r73 Consecrating the Priests.
r73 A Plain Way of Stating It.
r74 THE SCULPTOR.
r74 Province of Faith.
r75 The Cross of Christ.
r76 The Wedding Garment.
r76 The Song of Moses and the Lamb.
r77 What is Perfect Love.
r77 The Gospel in the Light of Human
r78 The Great Salvation.
Make straight paths for your feet, lest
that which is lame be turned out of the
way: but let it rather be healed."—
Such is the command of the apostle; but there is evidently a careless disregard of it among many of the professed Christians of to-day, as is shown by their lives and testimony. When we see those who profess to be followers of Jesus joining in the world's pleasures, and clad in the world's garments, we are led to believe that they have little care as to the paths they are making, and whether younger Christians coming after them will be turned out of the way, or established in the way, by their example. 'Tis true they are often heard to confess their sinfulness—their wanderings and short-comings; but seldom are they heard to warn others of the dangers that lurk by the way. They are never heard to tell the new-born soul to beware; that they should not love the world, but should come out, and be forever separate from it—from its sinful fashions and pleasures. No, we do not hear this; but we do hear these worldly-conformed professors ridiculing the very idea of plain dress for Christians; and with all their might do they uphold church fairs, festivals, parties, etc., laughing to scorn any who desire to lift their voices against them. Thus the crooked paths are being made, and scores of precious souls are being turned out of the way by those who should be "lights in the world."
Take the evil of fashionable dress—that great and deadly evil, which is so fatal to spiritual life, and which is a ruling passion, and especially the besetting sin of the female heart. Oh, for a voice like a trumpet, to sound forth words of warning to my sisters in the churches. Are we adorned with the "modest apparel which becometh women professing godliness?" Let us look well to the paths we are making in this matter. It is so easy for some new-born soul to be turned out of the way by our examples. Some weak one who has just begun to look to us to see what we do, and how we dress.—Banner of Holiness.
It is only since his divine form has arisen before my soul, that I have learned to know the true condition of man. Formerly, by comparing myself with what was small, I appeared great in my own eyes; but since I have compared myself with him, how insignificant have I become. When we hear a man whom we feel to be truthful and humble speaking great things of himself, it has a humiliating effect upon us. And when the Savior utters such words as, "I do always those things that please him" and I do believe it to be in very truth that he utters this—I then become conscious of what man, who is created in the image of God, ought to be.
When I see how, in all things, he sought not his own glory, but that of his heavenly Father, I am ashamed of my ambition; when I see how he came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, I am ashamed of my pride; when I see how he took the cup which his Father gave him and drank it, I am ashamed of my disobedience; when I see how he bore the contradiction of sinners against himself, and when he was reviled, reviled not again, I am ashamed of my impatience and my passion. Nothing has so subduing an influence as my Savior's example.—A. Tholuck.
The news of Bro. Storrs death (Dec. 28th, 1879,) reached us too late for insertion in last issue. As then stated our brother had just entered his 84th year and was quite ill. He was we believe a "faithful servant," and will soon "enter into the joys of our Lord." We mourn the loss of a friend and brother in Christ yet, "not as those who have no hope." The great Deliverer, is at hand and assures us "I have the keys, of death and Hades."
"There are three that bear record in Heaven; the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost; and these three are one."—1 John 5:7.
In Lange's Critical Commentary, in reference to this passage we read: Said words are wanting in ALL THE GREEK CODICES; also in the CODEX SINAITICUS [the oldest existing MSS] AND IN ALL THE ANCIENT VERSIONS, INCLUDING THE LATIN, as late as the 8th century; and since that time they are found in three variations. Notwithstanding the Trinitarian controversies they are NOT REFERRED TO BY A SINGLE GREEK FATHER OR BY ANY OF THE OLD LATIN CHURCH FATHERS.
In Hudson's Greek and English concordance we read: "The words are found in no Greek MSS. before the 15th or 16th century, and in no early version, unless, says Alford, pure caprice is to be followed in the criticism of the sacred text; there is not a shadow of reason for supposing them genuine. Tischendorf says, that this spurious addition should continue to be published as a part of the epistle, I regard as an impiety, etc.; and President T. B. Woolsey: "Do not truth and honesty require that such a passage should be struck out of our English Bibles; a passage which Luther would not express in his translation, and which did not creep into the German Bible until nearly fifty years after his death?"
Dr. Adam Clarke, the learned Methodist commentator, in his notes on this passage, says: "It is likely this verse is not genuine. It is wanting in every MS. of this epistle written before the invention of printing, one excepted—condex motfortii, in Trinity College, Dublin; the others which omit this verse amount to one hundred and twelve. It is wanting in both the Syriac, all the Arabic, Ethiopic, the Coptic, Sahidic, Armenian, Slavonian, etc.; in a word, in all the ancient versions but the Vulgate; and even of this version many of the most ancient and correct MSS. have it not. It is wanting, also, in all the ancient Greek Fathers; and in most even of the Latin....To make the whole more clear, that every reader may see what has been added, I shall set down these verses, with the inserted words in brackets:
"6. And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth. 7. For there are three that bore record [in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost, and these three are one. 8. And there are three that bear witness on earth.] the Spirit, and the water, and the blood, and these three agree in one. 9. If we receive the witness of men, the witness of God is greater," etc. Any man may see on examining the words that if those included in brackets, which are wanting in the MSS., and versions be omitted, there is no want of connection; and as to the sense, it is complete and perfect without them, and, indeed, much more so than with them. I shall conclude this part of the note with observing, with Dr. Dodd, "That there are some intervals and accidental remarks which may render the passage suspected, for the sentence is complete, and the sense more clear and better preserved without it. Besides, the Spirit is mentioned, both as a witness in heaven and on earth; so that the six witnesses are thereby reduced to five, and the equality in number or antithesis between the witnesses in heaven and on earth is quite taken away. Besides, what need of witnesses in heaven? No one there doubts that Jesus is the Messiah, and if it be said that Father, Son, and Spirit are witnesses on earth, then there are five witnesses on earth, and none in heaven; not to say that there is a little difficulty in interpreting how the Word or the Son can be a witness to him.
Christians are in the habit of looking at "the law" as a great enemy. Why? Because it does not countenance the least sin. It says, "walk before me and be thou perfect." Is that not right—could a perfect God recognize or make a law in any way imperfect? Surely not. The reason men count the law their enemy is that all have sinned, and ever since the disobedience of Adam they have been in the condition known as "sinful flesh." Prior to sin's entrance, the law was Adam's friend, and justified him; but the condition of death obtained after "sin had entered," and man in this fallen condition of death finds it utterly impossible to so live and act in harmony with his maker, that God's perfect law would not condemn him. And since all are sinners, of course none but a defective law could recognize such persons as perfect. The law of God has condemned all, and every one who has reasoning faculties seems to recognize that he is not perfect.
God has always had a law; even before the giving of it in full form to mankind at Mt. Sinai. (Exod. 20.) And since He always has been perfect, His laws always have been perfect and condemned and opposed even the slightest sin. Abel, Noah, Abraham and all the patriarchs recognized the fact that they were sinners when they made altars and sacrificed thereon, before attempting to hold communion. Thus they acknowledged themselves sinners and unable of themselves to approach God. How different from the way Adam and God walked and talked in the Garden! No sacrifices or offerings for sin were there needed, for Adam was justified by God's law. Thus we see that what the patriarchs knew of God's law condemned them. The giving of the full law from Sinai did not take away man's sin. No, it only showed it the more fully. Did the keeping of it ever justify any of them? No; "By the deeds of the law shall no flesh be justified in His (God's) sight." Was the fault in the law, or in the people? "The law is holy," and God's commandments holy and just and good." (Rom. 7:12.) Since, then, the law did not justify them, it must have condemned them, even as it had condemned the patriarchs. Not any more really (for there is only one penalty—death) but more loudly. They were no more sinners than the patriarchs and others who had not had the full law given them, but they were shown their condition as sinners more clearly. Why? That they might see their own fallen and imperfect condition and learn the exceeding sinfulness of SIN. (Vs. 13.)
We have seen that God always has had a perfect law which condemned every sin in every being, and how it was shown in different degrees to the patriarchs and Israel, yet that the effect was the same—condemnation—only more fully realized by those who saw the law most clearly. Now, how about the great heathen world? Surely a righteous law could not say: The heathen are RIGHTEOUS; unless they live in harmony with God. And if you thought they were living in harmony with God you would not send missionaries to them. No. Then they, too, are condemned by God's law. And as Paul says: "These that have not the law" (the full written law as given to Israel) "show the work of the law written in their hearts," a spark of that principle if justice and knowledge of right and wrong which must have been an important part of the natural organization of the first perfect man, Adam; a spark merely, not quite extinguished by the degrading effects of sin. And what did this spark of conscience do for them? It sometimes justified, and sometimes condemned. But if their spark of conscience condemned them only ONCE during their lifetime, it showed that they were imperfect.
Now, "all unrighteousness is sin," and "sin is the transgression of the law," and "the wages of sin is death." So we see that the only voice of the law of God to any who hear it, is: You cannot live. "All have sinned and come short of the glory of God." Therefore must "every mouth be stopped and all the world become guilty before God." (Rom. 3:9.)
There lay the whole human family dead and dying through sin, the law hanging up before them, they admit, is grand, "just" and "holy." They were told that "The man that doeth these things shall live." (Rom. 10:5. Gal. 3:12.) But O, they could not do them. Some tried hard, as Paul describes, Rom. 7:14-24. When with their minds they resolved to "do those things and live," they found sin in their members hindering and preventing. When the striving ones found they could not deliver themselves from death, they exclaimed: "Wretched man that I am, who will deliver me from this body of death?" (Diaglott) or, from the sin and death which has gotten possession of my body. When he so cries out, he has reached the place God wanted to bring him to, i.e., to realize that he can NEVER deliver himself from death and sin. But some one asks: If he dies does not the act of dying fill all the requirements of the law, and could he not, after thus dying, be raised up by God? No, you err in supposing that the act of dying is the penalty. Man has been dying ever since sin entered the world, but the penalty will not be entirely inflicted until all are dead. But when will the law of God release the sinner from the bondage of death? Never; if he could not obey the law while partially dead he certainly cannot when completely so. Ever since the "fall" from perfect manhood through sin, man has been in a dying condition, sometimes spoken of as already dead (see Matt. 8:22.) And none but a perfect man could keep a perfect law. But, says one, did not God send his Son into the world to show us how we could work our way up to spiritual life—appearing among us on the lowest round of the ladder, did He not point out to us the way; he being thus "our forerunner?"
This view in many respects is held by a great many, mostly "Unitarians" and "Universalists" and like many other views has a mixture of truth in it; but as a whole is far from being "the truth" on this subject. Jesus did indeed "lay aside the glory which he had with the Father, before the world;" He did appear to "set us an example that we should follow in his footsteps" and to be "our forerunner," but more, he is also our "Redeemer" from the curse of the Law—the curse of the law upon us as sinners is death. How did he redeem us from death? To redeem us to purchase back. He therefore is said to have "bought us with his own precious blood." Blood represents life—"The life of the flesh is in the blood" (Lev. 17:11) therefore shed blood represents death or sacrificed life. "He gave his life," "He shed his blood;" "He tasted death;" all have the same meaning. But how could his life purchase or redeem or buy ours? He as a man, was a perfect man, kept the perfect law perfectly; therefore the same law which was the sinners enemy condemning us to death, was his friend and guaranteed to him life. But was he not born into the world under condemnation of death, as much as any other son of Adam? No, he was not the son of Adam, but a direct creation of God—"made in the likeness of sinful flesh," but "in him was no sin." If he had done sin or been born a sinner, his life would have been forfeited as was the first Adam's and ours. If a sinner he would be obliged to die for himself and consequently would have nothing to give as a ransom for ours. But he was perfect, kept the law, had a right to perfect natural life forever; "But for the joy set before him," by the promise of the Father to raise him from the dead a spiritual body, he renounced the natural life and gave it for our ransom.
But when he arose from death, was not that a taking back of the price? It would, if he had taken back the same life (perfect-natural) which he laid down; but he did not take back the natural; he was quickened by the Spirit—"made a quickening spirit," raised a spiritual body." There is a natural body and there is a spiritual body.
Thus "by his precious (valuable) blood" (life), we were "redeemed from the curse of the law"—death. To what kind of life were we redeemed? The same which man had before death (the curse) came; the same kind that he gave for us, i.e., perfect natural life. But we are promised spiritual life, and that we shall be made like unto Christ's glorious body? Yes; it is a part of God's offer to us (during the Gospel age), that if we die to earthly and fleshly—natural—life, we may be reckoned as "members of his body," and partake of the same kind of life as our Head. In this arrangement, we are reckoned as being (with all the rest of mankind) justified to the perfect natural life first, else we could not give our lives; but being justified to life, Jesus says to us, you can either have this natural life, or, if you will renounce this natural, as I did, and become dead to the world, you shall have instead, the spiritual life and body. "If we be dead with Christ, we shall live with him." Rom. 6:4-8. It is a faithful saying: "For if we be dead with him, we shall also live with him; if we suffer, we shall also reign with him." 2 Tim. 2:11. "Ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings." 1 Pet. 4:13. "Joint heirs with Christ, if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together." Rom. 8:17.
And it is because God thus waits until the elect number, the bride, the body, the Church, has "filled up the measure of the sufferings of Christ, which are behind," that the times of "restitution of all things," purchased for the world by the blood of Christ, are delayed and yet future. The Head suffered and died 1800 years ago; but all of the suffering and death of the body are not yet completed. Not noticing this, has caused wonder on the part of almost all, that the benefits and results of the ransom have not sooner come. (See type, "Scape Goat," etc., in next Number.)
But would it be right for God to reckon the one righteous life given, as a full payment for the lives of the millions of sinners who have died? Does not the price—one, for a billion or more—seem like a short payment? This is a reasonable question, and we will allow Paul to give it a reasonable answer. He is a logical reasoner, as well as an inspired Apostle, and argues that, as God had seen proper to condemn all men to death on account of Adam's disobedience, so he had a right to reckon the second Adam a representative man, and justify to life all the race, in return for the sacrifice of this one perfect life.
"For as by one man's disobedience many were made sinners, so by the obedience of one shall many be made righteous." "Therefore as by the offense of one, judgment came upon all men to condemnation," (condemned to suffer the penalty of sin—death,) "even so by the righteousness of one, the free gift came upon all men unto justification to life." (Remember that we do not now enjoy life; our condition is a dying one.) "Dying thou shalt die" was the penalty pronounced on Adam (margin). The condition of perfect life as it was enjoyed before death came, is what all men are justified to, by the obedience of "Jesus Christ who, by the grace of God, tasted death for every man."
"For as in Adam (or by Adam's sin) all die, so "in Christ (or by Christ's obedience, etc.) shall all be made alive. As the first Adam's bride was a party to the sin, so we see the second Adam's bride is made a party with her Lord in the removing of the curse. Oh glorious plan, of our all wise and loving Father, and "the exceeding riches of his grace toward us, in Christ Jesus."
But says one, I thought that Jesus had nullified, set aside and destroyed the law; and that therefore mankind could approach God. Oh no, that was a great mistake. Would it not be strange indeed if the Father made a law, which we have seen was "just" and "holy" and in fact the only one he could give because he could not make an imperfect law; would it seem proper even to think of Jesus as setting aside and destroying that "just" and "holy" law, or in any way making a league with sin or sinners? No, no. He came to do the Father's will and the law was the record of it. He kept it himself and taught the true meaning of it to be higher than the letter, and that to be "angry with a brother without a cause" was to violate the command "Thou shalt not kill." No, says Paul: "Christ magnified the law (made it larger and more minute) and made it honorable," showed in fact that, that law could not be set aside nor broken.
But we read, "Christ is the end of the law." What can that mean? The trouble is you have not quoted the connections. The text reads: "For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth." (Rom. 10:5.) To whom is he this? To the believers—the members of his body. How? Righteously, not by breaking it, but by righteously fulfilling its requirements (and we in Him are just before the law.) Another similar text reads: "There is therefore" (because we in Him are reckoned dead to the world and alive toward God through Him—our new life) "now no condemnation to them which are IN Christ Jesus." Why are those in Christ not condemned? Because, since coming into Him by faith they have received of His spirit, and with Him can say "I delight to do thy will O, my God: yea, thy law is within my heart." (Ps. 11:8.) They are then alive spiritually though yet living in the dead body of sinful flesh which they are opposed to, and which by the holy spirit given they are enabled to "crucify," etc. These walk not after the flesh, but after the spirit, and to all so walking in Christ there is no condemnation from the law. And we may add none can so live and walk except they have recognized their ransom, come into Christ and received of His spirit.
And in the glorious millennial age, when all shall know God from least to greatest, when "The knowledge of the Lord shall fill the whole earth;"—"The times of restitution"—there will be the same "holy and just" law, and under the "Royal Priesthood" after the order of Melchisedec (the order of an endless life,) poor fallen humanity will be helped back again to that perfect condition from whence Adam fell; a condition in harmony with God's law, and therefore in harmony with God.
But will they receive no punishment for misdeeds of the present life? They will receive punishment, "stripes, etc.," in proportion as they had light and lived contrary to it. As our Master explained: "It shall be more tolerable for Sodom, etc.," in the day of judgment (in the age of trial) than for the Jews, to whom He spoke, because the Sodomites had less light. (Matt. 2:24.) There will be many or few "stripes," in proportion to the amount of light they have had and the use made of it.
There will be rewards given to some during that age also; "for whosoever shall give to one of these little ones (of 'little flock') a cup of cold water, only in the name of a disciple, shall in no wise lose his reward." (Matt. 10:42.) And when the King shall sit "on the throne of his glory," (during the millennial age), some will be rewarded for having ministered to the members of His body. "Inasmuch as ye did it unto one of the least of these," (in the throne) "ye did it unto me." (Matt. 15:40.)
Announced in our last, has been delayed for the present. He has been busily engaged during the past month writing a book which will be of general interest to you all. It will be a careful exposition of our views regarding fulfilled prophecy; our hopes of present and future; as well as the scriptural evidences of the presence of the Son of Man, and that we are now in "the day of the Lord," etc.