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HARVEST GLEANINGS I HOW PASTOR RUSSELL RANKS IN GREATNESS
This article can be found in its entirety in the Newspaper Sermons, entitled, "How Pastor Russell Ranks In Greatness."
PASTOR RUSSELL'S "STUDIES" REMOVED HIS PREJUDICE
Int. Bible Students Ass'n Gentlemen: I humbly and sincerely beg permission to encroach upon your valuable time for a few moments, as I believe I have reason to rejoice as one finding a precious jewel.
Previous to a few weeks ago I was prejudiced against your inestimable works, namely, STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES, to such an extent that I felt it was an injustice to myself should I read them. I jumped to this conclusion after having been told by several, who I earnestly believed were Christian people, that Pastor Russell was setting forth a doctrine that was unscriptural, and, therefore, hurtful to Christ's followers. Having so much faith in their ability to decide (and I find most, if not all of them, decided without even reading the works), I concluded it was best not to have anything to do with so dangerous books.
I am very thankful that I was Providentially led to read your works, which have been the means of making me a better man than I ever was before, besides leading me to come out of the church of which I was a member. It is impossible for me to find words to express my feelings toward you and your STUDIES. The thought occurred to me that perhaps there are others who are not reading the books for the very same reason as I have mentioned above. If such is the case, I shall be only too glad that this letter be used by you, in whatever way you deem advisable, to show to others that I have found in the STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES that which I was looking for and could not find. In my opinion they rank next to the Bible, and my earnest desire is that they may reach many more poor souls who are now searching for the Truth.
"The Doom of Babylon which Isaiah . . . saw.-Lift ye up a standard upon the high mountain, raise high your Once unto them, motion with the hand that they may enter into the gates of the princes." Isa. 13:1 Compare Rev. 16:14.
"Judgment also will I lay to the line, and righteousness to the plummet; and the hail shall sweep away the refuge of lies, and the waters shall overflow the hiding place." Isa. 28:17
We stand today in a period which is the culmination of ages of experience which should be, and is, in some respects, greatly to the world's profit; especially to that part of the world which has been favored, directly and indirectly, with the light of divine truth-Christendom, Babylon-whose responsibility for this stewardship of advantage is consequently very great. God holds men accountable, not only for what they know, but for what they might know if they would apply their hearts unto instruction-for the lessons which experience (their own and others) is designed to teach; and if men fail to heed the lessons of experience, or willfully neglect or spurn its precepts, they must suffer the consequences.
Before so-called Christendom lies the open history of all past time, as well as the divinely inspired revelation. And what lessons they contain! lessons of experience, of wisdom, of knowledge, of grace, and of warning. By giving heed to the experiences of [HG715] preceding generations along the various lines of human industry, political economy, etc., the world has made very commendable progress in material things.
Many of the comforts and conveniences of our present civilization have come to us largely from applying the lessons observed in the experiences of past generations. The art of printing has brought these lessons within the range of every man. The present generation in this one point alone has much advantage every way: all the accumulated wisdom and experience of the past are added to its own. But the great moral lessons which men ought also to have been studying and learning have been very generally disregarded, even when they have been emphatically forced upon public attention. History is full of such lessons to thoughtful minds inclined to righteousness; and men of the present day have more such lessons than those of any previous generation.
The ecclesiastical powers of Christendom have also had line upon line and precept upon precept. They have been warned by the providential dealings of God with His people in the past and by occasional reformers. Yet few, very few, can read the handwriting on the wall and they are powerless to overcome, or even to stay, the popular current. Rev. T. DeWitt Talmage seemed to see and understand to some extent; for, in a timely discourse, he said: "Unless the Church of Jesus Christ rises up and proves herself the friend of the people as the friend of God, and in sympathy with the great masses, who with their families at their backs are fighting this battle for bread, the church, as at present organized, will become a defunct institution, and Christ will go down again to the beach and invite plain, honest fishermen to come into an apostleship of righteousness-manward and Godward. The time has come when all classes of people shall have equal rights in the great struggle to get a livelihood."
And yet this man, with a stewardship of talent and influence which but few possess, did not seem in haste to follow his expressed convictions as to the duties of influential Christians in the hour of peril.
The warnings go forth, and convictions of duty and privilege fasten upon many minds; but alas! all is of no avail; they go unheeded. Great power has been, and to some extent still is, in the hands of ecclesiastics; but, in the name of Christ and His Gospel, it has been, and still is, selfishly used and abused. "Honor one of another," "chief seats in the synagogues," and "to be called Rabbi," Doctor, Reverend, etc., and seeking gain, each "from his own quarter or denomination" John 5:44; Matt. 23:6-12; Isa. 56:11), and "the fear of man which bringeth a snare"-these hinder some even of God's true servants from faithfulness, while apparently many of the under-shepherds never had any interest in the Lord's flock except to secure the golden fleece.
While we gladly acknowledge that many educated, cultivated, refined and pious gentlemen are, and have been, included among the clergy in all the various denominations of the nominal Church, which all through the Age has included both wheat and tares (Matt. 13:30), we are forced to admit that many who belong to the "tare" class have found their way into the pulpits as well as into the pews.
Indeed the temptations to pride and vainglory, and in many cases to ease and affluence, presented to talented young men aspiring to the pulpit have been such as to guarantee that it must be so, and that to a large extent. Of all the professions, the Christian ministry has afforded the quickest and easiest route to fame, ease and general temporal prosperity, and often to wealth. The profession of law requires a lifetime of intellectual energy and business effort, and brings its weight of pressing care. The same may be said of the profession of medicine. And if men rise to wealth and distinction in these professions, it is not merely because they have quick wits and ready tongues, but because they have honestly won distinction by close and constant mental application and laborious effort. On the other hand, in the clerical profession, a refined, pleasant demeanor, moderate ability to address a public assembly twice a week on some theme taken from the Bible, together with a moderate education and good moral character, secure to any young man entering the profession the respect and reverence of his community, a comfortable salary and a quiet, undisturbed and easy life.
If he have superior talent, the people, who are admirers of oratory, soon discover it, and before long he is called to a more lucrative charge; and, almost before he knows it, he has become famous among men, who rarely stop to question whether his piety-his faith, humility and godliness-have kept pace in development with his intellectual and oratorical progress. In fact, if the latter be the case, he is less acceptable, especially to wealthy congregations, which, probably more frequently than very poor ones, are composed mostly of "tares." If his piety indeed survive the pressure of these circumstances, he will, too often for the good of his reputation, be obliged to run counter to the dispositions and prejudices of his hearers, and he will shortly find himself unpopular and undesired. These circumstances have thus brought into the pulpit a very large proportion of what the Scriptures designate "hireling shepherds." Isa. 56:11: Eze. 34:2-16 [HG716]
RESPONSIBILITY OF MINISTERS
The responsibility of those who have undertaken the gospel ministry in the name of Christ is very great. They stand very prominently before the people as the representatives of Christ, as special exponents of His Spirit, and expounders of His Truth. And as a class, they have had advantages above other men for coming to a knowledge of the truth, and freely declaring it. They have been relieved from the burdens of toil and care in earning a livelihood which fetter other men, and, with their temporal wants supplied, have been granted time, quiet leisure, special education and numerous helps of association, etc., for this purpose.
Here, on the one hand, have been these great opportunities for pious zeal and devoted self-sacrifice for the cause of truth and righteousness; and, on the other, great temptations, either to indolent ease or to ambition for fame, wealth or power. Alas! the vast majority of the clergy have evidently succumbed to the temptations, rather than embraced and used the opportunities, of their positions; and, as a result, they are today "blind leaders of the blind," and together they and their flocks are fast stumbling into the ditch of skepticism. They have hidden the truth (because it is unpopular), advanced error (because it is popular), and taught for doctrine the precepts of men (because paid to do so). They have, in effect, and sometimes in so many words, said to the people, "Believe what we tell you on our authority," instead of directing them to "prove all things" by the divinely inspired words of the apostles and prophets, and "hold fast" only "that which is good." For long centuries the clergy of the Church of Rome kept the Word of God buried in dead languages, and would not permit its translation into the vernacular tongues, lest the people might search the Scriptures and thus prove the vanity of her pretensions. In the course of time a few godly reformers arose from the midst of her corruption, rescued the Bible from oblivion and brought it forth to the people; and a great Protestant movement, protesting against the false doctrines and evil practices of the Church of Rome, was the result.
But ere long Protestantism also became corrupt, and her clergy began to formulate creeds to which they have taught the people to look as the epitomized doctrines of the Bible, and of paramount importance. They have baptized and catechized them in infancy, before they had learned to think; then, as they grew to adult years, they have lulled them to sleep, and given them to understand that their safe course in religious matters is to commit all questions of doctrine to them, and to follow their instructions, intimating that they alone had the education, etc., necessary to the comprehension of divine truth, and that they, therefore, should be considered authorities in all such matters without further appeal to God's Word. And when any presumed to question this assumed authority and to think differently they were regarded as heretics and schismatics. The most learned and prominent among them have written massive volumes of what they term Systematic Theology, all of which, like the Talmud among the Jews, is calculated to a large extent to make void the Word of God, and to teach for doctrine the precepts of men (Matt. 15:6; Isa. 29:13); and others of the learned and prominent have accepted honorable and lucrative professorships in Theological Seminaries, established, ostensibly, to train young men for the Christi an ministry, but in fact to inculcate the ideas of the so-called "Systematic Theology" of their several schools-to fetter free thought and honest reverent investigation of the sacred Scriptures with a view to simple faith in their teachings, regardless of human traditions. In this way generation after generation of the "clergy" has pressed along the beaten track of traditional error. And only occasionally has one been sufficiently awake and loyal to the truth to discover error and cry out for reform.
Thus the power and superior advantages of the clergy as a class have been misused, although in their ranks there have been (and still are) some earnest, devout souls who verily thought they were doing God service in upholding the false systems into which they had been led, and by whose errors they also had been in a great measure blinded.
While these reflections will doubtless seem offensive to many of the clergy, especially to the proud and self seeking, we have no fear that their candid presentation will give offense to any of the meek, who, if they recognize the truth, will be blessed by a humble confession of the same and a full determination to walk in the light of God as it shines from His Word, regardless of human traditions. We rejoice to say that thus far during the Harvest period we have come to know a few clergymen of this class, who, when the Harvest Truth dawned upon them, forsook the error and pursued and served the truth. But the majority of the clergy, alas! are not of the meek class, and again we are obliged to realize the force of the Master's words, "How hardly shall they that have riches enter into the kingdom of God!" whether those riches be of reputation, fame, learning, money, or even common ease.
The common people need not be surprised, therefore, that the clergy of Christendom, as a class, are blind to the truths now due, just as the recognized teachers and leaders in the end of the typical Jewish [HG717] Age were blind and opposed to the truths due in that Harvest. Their blindness is indeed a recompense for their misused talents and opportunities, and therefore light and Truth cannot be expected from that quarter. In the end of the Jewish Age the religious leaders significantly suggested to the people the inquiry, "Have any of the rulers or of the Pharisees believed on Him?" John 7:48), and in accepting their suggestion and blindly submitting to their leading, some missed their privilege, and failed to enter into the blessings of the New Dispensation. So it is with a similar class in these last days of the Gospel Dispensation: those who blindly follow the leading of the clergy will fall with them into the ditch of skepticism; and only those who faithfully walk with God, partaking of His spirit, and humbly relying upon all the testimonies of His precious Word, shall be able to discern and discard the "stubble" of error which has long been mixed with the truth, and boldly to stand fast in the faith of the gospel and in loyalty of heart to God, while the masses drift off in the popular current toward infidelity in its various forms; Evolution, Higher Criticism, Theosophy, Christian Science, Spiritism, or other theories denying the necessity and merit of the great Calvary Sacrifice. But those who successfully stand in this "evil day" (Eph. 6:13) will, in so doing, prove the metal of their Christian character; for so strong will be the current against them that only true Christian devotion to God, zeal, courage and fortitude will be able to endure to the end. These oncoming waves of infidelity will surely carry all others before them. It is written, "A thousand shall fall at thy side and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee, because thou hast said, The Lord is my protection, and the Most High hast thou made thy refuge . . . He that dwelleth in the secret place [of consecration, communion and fellowship] of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty. . . He shall cover thee with His feathers, and under His wings shall thou trust: His truth shall be thy shield and buckler. Psa. 91
DUTY OF CHRISTIANS
It is our duty as Christians individually to prove all things we accept, and to hold fast that which is good. "To the law and to the testimony; if they speak not according to this Word, it is because there is no light in them." Acts 17:11; 1 Thess. 5:21; Isa. 8:20 The great nominal church has long taught for doctrines the precepts of men; and, ignoring in great measure the Word of God as the only rule of faith and godly living, it has boldly announced many conflicting and God-dishonoring doctrines, and has been unfaithful to the measure of truth retained. It has failed to cultivate and manifest the spirit of Christ, and has freely imbibed the spirit of the world. It has let down the bars of the sheepfold and called in the goats, and has even encouraged the wolves to enter and do their wicked work. It has been pleased to let the Devil sow tares amongst the wheat, and now rejoices in the fruit of his sowing, in the flourishing field of tares. Of the comparatively few heads of "wheat" that still remain there is little appreciation, and there is almost no effort to prevent their being choked by the "tares." The "wheat" has lost its value in the markets of Christendom, and the humble, faithful child of God finds himself, like his Lord, despised and rejected of men, and wounded in the house of his supposed friends. Forms of godliness take place of its power and showy rituals largely supplant heart-worship.
Long ago conflicting doctrines divided the church nominal into numerous antagonistic sects, each claiming to be the one true church which the Lord and the apostles planted, and together they have succeeded in giving to the world such a distorted misrepresentation of our Heavenly Father's character and Plan that many intelligent men turn away with disgust, and despise their Creator, and even try to disbelieve His existence.
Their learned men have written massive volumes for other men to study instead of the Word of God, for this purpose theological seminaries have been established and generously endowed; and from these young men, instructed in their errors, have gone out to teach and to confirm the people in them. And the people, taught to regard these men as God's appointed ministers, successors of the apostles, have accepted their dictum without searching the Scriptures as did the noble Bereans in Paul's day (Acts 17:11), to see if the things taught them were so.
But now the harvest of all this sowing has come, the Day of reckoning is here, and great is the confusion and perplexity of the whole nominal church of every denomination, and particularly of the clergy, upon whom devolves the responsibility of conducting the defense in this Day of Judgment in the presence of many accusers and witnesses, and, if possible, of devising some remedy to save from complete destruction what they regard as the true Church. Yet in their present confusion, and in the desire of all the sects from reasons of policy to fellowship one another, they have each almost ceased to regard their own particular sect as the only true Church, and now speak of each other as various "branches" of the one Church, not withstanding their contradictory creeds, which of necessity cannot all be true. [HG718]
"ISM," WITHOUT THE PROTEST
In this critical hour it is, alas! a lamentable fact that the wholesome spirit of "The Great Reformation" is dead. Protestantism is no longer a protest against the spirit of antichrist, nor against the world, the flesh or the Devil. Its creeds, at war with the Word of God, with reason, and with each other, and inconsistent with themselves, they seek to hide from public scrutiny. Its massive theological works are but fuel for the fire of this day of Christendom's judgment. Its chief theological seminaries are hotbeds of infidelity, spreading the contagion everywhere. Its great men-its Bishops, Doctors of Divinity, Theological Professors, and its most prominent and influential clergymen in the large cities-are becoming the leaders into disguised infidelity. They seek to undermine and destroy the authority and inspiration of the sacred Scriptures, to supplant the plan of salvation therein revealed with the human theory of evolution. They seek a closer affiliation with, and imitation of, the Church of Rome, court her favor, praise her methods, conceal her crimes, and in so doing become confederate with her in spirit. They are also in close and increasing conformity-to the spirit of the world in everything, imitating the vain pomp and glory of the world which they claim to have renounced. Mark the extravagant display in church architecture, decorations and furnishments, the heavy indebtedness thereby incurred, and the constant begging and scheming for money thus necessitated.
Note, too, the arrangements in connection with some churches of billiard rooms; and some ministers have even gone so far as to recommend the introduction of light wines; and private theatricals and plays are freely indulged in some localities.
In much of this the masses of church members have become the willing tools of the clergy; and the clergy in turn have freely pandered to the tastes and preferences of worldly and influential members. The people have surrendered their right and duty of private judgment, and have ceased to search the Scriptures to prove what is truth, and to meditate upon God's law to discern what is righteousness. They are indifferent, worldly, lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God; they are blinded by the god of this world and willing to be led into any schemes which minister to worldly desires and ambitions.
We would not be understood as including all Christians as "Babylonians." Quite to the contrary. As the Lord recognizes some in Babylon as true to Him and addresses them now, saying: "Come out of her, My people" (Rev. 18:4), so do we; and we rejoice to believe that there are today thousands who have not bowed the knee to the Baal of our day-Mammon, Pride and Ambition. Some of these have already obediently "Come out of her," and the remainder are now being tested on this point, before the plagues are poured out upon Babylon. Those who love self, popularity, worldly prosperity, honor of men more than they love the Lord, and who reverence human theories and systems more than the Word of the Lord, will not come out until Babylon falls and they come through the "great tribulation." (Rev. 7:9, 14) But such shall not be accounted worthy to share the Kingdom.
Compare Rev. 2:26; 3:21; Matt. 10:37; Mark 8:34, 35; Luke 14:26, 27 In reply to many inquiries, we have prepared a letter of withdrawal which such as desire are at liberty to use. If possible, it should be read aloud at some general congregational meeting, at which general speaking, remarks, etc ., are in order-such as a prayer-meeting. After being read, it should be handed to the leader of the meeting as the representative of the congregation and officers. If by reason of sickness or from any other cause this course be not possible, we advise that a copy of the letter be sent to each member of the congregation, that there be no room for misunderstanding or misrepresentation. We will gladly supply copies of this letter, typewritten together with envelopes, and literature to accompany same-free, upon being advised of number necessary. Order sample.
Volume 7, Number 7 RELIGIOUS AND SCIENTIFIC GLEANINGS CREEDS STIFLE CONSCIENCE
"I have never united myself to any church, because I have found difficulty in giving my assent, without mental reservation, to the long, complicated statements of Christian doctrine which characterize their Articles of Belief and Confessions of Faith. Whenever any church will inscribe over its altar, as its sole qualification for membership, the Savior's condensed statement of the substance of both law and gospel, 'Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and thy neighbor as thyself, 'that church will I join with all my heart and all my soul." "Abraham Lincoln's Confession of Faith."
A GREAT PROPHECY NEARING FULFILMENT
This article was republished in Reprints R5383-R5384, entitled, "A Prophecy Nearing Fulfillment."
THE FIRST RESURRECTION
This article can be found in its entirety in the Newspaper Sermons, entitled, "Chief or First Resurrection."
CONSUMPTION AND THE GOOD TIDINGS
"I will even appoint over you terror, consumption, and the burning plague, that which consumeth [before] the eyes, and causeth sorrow of heart." Leviticus 26:16
This topic is chosen in harmony with the general movement against consumption, the white plague, which is annually sweeping more millions to the grave than have all the wars of all the world-the present great war possibly excepted.
True, our Divine commission is to preach the Gospel. Nevertheless, since the Gospel is the Good Message of the Divinely arranged recovery from sin and death, we consider it eminently proper to call attention to the ravages of the white plague as a part of the penalty of sin. We would not in this be understood as meaning that all consumptives are especially sinners. Some of the most saintly of God's people have died of consumption and other ailments. The Redeemer is credited with having died of a ruptured heart, a disease not unknown to medical practitioners.
It is quite apparent that much confusion prevails amongst Christian people respecting sickness and health. It seems only logical for us to reason that God wishes His creatures to be healthy and happy always, especially such as seek to live in harmony with Him. True, we have received the Bible instruction that sickness is a part of death; that death is the Divine curse, or sentence, or penalty, for sin; that sin entered the world through the disobedience of our first parents; and that all mankind therefore are under the curse, or sentence of death, of which sickness is merely a forerunner-the dying process.
Still it seems natural for us to think that after we turn from sin and consecrate our lives to God, He would relieve us of the penalties of sin and restore us fully to His original favor-to human perfection and to everlasting life and to happy conditions.
When we find that some of the best of God's people including the Savior, the Apostles and the Prophets, have suffered, even unto death, and that none are immune from this penalty, a perplexity takes possession of our minds which only the Bible sets straight.
THE OLD COVENANT AND THE NEW
God first announced to Abraham His ultimate purpose of blessing the world-releasing them from the curse of sin and death. He did not explain how this would be done, except that it would be accomplished by Abraham's posterity, or Seed.
Four hundred and thirty years later God proposed to the Israelites that if they wished to inherit the Promise made to Abraham, the door was open for them. God entered into a Covenant with them at Mount Sinai, through Moses, the mediator.
Israel agreed to keep the Divine Law perfectly; and God agreed that if they would do so, He would bless them with everlasting life, and open the way by which they might be the saviors of the world, to help all out from under the curse and back to the favor of God.
But Israel failed to keep the Divine requirements perfectly, as God foreknew they would. Hence they never gained everlasting life for themselves, but died like other men. Hence, also, they were not able to be the world's uplifters from sin and death. Later, God explained to them that a greater than Moses would come; namely, Messiah, who would so help, strengthen and uplift from sin and death a select Seed of Abraham that such, with Him, would be qualified to constitute the Kingdom of God-the ruling power which God would use in putting down sin and Satan, ignorance and wrong, and in lifting up mankind under the Law Covenant renewed.
Our text is a part of God's message to Israel, in which He assured them that if they would keep the Law, they should have all the blessings of His favor in [HG720] their earthly lives; but if they were disobedient, various sicknesses would come upon them as chastisements. As for the other nations of the world, they were not in covenant relationship with God, and were subject to the mutations of their dying condition.
Only with the Israelites was consumption specially stated to be the penalty for sin, and only the Israelites were promised immunity from these sicknesses on condition that they would live in obedience to the Divine Law. God never had any such arrangement with any other people. They are all sinners, all under sentence of death, all dying, justly, regardless of whether it be a more gradual wearing out, or instantaneous death-whether it be by hunger, accident, white plague, black plague, or other ailment.
But should not the followers of Christ expect exemption? some inquire. We answer, No! Quite to the contrary, these enter into a special Covenant of Sacrifice surrendering or resigning all their claim to an earthly life, earthly hopes, earthly joys, in exchange for the Heavenly ones which God has promised to all the followers of Jesus. Only those who suffer with Him will reign with Him. Only those who die with Him to the earthly nature, etc., will live with Him on the Heavenly plane, and be kings and priests and joint heirs with Christ in the Heavenly Kingdom which is to bless the world and restore it to human perfection.
Few seem to have noticed that Jesus healed neither Himself nor any of the Apostles. The miracles of healing were performed on outsiders, with a view to evidencing the Redeemer's teachings; and even these attesting miracles, as St.
Paul pointed out, ceased after they had accomplished their work-after the Church had been established. But, we are asked, did not Jesus say in Mark 16:17, 18 that the healing power would be an evidence of discipleship throughout this Age? No, we answer. All scholars now agree that no part of the 16th chapter of Mark after the 8th verse was written by St. Mark. That the portion from the 9th verse to the end of the chapter was added long centuries after St. Mark was dead is clearly evidenced by the fact that those verses do not occur in any manuscript of earlier date than the fifth century.
The rewards of this Age, offered to the Church, are Heavenly, spiritual, to be attained fully in the resurrection change of the Church. Nevertheless, the faithful followers of Jesus enjoy certain special blessings of mind and body in their present life-such as "the peace of God, which passeth all understanding," a rest from the worrying cares common to the remainder of the world. These, indeed, bring often a measure of health to persons previously annoyed by every trying difficulty of life, but now enabled, through faith in Christ and acceptance of the Divine promises through the Holy Spirit, to take no anxious care in respect to the future, knowing that their Father careth for them and has promised that all things shall work together for their good, whether it be sickness or poverty, or what not.
THE GOSPEL RESPECTING THE PLAGUE
The Gospel has a special Message to every one smitten with the white plague or the black plague, or any other of the hundreds of forms of death. That Message is that the present life is but transitory, a vestibule to a more glorious life, an anteroom of instruction, preparatory to entering the life which God has provided for all of our race who are willing to accept it on His terms through the merit of Christ's sacrifice.
The broad Message of the Gospel, while it has only one offer in the present time, assures us of a future opportunity for all. Those who now accept the grace of God have the great privilege of becoming members of the Church in Glory. Others have the assurance that there will be a resurrection, not only of the just, but also of the unjust; and that this signifies an opportunity of rising up out of sin and death conditions to human perfection. But even to attain that blessing would mean to attain an earthly instead of a Heavenly inheritance.
Moreover, that blessed opportunity of attaining eternal life and earthly perfection will not mean an escape from the penalty of willful sins of the present life. It is a part of the Divine Law that whoever sins shall suffer; and that "whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap." But those who have known the Master's will, and failed to do it, will receive more and severer "stripes," heavier punishment, than others who have not known His will, and have done equally evil things-the heathen, for instance. Luke 12:47, 48
THE MORNING IS DAWNING
The light of the Millennial Morning, gradually breaking through the darkness, ignorance and superstition of the past, is showing us more particularly what disease is and how it should be combated. And although we cannot hope to accomplish great results, it is our duty to do our best in opposing the reign of Sin and Death-to do all in our power to stamp them out. All the diseases of our bodies are aggravated by sin and more or less relieved by proper living, proper thinking, and a mind and heart resting in faith upon the Redeemer, and His glorious provision for our future.
We are learning, too, that as the sunlight of Truth is good for our minds and morals, so the natural sunlight [HG721] is good for our bodies. It is an important factor in the healing of all diseases. As the Word of God is the pure Food which builds us up spiritually and makes us strong in the Lord, so pure foods, nourishing foods, are necessary for our physical bodies-the more so if they are afflicted with the white plague-consumption. In a word, cleanliness, pure air and pure, nourishing food, are the most prominent factors for the relief of sufferers from this plague. These may be supplemented by a tablespoonful of pure glycerine, three times a day, and by a biochemical salt, calcaria phos.
All should know that this dreadful disease, which literally burns up the vitality of the patient, is highly contagious through the excrement. All discharges contain the elements of disease liable to spread the contagion. Discharges from the head should preferably be on paper, which should be burned in the fire before becoming dry. When dry, the dust carries the infection to whoever may breathe it.
Indeed, who does not know that the impression made by words may do far more harm in the hearts and minds of others than all the fleshly diseases we could imagine? Oh, how careful we should be that evil coming into our minds should be put away, that we do not spread the contagion of moral sin, even as we should be careful to avoid spreading the contagious physical ailments; and thus will our influence for evil be minimized!
LEPROSY ALSO TYPED SIN
When Pastor Russell was in India he was invited to the Leper Hospital to address the poor inmates. He tried to tell them of the love of God and the glorious provision made for all mankind through the death of Jesus, not only for the healing of leprosy and all diseases, but for the healing and overthrow of sin; and that all this is near at hand, to be brought to mankind by Messiah's Kingdom. But alas, poor creatures! He could see that although they understood the words of the interpreter they had no hearing ears or seeing eyes of the heart.
The Apostle's words came to mind: "The god of this world hath blinded the minds of them that believe not." Oh, yes, he said, it is only he that hath an ear that can hear; only he that hath an eye that can see! Where Satan's work has been so fully accomplished, and men are blinded by ignorance and superstition, the Gospel Message can do nothing. We must wait for the Kingdom power. We wait in full assurance of faith, knowing that He who hath given His Son gave Him not in vain, noting also that the Son, "who gave His life a Ransom for all, to be testified in due time," will yet "see of the travail of His soul and be satisfied." I Timothy 2:6; Isa. 53:11
Oh, what a blessing is knowledge in association with faith in God! How differently we can look upon all the dreadful evils which afflict the world, mentally, morally, physically, than before our eyes were opened What manner of persons ought we to be in "showing forth the praises of Him who hath called us out of darkness into His marvelous light!" How generous and sympathetic we should be to all who are in any trouble, physical or moral or mental! We should be like unto our Father in Heaven, who is kind to the unthankful, and sends His sunshine and rain upon the evil and the good. How we should prepare ourselves at any and every cost that we may be accounted worthy of a share with our Redeemer in His excellent glory! Rom. 8:17, 18
CANCER ALSO REPRESENTS SIN
Another dreadful disease, often considered incurable and therefore like sin, is cancer. Consumption (tuberculosis) is a disease of the blood, which afflicts more or less every part of the body. Cancer, on the contrary, appears to be a fungus growth which feeds upon the human tissue, and propagates itself at the expense of those parts of the body which it attacks. This more particularly corresponds to the vices which attach themselves to humanity, and are destructive to our usefulness in respect to those parts of our character which are especially afflicted.
Only a most radical treatment seems to affect the cancer. Ordinarily, it is claimed, only the surgeon's knife, pursuing every root and branch of the cancer, will arrest its growth. And often this is ineffectual. So in the treatment of vice: If we find that it has attached itself to us personally, or to our city or village, drastic measures are the only ones which will give relief.
In the interest of many who are suffering from cancer, let us here mention that quite recently we came into possession of a cancer cure. It can be used only for cancers upon the surface of the body, and not for those which fasten themselves upon the internal organs. It is highly recommended by many who have used it.
We are informed that the recipe was sold on one occasion to a physician for a thousand dollars, after he had seen the good results. We are informed that he has erected a sanatorium for the treatment of cancer and is meeting with success.
The death of the doctor who discovered the remedy brought it into the hands of a relative. That relative gave it freely to us, and we are offering it free to all [HG722] who desire it. We would publish the recipe, but experience teaches us that more will likely be benefited by it if obliged to write for it. Any reader of this is welcome to the recipe, and he can purchase the ingredients of his own druggist for a dime. Address THE BIBLE STUDENTS MONTHLY, 13-17 Hicks street, Brooklyn, N. Y.
While urging all to help themselves and each other in the fight against the ailments of the flesh, the dying conditions of the present time, we still more particularly urge that we all fight sin and assist one another in finding the remedy, which God has provided in Christ. "The blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from sin."
FATAL AMBITION NOBLE AMBITION
This article was republished in Overland Monthly, Pages OM306-OM310, entitled, "Fatal Ambition-Noble Ambition."
OUTWARD VS. INWARD MAN
This article can be found its entirety in the Newspaper Sermons, entitled, "The Outward Man Vs. The Inward Man."
Volume 7, Number 8 SPIRITISM, MORMONISM, ETC. THEIR MYSTERIES EXPLAINED
A correct understanding of the Bible's teachings respecting the Spirit world is positively essential to a satisfactory solution of many phenomena of the past, and present. It is a well-known adage that "mystery hath charms," and no one understands this better than Satan himself. By enshrouding his kingdom in darkness, and in throwing an air of mystery around his workings, many indeed have been entrapped from all walks of life, who otherwise might never have been attracted to his side at all. Those who most thoroughly disbelieve in Spiritism are often the most ready to test its professed claims; and when convinced that many of its claims are genuine and many of its manifestations supernatural, these former disbelievers are more liable to become its devotees; whereas if they had known just what Spiritism is, and how and by what power it operates, they would be on guard, and their judgment would have a support and guidance which it otherwise lacks. It is the lack of the true knowledge of Spiritism (imparted through the Scriptures and confirmed by indisputable evidences from outside the Scriptures) which causes so many to fall a prey to this delusion.
True, there are frauds committed in the name of Spiritism; but these are chiefly in connection with attempted "materializations." That Spiritists have done and can do, through some power or agency, many wonderful works beyond the power of man, has been abundantly proved in a variety of cases-some of them before scientific men, total unbelievers. Tambourines have been played while in the air beyond the reach of human hand and suspended by some invisible power; chairs have been lifted into the air while people were sitting upon them, and without any connection with any visible power or agency; mediums have been floated through the air, etc. The rapping tests, the table-tipping tests, the autograph tests and the slate-writing tests have been proved over and over again, to the satisfaction of hundreds of intelligent people in various parts of the world. And Spiritism reckons amongst its adherents judges, lawyers, business men and numbers of women of ability. These people have tested the claims of Spiritism and have candidly avowed their faith in it. And it is unwise, to say the least, to sneer at such as fools or knaves-fools if simply deluded by tricks and sleight of hand; knaves [HG723] if they are willingly and knowingly lending their time and influence to the perpetration of frauds.
"THE DEAD KNOW NOT ANYTHING" Eccl. 9:5
The claim of Spiritists is, that these manifestations and communications from unseen intelligences are from human beings, who once lived in this world, but who, when seeming to die, really became more alive, more intelligent, freer, and every way more capable and competent than they had ever been before. It is claimed that the purpose of these manifestations is to prove that the dead are not dead, but alive; that there is no need of a resurrection of the dead, because there are no dead-the dead being more alive than ever, after passing into what is termed death. Today, not only in heathen lands, but amongst the most civilized, it is freely believed (and by many Christians considered Scriptural to believe the nonsensical) that a dead man is more alive than before he died. People of good, sound, reasoning faculties on ordinary subjects seem to be "hoodooed" by this falsehood of Satan, "ye shall not surely die." So true is this, that it seems not inconsistent to them to say that a man hit over the head with a stick and knocked senseless knows nothing, but a man hit over the head harder and killed, knows everything. We shall not stop here to show how inharmonious all this is to the testimony of Scripture upon this subject, but merely cite the reader to the Word of the Lord; reminding him that, "If there be no resurrection of the dead, . . . then they also which are fallen asleep in Christ are perished." 1 Cor. 15:13, 18; Job 14:21; Psa. 146:4; Eccl. 9:5, 6.
THE BEGINNING OF DECEPTION
Here is the point of infatuation. As soon as the unbeliever in Spiritism has been convinced that an unseen intelligence communicates through the medium he is all interest. Nothing else offers such proofs from invisible sources as does Spiritism; and many seem not only willing but anxious to walk by sight rather than by faith.
Every one has friends who have died, and thousands are anxious to communicate with them if possible and to receive from them some message or some advice. It is not surprising, therefore, lo find people greatly absorbed in these matters, and very willing to be directed by those whom they esteem their truest friends and most competent advisers.
The majority of people have no true Christian faith built upon the foundation of the Word of God; they have a wish for a future life, and a hope with reference to their dead, rather than a faith with reference to either. As a consequence, their minds being convinced that they have had communication with those beyond the grave, everything relating to the future life becomes more real and more interesting to them than ever before. And many such, wholly ignorant of religious feelings, say to themselves, Now I know what it is to have faith, and a religious feeling with reference to the future and they congratulate themselves that they have received a great spiritual blessing.
But this is only the first lesson, and these comparatively uplifting experiences belong chiefly to it. Later experiences will demonstrate, as all Spiritists will freely acknowledge, that there are "evil spirits," "Iying spirits," which time and again deceive them; and the messages and revelations, often foolish and nonsensical, gradually lead the investigator to a disbelief of the Bible and the Creator, while they teach and exalt "the spirits" as the only sources of knowledge aside from nature; and thus the way is paved toward advanced lessons on "spirit affinities," "free love," etc. But after the first deception and shaking of confidence the explanation that there are "both good and bad spirits" is generally satisfactory; and the poor victim follows blindly on, because assured that he communes with some supernatural power.
There are many schools now in existence which have as their basis these spirit deceptions, "doctrines of demons" as the Apostle calls them. Notable among these should be mentioned Clairvoyance, Theosophy, New Thought, Unity, Mormonism, Swedenborgianism and Christian Science.
THE MORMON DELUSION
As a remarkable illustration of the deceptive work of these "evil spirits" who constantly endeavor to establish as truth the Devil's lie to Mother Eve, that men do not surely die (Genesis 3:4), notwithstanding God's positive assertion to the contrary, we cite the instance of Joseph Smith, Jr., and his Book of Mormon. It is clear the Mr. Smith was a victim of these "seducing spirits," although many well intentioned people have not suspected that such could have been the case. But from accounts of Smith's boyhood it would appear he was just such a person as might be susceptible to occult influence. Note the remarks of Smith's father-in-law, Isaac Hale, to which he gave affidavit, and which are published in "Religious Creeds and Statistics," as follows: "I first became acquainted with Joseph Smith, Jr. in November, 1825 [when he was scarcely 20 years old]. He was at that time in the employ of a set of men who were called 'money-diggers'; and his occupation was that of seeing or pretending to see, by means of a stone placed in his hat, and his hat placed over his face: in this way he pretended to discover minerals and hidden treasures. Smith and his father boarded at my [HG724] house while they were employed in digging for a mine."
Had young Smith been a Bible student it might have been he would have been on guard against all occult influences: but his mother, in describing how the family were convinced of the "wonders" following the finding of the "golden plates," is quoted as having said: "I presume our family presented an aspect as singular as any that ever lived upon the face of the earth; all seated in a circle-father, mother, sons and daughters-all giving the most profound attentions to a boy, eighteen years of age, who had never read the Bible through In his life."
JOSEPH SMITH A VICTIM OF SPIRITS
Reasoning humanly, it would appear strange that a prophet of a new dispensation should not be sufficiently interested in God's Word to have made a careful study of it before being elevated to the position of teacher of Divine Truth. But when we become acquainted with the power and designs of the "evil spirits," the matter becomes easy of solution. They are ever seeking instruments and opportunities for perperpetuating Satan's falsehood respecting the state of the dead, they are bent upon contradicting God's Word and the harmonious truth of the Bible. Every spiritist, every seance, and sad to relate, nearly every creed of Christendom, seeks to set forth as truth the Devil's false testimony upon this important matter. Joseph Smith, in September, 1823, was visited by one of these "Iying spirits" who gave his name as Moroni, a man of Israel, of the tribe of Manasseh, who died about 400 A. D. Near where Smith was then living, at Palmyra, N. Y. Rev. Spaulding of Cherry Valley, N. Y., had some years previously, written a historic novel called "The Manuscript Found," in which he detailed in imagery the early settlers of North America. The book was never published but was given to a compositor named Sidney Rigdon, a friend of Smith's who later became an ardent Mormon, and a leader among them. Evidently the Spaulding story had weighed upon the mind of young Smith, and being of an occult turn of mind, one of these "wicked spirits in the heavenlies" seized upon the opportunity. Hence he manifested himself to Smith, as a resurrected early settler of the American continent, and the lad was ready to believe all that was communicated to him. He was then told by the "Spirit" that he was commissioned as a prophet of the new dispensation, and that God was going to reveal through him many wonderful things to humanity.
Smith was instructed that golden plates would be given him, with power to transcribe them into the English language, that the plates would give a detailed account of the American Indians, and their origin, and reveal "the fullness of the everlasting gospel, as delivered by the Savior to the ancient inhabitants." At the appointed time Smith was permitted to find the plates-a phenomena indeed, but no greater than the phenomena exhibited through spirit-mediums before, and since. The charitable view is that Joseph Smith did not willingly deceive, but he himself was willingly deceived, through his previous tamperings with the occult. The same may be said of the "Three Witnesses" and of the "Eight" who, it is said, declared to their dying day that they saw and handled the golden plates which the "angel" delivered into the hands of Joseph Smith. The plates vanished after the translation had been completed.
WHO ARE THESE SPIRITS WHICH PERSONATE THE DEAD?
(1) that not only some, but all, of these spirits are "evil spirits," "Lying spirits," "seducing spirits." The Scriptures forbid that humanity should seek to these for information, and clearly inform us that these demons or "devils" are "those angels which kept not their first estate" -some of the angels to whom was committed the supervision of mankind in the period before the flood, for the purpose of permitting them to endeavor to lift mankind out of sin; that by their failure all might learn that there is but one effectual remedy for sin; viz., that provided in Christ. These angels, instead of uplifting humanity, were themselves enticed into sin, and misused the power granted to them, of materializing in human form, to start another race. (Gen. 6:1-6) Jude 6, 7 gives conclusive evidence on the subject, and clearly shows the nature of the sin for which the fallen angels were condemned and restrained, when, after mentioning the angels who sinned, he says, "Even as Sodom and Gomorrah, . . . In like manner giving themselves over to fornication and going after strange flesh." That God prohibits any mixture or blending of natures, and designs that each should keep its own original or first estate is clearly taught by this passage and also by Leviticus 18:23; 20:15, 16. Their illicit progeny was blotted out with the flood, and themselves were thereafter restrained from the liberty of assuming physical bodies, as well as isolated from the holy angels who had kept their angelic estate inviolate.
The Apostle Peter (2 Pet. 2:4) mentions these, saying, "God spared not the angels that sinned, but cast them down to hell [Tartarus] and delivered them into chains of darkness, to be reserved unto [HG725] judgment." Jude 6 also mentions that class, saying, "The angels which kept not their first estate, but left their own habitation [proper condition] he hath reserved in everlasting chains-under darkness unto the judgment of the great day." Notice three points with reference to these evil angels:
(1) They are imprisoned in Tartarus, restrained, but not destroyed. Tartarus is nowhere else rendered "hell," but in this one passage. It does not signify the grave, neither does it signify the Second Death, symbolized by the "lake of fire and brimstone"; but it does signify the air or atmosphere of earth.
(2) They have some liberties in this imprisoned condition, yet they are chained, or restrained, in one respect-they are not permitted to exercise their powers in the light, being "under chains of darkness."
(3) This restriction was to continue until "the judgment of the great day," the great Millennial Day, or for a period of over 4,000 years. As we are now in the dawning of the Millennial Day - "the great day"- it is possible that this should be understood to mean that some of these limitations as to "darkness " may ere long be removed, gradually. If so, if the "chains of darkness" should be released, it would permit these evil spirits to work deceptions, or "Lying wonders," in the daylight (as they are now attempting to do) to the delusion of mankind more than ever has been known since the flood.
These fallen angels, or demons, are not to be confounded with Satan the prince of demons, or devils, whose evil career began long before-who was the first, and for a long time the only, enemy of the Divine government; who, having been created an angel of a superior order, sought to establish himself as a rival to the Almighty, and to deceive and ensnare Adam and his race to be his servants; and to a large extent, for a time at least, he has succeeded, as all know. As "the prince of this world," who "now worketh in the hearts of the children of disobedience," he has indeed a very multitudinous host of deceived and enslaved followers. Naturally he would appreciate the deflection of the "angels who kept not their first estate," and who were restrained at the time of the flood; and hence he is spoken of as their chief, "the prince of devils," and no doubt as a superior order of being he exercises some degree of control over the others.
FALLEN ANGELS ARE LASCIVIOUS
These fallen angels, "demons," have probably very little to interest them amongst themselves; evil beings apparently always prefer to make game of the purer, and apparently take pleasure in corrupting and degrading them. The history of these demons as given in the Scriptures, would seem to show that the evil concupiscence which led to their fall, before the flood, still continues with them.
They still have their principal pleasure in that which is lascivious and degrading; and the general tendency of their influence upon mankind is toward working mischief against the well-disposed, and the debauchery of those over whom they gain absolute control. It is therefore not surprising that the inevitable fruits of Mormonism were ultimately reaped in the terrible reign of polygamous association between the sexes, debauching morals and dishonoring God, violating even the laws of civilization-and of which conscientious Mormons themselves are now well ashamed.
We are well aware that many Christian people have reached the conclusion that the Lord and the Apostles were deceived, when they attributed to the works of demons conduct that is now considered human propensity and mental unbalance and fits. But all should admit that if our Lord was in error on this subject, His teachings would be an unsafe guide upon any subject.
Notice the personality and intelligence attributed to these demons in the following Scriptures: "Thou believes" that there is one God; thou doest well; devils also believe and tremble." (Jas. 2:19) Do human propensities "believe and tremble"?
The demons said to our Lord, "Thou art Christ, the Son of God! And He, rebuking them, suffered them not to speak [further], for they knew that He was Christ." (Luke 4:41) Another said, 'Jesus I know and Paul I know, but who are ye?" (Acts 19:15) The young woman from whom Paul cast out the spirit of soothsaying and divination (Acts 16:16-19) is a good illustration. Can it be claimed by any that the Apostle deprived the woman of any proper talent or power? Must it not be confessed to have been a spirit which possessed and used her body?-an evil spirit unfit to be tolerated there?
Many of those who claim that the demons of the Scriptures were the spirits of wicked men and women who died, and that these are the "Lying spirits" acknowledged by Spiritists, have still another difficulty; for generally they claim that the spirits of wicked dead go to hell-torments, as they wrongly interpret sheol and hades to mean. If so, how could they be so much at liberty?
"Witchcraft," "Necromancy," the "Black art," "Sorcery," etc., are supposed by many to be wholly delusions. But when we find that they had a firm hold upon the Egyptians, and that God made special provision against them with Israel, we are satisfied that He made no such restrictions either against that which is good, or against that which had no existence [HG726] whatever. The instruction to Israel was very explicit; they should not have any communion nor make any inquiries through necromancers (those who claimed to speak for the dead; i. e., spirit-mediums); nor with any wizard or witch; nor with any who had occult powers, charms; nor with those who work miracles by means of sorcery and incantation. Read carefully all of the following Scriptures: Exo. 22:18; Deut. 18:9-12; Leviticus 19:31; 20:6, 27; 2 Kings 21:2, 6, 9, 11; 1 Chron. 10:13, 14; Acts 16:16-18; Gal. 5:19-21; Rev. 21:8; Isa. 8:19, 20; 19:3.
DID KING SAUL SPEAK WITH THE DEAD?
The Bible story of King Saul's "seance" with the witch of Endor, a necromancer, or spirit-medium, as related in 1Sa 28:7-20, is an illustration of what is claimed to be performed today. Although the Law with reference to these mediums was very strict and the punishment death, there were some who were willing to risk their lives because of the gains which could thus be obtained from people who believed that they were obtaining supernatural information from their dead friends-just as with spirit-mediums today. King Saul was well aware that there were many of these mediums residing in Israel contrary to the Divine injunction and his own law, and his servants apparently had no difficulty in finding the one at Endor. Saul disguised himself for the interview, but no doubt the crafty woman knew well the stately form of Saul-head and shoulders taller than any other man in Israel. (1Sa 9:2) Hence her particularity to secure a promise and oath from his own lips that no harm should befall her for the service.
The methods used by the evil spirits through the medium at Endor were similar to those in use today. They caused to pass before the medium's mental vision the familiar likeness of the aged Prophet Samuel, wearing, as was his custom, a long mantle. When she described the mental (or "astral") picture, Saul recognized it at once as a description, of Samuel; but Saul himself saw nothing-he "perceived," from the description, that it was Samuel. Easily convinced, as people under such circumstances usually are, Saul did not stop to question how it could be that Samuel looked as old and as stooped as he looked in the present life, if he was now a spirit being and far better off; nor did he inquire why he wore the same old mantle in the spirit world that he had worn when he knew him as an earthly being.
Saul had been forsaken by the Lord and was now easily deceived by these "Lying spirits," who personated the Prophet and spoke to Saul in his name, through their "medium," the witch, necromancer, Spiritist.
The fallen spirits are not only well informed in respect to all the affairs of earth, but they are adepts in deceit. In answering Saul, the manner and style, and as nearly as could be judged the sentiments of the dead Prophet were assumed-the better to deceive. (Thus these "Lying spirits" always seek to counterfeit the face, manner and disposition of the dead.) The response was, "Why hast thou disquieted me to bring me up " This answer corresponds to the Jewish belief-that when a person died he became unconscious in "sheol," the grave, waiting for a resurrection. (Job 14:12-15, 21; Psalm 90:3; Eccl. 9:5, 6) Hence the representation is that Samuel was brought up from grave, and not down from heaven, and that his rest or peaceful "sleep" was disturbed or "disquieted." Psalm 13:3; Job 14:12; Psalm 90:5; John 11:11-14 Saul was easily deceived into thinking that the Prophet Samuel who had refused to visit him to have any further converse with him while alive, had been forced to commune with him, by the wonderful powers of the witch. (See 1Sa 15:26, 35) Saul's own testimony was, "God is departed from me and answereth me no more, neither by prophets, nor by dreams." 1Sa 28:6, 15
WOULD SAMUEL OBEY WITCH RATHER THAN GOD?
(1) Samuel (when living) was aware that God had forsaken Saul, and hence Samuel had no right to speak to him and no right to give him any information which the Lord was unwilling to give him. And Samuel would not do so.
(2) It is thoroughly absurd to suppose that a spirit-medium under condemnation of the Lord and prohibited of the right of residence in the land of Israel could have the power at the instance of a wicked king, whom God had deserted, to "disquiet" Samuel and to bring him "up" out of sheol. Was Samuel down In the earth, or was he afar off in Heaven? and had the witch the power in either case to command him to present himself before King Saul to answer his question? Or is it reasonable to suppose that any spirit-mediums have the power to "disquiet" and "bring up" or in any other manner cause the dead to appear to answer the speculative questions of the living?
The "familiar spirit" of the witch, personating Samuel, foretold nothing which Saul himself did not anticipate. Saul knew that God's word had been passed that the kingdom should be taken from him and his family, and he had sought the witch because of his fear of the Philistine hosts in battle array for the morrow. He expected no mercy for himself and his family, God having told him that David would be his successor. He even anticipated, therefore, the [HG727] statement which was the only feature connected with this story that indicates in any degree a supernatural knowledge, Liz., "Tomorrow shalt thou and thy sons be with me; the Lord also shall deliver the host of Israel into the hands of the Philistines." The well informed demons knew far better than did Saul the strength of the Philistines' position and army, and the weakness of Saul's position and army, and that he himself was already panic-stricken and making this inquiry of the witch-medium because he was distracted at the situation. Any one familiar with the warfare of that time would know
(2) that the death of the king and his household would be the only logical result. Nevertheless, the "familiar spirit" erred, for two of Saul's sons escaped and lived for years. It is even denied by scholars that the battle and the death of Saul occurred for several days after the visit to the witch.
It is not surprising that Satan and the fallen angels, his consorts in evil, should know considerably more than do men, concerning many of life's affairs. We must remember that by nature they are a higher, more intelligent order than men; for man was made "a little lower than the angels (Psalm 8:5); besides, let us remember their thousands of years of experience, unimpaired by decay and death, as compared with man's "few years and full of trouble," soon cut off in death. Can we wonder that mankind cannot cope with the cunning of these "wicked spirits," and that our only safety lies in the Divine provision that each one who so wdls may refuse to have any communication with these demons? The Word of the Lord is, "Resist the devil, and he will flee from you." (Jas. 4:7) "Be sober, be vigilant; because your Adversary the Devil, as a roaring [angry] lion, walketh about, seeking whom he may devour; whom resist, steadfast in the faith." 1 Pet. 5:8, 9
HOW CHRIST PREACHED TO THE "SPIRITS IN PRISON"
Let us now consider the hitherto much misunderstood statement of the Apostle Peter respecting the lesson given by Jesus to the "spirits in prison" at the time of His death and resurrection. The Apostle says: "Christ also hath once suffered for sins, the Just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God, being put to death in the flesh, but quickened in the spirit. By which also [in addition to this work done for us] He preached to the spirits in prison; which sometime [before] were disobedient, when once the longsuffering of God waited in the days of Noah." 1 Pet. 3:18-20 (See Diaglott, Footnote)
A satisfactory interpretation of this Scripture has long been sought, and but few have found a solution perfectly consistent and satisfying even to themselves. But in view of the truth gleaned from the foregoing suggestions, the above statements of the Apostle Peter become luminous.
If its advocates would consider it, they would find that their interpretation favors a view of future probation for the antediluvians, a thing which they strenuously oppose. For if Christ preached to them it must have been for some purpose. Surely it was not merely to mock them. Consequently He must have preached a message of hope-a part of His blessed "good tidings of great joy." And if there is a future for the antediluvians, why not accept our position as correct-that in Christ "all the families of the earth shall be blessed"?
This is the objection which consistency would urge against this view, from the standpoint of those who hold it. But if we view it from the Scriptural standpoint, and with the correct idea of death and hell, we must reason that if Jesus were really dead during those three days, as the Apostles declare, then He could do no declaiming; for "the dead know not any thing" (Eccl. 9:5), and "there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave." (Eccl. 9:10) Second, if Jesus had been an exception to the rule, and could have preached, the antediluvians could not have heard; for certainly they have no wisdom, nor knowledge, in the grave. Hence this view is found generally unsatisfactory and as well unscriptural.
The second view, and the one which seemed most reasonable to us until the considerations of the preceding facts threw light upon this Scripture also, is to refer the preaching to that which Noah did under the direction of the Spirit of God to the antediluvians, who at this time were imprisoned in the great prison house, the tomb. The objection to this view is, that the preaching was not to men, nor to the spirits of men, but to "spirits," spirit beings; and the preaching was not done by Noah, nor by the Spirit of God, nor before the flood, but after they had been chained. And the preaching, we hold, was in pantomime-by the death and resurrection of our Lord.
It seems very clear, therefore, that the spirits are those spirit beings who were disobedient during the days of Noah, and whom God therefore imprisoned or restrained from some of their former liberties and [HG728] privileges, even "those angels who kept not their own principality, but left their own habitation [or normal condition]. He has kept them in perpetual chains [restraints], under thick darkness, for the judgment of the great day." Jude 6, Diaglott
ACTIONS SPEAK LOUDER THAN WORDS
This interpretation seems to meet all the circumstances of the case thus far. Now we inquire, In what way could our Lord preach to those spirits during the time He was dead? We answer that is is not so stated. It was by the facts that He preached; as we sometimes say, "actions speak louder than words." It was by His sufferings, death and resurrection that the preaching was done. Thus, as Jesus went from step to step in His work, Has course was preaching a good sermon to those angels who once had been placed in control of man, and had themselves fallen, instead of lifting up mankind. In Jesus they saw exemplified obedience even unto death, and its reward-resurrection to spiritual being of the Divine nature. Such was the great text; and the lesson from it is stated by the Apostle (1 Pet. 3:22), vzz., that Jesus is now highly exalted and has been given a name (title) above every name; that He is "gone into heaven, and is at the right hand of God [the position of highest favor], angels and authorities and powers being made subject to Him. " They knew Jesus before He left the glory of the heavenly condition and became a man.
They knew the object of His self-sacrifice as a man. They saw Him obedient even unto death, and then that His high exaltation came as a reward. (Philip. 2:9) They must have felt keenly their loss through disobedience, being cut off from communion with God, restrained as unworthy of former liberty and communion with the purer minded of mankind and their own future an unsolved mystery. We can but imagine that sorrow and chagrin filled their hearts, as they contrasted their course of disobedience and its unhappy results, with our Lord's obedient course and its grand results. We can fancy at least some of them saying, Would that we had realized before, as fully as we do now, the wide contrast between the results of obedience and disobedience. Would that we might have another trial: with our increased knowledge, our course would be very different.
Satan evidently sinned against great light, so that Infinite Wisdom finds no place to do more for him, and his ultimate destruction is clearly predicted. Heb. 2:14
But did not the Lord, in Matt. 25:41, declare eternal torment to be the punishment awaiting these fallen spirit beings? No; this Scripture cannot be used as an argument against a hope for a probation for the bound or imprisoned spirits; for though, by force of circumstances and restraint from any other service, they are now Satan's angels-messengers or servants-yet they may not always continue such, if an opportunity be granted them to return to God's service and be angels of God. As explained in our pamphlet on "Hell," which we offerfree on request, this passage relates to the "lake of fire" or destruction (Rev. 20:10), into which, at the close of the Millennial Age, are to be cast all who are out of harmony with God. Satan will be of those cast into that everlasting destruction, and with him all who do unrighteousness or have pleasure therein; all of whom, angelic spirits or men on his side, are reckoned to be his angels or messengers. All evildoers shall be cut off from life. To cut off such, and only such, was God's Plan from the beginning. The willfully wicked and not the merely ignorant, misled, blinded or deceived are meant when it is said, "All the wicked will God destroy."
THE PROBATION OF ANGELS
Will those "spirits in prison," "those angels which kept not their first estate," and who received such a powerful though silent testimony and lesson from the ministry, death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus, ever have an opportunity to profit by those lessons? Will they ever have an opportunity to repent of their sin, leave Satan's service and return to loyalty to God? If at first we thought the Scriptures were silent on the subject, we have found that to be a mistake; and when God speaks we may reasonably conclude there is something profitable for us to hear. Hence, let us give ear that we may learn whatever our Father deems expedient to communicate.
Jude (verse 6) informs us that those angels which committed fornication and went after strange flesh, 'also," "in like manner," to the Sodomites (verse 7), God is keeping under restraint (as a penalty or punishment) "unto [or until] the judgment of the great day." The "great day" is the Millennial Day, and mankind is also waiting for this judgment (krisis-trial). The Apostle Peter's testimony is in harmony (2 Pet. 2:4); and St. Paul settles the matter that these fallen and now imprisoned spirit beings, as well as mankind, will have a trial under the reign of Christ and the Church, "the Kingdom of God" in exalted power. Speaking of the impropriety of the saints appealing to earthly Courts of Justice for adjustment of difficulties between themselves, he says, "Do you not know that the saints shall judge the world? Know ye not that we shall judge Angels' 1 Cor. 6:1-4 The Greek word here rendered "judge," is krino, of the same root as krisis, rendered "judgment" in Jude 7, and signifies, to govern, to test; to mete out to each [HG729] individual blessings or stripes, according to the merit of his course when brought fully into the light of truth, and under all the blessings of the reign of Christ. Thus it is seen that it will be part of the work of The Christ to rule over and direct both human and angelic sinners- "to judge the world" of fallen men, now restrained m death, from which they have been redeemed, and also to judge fallen angels, spirits, restrained alive until this judgment or trial of the Great Millennial Day, when the Church under the Headship of her Lord shall try their cause also, giving everlasting life and favor to those who shall then prove themselves worthy of it, and everlasting destruction to those proved under full light and opportunity to be unworthy.
Besides these references to the subject, we find frequent references to a work Christ is to do in subjecting heavenly, or spiritual, as well as human powers, after the Church has been selected and the work of judging and blessing is commenced.
For instance, we read (Eph. 1:10), "In the Dispensation of the fullness of times, to reestablish [under God's dominion and Law] all things in Christ [the disordered things] that are in heaven [spiritual] and on earth [human] in Him." -Douay translation. Again, "In Him it hath well pleased the Father that all fullness should dwell, and through Him to reconcile all things unto Himself, making peace by the blood of His cross, both as to the things on earth, and the things in heaven"-earthly and spiritual transgressors. Col 1:20-Douay
In Eph. 3:8-10, it is shown that the length and breadth of God's redemptive Plan has been hidden by God until the Gospel Age, when the Apostles were commissioned to declare to men the conditions upon which they might become sharers with Christ in the execution of God's loving Plan; and the intent is, ultimately, to have all the heavenly or spiritual beings know, through the instrumentality of the Church, the boundless wealth that is in God's great gift-His Son-and the different methods and steps His Wisdom marked out for all his creatures. We quote the passage from the Diaglott translation: "To me, the very lowest of the saints, was this favor given-to announce among nations the glad tidings-the boundless wealth of the Anointed One; even to enlighten all as to what is the [method of] administration [or operation] of that secret [Plan] which has been concealed from the Ages by that God who created all things; in order that now [henceforth] may be made known to governments and the authorities in the heavenlies, through [the instrumentality of] the congregation [the Church] the much diversified wisdom of God, according to a Plan of the Ages, which He purposed in Christ Jesus our Lord."
It would appear, then, that God's bountiful plan and diversified Wisdom contain something of interest to the angels, and, if of interest to any, of special interest to those confined, or restrained, and awaiting a trial in the judgment of the great Millennial Day. They see the saints and seek to look into things revealed by the Spirit and Word to these; but in no other way can they learn of their future, or what provision has been made for themselves in the boundless wealth and diversified Wisdom of God, because, as here stated, it is to be "made known" "through the Church."
OTHER SERMONS PREACHED TO ANGELS
These condemned angels have been learning much since the first text and sermon; not only the lesson of our Lord's obedience and exaltation (1 Pet. 3:18-20; 1 Tim. 3:16), but also of His followers; for we read that "we are made a spectacle both to angels and to men." (1 Cor. 4:9)-Diaglott. The spectacle and lesson are to both men and angels for the reason that both men and angels will shortly be judged by the Church, and blessed by it, if found obedient and worthy of life. When the testimony in due time is given, all things, both in heaven (the spiritual condition) and on earth (the human), shall bow to Jehovah's Anointed and confess Him their Lord and Ruler; and those who refuse obedience to His righteous authority shall be cut off from life-destroyed as unworthy of life. Isa. 45:23 Rom. 14:11; Acts 3:23 The angels that sinned in the days of Noah have had a bitter experience since; no doubt death would have been preferable in many respects. Cut off from association with good angels, and placed in companionship of each other and Satan without God and having no hope, they must have had a terrible experience with sin's demoralizing effects, while their observation of mankind, dying on account of sin, would lead them to surmise that death might ultimately be their portion also. That such was the fear of these unclean spirits is evidenced by the protest of one whom the Lord cast out; "Art thou come to destroy us?" (Mark 1:24; Luke 4:34, Matt. 8:29) But this no more proves that their suppositions were correct, than the belief of millions of professed Christians, that nine-tenths of humanity will be everlastingly tormented, proves that to be so. The fact is, we find that Satan, who taught men thus to blaspheme God's character by his misrepresentation of the Divine Plan, was the master and chief over these [HG730] cast-down spirits; and evidently he has misrepresented Jehovah's Plan to the imprisoned spirits as he has to men. He is the father of lies.
Neither can we forget the respectful conduct of the fallen spirits toward our Lord and his Apostles and the message they delivered; far more respectful indeed than that of the strictest sect of the Jewish Church. While the latter scoffed and said, "Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph?" John 6:42), the fallen spirits exclaimed, "Thou art the Son of God." (Mark 3:11) While the former said, "Thou has a devil and art mad," the latter said, "I know Thee who Thou art, the Holy One of God." Mark 1:24 The "legion," which had crazed the Gadarene, worshipped Christ, acknowledging Him to be the "Son of the Most High God." Mark 5:6,7 While they respected the true, they opposed the false, saying to some who pretended to exorcise them- "Jesus I know, and Paul I know, but who are ye? And the man in whom the evil spins was leaped on them and overcame them." Acts 19:16
Both Jews and Gentiles beat and stoned the messengers of God, when they came among them with the glad tidings of salvation; but some of these fallen angels seemed desirous of spreading the glad tidings. One followed the Apostle Paul and Silas, saying, "These men are the servants of the Most High God, which show unto us [angels and men] the way of salvation." Acts 16:17 If God has some blessing for these fallen angels in event they reform we shall be glad. But the Scriptures are very explicit in declaring that Satan, their prince, is incorrigible, and will be destroyed. Heb. 2:14
TONGUES OF FIRE
This article was republished in Reprints R3941-February 15, 1907, entitled, "Tongues of Fire."
PREACHING TO THE DEAD
This article can be found in its entirety in the Newspaper Sermons, entitled, "Preaching to the Dead."
BOOK OF MORMON NO PART OF BIBLE
"If they speak not according to this Word, it is because there is no Light in them." Isa. 8:20
Recently there came to our attention some correspondence between a Bible Student of an eastern city and the Pastor of a western Mormon Church. For the benefit of our readers we are pleased to make a few interesting extracts from the response which denies the assertion that the Mormon volume harmonizes with the infallible Word of God and should be accepted as a Divine Revelation of equal importance to the Bible:
DEAR SIR AND BROTHER:
"I am pleased to note your apparent sincerity and earnestness in religious matters; yet we must agree that to be conscientious is not necessarily to be right. Many of our forefathers were doubtless conscientious when they engaged in crusades, 'holy wars, 'burned one another at the stake and advocated the horrors of the Inquisition; verily believing they were imitating the characteristics of Jehovah-but they were Prong, in thought and in act, as every honest, right-minded [HG731] person must now admit.
"As for my opinion of the 'Book of Mormon, 'also 'Doctrine and Covenants, 'by Joseph Smith, I have made examination of both, and find them to contain numerous errors, contradictions to the Bible, as I shall herein endeavor to briefly but clearly point out. In fact, candidly speaking, I have never heard the creed of your church entirely harmonized with the very Book of Mormon which you advocate as God's Revelation to man. For instance, you assert in your creed 'That men shall be punished for their own sins, and not for Adam's transgression. 'But how does this comport with the statement found in 2 Nephi 2:21 (Book of Mormon), which reads, 'All men were lost because of the transgression of their parents'? Thus far, I must admit, the Book of Mormon does agree with the Bible-but it does not agree with your own creed, which, by the way, you declare to be the same creed 'as promulgated by Joseph Smith during his lifetime. 'Now if I should become a Mormon, which would you have me accept, your Church Creed, or the Book of Mormon, as my guide to faith?
"But the Bible statement is clear. It explains that 'By one man's (Adam's) disobedience, sin entered into the world, and death by sin. '(Rom. 5:12) This accounts for the open fact that innocent children go into death, the same as does the vilest sinner that ever lived. The penalty of death must be paid by all, because of the transgression of Father Adam. The justice of the arrangement is seen when we learn that death does not mean eternal nor purgatorial torture (advocated by the Book of Mormon and the false creeds of the 'dark ages'). On the contrary, all go into the death condition, into the tomb, to await the resurrection. It is much better that all are condemned in the one man (Adam) than to be condemned in an individual manner to death; because this enables all to be released, eventually, from death 'by ONE MAN'S obedience'-by the Ransom-sacrifice of Christ. For a more detailed explanation of the matter I am referring you to Pastor Russell's volume entitled 'The Divine Plan of the Ages,' which I am sending under separate cover, with my compliments. I invite your attention particularly to Chapter VII.
"Briefly, some of the most apparent divergencies between the Book of Mormon and the Bible are these: "First-It teaches the doctrine of 'future torment, 'which is a libel on the character and purpose of a just and loving Creator. The Bible, to the contrary, explains that the wicked shall be punished with 'everlasting destruction' -not everlasting preservation. (2 Thess. 1:9) This complete destruction of the incorrigibly wicked is pictured by the Revelator by the most forceful symbol of destruction that can be imagined-'a lake of fire burning with brimstone. 'The Book of Revelation abounds in forceful symbols which illustrate the various features of God's Plan, and the ultimate destruction of the wicked is no exception. The Bible says plainly 'all the wicked will God destroy. 'Psalm 145:20 "Second-Mormonism teaches that the great JEHOVAH, the all-powerful One, who 'inhabiteth eternity, 'was at one time an imperfect, sinful, wretched human mortal-if words mean at all what they say; for it is an oft-repeated phrase in Mormon literature, celebrated by your foremost writers as an 'eternal truth, 'that 'As man now is, God once was; as God now is, man may become. 'Hear the LORD'S own Word to the contrary, however: 'From everlasting to everlasting Thou art God. '(Psalm 90:2) 'For I am God, and there is none else; I am God, and there is none like Me. '(Isa. 46:9) 'I am the LORD, I change not. '(Mal. 3:6) 'I am the LORD . . . My glory will I not give to another. 'Isa. 42:8 "Third-The Book of Mormon teaches that the very body which goes down into the grave will be the body that will be resurrected. (2 Nephi 9:12) This is in violation of St. Paul's statement, 'How are the dead raised up, and with what body do they come? . . . Thou fool; . . . thou sowest not that body that shall be. '1 Cor. 15:35-37 "Fourth-The Book of Mormon teaches that all heathen people who lived and died before Christ's First Advent and death will be greatly advantaged over the majority who have lived since Calvary, in that God has provided they shall come forth perfect, and have a part in the first Resurrection. In Mosiah 15:24 (B. M.) we read, 'These are they that have died before Christ came, in their ignorance, not having salvation declared unto them. And thus the Lord bringeth about the restoration of these; and they have a part in the First Resurrection. 'The Bible, on the contrary, clearly teaches that only the Church (established by our Lord at His first Advent) will have part in the First Resurrection (Rev. 20:4-6), and that instead of the ancients having precedence over the Gospel Church, contrariwise 'God hath provided some better thing for US, that they [the worthy ones who lived before Christ's first advent] without us should not be made perfect. '(Heb. 11:40) Even John the Baptist, who was the last of the Prophets, and probably the greatest of them, having died a few months before Jesus' death and resurrection, was not privileged to be counted in as a member of the Kingdom Class, the Gospel Church, which was not fully established until Pentecost. (See Matt. 11:11) He, like all other Ancient Worthies, will come forth in the resurrection, and be given perfect life on the human plane which [HG732] was intended for all mankind in the beginning. But the 'Kingdom of Heaven Class' which is now being selected from amongst men, are to have a greater honor than even that: they shall be partakers of His resurrection, the First (Chief) Resurrection, to glory, honor and immortality-Divine Nature.
"Fifth-Mormonism teaches that man's future glory will depend upon marriage and offspring, and that sex relations and propagation of species will ever continue in the spirit realm, amongst the 'worthy ones' who have made use of the powers of propagation while on earth. We read (Doctrine & Covenants, 132:15-17), 'If a man marry him a wife in the world, and he marry her not by me . . . their covenant and marriage are not of force when they are dead . . . but are appointed angels in heaven . . . to minister for those who [enjoy "Celestial Marriage" and] are worthy of a far more, and an exceeding, and an eternal weight of glory; for these angels did not abide my law, therefore they cannot be enlarged [cannot propagate] but remain separately and singly, without exaltation in their saved condition to all eternity, and from henceforth are not gods, but are angels of God, forever and ever."
"From this I must conclude that if a Christian has not at least taken one wife in accordance with Mormon Church sanction during the period of his earthly sojourn, he will not be counted worthy of 'a far more, exceeding and eternal weight of glory' beyond the grave. What, then, shall we say of our Lord Jesus Himself, who was not married? And how shall we regard His suggestion that other faithful ones 'have made themselves eunuchs for the Kingdom of Heaven's sake; he that is able to receive it let him receive it?" (Matt. 19:12) Will those who sacrifice earthly privileges 'for the Kingdom of Heaven's sake' stand lower in the future than those who do not? Mormon doctrine says they will, but Jesus and His Apostles declare to the contrary. Read St. Paul's masterful argument on this point in 1 Cor. 7:8, 9, 28. We should bear in mind, however, that he was not giving advice to the world but only to the Church-all of whom have 'presented their bodies a living sacrifice, 'foregoing such things as may be right and proper for the natural man to enjoy. It is by their sacrifices of earthly rights and privileges that such shall eventually attain to 'glory, honor and immortality'-Divine Nature-beyond the veil. The remainder of the world, who do not sacrifice, but who may eventually come into harmony with God during Messiah's Kingdom, shall be restored to perfect human nature, from which they fell in Eden.
Humanity, even when perfected, will therefore be 'a little lower than the angels, 'whereas the Church, who have sacrificed earthly rights, shall be like unto their Heavenly Bridegroom, 'far above angds, principalities and powers. 'There is no command in the matter; each one must decide for himself how much or how little he shall sacrifice.
"Sixth-The Book of Mormon teaches that water immersion is 'for the remission of sins. 'Such a theory forces us to the conclusion that saintly Presbyterians, saintly Methodists and other good, well-meaning people, who have never undergone water-immersion, are doomed to 'endless torture' or to years in purgatorial fire, if such be the penalty for unremitted sin. Is it not better to accept the plain Bible teaching that the dead are dead, awaiting the resurrection, and that all will come forth during Messiah's reign, to be taught at the hands of the Heavenly Bridegroom and Bride, until 'none will need to say to his neighbor, Know the Lord, for all shall know Him from the least unto the greatest'? Then the soul that will not hear that Prophet (The Christ) shall be destroyed from amongst the people-not roasted or tortured, but punished with 'everlasting destruction'-See Acts 15:14-17; 3:19-25; Jer. 31:31-34 "It is true that John the Baptist did teach water baptism 'for the remission of sins. 'But John's baptism was for Jews only, who were already recognized as typically cleansed by their Atonement day sin offerings. To these John's baptism signified repentance from recognized sin, violations of their Law Covenant, and a typical cleansing from them, a return to a condition of righteousness of heart, as in the day when they were all 'baptized into Moses in the sea and in the cloud' (1 Cor. 10:2) at the crossing of the Red Sea. John's baptism was applicable to none others. As an illustration, notice that when St. Paul visited Ephesus he found some believers who seemed to be lacking certain gifts of the Spirit at that time amongst believers. Inquiry developed the fact that they had been baptized with 'John's baptism'-the baptism of repentance and washing away of sins in water.
Then the Apostle instructed them more fully, assuring them that John's baptism was all right in its time and place, but that they should be baptized in the name of Jesus-baptized into Christ. They were baptized properly and received the Holy Spirit. (Acts 19:1-7) After all, water immersion is at the most but a picture. It is symbolical of what must have previously taken place in the heart.
"Turning to Rom. 6:3-6 we find that the Apostle is here enjoining baptism and laying great stress upon it, and yet never refers to water baptism. So great is the stress laid upon baptism that the Apostle declares, 'If we have been planted together in the likeness of His death we shall also be in the likeness of His [HG733] resurrection. 'In other words, the Apostle's intimation is that if we share with Christ in His true baptism we shall also share with Him in His resurrection. The real baptism, the baptism into sacrificial death, is what was referred to by our Lord, just before His death on the cross: 'I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how am I straitened (in difficulty) until it be accomplishedl" (Luke 12:50) He said these words three and a half years after His water immersion, and could not have referred to that. And, by the way, would you for a moment conclude that the water baptism of Jesus was 'for the remission of sins'? Surely not. It was a symbol of His real immersion into sacrificial death. And so with we, we are His footstep followers.
"Seventh-The Book of Mormon teaches that Adam transgressed in order to bring forth offspring, and that if he had not thus 'transgressed, 'the human race could not have been propagated. It says (2 Nephi 2:22-25), "If Adam had not transgressed . . . they would have had no children; wherefore they would have remained in a state of innocence, having no joy.... Adam fell that men might be. 'Now this could not be true, since the Creator 'blessed them and said unto them, Be fruitful and multiply. '(Gen. 1:28) And please note, God gave them this instruction before they transgressed; and since He told them to bring forth children, it would not be any transgression for them to obey the voice of God. But you say, when Eve fell, Adam was forced to do likewise to keep in harmony with his wife so they could together fulfil God's first command to 'replenish the earth. 'Why so? Why should not Adam seek to bring Eve and their children up out of sin, instead of going down into sin himself? Furthermore, do duties ever conflict? Do God's commands oppose one another? Does God place His creatures in positions where they are compelled to sin in order to obey Him? If so, then God and not Adam is the responsible party in the transgression, because poor Adam could not have done otherwise! Whichever way he might turn would have been to disobey one or the other of God's commands, according to the Book of Mormon.
"My conclusion is that the Book of Mormon is a concoction of the Adversary. I do not say that Joseph Smith was an evil person, necessarily; but it is apparent that the 'fallen angels' deceived him into thinking he had a revelation from Jehovah, whereas he must have received his revelation from the hosts of Satan; because God would not have said one thing in the Bible, and a totally different thing in the Book of Mormon.
"I shall be pleased to hear from you after you have carefully and prayerfully considered all the facts as set forth in Pastor Russell's treatise of 'The Divine Plan' which I am sending you. I cannot but believe that after you have there noted the evidences of God's goodness, mercy, justice and love, you will go on your knees, as I did, and ask forgiveness for having ever libeled His holy name by charging such preposterous atrocities to His righteous purpose, as so many have done in the past by accepting 'eternal torture' as the wages of sin. I can sympathize with you fully, my dear Brother, for I am persuaded you really want to love God-you do love Him to a degree, I am sure, but you have been at a 1088 to reconcile His manifest Justice and Love with the 'doctrines of demons' embraced by theologians of the 'dark ages' and incorporated later into your own Book of Mormon. My prayers and wishes are for your highest spiritual welfare. Believe me, your servant in Christ, . . ."
BAPTISM FOR THE DEAD
"Else what shall they do which are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all?"-1 Cor. 15:29
A misapprehension of the Apostle's meaning in the above text led' during the "dark ages," to substitutionary baptism; Christian people, whose friends had died without baptism, were baptized for them representatively. Correct views of what constitutes the real baptism quickly show us the inconsistency of such procedure.
One person could no more consecrate himself for another person than he could transfer either his natural or his spiritual life to another person. (Matt. 25:8, 9) This misapprehension of the Apostle's words, however, has led to confusion in the minds of many, who fail to recognize how great a falling away took place shortly after the death of the Apostles, and how wild and unreasonable were many of the theories and customs then introduced.
The Apostle's topic in this chapter was the resurrection of the dead, and he is in the above text sustaining and elaborating that doctrine. Evidently assaults had been made upon the faith of the Church at Corinth respecting the resurrection of the dead. As a part of his argument, in the verse under consideration, he calls the attention of the Church to the fact that they had all been baptized and that their baptism signified or symbolized death. He then, by way of showing them the inconsistency of the new position, inquires wherein would be the wisdom or [HG734] value of such a consecration to death, as their baptism suggested, if the new theory that the dead rise not at all were true. They had consecrated themselves to be members, to die one with the other, and one for the other in fellowship with Christ, and thus to be dead with Him, and as members of His body, members of the great Atonement Sacrifice on behalf of the dead world, because they hoped in the promised resurrection.
The Apostle's argument is that the whole Christian position stands or falls together. If there is no resurrection of the dead, then those who are fallen asleep in Christ are perished, as well as the remainder of the world; and if such be the case, and if there is no future hope either for the Church, or for the world through the Church, why should we consecrate our lives unto death? We are baptized into death with Christ, baptized for the judicially dead world, to the intent that we may by and by be associated with Him as the Life-giver of the world-the Seed of Abraham. Gal. 3:14, 29; Heb. 11:40
Volume 7, Number 9
This article can be found in its entirety in the Newspaper Sermons, entitled, "Cardinal Gibbons on Church Unity."
LITTLE-KNOWN FACTS ABOUT HELL by C. J. Woodworth
The average man believes in hell, but thinks few people go there and nobody knows much about it. The Bible is the only authority on the subject, and no one can know anything about it, aside from the Bible.
When we consider Christ's statement that unless a man loves Him more than "father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple" (Luke 14:26), and reflect that probably not one professed Christian in a hundred has reached either this standard or the other one which He set in the same chapter, that "Whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath he cannot be My disciple" (Luke 14:33), it should make us willing to consider carefully what is to become of the 9,999 out of every 10,000 of earth's population that do not meet these conditions.
We all know that "The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God" (Psa. 9:17); but how many of us know that they will be re-turned there; that the passage, correctly translated, reads, "The wicked shall be returned into hell, all the nations that forget God"-showing that there are nations which go into hell once, come out of hell, learn of God, forget Him and are returned there.
We may all know (Jude 11) that Korah or Core went to hell, but how many of us know that he was accompanied to this place by his house, with all his household goods, and two other establishments similarly equipped? Num. 16:32, 33 We may all know that the Sodomites went to hell (Gen. 19), but how many know that they were accompanied by the city in which they lived and that there are other cities there? Gen. 37:35; Job 14:13; Matt. 11:23
We may all suppose that many heathen warriors of long ago went to hell, but how many of us know that they took with them their weapons of war, and that their swords are there now, under their heads, with what is left of their bones?-Eze. 32:27
We may understand that the wealthy go to hell, but how many of us know that in the same place are sheep, gray hairs, worms, dust, trees and water?-Psa. 49:14; Gen. 44:31; Job 17:13-16; Eze. 31:16 We may all know that bad men go to hell, but how many of us know that the Ancient Worthies, Jacob and Hezekiah, fully expected to go there, and that faithful Job prayed to go there?-Gen. 37:35; Job 14:13 We may all wish to keep out of hell, nut how many of us know that David said there is not a man that liveth that shall deliver his soul from its power and that Solomon says thou goest there, whosoever thou art? Psa. 49:10; Eccl. 9:10 We may think that those who go to hell go there to stay forever, but how many of us know that Samuel said, "The Lord killeth and maketh alive; He bringeth down to hell and bringeth up" out of hell, and that David said God has the same power to aid those in hell [HG735] that He has to bless those in heaven? 1Sa 2:6; Psa. 139:8 We may think that those who go into hell never come out, and that there is no record that any have come out, yet there are at least two persons in history who have been in hell and come out of hell. One is Jonah, who prayed in hell and was delivered from hell John 2:2), and the other is Christ, whose soul went to hell, but "His soul was not left in hell," for God raised him up out of it. (Acts 2:31) And when Christ came out of hell He brought with Him "The keys of hell" and now has the power and the right to let all its captives free. Rev. 1:18 We may suppose that hell is to last forever, but the Prophet speaks of its coming destruction, and John the Revelator says that it is to be made to "deliver up the dead" which are in it, and it, itself, is to be destroyed. Hos. 13:14; Rev. 20:13 The last passage cited affords the explanation of the whole subject, for in the margin opposite Rev. 20:13 the translators have explained that the word "hell" means "grave." Reversely, in the margin opposite 1 Cor. 15:55, the translators have explained that "grave" means "hell." The terms are interchangeable and the meaning is the same. In every place in this article in which the citations appear in italic type, the translators have rendered Sheol or Hades by "grave" or "pit" instead of "hell."
THE VALUE OF TOIL
This article can be found in As entirety in the Newspaper Sermons, entitled, "The Value of Toil."
THE CATHOLIC CHURCH'ST. PETER'S KINGDOM KEYS Pastor Russell Claims to be a True Catholic
Having been asked to state concisely his position in reference to Catholicism and Protestantism Pastor Russell recently gave out the following statement: For some unaccountable reason numerous Catholics have gotten the thought that I am their foe, just as Presbyterians, Methodists, Episcopalians, Baptists, etc., have the impression that I am their foe. I am a foe to no human being, especially to no Christian. I believe more fully in Free Grace than do Methodists'that ultimately God's grace will reach every human being. I believe more emphatically than do most Presbyterians that the Church is an especially elect class, and is now being gathered out of the world to be God's agents in the ultimate blessing of all the non-elect. I believe with the Baptists that only the Elect, the immersed, will constitute the Kingdom of God, although I deny their claim that baptism in water is the real immersion. I hold, with the Apostle, that it is a baptism into Christ's death. Similarly I hold to the great Catholic doctrine that there is only one true Church, founded by the Lord Jesus Christ through His Apostles, nearly nineteen centuries ago.
I am aware that several churches claim to be Catholic, each declaring itself the true Church and reprobating the others as heretical. I take the still broader catholic ground-that the word catholic means general; and that any limitation such as Roman Catholic, Greek Catholic, etc., to that extent denies their catholicity.
I must prove my point or be misunderstood. I hold, and few, if any, will dispute it, that the one catholic or general Church of Christ is that mentioned in the Bible- "the Church of the Firstborns, written in Heaven." If this be admitted, my next proposition is that the Lord in Heaven records as members of His true Church all the saintly-whether Roman Catholics, Anglican Catholics, Greek Catholics, Baptists, Methodists, or Presbyterians, etc.-and none others.
Have we not here the one Church, catholic, universal, the only Church which the Bible recognizes? In the past we have been too narrow and have sup posed that God was as narrow as ourselves. It was on this account that Presbyterians, Roman Catholics, Anglicans, Baptists, Methodists persecuted and were persecuted, each thinking itself the true Church. Are [HG736] we not all getting broader conceptions of our God and of His Church? Do we not see that we were mistaken in calling the outward organization the Church of Christ instead of remembering that the Lord alone writes the names of the Church, that He alone reads the hearts, that He alone is the Judge, and that He alone has the right to blot out the names of reprobates?
St. Paul wrote against sectarianism, already manifest in his day-some saying:"I am of Paul"; others, "I am of Peter"; etc. The Apostle asks, "Is Christ divided: "(1 Cor. 1:10-13) He explains that these sectarian names signified a spirit of division that failed to recognize the true Head of the Church, His true representatives and His true members. The entire foundation of divided Christianity would disappear and the true Church of Christ be speedily manifest, if true catholicity were acknowledged.
The great obstacle to unity is the erroneous doctrine of eternal torment. We must open our eyes wider and see that many of our theories were not taught by Jesus and the Apostles. We must see that the Church is a comparatively small company of Jesus' footstep followers, irrespective of sectarian lines; and that the Bible teaches not that these are to look over the battlements of Heaven to all eternity and see all others in torment, but that they are to demonstrate their loyalty unto death and in due time be associated with Messiah in His Millennial Kingdom, which will bless all the families of the earth-the living and the dead, who will then be resurrected.
THE TWELVE FOUNDATION STONES
St. Paul declared that the saints of God, the true catholic Church, "are built upon the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets, Jesus Christ Himself being the Chief Corner Stone." (Eph. 2:20) The Twelve Apostles are here referred to in their double office-Apostles especially commissioned by the Lord as His representatives, and Prophets, mouthpieces, for the proclamation of His Message.
Jesus pictures the Church of Glory as the New Jerusalem, and its twelve foundations as twelve precious stones, in which are the names of the TWELVE Apostles of the Lamb-no more, no less-St. Paul being God's choice to take Judas' place.
To think of St. Peter as the only foundation for the Church would be to deny Christ's teaching and St. Peter's own statement-that the entire Church is symbolically represented as living stones built together by the Lord through the Holy Spirit. (1 Pet. 2:4-10) It was a costly mistake, when our forefathers, overlooking this well-established point of Scripture, thought of their bishops as Apostolic Bishops, and took their decisions in councils assembled as the voice of God. The voice of God to and through the Church came only through "the twelve Apostles of the Lamb." All others claiming this authority are denounced by Jesus Himself as pseudo-Apostles-false Apostles. Rev. 2:2
POWER IN HEAVEN AND IN EARTH
As St. Peter was only one of the twelve foundation stones of the Church, so, likewise, he was only one of The Twelve to whom the Lord declared, "Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in Heaven; and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in Heaven" (Matt. 18:18)-the same statement exactly that on another occasion He made to St. Peter only. But He gave the keys to St. Peter alone.
Would it seem reasonable that Jesus should tell His Apostles that God would do whatever they bade Him do-taking to Heaven whom they pleased and excluding whom they rejected? Would it be wise or safe to entrust to poor humanity such dictatorial powers respecting the eternal interest of even one individual?
Assuredly not! When we remember that these Apostles declared themselves men of like passions with others, that St. Peter himself dissembled on one occasion, and on another denied his Master, we are the more convinced that Jesus did not mean that God would abdicate His Divine authority and wisdom in favor of any twelve men.
Through the Holy Spirit at Pentecost these Apostles would be enabled to understand which things of the Jewish Law were binding upon the Church, and which not binding. Their decision would be absolutely right, and the entire Church might have confidence that what the Apostles bound or loosed on earth was equally bound or loosed in Heaven. See Acts 15:28, 29 To get back into proper relationship with each other, God's people must recognize that all the words of the New Testament Apostles and Prophets are authoritative, properly representing the Divine mind. Other things men have bound or loosed on earth, without recognition in Heaven. The things necessary to the Church are found only in the Bible, as St. Paul declares. 2 Tim. 3:16, 17
THE CHURCH UPON THE ROCK
"Other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, Jesus Christ." (1 Cor. 3:11) In the Divine arrangement Jesus Christ is the Foundation, the Rock, upon which is built the entire superstructure of His Church-the one Catholic, world-wide Church. The [HG737] New Jerusalem, the Church in glory, had twelve foundation stones, built upon the one Foundation Rock, the Lord Jesus Christ. It would manifestly be erroneous, therefore, to suppose that our Lord abdicated His own place in the Church in favor of St. Peter, as much as He loved him. St. Peter was merely one of the twelve precious-stone foundations.
What, then, did Jesus mean when He called St. Peter a stone, spoke of building His Church upon "this rock," and declares that the gates of Hell (Hades, the grave) would not prevail against it? We reply, Jesus went down into the prison house of death, Sheol, Hades, the tomb; but on the third day these gates opened, and He came forth. So likewise these gates will not prevail against the Church.
St. Peter answered, "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God." This was the first public declaration of Jesus' Messiahship. Even the disciples had only now come to recognize their Teacher as the long-promised Messiah. Jesus answered, "Blessed art thou, Simon, son of Jesus; for flesh and blood hath not revealed this unto thee, but My Father in Heaven. Thou art Peter (a stone, ready for the spiritual Temple, the first to publicly acknowledge Jesus), and upon this rock (the truth just declared, that I am Messiah) I will build My Church."
In the Greek the word Peter signifies a stone of moderate size, while the word here rendered rock signifies a mass of stone. St. Peter's statement was a recognition of Jesus as the great Foundation of the Divine Plan-Messiah. Upon that foundation truth, that Jesus is Christ, the Church is built; and St. Peter was the first living stone to build himself upon that foundation. St. Peter himself gives us the same thought. (1 Pet. 2:5-9) This entire Gospel Age has been devoted to the building of these living stones upon that great Foundation Rock, Christ Jesus.
"THE KEYS OF THE KINGDOM"
We shall not suppose that any who hear this discourse or read it in the newspapers are stupid enough to think Jesus meant that Heaven is locked up, and that nobody could get in except as St. Peter would admit them. True, some have voiced such fantastic notions. But we refuse to believe that intelligent people could be in earnest in any such view.
St. Peter was honored in being permitted to do an opening work connected with the inauguration of the Church. The Bible shows us two different keys, A key is a symbol of power or authority or an initiative. St. Peter used his first key of privilege on Pentecost. When the Holy Spirit came upon the early waiting Church, St. Peter explained the situation and opened the door into the Church of Christ for the Jews, admonishing them to enter. He told of the merit of Christ's death, resurrection and ascension, and how forgiveness of sins was, therefore, preached in His name. Acts 2:14-36 The second key to the Kingdom of Heaven-the Church, the embryo Kingdom preparing for glory-St. Peter used three and a half years later. Then the seventieth week of Divine favor prophetically appointed to the Jews expired, and the time came that "the Gentiles might be fellow-heirs with the Jews of the same Promise."
The opening work was with the household of Cornelius, to whom St. Peter preached Christ. Thus the Gentile door into the Kingdom was thrown wide open. Acts 10
REPENTANCE AND REMISSION OF SINS
"That repentance and remission of sins might be preached in His name to all people." (Luke 24:47)
God never gave power to bishops, priests or ministers of any denomination to forgive sins. "Who can forgive sins but God alone?" Nor did Jesus give authority to His Apostles to forgive sins. They might preach forgiveness, but ONLY IN HIS NAME. Nowhere in the Bible is there a statement to the effect that the Apostles undertook to forgive sins.
In proportion as God's people throw away their sectarian spectacles they can read God's Message in the words of Jesus and the Apostles. Let us hold fast the precious Word, which Jesus exhorts us to search and which is sufficient that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished.
Let us remember that there is only one true catholic, universal Church, each member of which is a saint, related to God and the Lord Jesus Christ through faith, repentance and remission of sin and begetting of the Holy Spirit; and that a member of the Body of Christ is a member of that Body anywhere, "Now are ye the Body of Christ, and members in particular." 1 Cor. 12:27
"My flesh and my heart faileth; but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion forever.," Psa. 73:26.