page 161
June 15th
ZION'S
WATCH TOWER
and
Herald of Christ's Presence

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

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

SEMI-MONTHLY.
VOL. XXVIIJUNE 1, 1906No. 11
CONTENTS.
Views from the Watch Tower 163
The Westminster Confession Again 163
Epworth League Facing a Crisis 164
Religious Strife in Germany 164
Berean Bible Study for June 165
In Due Time 165
Binding the Strong Man 166
The Angel of Gethsemane (Poem) 167
"My Sheep Hear My Voice" 167
Faith Indispensable to Success 168
"Be Patient, Brethren" 170
Good Confessions and Later Trials 171
"Thou Art the Christ" 172
"The Gates of Hell Shall Not Prevail" 173

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

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

page 162

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

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

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

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[R3782 : page 162]

VOL. III. DAWN IN DANO-NORWEGIAN

We have just issued the above, in cloth binding only. Uniform in style with English edition. Price the same, 25c., postpaid. page 162

MISSIONARY ENVELOPES

These are now in stock in large quantity. Every letter you send through the mail may be a more or less potent messenger of the Truth, even on its outside, by the use of these envelopes. They catch the attention not only of those to whom they are addressed, but postmen and others have an opportunity, and sometimes the curiosity, to read their message of peace – the gospel in condensed form. Price, 25c per 100, postpaid. [R3782 : page 162]

CLIPPINGS FOR THE EDITOR

Friends are requested to send us clippings unfavorable to the interests of the Truth, as well as special news items, writing on same the name of the journal and date of publication. page 162

WATCH TOWER BINDERS.

These are substantially made of stiff cloth boards, and can hold two years' issues of the WATCH TOWER. They prevent soiling and loss. Price, postpaid, 50c.

[R3782 : page 163]

VIEWS FROM THE WATCH TOWER.
THE WESTMINSTER CONFESSION AGAIN

NO DOUBT our Presbyterian friends thought they had buried the Westminster Confession of Faith so deeply under their new statement of Presbyterian faith, that they would never have further trouble from its bad odor. Rev. Samuel T. Carter, D.D., was one of those who warred for its burial at that time. Satisfied for the time, apparently, Dr. Carter now realizes that the Westminster Confession is still the creed of the Presbyterian Church and the newer statement a mere blind. His honest soul now charges into the battle afresh for its complete repudiation. He recently wrote to the Presbyterian General Assembly on the subject, and we quote from his letter as follows: –

"Fathers and Brethren, – Many years ago, when I was ordained to the ministry of the gospel, I declared in the most solemn manner I believed the Westminster Confession to be the truth of God. I now in an equally solemn manner declare I don't believe it to be the truth of God; that I utterly reject it as a setting forth of the character of the heavenly Father. There never was, there is not now, and there never will be such a God as the God of the Westminster Confession.

"It is an idol of man's invention, as truly as any worshiped in Delhi, Pekin or Africa. I believe the great and true God is infinitely and exquisitely good and gracious; that the one thing that we can neither fully receive nor declare is the boundless love of God; that all the noblest exhibitions of human love are but bright and beautiful sparks from that intense and divine flame – the love that through ages and generations has been leading men by the fullest wisdom and most tender providence to heights of knowledge, love and boundless hope that far transcend all human thought. I lift up this overwhelming divine love before my fellow-men, believing that this alone will draw all men unto Him.

"I believe that the Westminster Confession darkens and denies this great love of God and should not be retained as a Confession by any Church today, and that our Church is false to its greatest duty of being a true witness for God so long as it retains this Confession."

*                         *                         *

Brother Carter's experiences encourage us to hope and wait patiently for further awakenings amongst the theological "dry bones." For years and years Dr. Carter preached under the Confession which he did not believe. For years he lent his name and voice and influence for God-dishonoring error until he got strong enough and courageous enough to protest and cry for liberty from his slavery. The partial liberty granted was doubtless appreciated; but now he longs and cries for more, more, more liberty to think. He desires to be set free. His conscience longs and cries out that it can stand the galling errors no longer.

Poor Brother Carter does not see the inconsistency of his position. He should not have entered the Presbyterian House of Bondage! He should never have confessed the Confession which his head and his heart repudiated. Or, if he did believe the errors at the beginning of his Christian life and ministry, and learned of them later, he should have been prompt to obey conscience, and should have stepped out of Presbyterianism into the liberty wherewith Christ makes free indeed. Presbyterians who honestly and truly believe the statements of the Confession have a right to hold it and to tell it abroad. It is the others who are at fault. If all who disagree with the Westminster Confession would promptly and decidedly withdraw from the denomination into liberty, explaining their reasons for withdrawing, the effect would be a hundred times more satisfactory.

"Actions speak louder than words." Dr. Carter's words say that he is an honest, bold, advocate of Truth at any cost; but his actions speak the reverse. They tell us, "The Westminster Confession has ties and emoluments which I love more than I love the Truth and the liberty which Christ offers. I prefer the bondage, and to be amongst those who misrepresent my God, than to forsake all and follow the Redeemer and his [R3782 : page 164] 'little flock' whom the world counts 'fools' for Christ's sake and too conscientious."

We hope that Brother Carter and many others will ultimately grow stronger in the Lord and still more devoted to the Truth, so that ultimately they will take gladly the spoiling of their goods – worldly prospects, etc. – for Christ's sake, the Truth's sake, hoping for the "better resurrection" as "more than conquerors."

EPWORTH LEAGUE FACING A CRISIS

Throughout the entire Methodist Church, we are informed, "mutterings of uncertainty and dissatisfaction" are being heard in regard to the future of the Epworth League, the young people's organization, which has a membership of about 2,000,000. Indeed, the crisis has become so serious that The Epworth Herald (Chicago), official organ of the League, is publishing a series of articles about it from the pen of Dr. Wentworth F. Stewart, author of the "Evangelistic Awakening." Dr. Stewart says it is his observation that "the League in many places is lacking in vigorous, self-sustaining life; in others, is a problem in itself; and only rarely is it measuring up to reasonable expectation in spiritual culture, evangelistic zeal, and missionary enterprise;...it is not a reviving and recruiting force, and is not saving to any reasonable degree the young people within its reach." He says: –

A GENERAL CRITICISM

"Our whole Church has been for years committed to the numerical ideal of quantity instead of quality. Anything to secure a crowd, multiply numbers, increase the membership roll. Some churches and some leagues double their membership while the same pews hold the congregation, the same chairs seat the people at the mid-week prayer service and the devotional meeting of the League, and only the same prayers and testimonies are heard because there is not leaven enough to permeate their entire following.

"To gain our membership one by one, seeking their conversion first, and relation after, though a slower process, is infinitely more valuable than a red-and-blue contest with no significance attached; the same amount of energy thoroughly spiritualized and spent in evangelistic activities would add permanent strength [R3783 : page 164] to the League and not give the impression that religion is secondary to membership."

Literary Digest.
RELIGIOUS STRIFE IN GERMANY

Berlin, May 15. – The question of the divinity of Christ now threatens to rend German Protestantism into two great parties, the liberal and the orthodox.

The revolt in liberal churches against the narrow limits of orthodoxy has been fanned into a flame by the refusal of the State Church Consistory and the Prussian Supreme Court to sanction the selection of Rev. Rowen as pastor of the Church at Rhemscheid in Westphalia.

His offense was that he preached sermons in which he repudiated the divine parentage of Christ, characterizing it as a myth inspired by Graeco-Pagan influences.

FLOCK IS OBDURATE

The Church at Rhemscheid refused to select another pastor, and its pulpit remains unoccupied.

More than 1,300 mass meetings have been held to discuss the religious situation. Taken together they form an astonishing revelation of the enormous extent of the growth of the so-called higher criticism doctrines.

The ferment is increasing, daily, hourly. The liberal pastors and their congregations threaten secession unless the bounds of the creed are widened by the elimination of what they call the Supernatural Articles.

The correspondent, in conversation with a leading theologian who occupies a university chair, was advised that out of 8,000 German Protestant pastors in active service at the present time not over one-quarter are believers in the literal text of the Apostles' Creed, and only one-tenth hold to the inspiration of the Bible.

LEADERS OF THE MOVEMENT

Men like Prof. Harnack and Prof. Delitzsch, author of "Babel and Bible," lights of the liberal school of theology, propose that the Kaiser, as head of the Church, call a general council of the adherents of all theological schools to recast the creed and formulate some neutral body of doctrine which men of all opinions can subscribe to.

Should the Kaiser do this the cataclysm may be prevented. Otherwise it is predicted on all sides the Reformed Church of Germany will soon be split into warring factions.

*                         *                         *

Only those who have some knowledge of the "Divine Plan of the Ages" can comprehend such difficulties and appreciate the outcome. This is not a strife between the true Church and the false one; but between two sections of the false or nominal system. Money is at the bottom of it. The German Government pays the preachers of all denominations; so now when one is pushed away from the public teat there is a howl of rage, not only from the ousted one, but also from others in sympathy with him, who foresee that their turn may come next.

It is not time yet to judge the hearts to determine which are honest and which dishonest, but there is no mistake about it that if neither honor of men nor financial considerations played a part there would be few to contend earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints. But those few would be the honest and true on both sides of the discussions.

The Lord's people, who have renounced worldly and political methods, and who are seeking chiefly, solely, the Kingdom of Heaven, will do well to possess their souls in peace and go right along proclaiming the "good tidings of great joy which shall be unto all people." They need not look for worldly help, but, as in our Lord's time, should persevere, self-sacrificingly preaching without money and without price, seeking out the few who "have an ear to hear," even as many as the Father shall draw to the Truth.

[R3783 : page 165]

BEREAN BIBLE STUDY FOR JUNE.
– FOR EXPLANATION SEE PREFACE OF WATCH TOWER BIBLES, AND WATCH TOWER MARCH 1, 1905. –
EVIL SPEAKING AND EVIL SURMISING

20. Might telling the truth be evil speaking? Z.'99-70 (1st col. par. 3 to 2nd col. par. 2).

21. Is it always necessary to tell all we know about every affair? Z.'00-71 (2nd col. par. 3).

22. Is an uncomplimentary remark evil speaking? Z.'02-188 (2nd col. par. 3); F.406, par. 1.

23. Would it be evil speaking to criticize doctrines publicly uttered? Z.'02-219 (2nd col. par. 2).

24. What is a slanderer? Z.'05-215 (2nd col. par. 1); Z.'99-70 (2nd col. par. 1 to 3).

25. What is "false witness," and is it possible to bear false witness without uttering a word? Z.'02-219 (1st col. par. 2, 3).

26. How should we deal with a brother or sister who begins to relate an evil report? Z.'05-215 (1st col. par. 4, 5).

27. How should we deal with persons of the world who do evil speaking? Eph. 5:11,12; Z.'99-70 (1st col. par. 1, 2); Z.'02-74 (1st col. par. 1); Z.'98-368 (1st col. par. 1).

28. Is evil speaking against a brother in Christ more culpable than against one of the world? T.S.62, par. 3; Z.'03-426 (1st col. par. 1, 2).

29. In order to avoid gossip, slander and evil speaking, what is the only proper and Scriptural way of redress for grievances, actual or imaginary? Matt. 18:15-17, Z.'05-214 (1st col. par. 4) to 215 (1st col. par. 3); F.414-417.

30. How should we deal in a matter of evil speaking against an Elder? 1 Tim. 5:19. F.293, 294, F.418 (par. 1, 2).

31. Why is "a bridled tongue" a chief essential in an Elder? Jas. 3:2. Z.'99-75 (2nd col. par. 2); Z.'97-156 (2nd col. par. 2); F.249, par. 2.

32. How may we ask advice and not do evil speaking? F.292, top of page.

33. What is the relation between "busybodying" and evil speaking? F.583, par. 1, to 586; F.408, par. 1 to 3.

34. How should the Golden Rule help us to overcome evil speaking and evil surmising? F.407; Z.'02-188 (2nd col.) to 189 (1st col. par. 2); Z.'00-262 (1st col. par. 1, 2).

35. What is the sole exception to this rule, "Speak evil of no man"? Z.'99-71 (2nd col. par. 2).

36. What inspiration should we receive from Jesus' example? 1 Pet. 2:23. Z.'01-298 (1st col. par. 1, 2); Manna, Dec. 7; Z.'02-310 (2nd col. par. 1).

37. How can we overcome evil surmisings and evil speaking?

(a) By purifying the heart. Prov. 4:23. F.409, par. 2.
(b) By prayer. Psa. 141:3. Psa. 19:12-14. Z.'98-23 (2nd col. par. 1).
(c) By keeping the mind filled with pure and holy thoughts. Phil. 4:8. Z.'01-324 (1st col.). Z.'03-8 (2nd col. par. 3) to 9 (1st col. par. 3); Z.'05-216 (1st col. par. 3 and 2nd col. par. 3); Z.'00-72 (1st col. par. 1, 2).

38. What additional thoughts are found in index of Heavenly Manna under "Evil"?

39. What special experiences and practices have helped you to overcome evil surmisings to some extent?

40. As we realize how insidious this foe of the "new creature," what should be our daily prayer? Psa. 19:12-14.

[R3783 : page 165]

IN DUE TIME.
T
IME is one of the most important factors in God's plan. The days of creation were long periods of time; the time of man's experience with evil has been six days of a thousand years each; the day of redemption and of the development of the Church has been nearly two thousand years. Time has been necessary for the accomplishment of God's great work; and it has also been necessary in proving to man the righteousness of God's character. Only time could prove to men his invincible justice. Six thousand years ago his sentence of death passed upon mankind, and during all that time he has permitted generation after generation to go down into the grave in the midst of agony, blood and tears. And though he loved men so, even while they were yet sinners, that he spared not his own Son, but freely gave him up for us all, yet he has never for a moment relented so as to interpose his power for the relief or release of the groaning creation: nor will he do so until his "due time" – the time which his wisdom appointed, which will be the very best time for the securing of the largest possible results to the race, both of [R3784 : page 165] knowledge and of advantageous experience, as well as for the development of several of the most important features of his plan. But as time only can develop God's plan, so time only can manifest his love as well as his wisdom, his grace, his power and his justice.

Time will fully manifest the divine wisdom in what seems to short-sighted humanity like pitiless delay. Already those who are privileged to view by faith the divine plan see the necessity of time for its full accomplishment. It is in view of such necessity that the children of God are frequently exhorted to patience. God has kindly brought us to his standpoint of view and bidden us look into the glorious future – to the outcome of his plan; and in proportion as we are able to comprehend and believe it, we may rest and rejoice in it. But in the meantime, being thus graciously refreshed by the cheering prospect, we must patiently wait for the end, however painful the waiting season may be.

Patience is a virtue which our heavenly Father desires to cultivate in us; and he manifests in himself the grandest example of it. Through all the centuries past he has patiently endured the reproaches of those who, failing to understand the course of his wisdom in executing justice and in working out the deep designs of his abounding grace, attributed evil, and only evil, to his truly glorious and holy character. He knows that "in due time" his character will be fully vindicated, and so he patiently waits and works and endures. So also our Lord Jesus waits and endures. He endured great humiliation in coming to our low estate. Then [R3784 : page 166] as a man he patiently endured the contradictions of sinners against himself and ungrateful persecution, even unto death, from those he came to save. And, like his heavenly Father, through it all he was cheered in consideration of that "due time," though then in the far distant future, when his character, and also the Father's character, would be fully vindicated and manifested to every creature in heaven and in earth. And still our blessed Lord Jesus and our adorable heavenly Father await with patience the grand consummation. So, in similar attitude of mind, we must wait; for the servant is not above his Lord, and our rejoicing in view of the future will, if we have the mind of Christ, be not only because of our own prospective vindication and glory, but also in prospect of the vindication and glory of God and of our Lord Jesus, and of the prospective everlasting triumph of truth and righteousness.

The waiting time is by no means a time of rejoicing, except in hope. This is a time when truth and righteousness are being humbled in the dust, when they that live godly must suffer persecution, when our eyes must look upon scenes of sorrow and mourning, when our ears must hear the wails of distress, and when our feeble flesh must experience the pangs of death. But, oh, there is a glorious release to come "in due time!" Wait for it patiently; "Let patience have her perfect work." Submit to the humbling process. The Church's pathway of present humiliation leads to the future glory.

"Humble yourselves," says the Apostle, "under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time." Do not make the great mistake of seeking present exaltation at the expense of that which is to come "in due time" to those who patiently endure to the end. It is only in proportion as any turn their eyes away from the glory to follow "in due time," and thus lose faith in it, that they begin to prize the trifling recompenses which the world offers for the sacrifice of their birthright. Let us, therefore, dearly beloved, keep the eye of faith fixed upon the hope set before us in the gospel; and, forgetting those things that are behind – all worldly ambitions, etc. – let us press toward the mark for the prize of our high calling, which shall indeed be realized by the faithful – "in due time;" for "Faithful is he that hath called you, who also will do it." His purposes cannot fail, nor his word return unto him void.

[R3784 : page 166]

BINDING THE STRONG MAN.

"No man can come into a strong man's house and spoil his goods except he will first bind the strong man, and then he will spoil his house." – Mark 3:27.

T
HESE WORDS were spoken in answer to the charge of the Pharisees that Jesus was casting out devils by the power of Satan, the prince of demons. Our Lord first showed how unreasonable was the charge that Satan had taken to opposing himself. His argument is that if that be true it would imply that Satan's power was tottering to a fall, if it was necessary for him to thus work against his own plans and arrangements, associates, etc. This does not imply that Satan will never be so cornered as to find it necessary to do good works in order to deceive if it were possible the very elect, but it does imply that when that time shall come, and the Adversary shall favor good works, the healing of diseases, casting out of devils, etc., it will be a sure indication that his kingdom is tottering. We believe that this is the case to some extent at the present time – that Satan has much to do with various faith healings that are done by Christian Science, Spiritualism, Hypnotism, etc.

But our Lord's argument was to the contrary of all this – that he was not casting out devils as the minion of Satan, but on the contrary that he was opposing Satan. Then he used the words of our text, which imply that he was already binding Satan, already spoiling his goods. Satan's control of mankind was certainly interfered with when our Lord cast out the demons and gave power and authority to his disciples to do the same throughout Palestine. This our Lord declared was a sign that a stronger one than Satan was at work. Satan was indeed powerful and had taken possession of the world and was exercising a great influence therein, and the fact that now he was interfered with to any extent and demons were cast out proved that he had met one more powerful than himself, and that the time of the complete overthrow of his dominion would come.

This text then is analogous to and in harmony with another which declared, "Now is the prince of this world cast out." Our Lord again declared, "I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven." Our Lord had come into the world for the very purpose of mastering Satan, and in order to vanquish him he had consecrated his life even unto death, that by means of death he might destroy death and him that had the power of death, that is, the devil. God had accepted the consecration, the sacrifice, and had granted our Lord the anointing of the Spirit at his baptism, and it was under the power and influence of this Spirit that he declared that as the Finger of God he cast out demons. However, the work of destroying Satan's house was not intended to go on to a rapid completion, but rather that merely the power of the Anointed One should be demonstrated for our comfort and joy and faith, and that he should be permitted to control the world for a time further, until the full end of this Gospel age, when his binding will be gradually accomplished and will be followed by the liberating of the whole world from his chains of error with which he has deceived all nations.

In Matthew 24:43 our Lord uses somewhat similar language, but applies it not to his own day but to the end of the age. He speaks of his second advent as being unknown to the world and therefore to them as a [R3784 : page 167] thief in the night, unexpected. He intimates that such a secrecy respecting the time is essential; that if it were generally known to the world the divine plan and arrangement in respect to the end of the age would be foiled. To the Church it would be given to know the times and seasons, through the holy Spirit enlightening their understanding respecting the Word of Truth uttered through the apostles and prophets of old for our admonition. But none of the wicked would understand, only the wise, the truly wise with the wisdom that cometh from above, the consecrated. So far as the world would be concerned, its great ones, its master minds in Church and in State, in business, in finances, would all be surprised in the end of this age. The Master would be present as a thief in the night to take, first of all, his "jewels," his Bride, his saints, and then to utterly spoil, overthrow, the affairs of this present time, that on the ruins thereof he might speedily set up his everlasting Kingdom of righteousness.

"Ye brethren are not in darkness" – that day has not overtaken you as a thief, though it will thus overtake all the world. (I Thess. 5:3,4.) The thief-like work of taking the Church is already in progress; by and by it will all be completed, and shortly thereafter – 1915 – the kingdoms of this world, with all of their associated institutions, will go down in a climax of trouble such as the world has never known, because after gathering his Bride class the Lord will execute judgments upon Babylon.

At that time Satan will be bound that he should deceive the nations no more until the thousand years are finished. – Rev. 20:3.

[R3785 : page 167]

THE ANGEL OF GETHSEMANE.
'Twas midnight, and the Man of Sorrows took his chosen three,
And sought with weary step the shelter of Gethsemane
To pray, his soul exceeding sorrowful, e'en unto death,
And heavy laden with the sin and woe of all the world.
In agony of bloody sweat he fell upon his face,
And cried, with tears, "My God, my Father, if it be thy will,
Oh, let this cup of shame and numbering with transgressors pass, –
If it be possible! Yet, not my will, but thine be done!"
And then his thoughts turned to the sacrifice, – a fear bore down
With agonizing weight upon his heart, lest to comply
With every jot and tittle of the Law, he might have failed!
He saw the priestly type, he knew eternal death awaited,
Should he seek to pass the second vail unworthily.
Eternal death! Oh, anguish inexpressible, – to see
No more his Father's face! He sought his well-beloved three,
Perchance they might refresh his fainting heart with some sure word
Of prophecy. Alas, their eyes were heavy and they slept.
Three times he sought them, and three times in vain! Yet he was heard
In that he feared. The Father sent a heavenly comforter
To touch with tender, strengthening hand that dear, devoted head,
And whisper, "'I the Lord in righteousness have called thee, I
Will hold thine hand and keep thee, neither shalt thou fail nor be
Discouraged.' Lo, thou art 'a priest forever, and a king
Upon thy throne, like to Melchizidek.' And thou shalt see
The travail of thy soul, and shalt be satisfied." His heart
Revived, he knew his Father's faithful word could never fail;
He knew it would accomplish that whereunto it was sent.
He rose, and from that hour went forth to trial and to death,
In peace, – a calmness born of perfect confidence in God.

How oft, throughout the many-centuried "night" of this dark age,
The Father's "little ones" have knelt in sad Gethsemane
To pray! E'en now the Garden's shade re-echoes with the cry
Of God's elect, "How long, oh Lord, how long until we see
The travail of our soul? How long until thou shalt avenge
Thine own elect, who cry to thee, with tears, both night and day?"

*                         *                         *

Dear Lord, oh, use me as the angel in Gethsemane!
Oh, fill me with thy holy Spirit of divinest love!
Oh, make me sympathetic, wise, that every anguished heart
May come, nor seek in vain for consolation from thy Word,
And strengthened, comforted, go forth to prison and to death,
To suffer patiently the cruel mockings of the tongue;
To bear the cross unto the bitter end, then calmly say,
"'Tis finished," and with faith unwavering pass beneath "the vail!"

G. W. Seibert, May 6, 1906.

[R3785 : page 167]

"MY SHEEP HEAR MY VOICE."
JOHN 10:27

C
ONSIDERING the mental imperfections, the unbalance of mind, prevalent in the world, we sometimes wonder that our differences of understanding are not greater than they are. The secret of the measure of unity amongst mankind on various subjects undoubtedly is that the majority are in almost total ignorance on such subjects, and hence make no claim of intelligent reasoning thereon, but merely follow some leader of thought. Just as soon as people begin to use their own thinking apparatus they begin to differ, and sound minds being in the minority the wonder is that more mistakes do not result. In the ordinary affairs of the world, in the ordinary affairs of life, there is no test as respects the soundness of theorizing, reasoning, except such as comes from the pages of history, showing the outworking of various theories, or such as are demonstrated by the mistakes of those about us. On these various subjects of life, each must do the best he knows how.

Only on subjects dealt with in the Scriptures have we a positive basis of information and positive lines along which to use our reasoning faculties. Hence the Apostle declares that those who follow strictly, implicitly, the divine instructions possess more than others "the spirit of a sound mind." (2 Tim. 1:7.) Yet even amongst those who are seeking to follow the guidance of the Word there is some room for differences, misunderstandings, false reasoning, etc. Hence the Apostle Paul urged Timothy, who was an elder in the Church and who had been reared under the teachings of the holy Scriptures, that he should still continue to search and to rightly divide the Word of Truth, that thus he [R3785 : page 168] might be a workman in the Lord's cause who would not need to be ashamed. (2 Tim. 2:15.) What was true of Timothy is true respecting all who endeavor to honor the Word of God. It behooves us all to be very careful, very circumspect, to look carefully on all sides of every important question, to endeavor to get the proper bearings and not be led off in any specious or false reasoning or sophistry which would entangle ourselves and others in error. Even with our best strivings for the truth, with our greatest care, there is still danger, especially amongst those who are awake and using their brains.

"KNOWLEDGE PUFFETH UP, LOVE BUILDETH UP"

It is safe to say that no other class of religious people in the world do as much thinking, studying and reasoning on the Scriptures as do the forty or fifty thousand readers of ZION'S WATCH TOWER. Their senses have been awakened by reason of use; they are earnestly desirous of knowing the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth; they find the promises of the Lord's Word assuring them that he will guide them into all truth, and hence they go forward with the greater sense of rest and security that they shall know the truth and that the truth shall make them free.

Nevertheless, there is a danger point in connection with the study of the Truth. It was along this point that the Apostle cautioned some in his day, saying, Be not many of you teachers, brethren, knowing that a man shall receive the greater testing – the severer trial of his faith, etc. The spirit of meekness is very essential to all of us. We need to realize that of ourselves we know nothing, that our own judgment and reasoning are not to be depended upon, that we must be continually looking to the Lord for the help which cometh from him alone. We have learned not to look to human institutions of learning, Doctors of Divinity, etc., but to the Word of God. We must learn also that, even with the Word of God in our hands, we need the Spirit of God to direct us in its use, that we may understand it aright. We are to remember, too, that God's people have had the Bible in their hands for lo, these many years, yet have generally failed to understand it. Let the thought, then, make and keep us very humble, very dependent upon the great Teacher, the Head of the Church – the Church which is his body.

"ALL TAUGHT OF GOD"

We remember the story of Philip and the eunuch. The eunuch had the Scriptures and was reading them at the very time, yet he did not understand them until the Lord specially sent Philip to expound them to him. We remember Philip's question, "Understandest thou what thou readest?" We remember the eunuch's reply, "How can I unless it be interpreted to me?" We remember that the interpretation was sent by the Lord and accepted as from the Lord and that the blessing followed. We remember the Apostle's discourse along similar lines saying, How shall the heathen hear without a preacher? How shall any teach unless he be sent? How can any really interpret the Word of God and make it plain without divine assistance and guidance? This assistance apparently comes in two ways: first, a preparation of the heart, as the Lord denominated it, a hearing ear; and, second, a message sent of the Lord, an exposition of his Word for the hearing ears and for them alone. Humility is everywhere necessary, not only essential to the hearing ear but also essential to the tongue that would be the Lord's representative and ambassador and the exponent of his truth.

We remember the narrative of Peter and Cornelius, as illustrating the above. Cornelius was already devout; he reverenced God, was benevolent, gave much alms, was a good man in general, and he had a hearing ear, and yet in the Lord's providence it was necessary to send Peter to tell him the words by which himself and his house might be saved – might come into harmony with the Lord. It was not sufficient merely to send Cornelius a copy of the Scriptures; but necessary to expound to him the way of the Lord. Let us not forget these things: let us not become self-conscious, boastful, proud, heady, highminded, for such conditions of heart would surely interfere with our learning further lessons in the school of Christ; [R3786 : page 168] and not only so, but some of the lessons already learned would speedily begin to fade away, and if the light which is in us become darkness how great will be that darkness – it will be greater than it is in those who never saw the light of Present Truth. – Matt. 6:23.

The Apostle tells us that the ox knoweth its owner and the ass his master's crib – although brute beasts they learn where to go for their nourishment. The same is true of barnyard fowls and all domestic animals – they not only have an appetite for food but soon learn the incidents connected with their feeding. The Lord seems to intimate that some of his people are less wise in these respects than are the dumb animals – they forget how, when and where they got their previous food. This is not true, however, of the Lord's flock. The true sheep know the green pastures and still waters and the Shepherd's voice, and a stranger will they not follow because they recognize not the voice of strangers – "My sheep hear my voice and they follow me."

[R3786 : page 168]

FAITH INDISPENSABLE TO SUCCESS.
MARK 7:24-30. – JUNE 3 –

Golden Text: – "Great is thy faith; be it unto thee even as thou wilt." – Matt. 15:28.

W
ITH the whole of Galilee awakened, with the people discussing the wisdom and propriety of taking him by force and making him a king, with Herod's boldness manifested in the beheading of John the Baptist, and with the realization that his time for death had not yet come, our Lord left the parts where he was so well known and journeyed about forty-five miles toward the Mediterranean. This brought him to what in our lesson is called the [R3786 : page 169] "borders of Tyre and Sidon," more properly the provinces of Tyre and Sidon – within the boundary of the land called Phoenicia, of which the cities of Tyre and Sidon had been the centers of wealth, influence and business. We are not informed that Jesus went to either of those cities: apparently he merely crossed the borders of Galilee, and was thus for a time free from the authority of Herod. He would rest a little from his labors, and allow the truths which he had taught to penetrate into the hearts of his hearers. He would let the froth work off and the real essence of the truth abide in the hearts which were in condition of righteousness for it. He knew well that these would be but few.

The more his work increased and his fame spread abroad the more did the Adversary raise up opponents and hindrances. After the feeding of the five thousand and his return to Galilee he had discussions with the Pharisees, who, jealous of his growing popularity with the people, sought to oppose him. They would indeed have been glad to have recognized him as a Pharisee and to have had him do his mighty works in the name of Pharisaism. But his attitude was that of an independent – the Pharisees had sins that needed to be rebuked as well as others. Outwardly they were professing full consecration to God, but our Lord, who was able to read the heart, knew that a great deal of this was mere pretense, outward form and ceremony, show-religion.

These Pharisees, posing as the leaders of religious thought in that day, were made very angry by our Lord's plainness of speech, and the fact that he pointed out to the common people the general rules and principles by which a tree may be known by its fruits – that the Pharisees were not to be esteemed according to their professions, but to be measured by their deeds. They prided themselves upon their strict observances of the Law, but he showed that many of the things which they did were not really the Law of God, but the commandments of men, and that the very essence of the divine Law, love, justice, they largely ignored, not only in their teachings but also in their practices. The Pharisees feared, therefore, that the high station which they had previously held in the estimation of non-professors was being shaken, and their pride antagonized this – hence they hated him without a cause. They should have been glad to have had their attention called to their errors that they might have corrected the same, but this is not the attitude of the unregenerate heart: it rejoiceth in iniquity and rejoiceth not in the truth; it rejoiceth in whatever upholds its pride and gives color to its boastings of success. To them Pharisaism meant everything, and the fall of Pharisaism meant the fall of all religion.

It is much the same today. Many highly-esteemed people today occupy the position of the Pharisees of that time. They make an outward show, they boast of their success, they delight in the honor of men, especially in the honor of the world; they multiply forms and ceremonies and meetings and make a fair show in the flesh. They draw near to God with their lips, but give evidence that their heart sentiments are not in harmony with their lip professions, because when the truth is presented to them they hate it instead of loving it, and they hate the light-bearers because the light makes manifest their own weaknesses, hypocrisies, dissemblings in doctrines and practice.

The improper spirit exemplified in the priests and Pharisees and Scribes in our Lord's day finds a parallel today in the anger, malice, hatred, bitter words, which, like arrows, are shot forth at those who serve the Truth, who seek to lift up the standard to the people, who seek to show up the errors of the "dark ages," and through the Truth to make known the real character of our heavenly Father and the real meaning of his Word. Persecutors always claim that they are in support of a principle of righteousness; only in this way can they deceive some whom they enlist upon their side – some of better heart and conscience than their own. As the Israelites considered that anything that would undermine them would be to the injury of the Lord's cause, so today every section of Babylon, every sect of Christendom, seems to be fully persuaded that anything which would undermine the errors of their systems would be injurious to the cause of the Lord; hence they feel that in supporting sectarianism in any of its branches they are fighting for God. Theirs is a part of the blindness which comes from the god of this world, the prince of this world, Satan, who has all the heathen thoroughly under his control, thoroughly blind to the goodness of God and his message.

Our duty, nevertheless, is to be bold and courageous for the Truth, not with the hope of convincing all of our gainsayers, not with the thought of destroying sectarianism, but with the thought of gathering to the Lord his jewels from every quarter of Babylon, "Those who have made a covenant with me by sacrifice." (Psa. 50:5.) This was Jesus' work in the end of the Jewish age. He was gathering the jewels. His work was a success, although it seemed otherwise to his opponents. Similarly our work under God will be a success, even though others may see it differently. Even our Lord's crucifixion was a part of the success of God's plan, favorable not only to the believers but to all the families of the earth.

So with us: "God will turn what seems to harm us into everlasting joy;" he will so overrule that all things shall work together for good to those who love him, to those who are on his side and are faithful in holding up his standard. Faith is the lesson here: our Lord had faith in the Father's plan and followed it through good report and through evil report. The apostles had faith in him, and when others said, "It is a hard saying," they said, "Lord, to whom shall we go? thou hast the words of eternal life." Similarly with us faith is necessary: if we have faith in the Lord and in his Word we cannot doubt what the results will be, and will be prepared for all the experiences of life as they will be permitted to come to us, and will get blessings from them all.

THE SYROPHOENICIAN WOMAN

The country of Tyre and Sidon was called Phoenicia, and its population was made up largely of Carthaginians and Syrians. The woman of our lesson was of Syrian ancestors, and by education and language was a Greek. In a word she represented quite a mixture of nationalities; she was therefore a Gentile out and out. She had a little [R3786 : page 170] daughter possessed of an evil spirit, and her mother-love awakened her sensibilities as well as her faith. Although Jesus had entered the village without ostentation, in a semi-private manner, some one had known him, and the word some way reached the ears of this poor, afflicted woman. She hastened to the place where Jesus was, and prostrated herself before him. Matthew says that her cry was, "Have mercy upon me, O Lord! Lord, help me!"

The American consul at Jerusalem, Honorable Selah Merrill, mentions the importunity of the people of the East, saying, "To one who has ever held a prominent or official position in the East the persistency of pleading women is a fact one will never forget. They will not be driven from their purpose by a rough manner. Severe language does not deter them. They are not wearied by delays. They [R3787 : page 170] will sit and wait hour after hour, and come day by day, ignoring all kinds of refusals. They are importunate beyond anything that I ever experienced in our western life."

The case is just such a one as we know the Master would have promptly attended to under ordinary circumstances. The faith was there, hence the persistency of the request. But on this occasion Jesus simply ignored the woman, "He answered her not a word." (Matt. 15:23.) It would even appear that he left the house, and that the woman importuned the disciples that they would intercede for her with their Master, for we read that the disciples subsequently came to Jesus entreating him to "send her away." Evidently they had first tried to discourage the woman themselves, and told her that their Master was a Jew and that his mission was to Jews; that she could not have much hope for favor, and that his refusal was indicated by his silence to her first request. But the woman's faith in the Lord and love for her child led her to stay to importune.

Apparently while the disciples were speaking with Jesus the woman again approached him, pleading her own cause. This time he answered her, but unsatisfactorily. He said, "Let the children first be filled: for it is not proper to take the children's bread and cast it unto dogs." Had there been pride in the heart this response would have been sufficient to have put the woman upon her dignity, so that she would have ceased her importunity and have openly tiraded against the Lord and against all Jews as ecclesiastical bigots. But she was humble as well as full of faith, and so far from taking offence at being told that she as a Gentile was classed with the dogs, she seized upon our Lord's own words as a basis for a further plea, that as the little house-dogs ate of the fragments from the family table thrown them by the children, so she as a Gentile, as one of the dogs, might be granted her request for the relief of her daughter from the power of the devil without hindering the real spirit of the Lord's argument, without saying that she was as worthy as a Jew of his mercy and favors.

Our Lord was astonished as well as pleased by this demonstration of the woman's faith. Matthew says he exclaimed, "O woman, great is thy faith!" Her request was granted, her daughter was healed, and her further faith was shown in that she accepted the Master's word and went to her house, there to find that indeed the demon was gone out, and that in leaving he had thrown the child in a fit upon the bed. A prominent writer remarks, "It is impossible for us to realize the tone in which Jesus uttered these words or the love which beamed in full glory from his eyes. Nothing ever drew from our Lord such commendation as the exercise of a supreme faith."

LESSONS IN FAITH – PRAYERS OF FAITH

It is proper that we should draw analogies from our Lord's conduct and that we should suppose that the illustrations of Scripture, showing the trials and tests of faith, should teach us something respecting the Lord's plan of dealing with those who approach him in prayer. During this Gospel age the Lord is seeking for those who can and will exercise faith. Some undoubtedly are so constituted mentally that they cannot do this – not that God created us without the ability so to do in him, but that the fall has distorted the original creation so that many today are unable to exercise faith in a proper and full degree. It is not for us to denounce such, but rather to learn from God's Word that he has a gracious plan, which is broad enough to include this class as well as all others in the mercy and forgiveness provided through the redemption at Calvary.

After the present age shall have selected out those who can exercise faith, who will exercise faith, and who will become faith-full, obedient to faith, then will be ushered in the great Millennial age, in which light, knowledge, will be granted to the remainder of mankind, to the intent that they may cultivate faith as well as all the elements of a proper character, and by restitution processes come to the attainment of all that was lost in Adam, or, failing to do so, be cut off in the Second Death. Let us hope that when the Millennial age shall be ushered in many in the world will be found ready to accept our Redeemer even without the special chastisements and judgments of that time to impress upon them the advantages of obedience to the Lord. As this Gentile woman could and did exercise faith in the Lord, so, doubtless, there are others in the world today who, if they knew our Savior as we know him, would be no less faithful than ourselves – some amongst the heathen, perhaps, would manifest much greater faith than some in Christendom today.

"BE PATIENT, BRETHREN"

As in dealing with this woman our Lord deferred the bestowment of the blessing he desired to give her, so doubtless he does with us at times. With us, too, he may see that it will be better if he should for a time ignore our petitions on some certain subject, that thus we may become more earnest, and perhaps increase our faith and our appreciation of the blessing we desire, just as this poor woman might not have appreciated so highly the Lord's favor if he had given it to her at once. With us also the Lord sometimes makes a test of humility before he responds to our requests. Are we of humble enough mind? Have we faith enough to come to the Lord at all? Can we trust him for his grace? Are we humble enough to accept his mercies on his conditions, on his terms, acknowledging ourselves nothing, that we have no merit to plead with him, that by grace we are saved and not according to any works that we could accomplish? If so we may be sure that the Lord will appreciate [R3787 : page 171] our demonstrations of such a faith by our holding on to his loving hand, to his gracious promises – by our confessions that we are nothing except as he shall give us of his mercy.

As all the various experiences of the Gentile woman worked out for good to her, helping her in the development of a proper and acceptable faith and a spirit of humility, so, we may be sure, all of the delays to answers of our prayers that may come to us as the Lord's people are for our advantage if we will be exercised thereby – that we may grow in his grace, grow in his wisdom, grow in his love, grow in faith, grow in obedience, grow in humility.

The more we study this subject of faith, the more we are convinced that in God's sight faith is not only indispensable but "very precious." We cannot come to God without faith, we cannot abide in his love without faith, we cannot receive day by day his mercies and blessings and leadings except by faith in his promises. We cannot realize ourselves as his children, begotten of the holy Spirit, and heirs of God, joint-heirs with Jesus Christ our Lord, except as we exercise faith in his Word of promise to this effect. We cannot go on day by day following the Lord except as we are willing to walk by faith and not by sight, for this is the test which he puts upon all of his followers. We cannot see how the oppositions of the world, flesh and devil, which seem so baneful to us, are blessings in disguise except as we exercise faith in God's promises that it will be so. We cannot therefore be prepared for the heavenly Kingdom in its glories and blessings and privileges except as we now have and exercise the faith which will enable us to profit by various lessons given us in the school of Christ.

"WAIT PATIENTLY FOR HIM"

An illustration along this line comes to our mind. A sister living some distance from Allegheny, deeply interested in the Truth herself, informed us that she was earnestly praying for her husband that the Lord would graciously grant him the opening of the eyes of understanding. Having some acquaintance with the husband it was our opinion that his was rather a hopeless case. Not that he was a bad man, but that he seemed to be thoroughly worldly, his hours filled with business or hunting or lodge work, etc. And so we said to the sister, by way of preventing her from having too keen a disappointment in the matter: "Dear sister, remember that the Lord is making his own selection of those who will constitute his spiritual Bride of many members. It is not for us to dictate to the Lord in prayer or otherwise whom he shall select – it is for us to feel thankful and grateful that in his providence his Truth has reached our ears and brought us the blessing of an invitation to the nuptial feast. We advise that you do not set your heart upon your husband's acceptance of the Truth, and that you do not particularly pray along that line, but rather give thanks to the Lord that he is as noble a man as you know him to be, and, by your own life, your own conduct, your own example everyway of what constitutes righteousness and discipleship to Christ, set him as good an example as possible, hoping that this may profit him as respects the present life and also the future life, even though he should never come to the point of making a full consecration of himself to the Lord and his service."

The sister's answer was, "I am trying to do all this, Brother Russell, but still I feel that the Lord will not be offended if I ask special blessings upon John – if I ask him to graciously grant him the opening of the eyes of his understanding. I am not so much requesting a miracle upon my husband to turn him against his will, but rather requesting [R3788 : page 171] that the Lord in his providence will be favorable to him, and make the way before him as smooth as possible consistent with divine wisdom." We uttered a few deprecatory words, thinking to ourself how sadly the poor woman would be disappointed as the days and years would go by, yet appreciating her wifely devotion and also her faith in the Lord's goodness. Judge of our great surprise when, about a year later, that husband became interested in the Truth, and followed up that interest by a full consecration of his heart and life to the Lord and in his service. We got a lesson from this similar to the one we get from the lesson today. The lesson is that God greatly appreciates faith, trust in his goodness, and that barring some interference with his plan he does, so far as possible, answer such petitions offered in an importunity of faith. Let us each, then, endeavor, more and more, to cultivate this important fruit of the Spirit, and correspondingly we will abound in the love and joy and peace, service and blessings which come from him who says, "According to thy faith be it unto thee."

[R3788 : page 171]

GOOD CONFESSIONS AND LATER TRIALS.
MATTHEW 16:13-28. – JUNE 10. –

Golden Text: – "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God."

I
N THE VICINITY of Caesarea Philippi, on our Lord's most northerly journey in Palestine, just at the headwaters of the river Jordan, where it issues in great volume from a cave, our Lord put a question to his disciples which was full of meaning to them. This has been a weighty one ever since wherever his Word has gone. More than this, throughout the coming age, the Millennium, it will still be the all-important question.
"WHAT THINK YE OF CHRIST?"

Our Lord had been teaching the apostles and the public for about three years, and although he had frequently referred to himself as the "Son of Man," a title recognized among the Jews as appropriate to the Messiah, a title applied to Messiah by Daniel the Prophet (Dan. 7:13,14), our Lord had never positively declared himself to be the Messiah. He had allowed his words, "such as never man spake," and his works, such as never man performed, to testify for him. He merely declared that he had come forth from the Father to be the Savior of men, that in due time he would ascend up on high where he was before, that through faith in him eternal life was obtainable, etc. He had talked about his Kingdom, too, and taught the apostles [R3788 : page 172] to pray, "Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is done in heaven." Still, as already stated, he had never positively declared that he was the Messiah – he had left it to inference; if his character and works would not testify to the hearts of his disciples any words on the subject would be vain, empty, powerless.

By way of bringing the matter gradually before their minds, assisting them to see the general confusion prevailing, our Lord first asked the apostles respecting the general opinions of the people regarding him – whom they thought him to be. The answer was that there was confusion, some claiming that he was Elijah, others that he was John the Baptist returned with greater power, others that he was one of the ancient prophets who had reappeared. With this leading of the mind up to the central thought our Lord put the important question directly, "Whom say ye that I am?" What view of me is entertained by you who are my followers, you who know me most intimately, you who have heard my teachings and seen my daily life? At once came a noble confession from the Apostle Peter, who, while expressing his own sentiments, evidently expressed the minds of the entire discipleship, for there was no protest on the part of any and their silence gave assent.

"THOU ART THE CHRIST, THE SON OF THE LIVING GOD"

It should be noticed that the Scriptures are consistent with themselves throughout, that nowhere is the Lord Jesus spoken of as his own Father, the Almighty, Jehovah, but appropriately he is recognized as in his own statements as being the Son of God – the offspring of the Almighty, full of the Father's spirit, grace and power – God manifest in the flesh – the best possible manifestation of the Father amongst men, of that heavenly Father of whom it is declared, "Who only hath immortality, dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto; whom no man hath seen or can see." (1 Tim. 6:16.) The Only Begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth, represent him and the glorious qualities of his character to humanity. The apostles discerned this, and honored the Son accordingly as the Father had already honored him.

Our Lord promptly acknowledged Peter's confession as being appropriate, correct, truthful, and he added a blessing, saying, "Blessed art thou, Simon, son of Jonas, because flesh hath not revealed this unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven." Here again our Lord disclaims being the Father, and declares that the Father is in heaven – was not on earth except representatively. The same thought our Master gave to Mary after his resurrection, saying, "I ascend to my Father and to your Father, to my God and to your God." (John 20:17.) We honor the Lord most and have clearest views of the meaning of his words when we accept them simply and truthfully, without attempting to be wise above what is written or to add to the divine revelation or the honor of our Lord by inconsistent claims contradictory to the revelation which has been given us.

"THOU ART THE CHRIST"

This was a part of Peter's reply – "Thou art the Messiah. We accept you as being the one in whom center all the promises – the one who is to redeem and to bless the world." How we wish that all of the Lord's professed people might clearly discern what is implied by Peter's good confession! It implies faith in Jesus, not merely as the Savior of the Church which is his body, his Bride, but as the Savior of the world – the great Messiah, the seed of Abraham, through whom with his elect Bride all the families of the earth will be blessed with gracious opportunities for escape from the thraldom of sin and death to the liberties of the sons of God.

"What think ye of Christ?" This question, which came to Peter and his fellow-apostles, has been rung down through the centuries from that time until now, wherever the knowledge of the Lord Jesus has gone. It is a question which each one must eventually answer for himself. Thank God for this: the benighted heathen shall not be left in darkness, in ignorance of the only name given under heaven and amongst men whereby we must be saved. (Acts 4:12.) In due time this true Light shall lighten every man that cometh into the world. (John 1:9.) And with the question and with the light which makes possible an answer to the question comes a responsibility which none may shirk. Eventually every son and daughter of Adam must decide respecting the great Savior whom God has provided – each must accept or reject him as his Redeemer, his Savior, his Teacher, Priest and King, if he would enter into life; or, rejecting him intelligently and wilfully, must die the Second Death – utter destruction.

The question has come to us who are the Lord's followers, and we, like Peter and the apostles and all the faithful since, have accepted the Son of God as our Savior, realizing that he bought us with his precious blood, and that we have peace with God through a realization that the divine sentence against us has been met, so that God can now justly accept us to himself, forgiving our sins – not imputing them to us, but accepting satisfaction through our Surety and his precious sacrifice. On the strength of this faith that he was the Son of God, that he died for our sins, we have also accepted him as the great King of Glory, whose Millennial Kingdom is surely to bless the world by establishing the reign of righteousness, by binding Satan and all the powers of evil, by causing the knowledge of the glory of God to fill the whole earth and by instituting a great reign of judgment, of justice, in the world, under which every unrighteous deed shall receive a just recompense of reward, and every good endeavor receive encouragement and blessing, and bring a corresponding uplift, mental, moral and physical, to the obedient.

By faith we now believe and accept the message that those who hear now in advance of the world have a special call to joint-heirship with their Redeemer in his glorious Kingdom, and shall share with him in his grand work of blessing and restoring the willing and obedient of mankind. What joy follows in the wake of this knowledge and its good confession only the elect can fully appreciate. And in proportion as these confess their faith that same faith grows, and the blessings and privileges connected with it grow, and gradually their joys become full to the overflowing of their earthly vessels in the present life and to their preparing the more for the glorious fulness of joy into which they will be ushered in their glorious resurrection change, when the Master himself shall say to them, "Well done, good and faithful [R3789 : page 173] servant; enter thou into the joys of thy Lord." – Matt. 25:21.

WHAT THINK YE OF CHRIST?

This same question confronts others who see with considerable clearness the mercy, the grace of God in Christ, and the glorious plan which centers in him, but who for the present are withholding a confession, who have not thus far taken their stand on the side of Christ, to confess him before men and to follow him in their daily life. To these we give a word of encouragement and a word of warning as well. They should be encouraged with the evidences they have of the Lord's favor, in that they have been permitted to come to their present position of knowledge of Christ and the gracious plan of God centering in him. They should realize that while they have already appreciated much, still there is more to follow of grace and joy and peace and blessing and knowledge to those who go on, who take the important step of public confession, who enter into a covenant of sacrifice to be followers in the footsteps of Jesus. They cannot go on to belong to his disciples unless they confess him; they cannot hope to share in the glories that belong to the faithful who walk in the narrow way unless they take up their cross to follow.

But they should know that while the cross of the Lord is not a light one, nevertheless his yoke is easy and his burden is light because he yokes himself with us in our trials and difficulties of life. With him as our companion and burden-bearer the cross is light, the burden is easy and the joys and peace resulting to his faithful are indescribable, even as eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither hath it entered into the heart of man the blessings by and by to be conferred on them. (1 Cor. 2:9.) The day of opportunity for accepting Christ under present conditions is rapidly speeding away. Soon the door of present privilege will close; and even though another door of gracious favor will open thereafter, its blessings and rewards cannot be considered with those which are now before us. Let us lay aside every weight and every besetting sin and enter the race and run patiently to its end, hoping for a share with our Redeemer in his glorious Kingdom work.

ROCK-FOUNDED LIVING STONES

Peter, the mouthpiece of the disciples, was especially addressed by our Lord, although the blessing spoken to him was in a measure shared by the others also. Our Lord here gave Simon his surname, Peter, which signifies a stone, declaring, "Thou art Peter [a stone], and upon this rock [this great truth which you have enunciated] I will build my Church." Peter subsequently writing refers to the matter in this manner, saying of all of the Lord's true followers, "Ye, also, as living stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up sacrifices acceptable to God by Jesus Christ." (1 Pet. 2:5.) Peter and the other apostles are presented to us as foundation stones built upon this great truth, that Christ is the Redeemer, the Savior, the Messiah. Note how our Lord presents this matter in Revelation, in the picture of the New Jerusalem, representing its walls as having twelve foundations of precious stones, in which were written the names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb. – Rev. 21:14.

"What think ye of Christ? is the test
To try both your state and your scheme;
You cannot be right in the rest,
Unless you think rightly of him.
Some take him a creature to be,
A man or an angel at most;
Sure these have not feelings like me,
Nor know themselves wretched and lost.

*                         *                         *

"Some style him the pearl of great price,
And say he's the fountain of joys,
Yet feed upon folly and vice,
And cleave to the world and its toys.

*                         *                         *

"If asked what of Jesus I think,
Though still my best thoughts are but poor,
I say, He's my meat and my drink,
My life, and my strength, and my store;
My Shepherd, my Husband, my Friend,
My Savior from sin and from thrall,
My hope from beginning to end,
My portion, my Lord and my all."

Of this Church whose foundation was laid by the Redeemer himself and which was to be built thereupon our Lord declares, –

"THE GATES OF HELL SHALL NOT PREVAIL"

This statement seems to some to favor the theory that eternal torment is the fate of all except the Church: yet such must view the text very superficially indeed, for with their view what picture would the words convey? In what sense would it be true that the gates of hell shall not prevail against the Church? If we suppose a fiery hell such as many teach, and a barred gateway leading thereto, and the Church on the outside of those gates, we would be obliged to imagine the Church trying to break through the gates to get into the fire, and that the gates would not be strong enough to hinder the rash act. Or, on the other hand, we should be obliged to imagine the Church on the fiery side of those gates and trying to burst them open and succeeding in so doing. Surely neither of these views represents properly the condition of the Church as viewed from any standpoint.

But now note the reasonableness and beauty of the true interpretation of this language. The word hell here is in the Greek, hades, the same word that is elsewhere translated grave. For instance, in the Apostle's declaration respecting the resurrection and the deliverance of the Church from the grave, he exclaims, "O hades, where is thy victory?" He pictures thus the Church triumphing over hades, coming out of hades, out of the grave, out of the state of death. The same thought is connected with our Lord's resurrection: he is represented as bursting the bonds of death, bursting the restraints of sheol, of hades – by the Father's power. The gates of hades, the gates of the tomb, the strength of death which restrained him three days, was broken in his resurrection. This is the picture which our Lord presents. The Church in common with the world would go down into death, and this was an assurance to the apostles of the abundant deliverance which will be granted to the Church in the First Resurrection to glory, honor and immortality, to the conditions where the Second Death will have no power. [R3789 : page 174]

THE KEYS OF THE KINGDOM

A key implies a lock, and the thought here is that God's Kingdom was locked that none could enter it. Our Lord alone was able to keep the divine Law and to inherit the divine promise. To him alone, therefore, belonged entrance to the Kingdom. He was recognized as the Anointed from the time he received the holy Spirit at his baptism, and in the fullest sense in his resurrection from the dead, a spirit being. "With all power in heaven and in earth." – Matt. 28:18.

But neither before his death nor during the forty days after his resurrection could our Savior open, unlock the Kingdom to his followers, though he promised them ultimately a share with him therein. He put his Spirit upon them, by which they in his name performed many wonderful works, but they could not be recognized by the Father nor receive the begetting power of the holy Spirit, the anointing of the Father, at that time. They could not then be ushered into the Kingdom privileges and relationship until Christ had ascended up on high and appeared in the presence of the Father on their behalf, presenting the merit of his own sacrifice as the condition upon which they might be accepted. It was after our Lord had done this that he permitted Peter to use the first key – to throw open the door of the Kingdom to all of his truly consecrated followers.

The door thrown open at Pentecost was only to the Jews, not to the Gentiles. Peter preached only to the Jews and proselytes, inviting them and them only to become sharers in the Kingdom of God's dear Son. When, three and a half years later, the Lord's due time had come for throwing open the other door into the Kingdom – the door for the Gentiles – Peter again was given the key, the right, the authority, to open that door. He it was who was sent to Cornelius, the first Gentile convert, to explain to him the conditions of relationship to Christ in the Kingdom and to initiate him that he might receive the holy Spirit. The two keys having been used there is nothing further to unlock respecting the Kingdom, and the Jewish institutions having passed away there is now but the one door, and it, we are told, will be closed perpetually when all of the wise virgins shall have gone in to the wedding. – Matt. 25:1-10.

The declaration respecting Peter's authority to bind and loose was a common form of expression in those days, to indicate forbidding and permitting. One writer declares, "No other terms were in so constant use in Rabbinic Canon Law as those of binding and loosing. They represented the legislative and judicial powers of the Rabbinic office." This authority was shared by all of the apostles (Matt. 18:18,19), and it is because of our belief in this that we hold to the exact presentations of the apostles as representing the divine will, and allow no testimony by subsequent followers of the Lord to have the same weight or influence. Respecting the apostles alone we have the assurance that they were divinely supervised – that whatever they forbade or allowed was under heavenly guidance and sanction. [R3790 : page 174]

"THEY SHOULD TELL NO MAN"

Our Lord enjoined upon the disciples a measure of secrecy respecting his Messiahship because it was not yet due time for this to be made generally known. Its publication by Jesus and his disciples would have stirred up the public mind and have interfered to some extent with the divine program respecting his crucifixion – either by hastening it or by hindering it. But after our Lord's death and resurrection this was the entire theme of all of his representatives, his messengers – Jesus the Redeemer of the world, the Messiah, whose coming at the end of this Gospel age shall bring in times of refreshing and restitution for the uplift of the groaning creation.

Our Lord did not even pointedly draw this to the attention of his disciples, as we have seen, until the due time – until the approaching end of his career made it necessary for them to be forewarned that they might not be deceived, that they might know how his death was a part of the divine program. It was from this time on that Jesus began to explain to his close followers that he was to suffer death at Jerusalem at the hands of the religionists of that day, and that he would be raised from the dead on the third day thereafter.

BLESSINGS BRING TRIALS

The noble Peter had scored a great success in faithful and prompt acknowledgment of the Master, and he received special favors and blessings and promises as a result. Perhaps this helped to make him somewhat heady and self-opinionated. It is so with many of the Peter class (a noble class) from that time until now. Many admitted to the Lord's favor and privileged to confess him before men have stumbled over their own honor and exaltation. No wonder then the Apostle admonished, Be not many of you teachers, brethren, knowing that a man who is a teacher has severer trials, temptations. – Jas. 3:1.

Peter, in his love for the Master, and intoxicated somewhat by the honors bestowed upon him already, undertook to be the teacher – "not holding the Head" in proper reverence. Alas, how many treat the Lord's Word in the same manner today – ignoring his own statements and distorting his words in a manner which they are pleased to consider better than his, more honoring to him and to the Father. What a great mistake! Let us, dear fellow students, always recognize the headship of our Lord, and always remember that we are to listen to his Word and not to attempt to correct him or to substitute ideas of our own as being either better or as good. If we consider him worthy of the Father's honor and confidence, let us also consider him worthy to be our teacher, and from this standpoint let us take his every word seriously, carefully, implicitly.

Although Peter did not so intend the matter, his efforts were in the direction of turning the Lord aside from the fulfilment of his covenant. And so we think it is with some who, Peter-like, do not give sufficient heed to the Master's teaching – their influence at times upon their brethren and the Church is to hinder the sacrificing rather than to assist the sacrificers in the good way. They are stumbling-blocks instead of stepping-stones, and it is the duty of all who would be faithful footstep-followers of Jesus to kindly but emphatically treat the advice of such as our Master did, to ignore it and to press along the line according to our covenant. Our Lord declared Peter to be an adversary [Satan] a hinderer of the work.

Thus we see how those who are good and well intentioned may unwisely become hinderers of that they desire to assist. Let us be on our guard as respects ourselves and [R3790 : page 175] our influence upon others. Peter reasoned from the human standpoint, not from the divine. Happy would it have been for him if he had taken this lesson very thoroughly to heart; but through failure so to do he was unprepared for the later testing, when he denied his Lord and brought upon himself bitter weeping. Our Lord's life was an illustration, and put emphasis upon the words which he then addressed to the apostles, "If any man will come after me let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it, and whosoever shall lose his life for my sake shall find it." Discipleship meant the very reverse of what the apostles had naturally expected. They thought of the Kingdom glory and honor, and were desirous of attaining those blessings.

The disciples were now learning that their attainment meant severe testings, disciplines, trials, which would demonstrate their worthiness or unworthiness of a place in the Kingdom. Self love and earthly loves, outweighing devotion to the Lord, would mean unfitness for a share with him in the Kingdom. On the contrary, such a love for the Lord and the truth and the privileges of service as would lead to self-denials, earthly sacrifices, etc., even unto death, would imply the possession of the character which our Lord sought in those whom he would make his joint-heirs in the Kingdom.

GAIN THE WORLD, LOSE HIS BEING

Our Lord stated a general truth when he declared that a selfish love of life under present sinful conditions would signify the loss of life eternal – would signify ultimately the Second Death. This applies to the Church in the present time. We have covenanted with the Lord to leave all and follow him; we have exchanged our earthly hopes and aims for heavenly ones; and now, if we fail of the heavenly, all will be gone. Yes! it is a case of losing our earthly lives and gaining the heavenly, and no amount of earthly gain can compensate us for the loss of the life eternal hoped for.

Somewhat similar principles will apply to the world during the Millennial age, for they also will be required to break away from sin and cultivate righteousness if they would attain to life; and those who will not forego the sins and not battle against the weaknesses will never attain to the restitution perfections and everlasting life. The matter then resolves itself into this, for us now and for them by and by: Do we prefer everlasting life in harmony with the divine Law and righteous requirements, or do we choose the contrary, with the penalty, Second Death?

"THY KINGDOM COME"

All this, respecting the necessity of suffering and death on the part of those who would be sharers with the Lord in his Kingdom, was evidently a new thought to the disciples. It had been partially stated previously, but in dark sayings which they did not comprehend. Evidently even yet they did not grasp the situation clearly, but our Lord proceeded to clinch the matter in their minds by assuring them that they would not get the Kingdom inheritance until some period in the future – when the Son of man shall come in the glory of his Father with his angels; and then he shall render unto every man according to his deeds. To those who by patient continuance in well doing seek for glory, honor and immortality he will render the reward of eternal life on the spirit plane; but chastisements, punishments, corrective in their nature, and purgatorial to all others whose evil deeds, preferences for sin, unfaithfulness to light and knowledge and truth, mark them as out of accord with the great principles of righteousness. To these will be given experiences in the time of trouble which will mean sorrow, disappointment, grief, etc. We are glad to have the assurance from other Scriptures that these corrective judgments of the Lord as they come upon the world will mean blessings in disguise, for, "When the judgments of the Lord are abroad in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness." – Isa. 26:9.

The statement of verse 28 has been the cause of considerable confusion. It reads, "There be some standing here who shall not taste of death until they see the Son of man coming in his Kingdom." This is what might be termed a "dark saying," an obscure statement. The key to it is found in the first nine verses of the succeeding chapter. The chapter division, which was not of inspiration but was made centuries after Matthew was dead, has served to separate the Lord's words from the explanation of them.

Connecting the matter we see that our Lord meant that some who were there with him would see a demonstration of his statement about his second coming in power and great glory in a vision, and that vision was given a little later on in the Mount of Transfiguration, when the entire Kingdom was represented in tableaux to Peter, James and John, three of those who were with him at the time he uttered the words of our lesson. In that panoramic vision our Lord was transfigured so that the disciples saw him radiant with glory, and as nearly identical as would be possible to show them the glories of the Kingdom; and with the Lord in the vision were seen Moses, a representative of Israel, and Elijah, a representative of the Church. St. Peter, one of the three who witnessed this exhibit of the Kingdom glory in vision, mentions it in his epistle, saying, "For we were eyewitnesses of his majesty...when we were with him in the holy mount." – 2 Pet. 1:16-18.

If that vision was such a testimony to the Apostle Peter and his associates, and through them was applied to all of the early Church as an assurance of the blessing of the Lord which would ultimately come at the second advent of Christ in his Kingdom, how much more assurance have we now in the fact that we by the grace of God have been enabled to see the spiritual glories of the Lord through the opening of the divine Word, the breaking of the seals upon the scroll of divine revelation! "Wonderful things in the Bible we see." Wonderful love and exceeding great and precious promises for the Church, wonderful love and an ancient Covenant for [R3791 : page 175] Israel, wonderful love and a New Covenant for all the families of the earth. Those who see this vision of the Kingdom, and who discern its rapid arrangement and the preparation for its glorious revelation to the whole world, have the assurance that they are not following cunningly devised fables; that the Higher Critics are greatly mistaken in their judging of the Word of God along the lines of external testimonies and evolution theories. We have much advantage everyway over the remainder of mankind, and we may well say to ourselves, What manner of persons ought we to be in all holy conversation, living and godliness! – 2 Pet. 3:11.

page 177
June 1st

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

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

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

SEMI-MONTHLY.
VOL. XXVIIJUNE 15, 1906No. 12
CONTENTS.
Views from the Watch Tower 179
Church Union – Next, Federation 179
The United Church of Canada 179
Federation in Great Britain 180
Education Makes "Fools" 180
We Are Counted As Fools 181
Man and Woman Under the Curse 181
Hell Fire and Saintliness Denounced by Two M.E. Bishops 182
All Things Work For Good (Poem) 182
A Vision of the Kingdom 182
"Never Man Spake Like This Man" 185
Greatest in the Kingdom 186
Some Interesting Letters 190

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

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

page 178

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

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

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

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[R3791 : page 179]

VIEWS FROM THE WATCH TOWER.
CHURCH UNION – NEXT, FEDERATION

THE Presbyterian and Cumberland Presbyterian bodies have reunited, as per the following telegram in the public press columns:

Des Moines, Ia., May 24. – Dr. Hunter Corbett, the Moderator of the Presbyterian General Assembly, declared the union of the Presbyterian Church of the United States and the Cumberland Presbyterian Church completed at 10.21 o'clock this morning as follows:

"I do solemnly declare and hereby publicly announce that the basis of union and reunion is now in full force and effect, and that the Cumberland Presbyterian Church is now reunited with the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America as one Church."

The big ecclesiastical assemblage burst into a storm of rejoicing. Handclapping, cheering and waving of handkerchiefs gave expression of unalloyed pleasure.

*                         *                         *

The spirit of union and federation prevails everywhere. Our readers well know that from prophecy we have for twenty-five years been expecting not only that the Federation would come soon, but that the vitality of it would come from the Episcopal Church. The insurmountable barrier thus far seems to be in the claim of this denomination to "Apostolic Succession," which asserts that none are qualified ministers except as "ordained" in the line of such succession.

Now we find a movement amongst Episcopalians to concede something: to claim merely the Historic Episcopate and to drop the claim of Apostolic Succession, so as to promote the union of all Protestants. This view is set forth in a recently published book by Rev. E. McCrady (Episcopalian), entitled,

"APOSTOLIC SUCCESSION AND THE PROBLEM OF UNITY"

We quote one paragraph: –

"When we ourselves are broad enough, catholic enough, to admit that the theory of the divine right of Episcopacy is a theory only – when we are willing to own, as we must, that while fitting in very well with historical facts, it can never be absolutely demonstrated – when we further are willing to recognize the fact that the Reformers did not believe in such a theory themselves, and that the Church, in spite of all the influences brought to bear upon her, has carefully refrained from officially promulgating such a doctrine – when, in other words, we cease to unchurch our Protestant brethren by insisting upon a principle logically indefensible and never officially set forth – we will then be in a position to expect some concessions on their part, and – we venture the further prediction – we shall then begin to hear some solid discussion, and see some valid signs of the approaching union of Christendom."

*                         *                         *

The Bible clearly sets forth that such a federation of Protestants will be effected before the great final catastrophe which will usher in the Kingdom of God's dear Son and the glorification of the Church of the Firstborn; hence our interest in every item pointing to its realization.

"THE UNITED CHURCH OF CANADA"

"The negotiations for the union of three churches in Canada have attracted world-wide attention. Nearly all of the religious journals and many of the secular ones devote much space to special comment upon this theme. These comments are almost entirely congratulatory. The Toronto Globe has rendered important service by printing the expressions of opinion by men of light and leading in the three churches in various parts of the country. It is a surprise to find how generally these are favorable expressions. Of course there are a few doubting Thomases, a few who magnify the differences and overlook the great harmonies, who advise us to be careful and go slow; but the overwhelming concensus is in favor, not of federation, but of organic union. We have received correspondence from various parts of the United States, from the Atlantic to the Pacific, with reference to an account we wrote in The [R3791 : page 180] Christian Herald of this great movement, and all of these are of devout thanksgiving for the leading of divine providence. We quote from the Literary Digest some of the press comments on this subject:

"'An extraordinary movement, in some respects, not paralleled in several centuries,' is the phrase by which the New York Christian Advocate (Methodist) characterizes the movement toward union between the Presbyterian, Methodist and Congregationalist churches in Canada. The report of the joint committee of these three denominations, just published, is described by the Toronto Globe as 'the most remarkable ecclesiastical document issued in Protestant Christendom since the Reformation.' All the indications seem to point to the ultimate consummation of this union, and the name tentatively chosen for the new Church is, 'The United Church of Canada.' The Interior (Presbyterian, Chicago) writes of the union planned as 'the most radical and remarkable coalition of churches that has been proposed since the Reformation brought in the era of denominational divisions,' Zion's Herald (Methodist, Boston), reminds us that Canada in the past has led the way in effecting denominational unions.

"The Christian Advocate remarks editorially: 'This experiment in each of its stages should receive the concentrated attention of the Protestantism of the world. If it succeed it will make feasible the only reasonable plan for the diminution of the number of distinct communions.'

"The Presbyterian (Toronto, Canada) thinks that the prospects are bright for a consummation of the proposed union. It says: 'There will be no unseemly haste; in the nature of things there cannot be. It will take some little time to prepare the basis and have it pronounced upon ultimately by the body of the people. Agreement as to the things that may be given up and the things that shall remain, will not come in a moment, but it will come. There is an organizing power of its own in a great, structural, co-ordinating movement like this.'

"The Presbyterian Banner (Pittsburgh, Pa.) comments as follows: 'We would hardly think a union of these three churches possible in this country, but it appears to be possible only a few miles north of us, and it is the Lord's doing and marvellous in our eyes. The Spirit of the Lord, however, is not restricted by geographical boundaries and red and blue lines on the map, and what the Spirit can do there he may do here.'

"The Methodists in Canada number 916,659, the Presbyterians 842,016, and the Congregationalists 28,000. Thus, as the Church Standard (Protestant Episcopal, Philadelphia) points out, the new Church will enter upon its work with a membership of 1,786,676, 'nearly one-third of the population of the whole of Canada.'"

Onward (Methodist, Toronto).
FEDERATION IN GREAT BRITAIN

The London Daily Chronicle recently published a lengthy appeal for special prayers for the reunion of Christendom. It was signed by the President of the United Methodist Free Churches; the President of the Methodist New Connection Church; the President of the Wesleyan Methodist Conference; the Moderator-elect of the English Presbyterian Church; the President of the Baptist Union; the Moderator of the General Assembly of the Church of Scotland; the Moderator of the General Assembly of the United Free Church of Scotland; the Primus of the Scottish Church, and the Chairman of the Congregational Union of England and Wales. Evidently a few more years of stress will accomplish what they pray for, – a union of sects, a federation on the basis of ignoring one another's errors. But this will not be the heart union for which our Lord prayed – one in the Father and the Son and in heart [R3792 : page 180] fellowship with each other, because "sanctified by the Truth."

EDUCATION MAKES "FOOLS"

"The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God." – Psalm 14:1.
COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY CLASS 65 PER CENT. FOOLS

The faculty of Columbia University put the following questions to a class of 45 students in elementary psychology:

(1) "Do you conceive of God as a personal or an impersonal being?"
(2) "What difference do you make between a personal and an impersonal being?"
(3) "Under what image or images do you think of God?"
(4) "What difference would the non-existence of God make in your daily life?"

Papers bearing these questions were distributed to the class, with the request that they be returned with their answers within a few days. Only three replies were received.

The Professor then made the questions a part of the regular class lesson, and an entire lecture period was granted for the preparation of the answers. It was further granted that none need sign his name to his replies, in hope that this would bring out full responses.

Three refused to express themselves, returning the question papers blank. Twenty-two said their conception of God was impersonal. Four expressed doubt as to God's personality. Sixteen only (35 per cent.) expressed belief in a personal God. Thirteen of the young men said that it would not make the least bit of difference in their daily lives if they had not heard of the existence of God. The rest said that there would be some difference, but no two agreed exactly as to the same condition of life.

These things are hard to believe, but the facts are vouched for by the St. Louis Globe-Democrat. They remind us of the Apostle's words, "The world by wisdom knows not God"; and again, that "The god of this world hath blinded the minds of them that believe not."

How glad we are that these blinded young men will yet be brought under the influence of him who died for [R3792 : page 181] them at Calvary, to the extent that their blindness shall be turned away and the "knowledge of the glory of the Lord" shall shine into their hearts. How strange it seems that their Christian friends and relatives (1) so combat the thought of God's mercy enduring beyond the tomb, that these and "all the families of the earth may be blessed" by the Messiah (Head and body), the elect of this age. (2) How strange that they think of such young men, who say in their hearts, "There is no God," as being of the "elect," believers, footstep followers of Christ – to whom alone in this age the "great salvation" is promised.

"WE ARE COUNTED AS FOOLS"

The above words by St. Paul are still true of those faithful to the Word of God. Below we reprint an item from the Digest, re the changing meaning of the word heresy. The Rev. Crapsey, D.D., of the Episcopal Church, has recently been telling his doubts and disbeliefs, yet contends that he is still an orthodox Episcopalian and should be permitted to teach his unbeliefs under the prestige of "the Church," wearing its livery, holding its honors and receiving its pay. Some one not well posted on such matters thought this was wrong and brought the matter up in a heresy trial, Dr. Crapsey disbelieves the Bible, rejects its being of divine inspiration, thinks Jesus was born as every other child, that he had no prehuman existence, that Joseph or some man was his father. So far as we may be able to judge, Robert Ingersoll and Rev. Crapsey, D.D., would have agreed perfectly except as to methods of teaching the unbelief. In our opinion Mr. Ingersoll took the more honorable position in not pretending to be a minister and servant and teacher of the One whose words he denied.

Dr. Crapsey, in his unbelief, has so much company now among ministers that his conviction was a general surprise. Others would doubtless feel that if they condemned him they would be at the same time condemning themselves, because the majority, apparently, are now "higher critics." Dr. Crapsey is surprised and desires a new trial.

"THE WAY WHICH THEY CALL HERESY"

The Apostle says, "After the way which they call heresy so worship I the God of my fathers." (Acts 24:14.) Likewise, today, if anyone will arise in any of the churches of Christendom and fearlessly preach the Bible's presentations as set forth in the MILLENNIAL DAWN volumes, it would not take long to decide him a heretic. In other words, times have so changed that those who deny the Bible's testimony are recognized as orthodox, while those who teach and expound the Bible faithfully and consistently are recognized at once as heretics, just as in Paul's day. The article follows: –

CHANGING DEFINITIONS OF HERESY

"'In the eighteenth century it required a radical philosopher like Hume to advance such arguments against the credibility of Christian miracles as today may be put forth by an Episcopal rector, with a fair chance of baffling the heresy-hunters at the last,' remarks a writer in the Evening Post, apropos of the recent trial of Rev. Algernon Crapsey. The churches, the writer asserts, are looking for a definition of heresy that can be generally accepted, 'for it is annoying, to say the least, to convene investigating bodies every year to define the offense anew.' Dr. Crapsey's trial, he points out, will leave the Episcopal Church practically where it was before in the matter, 'except that in Bishop Walker's jurisdiction it will be decided either that the miracles of the Bible must be accepted or that they may be rejected.' However, he adds, it will serve to show that what was heresy yesterday is not necessarily heresy today. We read further:

"'As compared with the published utterances of Heber Newton, Dr. Crapsey's statements do not seem to be extreme, though they mark a distinct advance in frankness from the day that Bishop Gray "deposed" Bishop Colenso for attempting to question the Pentateuch. The words are much more specific, too, than those uttered by Dr. Charles A. Briggs in 1891, when he became professor of Biblical theology at the Union Theological Seminary, and which led to his withdrawal from the Presbyterian ministry. But Dr. Briggs found refuge with the Episcopalians, that Church called by Phillips Brooks "the roomiest Church in America." Whether the denomination that refused to consider charges against Heber Newton and welcomed Dr. Briggs will decide to retain Dr. Crapsey must depend upon the court's reading of history.'

"Some years ago, when Dr. Heber Newton gave up his rectorship of All Souls' Church to go to Leland Stanford University, the New York Sun commented in part as follows:

"'The religious views expressed so boldly by Dr. Newton which aroused so loud a protest ten or fifteen years ago have no longer the novelty they then had. The conclusions of the "higher criticism" of the Bible, which in general may be said to have furnished the basis for them, have since affected very profoundly the teachings of Protestant churches very extensively, and they are accepted if not actually propagated by professors in practically all their leading theological schools. Thus the religious public has become accustomed to views which provoked astonishment and resentment when they began to be proclaimed so frankly by Dr. Newton.'"

MAN AND WOMAN UNDER THE CURSE

Sin and death have long reigned. Selfishness instead of Love has had control of the world for centuries. Now God is lifting the vail of ignorance, and all who have been getting the worst of the bargain become violent for their rights. The masses of Russia have long been happy in ignorance and superstition. Their ignorance was their bliss. Now there is a general awakening; everybody is dissatisfied; all are clamoring for their rights. The nation is in revolution, and undoubtedly will become more unhappy yearly as the awakening comes, until the great catastrophe of anarchy, which will be the divine opportunity for rectifying all wrongs and establishing the social order on Love instead of Selfishness. It is necessary that all should [R3792 : page 182] be awakened, that all may see the effect of selfishness and learn to deprecate it.

The men of Russia have been degraded and brutal because of their share of the curse; because their mothers knew nothing but selfishness to teach them. Now these mothers and sisters are awakening and crying out against the very conditions they assisted in creating. They have our sympathy; the more so because their discontent will for the time make them and their homes the more unhappy until they learn their lesson. And of course only a few will ever learn in this day "The Christian's secret of a happy life" – the peace of God, built on the exceeding great and precious promises of the Scriptures.

HELL FIRE AND SAINTLINESS DENOUNCED BY TWO M.E. BISHOPS

We clip the following from the Toledo Times, May 24, report of the Rocky Mountain Missionary Society:

Denver, Colo. – Hell fire, such as is preached from many pulpits, does not exist, declared Bishop Oldham of the Methodist Episcopal Diocese of Southern Asia yesterday before the convention of the Rocky Mountain Missionary Society. [R3793 : page 182]

"Just tell me of anybody who believes we will be burned alive in a place filled with brimstone and fire. I'd hate to die if I thought I'd get a scorch for every sin," said the Bishop.

"I wouldn't be a saint for anything," exhorted Bishop J. C. Hartzell of Africa, in taking up the discussion, "but at the same time I go to Church regularly, even if I don't do the talking. There are two extremes: the man who, in spite of all the help God, man or the Bible gives him, goes to the bad, and the man who is so tremendously greedy good that he is dubbed saint. I'd rather be a man, for a man has all the possibilities of right and wrong, and a saint hasn't any choice."

CRAZED BY DR. TORREY'S SERMON ON HELL

The Chicago Tribune, May 24, tells of a Mr. J. W. Griffin of Atlanta, Ga., crazed by hearing Dr. Torrey's sermon on hell and taken in charge by the police.

ALL THINGS WORK FOR GOOD.
ROMANS 8:28. –
If our Father's gracious promise
Was more clearly understood,
That his daily dealing with us
Works together for our good;

How the burdens that are pressing
Hard upon us would grow light,
And each trial prove a blessing
Were our trust in him complete.

If our hearts were always lightsome,
And we knew no anxious care,
We might overlook the sorrow
That surrounds us everywhere.

If our stores were overflowing,
Then, perhaps, we never would
Learn to sympathize with others
Who are lacking daily food.

Knowing he is always "for us"
We, as children of his grace,
Can afford to bear with patience
"Trusting where we cannot trace."

He will surely guard the issue
Of each test, though it may seem
Hard to bear; its object always
Is to draw us close to him.

So whatever may befall us
We who love him always should
Know the Lord is overruling
All that happens us, for good.

John LaDow.

[R3793 : page 182]

A VISION OF THE KINGDOM.
LUKE 9:28-36. – JUNE 17. –

Golden Text: – "This is my beloved Son. Hear him."

T
HE SCENE on the Mount of Transfiguration, to be appreciated, must be viewed from the standpoint of our Lord's words. Eight days before, our Lord had promised his followers that some of them would not taste of death until they should see the Kingdom of God. He did not explain to them whether they would see the Kingdom in reality established in eight days or whether they would see a vision of the Kingdom. He left their minds full of wonder and expectancy, and then at the appropriate time took with him Peter, James and John, the three most prominent of the twelve apostles, who went up into the mountain, presumably Mount Hermon.

From a comparison of the accounts some have surmised that possibly the Lord and the apostles remained in the mountain all night, as Jesus sometimes did, away from the multitude, in quiet, in prayer. In one of the accounts we are told that the apostles were heavy with sleep, and the inference seems to be that they were awakened at the proper time to see the vision; that its glorious grandeur was too great for them; that they fell upon their faces in fear, which was increased as a very dense, black cloud enveloped them, and when they heard a voice in the cloud saying, "This is my beloved Son: Hear him." One account shows that it was necessary for the Lord to touch the apostles, saying, "Arise, and be not afraid."

JESUS SAID IT WAS A VISION

So far as the apostles were concerned everything that they saw was so actual, so real, that they supposed the whole matter actual, just as John in the visions of Revelation saw, heard, spoke, etc., and just as Paul explains that [R3793 : page 183] in one of his visions matters were so real that he could not have told whether he was in the body or out of the body – whether he was still on earth having a vision or whether he had actually been taken away for a time and shown realities. Thus it is with all visions: their every detail is as actual and as perfect as though it were a fact. Our assurance that this transfiguration was a vision is in our Lord's words: "And as they were coming down from the mountain Jesus commanded them, saying, Tell the vision to no man until the Son of man be risen from the dead." When we have our Lord's direct statement that it was a vision it would be folly for us to perplex ourselves to explain it upon any other theory or hypothesis, such, for instance, as wondering how Moses and Elias could be there without a resurrection, especially when it is remembered that Jesus was the first to rise from the dead, "the firstborn from the dead." – Rom. 8:29; Col. 1:18.

THE MEANING OF THE VISION

Our Lord's words of eight days previous show clearly that the vision was intended to be a foreshowing of the glories and honors of the Kingdom in some sense of the word. It represented then the Son of man coming into his Kingdom – into his dominion. Peter, one of those who saw the vision, informs us that he got this lesson from it – that he was persuaded respecting the majesty of Jesus, of his dignity as the Messianic King, and the fact that all there pictured in vision would eventually be fulfilled. He says, "We have not followed cunningly devised fables when we declared unto you the power and coming of Jesus, but were eye-witnesses of his majesty [his kingly glory] when we were with him in the holy mount." – 2 Pet. 1:16,18.

The central figure, therefore, of that vision was Jesus himself. Moses and Elias were merely accessories to fill out the picture. It was the Son of man who was to be honored, whose kingly dominion was to be represented, so that the disciples, who were to be so severely tried in their faith respecting him very shortly, might have a firm conviction respecting the authenticity of his claims as Messiah – that they might be able to witness a good confession of him to others, and be prepared through faith to accomplish the work of God to which they had been chosen as apostles of the Lamb – that the three who were with the Lord were representatives of the twelve, in whom the latter would all have confidence.

"HE WAS TRANSFIGURED BEFORE THEM"

The account is very explicit; his countenance was changed, his raiment became white and glistening, the heavenly glory fairly shining in his entire person. He was not changed actually. That change from human to divine, beginning at his baptism, when he received the anointing of the holy Spirit, the begetting of the holy Spirit to the divine nature, did indeed develop, change him from glory to glory, shining out in all the conduct of life; but his actual change did not occur until three days after Calvary, when he was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father. Then that which was sown in weakness was raised in power, that which was sown in dishonor of men was raised in glory, that which was sown in the fleshly body which knew no sin, but was holy, harmless, separate from sinners, was raised a spiritual body, filled with all the fulness of the divine nature.

What the disciples saw, therefore, was not this change from human to divine, but a vision of it – a picture of it. Somewhat similar was the vision granted to Saul of Tarsus [R3794 : page 183] on his way to Damascus, when smitten down by the light above the brightness of the sun at noonday. He declares that the Lord appeared to him at noonday, a light shining above the brightness of the sun. Something of this brightness, this light, this transcendent grandeur was pictured before the three apostles in the holy mount, and no wonder that they fell upon their faces with fear – they were in trepidation in the presence of such glorious grandeur. Respecting the divine glory we read that Christ, "whom no man hath seen or can see," – since his resurrection – "dwelleth in a light which no man can approach unto."

Whenever even a vision is granted to mortals of this heavenly grandeur they must be specially protected of the Lord that the glorious brightness does not injure the mortal eye. In the case of Saul of Tarsus, we know that, lacking this protection, his sight was destroyed and he was blind for certain days, until by a miracle his sight was partially restored, though even then the defect remained a thorn in the flesh to his last moments – a reminder of how once he had been a persecutor of the just, an injurious person as respects the Lord's cause – reminding him also of the propriety of humility, and assisting in keeping him very humble, so that he describes himself as being one of the least of all saints.

Indeed we may safely conclude that those of the Lord's people who have seen with any kind of vision the glories of the Lord or have had a glimpse through the eyes of their understanding or otherwise of the glorious character and person of our Lord and God, have had the opportunity of realizing more than ever their own littleness and insufficiency. As it was the three most advanced ones of the Lord's followers who were granted that vision of the Kingdom, so since then it is the most advanced of the Lord's followers, the most humble, the most zealous, the most faithful, who are granted the clearest visions, the clearest perceptions of the glories of the Kingdom, and these are permitted to reveal to others of the elect little flock more and more of the grandeurs of the divine arrangement as each may be able to hear and to appreciate and to understand the same.

What wonderful privileges are ours at this day! Abiding in the Lord's love and favor, with loyalty of heart toward him, it is now our privilege of going up into the Mount of God and seeing wonderful things. Our visions are of a different kind. Before us are opened the glorious things of all the past – the divine revelations to Abraham and the prophets and through Jesus and the apostles – all of these things now are opened before us, radiant with harmonious beauty. Ours is a vision of Moses and the Lamb, and ours is a picture of Moses and the Lamb in the very highest and grandest sense.

"MOSES AND ELIAS APPEARED"

No intimation is given to us of why Moses and Elias were introduced into the vision. We must draw an inference. Since it was a vision, and as Christ was shown in the vision as a King, these two faithful ones of the [R3794 : page 184] past must be viewed in their relationship to Jesus and the Kingdom. These two, as will be remembered, like Jesus, had fasted each forty days: thus representatively they were one with the Lord in a remarkable devotion to the heavenly Father – in the practice of self-denial from a desire to be acceptable to the Lord and to fully acquaint themselves with the divine purposes.

Moses evidently represented the Mosaic dispensation. He stood as a representative of Israel after the flesh, and possibly as a representative also of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Enoch and all the faithful of the past, as we read, "Moses was faithful as a servant over all his house." Are they to have a place in the Kingdom? We answer, Yes. The divine promise is that when Messiah shall be glorified, the ancient worthies – whom Moses evidently represented in this vision – will be made princes in all the earth, agents or representatives of the heavenly Kingdom, its ministers of righteousness amongst men. (Psa. 45:16.) Nevertheless those ancient worthies, as we have previously seen, are separate and distinct as a class from the Church. John the Baptist, the last of the prophets, than whom the Lord declares no prophet was greater, belonged to that fleshly house of faithful servants of God, who instead of being the fathers shall shortly be the children of Christ and serve the cause they love as the princes of Messiah. But they without us shall not be made perfect: God having reserved some better thing for us. – Heb. 11:40.

ELIJAH, THE CHURCH'S REPRESENTATIVE

Elijah in the vision evidently represented the Gospel Church. We have already pointed out that Elijah's work was an attempted reformation, such as the Church has been commissioned to attempt throughout this Gospel age. We have already pointed out (see MILLENNIAL DAWN, Vol. II., chap. 8) that Elijah typified the Gospel Church in all of his course; that the 1260 days of the drouth and famine while Elijah was in the wilderness prefigured the 1260 years of drouth and famine while the Church was in the wilderness during the "dark ages"; that the persecutor of Elijah was Jezebel, while the persecutor of the Church is symbolically called Jezebel. (Rev. 2:20.) We have seen that the emergence of Elijah from the wilderness and the measure of reformation that took place prefigured the Reformation movement of the sixteenth century and onward, and that his subsequent fleeing from Jezebel represented later persecutions, and that Elijah's eventual taking away in a whirlwind, in a chariot of fire, illustrates the ultimate gathering of the last members of the Gospel Church in connection with the time of trouble.

Now look at the vision, the picture, and note its significance – Jesus glorified, transfigured, radiant like the sun as in Revelation (1:14-16), and with him in the Kingdom glory and brightness, represented by Elijah, the Elijah class, the Gospel Church, the little flock, his joint-heirs in the Kingdom, and also associated with him the ancient worthies portrayed by Moses. A conversation is represented as taking place respecting our Lord's crucifixion. And so it is that not only the ancient ones trusted in a sacrifice to come, but the Gospel Church trusts in the sacrifice already accomplished for her, and there is a full communion or fellowship between the two. Furthermore, when the Kingdom shall be established, assuredly all of the Lord's faithful ones will look to Calvary and its great sacrifice for sins as being the very center of the divine program or arrangement on which hangs all the blessings both for the Church and for the world through the Kingdom of God's dear Son.

"THIS IS MY BELOVED SON: HEAR HIM"

The essence of the entire vision was to impress upon the minds of the apostles the fact that Jesus was the Messiah, that he was worthy of being heard, that he was the mouthpiece of God, that he that honored him honored the Father also. This voice was heard from the cloud, which represented the darkness and trouble which would be permitted to come upon the Lord's followers in the midst of all the trials of the dark days that were coming upon them in connection with Jesus' rejection by the Jews, his scourging, dishonor, crucifixion, death, burial. In all this they were to remember the voice of the Father, "This is my beloved Son," and were not to be discouraged nor allow their faith to grow faint. Similarly throughout this Gospel age the Lord has frequently permitted the same dark cloud to come over his faithful ones, that they might be the better prepared also to listen to his Word, his message, "This is my beloved Son," and this vision of the Holy Mount is an assurance respecting the glorious Kingdom which he will establish, which will be the end of darkness and trouble.

As the apostles were overpowered by the brilliancy of the vision and feared when they entered the cloud and heard the voice, so we in our weak and imperfect conditions sometimes find it difficult to grasp the glorious things which God hath set before us. The picture of the things unseen as yet is so wonderful as to amaze us. The fact that we have been invited to be heirs of God and associates with Jesus Christ our Lord in his Kingdom is too wonderful for us to grasp. We begin to fear lest we should fail in so great an undertaking. It is well for us to realize our own littleness and unworthiness, and to see that the whole matter is of the divine arrangement. It is well for us under the circumstances that the dark cloud of trouble and opposition is permitted to keep us very humble, that we may indeed fall on our faces in the dust. It is well that we should listen to the voice from heaven, saying, "This is my beloved Son: hear him." It is well that we should hear the Son assuring us that all things shall work together for good to those who love God. It is well that we should exercise faith in him that speaketh from heaven, lest we should become weary and faint in our minds. It is well that the Master teach us as he taught his disciples, and that looking up we should see Jesus only, that we should realize that in him alone is our help, that God hath laid help upon one who is mighty to deliver, and that so realizing that all of our help is in Christ Jesus we should hold fast to the relationship which we have already secured through faith in his blood and through consecration to him.

MAKING THREE TABERNACLES

The impulsive Peter cried out, "Lord, it is good for us to be here: let us now make three tabernacles – one for thee, one for Moses and one for Elias": not knowing what he said. How many there are who, Peter-like, want to be [R3795 : page 185] doing something, want to be rearing earthly tabernacles. How few at first catch the real spirit of the vision and realize that it represents things that are yet to be attained and not things of the present time of temporary tabernacles. All about us we see the disposition to rear costly temples of an earthly kind to the Lord, and a neglect of the vision in its real meaning, sentiment, teaching – that it points to the future, to the enduring perfect Temple condition, when everything imperfect and temporal shall have passed away and the Kingdom of God's dear Son shall have been fully established. Let us remember that Jesus did not accept Peter's proposition for earthly temporary tabernacles, but directed the minds of his followers to the eternal things of the Kingdom, which are to be brought to pass in God's due time. May the Master's touch ever keep us more and more awake to the privileges of our position, to the glorious opportunities that are granted to us of participating with him in his Kingdom.

[R3795 : page 185]

"NEVER MAN SPAKE LIKE THIS MAN."
JOHN 7:46. – JUNE 24. –

A
T THE END of the quarter a review is in order. We begin at the Mount of Beatitudes and close with the Mount of Transfiguration, and on the way in the Master's words and conduct find illustrations of the wonderful teachings of the Sermon on the Mount and how faithful obedience to the instructions there given will mean to us eventually a place in the Kingdom, pictured in the Transfiguration scene. The blessings of the meek, the merciful, the persecuted for righteousness' sake, etc., etc., all will find their fulfilment when, by the grace of God, we shall eventually be changed, transfigured, by the power of the First Resurrection, and made like to our great Redeemer and Lord – "Then shall the righteous shine forth as the sun in the Kingdom of their Father." – Matt. 13:43.

How wonderful are the Lord's dealings with us and yet how reasonable. His appeal is, "Come let us reason together: though your sins be as scarlet they shall be white as snow; though they be red like crimson they shall be as wool." (Isa. 1:18.) He shows us how he has prepared for this: that he himself was provided, the sacrifice for sins; that our Lord has already died the Just for the unjust that he might bring us to God, and that God can be just when he receives us, just in his dealings with us, because the justice element of his Law has been fully met on our behalf. He gives us a glimpse of the blessings he proposes to bring to the world of mankind, points us to the Lamb of God, whose sacrifice takes away the sin of the world, and invites all those who have love and sympathy and appreciation to come now and accept not only life eternal but favor upon favor – joint-heirship with his Son in the glorious Kingdom which is to bless the world in the great uplift of "restitution, which God hath spoken by the mouth of all the holy prophets since the world began." – Acts 3:19-23.

This message comes to us through the Son of God, of whom our Golden Text declares, "Never man spake like this man." No wonder the apostles said to him when some were forsaking him, "Lord, to whom should we go? Thou hast the words [the message] of eternal life." Others may indeed think that they have eternal life in themselves – they may persuade themselves that by some inherent, immortal principle they will live forever, and that when they die it will merely be the appearance of dying, and actually they will become in that moment more alive than ever. At best that is a very difficult thought, and few are able to so hypnotize their own judgments as to believe it. We on the contrary, hearkening to the voice that spoke as never man spoke, hear his declaration that our hope is in him as the "resurrection and the life." (John 11:25.) We hear him telling us that the hour is coming in the which all that are in their graves shall hear his voice and shall come forth. (John 5:28,29.) It is reasonable.

We can reason together with God when we take the voice of his Son and reject the voices of the "dark ages." From this standpoint – that a resurrection has been provided through the redemption which is in Christ Jesus – the whole matter of death and eternal life is clarified before our mental view. We see the condemnation through Adam, and how death is justly reigning throughout the whole world of mankind ever since. We see the death of Christ, the Just for the unjust; that he has bought us with his precious blood, that he has paid our ransom price, and that as a result, in God's due time, all shall come forth from the power of the tomb. We see the keys of death and of the grave in the hands of the one who has purchased all; we rejoice in the proclamation of the coming blessing to all the families of the earth, through a release from this power of sin and Satan and death.

We hearken still more intently to the voice of him that speaketh as never man spake, and hear him assure us that there are two resurrections – one a life resurrection, the other a judgment resurrection. We hear him tell us that only those who through faith and obedience attain a standing with God under the cover of the precious sacrifice will be counted the good, the justified, and only they will share in the life resurrection, because only they will have passed their trial and be counted worthy of life. All others will come forth to the judgment resurrection to be disciplined under the Kingdom, to receive stripes in proportion to the wilfulness in which they have cooperated in their own downfall into mental, moral and physical degradation, but to be helped by the stripes, to be corrected in righteousness, if they will, and to be brought step by step out of the sin-and-death conditions, up, up, up, by resurrection power of Jesus, to the full perfection, to all that was lost in Adam.

Well may we rejoice in this one who spake as never man spake, in him who has the words of eternal life. Respecting those words the Apostle Peter says, "Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises, that by these we might become partakers of the divine nature." (2 Pet. 1:4.) Ah, yes! wonderful words of life, tell them [R3795 : page 186] over again, think them over again, rejoice in them more and more – let them fill our hearts and be in our mouths a new song of the loving-kindness of our God, whose tender mercies are over all his works.

Of these words, which the Master spake as never man spake, the Apostle further declares that he spake of our salvation. He says, "Which salvation began to be spoken by our Lord and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him." Not only was there no eternal life in our race, and no hope for attaining any except through Jesus, but all of the promises of the past would have been powerless without his work of atonement, and not until he came was it known how our redemption was to be accomplished. True, the Lord had provided various types and shadows in the numerous sacrifices of the past which illustrated the fact that without the shedding of blood there can be no remission of sin; but they could not be understood until the antitype had come. Then he brought life to light and immortality to light – life for the world, eternal life to be conferred during the Millennial age – immortality for his Church, his Bride, his little flock, his joint-heirs. These were never brought to light before; they were faintly seen and vaguely described, but it remained for the great teacher to set forth before us the salvation which God had proffered through him. Thank God that our hearts have made our lips more and more tell forth the praises of him who has called us out of darkness into his marvellous light. Through faith in him we are already reckoned risen to walk in newness of life, and through him by and by the Father will raise us up by his own power, that we shall be like him and share his glory, honor and immortality.

[R3795 : page 186]

GREATEST IN THE KINGDOM.
MATTHEW 18:1-14. – JULY 1 –

"It is not the will of your Father which is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish."

A
FTER the vision in the Holy Mount representing the coming glories of Christ there followed temptation. And this has not been an unusual course of events with the Lord's people ever since. Our highest and most glorious views of the heavenly things which the Lord has in reservation for his people are quickly followed by earthly trials and difficulties, which serve to test and to prove us whether or not we be of the Kingdom class – whether or not we will be submissive to the heavenly moulding and fashioning, that we shall be made meet, fit, for the Kingdom – whether or not, by full submission to the divine instructions in the school of Christ, we shall make our calling and our election sure to a place in the Kingdom to which he has called us.

The disciples had the same thought that all Jews entertained [R3796 : page 186] respecting the Messianic Kingdom, that it would be established by a great Messiah, a great King, who would bear rule over all the earth; that God's favored people Israel would be his special charge and nearest to him in association in his Kingdom, and that through this Kingdom all nations, all peoples, all kindreds, would be blessed even as God had promised and sworn to Abraham. These sentiments had been quickened in the minds of the people by the appearance of Jesus, his wonderful words of life and his wonderful works witnessing that "never man spake like this man," and that Messiah could do no greater works than Jesus did. Israelites in general were in perplexity because their chief priests and teachers and rulers in the synagogues, etc., all rejected Jesus and were his opponents. The disciples, however, believed on him, followed him and hung upon his words that they and all of his followers should yet be associated with him in his Kingdom glory.

Probably the disciples who were not with the Lord on the Mount of Transfiguration felt a little envy of those who had seen the vision and who subsequently told them. Could this mean that Peter, James and John, who were with the Lord on the Mount, would be more highly favored than the remainder of the discipleship when the Kingdom should be established? As they journeyed, following Jesus at a little distance, the dispute grew quite warm with arguments on the one side and on the other respecting which should be the greatest in the coming Kingdom. Our Lord doubtless knew at the time their arguments in the dispute, but instead of administering a personal rebuke to those most at fault, he chose rather to make of the matter a general lesson, profitable, helpful, strengthening to them all. And is not his example valuable to all of his followers? Is it not wise on our part so far as possible to avoid personalities and the holding up of any individual to special criticism? All mankind have faults and blemishes, some in one particular and some in another, and it is very rarely wise to single out an individual in the body of Christ for a special reprimand; it is generally better to do as our Master did in this instance – to give a general lesson on the subject which will be helpful to all, not only to those who are taking the wrong course, but also to those who are more nearly right in their views and conclusions.

"AS A LITTLE CHILD"

Our Lord inquired of the disciples what topic was so greatly absorbing their attention and leading to such warm discussion. It is to the credit of the apostles that they were ashamed to acknowledge that they had been disputing concerning which should be chief or greatest in the Kingdom. The whole matter was to be a favor to them anyway; they realized that they had done nothing to merit so great an honor, that the call to a place in the Kingdom was of grace, of favor. Why should they quarrel with each other respecting the Master's distribution of his royal favors? They felt abashed, and Jesus did not press the question. Knowing of the matter he allowed them to see that he had a knowledge, not only of their words, but also of their very hearts and intentions. Most skilfully, most gently, did he administer a rebuke; not in coarse, harsh terms did he berate those [R3796 : page 187] who were inclined to be self-seeking; he did not threaten them.

A child was near – he took it and set it in their midst. Afterwards, says Luke, he took it in his arms. Their attention riveted by this peculiar proceeding, they were prepared for the lesson – which many today misunderstand when they suppose that our Lord meant that the Kingdom of heaven would be composed mainly of little children. No such words were uttered by our Lord and no such thoughts were communicated to his disciples. On the contrary, Jesus never called little children to be his disciples; he himself did not begin his ministry as a child, but when he was thirty years of age. Nothing in this, however, signifies that our Lord had not a deep sympathy with children, as is illustrated by his taking some of them into his arms and blessing them and saying, "Suffer the little children to come unto me and forbid them not, for of such [like] is the Kingdom of heaven." Our Lord loved the innocency and simplicity of a little child, and was quite willing to show his own humility in acceding to the wishes of the mothers that he notice their children and give them his blessing. Indeed we can rest assured that no good man or woman could be without love for the innocency and simplicity of childhood.

"GREATEST IN THE KINGDOM OF HEAVEN."

Neither should we understand that because Jesus' ministry began at thirty, and because those whom he called to be his disciples were of mature years, that this would limit the age of any who might become the followers of Christ during this Gospel age. Quite to the contrary, we believe that some of very tender years have reached a sufficiency of information respecting our Lord and his work of redemption and his invitation to followers to intelligently take their stand with Jesus' disciples by full consecration of heart and life and every interest, with apparently quite a clear conception of what they were doing. Indeed, we feel like encouraging those of the young who are disposed to make a full consecration of their lives to the Lord to believe that in so doing they are not only acceptable, but that additionally they the sooner enter into the rest of faith, and are spared many of the unfavorable experiences which come to those who first seek the world and the pleasures thereof.

In this lesson, however, we should distinctly note that the Lord is neither addressing little children nor discussing them, except as an example or illustration of simplicity, docility and teachableness, and freedom from pride and ambition. This was impressed upon the disciples as they looked at the little child sitting there unconscious of the great honor thrust upon it, unconscious of being used by the glorious King of kings to illustrate a lesson. The thought of our Lord is clearly given in the fourth verse, which says, "Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven."

Let us not lose sight of the fact that it is the Kingdom of heaven that the Lord is discussing and not the world. This was the same thought the apostles had, not which of them would get into the Kingdom of heaven and which would not get into the Kingdom, but – supposing that all were going to be in the Kingdom – which would be the greatest? The Lord's reply to this question is along this line, namely, that the one of them who would be the most childlike, most humble, most unpretentious, most willing to be taught and guided, would be the one who would be greatest. This thought applies to the Church both in its present and in its future conditions. At the present time, the Church, the Kingdom, is in an embryo condition, not glorified, not recognized even by the world, but recognized by each other and by the Lord. Humility and childlikeness amongst the brethren now should be esteemed as a mark of true greatness from the Lord's standpoint. Such as are of this childlike class we may know assuredly will be proportionately highly honored in the future, when the Kingdom shall be established in power and great glory as God's agency for the blessing of all the families of the earth.

In harmony with this thought that the humble, the teachable, the simple, the unpretentious should be esteemed the greatest, we should expect to find in all the ecclesias, in all the companies of the Lord's people, that those chosen to the place of eldership and prominence in the Church would be amongst the most humble of mind and of conduct in the whole company. Any other condition than this would imply that the congregation had not rightly understood and appreciated and obeyed our Lord's sentiments expressed in connection with the incidents of our lesson.

This does not mean, however, that the brother possessing five talents should be entirely unconscious and neglect to use them. It does not mean that he should be blind to the fact that some others of the brethren have fewer talents, but it does mean that he should have such love, such humility, that his only desire in connection with his talents would be to use them for the good of the Lord's cause – that he would be so humble minded, so zealous for the Lord, that he would not for a moment think of using his talents to serve personal ambitions, to vaunt himself or to in any measure or degree seek to suppress the talents, opportunities and privileges of others that his own talents might alone be recognized. It does mean that if he have five talents, and if of the right, childlike, humble spirit, he will have such interest in the dear brethren that he will do all reasonably within his power for the good of the whole cause, for the exercise of the various talents of the different brothers and sisters in such manner as will be to their upbuilding, strengthening and mutual edification, that the whole body of Christ may thus minister to its wants and necessities and comforts in faith and hope and love.

"EXCEPT YE BE CONVERTED"

The word converted signifies to turn about, to experience a change, but many fail to recognize this broad meaning of the word, and instead think of it as signifying the leaving of a relationship to the world and the devil and coming into relationship with God. The Lord did not mean to say to his apostles that they were not converted in this latter sense – that they were aliens, strangers and foreigners from God. He already knew them to be Israelites indeed. In his prayer he declares, "Thine they were and thou gavest them to me, and I have kept them." What he did mean was that they must be turned from their present attitude of mind in respect to ambition for place and honor in the Kingdom, else they would never enter into it. Already they were [R3797 : page 188] in his embryo Kingdom, and hence his meaning was that unless in the embryo Kingdom his followers should develop a childlike, humble spirit and turn from the selfish and ambitious spirit, they would utterly fail of getting into the Kingdom of glory, the Millennial Kingdom.

What a lesson there is here for the Lord's followers – his "little ones." He shows us that while he has invited us to the greatest and grandest of all honors and privileges, nevertheless the attainment of this high calling, the making of this calling and election sure, will depend upon the way in which we receive the honors, privileges, blessings, the call. If it stirs up in us selfish ambition for greatness and power and honor amongst men, it is having the wrong, the undesigned effect. The effect which God designs is that we should realize our own insignificance and unworthiness of such great honors; that we should feel ourselves very little indeed in the sight of God, and wonder that he would so condescend as to take from the fallen race a little company to constitute the Bride, the Lamb's wife in glory, joint-heirs in his Kingdom. As in the school of Christ they grow in grace and grow in knowledge, this humility, this childlikeness, must not depart, but rather it must increase more and more. They must realize their own unfitness and unworthiness of such great honor, they must receive all of God's favors as of his bounty, his grace.

The moving power with the proper disciples of Christ, who would maintain the love and favor of their Lord and ultimately make sure their calling and election in his Kingdom, must not be selfishness, love of position and power, name and fame. What, then, must it be? We reply, the moving power must be love – love for God, love for the brethren, and at least sympathetic love for the whole world of mankind, even including our enemies, many of whom are doubtless such because of blindness. The Apostle expresses this ruling, propelling power in the true followers of Jesus, saying, "The love of Christ constraineth us; because we thus judge that if one died for all then were all dead: and that he died for all that they which live should henceforth not live unto themselves but unto him which died for them and rose again." – 2 Cor. 5:14,15.

"HE THAT RECEIVETH YOU RECEIVETH ME"

Our Lord's discourse continues on the same lines when he says, "Whosoever receiveth one such little child in my name receiveth me." He is not referring to the receiving of infants in his name but the receiving of disciples in his name – the receiving of such disciples as have this child-like character and thus have the mark of being the true followers of Jesus. Whoever receives one of these humble, faithful, unpretentious ones, not because of worldly name or fame, not because of boasts of being some great one, but because they are the Lord's, because they give evidence that they have his Spirit – whoever receives such, the Lord says, should be considered and rewarded as though they had received the Master himself.

Reversely, the Lord says that whoever will do injury to one of these little ones – these that are little or humble minded, these that are meek and loyal of heart – it were better that a millstone were hanged about his neck and that he be drowned in the depths of the sea. The word here rendered "offended," and in the revised version "stumbled," is derived from the Greek word "skandalon," and is closely related to our word scandal, which originally meant, "the stick in a trap on which the bait is placed, and which springs up and shuts the trap at the touch of the animal." Hence our Lord does not mean whosoever will anger or ill-use one of these little ones of my discipleship, but whosoever will entrap, injure, hurt one of these spiritually, etc.

If a person were drowned in the sea it could do him no further harm and be no barrier in any sense of the word to his future life in the resurrection time; but should he entrap, scandalize, injure one of the Lord's little ones, to the spiritual damage of the latter, he will thereby subject himself to certain losses beyond the present life – he will suffer loss or injury in the resurrection life provided for all mankind through the great redemptive sacrifice. Our Lord does not state what will be the character of the loss or punishment or stripes that such an one will have, but does intimate that its bearing upon his future and eternal interests will be so great that it would have been far better for him to have had his earthly life shortened instead; and we all know how all mankind clings to every year of earthly life permitted.

WOE UNTO THE WORLD FROM SNARES

After telling us in verse 6 how serious a matter it will be for anyone to injure one of the Lord's little ones, one of his specially consecrated disciples, the Great Teacher in verse 7 applies his lesson to the world, and declares that a large part of the world's difficulty and woe comes to it along similar lines – "skandalon." These snares or traps or injurious misrepresentations, etc., cause a large part of the world's present discomfort, but they must needs be, they are a necessary part of the general trouble through sin, which are to cause mankind to ultimately hate sin and to long for the rule, the reign of righteousness, the Kingdom. But our Lord adds, while these offences or stumblings will cause special woes to many throughout the world, they will be specially injurious to the ones who started them, "To that man by whom the stumbling cometh."

For this reason all who are the Lord's people are to be specially on guard that, whatever others may do in the way of injuring, scandalizing, wounding, stumbling, causing trouble now, they must refrain from this, and remember that they are the followers of the meek and lowly One who did harm to none, but on the contrary laid down his life in the interests of others. The Lord suggests as an illustration that the tendency to wrong doing which would prove "skandalon" or stumbling, an injury to others, might be a quality of character that would seem as close and precious to us as a right hand or a foot or an eye – it might be one form of wrong doing or injury or another form; but in every case those who would be followers of the Prince of Peace and ultimately be his joint-heirs in the Kingdom must, as good soldiers of righteousness, fight against all such sinful, selfish, injurious tendencies of the flesh. These must be mortally combatted, to the extent that the New Creature would be willing, yea anxious to utterly destroy that element of his [R3797 : page 189] fallen disposition which is contrary to the Master's pleasement, even though it be at a sacrifice that would be illustrated by the loss of an eye, a hand or a foot.

We are to put away such practices, that we may be truly our Lord's footstep followers and be counted worthy to enter into and share his Kingdom. If we will not so do we cannot enter the Kingdom. If we will hold on to these tendencies of the fallen nature they will mean ultimately our destruction in the Second Death, for every person who has and who maintains an injurious character, a tendency to scandalize or injure others, will be esteemed of the Lord wholly unfit for any part in his Kingdom – yea unfit for eternal life at all. Hence the Lord's declaration that such would go into the fire or destruction eternal – the Second Death. No wonder, then, that our great Teacher urged all who would be his disciples to put away from them, to mortify, the deeds of the body, the selfish instincts of the fallen nature, at any cost, no matter how dear, that they might enter into life with him as participants in the Kingdom, as members of the Bride.

Our Lord urges that such a loss of an eye or a hand or a foot, as representing earthly advantages and privileges of the present time, would be far better than, possessing these privileges, to be ultimately destroyed in Gehenna fire. Gehenna fire here and elsewhere, as we have pointed out, referred primarily to the valley outside the city of Jerusalem, where all the offal was destroyed (not preserved or tortured), and this, as we have seen, symbolized or prefigured the general destruction of the Second Death associated with the New Jerusalem government of the Millennial age – in which all the unworthy, all the offal, all the unfit, will be utterly destroyed in the Second Death, that the Lord may have a clean universe in which every creature would praise and honor him and exemplify his law and character and government of love.

"DESPISE NOT THESE LITTLE ONES"

Continuing to discuss his followers as "little ones," our Lord intimates that some who might not seek to entrap, ensnare and to "skandalon" them might nevertheless despise them, and so he gives a warning against this also. Amongst the Lord's "little ones" are not many great, not many wise, not many learned, and they are chiefly the poor of this world, rich in faith; and hence many might be disposed to despise them, to slight them, to evil entreat them, etc., because their despisers know them not, because they realize not that they are united to their hidden Lord – they know not us as they knew not him, the Forerunner and Captain. – 1 Cor. 1:26-28; James 2:5; 1 John 3:1.

When our Lord would intimate why his humblest followers should not be despised, the illustration he uses implies that they are the special objects of the heavenly Father's care and love, and that to despise them or to do anything demeaning toward them would surely bring some kind of retribution either in the present life or in a future one. The matter is put as though the Lord would say, You cannot [R3798 : page 189] even despise one of my "little ones" without the Father knowing it very quickly. He says, "In heaven their angels do always behold the face of my Father." These angels have no difficulty in bringing to his attention the difficulties, trials or persecutions of his faithful ones. Some, from this statement, have presumed the Lord to mean that every human being has a guardian angel looking after his interest, and that as now the world numbers 1,600,000,000, it would imply that there is a similar number of angelic beings looking after the interests of these.

This is wholly erroneous; the Lord does not anywhere intimate any special guardianship of the interests of the world. He does tell us that he has arranged for the redemption and restitution of mankind in due time; but any special supervision intimated in the Scriptures is only over those who belong to the Lord in the sense that is mentioned in this Scripture, namely, as his "little ones." It is respecting these "little ones" that we read, "The angel of the Lord encampeth round about them that fear him, and delivereth them." (Psa. 34:7.) And again, "The angels are ministering spirits sent forth to minister [serve] to the heirs of salvation." (Heb. 1:14.) It would not at all surprise us if there were a guardian angel for each member of the Lord's little flock, the Lord's consecrated, his "little ones." However, we are to remember that the word angel is one of wide significance, and might include all the powers of God both animate and inanimate, by which he could take knowledge of and render assistance to those who are his.

In any event, however, the thought of the picture the Lord here shows is that his "little ones" are never forgotten, and that all their trials and difficulties are speedily brought to the Father's attention through the angels or agencies of divine arrangement. What a comfort this is to those who are seeking to walk in the footsteps of Jesus and who find themselves frequently misunderstood or slandered or despised or neglected! Any good done to this class will never be forgotten by the Lord; any injury done to them will also be known and will not go unpunished, and the punishment will be in proportion to the degree of intelligence and wilfulness of the wrongdoer. "Vengeance is mine, I will repay, saith the Lord." Therefore, brethren, avenge not yourselves; leave all in the hands of the Lord as you suffer injury patiently and learn advantageous lessons therefrom; but at all times be careful, vigilant, that you yourself shall stumble, injure, none.

THESE "LITTLE ONES" NOT TO PERISH

Verse 11 is omitted from the revised version because it is not found in the oldest manuscripts, and this is good authority for omitting it. The same words do occur in Luke 19:10, and they represent an eternal truth. They were probably introduced here by some one who thought that Matthew had overlooked the words and that this would be an appropriate place for recording them. However, there are various diversions between this account of a hundred sheep and the other account of Luke 15:3-7. The one was apparently made to the Scribes and Pharisees; this narrative on the contrary was made to the disciples. We have elsewhere discussed the parable addressed to the Pharisees, showing that the hundred sheep properly represented the entire family of God, and that the one sheep that went astray represented properly enough humanity, which fell [R3798 : page 190] from divine likeness and favor through Adam's disobedience.

The parable shows the Lord's love and mercy in pursuing after the lost sheep, humanity, and intimates its recovery in the end – not that all will be universally and everlastingly saved, but that all will be brought to conditions of salvation, to a clear knowledge of the truth and to a full opportunity for accepting the same, so that the rejection will be a just cause for their sharing the Second Death.

This statement respecting the hundred sheep is applied in a totally different manner, as the context shows. Here it refers to all of the Lord's "little ones," all who become his followers, his sheep. Should one of them be stumbled, should one of them stray, the Lord in his providence will not abandon him, but will purify him if possibly he may be recovered. And all who are in harmony with the Lord should have this same thought and interest in one another, that they would be willing to spend and be spent in the recovery of a brother from the snare of the adversary. Verse 14 sets the matter forth very clearly, saying, "Even so it is not the will of your Father which is in heaven that one of these little ones should perish." Hence, as the Apostle explains, he that recovereth a sinner from the error of his ways, saves a soul from death and hides a multitude of sins. (Jas. 5:20.) This is not referring to the souls of the world in general, which are still under the sentence of death, but it is referring to the souls of believers, who through faith have been justified and consecrated to the Lord. If they shall fall away, shall stumble by any means, all the faithful are to be energetic in their endeavors to recover such, to bring them back into full accord with the Lord.

Its assurance further is that it is not the will of the Father that they should perish, and hence we may rely upon it that any and every reasonable and proper thing in their interests will be done rather than that they should be abandoned. This same spirit at work in the household of faith amongst the "little ones" would lead them, not to strive as to which of them would be greatest, but rather lead them to mutual helpfulness, that each and all might gain the prize of the high calling. It is in accordance with this thought that the Lord does not wish these to perish that he provides that those of his consecrated ones who do not follow voluntarily in the work of sacrifice shall not be abandoned, but shall be put through trying experiences, as represented in the "great company," who will wash their robes and make them white in the blood of the Lamb. It would, of course, have been better had they been so loving and loyal and zealous as to joyfully sacrifice earthly interests to gain the heavenly; but even though they do not thus do all in their power to fulfil their Covenant the Lord is merciful toward them and unwilling that any should perish. He will see to it that they are brought through such experiences as will eventually test and prove them, and, if they are faithful under the test, bring them off conquerors.

[R3798 : page 190]

SOME INTERESTING LETTERS.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL: –

On pages 263-4 of Volume VI., MILLENNIAL DAWN, you express these thoughts: "Honesty to the Truth is a prime essential to progress in it; to oppose what one believes to be true and to even temporarily uphold what one believes to be error, for...any reason, will surely be offensive to the Lord," etc., and, "Next to the Lord, the Truth is the most precious thing in the world; it is not to be trifled with, not to be played with; and whoever is negligent along this line will himself sustain injury."

You can imagine, dear Pastor, better than I can describe how happy I am, therefore, in the fact that God guided me not to oppose what, from the time of your debate with Dr. Eaton (which was my initiation into the study of Present Truth), appealed to me as the Truth. Every influence of my past religious experience (a happy one, because I then knew none better) held me to my old associations, where my pastor assured me I might hold your views and yet remain in Methodism, which opinion I for a while rejoiced in as correct.

But oh, how I have since rejoiced, and continue to rejoice, that God led me to come out of error simply for love of the Truth as God's Word teaches it, and as I came to see plainly through your teaching. So far from there being anything in the past to attract, I find the love of the Truth increasing daily. It has taken a little over one year to read the full course of MILLENNIAL DAWN – counting "Tabernacle Shadows," TOWER, tracts and sermons as part of the course, and a most delightful, as well as inestimably profitable, course it has been, I acknowledge with inexpressible gratitude to the Father and to you.

Your sister in Christ,

ELIZABETH M. GILLETT, – Pa.

MY DEAR SIR AND BROTHER: –

Can you bear with me if I tell you a little experience of how the DAWNS came to my attention?

I was visiting a relative in B__________, and in looking over their book case I saw the "Divine Plan of the Ages" and I took it up to see what it was. After noting some of the headings of chapters, I just sat down to devour as much of it as was possible before I had to leave. I inquired of the lady who bought it, "What book is this, and where did you get it?" She explained that she bought it of an agent for 35c., but had not read it and did not really know what it was. I only had time to read two or three chapters and I tried to explain to her what it was.

I went from there to D__________, to visit an aunt, and I told her of the book I had seen and that I was going to have one as soon as possible. My description of the appearance of the book led her to think that she had bought one like it some time before, but as she could not understand it she had taken it to her sister. The latter was a good Baptist, and after a brief examination she pronounced it an Advent book and would not read it. I secured that copy and read it through, and was so [R3799 : page 191] taken up with it that I just had to talk about it to nearly everyone, and lent it to my father-in-law, who is a great Bible reader. He read it two or three times, but can hardly "fall in" with "future probation," although he admits it to be the most reasonable and sensible theory he has ever read.

Next I brought up the subject to a brother member of the M.E. Church. When I was trying to explain the chart in the front of the book, he remembered that he also had purchased a book like it, but had only read a little of it as he could not understand it – and it was an Advent book anyway. I could not see how he could start to read it and not go on. However, he is not a very devout member of the Church.

As for myself I was always in the Sunday School, but for 10 or 12 years I have been a railway mail clerk, and must confess I have hardly kept the dust off my Bible covers in all that time. Since reading the "Divine Plan" I have had the Bible in hand at every brief opportunity. I find a difference between reading the Bible and searching the Scriptures. I have read Vols. I., III., am reading Vol. IV. and am sending for Vol. II.

Oh, it seems such a revelation to me, and it seems also very plain. I would like to see you and grasp your hand. There are lots of questions I would like to ask you, but I don't feel that I should impose upon your time.

Tonight I am in M__________. I have attended the preaching service in Wesley M.E. Church this evening. The preacher read the book of Jude and in commenting on the 9th verse said that what was meant by it was a mystery. It never had and never would be explained by man. His principal theme was in verse 23, applying it to the Church's duty to snatch sinners out of the fire of hell. It all seemed so weak and childish to me.

My Vol. I. is now in the hands of a fellow-clerk on the road. He is a Universalist and I am waiting patiently for his verdict. I assure you that I will keep my books in the hands of some who will read them and that no time will be lost. The messages which you wrote ten or fifteen years ago are being most remarkably emphasized in the last two years.

Wishing you the fulness of the joy of his elect, I am, yours sincerely,

CHARLES J. DAVIS. – N.Y.

page 191

MY DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL: –

Greetings in the Lord! I received some time ago, through our Brother Hemery, a little token of your love, together with a letter containing your greetings and words of encouragement. These, my dear brother, are very highly appreciated indeed, and be assured they are reciprocated by me.

I feel, dear Brother Russell, that I owe you a real debt of gratitude for help and blessing which, under our heavenly Father's providence, by your instrumentality, I have received and am still receiving. The Truth, my beloved brother, is more precious to me today than ever it has been. I love it and hold it as priceless, and I am determined that my boast shall ever be in Him who is the Truth.

I am glad of the privilege of being a Colporteur, even though, on account of home affairs, I cannot get going as far afield as I would sometimes like. However, the work is the Lord's, and how and by whom it has to be accomplished is his business, and his will be done. I could tell you a lot in my affairs to the praise of my Redeemer, of his wonderful care, of his patience, his mercy and his loving forbearance. Oh, when I think of his goodness I feel ashamed of myself, of my waywardness and of the very poor service I have rendered him. Oh, for grace to serve him better, and to bring every thought, word and action into subjection to his perfect mind and will.

I frequently remember you, my dear brother, at the throne of heavenly grace, as I know your trials must be many. It has always been so with the prominent teachers of the Lord's flock; the Adversary seems to have a special eye to their downfall, and your case cannot be an exception, but he who is for you and whose cause you serve is greater than all that can be against you.

With much love in Christ, yours in the hope of our calling,

GEO. H. TAUBMAN, – Scotland.

[R3799 : page 191]

MY DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL: – Your very kind letter expressing Christian love and greetings was received. Thanks for all your kind remembrance of me, not only in this letter but during the more than four years of Pilgrim service in which the Father permitted me to engage and for which I shall ever be grateful to him. While these years have been full of toil and travel, and sometimes the flesh has grown weary, and while the enemy has sometimes greatly vexed the soul, yet as I look back over more than three score years of life, these four years are the best, brightest, sweetest, happiest years of them all, and it is with regret that I must for a time – I do not know how long – drop out of the regular work to look after some other duties that present themselves. While I would have greatly preferred to continue in the work, yet I bow obediently to what seems to be the Father's will, knowing that he knows best and that he always gives to his children what is best for them. I wish to say to you, dear brother, that while I may not be in the regular work, I will endeavor at all times to do what I can in a local service for the spread of the Truth. It is not my purpose that there shall be any break in the service; having closed my last Pilgrim service last Sunday evening, I am engaged to speak for the Boston Church again next Sunday p.m. I expect to spend the next Sunday with friends in B__________, and other places have spoken for services, so that I see no cause for me to be found in idleness.

With Christian love, very sincerely yours in the faith,

JOHN HARRISON.

DEAR BROTHER: – I have noticed in several cases recently, when consecrated brethren have died, not one of them has seemingly expressed a wish as to burial according to our service, with enough force to have it used; (this of course applies to places where there is no class and elders to serve). I therefore decided to copy my service [see Vol. VI., p. 328] and file it away, as my last request, and I feel sure it will be recognized by my family. In copying it I see how remarkably clear it is, and feel as though our dear people miss a great opportunity for service in accomplishing our mission as the feet members of the body of Christ if they neglect it, for, as you remark, "hearts are then tender," and the fact that the hands lying cold before them copied the service while still in the earthly tabernacle would add force to the message.

Your servant in the Lord,

I. D. B., – Ark.