Question.—Why did the Jews ask the question recorded in John 1:25, evidently surmising that Christ would do a baptizing work?
Answer.—They recognized that John was doing a great work in reformation outside the nominal church system of their day, and they assumed him to be a messenger of God; and as all were in expectation of Messiah and of an Elias to precede him, [R3341 : page 95] they inquired of John as to the matter; and when he very humbly disowned any great authority or position, they raised the question of your text, which implies: If you are a person of no special authority, neither the Messiah himself, nor his forerunner, nor a special prophet, why do you start in to do a special reformatory work, and introduce as a symbol of cleansing this baptism, which is known as John's baptism, and wholly without precedent among the Jews?
Question.—What hope will there be for the progeny of the fallen angels? (Gen. 6:1-4.) Have we any reason to hope that they share in the redemption accomplished by our Lord, or that they will be participators in any measure in the restitution and resurrection processes of the Millennial age? If not, why not? Would they not stand related to the human family in much the same way as our Lord Jesus stood related to the same through the mother and not through the father? Would not this seem to imply that they should be sharers, therefore, in the redemption and restitution?
Answer.—You will find this subject very fully treated in DAWN, Vol. V. See Chapter 4, on "The Undefiled One," and page 115, respecting the Nephilim, children of the fallen angels by the daughters of men. In connection with the fuller treatise on this subject we link the two together as your question does, and repeat that we find no hope for these Nephilim, since they were not of Adamic stock. We call your attention to the fact that our Lord Jesus, not being of Adamic stock, was not a sharer in its condemnation and curse, and hence, similarly, would not have been a sharer in its blessings. We are to remember that the way in which he profits our race is not by being one of us in sin and imperfection, but because he was not one of us he was able to give his separate and uncontaminated existence as our ransom-price. The blessing upon Adam and his family, coming, as it will, through Jesus, as its purchaser, who gave himself instead of Adam, thus redeemed him and all who were in him at the time of his transgression and condemnation. This clear-cut distinction most positively shows us that the fallen angels and their progeny were in no sense of the word Adamic stock, and, hence, were in no sense of the word covered by the ransom.
Answer.—We would not consider it sinful to compose secular songs so long as the moral tone of them would be good and helpful to mankind. We are to use our talents in the highest and best manner known to us. In respect to attending theatres of high class: We think that very generally this question may be decided by the aid of the following questions: (a) Have I the means to spend in this manner, and is it the best use I can make of those means to the Lord's glory? (b) Would my influence be helpful to others if thus spent? (c) Could I make a better use of my time—to make it more beneficial to myself or to others in personal upbuilding?
(2) Is levity improper in Christian life? Answer.—The Apostle urges us to sobriety. This, however, need not mean moroseness of disposition, conduct, language, etc., but rather earnestness. We [R3342 : page 95] have as Christians undertaken a great contract—a death-contract as regards the flesh; and levity is not to be very much expected in such a funeral, and especially not from the corpse. We may say, however, that we differ constitutionally; and while the Lord has said, "Blessed are those who weep," he certainly has not forbidden us to laugh. Quite probably, experience tends to bring sobriety, and sobriety is, generally speaking, the most proper condition for the representatives or ambassadors of the great King.
(3) Is it sinful to dress well? Answer.—It is not sinful; but many things that are not sinful are still not expedient. We are to consider ourselves stewards of the Lord's means, and whether or not he would approve of rich and extravagant clothing. We are to consider, secondly, whether or not such clothing would be helpful to us in our influence in favor of the Truth. We are to consider whether or not such dressing would be calculated to have a very good influence or a very bad influence on those who cannot afford rich clothing. These things would seem to indicate modesty and simplicity, yet they need not signify coarseness nor carelessness nor mean appearance.
(4) Is dancing improper? Answer.—Not in itself. That is to say, the mere exercise of dancing might in some respects be beneficial, especially if gentlemen danced with gentlemen and ladies with ladies. But with such limitations we fancy that dancing would lose much of its charm. We reason, therefore, that its charm is not morally helpful and that Christians would do well to avoid it, and to take their exercise in some other manner, better calculated to stir up heart purity.
(5) Is it wrong to eat meat? Answer.—The eating of meat is not sinful, if the meat be honestly obtained and of good quality and healthful to the system. Our Lord ate meat during his ministry and also, on two occasions, at least, after his resurrection. This is a sufficient answer to those who claim that the eating of meat is sinful. "In him was no sin."