THE MEMORIAL celebration appears to have been quite general this year. More and more it comes to be a distinguishing sign of those who trust in the ransom;—as was evidently the divine intention. And why not? Why should those who "count the blood of the Covenant common [ordinary]" specially celebrate its shedding? Why should those who believe that our Lord was sinful flesh expect any greater results from his death than from the death of other men of the sinner race—knowing that Divine Justice cannot look upon any sin with allowance? Why, either, should those who deny that our Lord was "made flesh," and who, on the contrary, claim that he was a spirit being who merely used the flesh as a cloak, who deny that the spirit being died, and claim that only the "cloak of flesh" died,—why should they feel any special interest in commemorating such a farcical proceeding as the crucifixion of the "cloak"?—Why should they attribute any merit to that, or anticipate any virtue from it?
Only those who see, as we do, that our Lord was wholly and solely for the time "the man Christ Jesus who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time," and who realize that he was not as other men, not contaminated with sin and the sinner race, but "holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners," can see how he could be, and as the Scriptures declare was, a ransom -sacrifice, a corresponding price for the sins of the whole world;—that as the world was in Adam when he sinned and shared his sentence, so Adam being redeemed,—bought back from under the curse by Jesus, his substitute,—the benefits of that atonement must extend beyond Adam to all his posterity; insuring to all a possibility of return to divine favor under the Millennial Kingdom soon to be established for that purpose, by the Redeemer.
(2) It evidenced his love toward those he had justly sentenced to death: so that, if ever tempted to doubt the Lord's love and care for us as his people, we can with the Apostle go back to the ransom and reason ourselves right again, saying, If God so loved us as to give his Son for us while we were yet sinners, much more will he love us and grant us all things needful,—now that we are justified by faith in his blood; yea, and begotten and sanctified by the holy spirit.
(3) As its merits have already led to the call and [R3013 : page 156] acceptance of the "elect," it implies that ultimately all of the dead world shall be awakened, granted hearing ears and thus the opportunity of coming back into harmony with their Creator, during the Millennium of his grace;—"the times of restitution of all things which God hath spoken by the mouth of all his holy prophets since the world began."—Acts 3:19-23.
(4) Naturally enough those who do not believe in the ransom do not believe in the promised restitution either. The ransom of something lost, forfeited, implies that it was valuable, and the promise of its restitution signifies the same; and both these words ransom and restitution contradict and are in violent conflict with all evolutionary ideas—respecting Adam's original imperfection—that he was so low that he could not fall and did not fall and did not need to be redeemed from a fall, and that restitution to his original condition would be a sad calamity instead of a blessing.
To those who appreciate the divine plan of the ages the ransom and its memorial are sure to become more and more precious as the few remaining years of their pilgrimage roll around: each year will see them the more zealous to "do this" in remembrance of the death of the Lamb of God which taketh away the sins of the world;—which is the propitiation (satisfaction) for our sins (the Church's), and not for ours only but also for the sins of the whole world.—I Cor. 5:7; 11:23-26; Jno. 1:29; I Jno. 2:2.
The occasion was surely a very enjoyable one to all who participated in a right spirit. It could not be otherwise. If any true believer sought a blessing in commemorating, and failed to obtain it, let him inquire within, and find that it was because he had not first "purged out the old leaven;"—because envy, malice, hatred, evil-speaking or evil-surmising—works of the flesh and the devil—still had a place in his heart, which should, instead, have been filled with the Lord's spirit of love,—gentleness, meekness, patience, brotherly-kindness;—the love which is not puffed up, envieth not, thinketh no evil and is full of mercy and good works. If any find themselves to have missed the real communion, by reason of such "defilements" let them purge their hearts with the water of truth, the Word of God, and let them celebrate four weeks later—on May 18th, as was arranged for the typical Israelite who because of defilements was hindered [R3014 : page 156] from keeping the feast at its appointed season.—Num. 9:10,11.
The occasion was a very enjoyable one in Allegheny;—solemnity commingled with joy as we thought of our dear Redeemer's sufferings and ignominious death on our behalf; yet rejoiced in its blessed results already experienced by us and in prospect for the world. In few and simple words we recounted the meaning of the ordinance—in type and antitype. We viewed the unleavened bread, which symbolized to us our Lord's humanity, given as our ransom, that we by partaking of his merits might have justification and life imputed to us by the Father,—so fully as to permit us to be reckoned in with our Lord as members of the one loaf, the one body, and to be broken with him, sharing his sacrifice that in due time we may participate in the feeding of the whole world with this bread of life. We considered "the cup" similarly, as our Lord's consecrated blood (sacrificed life) sealing the New Covenant for the world of mankind. We partook of it thus, and also as joint-participators with him—pledged to be dead with him that we may also live and reign with him.—I Cor. 10:16,17; Rom. 6:8.
About 335 were present at the Memorial service, and fully 300 of the number partook of the emblems with every evidence of intelligent sincerity;—witnessing to each other our faith in the Lord and his work for us, and our devotion to him and his even unto death, at any sacrifice;—his grace assisting, according to his promise. Endeavoring to preserve the blessed communion with our Lord we consented to forego usual greetings and conversation at the end of the service, and after singing, "What a friend we have in Jesus" we went silently to our homes,—full of holy joy and thankfulness. Twelve, prevented by illness, from being with us, were served subsequently by friends on their way home.
Some of the reports expected are a little slow in reaching us, but those received are encouraging. We give you a very few of these for your joy and encouragement,—believing that like ourself our readers generally esteem the interest manifested at the Memorial season a good index to the spiritual health of the Church.
The fellow-members of the Lord's body everywhere were remembered in prayers by the Allegheny congregation; and letters received show that this appreciation of the oneness and fellowship of the Church was general. One hundred and seventy-five reports received up to this writing, show an average participation of 27. The average last year was twelve and the previous year 10. This is very encouraging, to us all, surely. The general tone of the reports too indicates fervency of spirit. We can, of course, give but a few extracts.
I am sure you will rejoice with us in that this year in Washington 50 (38 white and 12 colored) persons celebrated the Memorial Supper and partook of the emblems of sacrifice, as against twenty-six last year, our company having nearly doubled in numbers. The services were conducted by Bro. Thomson and were most impressive throughout. We were mindful of the friends elsewhere and united in prayer on their behalf, especially remembering the laborers in the Watch Tower office—yourself in particular. As time goes on we feel the greater need of coming together. So thoroughly do the friends here appreciate this means of grace that very rarely is one absent from a meeting.
Five brothers and sisters whose trust is in the merit of the precious blood met at our home last evening at 7:30 and partook of the emblems of our Redeemer's broken body and shed blood. The Lord's blessing was with us; a blessed unity of the spirit prevailed; our prayers ascended to the throne of grace for a greater filling with the Lord's spirit for ourselves and all the family of God.
We do feel that it is a great favor to be counted worthy to have a share in the sufferings of our Lord and Redeemer. Four others who met with us on previous anniversaries were detained this year on account of sickness and other causes.
This has been a blessed day of sacred communion with the Master and his "brethren." From the first of the morning testimony meeting till the last hymn was sung at night was a continuous season of profound spiritual blessings and favors, such as we believe few if any of the friends have ever experienced before in this city. About sixty-five were in attendance at the morning service; and how refreshing it was to listen to the earnest, fervent words from various lips as they testified to the goodness and love of the Heavenly Father as conveyed to us through Christ in his gracious providences!
During the afternoon a baptism service was performed, preceded by an able discourse on Consecration, showing how the water immersion beautifully symbolizes this,—our becoming dead with Christ,—sacrificing the old nature, our wills, our all; and henceforth to arise and walk in newness of life,—the life that is "hid with Christ in God." This was a very impressive service—twenty-one being immersed, thus witnessing to others that they are wholly and completely Christ's, to do the Father's good pleasure, even unto death. Eighty-six were present at this service.
The Memorial Supper, commemorating our dear Redeemer's great sacrifice,—his broken body and shed blood, and the sublime honor and privilege granted us to share in his sacrificial suffering and death, was partaken of by seventy-two of the Lord's chosen ones. A feeling of absolute harmony and love prevailed. As the speaker portrayed our Lord's great sacrifice begun at the time of his baptism and completed on the cross, at Calvary, all seemed to realize very fully how great was the price given to ransom us from sin and death.
Eighteen of the friends met at our hall this evening to celebrate the memorial of our Lord's death. We had a very impressive service; and I think we all had the same experience as that of one brother who said: "I understand the meaning of the service better than ever before." Six of the friends from this place symbolized their death with Christ by baptism this afternoon. We feel rejoiced in these evidences that the Lord is blessing our efforts to spread the truth, and feel more determined than ever to spend and be spent in His service.
The church in and near New Brighton celebrated the Lord's Supper last evening at the home of Brother Garver. The participants were only eight. Although few in number each one seemed animated with the same spirit, and all felt like saying with Paul "God forbid that I should glory save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me and I unto the world." The occasion was one of solemnity and blessedness, long to be remembered.
Once more we have been permitted to commemorate our Redeemer's death. Twelve of us met together at the home of Bro. Watson, and we shall long remember the hour we spent together in sweet communion with our Lord and Savior in spirit. There was a beautiful spirit of harmony and of brotherly love, that could have come from no other source but from our Master's presence. One brother spoke very feelingly on the subject of the ransom, after which we all joined our voices in singing that beautiful hymn, No. 122, then an opportunity was given for each one to express a thought, and every one spoke a few words. There were a few precious moments of hearts drawn together in loving sympathy, as we heard the experiences, the hopes and the joys of our brethren in the pilgrim way.
A brother spoke on the "bread" as the food upon which the "new man" feeds and gathers strength, and grows. After the unleavened bread had been partaken of by each, another brother spoke briefly on the wine as the symbol of the life-blood poured out for us, and not for us only but for the whole human family. Then we partook of the "cup." After a prayer and thanksgiving we sang No. 259 and immediately went to our several homes. It was, by far, the most blessed meeting we have yet enjoyed, and we sincerely hope that the dear ones in Christ everywhere have been likewise blessed.
We had the best celebration of the Memorial Supper spiritually that was ever held here. In the afternoon we studied the text, "Watch and pray, etc.," and in the evening endeavored to learn a lesson on the oneness of the body of Christ, and that the disciple is not above his Master. Fifteen was the number of the partakers. The meeting was held at my house. In Christian love and fellowship,
It is with thankfulness that I send the report of the Memorial Supper, as observed by the class at Cincinnati, O. There were thirty-seven present, and all partook of the symbols, in memory of the great antitypical Passover Lamb, slain for all that die in Adam.
Among the number present were eleven who had never partaken of the memorial with us before. They all expressed themselves as filled with joy and love at the clear exposition of the subject, and most of them confessed that they had never seen the true meaning of it before. It was indeed a season of rejoicing for the class here.
Our little band of five (two brethren, three sisters), met last evening at the appointed hour, to remember the anniversary of our dear Lord's death. We had a very blessed occasion and humbly asked our dear Father that all of his dear "sheep," everywhere, would be blessed also. Each one of our little band is intensely desirous that this shall be the most faithful year in our consecrated life, and that our dear Father will continue to polish and prune us, that we may bear more fruit, and hope to be completely broken with Christ. "Brethren, pray for us!"
The Cleveland church met last night to commemorate our dear Lord's great sacrifice for us. Bro. Hess led the meeting and we spent an hour before the evening service in prayer and testimony. Many pledged themselves afresh to follow in His footsteps, and we remembered all the dear ones of like precious faith. Forty-nine participated in the Supper, and we indeed had sweet moments, which were rich in blessing. We closed with hymn No. 276 and retired silently.
I was deputed to inform you, in accordance with the desire expressed in the "Tower" for such information, that the Church at Portsmouth, Va., observed the annual Memorial of our dear Savior's death last evening.
There were present eight persons, including myself, who are trusting in the blood of our dear Redeemer and who have consecrated unto the death the old man with all his hopes, desires and ambitions. There was a feeling of deep solemnity; but holy joy pervaded each heart, and confession was made of and sorrow expressed for all short-comings in the past, and a renewal of our Consecration vows, with the fixed purpose and determination on the part of each one to continue striving for the Mark of the Prize of our High Calling, by the help of our now present Lord and King.
The Church of Boston and vicinity observed the annual memorial of the Lord's Supper in the usual manner last evening, at our regular place of worship, one hundred and thirty-eight adults being present and participating.
To say that our hearts were full of praise and thankfulness hardly expresses our feelings. The deep solemnity of the occasion seemed to impress each one as we symbolically renewed our vows of consecration to our dear Lord—all present seemed to realize the position and the necessity of continuing the race more and more earnestly as the time is so short and also the great necessity of a oneness of heart and mind seemed to pervade the whole assembly.
It was the privilege of the church at Detroit to assemble last evening, and partake of the emblems which symbolize our participation in the death—sacrifice of our dear Lord and Master. Seventeen were present.
As some members living at a distance were delayed, we listened to the testimony of several who have been consecrated sons of God for many years. While the individual experiences varied, yet the result was the same in all—the submerging of the will in the will of God, that He might be all in all.
As there were four present who had never before partaken of the Memorial with us, our leader spoke at some length regarding the significance of the bread and wine. He showed, that all believers who partake of these symbols in sincerity of heart, are benefited, but that to us there is a fuller, deeper significance than the world can ever understand: that in the "cup of blessing" we participate in the blood of the anointed one and that we are a part of the loaf broken and given to the world that they may be fed, in the next age.
That in partaking of these emblems, we declare the Lord's death till he come in kingdom power, and to ourselves renew our covenant to be buried with Him, that we may be with Him in the resurrection of the first-born, and share with Him in His glory and power.
The thought that we share in our Lord's sacrifice, not merely that we may win the prize to be won by the overcomers, but that as a part of the seed of Abraham we may share in the work of "blessing all the families of earth" in the next age, gives a broader and grander aspect to our sacrifice, and helps us in our daily struggle to overcome the old fleshy nature, that the new and Christlike character may take its place, and that all God's purpose may be fulfilled.
We wish to inform you of the precious season enjoyed at the Memorial Supper here for the first time as a church. There were eight present and all partook of the emblems of Christ's body and blood. One, an earnest seeker for truth, came a distance of fifty or more miles.
This sister had read Vol. I., and came on purpose to get more light and help. Tonight after reading and searching the Scriptures she made this remark, "I would have gone round the world to have heard what I have heard tonight." And as we closed our reading for the night, she had her Bible open and read for her testimony the 103d Psalm, "Bless the Lord, O my soul," etc.
The friends of truth here observed the Lord's Memorial. We were blessed spiritually, and I think all felt the importance of the occasion, and that it was good to be there. Twenty-nine partook of the elements representing our Lord's broken body and shed blood. Having the pleasure of several brethren and sisters from adjoining towns, our numbers were increased above our usual attendance.