As this issue of the TOWER will be used largely as a sample paper, and will, we trust, reach at least one hundred thousand readers, we take this opportunity of extending to such the right hand of friendship. The common brotherhood of all mankind, through Adam, is cemented and bound tighter by our sympathy for each other as common sufferers under the curse of death, which passed upon us all. And the weaknesses, and aches, and pains, the blindness and lameness, mental as well as physical, under which we all labor, should quicken our sympathy and love for those who have fallen lowest, or become most blinded. This broad love, thank God, is ours, as we believe it is His for all his creatures. We come to greet you, and to point you to the cure for all our maladies, and inspire hope and incite you to love toward God, whom you only need to know, to love; and whom you may come to know through his word and his plans therein revealed, which embrace and provide for you and all mankind abundantly.
But our message is specially to the saints, those already consecrated to God, the truth-seekers, the "children of the light," the "little flock," the "Royal Priesthood," the "holy people," the "peculiar people," "The church of the first born" ones, "whose names are written in heaven," the living "members of the one body," of which Christ Jesus is the only head, prospectively "the Bride, the Lamb's wife" and "joint-heir"—you we specially greet, extending to you both hands, sympathizing and rejoicing with you as "new creatures," "partakers of the divine nature," and also sympathizing with you in the weaknesses of the flesh; for we have our treasure (the new mind or spirit,) in earthen vessels.
We trust that our non-recognition of sectarian names, in which some glory, may be no barrier to your communion with us; for let us remind you that the Scriptures recognize sects, and divisions, and party fences, and lines among the true saints of God, only to condemn them as evidences of carnality, contrary to the spirit and teaching of our Lord and Master. The apostle suggests—While ye say I am of Luther, I of Calvin, I of Wesley, is it not a sign of carnality? Is Christ, the head, divided? If so, his body, the church, may be excused for dividing and separating themselves by creeds and party names from others. But were Luther or Calvin crucified for you? Or were you baptised in the name of Wesley?—See 1 Cor. 1:11-13 and 3:4-8.
We address you, then, and desire to know you and to be known of you, not as members of earthly, human, carnal sects, but as we above addressed you, as members with us, and with all saints, of the [R919 : page 1] ONE BODY of Christ, whose names are written in heaven, in our Lord's book of life.
We come to you with a message which fills and overflows our own hearts with joy and praise. The night of the permitted reign of evil is near a close and the prince of darkness, and error, and superstition will soon be bound by the prince of light—Immanuel; and all his works of darkness shall be scattered and undone by the bright shining of the "Sun of righteousness" with healing in his beams, to bless all the race of men for whom he died.
"Go ye forth to meet him"—separate yourself from the world and the spirit of it; come forth out of Babylon, as well as out of Egypt, and flee ye by the narrow way that ye may meet your King and Bridegroom. The time for presentation to him is at hand, and as the Bride makes herself ready (Rev. 19:7), we have no time to waste. Only the fellow-members of the one body can help you, and your assistance is needed to help such that all may shortly enter into the joys of their Lord.
Once we supposed that the grand consummation of the hopes of the Bride would be the death-knell of the world's hope, but now, thank God, as the distorted shadows of the night scatter before the rising Sun of the grand Millennial day, we can see that God's ways and plans are higher and wider than we once supposed. And as it is written, He has put a new song in our mouths—even the loving-kindness of our God. The dawning light shows us that our fear was taught us not of his Word, but by the precepts of men (Isa. 29:13). We find that the prince of darkness, taking advantage of the natural fears of the fallen race, distorted horribly the punishments prescribed for sin by God, making death, the sentence, to mean the very opposite—life in torment, so as to prevent our seeing God's love, wisdom, and justice, and to prevent our full reconciliation to him and our recognition of him as our FATHER.
But now, beloved, as we awake and arouse ourselves, and look unto the Redeemer and Life-giver, we find that the terrible things we supposed so real were only nightmares, from which it is so refreshing to escape.
We have so much to tell you, and it is all so good, we scarcely know where to begin; but in this issue we present some of the simpler thoughts, just to give you a taste of our heavenly food which is meat indeed, giving spiritual health and strength which we never knew before, instead of the spiritual lassitude, and doubts, and wavering hopes, and fears and gropings in darkness, which once were ours.
The TOWER comes to you as unpretentiously as the ministers of the early church. We present no list of titled and world -renowned contributors, none whose fame would command your attention to the subjects we present. But we come to you with the Bible as God's Word, and seek to enlist your attention to its statements, and your obedience to its requirements, and thus we hope to lead the hearts and minds of some of God's children away from the jarring confusion of precept and doctrine, prevalent among the various sects (divisions) of Christians, into the harmony, beauty, simplicity, and confidence, which come from the study of God's Word and its acceptance as a harmonious whole and a self-interpreter.
It would be natural that you should wonder how these things could be true, yet not recognized long ago by earnest Christians; and why so many of those in the churches manifest such a bitter opposition to things so full of harmony with God's Word, and so fully vindicating the justice, wisdom and love of our heavenly Father.
In answer to your supposed queries, we suggest that if a broad view of God's dealings and revelation be taken, it will be seen that he has a broad, comprehensive, and benevolent plan with reference to men, the order and details of which began to be recognized since Pentecost. The light of revelation shines with special brightness on the ends of the ages. Upon the ending of the Jewish Age, which was the beginning of the Gospel Age, new and special light shone out relative to the blessed privileges about to be enjoyed in the Gospel Age. Remember, too, that it came from the Scriptures, written long before, but which were never before appreciated or understood. Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Peter and Paul, all quoted the prophecies and applied them to the events taking place in their day—the opening of the Gospel Age. The prophecies had been there for centuries, but the revelation or understanding of them was reserved for those in the ends of the ages. (See 1 Cor. 10:11.) So now, in the closing of the Gospel Age and dawning of the grand Millennial Age, we should expect the light to shine out brightly relative to God's plans for this incoming age. And so it does. Search and see. Gem after gem of precious truth now glows with unparalleled lustre to the diligent searcher, not because of his superior ability to find it, but because God's due time has come for such to understand it. Soon the blessed bow of promise shall be seen to span the whole heavens, and weeping earth shall dry her tears and shout for joy.
It is no more surprising that these truths relative to God's plan for the blessing of all mankind should have been but dimly seen heretofore, than that the call of the Gentiles to be heirs of the Abrahamic promise, (Acts 11:18; Eph. 3:5,7; Gal. 3:29,) should have been but dimly seen until the Gospel Age began to dawn. We can understand scriptural statements only as they become due. Thus—"Light, (truth, was long ago) sown for the righteous." When due, the light springs up and gradually unfolds. Thus our Father has made abundant provision for the household of faith; and the true servants shall bring forth things both new and old, that the household may have meat in due season. The cause of the opposition on the part of many to the truth now due, is the failure to recognize this progressive and unfolding character of God's revelation of his plans. Most Christians take for granted that good men of the past, who walked in the light then due, had all the truth worth knowing. Knox, Calvin, Luther, Wesley and others were, we believe, good men and sincere, earnest Christians; but more truth is due in our day than in theirs. According to God's plan, the light should shine more and more until the perfect day. Many Christians of to-day make a great mistake, and sit in comparative darkness, when they might be walking in glorious light, because they search the theology of these men instead of the Word of God.
Turn away from musty creeds of times past and give more earnest heed to the ever living, ever fresh, ever unfolding, ever new Word of God. Again, others take the Bible and search it only for the purpose of seeing how nearly they can make it to fit either their mental or written creed. If your habit has been such, we hope you will at once resolve to lay aside all human teachings as authoritative, and hereafter judge all you hear or read by the statements of God's Word. If you believe anything, make sure that you have Scriptural statements warranting it. Prove all things, hold fast that which is good, and cast away all else.
The action of the nominal church today, relative to the light now shining, clearly resembles that of the Jewish church relative to light in the end of their age. They reject every new ray of light because it would conflict with some cherished theory or statement of their creed. They are so full of their own plans and arrangements for converting the world, that they are unwilling to hear that God has a better, grander, and infinitely more comprehensive way of dealing with evil, and blessing and teaching the world. Their ears are so stopped by the din and confusion of their own religious efforts that they cannot discern the plan of Jehovah.
Satan is doubtless interested in the promotion of the confusion of sects, and stimulates and encourages that zeal which is not according to knowledge, and thus hinders their hearing Jehovah's voice, saying, "Be still and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the heathen: I will be exalted in the earth" (Ps. 46:10). Even so, let every heart respond, "Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is done in heaven."