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January 15th
Herald of Christ's Presence

Other foundation can
no man lay

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

VOL. XXVI.JANUARY 1, 1905.No. 1
Views from the Watch Tower 3
Happy New Year, 1905 3
"They Will Accuse Me of Heresy." 4
Is an Atheist a Heretic? 4
Higher Criticism Affecting Romanism 5
Lack of Candidates for the Ministry 5
Assaults on St. Paul 6
"We Have Found the Messiah." 7
My Beautiful Secret (Poem) 10
Filled and Transformed 10
Essentials to a Share in the Kingdom 13
Public Ministries of the Truth 16
Brother Russell's Discourses Weekly 2

'I will stand upon my watch, and set my foot upon the Tower, and will watch to see what He shall say unto me, and what answer I shall make to them that oppose me.' Hab. 2:1

Upon the earth distress of nations with perplexity: the sea and the waves (the restless, discontented) roaring: men's hearts failing them for fear and for looking forward to the things coming upon the earth (society): for the powers of the heavens (ecclestiasticism) shall be shaken. . . .When ye see these things come to pass, then know that the Kingdom of God is nigh at hand. Look up, lift up your heads, rejoice, for your redemption draweth nigh. – Luke 21:25-28, 32.

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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, 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.

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.

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[R3479 : page 3]


GREETINGS, dear fellow Watchers! The great clock of Time marks another cycle, and shows us another day's march nearer Home – nearer to our "change," and contact fellowship with our Savior – nearer to the Kingdom and its blessings for all the families of the earth.

"How light our trials then will seem!
How short our pilgrim way!"

But, though thus rejoicing in the flight of time, it is not with us as with many of the poor world when they would express themselves similarly, perhaps at the moment meditating suicide. No, indeed! The love of Christ makes fresh our hearts, as a fountain ever springing, so that to the true children of God every day has the Christian's secret of a happy day and every year the same. We are greatly enjoying the present, with its songs and sighs, its pleasures and disappointments, its joys and discouragements, while waiting for and with the eye of faith looking for "That blessed hope, the glorious revelation of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ," and the wonderful riches of divine grace and blessing then to be showered upon the world of mankind under the New Covenant.

"It makes each trial blest" to realize that it is one of the "all things" promised to work for good to the Lord's Spirit-begotten children, who are being prepared for joint-heirship with their Lord in the great Kingdom which soon is to bless and uplift Adam and all his race. This is the secret which none but the blood-washed and consecrated, the spirit-begotten, can "comprehend." (Eph. 3:18.) These alone are able truly to sing: –

"Yes, happy every day has been
Since I am His and He is mine.
He leads me and I follow on
Directed through the Word divine."

Not that we are absolutely pure and perfect, any of us (except "pure in heart," pure in our intentions and desires), but that we by faith realize that our Redeemer's merit covers us, and permits us, if overtaken of a fault unwillingly, to apply for a share of the merit of "the blood" to cleanse our wedding garment from spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that our communion and fellowship with our Lord be never hindered except for a moment as it were.

Let us start the New Year properly, remembering the Apostle's words: "Set your affections on things above;" – not on earthly things. If they slip away through earthly attractions reset them, time and time again. Gradually they will become more strongly attached to the heavenly things; – gradually we will come to appreciate both more truthfully and find that –

"The joys of earth of little worth
Should not confine our thoughts to earth.
Why grasp at transitory toys
So near to heaven's eternal joys?"

Many adopted our suggestion of a text for 1904 with great profit, and now we suggest one for the year 1905 as follows:

1905 – MOTTO TEXT – 1905
"Wisdom is the Principal Thing:
Therefore get Wisdom." – Prov. 4:7

*                         *                         *
"The Wisdom that is from Above
is first Pure,
Then Peaceable, Gentle, Easy of Entreatment,
Full of Mercy and Good Fruits." – Jas. 3:17

Let us as "Children of the Highest" give earnest heed to the heavenly counsel as the essence of Wisdom. No matter how far advanced we may be in Christian character it will make us better to give earnest heed to this wisdom; – better husbands and wives, better parents and children, better colaborers, friends and neighbors! Let us be wise toward God, whatever fellowmen may consider us. [R3479 : page 4]


These words are becoming quite familiar to those who get a glance at the public press reports. Yesterday it was Rev. S. T. Carter, D.D., who thus feared as he addressed the Nassau Presbytery, telling them that he no longer believes the Bible narrative of the fall in Eden, and a divine curse in consequence, and the need of a Redeemer to effect atonement for the sin and to again open to man a way of life: today it is Rev. Lyman Abbott, D.D., a Congregationalist, who expresses the same fear to Harvard College students, while telling them of his abandonment of the very same doctrines. How it shocks us to hear these aged veterans tell that they are no longer soldiers of the cross and followers of the Lamb. The cross to them was needless and the Lamb's blood was unnecessary.

But there is a ridiculous side to this serious question. These aged Christian ministers intimate to us that for a long time they have had their unbelief; – for a long time they have been too cowardly to confess it; – for a long time therefore they have hypocritically posed as believers when they were unbelievers! Alas that such a view of their course is the only one possible. Alas that we must fear that there are others in the pulpits of Christendom, many of them, equally pharisaical.

Rev. Carter feared that the Nassau Presbytery would accuse him of heresy! Is that meant as a joke? Does not this learned doctor of divinity know the meaning of the word heretic? Did he claim that he is not an heretic and fear that the Presbytery would be falsely accusing him by calling him one? Let us see what the word heretic means, in plain English. We take the Standard Dictionary's definition: –

"Heretic (theological def.) An actual or former member of a Church, or one whose allegiance is claimed by it, who holds religious opinions contrary to the fundamental doctrines or tenets of that Church."

[R3480 : page 4]

This fits Dr. Carter's case exactly. He admits that he no longer believes the fundamental teachings of the Presbyterian Church, and that he no longer believes the fundamental teachings of the Bible respecting sin and its atonement, etc. He is a heretic, therefore, not only to the Presbyterian Church but also, and more important by far, he is a heretic toward God and "the Church of the first-born, whose names are written in heaven."

But Dr. Carter's fears were groundless: Nassau Presbytery by a good majority decided that to brand him a "heretic" would be to brand the Presbytery the same. To say that Dr. Carter had been acting the hypocrite for years would be to charge themselves with the same dishonesty. So Dr. Carter's practical endorsement by Nassau Presbytery (one of the most influential in the land) must be understood by thinking people to mean that Nassau Presbytery is either totally or by majority composed of heretics who do not stand for the fundamentals of religion, neither as expressed in the Bible, God's standard, nor as expressed in the Presbyterian Confession of Faith, which they have vowed to uphold and teach.


Dr. Lyman Abbott's pronunciamento has been published broadcast, but we give a liberal extract from it from the Pittsburg Dispatch, as follows: –

CAMBRIDGE, Mass., Dec. 18. – Leaning far out over the pulpit in Appleton Chapel, his long white beard and flowing gown making him look like a veritable patriarch, Dr. Lyman Abbott, in a sermon to Harvard students to-night, broke away from the theology which to-day forms the basis of the faith of millions of orthodox Christians, and sounded the keynote of a new religion founded, not on the Bible, but on science and the out-reachings of the human heart.

"I wonder," he said, "if you students in Harvard will understand me when I say that I no longer believe in a great first cause. To-morrow the newspapers will get hold of this and brand me as a heretic. My God is a great and ever-present force, which is manifest in all the activities of man and all the workings of nature.

"I believe in a God who is in, and through, and of, everything – not an absentee God, whom we have to reach through a Bible or a priest or some other outside aid. Science, literature and history tell us that there is one eternal energy, that the Bible no longer can be accepted as ultimate, that many of its laws were copied from other religions, that the Ten Commandments did not spring spontaneously from Moses, but were, like all laws, a gradual growth, and that man is a creature, not a creation."

*                         *                         *

If we grasp Dr. Abbott's language it means, what all atheists hold, that there is no God, that in some unexplainable sense all nature is God, and that we are all the children of nature, God, by processes of evolution. Voltaire, Thos. Paine, and Robert Ingersoll never did such slight to justice and religion as this. They were too honest to wear a cloak of religion to conceal the poisoned dagger of infidelity for a close approach to permit spiritual assassination. Oh shame, shame! That a greyhaired man should wear the livery of a Christian minister, and the decorations of "Reverend" and of "Doctor of Divinity" to maintain his honor among men, and then, stealing into the Christian Chapel of one of the foremost colleges of the world, should seek to assassinate the Bible and its God and Christ, and to put the poison of infidelity into the streams of culture where they would be most effective in poisoning the entire household of faith!

Dr. Abbott, also, is afraid he will be found out as a "heretic," but – wiser on the subject than Dr. Carter – he does not anticipate trouble from the ministry, who he well knows are generally "tarred with the same stick," – he fears that the newspapers will find him out. He is still more shrewd, for knowing that the newspapers would discern his heresy he doubtless wrote out the newspaper statement above with his own pen! Why? To deceive! To give the impression – this is not heresy, but the newspapers [R3480 : page 5] will know no better than to consider it so. What abominable hypocrisy in the name of Christianity! And yet at one time in our estimation Dr. Abbott was one of God's most sincere servants: we judge from his writings of thirty years ago. Verily a star, a bright one, is thus seen to have "fallen from heaven."

Surely we are witnessing the masterstrokes of Satanic craft as no time since the dark ages witnessed them. Then the Adversary used ignorance and superstition and priestcraft as his tools: now he transforms himself and poses as an angel of light. Taking advantage of the recoil of civilization against the monstrous and unscriptural errors of the past, he takes the torch of higher criticism and becomes leader, that he may attract attention to the opposite extreme – equally far from the truth.

But we are neither surprised nor dismayed by such "falling of the stars from heaven," and the consequent "shaking" of the foundations of society as respects religious things. No; the Master foretold it all, and, as our older readers well know, we have been expecting these things for thirty years, and noting their gradual approach.

So far as the Lord's cause is concerned we would not even change matters; for although it will soon produce demoralization in nominal Christendom, it will result to the advantage of the Lord's true people, "Israelites indeed." We are in the "harvest" of the Gospel Age, and while "wheat" and "tares" have grown together in the past, the Lord is seeing to it that now they must be manifested as totally different, that the "wheat" may all be reaped with the sickle of Truth and be gathered into the heavenly "garner." In proportion as the eyes of our understanding open and we see these things, we may indeed lift up our heads and rejoice, knowing that our deliverance draweth near!


It would appear that Romanism also is seriously affected by "modern scholarship," otherwise "higher criticism" or refined infidelity. Papacy's claim of Infallibility makes her specially vulnerable. The following from the higher critical viewpoint appeared in the Fortnightly Review:

"The conclusion – painful as it is – that one is compelled to draw is that Rome regards the maintenance of her absolute authority, unlimited in its sphere and exercise, as the one thing to be fought for at all costs, even at the cost of the loss to the church of the great majority of her children. This is the spirit, and this the temper, which brought about the Reformation; it does not spring from 'ineradicable confidence' in the future of the church, but rather from a well-grounded fear that the claim of Rome to absolute, infallible, and unlimited authority in all matters will not stand the test of history, and can not be maintained except by the rigorous repression of individual initiative and independent thought.

"The position in which the individual Catholic is placed by the policy of his rulers is one of grave difficulty, and nowhere is the situation more acute than in France. In the English Catholic body few of the laity, and fewer still of the clergy, take any interest in intellectual matters; but there are signs of grave mischief among the younger laymen even in England. They have been trained to draw no distinction between the Catholic faith and its scholastic expression, or the insecure historical basis upon which their teachers have founded it.

"The natural consequence is that, in so far as those who have been educated in this way become convinced of the strength of the critical position, their hold on the faith is likely to be weakened. Rome has weakened it still more by declaring that any attempt to find a synthesis between the critical position and the faith is unlawful for Catholics."

*                         *                         *

But Rome will not be as much shaken as Protestantism in this respect. She has her grip upon the people through priestcraft and superstition, and it will hold to the "bitter end," when anarchy will down all. Meantime it will be all the more trying upon intelligent Protestant Christians, loyal to the Bible, to find the great Antichrist system on their side, defending the Bible, with all the "worldly wise" in opposition. The Lord, however, knows how to sift and shake his professed Church so as to gather out of it all things that offend and they that do iniquity.


Two conventions of Christian workers have been held recently to consider the dearth of Ministerial candidates. The WORLD'S WORK says on the subject: –

"There is no real 'dearth' of students for the ministry. There is a slight back-set at the present time, but it is not so great as has occurred in other years, and reports of attendance of students in the theological seminaries, when compared with similar reports twenty-five years ago, show a marked and marvelous increase.

"In some quarters there is a deterioration in the quality of students, but the reports are not altogether unanimous. Methodists and Episcopalians report a decided increase in numbers and in quality, and other religious bodies vary in localities and colleges in this respect.

"There is a marked change in the sources of supply. The West and South provide a much larger proportion of students than the East. The response is greater in the newer regions than in the old, in the country than in the city, in the small churches than in the larger."

*                         *                         *

It would seem, however, that there is a danger even more serious than that resulting from a lack of proper candidates for the ministry. Mr. Tomlinson wrote to twenty "successful pastors," asking whether, if they had their lives to live over again, they would select the work they are now doing. Seven replied "Yes" enthusiastically, three were undecided, nine gave emphatic negatives, and one declared that if he could avoid being "ordained," he would be glad to take up the work. [R3481 : page 6]

Reading between the lines it would appear that the consciences of the majority of ministers are causing them pain which they would be glad to be rid of if they knew of an equally honorable and remunerative engagement open to them. Having lost their faith they are not happy in their unbelief, and are ashamed of the hypocrisy of their position. Why do they not follow the examples of Drs. Carter and Abbott, you ask? Oh! their case is very different: Dr. Carter is on the superannuated list and not in contact with nor dependent on the public. And Dr. Abbott is quite independent as the editor of a prosperous journal. The others, many, many, are waiting to see how the public stands the heretical utterances of the independents, hoping some day that it will be safe for them to follow the same course without loss of position and income and honor of men. The general public does not comprehend the situation – "None of the wicked shall understand" (Dan. 12:10) – they call it "theological hair-splitting anyway." But the Lord's true sheep, who have believed in him as their Redeemer, will know and will understand, and the coming cleavage will awaken them and prepare them for the Light and Truth in fuller measure than they have yet received them.

*                         *                         *

"If these twenty men be fairly representative," says the New York Evening Post, "the problem is not only how to get men to preach, but how to keep them preaching." The editor, evidently a "higher critic," proceeds to say:

"The causes that deter men from becoming clergymen are today pretty obvious. The old prejudice, that 'learning hath always been an enemy to the gospel,' is still alive. Indeed, the struggle between rigid ecclesiastics, on the one hand, and scientists and scholars, on the other, first over evolution and then over the higher criticism, has dealt a severer blow to the Church than the gentlemen who now so gracefully acquiesce in the new doctrines imagine....The old contest is not forgotten, especially while the reactionary religious press keeps up its din about the higher criticism. Young men, viewing the past and the present, scrutinize the ordination vows, and frankly say they will not put their necks into the noose."


Higher Critics and Evolutionists find serious obstacles in the clear statements of the great Apostle Paul in the New Testament. No wonder then that he is discredited by them. It is their frequent claim that they take Jesus' statements and not St. Paul's – that the latter and not the former taught concerning Adam's fall and the consequent "curse," and the need of an atonement for sin, etc.

Seemingly they are willingly ignorant of our Lord's statement that all were "lost" – that he "came to seek and to save that which was lost." They also ignore his statement that the Son of man came "to give his life a ransom for many." (Matt. 20:28.) They forget that it was our Lord who said to the unregenerate, "Ye are of your father the devil, for his works ye do;" and "Ye will not come unto me that ye might have life." They forget his declaration, "As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up, that whosoever believeth in him might not perish, but have everlasting life." They seem not to see that this teaches that all except believers will perish and that the thing to be believed is the ransom effected through our Redeemer's death on the cross.

The above utterances by our Lord are remarkably clear and explicit when we remember how few of his utterances are recorded; and that because it was not due time until Pentecost to pour out the holy Spirit, so it was not due time until then to clearly explain the "mysteries of the Kingdom," and hence it is written that our Lord opened his mouth in parables and dark sayings, leaving to his Apostles, later, under the ministration of the Spirit, to understand and explain to others "all things whatsoever he had spoken" darkly, – "the deep things of God."

Recently a German professor made a bitter attack upon Paul along lines above indicated, and another, Professor Feine, answered him quite well. We below quote from that answer: –

"It must be regarded as the settled conclusion of honest research that Christianity, from the outset, was a religion that aimed at man's redemption. Not Paul, but the founder of Christianity, put this stamp upon the faith. It is true that the great apostle, in his elaboration of the doctrine of justification, nowhere directly appeals or refers to an utterance of Jesus on this subject. Even in his discussion with Peter at Antioch (Gal. 2:14-21), we do not find that Paul recalls for the benefit of Peter any particular word of Jesus on the topic under discussion. But notwithstanding all this, the germ of Paul's doctrine of justification is to be found in the teachings of Jesus himself.

"Jesus recognized the universal depravity, and was constantly calling men to repentance. He preached, as John the Baptist did before him, not that certain classes, or a few, must enter into the Kingdom of God through repentance, but that all, without exception, must do so. (Matt. 18:23 seq.) In this thought lies the foundation of Paul's doctrine of justification, altho he developed this doctrine more emphatically than Jesus himself did.

"Again, the fundamental, Pauline doctrine that the call to Christianity and, indeed, our entire Christian life, are a gift of God's grace, has also been taken from Jesus. The latter spoke of the Kingdom of God as a gift from on high, to be given to all for whom it had been prepared.

"According to Jesus, the Kingdom of God is something already attainable in the present life, while Paul maintains that judgment by justification has already been determined. But even in this apparent contradiction may be recognized two sides of one and the same doctrine.

"The essential contents of Paul's doctrine of justification [R3481 : page 7] can be traced back to Jesus himself. It was not Paul who raised up the cross of Christ as the only means of salvation. Jesus himself had declared his death to be necessary for the salvation of mankind."

[R3481 : page 7]

JOHN 1:35-51. – JANUARY 15. –

"Thou art the Son of God: thou art the King of Israel."

OHN'S Gospel was written after the other three, and quite evidently with a view to setting forth matters not set forth in the other Gospels. Thus we find that it does not attempt to give a full history of the Lord's ministry in all particulars, but chiefly deals either with matters omitted or with details not given by the others. Our present lesson furnishes details respecting the gathering of the first apostles to the Lord. Much of its interest centers in the fact that it well illustrates the diversity of the Lord's dealings and providences as these are still exercised in the world in the drawing of others to himself, some in one way and some in another.

While the Scriptures inform us that at the time of the Lord's presentation "All men were in expectation of him," of Messiah, nevertheless we are to remember that all were expecting something totally different from what the Lord presented. They were expecting a personage of high rank, of great influence, of striking and commanding character; and our Lord, if he had been an impostor, would have sought to fill this public expectation. Either he would have given them to believe he controlled wealth and influence, or he would at least have been boastful and heady, thereby making up for any deficiencies along the line of their expectation. By a studied exclusiveness of manner, and haughty disdain of the poor and the sinful, an impostor would have sought to rank himself in the public estimation by claiming the possession of every noble and lofty sentiment above others. He was of the royal tribe of Judah – more than this, he was of the royal family of David – and had he been an impostor we may be sure that this relationship to the kingly line, and references to divine prophecy respecting the same, would have been flaunted on every possible occasion. On the contrary, we find our Lord "meek and lowly of heart" – not bombastic, not boastful, not self-obtrusive. Bearing these things in mind we see all the more clearly why he attracted special characters for his disciples, and why he failed to attract the masses: we see that it was the Father's design that he should attract to himself as disciples the meek and lowly of heart, the reverential, the sincere, and that he should more or less repel the worldly wise, the rulers, and the masses who subsequently crucified him. Let us note, too, that these same principles of attraction and repulsion have persisted throughout this Gospel age and are still operative. The masses may be temporarily influenced, and even say "Never man spake like this man," or again, "When Messiah cometh can he do greater works than this man doeth?" But the masses will not be attracted, because the Lord does not wish to attract those whose hearts are not in the proper attitude of consecration and faith. Consequently, all down through the Gospel age, those who have been the Lord's followers in the highest and truest sense of the word, "forsaking all to follow him," have been comparatively few, and, as described by the Apostle, "Not many [R3482 : page 7] great, not many wise, not many learned, not many noble according to the course of this world, but the poor of this world, rich in faith" – shall be heirs of the Kingdom.


Notice the quiet, unostentatious, meek manner in which our Redeemer began the announcement of his mission. Quietly he presented himself to John for baptism, and after receiving there the anointing of the holy Spirit he went into absolute seclusion in the wilderness for more than a month, for forty days studying what the divine plan had arranged to be his course. True, he did not have the Bible, but he had the perfect memory, and for thirty years he had heard the reading of the Law and the prophets in the Synagogue and was thoroughly familiar with them. He had the entire matter before his mind, and under the light of the holy Spirit he weighed the various declarations of the Law and prophets, noted the course of sacrifice which these meant, his temptation lying in the suggestion that easier, less sacrificing courses seemed to present themselves as feasible. He triumphed over all the Adversary's allurements and blandishments – determined not to do, Satan's will, nor even follow his own judgment, but strictly and implicitly follow and obey the outlined program which the Father had laid down in the Word. He returned to John, seeking companionship with those who were nearest to the Lord and waiting for divine providence to guide in his affairs.

It was at this time, in the presence of his disciples, that John prophesied of Jesus, saying, "Behold the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world." Andrew and John were disciples of John the Baptist, and when they thus heard his testimony respecting Jesus and the declaration that he had a witness from God that Jesus was the Messiah, they sought the Lord's acquaintance. They followed after him, overtook him, and inquired where he was stopping. Apparently their object was to learn of him, to ascertain what further blessings the Lord had, and what further service than that they had engaged in with John the Baptist. They wanted the best that was to be had. They had not the partisan spirit to say, "We belong to John the Baptist and must stand up for him," as some of the Lord's dear people are inclined to do in respect to the various denominations. There were some of John's disciples who heard his testimony who did not seek to become followers of the Lamb of God, but who were quite content to remain John's disciples. We may properly enough suppose that being content with the lesser blessing and privilege implied that they were not so worthy of the higher privileges and blessings. They doubtless never became apostles, though some of them, probably, became followers of Jesus after the imprisonment of John.

John does not mention the other disciple that went with Andrew on this occasion, but this seems to have been his modest style of omitting special mention of himself. The two spent the remainder of the day with [R3482 : page 8] the Lord, and doubtless "learned of him," much to their comfort and joy and the establishment of their faith. The record is "They abode with him." This may refer to the temporary stay of one day, but it may with equal propriety be understood to mean that they remained with the Lord as his disciples thereafter – to the very end of life. We remember on one occasion, when some took offence at certain teachings of our Lord which they did not understand, how our Lord addressing the twelve said, "Will ye also go away?" But Peter answered, "Lord, to whom should we go? thou hast the words of eternal life," we must abide with you. So it should be with all of us who have become the Lord's followers. We are not his disciples for a day, but for all eternity. We abide with him in loyalty of heart whether we go to seek others or whether we listen to words at his feet, and he abides with us, as expressed in his own statement, "Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age."

"Not a brief glance I beg, a parting word;
But as thou dwell'st with thy disciples, Lord;
Familiar, condescending, patient, free,
Come, not to sojourn, but abide, with me!"

On the basis of that brief acquaintance, John and Andrew started forthwith to find others and bring them to the Master. The intimation of the Greek text is that Andrew and John both started out, each to find his own brother and bring him to the Lord, and that Andrew found his brother first, implying that John found his brother, James, a little later.

There are some points here that are well worthy of our attention:

(1) Andrew and John were not content to have the great blessing of fellowship with the Lord alone; they desired to make known their great find.

(2) They did not attempt to influence others until they were fully satisfied themselves and could give a definite, positive message, saying, "We have found the Messiah" – the Christ. (Messias is the Greek spelling of the Hebrew word Messiah, and is the equivalent of the Greek word Christ, which means the Anointed One.)

(3) They did not go to benighted heathen, speaking a different language. They did not say, "Our brethren and all the Jews here are already God's people and good enough and instructed enough by the scribes and Pharisees, and we will go and hunt up some outside Gentiles." They did not even say, "We will go and look up some of those sinners who are coming to John for baptism, and who ought to know about Messiah, the great Sin-Bearer." They did better than either of these things – they thought first of all about their own brethren, brethren according to the flesh, and in this case brethren also in religious faith and effort. There is a lesson here for us, easily applied: Our first duties lie toward those who are near to us as neighbors, friends, and especially as members of our own family circles. We should begin the proclamation of the Messiah whom we have found with them; then, after they fail to hear, or after they have heard the way of God, proclaim it to the next in turn, and so on and on.

This is the very plan we are pursuing at the present time, and to which some of our dear friends in the various denominations object. They say, "Take your tracts and books to the sinners, or go to the heathen." We reply that the message ought to go first of all to those who ought to be the most ready for it. They answer us that they have Moses and the prophets and the doctrines of the Dark Ages, but we reply that these only obscurely disclose the real character and the plan of God, and the real Messiah and his great work. We fain would tell all of them who have ears to hear and hearts to appreciate the lengths and breadths and heights and depths, that they may appreciate with us the love of God which passeth all human understanding. This is our proper course, too, whether they hear or whether they forbear, and as the testimony goes on the circle will widen. It is widening, as reports in our last issue show. The knowledge of the King of kings and the Kingdom which he is about to establish is scattered throughout Great Britain, Scandinavia, Germany, France, Italy, Australia, etc. We seek to cultivate the best fields and find them nearest home, but as the numbers and implements increase we extend operations in the name of the Lord, and with the firm conviction that ultimately in this harvest time he will find every true heart, every one fitted to be a disciple.


Many have seen or heard of Jesus as those who were with John the Baptist heard of him, but have not learned to know him as the Messiah – the Christ. This word Messiah covers a particular thought that to-day is very generally ignored amongst the Lord's professed followers. Remarkably few Christians know Jesus to be the Messiah at all. The word Messiah as already pointed out signifies the Anointed. The Jews, under the great promise made to Abraham, had been expecting a Messiah, a King, a Deliverer, who would exalt them as his special people and assistants, and use them in presenting the law of God to all peoples, nations and languages, and as authorized and empowered co-laborers to enforce those laws with rewards and penalties.

The word Messiah, or Anointed, thus signifies the great King who was looked for – the great Prophet, Priest and King – for prophets, priests and kings under the divine arrangement were anointed to their offices, and thus signified that in due time Christ would combine all three of these qualities in himself, and associate his Church with himself in the exercise of the various offices as joint-heirs in his Kingdom. The Scriptures show us that Israel as a nation was found unworthy to enter into all these blessings and privileges, and that, after selecting the Israelites indeed from that nation, the Lord has been gathering to himself and associating with him as his Church, as his spiritual Israel, the faithful ones who have ears to hear and hearts to obey the same message from every nation, kindred, people and tongue.

Thus we see that to recognize and speak of Jesus as the Messiah means to speak of him as the great King who ultimately shall reign to bless the whole world, as the great King whose joint-heirs in the Kingdom we hope to be, – members of his Bride. This grand work of the Redeemer and the grand privileges to which the elect are being called have been lost sight of under the delusions and misrepresentations of the Dark Ages, which have worked the minds of many of the Lord's people into a frenzy of confusion and fear of eternal torment, and led them to believe that escape from that torment was the salvation offered, causing this erroneous [R3483 : page 9] idea to take the place of the gracious hopes set before us in the Gospel, that if faithful we shall be heirs of God, joint-heirs with Jesus Christ our Lord in the great Kingdom for which he taught us to pray, "Thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven."


Note the varying methods of bringing the blessing to different persons. John the Baptist announced Jesus. Andrew and John heard him and sought the Lord. In turn they sought Peter and James, and now note a third method in Philip's case – the Lord himself found Philip. Particulars are not given, but we may be sure that in all these various findings the Lord had a hand, he was supervising. We are not to imagine that the Gospel work is left to chance. The Lord knoweth the heart, the Lord knoweth them that are his, and the Truth is specially sent to the Truth-hungry. We may safely say, all of us, that the Lord found us, else we should not be where we are or what we are. The poet has expressed this, saying,

"Yet he found me; I beheld him bleeding on the accursed tree;
And my wistful heart said faintly, 'Some of self and some of thee'."

Nathanael's case was still different. Philip found him, but he was naturally sceptical, fearful that his friend was being led astray by a false hope to follow a false Messiah. Philip's message to him briefly summed up was, "We have found him of whom Moses in the Law and all the prophets did write." His name is Jesus, and he comes from a place called Nazareth. Nazareth did not have a very savory reputation for wisdom and piety. On the contrary, the Nazarenes were looked upon as rather a fanatical people, and Nathanael sceptically answered his friend Philip, Did you ever hear of anything good coming out of Nazareth? – what you say of this man seems to contradict any reasonable hope or expectation you may have.

All along, in every sense of the word, the Lord has allowed his Truth and his plan to come through channels more or less impaired. Our Lord Jesus seemed to have something of this kind in mind when he said, "I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent and hast revealed them unto babes: even so, Father; for so it seemed good in thy sight." (Luke 10:21.) The Lord hides his Truth in the sense of permitting it to come through unpopular channels. Sometimes the unpopularity is deserved and sometimes undeserved, but it always serves to keep away those who are not in the right attitude of heart. They are not, however, stumblings to the pure in heart, because the Lord will help them over these difficulties as he did in the case of Nathanael, under consideration.


Philip's answer was, "Come and see;" test the matter for yourself if you are not satisfied – I have nothing more to say. Although nothing is said specially respecting Philip's character, we may reasonably assume from this incident that he was a man whose word and manner and general character had weight, that he was not given to foolishness of thought or word or conduct, otherwise Nathanael would have said within himself, if he had not said it to Philip, "I know you anyway to be rather flighty, always going off at a tangent," or, "I know you to be a man of poor moral character, and the thing which would commend itself to you would be discredited in my judgment in advance."

Alas, that such arguments should be forceful as against some of the Lord's followers who presume to invite others to him. In several instances we have known of the Present Truth being much injured by being advocated by some who were not of good character as well as by some not wise. It would be in the interest of the Truth that any such who have given their hearts to the Lord, and therefore have passed from the foolish and sinful condition to the justified relationship, should make well known the fact of their radical change, of their thorough conversion from sin to righteousness, from folly to wisdom, before they begin to invite their neighbors and friends to the Lord.

Repentance and reformation are therefore placed in the forefront in the instructions given us through the Lord's Word respecting our coming to him and our discipleship and service. "To the wicked [the unrepentant, those not seeking to live according to the Lord's way, those walking after the flesh and not after the Spirit] God saith, What hast thou to do to take my name into thy mouth, seeing thou hatest instruction and castest my words behind thee."


When Jesus saw Nathanael he made the way very clear for his faith to accept. His salutation was, "Behold an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no guile." This gives us a suggestion that it is entirely right for us to express at proper times our confidence in the religious character of those with whom we are conversing. We are neither to say, neither to think, nor in any sense of the word to manifest a doubt of the sincerity of all who are not fully with us in every point of faith and doctrine. On the contrary, we are to realize that any one whom we may expect to find interested in the message we have to present must beforehand be an Israelite indeed, without guile, without hypocrisy – otherwise the Truth would not appeal to his heart and the Lord would not bless him in connection with our service and message.

Nathanael evidently took it that the Lord was flattering him, and he rather repelled at first this forwardness on the Lord's part to speak of him in such praiseworthy terms without a knowledge of him, and he answered, "Whence knowest thou me?" Our Lord's answer shows clearly the divine care over all who are in the right attitude of heart, and how the Lord himself has the direction of his message and his ministers that they may find all the true wheat. With this in mind we have every assurance that not a single grain will be left with the tares in the field – that all will be gathered into the "barn" condition of glory.

The Lord's answer was, "I saw thee under the fig-tree before Philip called thee." How much that meant to Nathanael! He doubtless had already heard about his friend Philip having accepted one who was proclaimed the Messiah, he doubtless was fearful for himself as well as for Philip; and under these circumstances went to a fig-tree as a closet for prayer, for the fig-tree has foliage which hangs low and would constitute it quite an arbor or shelter and a very suitable place for privacy and prayer. [R3483 : page 10]

We are not told of what took place under the fig-tree, but we are at some liberty to imagine that an Israelite indeed in whom was no guile there prayed to the heavenly Father for wisdom, for guidance, for instruction, for protection from deception, whether it came through his friend Philip or however it might come, that he might not be misled into following a false Messiah. And now to hear this one refer to his very prayer, his very petition, of which not a soul in the world had knowledge, and to tell him that this was before Philip had called him, meant to Nathanael that the Lord had supervised in the matter and had full knowledge of all his affairs, and therefore he had the assurance that the one he had come to under the guidance of Philip was none other than


Addressing Nathanael and the other disciples incidentally, our Lord said, "Because I said unto thee, I saw thee under the fig-tree, believest thou? thou shalt see greater works than these," than this sure evidence of my Messiahship. As an Israelite indeed you are in the attitude of heart which would permit you to receive the Lord's blessing and to have the eyes of your understanding opened wider and wider to an appreciation of the lengths and breadths and heights and depths of the Lord's great plan of salvation which centers in me. "Verily, verily I say unto you, hereafter ye [all of my disciples, all who will follow me in the narrow way] shall see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of man."

Our Lord evidently by this expression called the attention of his hearers and of all his followers back to the days of Jacob and the vision which he had at Bethel, in which he saw a ladder reaching from earth to heaven on which angels of God were ascending and descending. Our Lord would have us understand that Jacob's vision was a pictorial illustration of the methods of divine grace: that our Lord himself was the ladder upon which communication between heaven and earth would be reestablished. And so, as our eyes of understanding open, we increasingly see this is the case. Upon this ladder, upon this connecting link between heaven and earth, between God and man, have descended to us the angels of divine favor, messages of love and mercy, forgiveness and adoption, and on this same ladder are messages returned to the Father, our prayers. We are accepted in the Beloved, we enter into the holies by faith, we receive the incoming and send back again the outgoing messages and messengers, and all of them upon the ladder, the connecting link, the Son of man, our Lord and Master, through whom alone we have access and relationship to the Father, and receive from him the exceeding great and precious things not only of this present life but also of that which is to come.

[R3487 : page 10]

"I have learned a beautiful secret,
I know not how or where –
But I know it is sweet and precious,
And true, and glad, and fair;
And that God in heaven reveals it
To all that have ears to hear.

"And I know that ere I learned it,
My way was weary and hard,
And somewhere in life's music
There was always that which jarred –
A hidden and dreary discord,
That all its sweetness marred.

"But my harp of life was lifted
By One who knew the range
Of its many strings – for he made it,
And he struck a keynote strange;
And beneath the touch of the Master
I heard the music change.

"No longer it failed and faltered;
No longer sobbed and strove;
But it seemed to soar and mingle
With the song of heaven above;
For the pierced hand of the Master
Had struck the keynote – Love.

"Thy heart's long-prisoned music
Let the Master's hand set free!
Let him whisper his beautiful secret
To thee, as he hath to me:
'My Love is the Golden Keynote
Of all my will for thee.'"

– E. D. Cherry.

[R3484 : page 10]

JOHN 2:1-11. – JANUARY 22. –

"Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it."

ANA of Galilee was the home city of Nathanael, one of the latest additions to the number of our Lord's disciples. He was one of six who had now given their adherence to Jesus as the Messiah. Apparently Nathanael had invited our Lord and the other disciples to be his guests at Cana, where a marriage feast was about to be held. Mary, the mother of Jesus, was present at the feast, doubtless as a very close friend of the family, as indicated by her knowledge in advance that the wine supply was running short. The customary hospitality of the Jews on such occasions would make it a serious breach of etiquette not to supply an abundance for their guests, as well as for neighbors and passers by, who, in the name of the bridegroom, would be urged to enter and partake of the hospitalities freely. Jesus and his disciples were amongst the specially invited guests.

Our Lord's mother brought to his attention the shortage of wine, and from this it has been assumed that she anticipated the miracle. We cannot agree to the reasonableness of this suggestion, because it is particularly [R3484 : page 11] stated that the miraculous creation of wine on this occasion was the beginning of Jesus' miracles. We must suppose, therefore, that Mary's long acquaintance with and dependance on her son had made her aware of his superior judgment and resourcefulness in all events and on all occasions. The matter was beyond her control, and, as was often the case with those in moderate circumstances, the bridegroom had probably spent all that he could afford to expend in preparations. Probably also, in anticipation of our Lord's presence at the marriage feast, a larger number of neighbors called on his account – to see the stranger of whom they had heard more or less through Nathanael and others.


This narrative gives us a little glimpse of the social side of our Lord's character, and convinces us that the asceticism illustrated by monks and nuns was not a part of his teaching either in word or example. His consecrated life was lived in the midst of the ordinary social conditions bearing upon any member of a moral and religious community. There is no suggestion of revelry or foolishness in our Lord's conduct, but it is reasonable to assume that he participated in the proper joys and fellowships and social amenities of such an occasion. This was in harmony with his own injunction to his followers, "Rejoice with those that do rejoice, and weep with those that weep."

What every home needs is not only a visit from Jesus, but that it should be his home, his abiding place. It would be a safe rule of life for all of the Lord's followers to desire to go to any place they would have reason to believe the Lord would go if he were again present in the flesh; it would be a safe rule for us to do or say such things as we would have reason to expect that our Lord would do or say were he present in our stead. Blessings, we may be sure, went with the dear Master wherever he went, specially to those who like Nathanael were Israelites indeed, in whose hearts there was no guile.

When we remember that the word disciple means pupil or learner, and that all of the Lord's people are his disciples (though not all apostles), it gives us a suggestion that each disciple represents the Lord – that where we go he goes, that we are his representatives or "ambassadors." With this thought before our minds how careful we each should be to properly represent our glorious Lord; – to "show forth the praise of him who hath called us out of darkness into his marvelous light." To this end how we need to pray, not only with our lips but also with our hearts, "Let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in thy sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer." Verily "as he was so are we in this world." (1 John 4:17.) "The world knoweth us not, even as it knew him not," but our duty on all occasions is just the same: his message is that we shall let our light shine before men, that they seeing our good works may glorify our Father in heaven.


A suggestion respecting the influences accompanying the Lord's disciples – which influences, we believe, surely accompanied his own presence on all such occasions – is represented by his commission to his apostles when he sent them forth. They were to say, "Peace be upon this house," before entering. We do not take it that this is a command that we should openly and formally make such a declaration before entering any building, but we do believe that this should be the heart sentiment of every one of the Lord's consecrated people – their desire, their effort, their aim – that peace and blessing may accompany them wherever they may go, resting, refreshing and uplifting the hearts of the poor groaning creation with whom they come in contact.

There are plenty of strife-breeders in the world whose entry of the portals of any home means, Strife be within these walls, whether they realize it or say it or not. Full of anger, malice, hatred and strife, their hearts speak forth of the abundance within, breeding discontent and unhappiness. With others who have passed that condition of bitterness of soul in malice and strife, and who have set their faces to walk in the Lord's footsteps, after the Spirit and not after the flesh, and who therefore are putting away those works of the flesh and the devil, some time will surely elapse before they are filled with the spirit of love: and in that interim, before they are so filled with peace and joy and the fruits of the Spirit as to overflow these in blessings wherever they go, there is apt to be a period in which evil speaking, back-biting, evil insinuations, evil surmisings, unkindnesses, ungentleness of word and conduct, impatience, etc., will be manifested.

The influence of such, even though they be pupils in Christ, is a carnal influence, highly injurious to spiritual development, calculated to stop growth in the various graces and to disturb the peace and joy of their own hearts and the hearts of others who are seeking the right ways of the Lord. The lesson for us of the Lord's followers is not only to turn from sin to righteousness and from anger and envy and malice to love, but to keep the heart fully filled with the latter, so that out of its abundance of love and joy and peace our mouth may speak and our conduct may show our relationship and likeness to our Lord, that men may take knowledge of us that we have been with Jesus and have learned of him.


Our Lord's reply to his mother's suggestion appears rather cold and harsh, but this is largely the result of the translation. While the word "woman" is a proper translation, it does not give the elegant shading of the Greek original, which would more nearly signify lady. The word is the same, for instance, that the Emperor of Rome used in complimentary address to the Queen of Egypt, "Take courage, O woman." We may be sure that neither by word nor act did our Lord violate the commandment of the Law, "Honor thy father and thy mother." We may be sure that in all his words and conduct he was a very model of the meekness and gentleness, patience and love which his doctrines inculcated.

The expression, "What have I to do with thee?" would seem more properly to signify, "Do not attempt to dictate to me – I will know what to do when the appropriate time comes." Mary probably was intent upon hiding the fact of the shortage of the wine: Jesus on the other hand recognized that the miracle he was about to perform was less for the assistance of the bridegroom of the occasion than for a great lesson which, through the servants, probably became known to the entire company. Jesus therefore waited until the supply [R3484 : page 12] was not only running low but exhausted, until there was no wine, so that the miracle would not be minimized by the admixture of the new with the old.

Mary's word to the servants, "Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it," was a further evidence that she was on terms of very close intimacy in that home. The servants properly enough would need such instructions, for otherwise they would not be prepared to take orders from one of the guests. Mary probably had no knowledge of what the Lord would command the servants to do, but, as before suggested, she had confidence in her son's resourcefulness and wisdom, and that as one of the guests whose entertainment had helped to exhaust the wine he would be pleased to take some steps to assist in replenishing the supply.

Here a question arises respecting the kind of wine provided by the bridegroom of which Jesus and his disciples evidently partook, and also respecting the kind of wine which the Lord subsequently produced and of which he probably partook. We know of nothing to indicate that this was merely grape juice unfermented. Everything seems to teach the reverse of this, that it was slightly alcoholic – the alcohol being produced in the wine through the processes of fermentation, resulting in what is known as "light wines." The remark of the governor of the feast that the wine which Jesus made was better than that at first supplied would, we think, support this theory, but it would not imply that the people were drunk, intoxicated, and that they had thus lost their taste or judgment.

In our view there is a great difference between present conditions and those of our Lord's time. Those people of a warmer country were accustomed to drinking light wines, in very much the same manner that we to-day drink water, tea, coffee, etc., and they had no [R3485 : page 12] deleterious effects, and the same may be said of the people of some parts of Europe to-day. Besides, it was in a slower age and amongst people more moderate in every way. In our day, with everything done under pressure and nervous excitement, alcoholic stimulants of every kind seem to be poisonous to very many; it seems to be next to impossible for people to use such stimulants moderately.

It is for this reason alone that total abstinence may be recommended – because of the "present distress," because of the increased expenditure of nervous energy and consequent increased danger of inebriety, and not because the Scriptures specially enjoin total abstinence. It is our conviction that if the Lord were present in the flesh to-day under our present conditions, circumstances, etc., he would rank amongst the most abstemious, because if such abstention were not necessary for himself, we believe that his love and sympathy for the weak, fallen race would impel him to avoid being anything like a stumbling-stone in the way of any of them.


In those days they did not have hydrants, pumps, etc., but kept the water for family use in large earthen vessels called water-pots. On such an occasion as this an extra quantity would be needed, and quite probably water-pots had been borrowed from neighbors. They were of different sizes but all quite large, two firkins represented by eighteen gallons and three firkins by twenty-seven gallons, or nine gallons each firkin. It was the custom to use this water supply specially for washing the vessels of the household and the hands and feet of the guests, hence the need of so great a supply.

When the proper time came for the performance of the miracle our Lord instructed that water be fetched and that these six water-pots be filled to the brim. This use of the ordinary water-jars would prevent any suspicion of their containing any powders or mixtures that might constitute a basis for the miracle, and the filling of them to the brim would likewise hinder anyone from thinking that something was added to the water by our Lord. Besides, the water thus rising to the surface where it could be seen would show its own clearness and purity.

The change from water to wine was evidently instantaneous, for our Lord at once directed them to draw the wine and serve first the governor of the feast, who would thus have a knowledge of the fresh supply. The latter commented upon the new wine as superior to the first, and remarked to the host that usually the best was given first, when the palate would be the more keen to detect the quality. This was a testimony to the excellence of the wine which Jesus made. We cannot think that at an ordinary feast simple grape-juice would be regarded as superior wine, nor on the other hand need we suppose that the wine which Jesus made contained such a proportion of alcohol as would make it injurious to the users.

But there was another reason why the vessels were filled to the brim with the pure water: they were symbolical, they represented the Lord's people in this present time. Water is used in the Scriptures as a symbol of life, the "water of life." It particularly figures or illustrates natural or human life, as, for instance, in Revelation 22:17, where the symbol is given of the Spirit and the Bride during the Millennial age saying to the world of mankind, "Come, partake of the water of life freely." It represents the restitution work, the revival of mankind from the power of death, the infusion of the restitution life.


In these earthen vessels the water had been considerably exhausted, there was very little remaining in each vessel. So with us as members of the human family, our life forces are well exhausted through the fall. The Jews, as God's favored people under the typical Law Covenant, were justified to a certain extent, but not in the full sense of the word – not justified to life – and the filling up of the water-pots with water to the brim represented or foreshadowed the full and complete justification to life, to all human rights and privileges reckonedly granted to all who become the Lord's followers. As the Apostle expresses it, "Being justified by faith we have peace with God."

But the figure or illustration goes further and shows us the transforming of these justified lives, the impartation of a new nature by miraculous change. The thought is expressed by the Apostle when he says that we are transformed by the renewing of our minds, we become New Creatures.

The change of the water to wine, therefore, represents the change of the justified being, constituting him a new creation in Christ Jesus. As the water will represent the justification, so the wine will represent the [R3485 : page 13] superior joys of the Spirit granted to those who through faith and a full consecration attain to the begetting of the Spirit – an adoption into the spiritual family. True, these joys at present are not as real as they will be by and by – they are joys of hope, of anticipation, which we have in earthly vessels, as the Apostle declares. By and by, however, according to the Lord's promise, a share in the Lord's resurrection will give us the new vessels, the golden vessels, the perfect conditions in which our joys and favors will be realized and appreciated to the full. There is a hint of this in our Lord's declaration at the last supper that those who would drink of his cup of suffering and self-sacrifice in the present time would by and by share with him the new wine, the divine nature and life and joys in the Kingdom.

This discernment of a spiritual signification in the wine is in full accord with the statement of our last verse of the lesson, which assures us that our Lord's miracles, etc., manifested forth – that is, beforehand – his coming glory and the blessings which he will then bestow upon his faithful.

"The best is yet to be,
The last of life, for which the first was planned."

[R3485 : page 13]

JOHN 3:1-16. – JANUARY 29. –

"For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth on him should not perish, but have everlasting life."

HE visit of Nicodemus, a Jewish ruler, to our Lord was evidently early in our Lord's ministry. We know little of the man, except that on various occasions he manifested sincerity and considerable faith in our Lord and sympathy with his cause. It was this same man who defended our Lord in a discussion amongst the Pharisees and priests respecting him. He said, "Does our Law judge any man before it hear him?" whereupon his fellow-rulers said, "Art thou also one of his disciples?" Nicodemus was not ready to affirm discipleship even then, but that his sympathy continued with the Lord is evidenced by the fact that he was one of the prominent men who requested the privilege of burying our Lord's body after the crucifixion. We know not what may have been the end of his course, but we fear that while he was too good to be an opponent of the Truth he had not enough stamina of character to be one of the Lord's disciples. Herein we have a lesson which each should apply to himself. The Lord is seeking disciples who are willing to take up their cross and follow him, after having counted the cost. Such as shrink from paying the cost of discipleship cannot be disciples, cannot share the Kingdom, whatever blessings the Lord may have in reservation for them in connection with or under the Kingdom.

We cannot reasonably find fault with Nicodemus for coming to Jesus by night. Throughout the day our Lord was busy teaching, and a visit then would have been more or less an interruption; besides, Nicodemus had no right to cast the influence of his presence and office on the side of our Lord until he had in some degree satisfied himself on the subject. Nevertheless, the entire character of Nicodemus seems lacking in courage, for even at the time he presented himself to our Lord on this occasion he declared his conviction that he was a teacher sent from God and that he believed the miracles to be genuine. With that much evidence in hand he would have been fully justified in going to our Lord in a public way, acknowledging as much as he saw, and asking for further proofs.


Nicodemus had the Jewish hopes, and evidently was one of those in expectation of Messiah, and the Kingdom which Messiah was to establish for the blessing of Israel and the world. The entire conversation is evidently not given, but the Lord's answer implies that the inquiry of Nicodemus was along these lines – the Messianic Kingdom and the conditions of membership therein.

Our Lord promptly put the matter in a very plain light, assuring his visitor that no one could have the Kingdom unless born again. A little later in the conversation he added that no one could enter into the Kingdom except by being born again. (v. 5.) The word "born" is properly enough used in both these instances, and thus we learn that the Lord had reference to the future – reference to the resurrection birth described by the Apostle in 1 Corinthians 15:42-44 – born from the dead to the glory, honor and immortality, and a share in the Kingdom, assured to those who have [R3486 : page 13] part in the first resurrection. These all will be spirit beings, and with their Lord will constitute the spiritual Kingdom, which will be invisible to mankind in general – invisible to all its earthly subjects, as Satan the prince of this world is invisible to mankind.

Nicodemus discerned that there was something here far beyond anything he had contemplated. As a Jew he had been looking for and waiting for an earthly kingdom and an earthly King, but now he was informed that only by passing through a change, a begetting and a new birth to a new nature, could he hope ever to participate in or even to see the Kingdom of God. No wonder he was astonished and inquired further respecting the new birth. Would it be like the first birth? Would those who would be heirs of the Kingdom be born again as they once had been born of a mother?

Our Lord's answer to the query is given. To be begotten of an earthly father and later to be born of an earthly mother would insure that the progeny would be earthly also – that which is begotten and born of the flesh is flesh. There is, however, a likeness between such an earthly birth and the new birth necessary to a share in the Kingdom. There must be a begetting, "not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God." (John 1:13.) There must also be a period of gestation for this spiritual new creature that will precede its resurrection birth. Thus all who will share in the spiritual Kingdom as spirit beings must first be begotten of the Spirit and subsequently be developed of the Spirit, growing in all of its fruits and graces, and ultimately be born of the Spirit, born from the dead a spiritual being like the Lord and a sharer in his glory, honor [R3486 : page 14] and immortality. That which is begotten and born of the Spirit is spirit, is not flesh – "flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of heaven."

Nicodemus still marveled at such teaching. Could it be possible that himself and all the great teachers of the Jewish nation had such a misconception of the Kingdom! This was indeed true, and similarly we might say that a great many to-day have equally erroneous conceptions of the Kingdom, although not in every particular the same errors that beclouded the mind of Nicodemus and others of the prominent Jews. The difficulty to-day in this harvest of the Gospel age is that our Lord's words above quoted and which seem so plain are misunderstood, and supposed to refer not at all to the resurrection but entirely to the begetting of the present time.

This is in part at least the fault of the translators of our common version Bible, who, knowing that the same Greek word is translated both "begotten" and "born" in our English language, have not properly distinguished between these, nor given English readers the proper knowledge that there are two thoughts behind this one word – the thought of begetting and, after gestation, ultimately birth. Few enough of Christian people have any clear conception of what begetting of the Spirit signifies, and their confusion is doubled when they are told that they are now born of the Spirit. No wonder that the majority of Christian people are in such perplexity on this subject, and would not know what to say if asked whether or not they were begotten of the Spirit, or what they mean when they express the hope that they have been born of the Spirit.

Every Christian should know of the Lord's promise to accept him to a new nature through begettal of the holy Spirit; – should know that his justified heart has been fully consecrated to the Lord, should know that he has been begotten of the holy Spirit, which is the earnest or begetting to the new nature, which, if maintained, will ultimately be born of the Spirit in the resurrection.


Our Lord admonishes Nicodemus that he must not be too much surprised at the great mistake he and others had made in regard to the terms and conditions which would qualify them for a place in the Kingdom; they should marvel not, but realize the necessity of being born again – of attaining to the first resurrection if they would be members of the Kingdom class.

Our Lord's illustration respecting such Spirit-begotten ones is very clear and explicit. Nicodemus could understand about the blowing wind, which had power but was invisible. Our Lord explained to him that this illustrated the character of the beings born of the Spirit; they will be like the wind, which can go and come, can be heard and to some extent felt, but which cannot be seen – "Thus is every one that is born of the Spirit." Likewise Nicodemus, or whoever else would be an heir of the Kingdom, must experience such a great change or transformation, such a birth of the Spirit, which would make them like the angels, invisible, able to go and come without being seen of men.

Nicodemus, marveling still more at this explanation of the first resurrection and the character of those who would have part in it, exclaimed, "How can these things be!" Is it possible! Our Lord's answer was that a ruler in Israel should have comprehended these things. Evidently, therefore, a proper study of the matter from the scriptural standpoint might have led true Israelites indeed to more or less of an appreciation of the character of the Kingdom in advance of its coming. While they would not have been able to appreciate any of its details, they might have understood better than they did. They were content to live on too low a plane; they did not enjoy all the knowledge available because probably too self-satisfied, because they did not sufficiently hunger and thirst after the Truth.

This our Lord declares is the reason why Nicodemus and his fellow officials, the Doctors of the Jewish Church, were not ready for his message, not ready to receive the Truth – "We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen, and ye receive not our witness" – our message.

Our Lord continues: You would like to have me explain about this spiritual Kingdom, its operations, etc., but this I cannot do; you are not in condition to receive my word. "If I told you earthly things and you believed not, how shall you believe if I tell you of heavenly things?" The person who cannot grasp with clearness and distinctness the features of God's plan which relate to the world in general, certainly need not expect that he would be in any condition to understand or appreciate the things which pertain to the spiritual conditions, which are higher and therefore more difficult of comprehension.


Evidently Nicodemus was inquiring particularly respecting the heavenly Kingdom to which the Lord had referred. He was desirous of measuring with his judgment the probabilities of such a Kingdom as our Lord had announced. Many of our day look at the matter similarly, and refuse to believe the things beyond the range of their natural senses – they lack the sixth sense of faith, or spiritual apprehension. As our Lord explained, the difficulty lies in the fact that they have not thoroughly believed the Lord's testimony in respect to earthly things – they have not thoroughly subjected their minds to him. Only after faith and obedience respecting earthly things, and a full consecration of our hearts to the Lord, need we expect the begetting of the Spirit, which would enable us to grasp mentally by faith some of the exceeding great and precious things which God hath in reservation for them that specially love him – for the Church as the Bride, the Lamb's Wife.

Neither need those who have the spiritual sense expect to understand spiritual things with the full comprehensiveness with which they grasp earthly matters. The things not seen as yet – which "eye hath not seen nor ear heard, neither hath it entered into the heart of man" – are "revealed unto us by his Spirit," as the Lord declares. He does not go into particulars with us, but in general terms tells us of glory, honor, immortality and joint-heirship with his Son as Kings and Priests and Judges of the world. In a general way we may grasp this matter after we have come into proper relationship to the Lord; we grasp it as a whole and not in its details, which are not revealed. What we do see, however, is almost overwhelming in its grandeur, and with the Apostle we assure ourselves that these are indeed exceeding great and precious promises, by which we may attain to the divine nature. – 2 Peter 1:4.


Continuing his argument, that Nicodemus must receive by faith whatever he would know about heavenly things and that he would be entirely dependant upon Jesus' word, our Lord remarked that no man ever ascended [R3486 : page 15] up to heaven, and that himself, the Son of man, who alone had come down from heaven, was alone able to speak with knowledge and authority respecting heavenly matters. This is still the case. There is but one testimony respecting these heavenly things – our Lord's own words while in the flesh and his subsequent revelations through the holy Spirit by the apostles. We must accept this testimony, for there is no other.

Here we note the peculiar and unsatisfactory condition of the world in general – not only of the heathen but also of the learned professors of Christendom, who deny our Lord's prehuman existence and deny the revelations he has since made through his apostles. (John 16:13,14; Rev. 1:1.) The heathen believe things pertaining to an invisible realm, a spiritual or heavenly state, but without evidence except such as comes to them through the fallen spirits. In civilized lands those who reject our Lord's revelation on the subject have nothing whatever to base their faith upon, except such unsatisfactory evidences as they obtain through Spiritualists [R3487 : page 15] – whose knowledge and manifestations we hold, according to the Scriptures, are from the same evil origin as those of the heathen – the fallen angels who personate the human dead. Respecting the latter our Lord in this verse distinctly tells us that they have not ascended to heaven: elsewhere (John 5:29) he tells us that they are in their graves – that they are dead, and will so remain until his power and authority shall call them forth again to being. The Apostle Peter's testimony respecting the Prophet, David, one of the ancient worthies, is along the same line. He declares, "David is not ascended into the heavens." – Acts 2:34.

The last three words of the 13th verse are spurious. They were not in the original manuscript, and are not found in the oldest Greek manuscript discovered about half a century ago, the Sinaitic. These words were doubtless added by some well-meaning person who wished to express his faith that the Lord had risen and ascended on high; he did not notice that the addition of these words makes nonsense as they are placed – they would make Jesus say that he was in heaven at the time he was talking to Nicodemus. How important it is that we have a knowledge of the unadulterated Word of God. We must neither add to nor take from it; and when we find, as in this case, that some one either intentionally or unintentionally added these words to the original text, we should cancel them and thus free ourselves from the confusion they would otherwise create. A similar instance of an improper addition to the Lord's Word is found in the last verse of John's Gospel, which is a most palpable untruth, and is omitted from the oldest Greek manuscript, the Sinaitic. Another similar case is the first sentence of Revelation 20:5. Concerning this latter see MILLENNIAL DAWN, Vol. I., page 288, foot note.


Our Lord did not stop with a mere answer to his visitor's questions about the Kingdom being heavenly, but proceeded to give him in brief form an outline of the entire plan of salvation. He reminded him of the Israelites bitten by the fiery serpents in the wilderness, and that God had directed Moses to lift on a pole a copper serpent, to which the Israelites who would exercise faith might look and receive healing. Our Lord announced that he was to be the antitype of this; that he would be lifted up on the cross and thus made to appear as the sinner – to take the place of the sinner – so that the whole world of mankind, bitten by sin and dying as a result, might look unto him by faith and be healed.

What a wonderful condensation of a great truth the Lord here expressed! It was the typical lesson of his own substitution as man's Redeemer and sin bearer, and clearly taught that faith in him as such is essential to a recovery from the fall and its results. This blessed privilege of looking to the Lord and being healed is already accorded to such as hear the message and accept it – "Look and live!" Believers who now by faith can realize their sins forgiven are thrice blessed. But we thank God that his provision is not merely for those who now have the hearing ear and the eye of faith, but that eventually all the blind eyes shall be opened and all the deaf ears unstopped, and the message, "Look and live!" and again, "Partake of the water of life freely," will be heard by every member of Adam's race, that each may have a full and fair opportunity of acquiring his share of the blessings secured for Adam and all his race by Christ's death.

Thus eventually it will be not only whosoever believeth, but all who will have the necessary conditions to permit them to believe, to permit them to enjoy their share of the gift of God, eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.


Our Golden Text is a wonderful verse, and all the more wonderful the more we understand of the lengths and breadths and heights and depths of the divine plan of salvation. Luther, who grasped the Gospel message more fully than many of his day, and yet less fully than we see the reality to be, called this verse the "little Bible." We would express the same in the words, "the Gospel in a nut shell." The whole message of God is contained in a condensed form in these words:

(1) Man's need is shown – his perishing condition, his need of divine help.

(2) God's love is declared, and the proof of it is pointed out to be the gift of his Son.

(3) Our Lord's willing cooperation in the Father's plan is evidenced.

(4) The lengths and breadths of this love and redemption are declared to embrace the whole world, and not merely a section, a family or class.

(5) The limitations of divine grace are plainly stated: only through a true acceptance of Christ can any obtain this great blessing – release from the perishing conditions of the curse and full reinstatement in the divine favor and its blessed reward of life everlasting. Thus this Gospel statement assures us that there is no hope for the heathen in their ignorance, and points us, as do other Scriptures, for all hope respecting them to the future, when the voice of the Son of man who redeemed them shall call all from the grave, to the intent that all may attain to resurrection perfection under the judgments of the Millennial age. "When the judgments of the Lord are abroad in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness;" and many who have gone down into the tomb under the curse, and in ignorance of the only name given under heaven and amongst men, shall ultimately be blessed as they shall hear of the great salvation God has provided, and if they shall accept it upon God's terms.

page 17
January 1st

Herald of Christ's Presence

Other foundation can
no man lay

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

VOL. XXVI.JANUARY 15, 1905.No. 2
Views from the Watch Tower 19
Jewish Comment on Mr. Zangwill's Mission 19
The Scotch Presbyterian Church 19
The New Hell 20
British Workmen Criticized 21
Church Federation Within Ten Years 21
Poor Russia's Pitiable Plight 21
Election vs. Free Grace 21
Increasing Influence of Spiritism 23
The Purpose of Miracles 28
The Satisfying Water of Life 30
Public Ministries of the Truth 32
Special Items 18

'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 18

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, 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.

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.

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[R3487 : page 19]


ISRAEL ZANGWILL, the author and playwright, has come to this country to interest leading Jewish citizens in the establishment of a Zionist colony in British East Africa. The plan he advocates was projected at the last Zionist congress in Basle, and has a practical interest, in view of the British Government's declared willingness to set aside a large tract of land on the Nandi Plateau, Uganda, for purposes of Jewish colonization. As Mr. Zangwill explains (in an interview reported in the New York Times):

"This is not merely a dream in the air. It is an actual offer of the Government, made under the auspices of Joseph Chamberlain.

"The first Jews who went to Palestine did not go there straight. They wandered for forty years in the [R3488 : page 19] wilderness, and the old and feeble dropped away. Those who arrived were the strongest and fittest. The striking thing is that the Jews have not possessed an inch of land for nineteen centuries. This tract on the Plateau of Nandi is the first thing that has ever been offered."...

The Jewish papers in this country do not look at all kindly on Mr. Zangwill's plan. The American Hebrew (New York) says: "We doubt very much whether Zionists will subscribe to Mr. Zangwill's new definition of Zionism. It sounds like Hamlet with Hamlet omitted." To this The American Israelite (Cincinnati) adds:

"Of course he will succeed in getting more or less money; there never was a scheme so wildly foolish that a glib talker could not get some support for it. That this money will be absolutely wasted there can be no question, and if this were all there would be no great harm done."

Jewish Comment (Baltimore) says:

"Our English correspondent thinks that Jewish East Africa would become an ordinary English colony with a Jewish governor, and this seems to be all that is in it at present....It may turn out to be quite as successful an enterprise as the colonies in Argentina (and that is a modest hope), with the great advantage of being under the supervision of the English Government, the colonizing power par excellence. If the whole aim of the Zionists were to get a legally assured home, East Africa offers a prospect of an early realization of their fondest dreams; but if at the same time they hope for reinvigoration, intellectual and moral, through the influence of the spiritual glories and memories of Zion, East Africa will be as impotent as New Jersey or Winnipeg. Badly as the Jews need a place to rest in peace, they need an influence that will make for culture and for the awakening of the instincts that we are so ready to believe lie at the basis of Jewish character."


The fact has been already referred to that the House of Lords, the court of last resort in Great Britain, decided that the United Free Church did not acquire right in the property of the denomination and gives title to all to what is termed "The 'Wee' Free Church," which still holds fast to the original creed, refusing modification necessary to union with others. The House of Lords as a court decided that the moneys and properties accumulated for centuries for the propagation of a special faith or creed should not be diverted at the wish of any majority, however large. Doubtless this will be a spoke in the wheel of Church Union and turn the attention more to federation as easier, quicker and less hazardous.

How this matter marks the error of all the denominational creed fencings! None of them are of such a size as to permit all true Christians and only such to stand upon them. A writer in the Independent Review truly says: "The pious citizen of Antioch who lent his house for the assembling together of [R3488 : page 20] those first called Christians would be much startled could he see and hear the mass as it is performed today either in St. Peter's, Rome, or St. Paul's, London." The Duke of Argyle remarks that thus the recent decision affects "all British churches that do not by their constitution formally allow their members to 'agree to differ,' a liberty seldom given to churches in words, though nearly always practised in action." A writer in The Contemporary Review sees the error of present creedal methods, but evidently does not see that the Apostolic Church was free and different in these respects. He says: – "The position of all churches which use or acknowledge doctrinal standards or maintain a collective policy is affected by the judgment. They are told, in effect, that the law does not recognize churches where property is concerned, but only beneficiaries under a trust, powerless to alter its terms, incapable of declaring the purposes for which they exist, restrained from taking any step which may even be held by a civil court to involve a change of doctrine. Churches that exist on such terms, bound to the intellectual methods of the past, forbidden under ruinous penalties to think out the issues of Christian faith for themselves, place themselves, surely, in a position of fatal inferiority and disability."

The decision is just, as respects the donors of the past, and works hardship only in proportion as unscriptural creedal fences have been erected. The fellowship of the early Church was built doctrinally on faith in Jesus as the Son of God and Redeemer of men, in the justification of true believers who forsake sin to "follow the Lamb," and who through a full consecration of everything are begotten of the holy Spirit. All the Lord's true people could stand on that platform today and to add to or take from it is ungodly and the constant cause of trouble, as it has ever been. The Quarterly Review sums up the loss of "United Free Church" in these words: –

"A large and flourishing church, comprising nearly a quarter of the population of Scotland, with a national influence even greater than her numbers represent, and prosecuting extensive missions in Europe, Asia, and Africa, has been suddenly decreed to have lost her identity, through her union with another church and certain changes in her formulae which this union required; and to have forfeited in consequence all her invested funds and the bulk of her real estate."


The professor of Christian Theology in Tuft's College (Prof. G. T. Knight) not long since, in The North American Review, said: –

"As for Protestants, there is still to be heard on occasion a thorough-going expression of the old doctrine, but a more common opinion, even among conservatives, is reported in the words attributed to Dr. Patton, of Princeton. He said, according to report, that the number of the finally lost will probably be in about the proportion of those now confined in prison on earth. Dr. Briggs, who is reckoned somewhat less conservative, said that the number would be 'inconsiderable.' And it is by extending 'probation' to the future world, as Luther did, or by some substitute for the Roman Catholic doctrine of Purgatory, that provision is made and opportunity is given for doing so much more than the Church on earth can do....

"To the question whether the blessed in heaven will not be saddened by seeing their nearest and dearest ones tortured in hell, Luther answered: 'Not the least in the world." Jonathan Edwards said: 'The view of the misery of the damned will double the ardor of the love and gratitude of the saints in heaven.' Andrew Welwood thought: 'The saints will be overjoyed in beholding the vengeance of God.' Samuel Hopkins expressed the opinion that the sight of hell would be 'most entertaining' to all those who love God, and would give them the highest and most ineffable pleasure. The great Dr. Bellamy capped the climax by an elaborate calculation, based on science and philosophy, in which he estimated that the happiness of the blessed in heaven would be increased 9,600,000,000 times on account of the misery of the damned."

He notes a great revulsion of sentiment on this subject of late years, and in evidence quotes the expressions of several prominent clergymen as follows: Dr. Farrar said:

"These wanton exercises of the imagination assume the aspect of deadly blasphemy against him whose name is Love....We can scarcely refrain from the question which one has asked: 'What crimes of men can merit the endless tortures here set forth, except the crime of conceiving such tortures, and ascribing the malice of their influence to an all-wise and holy God?'"

Dr. Briggs said: "The preachers preach the damnation of the heathen; and the hearers hear and accept. But they do not believe it in their hearts. If they did, they would be more worthy of damnation than the heathen themselves – unless they should at once give their whole lives and property to the missionary cause."

John Wesley once said: "Calvin's God is my devil." Dr. A. H. Strong said: "Christ always suffers with us. He (who is God) began to suffer when the first sin was committed, and he will always suffer so long as men sin."

*                         *                         *

It is profitable for us to note these comments, not as endorsing any of them but by way of calling attention again to the fact that the increase of knowledge and heart enlargement of our day are sure to lead into error unless the Bible teaching on the subject be clearly seen. How thankful this makes us for the light now shining into our hearts and upon our Bibles; and how earnest it should make us in communicating this blessing to all who have "an ear to hear." [R3488 : page 21]


Rev. R. J. Campbell of London City Temple, who recently charged that British workmen are "often lazy, unthrifty, improvident, sometimes immoral, foul-mouthed, and untruthful," spending their Sundays in "idle self-indulgence or drunken rowdyism," is being criticized by Labor journals and others – among them ministers. Nevertheless, "faithful are the wounds of a friend." Among other things quite scathing Mr. Campbell said: –

"Two thirds of the national drink bill is incurred by the workingman. His keenest struggles are for shorter hours and better wages, but not that he may employ them for higher ends. He is often lazy, unthrifty, improvident, sometimes immoral, foul-mouthed and untruthful. Unlike the American worker, he has comparatively little aspiration or ambition.

"Conscientiousness is a virtue conspicuous by its rarity. Those who have close dealings with the British workingman know he needs watching, or work will be badly done, and the time employed upon it will be as long as he can get paid for. It is as Ruskin [R3489 : page 21] puts it, that joy in labor has ceased under the sun. The worker does not work for the work's sake, but for the pay's sake, and his principal aim is to work as little as possible and get as much as possible, both in money and leisure. Such a workingman's Sunday, therefore, is exactly what we should expect, a day of idle self indulgence or drunken rowdyism. He does not go to church, and the churches are blamed for it; but his reason for abstention is not because his ethical standard is higher than the churchgoer's – far otherwise. These are facts, the statement of which may be unpopular, but which there is no gainsaying. Let it be understood that as stated here they are not intended to apply to workingmen as a whole, but to large classes among them, which classes it is to be feared, constitute a majority."

The Labor Leader (London) grants that "genuine Christianity" is on the decline, but thinks that ministers and Christians in general are doing little or nothing to "turn the downward rush." It says: –

"Are we to have more ministers standing by the side of oppressed labor, or is our fashionable preacher still to offer us words, words, words, which break no bones, fill no mouths, and end no iniquities? Is the pulpit still to keep its eye upon the rich subscribers in the pews, or is it to see nothing but justice, truth and mercy? The most eloquent and convincing condemnation of drink which we have heard came from a habitual drunkard who was getting intoxicated at the time. Is Mr. Campbell's denunciation of society also to be nothing more than the eloquence of Satan reproving sin?

"Though we feel how unsatisfactory a tu quoque is in such serious matters as this, we think the dishonest plumber and the lazy bricklayer may well turn to the preachers and say: 'Prithee, sirs, do not I do my work as well as you do yours? I look after my master's interests much more loyally than you look after those of your Master: and I assure you if I disregarded the fundamental principles of my craft as much as you disregard yours, my bricks would not stand a gale and my pipes would run nowhere at all.' The preacher who gets such a rebuff, if he be a wise man, will go away sorrowing. He will then pass out of the pharisaical stage of enlightenment."


Commenting on the recent "National Council of Congregational Churches," the N.Y. Independent says: –

"This note of unity called forth the most remarkable scene in the meeting of the Congregational Council, when the report was adopted with the utmost enthusiasm for steps looking to final complete union with the Methodist Protestant and United Brethren bodies....Already the Methodist Protestants and the Congregationalists have accepted the plan of union, and it remains for it to be accepted by the United Brethren at their general conference next spring. Then the plan will have to be approved by the local conferences of the two before it can begin to be put into operation. It anticipates, for a while, the union of the three bodies in one general council, and the union of their missionary agencies, while plans are being prepared for complete consolidation. These things take time, as there are separate interests to be cared for and protected. We may expect that within the next ten years very much of the scandal of a disunited Protestant Christendom will be removed."


Russia's disasters in the war with Japan, followed by the insurrection of her chief cities, presents a picture of severe retribution upon a haughty nation. "Pride goeth before destruction and a haughty spirit before a fall." The fall of Russia is not yet, and doubtless in the interim the sufferings will be still more intense. The pity is that under present conditions the innocent suffer with the guilty and often more severely. Our special sympathy is for the poorly fed and but partly clad soldiers who are suffering at the front and for their poor families at home, and for the poor creatures whose unwisdom, joined with love of liberty and a desire to better their conditions, has brought them into conflict with the merciless Cossacks of the Czar's army. By and by – ere long now, it will be different. Then he who sins most shall suffer most, and the ignorant seeking the right way shall be guided to it by the great King and his joint-heirs.

[R3489 : page 21]

HE Rev. Dr. Francis L. Patton, Presbyterian, President of the Princeton Theological Seminary, preached in Pittsburg recently in the Third Presbyterian Church to a congregation crowding the church, made up of representative ministers and laymen from all parts of the two cities. As was expected, he opened the active campaign against union with the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. [R3489 : page 22]

Dr. Patton preached from the words, "If therefore the light that is in thee be darkness, how great is that darkness." He said: –


"The minister is the attorney general of God Almighty, charged with the commission of presenting the claims of eternal truth in relation to the common things of life. He holds a brief for the supernatural. Some say that a minister must not touch secular things. I do not agree with them. It is his business to do what he can to bring men in their every thought into captivity and obedience to Christ. 'What is truth?' asked jesting Pilate, and he did not wait for an answer. If he had waited until today he would have got the answer from Chicago or from Oxford – 'Any old thing is truth that works, that satisfies, that meets the exigency.' They say, 'You can convince a man if he will only be respectable and listen.' But he does not listen. If you cannot convince the one obstinate man in a jury, what is your argument worth? If Kruger could only have foreseen, do you think he would have declared war? If the Church of Scotland could have foreseen the action of the house of lords, do you think they would have gone into the union?


"The worst thing that can happen to a man is to have a bad conscience. It is a blind guide leading him astray. Our Lord says we are the light of the world. If the world is ever to have a high ideal it must get it from the church. If men are ever to be lifted above the level of selfish desires, it is when they come into the house of God. The church has become corrupt in times past, and why not again? The rank and file think very much as their leaders. We are a gregarious people and go like a flock of sheep, men and women alike, and when the church follows blind guides, and the blind lead the blind, both fall into the ditch. You and I belong to the Presbyterian church, a great church with a great history – great moral and missionary history – a history which has marked the progress of this continent.


"In 1789, when the general assembly was formed, there was no geology upon which to found attacks on the creation, no archaeology to upset early records, no higher criticism, no biology to attack statements as to the Garden of Eden, no sociology to make up a little sentiment to take the place of the old gospel. I often wonder how the old preachers got along when they had no telegraph wires nor wireless telegraph, when wars were fought and ended before they heard of them, and they had nothing to preach but the old fundamental gospel of Jesus Christ. But I had rather preach today with its magnificent opportunities when we stand face to face with great problems. There was a division in '37 on psychological lines, but the gravitating influence of good fellowship brought us together in 1870.


"This movement for union goes on and people are making less of doctrine than polity, and they say, what is the difference, if we can come together. And the movement is for union, not with a Calvinistic body – not at all – but with an Arminian body. They say there is not enough difference between this Calvinistic confession of yours and that Arminian confession to keep the two bodies apart, and they say, 'Come together and disregard the difference, and unite on the basis of evangelical faith.' When this comes about how much broader do you want to be?


"You are morally committed to a polity that will embrace Arminianism. Great movements are going on – don't you forget it. I know what I am talking about. We are in danger of great defections in the Methodist church, in the Episcopal church, in the Congregational church, in the Baptist church and in the Presbyterian church – don't you forget it.

"We have the hard proposition – on the one side old-fashioned prayer-meeting, monthly concert, Sabbath observance religion, and on the other side out-and-out unmitigated rationalism. Men are saying this old-fashioned religion is what they want, and must hold on to, but there are intellectual difficulties, and they fear the stress and struggle and say, 'We will take the middle of the road.'


"When the great defection comes in all the churches, out of this storm and struggle a new church may arise. Before we go much further the time may [R3490 : page 22] come when the remnants of the faithful will come out and reorganize. When you get down to mere emotional subjectivity I will come around some Monday morning and ask you to let me have that subjectivity and send it off to have it analyzed by some professor of psychology, and I think you will not like to see the color of it.

"In the nation the rank and file follow the lead of the ministers, professors, editors, and if you tell what these say I will make a confession of faith. What the rich do the poor feel they have a right to do. The hope of the nation is not in big armies, big navies, new markets, but in righteousness.

"Darkness is bad enough, but blindness is far worse. What is needed is conscience in the individual, in the church and in the nation."

Pittsburg Gazette.
*                         *                         *

Dr. Patton is a theologian and sees, as many do not see, that Calvinistic theology and Arminian theology take opposite sides and are mortal foes to each other. Peace prevails for some years and neither denounces and shows up the other, but it is only for a time; the differences can never be ignored without the sacrifice of every distinctive theological principle and dogma. Nevertheless, the masses will not grasp the theological distinctions, because not taught theology in recent years; and because, for fear of a "theological war" such as formerly prevailed, Dr. Patton and others dare not speak out plainly their view of [R3490 : page 23] matters. For instance, the pith of the foregoing would scarcely be discerned by many of our readers without our added sub-headings.

Would that Doctor Patton could see with us the divine plan of the ages, in which both Election and Free Grace have their places. From that standpoint full and absolute union on the basis of the Truth would be a simple matter.

[R3490 : page 23]

OR twenty-five years we have sought to forewarn the Lord's people against the public influence of the fallen angels, the wicked spirits in high positions. (Eph. 6:12.) The pamphlet we publish treating this subject* has had a wide circulation. We have been much encouraged by the many reports received, showing that its influence has been widely felt for good, not only among the Lord's people, restraining them from "curious and dangerous investigations," but also amongst those who had been partially ensnared by the "wiles" of these adversaries – some of them "mediums."
*"What Say the Scriptures About Spiritualism?" 128pp. 10 cents.

We remind our readers afresh that the Scriptures expressly show that the fallen spirits would be held under restraint for a long time, and that those restraints would gradually be relaxed in the closing of this Gospel Age, in the lapping of the Millennial Age. The record is that they were "restrained [in Tartarus, our atmosphere] in lasting chains of darkness unto the judgment of the great day." (Jude 6; 2 Pet. 2:4.) As now the "great day" nears, it is not surprising to watchers to note that the chains are being gradually loosened, and that these "wicked spirits" have greater liberties than ever before.


There is still danger to those who "don't believe in spirits," and who regard as superstitious the Bible narratives of how our Lord and the Apostle cast out demons, and how all wizards, witches, necromancers and others who proposed to hold intercourse with the dead were strictly prohibited in Israel. There is more danger to the self-confident, who "dare investigate anything," and who boast "a mind of their own," than of the humbler ones who say "let us fear to tamper with what God has forbidden." To many of the boldly self-confident curiosity is the demon trap. Before they are aware of it they are snared. The beginning of the trap is a bait to curiosity – a visit to a "medium," "a seance" with friends, or a "planchette" at a neighbor's home.

The Scriptures forewarn us that we are no matches intellectually for the wicked spirits, and need to give heed to the protections afforded us in the counsels of the Lord's Word. In the end of the Jewish age many were afflicted with evil spirits, and a considerable part of our Lord's work and that of the Apostles was referred to by the latter when reporting to our Lord – "Even the demons were subject unto us in thy name." (Luke 10:17.) So prominent is this matter in the four gospels that they contain forty-two references to these demons – mistranslated "devils" in our Common Version.


The Apostle points out that in the end of this age the Lord will "send," or permit to come upon Christendom, "strong delusion, that they may believe a lie, – that they all may be condemned." (2 Thes. 2:11,12.) Thank God we see clearly that they will not be condemned to everlasting torture. Oh, no! That blasphemous misrepresentation of God's Word is one of the devices of these "wicked spirits," by which they would drive men away from God, by which they would blind them to his real character. But we are now in the "harvest," and the wheat must be separated from the tares, and these "strong delusions" will be permitted to demonstrate who have loved and obeyed the Lord's counsel and who, not doing this, are to be adjudged unworthy of the high rewards soon to be given to the "overcomers."

The context shows this, declaring in so many words that the "delusions" will ensnare them because "they received not the truth in the love of it." The "truth" is that the dead are dead, and cannot re-live except by divine power exercised for their awakening from this death-sleep. This plain truth, so abundantly set forth in the Scriptures, is not relished by any except the truth-hungry. Others tell us that they do not like to believe thus; – that they prefer to think of the dead as not being dead, but more alive than ever. Rejecting the plain truth as God presented it, and preferring Satan's lie, "Ye shall not surely die" (Genesis 3:4), these are easy marks for the demons who are constantly striving to perpetuate the lie which deceived Mother Eve in Eden. They will now be permitted to personate the dead so successfully as to be a "strong delusion," which "if it were possible [if the Lord did not protect them by the 'armor of God'] would deceive the very elect." – Matt. 24:24.


Spiritism cunningly feigns, for a time, that its manifestations are the exercise of human powers. Thus it gains access to the hearts of men and women who dread demonism instinctively. Gradually, however, it comes to be conceded that the spirits are at the bottom of these powers, which are at least partially "occult." For years we have been almost alone in opposing hypnotism, telepathy, etc., as Spiritism in a new form; but now no less a celebrity than Professor J. H. Hyslop formerly "Teacher of Logic and Ethics" in Columbia University and now a leading light in The American Society for Psychical Research, seems to concede that spirits have to do with such matters; – not demons, but in his supposition "spirits of dead humans."

Prof. Hyslop is quoted in the New York American thus: –

"Telepathy is not a matter of thought waves. The solution is so simple as to be astounding. Messages are carried from mind to mind by the spirits. Mediumistic qualities are necessary, but, possessed of these and able to get in touch with the spirit world, telepathy should become as easy of accomplishment as the telegraphing of a message with wires.

"None but scientists should tamper with the weird phenomena of nature represented by telepathy," said Dr. Hyslop. "Every investigation should be made sanely and every experiment approached with a mind clear, impartial [R3490 : page 24] and prepared to weigh and balance every fact as carefully as though it were a precious gem.

"Our experiments in telepathy I regard as convincing, if not wholly satisfactory in number or in the ability to repeat them at will.

"In these experiments we used Mrs. Piper, who was sent to England in care of the British society. She was allowed to come into contact with no one not in league with the persons making the experiments. We began our experiments in long distance telepathy in the hope of eventually getting a message across the Atlantic, but failed time after time.

"Finally we scored a success. It was as remarkable as it was unexpected. The message was sent across the ocean in a way to demonstrate perfectly the possibilities of long distance telepathy. The experiment was conducted in a manner to eliminate any trace of fraud or deception. It was sent in English and delivered in Latin."


In an article over his own signature in "The World To-day," Prof. Hyslop says: –

"That there would be great difficulties in communicating, if spirits actually exist, would naturally be taken for granted by intelligent people. The silence of so many discarnate spirits through the ages if they exist, would be sufficient proof of that fact, as well as what we know of the difficulty of communications between living people when they have no common language as a means of it. But there happen to be additional reasons for this difficulty, and they should be mentioned, in order that the layman (I ought not to mention it to the scientist) may see and appreciate the reasons why the communications take the form which they show. The first of these is the abnormal mental and physical condition [R3491 : page 24] of the medium, specifically to illustrate, as in the case of Mrs. Piper. But this is not the chief reason that the communications are trivial and confused, or lacking in the kind of information wanted. The reason for these characteristics is deeper still. It is that the communicator is himself in an abnormal mental condition while communicating. It may be compared to a delirious dream, or to certain types of secondary personality in the living, or even to the trance of Mrs. Piper, in some of its aspects."


Rev. I. K. Funk, D.D., of New York City, the widely known Methodist minister, has had some thrilling experiences with spirits, and has published them to the world, asserting, however, what even Spiritualists will admit, that some of the so-called manifestations are frauds; that others are by deceiving or "lying spirits." His investigations, like those of Prof. Hyslop, show the trend of our times, and give a hint of what we may expect when shortly the whole world will turn to the investigation of Spiritism as "the only proof that the dead are not dead."


Discussing psychical science in an address to-night before the American Institute for Scientific Research in the home of C. Griswold Bourne, the Rev. R. Heber Newton made the assertion that the spirits of the dead communicate with the living: that telepathy is a power possessed by many men and women, and that clairvoyance is an established scientific fact. Said he in part:

"Clairvoyance was nothing but a will o' the wisp, but it is now a confessed power of certain organizations. Mollie Fancher, over in Brooklyn, has proved stronger than the incredulity of our savants. The belief in the existence of unseen spirits and of their power of communication with us in the flesh is one of the oldest, most widespread and most insistent beliefs of man, and it has revived strangely in our day.

"For the first time in the history of man these powers have been scientifically investigated in our day. Already the result is that a considerable number of eminent men of science have had the courage to avow that, after allowing for illusion, fraud and every possible hypothesis of interpretation, they have been driven up to the ultimate solution of the problem – the belief in the actual communication of the spirits of those whom we call dead with the living.

"Anyone who walks with his eyes open, ready to hear what men have to tell, will find stories pouring in upon him from men whom he cannot mistrust as liars, and whom he knows to be sane and sensible, which will stagger him. These experiences are not at all confined to the seance and the medium. Their most impressive forms occur in the privacy of the home without a professional medium present."

Pittsburg Gazette.

The standing of Dr. Newton in the Protestant Episcopal Church will carry a weight of influence, and is being published and discussed in every quarter.


Great has been the interest aroused among those who are avowed Spiritualists by the statements of Dr. George Savage and Dr. Newton. The real enthusiasm has been among those who for years have acknowledged their belief in clairvoyance, clairaudience and telepathy between the dead and the living, although the word "dead" is one the true Spiritualist never uses. One man who for a quarter century has proclaimed himself a Spiritualist is former Judge Abram S. Dailey, of Brooklyn. Judge Dailey said he had read with interest the published statements by Dr. Newton, and felt that by him Spiritualism and Spiritualists had received recognition which would do more to gain for them and their creed the respect of the world at large than anything that had taken place since the founding of the Society for Psychical Research 20 years ago.

"Let me tell you a story which never has been given to the world," said Mr. Dailey. "I know that many will scoff at it, but I know it to be true, for it was told me by the man whom it chiefly concerns. It is how the Leland Stanford Junior university came to be founded. We all know it was built in memory of Leland Stanford's only son, but that is not all. It was known to me for many years that Mr. Stanford and his wife were interested in Spiritualism. They at times consulted mediums, not believing much of what they learned. In 1883, a year before their son died, they were warned by a noted psychic that if they permitted their son to remain in Florence, Italy, where he was studying, he would die. The warning was not heeded, and in May, 1884, he died. The parents for a while were numbed with grief. Then came to them the warning, and once more they engaged the services of the psychic.

"Mr. Stanford told me himself that through the medium they were able to get in communication with the son who had gone 'over the border.' I myself have been with them when a seance has taken place, and in the psychic language I have heard that boy talk with his parents. At one of these seances Mr. Stanford told me the spirit of their son came to him and made the suggestion that the great property, valued at $20,000,000, which would have come to him, be given to the founding of a place of learning. A year later, on the first anniversary of the boy's death, the corner stone of that great university was laid.

"When the university was opened, on October 1, 1891, the words of the founders were: "The idea of the university came directly and largely from our son and only child, Leland, and we hold the belief that had he been spared to advise as to the disposition of our estate he would have desired the devotion of a large portion thereof to this purpose."


"I may say without breach of confidence," continued Mr. Dailey, "that this story is known to Dr. Heber Newton, and is believed by him. When he resigned his Church in this city he went at once to Mrs. Stanford and has been with her constantly since. It is my belief this great truth that came to the founders of Stanford university was largely responsible in settling for all time any doubts that Mr. Newton had.

"That Spiritualism is gaining ground every day I know well. Only a month ago two clergymen in Brooklyn came to me late at night and said they represented 13 other pastors who secretly had been making an investigation of Spiritualism, but that they had got out of their depth in the mysteries and [R3491 : page 25] wonders of it. Would I help them? That was not the first time such a thing had happened. Under the surface there is a great quest of knowledge. People to-day are afraid to be known as Spiritualists, but there will come a day when a man will be afraid not to be known as one."

Pittsburg Times.

It does not surprise us that Spiritism, like Christian Science, is aiming for the influential. Whatever else the fallen angels may be they are "wily," cunning. The Lord's people, on the contrary, number "not many wise, not many great, not many learned, not many rich, not many noble, but chiefly the poor of this world, rich in faith." – Jas. 2:5.

A lady who has but recently come into the light of Present Truth, and who previously was a Spiritist, tells of how she had developed the "clairaudient ear," or the power of hearing the spirits when others heard nothing. (And, by the way, all should avoid everything of this kind as they would avoid a plague: they should if approached thus at once turn their hearts to the Lord in prayer for aid to resist the intrusion). This woman's relatives have been interested for some years in Present Truth, and pointed out to her that her communings were not with dead friends but with the fallen angels, "demons," and finally got her to the point of reading MILLENNIAL DAWN. This displeased the "spirits," who almost for a time prevented her study by an incessant opposition, such as "Don't read that," "That's not true," etc., etc. Gradually she asserted her will, calling on the Lord for help, and we understand that now she is quite free from their intrusions.

Another case which recently came to our attention, is that of a boy of 19 years, in Eastern Pennsylvania, who is terribly oppressed by demons. One of the brethren hearing of the case called to see him, taking a copy of the "SPIRITISM" pamphlet and a copy of ZION'S WATCH TOWER. The presence of the papers so aggravated the boy that they had to be removed before the brother could talk to the possessed one. The spirits having him under their control nearly set him wild until the books were removed. "The darkness hateth the light." We do not doubt that these evil spirits would do injury to the servants of the Truth if permitted. Evidently they are under some restraint as respects the Lord's people. Later on they may be permitted to operate through others, as Satan entered into Judas before the betrayal.


A few years ago a lady living in Canada, a Methodist, prominent amongst that people as a choir singer, became interested in spiritism and developed the clairaudient ear. She suspected no harm until, by and by, the spirits proposed that if she would yield herself entirely to their control they would develop her voice and make her the best and most famous singer in the world. They knew of her ambition and used it as a bait to get her to surrender her will, – for apparently the human will is an impenetrable barrier.

The lady saw the bait, but was alarmed at the proposal, rightly reasoning that an evil being with an evil motive lay behind such a proposition, to sacrifice the most valuable gift of God – the will. She spurned the offer, and thenceforth would have no communion with [R3492 : page 25] what she had learned to fear without understanding. Not long afterward her fine voice began to fail and to-day she has none of it. But she has something infinitely better – she has the Truth. It was but a short time after she took her stand against Spiritism that the Lord graciously guided her to the "Dawns." She chose the better part and rejoices in it. We are not able, however, to explain to her how or why the evil spirits were permitted to spoil her voice: possibly it was through their influence that formerly she was so gifted, to the intent that it might be a snare for her. In any event, now that she understands who her tempters were, she is full of gratitude to God for her deliverance at any cost.


We clip the following from an exchange, "The Prophetic News." It may serve to further emphasize the foregoing.

I was induced to yield my hand to be controlled by a spirit, in consequence of reading what Mr. Stead wrote in the Review of Reviews about Spirit-Writing. Thus was the first step taken on this forbidden yet fascinating course. I look back on that first step and remember that I never uttered, in the perplexity that filled my mind, a prayer to God. I should have at once sought the guidance of God. Before I thought of so doing, I was seized with the desire to seek this newly-found source of help. I fear much I am not alone in being foolishly misguided by the perusal of spiritualistic literature which is now being circulated far and wide in England.

The spirit that came and offered me his aid forbade my praying to God, assigning as a reason that I was now under special heavenly guidance superseding the need of prayer, and that my heavenly inheritance was sure. That was strange counsel, and it was still stranger that I should have for one moment harbored it; but harbor it I did.

But, in addition, this messenger of Satan forbade my study of the Scriptures, for I had lately commenced a methodical reading thereof. The reason for this on the part of my evil counsellor was that the work I was now under so strong an obligation to execute, was so urgent that no time could be spared for other mental occupation.

Under the pretence of aiding me I was now "interviewed" by other spirits, who declared themselves to be the spirits of departed mortals. One assumed the character of what I might call ultra piety, and warned me from coming into association with and under the influence of a certain minister of the Gospel residing in the neighborhood – one who would certainly have counselled me in my perplexed state of mind with wisdom – but against him my "interviewer" uttered base slanders. This spirit hindered me greatly by making long discourses.


Another spirit declared himself to have been the former English ambassador to the nation of these persecuted Christians concerning whose distressing condition my heart was bleeding; and in language befitting a statesman he related his remarkable experience in the executing of his ambassadorial office. Then he desired my work to take a form which I subsequently found to be the worst under the circumstances, and that I should communicate it to an important public functionary. This was so opposed to my judgment that I could not yield assent to it.

After this the first spirit that came to me under the garb of a guardian angel declared that the spirit of my beloved mother had been permitted to visit me for a few minutes, and that she entreated me to transmit a message to a relative residing abroad, and that, though I was ignorant of the purport of this message, she would herself guide my pen in writing it down. I took the pen into my hand, holding it loosely for her to guide it. A strong wish came upon me to see my mother's form. Then, to my great astonishment, her portrait was instantaneously and with consummate skill, drawn on the paper before me. I now watched with breathless interest the writing of the message. It was traced in [R3492 : page 26] her well-known (to me) handwriting. Only two words were written, but they were written three times. The words written with tremulous haste and urgency were SAVE SOULS, and with a quick movement the pen was made to drop.

Such a message from such a source smote my heart with its deep solemnity. But I could not bring myself to send the message. I felt it would be wrong to send it. The relative for whom it was intended was already engaged in Christian mission work, and somehow I shrank from bringing on his mind the influence of a message from whence I hardly knew. I felt a total disinclination for any further communications from spirits, and I determined to receive no more from so dubious a source. But I was not to be so easily disentangled from this net into which in an evil moment I had deliberately placed my feet.


In disgust, and as if to take a plunge out of the vortex into which I had been stealthily drawn, I threw into the fire the portrait of my mother and all the spirit-writing. I would not believe that the spirit of that dear Christian – my mother – was wandering on this earth in company with others who gave me such disastrous counsels, and failed in their promise to strengthen and aid me. I even came to the conclusion that these spirits had attempted an impersonation of that departed saint, and had written that solemn message in order to induce me to believe in their celestial character and the sanctity of their intentions, that I might be induced to follow their perilous injunctions.

To justify their proceedings they were apt in misquoting Scripture. There was a terrible mystery in this, and it filled me with dire forebodings. I then said to myself, half aloud, "Can it be possible that there are evil spirits who have power to communicate with mortals and deceive them?"

A spirit answered "Yes," and added that they themselves would now act evilly towards me and that I was in their power to be punished, since I had sought to obtain knowledge forbidden to mortals.

With this startling declaration they changed their character and conduct to me.

I now believed that I had committed a sin in consulting them; but it was done in ignorance (it was a culpable ignorance, nevertheless) and with innocent intent. Surely I could trust in divine mercy to pardon me.

But the spirit answered my thought by declaring that the Divine mercy should not reach me, but that he would accuse me before the Recording Angel of this deadly sin – intercourse with spirits, – and would call for immediate judgment!

Let it be remembered that these very spirits by their lying deception had induced me to cease from prayer and the study of Scripture, and had declared that my heavenly inheritance was sure. They left me to execute their threat.


Soon after this a remarkable vision appeared by the permitted instrumentality of these tormentors. One night the wall at the end of my room seemed to vanish, and a large open space appeared. At one side was a dais with steps which appeared to lead up to an exalted throne, half hidden by clouds. Before the dais a number of celestial beings stood in a semi-circle, and, apart from the rest, at the foot of the dais, was a terrible form. I knew this was the prince of darkness, and I instinctively felt he was there as my accuser, and I seemed to have no advocate. This terrible vision at first seemed a confirmation of the spirit's threat, yet there was one essential difference. It was not, as they said, an avenging angel, but Satan, who accused me. I wanted to reflect on this vision and the new conditions environing me, but spirit voices continually interrupted me, so that I could neither think nor pray, but only repeat to myself some such words as "O Lord, in Thee have I trusted; let me never be confounded."

I could not stop their verbal communications, their small but intensely clear voices followed me everywhere.

The spirits told me that the torments of hell, in which I had not believed, awaited me, and that in the internal fires of the earth souls were in torment; and that the intensity of the punishment was proportioned to the guilt of the offender. They declared that I should know by experience the reality of eternal punishment that very night. The fact that I was still in mortal flesh would not impede them; there appeared to be some truth in their threat that they could cause death – or rather, the cessation of mortal existence, for they gave me an immediate and startling demonstration of their power in causing violent spasms and palpitations of the heart, while I was quite calm in mind. Indeed my imperturbable calmness caused them to remark that I was one of the bravest of mortals, but they would yet overcome me with greater terrors. But I ultimately found that they possessed no supreme power over the "King of Terrors." They then left me, and in the darkness and the silence of the night I waited, expectantly, believing that a terrible ordeal awaited me, for I knew that my enemies were powerful and malignant.

The wall of my room again seemed to disappear, and I was conscious that a spirit had entered and touched me, and a voice declared that he who had entered was an administrator of justice in the infernal regions. He demanded of me if I knew


I replied that I only knew that my enemies accused me, and that if he was the servant of God I desired him to tell me what it was the will of God that I should now do, for I desired only to know, and do that will.

He answered in some such words as these; "You are free; you cannot come within my province. I only punish [R3493 : page 26] those who will not obey God, and now I leave you."

I was inexpressibly thankful to be delivered from such threatening peril, and that a powerful spirit had acknowledged that Divine Power overruled in hell, and that he acted in subservience to it.

All these spiritualistic manifestations were far from being the phantasmagoria of dream or fancy – they too evidently belonged to the stern and abiding realities of life. They were manifestations of that great, and potent, and eternal realm of spiritual power which mortal vision may not yet behold. Throughout this ordeal I was calm, and possessed that intensification of consciousness that is aroused by tragic circumstances.

I resolved that as I had encountered these unique and tragic conditions not from personal needs or seeking personal aims, that the result of this experience should also have a wider range of influence.

I had more to learn and to endure. I was even to learn that my deliverance from the power of demons, like my faith, was of an imperfect character.


The remainder of the night I passed in peace. In the morning I recommenced the study of Holy Scripture; it became to me the most important concern of my life.

But to my great distress the evil spirits immediately returned to me with ceaseless interruptions to prevent my study. They determined to keep me from the knowledge of a full deliverance.

They compelled me to listen to their account of an insurrection on earth against Divine power which they had long been planning, but which was ere long to be carried out. They asserted that their mighty potentate and chief had obtained the vicegerency of earth, that he was the prince of this world, and that he would subjugate it as it never yet had been subjugated to his control, and that he would raise a storm of persecution against the followers of Christ. There was, in fact, to be a new putting forth of hellish influence upon the earth.

I was compelled to hear from these spirits the unfolding of their diabolical scheme. They brought many proofs to substantiate the fact that their power on earth was already greatly increased and was increasing. The prospects, therefore, that seemed in store for the world overwhelmed me with dismay. They asserted that their great potentate – the god of this world – had so subverted Christendom that at least the great ecclesiastical systems known as the Roman, Greek, and Anglican churches would more entirely be subservient to him. I was inclined to disbelieve their statements, I wished that they could have been disproved, but facts appeared to corroborate them. I then for the first time observed [R3493 : page 27] that the Church of Rome was gaining great power, and as for the Greek Church in Russia, it was then inflicting terrible persecutions on the true followers of Christ – Christians – who would not practise idolatry.

It was now made apparent to me that these spirits who had hypocritically proffered their aid for the persecuted Christians had themselves instigated idolatrous Churchmen to persecute them. I gathered further that the servants of the great potentate of darkness had sown error and discord freely, in the other churches in Christendom and that these would advance in error and distance from God; that they had power to distract the attention and to deaden the perceptions of men who otherwise would


The spirits then spoke with sardonic triumph of their school of materialistic philosophy and their teaching on Cosmogony as opposing that of the Book of Genesis – a system that modern science has found so acceptable as appearing to fit in with what the bowels of the earth have displayed, but which entirely leaves out of its thoughts the operation of God's hand in judgment at the fall of man, when not only man was morally and physically ruined, but that which was once pronounced "very good" fell with the first man, so that the "whole creation" – material and immaterial – groans for deliverance.

A spirit calling himself Lord Beaconsfield declared that he would aid me by dictating a work of fiction that should surpass all his earthly efforts and would produce a small fortune for me, and that I should thus obtain the reputation of being a great genius by simply acting as his amanuensis, and he added the more alluring temptation to me – that the spirits could and would confer on me such knowledge and power that I myself should be considered by the world as a brilliant writer, and


Perhaps his offer has been made to and accepted by some of our present writers of brilliant but pernicious fiction, especially those who have popularized and dignified Satan himself; some of whom I know are students of Occultism.

One spirit professed to be the originator of such systems as Theosophy and Gnosticism. They had previously declared that "thought-reading" was under their domination and effected by them. I gathered, generally, though it was not very clearly expressed, that mesmerism and hypnotism were likewise agencies in their hands.

I learned, too, that in the world's pleasures Satan had set snares of almost infinite variety in order to keep men apart from God. Some persons he could degrade to the gross sins of the flesh, others of a more lofty and aspiring nature he could uplift by theosophy into a region of high and vain imagination.

I am aware that all this and much more I might write of what I gathered from the spirits was not necessarily true: but when compared with all the Scriptures have written as to the power of evil spirits to lead men astray, and when we see how marvellously successful the schemes for seducing the allegiance of the human mind from the authority of God and His Word has been, I am compelled to say that the spirits from the pit did not in their declarations contradict the experiences of the hour or the evidences of the Scriptures. I do not pretend to be able to understand why they supplied me with this information. It may be they knew not that I was eventually to be delivered out of their hands; but they wished, nevertheless, to glory in their mighty achievements in the world at large.

I was greatly impressed with the evident truth of much that I heard from them. O how potent were and are these "world-rulers of this darkness!" These were spirits of what I may call a highly intellectual order, whose language seemed unrivalled in its beauty of expression. I could not doubt their power to initiate mortals into any earthly knowledge if God suffered it. It may be that this excellence of power and understanding in spirit exists, as a remnant, in their fallen state, of those lofty faculties which belonged to them ere they fell; but about such matters so little can be known that the less I conjecture the better.


And now, as another confirmation of the ascendancy the spirits still had over me, they fulfilled their previous threat to call blaspheming demons to madden me. At their bidding these base spirits came and uttered horrible blasphemies, until it seemed as if all hell was let loose upon me for a little while.

Then the spirits used one last awful device to overthrow me, and nearly succeeded.

In the midst of all these difficulties and dangers by which I was well-nigh overwhelmed, a commanding voice from an invisible spirit called me, saying words to this effect, "That I had become so environed and besieged by evil spirits that there was no deliverance for me on earth, and that he – an angel of the Lord – had descended from heaven to bear me this command from the Lord Jesus – that I must die by my own hand to escape my persecutors, and that my soul should then find rest in heaven." I had so strong a desire for life that nothing less than a Divine command, as I believed it could have induced me to take my life.

I did not question the words proceeding evidently from so high an authority. I could not conceive it possible that the spirits would command mortals to die by using the sacred name of Christ. Yet it was the device of the devil, and I fell into it.

I was perfectly calm in my mind and determined I would obey the Divine command, and trust in the Lord. Then, in the last prayer I thought to breathe on earth, I protested to the Almighty that I took my life believing I was acting at the bidding of the Lord Jesus Christ. Thereupon I drank a poisonous draught and quickly fell into a comatose state, but I did not awake in hell or in heaven, for I was allowed to recover, though only after much difficulty and suffering.

But whilst I was recovering, the inexorable voice repeated the previous message, upon which I seized an instrument; the only instrument at hand was a very small dagger, with which, having failed to cut my throat, I severed the temporal artery. Determined to make death swift and sure this time, I endeavored to cut another artery, and with the blood streaming from my head I fell to the ground insensible.

Again the spirits were foiled in their intention. The noise of my fall instantly brought assistance, and I recovered.

My recovery was, I might almost say, a miracle. I am convinced that God did in a very remarkable way interpose His healing hand that I might be


But, above all, I was delivered from the tormenting presence and persecution of these demons. Christ, who [R3494 : page 27] when on earth healed those who were demonized, and "healed all that were oppressed of the devil," mercifully healed me. He commanded them to leave me. I recognized the supreme need of a Redeemer. I believed His Word that "No man cometh unto the Father but by Me, and he that cometh unto Me I will in no wise cast out." I know of the Blood of Jesus which cleanses from all sin – of that ONE offering perfected on the Cross by which Christ has perfected His believing people. This blessed knowledge dawned upon my soul despite all the efforts of the powers of darkness to prevent me from obtaining it.

I beg every reader of this to fly from Spiritualism. Do not play with tools such as "Planchette," "thought-reading," etc. I feel that my life has been preserved that I might use this personal experience and knowledge of Satanic power that I have passed through, and witness against the snares of Spiritualism, declare its Satanic nature, and the potency of Christ as a Deliverer from it.

*                         *                         *

The above shows something of the ingenuity and versatility of the demons. To some, on the contrary, they report that there is no hell. To Swedenborg they gave visions of seven hells and seven heavens, which helped him frame a new religion to entrap honest souls. How evidently we all need to "hold fast the faithful Word." The Apostle forewarned us we should specially need this "armor" as the "evil day" draws on.

[R3494 : page 28]


John 4:43-54. – Feb. 12.

Golden Text: – "The same works that I do, bear witness of me, that the Father hath sent me." – John 5:36.

N a previous lesson we considered our Lord's first miracle at Cana in Galilee. A considerable length apparently intervened between that miracle and the one recorded in this lesson. Evidently our Lord in the interim had been at Jerusalem, because we read that he was well received by the Galileans, who had "seen all the things that he did at Jerusalem at the feast: for they also went unto the feast." It is evident, therefore, that the Lord performed miracles in Jerusalem at this time that are not mentioned in the direct order of their occurrence. Jerusalem was the representative city of the nation, and properly enough our Lord's principal miracles and teachings would thence reach the whole people better than from any other locality – especially as the whole nation was accustomed representatively to gather at Jerusalem at certain religious feasts every year. The Lord's principal ministry was evidently first conducted in Judea, and there aroused such a storm of opposition on the part of the rulers (vs. 1-3) that he was obliged to go to Galilee to continue his ministry. In this he illustrated his instruction to his disciples – "When they shall persecute you in one city, flee ye to another."

"A prophet hath no honor in his own country," and it may have been in recognition of this proverb that our Lord commenced his ministry at Jerusalem rather than in Galilee, which was his "own country," – he and his disciples being recognized as "Galileans." Anyway the knowledge of his mighty works and teachings in Judea had by this time reached Galilee. He had honor amongst his own countrymen because of his fame in Judea, and hence, as we read, they received him more respectfully than they otherwise would have done. He probably now found a better opportunity for public ministry than he did on the occasion of his first visit to Cana.

Human nature is much the same in all ages and in all places: it esteems that which is distant as grander, more wonderful than that which is near. We have all seen the same fact illustrated under various circumstances. The poet, the philosopher, the teacher, the talented, are not first recognized at home. How little those who heard our Lord realized the privileges they enjoyed – that the very Son of God was amongst them, that the Teacher of Teachers was addressing them, that the special Ambassador was in their midst. To a limited extent the same thing has been true throughout the Gospel age, for the Lord's consecrated people have been all the way down his representatives, as he said, "He that receiveth you, receiveth me." The Apostle reminds us along these lines that "The world knoweth us not, even as it knew him not." The world recognizes not the Lord's humble saints as being the children of the Highest, "Heirs of God, joint-heirs with Jesus Christ our Lord, if so be that we suffer with him, that we may also be glorified together." – Rom. 8:17.


Some one has remarked, "When a hero or a saint is seen to eat and drink, live and dress, like an ordinary man, weak where some are strong, ignorant of some things that others know, it is almost impossible to look over these things and recognize the hero or saint." It is the ability to look over these things and to appreciate their relationship to the Lord that enables the Lord's consecrated people to recognize themselves and each other as members of the Royal Priesthood. It is the ability to see things thus from the divine standpoint, being "taught of God" to recognize each other by the heart, the will, the intention, but not according to the flesh with its weaknesses and blemishes. Such a correct view from the Lord's standpoint is necessary before we can "love as brethren," and have this love of the brethren as one of the evidences that we have passed from death unto life – that we have been begotten again as new creatures in Christ Jesus.

A nobleman whose name is not given, whose son lay at death's door, heard of our Lord's coming into Galilee, and recognized him as the one of whose mighty works in Judea he had previously heard. He at once went evidently a considerable journey to see the Lord and to request that he visit his home and heal his son, who was sick. Our Lord, by the way of testing his faith, said, "Except ye see signs and wonders ye will not believe." Apparently this was a refusal of the nobleman's request and had his faith been slight he probably would have accepted it thus. On the contrary so great was his confidence that our Lord was able to heal his son that he entreated that the Lord go in haste, lest the boy should be dead on their arrival. Having thus tested his faith and made it stronger, our Lord answered the request and healed the son, but in a manner calculated still further to strengthen his faith. He told him to return home and he would find his son cured. The fact that the nobleman at once set out for home is an evidence that he had great confidence in the Lord – a faith worthy of reward.


A lesson for us in this connection is that our Lord deals similarly with all of his people at times. (1) Often he does not answer our prayers immediately, but, delaying the answer, tests our faith, our earnestness, our confidence in him. He is pleased to have us hold on to him by faith, which strengthens our own hearts, by reiterations of his promises and reflections on his goodness and power. (2) When he does grant our requests the blessing frequently comes to us through a different channel or in a different manner from that we had in mind. As an illustration, a dear brother remarked to us recently that for an entire year the principal element of his prayer to the Lord had been for increase of heavenly wisdom, and that in no year had he seemed to be more unwise as respected earthly things – in no year had he been less prosperous from a worldly standpoint. Another remarked that the special feature of his prayer for a year had been for an increase of patience, and that in no year had he seemed to have so many trials and difficulties and testings of patience. The lesson is obvious – "whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth."

If the Lord would teach heavenly wisdom it must imply just such lessons as would win our hearts from temporalities and place them more and more upon the riches of his grace, the heavenly wisdom; if the Lord would teach patience it must be by showing us our own lack of this quality and permitting us to pass through trials and difficulties in which he is pleased to place us, and assist us in overcoming and gaining patience. [R3494 : page 29] Similarly with all the fruits and graces of the Spirit; they must be developed, and the school of experience is a severe one. Nevertheless we would not be without such experiences, such lessons, for unless we are taught of God, unless we learn the lessons due to be learned in the present time we would not be fitted and prepared to be the Lord's instruments in blessing and instructing the world during the Millennial age about to be ushered in. Let us learn these lessons of faith and patience and wisdom. Let us learn to look to the Lord and accept his way, and not expect him to gratify our whims and fancies. The true prayer of the consecrated is, "Thy will be done."

Another lesson for us is that while sickness, pain, sorrow and death are all parts of the great penalty for sin, yet the Lord is able to turn all these painful experiences into valuable lessons for his people – for those who trust him and seek to learn the lessons in his school. Our Lord did not heal all the sick nor awaken all the dead of the Jewish nation at his first advent. That great work belongs to the future, to the Millennial Kingdom. What he did do in these directions was merely to illustrate his power. They were miracles, intended more for the instruction they would give than for the blessings they [R3495 : page 29] contained. Had our Lord merely been intent upon comforting the bereaved, healing the sick and awakening those in the sleep of death, he might have accomplished a thousand-fold more than he did. He might at one word have healed all the sick and awakened all the sleeping ones, but he had no such purpose. That glorious work is future; and what our Lord did was merely a sign, an indication, a wonder to the people to attract their attention to him, to establish in their minds the thought that he was indeed the Son of God, and thus to prepare their hearts for the spiritual truths which he uttered in parables, and which after Pentecost were plainly stated through his mouthpieces, the apostles.


There are many different views of miracles. Some call them violations of the laws of nature, and deny that nature's laws ever could be set aside. The numbers of those who deny that the Lord performed miracles or that any miracles ever were performed seem to increase daily. We are living in a very sceptical age. From the standpoint of faith, from the standpoint of the scriptural teaching, we must believe in miracles; but such belief does not imply that miracles set aside the laws of nature. In our view miracles are entirely co-operative with the laws of nature. More and more we should learn that all the forces of nature are under spiritual control. We may not understand this, but we can believe it nevertheless. We have illustrations of such mental or spiritual control all about us, as also in our own bodies for instance. The human mind, the will, is of itself invisible, yet it controls the nerves, muscles, sinews, bones, our entire human anatomy.

And if this be true, if the human will can move the human hand, the human foot, and if without the will these could not move, does that will interfere with the laws of nature either in moving or in staying the hand and the foot? Assuredly not: it is part and parcel of the laws of nature that the will should control and direct the physical system. Likewise we may see that the divine mind or will has control not only of the divine being but also of all things in the universe. How fully this is true, to what extent the divine will can control all the forces of nature, it is impossible for us to appreciate because of our weakness of intellect and our limited knowledge of the forces all about us. We may have a slight conception, however, of these matters to-day that could not have been had a few years ago. The telephone, for instance, is as nearly a miracle as could be found – an invisible agency operating in a mysterious and unseen manner at great distances, and contrary to what we might have supposed to have been the laws of nature. We are merely asserting that there are many laws and operations of nature which are not understood, all of which are subject to the divine power.


Not until we shall experience our "change" and know as we are known shall we be able to fathom all the mysteries connected with the miracles of Jesus and the miracles which we see in ourselves and all about us to-day. Meantime, however, let us be on our guard against the devices of the Adversary, by which he would ensnare those who are merely looking for earthly blessings, relief from earthly troubles. We are living in a time when, apparently in order to hold his dominion, the great Adversary is going into the healing business in a wholesale manner. Through spirit mediums, hypnotists, Mormon elders, Christian Scientists and others, Satan is making a bid for power in the world. He is seeking to use such power as he possesses in a manner that will allure and ensnare those who are selfishly seeking merely for earthly blessings, ignoring the great spiritual lessons of the Lord's Word. The Lord's consecrated people should be on their guard against the Adversary's methods and the snares of false doctrines into which he would lead them by this means.

Our Lord's remark, "Except ye see signs and wonders ye will not believe," implies that the highest order of faith would be that which would not require such ocular demonstrations of divine power – that could trust the Lord without the proofs of miracles. So we find it to-day and so we believe it has always been. A similar lesson is found in our Lord's words to Thomas, who, after having seen the print of the nails, believed in the resurrection of Jesus. Our Lord there observed, "Because thou hast seen thou hast believed; blessed are they who not having seen yet have believed." Miracles were necessary for the introduction of the Gospel message to identify our Lord with the prophecies and to prepare the nucleus of the Church for the Spirit baptism; but in later years, throughout the Gospel age, the Lord has given his people the opportunity of still greater blessing by withholding the miracles and allowing us to believe in him and to accept him without the attestation of wonders.

One of the greatest wonders, one of the greatest miracles, one that is more convincing to us than any other could be, is the change which the divine message has wrought in our own hearts – transforming us through the power of the holy Spirit. Not only do we see this transforming power at work in others, changing them from glory to glory and preparing them for the final glorious change of the First Resurrection, but additionally we experience it in our own hearts and appreciate the fact that the things that we once hated now we love, and the things we once loved now we hate. The poet gave the right thought here when he exclaimed, "I am a miracle of grace."

Our Golden Text bears out this thought, that the [R3495 : page 30] miracles which our Lord did were only intended to be sufficient to establish his identity, and were not with the view of establishing a precedent for the healing of the world nor of the Church. The Lord's great healing time is designated in the Scriptures, "times of restitution." (Acts 3:21.) When those times shall come, when the Millennial Kingdom shall be established, the healing of the nations will be the great work; and it will not merely be a physical but also a mental and moral healing, which will gradually bring all in proper condition back to all that was lost in Eden, with increased knowledge through experience.

[R3495 : page 30]


John 4:5-14 – Feb. 5.

Golden Text: – "Whosoever will, let him take of the water of life freely." – Rev. 22:17.

HE SAMARITANS were descendants of those heathen peoples planted in Palestine by the Babylonian government when the Israelites were deported to the countries of Babylon. Gradually these mixed people, "Samaritans," acquired a love for the land in which they were dwelling, and its ancient history became theirs. They realized that the Jews had been God's favored people, but thought of them as rejected from divine favor and of themselves as having become their successors, not only in the possession of that portion of the Israelites' territory called Samaria, but also to some degree their successors in the blessings of Abraham, Isaac and Moses. They accepted the five books of Moses, the pentateuch, but rejected the remainder of the Old Testament Scriptures, which the Jews recognized.

There was even a greater religious antipathy existing between Samaria and the Jews than between Jews and other heathen peoples, because the Samaritan faith came closer to the Jewish faith and was, therefore, in some respects more actively antagonistic to it than were some of the heathen faiths which permitted of no competition. For these reasons there were no dealings between Jews and Samaritans – that is, they might trade one with the other but had no social fellowship. The Jews regarded the Samaritans as impostors, not the children of Jacob at all. True, a few "scalawag" Jews had mingled with the Samaritans, but in so doing they had alienated themselves from their brethren and the religious faith of the nation. The Samaritans, coveting the promises and blessings made to the seed of Abraham, strove to convince themselves that they were now the heirs of those promises, and called Jacob their father, thus making themselves the children of Abraham and heirs of the Oath-Bound Covenant.


Our Lord and his apostles, journeying from Judea to Galilee, passed through the territory inhabited by the Samaritans. They had probably been on their journey since early morning, and at noon time Jesus rested at Jacob's well while the disciples went to a near-by village to purchase food. Water wells in Palestine, as in many parts of the world, are comparatively scarce. Jacob's well, dug fourteen centuries before our Lord's time, was a remarkably good one, deep, abundantly supplied with water and well curbed at the top, with a small mouth about fourteen inches in diameter. It seems to have been considered almost a miracle in its day, and even at the present time it is definitely located, although much filled up and to some degree dilapidated.

A Samaritan woman came to the well for water while Jesus was resting there, and the account of our Lord's interview with her constitutes one of the most striking presentations of divine truth found in the Gospels. It is remarkable that on so many occasions our Lord said remarkable things to not very remarkable people under not very remarkable circumstances. There [R3496 : page 30] is encouragement in this for all of his followers: indeed we find that the Lord's principal communications all through this Gospel age have been with the humble – "not many wise, not many great, not many learned hath God chosen, but the poor of this world, rich in faith, to be heirs of the Kingdom." As then, by the grace of God, we have heard the voice divine speaking peace through Jesus Christ, let us rejoice, yet let us feel humble too, remembering that he is taking of the ignoble things of the world with a view to making of these things the noble, that will reflect his glory and show forth his praise through all eternity as marks of his grace.

Our Lord's request of the woman, that she would allow him to have a drink of the water she had drawn, was a most tactful method of approach to her heart. In so doing he put himself in a measure under obligation to her. Thus in one sentence he broke the icy barrier which had always existed between the Jews and the Samaritans. The Jews claimed superiority, and while the Samaritans did not acknowledge this, they nevertheless felt it to some degree, just as colored people are apt to feel toward the whites. The woman was now ready to talk, but, standing on her dignity, she hasted not to give the drink, but parleyed to ask why a Jew of seemingly high character should act so differently from the custom – should ask water of a Samaritan woman, be willing thus to place himself under obligation to one of those usually treated as inferiors.

Jesus, while probably thirsty, was more anxious to give the word of Truth than to receive the natural water, and instead of allowing himself to be drawn off by the woman's question into a discussion of the rights and wrongs of the Samaritans, he turned the conversation by saying, "If thou hadst known the gift of God and who it is that saith unto thee, 'Give me to drink,' thou wouldst have asked of him and he would give thee living water." The force of this expression is only partially seen until we learn that the words our Lord used, "The gift of God," were the very words customarily used by the water-carriers, who, with water-skins filled with water from such wells, went about the cities crying out in their own language, "The gift of God!" "The gift of God!" Water was thus termed the gift of God, and the woman presumed our Lord's meaning to be, If you had known about the water, the gift of God, etc.

Of course the woman did not discern any deeper meaning – how could she? She at once retorted that he had no leather bucket, with camel's-hair rope, to let down for water, and therefore he could not give her to drink – "Whence then hast thou that living water? Art thou greater than our father Jacob, which gave us the well, and drank thereof himself and his children and [R3496 : page 31] his cattle?" Is there any other water as good as this? Have the Jews got as good a well in all their country?

The value of water is much more appreciated in oriental countries than with us. It means the cooling and refreshment of the blood, the cleansing of the skin, the comfort of life in every way. The poet has expressed its value in the words: –

"Traverse the desert, and then you can tell
What treasures exist in the cold, deep well.
And then you may learn what water is worth.
The gnawing of hunger's worm is past,
While fiery thirst lives on to the last.
The hot blood stands in each gloomy eye.
And 'Water, O God', is the only cry."

"Let heaven this one rich gift withhold,
How soon we find it better than gold."

Our Lord's answer to the woman was, "Whosoever drinketh of this water shall thirst again, but whosoever shall drink of the water I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life." How wonderful this statement must have appeared to the woman! How wonderful it appears to us even after we have learned its real depth and meaning. How we are continually learning more and more about this water of life – appreciating it more and more each day we live, and finding still greater refreshment in it as we continue to partake of it.

As our physical systems call for water continually and cannot do without it, so we have longings and ambitions and thirsts of a higher intellectual order. These the whole world is endeavoring to satisfy, but the thirst for wealth, for influence, for power, is insatiable. What a little farmer or merchant finds of restlessness and lack of satisfaction, the greater farmer and merchant and manufacturer and millionaire and prince and king and emperor find in their larger spheres. We remember the story of how Alexander the Great wept because there were no more worlds that he might conquer. We remember that Solomon the wise, after having tasted of all the streams of pleasure and novelty which the world could supply to the richest and wisest and most influential man of the time, cried out, "Vanity of vanities, all is vanity!" What the whole world is seeking for and failing to get, our Lord Jesus gives to his people – water of life, satisfaction. Those who receive his blessing have in them wells of water springing up in their hearts "A fountain ever springing." Their longing thirsts are satisfied as nothing else can satisfy them; they have more than ambition could ask. The divine bounties granted to them are exceedingly and abundantly more than they could have asked or thought.


The whole world is seeking for happiness. The few who have truly found Jesus, and who have made a full consecration of their hearts to him, and to whom he has given the water of life – these few have found the happiness which the world is seeking in other directions in vain. They have found a heart satisfaction which is able even to offset trials, sorrows, difficulties and disappointments from other sources, and to glory in this realization, that their experiences are working to their advantage, proving them, preparing them for still greater riches of glory by and by. As the Apostle declares, this new life, this new relationship with Christ under which he furnishes the water of life, has the promise not only of the life which now is, but also of that which is to come.

Quite a good many who bear the name of Christ have a hope toward God as respects the future, but very little of the joys of his salvation in the present time. Such are not living up to their privileges – they have not properly grown up into Christ, their living Head. They need to increase their faith by adding to it fortitude, knowledge, patience, godliness, love of the brethren and love in general. As they thus comply with the terms of the school of Christ they will more and more be able to say not only that the Lord has lifted their feet from the horrible pit of sin and death and placed them upon the rock Christ Jesus, but also to add, "He hath put a new song in my mouth, even the loving kindness of our God."


Those who prepared the lesson evidently supposed that they were providing a Golden Text which would be a very key to the lesson, but in this they erred after a very common manner. The Golden Text is part of a picture in Revelation which represents not the conditions of the present time but those of the future – those of the Millennial age. It pictures the Church, the Bride of Christ, complete and glorified, as the New Jerusalem filled with the glory of God; it pictures the water of life proceeding from this glorified New Jerusalem, the Church in Kingdom glory – flowing as a river with the trees of life on either side of it bearing fruits, whose leaves are for the healing of the heathen. It pictures the Spirit and the Bride in the future, saying, "Come" – inviting whosoever will to come and take of the water of life freely.

That picture is future, as is evident not only from the connections of the narrative but because there is at present no Bride, but merely an espoused virgin. (2 Cor. 11:2.) The "very elect" of this Gospel age, who have striven to "make their calling and election sure," await the marriage feast at the close of this age, that they may enter then into the joys of their Lord as his Bride. This scene, then, in which the Bride in conjunction with the holy Spirit will invite to the water of life, is one which pictures the effulgent blessings of the Millennial Kingdom and its blessed opportunities, which shall be extended without restriction to every creature.

There is no such river of the water of life at the present time, and no one is commissioned to use the words of the Golden Text now. Now, as the Lord himself declared, "No man can come unto me except the Father which sent me draw him." The present, therefore, is the time for the special drawing of a special class to the Savior. It includes only those who have the ear to hear and the eye of faith to appreciate the grace and blessings which are now being offered. Blessed are our eyes for they see and our ears for they hear! We rejoice, however, that by and by all the blind eyes shall be opened and all the deaf ears shall be unstopped, and all shall then have the opportunity for drinking of the water of life to their satisfaction continually.

We who are now favored need not continually to drink at any well or river; but, on the contrary, as explained by our Lord in this lesson, they each have in them a well of water springing up unto eternal life – a "fountain ever springing." O, how rich is our condition! How wonderful are the Lord's bounties granted to those who are of humble and contrite heart and who possess the hearing of faith! Let us indeed abide in him, in his love, and in possession of the bounties he has provided for our refreshment.