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.
We still have plenty of the gilt-stamped, cloth edition of MILLENNIAL DAWN, with slight mismatch in color, stamping and paper, but otherwise perfect. As previously announced, we will close these out at twenty-five cents per volume by express, or the set of three volumes for one dollar postage paid by us.
In order to permit the friends of the truth to circulate them freely, we supply the DAWNS in paper binding in packs of 5, 10 or 20 of any one volume to one address at the rate of fifteen cents per volume, including postage. Less than five copies of any one volume we supply at twenty-five cents per volume. Colporteurs are authorized to sell these at thirty-five cents per volume. No books of the kind were ever supplied on such liberal terms. What opportunities are thus afforded to all who have a heart for harvest work! And that many are improving the opportunity is evidenced by the fact that the four hundredth thousand of the first volume is now in course of publication.
Many new readers do not know about our gospel envelopes, which have the gospel message printed on their face, leaving room for stamps and addressing, and on the back mention VOL. I. of MILLENNIAL DAWN. There is no better way than this to call to the attention of your friends the glad tidings of great joy, and the book which will make the gospel so plain that a wayfaring and unlearned reader need not err therein.
Friends who are in business, and who send out circulars and bills, and who could use these envelopes (with their business address printed at the corner) in lots of five or ten thousand at a time will be supplied, regardless of cost, at the rate of one dollar a thousand.—We want these to go everywhere, preaching the Word.
Do you need a counselor? "Thou shalt guide me with thy counsel, and afterward receive me to glory." Psa. 73:24.
Do you want a friend? "There is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother." Prov. 18:24.
Are you discouraged? "Be of good courage and he shall strengthen your heart, all ye that hope in the Lord." Psa. 31:24.
Have you been wronged? "But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you and persecute you." Matt. 5:44.
Do you suffer for well doing? "But if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God." 1 Pet. 2:20.
Are you heavy laden? "Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." Matt. 11:28.
Are you ignorant? "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, who giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him." James 1:5.
Are you tempted to do wrong? "If sinners entice thee, consent thou not." Prov. 1:10.
Do you hunger after righteousness? "Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled." Matt. 5:6.
Are you fearful? "O Israel, trust thou in the Lord: he is their help and their shield. Psa. 115:9.
Do you want sympathy? "Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that reverence him." Psa. 103:13.r1583 VOL. XIV. OCTOBER 1, 1893. NO. 19.
r1585 THOUGH YE BE ESTABLISHED.
r1585 "WHO IS SUFFICIENT FOR THESE THINGS?"
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.
IV. QUAR., LESSON III., OCT. 15, ROM. 5:1-11.
Golden Text—"While we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."—Rom. 5:8.
Thus far this epistle has established (1) the necessity of justification to salvation from sin and death; (2) that the terms of this salvation are alike for both Jews and Gentiles; (3) that faith in the precious blood of Christ as the payment of our ransom, implying a humble, grateful reliance upon the same for salvation, is the one divinely appointed condition of justification and salvation; and (4) in Abraham's case, he has illustrated the nature and promptings of such a true and saving faith. In this lesson the Apostle refers to the blessed influence of faith upon the character, and to its bearings upon the future prospects of those exercising it.
Verse 1 shows that the immediate effect of faith is a blessed realization of peace with God; not through personal worthiness of his favor, but through our Lord Jesus Christ," by whom we have received the atonement, his righteousness being imputed to us by faith. In thus accepting him whom God has appointed for our salvation, as our redeemer and Lord, we thereby acknowledge our own imperfections and sins and the necessity of redemption by the payment of a ransom, a substitute, an equivalent price, for that which was lost through sin.
This first step of faith restores the believer to all the privileges and blessings originally bestowed upon the human son of God, Adam, and afterward forfeited by him, though their full realization does not belong to the present age, viz.—everlasting life, uninterrupted peace and communion with God, and all the blessings of his fatherly providence. But, until the appointed time of Christ's reign, the experiences of the believer are the joys of faith and hope, and of present peace and communion with God in consequence of that faith and hope. In other words he holds a check for full restitution, to be honored and cashed in the due time of God's appointment.
VERSE 2 has reference to a second privileged step of faith, an access by faith into a still higher grace, or position of favor, wherein also we stand by faith and rejoice in hope of the glory of God. Elsewhere we have been shown that this higher grace is the privilege of being "transformed" to a higher nature, of being made "partakers of the divine nature," "heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Jesus Christ, if so be that we suffer with him," and of being made like him and seeing him "as he is"—"the express image of the Father's person." (Rom. 12:2; 2 Pet. 1:4; Rom. 8:17; 1 John 3:2; Heb. 1:3.) This is the "high calling" (Phil. 3:14) of those who, being justified by faith, have enough faith to go still further and accept and appreciate this great privilege of our high calling and enough of the spirit of Christ to follow in his footsteps of self-sacrifice faithfully, even unto death. The access into this higher grace cannot be obtained except from the standpoint of the previous grace of justification.
This is clearly manifest from the exhortation of the Apostle in Rom. 12:1. "I beseech you therefore, brethren,...that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service." Those addressed are "brethren" of the household of faith, justified believers, before they are invited to accept this higher grace. Otherwise, being still under condemnation to death, they would have nothing to offer in sacrifice to God, and certainly nothing which would be holy and acceptable. Of this we have assurance also in the typical sacrifices of the Mosaic law. The sacrifices of the day of atonement which foreshadowed the "better sacrifices" (Heb. 9:23) of Christ Jesus and his body, the Church, must be without blemish (Lev. 1:3; 3:1-6; 4:3,23,28; 22:21-25), and so must the "better sacrifices" be. Christ Jesus, our Head, "the High Priest of our profession," was "holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners;" "he knew no sin;" and in him, therefore, the Father was well pleased. (Heb. 7:26; 1 John 3:5; Matt. 3:17.) We, however, have no such actual perfection; but, clothed in his [R1585 : page 300] imputed righteousness by faith in his blood shed for the remission of sins—justified—we also are acceptable to God in the Beloved. (Eph. 1:6.) And thus, being called, we are eligible to the higher grace of sonship on the plane of the divine nature, and to joint-heirship with Christ Jesus of the Father's love and bounty; and to us belong the "exceeding great and precious promises" of God.—2 Pet. 1:4.
VERSES 3,4. In this confident and glorious hope we rejoice, even in the midst of tribulations, knowing that they constitute the discipline necessary to fit us for our future exalted station. If rightly exercised by these, by a spirit of humility and submission, they will work in us the beautiful grace of patience. And patience in submitting to trial will lead to large and valuable experience—experience of God's love and wisdom and grace and comfort. And this experience will brighten hope and strengthen our confidence in God.
VERSE 5. "And hope maketh not ashamed, because," etc. Those inspired by this hope experience no sense of shame under the discipline and trials they must endure. The world, and merely nominal Christians, may despise and reject and persecute them, as they did their Lord; but, having the love of God shed abroad in their hearts, they glory in tribulations and rejoice to be counted worthy to suffer for his name's sake. And in the glorious message they bear there is nothing to be ashamed of; for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth. It tells of an election now of a "peculiar people," for an exalted position of service, and of the abounding free grace to all the families of the earth when, in due time" (1 Tim. 2:6), the elect "little flock," the "royal priesthood," the "peculiar people," have been exalted to reign with Christ in his Kingdom.
VERSES 6-8 return to the subject of justification to point out the great love of God in providing for the redemption of sinners at such cost to himself. Rarely, indeed, would human love sacrifice life for another, even for a righteous person; but God commended his love to us, in that while we were yet sinners, he gave his only begotten Son to die for us—a gift which fond parents of an only and dutiful child can perhaps most fully appreciate.
The Apostle also points out our helpless condition—that we were without any strength to help ourselves, and that our salvation is therefore the free gift of God, through Christ, and hence a manifestation of his great love. He further indicates that the time of the payment of our ransom price was definitely prearranged—"In due time, Christ died for the ungodly." This is a marked reference to the fact that time is a special feature in God's great plan of the ages. There was a particular appointed time for the payment of our ransom, as well [R1586 : page 300] as for every other feature of the wondrous plan. Those who wish to consider this important time element, will do well to study MILLENNIAL DAWN, VOL. II., The Time is at Hand.
VERSES 9,10 teach us to build upon this manifestation of God's love in the gift of his Son, and our justification through faith in his blood, the reasonable, as well as Scriptural, hope of final complete salvation through him. When we were enemies, God, by the death of his Son, manifested his sympathy for us by paying our penalty for us; and "much more, being reconciled [being justified and recognized as sons of God], we shall be saved from wrath [restored to the proper condition of sons—liberated from sin and death, the manifestation of God's wrath] through him."
VERSE 11 points out a further cause for rejoicing in the fact that we who believe have now received the atonement—that we are now reckoned of God as perfect through Christ, and as worthy to be called his sons, and to receive the favors of sons. Having this reckoned standing now, we are in position to receive the additional favor of our high calling to be the bride and joint-heir of his dear Son. May all the consecrated duly appreciate their high calling, and strive to make their calling and election sure. "This is the victory that overcometh the world, even your faith."—1 John 5:4.
IV. QUAR., LESSON IV., OCT. 22, ROM. 12:1-15.
Golden Text—"Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good."—Rom. 12:21.
Having in previous chapters called attention to the marvelous depths of divine wisdom [R1586 : page 301] and grace manifested in the plan of the ages, and having pointed out its strong foundation and its ultimate glorious purpose, the Apostle now (in chapters 12-15) proceeds to draw some very practical lessons, and to exhort the household of faith to fully appreciate and accept the grace of God through Christ, and to be faithful and worthy sons and heirs of God.
VERSE 1 is an exhortation to those already justified by faith in Christ as the Redeemer, and who are therefore "brethren" of the household of faith, to enter into the higher grace of sons of God on the spiritual plane and become joint-heirs with his dear Son and partakers with him of the divine nature. (2 Pet. 1:4.) The way to this exalted position is pointed out as a way of sacrifice—"Present your bodies a living sacrifice." To do so is to do just what our Lord Jesus did, who said, "I came not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me." It is to ignore the will of the flesh with all its ambitions, hopes and aims, however proper they may be in themselves, henceforth to devote all our time, our energies and our talents, be they many or few, to the doing of the Master's work, so that we can say with Christ Jesus, it is my meat to do his will and to finish his work. (John 4:34.) And this consecration is even unto death, when, the course being finished, the reward is sure.
Such a sacrifice on the part of justified believers is reckoned of God as "holy," because the merit of our Redeemer is imputed to us through faith; and it is therefore acceptable to God, and is but our reasonable service, and would be so even if no such reward were promised.
VERSE 2. "And be not conformed to [patterned after] this world [its ideas, hopes and aims]; but be ye transformed [remodeled, changed] by the renewing of your mind [by taking the mind of Christ—by endeavoring to think as he thought and to do as he did or would do in your circumstances], that ye may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God"—for only by coming into such an attitude of mind can we fully know the will of God. Any other attitude is more or less biased by prejudice, making our discernment of the will of God more or less indistinct.
VERSE 3. Through the grace given unto him Paul foresaw that one of the greatest temptations among Christians would be ambition to be great and highly esteemed, if not by the world, at least among those in the faith, and to do some great thing that would attract attention, rather than the common things that constitute the bulk of actual service. And therefore he counsels every man to take a sober estimate of his talents, neither overrating nor underrating them, so that he may make the best use of them as a wise and faithful steward.
VERSES 4,5 assure us of the important and honorable place of every member of the body of Christ, though all have not the same office. All are useful and needful one to another, and each should seek to know his place and to do his part in it for the edification of the body.
VERSES 6-8 urge faithfulness in the use of our talents in accordance with a sober and just estimate of them. Thus, if we have no talent for public speaking or teaching, we should not waste our energies and misrepresent the truth by poor attempts to use a talent not possessed; but, having found that capacity in which we can do most effectual service for the truth, let us spend our energies along that line with diligence and carefulness. "Having, then, gifts differing," let us use them with diligence, patience, simplicity and cheerfulness, contented to be very humble in the estimation of others that our humble talents may increase the more to the Master's glory.
VERSES 9,10. "Let love be unfeigned"—not hypocritical. And let it always be pure—not a sickly sentimentalism which forgets or ignores the proper bounds of propriety between brethren and sisters in Christ, which even the world recognizes, and which all the saints should the more firmly establish. The pure love of Christ in our hearts knows no man after the flesh, and puts no confidence in the flesh; it recognizes the inherent depravity of the old nature and keeps the flesh under the heel of the new nature. Consequently, its disposition is the very reverse of undue familiarity: it is dignified, simple, pure, and maintains always that proper reserve with the opposite sex which is approved even by the world, and which much more becometh saints. The manifestations of love among the saints should rather be after the manner indicated in verse 10—by "in honor preferring one another," and by such kindness as is entirely consistent with the most refined modesty and purity. In such a state of mind and [R1586 : page 302] heart, sisters will prefer to exchange their confidences and intimacies with their husbands or with sisters, and brethren; with their wives or with fellow brethren; thus no reproach will be brought upon the cause of Christ.
The Apostle again indicates the disposition of this pure love among the saints in his letter to Timothy (1 Tim. 5:1,3,5), saying, "Rebuke not an elder [an aged brother, even if he has erred; have respect to his years], but entreat him as a father; and the younger men as brethren; the elder women as mothers; the younger women as sisters, with all purity [with no semblance of undue familiarity]. Honor widows that are widows indeed"—whose trust is in God, and whose conduct is consistent with that trust.
"Abhor that which is evil and cleave to that which is good;" "abstain from all appearance of evil," and "let not your good be evil spoken of" through any careless or imprudent conduct; and, "finally, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report: if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things," and act on them.—1 Thes. 5:22; Rom. 14:16; Phil. 4:8.
IV. QUAR., LESSON V., OCT. 29, 1 COR. 8:1-13.
Golden Text—"We then that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak."—Rom. 15:1.
The Corinthian Christians were in the midst of an idolatrous people, and had come out from them. They had heard and accepted the gospel of Christ, and now desired to be entirely separate from idolaters. To such an extent was idolatry practiced in Corinth that most of the meat offered for sale in the markets was first offered to idols, and it was not always easy to learn which had and which had not been offered in sacrifice to some heathen deity. Some of the Christians were conscientiously opposed to having anything to do with such meats, while others felt that it made no difference whether they partook of it or not, since the meat suffered no change, and since they had no sympathy with the idolatrous worship. The question was referred to the Apostle Paul, who replied:—
VERSES 1,4,7. "Now, concerning the idol sacrifices, we know that an image is nothing in the world [that it is only an imaginary god], and that no one is God but one. For though there be that are called gods, whether in heaven or in earth (as there be gods many and lords many), yet to us there is but one god, the Father, of whom are all things, and we in him; and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things, and we by him. But this knowledge is not in all." (The intervening lines are parenthetic. See Diaglott). All men were not enlightened by the gospel and so relieved from superstition; and, consequently, the eating of such meats in their presence might seem to them to be an indorsement of the idol-worship; and thus they might be misled into a partial indorsement of idolatry. Or at least the influence of such Christians might be greatly weakened.
Therefore, while he admits that there would be nothing wrong—no sacrifice of any principle—in the eating of such meat (verse 8), he advises that these Christians forego the use of their liberty in this matter out of deference to the conscience of weaker brethren who might otherwise be made to stumble.
Nor was he inclined to glory over his weaker brother because of his fuller knowledge and consequent freedom from superstition. Mere knowledge, he said, puffs up, but love builds up. (Verses 1-4.) Therefore he preferred in love to seek to build up the weaker brother's faith and to avoid placing any stumbling block in his way, rather than to boast of his superior knowledge and liberty and to cause his brother for whom Christ died to stumble. The latter course he shows to be sinful (verse 12), while the former is the only one consistent with true Christian love.
The Golden Text from the Apostle's letter to the Romans, with the two succeeding verses, further enforces this same sentiment, which all would do well to consider in every matter. While with us at this day this principle [R1587 : page 303] does not involve the eating of meats, it does touch many other things which should be considered in the light of our responsibilities for our brother's keeping in the faith. It should regulate our general conduct, our conversation, our manners, our dress, our conduct and habits of life, that all may be to the glory of God, to the edification of our brethren, and that our light may shine before the world.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:—I cannot refrain from writing you, for my heart is full of joy and thanksgiving to our Heavenly Father for this great and glorious knowledge which he has been pleased to give me, and I wish to render unto you my heartfelt thanks for so many encouraging words. I find that many are very ready to receive the truth, and I explain it to the best of my ability; but I cannot lend one book to the many that wish it, and I expect soon to order more. I believe I could sell many. I cannot express in words the enjoyment the TOWER gives us. May God bless it as the means of placing many upon the sure foundation, which is Christ Jesus.
How wonderful is God in his love to us! It seems almost too good to be true, only that it is sealed with his own name and with the blood of his only begotten Son. God will be with you and he will greatly bless you, for he has many hungry souls crying out for the Bread of Life.
DEAR SIR:—In the good providence of God, your three volumes of MILLENNIAL DAWN were placed in my hands by one of the Lord's "little ones." They have been read carefully and prayerfully, over and over again; and for them I render unceasing praise to our blessed Lord.
KIND SIRS:—"He that desireth knowledge, let him ask of God." I have realized untold blessings from VOL. I. of the MILLENNIAL DAWN series; and, desiring to know more of the truth of God, I send my order for the other two volumes. Find enclosed fifty cents.
GENTLEMEN:—About two years ago I read the first volume of MILLENNIAL DAWN, and am well pleased with it. It sheds new light on God's Word. After critical examination I am convinced that it presents the truth. I now desire volumes two and three of the DAWN series.
I joined the Missionary Baptists when about 17 years old, and was a zealous member until about ten years ago, when I began to investigate their teachings. To my great astonishment I discovered they were teaching and following their creed and the doctrines and traditions of men. So about three years ago I earnestly requested them to drop my name from their membership. I almost became an avowed infidel.
After reading The Plan of the Ages (bought of a colporteur) and skimming through volumes two and three (borrowed on short time), I lost that proclivity to infidelity, and again enlisted as a soldier of the cross. I am an earnest seeker after truth. I have had a strong desire to preach the gospel of Christ ever since my youth, and I earnestly hope and pray that the day is fast approaching when, by the grace of God, and careful study, I shall know what I believe, and why I believe it, and shall bear to many the precious news of "good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people." Your prayers are earnestly desired.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:—I praise God for the truth as I now see it. For seventeen years I wandered in darkness, groping, expecting something, I knew not what, and believing all the time that those who did not repent and accept Christ in this life would be lost; but I do thank God that this truth has dawned upon me in its beauty and holiness: that I can see a God of justice, love, mercy and power, and that in Jesus Christ, to whom I hope to be united as one of the Bride, I see that which is altogether lovely. To him may all honor and praise be given. Amen. G. W. LACY.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:—When out collecting for a banquet in the Salvation Army about the first of April, I was introduced to DAWN. Words cannot express the joy and delight which that book and the TOWER lent me by a friend have given me. I acted at once on my honest conviction, gave in my resignation and commenced to spread the truth. A great number have since commenced to read DAWN, but the officer in charge here is shocked at my course. He called a special meeting and denounced me as a heretic, infidel, traitor to the Army and a person to be generally shunned—I suppose to prevent the soldiers visiting me as I was widely known here. He said he did not care what we believed, if we did not teach it. However, I told him I would teach it: that I should, to do my duty to God and my fellow men, proclaim the truth as loudly as I had the falsehood. I ask the prayers of all the faithful that I may be strengthened for my work. As Father Chiniquy says with regard to Rome, you have to live in the Army to understand it. Looking from the outside, one would think it real, and I believe at first it was; but selfish ambition, self-aggrandizement and vain-glory have so crept in that it will overthrow itself.
DEAR SIR:—I have just finished reading MILLENNIAL DAWN, and I am charmed and delighted beyond all expression. I want to thank you for the real joy and heart-gladness the work has afforded me. Everything is so plain and reasonable that I want the whole world to read this work; and if others would receive one hundredth part the light and joy that have come into my life, they would be amply repaid for time and trouble.
With what system and order our Heavenly Father has worked for man's benefit had crossed my mind to a certain extent before; but you have made him more than ever the All-wise. What can I do to help on this glorious work? J. TUFFORD.
EDITOR ZION'S WATCH TOWER:—The papers sent are at hand. I have been greatly interested in the subject of baptism, and have studied considerably the different doctrines taught concerning it, and my mind has been very much unsettled regarding it. I want to say now that your article on "Baptism and its Import," in TOWER of June 15th, is to me the plainest and most convincing exegesis of the subject that I have ever read. That number of the WATCH TOWER alone is worth the year's subscription.
MY DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:—I have been studying The Plan of the Ages, and desire to say that I am fully with you, heart and head. I know these things are true. The dear Lord is blessing me with the light of truth. Oh, how I rejoice to be thus favored of the dear, loving Master. I cannot keep it. I desire to let these truths go unto others; for I know many are hungering for relief from sectarian thralldom, and would love to be planted on the Rock rather than on shifting sand.
DEAR BROTHER:—I have given up all for the Master's work, and I am all alone. I have had to stand as a witness against the entire city. For the last week my stand was taken in accordance with our Master's teachings as shown me through the WATCH TOWER. I did not force my views on any one, but, when it became necessary, I withstood the entire town. They threatened to boycott me, and many of them have done so; but the Master has quadrupled my business in spite of their opposition. What difference to me how many are against me, when he is for me. The only thing that troubles me is that I cannot do more for him.
I have placed the DAWN before almost every one in this city. Dear brother, pray for me, that I may stand fast and that he may open a way of usefulness for me. It is a great honor to be able to work for our Master. Yours in his love,
DEAR SIR:—Received of your Colporteur MILLENNIAL DAWN, VOL. I., which has been carefully read. Never was a book read with more interest and never was such a flood of light let in by so few pages. I am glad to congratulate you on having, by God's grace, discovered the truth. J. O. HEATER.
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.
MY DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:—It is to me a great pleasure to inform you that the Lord, the Keeper of Israel, brought me back home safely, and that I found all my family well. On Saturday the 19th inst., I was, by the grace of God, able again to bear the name of our precious Lord Jesus before a multitude of Jews, who were very glad to see me again among them at our meeting-house. Blessed be God, which hath not turned away his mercy from me.
I feel very much obliged to you and dear Sister Russell for the Christian love and kindness shown to me by you both during the two days of my stay with you at your house. I am thankful to the Lord for that pleasure, which I never thought to obtain. I believe that our sudden meeting and talking about the Kingdom and the harvest truth shall have a good reward for us both. (Prov. 24:14.) Now, just after all what the Lord gave me to see, to hear and to comprehend in your country, I am holding my peace, to wit, whether the Lord had made my journey prosperous or not; but I can tell you, that the best place of America, and the time when my lungs breathed good fresh Christian air, was the two days of my stay in Allegheny. There I was surrounded by good earnest men, who are happy indeed in their blessed hope to sit down soon with Abraham and Isaac and Jacob in the Kingdom of Heaven. There I was strengthened about the hope of the promise made of God unto our fathers, the hope of Israel, much more than in other places. Oh! Our Father which art in heaven, thy Kingdom come. Amen.
John is preparing an answer to your kind letter to him. I, jointly with my wife and children, send to yourself and to your dear wife our Christian love and best wishes. We are every evening praying for you both, that the Lord may preserve you for a long time to serve for his Kingdom and glory.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:—I arrived in Liverpool on the 4th inst. Had a pleasant voyage; no trouble with seasickness. On the steamer, I formed a little Bible class, and succeeded in stirring up quite an interest on the line of present truth. Sold some DAWNS, and gave out tracts.
When I arrived in Liverpool I found a place for baggage and lodging. In the afternoon called to see a sister and two brethren who seem very noble and zealous for the truth. They each pray earnestly and constantly for you and Sister Russell (and all saints), and have been praying for my coming and the success of the work here. Yesterday noon, I came out to a town of about 30,000 population, and in a day and a half I have taken orders for fifty volumes. Will not say much of the general prospects yet, as I do not know very much but will write you more fully, later. Hope to get Sister G__________started the first of next week.
There is now a great railway system in the course of construction, which will girdle the Holy Land from one end to the other. A French company has secured a concession for a line from Beyrout to Damascus, and has already commenced work on a narrow-gauge road. An English syndicate is now building a railway from Haifa to Damascus, which will be about 140 miles long. The road will border on the southern shore of Galilee, and almost without a curve along the famous wheat region, biblically known as the plains of Bashan. This road will undoubtedly prove of the greatest interest to Syria in an agricultural and commercial way, finding a means for placing upon the eastern market the rich products in which that section abounds. —Selected.r1588 VOL. XIV. OCTOBER 15, 1893. NO. 20.
r1589 THE TRUE FOLD NOT A PEN.
r1589 A QUESTION CONCERNING THE RANSOM.
r1590 OPINIONS OF BAPTISTS NOT BAPTIST DOCTRINES.
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.
IV. QUAR., LESSON VI., NOV. 5, 1 COR. 15:12-26.
Golden Text—"Thanks be to God, who giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ."—1 Cor. 15:57.
VERSES 12-19 call attention to the great importance of the doctrine of the resurrection, presenting it as the twin of the other great doctrine which the Apostle set forth "first of all" (verse 3)—"how that Christ DIED for our sins according to the Scriptures," to which fundamental doctrine it stands related as effect to cause. So important is this doctrine in the estimation of the inspired Apostle, that he emphatically declares that, if it be not true, then there is no hope for any man beyond the present life; the preaching of the gospel is in vain, and those who preach it are false witnesses; the death of Christ was for naught; the faith of Christians is vain, and their hope delusive; and their life of sacrifice, in view of the resurrection and its rewards, merely robs them of what little enjoyment and advantage they might gain in the present life, which is all they would ever have; and those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished. Such indeed is our sad plight if there be no resurrection. If this, which Christ died to secure, is not guaranteed to us, to be realized in due time, we are yet in our sins and under the death penalty without a ray of hope. And more: if there be no resurrection, although the price was paid to secure it, then God is not fulfilling his part of the contract.
While verses 12-19 declare the great importance of this twin doctrine of the ransom—the resurrection—verses 20-26 emphasize its truthfulness. The resurrection of Christ, attested by many infallible proofs (verses 5-8; Acts 1:3), is the guarantee that all those whom he redeemed by his precious blood shall have not only an awakening from death, but an opportunity to attain a complete resurrection to all the blessings and favors lost in the fall. That was the assurance which God gave to all men (Acts 17:31) that the ransom for the sins of the whole world given at Calvary was acceptable, a full satisfaction of the claims of Justice against our race, so that now he can be just, and the justifier of all that believe in Jesus.—Rom. 3:26.
In verse 20 let Christians observe what the various creeds of Christendom ignore, and what is in direct antagonism to their teachings, viz., that the risen Christ was "the first-fruits of them that slept"—that he was the first one to experience a resurrection in the full sense of the term, viz., to perfection and everlasting life. True, some before him were temporarily awakened, again to relapse into death; for example, Lazarus, Jairus' daughter, the son of the widow of Nain, the Shunammite's son, etc., but those were only partial illustrations of resurrection, to assure men of the divine power to fully accomplish it in due time—in the day which God has appointed. (Acts 17:31.) Now mark the logic of this fact: If Christ was the first one resurrected, none were resurrected before him; and if, as shown in the preceding verses, those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished, except they be restored to life by a resurrection; and if those who die in Christ, "sleep in Jesus," until Christ's second coming, it is plain that none of them went to heaven when they died. They were dead, they slept in Jesus, they rested in hope, they were destroyed, and must remain so until the time appointed for their resurrection—at the second advent of Christ when "all those that sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. (1 Thes. 4:14.) David hath not ascended into the heavens (Acts 2:34); Daniel must wait, and he shall stand in his lot at the end of the days (Dan. 12:13); Abraham must wait his time for the possession of the promised land of which he never yet owned so much as to set his foot upon (Acts 7:5); Job must tarry until the wrath of this evil day is overpast (Job 14:12-15,21); Stephen must wait the realization of his dying vision (Acts 7:56); and Paul, and with him all those that love the Lord's appearing, must wait the fulness of time when the reward of their faithfulness will be due.—2 Tim. 4:8.
All this Scripture teaching is in perfect accord; but it is in irreconcilable conflict with the current theology of so-called Christendom, [R1591 : page 317] in whose theories there is no place whatever for the doctrine of the resurrection, logically considered. If a man goes to heaven when he dies, and is glad to shuffle off this mortal coil which some call his prison, although he loves and cherishes it and stays in it as long as possible, why, in the name of reason, should he hope for a reunion with his body? The whole position is illogical, unscriptural and untenable.
VERSE 21 antagonizes the current theology with equal force. It declares that since by man came death, by man—the man Christ Jesus, who gave himself a ransom for all—came also the resurrection of the dead. Current theology says that our redemption is secured by the sacrifice of a God, not a man; but the Scriptures are very explicit in pointing out an exact equivalent, a human substitute for the human head of our race, whose redemption secures the redemption of his posterity, on precisely the same principle that his fall and condemnation entailed sin and death upon us. It was the man Christ Jesus, who, after he had left the glory of his previous spiritual existence and was made in the likeness of sinful flesh, said, "a body hast thou prepared me for the suffering of death," that accomplished our redemption by the sacrifice of himself—his [R1592 : page 317] flesh, his humanity, and that in consequence of that sacrifice has been highly exalted, even to the divine nature—"Wherefore, God also hath highly exalted him and given him a name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven and things in earth, and things under the earth."—Phil. 2:8-11.
It was after the resurrection that he said, "All power in heaven and in earth is given unto me." And if this exaltation and power were granted to him as a reward for his sacrifice, then it is manifest that, however rich he was in spiritual glory and power before he became a man, he was still more bountifully endowed at his resurrection, after he had sacrificed his humanity, being made a partaker of the divine nature and the express image of his Father's person. (Heb. 1:3.) When the man Christ Jesus gave "his flesh [his humanity] for the life of the world" (John 6:51), he gave it up never to take it again; for it was the price paid for our redemption. And consequently, when he was raised again, his existence was in a new nature, that thus our benefits might not be interfered with, and also that the abundant power of the divine nature given unto him might be exercised in actually reclaiming from the thraldom of sin and death those whom he had legally rescued by his death.
VERSES 22,23 show that all who are Christ's—by faith in his sacrifice—are to receive the benefits of his death in full resurrection to the perfection and lasting life forfeited in Eden. The order of resurrection is to be Christ the firstfruits, which includes not only Christ Jesus, the head and high-priest of our profession, but also all the members of his body—"Blessed and holy are all they that have part in the first resurrection." Then, after the resurrection of this glorious body, follows the resurrection of all that are his at [during] his [Christ's] presence"—Greek parousia, presence, not coming.
The time of his presence is the entire thousand years of his reign. During that period all that are in their graves [good and bad, the just and the unjust] shall hear his voice and shall come forth: they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life, and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of judgment"—Greek krisis, judgment, not damnation. (John 5:28,29.) The former class enter immediately upon their reward of full resurrection—human perfection, while the latter class awake to a judgment, or trial for everlasting life, which it will be their privilege to gain if they become Christ's by fully submitting themselves to his discipline and control. Otherwise their trial will be cut short at a hundred years and they will die the second death, from which there is no recovery. (Isa. 65:20.) None out of Christ will be made alive, fully resurrected, though all experience the awakening from death, which is the first step in the process of resurrection, and a trial to prove their worthiness or unworthiness of the fulness of resurrection, which is actual perfection and everlasting life. "He that hath the Son hath life, and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life." (1 John 5:12.) "He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life, and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abideth on him."—John 3:36.
VERSES 24,25 assure us of the victory of Christ, and in what that victory will consist—that it will consist in the complete subjection of every opposing power and authority, [R1592 : page 318] and in the putting of all the enemies of this, his purpose, under his feet, whether those enemies be evil conditions, principles, powers or individuals. He will banish all evil conditions by permitting first a great time of trouble (Dan. 12:1), and then by causing conditions of righteousness and peace to supplant them. He will forever banish the evil principles by flooding the world with his light and truth and by effectually renewing a right spirit in the hearts of all the willing and obedient. He will completely overcome every opposing power by the exercise of his own almighty power for their complete and final overthrow. And he will put down every opposing individual by cutting him off in the second death, from which there shall be no recovery.
"He must reign till he hath put all enemies under his feet;" and the limited time of that reign is a thousand years (Rev. 20:6-10), at the expiration of which time all opposing individuals, and the devil who deceived and led them, are to be cast into the lake of fire, which is the second death. (Rev. 20:7-15.) The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death—not the second death into which the opposers have been cast, else the language would be contradictory, but the Adamic death, which Christ came to destroy by liberating all its subjects, which, to fully accomplish, will require all of his Millennial reign.
In these "perilous times," when popular religion is pointing, in a great Religious Congress, to its many ways into fellowship with God, how thankful I am, and we all can be, that God has been pleased to reveal his Son to us, and that we know him as "the way, the truth and the life;" the "only name given among men whereby we must be saved." Appreciating that all men attain their present measure of life through procreation from Adam, we also appreciate that re-generation is only in, or through Christ; and every man in his own order. "Their rock is not our Rock, even our enemies [opposers] themselves being judges." And we know, too, that our building, built upon our Rock—Christ Jesus—shall stand in the present storm.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:—I am going to write a few lines, for I know you will be glad to learn how the work is progressing here. I started last week, after taking some lessons from Brother Rogers. I have adopted his method entirely, and think it is so good. Last week I took orders for one hundred and twenty-three DAWNS, and this week for eighty-nine, though not able to work full time.
I do enjoy the work so much, and have been wonderfully blessed in finding many interested ones. I must tell you of one family especially, who had read first volume of DAWN, and said they found it a feast of fat things. We had such a good talk—the lady and her husband and brother—and they were so thankful for my being led to them. They asked if we could have prayer before I left them; and they thanked God for sending his truth to them. They gave me an order for a full set, and I went forth rejoicing to have found some wheat. Two or three others I feel are going to appreciate the truth dearly. I can hardly keep from singing on the street: the "half was never told." Pray for me, dear brother, that I may be faithful, and able to continue in this glorious harvest work. At present I am working in a Jewish part of the city, so you may know I see mostly Jews; but I search out those who will listen.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:—I address you to let you know that I am still walking in the light. I have to report the truth growing here, and quite a number taking a stand for it. Although the "blind guides" are on the alert to hinder growth in grace [page 319] and knowledge, I notice that those of their flocks that are heartily seeking after righteousness and truth generally get filled. The truth is having a wonderful influence over us here, and some of us are still striving to shape our affairs in order to spend and be spent more fully in the service of our blessed Master. As you know, I thought that my expectations would be realized long ere this, but I believe the word that "all things work together for good to them that love God, to the called according to his purpose," and I am content to wait till the Lord shall open up the way. If I can not just now enter the general field, there is no cause for idleness; for I, together with them of like precious faith in this place, can grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
We meet every Sunday for study and to talk over these good things, and I am sure that every meeting brings us into more heart union and oneness in Christ. We desire your prayers that we may be found faithful. Yours in Christ,
It seems that I have stirred up a little interest in the DAWN, as well as some opposition. I was much encouraged Saturday evening when a young man called at my room and told me that his mother had concluded to take the book. Before breakfast on Sunday morning I took a walk, and a lady on the opposite side of the street beckoned for me to come over, and told me she had concluded to take the book. About nine o'clock I went to the Post Office, where a gentleman asked me how I was succeeding, and said he had told his wife about the book, and she wanted it. I noticed in Wednesday's paper an advertisement: "Wanted.—Agent of MILLENNIAL DAWN to call at__________soon as possible." As a result I sold two sets in cloth binding.
I think our success as colporteurs depends largely on the spirit we manifest in presenting the book to the people. First we should be careful that our hearts are full of love for the truth, and then we should manifest a very earnest zeal in presenting it—in a quiet way avoiding all strife or combativeness, yet not refraining to speak against error when it is brought up. And I find that it is very important to impress upon their minds the fact that it is meat in due season; that we are living in the "time of the end;" when increase of light is specially due and important; that we are in the "last days" spoken of in the Word, when men are lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God; that wicked men are waxing worse and worse; that many are now becoming skeptics or being led into delusions such as Evolution, Christian Science, Spiritualism, etc., all of which deny the Ransom, the only foundation for salvation; and that the MILLENNIAL DAWN presents the truth so harmoniously and clearly that it ought to be in every family.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:—Just a word to say we arrived back at our corner of the harvest field safe and well from the Convention. We have only begun to digest the many good things we heard while at the meeting, but truly it was good to be there and to meet so many of like precious faith. I hope and trust we shall still be kept humble and faithful, and be allowed to labor for the Master and his truth. I expect to begin the colporteuring again very soon. Find enclosed an order which kindly have filled. With much love to all, yours in Him, W. J. WEBB.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:—You will please find enclosed One Dollar for renewal of WATCH TOWER subscription. I want to tell you for your encouragement and joy something of the good accomplished by the circulation of DAWN and TOWER in this place. A little company of eight believers meet as they have opportunity, to fellowship together in the precious truth now due to be understood. It is a source of joy to us all to realize as we do the nearness of the consummation of our joy. We thank God for using you as an instrument for the opening up of present truth, and we earnestly hope and pray he will keep you always right for service, "to the praise of his glory." I might add that much opposition is manifesting itself, especially from the religious teachers. One of the Methodist [page 320] ministers preached a special sermon against DAWN, in the course of which he said Christ would never come to earth again; and that Christ's coming means the removal of every Christian at death. One sect had a good-sized circular printed, and distributed it broadcast at the market and over the city.
DEAR BROTHER:—During the past week I have taken orders for nearly one hundred DAWNS. Would succeed much better, but for hard times; but I am thankful that I have done so well. I have met a few quite sincere people here, and gave a talk from the Chart of the Ages to a small number at the hotel. It was quite well received. Pray for me. In love, A. C. WISE.
Have been studying the truth, "through the light of MILLENNIAL DAWN" series and WATCH TOWER, for five years, and am as thoroughly convinced of the correctness of the views therein presented, as I am of the present wretched and undone condition of the world.
MY DEAR BROTHER:—Yours of recent date duly received, and again I thank you for your kindness in writing me. I have done more thinking on these matters since I read the TOWER, than ever in my life, and think with better understanding.
I like the Diaglott, which was duly received, very much, and think it will be a great help. I enjoy the TOWER also. Think perhaps my great difficulty is to let go of self and trust Christ more. Am sure I want to live pleasing to him; but the flesh seems to be weak. I do indeed feel that there is great indifference and carelessness in the nominal church, and apparently more zeal for keeping the form than the spirit, and have been somewhat inclined that way myself; not that I so wished, but it seems to be the natural tendency of the church now.
It brings more clearly to my mind how God reads our inmost souls. If that power works between man and man, it is but a little indication of the power of Him who knoweth all. I should be glad if you would write on this subject in the TOWER.
REPLY. I am glad that you can say that you desire to be consecrated to God; for (with those who are accepting the Lord Jesus as their Redeemer) the desire, the will, is acceptable to God. What remains, then, for you to do is to make a definite contract with God: in the same way that you would complete a business contract. If you had a deed or agreement before you, and a strong desire to sign it, the desire would result in action. Without the desire to sign it, the document would be of no value;—the desire and the action are both necessary to complete it. So in your covenant with God: you have the desire; now take upon you its obligations; tell him of your desire and of your intention, by his grace, of carrying it out, and ask him to accept you and to direct you in such a course as will be pleasing to himself. Thus, having given yourself away, and having no will of your own, save as you have taken his for yours, you may have confidence of his acceptance and that he will perform his part of the covenant. "Faithful is he who has called you, who also will do it."
About mind-reading: I think the achievements of mind readers are of great interest to us, as illustrating the possibilities of a perfect human being. Lightning calculators, snake charmers, horse tamers, mind readers, musical geniuses, etc., are all freaks of nature which permit us to see powers, all of which belong to the perfect man. I would not be surprised if, after the new age has been opened and the capabilities of mankind have become exercised, people could communicate with each other without speech, just as dogs and others of the lower animals now do; though each person will also possess the power of resistance and be able to secrete his thoughts if he choose.—EDITOR.