplicity of their worship and their church architecture, and were most violently opposed to anything like mere estheticism in religious services, were the Baptist and the Methodist. They were plain people, and all worldly display in raiment and in social life, was eschewed by them. Methodists were enjoined by Wesley, in his 'General Rules,' to 'evidence their desire of salvation' by refraining from 'putting on of gold and costly apparel.' Like austerity of life was the Baptist rule, and the meeting-houses of both denominations were usually without steeples or any other marks of a distinctively ecclesiastical architecture."

"Will these ritualistic Baptist and Methodist churches stop with vested choirs merely? Will they not go on, naturally and logically, to the adoption of other features of the liturgical churches they are imitating? We are likely to see the cross introduced, and perhaps the time will come when the plain communion table will give place to a veritable altar, with all its religious significance. This is, therefore, a serious innovation, suggestive of a radical doctrinal transformation in the future. We have seen how ritualism in the Episcopal church has advanced to a bold teaching of the Real Presence."

On the same subject, endeavoring to solve the significance of the movement, the Independent (N.Y.) says: –

"In our Roman Catholic and other sacramentarian churches the ritual grows out of the faith and can be thus justified, but the new ritualism being adopted in our non-liturgical churches is of another order. It seems to have two different explanations. To some extent it may, as Professor Goldwin Smith lately said, indicate 'the growth of a vacuum in the region of religious belief, which music, art, flowers, and pageantry are required to fill.' Men and women who do not really believe very much yet want a quasi-religious sentimentality which can pass for religion. The form of godliness may be kept where its power is lost, and the form must be enlarged where the power is reduced. Even light may be 'dimly religious' – very dimly – and music and vested choirs and responses and all the succession of forms may persuade one that he has had a religious hour, when it has only been quieting and soothing, and has marked the loss of real faith and religious force."

[R3025 : page 181]

PRESBYTERIAN CREED REVISION.

THE PRESBYTERIAN General Assembly recently convened, in New York City, and has received and adopted the report of its Creed Revision Committee. All broad-minded thinkers will sympathize with our Presbyterian friends in their endeavor to hold to their Westminster Confession of Faith as an infallible document, and yet to adopt an explanation of it as a supplement, that will be more reasonable and that they can confess with less twinging of conscience. We rejoice with those who have some conscience left that can be twinged: the wonder is that after years of stultification conscience is not so toughened as to be beyond twinging. Our best wish for them would have been that they had been still more noble – that they had possessed consciences whose twingings would not have allowed them even to "enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season" – the sin of misrepresenting the Divine character and plan and of misrepresenting their own hearts – for the sake of name and place and emoluments.

Anyway, we are glad to note some of the changes now made, though we regret the dishonesty attaching to the whole matter in the claim that the new creed is exactly the same as the old one, only differently stated. Ex-President Lincoln's words should be remembered by the Assembly; viz., "You can fool all the people sometimes, and some of the people all the time, but you can't fool all the people all the time."

THE TEXT OF THE NEW CREED.

We give below the text of the revised creed with brief comments on each division of it in brackets. Italics are ours.

Article I. – Of God.

We believe in the ever-living God, who is a Spirit, and the Father of our spirits; infinite, eternal and unchangeable in His Being and perfections; the Lord Almighty, most just in all His ways, most glorious in holiness, unsearchable in wisdom and plenteous in mercy, full of love and compassion, and abundant in goodness and truth. We worship Him, Father, Son and Holy Ghost, three persons in one Godhead, one in substance and equal in power and glory.

[We can assent to this fully except the last sentence, which space forbids us to reply to here; our showing of the Scriptural teaching upon the subject of the Trinity is to be found in Millennial Dawn, vol. V.]

Article II. – Of Revelation.

We believe that God is revealed in nature, in history, and in the heart of man; that he has made gracious and clearer revelations of Himself to men of God who spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit; and that Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh, is the brightness of the Father's glory and the express image of His person. We gratefully receive the Holy Scriptures, given by inspiration, [R3025 : page 182] to be the faithful record of God's gracious revelations and the sure witness to Christ, as the Word of God, the only infallible rule of faith and life.

[We can endorse this statement heartily.]

Article III. – Of the Eternal Purpose.

We believe that the eternal, wise, holy and loving purpose of God embraces all events, so that while the freedom of man is not taken away nor is God the author of sin, yet in His providence He makes all things work together in the fulfilment of His sovereign design and the manifestation of His glory; wherefore, humbly acknowledging the mystery of this truth, we trust in His protecting care and set our hearts to do His will.

[This surely is a wise statement which it would be difficult to improve upon.]

Article IV. – Of the Creation.

We believe that God is the Creator, Upholder, and Governor of all things; that He is above all His works and in them all; and that He made man in His own image, meet for fellowship with Him, free and able to choose between good and evil, and forever responsible to his Maker and Lord.

[We can endorse this statement too; but wonder how the large and growing number of evolutionists in the Presbyterian denomination can endorse it without mental reservations and twinges of conscience. If Adam was created in God's image, was meet for companionship with him, and free, and capable of deciding his destiny by his actions, he surely was far removed from being a monkey-man; – and surely, too, far superior to his posterity today, all of whom are sadly deficient in the divine image and qualifications for companionship with their Creator. Even the saints, with their much advantage every way, are still lacking in these respects, and are accepted of God only on a basis of faith in their Redeemer.]

Article V. – Of the Sin of Man.

We believe that our first parents, being tempted, chose evil, and so fell away from God and came under the power of sin, the penalty of which is eternal death; and we confess that, by reason of this disobedience, we and all men are born with a sinful nature, that we have broken God's law, and that no man can be saved but by his grace.

[This important truth is also well expressed. Eternal death [cessation of life], not eternal dying, nor eternal life in torment, is "the wages of sin." (Rom. 6:23.) Hence Jesus Christ "by the grace of God tasted death for every man" – "poured out his soul unto death" for us. – Heb. 2:9; Isa. 53:12.]

Article VI. – Of the Grace of God.

We believe that God, out of His great love for the world, has given His only begotten Son to be the Saviour of sinners, and in the gospel freely offers His all-sufficient Salvation to all men. And we praise Him for the unspeakable grace wherein He has provided a way of eternal life for all mankind.

[We are glad for this statement, that God's love is for the whole world and not merely for the "elect" Church; and that "all men" are provided an "all-sufficient salvation." Good! very good! It only remains to remember the Apostle's word, "How shall they believe on him of whom they have not heard?" to prove that the "due time" for the majority of our race to be saved, by acceptance of the only name given under heaven or amongst men, must be in the Millennium. – Acts 4:12; I Tim. 2:6; Rom. 10:14.]

Article VII. – Of Election.

We believe that God, from the beginning, in His own good pleasure, gave to His Son a people, an innumerable multitude, chosen in Christ unto holiness, service and salvation; we believe that all who come to years of discretion can receive this salvation only through faith and repentance; [R3026 : page 182] and we believe that all who die in infancy, and all others given by the Father to the Son, who are beyond the reach of the outward means of grace, are regenerated and saved by Christ through the Spirit, who works when and where and how He pleases.

[This statement is the blindest and least satisfactory of all the Articles. It is God's election, not man's that is discussed; hence the word "innumerable" here must be understood to mean that to God the "elect" are either not numbered or beyond numeration or both. Surely this is inconsistent with divine foreknowledge and predestination, – without which the word "elect" would be meaningless. On the contrary, the Scriptures represent the elect as being, not only numerable but, numbered and limited; – in all a "little flock," the very reverse of innumerable. In Revelations (14:1-5) the number of these "very elect" "overcomers" is given as 144,000; and in chap. 7:1-4 the same ones are shown as filling up the special election first opened to Fleshly Israel (Rom. 11:7, 17-19), and the same number is given. It is another class altogether, not the "elect" "little flock" who shall inherit the Kingdom, that is subsequently described as "a great multitude which no man could number," or whose number is known to no man. (Rev. 7:9.) These latter never sit with the Lord in his throne as "joint-heirs," but are "before the throne;" neither are they the Temple of "living stones," but are honored in permission to serve God in his temple. – Rev. 7:9-15.

The difficulty with the theory of our dear Presbyterian friends is that they misapply the election to salvation. True, the elect will all be saved, but they are not elected to salvation. There is but one ground, or condition on which any can now be saved; namely, by faith attested by obedience to the extent of ability. God is not unjust that he should make some short cut, or easier condition for the "elect." Rather, indeed, though the standard of salvation now and forever must be the same – perfect love – the holy spirit or disposition of the Redeemer – the non-elect, the world in general, will in their time of trial (the Millennium) have easier conditions of attaining to the divine standard than have the elect during this Gospel age.

Our dear friends need to see that the divine plan has heights and depths, lengths and breadths which Brother Calvin and his associates never dreamed of; namely, that favor of God which they obscurely refer to by saying that those "beyond the reach of outward means of grace, are regenerated and saved by Christ through the Spirit who works when and where and how he pleases." The world as a whole is now "beyond the reach of outward means of grace" and there are no other; "for there is none other name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved." But when we begin to seek for "when" and [R3026 : page 183] "where" and "how" the spirit of God will work for the world's reclamation we find it all clearly stated in the Scriptures.

The Apostle says that God's grace in Christ for all shall be "testified in due time." (I Tim. 2:6). The Prophet points us to the Millennium as that due time, and assures us that then the knowledge of the Lord shall fill the whole earth as the waters cover the great deep; – and then there shall be no longer need to "teach every man his neighbor and every man his brother, saying know thou the Lord! for all shall know me from the least of them unto the greatest of them saith the Lord." (Isa. 11:9; Jer. 31:34.) The Apostle Peter declares that this grand and universal "refreshing from the presence of the Lord," shall come at our Lord's second advent which shall be followed by "times of restitution of all things which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began." St. Peter tells us just "how humanity is then to be blessed; saying, "For Moses truly said unto the fathers [not fulfilled in Peter's day nor since, but as sure as God's Word], 'A prophet shall the Lord your God raise up unto you of your brethren, like unto me; him shall ye hear in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you. And it shall come to pass that every soul which will not hear [heed, obey] that Prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people' – Second Death – Acts 3:19-23.

Our Lord himself tells "how" his grace will work or operate by and by, at his second advent. His words are "All that are in the graves shall hear his voice and shall come forth; they that have done good [the faithful, the "elect"] unto the resurrection of life [the First Resurrection – "they shall be priests of God and of Christ and shall reign on the earth. – Rev. 20:6]; and they that have done evil [shall come forth] unto resurrection by judgments." (See Revised Version.) Jno. 5:28,29. This resurrection then is the hope of all except the saints, the elect. When they come forth from the tomb during the Millennium they will not be fully alive, for full life means perfection. None will live again in that proper sense of perfect life, complete freedom from death, until the Millennium is finished. It will be an age of uplifting, or restitution, in which the revivifying influences of the "trees of life" and the "river of the water of life clear as crystal, proceeding out of the throne," shall be for the non-elect; for the world of mankind in general – all of these who will may take of the water of life freely and live forever; while those who refuse those life opportunities will, as the Apostle declares, "be destroyed from among the people."

The "how" of this great work of God for the whole world is further explained by our Lord; saying, of that future invitation to the symbolical trees of life, and the water of life which will flow from the glorified Millennial Kingdom, "The Spirit and the Bride say Come, and let him that heareth say, Come! And let him that is athirst come. And whosoever will, let him take the water of life freely." The election will be over and past then and the elect will be the glorified "Bride" whose work it shall be, in unison with the Spirit of God, to invite the whole world to share God's grace.

The "elect" are not the "Bride" yet, but only the chaste virgin espoused to Christ and waiting on the Heavenly Bridegroom to make her, at his second coming his bride and joint-heir. Neither is there a "river of water of life" now flowing; but merely "wells of water springing up" in the "elect." Neither is there this general invitation to "whosoever wills;" for now the God of this world still blinds the eyes and closes the ears of all but the comparatively few; – deceiving nearly the whole world. It will be after Satan shall be bound for the thousand years, that he should deceive the nations no more, that the promised blessings upon the non-elect, who are now being "passed by," shall be fulfilled. Then all the blind eyes shall be opened and all the deaf ears shall be unstopped. – Isa. 35:5.

The Apostle Paul clearly shows that the "elect" are the "seed of Abraham" – Christ the head, his church the body. He declares also what is most obvious; namely, that the fulfilment of the promise to Abraham of which his "seed" "the elect" are heirs, is still future; and that promise is, "In thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed." The "elect" are "the holy nation, the peculiar people, the royal priesthood," called now to offer sacrifices that thereby they may specially attest their loyalty to God and his righteousness and crystalize their character-likeness to their Redeemer, and thus be qualified to be the kings, priests and judges of the world during the Millennium – the world's judgment day or trial day. Speaking of the "elect" the Apostle asks, "Know ye not that the saints shall judge the world?" – I Cor. 6:2.

The "Elect" are tried, tested judged along a very "narrow way" – of opposition from the world, the flesh and the devil; the world's way of the Millennial age is designated a "highway" of holiness, free from stumbling stones so that the wayfarer though unsophisticated need not err therein. (Isa. 35:8,9; 5:27.) The path of the "elect" is a dark way, a night time, in which they need constantly the Word of their Lord as a "lamp to their feet;" the path of the non-elect in the Millennium will be radiant because the Sun of Righteousness shall arise with healing in his beams and drive away completely the darkness which now covers the earth, and the gross darkness which covers the people – drive away the miasma of sin, error, ignorance, prejudice, selfishness, etc. Ah yes! the elect may rejoice with the Prophet saying, – "Weeping may endure for the night, – joy cometh in the morning!" – Psa. 30:5.

"The elect" who now during this Gospel night of sin and ignorance are to be "burning and shining lights," and are exhorted not to hide their lights under a bushel, but to set them upon candlesticks – to let the light shine out to the extent of their ability and thus to glorify their Father in heaven – are all to come together by and by, are all to be changed from human to spirit beings, like the Redeemer, and then they with him shall constitute the great Sun of Righteousness whose shining is to bring so great blessings to the world. See the Lord's own statement of this: The wheat are the children of God – "children of the Kingdom;"....During this Gospel age wheat and tares – true saints, the "elect," and mere professors, the tares – are to grow together until the end or harvest of the age....Then the wheat are [R3027 : page 184] to be garnered and "shine forth as the Sun in the Kingdom of their Father." – Matt. 13:43.

If all who pray "Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is done in heaven," could see that God's great plan for the world's salvation is as yet only beginning, that it will not properly begin until the Millennial Kingdom of Christ comes, then they would be prepared to see clearly that during this Gospel age God is merely selecting or electing from among men the Kingdom class, and fitting and preparing them for their grand and glorious service as the world's missionaries – prophets or teachers; priests, or helpers; kings, or rulers; judges, or disciplinarians. From this standpoint the doctrine of election is grand indeed, but from no other standpoint.]

Article VIII. – Of Our Lord Jesus Christ.

We believe in and confess the Lord Jesus Christ, the only Mediator between God and man, who, being the Eternal Son of God, for us men and for our salvation, became truly man, being conceived by the Holy Ghost and born of the Virgin Mary, without sin; unto us He has revealed the Father, by His Word and spirit making known the perfect will of God; for us He fulfilled all righteousness and satisfied eternal justice, offering Himself a perfect sacrifice upon the cross to take away the sin of the world; for us He rose from the dead and ascended into heaven, where He ever intercedes for us, in our hearts, joined to him by faith, He ever abides forever as the indwelling Christ, over us, and over all for us, He rules; wherefore, unto Him we render love, obedience and adoration as our Prophet, Priest and King, forever.

[This is a splendid confession of the truth whose Scripturalness rejoices us. We would have preferred a little clearer and fuller expression than "He ever intercedes for us in our hearts." It is true in an indirect sense that the spirit of Christ in our hearts intercedes for holiness as against the weaknesses of the flesh: we prefer to suppose that the comma after hearts is a typographical error and should be omitted, thus expressing the Scriptural thought that our Redeemer "maketh intercession for us" with the Father. This omits the old and erroneous thought of intercession expressed by the hymn: –

"Five bleeding wounds he bears
Received on Calvary;
They pour effectual prayers,
They intercede for me;
Forgive him, oh forgive! they cry,
Nor let the ransomed sinner die."

No; the thought is that having paid to Justice the ransom price for the sins of the whole world he has ascended to the Father and is there ready to apply of his merit to the covering of our share in Adamic condemnation, and also for our unwilled sins present and future, the results of Adamic weaknesses and depravity. His entire work is one of intercession, – now for his church, the household of faith, the anti-typical Levites, and by and by for all the people – all who when the knowledge and opportunity are granted will desire to come unto the Father by Him. Intercede signifies go-between: our Lord Jesus became the Mediator of the New Covenant and thus the "go-between" who took the responsibilities of the sinner Adam (and his race) and paid to Justice the price and now stands ready to apply the benefit of his sacrifice to all who will accept it upon New Covenant terms.]

Article IX. Of Faith and Repentance.

We believe that God pardons our sins and accepts us as righteous solely on the ground of the perfect obedience and sacrifice of Christ, received by faith alone; and that this saving faith is always accompanied by repentance, wherein we confess and forsake our sins with full purpose of and endeavor after, a new obedience to God.

[Another excellent statement to which we can give our heartiest assent.]

Article X. – Of the Holy Spirit.

We believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord and Giver of life, who moves everywhere upon the hearts of men, to restrain them from evil and to incite them unto good, and whom the Father is ever willing to give unto all who ask Him. We believe that He has spoken by holy men of God in making known His truth to men for their salvation; that, through our Exalted Saviour, He was sent forth in power to convict the world of sin, to enlighten men's minds in the knowledge of Christ, and to persuade and enable them to obey the call of the gospel; and that He abides with the church, dwelling in every believer as the spirit of truth, of holiness and of comfort.

[This is a most peculiar statement and quite unscriptural. The Scriptures do mention the holy spirit or power of God moving or acting upon the waters during the creative period (Gen. 1:2); and they also speak of its moving holy men of old to speak and to write divine messages (2 Pet. 1:21); and they also speak of its operation upon the Church, the elect, but nowhere is it said to be imparted to any other than God's consecrated children. It shall be in you, the Church, as God's power, witness and anointing, and through its operation in you, through your words and conduct, it shall convince or convict the world of sin, of righteousness and of a coming of judgment or judicial recompense. Space here does not permit of a full discussion of this great theme: we refer our readers to "The At-one-ment between God and Man" – Vol. V., of Millennial Dawn, chapters VIIIXI.]

Article XI. – Of the New Birth and the New Life.

We believe that the Holy Spirit only is the author and source of new birth; we rejoice in the new life, wherein He is given unto us as the seal of sonship in Christ, and keeps loving fellowship with us, helps us in our infirmities, purges us from our faults and ever continues His transforming work in us until we are perfected in the likeness of Christ, in the glory of the life to come.

[This peculiar statement is confusing however it be read. There is no Scriptural declaration that the Holy Spirit is our father but rather that the Father begot us by his holy spirit to newness of life – to be new creatures in Christ Jesus, perfected in the First Resurrection. If this is the thought of the first sentence it is Biblical, otherwise not. With the remainder we must be in hearty agreement.]

Article XII. – Of the Resurrection and the Life to Come.

We believe that in the life to come the spirits of the just, at death made free from sin, enjoy immediate communion with God and the vision of His glory; and we confidently look for the general resurrection in the last day, when the bodies of those who sleep in Christ shall be fashioned in the likeness of the glorious body of their Lord, with whom they shall live and reign forever.

[This statement emphasizes the general confusion [R3027 : page 185] of thought on this subject prevalent in all denominations. Our fleshly bodies are continually changing – science declares that a complete change is effected about every seven years. It seems very absurd to think that the last atoms of matter were any better than those previously sloughed off, or than any other "dust" for resurrection purposes, when it must be confessed that divine power is the all-essential of resurrection, anyway. It is peculiar reasoning, too, that urges that Adam and Abraham and David and Paul have been in heaven for centuries in perfect bliss without bodies, and even to claim that death set them free, and then to speak of "the hope of the resurrection" of their bodies, at the last day. If they were imprisoned while in them and if they are supremely happy without them, the doctrine of resurrection as a hope is absurd. And if they needed the molecules of dust to make them still happier than they are why should God delay the matter until the last day?

The fact is that all this absurdity belongs to a misunderstanding of the grand doctrine of resurrection taught in the Bible. The Bible does not teach a resurrection of the body, but of the soul. It declares "The soul [being] that sinneth it shall die." (Ezek. 18:4,20.) It declares that because of sin all souls die, and that to redeem our souls our Lord became a man, a human soul, or being, and "poured out his soul unto death," "made his soul an offering for sin." (Isa. 53:10,12.) The Bible further shows that it was our Lord's soul that was resurrected on the third day, "His soul was not left in hades" – the death-state. (Acts 2:27.) So, also the Apostle treats the subject, declaring, "It [the soul or being] is sown [in death] in weakness; it [the soul] is raised in power." In the resurrection God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him. – I Cor. 15:43,38.

Our word soul signifies "sentient being," a cessation of which we call death. The Adamic sentence was death, which would have been the final end of us all but for the redemptive work of Christ. That redemptive work is not yet completed – the price has been paid, but the recovery of man out of death awaits the time appointed of the Father. Meantime the dead are no longer thought of nor spoken of as dead (extinct) by God who purposes their resurrection, the resuscitation of their beings, or souls; hence the frequent use in the Scriptures of the very word used by the creed-revisers in the above article; namely, "sleep," when referring to the dead. – "Them also which sleep in Jesus." (I Thes. 4:14.) "We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed." (I Cor. 15:51) "Whether we wake or sleep." (I Thes. 5:10.) "He saith unto them, Our friend Lazarus sleepeth; but I go that I may awake him out of sleep....Then said Jesus unto them plainly [coming down to their comprehension] Lazarus is dead." (John 11:11,14.) "The maid is not dead, but sleepeth." (Mat. 9:24.) "David after he had served his own generation by the will of God, fell on sleep." "David is not ascended into the heavens." (Acts 2:34; 13:36.) Martyr Stephen "cried with a loud voice, Lord, lay not this sin to their charge. And when he had said this he fell asleep." (Acts 7:60.) Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, etc., good and bad "slept with their fathers." [R3028 : page 185]

The Revision Committee's statement is in harmony with the above when it speaks, not of the bodies sleeping and being awakened at the last day, but refers to "the bodies of those who sleep in Christ." But if they sleep in Christ waiting for their bodies, how can it be also true that "they enjoy immediate communion with God and the vision of his glory"? Do the Revisers wish us to understand that the holy dead dream or that they are somnambulists?

The Scripture proposition is clearly stated, "The dead know not anything." "His sons come to honor and they know it not, to dishonor and they perceive it not of them;" "for there is no work nor device nor knowledge nor wisdom in the grave, whither thou goest." (Eccl. 9:5,10; Job 14:21.) From this standpoint the importance attached to the resurrection in the Bible is reasonable and our Lord's words respecting the resurrection have fresh meaning, – "All that are in their graves shall hear his voice and come forth" – the approved the "elect" to the life-resurrection, and the unapproved world in general to the judgment-resurrection. – John 5:28,29.]

Article XIII. – Of the Law of God.

We believe that the law of God revealed in the Ten Commandments, and more clearly disclosed in the words of Christ, is forever established in truth and equity, so that no human work shall abide except it be built on this foundation. We believe that God requires of every man to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with his God; and that only through this harmony with the will of God shall be fulfilled that brotherhood of man wherein the kingdom of God is to be made manifest.

[An excellent statement; but it might have been improved in our judgment, by a declaration showing that the Law Covenant made with Israel of which the Ten Commandments was the basis, has given place to the New Covenant, mediated by Christ and based upon an ability-obedience to its basic law of love.]

Article XIV. – Of the Church and the Sacraments.

We believe in the holy catholic church of which Christ is the only head. We believe that the church invisible consist of all the redeemed, and that the church visible embraces all who profess the true religion together with their children. We receive to our communion all who confess and obey Christ as their divine Lord and Saviour, and we hold fellowship with all believers in Him.

We believe the sacraments of baptism and the Lord's supper, alone divinely established and committed to the church, together with the Word as means of grace; made effectual only by the Holy Spirit, and always to be used by Christians with prayer and praise to God.

[Here we have another excellent statement seemingly full of breadth and liberty in Christ; but it can be interpreted narrowly enough: and past experiences and our general knowledge of human nature lead us to fear that it will generally be given this narrow interpretation; viz., to make the words "our communion," i.e. our fellowship, to mean those only who will heartily and honestly accept the Westminster Confession of Faith and accept these articles, foregoing, as a later statement of the same meaning. Any who by thus joining our Church and who by thus coming behind our creedal fence separates himself from all other Christians we will fellowship.

We agree that there is but one Church invisible, and one Church visible; but why then have different [R3028 : page 186] brands, different "communions;" – professedly different "bodies" of Christ? Were our Lord or his Apostles Presbyterian or other sectarians? And if not, have we any Scriptural authority for such divisions which separate the members of the body of Christ? Why not come out of all sects and creeds and stand together as at first on the one foundation, that Christ died for our sins and rose again for our justification, and that all so accepting his work and fully consecrating themselves to him to do his will constitute his elect Church?]

Article XV. – Of the Last Judgment.

We believe that the Lord Jesus Christ will come again in glorious majesty to judge the world and to make a final separation between the righteous and the wicked. The wicked shall receive the eternal award of their sins and the Lord will manifest the glory of His mercy in the salvation of His people and their entrance upon the full enjoyment of eternal life.

[We are glad to note this acknowledgement of faith in our Lord's second coming, so prominently taught throughout the Bible. Could these dear friends get a more correct view of the resurrection they would see that our Lord's coming is as the Life-giver; and that none of his redeemed can enter into life eternal until he comes to receive them unto himself, from the prison-house of death in which they sleep. "Your life is hid with Christ in God [in divine power and promise]; when Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall we also appear with him in glory." – Col. 3:3,4.

The glad welcome of the Lord's second advent, so noticeable in the New Testament, is not found generally among Christians of today for two reasons; one, we have just mentioned; the other is because of false views respecting the judgment our Lord comes to perform. When father Adam was in Eden he experienced his first trial or judgment, and for disobedience he was condemned to death – a sentence which his posterity has shared, dying mentally, morally and physically – a groaning creation under divine sentence or curse. What would Adam and all of his children specially desire of the Lord?

Their prayer would surely be: Lord, that we might have another trial, another judgment; – peradventure our experiences with sin may have taught us such lessons that we would be fully obedient hereafter and abide forever in thy favor. But the Lord's Word assures that we could not succeed if granted another trial under similar conditions; because we, although experienced now, are fallen and imperfect, and cannot do the things which we would wish to do. Furthermore, he shows us that Justice is the foundation of his throne and that having declared us sentenced to death he cannot justly revoke his own sentence.

Then, while we wonder and despair, the Lord reveals to us his plan for our salvation, wonderful in its completeness. (1) He provided for our redemption by the death of his Son who took Adam's place, and by redeeming him redeemed all of his race who lost in his failure. Thus God shows us his law and justice inviolate. Nor was this effected by an injustice to his Son, whose full consent was first secured by "the joy that was set before him." (Heb. 12:2.) The obedient Son has been abundantly rewarded – "God also hath highly exalted and given him a name above every name." – Phil. 2:9.

But why this redemption of Adam and his race? What is its ultimate object? We answer that it is God's response to the 6000 years' prayer of our race; – Lord that we might have another trial or judgment. God proposes to answer that prayer in a better way than any except himself could have devised, – as he declares: "My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord; for as the heavens are higher than the earth so are my ways higher than your ways and my plans higher than your plans." – Isa. 55:8,9.

Foreseeing that fallen man could not obey the divine law, which requires the full measure of a perfect man's ability, God has not only redeemed our race, but proposes also in "due time" to establish the Redeemer as the King over all the earth, to rule and judge and regulate the world, and bring order out of present confusion and darkness and sin, and by corrections in righteousness gradually to raise men up, up, up, to perfection and the divine likeness in heart. This time of resurrection, also called the "times of restitution," is to be the world's "day of judgment," in which each member of Adam's fallen race, redeemed by the precious blood, shall taste of divine mercy and have the fullest opportunity that could be reasonably asked for re-attaining all that was lost in Adam; and meantime for developing such characters as would be fully approved by God as fit for the gift of God – everlasting life through Jesus Christ our Lord; – all others, failing under those favorable conditions being re-condemned, – judged worthy of the Second Death from which there will be no recovery.

This is the Lord's declaration: "God hath appointed a day ["One day with the Lord is as a 1000 years." – II Pet. 3:8.] in the which he will judge [grant trial to] the world in righteousness [equity] by that man whom he hath [afore] ordained [the Christ]; whereof he hath given assurance [ground for hope] unto all men, in that he hath raised him from the dead. (Acts 17:31.) This is the "resurrection by judgment" to which our Lord refers. (John 5:29.) No wonder then that the prophet David rejoiced so in the prospect of the world's coming judgment day; saying (I Chron. 16:31-34): –

"Let the heavens be glad,
And let the earth rejoice;
And let men say among the nations, Jehovah reigneth.
Let the sea roar, and the fulness thereof;
Let the fields rejoice, and all that is therein.
Then shall the trees of the wood sing out
At the presence of Jehovah,
Because He Cometh
To Judge the Earth!
O give thanks unto Jehovah; for he is good;
For his mercy endureth forever!"

Does someone inquire why the Day of Judgment should be put off – why it did not begin at once, as soon as the sacrifice of Calvary was finished? We answer, that God hath appointed a day – the seventh or last day of the week for this judgment – the world's great Sabbath of rest after the 6000 years of sin and death, and that is sufficient. But we are glad [R3029 : page 187] to see just why our Father so "appointed"; viz., because in the interim he designed the calling and perfecting of the Church, the saints, the "elect," to be joint-heirs with the Redeemer and share his glory and work – his ruling, judging and blessing of all the families of the earth.

For further discussion of this subject we must refer our readers to Millennial Dawn, Vol. I., Chap. 8.]

Article XVI. – Of Christian Service and the Final Triumph.

We believe that it is our duty, as servants and friends of Christ, to do good unto all men, to maintain the public and private worship of God, to hallow the Lord's day, to preserve the sanctity of the family, to uphold the just authority of the state, and so to live in all honesty, purity and charity that our lives shall testify of Christ. We joyfully receive the Word of Christ, bidding His people go into all the world and make disciples of all nations, and declare unto them that God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself, and that He will have all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. We confidently trust that by His power and grace all His enemies and ours shall be finally overcome, and the kingdoms of this world shall be made the kingdom of our God and of His Christ. In this faith we abide; in this service we labor, and in this hope we pray. Even so, come Lord Jesus.

[We are specially glad that the two Scripture citations we have italicized have been made prominent in the Revised Confession. These may assist some to see that the election of the Church is for the purpose of bringing the whole world to a knowledge of the truth in order to their everlasting salvation. If it was the thought of the Revisers that the Church in her present condition can accomplish this, let them reflect that nineteen centuries have accomplished little for the world in general in the matter of knowledge of the Lord. Let them reflect, too, that even in this day of missionary effort, statistics show that the whole annual Church increase including all even nominally Christians, is less proportionately than the natural increase of the human family; so that if the hope expressed, that the kingdoms of this world will become the kingdoms of our Lord, means a hope of converting the world, it is a blind and baseless one. The Scriptural thought, as shown by old MSS. is quite a different one; namely, that the dominion of this world [is to] become the dominion of God and of his Christ. If the entire world were brought into the condition of earth's best kingdoms it would still leave much, oh! so much, to be desired and prayed for – "Thy Kingdom come; thy will be done on earth as it is done in heaven." Hence we pray this prayer, and expect and patiently wait for that Kingdom which will now speedily be introduced by "a time of trouble such as was not since there was a nation." "Even so, Come, Lord Jesus."]

[R3029 : page 187]

LET US PUT ON THE ARMOR OF LIGHT.
ROM. 13:8-14. – JUNE 22. –

"Let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light."

N
OT THE NATURAL man, but the new creature, is addressed in this lesson. The natural man is a bundle of selfishness – personal selfishness – family selfishness – sect and party selfishness – clan and national selfishness. True, the organs of the brain representing love are not wholly lacking in any member of the race, and so far as they exist may be reckoned as representatives of the original mental image of God, in which man was created. But even such fragmentary elements of love as still remain are warped and twisted and diverted into selfish channels; – self love, family love, fatherland love, patriotism. The natural man does not realize this selfish character of the natural heart as does the new creature; because the latter, being begotten by the spirit of truth, the holy spirit of love divine, finds now a wide difference between his old kind of love and his new ideal. While this distinction may be clearly recognized from our start in the Christian way, nevertheless, our discernment at first between the selfish loves of the natural man and the divine love are indistinct and indefinite, as compared with the clearer views and sharper distinctions realized as we grow in grace, in knowledge and in the spirit of love divine, and come to know definitely the love of God which passeth all [human] understanding.

The Apostle exhorts these new creatures, justified by faith in Jesus Christ, called of God and begotten of the holy spirit, to grow as rapidly as possible in their appreciation and heart-sympathy with the Lord's spirit of love. These should realize that they are debtors to the Lord to an untold amount, because of his love and mercy extended toward them in Christ; and they should see, also, that having thus received the Lord's grace and the spirit of it, they are to have so broad and so generous a feeling toward all mankind that they will desire first of all to pay off every obligation, of every kind, and to "owe no man anything."

The Apostle declared that he was a debtor both to the Jews and to the Greeks; and looking at matters from a similar standpoint, we may say likewise, that we are under many obligations to many people. We owe a real debt to our parents, through whom, in God's providence, we have come into being; we owe a debt to the community and commonwealth in which we live for the measure of peace, order, social convenience and advantages every way, which we, in common with others, share; we owe a debt to our nation at large in consideration of the many blessings, liberties, advantages, etc., which come to us through it by divine providence. And above and beyond all these debts to our fellow creatures, we recognize a debt and obligation to our Creator – not only for earthly life, its blessings, its privileges, its opportunities, such liberties as we enjoy; but still more for our redemption with the precious blood, for our knowledge of the same, for our call to joint-heirship with our Lord, for the begetting of the holy spirit, for the assistance and encouragement of the Word and its exceeding great and precious promises which strengthen, encourage, and direct us in the way of life eternal.

True, some arguments may be made on the other side of the proposition, but these are not for us; we had no claims, we had no riches, we had nothing until [R3029 : page 188] we had a being. We might perhaps wish that our parents might have been more wise, and that therefore we might have been born with a more liberal endowment mentally, morally and physically; we might perhaps wish that our community and commonwealth were still more advanced, still more beneficent, still more liberal than they are; we might perhaps wish that our nation had still better laws and still better regulations than it has; we might perhaps wish that our Creator had favored us with natural and earthly things still more than he has favored us. But, as before stated, we are debtors for all that we have; it is, therefore, appropriate that we should be thankful for everything that we do possess and enjoy, temporal and spiritual; and that we should realize that while it is our privilege to do for others and to assist others, to encourage and bless and help others, nevertheless, being debtors for all that we have, we have no grounds on which to claim more.

A realization of the subject, from this standpoint, should tend to make all of the Lord's people, all of the "new creatures in Christ Jesus," very contented, very appreciative, very thankful for mercies, both temporal and spiritual. Seeing that in all these respects we are debtors, we should seek to discharge our duty toward all our beneficiaries: toward God the fountain of every good and perfect gift toward our nation, toward our commonwealth and community, toward our parents. We should see to it not only that none of these are injured by reason of our living in the world, but that our lives shall in some measure and degree testify to our appreciation of them all, and directly or indirectly be a help, an assistance, toward the best interests of each and all with whom we have to do. This is but simple justice – justice demands that we pay our debts, that we owe no man anything.

But we are to go beyond this just discharge of our obligations and are to love God and our fellow man – to seek not only to do our duty, to pay our share of the taxes and burdens and responsibilities of life and social order and parental protection and comfort, but love is to prompt us according to our best judgment, guided by the new mind, the Lord's spirit, to do something more than mere duty might demand – to sacrifice something in the interests of the Lord's service and in the blessing and comforting of our fellow creatures, as the spirit of the Lord may direct through his inspired Word.

He that loveth all others so that he is constantly seeking to do them good, is following the holy law, the perfect will of God. It is less a question of outward conduct than of heart intention, though undoubtedly the heart intention will generally find appropriate expression through the lips and through [R3030 : page 188] the actions of life. The Lord, however, knows the imperfections of our judgments and the weaknesses of the flesh, and therefore, very graciously under the New Covenant accepts the perfection of our intentions, of our wills, as instead of the absolute perfection of our every word and deed. Thus "The righteousness of the law is fulfilled in us who walk not after the flesh, but after the spirit" – and as nearly up to the spirit as possible.

"THOU SHALT NOT"

The Apostle explains that the commands of the decalogue were merely attempts to bring down to the natural man's comprehension the real spirit of the divine law. And yet the prohibitions of that law, "Thou shalt not," in respect to various things that would be injurious to the neighbor, could never fully express the comprehensiveness of the divine will. The prohibitions of the decalogue were proper enough for the "house of servants," but when the "house of sons" was instituted (Heb. 3:5,6), and when these sons were begotten of the holy spirit so that they could appreciate the law of Love, it was substituted, as higher every way and more comprehensive than the prohibitions of the decalogue. Thou shalt not commit adultery; Thou shalt not kill; Thou shalt not steal; Thou shalt not bear false witness; Thou shalt not covet; – because all these things would be contrary to the law of love under which alone the "new creature" is placed.

But the new law of the New Covenant – Love – is so much more comprehensive than the decalogue which was the basis of the Jewish Covenant, that as the Apostle says, if there be any other commandment, any other thing that should be prohibited, any other things contrary to the law of God, it is briefly comprehended in the declaration "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself." The law of love marks as transgressions many things which would not have been violations of the decalogue: for instance, the decalogue commanded the house of servants not to bear false witness against a neighbor; but the law of love indicates to the house of sons that they should "speak evil of no man" even if such witness would not be false; it instructs them further, that even if it be necessary to tell an unpleasant truth – if it becomes duty or obligation of law – even the truth is to be spoken in love without acrimony, hatred, malice, envy or strife. Oh, what a valuable lesson it would be to the house of sons if they could all equally grasp this comprehensive thought, – if their obligations not only to each other and to their families and friends, but also to their neighbors and their enemies – to love them, to so consider their interests and their welfare in general, that they would do nothing and say nothing to the contrary; but gladly at the sacrifice of their own convenience, assist them in any and every way, – "Doing good unto all men as we have opportunity, especially to the household of faith!" This is loving our neighbor as ourselves – not as he loves us.

THIS IS THE GOLDEN RULE – LOVE.

Since love works blessings to the neighbor and seeks his welfare, it follows as a matter of course that "Love worketh no ill to his neighbor." Will we not, as the Lord's consecrated people, seek to put this lesson into practice in our daily lives? Will we not learn to consider the words of our mouths, and to remember that we can smite and injure a brother or a neighbor with the tongue as truly and more seriously than with our hands? Will we not learn that in even mentioning anything uncomplimentary respecting a brother or a neighbor, we are surely working [R3030 : page 189] him ill, doing him an injury, – injuring his reputation and standing – however true the uncomplimentary thing may be; and that in so doing we are violating the law of God, the law of love? Will we not learn that the only instance in which we would have a right to mention an uncomplimentary thing would be in the event of our seeing a brother or a neighbor in danger of injury by another and thus out of love for him be called upon to warn him of the source of danger?

This warning we should be sure was necessary, before giving it; and it should be couched in such language as sincere love for the dangerous one would dictate. Will we not learn to think charitably of the words and actions of others, and to suppose their intentions good, until we have positive evidence to the contrary: and will we not learn that then we should go to the offender, alone, according to Matt. 18:15; subsequently, if occasion require and the matter seem to be of vital importance, taking with us two others, fair and impartial in judgment, that in the presence of the wrong-doer they may hear from him as well as from us and give their judgment or opinion. And even if they agree with us and the wrong-doer is not yet corrected and the injury to us is still unabated, we are still not at liberty under the law of love to make mention of the case to others, but to call a meeting of the entire congregation and there, with the condemned one present, to have a hearing and a judgment of the Church in respect to the matter.

Let us learn much more thoroughly the meaning of this expression "Love worketh no ill to his neighbor"; and again, "Speak evil of no man." Love is the fulfilling of the law; and our hearts, at least, must fulfill this law – whatever mistakes of tongue or deed we may unintentionally make – else we cannot hope to be reckoned as having reached the "mark" for the prize for which we are called to run with patience. It will require patience in dealing with ourselves and bringing our hearts into conformity with this divine law, but it is necessary, and the sooner and the more perseveringly undertaken, the greater and surer will be the blessings, and our ultimate acceptance to joint-heirship in the Kingdom.

HIGH TIME TO AWAKE OUT OF SLEEP.

The Lord's people may know now just where we are on the stream of time, but this matter was sealed up and hidden until "the time of the end," as the Lord informed Daniel: hence the Apostle and early Church could only speak of the time question from a general standpoint. They knew that time was passing, that the day of deliverance was drawing nearer and nearer, and was thus surely closer at hand than when they had first believed. If the world's seven thousand years be considered as a week, and the Millennial age reckoned as the seventh day – the Sabbath or rest day – then the preceding six days constitutes the night time, in which sin abounds, in which "darkness covers the earth and gross darkness the people"; – in which the true children of God as candles are to set themselves upon the candlestick (and not to put their light under a bushel) to give light to all in darkness about them. It is the time mentioned by the Prophet in which "weeping endures for the night," because sin abounds and because the wages of sin, death, and its comcomitants of sickness, pain and trouble prevail; but if weeping endures for a night of six thousand years," the Prophet also assures us, that "joy cometh in the morning" of the (seventh) Millennium when "the Sun of righteousness," the Lord of glory, shall shine forth and chase the darkness away, and cause the earth to be filled with the light of the knowledge of the glory of God. From this standpoint the 6,000 year night was far spent in the Apostle's day, and whether he realized this fully, or whether he wrote as he did prophetically, under inspiration, no matter; his declaration was strictly true; the night was far spent because over two thirds of it had passed. The Apostle wrote this letter somewhere about the year 4188 A.M. – about 1812 years of the night remaining before the Millennial dawning.

The Apostle's words were true, as uttered, and his exhortation was appropriate then; but how much more appropriate is that exhortation to us who are now living; – to us who already see with the eye of faith the Day Star, and the first rays of the Millennial morning's light. "Let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light." He who casts off the works of darkness, thus intimates that he is no longer in sympathy with the things of darkness, the things of sin, of selfishness, of injustice. He who puts on the armor of light not only intimates that he has enlisted on the side of God, of righteousness, truth, uprightness, light, – but he also intimates, in putting on an armor, that he realizes that he will be obliged to contend, to battle with the forces of darkness, which will oppose him now that he has enlisted on the side of the light, as they never before assailed him when he was one with them either in heart or in hand.

THE ARMOR OF LIGHT.

This armor of light the Apostle elsewhere describes: Its helmet of salvation represents intellectual protection, which we all need from the time we join the Lord's standard; – we need to know something, to have our sanctified reasons guided through the Word of the Lord. The breastplate of righteousness we need also – not the filthy rags of our own righteousness, but the righteousness of God in Christ – the justification from sin which God has provided through the sacrifice of his Son. Our faith in the ransom is all important to our protection in this battle. The shield of faith is another part of our armor, absolutely necessary; without it, the fiery darts of the Adversary might frequently reach us, between the joints of our breastplate of imputed righteousness, and our helmet of intellectual appreciation. The sword of the spirit, the Word of God, is also absolutely indispensable for our protection against the wiles of the Adversary and his deluded followers; otherwise they would come close up to us and smite us notwithstanding our armor. We should be comparatively at their mercy without the sword of the spirit, used in conjunction with the shield of faith, the breastplate of imputed righteousness, and the helmet of knowledge. But with all these we shall, by the grace of God, be able to fight the good fight of faith [R3031 : page 190] and be enabled to come off conquerors and more than conquerors through him who loved us and bought us with his own precious blood. For although we will have nothing to spare but will still have need of Christ's grace, imputed to make up for our deficiencies, nevertheless since we are his, all of his is ours, and not only are we complete in him, but abiding in him shall have an abundant entrance into the everlasting Kingdom.

Let us "walk honestly as in the day." It is not yet day, the shadows of night still linger; injustice and sin are everywhere about us; it is, therefore, much more difficult now to walk honestly than it would be if the day had fully come, and all the temptations and allurements of darkness were thoroughly banished by the bright shining of the Sun of righteousness. Thank God! the world in general during the Millennial age will have an opportunity for walking in the full light of the Millennial day, up the highway of holiness, unto its grand consummation, perfection and eternal life. We praise God on their behalf, that not only will the darkness be gone and the evil influences be restrained, but that all stumbling-stones will be gathered out of the way. But as we are still in the night-time, we still need the lamp of the divine Word to guide our steps. There are still stumbling-stones, there are still inducements from the Evil One toward sin, unrighteousness, selfishness, envy, malice, hatred, strife.

And yet ours is a time and condition in some respects to be appreciated more highly than that which the world will occupy during the Millennial age; because to us who are "called" now, during the night season, to walk by faith and not by sight – to walk contrary to the course of this world – to walk in love and not in selfishness, – to us "are given exceeding great and precious promises" of glory, honor, immortality, if we prove faithful in following the Captain of our salvation, who assures us not only that he has trodden the way before us and left us his footprints that we should walk in his steps, but, additionally, that he will be with us, an ever present helper in time of need. This matter of walking honestly at the present time, therefore, signifies considerable; – to be honest with God, to love him with all our heart, mind, being, strength; to be honest with ourselves, honest with our neighbors, honest with the brethren – to exercise toward all the law of the spirit of love, to love them as we love ourselves.

We are not to indulge in the revelries and drunkenness, the lasciviousness and debauchery of the grossest sinners, nor are we to indulge in these things in the more refined figurative sense of reveling in worldliness, fashion and ostentation, and in living wantonly and illicitly in worldliness or sectarianism. We are to remember on the contrary, that we are not of this world, that we are citizens of the heavenly Kingdom, that we are betrothed to the Lord Jesus as his Bride and are to be separate from the world, pure in heart, undefiled by wrong union with Babylon. (Rev. 14:4.) As new creatures in Christ we are neither to indulge in the strifes and envyings of the national sort, leading to wars, nor of the commercial sort leading to injustice and unkind competition; neither are we to indulge in strifes and envyings amongst the brethren; but are in honor to prefer one another wherever the conditions and talents permit, contending, earnestly as well as lovingly, only when it is for the faith once delivered to the saints.

These strifes, envyings, self-indulgences and improper associations, are to be put away from us, as so much of "the works of darkness" still clinging to us, notwithstanding our having become the Lord's people, "a royal priesthood;" and as another statement corresponding to that concerning the armor of light, the Apostle says, "Put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh to fulfill the lusts thereof." Putting on Christ implies a change of the will, which when renewed, desires to be Christ-like; but it implies also such a change of the outward appearance, conduct, habits of life, etc., as will enable us more and more to rightly represent our Lord before men, as his ambassadors. Thus are we changed, into our Lord's likeness of character, as day by day we get clearer views of his glorious character and seek to copy it, – until, by and by we shall be actually changed in the First resurrection and made actually like him. – 2 Cor. 3:18; I Cor. 15:42-51.

"And make no provision of the flesh to fulfill the lusts thereof." Ah, yes! how often the Lord's people have made a mistake on this point. Although the heart, the new mind, be thoroughly consecrated to the Lord, we still have the fleshly bodies and they still have their natural appetites and these call out loudly to us that they should not be ignored. They insist upon their rights, etc.; but the Apostle instructs us that having started to walk after the spirit, as new creatures, we should make no provision for gratifying the flesh; – we should not shape our affairs so as to yield to any of the demands of the flesh which we recognize to be contrary to the will of the Lord. In proportion as we yield to the improper desires of the flesh, in that same proportion the flesh will prosper and the spiritual new nature will languish. In proportion as we deny all the illegitimate appetites of the flesh and mortify them, put them to death, in that same proportion will we grow strong in the Lord and in the power of his might. As the Apostle again says, "The flesh lusteth [desireth] against the spirit [the new will or mind] and the spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would." – Gal. 5:17.

QUARTERLY REVIEW – JUNE 29.

"A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of my people Israel."

Luke 2:32.

A review of the lessons of the past quarter will undoubtedly prove interesting and profitable to all. The design of the committee selecting the lessons seems to have been to bring prominently before our minds the thought first, of how Jerusalem became the general center from which the Gospel light, as lamps in a dark place, was carried in various directions; and secondly, how one of these places receiving the light from Jerusalem – Antioch – became itself a center from which the Lord sent forth Paul and Barnabas, who in turn lighted other lamps, in other places, and thus spread abroad the knowledge of the Lord – especially [R3031 : page 191] in Asia Minor, and even unto Europe. The same principle still applies; – God still uses human agencies. He who now receives the light of truth is to be the agent, channel, representative of God in carrying the same to others still in need of it.

Our Golden Text sets forth the thought that Christ is the light of the world. Not yet is the Sun of righteousness shining in glory, and dispelling earth's darkness; not yet is it enlightening all the Gentiles; not yet has Christ become the glory of his people Israel. He is, nevertheless, all through this Gospel age, a great light to all those whose eyes are opened that they may see it. This light is still shining in the darkness and the darkness comprehends it not; but blessed are our eyes for they see; and correspondingly the responsibility of the light is with us. Let us walk as children of light, even before the day dawns, rejoicing also in the blessings that are ultimately to come to all the families of the earth through God's Anointed.

[R3031 : page 191]

INTERESTING QUESTIONS ANSWERED.

THE CURSE UPON THE EARTH.

Question. – What do you understand to be the significance of the statement in Gen. 3:17, "Cursed is the ground for thy sake"?

Answer. – To our understanding the Lord is not here expressing a curse against the ground, bringing a blight upon it, but is merely stating a fact, that the earth at the time was in an accursed or unfit condition for man. He explains that its condition is for man's sake, implying that had it been more favorable for man to have had the earth in a better condition, the Lord would have so arranged matters. In other words, the earth had never been in a perfect condition up to that time, and would not be fully ready for man's occupancy for seven thousand years; but the Lord, foreknowing the fall into sin, and the penalty he would prescribe, arranged that man should be introduced to the earth as a felon, and should, as a culprit, do such penal service in the premises as would not only bring him valuable lessons and experiences, but would be the divine agent for bringing the earth up to the perfection of the Garden of Eden by the time that God foresaw would be the proper period for it to be in such a condition. From this standpoint you perceive that the statement of Genesis has a special force when it says that "God prepared a garden eastward in Eden." Had the whole earth been in a perfect or Edenic condition, [R3032 : page 191] the preparation of the garden for man's use would have been unnecessary; neither would it have been in harmony with divine economy to have first brought the earth to perfection, and then to have blasted and blighted it; rather, by the method adopted, God is showing his foreknowledge of whatsoever has come to pass.

The curse is lifting from the earth, in proportion as man is gaining victories, intellectual and chemical and mechanical, over it, by which he is subduing it. These are under divine guidance, and undoubtedly will greatly increase throughout the Millennial age, and as they increase the curse will to that extent disappear, until by the close of the Millennial age, with human perfection, there will also be earth-perfection.

THE JUDGMENT OF "THE PRINCE OF THIS WORLD."

Question. – To whom or what do you understand our Lord's words in John 12:31; 14:30, to refer? Is not the Diaglott foot-note on this verse a misconception?

Answer. – We understand the "prince of this world" here mentioned to be the same elsewhere denominated, "the prince of the power of the air who now worketh in the hearts of the children of disobedience." From this you will see that we would not at all agree with Wakefield's suggestion, as given in the Diaglott foot-note.

In reference to John 12:30,31, our thought is that the "prince" there referred to is Satan also. Satan and his rulership of disorder and sin had received no particular sentence or rebuke from the Lord up to this time; indeed, the appearances were that either God's law or God's creatures were imperfect, and hence that sin was unavoidable. But when our Lord Jesus, by his obedience and sacrifice, upheld the law, and made it honorable, and proved that it was within the range of a perfect man's ability to keep it, he thereby "condemned sin in the flesh," and, incidentally, condemned Satan's entire rule. And not only so, but by the purchase of the world of mankind with his own life, he secured the legal control of the world, or the right to bring it from under subjection to sin and Satan, back into harmony with God. In this sense of the word "this world," or the order of things then in vogue, and still in vogue with the world, was condemned, sentenced to overthrow, from the time that our Lord Jesus was lifted up, finished his work of redemption, and was accepted of the Father as the purchaser and King of the earth, the Second Adam. "Now shall the prince of this world be cast out:" The casting out of Satan followed the redemptive work by Christ. He is cast out so far as the Church is concerned; for we are not to allow Satan or sin to bear rule in our mortal bodies, but are to esteem ourselves free from his yoke, that we may serve the Lord. Moreover, the influence of the truth is more and more liberating in the world of mankind, breaking the shackles of superstition. But the great overthrow of Satan, and the great liberation of mankind has been delayed, waiting for the gathering out of the elect, the full lifting up of the whole body of Christ. As soon as this is accomplished the sentence upon Satan and his government, passed eighteen-hundred years ago, will go into effect thoroughly. Satan's house and household will be spoiled, wrecked, and a new Prince and his associates will take the Kingdom and possess it forever.

SHE SHALL BE SAVED.

Question. – Do you understand I Tim. 2:15 to be literal?

Answer. – Yes, we understand that the Christian mother may reasonably expect to be saved (preserved) from much of the anguish incident to motherhood; – to this end her mind should rest fully upon the Lord, his love, his care – dread should be dismissed, and thus some of the chief factors of anguish would be removed. Feeling intensifies nearly all the difficulties and trials of life; and with the Christian perfect love for God and the complete realization of the Lord's love for him, should cast out all fear, and produce, instead, the peace of God which passeth all understanding, not only in our hearts, but also in large measure in our flesh.