N.B.—Those of the interested, who by reason of old age or accidents, or other adversity, are unable to pay, will be supplied FREE, if they will send a Postal Card each December, stating their case and requesting the paper.
Brother Rogers will be in England early in October, to begin an active campaign for the Truth. He will first of all make a personal trial of the new field, in order to discover its peculiarities, and to demonstrate its possibilities. Then he will be ready to instruct others in the art of selling DAWNS.
Already we have the addresses of several who desire to enter this "harvest" work, preaching sixteen discourses with the sale of each volume, and thus lifting up the light;—present truths, meat in due season for God's people. Are there not others there who desire to spend themselves in God's service, and who believe that the circulation of DAWN is the best method known to them? Let all such write us at once.
I. They have not found any which speak of Moses and Joshua having called a "Parliament of Religions," of Moabites and Ammonites, and Edomites, and Sodomites, to come together and compare notes as to what things they had in common—and how far they could strike hands and have worship in common.
II. They have not found any which speak of sturdy old Samuel having sent to Gath and Ekron to get a deputation of the priests of Dagon to come up to Shiloh and hold a conference with the priests of Jehovah; and also deliver a course of lectures on the best methods of making "cuttings for the dead;"—the best kind of charms and amulets to be put over the doors and be worn on the person, in order that poor, uninstructed Israelites could have a wider range of spiritual vision.
III. They have not found any which speak of old leather-belted Elijah having proposed a "congress" with the priests of Baal and Moloch for a week's discussion of the tenets of their respective faiths, with a view to the promotion of mutual respect for each other's religion. In the absence of the burnt cylinders, we are shut up to the old Bible account of the practical test demanded by Elijah and the tragic conclusion of it.
IV. They have not found any which speak of Daniel and his fellows having proposed a miscellaneous camp meeting to be composed of all sorts of religionists in the whole of the "one hundred and twenty provinces," to come together and unite on a basis for some "Absolute Religion" of some sort.
A FAMINE IN THE LAND.—AMOS 8:11 .
"We cannot resist the inevitable. The creed of Calvinism is like a coat which is becoming too small for the rapid growth of human thought. With every movement of the arms it will be sure to rip somewhere, unless we refrain from all vigorous exercise. We do not want any coat which binds us so tightly that we cannot act with freedom. It is folly to attempt to keep pace with the ripping of the coat by a little sewing here and there. It is too small, and no amount of sewing and patching will help it any. It may have a good deal of good material which may be kept and still used, but the system of Calvinism as a system has done its service for humanity. We don't want systems any more. We want liberty and truth and love and righteousness. We want more of Christ and less of creed. We want still to grow—to grow until we come into the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God unto the perfect man, unto the fulness of the measure of the stature of Christ."r1570 VOL. XIV. SEPTEMBER 1 & 15, 1893. NO. 17 & 18.
r1579 THE EMBRYO KINGDOM OF GOD,
r1580 OUR CHICAGO CONVENTION.
r1581 "THE SEA AND THE WAVES ROARING."
SUGGESTIVE THOUGHTS DESIGNED TO ASSIST THOSE OF OUR
READERS WHO ATTEND BIBLE CLASSES WHERE THESE
LESSONS ARE USED; THAT THEY MAY BE ENABLED TO
LEAD OTHERS INTO THE FULNESS OF THE GOSPEL.
PUBLISHED IN ADVANCE, AT THE REQUEST OF FOREIGN READERS.
III. QUAR., LESSON XII., SEPT. 17, ROM. 14:12-23.
Golden Text—"It is good neither to eat flesh, nor to drink wine, nor any thing whereby thy brother stumbleth."—Rom. 14:21.
The special point in this lesson is found in verse 17, for treatment of which see article, The Embryo Kingdom of God, on page 278 of this issue. The remainder of the lesson, as it relates to this central thought, is so plain as to require but little special comment.
The faith mentioned in verse 22 refers specially to the confidence of the Jewish converts in the truths of the new dispensation, which enabled them to realize their release from the bondage of the Law covenant; but they were here counseled not to so parade their liberty before their weaker brethren as to make it an occasion of stumbling to them. "Happy is he that condemneth not himself in that thing which he alloweth [that does not violate his own conscience, whether that conscience be enlightened or not]. He that doubteth [that is unsettled as to what is right or wrong in any matter] is condemned if he eat [if in eating he does that which he believes to be wrong], because he eateth not of faith [because his eating, and thereby repudiating the claims of the law, is not on account of the newly received faith which sets him free from the law]." It is wrong to violate conscience in any case. But we should always seek to have it rightly informed, and then to follow its leading.
III. QUAR., LESSON XIII., SEPT. 24, ACTS—
Golden Text—"So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God."—Rom. 10:17.
A careful review of the instructive lessons of this quarter is earnestly commended to all, that they may bring before the mind again, and connectedly, the noble self-denial, the unwavering confidence in God, the implicit obedience, the loyalty and faithfulness and untiring zeal of the Lord's chosen Apostle to the Gentiles, affording a most noble example for study and imitation.
In the divine direction of his course and supervision of his work, we see manifested the Lord's wonderful providence over his Church; and we rejoice to realize that though the apostles long since fell asleep in Jesus, the work which the Lord accomplished through them is as potent at this end of the age as at the beginning; and that his promise—"Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age," is verified to us as manifestly as to the early Church.
The book entitled, "The Acts of the Apostles," might be more properly captioned, The [R1581 : page 283] beginning and early history of the Christian Church: it is a volume well worthy of study and meditation. As we pursue the divinely guided course and mark the inspiration, zeal and faithfulness of the apostles in accomplishing their mission, as set forth in the The Acts of the Apostles, we come with deeper interest and with the profoundest reverence to the study of their inspired Epistles, prescribed for the next quarter.
The Golden Text of this lesson is very suggestive—"So then faith cometh by hearing [we must hear "this gospel of the Kingdom" before we can have faith in it: it must enter into our ears and commend itself to our judgment; and only on its reasonable testimony can true faith be predicated], and hearing by the Word of God [the testimony of these good tidings originates with God only: it is, as the Apostle here states, "the Word of God," no matter if modern critics do affirm that it is not the Word of God. This gospel could never have originated with men: it bears the unmistakable stamp of divinity].
IV. QUAR., LESSON I., OCT. 1, Rom. 1:8-17.
Golden Text—"I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ; for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth."—Rom. 1:16.
We now come to the study of one of the most notable of all the Pauline epistles, the epistle to the Romans. Apparently this noble production, like the other epistles, was the result of merely accidental circumstances: Paul, while in Corinth, saw an opportunity to send his greetings and counsel to the Church at Rome by the hand of Phoebe, who was about to sail thither; and, in consideration of their condition and circumstances, he wrote this letter. The Church at Rome was composed of both Jews and Gentiles, and naturally there were among them some unsettled questions incidental to the transition from Judaism to Christianity, which the Apostle in this epistle endeavors to adjust. The full settlement of these questions, however, was to be found only in a clear explanation of the principles of the gospel, which the Apostle, therefore, so ably set forth in this writing.
Its preservation to us is due, humanly speaking, to the high esteem in which it was held by them and others of the early Christians. Recognized by them as a logical presentation of the gospel of Christ, penned by a divinely inspired Apostle, they carefully cherished it, as did the other churches the various apostolic epistles written to them; and later these important letters began to circulate among the churches that all might receive their valued instructions. But when we consider further, how these writings have been preserved from generation to generation, sometimes in the hands of those who devotedly appreciated them, but for a long time—all through "the dark ages"—in the possession of Antichrist, hidden away under the sack-cloth of dead languages, and again brought forth to bear their testimony even to us at the end of the age, we recognize in this gift to us also the beneficent hand of divine providence. Some in these days point derisively to the human agencies through which God's truth has been handed down to us, forgetting that back of these has been the Lord's almighty hand making use of these agents as his honored instruments. We are not at all surprised when, with the Apostle, we are enabled to see the deep philosophy of the divine plan, as sketched in this epistle, that he is not ashamed of the gospel of Christ; for with him we see that it is indeed the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth.—Verse 16.
This epistle was sent from Corinth. It was dictated by Paul and written by Tertius, at the house of one of the Corinthian Christians—Gaius. (Rom. 16:22,23; 1 Cor. 1:14.) Up to the date of its writing Paul had never been in Rome. It is not known how the Church at Rome started, though there were Christians there who had been in the way for many years. It was probably one of the results of the outpouring of the holy spirit on the day of Pentecost; for on that occasion there were present "strangers from Rome." (Acts 2:10.) These probably returned to Rome with the blessings of the gospel, and began to live Christian lives and to preach the truth to others; and a company of believers, even in the midst of that corrupt city, was the result. It seems difficult to understand how, in the midst of such conditions as the city of Rome presented, a people could be found to give an ear to the Word of the Lord, and to submit themselves to his training and discipline. It was the capital city of a great and powerful empire, presenting all the contrasts of wealth and poverty and all the hideous deformities [R1582 : page 284] of sin. Yet God could work even there, and his Word was quick and powerful.
VERSES 1-7. Paul introduces his epistle by first declaring his apostleship, and his divine call to preach the gospel of Jesus Christ among all nations; second, by acknowledging the Christians at Rome as also called of God (but not as apostles); and third, by expressing his Christian greetings—"Grace to you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ."
VERSES 8-13. Here we see how the spirit of God had been at work in Rome; for they were widely known as men and women of great faith. Paul rejoiced over their spiritual prosperity, prayed for them continually, and longed and prayed for the opportunity of meeting them personally, to the end that he might impart to them some spiritual gift (such as the gifts of tongues and of interpretation, etc., some of which were given to all of the early Christians by laying on of the apostles' hands, and never in any other way), that so they might be established and able to progress more rapidly in the knowledge and work of the Lord. Thus their mutual faith would be a mutual comfort.
VERSE 14. "I am debtor [I am under obligation] both to the Greeks and to the Barbarians; both to the wise and to the unwise." Why? Because they had done something for him? No: but because God through Christ had done something for them, and Paul, as the servant of God, was charged with the commission to preach the gospel—to be his witness unto all nations.
VERSES 15-17. "So, as much as in me is [to the extent of my ability], I am ready to preach the gospel to you that are at Rome also. For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ [Paul was not ashamed to bring it into contrast and competition with all the philosophies of men then extant]; for it is the power of God unto salvation [it is the instrument of God for salvation—to every one? No: but] to every one that believeth [God works through instrumentalities, and his truth is the instrument for human salvation. As Paul subsequently shows—Chap. 10:17—"Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the Word of God." And there is not the slightest intimation in the Scriptures that there is salvation to any without faith in the promises of God's Word]—to the Jew first [out of respect to the covenant made with their father Abraham], and also to the Greek"—the Gentiles.
VERSE 17. "For therein [in the gospel] is the righteousness of God revealed [the deep philosophy of his plan makes manifest his righteous character, as the Apostle shows in this epistle. It is revealed] from faith to faith [i.e., in coming to the study of the divine plan, we must come with faith begotten of reverence for its all-wise Author, expecting to find in it a wisdom superior to all human philosophies. And from this starting point faith will progress to higher and higher altitudes], as it is written, "The just by faith shall live"—those justified by faith must continue to live by faith until faith is lost in full fruition of the glorious promises of God.
IV. QUAR., LESSON II., OCT. 8, ROM. 3:19-26.
Golden Text—"Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus."—Rom. 3:24.
The theme of this lesson is the foundation doctrine of Christianity, which in these days of worldly wisdom is rapidly falling into disrepute. In innumerable ways the enemies of the cross of Christ are twisting and whittling the Scriptures and resorting to every form of subtle sophistry in order to show men how to climb up into the fold of God in some other than his appointed way. All such are thieves and robbers (John 10:1) seeking to steal away the faith and hope of God's people.
The Apostle is here showing the immense importance and value of the death of Christ, to both Jews and Gentiles, both of whom are alike under the dominion of sin and condemned to death: the Jews in that they were unable to keep the Law of Moses, the Gentiles in that they were unable to live up to the law of their own conscience; so that every mouth is stopped from self-justification, and all the world stands guilty before God. The Jews had vainly hoped to justify themselves before God by keeping his Law; but this the Apostle shows they did not, and could not, do; for the Law uttered only condemnation to all that were under it, its only office to them being to convince them of sin, and to show them how far short they had come.—Verses 19,20.
But though salvation could never come by the Law, Paul shows that God had a way provided, apart from the Law, whereby men could be saved—not merely Jews, but all [R1582 : page 285] men who would come unto him in his appointed way—by faith in Christ Jesus, "whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation [place of satisfaction], through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God." The one condition of this salvation is a grateful acceptance of it, by faith, as the free unmerited gift of God through Jesus Christ, which also implies an acknowledgment that we all have sinned and come short of the glory of God, that we are under just condemnation to death, and that we need a redeemer. (Verses 20,22-25.) Thus this Bible plan of salvation requires on our part (1) the acknowledgment of the Bible account of the fall of man, and of his just condemnation to death; (2) our dependence upon the grace of God to rescue us from that condemnation, and (3) faith in his appointed means of doing it, with a grateful, humble acceptance of the favor. But this Bible plan of salvation is antagonistic at every point to the evolution theory, now being thrust forward by many, which denies the fall of man; claims salvation as a natural consequence of an evolution of the human race from low to higher conditions, by the destruction of the carnal or sinful propensities in each sinner by himself; [R1583 : page 285] repudiates all necessity for a ransom; and thus rejects the favor of God through the atoning blood of Christ.
VERSES 21,22,26 declare that in the plan of God set forth in the Law and the Prophets, and fulfilled in Christ, the righteousness of God is clearly manifested: that he is shown to be just, and yet the justifier of those whom he formerly condemned. If this fact is witnessed to by the Law and the Prophets, the suggestion is that we look to the Law and the Prophets and see how they thus vindicate God's character.
The simple account, as foretold by the prophets, and as historically related by the apostles, is (1) that the only begotten Son of God, who was with God from the beginning of creation, gave up his former glory and took our human nature; (2) that the object of this was that he might become a substitute, a ransom, for the man Adam (and all his posterity) whose life was forfeited by sin; (3) that he might be raised again by the Father and highly exalted to the divine nature, with all power in heaven and in earth to accomplish the complete deliverance of all those whom he purchased by the sacrifice of his humanity.—John 1:1; Col. 1:15-17; 1 Tim. 2:6; Rom. 11:32; Isa. 53:3-5; Phil. 2:9; Isa. 11:10.
VERSE 26. God, having justly condemned Adam and all his race as unworthy of everlasting life, could not justly reverse his own sentence, without a cause. By his own arrangement, however, Christ was that cause, for the removal of that original sentence of death—in that Christ died for our sins. Thus seen, the preaching, through faith in Christ, of divine favor to sinners, once under divine sentence, is not preaching a violation of justice on God's part, but quite the reverse. The very fact that God provided so expensive a ransom-sacrifice for sinners proves that his justice is inviolable and unbending. It was because divine justice could no deviate, that divine love and mercy were brought into action; thus revealing to us that side of the divine character. Those who thus see the divine plan of mercy and forgiveness through a sin-offering, a corresponding price, and none others, can see God to be just in justifying sinners whom he had once justly sentenced to death.
We desire to convey to you how deep an impression is made on our spiritual being by the Chicago Convention. I want to speak particularly of Brother Rogers also, and his wisdom and patience in the canvassing school. I thank the dear Lord for Brother Rogers. I also found how much some have grown in the last year. Like myself, they have been advanced, and received strength for a more vigorous and patient warfare, as well as spiritual growth. I think a very general expression of benefit received will come to your ears. For myself, I am not only stimulated, but subdued, under the mighty hand of God, seen not [page 286] alone in the mighty events of this, Jehovah's Day, and in the force and clearness in which the truth in purity can now be seen (as well as "how great is that darkness" now opposing truth), but also in the force and powerfulness of the "weak things" of this world, that God is using to confound the mighty.
Having returned from our Convention, I feel it a duty I owe both to my Master and to you, to tell you of the great benefits vouchsafed to me, a very weak servant, while in attendance. Had there been time for each to have related his or her experience, all I could say is that "God's grace is sufficient for me," and that "The life I now live, I live by the faith of the Son of God." I feel like writing a long letter from a heart overflowing with joy and gratitude, but I realize more now than ever that your time is exceedingly precious. Yours in much love, A. M. RUSSELL.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:—It is with a very grateful heart that I write these few lines, to express my appreciation of being so privileged as to attend the meeting at Chicago, and there to meet so many whose sole desire is to serve their Lord and Master in all things and at all times. I was very much blest to hear so many kind and loving words of exhortation and counsel. May the Lord continue to bless and give an abundance of his Spirit to all those who truly love the truth, that they may each be able to speak as an oracle of God.
DEAR BRETHREN:—I enclose you an order for DAWNS, which I would like hurried forward. I have finished the canvass of four small towns having a combined population of about 1800, and have taken orders for eighty-eight books. I found only three or four who were interested to any extent in truth, but many who were strongly bound in Babylon by the fetters of man's wisdom(?). "Gross darkness [certainly] covers the people." I must say that I felt rather lonely traveling so far, meeting so many, and finding so little concern expressed about God's plan and Church. Assist me with your prayers, that I may properly and fearlessly present the truth, and not become weary in well doing, knowing that I shall reap, if I faint not.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:—I enclose Express Order for $3.50, as a free-will offering to the Lord, which I wish the Tower Bible and Tract Society to use in any way most advantageous to God's service. As I have benefited myself so much from the reading of the DAWNS and TOWER, I wish to help to carry the same message of God's wondrous love and favor to others. I was trying to walk a middle path between Christ and the world, but the reading of DAWN brought to my view the uselessness of such an effort, and gave me a determination to make my sacrifice complete. Hoping you may be spared and strengthened to carry on the work through the harvest,
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:—I have just returned from a three weeks' trip, and found last TOWER waiting for me—into which I plunged and found so good. I had thought it very strange, regarding the religious parliament to be held in Chicago, that Christians should be dragged into listening to the claims of Judaism, even when Christ spoke against its teachers and then finished the law, to say nothing about listening to the claims of heathens. Surely we should be thankful for a solid rock on which our feet may stand.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:—I write to let you know that I am still in the race, and that the last three TOWERS have given my soul much joy. "Baptism and its Import" [page 287] has settled a great difficulty with me and several others, and the many rich truths in the double number of July are a perfect feast to my soul. They give me strength and courage to press on for the Master's cause.
DEAR FRIENDS:—Please change TOWER to present address. I miss it, and would not do without it. I shall never drop this welcome visitor; rather would I do my work on one meal a day. It is food to the truth-hungry soul, I need it to sustain my spiritual being, just as I need food to sustain me physically. I hope all subscribers read and digest its precious truths as I do. How it opens up the Word of God and throws light where darkness reigned before! We cannot all uncover these hidden truths, but we can see and accept them when the due time comes for them to be known and pointed out by the Lord's servants.
I close with every kind wish to all in the TOWER office and all the readers of this priceless seed sower. I hand you a letter from my friend May, to whom I had the pleasure of introducing these precious truths.
MR. J. A. BOHNET.—My dear Sir:—I have not only read but studied the DAWN, which you recommended me to secure, and I want you to consider yourself thanked a thousand times for the priceless favor. It is the most wonderful explanation of the old Book that I have found in all of forty years reading and study of its teaching. I assume some acquaintance with Addison, Sherlock, Locke, Scott, and others of less note; besides I have owned every commentary on the Bible that I have ever heard of as having been published in the English language during the last twenty-five years, and nothing that I have ever read seems even to point in the direction of the straight and narrow path opened up and made plain by those three volumes. In its pages I find there is a perfect and complete system, to understand which one must read from Genesis to Revelation.
BROTHER C. T. RUSSELL:—Your answer in a recent TOWER about voting, etc., seems right; and yet if not right now for Christians to take part in politics, I do not see that it could ever have been; but if the best part of mankind had always kept out, it seems to me we would have had a much worse government than we have. [You will find few saints' names amongst those of politicians. We make a distinction, you see, between good people and consecrated saints.—Editor.]
You say a good deal about the "fully consecrated." I often wonder just what you mean by that expression. Of course I have read something of your meaning here and there in your writings, but I would like right well to see a connected, full statement of it. Before I knew anything at all of the DAWN teachings, I had given myself to our Maker and to our Redeemer in every way of which I could think; and I have never taken anything back, so far as I know, nor do I have any thought of so doing. My determination is, and long had been, to cling to him, come what may, in the strength that he gives. Is this "consecration"?—
[Yes, dear Brother, you have the correct idea. Our wills, then all our powers and influence, given to God, is entire consecration. Your query relative to reckoned and actual holiness was, I trust, answered in the August 15th TOWER—"Christ in You the Hope of Glory."—Editor.]
DEAR BRETHREN:—Although I can do but little, I am so grateful that Christ has chosen me to be a co-worker with him in his "harvest work," and I often think what great opportunities the colporteurs have for spreading the truth. I am constantly looking for a chance to speak for the truth, but it is only occasionally that I find one who will listen; and when I do, the Spirit enables me to pour out the truth in great measures. How clearly I see that he will use us, if we are but willing. That seems to be the trouble with most people that profess him: they are not willing to [page 288] be used except in their own way. How sorry I am that no one told me before that it was necessary to give up the human will to be able to see the deep things of God. I had been praying for sixteen years for a love of God's Word, but could not get interested in the study, until I grasped the plan of the ages in the DAWN, and for the last year it has been my greatest delight to search the Word.
The food is very sweet, though the effect of standing for it is bitter; but I count it all joy to be able and chosen to suffer for the truth's sake; for "I reckon that the sufferings of the present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that shall be revealed in us." My mind is kept constantly on the future and the crown, and I try not to be puffed up because of the knowledge of the Word that I have, because I see that God will not use us if we are so. Oh, the joy and peace of being in Christ! People think I am very queer because I do not enjoy the things of this world, but I look upon them with pity, because I have that which satisfies.
I receive great spiritual good from the TOWERS, and great strength from the letters of others that have come into the marvelous light. I believe that the letters that I have read in the back numbers have been used of God to strengthen many of his little flock, and I write to tell you of the effect they have upon me.
I put the TOWER literature into the hands of a Baptist brother a short time since, and he has put me to shame. "Why," said he, "did you not tell me about this a year ago? You saw me then." I replied, "I did give you some of the tracts a year ago." "Yes, but you did not talk about the subjects enough to get me interested." This brother is not able, physically, to enter the colporteur service. If he were, he would gladly do so. Truly the harvest is ripe. Yours in hope of the Kingdom, M. M. PHILLIPS.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:—There has been such prejudice in the western part of this city, that some who have purchased DAWNS of me, after finding that others object to them, have spoken openly against them in church, and advised all not to purchase them. And then, too, I have been told that the ministers have preached against it. I think, however, that it is a case of "little fire and much smoke."
One young man, who had given me an order, told me his friend took them and threw them into the street. I waited a few days, and then called on that one, and learned from him that he had not thrown them away, but had felt called upon to speak against them in meeting, and had done so. I spent three profitable hours with him and wife, and parted friends. He promised to ask God to show him if he should read them carefully. He wished me God's blessing, and asked me to call as often as possible.
I called on another: a young man who opposed the truth. When he tried to show me where it was "way off," behold, it had vanished, and a second reading showed him he had read too hastily. So, though I am making at present but few sales, I think I will succeed in overcoming the prejudice of many. Yours in the Lord, J. O. MURPHY.
I am using the improved method in canvassing, learned at the Convention, and am greatly pleased with it. This is a very dull place, but I took sixteen orders Friday, and fifteen yesterday. The introduction on entering is a great help. I never knew, till I used it, that introducing myself as "Miss Way—a representative of the Tower Bible & Tract Society," would do so much to gain me an attentive hearing.
How we thank the Lord for the meeting in Chicago, and the joy of meeting yourselves and so many of the dear brothers and sisters in Christ, enabling us to realize more fully the joy set before us and that happy everlasting meeting beyond the vail! We learned many lessons, too, that I trust will bear fruit all through our lives. We feel encouraged to press on, more desire to be proficient in our work and more submissive to him who moulds us according to his will. Pray for us—as we do for you all—that we may be kept from every seducing error, and may overcome through the blood of the Lamb.