this is txt file this is txt file Z1896 July
page 145
July 15th
ZION'S
WATCH TOWER
and
Herald of Christ's Presence

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

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

VOL. XVII.JULY 1, 1896.No. 13.


CONTENTS.


Special Items146
Restitution, Faith Cures, Prayer Cures, and the Gift of Healing147
The Gift of Healing147
The Prayer of Faith151
Questions and Answers152
Bible Study: David, King Over All Israel154
Bible Study: The Ark Brought to Jerusalem155

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

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

page 146

THIS JOURNAL AND ITS MISSION.

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

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

TO US THE SCRIPTURES CLEARLY TEACH

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




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[R1997 : page 147]

RESTITUTION, FAITH CURES, PRAYER CURES AND THE GIFT OF HEALING.


"Behold, ye despisers, and wonder and perish: for I work a work in your days, a work which ye shall in no wise believe, though a man declare it unto you."--Acts 13:41.
WE are constantly in receipt of inquiries concerning Mind Cures, Faith Cures, Prayer Cures, etc. We make general answer again, that since the Scriptures teach that we are already in the "harvest," the lapping time during which the Gospel age closes and the Millennial age dawns, we should expect to see just what we do see,--beginnings of great changes. And not only do we see political, social and religious changes in progress, but, as we should expect, we see also beginnings of personal, physical restitution here and there. These great changes are stealing along so quietly as not to attract much attention or occasion [R1998 : page 147] great surprise, just as inventions and general knowledge are spreading gradually. This is God's usual method of operation: he is thus preparing the world in some measure for the wonderful manifestations of his power in the near future, which will be in restoring both health to the sick and life to the dead,--the great work of Restitution "of that which was lost" by the fall. Thus the new dispensation is being gradually ushered in as the dawning day.

Accordingly, just as the troubles of this Day of the Lord break out here and there, and in intermittent paroxysms, but gradually and to the unobservant imperceptibly, increasing in severity and bitterness with each spasm, so with the marks of physical healing: they come in a variety of ways, here and there a number, and then a subsiding, a lull in which there are few or none, but all the while gradually becoming more common, and from a greater variety of sources and seeming causes.

THE GIFT OF HEALING.


But, one inquires, is not this the "gift" of healing mentioned by the Apostle in 1 Cor. 12:28,30? And has not this gift been in possession of the Church ever since Pentecost?

No; the gift of healing possessed by some members of the early Church was totally different from the healings of to-day. The Apostles in exercising this gift did not practice "mental healing," nor even "prayer healing."

Take as an illustration the case of the lame man healed by Peter and John as related in Acts 3:1-11. Peter and John did not kneel down and pray with the man, nor did they get him to fix his attention as "mind-healers" would; they gave him no medicine and used no oil, nor did they even require the man to believe in Jesus first, nor to have faith in their power to heal him. But while he looked at the apostles expecting to receive some money, Peter took him by the hand and lifted him up, saying, "In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth rise up and walk." And immediately his feet and ankle bones received strength, and he, leaping up, stood and walked. This is an illustration of the use of the gift of healing, and there are many more such recorded.--See Acts 9:34; 14:10; 16:18; 19:12.

We do not think that after a careful scrutiny of [R1998 : page 148] the subject, any one to-day would claim to possess this gift. The gifts described by Paul were given only to the early Church, as a means for its introduction to the attention of both Jews and Gentiles, and also as a means for edification and instruction to the Church itself. For this last named reason one or more gifts were bestowed upon each one who associated with the Church (1 Cor. 12:7,11; 14:26), being conferred, by the laying on of the hands of the apostles, upon all who confessed Christ by immersion. Thus it was that these gifts became a token or sign of the possession of the holy spirit. Yet the gifts of the spirit and the spirit itself are separate and distinct. To-day we possess the spirit, but certainly not all of those miraculous gifts. And even then some had gifts of the spirit who were evidently far from being filled with the spirit. That one might have those gifts and yet be "nothing" and as sounding brass and tinkling cymbals, devoid of love, and hence without Christ's spirit, the apostle clearly shows in 1 Cor. 13:1-3.

The power of conferring those gifts was vested in the apostles, and in them only: none others in their day or since have been able to confer those gifts which Paul describes; hence they did "vanish away" when the apostles died. By that time the Church had been brought prominently before the attention of the world, and therefore those miraculous gifts were not necessary for that purpose; and by that time, too, they began to have the New Testament and parts of the Old Testament in the possession of each congregation, so that coming together they could edify and instruct and build one another up with the truth from those inspired sources, and not longer require, as at first, the miraculous gifts as a means for their edification and instruction.

That only the apostles could confer those gifts is proved: first, by the fact that the claimed successors of the apostles cannot communicate them since, and second, by the cases recorded which show that none except the apostles ever did have the power to bestow those gifts. Notice, in proof of this, that though Philip, the evangelist, possessed gifts and preached and baptized, yet he was not able to bestow gifts of the holy spirit upon others, and when a necessity arose for their impartation the apostles Peter and John were sent from Jerusalem for the purpose. Further, notice the case of Simon Magus: although one of the baptized, and evidently one of those granted a gift, he had no power to bestow gifts upon others. It was this apostolic privilege, of bestowing these gifts upon others, which Simon wanted to purchase with money, and for which he was so sharply reproved.--Acts 8:13-20.

Instead of miraculously receiving gifts as at first, we now grow the fruits of the spirit, which are meekness, gentleness, patience, moderation, brotherly kindness, charity, etc. These fruits may really be counted as gifts or acquirements also, though they come to us not by apostolic benediction, but in a different way--by cultivation. Hence we find, too, that although St. Paul calls these graces "gifts" in one place, he calls them "fruits" elsewhere. (Compare Gal. 5:22; 1 Cor. 13:1-8. In Eph. 5:9, these are called fruits of the light. See readings of old MSS.) Under God's present dealing, all the needs of the church are none the less provided for than when the "gifts" were bestowed, as at first, in a miraculous manner, by the laying on of the apostles' hands. Now we find that the spirit of truth is pleased to mould and fashion and use every consecrated one by utilizing his natural talents and advantages of education, language, etc., in teaching, edifying and nourishing the true Church which is the body of Christ.

So, then, whatever may be said of the various prevailing mind cures, faith cures and prayer cures, they surely are not of the gifts possessed by the early Church, and recorded in the Acts of the Apostles.

"THESE SIGNS SHALL FOLLOW."


But, says one, you seem to take no notice of that remarkable passage so frequently quoted by our Faith Cure friends, "These signs shall follow them that believe, In my name shall they cast out devils; they shall speak with new tongues; they shall take up serpents; and if they drink any deadly thing it shall not hurt them; they shall lay hands on the sick and they shall recover."--Mark 16:17,18.

Yes, we are aware of this claim, but we have two objections to urge. First, neither observation nor history attests the fulfillment of such a statement. Of one thing we all have evidence; viz., that those signs do not now accompany belief in Christ. Nor is there evidence that they extended beyond the apostles' days and the time of the miraculous gifts. Even then, we have no record of all these things being fulfilled in all that believed.

Second, the oldest and most authentic Greek manuscripts (the Sinaitic and Vatican MSS.) do not contain these verses at all, but end at verse 8. It seems evident that Mark's gospel was originally incomplete and that some one undertook to finish it for him about the fifth century; for the Alexandrine MS., written in the fifth century is the oldest Greek MS. which contains the last twelve verses. Read these spurious verses carefully, note the marginal reading in the Revised Version, note their untruthfulness in the light of facts, and mark them in your Bible.

"ASK WHAT YE WILL."


But, suggests another, even setting aside this spurious statement of Mark 16:17,18, and all claim to [R1998 : page 149] possessing the "gifts" of the early Church, did not our Lord's promises regarding the answering of our prayers cover the entire ground, and make possible the healing of the sick or even the moving of mountains during this entire age; and is it not because of lack of faith that these things have not been more common in the past? And is it not because of increased faith, rather than because of the dawning of the Millennium, that the healing of the sick is now becoming more frequent?

Our answer to both of the questions is, No: a great misunderstanding prevails concerning our privileges in prayer. And it is because of this misunderstanding concerning what we may ask for and who may ask, and not because of any unfaithfulness to his promise on our Lord's part, that so many thousands of prayers offered daily go unanswered.

The statement, "Ye shall ask what ye will and it shall be done unto you" is linked with certain conditions and limitations, found in the sentence preceding, which reads: "If ye abide in me, and my words abide in you." These limitations are wonderfully comprehensive: they show who may ask,--ye, believers, who are in me, whose wills are buried or immersed into the will of Christ Jesus; and not only so, but ye are privileged to ask thus, only so long as ye "abide in me;" for if any man abide not in Christ, he is not only "cast forth" (John 15:6), but he has no longer a share in the promise of having his petitions granted. These limitations evidently cut off from all share in this promise the vast majority of the prayers offered. And as we continue to scrutinize our Master's words we find still further limitations which cut off many other prayers, even of those offered by the class abiding in Christ. We refer to the second condition mentioned by our Lord, as describing who may ask what they will; viz., if "my words abide in you." [R1999 : page 149]

Alas! that we must write it--There are few among God's professed children, very few even among those who profess to be entirely consecrated to and abiding in him, who have his Word abiding richly in them.

The significance of this last specification or limitation is this: In going to God to ask for anything we should realize his omniscience and wisdom, and that he is ordering and operating general affairs according to a perfect and orderly plan--his Plan of the Ages; and we should realize our own finiteness, our lack of such wisdom and appreciation of surroundings, etc., as would enable us to rule creation, if God were to give it over to our control. All true children of God who are not the merest "babes" realize this, and if God should say without limitation, Ask what you will, and your will shall be done, sensible ones would shrink from so grave a responsibility and cry, "Not so, O Lord,"

"I dare not touch things which involve so much."

As for the Lord's promise that if we had faith we might command a mountain to remove and it would obey us, we reason thus: This, like the other promises, was given only to such as abide in him and have his words abiding in them, and is given merely as an extreme illustration: If an emergency should occur so great as to necessitate the removal of a mountain, either literal or figurative, and we were sure it were the will of God, we might ask and receive.

But we need not speculate about how the mountains and lakes, seas and clouds, and rain and sunshine would move promiscuously about, and interfere with one another, if all the prayers offered heavenward in Christ's name were answered. God is not devoting himself to the answering of such prayers; but, ignoring them, he is working out gradually his own grand plan, predetermined before the foundation of the world; and he assures us that notwithstanding the prayers of those who do not search his Word to know what his plan is, but who pray to him to carry out their plans and schemes, yet nevertheless, "All his purposes shall be accomplished." And though few even of his children respect his Word or seek to learn from it his plan,-- content rather to follow the plans and theories of men as laid down in creeds and confessions and voiced by councils and human standards, nevertheless, in the end, God's Word shall not return to him void, but shall accomplish that which he intended, and prosper in the thing whereunto it was sent.--Isa. 55:11.

No, thank God, he has not left his plan, even in spiritual matters, subject to the prayers of his prejudice-blinded and sectarian children, else each would want the whole world moulded to his own ideal whether that were Methodism, Lutheranism, Presbyterianism, Brahmanism, or what not; and all the various errors would flourish, while ZION'S WATCH TOWER and MILLENNIAL DAWN would have been financially swamped long ago. Yes, we may well thank God that he does not answer all prayers.

There was then, we see, a special and very particular reason for the close and searching limitations which our Redeemer placed about the promise that the Father would grant our requests. The import of his words, as we study them and endeavor to grasp their meaning, appears to be this:--

If you abide in me, entirely subject to my will and plan, even as I abide in the Father's love, and seek not to do mine own will but the will of him that sent me,--if thus my will is your choice and your own wills are buried and ignored, then you will seek earnestly to know what the Father's will is, which you know I am seeking to accomplish, that you may use your time, talents, prayers and all in the same direction [R1999 : page 150] toward the same end. And if you have this heartfelt desire to know the will of God you will remember how I studied his plan as revealed in the Law, the Psalms and the Prophets, and how I endeavored to carry out that plan, and not plans of my own making or choosing.

Then you will remember how I pointed out to you how--"Thus it is written and thus it behooveth us to fulfill all that is written," and how I taught you to search the Scriptures. Following in this course, the holy Spirit will guide you, as it has guided me, into an understanding of more and more of the divine plan as it becomes due. And if this be your attitude, if your hearts and energies are thus absorbed in the Father's plan, you may ask all the desires of your hearts--"Ye may ask what ye will." I make you this liberal promise, not by way of intimating to you that the Father would change his plans to yours, and do your will, but as intimating to you that, in the course I have specified, you can come so fully into sympathy with the Father and the plan of the ages which he is working out, that you will never be dissatisfied, but always able to see your wishes being accomplished, because your will and wish, your pleasure and satisfaction, will be to see God's will and plan progressing in God's own way and time. Thus your every prayer and wish will be accomplished--the very reverse of the experience of those who seek to do their own wills and carry out human plans, and pray for their own desires; for they are ever meeting with disappointments.

Settle it therefore in your hearts and have no fear for the results. No matter how dark may be the storm, or how sharp the persecution, God's great and gracious plan will not miscarry, and thus your will and your plans (which are his) cannot fail; and your prayers in that interest will always be heard and will be answered so far as they are correct or not in conflict with the Father's plan. And you, if perfectly in harmony with the Father, would desire to have it so. And in any case, where there is the slightest room to question his will in the matter, having my spirit or disposition, and not the spirit of the world, you will pray as I have done in your hearing, saying in connection with your petition, --"Nevertheless not my will, but thine, Father, be done." All such prayers are sure to be answered; and in proportion as you come closer and closer into harmony with the Father's plan, and understand it, you will be less likely to ask or desire anything which would be contrary to his good pleasure to grant.

As you come to see the bountifulness of the Father's provisions, and the wisdom and care exercised by him touching your earthly interests; as you come to realize that he who has clothed the lilies of the field with beauty, and who provides food for the sparrows, loves and cares much more for you than for them, and knoweth better than you do what things you have need of; --what would strengthen and benefit, and what might injure you, as runners in the race for the great prize he has offered through Christ--as you realize these things your prayers for temporal things must become very modest and moderate. Indeed, you will by and by, as you realize his wisdom and care, use prayer principally as the avenue for spiritual communion. Contenting yourself with laying the cares and burdens of life at the Master's feet, you will tell him of your confidence in his love and wisdom, saying, Thy will be done; and instead of your cares you will "bear a song away." More than ever your prayers will be for the spiritual gifts, graces, fruits and blessings, singing in your hearts--

"Content whatever lot I see,
Since 'tis my God that leadeth me."

Thus, properly instructed, all who abide in Christ and in whom his word abides, might be relieved of all care (worry) concerning those earthly things which constitute the burden of so many prayers. Leaving those things to our Father's wisdom and love, our prayers would be more in the nature of thank-offerings, our hearts going out toward God in worship and adoration and in recounting the blessings and favors we already enjoy, rather than in asking those things for which the Gentiles seek.--Matt. 6:32.

True, earthly affairs sometimes perplex us, and we cannot help wondering and feeling a deep interest as to how they will result. But the soul that abides in Christ, and in which his words abide, would not dare take the helm into his own hands to steer his own course, even where he thinks he can see; but, laboring still at the oar, pulling as best he can, he leaves the helm in the Father's hands and could not ask to have the course changed in any degree.

But may we not in all our trials and perplexities take them to the Lord in prayer? Yes, yes; truly we can. And no comfort will be greater to the perplexed or sorrowing than the privilege of telling all to the Lord. His ear is ever open to the cry of his "little ones;" and the very telling of them to him and realization of his interest in all our affairs will refresh and cheer us. It will bring to remembrance his promises never to leave nor forsake us, and his wisdom and love and ability to cause all things, favorable and unfavorable, to work together for our good. Casting all our care upon him, and realizing that according to his promise, present trouble and all other things may be overruled for the good of all concerned, and to his praise, we may arise from our knees stronger, happier and more confident, as well as in closer fellowship and communion with the Lord, than if we had attempted to order our own affairs, and to get the great Jehovah to become our [R1999 : page 151] servant to execute our plans, which doubtless often are foolish in his sight, and would, if permitted, work injuriously to us or to others.

THE PRAYER OF FAITH.


Death is not, as most people suppose, a natural, normal, necessary thing. It is not a step in a process of evolution to a higher state of existence, but, on the contrary, it is a catastrophe, a calamity, a penalty for sin. God indeed shows us that his wisdom is sufficient to enable him to bring a good lesson out of an evil thing, [R2000 : page 151] but it is nevertheless an evil, an enemy, an awful thing; as truly so as is sin, which God also promises that his wisdom shall yet cause to work out a result the very opposite of its natural course and action, to those who obey him. This fact, that death is a penalty, we shall not discuss here, but merely refer the reader to Paul's statements in Rom. 5:12-20.

As death is a curse and penalty, so is sickness; for sickness is the death-poison working in our systems. All sickness is part of the dying process, and hence it is as foreign to man's natural, normal condition, as designed by God, as is death itself. As death is a mark of sin, and would not have come except as a penalty for sin, so sickness is likewise a mark or brand of sin, because it is part of the dying process.

Hence it was that our Lord (who came to ransom the race of sinners), being free from sin, was free also from pain, sickness and death: so whatever he experienced of these had to be by his own consent,--a sacrifice on our behalf. The penalty of our sins was death, the sickness and pain being only incidentals; hence our redemption price was fully paid by our Lord's death. But it pleased Jehovah to bruise him [to allow him to have an experience with pain, sorrow, etc.], as well as to make his soul [being, existence] an offering for sin. (Isa. 53:10.) And since he could not suffer pain and sickness because of sin, being without sin, he was placed for a time among sinners, where his full, generous, loving sympathy for the poor and sick and miserable would lead him to spend for others his own vital energy. And as "virtue [vitality --healing vigor] went out of him" to the sick (Luke 6:19 and 8:46), so their weaknesses and pains bore down upon him. And it was in this way that "himself took our infirmities and bare our sicknesses." (Matt. 8:17; Isa. 53:4,5); and thus he was "touched with a feeling of our infirmities" and is able perfectly to sympathize as a great High Priest,--now on behalf of the church or under-priesthood, and by and by, in the Millennial day of trial and blessing, on behalf of "all the people."

As it pleased the Father that the High Priest should taste of the sinners' cup, so we may reasonably read his will relative to all the members of the Royal Priesthood to be, that they also should drink of the cup of suffering, and be immersed in the baptism of death with their Lord and Leader, in the pathway to divine glory and power.

Thus reading the Father's plans for ourselves, in the light of his will exemplified in his dealings with our Master, we may settle it at once that it is not his will to keep us from all pain and trial and sufferings, and to carry us triumphantly to glory on flowery beds of ease. Quite the reverse, indeed, must be our course if we would follow in the footsteps of him whom God set forth to be, not only a satisfaction for the sins of the whole world, but also a pattern to the church which is his body. And this much learned of God's plan and will promptly teaches us that we must not expect and should not ask freedom from pain and trouble, which his wisdom has ordained to be the path to glory.

Here some will ask: Did you not say that sickness is a mark of sin, and that Christ died for our sins, and is it not your claim that whosoever believeth in him and accepts of his ransom work is freed or justified from all sin? And this being the case, ought not such to be free both from sin's penalty, death, and from all its attendant evils, such as pain and sickness?

Yes, that reasoning is good; but you do not take all the circumstances into account: you have left out an important part; namely, It is the Father's plan that the suffering and death of the Redeemer should be followed by the suffering and death of every member of his "body" or church, before the Restitution age should be ushered in, the purpose of that age being to heal the morally and physically sick and blind and lame; to restore all who will to perfect life and every blessing lost in Eden by Adam, and redeemed at Calvary by our great High Priest's sacrifice--once for all. The plan of the ages needs to be recognized, if we would avoid the error of so many, in striving for present glory, in the time appointed for trial and suffering with Christ. Examine Rom. 8:17; 2 Cor. 1:5; Col. 1:24. Surely the Bible gives no suggestion that the "body" will be free from like sufferings with the "head."

When the sufferings of the body of Christ are ended, their glory we are assured will follow (1 Pet. 1:11); and then will ensue the great work of filling the world ocean-deep with the knowledge of the Lord, the "restitution of all things spoken by the prophets," and the blotting out of the sins of those who accept the terms of the New Covenant sealed by the precious blood. (Acts 3:19-21.) Thus in God's due time and order all tears will be wiped away, when the former [R2000 : page 152] things, sin, sorrow, pain and death, shall have passed away. See the beautiful picture of this in Rev. 21:4.

But we may suppose another inquiry,--Why did our Lord and the apostles heal the sick, if that work is not really due to take place until the Millennial age of Restitution begins?

There were several reasons why they were granted the "gift of healing," as well as other gifts, not granted now. One reason was the necessity for such miracles, to introduce Christianity to the attention of the people. Our Lord mentioned his miracles to John the Baptist as a proof of his Messiahship. Messiah was to heal the sick, cause the blind to see and the deaf to hear (Isa. 29:18; 35:1-6; 42:6,7); consequently our Lord must do these things and in a measure begin the work of restitution so that Israel could recognize him and be responsible for rejecting him and his "works." (John 10:38.) But when they as a nation rejected him, as God had foreseen (Zech. 9:9; Matt. 21:5), then they were rejected from the position offered them as the "royal priesthood" and Seed of promise. And then, as God had foretold, the Gospel was sent to the Gentiles to complete from them the "Seed of Abraham," the "body" of Christ, the "royal priesthood;" and the restitution work which had a beginning in our Lord's ministry was deferred until the true Israel should be complete, when Messiah, at his second coming, shall accomplish fully all those glorious features of the divine plan foretold by the holy prophets, and foreshadowed faintly in his miracles at the first advent.

That our Lord's restoring work at the first advent --the healing of some of the sick and the awakening of a few of the dead in Israel--merely shadowed forth the greater work to be accomplished at his second presence, during the Millennium, seems clear. Had God designed a general healing of all the sick, even among the people of Palestine, it could have been done on a large scale instead of in exceptional cases here and there; for undoubtedly many others than Lazarus, the son of the widow of Nain, and Jairus' daughter, died during Christ's ministry. And there were many more lame and palsied and leprous and blind than those then healed.

Our Lord's object in performing the miracles is explained by the statement, "These things did Jesus and manifested forth [showed beforehand] his glory"-- the coming glory of the Millennial age. And it was of his people's share in that coming glory, rather than of any physical healings which have since taken place amongst his disciples, that he said, "Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that believeth on me, the works that I do shall he do also; and greater works than these shall he do, because I go unto my Father." (John 14:12.) His redemptive work at Calvary and his subsequent presentation of it to the Father as a "propitiation [satisfaction] for the sins of the whole world," was the basis for all the great works of restitution in which we with him shall be engaged in the Times of Restitution --which will indeed be far greater than anything done by our Lord at the first advent; for then the sick and the dead were only partially restored, and for a limited time only--which is as nothing compared to the full restitution of the health and vigor of perfect and everlasting life, and all that was lost in Adam, which will be offered to all on the terms of the New Covenant during the Millennium.

The thought we wish to impress is, that God not only had a due time for REDEEMING the world from sin, but that he has also a due time for restoring the sick and the dead. Therefore whatever work of this sort takes place before the due and appointed time must be for some special object and reason, as shown in our Lord's ministry, and in that of the Church in the days of the apostles. Just so it was in the redeeming of the world, --typical sacrifices were instituted and were permitted to stand good for temporary, typical justification, but those were not the real sacrifices for sin, and never actually put away sins. As God deferred the redemption of our race until his due time, and in the fullness of time sent forth his Son to redeem us, so, in the matter of healings, though it has pleased God to make exceptions in the past for the purpose mentioned, let us not forget that these were exceptions, and that his appointed time for restitution is the Millennial age. Seeing this to be God's plan, and realizing that his plan is wisest and best, we must restrain ourselves and neither desire nor ask restitution work before restitution times--except we see cases in which it would seem to be the Father's will, and reasons why it would seem to be to his glory to make exceptions to his general rule and arrangement.

This subject will be continued in our next--considering what are the causes of sickness, the proper methods of prayer (for sickness and other matters), prayer cures, Christian Science and other unscriptural methods of healing, etc., etc.

Continued



[R2001 : page 152]

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS.


Question.--Since the Apostle says, "It is not of him that willeth, nor of him that runneth, but of God that showeth mercy" (Rom. 9:16), to what extent do our efforts avail?

Answer.--We understand the Apostle to mean that even though it be as a reward for our "willing" and our "running" that the Lord will give the crown of life to the overcomers, yet back of all this lies the [R2001 : page 153] fact that we of our own selves could never intrinsically have merited such reward. We needed and received first of all God's mercy through Christ in the forgiveness of the sins that are past, and the call to run the race for the glories promised, to encourage us on the way, and we still must have imputed the merit of Christ's sacrifice, which covers the blemishes of our best efforts. It is therefore by our willing and by our running that we obtain the prize; but it is not of our willing nor of our running, but of God's mercy. The Apostle recognizes the same distinction in the use of the prepositions "of" and "by" in 1 Cor. 8:6--"To us there is but one God, of whom are all things,...and one Lord Jesus Christ, by whom are all things."

God is the originator or author of our salvation upon whom all depended, yet in his plan it lies with us to "work out our own salvation with fear and trembling." --Phil. 2:12.

Question.--Please harmonize the statements of our Lord that in the "last day" he will raise up those who believe (John 6:39,40,44,54) and 1 Cor. 6:14; which says that God will raise them up.

Answer.--The same principle applies here as in the preceding question. It is of God that the dead are to be raised, but by Jesus. Our Lord is the Father's agent in carrying out the entire plan of redemption. Of his own self he has done nothing, and of his own self he will do nothing. His power is delegated. (Matt. 28:18.) He and the Father are one in man's redemption as in his creation, though, as before shown, Father and Son are not one in person.--See TOWER, June '92.

Question.--If the holy Spirit is not a person, as (a) conclusively shown in the TOWER for June '92, why were the disciples commanded to baptize in the name of the holy Spirit (Matt. 28:19)? and (b) why is the pronoun "he" used in referring to the Holy Spirit?

Answer.--(a) It is proper to use the expression "holy Spirit" when performing symbolic immersion; first, because the Lord so instructed his disciples; second, because it is the holy influence and representative of the Father and the Son in directing the Church into all truth. The holy Spirit also represents the anointing which came upon the Lord at his baptism, and into which all the members of the body are immersed when they are united to the Head.

(b) The different Greek pronouns used in reference to the Comforter, the spirit of truth, "he," "himself," "him," might be, and are in other connections, translated she, it, herself, itself or her.

The word rendered "himself" (Greek, heauton) is translated "itself" nine times in our common version English Bible. The word rendered "he" (Greek ekeinos) is more frequently rendered "that" and "those," and is once rendered "it"--"I do not say that he shall pray for it."--1 John 5:16.

As the holy Spirit is an influence from God, and since God is always referred to as masculine, it is proper in the Greek to refer to it by a masculine pronoun; but not so in English, where inanimate subjects (influences, etc.) are not personified. Those acquainted with German, French or other languages personifying inanimate things will understand this.

Question.--Recently I quoted Heb. 2:14 as evidence that the devil would be destroyed. A minister stated in reply that the word here rendered "destroy" does not mean "destroy" in the sense of annihilate or put out of existence, but simply "to render impotent," "to annul the power of;" that in the Revised Version it is rendered "bring to naught him that hath the power," etc.

Answer.--The word rendered "might destroy" in Heb. 2:14 is katargeo. It has the sense of "to render powerless," but it does not limit in what way the thing shall be rendered powerless. To take away the life of Satan will certainly be to render him powerless, and that more effectually than in any way of which we can conceive. If he were merely restrained of his liberty he might still have power to exercise his will and other powers in opposition to God and righteousness. The only way to render him absolutely, effectually, completely powerless would be by rendering him unconscious as in death--by his destruction.

The following translations of this Greek word in the New Testament (italicised) clearly indicate that it is used in the sense of utter destruction:--

Rom. 6:6--"that the body of sin might be destroyed."
1 Cor. 1:28--"to bring to nought the things that are."
1 Cor. 6:13--"God shall destroy both it and them."
1 Cor. 13:8--"prophecies, they shall fail [or cease]; knowledge, it shall vanish away."
1 Cor. 13:10--"that which is in part shall be done away."
1 Cor. 15:24--"when He shall have put down [destroyed] all rule and authority and power."
1 Cor. 15:26--"the last enemy that shall be destroyed is death."
2 Cor. 3:7--"ministration of death...was to be done away."
2 Cor. 3:11--"which is done away."
2 Cor. 3:14--"which vail is done away in Christ."
Eph. 2:15--"having abolished [destroyed] in his flesh the enmity."
2 Thess. 2:8--"whom the Lord shall consume with the spirit of his mouth, and shall destroy by the bright shining of his presence."
[R2001 : page 154]

A careful examination will show that in all the above cases no less than in the text (Heb. 2:14) this word katargeo has properly the sense of destroy. Note especially how it is used with reference to Antichrist, the Jewish Law Covenant and the destruction of the Adamic death.

Speaking of the destruction of the devil and reprobate men, it might be well to remark that we have no thought of the destruction of their component elements, but of their destruction as organisms or intelligent creatures.--See TOWER, October 15, 1895, page 241.



[R2001 : page 154]

DAVID, KING OVER ALL ISRAEL.
--JULY 12.--2 Sam. 5:1-12.--

Golden Text.--"David went on and grew great, and the Lord God of hosts was with him.--2 Sam. 5:10.
THIS lesson is a simple matter of history which needs little comment. It shows how, in God's own good time and way, his purpose of establishing David as king over all Israel was fulfilled. It was not by David's might or power, but by the providence of God; and in the meantime David learned how blessed a thing it was to wait upon the Lord, who doeth all things well, and his faith grew strong.

Now that the Lord's time had come to establish the throne of David, not only over Judah, but over all Israel, David was not only the Lord's choice, but he was also the people's choice, and by their representatives they came to him with arguments in favor of his immediate acceptance of the office over the whole nation. His seven years reign in Hebron had manifested his wisdom and ability; he was just the man they needed to order the affairs of the whole nation, and he was also bone of their bone and flesh of their flesh, and his courage, fidelity and great ability had been proven even in the days of Saul. So David made a league with them. This league was probably some kind of a charter defining the rights and limitations of the king. And the people on their part pledged their allegiance and support. The government of Israel was not an absolute, despotic government, but a limited authority.

David chose Jerusalem for his new capitol of the now united kingdom, because, while within the boundaries of his own tribe, Judah, it was near the border, and central as a capitol for all Israel. It was a fortress also which had withstood the Israelites from the days of Joshua, and was considered by its possessors impregnable. Jerusalem, however, was still inhabited by the Jebusites, a remnant of the Canaanites, whom Israel was commissioned to destroy out of Canaan. These people, feeling the strength of their position, refused to surrender to David, and defiantly replied that they would not do so, and that even the blind and the lame among them would be able to defend the city. David surveyed the situation and perceived that, the fortress being situated on top of a steep hill, the best means of attack would be by way of the water courses (here translated gutters); and he promised a reward to those who would scale the height and smite those representing themselves as blind and lame. In all this we have a typical suggestion of the proper course of the Christian in boldly attacking and overcoming in their strongholds the weaknesses and sins of the fallen nature.

This lesson is set forth as a lesson on patriotism. We have nothing to say against a spirit of patriotism on the part of the world towards the kingdoms of this world. Under the existing state of things it insures a measure of peace and order which otherwise would be greatly disturbed; and as men's minds and hearts are not large enough and generous enough to take in the [R2002 : page 154] interests of our common humanity, it is well that there is a measure of common interest that binds the individuals of a country into one homogeneous society or nation, and thus insures their united progress along the various lines of human weal. But the good of all this is, alas, sadly offset by national selfishness, greed, pride and unholy ambition, so that the sentiments of patriotism in each nation indicate generally a bitterness of animosity and hatred toward neighboring nations; and the ardor of patriotism is generally only to the extent that the national interests are believed to affect the interests of the individual. There is little indeed in the politics of nations that is purely unselfish.

This worldly, selfish patriotism, which conserves merely the home interests, and ignores or plays havoc with the rest of humanity, is not the patriotism that should actuate the Christian. The patriotism of the Christian should embrace the interests of all humanity. And since none of the kingdoms of this world are founded in perfect righteousness, nor are able nor willing to devote all their energies toward the elevation and blessing of mankind in general, and since they are all to a considerable extent under the dominion of the prince of this world, our sentiments of patriotism must be reserved for that one and only righteous government which is worthy of our devotion; viz., for the Kingdom of God, which in due time shall bless all the families of the earth.

True, that Kingdom is not yet established, except in the hearts of God's people. Over them Jehovah's Anointed is now the reigning King, and by and by his dominion will extend over all the earth. To this worthy King they owe all their allegiance; to the lofty principles of his government and to all the interests of his Kingdom they should be devoted with a holy zeal and patriotism which know no limit except their ability to serve it.

The complete separation of the Lord's people from the world, although repeatedly emphasized by the Lord and the apostles, is very generally overlooked by professed Christians, who seem to think they should still be part and parcel of the world and sharers in its aims, ambitions and self-imposed responsibilities--political, social and military. Of his people Jesus said, "They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world." (John 17:16.) We are to be in it, not as citizens, but as aliens,--but law-abiding aliens, rendering unto Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and unto God the [R2002 : page 155] things that are God's; owing no man anything but to love one another; rendering to all their dues,--tribute to whom tribute is due, custom to whom custom, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor, and being subject always to the higher powers.--Rom. 13:1,7,8.

If we were now under a theocracy, a divine kingdom such as was established in Israel, and of which David was appointed king, then as Christians we should have the most patriotic feelings toward it. But we should remember that God abolished his typical earthly throne and declared that it should no more exist until Christ should come and set up his Kingdom, the antitype of the throne and kingdom of David. And to as many as believe this testimony and consecrate themselves fully to the cause of the new King, whose dominion begins in their hearts long before its establishment in the earth, will be granted the privilege of heirship with him when, in due time, his kingdom is established.

But the world does not know or understand this kingdom, nor with the natural, depraved heart are they able to comprehend or appreciate its principles of righteousness and the wide distance between the kingdoms of this world and the Kingdom of God. And for this reason they cannot understand the course of any of God's people who do not join with them in calling these earthly kingdoms the kingdom of God--"Christendom" --and serving them as though they were his.

If we wholly follow the Lord in this as in every thing else and so walk apart from the world in all things, as in it but not of it, we can only expect to be misunderstood and disliked. But we should remember the Lord's words, "If ye were of the world [sharing its sentiments, policy, methods, etc.], the world would love its own; but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you....If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord." (John 15:18-20.) Let us see to it that we are indeed a peculiar people, zealous of good works.



[R2002 : page 155]

THE ARK BROUGHT TO JERUSALEM.
--JULY 19.--2 Sam. 6:1-12.--

Golden Text.--"O Lord of hosts, blessed is the man that trusteth in thee."--Psa. 84:12.
THE special teaching of the incident of this lesson is the reverence of the Lord. "Holy and reverend is his name;" and "the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain."* "God is greatly to be feared in the assembly of the saints, and to be had in reverence of all them that are about him." When God appeared unto Moses in the burning bush to speak with him, he commanded him, saying, "Put off thy shoes from off thy feet; for the place whereon thou standest is holy ground." So also when he appeared on Mount Sinai in the sight of all the people of Israel, enveloped in a thick cloud, there were great demonstrations of awe-inspiring solemnity, and special restrictions to guard against any irreverent familiarity. Israel was also specially commanded to reverence his law and his sanctuary.--Psa. 111:9; Exod. 20:7; Psa. 89:7; Exod. 3:5; 19:11-13; Lev. 19:30.

*See our issue of May 15, '93.

Reverence is defined as a feeling of profound respect, often mingled with awe and affection; a feeling of worshipful regard when directed to the divine or sacred: also conduct inspired by, or conformed to, such feeling. "The fear [reverence] of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom." (Psa. 111:10.) This is the only proper attitude of the creature toward the Creator, the Author of our being, and the Creator, Preserver and Lord of the whole universe. When he speaks, therefore, our ears should be reverently attentive to his voice, and every power alert to do his bidding. Our safety, our happiness, and that nobility of character which prompts to love and gratitude, and which promptly and wisely heeds instruction and advances in knowledge and wisdom, all depend primarily upon our supreme reverence for the Lord. And therefore the Lord would foster and cultivate in us that becoming, filial reverence that is due to his name.

The ark of God was the symbol of the divine presence in Israel, and as such it was the most sacred thing about the typical tabernacle. It was made by divine direction, as was everything belonging to the tabernacle; and its place was in the holy of holies, where only the high priest (who represented Jesus, the great high priest) was permitted to enter; and that only once a year, on the day of atonement. As the symbol of the divine presence, like the divine presence itself, it was guarded from irreverent handling, and also from the common view. Only the priests, who typically represented the body of Christ, the saints of this age, were permitted to see or to touch it. The Levites, who represented all justified believers of this age, were appointed solemnly and reverently to bear the ark when the Tabernacle was removed from place to place, but it must be first carefully covered by the priests; for even the Levites might not look upon it nor touch it.-- Num. 4:15-20.

Previous to the event of this lesson religion was at a very low ebb in Israel, and for many years the ark of the covenant had been separated from its place in the tabernacle. As the visible symbol of the divine presence, wherever the ark went the power and favor of God went with it; as, for instance, when Israel crossed over Jordan on dry land, the waters parting before them as soon as its bearers reached the brink of the river; and again when the walls of Jericho fell before it and Israel had a great victory. But when Israel sinned against God, no such power accompanied the symbol. It was even permitted to fall into the hands of their enemies, and the Philistines were allowed to capture it while Israel suffered a great defeat. But though Israel was thus punished God did not long permit the sacred emblem of his presence to remain in Gentile hands, and the Philistines were punished for retaining it until they were glad to restore it again to Israel. In returning it there were no anointed priests among the heathen to cover it, nor Levites to bear it; so the Philistines placed [R2002 : page 156] it upon a new cart, and left the oxen without a driver to take their own course, and God guided them back to the land of Israel, to Beth-shemesh. Thus was the ark restored to his people. But the people of Beth-shemesh, ignoring the restrictions of the divine law with reference to the ark, presumed to look into it, and God punished them with a great slaughter in which fifty thousand and seventy men perished. Thus they were taught to fear the Lord and to reverence his commandments; and they said, "Who is able to stand before this holy Lord God, and to whom shall he [this symbol of his presence] go up from us? And they sent messengers to Kirjath-jearim....And the men of Kirjath-jearim came and fetched up the ark and brought it into the house of Abinadab...and sanctified [R2003 : page 156] Eleazer his son to keep the ark of the Lord." There it remained for twenty years. (1 Sam. 6:1-21; 7:1,2.) The Lord's dealings with Israel were on the lines of the Law Covenant made with them at Mount Horeb. The lesson to us of the New Covenant is that those favored by one part of God's covenants are held accountable proportionately. We are not, however, to think of those fifty thousand men as destroyed in the Second Death; for the trial of Israel under its Law Covenant was only typical, and did not decide the final destiny of all under it.

But when David was finally established upon the throne of all Israel he purposed to bring the ark up to Jerusalem, and to lead the people as a nation back to the hearty and reverent worship of God, the restoration of the sacred ark of the covenant being necessarily the first step to that end. He gathered together thirty thousand representative men of the nation thus to make the restoration a national act, and in so doing to call the whole people to a revival in the worship of God.

The method chosen for the conveyance of the ark to Jerusalem was not, however, according to the law which prescribed that it should be reverently borne by the Levites, but patterning after the example of the Philistines in returning it to Kirjath-jearim they set it upon a new cart drawn (probably) by oxen. While God tolerated the ignorance and inability of the Philistines, who were not his people, to comply with the requirements of his law in this matter he did not so regard the forgetfulness or carelessness of Israel, but gave them a severe reminder of his displeasure. In the midst of the general joy and rejoicing with music of many voices and all kinds of instruments the sudden jostling of the cart seemed to endanger the position of the ark so that Uzzah put forth his hand to steady it, when instantly he was stricken down dead.

This was a severe and a most necessary rebuke. It halted the procession, and was understood by the king and all the people as a rebuke to the whole nation in that they had ignored the commandment of the Lord and had failed to properly reverence the symbol of his presence. And the fear of the Lord fell upon the king and all the people; the music and the festivities were hushed; the multitudes dispersed and thoughtfully returned to their homes: and the king, fearing to continue his purpose of taking the ark to Jerusalem, turned aside and bore it to the house of Obed-edom, a Levite, who doubtless reverently received it; for we read that in consequence "the Lord blessed the house of Obed-edom and all that he had."--1 Chron. 13:13,14.

There the Ark remained for three months, while King David, still zealous for the Lord and anxious to lead the people to a closer observance of his worship was quietly studying the lesson of this strange providence. And it was told David, "The Lord hath blessed the house of Obed-edom, and all that pertaineth unto him, because of the ark of God." Then David read the lesson clearly, and he determined to act upon it at once--to carry out his original purpose of bringing up the ark to the chief, the capital city, to give it the chief place of honor in the whole nation, as he had before intended, and again to call the representatives of all the people together that the restoration might be a national act and lead to a great national revival of religion. But this time he would see to it that the symbol of the divine presence should be reverently borne according to the divine directions.

"And David made him houses in the city of David, and prepared a place for the ark of God, and pitched for it a tent. Then David said, None ought to carry the ark of God but the Levites: for them hath the Lord chosen to carry the ark of God, and to minister unto him forever...For because ye did it not at first, the Lord our God made a breach upon us, for that we sought him not after the due order. So the priests and the Levites sanctified themselves to bring up the ark of the Lord God of Israel. And the children of the Levites bare the ark of God upon their shoulders, with the staves thereon, as Moses commanded, according to the word of the Lord. Thus all Israel brought up the Ark of the covenant of the Lord with shouting, and with sound of the cornet, and with trumpets and with cymbals, making a noise with psalteries and harps."--1 Chron. 15:1,2,13-15,28.

"And it was so that when they that bare the ark had gone six paces he [David] sacrificed oxen and fatlings, and David danced before the Lord with all his might [another expressive symbol of joy], and David was girded with a linen ephod. So David and all the house of Israel brought up the ark of the Lord with shouting and with the sound of the trumpet."-- 2 Sam. 6:13-15.

While Israel was thus taught the reverence of the Lord, the lesson applies with equal force to the Church of the Gospel age. It is not our part to change one iota of the ordinances of God. We may not turn the ordinance of the baptism of believers into the sprinkling of infants, nor change the simplicity of the Lord's supper, or the time of its observance as indicated by its superseding the celebration of the typical passover. Nor have we a right to abate the just requirements of his holy law, nor to render null and void the authority of his precepts and instructions in order to please the worldly-minded. The law and the testimonies of God must be received into good and honest hearts without regard to human philosophies and idle speculations. The reverence of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom and blessed is the man that trusteth in him, and to whom a "Thus saith the Lord" is the end of all controversy on every subject.

"If our lives were but more simple,
We should take him at his word;
And our lives would be all sunshine,
In the sweetness of our Lord."



page 157
July 1st

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

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

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

VOL. XVII.JULY 15, 1896.No. 14.


CONTENTS.


Special Items158
Views From the Tower159
Restitution, Faith Cures, Prayer Cures and the Gift of Healing161
The Model Prayer161
Three Causes of Sickness165
For Whom May We Pray?168
Should the Consecrated Use Medicines?168
Bible Study: God's Promises to David170
Bible Study: David's Kindness171
Encouraging Letters172

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

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

page 158

THIS JOURNAL AND ITS MISSION.

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

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

TO US THE SCRIPTURES CLEARLY TEACH

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




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My doctrine is to lay aside
Contention and be satisfied.
Just do your best; and praise or blame
That follows that counts just the same.
I've always noticed great success
Is mixed with trouble more or less;
And it's the man who does his best,
That gets more kicks than all the rest.
James Whitcomb Riley.


[R2011 : page 158]

Honor to the true man ever, who takes his life in his hands, and, at all hazards, speaks the word which is given to him to utter, whether men will bear or forbear; whether the end thereof is to be praise or censure, gratitude or hatred.
--Whittier.


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VIEWS FROM THE TOWER.


WHILE the WATCH TOWER takes no part in politics in a partisan sense it must needs take note of all politics which have an important bearing on public welfare, and thus stand related to the fulfilments of the divine prophecies.

For the next four months the people of the United States will be in a fervor of excitement such as has not been known for more than thirty years. The "Gold and Silver question" will, we believe, prove to be almost as important a question as was the "Slavery question" in 1860: and the action in the United States will affect all the world. It may mean another "spasm" or "travail pang." But we still hold that God's saints are a separate and peculiar people, distinct from the world and its parties and factions; and accordingly urge all to increase their watchfulness, zeal and prayer for our Kingdom, which alone will meet the needs of the "groaning creation." Our Kingdom, for which we labor and wait and work, is the one for which also we pray, daily--"Thy Kingdom come-- thy will be done on earth as it is done in heaven." Since none of earth's kingdoms are ours we should be separate from all;--"Kept for the Master's use." Whoever enters politics will surely find that the time, influence and talent pledged to the Lord's service will be drawn into political channels. "Ye cannot serve God and Mammon." "Ye are not of this world, even as I am not of this world." "I have chosen you out of the world and ordained you that you should go and bring forth fruit, and that your fruit should remain." These our Master's words, and his caution that we watch and pray lest we enter into temptation, and the assurance that we are now in a time of special testing, should put us on guard, so that the Apostle's words may be true of us; "He that is begotten of God keepeth himself, and that wicked one toucheth him not."--1 John 5:18; Jas. 1:18.


***

Under the caption "Religious Anarchy" the Philadelphia Press proceeds to advocate compulsory Christian Union. Its arguments illustrate the Apostle's statement that "the natural man receiveth not the things of the spirit of God, neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." Unconsecrated believers (and hence natural men--not "new creatures") and unbelievers so largely preponderate both in pulpits and pews that the general sentiment will be more affected by the false than by the true view. To all except "the sanctified in Christ Jesus," "transformed by the renewing of their minds" and "taught of God" through his Word, truth is stranger than fiction. The Press says:

"A regulated liberty is just as necessary and as possible, and no more perilous in the Church than in the State. Individualism simply will not work. Of course, if religion be conceived of simply as a device to save each isolated soul from future damnation, then the question falls. In that case each must be as solitary as though no other had ever lived. He sins by himself, he dies by himself, he is saved or damned by himself, as the case may be. But that is not religion [R2004 : page 159] from the Christian point of view. Our idea of religion is that it is a joint enterprise for the moral uplift of humanity, and that each person concerned in it saves himself incidentally and without knowing it. But no cooperation is possible without some relinquishment of personal freedom of action. It is not in point here and now to say much about where we conceive the seat of authority to be, or through what organs it should act. It is enough to hold up to reprehension that selfish, [R2004 : page 160] impotent, mercenary conception of salvation which is so firmly lodged in the common thought. No man liveth to himself in any sphere of life. This is preeminently true in the sphere of religion, which is intended to be the social bond among men. The opprobrium of the present ecclesiastical situation is its apparent anarchy. Men will not submit to discipline, and they ought to submit. Do not misunderstand me. I have no hankering for either the Inquisition or the Geneva Council of Elders or the Court of Arches. But then, these are only ancient bogies to frighten children with. Our peril is all from the opposite quarter. What the Church needs to day is not pious and independent people, but men who for Christ's sake and for humanity's sake are willing to cooperate with their fellow citizens in the household of faith. The creed of the Church may not be the form of expression which they would prefer; its discipline may be somewhat antique; its restraints may be somewhat irksome; but so long as it asks or prescribes nothing which is definitely contrary to right or truth it becomes the man who reveres God and who wishes well to men to forbear.

Here the evil results of false doctrine come to the surface. This writer (like a growingly large class in and out of the churches) has given up as antiquated the theory of mankind's fall by Adam's disobedience and the redemption of all by Christ in order that all may come to an individual knowledge and trial for eternal life under the terms of the New Covenant. His idea is the evolution idea of salvation (?), that our race developed gradually from microbes or protoplasm into monkeys, and from monkeys into men, and is saving itself as a race by cultivating and civilizing itself. Hence his statement above, "Our idea of religion is that it is a moral uplift of humanity, and that each person concerned in it saves himself incidentally and without knowing it." This is the logical conclusion of evolution, and it appeals of course to the "natural" heart.

If his premise as to the object and purpose of religion be accepted as correct, his conclusion that a union of Christians under some kind of a creed, "or any kind," so as to better accomplish this "moral uplift of humanity" would be logical.

But as his premise is false so is also his conclusion. He rejects the Scriptural testimony respecting the mission of the true Church, and hence his groping darkness and the darkness of the many on this important subject. As we have frequently proven in these columns, the Scriptures declare that the object of God during this Gospel age is not "the moral uplift of humanity" (except as it may incidentally be effected), but the selection, trial and perfecting of a special Church or "royal priesthood" who, when all selected, shall be associated with their chief or High Priest (who redeemed them and the entire race) in the promised Kingdom of God.

For this Kingdom we wait, for it in God's providence is to accomplish "the moral uplift of humanity" during the Millennial age which will soon be ushered in. For it, as instructed, we pray, "Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is done in heaven."

However, faith in a ransom from an Adamic fall is fast fading from the minds of those who have never understood the subject and cared not enough to seek for the truth upon it; and thus "Christendom" is preparing for the union or "federation" which the Scriptures foreshow will be the final phase of "Christianity."

True Christians are recognized by God (1) as individuals; (2) as individuals who having severally submitted their wills completely to the will of God are each under the direction or headship of Christ, and related to each other in and through his spirit and Word, and not by either physical or mental creeds or other bonds. Let us stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free indeed. Yet let us submit ourselves one to another and serve and love one another as members together of the Lord's body. Thus shall we realize the union and liberty combined; lost during the dark ages and not yet realized by any who are in sectarian bondage.


***

A writer who sees matters more clearly writes as follows in The Christian World.--

"Christianity, as it came from Christ, concerned itself with spirit, motive, conduct. The disciple was he who 'heareth my words and doeth them;' whose life answered to the great appeal, 'if ye love me, keep my commandments.' The Christianity of theology, on the other hand, puts the emphasis on something entirely different. It constructs a system of elaborate meta-physical propositions about the modes of the Divine existence and the relation to them of the Person of Christ, and then declares concerning them, 'this is the Catholic faith, which except a man believe faithfully he cannot be saved,' adding as a clincher 'which faith except every one do keep whole and undefiled, without doubt he shall perish everlastingly.'

"The mind which can accept creeds has no necessary relation to the Christian mind at all. A Constantine could do that and be a murderer of his wife and his son. A Catherine de Medici, in the name of the Catholic Creed, could order a Bartholomew massacre. An Empress, Catherine of Russia, could uphold the orthodox confession and rival Messalina in her debaucheries.

"It is equally certain that the church confessions, powerless to produce the true Christian spirit and morality, are equally powerless to produce the true Christian conviction. When we are told we need to be convinced of Christ's right to command before we obey Him, we admit the plea. The true Protestant knows a better method. Hungry for the facts which bear upon his spiritual life, he will seek to give to each one of them its proper weight over his intellect and his heart. But the intellectual system which he builds out of them will ever be open to revision as new light comes. And the atrocity of using that provisionary system as an instrument for persecuting his neighbor will be one of which he will never be found guilty."



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RESTITUTION, FAITH CURES, PRAYER CURES AND THE GIFT OF HEALING.

--CONTINUED FROM OUR LAST.--

THE privilege of prayer which God has provided for his people is one of the greatest boons imaginable. "Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need." (Heb. 4:16.) The mercy has been provided by God in the great sacrifice of Christ, sufficient to cover all "the sins that are past, through the forbearance of God;" but we must by faith approach the throne of grace in order to obtain this mercy. So, also, with all of our necessities as new creatures in Christ; grace to help for every time of need lies waiting for us to claim it--at the throne of grace. Although our Heavenly Father knoweth what we need, and has made so abundant a provision for us, yet he will be inquired of, solicited, by his people, for these mercies which he assures us he is far more pleased to give than are earthly parents to do good unto their children.

God's appointment that his people should approach him in prayer is, therefore, not for the purpose of informing him of our needs, for these he knows far better than we do, but for our spiritual profit, that we may be kept in close touch with him, that we may continually realize his love and care and grace toward all who have come into the divine family through Christ and the New Covenant. For this reason, while sending rain and sunshine upon the world in general, God holds in his hand many favors, great and small, for "his people," which he will bestow only in answer to their faith and prayers.

Prayer is not a privilege merely, but also a necessity; --commanded as indispensable to our Christian growth. (Rom. 12:9-13; 1 Thes. 5:17.) Whoever loses the desire to thank and worship and commune with the Father of mercies, may rest assured that he is losing the very spirit of sonship, and should promptly seek and remove the barrier--the world, the flesh or the devil. Every additional evidence of the Lord's confidence in us by the revealing to us of his character and plan, so far from diminishing our worship and prayers, should multiply them. If our hearts are good soil they will bring forth the more abundantly.

THE MODEL PRAYER.


All of our Lord's recorded prayers are beautiful in their simplicity, trustfulness and unselfishness; but the one usually termed "the Lord's prayer," given as an example of a proper prayer, is certainly in every [R2005 : page 161] way a model, which we do well to follow closely in all our petitions.--Luke 11:2-4; Matt. 6:9-13.

(1) Its opening address is full of filial reverence and trust,--"Our Father which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name!" What could be more sweet and childlike! What could be more reverent than this bold approach, direct to the throne of the heavenly grace!

(2) It does not proceed hastily to the lesser things of a personal character, but, recognizing that God takes knowledge of all of earth's affairs, and has a gracious and sufficient remedy already provided, the model prayer acknowledges this, and thus expresses faith and interest in God's plan as revealed in his Word, saying: "Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is done in heaven." Yes, indeed, it is not only fitting that all who approach God in prayer should previously have searched to know something of what he has revealed concerning his will and plan, but also that after learning of it they should thus confess faith in God, that his plan, when fully executed, will more than meet all the necessities of our case. This is not a petition that God would bring in his Kingdom before his appointed time, nor an expression of an impatient longing for it; but an expression of hope and trust and patient waiting for that which we know will more than meet all proper expectations, and fulfill all the promises of God's Word. It also signifies our allegiance to the Kingdom and its laws and spirit; and hence implies that so far as we are concerned, we will do all in our power to conform our lives to its precepts even now.

(3) Then coming to personal desires, it requests only the necessities,--the "bread and water," which God assures us shall be sure to all who are truly his. It asks, "Give us this day our daily bread." The request is not for wealth, nor luxuries, nor overplus, nor dainties and delicacies. It is simply an acknowledgment of God as the great Provider, and of our reliance upon him and his promises, leaving quantity and quality and everything else to divine wisdom and love, to be ordered to our highest good.

(4) Although our sins have been forgiven, and we have been received into the family of God as sons before we have any right to pray "Our Father," yet we are very humbly to feel that we stand as "sons" by grace in Christ, and not in merit of our own. We therefore appropriately acknowledge that we are trespassers, daily, who do not and cannot do the will of God perfectly, praying, "Forgive us our trespasses," our shortcomings.

(5) Next we acknowledge a principle of God's justice, that mercy will be extended through Christ only in proportion as we realize the spirit of divine [R2005 : page 162] mercy, and are willing to exercise it toward others who come short of perfection in their dealings with us; hence we add, "as we forgive those who trespass against us." This is equivalent to a bargain with God, that we accept his terms of mercy, and will expect none, except as we ourselves exercise it toward others. What a thought! If fully appreciated, how it would influence all of God's sons to be kind and generous toward each other and toward all men in thought as well as in word and deed.--See Matt. 5:24; 6:15.

(6) "And lead us not into temptation;" or, rather, since chastisements and temptations (or trials) are necessary to our discipline and preparation for the Kingdom (James 1:2-12), we must understand this as the Emphatic Diaglott indeed renders it, "Abandon us not to trial." Since the trial of our faith worketh patience, experience and hope (1 Pet. 4:12; Rom. 5:3-5), and is needful for our perfecting in holiness (1 Pet. 1:6,7), the Father will not hinder us from having temptations, even though he himself tempteth no man. (Jas. 1:13.) A man is tempted when he is led astray and enticed by his own selfish, fallen desires; he sins when he yields to those desires. (James 1:14.) But in the hour of trial, temptation, who could come off conqueror without the promised "grace sufficient for every time of need" which will succor us and not permit us to be tempted above what we are able to bear, but will with the temptation provide also a way of escape?--1 Cor. 10:13.

(7) "But deliver us from evil," or, as some prefer it, Deliver us from the Evil One.* The great Adversary is as much on the alert to entrap us through the weaknesses of the flesh, as our Lord is ready to deliver us and give us victory. We are not sufficient of ourselves for such a contest against the powers of darkness, and hence have need frequently of this petition to the throne of grace, for as the Apostle declares, "our sufficiency is of God."--2 Cor. 3:5.

*The remaining sentence with which this prayer is usually closed is spurious--not found in the ancient Greek MSS. It would appear to have been added at the time when an earthly exaltation of the Church had led some to believe that the Papal glory was the glory of God's Kingdom.

ASK IN FAITH, NOTHING DOUBTING.


Our prayers are not to be "vain repetitions," formal requests for what we do not expect. We are to "ask in faith, nothing wavering." (James 1:6.) And whatsoever things ye ask "believe that ye [shall] receive them," for whatsoever is not of faith is sin, hypocrisy. --Mark 11:11,24; Rom. 14:23.

The child of God must therefore be a close student of his Father's Word; because he is expected to ask that he may receive, that his joy may be full; and he is cautioned to ask only for such things as his Father has expressed a willingness to grant; and he must ask in faith or not at all.

There can be no doubt that in this matter of prayer, as in other matters, our Heavenly Father designs to cultivate faith in his people. He tells us that "Without faith it is impossible to please God;" and that "This is the victory that overcometh the world, even your faith." Hence, only those who exercise faith, and ask in prayer for the promised favors, are really ready to receive them according to God's judgment and arrangement. This being the case, it should be the prayer of God's people to-day, as amongst the Apostles, "Lord! increase our faith." And thus praying, and laboring to this end, each would be more and more helped in overcoming the world and its faithless influences.

True faith is not credulity. It is critical, and believes only upon good evidence. It criticizes closely and distinguishes clearly between the teachings of men and the substantiated Word of God. But, having found the Word of God, it trusts it implicitly, knowing that its Author cannot lie; and that all his purposes and promises will be accomplished.

True faith, then, makes sure of its ground by giving careful heed to the Lord's Word; and then, asking according to that Word, it has confidence in the results, and waits and prays and watches, perseveringly and patiently. "Watch and pray," and "believe that ye shall receive," were our Lord's frequent injunctions. He spake a parable about an unjust judge who was moved by the importunities of a poor widow to do her justice; and then inquired whether God, the true judge, would not in due time hear his elect Church, and avenge their cause justly, though he wait a long time,--until his own "due time." And we are told that he uttered this parable to the purport that God's people ought to pray continuously, and "not to faint [yield]."-- Luke 18:1.

Whatever might be our natural inclinations with reference to definiteness and persistency in prayer, we must take our instructions from the Scriptures; and, overcoming our natural predilections, we must as "little children" and as "dear children" conform our views and conduct to the instruction which is from above. Let us all, therefore, remember the words, "Ask [in my name] and ye shall receive, that your joy may be full." (John 16:24.) The Heavenly Father has multiplied mercies, blessings and providences in store for his obedient and faithful children who will ask for them.

True, some of these proper and authorized and much desired requests are long delayed;--for instance, the Church for more than eighteen centuries has prayed, "Thy Kingdom come! Thy will be done on [R2005 : page 163] earth, as it is done in heaven." God has heard, but has not answered yet. Nevertheless all who have thus prayed for and desired the Millennial Kingdom have been blessed by their faith in that Kingdom not seen as yet,--but evidently now very near. However, other requests--for daily food and for succor in temptation and deliverance from the Evil One,--have been promptly answered.

In this connection notice specially that the privilege of prayer, or any other favor of God, is not granted for selfish purposes. A thing which might be properly desired and asked for in one case might be improper if asked for from some other motive. To desire and ask for something good in itself, in order that we might be glorified before our fellows, is a wrong request, because of a wrong motive.

The desire for a good thing, simply for ease and convenience, is an improper, selfish motive. The Apostle refers to such cases, saying, "Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, to consume it upon your desires,"--i.e., for vain-glorious purposes or other selfish reasons. (Jas. 4:3.) To ask for some good thing simply to make a test of it, thereby to establish our faith, is seemingly an improper request, for none but the faith-full are promised anything.

Besides, God's plan is that we should walk by faith and not by sight. Hence, we not only should not ask anything unauthorized, but as we grow in spirituality our petitions will be chiefly for spiritual favors; and even in asking for these we should be particular not to [R2006 : page 163] specify how they are to come. And we should look for the answers to our prayers in natural rather than supernatural channels, since God's usual method is to use supernatural means only where the natural means are inadequate.

The graces of the holy Spirit are specially stated to be open to our requests and corresponding efforts: Your Heavenly Father is more willing to give the holy Spirit to them that ask it, than earthly parents are to give good (earthly) gifts to their children.--Luke 11:13.

"YE HAVE NOT, BECAUSE YE ASK NOT."
--James 4:2.--

The trouble with many is that they do not avail themselves of the great stock of divine grace set apart for the benefit of those who, abiding in Christ, and his word abiding in them, do ask, do seek and do find. Let no one suppose that all prayer must be selfish. Quite to the contrary, we have a wide field of prayer-liberty in full accord with the Lord's Word and will.

Every trial of faith and patience is an occasion for prayer for the promised succor. Every failure to gain victory is an occasion for a prayer for forgiveness, and as well for divine blessing, that the lesson of our own weakness may be deeply impressed, so that in the next similar trial we may promptly apply for and lay hold upon the "grace to help" promised. Every victory over self is an occasion for prayer that we be not high minded and puffed up, but kept humble and watchful for the next attack from the great Adversary. Every service for the truth becomes an occasion for a prayer of thanks for the privilege of serving the Great King and mayhap to have suffered something for his cause; and a cause for supplication for further opportunities of service and grace to use them wisely.

If you have trials and temptations which you are able to overcome, and which are working out in your character patience, experience, brotherly-kindness, sympathy and love, rejoice and offer the prayer of thanksgiving and acknowledgment of divine mercy and help. If your trials seem heavier than you can bear, and likely to crush you, take the matter to the great Burden-bearer, and ask his help in bearing whatever would do you good, and release from all that would not do you good, but which would injure you. If your heart is full of a desire to obey the Lord's injunction and "forget not the assembling," and you are unreasonably hindered in a way that you have tried to overcome but cannot, take the matter to the Lord in prayer, and watch and wait and strive according to your prayer, and you will soon see a manifestation of divine power on your behalf. If you see a true brother, a true "soldier" faltering and in danger, let your heart be so full of love for all of the Lord's "brethren" that you will not only run to his relief, but also supplicate the throne of the heavenly grace unceasingly, until you have regained him, or until in his wilfulness he has renounced the "narrow way" entirely. And should the fault be your own, your prayers and efforts will surely be blessed and overruled to your own profit. If you have no burning zeal to preach the good tidings of great joy, pray earnestly and faithfully and persistently for it, and strive for it, and you will soon have it. If you have a zeal and love for the gospel, and lack ability to present it, pray for the ability while you make full use of what you have. If you have the zeal and the ability and lack an opportunity, take it to the Lord in prayer as soon as you can, telling him that you are faithfully using all the opportunities you have. Then watch for more opportunities without slacking your hand to use the very humblest and smallest within your reach.

Have you a quarrelsome disposition, or other bad habits, which you realize are a burden to your home and family, and to your brethren in the Lord's household? Take it to the Lord in prayer, asking grace and help to overcome, and meantime using your best diligence and effort in harmony with your prayer.

Do you lack wisdom, so that your efforts to serve [R2006 : page 164] the Lord and the truth are usually failures? Take it to the Lord in prayer, remembering the promise, "If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, who giveth to all liberally and upbraideth not."--James 1:5.

Have you business complications brought about by your lack of judgment, or the dishonesty of others, or your generosity to the poor, etc.? And do these perplex you and hinder your progress in spiritual matters, and thus threaten your welfare as a "new creature?" This surely is a proper matter to lay before the Lord at the throne of the heavenly grace. And although it would not be right for you to attempt to dictate how your relief shall come, and you should not expect the Lord to work a miracle to prosper your imprudent venture, yet you can ask his wisdom to guide and overrule in the results, better than your wisdom could do it.

Here is a wide range of subjects (and it might be widely expanded) upon which we may go to the throne boldly in the name of Jesus and ask and receive, seek and find, God's grace sufficient. But the range of subjects upon which we may not approach God in prayer is also large. We may not ask anything to minister to pride or selfishness or ambition, nor anything which would injure another; nor anything which would conflict with the Lord's plan as revealed in his Word. Oh! how many "ask and receive not, because they ask amiss," that they may consume the desired favor upon their earthly desires.

THE PRAYERS OF CHRIST UNSELFISH.


Our Lord's prayers, like all his acts and teachings, are models of unselfishness. Therefore, before we ask anything of the Father, one question should be carefully considered; viz.--Why do I want this? If the petitioner is consecrated and desires the healing of any that are sick, it should not be for his own glory, nor for his own comfort, nor in any manner for himself; for such requests are selfish and out of harmony with his covenant of sacrifice --"even unto death." Remember the course of our Lord and the apostles. Our Lord used divine power in feeding the multitude because of their necessity, and to glorify the Father; but when he himself was forty days without food he would not use the same power to feed himself, by commanding the stones to become bread, because this would have been contrary to his mission; for he came not to serve himself but others: not to preserve his own life, but to sacrifice it, to lay it down in the service of others. He created food for the multitudes, but not for himself or the disciples, though he referred to the miracle as an evidence that if ever necessary the same power would create bread for them. But it seems to have been the Father's plan to provide for his people by natural means, for there is no record of necessity for such a miracle on their behalf. Doubtless the Lord and his disciples partook of the bread and fish after they were made, and probably of the remaining fragments, but note that the object of their creation was the relief of the multitude and not their own refreshment. (Matt. 15:32; 16:5-12.) He healed the lame and the palsied miraculously when it would glorify God, but when he himself was weary, he "sat on the well" to rest, or used other natural means. Though he prayed often to the Father, and knew that he was heard always, and although sometimes heavy and sorrowful, as in Gethsemane, yet his prayers were requests for grace and strength to do the Father's will, and to finish the work he had come to do. And though he tells us that by asking he could have had "twelve legions of angels" to protect his person and his life, yet he would not ask--preferring to have the Father's will accomplished, which he had come to perform; namely, to give himself a "ransom for all." So notable was this a characteristic of his, that even his enemies noticed it, and said, "He saved others [from sickness, etc.], himself he cannot save." They could not appreciate the self-sacrifice which he was performing. And so, too, we may reasonably expect that many nominal Christians to-day will not understand the same motives and conduct in those who prefer to share in Christ's sufferings, to join with him in sacrifice, in order that they may share also in his coming glorious work of blessing and restoring "that which was lost."

APOSTOLIC GIFTS USED UNSELFISHLY.


Notice also the Apostles. They, too, had the gift of healing as well as privilege of prayer, but they did not use these selfishly. In all the records we find no instance of the exercise of the gift of healing on behalf of any of the apostles or any of the church; nor have we any record of prayer for health, or other earthly luxuries, being offered by any of them for themselves or each other, except in one case--that of Paul (2 Cor. 12:7-9), and his request was not granted; but he was told that instead he should have a sufficiency of grace to compensate and enable him to bear it patiently. This should command the attention of all.

Although Paul's request for himself was refused-- God seeing that his affliction of weak eyes could be made to work to divine glory and his own advantage --yet his gift to heal others was marvelous: "And God wrought special miracles by the hands of Paul, so that from his body were brought unto the sick, handkerchiefs or aprons, and the diseases departed from them." (Acts 19:12.) Mark also the fact that though there is no account of the healing of the sick among the early disciples, it was not because they were never [R2007 : page 164] sick, for several instances of sickness are recorded. Paul [R2007 : page 165] writes to Timothy, "Trophimus have I left at Miletum sick;" and again he writes to Timothy, who was evidently often troubled with indigestion or dyspepsia, to use wine as a medicine; saying, "Use no longer water [exclusively], but take a little wine for thy stomach's sake, and for thine often infirmities." (1 Tim. 5:23.) In neither of these cases did Paul send handkerchiefs or aprons from his person, nor did he mention either praying for their recovery, or advise them so to pray. Evidently these cases should teach us that the gifts of healing, and prayer for the recovery of the sick were used, not upon the saints, but rather through them upon others, for the purpose of calling attention to the apostles and their gospel as being approved by God.

A special reason why the saints cannot properly ask for physical health and earthly luxuries, we have already intimated is, that they, like their Lord, have consecrated themselves, and pledged to God the exchange of all earthly favors and privileges for the heavenly favors and glories to come;--a foretaste of which they now enjoy through the exceeding great and heavenly promises which cheer and refresh and comfort and bless more than earthly blessings could. Who, that understands the matter, would renounce his heirship in the future heavenly glories, together with present hopes and spiritual joys or reexchange them, if he could, for future earthly restitution, and present occasional foretastes of it?

THREE CAUSES OF SICKNESS.


But some will inquire, If it is not proper for the consecrated to pray for the healing of themselves, what does the Apostle James mean when he says, "The prayer of faith shall save the sick?"

Accidents may and do occur so far as the world is concerned, but the saints are God's peculiar care; nothing can come upon them except as specially permitted. While God could take all the world under such special supervision, he pleases rather to let them be subject to the ordinary vicissitudes of the present condemned state--accidents, sickness, etc. Only the church (the consecrated) is comforted with the assurances of special care: "Your Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things," and "Like as a father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear him," those that respect and love him, those consecrated to his service. Of such it is written, "All the steps of the righteous are ordered of the Lord;" and "the very hairs of your head are all numbered."-- Matt. 10:30; 6:31-34.

While therefore sickness may in a general way be considered, at least indirectly, the work of Satan who deceived mankind into sin, and hence into sickness and death, yet in view of what we see of God's special care of the saints, we know that, in their case at least, sickness could not come without the Lord's special permission; and hence it should be regarded in their case as from him, and not directly from Satan, who could have no power over us except it were given him of the Father.

We accordingly classify the causes of afflictions, including sickness, as follows,--but only as applicable to the consecrated church. First,--Those which have been either produced or aggravated by our activity in the Lord's service. Second,--Inherited weaknesses and those brought on ourselves by violations of the laws of nature previous to our entrance into the family of God as sons. Third,--Such as come upon us as discipline or chastisement from the Lord for sins or wanderings or coldness, or for the sin of failing to fulfill our covenant of sacrifice; or as needed discipline to prevent these.

FIRST CLASS SUFFERINGS.


Of the first class were the sufferings of Christ-- his weariness, weakness, bloody sweat, ignominious buffetings, and all the reproaches and sneers, and bitter words, to which he meekly and quietly submitted until the sufferings of Calvary terminated his human existence. Of this first class were also the wounds of Paul and Silas, when scourged for preaching Christ, when stoned, beaten and imprisoned, and when in perils by sea and by land, among the Jews and among false brethren. Of this class was also the dyspepsia of Timothy, who, probably not naturally strong, studied and labored for the Lord, and in the interest of the church; and such we are distinctly told was the cause of the sickness of Epaphroditus, of whose sickness Paul writes, saying, "Receive him therefore in the Lord with all gladness; and hold such in reputation: because for the work of Christ he was nigh unto death, not regarding [sparing] his life, to supply your deficiency."-- Phil. 2:29,30.

Yes, indeed, these and all such sicknesses and scars and wounds are honorable marks of distinction, which each soldier of the cross should be ambitious to bear, as Paul said referring to injuries endured in the service of the truth, "I bear about in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus." These he had received, not in money-seeking or fame-seeking, nor in self-indulgence, nor in quarrelling and disputing about the loss and dross of earth, but in the good fight of faith; in contending earnestly for the faith once delivered to the saints, against error amongst Jewish friends, and against philosophies and sciences falsely so called. He endured his wounds and tribulations in telling the glad tidings of the gospel of Christ of which he was not ashamed, [R2007 : page 166] and holding up the cross of Christ--to the Jews a stumbling block and to the Greeks foolishness, but to us who believe the power of God and the wisdom of God.

All the "overcomers," all the faithful in Christ Jesus, are likely to have some such scars as proofs of their faithful endurance. There is no escape in this war. It is war to the death with all as well as with our Head and Captain, and the first loyal soldiers in our army. And it is in this view that Rev. 20:4 represents all those who shall be accounted worthy of the first resurrection as being "beheaded." (The beheading is symbolic; for neither our Lord nor the apostles were literally beheaded. It signifies that all must suffer earthly disadvantages, and lay down their lives in the defence and service of the truth, if they shall be worthy to share Christ's glory.) All suffering for righteousness' sake is suffering for the truth. Our daily lives are to be "living epistles known and read of all men;" and if we suffer because we refuse to be conformed to this world, or because we give the testimony of our lives against sin and for holiness, we suffer for the truth's sake. If your talents and opportunities permit no more active service for the truth than such godly living and suffering therefor, rejoice! and reckon that yours are among the first class sufferings, and let patience do her perfect work of moulding your character by this means to our Lord's likeness.

The Apostle tells us also of a "fellowship of suffering" which may be experienced through mental sympathy. Those who cannot suffer personally and physically for the truth can sympathize with those who have such sufferings and can thus become "partakers," sustaining, encouraging and upholding those who are in the "great fight of affliction" for the Lord's cause, by their words, faith and prayers. Notice the promise to such in the Apostle's words in Heb. 6:10.

Sickness and discomfort of any sort, incurred by our energy in the service of the truth, are permitted by our Father as evidences of our fidelity and love; because if not liable to such tribulations, or if relieved of them instantly by a miracle, the Lord's service would cost us no sacrifice and the test of our willingness to endure for the truth's sake would be wanting. As it is, however, every ache and pain or wound of person or of feelings, and beheading socially or literally for the truth's sake, becomes a witness of the spirit, testifying to our faithfulness. And in all such tribulations we should rejoice greatly--as say our Lord and the Apostle Peter.--Luke 6:22,23; 1 Pet. 4:13-16.

SECOND CLASS SUFFERINGS.


Of the second class of sickness and afflictions are poverty, constitutional weaknesses, etc., which, like Paul's sore eyes, the Heavenly Father sees will be really advantageous to us. For he doubtless often sees better than we how weak we are, and how a little adversity is necessary, as ballast, to keep our poorly balanced little vessels from capsizing. These weaknesses God sees best to leave us under, but assures us, through Paul, of "grace sufficient" to counterbalance such weaknesses. A realization of such care for our real interests, while humiliating, in that it forces conviction of our weakness, is refreshing and inspiring, in that it proves our Father's love and care.

THIRD CLASS SUFFERINGS.


The third class includes chiefly such afflictions as God visits upon his children as special chastisements for special transgressions. These are mentioned in Heb. 12:5-11. "Son, despise not thou the discipline of the Lord, nor faint when thou art reproved by him; for whom the Lord loveth he disciplineth, and scourgeth every son whom he receiveth. If ye endure discipline, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father disciplineth not? But if ye be without discipline whereof all are partakers, then are ye spurious and not [real] sons....Now, no discipline for the present seemeth joyous, but grievous; nevertheless, it yieldeth the peaceable fruits of righteousness unto them which are [properly] exercised [or trained] thereby." This description, it will be observed, covers not merely the reproofs or rebukes of the Lord (verse 5), of the unfaithful and wanderers and transgressors, [R2008 : page 166] but also the disciplinary trials which come to us in well doing, and are permitted for the developing and strengthening of character;--hence both second and third class sufferings.

It is only the rebukes and reproofs of the Lord for sin and unfaithfulness that we are examining in this third class of afflictions. We remark, too, that probably every son, except the one perfect one, our Lord Jesus, has at times needed and received rebukes by afflictions, for unfaithfulness. And it is well that we should learn to recognize these rebukes and to wisely apply their lessons. Rightly dividing, we shall neither err with some in crediting every affliction to the devil --receiving none as rebukes from our Father, nor will we err on the other hand and suppose every calamity and accident which occurs to the world in general and to the nominal church to be a divine rebuke. We should see clearly that only the consecrated "sons" are under God's special supervision, which includes rebukes by the Lord for sins and shortcomings, as well as afflictions in well-doing, permitted to test and perfect us. If therefore the saints experience serious afflictions, they should at once examine themselves conscientiously before God, to see whether their afflictions arise in any sense from faithfulness to the Lord and the truth. If [R2008 : page 167] they find that they do, they should rejoice in them, and wait patiently for recovery, which without our asking sometimes comes speedily; praying meantime with thanksgiving for blessings enjoyed and with supplications for further usefulness in the Lord's due time.

The Apostle Peter mentions some who suffered, not for righteousness' sake, but as evil-doers and as busy-bodies in other men's matters. Such, as he shows, have no right to rejoice in such sufferings, but contrariwise to be ashamed,--to lay the lesson to heart and by God's grace reform their methods.

While some, humble minded, do not readily recognize any sufferings as endured for the Lord's sake, and need to be encouraged along this line, others who do little and suffer little from any cause, imagine themselves martyrs for the truth. Let us avoid both extremes and think of ourselves soberly, underestimating rather than overestimating our little services and sacrifices.

But if we see no evidence that our afflictions have resulted either directly or indirectly from our zeal in the Lord's service, we should at once seek for a cause of the afflictions as a rebuke from the Lord, remembering that nothing could happen to us aside from our Father's permission, and that he never permits them except for a wise purpose.

Of the rebuking afflictions Paul wrote to the church at Corinth. (1 Cor. 11:21,22,27,29,30-34.) After recounting how careless and unappreciative of their covenant many of them were, failing to recognize their proper participation with Christ, to be broken with him and share his cup of suffering for the truth's sake, he says: "For this cause many are weak and sickly among you, and many sleep." This may refer to spiritual lethargy and sickness only; but not improbably also to the physical.

The general object of many such afflictions is our discipline and reformation; and happy is the son who shall speedily note a rebuke of the Father, and repent and come back quickly into full harmony; and who, exercised thereby, shall seldom need the rebuking rod of affliction. The Apostle refers to this also (1 Cor. 11:31-34), saying, "If we would judge ourselves we should not be judged [by the Lord]." If we would critically watch ourselves and correct our own faults, disciplining ourselves, we should not need to be taken in hand and disciplined by afflictions. "But when we are judged by the Lord we are corrected, [in order] that we should not be condemned with the world." The consecrated are tried now, in order that they may not need any further trial in the future, during the Millennial age, when the world shall be on trial.

"Is any among you suffering [afflicted], let him pray," says the Apostle (James 5:13). This counsel will apply to all the trials and afflictions of God's people, mental and physical, especially such as are of the first class or the second class. Such sufferers may take all their troubles of every kind to the Lord direct, and be assured of his sympathy and grace to help and sustain. Such need no elders to pray for the forgiveness of their sins, as in the following verses (14,15), where, evidently, the third class afflictions are referred to,--sicknesses the result of rebukes from God for sins, and not sicknesses of the class first described, in which we may rejoice. James says: "Is any sick among you? Let him call for the elders of the Church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: and the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and though he have committed sins they shall be forgiven him. Therefore confess your sins one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed."* The prayer, as we understand it, should be for the forgiveness of the sins of which the sickness is a punishment or rebuke, rather than for release from the deserved punishment. But if the sickness was a judgment or discipline for sin, we should expect that when the sin had been confessed and truly repented of, the Lord would remove the chastisement and raise up the penitent son from the affliction, either partially or wholly.--Compare Matt. 9:2-6; John 5:14; and 1 John 5:16.

*Old Greek MSS. read therefore and sins.

But let us remember that this statement does not refer to the various small aches and annoyances to which we, in common with the world in general, are subject; and which serve us a good purpose in the development of patience and sympathy for others. We know this, first of all, by the calling in of the elders of the Church [the senior, or chief, or official members] to pray over and anoint the sick with oil: because such extreme measures would be quite improper for a slight ailment. We know it secondly by the Greek word used for sick in verse 14, which has the significance of helpless or impotent.

OUR PRESENT STANDPOINT.


We see, then, that promiscuous praying for health during the Gospel age would have been improper, and that only by means of the gift of healing were the early cures of the age performed; that it ceased with the death of the apostles after accomplishing its object; and that the proper prayers relating to sickness, on the part of the saints, have been those offered for the forgiveness of sins--as a result of which healing followed. But we see, too, that as the Millennial age is dawning-- lapping upon the Gospel age which is closing--we [R2008 : page 168] should expect that healing and general restitution would begin to be manifested, much as we do see it. And this leads us to inquire,--In the light of the foregoing examination of the Bible teachings and in the light of our present location in the dawn of the Millennium,

FOR WHOM MAY WE NOW PRAY?


We answer, the saints cannot properly pray for their own health now, any more than could their Master. They cannot properly ask the restitution privileges which they have consecrated, nor can they ask that their sacrifices be nullified by having all the cost of weariness, exhaustion, stripes or sickness miraculously removed. But when they realize their afflictions to be punishments for sins, they can still feel at liberty to confess their sins one to another, and pray to God for forgiveness, and thus they may, as a result, be healed.

The saints who abide in Christ, and in whom his Word abides, may pray for others than themselves, especially in view of the fact that we are now in the beginning of the Times of Restitution; namely, in cases where they are sure their object is not self-exaltation; where their desires for the recovery of the sick are not selfish; where they have reason to believe that the restored health would be consecrated to good works and the glory of God. In such cases we may upon request pray for the recovery of the afflicted or imbecile not of the consecrated little flock--the sacrificers, the Royal Priesthood. Yet even in such cases, though our faith must necessarily be strong, because confident of asking from right motives, and at a time when the Lord is pleased to grant a beginning of restitution blessings, we should always say, as the Master did in his prayers,--"Nevertheless, not my will, but thine be done."

However, it is not time yet to expect general healing and full restitution work, as that evidently will not be due until the entire Priesthood shall have finished sacrificing and entered with their Head and Chief Priest Jesus, into the glories and perfections of the heavenly state or condition, typified by the Most Holy of the Temple and Tabernacle.

HE MUST INCREASE, BUT I MUST DECREASE.


At first sight it might appear that as the gifts at the beginning of the age were exercised through the consecrated, so the healings to be expected in the Millennial dawn would be manifested mostly in answer to the prayers of the consecrated. But not so, we believe, will it be found; this would bring the saints into too great prominence, whereas, like John the Baptist at the first advent, we must expect to decrease here, while the Church Triumphant, on the other side the vail, will be on the increase. Our present relationship to the glorified Church--pointing out the nearness of the reign of glory--answers closely in correspondence to the work of John the Baptizer at the first advent. John proclaimed, The Kingdom of Heaven is at hand, and added, "There standeth one among you whom ye know not. He must increase, but I must decrease." So, much the same, is our message; and while the [R2009 : page 168] Church on the earthly plane will decrease, the glorified Church on the heavenly plane will be increasing in power and influence during the time of trouble coming, while the John class will doubtless be put under restraints, as John was cast into prison by Herod.

In harmony with what we should thus expect, various methods of healing meet with some success, and indeed we have heard of more than one case of healing where no cure was attempted, or even thought of, by either the sick or the friends. One case was that of a sick girl, at whose bedside her friends had gathered, waiting for her to die; she immediately recovered, got up and went about as ever. The only explanation she could give was that she had a dream in which a man laid his hand upon her head, and she felt a shock like electricity pass down her spine. And this young woman did not even profess to be a Christian.

By various means the Lord would gradually prepare the world for restitution, so that when it comes the new order of things will still leave room for the exercise of faith toward God; for the proud and scientific to explain from natural causes, while others will be led thereby to recognize such things as the beginning of restitution. And since the overcomers have a great work to do in opposing error and instilling truth, and since, if they were much engaged in praying for the sick, it would detract from their real and important work of healing the spiritually sick and lame and blind, we see great reasons why we should expect these manifestations of restitution both in and through others than the saints.

SHOULD THE CONSECRATED USE MEDICINES?


This question naturally suggests itself. We are neither commanded nor forbidden to use medicines. In our consecration we gave up human advantages coming to us as to all believers through Christ in exchange for the spiritual advantages offered us. Hence all restitution blessings and privileges we are debarred from asking; although God, for his own wise ends, sometimes grants his "new creatures" special favors and manifestations of an earthly sort in their hours of need; even though they do not ask for them.--See [R2009 : page 169] Matt. 26:53,54; Acts 12:6-11; 14:19,20; Phil. 2:27.

It should be noticed, however, that (aside from Christ's work of redemption and restitution) condemned men are privileged to use such natural means as they can command, in food and medicines, for the relief of their ailments and the sustenance, as long as they may be able, of their condemned and dying bodies. And these privileges consequently the saints retain and possess, even after having exchanged the earthly advantages through Christ, for the heavenly advantages.

Nothing, then, in their covenant of full consecration, prevents the saints more than unbelievers from using natural means for their relief. We have the liberty to do so whenever our judgment indicates the expediency. And though we are not informed that our Lord used medicines, we should remember that he was perfect, and had only such pains and aches as he himself took from others. However, he certainly illustrated the principle of making use of natural means, not asking divine power for relief, by resting when weary instead of praying for supernatural restoration; and when hungry and thirsty he ate and drank instead of praying for strength and refreshment otherwise. So, too, it was with the apostles as far as we may know from the meagre scraps of history of their private affairs furnished us in Scripture. Paul tells us (2 Cor. 11:27,30) of his weariness and pains and hunger and thirst and cold and nakedness, and says he gloried in these marks of his faithfulness, but mentions not one word about praying for the removal of these by divine power; nor does he record one answer of such a prayer as a mark of favor with God. On the contrary, in the single instance he mentions of having prayed for physical restitution (the restoration of his sight), he does tell us that the Lord refused his request, telling him it was best for him so--the grace sufficient being in spiritual and not earthly favors above those of natural men.-- 2 Cor. 12:9.

When Paul was thus needy at times, what did he do? Did he pray God to feed and clothe him? No; he well knew that God had promised that no good, needful thing should be withheld, so long as he was his servant. He did not ask God to create money in his pockets, nor to send some kind hearted person, not too lazy to work, with a basket of dainties for him to eat, while he studied or prayed? No! that was not Paul's sort, else he would not have been selected as "a chosen vessel" to bear the Lord's truth. When he was hungry Paul neither went out and begged nor staid indoors to pray for the things needed, but went to work at his trade,--tent-making, teaching publicly and privately as opportunities offered; unwilling to ask aid even of the believers whom he served; though he well knew that they were negligently losing, both the privilege of giving to his support and the spread of the truth, and also losing the valuable instruction which he could have imparted during those hours necessarily devoted to secular labor.

We remember, too, Paul's advice to Timothy regarding medicine--to take a little wine (as a medicine, not as a beverage) for his indigestion and "often infirmities." And this we find in perfect harmony with Paul's own course and that of our Lord, and therefore certainly a safe guide to us respecting our Father's will.

But, says one, even if it be right to use simple remedies, such as may come under our observation,-- would it be right to spend the Lord's money (as all the money which the consecrated have is the Lord's) upon physicians? We answer that our Lord and the disciples spent consecrated money for bread, which is the medicine needed when hungry. And we presume Timothy, following Paul's counsel, spent some consecrated money for the medicinal wine. Our Lord and the apostles did not commend medicines and physicians, and doubtless the art was so crude as to be unworthy of commendation; yet they were not condemned, and it was acknowledged that the sick need a physician. (Matt. 9:12.) But in all this we would not be understood as advocating drugs and doses;--moderation should be used in all that we do, that whether we eat or drink or take medicine or whatever, all may be done with reason and to the glory of God. Probably as many die of too much as of too little medicine. We should not fill ourselves with medicine nor with wine nor be gluttonous with food; but be temperate in all things.

We cannot for a moment concede as the superiors or equals of our Lord and Paul, in faith or divine favor, some who in our day claim to live by faith, "working not at all;" who do little to weary or pain themselves, and who rejoice that they have no such experiences as Paul had with hunger and cold, and thirst, and nakedness, as marks of special faith and holiness and divine favor. We believe that many such are sincere children of God, deceived on this question by following their own feelings and inclinations rather than carefully studying the perfect examples of God's will in this matter, furnished in Scripture.--See 2 Thes. 3:8-10,11-15.

In view of the Scripture teaching, we must therefore advise the consecrated to walk in the footsteps of our Lord Jesus and those who followed him most closely; ignoring in this as in other things their own preferences as to how they would like to think about it, and how they would like to do and have God do in such matters. Let us fully submit our wills and methods [R2009 : page 170] to God's plan and arrangement as expressed and illustrated in his Word. As "new creatures" we may ask freely and persistently for all spiritual blessings and graces, and unselfishly for all our necessities promised. Then, sure that such will come, we should seek for them and acknowledge them with thankfulness, by whatever agency or channel sent.

But in earthly matters we must be very careful: let us ask for nothing beyond our actual needs, as God (not we) sees the necessity and expediency--thankful always for the "bread and water" promised, as well as for every additional comfort. Realizing always God's superior wisdom and boundless love for us, we should fear to take our interests in any degree out of his hand. Thus we may always live rejoicing, realizing that, whatever may befall us, all is working out for good to us. We may need an acquaintance with pain, or to come into perplexity and almost to want, in order to have needful experience or testing or chastisement. And we should learn to search for and appreciate the lesson or chastisement quickly, and prove ourselves apt pupils in the school of Christ.

PRAYERS FOR OUR CHILDREN.


Especially in the case of their children, consecrated parents may well feel that, now in the dawning of the Millennial age, they have special privileges in prayer; for of all classes these are most surely the heirs of restitution blessings. The children of all believers are justified through the faith of their parents up to the time they reach years of mental discretion. (1 Cor. 7:14.) Hence they are heirs of the earthly blessings, restitution, etc. And now that the Restitution Times are upon us, we should feel great confidence in asking health and strength and life for such. It would seem indeed that now the children of believers might live on down into the full sunlight of Millennial glory and blessing, when none will die except such as sin wilfully against that light and favor. Yet in all our requests we cannot ask otherwise than as the Master did, saying--Nevertheless not my will but thine be done. And it should be the aim and patient endeavor of each parent to bring his children as nearly as possible to the proper point of full consecration--the reasonable service of all.

TO BE CONTINUED IN OUR NEXT



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GOD'S PROMISES TO DAVID.

--JULY 26.--2 Sam. 7:4-16.--

Golden Text--"In thee, O Lord, do I put my trust."--Psa. 71:1.
DAVID was now fairly settled and prosperous in his kingdom, and the nation was enjoying a season of rest and peace; the people were united, the Ark was in Jerusalem and the religious zeal of the nation was revived. For all these blessings David was grateful; and, desiring to give some tangible expression of his gratitude, he thought of the Ark of God, the symbol of the divine presence, dwelling in a movable tent or tabernacle while he himself dwelt in a house of cedar; and he therefore conceived the thought of utilizing the present seemingly favorable opportunity for erecting a house for the Lord where the symbol of his presence might abide continually.

With this thought in mind, David consulted with the prophet Nathan, who encouraged him to carry out his noble purpose. Both men desired to render supreme honor and reverence to the Lord and thought the time to do so had come. In this, however, they were mistaken, as God showed Nathan that night, saying, "Go and tell my servant David," etc.

God showed David that his time for the erection of the more permanent residence had not yet come, and that he had given no command to that effect yet, nor inquired, "Why build ye not me a house of cedar?" etc. (Vs. 7.) Although for a time the nation was enjoying a season of rest and peace, there was yet much to be done in the way both of conquest and of organization, which would of necessity interfere with the proposed work; besides which, the nation must not consider itself so firmly established in the land of promise, until first, according to the divine direction, they had taken full possession and subdued their enemies. When they had done this, they might consider themselves settled, and build for the Lord a more permanent residence.

It was further shown that this work of preparation would require the entire period of David's reign; but the assurance was given to David that his purpose was appreciated and that, though God's time had not yet come, nor would it come in David's time, yet his son and successor should build the house and should enjoy a peaceful and prosperous reign, while David was permitted to prepare the way for it, both by gathering and preparing the materials for its construction, and also by subduing their enemies and ordering the affairs of the kingdom. This was the work to which David was appointed: he was necessarily a man of war, although a lover of peace.

In this promise concerning the prosperous reign of David's son and heir to his throne, it is plain that there was more implied than was ever fulfilled in Solomon. True, the reign of Solomon was one of unprecedented prosperity and he did build the house of the Lord; but his kingdom did come to an end, the glory departed, the temple perished, whereas the promise to David was, "Thine house and thy kingdom shall be established forever before thee: thy throne shall be established forever."--Verse 16.

The fact is that the promise or prophecy was of twofold application, referring only partially to Solomon [R2010 : page 171] and the temple which Solomon was to build, but ultimately to David's greater Son and Lord, our Lord Jesus Christ, whose kingdom is indeed an everlasting kingdom and of whose dominion there shall be no end, and also to that glorious spiritual temple, the gospel Church, exalted and glorified with her Head, toward which all the world shall worship during the Millennial reign. The reign of David, the man of war, prefigured the preparatory work of this Gospel age--the struggles of God's people against the oppositions of sin, the preparation of the living stones for the spiritual temple; while the reign of Solomon represented the glorious reign of Christ and the wealth and wisdom and peace and prosperity which shall characterize it.

The purpose of David to build a house for the Lord which should surpass in magnificence the king's palace and every other structure, and thus be an expression on the part of the people of their supreme reverence for him and the symbol of his presence, and the Lord's sanction and subsequent execution of the generous purpose, are often referred to to-day in justification of the large outlay of the church's means in elegant church buildings and furnishments. But apparently the matter did not appear so to the apostles and the early Church; for they met from house to house and in upper rooms and erected no church buildings: they only sought some convenient place for simple accommodation. Nor do the sacred records give a single intimation that it is the duty of the church to provide in various localities elegant buildings with lofty steeples, chiming bells, grand organs, upholstered pews, stained windows, with elegant pulpit orators and trained choirs.

Nor do the temple structure and furnishment afford any precedent in justification of these things to-day. The Jewish age was a typical age; its temple and all its appointments were types of the higher spiritual things to come; the typical Ark which rested in the typical temple was a symbol of the divine presence in the midst of his future spiritual Israel; and the typical shadows pass away when the realities come.

It is very manifest, moreover, that the church buildings of to-day are more for pride and show, and to attract and hold the rich and influential, and to repel the poor, than to glorify God in any way. Let us not be deceived with the vain pretensions of earthly glory; but, shunning these things, let us remember that wherever two or three are met together in the Lord's name, that is the house of God, and there his glory is seen and felt.--John 4:23,24; Matt. 18:20.



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DAVID'S KINDNESS.
--AUGUST 2.--2 Sam. 9:1-13.--

Golden Text--"Be kindly affectioned one to another with brotherly love."--Rom. 12:10.
IN considering the incident of this lesson we are reminded of the words of the Apostle James (5:10) --"Take, my brethren, the prophets who have spoken in the name of the Lord, for an example." What examples they present--of faith, humility, meekness, obedience, patience, endurance, brotherly kindness, love. We call to mind Moses' devotion to God and his cause, his tireless zeal and loving ministry through long years of extreme trial; we mark also the obedient faith of Abraham, of Jacob, of Samuel, of David, and of all the noble list of ancient worthies who fought the good fight of faith with unabated energy to the end of their course. While we consider these worthy examples of loyalty and faithfulness to God and to his truth and righteousness, we remember that these characters were developed under only the moonlight of the law-dispensation; and, in this view of the matter, reason suggests what the Apostle Peter also calls attention to,--"What manner of persons ought we to be in all holy conversation and godliness?" (2 Pet. 3:11)--we who are the recipients of the much more abundant grace of this gospel dispensation?

The kindness of David, to which attention is directed in this lesson, is another mark of a noble character. David was now well established and prosperous in his kingdom. The way to it since his anointing had been a rough and stormy one; and in one of the seasons of severest trial the remarkable friendship between himself and Jonathan, Saul's son, was thoroughly proved and strongly cemented. And while Jonathan freely submitted to the will of God which intercepted his own succession to the throne of Israel and gave it to David, he desired and received of David the assurance that when he should be thus established in his kingdom he should always show kindness to him and his posterity. See 1 Sam. 20:14-17.

When the days of his prosperity came at length, years after Jonathan had gone to his rest, David, remembering his covenant, began to inquire if there were yet any left of the house of Saul to whom he might show the kindness of God. He found but one, the only surviving son of his friend Jonathan, and upon him he lavished the affection and kindness which it would have been his pleasure to bestow upon Jonathan himself, had he survived. Gratefully he remembered the love of his friend, and lovingly he endeavored to requite it to the extent of his ability.

There is really no more worthy trait to adorn a righteous character than that of gratitude. It is gratitude that returns to God that filial affection which is due from the creature to the Creator. It is gratitude that encourages and sweetens the cup of loyal devotion between friend and friend. It is always the due reward of loving service and especially of self-sacrificing service, though it is not always the reward rendered. The spirit of the world is, alas! so far removed from this that even loving and self-sacrificing service is more frequently rewarded with cold, thankless indifference, and not seldom with reproachfulness or persecution. Those therefore who will live godly and cultivate the graces of a godly character must not be disappointed in failing of their reward here, and in meeting the rebuffs that are sure to come to them in the line of duty. Let them duly appreciate their opportunity of proving their devotion [R2011 : page 171] to righteousness and truth by taking patiently and bearing with humble fortitude whatever of reproach [R2011 : page 172] or ingratitude may be the present reward, content to await God's time and God's way for giving to righteousness its due reward. Such overcomers who count not their lives dear unto them are of the David (beloved) class.

The golden text of this lesson needs no comment except the exhortation that we should each more and more endeavor to put it in practice, and to see that with each passing year we are able to note some degree of advancement in this element of godlikeness, not overlooking that sure proof of brotherly love mentioned in the last clause--"in honor preferring one another;" remembering also the similar counsel of the same apostle on another occasion--"In lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than themselves." (Phil. 2:3.) If we merely say that we love one another and yet pursue a steady course of self-seeking, wherein is the love manifest? Let us not love in word only, but in deed and in truth.--1 John 3:18.



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ENCOURAGING WORDS FROM FAITHFUL WORKERS.


Minnesota.

DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--I had a very enjoyable meeting with the brethren at Rapid City, including Brother Zink. At Shoal Lake I had one public meeting, when I gave a two hours' explanation of the chart.

I was specially pleased with the brethren at Shoal Lake on account of the plain improvement in their characters. Once before I mentioned to you a noted infidel of a most blasphemous character who had come into the truth. It was just grand to see the gentleness and humbleness which have taken possession of this former blasphemer. Whilst I heard him talk, I felt all the time like shouting, "Hallelujah! what a Savior!"

Your Brother in the Lord,
W. HOPE HAY.


Massachusetts.

DEAR BROTHER:--Enclosed I send my report. I have closed my labor here, and return home to-morrow.

Perhaps it would be interesting to see how I sum up my work. I have been here just 16 weeks. Population of the district worked is about 50,000. I rented a furnished room for $1.00 per week--a small hall room, in front, up two flights, in center of city, two electric lights from the street shine into my one window, a very pleasant room.

Cash on hand,..............  $7.30 Expenses,.............. $32.27
289 books sold,............ 116.60
                            ------ Sent home,.............  20.00
Total Receipts,............ 123.90 Paid for books,........  49.16
Outlay,.................... 101.43
                            ------                         ------
Balance on hand,........... $22.47 Total outlay,......... $101.43
Besides the above $22.47 in cash, I have on hand 6 cloth, 22 leatherette and 44 paper bound DAWNS.

Already, as a fruit of my labor, two have come out quite clear and are engaged in preaching the gospel whenever they have the opportunity, besides which a number are reading with interest.

Let us pray that more laborers may be sent into the vineyard.
Yours truly,
GEO. KELLOGG.

[The above letter gives some idea of the self-denial practised by some of the colporteurs, in order that they may thrust in the sickle of truth ere the harvest is past; and our Brother has been well rewarded for his labor, for the peace of God has kept his heart and mind, and he found many ready to listen to the glad tidings. In addition to the regular colporteur work, he has done considerable "weeding" to remove prejudice and induce candid study, and has also "watered" the seed which gave evidence of having taken root.

We are sure all the friends of the truth will join his prayer and ours for more laborers. "He that reapeth receiveth wages [even in the present time--joy, peace, and the pleasure of seeing the joy of others], and gathereth fruit unto eternal life." Let us all be faithful and zealous in doing what our hands find to do. EDITOR.]


Canada.

DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--I notice what you say in a late TOWER concerning our Lord's words to the thief, "Verily, I say to you to-day, thou shalt be with me in paradise," and in addition suggest the following:

Grammatically, "to-day" is an adverb of time; and the question arises, Does it qualify the verb preceding or succeeding it? i.e., Is it "say to-day" or "shalt be to-day?" In this and all kindred cases we must be guided by the sense or context. Now we have several parallel grammatical constructions to this.

Note Deut. 8:19. "I testify against you this day that ye shall surely perish." Mark that the translators did not punctuate this at all. Why did they punctuate Luke's passage? The context here shows the adverb of time, "this day," to qualify the preceding verb, "testify;" i.e., the testimony is given this day, and not they would perish this day; for they were to go on trial as to their walk, etc.

Deut. 15:15 is another fitting example of qualifying a preceding verb. Also Deut. 30:16--"In that I command thee this day to love the Lord thy God," etc. And why did not the translators punctuate this as well as the passage in Luke? Does it not seem as if the translators expressed a preconceived idea by their use of the comma? Would it not have been better unpunctuated, as they left the other passages?

In evidence that the translators had a preconceived idea about our Lord's words to the thief and that it was not because they lacked grammatical knowledge on this point of an adverb qualifying a verb preceding it, see Acts 26:29--"And Paul said, I would to God, that not only thou, but also all that hear me this day, were both almost," etc. The Apostle surely did not mean, I wish you were like me for this one day, but I wish that all who hear me this day were like me, Christians, consecrated even unto death.

Then our Lord said to the Jews, and later to his disciples, "Where I go ye cannot come." Then why should it be thought that he would take the thief with him?

I would like your opinion on Jno. 5:39--"Search the Scriptures." I do not understand this to be a command. The context to me seems to convey this idea: Jesus referred to a few witnesses regarding himself-- verse 31, his own testimony, a true one; verse 32, "another" true one; verse 33, you sent to John, and he also testified of me; verse 36, greater than John's testimony, the works; verse 37, the Father also, but, of course, you have never heard his voice nor seen his form, but that would not matter if you only had his word remaining in you. Why, see here, you search the Scriptures because you think by them to obtain everlasting life and these very Scriptures you are searching also testify of me. Thus our Lord's words were more of reproach than command or invitation. Yours in our Redeemer,
F. B. UTLEY.

[We agree that the last suggestion was probably the intent of our Lord's utterance; but it is undoubtedly the duty as well as well as the privilege of the sons of God to search and study their Father's Word,--that they may know all that he would reveal to them. The entire suggestion above is good and interesting. EDITOR]



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