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April 15th
ZION'S
WATCH TOWER
and
Herald of Christ's Presence

ROCK OF AGES
Other foundation can
no man lay
A RANSOM FOR ALL

"Watchman, What of the Night?"
"The Morning Cometh, and a Night also!" Isaiah 21:11

VOL. XXXVII.APRIL 1NO. 7

A.D. 1916--A.M. 6044
CONTENTS

How are We Sanctified?99
How to Enter Heavenly Race99
Sanctified Through the Truth100
Quietness in the Midst of Storms101
Affliction No Proof of God's Disfavor102
Kept in Perfect Peace102
St. Peter and Cornelius103
End of Israel's "Seventy Weeks"103
The Only True Gospel104
Judgment of Quick and Dead104
The Risen Christ105
The Scriptures Logical106
Order in the Resurrection106
The Ransom-Price and Its Application107
Interesting Items110
Strong Delusions Urge on the War110
Turkish Promises Trusted111
Interesting Letters111
Drama Turning Point of Life111
Seed Sowed in Good Ground111

I will stand upon my watch, and set my foot upon the Tower, and will watch to see what He shall say unto me, and what answer I shall make to them that oppose me. Hab. 2:1

Upon the earth distress of nations with perplexity: the sea and the waves (the restless, discontented) roaring: men's hearts failing them for fear and for looking forward to the things coming upon the earth (society): for the powers of the heavens (ecclestiasticism) shall be shaken. . . .When ye see these things come to pass, then know that the Kingdom of God is nigh at hand. Look up, lift up your heads, rejoice, for your redemption draweth nigh. -- Luke 21:25-28, 32.

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THIS JOURNAL AND ITS SACRED MISSION

THIS Journal is one of the prime factors or instruments in the system of Bible Instruction, or "Seminary Extension," now being presented in all parts of the civilized world by the WATCH TOWER BIBLE & TRACT SOCIETY, chartered A.D. 1881, "For the Promotion of Christian Knowledge." It not only serves as a class room where Bible Students may meet in the study of the divine Word, but also as a channel of communication through which they may be reached with announcements of the Society's Conventions and of the coming of its traveling representatives styled "Pilgrims," and refreshed with reports of its Conventions.

Our "Berean Lessons" are topical rehearsals or reviews of our Society's published "Studies," most entertainingly arranged, and very helpful to all who would merit the only honorary degree which the Society accords, viz., Verbi Dei Minister (V.D.M.), which translated into English is, Minister of the Divine Word. Our treatment of the International S.S. Lessons is specially for the older Bible Students and Teachers. By some this feature is considered indispensable.

This Journal stands firmly for the defence of the only true foundation of the Christian's hope now being so generally repudiated,--Redemption through the precious blood of "the man Christ Jesus who gave himself a ransom [a corresponding price, a substitute] for all." (I Pet. 1:19; I Tim. 2:6.) Building up on this sure foundation the gold, silver and precious stones (I Cor. 3:11-15; 2 Pet. 1:5-11) of the Word of God, its further mission is to--"Make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery which...has been hid in God,...to the intent that now might be made known by the Church the manifold wisdom of God"--"which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men as it is now revealed."--Eph. 3:5-9,10.

It stands free from all parties, sects and creeds of men, while it seeks more and more to bring its every utterance into fullest subjection to the will of God in Christ, as expressed in the Holy Scriptures. It is thus free to declare boldly whatsoever the Lord hath spoken;--according to the divine wisdom granted unto us, to understand. Its attitude is not dogmatical, but confident; for we know whereof we affirm, treading with implicit faith upon the sure promises of God. It is held as a trust, to be used only in his service; hence our decisions relative to what may and what may not appear in its columns must be according to our judgment of his good pleasure, the teaching of his Word, for the upbuilding of his people in grace and knowledge. And we not only invite but urge our readers to prove all its utterances by the infallible Word to which reference is constantly made, to facilitate such testing.

TO US THE SCRIPTURES CLEARLY TEACH

That the Church is "the Temple of the Living God"--peculiarly "His
workmanship;" that its construction has been in progress throughout the Gospel age--ever since Christ became the world's Redeemer and the chief corner stone of this Temple, through which, when finished, God's blessings shall come "to all people," and they find access to him.--1 Cor. 3:16,17; Eph. 2:20-22; Gen. 28:14; Gal. 3:29.
That meantime the chiseling, shaping and polishing, of consecrated believers
in Christ's atonement for sin, progresses; and when the last of these "living stones," "elect and precious," shall have been made ready, the great Master Workman will bring all together in the First Resurrection; and the Temple shall be filled with his glory, and be the meeting place between God and men throughout the Millennium.--Rev. 15:5-8.
That the Basis of Hope, for the Church and the World, lies in the fact that
"Jesus Christ, by the grace of God, tasted death for every man," "a ransom for all," and will be "the true light which lighteth every man that cometh into the world," "in due time."--Heb. 2:9; John 1:9; 1 Tim. 2:5,6.
That the Hope of the Church is that she may be like her Lord, "see him
as he is," be "partaker of the divine nature," and share his glory as his joint-heir.--1 John 3:2; John 17:24; Rom. 8:17; 2 Pet. 1:4.
That the present mission of the Church is the perfecting of the saints for
the future work of service; to develop in herself every grace; to be God's witness to the world; and to prepare to be the kings and priests of the next age.--Eph. 4:12; Matt. 24:14; Rev. 1:6; 20:6.
That the hope for the World lies in the blessings of knowledge and opportunity
to be brought to by Christ's Millennial Kingdom--the restitution of all that was lost in Adam, to all the willing and obedient, at the hands of their Redeemer and his glorified Church.--Acts 3:19-21; Isa. 35.
 
CHARLES T. RUSSELL, Editor.




MEMORIAL ANNIVERSARY APRIL 16TH

After six o'clock p.m. on the above date, thousands of Bible Students all over the world will meet to celebrate the most important event of history--the death of Jesus, the World's Redeemer.

All should properly approach the Lord's Table with clean hearts and clean hands--with consciences purged by faith in the merit of the cleansing blood. Our own best endeavors to attain purity need supplementing with our Savior's merit.

Let us remember that in partaking of the emblems of our Lord's broken body and shed blood, we not only confess Him but profess to be His followers, His imitators--laying down our lives for the brethren.

The New York City congregation will assemble at The Temple at 7:30 p.m. All trusting in the precious blood will be welcome.


When ordering books, etc., please consult November 1st WATCH TOWER for price.


TWO DUTCH BOOKLETS

We have a small quantity of small Dutch Booklets:

(1) "What Say The Scriptures Concerning Our Lord's Return--His Parousia, Epiphania and Apokalupsis?"

(2) "The Hope of Israel in The Divine Plan."

Five Cents each, postpaid.

RE VOLUNTEER MATTER

Some brethren write us that they are mailing four copies of B.S.M. to certain Voters' Lists, etc. We fear that this is wasting valuable ammunition, for Voters' Lists in many communities are not very desirable--and it would seem unwise to risk the waste of four numbers. Other dear friends have followed a similar course in their house-to-house distribution --putting several papers together. We cannot approve this method, either, dear Brethren. In our judgment there is quite enough interesting matter in each number of the B.S.M. to make one number of it sufficient for one distribution. It is for this reason that we issue Volunteer matter at intervals--and not several numbers together. We believe that those Classes which circulate the Volunteer numbers as they are issued, and one copy at a time, do the best work, as well as the most economical work. We request that all do this; we decline to send assorted lots for general distribution.

We do recommend, however, that each Class keep on hand at its central meeting place a variety of the B.S.M., so that all the members of the Class can have access to these, should special numbers be desired for special individuals. Some of the numbers are not suitable for general circulation, but very important to have for special individuals--as, for instance, numbers treating with the Seventh Day Adventist doctrine, with Christian Science, Theosophy, Higher Criticism and Evolution. Similarly, a few copies of B.S.M. in foreign languages would be appropriate.

We merely seek, dear friends, the largest amount of good as the result of our mutual endeavors to serve the King and His Truth-hungry people. We hope that our readers will see the matter as we see it. Be sure, always, of our desire to cooperate in every form of service that commends itself to us as reasonable and economical.



BETHEL HYMNS FOR MAY

After the close of the hymn the Bethel family listens to the reading of "My Vow Unto the Lord," then joins in prayer. At the breakfast table the MANNA text is considered. Hymns for May follow:

(1) 83; (2) 8; (3) 259; (4) 12; (5) 267; (6) 303; (7) 7; (8) 235; (9) 197; (10) 105; (11) 204; (12) 199; (13) 47; (14) 9; (15) 321; (16) 120; (17) 18; (18) 73; (19) 325; (20) 78; (21) 79; (22) 263; (23) 305; (24) 114; (25) 307; (26) 28; (27) 19; (28) 22; (29) 240; (30) 40; (31) 214.



All cheques, drafts, money orders, etc., should be made out to WATCH TOWER BIBLE AND TRACT SOCIETY. There are no exceptions to this rule.



[R5876 : page 99]

HOW ARE WE SANCTIFIED?

For this is the will of God, even your sanctification."--1 Thessalonians 4:3.
THE words of our text are addressed only to the saints of God, as are all the Apostolic Epistles. In respect to His people, this is God's will, His desire, His design--even their sanctification, their full setting apart from the world to Himself and His service. This is not God's will in the sense that He has determined that certain ones shall be sanctified; but it is His will that there shall be such a class; and it rests with each of the called whether or not he shall belong to this class.

God has a great work to be accomplished, and hence He has a very particular reason for the selection of such a class. If we would be of this number when completed, we must make our calling and election sure by full compliance with the terms and conditions of the call, and this even unto death. We should bear in mind that the Lord is now selecting, electing, a sanctified class for a very special position, a very special work--First, for a thousand years they are to be associated with the Lord Jesus Christ in the regeneration of the whole world, including all who have lived since the time of Adam--for their uplift from sin and death to the heights of human perfection, from which Adam fell; and then they are to reign with Christ their Head and be associated with Him in all His future work throughout eternity. This is why it is called a High Calling, a Heavenly Calling.

So the will of God referred to in this text is not the will of God concerning the world in the Ages to follow the present Age, nor is it His will concerning angels. It is His will for the Church, called to be the Bride of Christ, members of His Body. This great Call was never issued before this Age, nor will it ever be issued after its close. There can be but one Bride of Christ; and when this class shall have been completed, no addition to their number will ever be made. This Class have heard of the present grace of God offered through Christ and have accepted its terms and entered the race for the "Prize."

The Apostle in our text is practically saying, Here we are as Christians, the called of God. Now, what is the one thing God would have us do? Would He have us keep a seventh day? Would He have us abstain from eating meat? Would He have us adopt some certain forms or idiosyncrasies? No. The will of God is our sanctification. There is a certain difference between the words sanctification and consecration, though they are sometimes used almost interchangeably. The word consecrate has the thought of surrender. Consecration is a definite step, taken at a certain moment. It is the yielding up of the will and of all to God. Whoever has not thus definitely surrendered his will, himself, to the Lord, has never made a real consecration. We believe that there is no step more necessary to be seen clearly by God's professed people than this one, and none more necessary to be made [R5877 : page 99] plain to others. The word sanctification not only has in it the thought of this definite and complete consecration at the beginning, but also takes in the entire process of transformation of character and preparation for the Kingdom. It progresses throughout the Christian course until the character is fully developed and ripened, and it must then be maintained until the end of the way.

HOW TO ENTER THE HEAVENLY RACE

Many professed Christians do not see the initial step of full consecration as essential to one who would be a follower of Christ. In our conversation with people many tell us that they have been trying for years to be children of God, that they have been for years seeking to do God's will and live a holy life. We try always to get these down to the particular point: Have you begun right? Have you been trying to run the Christian race on the outside or on the inside? Then they ask us what we mean. And we tell them that the matter is like a race-course, where there is a certain prize offered, with certain definite rules and regulations. The person who is to run in the race must be entered in the regular way. The contract must be made and signed. The man must agree to all the conditions. Then he will be entered as a contestant, and must run on the prescribed track and for the goal.

Now another, who had failed to make this contract and to enter the race in the prescribed manner, might run around and around on the outside of the track. He might run as fast and as well as those on the inside. He might boastingly say, "I can beat any one running on that track!" But would he gain the prize? Assuredly not. He would be only amusing himself or wasting his breath and his strength. The real race was run on that track. He had failed to meet the prescribed conditions, and all his running would be in vain so far as gaining the prize was concerned. And so it is with one who endeavors to live a Christian life without first having carefully learned and met the conditions and terms required in order to become a real disciple of Christ, and be recognized of the Father as His child.

We believe that this is the trouble with many who call themselves Christians. Many who talk with us express good desires and all that, but we pin them right down to [R5877 : page 100] the point: "Have you made a full consecration to God?" We had a case of this kind only recently--a gentleman who has now called upon us twice. In our conversation at his last visit we said, "Well, you remember what we spoke about when you were here before." He replied that he had been praying. We then told him that he had no right to pray, that he could not properly pray until he had an Advocate with the Father; for the Father does not hear sinners. We said, "You cannot pray until you have surrendered your will to God. And all access to the Father must be through the Advocate. 'No man cometh to the Father, but by Me.' There is a definite way. It is not that you can go in your way and I in mine. All the terms of discipleship are laid down by the Lord Himself. 'If any man will be My disciple,' said the Lord Jesus, 'let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.' Unless we take this step of denying ourselves, yielding up ourselves to the Lord, we may do a variety of things-- go to Church, etc., etc., and yet not be Christians. We are not Christians until we have accepted Jesus as our Redeemer, and made a consecration to God through Christ."

TWO PARTS TO SANCTIFICATION

In one Scripture we read, "Sanctify yourselves, and I will sanctify you." This means, Set yourselves apart to God, and He will set you apart. We have a part in this work and God has a part. If we make a full consecration, God will consecrate us; He will accept us and set us apart for Himself. He gives us the indication of this acceptance in the begetting of His Holy Spirit. Such soon begin to realize that they have a new mind, a new disposition, a new heart. It is of this class that the Apostle Paul is speaking in our text. "This is the will of God" concerning you, "even your sanctification"--you who have consecrated yourselves to Him and whom He has accepted and consecrated, has set apart for His service.

The acceptance of us by the Father is only the beginning of the sanctifying work. And it is His will that this work should continue and progress in us, to its full completion. This sanctifying work should affect our minds, our hands, our eyes, our ears, our tongues--our all--that we may be fully used of the Lord. It is the will that is given up at first, and the will, of course, includes the service of our mortal body.

But this body has natural tendencies of its own. The giving up of the will means that the individual will seek to bring every thought, word and act into subjection to the will of God. It is one thing for the will to be made holy, and another thing to bring the mind and the body fully into line with this holiness of the will. The will is present with us, but how to perform is the problem. Not only are our wills to maintain this sanctified state, but we are to broaden our appreciation of the Lord's will for us, and thus have more and more of the spirit of sacrifice.

SANCTIFIED THROUGH THE TRUTH

Now what powers, what spiritual forces, are there that will aid us in this work of sanctification? Our Lord Jesus, in His last prayer to the Father before His death, prayed, "Sanctify them through Thy Truth; Thy Word is Truth." (John 17:17.) Here He gives us the key as to how this work of sanctification will proceed. The one who consecrates himself to God will not at first have a full knowledge of himself or of sin. He is only a babe at the beginning. But he is to be helped onward by the power of the revealed Word, by the Message of Truth. How will this Message sanctify? The Apostle Paul answers that thus God works in us both to will and to do His good pleasure. He gives us in His Word exceeding great and precious promises. He gives us counsel and admonition. And as these enter our heart and impress themselves upon us, through the illumination of the Holy Spirit, we are constrained to work out in ourselves the peaceable, precious fruits of righteousness and holiness.

We realize that by faithfully walking in the narrow way which our Master walked, we shall be pleasing to our God and shall receive an exceeding great reward, even joint-heirship with Christ to "an inheritance incorruptible and undefiled, that fadeth not away, reserved in Heaven for us who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation, ready to be revealed in the last time." (1 Peter 1:4,5.) Thus we see how very important is the Word of Truth in this sanctifying process, whether we receive this Truth from the reading of the Bible or from a hymn or from the STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES or however. Whatever impresses upon our hearts the Word of God and increases our measure of the Holy Spirit is a part of that which does the sanctifying work.

THE METHOD OF SANCTIFICATION

There is another text which tells us how we are to be sanctified. It declares that by God's will "we are sanctified, through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all." (Hebrews 10:10.) The Apostle's thought here is that we were not sanctified in the beginning, but "were children of wrath, even as others." We could not sanctify ourselves; and the offering of the body of Jesus Christ, the sacrifice of His untainted life for us, was the basis whereby we might become God's sanctified people. No amount of consecration could have made us the people of God unless, first of all, the foundation for this should be made in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. His sacrifice opened the way. His merit cleansed us and made us acceptable to Jehovah.

Again, we read that we are of the Elect, "through sanctification of the Spirit." (1 Peter 1:2.) When we present ourselves in consecration, we are next accepted and begotten of the Spirit. This acceptance and begetting sets us apart; it inducts us into the Body of the Anointed. The spirit of the Truth inspires us and guides us in the Heavenly way. It first showed us that we were sinners needing a Savior. Next it showed us how to present ourselves to God. And after we had taken the steps thus shown, and were accepted as sons of God, it led us on step by step into the fulness of the stature of men in Christ. Thus the Spirit, through the Word, brings about our complete sanctification.

We are told again that it is "the blood of the Covenant wherewith we are sanctified." (Hebrews 10:29.) How is this? God has made a great Covenant with the Church. It was first made with the Head of this Church, and then with those who are to constitute His Body. It is a Covenant of Sacrifice. Jehovah said, prophetically through the Psalmist, "Gather My saints [My holy ones, My sanctified ones] together unto Me; those who have made a Covenant with Me by sacrifice." (Psalm 50:5.) The way to come into this class thus called and gathered is to accept the terms laid down by Jehovah Himself. No one comes into this class except by the blood of the Covenant.

When our Lord Jesus entered into a Covenant with the Father, it was by the consecration of Himself at baptism. This consecration was carried out and finished in His death on Calvary. There the shedding of His blood --the sacrifice of His life--was finished. There was no other way to fulfil His Covenant. It was necessary that He do all this that He might enter into His own glory as well as be the Savior of the world. And we who have become His Body members must make this same Covenant with the Father. We are to drink with Him His Cup of [R5878 : page 101] suffering and death. We are to lay down our lives as He laid His down. Our blood is to be shed, our human lives are to be sacrificed, with His. There is no virtue in our blood other than it is made acceptable by the imputation of Christ's merit. But by this imputation, we, as members of His Body, share in His sacrifice. So our death is like His, a sacrificial death; and our blood is counted in as His blood. Thus by partaking in the blood of the Covenant, the blood of the sacrificial Covenant, the blood which is to seal the New Covenant, we are sanctified. This laying down of our lives is a gradual work, in its actual carrying out, as was that of our Lord's. It is the work of sanctification, progressing until its completion in death.

So it is true that we are sanctified through the Truth, which becomes illuminated to us through the Holy Spirit. The offering of the body of Jesus opened the way to this sanctification. And our Covenant of Sacrifice gives us a participation in the "blood of the Covenant," and this means our full sanctification unto death. Whoever does not share in the drinking of Christ's Cup, in His sacrificial death, will have no part in the Kingdom. The world will have a share in the eating of the Bread that came down from Heaven; but to be members of Christ's Body of sacrifice it is necessary that we also drink of His blood, and share with Him in His death. We are to be conformed unto His death that we may share in His resurrection, the First (Chief) Resurrection. The world are to have no part in the drinking of the Cup. The blood of the Covenant wherewith we (the Church) are sanctified is to seal the New Covenant for the whole world. It is not sealed as yet; for the sacrificing is not yet completed. The Law Covenant was a type of the New Covenant, soon to be inaugurated. The Law Covenant was sealed by the blood of the typical bullock and goat. So the New Covenant will be sealed by the blood of the "better sacrifices."

SPRINKLING OF BLOOD, TYPE AND ANTITYPE

This is all an unmerited favor to the goat class. As in the type, when the Law Covenant was instituted, Moses took the blood of bullocks and goats, and sprinkled first the book of the Law, thus typically satisfying God's Justice, and then sprinkled "all the people," so in the antitype, the blood of the antitypical bullock and goat sprinkle first the Law, satisfying Justice on behalf of the entire world; and then the blood sprinkles "all the people," the whole world, who are dead in Adam. This will mean the Restitution, to be gradually attained by the world in the incoming Age as the result of the Ransom-sacrifice and its application on their behalf. This will be accomplished by the Millennial Reign of The Christ, Head and Body.

It may be asked, Why were there many bullocks and goats offered in the type, when there is only one bullock and one goat in the antitype? Why the difference? We reply, There is no difference. It was merely the duplication of the bullock and goat in the type. But why? Because it required much more blood than one bullock and one goat would supply, to sprinkle all Israel. But there is no difference in the thought. It typified the work of the one bullock and the one goat in antitype.

It is a marvelous privilege to be of this Lord's goat class, the sanctified in Christ Jesus, who are to share with Him in His sufferings of the present time and then to reign with Him throughout eternal ages of glory. Let us prove to God our appreciation of this glorious calling, by faithfulness even unto death.



[R5878 : page 101]

QUIETNESS IN THE MIDST OF STORMS

"When He giveth quietness, who then can make trouble?"--Job 34:29.
ELIHU, the speaker of these words, was a young man who lived in Job's day--supposedly in the time of Abraham. He was one of the four friends of Job who called upon him in his adversity to comfort him. Being the youngest of all, he hesitated to speak as freely as did the other three friends of Job. He had heard them speak, and had discerned where they had made mistakes.

The fact that certain words are recorded in the Bible does not necessarily mean that they are inspired of God or even that they are true. We remember having in our youth a discussion with some one who finally quoted us a passage of Scripture which seemed to be in conflict with all the other Scriptures. We said, "If that is Scripture, we would like to know it." Our opponent looked it up and found that it read, "And the Devil said," so and so. Surely there is no reason to believe that the Devil is inspired--no reason to believe that the Devil's words are inspired.

These words spoken by Elihu were as wise as any spoken by Job's comforters--probably wiser; but they were surely human wisdom, so far as we can discern. When Elihu put this question, "When He giveth quietness, who then can make trouble?" he was seeking to draw a line in this criticism of Job, being averse to an extreme position, yet agreeing neither with Job nor his other friends. Job's three friends had been arguing that he must have done some very wicked deeds, and that as a result his camels and his cattle were destroyed--in fact all of his property, everything he possessed, as well as his children. He had lost all his ten children and lost also the affection of his wife. And these comforters were trying to have him admit that he had committed some great crime and that God was angry with him. Still Job insisted that he had been doing his very best--not that he claimed to be perfect, but he had been striving to live a godly life, a just and honorable life.

ELIHU'S SOUND REASONING

So when Job had gotten through with his argument and his three friends had gotten through with theirs, Elihu said (we paraphrase), "Job, you admit that you are in trouble. Now if God had given you quietness, who could make you trouble? He has surely purposed that this trouble come upon you."

Elihu defended God. He claimed that the Lord had evidently designed that Job should not have peace and prosperity longer; otherwise these adversities could not have come upon him. Whatever was the reason for it, Job's calamity evidently was not accidental. There must have been a Divine hand in the matter. Even if Satan had sent all these difficulties and trials, he could not have done so unless God had permitted it. No one could have thwarted the Divine arrangement and will. Elihu contended with Job that the Lord had the right and the power to decide, that Job had not. He showed distinctly the Power and the rightful authority of God to order in all the affairs of life, and incidentally showed that Job was more righteous than all his associates; that while he was a sinner, yet not on this account was he being afflicted.

We may profitably get a thought from this discourse given by Elihu. Here is a process of reasoning used by a man away back in the past--about the time that the Evolutionists tell us man was a monkey. Pretty sound reasoning for a monkey! Many of our college presidents would do no better today. It is sound logic. [R5878 : page 102]

AFFLICTION NO PROOF OF GOD'S DISFAVOR

We also see that Job was not a great sinner. On the contrary, we have every reason to believe that he was a true Prophet of God, a true servant of God. He was one whom the Bible tells us God especially loved. This is shown in Ezekiel 14:19,20. "If I send a pestilence into that land, and pour out My fury upon it in blood, to cut off from it man and beast, though Noah, Daniel and Job were in it, as I live, saith the Lord God, they shall deliver neither son nor daughter; they shall but deliver their own souls by their righteousness." Again, the Apostle says, "Ye have heard of the patience of Job, and have seen the end of the Lord; that the Lord is very pitiful and of tender mercy."--James 5:11.

It is quite true that Job's trouble could not have come upon him if God had not permitted it. If God had wished him to have quietness, no one could have made him trouble. But He permitted trial to come to test His servant, just as He permits trouble to come upon His Church, and as He permitted it to come upon His well-beloved Son. He permitted that men should do all manner of evil against His Son--should scoff at Him, should spit upon Him, should smite Him, should scourge Him, and finally crucify Him. The Lord has not always given quietness in these cases, but often trouble.

The lesson of the text for those who have put themselves in God's care, is that no one can make them trouble without Divine permission. The Lord tells us that during this Gospel Age He will make all things work together for good to His children, and that He will not suffer us to be tempted above what we are able to bear, (1 Corinthians 10:13.) In our Lord's case it pleased Jehovah to bruise Him, to allow suffering and death to come upon Him. (Isaiah 53:10.) It pleased God to adopt this Plan for the recovery of the world, because it best illustrates His Justice, His Wisdom, His Love and His Power. It also resulted in great honor and glory to our Lord Jesus.

As concerns the Lord's people, there might be certain matters relating to dispensational changes that could best be accomplished through severe trials coming upon them. Then, additionally, God wishes certain trials to come upon His people because He desires them to trust Him where they cannot trace Him. He wishes them to have unwavering [R5879 : page 102] faith in Him. The children of God, then, can take these words of our text in a very different way from that originally suggested to Job by Elihu. We may truly say, "When God giveth quietness, who then can make trouble?" We recognize that there is a certain quietness and rest of heart that all the Lord's saints may enjoy. We realize this even when He permits severe trouble.

The Apostle Paul in his Epistle to the Hebrews says, "We who have believed do enter into rest." We enter into rest by coming into the attitude where we can believe, where we can and do exercise entire trust in God. Sometimes outward difficulties are helpful in overcoming a wrong spirit. The Lord's people are not discouraged by the things that would utterly crush out the vitality and the courage of others. They get the wrong spirit pounded out of them; but it is the hand of love that administers the blows, and the Lord knows just how many and how severe ones are needed.

KEPT IN PERFECT PEACE

"Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee." (Isaiah 26:3.) This thought is very precious to us as New Creatures. "The peace of God which passeth all understanding," is to rule and keep our minds and hearts. (Philippians 4:7.) We are to count the things of the present life as not worthy of comparison with the glories of eternity. And so the Apostle says, "For our light affliction which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal." (2 Corinthians 4:17,18.) When our minds are stayed on the Lord, and we take the proper view of our experiences, we can sing with the poet:

"No storm can shake our inmost calm,
While to this Refuge clinging."

We have peace, no matter what the outward conditions may be. The trials and the difficulties of life come to the Lord's people commingled with joys--the rain and storm, then the sunshine. They enjoy all righteous pleasures that are in harmony with their consecration. They learn to cultivate patience in trial, knowing that patience works out experience, and experience works out more and more that hope which maketh not ashamed.--Romans 5:3-5.

So, then, it is to the Christian that our text brings the assurance that when God gives quietness, none can make trouble. They "shall say all manner of evil against you falsely for My sake," said the Master, but then we are to "rejoice and be exceeding glad." "Let not your heart be troubled." (Matthew 5:11; John 14:1.) We think our text very precious when viewed from our standpoint.

TROUBLE NECESSARY TO OUR PROVING

Our Heavenly Father designs that various kinds of trouble shall come upon us, that these may develop and prove our characters. It is a part of the Divine Plan to permit us to have experiences of affliction. (Psalm 119:67,71,75; 34:19,20.) So when we see God's people in trouble or trial today we are not to say that God is against them. We are each to demonstrate our willingness to suffer according to His will, and often to suffer unjustly. Our Lord set us an example of cheerful, patient submission to God's will. We are to walk in His footsteps. And we have the example of the Apostles, when trials and difficulties and persecutions came upon them; and the example of other saints all down the Age.

Trouble is not necessarily a sign of the disfavor of God. On the contrary, we know that "many are the afflictions of the righteous," and that "All that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution." The Truth will cost them something. Faithfulness to the Lord will cost them much. As the Apostle says, "If ye be without chastisement [discipline, training], then are ye bastards and not sons." (Hebrews 2:8.) If God gives peace of heart, who can upset the one who is thus in harmony with God, in whom this peace of heart is ruling? This, then, is the greatest blessing of all. And He grants this peace to those who are faithfully striving to walk in the footsteps of Jesus. We have a Refuge which none but His own can know. No harm can reach us within this Shelter; no storm can shake us from our moorings, for we are securely anchored to the Rock of Ages. "And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to the called according to His Purpose." (Romans 8:28.) And as Job's after blessings far outweighed his brief trials, so it will be with the Lord's saints today.

"What though my joys and comfort die!
The Lord, my Savior, liveth;
What though the darkness gather round!
Songs in the night He giveth.
No storm can shake my inmost calm,
While to that Refuge clinging;
Since Christ is Lord of Heaven and earth,
How can I keep from singing?"



[R5879 : page 103]

ST. PETER AND CORNELIUS
--APRIL 16.--ACTS 10:1-16,24-48.--

CORNELIUS, THE FIRST GENTILE CONVERT TO CHRISTIANITY --BEGINNING OF A NEW DISPENSATION--EXPIRATION OF ISRAEL'S "SEVENTY WEEKS" OF EXCLUSIVE FAVOR-- ST. PETER'S VISION--"MIDDLE WALL OF PARTITION" BROKEN DOWN--THE GOSPEL PREACHED TO THE GENTILES-- "WORDS WHEREBY THOU SHALT BE SAVED."

There is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord over all, is rich unto all that call upon him,"--Romans 10:12.
CORNELIUS, the Roman centurion, was evidently converted to God and righteousness years prior to the incident which forms today's Study. Although he was a worshiper of the true God, a benevolent almsgiver, and although his love of righteousness and his consistent life were recognized amongst those with whom he had to do, yet something was necessary before he could be accepted of God in the proper sense of the word. There is a lesson here for those who imagine that a reverence of God and morality is all that is necessary to Divine acceptance. As Cornelius had these qualities in large measure for some time before his acceptance, the Lord's dealing with him may well be a guide for all who desire to approach Him in covenant relationship.

Although devout, as we have seen, Cornelius was not a Jew; and he realized that he was outside of the pale of Divine favor. Still he prayed to God. While we are not told for what he prayed, yet in harmony with the records we may readily suppose that he prayed for enlightenment respecting the Divine character and Plan, and for a closer approach and realization of Divine favor and acceptance.

Perhaps Cornelius had heard of Jesus of Nazareth, and was perplexed on this very subject. Perhaps this perplexity led him to the earnest prayers which the Lord saw fit to answer in a miraculous manner, sending an angel to assure the centurion that his prayers and his alms were appreciated of the Lord as memorials of his piety. The angel intimated that something further than prayers and good deeds was necessary. But the additional things the angel was not commissioned to tell. Cornelius needed to know of the Lord Jesus from the true standpoint. He must exercise faith in our Lord as his Redeemer, before the memorials of his piety would count for anything with God or bring him into the desired relationship and under the Divine favor.

The angel instructed Cornelius to send for the Apostle Peter, and also informed him that certain words which St. Peter would tell him were of importance--essential to his further progress in knowledge and in faith, and through these into Divine favor. The centurion's readiness of mind is shown by the promptness of his obedience. He not only prayed, but prepared to cooperate with God in the answering of his own prayer.

The three persons sent to bring St. Peter down to Caesarea, all of whom feared God, give us good evidence that this Gentile, who was feeling after God and striving to the best of his ability to please and honor Him, had not been hiding his light under a bushel. It had shone out not only before his family and his servants, but before the soldiers under his control. This is the kind of man whom God delights to acknowledge, whatever may be his nationality or the color of his skin; and all such are recognized of the Lord and favored above others with light and truth--ever since the close of Natural Israel's special favor. There is a lesson here that some of the Lord's people need. It is that they should let the light of the Truth shine through them upon all with whom they come into contact; that the spirit of devotion should pervade every family, every household, including the servants.

Evidently Cornelius was full of faith in the Lord. He did not wait to see whether St. Peter would come. He knew that the Apostle would come. He had faith in the Lord's promises through the angel. Accordingly he gathered together his friends, his relatives and his household --those upon whom he had been exercising an influence. Apparently they were like himself--earnestly desirous of learning all that they could concerning the way of life--the way of reconciliation and harmony with God. as well as all the principles which He represents.

END OF ISRAEL'S "SEVENTY WEEKS"

Meantime St. Peter, with all the prejudice belonging to the Jews for centuries, needed to be prepared to receive this first out-and-out Gentile brought into the Church. This was done by means of a vision. On the following day the Apostle, with six brethren from Joppa, went down to the centurion's home--"doubting nothing"; for evidently the Lord was leading him in the matter. Of all the disciples, St. Peter was the best one to be chosen for this work; first, because of his impetuous disposition and his zeal to follow the Lord's directions quickly and heartily; second, because, he being the oldest of the Apostles, and in many respects the most influential, his course would have the greater weight with the others.

It is difficult for us to conceive the prejudice which the Jews had entertained for centuries against any thought that the Gentiles might become fellow-heirs with them in the Abrahamic Promise. They considered it a settled matter that God's favor had been set apart to their nation; and that it could not possibly go outside of that nation to others, in the sense of making those others equally acceptable to God. These views were based upon three facts; first, God's Promise to Abraham, "In thy Seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed"; second, the Israelites were not permitted to have general dealings with the Gentiles or to intermarry with them; third, added to all this, the Jewish rulers had to some extent exaggerated these differences.

But now a new dispensation had come. The "seventy weeks" of favor to Natural Israel had expired; and the Lord began to extend His favor beyond the Jews--as we have already seen, to the Ethiopian eunuch. According to Divine prophecy, these "seventy weeks," or 490 years, had been specifically set aside as a period of favor to the Jewish nation. It had been foretold that at the beginning of the last seven years, "week," of that period Messiah would come; and that in the exact middle of those seven years Messiah would be cut off in death, not for His own sins, but for the sins of the people. It had been foretold that the prophecy would be marked by the anointing of "the most holy" at Pentecost; and that the end of the seventieth week would also be marked as the termination of God's exclusive favor to Israel. It was so marked by the sending of the Gospel Message to Cornelius and by his begetting of the Holy Spirit, after he had believed the Message.--Daniel 9:22-27.

"WORDS WHEREBY THOU SHALT BE SAVED"

When St. Peter arrived at the home of Cornelius, the centurion recognized him as God's appointed servant for bringing this Message to him; and he prostrated himself at the Apostle's feet in worship. Instead of looking down upon the Jew, and instead of thinking of himself as a representative of the greatest government in the world, [R5879 : page 104] Cornelius was filled with the spirit of humility. The fact that his visitor represented the Lord called forth from him some of the same feelings that were filling his heart in respect to the Lord Himself--feelings of reverence.

But if Cornelius was noble and humble, the Apostle Peter showed himself to be no less noble and loyal to God; for at once he began to lift up the centurion, saying, "Stand up; I myself also am a man." St. Peter commends himself to our hearts by this noble course, by this refusal to receive unauthorized homage. He saved himself also from a great deal of trial by thus promptly disowning supernatural honor and authority, by recognizing his true position--that he was only a broken and emptied vessel, distinguished only because the Lord had been pleased to fill him with the Holy Spirit and to use him as a vessel of mercy and truth.

Not many today are disposed to offer worship to fellow creatures; and not many--except high dignitaries of the nominal churches, such as popes and prelates--consent to receive worship. But all such have a rebuke in the course of St. Peter on this occasion. In our day there is little danger, perhaps, that any of the brethren would receive too much honor of men; for the spirit of our time is running in the opposite direction. Nevertheless, wherever a spirit of worship is manifest, it becomes the duty of the brother to whom it is offered to refuse it and to point to the Lord as the real Benefactor of us all--the One from whom cometh every good and perfect gift, by whatever channels He may be pleased to use.

Entering the house and finding a congregation of earnest, God-fearing Gentiles assembled, St. Peter asked the pointed question, "For what intent have ye sent for me?" Cornelius then related something of his past experience, his desire for fellowship with God, his endeavor to live in a manner pleasing to God, the vision that he had received, and now the Apostle's arrival in response to that vision, and his own expectancy that he was about to hear what had been promised him--"words whereby thou and all thy house shall be saved."--Acts 11:14.

Cornelius was not saved by his almsgiving, not saved by his prayers, nor yet by the Message which St. Peter delivered. But the Apostle's Message--"words"--explaining matters, enabled Cornelius and his household to grasp by faith the great redemption which is in Christ Jesus-- and thus to be saved. Saved at once from alienation from God, and from condemnation as sinners, they received a foretaste of the complete salvation to be granted unto them at the Second Coming of our Lord.

THE ONLY TRUE GOSPEL

We note with keen interest the Apostle's preaching, that we may clearly discern the life-giving Message which he brought and from which Cornelius and his associates derived their saving faith. St. Peter's discourse was the same Gospel Message which he had delivered repeatedly before. The theme was Jesus and the sacrifice for sins which He accomplished when He died on the cross. It was the Message of the hope of a resurrection from the dead through Christ Jesus, as attested by His resurrection by the mighty Power of God. It was the Message that, our risen Lord having appeared in the presence of God for the Church, the Father is now pleased to accept sinners on condition of faith, reverence, and obedience to righteousness according to ability.

St. Peter's discourse was "the old, old Story," which to many has become tedious and distasteful, but which to every soul in the right attitude is the Father's Message of forgiveness of sins and of reconciliation through the death of His Son. There is no other Gospel; and those who present another message are not, in their service, ambassadors for God, messengers and mouthpieces of His Holy Spirit.--Galatians 1:6-12.

The Apostle Paul tells us that "It pleased God through the foolishness of preaching to save them which believe." (1 Corinthians 1:21-25.) That is, it pleased God to adopt this method of declaring the Truth respecting His Plan of redemption and to accept and justify those who would believe and accept this testimony. Today the testimony may reach through letters, tracts or books, or through oral preaching. It matters not in what manner the true Message is delivered and received; but invariably the Message goes through the human channel, and not through angels nor by the operation of the Holy Spirit aside from human agents.

We are to bear in mind these lessons of God's methods and are to apply them in connection with the affairs of life. We are not to expect the Lord to move upon or instruct our friends or kindred or neighbors, but are to remember that He has conferred this honor upon His Royal Priesthood. Accordingly we are to be not slothful in business, but fervent in spirit, serving the Lord--serving the Truth in any and every manner open to us.

THE JUDGMENT OF QUICK AND DEAD

After telling the Message itself, St. Peter explained to Cornelius that Jesus had commanded His Apostles to testify to the people that it is He who was ordained of God to be the Judge of the quick and the dead. The coming judgment, or trial, of the world is an important part of the Gospel Message, and is not to be neglected in the preaching of the Gospel.

What advantage could accrue to the world through Christ's death if there were no future judgment or trial for them? All were judged once in the person of Adam; and his condemnation passed upon all. (Romans 5:12; 1 Corinthians 15:22.) The world needs no further judgment along the lines of the Adamic transgression and its weaknesses. The judgment for that transgression was complete, and nothing could be added. The Judge was Jehovah Himself; the sentence was death.

But now the Gospel includes the fact that Christ is to be the Judge of the world. This signifies that a new trial for life is to be accorded to Adam and his race. This fact of itself implies a release from the original death sentence, a redemption from Adam's sentence, and an individual trial to determine which members of the redeemed race will be accounted worthy of life everlasting. Yes; this is the "good tidings of great joy which shall be unto all people"--even though the Adversary has deluded the vast majority into thinking to the contrary-- that no new trial such as Adam had at first is to be granted to the whole world, bought with the precious blood of Christ.

All are witnesses that this trial could not have begun before Jesus became the Judge. Hence none of those who had died during the four thousand years preceding His earthly ministry could have been judged by Him. None of them could have been on trial for life eternal. All should likewise be aware of the fact that the world in general has not been on trial since our Redeemer was appointed Judge, and that it is not on trial today; that, on the contrary, the great mass of the world neither knows the Judge nor understands the Law, nor has any conception of the requirements necessary to life everlasting.

This agrees exactly with St. Peter's statement under consideration and also with that of St. Paul, "God hath appointed a Day in the which He will judge the world in righteousness by that Man whom He hath ordained." [R5879 : page 105] (Acts 17:31.) As the Apostle indicates, that Day was still future in his time; and it is still future. From other Scriptures we learn that this Day is the Millennial Day --"a Day with the Lord, a thousand years." The only judgment--trial--since our Lord's resurrection has been to the Church, to determine the question of life or death eternal. The Church, as Spiritual Israel, has had much advantage every way over the remainder of mankind; for during this Gospel Age this class are being "called of God according to His purpose"--that the more than overcomers may be joint-heirs with Jesus in His future work of judging the world.--2 Peter 3:7,8; 1 Cor. 6:2.

THE GOSPEL TO THE GENTILES

Cornelius and his devout associates had been waiting for just such a Message of Divine grace; and as the words fell from the Apostle's lips, they were quickly and gladly appropriated in the hearts of his hearers, who were by this time accepting Jesus with the same fulness of appreciation as St. Peter himself. Their hearts being thus in the right condition before God, it would have been appropriate for the Apostle to say to them, "Now, brethren, your proper course will be to be baptized into Jesus by a water baptism, symbolizing your full consecration to be dead with Him, as His faithful followers."

But St. Peter was not ready to make such a step, we may be sure. He was surprised that God was willing that the Gentiles should even know about the wonderful provisions of salvation in Jesus, which of itself would be a blessing. But he was not yet prepared to expect that the Gentiles would be received of the Lord on practically the same terms and with exactly the same manifestations of Divine favor as were the Jews. To make good his insufficiency of knowledge along this line--and as a lesson to him also--the Holy Spirit was given to Cornelius and his companions without the laying on of hands--in the same manner that it was bestowed upon the assembly in Jerusalem at Pentecost.

St. Peter quickly learned the lesson; and undoubtedly his readiness to learn it was in large measure due to his humility and sincerity of heart, the fulness of his consecration to the Lord and his desire that the Divine will should be done in every particular. The Apostle and his companions from Joppa--"they of the circumcision"-- were astonished at God's favor upon the Gentiles. Yet they were not envious. They were glad to welcome as cleansed, as brothers, all whom the Lord indicated that He had received into His fellowship.

The result of this outpouring of the Spirit was a grand testimony meeting. The record is that they "magnified God," praising Him, rejoicing in their acceptance, etc. Then St. Peter drew their attention to the symbolical baptism and the propriety of observing it. We are not given his argument on the subject. Possibly he explained that in thus publicly symbolizing their consecration to the Lord they would be strengthening their own faith, buttressing their own determination to live and die the Lord's. Possibly, too, he showed them the beautiful significance of the water immersion as a symbol of death and burial with Christ and of a resurrection to newness of life in the present time, and to a newness of life in perfect bodies at the Second Advent of our Lord.

The Apostle then called for an expression from those present--especially from the brethren who accompanied him from Joppa--to know whether any objection could be thought of to show why these dear brethren should not be admitted to every blessing and arrangement which God had provided for His faithful ones--irrespective of their being Gentiles by birth. They had believed in God, had given evidence of their consecration and their good works, even before they knew of the Lord and His glorious Plan; and now they had been accepted of God, who had manifested His acceptance by the outpouring of the Holy Spirit upon them. No objection being offered, St. Peter directed that they should be baptized in the name of our Lord. He had been sent to teach them, and he delivered his Message with no uncertain sound.



[R5882 : page 105]

THE RISEN CHRIST

--APRIL 23.--1 CORINTHIANS 15:1-28.--

RANSOM AND RESTITUTION TWIN DOCTRINES--JESUS' RESURRECTION ATTESTED BY MANY INFALLIBLE PROOFS--TODAY'S STUDY IN IRRECONCILABLE CONFLICT WITH CURRENT THEOLOGY--THE TIME OF CHRIST'S PRESENCE--THE WORK OF THE MESSIANIC KINGDOM BRIEFLY OUTLINED--SUBJECTION OF EVERY OPPOSING POWER.

"Now hath Christ been raised from the dead, the First-fruits of them that are asleep."--Verse 20. R.V.
TODAY'S Study calls attention to the great importance of the doctrine of the Resurrection, presenting it as the twin of the other great doctrine which the Apostle sets forth "first of all"--"how that Christ DIED FOR OUR SINS according to the Scriptures." To this fundamental doctrine of the Ransom that of the Resurrection 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 one beyond the present life, the preaching of the Gospel is in vain, those who preach it are false witnesses, the faith of Christians is vain and their hope delusive. Moreover, he urges that their life of sacrifice, in view of the resurrection and its rewards, merely robs them of what little enjoyment and advantage they might have in this present life, which is all they would ever have; and that those who have fallen asleep in Christ have perished--if Christ be not risen from the dead.

Such indeed would be 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 one ray of hope. Moreover, if there be no resurrection, although our Lord Jesus Christ died to secure it, then God is not fulfilling His part of the contract.

While verses 12-19 declares the 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 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 Adamic fall. This is the assurance which God gave to all men that the Ransom for the sins of the whole world given at Calvary was acceptable, a full satisfaction of the claims of Justice against the race of mankind, so that now He can be just, and yet the Justifier of all that believe in Jesus.--Acts 17:31; Romans 3:26. [R5882 : page 106]

In Verse 20 let Christians observe what the various creeds of Christendom ignore, and what is in direct antagonism to their teachings; namely, that the risen Christ was "the First-fruits of them that slept"--that our Lord was the first to experience a resurrection in the full sense of the term, the first to experience a resurrection 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 these were only partial illustrations of resurrection, to assure men of the Divine Power to accomplish it fully in God's due time.

THE SCRIPTURES LOGICAL

Mark the logic of these facts: If Christ was the first to be resurrected from the dead, no one was 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 His 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; and they 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 Thess. 4:14; John 5:28,29.

"David hath not ascended into the Heavens." Daniel must wait, and he shall stand in his lot "at the end of the days." Abraham must wait his time for the possession of the Promised Land, of which he has never yet owned so much as to set his foot upon. Job must tarry until the wrath of this "evil day" be overpast. St. Paul, and with him all those that love the Lord's appearing, must await the fulness of time when the reward of their faithfulness will be due.--Acts 2:34; Daniel 12:13; Acts 7:5; Job 14:12-15,21; 2 Timothy 4:8.

All this Scripture teaching is in perfect accord. But it is in irreconcilable conflict with the current theology of so-called Christendom, in whose theories, logically considered, there is no place whatever for the doctrine of the resurrection. 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 it, 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, 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"--comes 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 that of his posterity, on precisely the same principle that his fall and condemnation entailed sin and death upon them.--1 Timothy 2:5,6; John 1:14.

ORDER IN THE RESURRECTION

In consequence of the sacrifice of Himself--His flesh, His humanity--our Lord has been highly exalted, even to the Divine nature. It was after His resurrection that He said, "All power in Heaven and earth is given unto Me." When "the Man Christ Jesus" gave up His humanity, He gave it up forever. Consequently, when He was raised from the dead, His existence was in a new nature, that the abundant power of the Divine nature given Him might be exercised in actually reclaiming from sin and death those whom He had legally rescued by His own death.-- Philippians 2:8-11; Matthew 28:18; John 6:51.

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 of life forfeited in Eden. The order of resurrection is to be "Christ the First-fruits," which includes Jesus the Head and the Church His Body--"the First Resurrection." (Revelation 20:6.) Then follows the resurrection of all that are Christ's during His 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, just and 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 condemnation.--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 life everlasting. This it will be their privilege to attain 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.--Isaiah 65:20.

No one out of Christ will be made alive, fully resurrected, though all will experience the awakening from death, which is the first step in the resurrection process, 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." 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."--1 John 5:12; John 3:36.

THE WORK OF THE MESSIANIC KINGDOM

Verses 24,25 assure us of the victory of Christ, and show us in what that victory will consist--the complete subjection of every opposing power and authority, and the putting of all enemies under His feet, whether those enemies be evil conditions, evil principles, evil powers or evil individuals. He will banish all evil conditions by first permitting a great Time of Trouble (Daniel 12:1) and then by causing perfect conditions to supplant them. He will forever banish 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. He will put down every opposing individual by cutting such off in the Second Death, from which there shall be no recovery.

"He must reign until He hath put all enemies under His feet." The time of that reign is limited to a thousand years. (Revelation 20:6.) At the expiration of that period all in opposition to righteousness, and the Devil who deceived them and led them, are to be cast into the Lake of Fire, which is the Second Death. (Revelation 20:7-15.) "The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death." This is not the Second Death, into which the opposers of God have been cast; else the language would be contradictory. It is the Adamic death, which Christ came to destroy by liberating all its subjects. To accomplish this work will require the entire Messianic Reign-- a thousand years.


"Praise, my soul, the King of Heaven;
To His feet thy tribute bring;
Ransomed, healed, restored, forgiven,
Evermore His praises sing!"



[R5879 : page 107]

THE RANSOM-PRICE AND ITS APPLICATION

THE doctrine of the RANSOM as related to God's Plan of Salvation is the very center --the hub from which as spokes all other doctrines radiate to the circumference of the Plan. It is hoped that the answers given below may prove illuminating and helpful:

Question 1.--Give a brief definition of the word RANSOM.

Answer.--A Ransom is the amount or consideration paid for the release of a person or property, captured or detained.

Question 2.--Give brief definition of the word MERIT.

Answer.--Merit is (1) that which deserves consideration, reward, or esteem; (2) value, reward or recompense deserved or received, as at school.

Question 3.--Give brief definition of LEGAL TENDER.

Answer.--Legal Tender is that currency or money which the law authorizes a debtor to offer in payment of a debt and requires a creditor to receive. In other words, that which the government or law approves as a medium of exchange.

Question 4.--What is the meaning of the words TO PAY or PAID?

Answer.--To Pay means to discharge a debt, to give an equivalent for, to fulfil. The word Paid would signify that such a debt had been discharged; was fulfilled; that the proper equivalent had been turned over.

Question 5.--Give brief definition of the word DEPOSIT.

Answer.--A Deposit is anything deposited; something committed to the care of another.

Question 6.--What is the difference in the meaning of the terms PAID, APPLIED and DEPOSIT?

Answer.--There is quite a difference in the meaning of these words. When the word paid is used, it signifies that the thing applied to an obligation is sufficient; when the word applied is used, it signifies that a financial obligation has been met, directly or indirectly; when the word Deposit is used, it signifies that something has been left in the care of another which has not yet been appropriated, or applied.

Question 7.--Define briefly the term SIN-OFFERING.

Answer.--The term Sin-Offering signifies an offering made on account of sin, as an offset to sin, as a satisfaction for the sin.

Question 8.--What is meant by the term MERIT OF CHRIST JESUS?

Answer.--We might speak of the Merit of Christ Jesus from various viewpoints; as, for instance, the merit of His having become the Man Jesus, in the sense of its indicating His loyalty to God and His obedience to the Divine Program; or we might speak of His merit as a man--that He made a meritorious delivery of that which He had, of that which was right, just and lawful. But when we speak of the Merit of Christ Jesus with respect to His making atonement for the sin of the world, we have in view another matter entirely; namely, that a contract existed between the Heavenly Father and the Lord Jesus Christ, by which the Lord was to become a human being and then to give up His human nature, permitting His life to be taken from Him as a man, thus signifying His loyalty and obedience to the Father's will, complete obedience unto death, even the death of the cross.

When we speak of the Merit of Jesus Christ, we understand that, on account of that Merit which He had, and which the Father recognized when He raised the Son from the dead, our Lord was rewarded, not merely by being taken back to the spirit plane, but by being "highly exalted" to the Divine nature. This Merit of Jesus, then, which God rewarded, left Him a certain amount of substance [R5880 : page 107] or blessing which He might bestow upon others; namely, His right to human life, which He had not forfeited by sin, nor by any other procedure. This right to human life, which we speak of as a merit to the credit of Jesus, the Bible informs us is ultimately to be appropriated by the Lord Jesus Christ, in full harmony with the Father's Plan, for the cancellation of the "sins of the whole world" (1 John 2:2.)--the sins of Adam and all of his race, who died in Him. That Merit is already our Lord's, and is subject to His disposal at the proper time, set by the Father.

Question 9.--Give a brief definition of the word ATONEMENT.

Answer.--The word Atonement signifies the making at-one, the bringing back into harmony persons or things not in full accord. As applied to the human family, it would signify that, Adam and his race having been disobedient to the Divine arrangement, and having come under Divine displeasure and condemnation, this condemnation, by Divine arrangement, is to be done away with, and mankind are to be brought back into harmony with God--to be at-one with Him again--as many of them as are willing and will accept the Divine terms. The arrangement by which this is to be accomplished is what we term the work of the Atonement; and this work of Atonement was the work begun by our Lord Jesus Christ at His First Advent, continued since, and to be completed at and during His Second Advent. In a word, then, the Atonement in the fullest sense of the word begins with the Church and will not be completed until its provisions shall have been extended to all the members of the human family, bringing all the willing and obedient back into full harmony with Jehovah.

Question 10.--Could a perfect human being pay the Ransom-price?

Answer.--No! A perfect man could not pay the Ransom-price, unless by some Divine arrangement, contract, agreement. If, for instance, there had been a perfect human being in the world, he could not have become the Redeemer of Father Adam, except as a privilege by Divine arrangement. It would be for the Divine Court to determine whether or not one could be accepted for another. In the case of the Lord Jesus Christ, by Divine arrangement He became suitable to be the Ransom-price--a perfect man--and then, in fulfilment of the Divine Program, He gave Himself; and because of this arrangement He was acceptable.

Question 11.--How was the Ransom-price provided?

Answer.--God Himself provided the Ransom; and it "taketh away the sin of the world." Only by Divine provision would the ransoming of man have been possible.

Question 12.--Where was the Ransom-price provided?

Answer.--In the Divine Purpose, the Ransom-price was provided from the foundation of the world; for the Scriptures assure us that our Lord Jesus Christ, in the Divine Purpose, was the Lamb of God slain from the foundation of the world. (Revelation 13:8.) In a secondary sense, the Ransom-price was provided when the contract was made between Jehovah God and His honored Logos. In another sense of the word, the Ransom-price was not provided until the Logos had been made flesh and had reached full human perfection at 30 years of age.

It was then possible for our Lord to serve, in harmony with God's arrangement, as a Ransom-price, and to give Himself a Ransom-price. But He did not give Himself [R5880 : page 108] to be this Ransom-price until He entered into the Covenant with God, symbolizing by baptism the full consecration of His life even unto death. Yet it was not a completed thing then, for there were conditions associated with it. While His will was there given up, and was so recognized by the Father, nevertheless it remained for Him, day by day and hour by hour, to show His full surrender. His sacrifice was completed when He died on Calvary, crying, "It is finished!" He had finished the laying down of the Ransom-price; that is to say, He had fully provided the Ransom-price. We are to recognize a difference, however, between providing the Ransom-price, and giving, or appropriating, or delivering it. It was merely provided at the time when Jesus died; it was not yet given, in the sense of being applied for man's delivery from death.

Question 13.--Who provided the Ransom-price?

Answer.--Jehovah God, primarily, in that He was the One who made the arrangement; without His arrangement the Ransom would not have been possible. In a secondary sense, Jesus Himself provided it, in that He gave Himself; He had full control of His own course at the time He made His consecration. His will was not coerced.

Question 14.--In the type, where did the sin-offering begin, and where did it end?

Answer.--The animal to be the sin-offering was selected and brought to the door of the Tabernacle for this purpose; but it became the sin-offering the moment when the high priest laid his hands upon it and slew it. The sin-offering, according to the type, was composed of two parts--a bullock and a goat. The slaying of the bullock did not finish the sin-offering; for in the Divine Purpose and arrangement, the great High Priest, Jesus, was to offer two sacrifices--the Lord's goat class as well as the antitypical bullock. The goat in the type, we understand, represented the followers of Jesus, as the bullock represented Jesus Himself. In the type, therefore, the killing of the sin-offering was not ended until the goat of the sin-offering was slain. There it was that the sin-offering in the sense of sacrifice was finished. There was to be no more sacrificing. But the word sin-offering has a still broader meaning than this. It included in the type also the presentation of the blood of these animals to Jehovah God, as shown by the high priest's taking first the blood of the bullock, and afterwards the blood of the Lord's goat, into the Most Holy, and sprinkling the blood upon the Mercy Seat and before the Mercy Seat eastward. When this had been accomplished, the sin-offering was ended.

Question 15.--In the antitype, where did the offering for sin begin?

Answer.--In the antitype, the offering for sin began when Jesus presented Himself at Jordan in compliance with the arrangement already entered into with the Father. There, according to the statement of the Apostle, our Lord gave Himself, surrendered Himself, made Himself an offering for sin. He has continued the work during this Gospel Age, offering up those who accept His merit and who voluntarily become His footstep followers, surrendering their wills to Him. He offers these as a part of His own sacrifice.

After Jesus had finished offering His own personal sacrifice, He ascended up on High, and there made a presentation of His sacrificial merit to the Heavenly Father on behalf of the Church class, as symbolized by the sprinkling of the blood of the bullock in the Most Holy of the Tabernacle, for the high priest and his house. Subsequently continuing the sacrificing, in His followers, He will ultimately finish the work of sacrifice when the last member of the Body of Christ shall have tasted death and shall have passed beyond the veil. Then it will remain for the High Priest to complete this matter by offering the Sin-offering "for all the people," by presenting the merit of the "better sacrifices" to Jehovah God, the actual merit being in Jesus alone.

Question 16.--Was the Ransom paid at Calvary?

Answer.--We have already covered this point, showing that the Ransom was laid down at Calvary, and later placed in the hands of Justice, but not paid over in the sense of completing the contract--that being reserved for a future time. The Ransom was laid down at the cross, when Jesus cried, "Father, into Thy hands I commit My spirit"--My life! Thus Jesus, so to speak, made a deposit of the Ransom-price without definitely applying it.

Question 17.--Was the Ransom paid when Jesus ascended into Heaven?

Answer.--No! The reasons for this already stated.

Question 18.--Has the Ransom-price been paid yet?

Answer.--No! For reasons already given; and we will say additionally, that the Ransom-price is not to be fully paid until after the Church has been entirely glorified and with Her Lord. Then it will be paid on behalf of the whole world, securing the release of the whole world from death, and the cancellation of Adamic condemnation.

Question 19.--What did Jesus do with the Ransom-price when He ascended into Heaven?

Answer.--He had already placed it in the hands of Justice as a deposit. The human life-right, the price, still was at His command. His next step was to embargo, or mortgage it, by imputing a share of it to His Church--yet undeveloped.

Question 20.--Did Jesus satisfy Justice when He ascended into Heaven?

Answer.--Justice is always satisfied. Justice never lets go until it has an equivalent. Justice was satisfied, for instance, when Adam was condemned to death on account of transgression. Justice has been satisfied all along in holding Adam and his race for that sin. Justice is satisfied now to allow the Church to pass under the present conditions, because a deposit is in the hands of Justice fully equivalent to the requirements of the Church, and more. Justice will not be satisfied to release mankind until the Ransom-price shall have been fully paid over into the hands of Justice. This will be after the Church is completed and glorified.

Question 21.--When and how is Justice satisfied?

Answer.--This question is answered in reply to the twentieth question. [R5881 : page 108]

Question 22.--How can any one be a joint-sacrifice with Christ, if Justice was not fully reconciled by Jesus Christ when He ascended into Heaven?

Answer.--As stated in answer to question 20, a Deposit was made of sufficient merit to satisfy for the sins of the whole world; and on the strength of this Deposit, Justice was perfectly reconciled to the releasing of these members of the race who came into a special covenant-relationship with God through the Lord Jesus Christ, who made a Covenant by Sacrifice.

Question 23.--Which takes place first, Justification or Consecration, and why?

Answer.--It depends upon the meaning attached to the word consecration. The Bible recognizes consecration from two different viewpoints; first, the consecration of the individual; and second, the making of this consecration valid by the Lord Jesus Christ, and its acceptance by the Father. The consecration of the individual to do the Lord's will, the full surrender of his own will, as typified [R5881 : page 109] by the tying of the goat to the door of the Tabernacle, precedes justification. But the second step is this: namely, that it is necessary for our Lord Jesus Christ to become the Advocate for those who desire to become members of the Royal Priesthood, before they can be acceptable to the Father. Hence, their justification by the Lord Jesus Christ, who imputes of His merit to them, follows their consecration of themselves and is immediately followed by the Heavenly Father's act of consecrating these, in the sense of accepting them as consecrated persons and giving them all the rights and privileges included in this covenant arrangement.

Question 24.--Is it Merit or Righteousness that is imputed to the one who is justified by faith?

Answer.--We would here need to qualify the expression, "justified by faith," because in Bible usage this term has two different significations. We read, for instance, that Abraham was justified by faith, but surely not in the sense that the Church is justified by faith! Abraham was justified to fellowship with God, to receive the Promise, to know about certain things that God purposes in the future, and to demonstrate his loyalty to God under a Divine standard. But he was not justified to eternal life. He was not justified in the sense that he could be invited to present his body a living sacrifice and become a redeemer for Adam, or in any sense a meritorious sacrifice for another. No one could be thus justified by faith until after the death of Jesus, until His imputation of His merit after He ascended up on High and appeared "in the presence of God for us"--the Church.

Question 25.--If Merit is imputed, who imputes it? If Righteousness is imputed, by whom is it imputed?

Answer.--Our Lord Jesus imputes His own Merit to His own followers under the conditions of their covenant of full consecration; but this imputation is with the full sanction of and in cooperation with Divine Justice--not otherwise. This imputation of Merit to the imperfect one desiring to be the follower of Jesus may be expressed as an imputation of Righteousness to such a one on the part of Divine Justice, on the part of the Heavenly Father; as we read, "It is God that justifieth."--Romans 8:33.

Question 26.--What is meant by the terms "right to live" and "life-rights?" And what is the difference between these terms?

Answer.--A person might have a right to live by being in harmony with God; for God has ordained that all of His intelligent creatures may continue to live if they live in harmony with His Divine Law and its requirements. A right to live, therefore, was the privilege of Father Adam in the beginning. He had a right to life and he would not have forfeited that right had he not sinned. Jesus also possessed a right to live. Not only before He came into the world, but also after He became the Man Jesus, He had a right to life. It was because of this right that He would be able to lay down His life sacrificially on behalf of Adam and his race. After He had made His consecration at baptism, He no longer had the right to live as a man; for He had given up that right to live. But having been begotten by the Holy Spirit, He had a right to life as a New Creature, spiritually begotten, unless He should make failure by violating some Divine Law or by violating His own contract, or covenant. The world of mankind will have the right to live after the Millennial Age, after they shall have reached perfection, shall have been delivered over to the Father and He shall have accepted them. They will then have the same right to life that Father Adam had at first, before he sinned.

"Life-rights." This term we may use in different ways. Applying it to the Lord Jesus Christ as having life-rights, for instance, we may say, while He had consecrated His life as a man, He had done nothing really to forfeit that life. He had agreed to lay it down; it was rightfully His; else He would not have had the right to use it again for others. He maintained the right because of His personal righteousness. Therefore He still possessed a right to human life, because this life which He was permitting to be taken, He had not forfeited. He still has the life-rights of a human being, although He has no need of human life or life-rights now for Himself, since He has something so much better, and since He could not use two lives at the same time. He has Divine life-rights; but He still maintains his human life-rights; and these He is about to dispose of, to give as a Ransom-price, as a full offset for Adam and all that was lost through him.

Question 27.--What is sacrificed by one who is begotten of the Spirit to membership in the Body of Christ?

Answer.--In one sense of the word, no one does any sacrificing except the great High Priest. What we do is to consecrate our wills, and present our bodies that they may be living sacrifices, that the great High Priest may make sacrifices of them. It should be easily discerned that merely killing an animal is not sacrificing it. The Jews killed thousands of animals for food, just as we do today; but these animals were not sacrificed by merely being killed. No sacrifice can be offered except by an arrangement with God; and He has arranged that sacrificing must be done by a priest. The priest that sacrificed under the Jewish Law was the high priest, the others being his assistants, and taking his place in case of death. The High Priest was the one who typified Jesus; and Jesus alone is the One who is able to offer up the antitypical sacrifices. All that the followers of Jesus do, therefore, is to present themselves.

This presentation in the type was pictured by the goat's being tied at the door of the Tabernacle. In other words, this class devote, set apart, consecrate themselves as human beings. It is after Jesus lays hold of this individual, accepts his consecration, imputes His own merit, and offers him to the Father, that the Father's acceptance is manifested through the Son, the great High Priest, by the begetting of the Holy Spirit. Thenceforth such an one is a member of the Body of Christ, and his name is written in the Lamb's Book of Life, from which it will not be blotted out if he maintains his faithfulness.

Question 28.--Briefly define the difference between Ransom and Sin-offering.

Answer.--The term "sin-offering" specifically refers to the fact that the thing, or life (or lives) is presented to God as an offering, and on account of sin. A sin-offering implies a ransom, but not specifically, not positively. It is an offering for sin, but might not necessarily mean a full, satisfactory offering; and yet the fact that a sin-offering is acceptable to God would imply that such offering was a full, complete offset, or satisfaction. The word Ransom as used in the New Testament, has in it not only the thought of an offering on account of something that was wrong, but additionally it specifies that the offering corresponds fully and exactly, for the meaning of the word Ransom as applied to Jesus, is a corresponding price.

Question 29.--Does the Church participate in the Ransom and in the Sin-offering, and why?

Answer.--In considering this question we must view the Church from two sides. If we think of the Church in connection with the presentation of their bodies living sacrifices to God, we would say that they are not participators [R5881 : page 110] in the Ransom, for they have nothing that they could give as a share in the Ransom--they are imperfect. If we view the question from the other standpoint--that the Church are spirit beings and as spirit beings are members of the Body of Christ, one with Him who is their Head--they would as members of The Christ share with Him in everything He does, just as the hand shares with the head; for the human body is the figure that the Bible gives us, in speaking of The Christ. The Merit by which the Ransom-price is effective with God was in Jesus alone. It was that merit which we did not possess when we presented ourselves to God in consecration. But when we were accepted by Jesus as disciples, He imputed His own merit to us, and made us part of His own sacrifice. He was at the same time making us part of that which He is to give to God for the sins of the whole world, at the close of this Age when the Church, His Body, is complete and glorified together with Him.

We are to remember, however, that none of the human remains; for at the time we were made members of the Body of Christ we had become dead as human beings, by the surrender of our wills. Because we are New Creatures, old things have passed away and all things have become new. (2 Corinthians 5:17.) We are to remember, also, that it is not the spiritual Body of Christ that is sacrificed, even as it was not the spiritual Head [R5882 : page 110] that was sacrificed. The Sin-offering was the flesh. And it was Jesus' flesh that constituted the Ransom--not our flesh. But now that this Ransom-price has been placed in the hands of Justice as a deposit, whose title is possessed by Jesus, we are joint-sharers with Him in this possession by reason of our relationship to Him and our interest in everything that He possesses. Thus the Church becomes a sharer in this Ransom-price, because as His Bride we are His joint-heirs; and we are to be associated with Him in giving to the world the benefits of that Ransom-price.

We do not make the Sin-offering any more than we do the ransoming. We are merely accepted by the High Priest. This acceptance is shown in His sacrificing of us as human beings after He has imputed to us His merit. And in this presentation at the end we shall share as New Creatures. It is not the offering of anything the New Creature has in itself; but the New Creature having participated with Jesus in the crucifying of the flesh, each of these will be associated with Him also when the merit is presented to the Father.

Question 30.--If Jesus paid the Ransom-price when He ascended into Heaven, could He have become the Advocate of the Church? And if so, how?

Answer.--If Jesus had paid over and fully disposed of the Ransom-price when He ascended up on High, it would immediately, if accepted, have taken effect for Adam and his race; and such of the race as were living at that time, or have lived since, would have been on trial again, individually, and would have been liable to death because of their imperfection, not being able to cope with the situation unless Jesus had established His Millennial Kingdom and had immediately begun to provide all the necessary assistance through the New Covenant arrangement. But as for the Church, there would have been no provision for the Church, and no opportunity for giving the Church anything special, since those who are of the Church were members of the human family. The Ransom having been paid over, this would have settled all the obligations against mankind, and would have left no room for the Church class to be dealt with in any different manner from the rest of the world. They would not have had any need of an Advocate, and, of course, would not have had one.

Question 31.--When will the Ransom-price be fully paid and disposed of finally?

Answer.--The Ransom-price will be fully paid and fully disposed of after the Church shall have passed beyond the veil, and when the great High Priest, Head and Body (the Church then being the glorified Body of the great High Priest), shall seal the New Covenant and put it into effective operation on behalf of Adam and all his race. The Ransoming will then be finished. The Atonement work will not be finished at that time, however; it will include the work of the Millennial Age, in bringing mankind (all who will) up out of sin and degradation into full at-one-ment and harmony with God. But the Ransom-price must be fully paid over to Jehovah and accepted by Him before this New Covenant can go into effect, and before human Restitution can properly begin. Man's recovery from death is a part of the Ransom work.--Hosea 13:14.



[R5882 : page 110]

INTERESTING ITEMS

STRONG DELUSIONS URGE ON THE WAR

All the nations now at war seem possessed of the thought that they are fighting God's battles and that He is leading them on to sure and great victory. We quote the following from The Record of Christian Work:--

"The leading Church weekly of Germany, the Allg. Luth. Evang. Kirchen Zeitung, prints a parallel between the experiences of the German nation in 1914-1915 and our Lord's passion, which recalls the pathological misuse of religious symbols, etc., in French decadent literature.

"The article opens with the words of a Kempis, 'No one feels the sufferings of Christ so deeply as he who has passed through similar sufferings.' Germany is the suffering servant who must bear the sins of many, for it is very clear that we fight for the continuance of genuine Christianity. As Israel was the earlier type of Christ, so Germany is the succeeding one. On the other hand, all the figures of the Savior's tragical trial and death-day reappear in the present world conflict. The types are so clear that no one can mistake the resemblance. The Czar plays the sad role of Pilate acting against better knowledge and conscience, surrendering the innocent in anxious fear lest he lose his own power. Serbia is Barabbas, who has committed murder. Vain and frivolous France recalls the picture of Herod Antipas. Autocratic, orthodox Russia and atheist, republican France are made friends, as were the two rulers of Christ's day. The active agent in Christ's passion was the Sanhedrin. The evangelical story repeatedly affirms that it sought Jesus' death out of envy. Is there aught else save envy which has made England the driving force in the war upon Germany?'

"The writer then indulges in characteristic flings at 'England's Sabbath-keeping, mission fanaticism, and general Pharisaism. The power of the Sanhedrin was exerted over the Jews of the dispersion, as England's is over her over-seas colonies.' In the United States, the writer sees 'Judas, the great betrayer,' and quotes the words of Ezekiel 22:12, 'They have taken gifts to shed blood; thou hast greedily gained of thy neighbors by extortion.' The thirty pieces of silver have become thirty milliards. The false witnesses are 'the international press and telegraph agencies.' 'The students and musicians who warmed themselves at German Universities and Conservatories, and who now deny Germany, figure as Peter. Also the poor little Waldensian Church to which, it seems, German Protestants formerly made contributions. [R5882 : page 111]

" 'The penitent thief who redeemed a bad past by a good deed in his last hours and who suffered the same sorrow as the Lord is the type of the Turkish people who now put to shame the Christianity of Europe'--'apart from the Germans,' the writer is careful to explain.

"The publication of this paragraph in cold type in a Christian paper in the period of the worst excesses which Turkish anti-Christian fanaticism has ever perpetrated gives a pretty good measure of the moral and intellectual aberration into which German Christianity has fallen. There are other parallels, some trivial, where Sven Hedin is compared with the centurion at the Cross; others blasphemous, in which the dry period preceding the last German harvest is related to the 'I thirst' of Christ."


TURKISH PROMISES TRUSTED

The Sentimental, a Jewish weekly (Chicago), says:

"The return of Turkish authority in the Balkans must be welcomed as a result of the war. The sentimental love of nationality cannot be encouraged when the fact of nationality imperils the peace of Europe and the world. The Turk has shown that he is a friend of peace and humanity and only the intolerance of Christianity and the cupidity of the adjoining kingdoms make him appear "terribly" otherwise. The German haters, of course, will point to Turkey's recent announcement of equal rights to Jews as inspired by Germany for effect and as resembling the liberal grants of the Czar, but the fact of the matter is that the Turkish government is not the Russian government, for nothing is more certain than that a pledge with Mohammedans is sacred, however the Greek Orthodox conscience may construe its own promises. We would rather deal with the Turk than with any other power except our own free nation. But if anything else is certain, it is the Kaiser's sincerity in preaching equal rights for our people, where at present these are denied them. But even if it be granted that the concession is inspired solely by the average statecraft ethics, both by Turkey and by Germany, the move must add momentum to the advance of the liberal spirit, so that when peace is discussed, the opponents of equal rights for our people will themselves realize that in urging the status quo for their Jewish subjects they are flying in the face of the moral judgment and the enlightened will of Europe and civilization, and must therefore yield. If this definite result comes out of the war, all the sufferings of our brethren and even of the millions sacrificed by the war's ravages will have been offered for a moral gain worth even more."



[R5882 : page 111]

INTERESTING LETTERS

DRAMA WAS TURNING-POINT OF HIS LIFE

DEAR PASTOR RUSSELL:--

Some months ago we were curious to know what was meant by PASTOR RUSSELL'S PHOTO-DRAMA OF CREATION, having seen placards to the effect that this DRAMA would pay a visit to our city. The only way to satisfy our search for knowledge was to go and see. And now I am writing to tell you--God bless you--that that first visit to your DRAMA was the turning-point of my life; or, I should say, the turning-point in my knowledge of the Bible, for I have always tried to do right and had never ill used my life.

I can see clearly now that the Bible was written in symbols, to be explained "in due time." Indeed, dear Pastor, I believe I could almost preach a sermon since studying your teaching! It is wonderful how clear your STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES are!

We attended the whole of the DRAMA, going twice to see Parts III. and IV., and we would love to see it all again. Some time after the DRAMA a Colporteur visited us, and mother purchased the six volumes of STUDIES and subscribed for THE WATCH TOWER. I can truly say that every spare moment I have is wisely spent. I think your idea of the Great Pyramid is perfect. Of your sermons I especially like THE BATTLE OF ARMAGEDDON, and would like more of them for distribution.

I marvel at the clear way in which you explain a difficult text! When reading my Bible, directly I find numberless difficult verses; I look them up in your STUDIES, and when I close my book I find myself thanking you, all these miles away, for helping me, for otherwise I should be "lost" in both senses of the word!

And now, dear Pastor, I find myself confronted with a problem in which I feel sure you will help me. As you know, we shall have compulsory military service; I am seventeen years of age, and if the trouble be not over by the time I reach my nineteenth year, I feel that I would rather be shot as a "traitor" than to disobey God's command. Is there any way in which we can defend our loved ones without murder? I am greatly perplexed and anxious to do what is right. I shall follow your advice, so great is my belief that God is using you to enlighten those who are willing to learn. Hoping I have not interrupted too long, I am

Yours in Jesus,
TALBOT B. ELSTON.--England.

IN REPLY

DEAR BROTHER:--

We rejoice to know that the Truth is thus being spread in every direction, and that the Lord is using the consecrated talents of His servants everywhere for the sealing of His saints in their foreheads--intellectually.--Revelation 7:1-3.

We are glad to note that you are in full agreement with what we said recently in THE WATCH TOWER to the effect that God's consecrated people can have no interest in the war. If there be any excuse for violence and bloodshed anywhere, it would be in the actual defense of the home. The Bible, however, does not lay down laws for the world, but merely for God's consecrated people. To these the Master's own example and words would seem to teach that although they may invoke every legal protection, barricade their homes, etc., against the enemy, such saints would not be disposed to take the lives of others--even in self-defense. And yet we confess that this would be a very serious test upon nearly all of them.--THE EDITOR.

SEED SOWED IN GOOD GROUND

DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--

We can wait no longer to tell you how glad and thankful we are to be privileged to address you as above. We received the knowledge of the Truth and made our consecration about three months ago. We are especially thankful to be accepted by our dear Redeemer.

Living in an isolated place we have purchased an automobile and have commenced distributing THE BIBLE STUDENTS MONTHLY among the farmers in this district. Prior to this we had been witnessing, loaning volumes, etc., and soon began to feel opposition stirring. We sent letters of withdrawal to the minister of the Methodist church which had been our home, then we rented a hall, asking one of the Toronto brethren to speak, which he did and we had an attendance of over one hundred adults, nine of whom handed in their names for more literature.

We are happy to be able to report that one dear sister has come into the Truth and has consecrated, as a result of our work. Needless to say, the local ministers are very bitter against us, having tried in every way to prevent our meeting above mentioned; but the owner of the hall attended the meeting, bought the six volumes and assures us we can have the hall when we wish.

Our former pastor continues his persecution, but the Lord has been with us, keeping us meek in spirit. We had met none of the Truth brethren until your recent visit to Toronto, when we went ninety miles to hear your sermon. We eagerly drank in your words, for our hearts were starved for fellowship with the brethren. We wish you to record our names as having taken the Vow. We are endeavoring to live according to its requirements, considering it a help, as we do also the HEAVENLY MANNA book.

We enclose an order for tracts for distribution, also a "mite" toward the good work. We love you very much, dear brother, as our Pastor, and pray daily that the dear Lord continue to bless your efforts in His Cause. We will be grateful for an interest in your prayers on our behalf. If you can spare time to write us a few words we can scarcely tell you how much they will be appreciated.

Faithfully your brother and sister in Christ,
GEO. C. and LAURA M. FORTHERGILL.--Ont.



page 112

International Bible Students Association Classes
STUDIES AND LECTURES BY MEMBERS OF THE PEOPLES PULPIT ASSOCIATION



page 113
April 1st

ZION'S
WATCH TOWER
and
Herald of Christ's Presence

ROCK OF AGES
Other foundation can
no man lay
A RANSOM FOR ALL

"Watchman, What of the Night?"
"The Morning Cometh, and a Night also!" Isaiah 21:11

VOL. XXXVII.APRIL 15No. 8

A.D. 1916--A.M. 6044
CONTENTS

Principles of Love and Justice Contrasted115
Justice Before Generosity115
Love and Justice Both Control116
How Love May Overflow the Measure116
Yoke-fellows With Christ117
New Creature Fulfils the Law117
The Perfect, Adjustable Yoke118
"The Little Foxes"118
St. Peter Delivered From Prison119
Passover Season Siftings119
The Missionaries of Antioch121
Disciples First Called Christians122
Ordination and Laying on of Hands123
"Lo, We Turn to the Gentiles!"123
"Ordained to Eternal Life"125
Proper and Improper Judgment of Brethren125
Church Incapable of Judging Now125
Interesting Letters126
Spirit of a Sound Mind126

I will stand upon my watch, and set my foot upon the Tower, and will watch to see what He shall say unto me, and what answer I shall make to them that oppose me. Hab. 2:1

Upon the earth distress of nations with perplexity: the sea and the waves (the restless, discontented) roaring: men's hearts failing them for fear and for looking forward to the things coming upon the earth (society): for the powers of the heavens (ecclestiasticism) shall be shaken. . . .When ye see these things come to pass, then know that the Kingdom of God is nigh at hand. Look up, lift up your heads, rejoice, for your redemption draweth nigh. -- Luke 21:25-28, 32.

page 114

THIS JOURNAL AND ITS SACRED MISSION

THIS Journal is one of the prime factors or instruments in the system of Bible Instruction, or "Seminary Extension," now being presented in all parts of the civilized world by the WATCH TOWER BIBLE & TRACT SOCIETY, chartered A.D. 1881, "For the Promotion of Christian Knowledge." It not only serves as a class room where Bible Students may meet in the study of the divine Word, but also as a channel of communication through which they may be reached with announcements of the Society's Conventions and of the coming of its traveling representatives styled "Pilgrims," and refreshed with reports of its Conventions.

Our "Berean Lessons" are topical rehearsals or reviews of our Society's published "Studies," most entertainingly arranged, and very helpful to all who would merit the only honorary degree which the Society accords, viz., Verbi Dei Minister (V.D.M.), which translated into English is, Minister of the Divine Word. Our treatment of the International S.S. Lessons is specially for the older Bible Students and Teachers. By some this feature is considered indispensable.

This Journal stands firmly for the defence of the only true foundation of the Christian's hope now being so generally repudiated,--Redemption through the precious blood of "the man Christ Jesus who gave himself a ransom [a corresponding price, a substitute] for all." (I Pet. 1:19; I Tim. 2:6.) Building up on this sure foundation the gold, silver and precious stones (I Cor. 3:11-15; 2 Pet. 1:5-11) of the Word of God, its further mission is to--"Make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery which...has been hid in God,...to the intent that now might be made known by the Church the manifold wisdom of God"--"which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men as it is now revealed."--Eph. 3:5-9,10.

It stands free from all parties, sects and creeds of men, while it seeks more and more to bring its every utterance into fullest subjection to the will of God in Christ, as expressed in the Holy Scriptures. It is thus free to declare boldly whatsoever the Lord hath spoken;--according to the divine wisdom granted unto us, to understand. Its attitude is not dogmatical, but confident; for we know whereof we affirm, treading with implicit faith upon the sure promises of God. It is held as a trust, to be used only in his service; hence our decisions relative to what may and what may not appear in its columns must be according to our judgment of his good pleasure, the teaching of his Word, for the upbuilding of his people in grace and knowledge. And we not only invite but urge our readers to prove all its utterances by the infallible Word to which reference is constantly made, to facilitate such testing.

TO US THE SCRIPTURES CLEARLY TEACH

That the Church is "the Temple of the Living God"--peculiarly "His
workmanship;" that its construction has been in progress throughout the Gospel age--ever since Christ became the world's Redeemer and the chief corner stone of this Temple, through which, when finished, God's blessings shall come "to all people," and they find access to him.--1 Cor. 3:16,17; Eph. 2:20-22; Gen. 28:14; Gal. 3:29.
That meantime the chiseling, shaping and polishing, of consecrated believers
in Christ's atonement for sin, progresses; and when the last of these "living stones," "elect and precious," shall have been made ready, the great Master Workman will bring all together in the First Resurrection; and the Temple shall be filled with his glory, and be the meeting place between God and men throughout the Millennium.--Rev. 15:5-8.
That the Basis of Hope, for the Church and the World, lies in the fact that
"Jesus Christ, by the grace of God, tasted death for every man," "a ransom for all," and will be "the true light which lighteth every man that cometh into the world," "in due time."--Heb. 2:9; John 1:9; 1 Tim. 2:5,6.
That the Hope of the Church is that she may be like her Lord, "see him
as he is," be "partaker of the divine nature," and share his glory as his joint-heir.--1 John 3:2; John 17:24; Rom. 8:17; 2 Pet. 1:4.
That the present mission of the Church is the perfecting of the saints for
the future work of service; to develop in herself every grace; to be God's witness to the world; and to prepare to be the kings and priests of the next age.--Eph. 4:12; Matt. 24:14; Rev. 1:6; 20:6.
That the hope for the World lies in the blessings of knowledge and opportunity
to be brought to by Christ's Millennial Kingdom--the restitution of all that was lost in Adam, to all the willing and obedient, at the hands of their Redeemer and his glorified Church.--Acts 3:19-21; Isa. 35.
 
CHARLES T. RUSSELL, Editor.




PUBLISHED BY
WATCH TOWER BIBLE AND TRACT SOCIETY
CHARLES T. RUSSELL, PRESIDENT
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Terms to the Lord's Poor as Follows:--All Bible Students who, by reason of old age, or other infirmity or adversity, are unable to pay for this Journal, will be supplied free if they send a Postal Card each May stating their case and requesting its continuance. We are not only willing, but anxious, that all such be on our list continually and in touch with the STUDIES, etc.



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SEND REPORTS OF MEMORIAL PROMPTLY

We request prompt reports from all classes and little groups celebrating the Memorial of our Lord's death on April 16th. A postcard report of numbers and interest will do.


THE EUREKA DRAMA SUCCEEDING WELL

Nineteen Classes have sent in reports which show the following results for one week's exhibitions of EUREKA DRAMA:

Thirteen places were served. A total of twenty-nine exhibitions were given to an audience of thirteen hundred and thirty-eight. One hundred and twenty-nine cards requesting free literature were handed in.

These nineteen EUREKA DRAMAS heard from for the week are only a small portion of the whole number thus far sent forth. Fifty-seven have sent in no report whatever for the week. We can only imagine how many other thousands they may have served if actively engaged, or how many other thousands missed being served if they were not actively engaged.

Total EUREKA DRAMA reports to date show 1,788 places served; total exhibitions, 5,967; total attendance, 1,041,998; total cards received, 33,188.

All this is very encouraging and shows what possibilities there are in connection with this EUREKA DRAMA outfit. In a previous notice we suggested that the EUREKA DRAMA be not used in theaters, but in country schoolhouses, etc., leaving the theaters for the regular DRAMA. However, we have no desire to restrict the use of the EUREKA sets. We therefore suggest now that where openings for it may be found, it should be shown. Indeed, we have some excellent reports of its showing in theaters. Quite a number of exhibitions have been given in private theaters on Sunday mornings recently. They were very successful. People seemed to be interested and a good class of people seemed to attend. The Theater Managers were very pleased to have the EUREKA DRAMA, desiring in some manner, no doubt, to cooperate for the public good and also to give tone to their Theaters.

Be it remembered that we have the lecture records in Danish, Swedish, German, Polish, Italian, and Spanish (soon). These foreign records have cost us more than the English, but we propose to supply them hereafter to the friends at uniform prices--an entire set of DRAMA records for $25.00.

Wonderful opportunities, dear Brethren, are at our hands. Many are showing their love and zeal. Let each do according to his judgment of what would be pleasing in the sight of the Lord.



[R5883 : page 115]

THE PRINCIPLES OF LOVE AND JUSTICE CONTRASTED

NOTHING is more necessary to the peace and prosperity of the Church of God than that its members should have a clear understanding and appreciation of moral principles, with a full determination to be controlled by them. Even among Christians there are often differences of opinion with reference to principles of action, which greatly interfere with spiritual growth and prosperity. Such difficulties most frequently arise through failure to distinguish between the relative claims of Love and Justice. Therefore we consider it profitable to examine these principles and their operation among the children of God.

Justice is sometimes represented by a pair of evenly poised balances, and sometimes by a square and compass, both of which are fitting emblems of its character. Justice knows no compromise and no deviation from its fixed rule of action. It is mathematically precise. It gives nothing over for "good weight" or "good measure." There is no grace in it, no heart, no sympathy, no favor of any kind. It is a calculating, exact measure of truth and righteousness. When justice is done, there are no thanks due to the one who metes it out. Such a one has merely done a duty, the neglect of which would have been culpable, and the doing of which merits no favor or praise. And yet, firm and relentless as this principle is, it is declared to be the very foundation of God's Throne. It is the principle which underlies all His dealings with [R5884 : page 115] His creatures. It is His unchangeable business principle; and how firmly He adheres to it is manifest to every one who understands the Plan of Salvation, the basis of which is the satisfaction of Justice against our race. Though the arrangement for the satisfaction of Justice cost the life of His Only-begotten and well-beloved Son, so important was this principle of Divine Justice that God freely gave Him up for us all.

JUSTICE, BEFORE GENEROSITY

The principle of Love, unlike that of Justice, overflows with tenderness, and longs to bless. It is full of grace, and delights in the bestowment of favor. It is manifest, however, that no action can be regarded as a favor or a manifestation of love which has not underneath it the substantial foundation of justice. Thus, for instance, if one comes to you with a gift, and at the same time disregards a just debt to you, the gift falls far short of appreciation as an expression of love; and you say, "We should be just before we attempt to be generous."

And this is right; if Justice is the foundation principle in all of God's dealings, it should be the same in all of our dealings; and none the less so among brethren in Christ than among those in the world. As brethren in Christ, we have no right to presume upon the favor of one another. All to which we have a right is simple justice, though we may waive those things that are really our rights. But in our own dealings, we should strive always to render justice--justice in the payment of our honest debts to each other, justice in our judgment one of an other (which must make due allowance for frailties, etc., because we recognize in ourselves some measure of similar imperfection), and justice in fair and friendly treatment one of another.

As we have just said, there is no obligation to demand justice for ourselves, and we may, if we choose, even suffer injustice uncomplainingly. We must, however, if we are Christ's, render justice so far as we are enabled to recognize it. In other words, we are not responsible for the actions of others in this respect, but are responsible for our own. Therefore we are to endeavor earnestly that all our actions, our words and our thoughts may be squared by the exact rule of justice, before we offer even one single act as an expression of love.

JUSTICE, EQUITY, A CHRISTIAN QUALITY

It would appear that many Christian people spend years of their experience without making any great progress. One difficulty leading up to this condition is a failure to recognize the basic principles underlying the Divine Laws, which apply to us from the moment we are adopted into the Lord's family. The first of these basic principles is justice. We need to learn more and more clearly what are our own rights and the rights of our fellow creatures in the Church and out of the Church. We need to learn how to measure the affairs of ourselves and of others with the plummet of justice, and to recognize that we must not under any circumstances or conditions infract the rights, interests or liberties of others--that to do so would be wrong, sinful, contrary to the Divine will, and a serious hindrance to our growth in grace. Secondly, we must learn to esteem love next to justice in importance in the Divine Code. By love we mean, not amativeness nor soft sentimentality, but that principle of kindness, sympathy, consideration and benevolence which we see manifested in our Heavenly Father and in our Lord Jesus.

In proportion as we grow up in the Lord, strong in Him, it must be along the lines of these elements of His character. More and more we must appreciate and sympathize with others in their trials and difficulties and [R5884 : page 116] afflictions; more and more we must become gentle, patient, kind toward all, but especially toward the Household of Faith. All the graces of the Spirit are elements of love. God is love; and whoever receives of His Spirit receives the spirit of love.

These two basic principles must cover all of our conduct in life. Justice tells us that we must cease to do evil--that we must not speak a word nor do an act that would work injustice to another, nor even by look imply such injustice; that we must be as careful of his or her interests and welfare as of our own. Justice must govern all of our dealings with others. Love may permit us to give them more than justice could require, but justice demands that we must never give them less than due. No matter if they do not require justice at our hands, no matter if they are willing to take less than justice, no matter if they would say nothing if we should take advantage of them, no matter if they would not appreciate our degree of justice, still our course is the same. We have received of the Lord's Spirit, and must act from this standpoint and not from the standpoint of others who have not His Spirit or who are more or less blinded and disabled from dealing justly.

LOVE AND JUSTICE BOTH CONTROL

If justice must mark our conduct toward others, so love must be used by us in measuring the conduct of others toward us. We may not apply to others the strict rules of justice which we acknowledge as our responsibility to them. Love, generosity, demands that we accept from others less than justice, because we realize that they are fallen, imperfect, not only in their flesh, but also in their judgments. Furthermore, we see that the great mass of the world has not received the Spirit of the Lord at all, and therefore cannot appreciate these basic principles of justice and love as we appreciate them. We must in love look sympathetically upon their condition, as we would upon the condition of a sick neighbor, friend, parent or child. We must make allowance for their disordered condition, and think as charitably as possible of their words, conduct, etc.

This does not mean that we are to be blind or oblivious to true conditions, and permit ourselves to be deprived of all that we possess or earn; but it does mean that we should take a kind, sympathetic view of the unrighteousness and injustice of those with whom we have dealings. We should remember that they are fallen, and that they have not received the grace of God as we have received it; and that they are not, therefore, to be measured by the line of strict justice, but rather that their imperfections are to be allowed for reasonably by the elastic cord of love. It is our own conduct that we are to measure by the law of justice, the Golden Rule.

HOW LOVE MAY OVERFLOW THE MEASURE

How clearly the Master sets forth these conditions, urging upon us the Golden Rule as the measure for our conduct toward others, and that in measuring their conduct toward us we shall be as generous as we shall wish our Lord to be in His judgment of ourselves, in harmony with His statement, "With what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged"! A right appreciation of these basic principles, justice and love, by the Lord's people, and worked out in the daily affairs of life, would lift them above the world. It would save many an altercation, many a law suit, many a quarrel, and would make of the Lord's people shining examples of kindness, generosity, love, and at the same time examples of justice, right living, sterling honesty, etc.

Love is not, like justice, an exact principle to be measured and weighed. It is three-fold in its character: it is pitiful; it is sympathetic, in the sense of kinship of soul--affectionate; it is reverential. These different forms of love are exercised according to the object upon which love is centered. Pity-love is the lowest form of love; it takes cognizance of even the vile and degraded, and is active in measures of relief. Sympathetic love rises higher, and proffers fellowship, comradeship. But the reverential love rises above all these, and delights in the contemplation of the good, the pure and the beautiful. In this latter form we may indeed love God supremely, as the personification of all that is truly worthy of admiration and reverence; and love our fellow men in proportion as they bear His likeness. The Divine Law demands love, both to God and to man.

Although we owe to every man, as a duty, love in one of these senses, we may not demand it one of another; but love overflows justice. Love shakes the measure, presses it down, heaps it up. The lack of love is not to be complained of by the Christian, however, but when bestowed it is to be appreciated gratefully and reciprocated generously. Every one who craves love should crave it in its highest sense--in the sense of admiration and reverence. But this form of love is the most costly; and the only way to secure it is to manifest that nobility of character which calls it forth from others who are truly noble, truly like our Lord Jesus.

The love begotten of sympathy and fellowship is also very precious. But any sentiment that comes merely in response to a demand, is deprived of love's choicest aroma. Therefore never demand love, but rather by manifestation of it toward others court its reciprocation. The love of pity is not called out by the nobility of the subject, but rather by the nobility of the bestower, whose heart is so full of love that it overflows in generous impulses toward even the unworthy. All of the objects of pity, however, are not unworthy of love in the higher senses; and some such often draw upon our love in every sense.

A SELFISH, ONE-SIDED VIEW

To demand Love's overflow of blessing--which is beyond the claim of justice--is only an exhibition of covetousness. We may act on this principle of love ourselves, but we may not claim it from others. If we do, we manifest a lack of love and the possession of a considerable measure of selfishness. Some seem to see clearly where brotherly love should be extended to themselves, but are [R5885 : page 116] slow to see their own obligations in this respect.

For instance, two brethren were once rooming together, and through a failure to consider the relative claims of love and justice, one presumed upon the brotherly love of the other to the extent of expecting him to pay the entire rent of the room. When the other urged the claim of justice, the first urged the claim of brotherly-love, and the former reluctantly yielded, not knowing how to refute the claim, yet feeling that somehow some Christians had less principle than many worldly people. How strange that any of God's children should take so narrow, so one-sided, so selfish a view! Cannot all see that love and justice should work both ways; that it is the duty of each not to oversee others in these respects, but to look well to his own course, to see that he manifests brotherly love; and that if he would teach others, it should be rather by example than by precept?

LET LOVE REIGN SUPREME

Let us beware of a disposition toward covetousness. Let us each remember that he is steward over the Lord's goods entrusted to him, and not over those entrusted to his brother; that each is accountable to the Lord, and not to others, for the right use of that which the Master [R5885 : page 117] has placed in his hands. There is nothing much more unbecoming and unlovely in the children of God than a disposition to petty criticism of the individual affairs of one another. It is a business too small for the saints, and manifests a sad lack of that brotherly love which should be especially manifest in broad and generous consideration, which would rather cover a multitude of sins than to magnify one.

The Christian is to have the loving, generous disposition of heart--a copy of the Heavenly Father's disposition. In trivial affairs he is to have so much sympathy and love that he will take no notice, just as God for Christ's sake deals with us and does not impute sin to us, except as it represents knowledge and wilfulness. With such a rule operating amongst Christians, a determination not to recognize as an offense anything that is not purposely done, or intended as an offense, would be a great blessing to all, and the proper, God-like course. The transgressions to which our Lord refers in Matthew 18:15-17, are not the trivial affairs of no consequence, are not evil surmisings and imaginings, are not rumors, are not fancied insults, but positive wrongs done us, and on account of which it is our duty, kindly and lovingly and wisely, to give some proper rebuke--some intimation that we recognize the wrong and that it has grieved us and hurt us and needs correction.

The disposition to forgive should be with us always, and should be manifested by us at all times. Our loving generosity, our kindness and our desire to think no evil or as little evil as possible, should be manifested by all the words and acts of life. This is God-like. God had a kind, benevolent, generous sentiment toward us even while we were yet sinners. Nor did He wait for the sinners to ask forgiveness, but promptly manifested His desire for harmony and His readiness to forgive. The, whole Gospel Message is to this effect: "Be ye reconciled to God." Our hearts should be so full of this disposition toward forgiveness that our faces would not have a hard look, nor our words of reproof a bitter sting. We should manifest the loving forgiveness that we should have in our hearts at all times.

May love and justice find their proper, relative places in the hearts of all of God's people, that so the enemy may have no occasion to glory! The Psalmist said, "O how love I Thy Law [the Law of Love whose foundation is justice]! It is my meditation all the day." (Psalm 119:97.) Surely, if God's Law were the constant meditation of all, there would be fewer and less glaring mistakes than we often see! Let us watch and be sober, that the Adversary and our fallen flesh may not gain an advantage over us as New Creatures. Let SELF be more and more eliminated and LOVE reign supreme.



[R5885 : page 117]

YOKE-FELLOWS WITH CHRIST

"Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me;...for My yoke is easy and My burden is light."--Matthew 11:29,30.
OUR Lord was here addressing the Jews. He did not preach to the Gentiles, because the time for favor to the Gentiles had not yet come. He was not sent, He declared, "save to the lost sheep of the House of Israel." The Israelites were under the yoke of the nation of Rome, but we do not think that this was the yoke to which our Lord referred. They were under a religious yoke, the yoke of the Law.

A yoke signifies servitude. One who bears a yoke is a servant. For instance, oxen have a yoke put upon them, not that they may bear a yoke, but that they may be enabled by the yoke to bear the burdens which are to be laid upon them. Hence the yoke becomes the symbol of service, of burden-bearing. So with the Israelites; all the obligations of the Law Covenant were to be borne by them. They had agreed to become the servants of God under the conditions of this Law Covenant. But they found themselves so unbalanced and weak, as the result of sin, that they could not bear the burdens of the Law. No Jew could draw that Law Covenant load. "There is none righteous; no, not one"--none could meet the obligations of God's perfect Law.

Our Lord did not come to do away with the Law. On the contrary, He magnified the Law, and made it honorable. He showed that its requirements were neither unreasonable nor unjust, although by reason of their imperfection no man had been able to keep it. By keeping the Law perfectly Himself, our Lord proved that it is not beyond the possibility of the obedience of a perfect human being, but it is the full measure of a perfect man's ability. The Law did not prove too weighty a load for Him to bear; He was able fully to meet its every requirement, and did so.

But now He was inviting His disciples to come under a different yoke--a yoke of servitude with Him. He had a new Message--the Gospel, the Message of "good tidings." It spoke of release from the obligations of that Law Covenant which they were unable to bear, but which was designed to be a "schoolmaster, to lead them to Christ." He told them how they might have part in this wonderful new arrangement which was just opening up, of which He Himself was to be the Head. The arrangement was altogether of the Father, but the Son was to be His special Representative. His disciples might have a part by becoming dead to the Law Covenant, through believing in Jesus their Messiah and becoming united to Him. Thus they would be acceptable to God by Him, and would be begotten of the Holy Spirit and become sons of God.

THE NEW CREATURE FULFILS THE LAW

In this way they would become associates of the Messiah in the keeping of the Law of righteousness; for it would be quite possible for them to keep God's Law under this new kind of yoke and these new conditions. The new yoke would not be upon the old creature; the old creature had already demonstrated that it could not keep the Law's requirements. But the Divine arrangement was that in order to become New Creatures they must become dead, not to the Law Covenant alone, but to all earthly interests, hopes and prospects. The Apostle, speaking of such, says the righteousness of the Law is fulfilled in us who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit.--Romans 8:4.

We are not only fulfilling the requirements of the Law, but we do more. We lay down our lives for the brethren. This is beyond what the Law could require. But it is the New Creature that does this. The old creature is dead, from God's standpoint. The New Creature must operate through the old body, the imperfections of which are all covered by the robe of Christ's righteousness. Hence the New Creature is, from the Divine viewpoint, fulfilling the righteousness of the Law, for it abides faithful to the Lord and has continually the cleansing of the imputed merit of the blood of Christ for the imperfections of its body.

THE HEAVY YOKE OF THE LAW UPON ISRAEL

It was for a purpose that the Master brought this figure of a yoke to the attention of the Jews. They knew [R5885 : page 118] something about the burdens of the Law under which they as a people had long groaned. They had learned that they were unable to gain the everlasting life which it promised on condition of perfect obedience to its requirements. For sixteen hundred years they had been trying to keep the Law, and had failed. They remembered that God had promised them the Messiah, and they knew that somehow or other He would bring in a new arrangement; but they did not know how or when. Through their Prophets God had foretold that He would take away the stony heart out of their flesh and give them a heart of flesh. So the faithful ones had been watching and waiting with longing for this Messiah and all that had been promised through Him. And devout Jews are still waiting for the fulfilment of those promises.

But when Jesus came He began a work not clearly understood before. He did not then bring in the New Covenant which had been promised through the Prophets. (Jeremiah 31:31-34; 32:38-41; Ezekiel 11:19; 36:25-30.) [R5886 : page 118] He did not then take away their stony hearts and give them hearts of flesh. This was to be a still future work, the work of the Kingdom, when it should be set up in power and great glory over all the earth.

THE BEGINNING OF THE NEW CREATION

But now, previous to all this, the Messiah had come for a different purpose; to do a preparatory work. He was instituting a new thing; He was starting a New Creation, and was inviting as many of the Jews as were in the proper attitude of heart to join with Him--not waiting for the New Covenant of the future, but to have a part with Him in this matter of becoming sons of God. "Yoke up with Me," Jesus said. And His Message was appreciated by those who had been sincerely trying to keep the Law. "Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy-laden, and I will give you rest." (Matthew 11:28.) Here was a new proposition. It must have seemed very strange to them, even if they had fully understood the figure of speech which He used.

Although we who are Gentiles by nature were never under the yoke of the Jewish Law, yet, in another way, we have had a great burden which we were unable to bear--the burden of sin and death. Adam first came under the burden of sin which has brought so great a curse upon the world. We have all borne and felt the weight of sin and all its evil accompaniments. So the Master's words of hope and comfort have brought joy and refreshing to our hearts also, and we have found this offered rest--rest in Him, our true Yoke-Fellow.

All who are heavy-laden, who appreciate the nature and the bitterness of sin, who know and fear it and are striving against it--all these are invited to come to the Master. They are invited to take His yoke upon them and to learn of Him. They are assured that His yoke is easy. It is easy in the sense that it is possible to bear, and that it is not galling.

THE PERFECT, ADJUSTABLE YOKE

We have seen oxen yoked. We have seen the great wooden yokes upon their necks bear down with heavy pressure upon the skin and muscles. A yoke that does not fit an animal will chafe him and cause restlessness; whereas a yoke that is properly fitted will be comfortable and will make the load much more easily drawn. Our Lord declares that He has a yoke that is easy, comfortable and enjoyable. His yoke is, so to speak, an elastic yoke. It meets the varied conditions of the different individuals who wear it. It is large for the large, small for the small, medium for the medium. It is a yoke by which the greatest, the highest and the most talented may yoke up with the Lord--or the most insignificant, may do the same. The Lord is able to bear for us all that we lack ability to bear. There is no yoke which will enable one to bear burdens as this yoke does. True, it requires perfection to bear this yoke and we are weak and imperfect beings; but if we have only one-tenth of perfection, and nine-tenths of imperfection, our Lord will bear for us the lacking nine-tenths. If we have one-half imperfection, He will bear that. Thus the weakest are provided for, and the strongest get what they need. Here is the great opportunity of the Gospel Age.

Our Lord Jesus gave to the Apostle Paul the assurance, "My strength is made perfect in weakness." (2 Corinthians 12:9.) All things shall work together for good to us because we love Him, because we have taken His yoke, have become yoke-fellows with Him. We rejoice in the privilege of suffering with Him. The flesh may suffer, but the spirit rejoices. We shall not be tried beyond our strength. His burden is light. No one is required under this arrangement to do more than he is able to perform. If we have the right spirit we shall be glad to do all that we can accomplish. One who would not be willing to do all in his power would not be accounted by the Lord as faithful. The Master's burden is light if it be accepted in sincerity and in truth, and only those who so receive it can become yoke-fellows with Him.



[R5886 : page 118]

"THE LITTLE FOXES"

"Take us the foxes, the little foxes, that spoil the vines, for our vines have tender grapes."--Canticles 2:15.
IN THE above text the word "take" is used in the sense of catch--help us to catch the foxes, especially the little foxes. The fox is known as a very cunning, but docile little animal, not capable of ferocity and viciousness, but nevertheless the cause of much harm. Its very appearance of harmlessness makes it the more dangerous. The young fox, like all the young of the dog family, is very destructive in its character; and the fox is particularly cunning and crafty when bent on mischief, hence less likely to arouse suspicion of its evil intentions. It has a peculiar simplicity of manner; it attracts by its apparent innocence, and is all the more apt to deceive.

In our text King Solomon seems to be picturing the depravities of our fallen nature which are not so extreme, not so gross, as some, but which are none the less very harmful; indeed they are especially deceitful and likely to elude our attention, and for this reason need more careful and constant watching. The words seem to be the language of the Bridegroom to His espoused. He emphasizes the expression, "the little foxes," and intimates that they would be very destructive.

If we apply the term to sins, we find that there are little sins which are really more dangerous than grosser sins, because we are less likely to be on our guard against these than against the greater sins. Every one would be instinctively on guard against lions, bears, serpents, etc.; but little foxes are so attractive-looking and seem so artless in disposition that unless one has had bitter experience with them he would have little or no fear. But these little animals are much given to scratching and generally destroying everything with which they come in contact. [R5886 : page 119]

GUARD CAREFULLY THE "TENDER GRAPES"

In this illustration of the wise man the grape-vine is spoken of, as though these foxes have a special predilection for grapes--the grapes representing the fruits of the Holy Spirit. As these little foxes delight to tear the vine with their sharp claws and to gnaw the roots with their teeth, so small sins tear the branches and gnaw at the roots of the spiritual vine, thus endangering its very life. They destroy or devour the precious grapes, which are very tender. Grapes during the formative period and while very small are exceedingly tender and the stems very brittle and easily snapped off the vine and destroyed. So the Spirit's fruitage in the hearts and lives of immature Christians may be easily ruined, either by their own lack of care and watchfulness or by the example of the brethren. How careful should those be who have been longer in the Heavenly way to guard their words and conduct in the presence of the younger, less mature ones, the lambs of the flock! Unloving criticism of the brethren before beginners, or others, may do untold harm and is a manifestation of a lack of love and Christian maturity.

Every child of God should be especially on guard against the little things--the things that seem like jokes, which sometimes do more harm in the Church than things which appear great; the little insinuations, that often leave a sting; the jesting about sacred matters, turning Scriptural passages into jests; the little acts of selfishness, etc. These things and many others which by careful thought each one may note really do much damage, injuring the branches and destroying the precious fruits of the Lord's Vine. Then let us, dear brethren, strive to be more and more watchful to catch these "little foxes." Let us each, individually, watch and pray that we do not by thought or word or act of ours hinder or lessen our own fruit-bearing or that of another.

It is difficult for us to realize how potent is our influence for either good or evil in matters which, unless carefully scrutinized, seem trifling. Ah, these little foxes! Careless words, spoken with scarcely a thought or in a moment of impatience, little grumblings, a sarcastic word or laugh or look or shrug--oh, how these things count in our daily lives either for or against our own spiritual development, and often the development of others! How earnestly we should each seek to upbuild our own character and the characters of the brethren! Our Lord is marking all these things. Remember, "He that is faithful in that which is least, will be faithful also in much."



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ST. PETER DELIVERED FROM PRISON
--APRIL 30.--ACTS 12:1-11.--

PASSOVER TRIALS AND TESTINGS--DEATH OF ST. JAMES-- ST. PETER IMPRISONED--HIS MIRACULOUS DELIVERANCE-- AN ALL-NIGHT PRAYER-MEETING--THE REWARD OF FAITH--LESSONS FOR OUR DAY--DIVINE GUARDIANSHIP OF ALL WHO ARE TRULY THE LORD'S--THE POWER OF SATAN--THE POWER OF GOD AND THE POWER OF PRAYER.

"The angel of Jehovah encampeth round about them that fear Him, and delivereth them."--Psalm 34:7.
HEROD was the family name of several kings who ruled Israel, but who were descendants of Esau--Edomites. At the time of our Study for today Herod Agrippa I. had been appointed king of Judea. He was the grandson of Herod the Great, murderer of the babes of Bethlehem, and the nephew of Herod Antipas, who beheaded John the Baptist and subsequently, with his soldiers, set Jesus at naught and mocked Him, just prior to His crucifixion.

Herod Agrippa appears to have been desirous of the good will of the people, even at the cost of principle. He took pains to observe the minutiae of Jewish ceremonials. He hung up in the Temple the gold chain which the Emperor Caligula had given him. The story is related that at the Feast of Tabernacles he caused the entire Book of Deuteronomy to be read in the hearing of the people; and that when the reader came to the words, "Thou mayest not set a stranger over thee, who is not thy brother" (Deut. 17:15), the king "burst into theatrical tears." Thereupon the populace obsequiously cried, "Do not weep, Agrippa; thou art our brother!"

PASSOVER SEASON SIFTINGS

On the lookout to curry favor with the Jews, especially the influential ones, Agrippa caused the Apostle James to be beheaded. St. James was one of the three who had usually accompanied our Lord in the most confidential capacity. Although the record of this noble Apostle's ministry is brief in the extreme, it contains nothing that gives the slightest suggestion of anything but zeal and faithfulness to our Lord and to His Cause. This James, who died early in the Christian Era, should not be confounded with the author of the Epistle of James--"James the Less," supposed to have been second cousin to our Lord, and for this reason styled "the Lord's brother," according to Jewish custom.

Finding that the death of St. James brought great pleasure to the Jews, Agrippa had the Apostle Peter arrested. The expression, "When he had apprehended him," implies that some delay occurred between the order for the Apostle's arrest and the time of his imprisonment --that his arrest was after searching. Probably all of the Apostles were more or less secreted about that time; but, trusting to the sacredness of the Passover season, St. Peter had ventured forth and was arrested and imprisoned, Agrippa intending his death directly at the close of the Passover week. Meantime, however, the Lord delivered His faithful Apostle, as this Study shows.

We can well imagine the sadness of the Church at this Passover season, which must have reminded them considerably of the time of our Lord's death and of the alarm then amongst His followers. For some years past it has seemed to us as though each Passover season, each Memorial celebration, was a time of special trial and testing amongst the followers of our Lord. Whether this is a fact or not, it surely will not injure the Lord's people to be especially on guard against the wiles of the Adversary at these times. Let us watch and pray always, lest we fall into temptation.

The thought of special trial, special temptation from the Adversary at this season of the year, seems to have been the foundation for the Lenten Season, a period of special restraint, fasting and prayer, which has come down to us through the oldest channels of Church history. The fact that with many today the Lenten season is a mere formality does not mean that it is so or that it was originally so. Strongly would we recommend the fasting and prayer at all times enjoined in the Scriptures; and we suggest that, if possible, alertness be especially [R5887 : page 120] exercised by all the consecrated during the forty days preceding the Memorial.

As we have already explained, our self-denials are not merely along the lines of food and drink, but are to extend to all of our appetites. Undoubtedly a very simple and limited diet during the Spring of the year would be beneficial for the majority of mankind, even though there were no spiritual blessings connected therewith. Winter cold brings hearty appetites; and the result is that toward Spring the system is apt to be surfeited, or over-charged. From this condition it need to be relieved by a measure of abstention, which is as favorable to spirituality as surfeiting is unfavorable.

PRAYING FOR ST. PETER

St. Peter is supposed to have been imprisoned in the famous Castle of Antonia, where our Lord was arraigned before Pilate, and where St. Paul was subsequently taken when mobbed in Jerusalem. The Apostle had a guard of four quaternions--four soldiers each--who relieved each other every three hours. Two of the four were chained to St. Peter's arms, one to each arm; a third stood outside the door; and a fourth was stationed in the passage leading to the outer iron gate.

The power of Divine grace to help in every time of need and to give peace amidst alarms is well illustrated in this case by the fact that under all these circumstances St. Peter was fast asleep when the angel of the Lord came to deliver him. The proprieties of the case are also illustrated by the fact that the Church were not asleep, but praying for the Apostle. It was not for him to pray for his own deliverance from the power of Agrippa; he had already consecrated his life unto death, and properly should feel quite ready to lay down his life at this time, if such proved to be the Divine will respecting him. For him to have asked for the prolongation of life would have been to ask amiss, and would have manifested a wilfulness incompatible with a full consecration to the Lord's will. But with the Church it was different. While expressing their confidence in the Divine supervision of the affairs of the Church, they could with all propriety tell the Lord of their love for St. Peter and express the hope that it might be the Lord's will that the Apostle should continue with them for their joy and comfort and for their upbuilding in the "most holy faith."

Then, too, the loss of the Apostle James, who apparently was the leader amongst the Apostles, would make St. Peter and every other Apostle doubly precious in the estimation of the Household of Faith. God purposed that St. Peter should live to be an old man; for this was our Lord's prophecy concerning him. (John 21:18,19.) But the emergency proved a blessing to the Church, by way of stirring up their pure minds to an appreciation of God's Cause in general and of St. Peter in particular.

DELIVERED BY AN ANGEL

Between three and six o'clock in the morning St. Peter, who had been sleeping peacefully, was awakened by an angel, whose radiant features enabled the Apostle quickly to discern that his deliverer was a holy being. The Apostle was bidden to arise. Quickly and simultaneously the chains were loosed which bound him to the soldier by either hand. He was then instructed to put on his sandals and his outer garment, or cloak, and to follow his leader. He did so, realizing the facts as those in a dream. Thus he was led past the first and second wards, or doors, until they came to the great gate leading into the city. This swung open of its own accord; and then the angel left him.

It is worthy of notice that the miracles performed were only such as were beyond St. Peter's natural power. Whatever he could do he was required to do; namely, to put on his sandals and his cloak and to follow the angel. He might have been transported; sandals might have been fastened to his feet; a new cloak might have been provided. But the lesson is more profitable as it was given. Similarly in the Lord's dealings with us today, we should remember that it is ours to do everything in our power; and that it is the Lord's to overrule all things for our good and to supply our deficiencies from His abundance.

When the Apostle came to himself, when he realized the facts in the case--that he was free--his faith was strengthened. Willing to die, he found that the Lord was willing that he should live, labor and endure; and he was equally pleased, rejoicing, we may be sure, for the privilege of further service, even though it would mean further sacrifices and sufferings for the sake of the Lord and of His people.

Doubtless the angel had started St. Peter in the direction of Mary's home, where prayer was being made on his behalf. The description of the house implies that it was one of the better class. St. Peter's knock was answered by little Rose (Rhoda), who child-like, was so delighted, when she recognized the Apostle's voice, that she neglected to open the door before running back to tell the praying household that he was at the gate. Expecting no deliverance at such an hour, some thought that the little maid was mistaken, and insisted that it must be his angel--in harmony with the prevalent thought that an angel had supervision of each individual of God's people, and that such might personate the one under his protection.

The brethren were surprised at the Lord's answer to their petition; for it came very unexpectedly as respects time. When they realized that it was actually St. Peter who stood before them, there was an outburst of excitement and of questions which the Apostle was obliged to silence by the shaking of his hands. Then he narrated the wonderful story of his deliverance, and bade them tell it to the other James, the cousin of Jesus, and to the other disciples. Then he went his way, whether to another city or to another house we do not know. In any event, he exercised wisdom in not needlessly provoking Herod.

With the coming of daylight there was consternation in the prison. Later on in this same chapter we learn of another visit of the angel of the Lord. This time he came to smite the king with disease, from which he subsequently died. The entire chapter shows us the power of Satan, the power of God and the power of prayer.

THE GOLDEN TEXT

Our Golden Text is a symbolical statement illustrative of the Divine guardianship of all those who are truly the Lord's. The thought is that the affairs of His people are under His continual supervision. Whether we think of the angel of the Lord as one of the Heavenly host especially appointed on our behalf, or whether we think of him from the standpoint of the various powers of nature, the levers of which are all in the Divine care, it matters not. We have the assurance that the Father Himself loves us, and that all the Heavenly powers are pledged to those whom He has accepted in Christ Jesus; and these unitedly guarantee blessings to all who abide in God's love.

To thus abide means to abide in the Redeemer. It means to abide loyal to our consecration, to do the Father's will to the best of our ability. That will is declared to be that we shall love the Lord supremely, shall love our neighbor as ourselves, and shall love all the members of the Household of Faith even as Christ loved us.



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THE MISSIONARIES OF ANTIOCH
--MAY 7.--ACTS 11:19-26; 13:1-3.--

PERSECUTION SPREADS THE GOSPEL--THE FIRST CHURCH AMONGST THE GENTILES--BARNABAS SENT FROM JERUSALEM TO ASSIST THE YOUNG CHURCH--SAUL OF TARSUS BROUGHT TO ANTIOCH--THE TWO BRETHREN SENT FORTH AS MISSIONARIES--ORDINATION AND LAYING ON OF HANDS.

"Go ye therefore, and make disciples of all the nations."--Matthew 28:19. R.V.
ANTIOCH, at the time of our Study, was the third city in the world both in commercial importance and in population, only Rome and Alexandria taking precedence. It is noted as being the first city outside of Palestine in which a Christian Church assembly was formed. Indeed, we might say that as Jerusalem was the center of influence in Palestine, so Antioch became a center of influence as respected the Gospel amongst the Gentiles.

It seems that the little spark of Truth which started the work of the Lord at Antioch resulted from the persecution which arose at the time of St. Stephen's death. Some of those forced out of Jerusalem by the persecution settled at Antioch; and of course they could not walk in the light of the Gospel without letting the light shine out for others. At first this was done only toward those who were of the Jewish faith; and in a large commercial center such as Antioch there were sure to be large numbers of Jews. We know not how many of them were reached with the Gospel; but it was surely confined to them until the end of Israel's seventy symbolical weeks of Divine favor--until the autumn of 36 A.D.

At the same time that the Lord was sending Deacon Philip to the Samaritans and to the Ethiopian eunuch, and the opening the door to the Gentiles through the Apostle Peter, He was ready to open the door to the Gentiles everywhere. Under the leadings of Divine providence some of the Christian Hebrews got the proper thought at the proper time--that a Gentile who would receive the Lord Jesus could be classed as a disciple equally with the Jews who had done so. The work thus started amongst the Gentiles at Antioch spread considerably, the Gentiles seeming to take more notice of the Gospel than had the Jews to whom it was first preached.

BARNABAS SENT TO ANTIOCH

The news that the Gospel had gone to the Gentiles at Antioch, and that large numbers were turning to the Lord, reached the Church at Jerusalem--the head-center of the Christian work, so to speak. The Apostles and all the brethren had been prepared by the Lord's manifest dealing in the case of Cornelius, the Roman centurion; and this undoubtedly would detract from their surprise and would largely correct any prejudice on the subject of the Gentiles as fellow-heirs of the Abrahamic Promise, which had previously pertained to the Jews alone. Nevertheless, we note that the record does not say that this news caused rejoicing in the Church at Jerusalem. We may infer, therefore, that they heard with considerable trepidation that large numbers of Gentiles were attaching themselves to the faith, and may have reasoned that this would have an injurious effect upon the Cause they loved to serve.

It would appear, then, that the original motive in sending Barnabas to Antioch was that he might see and judge of the true condition of things, and give a report as to whether the new converts were worthy to be recognized as fellow-heirs with the saints. When Barnabas had arrived in Antioch, he took note of "the grace of God" manifested amongst the believers there. This must have been manifested not only in their faith in Jesus as their Redeemer and Master, but also in their conduct as disciples of our Lord. Barnabas quickly discerned the cleansing and sanctifying power of the Truth amongst these believers, and thus realized that the Cause, instead of being hindered by such accessions, would be honored thereby. We read that he was glad; and we may assume, although it is not stated, that he promptly made report to the brethren at Jerusalem, and that they were glad also.

The Apostles evidently made an excellent choice when they sent Barnabas to Antioch. The fact that he was a Levite by birth would make him very careful of every Jewish interest connected with the faith; and undoubtedly he was well learned in the Law. He was a native of Cyprus, an island in the Mediterranean Sea, not far from Antioch. Born thus at a distance from Jerusalem and amongst Gentiles, he was probably a broad-minded man, as well as familiar with the dialect spoken by the people of Antioch. Another good reason for sending him was the fact that he was a beautiful character and very helpful as a brother and a teacher in the Church. We remember that he sold a part of his property in the interest of the poor in Jerusalem; and that he received the name Barnabas--"a son of consolation," a helper-- as a title of love and respect in the Church.

HIS WORK WITH THE YOUNG CHURCH

Barnabas at once overflowed toward the Antioch brethren, and in the same comforting and helpful manner as at Jerusalem he exhorted them all. Doubtless he saw various things needing to be corrected. But instead of finding fault, instead of lacerating their feelings and chiding them, he began by acknowledgment of what he saw in them as a cause for rejoicing. His comforting message was to the effect that they should cleave unto the Lord with purpose of heart. He wished the dear brethren, new in the Truth, to see to it that their hearts were firmly united to the Lord, that their minds were fully made up, that their consecration was complete.

This was a matter of first importance. Later on he might show them kindly, gently, certain weaknesses of the flesh to which they were addicted. Or, their hearts being more firmly united to the Lord, they might very speedily see these inconsistencies of themselves, without a word being said. The point which we would impress is that it was not a restraining of the flesh, nor a perfecting of it, but a much deeper work of grace than this --a purity of heart, a heart-adhesion to the Lord.

We cannot do better today than to follow this same course in our endeavors to do good unto others as we have opportunity. The brethren need strengthening rather than tearing. They need building up in the most holy faith and in love. They need encouraging in heart adhesion to the Lord. Criticisms of the flesh may come in afterward, but very gradually and kindly.

There were three elements cooperating which made Barnabas so suitable a person for service, and which will surely make any of us an able minister of the Truth. These elements are stated in Verse 24: "He was a good man [moral, upright, reverential], full of the Holy Spirit [he had not received the grace of God in vain; in him it was a living power, the new mind guiding and controlling in all of his affairs] and of faith." However good a man may be, and however much of the Lord's Spirit he may have, a strong faith is essential. "Without faith it is impossible to please God." Let us strive to have all of these qualifications in our ministry, that we may be [R5888 : page 122] true sons of consolation, helpful in the Lord's service and to His people wherever we may be. No wonder we read that as a result of the labors of Barnabas at Antioch much people was added to the Lord!

SAUL OF TARSUS BROUGHT TO ANTIOCH

The last we heard of Saul of Tarsus (Acts 9:30) was that after the opening of his eyes of understanding, after he had become a disciple of the Lord Jesus, he had preached first in Damascus and then in Jerusalem, after which, his life being endangered, the brethren had sent him down to Caesarea, and then probably by ship to his native city, Tarsus. We are not informed regarding the nature of his work in his home city, but can readily suppose that one of his character and disposition would not long remain idle. And if the sphere of outward activities was a narrow one, we may be sure that his mind was active in the study of the Divine Plan, and that his great heart was also active, in comprehending Divine grace and in considering ways of service.

Evidently Barnabas had in mind the talents, the force, the logic, of Brother Saul, whom he had met in Jerusalem; and he concluded that, Tarsus being not very far from Antioch, he would look Saul up, interest him in the service of the Church at Antioch, etc. He probably remembered that Saul's ideas respecting the Gospel were extremely broad--too broad, perhaps, for the brethren at Jerusalem to appreciate fully when Saul was amongst them. But by this time all the brethren, and especially large-hearted Barnabas, had come to see the Divine Plan in a broader light--more nearly as Saul of Tarsus had comprehended it.

Barnabas had concluded that the conditions at Antioch were such as would deeply interest Saul, and that the brethren there would be greatly profited by his assistance. So he found Saul, and brought him to Antioch, where his influence was doubtless great. We rejoice in noting the heart nobility of Barnabas. Many Christian men of smaller caliber would have reasoned themselves into a wrong course, saying, "Having had larger opportunities than the others, and having had close contact with the Apostles at Jerusalem, I am the chief one amongst the brethren here. But if I bring Saul into our midst, his superior abilities as a logician, as an expounder of the Scriptures, will cast me quite into the shade."

Brethren who reason thus are misguided by their own selfishness. They forget that the Lord's work is in His own hands; that with such a spirit they could neither please Him nor be prospered in His service; and that the reactionary effect upon their own hearts would be serious. All of the Lord's people should be noble and unselfish. And the closer we approximate this character, the more shall we be loved of the Lord and of the brethren, and the greater will be our sphere of influence for righteousness, for the Truth, for the Lord.

DISCIPLES FIRST CALLED CHRISTIANS

It is noteworthy that our Lord never gave a name to His people, but called them disciples--pupils, learners. The Apostles have applied to the Church various terms; such as, "Church of the living God," "Church of God," "Church of Christ," "the Church." But gradually the name Christians, identifying God's people with their Redeemer, came to be the general name everywhere.

It is a pity that any have thought it necessary to adopt any other names than these, which are common to the entire Church of Christ, or to use these names in a sectarian manner. Evidently the name Christian should represent one who trusts in Christ as the Messiah--one, therefore, who trusts in Him as the Redeemer and who accepts all the fundamental doctrines of the Scriptures. These doctrines are based upon three declarations: (1) That all were sinners, needing to be redeemed before they could be acceptable to God. (2) That the believer accepts God's forgiveness through the precious blood of Christ. (3) That he has accepted the Leadership and name of Christ and henceforth will seek to walk in His steps.

There was a start toward sectarianism in the early Church, some saying, "I am a Christian, but of the order of Paul." Others said, "I am a Christian of the order of Apollos;" still others, "I am a Christian of the order of Peter." St. Paul promptly rebuked this spirit, assuring them that relationship in Christ was all that was necessary, that neither Peter nor Paul had redeemed them, and that neither Apostle could therefore occupy the place of a head to the Church. Furthermore, the Apostle calls attention to the fact that such a spirit on their part was an evidence that much carnality still remained, much of a worldly, partisan spirit, contrary to the teachings of the Holy Spirit.--1 Corinthians 1:10-13; 3:1-7.

It is to be regretted that ever since the Reformation this spirit has prevailed to a large extent, some taking the name of Luther, others, Wesley, Calvin, others non-personal, sectarian or party names such as Methodist, Presbyterian, Baptist, etc. We are not claiming that those who do so are wholly carnal, without the Lord's Spirit; but with the Apostles we do claim that a disposition to such partisanship is contrary to the Spirit of the Lord, and to that extent is carnal, fleshly, and should be overcome by all who would be recognized of the Lord as overcomers.

What we ought to have is one Church, one Household of Faith, accepting the plain fundamentals of Scripture, and with limitations as to acceptance of more or less conjectural views outside of those fundamentals-- all fellowshipping each other, and all known as Christians, and thus separated from all who deny the Atonement, from all who deny the results of the Atonement in the resurrection, and from all who deny the propriety of a newness of life in the present time. In this view of the matter, each individual Christian would have an independence as respects his own thought, aside from fundamentals which are clearly stated in the Scriptures.

MISSIONARIES SENT FORTH

For a considerable time Paul and Barnabas met with the Church at Antioch in the worship of the Lord and in the study of His Word. The result of these studies was that the Church as a whole was developed and brought to the point of considering and praying about means for the spread of the Gospel. There were a number of Prophets--public speakers--and teachers in the Church; and evidently they began to think of how they might be used to the glory of God and to the blessing of others, as they themselves had been blessed by the Truth.

This is always the case with those who receive the Truth into good and honest hearts. Properly enough, they desire to feed thereon themselves and to grow strong in the Lord. But just so surely as the Truth is received, it gives a strength and a desire to use that strength. This is as true today as it was then. The sanctification which the Truth brings starts with our begetting of the Spirit; and the energy for service corresponds with the quickening of the Spirit.

Evidently the Church at Antioch had an oversupply of teachers, as compared to its own requirements, and began to look about for larger fields of service. They were uncertain as to the course they should follow, and hence looked to the Lord as the real Head of the Church. [R5888 : page 123] They served and they fasted; and we may be sure that they prayed also. As a result they came to the conclusion to send forth two of their number--Barnabas and Paul--as representatives of the whole in mission work.

We are not informed in what manner the Lord directed them to this decision. It is possible that this was after the same manner that we today would consider a similar case, and would say, "After studying the Scriptures and praying, seeking thus to know the mind of the Lord, we believe that it would be His will that such ones of our number should go for a public service of the Truth. We believe that we are guided to this conclusion, not by any wrong spirit of pride or ambition, nor with any mercenary motive, but by the Holy Spirit. We believe that it is the Lord's will that we as a congregation should send forth these representatives to carry the light to others."

In some manner the conviction came strongly to the Church at Antioch that this was its duty and privilege. It is worthy of note that the Church sought out its very best representatives for this service, thus letting the spirit of self-sacrifice prevail. No doubt the Lord blessed the Church correspondingly, and made up to them the loss sustained in the giving of these two very talented brethren to the mission work.

ORDINATION AND LAYING ON OF HANDS

The proper course having been decided upon, the congregation fasted, prayed and laid their hands upon Paul and Barnabas, and then sent the two on their missionary tour with God-speed. The laying on of hands would probably be done by the congregation through their representatives, the Elders. But this proceeding did not signify, as is generally understood today, an "Ordination"; for Paul and Barnabas had been recognized for a considerable time as amongst the principal prophets and teachers in the Church at Antioch. It would not signify authority to preach, as Ordination sometimes means today amongst Christians of various sects and parties.

This ceremony simply meant, "We, the congregation at Antioch, by this laying on of hands of our representative Elders, are sending forth these two men, Paul and Barnabas, on a missionary tour; and that they go, not only as representatives of the Lord and of themselves, but also as representatives of the Church of the Lord at Antioch; and that as such we hold ourselves responsible for their maintenance. We will supply them the needful assistance, and thus will be colaborers-- sharing in their labors, sympathizing in their difficulties and trials, helping them in their necessities, and partaking with them also in whatever results shall come to the Lord's praise through their efforts."

Accordingly we find that after this missionary tour the two brethren returned to Antioch, and made report. It would appear that subsequently the Apostle Paul, at least, traveled without any such dependence upon the Church at Antioch--without any such praying and laying on of hands and without any subsequent reports of results of labors--though still in love and sympathy with them, so far as we may judge.



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"LO, WE TURN TO THE GENTILES!"
--MAY 14.--ACTS 13:13-15,42-52.--

ST. PAUL'S FIRST MISSIONARY TOUR--HIS SERMON AT ANTIOCH IN PISIDIA--EFFECT OF HIS DISCOURSE TWOFOLD-- VIOLENT OPPOSITION FROM THOSE BLINDED BY SECTARIAN PREJUDICE--MISREPRESENTATION AND SLANDER EVER THE ADVERSARY'S METHOD OF FIGHTING THE TRUTH.

"I have set thee for a light of the Gentiles, that thou shouldest be for salvation unto the uttermost part of the earth."--Verse 47.
FROM Antioch Paul and Barnabas went to the seaport town of Selucia, where they took ship for the island of Cyprus. This island was as about as good a place to begin as any, and had the advantage of being the home country of Barnabas, who was familiar with the dialect of the people, their customs, etc. With them went a cousin of Barnabas, John Mark, writer of the Gospel of Mark and son of one of the Marys at Jerusalem.

Although Paul and Barnabas fully appreciated the fact that Gentiles might now have access to the blessings of the Gospel, nevertheless in every place they entered into the Jewish synagogues. The Jews already believed Moses and the Prophets, and therefore expected Messiah. Hence they would necessarily be in a much better attitude of mind to receive the Gospel Message than would be the Gentiles, who knew nothing of such matters and who therefore would require more instruction. Indeed, probably the larger proportion of converts between the time of our Lord's resurrection and the fall of Jerusalem, A.D. 70, were made amongst the Jews; and up to that time comparatively few Gentiles accepted Christ.

The missionary tour probably consumed considerable time, as the three went from village to village, preaching Christ, until they reached the city of Paphos, at the far end of the island. There they found Sergius Paulus, a man of good judgment, the governor of the island. Even before the missionaries got there, he had a hearing ear; and the Adversary, noting this, was at work upon him through Elymas, a Jewish sorcerer or magician, who had ingratiated himself with the proconsul and was esteemed his friend. We are not to wonder that a man of sound judgment, as the proconsul is represented to have been, should be so interested in the magician and his doings. On the contrary, we should remember that similarly there are some men of ability today who are to some extent under the influence of the same Adversary and his agents--spirit mediums. Besides, the magicians in olden times were mixtures of scientist and miracle worker, and usually very bright men.

CONFLICT BETWEEN TRUTH AND ERROR

When the proconsul heard something respecting Paul and Barnabas, he sent for them, desiring to know more. Then came a conflict between the powers of light and the powers of darkness, between Truth and Error. There is no harmony between the two; they are opponents at every point. And so in this case, as soon as the magician discovered that the proconsul was coming under the influence of the Truth, he used his every power to prevent it. This furnished occasion for a remarkable manifestation of Divine power through the Apostle Paul, who denounced the magician by a plain statement of his case and declared that he would become so blind that he could not see even the sun for a season. The blindness came upon Elymas gradually--first, a mistiness, which subsequently settled into complete darkness.

This manifestation of Divine power was convincing to the proconsul. It was not that this incident converted him; but that having already heard the teachings, and being in the process of comparing these with his previous views and with the presentation of Elymas, he was enabled by this incident to reach the right conclusion and to decide his matters on the Lord's side. [R5889 : page 124]

DEPARTURE OF JOHN MARK

St. Paul and his company did not tarry at Paphos, but departed for Asia Minor. When they came to Perga, in Pamphylia, there John Mark discontinued his service and returned to Jerusalem. Hardship or discouragement or home-sickness--we know not what--evidently quenched his zeal as a servant of the Lord for a time, assuredly much to his disadvantage. Whatever the cause, the Apostle Paul evidently considered it quite insufficient, for on another occasion, when Barnabas suggested that Mark accompany them similarly, St. Paul declined. (Acts 15:36-40.) This he would not have done had Mark's desertion been fully justified by necessity.

There is an element of encouragement in Mark's experience, however. Later on, he evidently became a devoted soldier of the Cross and was again accepted to the Lord's service; and we find that the Apostle Paul made acknowledgment of appreciation of his faithfulness. (Colossians 4:10; 2 Timothy 4:11.) The Lord is very merciful to us in our weaknesses and imperfections; and as He restored Mark, undoubtedly He is willing also to restore all who will similarly learn a lesson from their failures, and who earnestly strive for reinstatement and for the privilege of service.

PREACHING AT ANTIOCH IN PISIDIA

The first stop in Asia Minor was made at Antioch of Pisidia. The usual custom was followed--of going first to the Jewish synagogue. There the missionaries were recognized as strangers and also as men of talent. After the regular services of the synagogue had been introduced by the reading of the usual lesson from the Law, the two were invited to address the assembly--Jews by birth and Jewish proselytes from the Gentiles.

The Apostle Paul was the speaker and made a telling address. He recognized the fact that his hearers had faith in God's promises regarding the coming Messianic Kingdom. He did not need, therefore, to emphasize the Kingdom feature in his discourse. Rather, his hearers needed to see that there could be no Kingdom and no permanent blessing of all the families of the earth, such as was implied in the Promise made to Abraham, unless in some manner Divine forgiveness of the sins of the world could first be obtained.

The trend of the Apostle's address, therefore, was to show that in the past God had established a typical kingdom, which had never reached the grand stage essential to the fulfilment of the Abrahamic Promise; and that the thing necessary and lacking was a REDEMPTION of the world and the forgiveness of sins. Then he presented to their attention Jesus as the Messiah--not merely a crucified Messiah, but also a risen One, who, because of His death for the sins of the world, was able to save to the uttermost all that should come unto God through Him. Having put the matter squarely before them, the Apostle offered his hearers forgiveness of sins as the very essence of the Gospel of Christ.

Forgiveness of sin is still the essence of the Gospel, although mankind now, as then, are generally loth to accept it thus. It disappoints them by condemning them and declaring that all are sinners; that "there is none righteous, no, not one"; that all need just such a redemption as God has provided in the Sacrifice of Christ. It disappoints also in that it shows a necessity for repudiation of sin in the heart and, so far as possible, in resisting it in all the conduct of life.

Few have an ear to hear this Message. The majority are ready to say, "Preach unto us smooth things! Praise us for our religious fervor! Point out to us how far superior we are, not only to the heathen world, but to the masses of those about us. Tell us that we are God's people, and that He could not get along without us. Do not tell us that we are sinners, under condemnation as others are; and that all who would come unto God through Jesus Christ must come by the same narrow gate of faith, repudiation of sin, and heart-consecration to do God's will."

TWOFOLD EFFECT OF THIS DISCOURSE

The Apostle's discourse had a twofold effect. The honest-hearted realized the Truth regarding God's perfection and their own imperfection, and recognized their need of just such a Savior as the Apostle had preached. These were speedily drawn to the missionaries, who recognized their right attitude of heart and assured them that they were already in God's grace, or favor; that now the Message of salvation through Jesus was an additional unfolding and development of the same favor that had already been extended to the Jews; and that they should continue in the grace of God--continue to let God guide them in His way--continue to be the recipients of His mercies and blessings, which now were multiplied to them through Christ Jesus and the Atonement work which He had accomplished. Others were much less prepared for the Apostle's words, and rather inclined to be envious of the attention shown the missionaries and their teachings.

News of the new religion--supplemental to the Jewish --spread throughout the little city, in which Judaism had evidently gained a good foothold and great respect. The next Sabbath the whole city gathered to hear the Message of the missionaries--the majority probably coming merely out of curiosity, to see the difference between these doctrines and those of the regular Jewish teachers. Such attention to two strangers and their new doctrines, which threatened an overthrow of Judaism, naturally awakened a spirit of jealousy in those interested in forms and ceremonies, honor amongst men, and denominational pride.

As a result, they contradicted St. Paul's statements with blasphemy. This does not mean that they blasphemed God's name, but that they slandered, or blasphemed, the Apostle and Barnabas, speaking evil of them. We may surmise that they misrepresented the motives and the characters of the missionaries, etc. This is the usual course of those who fight against the Truth. It has ever been thus. The Truth cannot be gainsaid; it is irresistible. But it can be misrepresented; it can be denied. The presentations of the Truth can be distorted, and its messengers slandered, vilified. The Adversary seems to adopt this method on every occasion. It is the method now in vogue. Those who oppose Present Truth dare not meet it openly in public discussion; but they distort and misrepresent it, and speak evil of its advocates.

TWO LESSONS FOR OUR DAY

The missionaries were not discouraged by the opposition. Rather, they were the more courageous, and brought to the point where they explained to their vilifiers the fact that they were rejecting God's favor, God's Plan, to their own loss. The two pointed out that God had in His mercy long favored Israel; and that in sending the Message of Messiah to them first He was still favoring them; but that according to His instructions it was the duty of His representatives to proceed and to tell the Gospel to whoever had ears to hear--to the Jews first, but also to the Gentiles. They showed that the Lamp of Truth which God had now lighted was not for the Jews exclusively, as had been His previous favors; but, as the Prophet had already declared, it was to be "a light to lighten the Gentiles" also--salvation unto the ends of the earth.--Luke 2:32; Isaiah 42:6; 52:10. [R5889 : page 125]

This feature of the Gospel especially aroused the opposition of such Jews as were in the wrong condition of heart, but was proportionately attractive to the few who were in the right attitude. So it is today. The Message now due to Christendom is--more Light! It shows that the Lamp of God's Word of promise, which at the beginning of this Age was permitted to bless both Jews and Gentiles in proportion as the eyes of their understanding were opened to see it, is shortly now to give place to a greater Light; that whereas the Word of God has been a Lamp to the feet and a Lantern to the footsteps of the faithful for over eighteen centuries, the Sun of Righteousness is soon to rise and flood the whole world with the light of the knowledge of the goodness of God.

Those of God's people in the right attitude of heart will be gladdened by this unfolding of the Truth. No feelings of jealousy will be theirs. But the majority, full of sectarian plans and selfish sentiments, and blinded largely by false theology and by misrepresentations of God's Word, are violently opposed to any thought of Divine mercy being extended to every creature--not only to those who have not yet gone to the prison-house of death, but also to the twenty billions who have already gone down into death in ignorance of the only name given under Heaven or among men whereby we must be saved. But the faithful, the honest-hearted, will ultimately rejoice in the lengths, the breadths, the heights and the depths of God's Plan, to be consummated during the Millennium by the glorified Christ, Head and Body.

"ORDAINED TO ETERNAL LIFE"

Many of the Gentiles were glad as they heard that God's favor was broader than they had previously supposed. Some, we may infer, were merely pleased that something had been shown up that was broader than the Jewish teachings. But some others, we are assured, believed in the true sense of the word--accepting Christ as their Redeemer and their Lawgiver. And so today we see two classes amongst those who favor Present Truth. Some hail it with joy, and gratefully serve the Lord more fervently than ever. Some are merely glad to find that there is no Scriptural ground for the popular theory of eternal torment for the vast majority, but are not especially drawn by Divine love and mercy.

The more the Truth spread, the more angry became its opponents, the Jewish leaders; and what they could not oppose with argument or with logic they did oppose successfully with prejudice and superstition, arousing these baser sentiments by misrepresentation. Thus they secured the cooperation of some of the most honorable and notable people of the city to such an extent that the missionaries were obliged to depart.

The record is that "as many as were ordained to eternal life believed." The word "ordained" here may properly be translated disposed. Thus we get the thought that as many of those as heard the Gospel and its offer of everlasting life, and who were disposed to accept the terms, became believers--obedient to the faith. So it still is. Wherever the Truth goes there are some who like it, and others who dislike it; some who appreciate the doctrines and rewards which it represents, and some who prefer the pleasures of sin or the affairs and rewards of the world. This is the time for each who has heard the Message to make his choice. Soon the number of the Elect will be complete; and then their work will begin-- the blessing of mankind--the blessing of the non-elect.



[R5886 : page 125]

PROPER AND IMPROPER JUDGMENT OF BRETHREN

"There is one Lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy. Who art thou that judgest another?"--James 4:12.
IN THIS Epistle, St. James has been discussing the fact that partiality had been shown in the Church--that some, without proper reason, were esteemed unworthy of as high honor as others. This is particularly brought out in the Second Chapter. Some who were rich and influential were given the choicest seats in their assemblies and treated with great deference and respect. Others, who were poor and humble, were given obscure places and treated with scant courtesy, as though they were inferiors. Judgment was passed upon the brethren contrary to the instructions of the Lord. The Apostle points out the sin of judging and of having respect of persons aside from the standpoint of character. He declares that as there is but one Lawgiver, Jehovah, so there is but one great standard. He who gave that standard, that Law, is to be the Executor of His own Law, although He may appoint various representatives. His special Representatives are to be Christ and the Church associated with Him in glory as judges. But they will judge by that standard given by the great Lawgiver; and there will be no other law in competition with it.

Since this is the case, and since there is an arrangement by which we are accepted as God's children, who is he who undertakes to say what degree of Divine favor or disfavor each of this class may have? Who is to say which will be destroyed in the Second Death and which saved to life? God has a personal dealing with each one of those who are accepted into His family. Hence the very fact that one has been thus accepted is a proof that God has seen something in that person pleasing in His sight. If He who is the Lawgiver has seen something sufficiently favorable for Him to choose such a one and anoint him with His Holy Spirit, what right has any one else to condemn him whom God has seen fit to approve?

THE CHURCH INCAPABLE OF JUDGING NOW

We might see in an individual certain traits which would seem more or less unjust, unrighteous. But we are not to judge. We cannot see into the heart. We might suppose a certain one to be an overcomer, and he might not be. Or we might suppose him not to be an overcomer, and he might be one. Therefore we are to "judge nothing before the time." We should avoid judging the brethren.

This does not mean that we would not be able to discern acts of positive disloyalty to God. But instead of setting up standards of our own, we should recognize for ourselves and everybody else the one standard which the Lord has given; namely, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength; and thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself." (Luke 10:27.) This is the very essence of the great Law of God. We should judge ourselves by this Law, to see to what extent we are loving God thus, and are loving our neighbor as ourselves. This is our primary work of judging.

The Apostle Paul, particularly, has pointed out that if any one in the Church is living in violation of the Law of God, then the matter should be taken up by the Church. This does not apply to any case except that of an outward departure from the Lord's Law. It would not apply if the individual happens to say "Tweedledee," when we think [R5887 : page 126] he should say "Tweedledum," or if he should in some way violate the ideas of some one else. It should be a positive violation of the principles of righteousness laid down in the Word of God. If any one is known to have done us a real injury, we are to go to him alone. If he refuses to listen, then we may take two or three others of the Church. If he still refuses to acknowledge his wrong, the matter may be brought to the attention of the Church in a proper manner. During all this time, however, the brother is not to be cut off from recognition. It is only if he still persists in doing the things contrary to the Divine arrangement, or refuses to make reparation for a serious wrong, that he should be cut off from fellowship.

It is not our place to judge others, but to judge ourselves, to bring ourselves up to the highest possible standard. Let others see our good works, that thus they may glorify our Father which is in Heaven. It is the Lord who will judge His people. We are to assume, then, that if any one in the Lord's family should violate his covenant, the Lord will attend to his case. We are not to pass judgment upon his motives; we can only see when his outward conduct is wrong. And we may err even here. But we may not judge the heart. God alone is competent to do this. God gave the Law, and He is the One to decide whether the person is seeking to keep that Law.

STANDARD OF JUDGMENT FOR NEW CREATURES

The Apostle Paul says to the Church, "Ye are not under the Law, but under grace." (Romans 6:14.) But here in our text St. James seems to say that we are under Law and under the Lawgiver. How shall we harmonize these two texts of Scripture? We reply, When St. Paul said, "Ye are not under the Law," he meant the Law Covenant. The Law Covenant which God made with Israel of old was a different thing from the Law of God itself. It was an agreement between the Lord and Israel as to what they would do and what God would do. They were under this Law Covenant. Gentiles never were under this Law. They were without God.

The Apostle Paul intimates (Romans 8:4) that "the righteousness of the Law is fulfilled in us who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit." Although Natural Israel were not able to keep the Law of God under their Covenant, we, the Gospel Church, are able to keep it under our Covenant. Under God's arrangement for the Gospel Age the New Creature alone is recognized; the flesh is reckoned dead. The New Creature, having been accepted into God's family, is still in possession of his imperfect fleshly body and must operate through it. He must do his best to control this body and use it to the glory of God. In his heart, his mind, his endeavor, he can, as a New Creature, keep God's Law perfectly.

It is not the imperfect actions of the mortal body that will determine anything, but the heart intentions and endeavors of the New Creature. The body must be kept under and brought into subjection, as the Apostle Paul tells us. It is the New Creature that will live or die, so far as the Church is concerned, under the judgment of the Divine Law, the Divine Lawgiver.

In harmony with the thought of our text, the Apostle Paul declares that neither the world nor the brethren were capable of judging him--that only the Lord, who can read the heart and know all the conditions, testings and weaknesses to be striven against, can properly judge. He even declares, "Yea, I judge not mine own self." (1 Corinthians 4:3.) We should neither condemn others who claim to be walking conscientiously as children of the Lord, nor condemn ourselves, if we know we are truly striving to thus walk. We should simply press along day by day, doing the best we can by the Lord's assisting grace to cultivate the fruits of the Holy Spirit and serve our Master, leaving all the results with Him.



[R5888 : page 126]

INTERESTING LETTERS

SPIRIT OF A SOUND MIND

DEARLY BELOVED PASTOR:--

I am not giving any name or address, as I think it wiser not to, and please do not notice this note if you do not think it advisable, otherwise if you can spare a short paragraph in THE TOWER I should appreciate it, and others also.

A Sister recently arrived from _____ tells us that the Class there are teaching that the Church must not expect to be glorified until 1925, and that this is your thought; consequently it is producing a spirit of apathy, and many are taking a greater interest in business and worldly things. Whether or not it is so, to me it seems that I have to be on my guard and "watch and wait," with loins girded and Lamp burning, that I may be ready.

I have realized and accepted this glorious Message of "Present Truth" for five years; and it grows more precious all the time. I grew up in the Church of England, and living at Oxford with the College Set, was extremely High Church, so you know what I have had to unlearn.

I praise God for raising you up, dear Brother, as "that Servant." May He bless you still more, that you may give us the "meat in due season." I also thank the dear Lord that He brought me to this country before this awful war; and made me to realize "where are the dead," as all my people are being shot and I should have been in despair.

There is another little matter I would like to mention. At the Class I attend the presiding Elder never seems prepared. He does not know where the MANNA Text for the day is, and although it is a Prayer and Testimony Meeting, he occupies most of the time with his views on the present state of affairs and the war crisis. No one else can have much time.

I hope you will not think I am too critical, but in the little old Church I had been accustomed to reverence, and for an Elder to be gaping, sleeping or picking his teeth and nails--well it jars awfully! He also brings with him a child of three years that disturbs the Class very much. No one likes to say anything to him, as he says that he has been in the Truth for fifteen years. But we do not feel spiritually helped, especially as he is a business man. Before the meeting he talks business; and the moment it is over, shop.

O dear Brother, I don't want to think evil, or speak evil, but this does worry us! Many of us have prayed about it. The children do bother us; but I dare not speak of that, as I am told that I have too strict English ideas. I would not wound his feelings in any way, so if I am in the wrong please ignore what I have written. The dear Lord knows that I am trying to follow in His footsteps, and to keep my pride under and make myself of no reputation, as the dear Master did.

Apologizing for encroaching on your valuable time, I am, dear Pastor,
YOUR SISTER BY HIS GRACE.

EDITOR'S REPLY

The Apostle declares that God gives His people the spirit of a sound mind--His Spirit, His Mind. But we receive this in proportion to our earnestness and heed to the Lord's Word. The longer we have been in the School of Christ, if apt pupils, the better we should know Him and the better be able to exemplify His character and teachings.

As the letter is anonymous, we have not the slightest idea who the Elder may be. We will assume that he means well. We might also, however, assume that he has not been sufficiently wide-awake to well exemplify the spirit of a sound mind in the matter of the service of the Lord. Otherwise, would he not be more careful of his actions and words, in order that he might glorify the Lord and be assistful to His people?

Lack of reverence is manifest everywhere, but it seems especially out of place in assemblages of the Lord's consecrated people. As we have said before, we may say again, that no matter how limited our talents we can by our actions [R5888 : page 127] and manner speak volumes in the praise of Him who called us from darkness into marvelous light.

We cannot help it that many of the dear friends continue to tell what THE WATCH TOWER believes, and to misrepresent its teachings. Our kindest thought must be that they are not giving much heed to its teachings. Otherwise they would know from its columns that we are not looking forward to 1925, nor to any other date. As expressly stated in THE WATCH TOWER, we are simply going on, our last date or appointment having been passed more than a year ago.

We believe that the dates have proven to be quite right. We believe that Gentile Times have ended, and that God is now allowing the Gentile Governments to destroy themselves, in order to prepare the way for Messiah's Kingdom. The Lord did not say that the Church would all be glorified by 1914. We merely inferred it and, evidently, erred. We see, however, that the different times and seasons which the Lord's providence sent to His people in hope of resurrection "change" correspond closely with the different places to which Elijah, the Prophet, was sent before his translation. The last place to which he was sent was Jordan, which, we believe, corresponds to October, 1914. After that, Elijah and Elisha went on without having any definite point in view.

Our thought is that something very important to us all is implied in Elijah's use of his mantle in smiting the waters of Jordan and dividing them. After so doing, Elijah and Elisha continued to go on until the chariot of fire parted them. It was after that that Elijah went up to Heaven in the whirlwind. We may discuss these matters more at length again, but now suggest that we have no different time in mind from the Scriptures on the subject, and do not expect to have any. However, the division of the waters might require either years or months--who could say?


FROM BRETHREN OF FRANCE

BELOVED BROTHER IN CHRIST:--

I do not know whether anybody at the Tabernacle can read French or not; but I cannot resist the impulse to assure you of my entire devotion to the cause of Truth.

You have helped me to so much joy, and been the means of my accepting salvation. Through your labor I have been brought to an appreciation of the love of our Heavenly Father, to such an extent that I find my sentiments aptly expressed by St. Paul to his brother Philemon. (Philemon 7.) Being delighted at recognizing this fact, I find delight also in expressing it to you.

In all my painful moments, when the cross is heavy to bear, I think of you and say to myself, dear Brother Russell, too, has suffered, and is suffering, and I must not wonder if my share is to suffer also. Then my soul goes up to the Father of Mercies in gratitude for His favors (the privilege of suffering with Christ), and I earnestly beg of Him ever to bless and guide you.

During the past year I have appreciated much, very much, your excellent advice, and it has profited me greatly.

In my present trials, after having been compelled to leave my wife and three children in the invaded territory of our dear France, the daily partaking of the Vow and of the Morning Resolve has helped me much. These helps alone have developed in me much of the love of the Father--and all this during the past year. Because of it I bless the Father through our Lord Jesus Christ.

Therefore, let me by this message assure you that my petitions ascend to the Father in your behalf, that He may bless you abundantly, to the end that His blessing upon you may redound through your ministry upon every one of us.

Yours sincerely in Him,
E. LARVENT.

P. S.--Have found here a refuge since December, 1914, when I had to leave my home at Denain (Nord). Am here with several brothers and sisters who also are refugees from Lens, Lieven and Denain. We have each of us signed the accompanying brotherly message:

FRENCH RESOLUTIONS.

The undersigned brethren and sisters, members of the I.B.S.A. (French Ecclesia of Bruay-Auchel), in meeting assembled this 1st day of January, 1916, send their most brotherly greetings to the well-beloved of the Household of Faith, fighting the same spiritual fight under the Captain of our Salvation, Jesus Christ, at the Brooklyn Bethel and everywhere.

After having studied Psalm 116 (especially dwelling on Verse 15, "Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints," also the motto for this year, "Strong in Faith"), we express the sincerest wish that each of you, when tried, may be found faithful unto death and then present at the approaching Rendezvous in eternal joy!
SIGNED BY 25.


LOVE IN THOUGHT, WORD AND DEED

BELOVED BROTHER RUSSELL:--

Greetings and much love to you, dear Brother, as we come to the end of this wonderful year. What a glorious year it has been for the development of the saints, particularly along the lines of love and patient endurance! I am incapable of expressing my love and appreciation of you and your service to me personally. I am constantly praising my Heavenly Father for allowing me to come in contact with your precious Volumes, which God used to bring me out of the kingdom of darkness and into the light of the glorious Gospel.

I thank you, dear Brother, for the suggestion that we each pray that "God would bless us in the cultivation of love in thought, word and deed." I immediately acted upon the suggestion, and oh, joy, what grand results! I never knew that there was so much in "loving in thought." Now, dear Brother, you said we might report to you as to our success, and that is why I am intruding upon your precious time. The results with me have been away beyond my highest expectation.

We thought there might be some in the class who had not yet taken the "Vow" nor sent in their names. So we opened up a sheet and to our surprise, there were fifty-two who wished their names sent in. Please find the same enclosed. Loving Greetings from Sister Heard and

Your Brother by Divine favor,
C. E. HEARD.--Vancouver, B.C.

FROM THE VANCOUVER CLASS

OUR BELOVED PASTOR:--

We the undersigned, members of the Vancouver Ecclesia, take this opportunity of expressing our love and gratitude to you for the inestimable service you have rendered to us, in that through your ministrations we have been led into the light of Present Truth. And now recognizing that we are in "the evil day" and the danger of slipping is so great, we desire to "make straight paths for our feet," and believing [R5889 : page 127] that the special "Vow" is a great means to that end, we wish to add our names to the many who have already taken it, and thereby make it our own.

Praying our Heavenly Father's rich blessing upon you. dear Brother, and asking a continued interest in your prayers, We are:
[Fifty-two signatures follow.]


THE DIAGLOTT

DEAR SIRS:--

I have in my possession a copy of the EMPHATIC DIAGLOTT, and esteem it very highly. I have compared it with the works of the great English commentator Clarke, and all of his citations to the Greek are identical with the DIAGLOTT; I have been comparing the Septuagint with it, and where the DIAGLOTT makes reference to the Old Testament, I find the text the same.

The good I have received from its study, plus the increased value of it by comparison, has greatly endeared the work to me.

I am engaged in the work of the ministry and in circulating sacred literature, including Bibles and Testaments. I would be glad to handle a few copies of the DIAGLOTT, if you can give me a fair commission on them.

I have an order now for one copy. If you will quote me agents' terms, I shall be glad to handle some for you. Please include your pamphlet on ARMAGEDDON.

Respectfully yours,
REV.__________


SEES GETHSEMANE EXPERIENCES AHEAD

DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--

Just a line, dear Brother, to wish that our dear Lord and Master continue to bless you, as He has so richly done in the past. I remember you every morning at the Throne of Grace.

We in this country seem to be on the verge of Gethsemane experiences, as the conscription bill has passed.

One of my sons has now reached the age of 19. He has so far given a good witness for the Lord by refusing to enlist in the army, and if it should come that it will mean being shot for still refusing, I trust he will receive the Heavenly Grace to stand firm to the principles of truth and righteousness.

Brother, we ask your prayers for us during this evil hour.

Yours in the one hope,
W. O. WARDEN.--Scotland.



page 128

International Bible Students Association Classes
STUDIES AND LECTURES BY MEMBERS OF THE PEOPLES PULPIT ASSOCIATION



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