this is txt file this is txt file
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. XXXIII APRIL 1 No. 7 A.D. 1912--A.M. 6040 CONTENTS
"Ye Were Bought with a Price" 107 Moses as a Mediator 109 Beware of Pride in the Heart 110 Why Pride Is an Abominable Trait 110 The Mortal Body the Servant of the New Mind 111 Good Intentions Not Sufficient 111 Apostolic Succession Unscriptural 112 St. Paul to Succeed Judas 112 "A Crown of Twelve Stars" 113 The Palace of Blessedness 113 The Rich Man in Hell 115 Loving Our Neighbors 116 "This Is a Hard Saying" 117 "Owe No Man Anything" 117 Christianity and the Law 117 Fulfilling the Prophets Also 118 The Pharisees' Standard Lower 118 God's Inheritance (Poem) 119 Berean Questions in Scripture Studies 119
“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.
THIS JOURNAL AND ITS SACRED MISSION
THIS Journal is one of the prime factors or instruments in the system of Bible Instruction, or "Seminary Extension," now being presented in all parts of the civilized world by the WATCH TOWER BIBLE & TRACT SOCIETY, chartered A.D. 1881, "For the Promotion of Christian Knowledge." It not only serves as a class room where Bible Students may meet in the study of the divine Word, but also as a channel of communication through which they may be reached with announcements of the Society's Conventions and of the coming of its traveling representatives styled "Pilgrims," and refreshed with reports of its Conventions.
Our "Berean Lessons" are topical rehearsals or reviews of our Society's published "Studies," most entertainingly arranged, and very helpful to all who would merit the only honorary degree which the Society accords, viz., Verbi Dei Minister (V.D.M.), which translated into English is, Minister of the Divine Word. Our treatment of the International S.S. Lessons is specially for the older Bible Students and Teachers. By some this feature is considered indispensable.
This Journal stands firmly for the defence of the only true foundation of the Christian's hope now being so generally repudiated,--Redemption through the precious blood of "the man Christ Jesus who gave himself a ransom [a corresponding price, a substitute] for all." (I Pet. 1:19; I Tim. 2:6.) Building up on this sure foundation the gold, silver and precious stones (I Cor. 3:11-15; 2 Pet. 1:5-11) of the Word of God, its further mission is to--"Make all see what is the fellowship of the mystery which...has been hid in God,...to the intent that now might be made known by the Church the manifold wisdom of God"--"which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men as it is now revealed."--Eph. 3:5-9,10.
It stands free from all parties, sects and creeds of men, while it seeks more and more to bring its every utterance into fullest subjection to the will of God in Christ, as expressed in the Holy Scriptures. It is thus free to declare boldly whatsoever the Lord hath spoken;--according to the divine wisdom granted unto us, to understand. Its attitude is not dogmatical, but confident; for we know whereof we affirm, treading with implicit faith upon the sure promises of God. It is held as a trust, to be used only in his service; hence our decisions relative to what may and what may not appear in its columns must be according to our judgment of his good pleasure, the teaching of his Word, for the upbuilding of his people in grace and knowledge. And we not only invite but urge our readers to prove all its utterances by the infallible Word to which reference is constantly made, to facilitate such testing.
TO US THE SCRIPTURES CLEARLY TEACH
That the Church is "the Temple of the Living God"--peculiarly "His workmanship;" that its construction has been in progress throughout the Gospel age--ever since Christ became the world's Redeemer and the chief corner stone of this Temple, through which, when finished, God's blessings shall come "to all people," and they find access to him.--1 Cor. 3:16,17; Eph. 2:20-22; Gen. 28:14; Gal. 3:29. That meantime the chiseling, shaping and polishing, of consecrated believers in Christ's atonement for sin, progresses; and when the last of these "living stones," "elect and precious," shall have been made ready, the great Master Workman will bring all together in the First Resurrection; and the Temple shall be filled with his glory, and be the meeting place between God and men throughout the Millennium.--Rev. 15:5-8. That the Basis of Hope, for the Church and the World, lies in the fact that "Jesus Christ, by the grace of God, tasted death for every man," "a ransom for all," and will be "the true light which lighteth every man that cometh into the world," "in due time."--Heb. 2:9; John 1:9; 1 Tim. 2:5,6. That the Hope of the Church is that she may be like her Lord, "see him as he is," be "partaker of the divine nature," and share his glory as his joint-heir.--1 John 3:2; John 17:24; Rom. 8:17; 2 Pet. 1:4. That the present mission of the Church is the perfecting of the saints for the future work of service; to develop in herself every grace; to be God's witness to the world; and to prepare to be the kings and priests of the next age.--Eph. 4:12; Matt. 24:14; Rev. 1:6; 20:6. That the hope for the World lies in the blessings of knowledge and opportunity to be brought to by Christ's Millennial Kingdom--the restitution of all that was lost in Adam, to all the willing and obedient, at the hands of their Redeemer and his glorified Church.--Acts 3:19-21; Isa. 35. CHARLES T. RUSSELL, Editor.
PUBLISHED BY WATCH TOWER BIBLE AND TRACT SOCIETY CHARLES T. RUSSELL, PRESIDENT "BROOKLYN TABERNACLE," 13-17 HICKS ST., BROOKLYN, N. Y., U. S. A.
Foreign Agencies:--British Branch: LONDON TABERNACLE, Lancaster Gate, W. German Branch: Unterdorner Str., 76, Barmen. Australasian Branch: Flinders Building, Flinders St., Melbourne. Please address the SOCIETY in every case.
ANNUAL SUBSCRIPTION PRICE, $1.00 (4s.) IN ADVANCE. SEND MONEY BY EXPRESS, BANK DRAFT, POSTAL ORDER, OR REGISTERED. FROM FOREIGN COUNTRIES BY FOREIGN MONEY ORDERS, ONLY.
Terms to the Lord's Poor as Follows:--All Bible Students who, by reason of old age, or other infirmity or adversity, are unable to pay for this Journal, will be supplied Free if they send a Postal Card each May stating their case and requesting its continuance. We are not only willing, but anxious, that all such be on our list continually and in touch with the Studies, etc.
ALSO FRENCH, GERMAN, SWEDISH AND DANISH EDITIONS. SAMPLE COPIES FREE.
ENTERED AS SECOND-CLASS MAIL MATTER AT BROOKLYN, N.Y., POSTOFFICE. ENTERED AS SECOND-CLASS MATTER AT THE POSTOFFICE DEPT., OTTAWA, CANADA.
INTERNATIONAL BIBLE STUDENTS ASSOCIATION MEETINGS
AT WHICH BROTHER RUSSELL WILL BE PRINCIPAL SPEAKER
FRIENDS FROM NEARBY PLACES ARE CORDIALLY INVITED.
BROOKLYN, N.Y., APRIL 7
Morning Rally for Praise and Testimony at 10:30 o'clock in the Brooklyn Tabernacle. In conjunction with this meeting an opportunity will be given for symbolic Baptism in water. Robes, etc., will be provided. Any desiring to make use of this opportunity will please give us timely notice. The evening Question Meeting at 7:30 o'clock will also be in the Tabernacle. Discourse for the Public at 3 p.m. in the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Lafayette Avenue and St. Felix Street.
BALTIMORE, MD., APRIL 14
Morning Rally for Praise, Prayer and Testimony at 10:30, and evening discourse for the interested at 8 o'clock. Lehman's Hall, 856 Howard Street. Service for the Public at 3 p.m., Academy of Music, North Howard Street.
MONTGOMERY, ALA., APRIL 20 NEW ORLEANS, ALA., APRIL 21 BIRMINGHAM, ALA., APRIL 22
BETHEL HYMNS FOR MAY
(1) 333; (2) 299; (3) 8; (4) 91; (5) 196; (6) 273; (7) 60; (8) 222; (9) 74; (10) 229; (11) 279; (12) 7; (13) 50; (14) 145; (15) 67; (16) 47; (17) 119; (18) 4; (19) 313; (20) 167; (21) 46; (22) 54; (23) 259; (24) 249; (25) 105; (26) 27; (27) 176; (28) 307; (29) 113; (30) 112; (31) vow.
Only two million copies have been requested by the friends thus far, and these have been sent out. Those who have not yet ordered their supply, and others who require more, will assist us by advising at once how many are required.
"YE WERE BOUGHT WITH A PRICE"IT WILL BE noticed that the Apostle refers, not to the world, but to the Church in the statement, "Ye were bought with a price, even the precious blood of Christ." Other Scriptures tell us that "Jesus Christ, by the grace of God, tasted death for every man" --that He redeemed the world. We are to remember, however, that this work of redemption covers centuries. Promises respecting it were made long centuries before Jesus came. He accomplished a certain portion of the work--the all-important part of giving Himself a Ransom price for all--laying down His life.
But while His life was thus laid down, to be the price of the sins of the whole world, it has not yet been applied for the world's sins. If it were, then the world would no longer be under Divine condemnation, "children of wrath," but would in some sense of the word be back in fellowship with God. The price laid down by the Redeemer at Calvary is eventually to be made applicable to the sins of the whole world, but not yet. It will not be made applicable to the whole world until after the gathering out of the world--of all nations, classes--the Bride of Christ, the "elect."
In harmony with this we read that our Lord Jesus after His resurrection ascended up on high, there to appear in the presence of God for us--for the household of faith--not for the world. Hence any blessing, and reconciliation with God, any arrangement of Divine favor and everlasting life, is not open to the world, but merely to believers, the "household of faith": "To us who believe He is precious"; "We have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ, the Righteous." Unbelievers have no Advocate with the Father, and consequently have no forgiveness of sins, no reconciliation, but are still under the condemnation of death. "We have escaped the condemnation that is on the world."
How fully these different texts of the Divine Word dovetail with each other and with the facts! We have peace; the world has no peace. God is our Father; the world is under condemnation, and are "children of wrath," under sentence of death, and not recognized by the Creator in the present time, although the Scriptures show us that He has very gracious plans and arrangements for mankind in general by and by--during the Messianic reign of Jesus and the Church, His Bride. Then, in this class, the Seed of Abraham (Gal. 3:29), all the families of the earth will be blessed.
THE WORLD IS NOT YET BOUGHT
Would it be right, some one inquires, to say that the world is "bought with a price"? We answer that it would not be strictly right to say, but we need not quarrel with those who fail to state the matter in exactly the proper language. Rather, we might surmise that they are speaking of things that are not yet accomplished as though they were already finished. God assures us that in due time the price which our Lord laid down at Calvary will be made applicable to the world under the gracious terms of the New Covenant, which He will make first with Israel. Nevertheless, the point stands out clearly and distinctly that thus far the Ransom-price has not yet been applied to any members of Adam's race except the household of faith--believers. All things belong to these. Nothing belongs to the world as yet.
The privilege granted to the Church through her great Redeemer and Advocate is that His merit imputed to her permits her to share with Him in His sacrifice of the earthly nature, and to become joint-heirs with Him in His glorious arrangements of glory, honor and immortality on the Divine plane.
When we speak of the Church of the First-born we are to remember that the words carry us back to the typical first-borns, who were delivered from death on the occasion of the first typical Passover. There the first-borns of Israel were passed over or spared when other first-borns perished. Subsequently, they were all [R4999 : page 107] exchanged for the one tribe of Levi, which thereafter was the tribe of the first-borns, and as such was set apart for Divine service in connection with the Tabernacle, and later the Temple. They were not all priests, though this was the priestly tribe. Only a few out of the whole number were selected for the priesthood. So it is with the Church of the First-borns; they will all be overcomers, they will all be loyal and faithful to God, but only a "little flock" will be found specially saintly, holy, acceptable unto God through Christ, and these will be the antitypical Priests: "Ye are a Royal Priesthood." --I Peter 2:9.
Hence James declared (1:18), "Ye are a kind of First-fruits unto God of His creatures." Of course, our Lord Jesus was primarily the First-fruits of all God's creatures. Secondarily, the Bride class will be a part of that First-fruit company. Then there will be a large company of saintly people who will come through "great tribulation," "will wash their robes and make them white in the blood of the Lamb," and attain the spirit nature. These [R4999 : page 108] also will be a part of the First-fruits of God to the spirit nature--all on the spirit plane. Then will come God's favor to mankind in general--the after-fruits of His earthly creation--a great company, gathered during the Millennium. All of the evil doers and corrupters of the earth will be destroyed, but those in full perfection will be a glorious fruitage unto God.
St. Paul writes respecting the resurrection of "every man in his own order"--his own band or company. The first of the earthly nature to experience resurrection--that is, a full resurrection, or raising up completely out of death and imperfection--will be the Ancient Worthies, but they will not be part of the First-fruits unto God of His creatures, for they will be, with the remainder of mankind, regenerated by The Christ, the Giver of everlasting human life, secured at the cost of His own sacrifice. With all the remainder of humanity, they will come under the terms of the New Covenant. Indeed, they will be the first to be blessed by that New Covenant arrangement. But since the Divine Programme deals with the world as a whole, Messiah will not deliver up any portion of the world, even those perfected, until the end of the thousand years of His reign of glory and restitution. Consequently, the Ancient Worthies will belong to the "after-fruits"--the human fruitage of the Divine Plan connected with our earth.
At the close of the thousand years, when Messiah shall have completed the work of restitution for all the willing and obedient, and shall destroy in the Second Death all refusing to make progress toward righteousness, then the Mediator steps out from between God and men and leaves the world exposed to the full demands of Divine Justice in letter and in spirit. This will not mean their injury, because in perfection humanity is quite capable of being and doing all that Divine Justice requires. The whole world then being perfect there will be no excuse necessary for any of them, and hence no mediation on behalf of any will thereafter take place.
It will be at that time, after the Mediatorial Kingdom shall have passed, and Jesus shall have delivered up the Kingdom to the Father (I Cor. 15:27), that Satan, the personification of evil, will be loosed from his prisonhouse for a little season--to tempt, to test, to try, to prove all those that dwell upon the face of the whole earth.
In the thousand years of Messiah's Kingdom they will be shielded from all outside temptations and will be helped over and forgiven the imperfections of the flesh, while attaining the fleshly perfection. But at the close of the thousand-year period, having attained the perfection of the flesh, and having had large experience with sin and righteousness, good and evil, it is as proper that they should be tested as that Adam was tested in the beginning --tested to see whether or not the lessons, blessings, experiences and opportunities have fully committed them as lovers of righteousness and haters of iniquity. If these have then the trials that will come upon them through the permission of sin and temptation will be met accordingly, with loyalty to God, to the truth and to righteousness. All such will gain the victory over the temptations.
But such as really at heart still love sin will be entrapped and ensnared and manifested. Then the trials or judgments from Heaven will destroy them and Satan, that the world may be cleansed of all who love sin, and be enjoyed thereafter only by such as love righteousness and hate iniquity.
True, God knowing the heart, could judge all of those people without any testing by Satan, but many of His creatures, unable to read the heart, might wonder respecting the Divine Justice which would smite down some of their fellows who outwardly were righteous, and they might consequently be continually in fear and trepidation lest they should thus be smitten down; hence the Almighty has adopted the method of making this temptation open and above board, to be witnessed by angels and men. Thus it was with Adam in his trial, in his sentence, and in the execution of the penalty. Thus it will be at the close of the Mediatorial reign of Christ. Those who then sin wilfully will be violators of the New Covenant and will die accordingly, just as Adam violated the Covenant under which he was placed, perfect, holy and with the promise of everlasting life.
The fact that this testing of mankind will be after the end of the thousand years of the Mediator's reign, when He shall have delivered up the Kingdom to the Father, does not prove that the glorified Jesus will have nothing to do with the destruction that will come upon Satan and those obedient to Him. Quite to the contrary. As Jesus was the Divine Agent, Instrument, Word, Mouthpiece, Logos, in all the work of creation, and prior to undertaking the Mediatorial work, so, highly exalted now in honor, next to the Father, and at His right Hand of Power, He will undoubtedly be the Father's Representative in that judgment upon the wilful sinners, who with Satan will be consigned to the Second Death.
Here the question may arise in the minds of some, What did the Apostle mean when he said in I Corinthians 15:25,26, "He must reign until He hath put all enemies under His feet; the last enemy that shall be destroyed is death"?
The Apostle is speaking of those things which are against or contrary to mankind--those things which hinder men from keeping the Divine Law, and thus being in full harmony with their Creator. Every such thing is an enemy, and is to be destroyed and be put out of the way --ignorance, superstition, vice, human weaknesses, are some of the enemies of righteousness, and, therefore, enemies to the best interests of humanity. Death is such an enemy, because it is death working in us that causes all of our difficulties.
All the imperfections, whether moral, or physical, or mental, are the workings of death. Because death is thus working in humanity, therefore the righteously intentioned cannot do the things that they would. The work of Messiah's reign will be to put down, to put away, not only other oppositions, but this opposition of the workings of death. Gradually mankind will be lifted up, up, up, out of all that weakness, out of death, to the full perfection of his being. Then death will be destroyed-- the Adamic death, which came upon all men through one man's disobedience, and which is to be canceled, done away completely, because of Christ's obedience, even unto death.
Only toward the close of that thousand years of the reign of the great Mediator will this work of completely overthrowing death be accomplished. Then all mankind will have been delivered, not only from the tomb, but from every shade and degree of death--the whole world will be alive in the same sense that Adam was alive before death passed upon him, or he was affected by the sting of sin.
Then the Kingdom will be turned over to the Father. Those who will die during the thousand years, as wilful evil doers, will die the Second Death. It is not an enemy of man; it is the righteous sentence of a righteous God in the interest of His creatures--those who wilfully prefer sin shall be destroyed from amongst the people, because their influence will be to corrupt the earth. The Second Death, therefore, is not included amongst the enemies, and is not the death that Jesus will destroy. [R4999 : page 109]
Neither is Satan one of the enemies whom Jesus will then destroy. He was an enemy before man sinned, and his rebellion was not brought about by man's sin. He was subject to Divine authority before man was created, and will be a subject of Divine authority after man shall have been redeemed and restored. It will not be for the Mediator to deal with him, but for Divine Justice to determine his deserts. Besides, it is said that he will be destroyed in the Second Death, in the death from which there will be no redemption, no resurrection, no recovery.
MOSES AS A MEDIATOR
THE LAW COVENANT instituted at Mount Sinai was not made with Moses, but with the people of Israel, as Moses declared: "And Moses called all Israel, and said unto them, Hear, O Israel, the statutes and judgments which I speak in your ears this day, that ye may learn them, and keep and do them. The Lord our God made a Covenant with us in Horeb. The Lord made not this Covenant with our fathers, but with us, even us, who are all of us here alive this day."-- Deut. 5:1-3.
Moses was merely the mouthpiece of that Covenant. The word Mediator signifies, go-between; as Moses said, "I stood between God and you." (Deut. 5:5.) The terms [R5000 : page 109] of the Covenant and the arrangements of the Mediator place the responsibility upon the Mediator as the representative of the people, and as the representative of God to the people.
Correspondingly Christ is the Mediator of the New Covenant. He is not yet completed. The Head has finished His work, ascended to glory, and has become the Advocate of those who desire to become members of His Body, and for eigtheen centuries God has been receiving the members of the Body of Christ, the Mediator, into relationship with Himself. Soon the last member of the foreknown and foreordained number of the elect will have been called, accepted and found faithful; and then this Age will end, because the great Prophet, Priest, King, Judge and Mediator will be complete. And more than this: He will have finished His sacrifice--the sacrifice of the flesh, the merit of which is to go to Israel and the world, under the terms of the New Covenant: "They shall obtain mercy through your mercy."--Romans 11:31.
So it was in the type. Before the Law Covenant was inaugurated, Moses took bulls and goats and slew them and used the blood thereof for the sprinkling of the Tables of the Law, representing the Almighty and His obligations to the Covenant, and then he sprinkled the people, bringing them under the obligations of the Covenant. The antitype of this is that immediately after The Christ is glorified beyond the veil, He will apply the merit of His sin-atonement of Calvary for the satisfaction of the whole world, and as the basis of the New Covenant which will be inaugurated with Israel, as promised.--Jeremiah 31:31.
TO THE JEW FIRST IS THE DIVINE ARRANGEMENT
The sprinkling of Israel will come first--"To the Jew first" is the Divine arrangement, as the offer of the privilege of becoming members of Spiritual Israel was first offered to the Jews. But it will not cease with them. Many nations will be sprinkled--all who will. The knowledge of the glory of the Lord will fill the whole earth, and many nations shall say, "Come, let us go up to the house of the Lord; He will teach us of His way, and we will walk in His paths, for the Law shall go forth from Mount Zion (the heavenly or spiritual Kingdom) and the Word of the Lord from Jerusalem" (the earthly phase of the Kingdom, represented by the Ancient Worthies, whom Messiah will make Princes, or rulers, in all the earth).
It will be seen that while it took but a moment to sprinkle the Tables of the Law, it must have taken Moses a considerable time to sprinkle all the people, numbering millions. And, in the antitype, that work lasts for a thousand years. During the entire thousand years of the reign of Christ upon His Mediatorial Throne the work of sprinkling the people--the work of justifying them, making them acceptable, cleansing them from sin, and bringing them into relationship with the Covenant and its demands of perfect obedience--will be in process. At the close of the thousand years, when all the people shall have been sprinkled--when all who desire to avail themselves of God's gracious arrangement through Christ shall have done so--the Mediatorial Kingdom will come to an end; having finished its intended work the disloyal and disobedient will be destroyed in the Second Death. Thenceforth the New Covenant between God and men will remain a perpetual Covenant. Through all eternity it will be true that Jesus was the Mediator of that Covenant, but His mediatorial office will not continue.
"STILL BELOVED FOR THE FATHERS' SAKES"
So it was in the case of Moses: The Law Covenant which he mediated was binding both upon God and Israel for a time whether Moses lived or died. Long after his death it was still spoken of as the Mosaic Law Covenant, and Moses was referred to as the one who mediated that Covenant. Since the people could not fulfil the demands of the Law, they could not have the everlasting life which it promised, but instead received its curse or condemnation of death. The atonement day, year by year, took knowledge of this fact and typically made satisfaction for the sins of the year, and gave the Israelites another year's opportunity in God's favor, to try whether or not they could obey the Law and gain everlasting life. But since the Temple has been destroyed, and the Jewish Priesthood lost, they have had no further repetition of the atonement day sacrifices for now more than eigtheen centuries, and hence, for all this period of time, they are completely cut off from manifestations of Divine favor. The Apostle, however, assures us that they "are still beloved for the fathers' sakes," and that in the Divine Plan a blessing is yet to come to them.
That blessing will come to them under the New Covenant, established by the Better Mediator. All who will accept Him and the gracious arrangements of His Mediatorial Kingdom will attain the highest blessings promised to their nation, and become associated in the Kingdom, which for a thousand years will bless all people with the gracious opportunity for returning to Divine favor on the same terms--obedience to the extent of ability and faith in the Redeemer.
"Bride and Bridegroom, then appearing,
Shall illuminate earth's gloom;
And the nations will be shouting,
'Lo! our King! make room, make room.'
O! the times of glad refreshing,
Soon shall bring a sweet release,
Through the glorious reign of blessing,
Through the mighty Prince of Peace."
BEWARE OF PRIDE IN THE HEARTPRIDE IS VERY DECEITFUL and frequently cloaks or covers itself with humility. Because of our own imperfections it is well for us not to become judges of others, but merely limit our judgment to the outward manifestations. The Lord says, "By their fruits ye shall know them." (Matt. 7:20.) We are to judge the outward conduct, but we cannot go beyond and say what is of the heart. Errors of judgment are not an abomination to the Lord. He may look upon mistakes with sympathetic eyes. People are not responsible for those qualities which have come down to them by inheritance. Without judging individuals we may see certain conduct sometimes which may seem to be pride, yet is not pride. "Every one that is proud in heart is an abomination to the Lord."--Prov. 16:5.
We have seen people who have a great lack of self-esteem, a great lack of vanity, but who may have large approbativeness. They do not think so much of themselves as they wish others to think of them. They say, "If people knew me as I know myself, I would simply be a cypher in the world." There is a certain amount of truth in this. People with small self-esteem are often taken to be proud, when it is really not the case. In trying to look as though they were somebody they will carry themselves as though they thought they were everybody. Such persons are simply laboring in an unfavorable condition in which they were born. We cannot think that the Lord would abominate them. They are very often little to themselves and very humble with the Lord. Yet they try to make themselves appear in as favorable a manner as possible. We must admit that there is a propriety in this to a certain extent. It is wise for them to try to overcome their weaknesses of nature. They should try to think soberly of themselves (that is, to be of sound mind), and they should try not to overdo matters. They must act with meekness, as well as feel and think meekly.
There is another class who have a large amount of self-esteem, yet who think, "I do not wish others to know that I have this high opinion of myself, therefore I will cloak it. I will endeavor to speak very humbly. The Scriptures say that we should be humble, therefore when I speak of anything I will try to speak from this standpoint." Such people very frequently get a gloss of humility of an outward kind. Some people really think that this course is right. If they are sincere in their conduct, we cannot suppose that the Lord would abhor them.
Our thought, then, is that in this text "The proud in heart" are the haughty-minded--those who feel haughty toward others and are not sympathetic, who think of themselves more highly than they ought to think, who despise others. The heart of such a one is not that which God could love or that anyone could love; it is an abomination in the Lord's sight.
WHY PRIDE IS AN ABOMINABLE TRAIT
An abomination is that which is extremely displeasing --that which is repulsive--that which a person should not wish to entertain--should not harbor--must reprove. There must be some reason why God declares Himself thus in opposition to pride. We perceive that no one really has anything whereof to be proud. As the Apostle suggests in one place (I Cor. 4:7), "What hast thou that thou didst not receive? Now, if thou didst receive it, why dost thou glory as if thou hadst not received it?" What have we that we have not received of the Lord? If whatever we have received is a gift, where is our right to be proud of it? Evidently, such would be a very wrong condition of mind to be in--to be proud of things not our own, not of ourselves, but a gift.
There is, therefore, no reason for any to be proud; but there is every reason to be thankful to the Great Giver of all good. And that which is true of us is true also of the angels. Hence, there is nothing in all the Universe for any of God's creatures to be proud of. [R5001 : page 110] Whatever conditions they are in are not of themselves. God seems to have arranged the conditions for humility, so that there could be no ground for pride.
Pride is merely selfishness, self-laudation; and selfishness is another name for sin. Sin and selfishness, therefore, are in opposition to the Divine Character and the Divine Plan--totally in opposition to it. It is, therefore, the right and proper thing that God should have the proud in detestation. Not having used His blessings aright, they could not have His favor. Whether they be proud of mental attainments, proud of physical strength, proud of wealth or ancestry, or proud that their "ancestors were monkeys," matters not. It is all pride, and an abomination to the Lord.
THE MOST DETESTABLE FORM OF PRIDE
But evidently the most detestable form of pride is pride in the Church--as though we had made the Plan and could boast in it! We do, indeed, see that anyone making the Plan might justly feel proud of it. But when we remember that none of us made the Plan, but that we are privileged to see it, we should be filled the more with humility, and should try day by day to better glorify His Name for the blessings which He has provided for the whole world.
We cannot suppose that any kind of pride would be more detestable in God's sight than pride of the Truth. If anyone should continue in such a course, manifestly it would lead him out of the light. We see this principle illustrated well in the case of Satan. Noble, grand, he allowed pride to enter his heart and said, "I will ascend above the others; I will have an empire of my own." And this pride made him the opponent of God. (Isa. 14:12-17.) He is known in the Scriptures as the Adversary, Satan, the Devil.
All those who have the spirit of pride fail to recognize that "every good and perfect gift cometh down from the Father of Lights." (Jas. 1:17.) Every such one, therefore, has the spirit of the Adversary instead of the Spirit of God. If it be allowed to grow and bring forth fruit, it will lead eventually to the Second Death. It is appalling to see the nature of the temptations that come to God's people! But we are not to judge their hearts, to determine whether it is a pride of heart or not; for it may be merely a deception for a time. And even though they may miss the "high calling," they may get a place in the "great company." And when we see that the conduct is not at all in accord with what we should expect in those blessed with the Truth, it should make us all search our own hearts to see to what extent we have the same traits of pride.
Perhaps this quality of pride is nowhere more manifested than in some of those who have been in the Truth for quite a while. Sometimes it is on the part of the sisters. Sometimes they are very proud of what they know and very domineering in their manner, seeming to think that they know it all. Sometimes it is on the part of the brethren, in whom a spirit of pride appears. They have been placed as Elders. They see that they themselves are right and others are wrong. Sometimes this leads to an attempt to override the liberties of the congregation and to hold power in their own hands. [R5001 : page 111]
"BE NOT MANY TEACHERS"
It may not always be our privilege to mention such a matter. Such things may be matters that belong to a class. But, as one Pilgrim brother remarked some time ago, "Brother Russell, I sometimes think that, when we get beyond the veil, we shall be astonished to find how few of those who have exercised positions of prominence in the Church will be amongst the elect." It behooves us all who are associated in the Lord's work to watch ourselves closely, that if we find the sligthest tendency in this direction of pride we may stamp it out as we would some contagious disease, knowing what the effects are upon others. We should be sympathetic with those who are beset, but not with the difficulty. We are reminded of the Apostle's words, "Be not many teachers, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation." Those who have seen the Truth clearly and have some talents and opportunities will have the severer trial on that account.
Recently we have heard of some trials in the Class Extension work. The opportunities of Class Extension have resulted, in some cases, not advantageously. Some of great self-esteem have felt that they should be in the work, determining that they would tell the Class what to do. Some good brethren may have done this; some noble men may have done it. But in doing it, they were not acting wisely, we believe.
As we said at first, it is not well for us to judge the heart. Everyone is privileged to preach as he may have opportunity. He may go forth entirely at his own expense and opportunity. He may preach all that he can. Good men have done so. There is nothing in the Scriptures to prohibit it. But to try to coerce a Class--trying to recognize the Class in some sense and to ignore that Class in another sense--is not the right thing. If the Class is supposed to express the Divine will, the individuals should acquiesce in what the Class decides.
THE MORTAL BODY THE SERVANT OF THE NEW MINDST. PAUL was a most successful soldier of the cross; and from his Epistles we gain much information as to how to fight our own weaknesses successfully. In our text the Apostle speaks particularly of himself, with the evident intention of teaching a lesson to all of the Lord's people whom he addressed at that time or who would receive his word subsequently--including ourselves. "I keep my body under, and bring it into subjection, lest that by any means...I myself should be a castaway."--1 Cor. 9:27.
The thought is not that we are to keep each other under, nor that the Lord is keeping our bodies under, but that a special commission is given to us in respect to our own bodies, and that we ourselves will be held accountable for their conduct. This statement, "I keep my body under," would be true only of one who has been begotten of the Holy Spirit, and who has become a New Creature in Christ Jesus. But although the individual is reckonedly a member of the Body of Christ, adopted into God's family, and called a son of God, he has not as yet, of course, received the spirit body promised him, but is waiting to receive it in the resurrection.
GOOD INTENTIONS NOT SUFFICIENT
Meantime God calls upon all spirit-begotten ones to demonstrate their loyalty to righteousness and their faithfulness by practising upon their mortal bodies. When coming into Christ, they made a full consecration of themselves, of their bodies and all that is theirs, to the Lord's service. It was on account of this Covenant of sacrifice that they were counted as members of the Body of Christ and begotten of the Holy Spirit--sons of God. It is not sufficient, however, to declare our intention; but God allows the difficulties and trials of life to prove our faithfulness to the sacrifice we have made. And while making provision for the blemishes of our mortal body, He, nevertheless, holds us responsible for our bodies, for our words and our actions. He calls us to be New Creatures; and we must develop our characters to such an extent that the New Creature will fight down, to the best of his ability, everything opposed to the new will. The first part of the text declares, "I keep my body under," that is to say, in subordination, under restraint.
Those who deal in horses tell us that all horses must be broken; and that to break a horse is difficult of accomplishment and requires a great deal of force. The object in thus dealing with the horse is not to continue to break the animal every day, but to break him once for all, that he might be put to some service. This illustration seems to fit the Apostle's thought.
As a New Creature the Apostle had a mortal body which was rebellious against God's will, and thus must be dealt with in a firm manner, in order to bring it under the control of its master--the new mind, whose Head is Christ. If the body be taught this lesson of submission, it may be a good, useful servant of the new master and serve unto death, just as a horse may be broken in and serve his master well. This is the thought in the Apostle's words, "I keep my body under." In substance the Apostle says, "I must break in this human nature, force it into harmony with the new will, and bring it into subjection, making it a servant to myself, the New Creature. This I do because this is the Divine will and the very thing to which I have been called.
As a New Creature I wish to show that I am loyal to the principles of righteousness and truth everywhere. But this old body is more or less in rebellion against God and against the principles of the Divine arrangement. And it is my duty to see to what extent I can carry out this proposition--the bringing of the old mind into subjection to God and to righteousness. And in proportion as I make myself a servant of righteousness, God will use me, and to that extent I shall grow and become an overcomer. By doing these things an entrance will be administered to me into the everlasting Kingdom of Jesus Christ. But if I fail to carry this out, I shall fail of the character-development which all must have who would be accounted members of the Body of Christ."
As St. Paul says in another place, God foreordained that He would have a Church, and that all who would be of this Church should become copies of His Son, Christ Jesus. (Rom. 8:28-30.) So, if St. Paul would remain a member of this Body of Christ, he must keep his human body under, must subordinate his earthly nature, not merely bringing it into subjection to things which would be for righteousness and truth, but also bringing it into subjection as regards natural things. So must all do who would come off "more than conquerors" in the good fight; it is necessary that we should carry out this fulness of service; that we should be faithful unto death, and that we should show this consecration, not only in our minds, but also in our mortal bodies.
When the Apostle says here that he would be in [R5002 : page 112] danger of being a "castaway" if he did not bring his body into subjection, and thus prove to be an overcomer, it is tantamount to saying that he would fail to make his calling and election sure. He was called to become an heir of God and joint-heir with Jesus Christ. If, therefore, he should fail to perform his part of the contract of sacrifice, he would become a castaway in respect to this election. He would not gain the election. He would lose in the race in which he had started.
HABITS MAKE CHARACTER
It is our duty to watch ourselves that we do no harm, that our body does good service and not injury to ourselves. A man or a woman or a child who goes through the house slamming doors, and merely says, "I was in a hurry and could not help it," is not gentle. He is not a gentleman, or she is not a gentlewoman. Whoever fails to cultivate gentleness is failing to cultivate the fruits of the Spirit. He is losing a glorious opportunity of practising upon himself--of keeping his body under, of getting himself into the way of doing things in a sensible, reasonable manner. The person who bangs doors and goes about noisily is one who does not think of other people and their interests. When we talk about ourselves all the time and think about ourselves all the time, it is an evidence of selfishness. In all these things the Lord expects us to keep our bodies under, and to show carefulness in keeping our bodies under, in the little things of life as well as in the great things.
If our Lord Jesus were here, none of us would expect Him to go about noisily, slamming the doors of the house, or to be wasteful. Our Lord was most economical in the two cases where He fed the four thousand and the five thousand. Although there was plenty of food to feed the multitude, He told His disciples to "gather up the fragments that remain, that nothing be lost."--John 6:12.
Thus did God's dear Son view matters; and we desire to be copies of Him. In building character we must wilfully and intentionally do right. The person who practices in the little things will be also careful in the larger matters. Even the pins, the needles and the paper we should use carefully. Not that any should be miserly-- not willing to give one a pin if he wants one--but do not think to waste even them, saying, "Oh, the pins cost only a trifle, anyway!" The Lord was always generous, but He was economical. So we should all be. We should keep the body under the new mind. The new mind should be looking out for these matters and keeping the old body in service.
APOSTOLIC SUCCESSION UNSCRIPTURAL --MARK 3:7-19; MATTHEW 5:13-16.--APRIL 21.--TODAY'S LESSON shows the particularity with which the twelve Apostles were chosen. Many were the Redeemer's followers at times, both men and women, but only The Twelve were specially deputized as His mouthpieces and representatives among men. Some of the things said to and respecting them are equally appropriate to every one of Jesus' followers, but other things said to The Twelve and respecting them apply to none others of their day or since--for instance, the Savior said to The Twelve, and to none others, "Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."--Matt. 16:19; 18:18. Text:--"Ye did not choose Me, but I chose you and appointed you, that ye should go and bear fruit."--John 15:16 (R.V.).
The import of these words clearly is that the persons indicated were assured that they would be so specially guided of Divine providence in all their efforts that they would set forth as the Divine will amongst men nothing to which Heaven would not assent. And, on the other hand, they would declare not binding upon the followers of Jesus only such things as in God's sight would not be binding. In those twelve men, therefore, we recognize a plenary inspiration, or special guidance not accorded in this particular degree to others of the "brethren."
We do not forget that Judas was one of the original Twelve and that, proving traitorous, "He went to his own place." We remember also that he was specifically referred to by the Prophet David, through whom the Divine message came, that another would take the Apostleship which Judas forfeited. What we do claim is this: that the announcement was prophetically made of a successor to Judas, so as to teach us that the appointment of his successor was exceptional and not the rule; that aside from this one case there would be no successors.
Surely there is no intimation in the New Testament that as one after another of the Apostles died other men were recognized as succeeding them. On the contrary, the Scriptures repeatedly refer to the "Twelve Apostles of the Lamb." Moreover, as the Jewish Dispensation began at the death of Jacob, in the recognition of his twelve sons, so the Christian Dispensation began at the death of Jesus, in the recognition of His twelve Apostles. And as one of the tribes of Israel was cut off, and is not mentioned in the enumeration in the Apocalypse, but the tribe of Manasseh substituted, so amongst Jesus' Apostles Judas is dropped and a successor is appointed.
ST. PAUL TO SUCCEED JUDAS
In the past we may have read too carelessly the account of how the eleven faithful Apostles exceeded their authority in the selection of Matthias to take the place of Judas. It was proper enough that they should scan the prophecies, and that they should note, as they did, God's declaration of the unfaithfulness of Judas, and that another was to take his special place in the Church; but they should have remembered that they had not as yet qualified as Apostles themselves. They should have remembered that whatever Apostolic or special power they exercised during Jesus' ministry came to them from Him and not from the Heavenly Father--that Jesus endued them as His representatives. They should have remembered that the Master specifically told them to do nothing until after receiving the Heavenly benediction, saying, "Tarry ye at Jerusalem until ye be endued with power from on high."
Accrediting them with the very best of heart intentions, it was, nevertheless, effrontery on their part to select two names and to determine that one or the other must be the successor of Judas. They had no authority for so doing. As for the one upon whom the lot fell, Matthias, we hear nothing further of him. On the contrary, in God's due time, He Himself brought forth Saul of Tarsus, an Israelite indeed, a Pharisee of the Pharisees, who, however perverse in his conduct, was thoroughly conscientious, and verily thought he did God service.
St. Paul himself tells us that he was not one whit behind the very chiefest of the Apostles, and that in respect to visions and revelations he had more than they all. He [R5002 : page 113] goes back to the time when Christ appeared to him on the way to Damascus and when He declared to Ananias, "He is a chosen vessel unto Me, to bear My name unto the Gentiles and to kings, and to the people of Israel." St. Paul tells us that he found evidences that God had chosen him for a special service, from his mother's womb. And such special preparation and supervision we doubt not was applicable to all of The Twelve, even as also with John the Baptist in his work.--Acts 9:15; Gal. 1:15.
"A CROWN OF TWELVE STARS"
The Lord's specialization of the twelve Apostles is variously referred to. He said: "Have not I chosen you twelve?" and again, "Ye shall sit on twelve thrones." In the symbolical book of Revelation He pictures the Church as a woman, clothed with sunlight, standing over or near to the moon, which symbolizes the Jewish Law Covenant; and upon her head was a crown of twelve stars, representing the twelve Apostles of the Lamb.
Again, later on in the same book, we find pictured the Church in glory beyond the veil, the Bride--the New Jerusalem. Of this City we read that it had twelve foundations, all precious stones; and in the twelve foundations were the names of the twelve Apostles of the Lamb. We believe that we need no better evidence on the subject.
The recognition of successors to the Apostles was one of the first errors after their death. Every bishop was recognized as one of the successors and hence as possessing Apostolic authority. It was not long until the words of the original Twelve were neglected. The living bishops were acknowledged as speaking with the same Divine authority--up-to-date. Later great Church Councils were called, in which these bishops, as claimed successors to the Apostles, decided what should and what [R5003 : page 113] should not be allowed by the Church, what was and what was not orthodox.
It can be readily seen that this exaltation of false apostles (Rev. 2:2), contrary to the Divine arrangement, opened a flood-gate of error, however well intentioned all concerned may have been. It is surprising that so many still hold to the creeds thus formulated by pseudo-apostles. The need of the hour is a recognition of these facts and an abandonment of all those creeds and a return to the words of Jesus and the Apostles and the Prophets. Only thus can we hope to regain the position lost. Only thus can we extricate ourselves from the multiplied errors represented in the six hundred divisions of the church of Christ, and of their six hundred variations of the original Gospel Message. Only thus can we return to the "one Lord, one Faith, one Baptism," one Father, one Savior, and one "Church of the First-born, whose names are written in heaven."--Eph. 4:4-6; Heb. 12:23.
GOOD OMEN FROM ROME
If it is surprising to find the head of the Church of Rome leading the way back from this error, it should all the more be a cause for rejoicing, and this is just what is taking place. The Pope, realizing that the public no longer have reverential confidence in the bishops as inspired men, the successors of the Apostles, realizes also the need of some great publicly acknowledged standard of Divine truth. Undoubtedly it is this which led "the holy father" to send a circular letter to all the cardinals and bishops urging upon the Catholic public to study the Holy Scriptures--the words of Jesus and the Apostles, and their explanation of the Law and the Prophets.
Alas, that Protestants should be laggards at this moment! that many of the great and learned of them are today inclined to make sport of the entire subject of Divine inspiration! Alas! Protestants are being told by the Higher Critics that Jesus and the Apostles were undoubtedly deceived when they made quotations from the Old Testament Scriptures and accredited them to Moses, Isaiah, etc., for the Higher Critics are wiser (?) than Jesus and the Apostles.
THE PALACE OF BLESSEDNESS --APRIL 28.--MATTHEW 5:1-12.--OF THE GREAT TEACHER we read, "He spake as never man spake." He was the Man Christ Jesus, but He was not a fallen man, not a sinner. His life was transferred from a heavenly to an earthly condition; hence, as a Man, He was "holy, harmless, undefiled and separate from sinners." (Heb. 7:26.) More than this, at the time of His consecration to death, He entered into a covenant of sacrifice with Jehovah, and thereupon He received His anointing of the Holy Spirit --this was the power of the Highest. What need have we for wonder, then, when we read that He taught as one having authority--as one who knew, who understood clearly and positively the things which He presented! Text:--"Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God."--Verse 8.
The eight Beatitudes illustrate the difference between the teachings of Jesus and all other teachings from every other quarter. He had a new view of what to present. His is a different Message from all other messages to this day. While other teachers instructed the people to hold up their heads, to remember noble ancestors, etc., and thereby be blessed, Jesus encouraged His hearers to realize that the poor in spirit, the humble-minded, would receive the great blessings.
While other teachers held forth the rich, the great, the learned, the mighty, the influential amongst men as the patterns to be copied, if happiness would be attained, Jesus, in these beatitudes, sets forth the reverse. His prescriptions for happiness have indeed been followed by a few, and these alone appreciate their merit and are finding the blessings promised, both for the present life and for that which is to come.
The contrast between the Ten Commandments of the Mosaic Law and the eight Beatitudes declared by Jesus on the Mount, illustrate in considerable degree the difference between the Law Dispensation, and the Dispensation of Grace. The Law commanded the "house of servants" what they should and what they should not do. "Moses was faithful as a servant over all his house." (Heb. 3:5,6.) He delivered to the "house of servants"--typical Israel--the Divine Law, by the keeping of which they might be blessed and used in the Divine service.
But the Gospel Message is a still higher one. It does not ignore the Law given by Moses to the "house of servants." It recognizes the Law as just, and holy, and good, and that Israel did not obtain that which they sought, because unable, through the weakness of heredity, to keep the spirit of God's perfect Law. The New Dispensation, which Jehovah inaugurated through Jesus, provides a full Ransom sacrifice for all sinners, and proposes [R5003 : page 114] ultimately to bless and to assist all out of all the weakness of heredity--not only Israel, but the entire race of Adam. The Law feature will be maintained, but grace and mercy will come in to render the necessary assistance to the keeping of the Law. But before that New Era of world blessing is introduced, the Divine arrangement proposes to gather a special class, all of whom must be "copies of God's dear Son." (Rom. 8:29, Diaglott.) These are to be His joint-heirs, in every sense of the word --in the sufferings and self-denials and persecutions and sacrifices of the present life, as well as in the glories, the honor and immortality of the future life.
CALLED TO BE THE ELECT
The Mission of Jesus and His teachings, at His first advent, were not to the world, but to a special class: "He that hath an ear to hear, let him hear." The Message for the world will go forth at His second advent, and we have the assurance that then all the blinded eyes will be opened and all the deaf ears will be unstopped, and the knowledge of the glory of God will fill the whole earth.
In today's study, Jesus was addressing such of the Jews as had the hearing ear, such as had an inclination to be His disciples. He was addressing the class to whom He said, "If any man will be My disciple, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me, that where I am there shall My disciple be." It was to this class that the Beatitudes were spoken, not with thunderings of Sinai, not with threats of vengeance and death if the lessons were not learned.
The Master was addressing such as believed on Him, the class for whom He was about to appear in the presence of God, after finishing His sacrificial work, to impute to them His covering for their blemishes and imperfections, and to give them a standing with the Father, and to make their sacrifices "holy and acceptable to God." (Rom. 12:1.) He was instructing these as to how they could best make their calling and election sure, how they could the more successfully win the great "prize" to which they were called. Others may gather precious lessons from these Beatitudes, but only the spirit-begotten can appreciate them fully.
THE PALACE OF BLESSEDNESS
The foundation of the Palace of Blessedness is Humility. None can ever hope for a share in the Messianic Kingdom except as he is humble-minded: "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven." To such and such only will this great blessing come. It would never do for God to accept as a member of the Kingdom class one possessed of the spirit of pride and selfish ambition. In Satan's experience we have an illustration of what pride might accomplish. God proposes that humility shall be a primary test as respects the Bride class.
The Palace Reception Room, upon the foundation of Humility, on the ground-floor of the Palace, is the chamber of Sorrow--mourning. Only such as know what it is to be touched with the feelings of human infirmities can be members of the Royal Priesthood, which by and by is to deal with and assist back to harmony with God whoever wills of all humanity. Besides, this Reception-Room of sorrow and mourning seems necessary for our complete separation from the things of the world, the flesh and the Devil. Few have ever been saints without passing through sorrowful experiences. We remember Jesus' words, "Come unto Me, all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." Yes, the Reception Room of mourning is necessary for us before we can appreciate the comfort which God has provided for this particular class--"His elect": "Blessed are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted."
The Palace Library is Meekness. None can be successfully taught of the Lord and fully enjoy the Palace of Blessedness without the quality of meekness or teachableness. Into this Library the follower of Jesus must frequently go, there to learn valuable lessons, without which he could not make progress in his faith-building and character-development: "Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth." As members of Messiah, heirs of God and joint-heirs with Jesus, their Lord, these will come into the full possession, the full control of the earth. For a thousand years this control will be maintained while mankind will be taught valuable lessons and be uplifted out of sin and degradation and death to [R5004 : page 114] the perfect manhood lost by Father Adam, redeemed by Jesus. Only at the close of the Messianic reign will The Meek turn over their inheritance, the earth, to mankind. Then those of the earth who will receive the control will be such of mankind as will have learned their lessons of meekness.
The Dining Room: Hunger for Righteousness. All who will be joint-heirs with Christ will be lovers of righteousness and haters of iniquity, in likeness of the Redeemer. It is very important, therefore, that in our Palace of Blessedness we have a large and well-appointed Dining Room, where our hunger and thirst for righteousness may be encouraged and satisfied at the same time. "Blessed are they who hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled." They will get their fill of it, for their own perfection in the First Resurrection, and in the establishment of righteousness in all the earth, during the thousand years of Messiah's reign.
The Door of the Palace: Mercy. One of the most important lessons for the New Creature to learn is love, sympathy, mercy. In the Divine arrangement we must go out and in this door constantly. Our own imperfections continually require Divine mercy and should as continually impress upon us the merciful disposition toward those with whom we have to do. Only thus will we be fitted and prepared to be faithful and merciful members of the Royal Priesthood in dealing with and blessing the world of mankind during the Messianic Kingdom. "Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy"; "If ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your heavenly Father forgive your trespasses"; "Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us."
The Palace Window, through which we may see God, is Purity of Heart. We cannot, while in the flesh, attain absolute purity in thought, word and deed, but we can have heart purity--pureness of intention and desire. Only such as have this heart condition may hope to attain the Kingdom honors and to see Him whom no human has seen, neither can see. "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God."
The Parlor of our Palace is represented by the characteristics of the Peacemaker. It implies a certain resistance and victory in respect to our own affairs, furnishing us the opportunity to help others. "Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God."
The Kitchen of our Palace represents the trials and difficulties incidental to the rounding out of our characters as a whole and our proper nourishment and upbuilding spiritually. "Blessed are ye when men shall revile you and say all manner of evil against you falsely, for My Name's sake; rejoice, and be exceeding glad, for great is your reward in heaven."
THE RICH MAN IN HELL --MAY 5.--LUKE 6:20-26; 16:19-31.--NOT ALL THE POOR are to be blessed and to inherit the Kingdom of God, etc., as set forth in this lesson. We are to notice particularly the setting of the Master's words. He lifted up His eyes on His disciples, and said, "Blessed are ye poor, for yours is the Kingdom of God"--"ye shall be filled"-- "your reward is great in heaven." Undoubtedly poverty is a greater aid to discipleship than wealth. The cost of discipleship is the surrender of every earthly ambition to follow in the footsteps of Jesus. Text:--"A man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth."--Luke 12:15.
The rich are disadvantaged because theirs would be the greater sacrifice. "How hardly shall a rich man enter into the Kingdom of God"--become a joint-heir with Christ in His Messianic Kingdom which for a thousand years is to bless the world! The rich are disadvantaged because their wealth preserves them from many trials to which the poor are subjected. They have so many consolations and comforts now that the thought of sacrificing these to follow the Master appalls them, and the Kingdom glories seem to them less real and less attractive than to the disconsolate.
The lesson for us is that if we would win the great Prize and the Kingdom we must not set our hearts upon earthly things, nor trust in uncertain riches. Contrariwise, we must realize that our all, much or little, is the Lord's, and that faithfulness in sacrificing what we have will decide whether or not we shall share His glory.
THE RICH MAN IN HELL
The second part of our lesson is one of our Lord's most striking parables. We read that He opened His mouth in parables and dark sayings, "that, hearing, they might hear and not understand." Of all our Lord's parables this one has been most seriously misunderstood. Indeed, it is accepted as a literal statement, notwithstanding the fact that we read again, "Without a parable spake He not unto them." Only a slight investigation, however, is necessary to demonstrate that this is a parable--that it would be unreasonable to consider it to be a statement of literal facts. For instance, it would be unreasonable to suppose that a man would be sent, after death, to torment merely because in the present life he fared sumptuously every day, lived in a fine house, and wore purple and fine linen. Nothing whatever is said about the character of the man, good or bad, and we are not permitted to add to the Word of God. The Rich Man represented a class.
Similarly, the poor man, after death, must have symbolized a class, because no reason is given for his blessing after death, except that he was poor, covered with sores and lay at the rich man's gate eating his crumbs.
Considered as a parable, this is one of the most interesting and helpful of all our Lord's utterances. The Rich Man of the parable represents the Jewish nation, highly favored of God. The bountiful table represents the rich promises of the Law and the Prophets, which were theirs alone up to the time that they nationally died to those favors. The Rich Man's purple clothing represents royalty --the fact that they were God's typical kingdom.
David and Saul sat upon the throne of the kingdom of the Lord, and when the kingdom was removed in the days of Zedekiah the declaration was made that it would afterward be restored, with Messiah as King. The "fine linen" of the Rich Man represented the justification which God had granted to the Jewish nation alone thus far. It was a typical justification, accomplished through the Law Covenant and its sacrifices for Sin Atonement administered by a typical priest year by year.
A harvesting of the Jewish people began with our Lord's ministry and lasted for forty years. It ended in the year A.D. 70, when the Rich Man, as a nation, died at the hands of Titus and the Roman army. Nationally, the Rich Man is buried, and will be non-existent until the due time, when the Lord's blessing will return to the Jewish people, as explained by St. Paul in Romans 11:25-35. But although nationally dead, the Jewish people have been very much alive ever since, and have been ostracised and persecuted and tormented with fiery trials.
Although the nation of the Jews contains representatives of all the tribes, it is specially represented in Judah and Benjamin; and hence these two tribes constitute the one Rich Man. The other ten tribes, "scattered abroad," would proportionately represent the "five brethren" mentioned in the parable. This thought is confirmed by the statement, "They have Moses and the Prophets, let them hear them." None but the twelve tribes of Israel had Moses and the Prophets.
LAZARUS IN ABRAHAM'S BOSOM
Lazarus, the poor outcast, who was longing for a share of the Rich Man's favor and privileges, represented a certain class of Gentiles, such as the Centurian, whose servant Jesus healed, and who had such faith in Jesus that he said, "I am not worthy that thou shouldest come into my house, but speak the word and my servant shall be healed." Jesus declared that He had not found such faith as that amongst the Israelites. Another of these Gentile outcasts was the Centurian Cornelius, the first Gentile received into the Gospel privileges. Of him it is written that he reverenced God, prayed always, and gave much alms to the poor.
Of the same Lazarus class was the Syro-Phenician woman, who besought Jesus that he would heal her daugther. Because she was a Gentile Jesus answered, "It is not proper that I should take the children's bread and give it to dogs"--the Gentiles--"dogs" being a familiar name for all outside the pale of Judaism. The woman at once recognized the application and answered, "Yea, Lord, yet the dogs eat of the crumbs which fall from the children's table." In answer to such faith Jesus granted her a crumb from the Divine table.
Here, then, we see the Lazarus class, sin-sick, covered with sores--because not sharers in Israel's yearly sin-atonement sacrifices--hungry, because all of the promises of God primarily belonged to Israel--the companions of dogs, who licked their sores--this also intimating that they were Gentiles. They were outside the gate of Divine favor, this illustrating the same lesson--that they were "aliens, strangers and foreigners to the commonwealth of Israel." This Lazarus class, composed chiefly of Gentiles, had as its nucleus "the outcasts of Israel"--the publicans and sinners, who heard the Gospel Message gladly, but whom the Scribes and Pharisees rejected, disfellowshipped and put out of the synagogues, disowning them as Jews.
The parable pictures a great change in this Lazarus class--they died to the conditions wherein they then were. They ceased to be the poor beggars, aliens and strangers, sin-sick, weary and hungry. But Lazarus was not buried, as was the Rich Man; "he was carried by the angels" to the bosom of Abraham. The angels were the Apostles and ministers of the Gospel--specially St. Peter and St. Paul. These declared to the Gentiles that whereas once they were "aliens, strangers and foreigners to the commonwealth [R5005 : page 116] of Israel," they were now "brought nigh" through faith in the Lord Jesus, and through the begetting of the Holy Spirit.
Abraham typified God, the Father of the faithful, and the carrying of Lazarus to "Abraham's bosom" symbolically said that the outcasts of Israel and the worthy Gentiles became children of God, children and heirs of Abraham, who typified God. Thus also wrote the Apostle, "Ye are brought nigh through the blood of Christ"; "If ye be Christ's, then are ye Abraham's Seed, and heirs according to the promise." The promise reads that "all the families of the earth shall be blessed" by this Seed of Abraham. Thus St. Paul wrote, "Israel hath not obtained that which he seeketh, but the elect obtained it, and the rest were blinded," and "wrath came upon that people to the uttermost," "that all things written in the Law and the Prophets concerning them should be fulfilled." --Rom. 11:7; I Thess. 2:16; Luke 21:22.
The Jew in his misery has beheld with jealous eye the favor of God manifested toward those whom he despised. He has even humbled himself to ask that relief might be sent to him through Christian Gentiles--symbolically, even "one drop" of refreshment. But no relief will be afforded until the end of this Age--until the Messianic Kingdom shall be established; and then Israel (both dead and living) shall obtain mercy through the elect.-- Rom. 11:31,32.
One fulfilment of the request of the parable for a "drop of water" occurred several years ago when the Jews memorialized President Roosevelt, requesting his good offices with the Russian Government for the abatement of the persecutions of the Jews there. The President replied that he regretted the inability of complying with the request because the etiquette of nations prohibited such a suggestion being offered by one nation to another with whom it was at peace.
LOVING OUR NEIGHBORS --MAY 12.--LUKE 6:27-38; ROM. 13:8-10.--TODAY'S STUDY is from Saint Luke's account of the Sermon on the Mount. It does not profess to be a regulation for the world, but merely applies to saints--to those who have consecrated their lives fully to follow in the footsteps of Jesus--to suffer with Him that they may also reign with Him. Even these may not be able to live up to every feature of the Master's instructions, because of weakness in their fallen flesh. We must take the Master's words here and elsewhere addressed to the faithful as representing the full, complete, perfect standard. It is for each disciple to recognize this supreme standard and to measure and gauge his thoughts and words and doings thereby, and to as closely as possible attain this standard. "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself."--Romans 13:9.
We are to remember, however, that as no Jew could keep the Law in its spirit, perfectly, neither could any of any other nationality keep it. The Jew's failure to keep the Law meant his failure to gain everlasting life, but we (the followers of Jesus) are not under the Law Covenant, but under Grace. We are to keep the Divine Law as nearly as we possibly can and to accept by faith God's arrangement for us in Jesus--that "by His stripes we are healed," our shortcomings are made good.
Thus doing our very best, yet surely coming short, the Apostle's words apply to us: "The righteousness of the Law is fulfilled in us who walk not after the flesh, but after the spirit." We walk after the spirit, and would walk up to it if we could, but, being unable to do so, "The blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth us from all sin." This is the happy state of all who through faith and consecration become children of God during this Gospel Age. Their faith and good intentions and good efforts, by the grace of God, make good their deficiencies.
As for others than God's people, He does not speak to them at all, except to tell them that they are sinners under the sentence of death, but that He has made provision for their reconciliation through the blood of the cross, and that whether they become disciples of Christ or not under the call to Brideship, nevertheless their words and conduct in the present life will all advantage or disadvantage them in the life to come. In this secondary way the world--all mankind aside from the Church, the consecrated--may be measurably enligthened by the Master's teachings in this lesson, even while it is not addressed to them. They may see its high standards and appreciate them to some extent, but not fully, unless they realize that the Church Class, called in this Gospel Age, is required to undergo special trial, testing, proving, as to loyalty to God, meekness, gentleness, patience, long-suffering, brotherly kindness, love.
"BUT I SAY UNTO YOU"
The two tables of the Law given to Israel were a requirement of Justice, but Jesus and His followers take a still higher plane and, waiving their own rights, they become sacrificers of their own comforts, preferences, desires, to the doing of the Divine will, to the serving of the brethren and mankind in general. Justice never requires sacrifice. Thus discipleship and attainment with Jesus of a share in the sufferings of this present time and in the glory that shall follow mean something more than merely rendering to every man his due, for no one has a right to render to another less than his due, nor to do injury to another. Jesus not only did no injury, but, additionally, He sacrificed His own rights on behalf of mankind, and He set His disciples an example that they should walk in His steps.--I Pet. 2:21.
The path of love is, therefore, as Jesus describes it, under present conditions, a "narrow way"; narrow is the gate, difficult the way of life now open. Only the saintly few will be willing to walk therein, and only these will gain the great Prize, "the pearl of great price," joint-heirship in Messiah's Kingdom. Hearken! Do not merely observe the Golden Rule toward your enemies, but love them, and "do good to them that hate you, and bless them that curse you, and pray for them that despitefully use you."
The Master's expression, "Unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other," is to be taken as signifying simply, Do not render evil for evil, even though he smite thee on the other cheek also. Our Lord Himself, when smitten, according to the report, did not invite the smiting of the other cheek, but rather He defended Himself to the extent of criticising the evil deed. But if He had been smitten on the other cheek also, let us not for a moment think that He would have resisted, in the sense of rendering blow for blow.
The next statement is more comprehensively given by Saint Matthew. "If any man sue thee at the law and take away thy coat, withhold not thy cloak also." The follower of Jesus may flee from an adversary, or he may resist him [R5005 : page 117] to the extent of proper expostulation, but he is to be thoroughly responsive to all government; if the court decides that his coat and his cloak shall both be taken from him, he shall unmurmuringly submit, even though he realize that such a procedure would be unjust and quite at variance with the Divine regulation. Saint Paul as well as Jesus used argument in his own defence, not only with the mobs, but also before judges; but they resisted the law-- never.
"THIS IS A HARD SAYING"
"Give to everyone that asketh of thee, and of him that taketh away thy goods ask them not again." The broadest interpretation we could consistently give to this would be--Be generous, tender-hearted, err on the side of too great generosity rather than to be hard-hearted, selfish. The Lord could not have meant us to take His words with absolute literalness; as for instance, Give a child a razor if it cries for it; or, Give money to the dissipated, that they may injure themselves still more. The spirit of a sound mind forbids that we should understand the Master to teach that we should do anything for another or assist him in any manner that would be really to his injury. This is expressed in the next statement: "As ye would that men should do unto you, do ye also to them likewise." We would surely not wish men to grant a request of ours if they sincerely believed they would be injuring us. Our Master's words inculcate love, beneficence, and must not be construed to the contrary.
Very evidently our Lord was setting up His teachings in contrast with the maxims of the Pharisees, the holiness people of that day. He wished His disciples to see His teachings in their ultra light. To love another because he loved us, or to give to another in the hope that he would equally befriend us, or to do any good act with a hope to have as good or better return, would have nothing specially creditable in itself. It would be doing from a selfish motive.
Jesus' disciples, on the contrary, are to do good for principle's sake and for goodness' sake--to be in full accord with the Heavenly Father, to have His smile and approval. They are to take Him as their Example and to remember that in proportion as they are godlike they [R5006 : page 117] show forth the spirit of sonship. As, therefore, God is kind to the unthankful and to evil-doers, so we should be who have His spirit and who are seeking to walk in His way, in the footsteps of Jesus. The Heavenly Father is the Example, and although we cannot come up to that Example, we can show our loyalty, our faithfulness, by copying Him to the extent of our ability.
MERCIFUL TO OBTAIN MERCY
The world during Messiah's Kingdom will be under instruction and lessons, which will include mercy, and an assurance to the willing and obedient of perfection by the close of the Kingdom. But the Church class, now called out, will have no such long period for their character development, and since they will not attain that perfection here but will require Divine mercy, through the imputation of Christ's merit to cover their blemishes, therefore the Lord has arranged that these must expect mercy only in proportion as they will show mercy to others. In other words, all the followers of Jesus have many imperfections to be covered by Divine mercy, or else to be atoned for by stripes, punishments, before they die.
In order to develop His saints in generosity and forgiveness, mercy, the Lord has agreed that He will be merciful to them in proportion as they will be merciful to others. What a wondrous reward and what a wondrous incentive! Our Lord's prayer is in agreement with this: "Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive those who trespass against us." This does not relate to the Adamic guilt of the saints, but to their daily shortcomings; their share in original sin and condemnation was canceled through the merit of Christ before they were accepted as His disciples or became followers in His steps as sons of God. What an incentive to God's people to be generous, forgiving, large-hearted, thus cultivating the Heavenly Father's spirit and character, and to be in that condition of heart where they can receive richly of Divine bounty and mercy at the throne of grace!
"OWE NO MAN ANYTHING"
Love may go beyond the Law and do more than Justice could require--in self-sacrifice--but it cannot do less. He who loves his neighbor will be fulfilling the Law toward him to the best of his ability. Hence, as the Apostle explains, to those who are in Christ all the commandments are covered in their covenant of love. They would not injure their neighbor's interests, either by stealing from him, or by bearing false witness against him, or by coveting his things or interests, desiring to take possession of them, or by murder or adultery; nor in any other manner would they encroach upon their neighbor's rights and interests.
Although not under the Law of the Ten Commandments, the Christian is under the Law of the New Commandment, the Law of Love, which is so much higher that it includes every other law that could be given. Love works no kind of injury to its neighbor; love, therefore, is the fulfilling of that feature of the Divine Law which applies to our duty toward our neighbor, to love him as ourself. But love can do more than this, and in the case of Jesus it did more, for in love He surrendered His rights, privileges, etc., and died, the Just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God. And He is our Example as surely as we are His disciples, followers, and prospectively His joint-heirs in His Kingdom.
CHRISTIANITY AND THE LAW --MAY 19.--MATT. 5:17-26.--JESUS AND HIS APOSTLES expounded the harmony between Christianity and Judaism, nevertheless comparatively few Christians today seem to grasp the subject clearly. Today's study aims to make clear their distinctions and harmonies. "He that loveth his neighbor hath fulfilled the Law."--Rom. 13:8.
The Great Teacher declared that He came not to destroy the Law and the Prophets, but to fulfil them. While the Law was spoken of as Moses' Law, it was really the Divine Law given to Israel as a basis for the Divine Covenant with that nation, and Moses merely stood as mediator of that Law Covenant--that agreement by which Israel was obligated to keep the Law, and God was obligated if they did so to grant them everlasting life, Divine favor and the glorious privilege of being His instruments for the blessing of all nations, under Messiah's Kingdom.
The failure of even the most sincere Israelites to gain the promised everlasting life proved, not that God's Law was an unjust one, which would need at some time to be set aside as unworkable, but that Israel, like the remainder of the world, shared by inheritance Adamic weaknesses, [R5006 : page 118] which so impaired their moral quality that they could not keep God's perfect Law--in its spirit; the spirit of the Law our Lord defined to be whole-hearted love for God and "Golden Rule" love for the neighbor.
The Gospel of Jesus magnifies the Jewish Law by admitting its righteousness, its reasonableness and by admitting that the fault is entirely with humanity. The proposition of Jesus in respect to His followers is this: He, being perfect, was able to keep the Mosaic Law perfectly, and He had a right, therefore, to everlasting life, and needed not to have died; but instead of retaining His life He laid it down sacrificially, as a part of the great Divine Plan for human redemption. That sacrifice will bring to the world the blessed privileges and opportunities for eternal life which, it has been promised, Messiah's Kingdom will bring. But meantime the Redeemer, carrying out Jehovah's plans, offers an imputation of His merit to any who have His spirit--that of full consecration to do the Father's will by laying down the present life sacrificially, to gain with the Redeemer a heavenly, spiritual life, glory, honor, immortality, the Divine nature, as Messiah's joint-heir in His Kingdom. All who would thus do would be counted as a part of the spiritual Seed of Abraham, through whom all the families of the earth will eventually receive their blessing.
This offer was made to the Jew first; but, after gathering all the willing and obedient of that nation, the call was extended to the willing and obedient having ears to hear and hearts to obey regardless of all national lines. To all these the terms of discipleship were made clear-- terms of self-sacrifice unto death: "If any man will be My disciple let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me; and where I am there shall My disciple be."
This class was promised everlasting life, even though they were unable to keep in every particular the spirit of the Mosaic Law. The Jews reasoned that this was a setting aside of the Law; Jesus and the Apostles answer, No. These disciples or followers of Jesus sacrifice their earthly interests and rights and thus become reckonedly dead to earthly things. God accepts their sacrifices and begets them of the Holy Spirit. Thus they become New Creatures in Christ. These New Creatures are not under any Law of sin and death, nor have they any imperfections. "The Law of the spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made them free from the law of sin and death."--Rom. 8:2.
But, the objector asks, how could God accept a blemished offering? and, furthermore, are not these New Creatures held responsible for the conduct of their flesh, so long as they live--until their sacrifice is completed?
The Scriptures answer. The great High Priest, who presents these offerings as part of His own sacrifice, covers their imperfections and blemishes by an imputation of the merit of His own sacrifice, which is already in the hands of Justice waiting for application on behalf of the sins of the world. When this High Priest thus presents us to God, covered with His own merit as a robe, we are assured that the sacrifices are "holy and acceptable unto God."--Rom. 12:1.
As for subsequent weaknesses of the flesh, the New Creature is indeed held responsible for its mortal body, but since our High Priest tasted death for every man and for all sins of heredity, therefore these New Creatures in Christ are assured that all their trespasses, whether of ignorance or weakness, may be forgiven, and that the Redeemer, their Head and Representative in glory, will upon application impute His merit for the cancellation of such imperfections, that they may thus be maintained in their standing with the Father, "without spot or wrinkle or any such thing."--Eph. 5:27.
Thus are the demands of Divine Law met in respect to the Church. But the Church's covenant means more than merely the observance of the Law; it is a covenant to sacrifice, and Justice, the Divine Law, could not demand sacrifice. The Church's covenant, which she shares with her Lord and Redeemer, is an agreement to sacrifice all earthly interests in the doing of the Divine will at any cost. The reward for the keeping of this covenant will be obtained in the First Resurrection change to heavenly glory, honor and immortality. The terms of this covenant read: "Gather together My saints unto Me, saith the Lord, those who have made a covenant with Me by sacrifice." --Psa. 50:5.
FULFILLING THE PROPHETS ALSO
To the Jew it seemed as though the Gospel invitation would make void all the Prophets, of whom Saint Peter said that all the holy Prophets since the world began had spoken of restitution times and blessings at the coming of Messiah. (Acts 3:19-21.) To the Jew it still seems as though there must be some mistake, that if Jesus were the [R5007 : page 118] Messiah He should have begun a work of restitution, a work of social, moral, intellectual and physical uplift for mankind, using Israel as His channel, His agency. The Jew points to the eigtheen centuries of Christian preaching, and says if Christians be right it makes void all of the prophecies of the past. What is the answer to this?
Jesus gives the answer, saying that the prophecies are being fulfilled. The prophecies tell not only of Jesus but also of His brethren, the "little flock," the Bride class; and that class must be selected before other features of the prophecies can be fulfilled. "I will declare Thy name unto My brethren." (Psa. 22:22; Heb. 2:12.) This is the present work--the work of selecting the class mentioned by the Psalmist, saying, "I have said ye are gods, all of you sons of the Highest; but ye shall all die like men."--Psa. 82:6.
The Law and the Prophets point out the necessity of a Priestly class under the High Priest--of a sacrificing class which would become a Royal Priesthood. These prophecies are in process of fulfilment; neither the Law nor the Prophets are being ignored. Soon this feature of the Divine Plan will have been accomplished; the Church will be glorified with her Lord, and then those features of the Law and the Prophets which dazzle the eyes of Israel will begin to be fulfilled, and will bring them blessing, and through them blessing to the world, far beyond their highest conceptions.
If therefore any of the followers of Jesus should violate the Ten Commandments and teach men so to do, it would manifestly be done through ignorance and misunderstanding, and he would thus mark himself as a follower of Jesus on a low plane--one of the least in the Kingdom. This would apply amongst the Lord's followers at the present time: the Church is the Kingdom in embryo, and any brother in such an attitude should be considered by the brethren as weak and should not be given a position of prominence in the service of the Church.
THE PHARISEES' STANDARD LOWER
In Jesus' day the Pharisees prided themselves on their zeal for the Law and found fault with Jesus' disciples and with Himself for healing the sick on the Sabbath. Instead of admitting their claims Jesus repeatedly showed them to be fallacious. They were particular respecting the little requirements of the Law, but were careless respecting its spirit of love. This Jesus termed hypocrisy; He declared that unless His followers would be nearer right in heart than were the Pharisees they would not get into the Kingdom at all. (We must remember the difference [R5007 : page 119] between the embryo Kingdom which was inaugurated at Pentecost and the glorious Kingdom into which the faithful will be ushered by the First Resurrection change.)
Unless His followers would have more of the spirit of the Divine Law than the Pharisees they would not be fit for the begetting at Pentecost--none but those who love righteousness and who thus have the spirit of the Divine Law are acceptable at all in the Church-- "the Church of the First-Born, whose names are written in heaven."
The Pharisees held the letter of the Law and said, Beware lest you kill a man, for that would subject you to judgment or trial before the council, or local court of your town; but Jesus taught that hatred is murder, even if it do not go to the length of killing. So high is this standard amongst the Lord's consecrated people that for one of them to be even slightly angry would be a serious matter; and if he were angry enough to call a brother Christian "a fool" it would imply that he were in serious danger of the second Death--Gehenna. All Christ's followers, therefore, must not only guard their actions but also their lips and the very thoughts of their hearts, that even in thought they shall be in fullest accord with the very spirit of the Divine Law of love; and if on approaching the throne of grace they find any other spirit in their hearts they should go no further toward God, but first be reconciled to their brother. Under a parable of arrest, condemnation and imprisonment our Lord teaches His disciples that if they have a wrong feeling toward a brother they should make great haste to settle the matter. Every moment of delay endangers their spiritual standing with the Lord and makes it more difficult for themselves in their relationship with God.
The intimation is that if we have wronged a brother and delay to make the matter right and the case come before the Lord for settlement, we will be obliged to suffer the full penalty of our neglect, "the uttermost farthing," before we will be fully restored to Divine favor and fellowship.
GOD'S INHERITANCE EPHESIANS 1:18.And can it be
That God designs with you and me
Forevermore to dwell?
Can His great might
Secure for us the right
To be His Israel?
A people chosen to proclaim His worth,
To sound the praises of His glory forth,
To lead the van of an adoring earth?
This poor, weak clay
Can He transform in such a way
That it shall yield Divinity?
This sin-stained mind
So cleanse that He in us shall find
Th' abode of His eternal rest,
That habitation which He loveth best,
His chosen Zion? City ever blest?
If this be so,
Not all the wealth this world can know
Will me suffice:
Nor name, nor fame, nor power, nor pleasure here below
My soul entice.
How poor these transitory things of earth
Beside this treasure of unending worth,
This Heavenly fellowship, this Royal birth!
And can it be
That down throughout succeeding ages He
With ardent longing waits
Th' eventful day
When--sin all purged away--
We'll sit within His gates?
Can we be subjects of our God's desire?
Doth He our loving fellowship require?
And to this height may such as we aspire?
How good to know
His never-failing Word proclaims it so!
Here, Lord, I give myself to Thee,
Work out Thy gracious purposes in me
Until in Heaven Thy blessed Face I see,
And dwell with Thee through all eternity.
WM. W. JOHNSTON.--Africa.
BEREAN QUESTIONS IN SCRIPTURE STUDIES Series VI., Study VIII., The Law of the New Creation. MAY 5 MAY 12 MAY 19 MAY 26
(24) What blessing to Spiritual Israel was typified by Natural Israel's seventh-day Sabbath? And what is the double lesson set before us by the Apostle in Hebrews 4:1-11? P. 391, par. 3, 4.
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. XXXIII APRIL 15, 1912 No. 8 REPORT on Foreign Mission Work by The Missions Investigation Committee APPOINTED BY THE INTERNATIONAL BIBLE STUDENTS ASSOCIATION
Description and prices page 138
Biblical Comments --of-- Scripture-Studies, The Watch Tower, etc.
1: 1 In the beginning Not of the universe, but of our planet. F17 God created Prepared for the work of the six creative days. F18 And the earth Doubtless our earth is the most advanced of all the worlds yet created. Z '07-12 1: 2 And the earth was It already existed before the six days began. F23 And the spirit The power or energy. E190, 175 Moved upon Fecundated, rendered fruitful or prolific. E(190, 176 This manifestation of God's spirit is easier to understand than its transforming power. E199,183 1: 3 And there was light Probably electrical, as Aurora Borealis. F30 1: 5 And the evening The obscure beginning. F31 And the morning The perfect completion. F31 Were the first day The Azoic or lifeless age of 7000 years. F31 Certainly not a sun day, for the sun itself was not visible until the fourth creative day. F19 1: 6 Be a firmament An expanse of atmosphere. F31 In the midst of Between the. F31 1: 8 Were the second day. The Palaeozoic age, Silurian period, 7000 years. F31 1: 9 The dry land appear The weight of the seas caused the earth to buckle as it cooled, gradually forcing portions of its crust above the water. Similar paroxysms of nature will, probably, occur soon. F32 1:12 Grass and herb Carbonic and nitrogenous gases causes extraordinary plant growth during the third creative day, storing carbon for coal deposits and purifying the atmosphere for animal life. F32 Seed after his kind Contrary to Evolution theories. F32 1:13 Were the third day The Carboniferous era of 7000 years. F32 1:16 And God made Literally "Caused to shine." The word does not mean created. F33 The greater light Said by papists to represent the pope. B308 To rule the day To indicate the time of day. F34 Said by papists to represent spiritual things. B308 The lesser light Said by papists to represent civil power. B308 To rule the night Said by papists to represent temporal affairs. B308 1:19 Were the fourth day The Devonian period of 7000 years. F34 1:20 Waters bring forth By Divine power given for the purpose. F35 Abundantly The untellable trillions of shell-fish which absorbed the excess of hydrocarbons. F36 The moving creature The creeping creature. E348, 324 That hath life Nephesh, soul, sentient being as of man. E348, 324 1:21 Living creature Nephesh, soul, sentient being, as of man. E348, 357, 324, 334 1:23 Were the fifth day The Reptilian period of 7000 years. F35 1:24 Let the earth, etc. A comprehensive scientific expression. F54 Living creature Nephesh, soul, sentient being, as of man. E348, 357, 324, 334 Cattle Domestic animals as distinguished from others. F36 1:26 Let us The plural form calls our attention to the fact that, "The Word was in the beginning with God". Z'94-12 REVELATION--BIBLICAL COMMENTS
22:9 Worship God The source from which come all these blessings and all this light. Z '96-305 22:10 Seal not the sayings When the time comes for a full understanding of the book of Revelation, the Church is not to hide the matter. Z '05-173 22:11 Unjust still The proclamation of the message of Present Truth is not expected or intended to convert the world. Z '05-173 Righteous still The message of Present Truth applies only to those who are righteously inclined. Z '05-173 22:12 Reward is with me And will not be given until I come. F665 22:13 And the end Of the direct creation of God. Z '93-115 22:14 His commandment "This is his commandment, that we should love one another". Z '94-356 Through the gates The Ancient Worthies, through whose instrumentality all may enter into the Kingdom. Z '92-16 Into the city The Kingdom of God. A296, D25, H23 22:15 Without are dogs Idlers, breeders of spiritual contagion, self-seeking, biting and devouring, treacherously lying in wait to deceive. Z '94-216 The word used refers to the wild dogs which roam Palestine and which are pests; not the pet house dogs mentioned by our Lord in his remark to the Syro-Phoenician woman. Z '00-191 And murderers Brother-haters. H63 22:16 I am the root Origin, source of life, by virtue of my purchase of David's life-rights. E150, 135 No longer a branch out of the root of Jesse and David. E150, 135 And the offspring Through Nathan's line. E150, 135 22:17 And the Bride The Bride does not say Come, until there is a Bride, following the marriage of the Lamb. A98, E226, 208, F336 And whosoever will And whosoever will receive it. D198 During the Millennial Age. A97 The water of life will not be forced on any. Z'05-217 Now, "No man can come to me except the Father which sent me draw him". Z '05-171 The water of life Restitution blessings: Truth, clear as crystal. D655, E179, 165, H47 Freely "Ho every one that thirsteth: come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money". Z '05-217 22:20 I come quickly The second advent of the Lord is thus shown to be beyond Pentecost and beyond the destruction of Jerusalem, for John wrote these words long after both of these events had transpired. A90
THE WORLD'S CONVERSION
REPORT OF MISSIONS INVESTIGATING COMMITTEE, INTERNATIONAL BIBLE STUDENTS ASSOCIATION
AT ITS CONVENTION held September 1-10, 1911, the International Bible Students Association appointed a Committee to tour the world and supply an unvarnished report of the true condition of affairs in Oriental lands amongst the peoples usually termed "heathens."
The proposition of a certain Laymen's Missionary Movement to promptly collect $30,000,000 and immediately convert the world naturally aroused the query respecting the possibility of attaining such desirable results. No doubt existed that benevolent people would willingly expend thirty million dollars, and much more, if the results aimed at could be attained. On the other hand, many rumors had been reaching Europe and America respecting the inefficiency of the Missions and Missionaries already in the Oriental lands. These tales possibly had something to do with the falling off of contributions to Missionary Societies. It is the thought of many, however, that the secret of the curtailment of donations to various propaganda is the same as applies to the home work of all Christian denominations. The secret is that the masses of the people, as well as the wealthy, are rapidly losing faith in revealed religion--in the Bible.
The Higher Critics in all of our Colleges and Seminaries, and in the chief pulpits of Christendom, have for fifty years been carrying on a subtle warfare against the Bible. Are we not now beginning to see the fruits of [R5008 : page 123] their labors in a general agnosticism? Many manifest their loss of faith merely by a non-attendance at religious services, and by failure to contribute as formerly to religious benevolences. Others are showing their agnosticism by joining Socialism, which many believe is gradually leading them to atheism and anarchy.
Bible Students of the I.B.S.A. are very generally of the opinion that the Bible teaches that nothing short of Messiah's Kingdom in power and great glory can scatter the thick religious darkness in the world--that nothing short of that Kingdom, as the "Sun of Righteousness," can scatter the darkness that covers the earth and the gross darkness that benights the heathen. These Bible Students very generally hold that the Bible teaches that the Bride of Christ (the saintly few of this Gospel Age) must be completed, and must by the First Resurrection be glorified with the Redeemer and sit with Him in His throne, before the time will come when Jesus shall enligthen the world.
In other words, "Jesus is the true Light which ligtheth every man that cometh into the world." But, in Divine providence, the world separates itself into two distinct classes. The first and smaller class consists of those "Elect" who have the hearing ear, the understanding and appreciating heart, and the willing mind to be the footstep followers of Jesus, and thus to gain the great prize of joint-heirship with Him in His Kingdom. To these the light of Truth comes now. To others, the non-elect, it will come by and by, when, according to Divine promise, "All the blind eyes shall be opened, and all the deaf ears shall be unstopped."
EVERY KNEE SHALL BOW
These Bible Students are very generally agreed that the long-promised "Golden Age" of Messiah's Kingdom is near at hand. Very generally they quote and rejoice in such Scripture promises as, "When He shall appear, we shall also appear with Him in glory." (Colossians 3:4.) This appearing or revealing will be to the world, respecting whom Saint Paul writes, "The whole creation groaneth and travaileth together until now,"..."waiting for the manifestation of the sons of God." They quote and rejoice in the promise which declares, "If we suffer with Him we shall also reign with Him." Gladly, therefore, do they rejoice in tribulations and misrepresentations and whatever Divine Providence permits, knowing that all of these things are working out for them a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory--in the Kingdom.
These Bible Students have come to very generally understand that the Scriptures teach that Messiah's Kingdom must first enligthen the world before, "Unto Him every knee shall bow and every tongue confess to the glory of God." Hence, while sympathetic with all good works, these Students are not expecting the world's conversion as the result of Missionary effort, and are not disappointed that the eigtheen centuries of the preaching of the Gospel has not brought such a result.
This journal $1.00 (4/-) per year in advance. Entered at Brooklyn, N.Y., Post Office as Second Class Mail Matter
A MESSAGE TO ALL NATIONS
The interest of these Bible Students in the present status of missionary work centers in the fact that they understand the Bible to teach that the preaching of the [R5008 : page 124] Gospel in all the world has been eminently proper, not with the expectation of converting the world, but, as the Master said, to give a witness to all the world, and to gather an elect few from all nations, peoples, kindreds and tongues for membership in His Bride class--to sit with Him in His throne during the thousand years, cooperating in the work of uplifting the race as a whole.
Indeed, we understand that one of the principal motives associated with the sending out of the Committee of Investigation was to ascertain whether or not there would appear to be saints in those distant lands, who, as yet, have no knowledge of "the Gospel of the Kingdom," and of the fact that we are now in the harvest time of this Age, and probably very close to the dawning of the New Dispensation of Messianic glory. It was with this in view that the Association privately authorized Pastor Russell, its President, to spend as much as seven thousand dollars in publishing the Gospel of the Kingdom in Oriental lands, provided in his judgment and in the judgment of the Committee there were saintly hearts and minds in those lands likely to appreciate the message and to be ripened thereby for the heavenly "garner."
The Committee did not find the time at their disposal sufficient to permit them to visit Burmah, Africa and Australasia. It recommends that another Committee be appointed for that work, and that it have due consideration at the next General Convention of the I.B.S.A. This Convention is announced to be held at Pertle Springs, Chautauqua grounds near Warrensburg, Mo., June, 1-8, 1912.
The gentlemen who have served on this Committee are all earnest Bible Students. Their zeal in the matter of this investigation may be judged from the fact that they not only paid their own expenses, but additionally defrayed Pastor Russell's and all secretarial expenses. These gentlemen have long been deeply interested in the propagation of the Gospel, both at home and abroad. From the first we thought the Committee a remarkably fair one, and we believe the Report fully justifies that opinion. While it tells some plain truths, and lays bare some important facts, it is in no sense harsh or unkind, but on the contrary, sympathetic.
So interesting is the Committee's Report and so instructive that we have practically devoted one entire number of THE WATCH TOWER to its presentation. We trust our readers will understand and appreciate our endeavors. We are printing a very large edition of this number, believing that it will be of interest to many outside our present list of subscribers. All such are cordially invited to become subscribers, and to join with us in the study of our Heavenly Father's Word in its own light--without the "spectacles" of any denominational creed. We can supply a large demand for extra copies of this issue, at 5c. per copy, postpaid, to any part of the world. Tell your friends desiring these to address THE WATCH TOWER, Brooklyn, N.Y. The committee's report follows:
THE HAWAIIAN ISLANDS VISITED
Our first stop was at the Hawaiian Islands. Our investigations were practically confined to Honolulu, the principal city, but there we were in touch with the general [R5008 : page 125] situation throughout the group of thirteen islands. We were astonished to note the degree of civilization manifested by the entire population, composed of Hawaiians, Chinese, Japanese, Filipinos, Koreans, Portuguese and Americans. Of the two hundred thousand population, about seven thousand are Americans or of Caucasian mixture.
We visited a "Settlement," a philanthropic arrangement of very simple character in the midst of the poor and for their assistance. It has a playground for children, swimming baths, a gymnasium and entertainment room, a dispensary for simple remedies, a kindergarten room, and alongside an apartment for the convenience of consumptives, to whom advice is given respecting the care of their health and the avoidance of the spreading of the infection to their families. The gentleman in charge explained to us that the city of thirty thousand is divided into eight districts, and that eight ladies visit these districts regularly every ten days, and their compensation is from $90 to $100 per month. The sugar planters and principal merchants consider it a good business enterprise to thus safeguard the city against cholera, yellow fever and bubonic plague, and care not that it is under Church control and so accredited.
We visited the Kakemhame School, founded by Mrs. Bishop, a Hawaiian Princess, who became the wife of an American Banker. Her estate maintains the school at an expense of $70,000 per year. Only boys and girls with Hawaiian blood can enjoy the benefits. It is conducted on a luxurious scale, but appears to be of a very practical character and bound to exert a civilizing influence. The school has about 250 pupils, a neat little chapel and the necessary appointments for literary and manual training. The pupils look bright and healthy.
We also visited the Mid-Pacific Institute. The boys' buildings are separate from those for the girls. The total number of pupils was approximately 220, and about evenly divided between the sexes. They have their board and lodging and schooling. A nominal charge of $1 a week is made, but nearly all are charity pupils, we were told. They seem healthy and happy. The classes were much smaller than in America. The grading is very similar to that of our public schools, with the addition of excellent homing influences and instruction for the girls in sewing, cooking, etc., calculated to turn them out useful and helpful wives. Our best wish for American and European children is that they could have as good a start in life as have the pupils in the schools we visited here. Nearly all the teachers, male and female, are American, bright and intelligent and above the American average. We did not learn their rate of pay.
"NOW I LAY ME DOWN TO SLEEP" THE NEAREST APPROACH TO RELIGION
We were rejoicing to think that such practical arrangements had been made along humanitarian lines, and it was with considerable surprise that we learned afterwards that nearly all this work is included in the reports of the American Missionary Association and the American Board of Christian Foreign Missions. Nothing connected with the schools gave any indication of their connection with religious or missionary institutions. The only statement of a religious service coming to our attention was that the smaller children knelt by their beds on retiring at night and sang, "Now I lay me down to sleep." [R5009 : page 125] Indeed, we inquired respecting Christian instruction and were informed that the attempt to give it would alienate the pupils and thus cause the disruption of the schools. We were informed that chapel services are held on Sunday, and also Sunday-school exercises, but that comparatively few of the children attend. The only hope seems to be that the civilizing and educating of these children would later on make them more amenable to Christian instruction.
Departing we were invited to speak a few words of encouragement to the pupils of the girls' school. We sought to impress upon them the advantages of their pleasant and comfortable surroundings, and we connected these creature comforts with the Savior and the influence which doctrine exercises upon the hearts of mankind who properly receive it. We exhorted them to give Jesus a large place in their appreciation and affections. Whether it was imagination or not, it seemed to us that about half of the faces grew dark and scowly while we spoke, and we associated this impression with what the teachers had told us respecting the opposition to everything Christian. Nevertheless, they sang us their Hawaiian farewell song [R5009 : page 126] in the natural tongue, which surprised us by its rich and musical qualities.
We visited the Y.M.C.A. in its new building. We learned that its cost, $140,000, was subscribed in six days. It is conveniently arranged for its purposes. In the basement are bowling alleys; on the ground floor, the main offices, a cafe, a reading room, comfortable lounging seats, a room for checkers, chess and dominos, and quite a large room for billiards. On the next floor above is the gymnasium, which is evidently one of the prominent features. Also on this floor is a large room for night school instruction. Above the gymnasium, on the third floor, we understand, there is an auditorium, and also a small room on the first floor for class purposes. The building is in charge of very pleasant gentlemen, who treated us cordially.
It is our opinion that the work in Hawaii is a good one, viewed from the humanitarian standpoint, but an utter failure viewed from the standpoint of Christianization. So far as we could discern, faith in the Redeeming blood of Jesus, in His resurrection and in His coming Kingdom have never been taught. But alas! this is becoming too true in Europe and America and amongst Christian people of all denominations. Only comparatively few any longer sing understandingly, "In the Cross of Christ I glory."
A gentleman who had resided in the city for forty-two years remarked that in his opinion the Hawaiians are retrograding, are less reliable, less temperate and less moral than they were twenty-five years ago.
REPORT ON MISSIONARY WORK IN JAPAN
We found the Japanese a very interesting people. We traveled nearly seven hundred miles through Japan, and visited various cities aggregating four and a half millions of population, which is about one-tenth of the entire population of Japan. We found the people industrious, peace-loving, polite and kind to each other, and towards foreigners. Although our visit was in the holiday season, when, according to their custom, over indulgence in liquor would be pardonable, nevertheless our entire party, scattered for the purpose of wide observation, noted only twelve intoxicated persons, and three of these were Europeans. Parental love and care were in evidence everywhere. We heard not a harsh expression from parent to child, nor to any one, and witnessed only one altercation, and it trivial. Everybody seemed industrious, minding his own business, and happy. Our united comment was, Would to God as favorable conditions prevailed in Europe and America! We noted nothing resembling profanity, and upon inquiry were told that they use no profanity, and that their strongest expression is "beka"--fool.
We did not, however, conclude that the fretfulness, unhappiness, quarrelsomeness and rudeness and boisterousness frequently in evidence in Europe and America are attributable to Christianity. On the contrary, we surmised that Divine Providence had sent the message of the Gospel in the direction of the more rude or combative race, which received the letter and form of Christianity in a measure, without generally entering into its spirit of meekness, gentleness, patience, long-suffering, brotherly kindness and love. Our comment further was that if the Japanese should receive the letter of the Gospel and its spirit they would have less difficulty than the Europeans and Americans in the development of the fruits of the Spirit, because naturally more disposed toward gentleness, patience and brotherly kindness.
WHAT OF THE MISSIONARY EFFORTS?
These observations of the Japanese gave us the keener interest in our investigation as to how much, if anything, Christianity has to do with these conditions, to what extent Japan is Christianized, etc. Our findings in the matter at Tokio will serve to illustrate. Our Committee attended [R5009 : page 127] nine religious services, besides the two addressed by Pastor Russell. The average attendance at the nine meetings was 59, the smallest being 9, and the largest 250, including the ministers. Two of these services were in the English language; the others were in Japanese and addressed by Japanese ministers. One of the sermons in the English tongue was along the line of Evolution. Although many Japanese understand English they rarely attend preaching in that tongue. We saw but one Japanese at the two English services and he, apparently, was a servant in waiting. We were very agreeably surprised to note the deeply reverential attitude of the majority of those attending the Japanese services, and that fully two-thirds were males. We congratulate the laborers in this missionary field on the devout appearance of the 431 Japanese worshipers observed by us at the seven meetings referred to. Of course, it is impossible to tell accurately the attitude of the heart from the outward demeanor, but reverential attitude and attention should count for considerable.
ENCOURAGEMENTS AND DISCOURAGEMENTS
It was plainly evident that the Missionaries are feeling a considerable degree of discouragement, nor can we blame them. So far as we could learn their work made considerable progress until twenty years ago, since which time a wave of unbelief has swept over Japan, just as in Europe and America. Today the Japanese minds, like the minds of their European and American cousins, are full of interrogation points. In other words, the spirit of agnosticism is more and more prevalent. It is affecting the Missions and their work, and also affecting Buddhism and Shintoism. Although Buddhist temples, recently built, are gorgeous affairs, and although a million dollars has just been raised to build a new Buddhist temple near Yokohama, nevertheless, it is admitted that Buddhism is on the wane--that the number who attend the temples to pray and worship are fewer than formerly, and generally of the more ignorant classes.
The present trend of the Japanese religious sentiment is toward infidelity, doubt and atheism. An inquiry as to the religious sentiment in three of the Japanese schools (University of Tokio) recently showed the following religious census:
Christians, 4; Buddhists, Confucians and Shintos, 17; noncommittal, 46; atheists, 60; agnostics, 282; total, 409. This is a terrible picture, true also, we fear, of many colleges in America and Europe.
Christianity in Japan is in much the same condition as in America and Europe, in two respects. (1) A certain number are true worshipers, devout believers, but they are few. (2) A larger number associate for the advantages they gain in one way or another--as, for instance, the privilege of night schools, Y.M.C.A. gymnasiums, etc., etc. There is considerable sympathy for Christianity amongst those who are at heart agnostics, and who class Jesus as a great teacher along with Confucius and Buddha, but who see nothing and know nothing respecting His redemptive work. These realize that Christianity has been helping on in the work of Japanese civilization, and would be sorry to know of anything calculated to hinder the work of the Missionaries. Christianity and all other religions in Japan are on the defensive.
JAPANESE DEMAND PROOFS BEFORE ACCEPTING DOCTRINES
The active minds of the Japanese know that Buddhism cannot answer their questions respecting God and the future, and they come to the Missionaries and native Christians with questions, for which they have as yet received no satisfactory reply. In consequence, they are holding aloof and saying, There is some good in all religions, perhaps, but apparently all of them have more or less of error and superstition. We will take advantage of the kindly interest of these foreigners in our welfare. We appreciate the fact that they have invested millions of dollars in churches and colleges in our land. We are confident they have done us good and helped to some extent to break from us the shackles of religious superstition. We will attend their schools and avail ourselves of their kindness, and endeavor to show a kindly disposition toward them; but we do not believe in Jesus as a Savior; we merely recognize Him as a great teacher. We think, therefore, that it is unnecessary that we should be baptized. We see not how this would have anything to do with our character. The fact of the matter is we believe we get as good moral teaching from Buddhism as from Christianity. We will stand aloof, doubting if there is any positive truth on these subjects. Thus it will be seen that the attitude of the Japanese toward Christianity [R5010 : page 128] is very much the same as the general attitude of the public throughout Christendom.
We should note that considerable educational work is being carried on at Tokio by the Methodist brethren. Dr. Spencer informs us that they have an attendance of about 350 girls and 550 young men in their college. They seem to be well equipped. We could wish that the youths of the middle and lower classes in Europe and America were as well provided for.
The Missionaries themselves appear to be an earnest band, but considerably discouraged. And no wonder! Outsiders report that they have considerable denominational conflict and jealous competition, but that steps are now being taken for a general religious Federation. The Missionaries freely admit that in their schools and other work it is necessary to lay stress chiefly upon moral conduct and to say little or nothing about Jesus' redemptive work and other doctrines--otherwise they would lose their hold upon the pupils, who evidently attend the schools chiefly for the educational advantages they offer. We repeat that the Missionaries of Japan have our congratulations upon the work done years ago and our sympathy in respect to the discouragement of the present, and the unfavorable outlook. What the Japanese need is "the Gospel of the Kingdom," announcing the second coming of Jesus as the Messiah of Glory, to rule, heal and instruct all the families of the earth. Pastor Russell's sermons gave them more food for thought than they had ever before enjoyed.
THE CONDITIONS AND OUTLOOK IN CHINA
At no place were we able to penetrate beyond 125 miles inland in the great Empire of China, of 320,000,000 people. But directly and indirectly we visited and inspected the conditions of life in about fifteen cities and villages, whose combined population was about 4,000,000. We saw many sad sights and heard many sad stories, but also both saw and heard other things which comforted and encouraged us.
We were specially impressed with the business faculties of the Chinese, with their energy and general contentment, and, alas, also impressed with the filthiness and unsanitary conditions in which we found them in their large cities. Both young and old, male and female, work, and apparently willingly.
China entire may be said to be revolutionized; few apparently have any sympathy with the Manchu Dynasty, which has just abdicated. The remarkable thing is that the revolutionists, hampered for lack of money, have been able to accomplish so much and to have preserved order so well. True, lawlessness has in several instances gained the upper hand; and, of course, it is still possible that the entire social fabric may be destroyed. There is a reason, however, why this seems improbable: For long centuries the various provinces of China have maintained a kind of local autonomy, not unlike that of Canada and Australia in respect to the British. These provinces or states have long had states rights, slightly after the fashion of the American Union.
MISSIONARIES IN CHINA
Without doubt missionaries have accomplished considerable in China. It is difficult, however, for the Chinese to differentiate between Christian missionaries and Christian tourists, Christian soldiers and sailors, Christian merchants and tradesmen and Christian clergymen who preach to such of these as attend Divine service. Gradually, however, we believe they are getting a proper focus upon the matter. We must sympathize with them in this; if we could put ourselves in their places, how strange it would all appear to us! The aloofness of the foreigners and the disdain with which they usually treat the natives is quite unfavorable also to true Christian progress here. Moreover, although the Chinese are aware that some good people are sending large sums of money in their interest, building colleges and hospitals and churches and schools and Y.M.C.A. buildings, with gymnasia, billiard rooms, bowling alleys, etc., they find it difficult to harmonize this benevolence with the fact that foreigners all conspire to keep wages at the lowest point--hindering as much as possible any advance in prices or such improvement in conditions as would raise prices.
Under all these conditions it seems remarkable to us that Christian missionary effort has accomplished so much as we perceive. It seems the more amazing when we reflect on the Gospel message which Christendom has had to offer, namely, that only the saintly few have the sligthest prospect of heaven, and that all the vast remainder of China's hundreds of millions and their forefathers are doomed to an eternity of torture.
But with all this handicap we found some Chinese Christians who gave every evidence of deep sincerity. Some foreigners, however, told us that they were merely "rice Christians." This may be true of some, but we feel sure it is not true of all--nor even of a majority. Comparing the native congregations with Christian gatherings in Europe and America, we have every reason to believe that the comparison favored the Chinese. They listen more respectfully, reverentially and earnestly than do the majority of congregations in Christian lands.
The outlook is both favorable and unfavorable. It is unfavorable in that China is now coming under the influence of Higher Criticism, Evolution, etc.--not from the missionaries, however, who seem to be more loyal to the Bible than are the ministers of Christendom. This flood of infidelity is coming from Japan.
The slowness of the Christian progress in China of late may be judged from the report of one Y.M.C.A. [R5010 : page 129] secretary from America. He said that in ten years the Association had succeeded in bringing only 25 persons into membership with the different Christian churches of all denominations. And the Y.M.C.A., be it remembered, is chiefly a moral club dominated by Christian influence --much the same as in Europe and America--and apparently the chief recruiting ground for the churches.
So far as we were able to sense the situation from the missionary viewpoint it is this: The influence of Christianity has brought a measure of enligthenment to the Chinese which led up to the recent revolution. The revolution itself is dominated by the Christian Chinese, partly because they are the more intelligent. The solid front which Chinese religions have heretofore maintained is breaking. Buddhism, Taoism and Confucianism still dominate the masses, but many are saying, We are non-sectarian; we take the best of all these religions and admit that there are good things also to be said respecting Christianity. The progressive Chinese of the revolutionist party proclaim that henceforth China shall be known as one of the Christian nations. By this they do not mean, however, that the Chinese will be converted to faith in Jesus as the Redeemer of the world and their personal Savior, but merely that China recognizes that the nations which call themselves Christian, are more wise, more intelligent, less superstitious, better educated and better warriors than the nations which recognize Buddhism, Brahminism, Taoism, Mohammedanism, etc. The statement, therefore, simply means that the Chinese propose to adopt Occidental manners and customs and, so far as possible, Occidental lines of thought.
DIFFICULTIES SHOULD BE PROMPTLY REMOVED
But while the psychological moment for the spread of Christianity would appear to have arrived, there is a difficulty. The Chinaman is perplexed by the 600 different denominations of Christians and the 600 different theories of salvation which they represent. Once awakened to thought he is more critical, if not more logical, than the masses of Christendom in respect to what he will accept instead of the doctrines he proposes to drop. He asks the missionaries all kinds of questions, the majority of which receive no satisfactory answer. One of the principal difficulties is on the subject of the Trinity--how there could be one God and He of three different persons, or how there could be three different Gods and yet these three be only one person; and how the one God could be dead for three days and raise Himself from the dead. The Chinese mind seems unable to grasp this mathematical problem.
As between the Protestant Hell and the Catholic Purgatory, the Chinaman is also perplexed. He wants to know where Hell and Purgatory are located, and who knows and how he knows. He seems perplexed to understand how a just and loving God should bring so many people into existence for such a fate. While Christianity appeals to them in some ways, it repels them along these lines; the poor Chinese are really in a quandary. The trend amongst the more thoughtful ones seems to be to consider all religions as more or less superstitions, useful merely for the control of the more degraded and vicious.
In view of these limitations, the missionaries now find it inexpedient to discuss doctrinal matters. Instead, the chief attention is given to schools, colleges, hospitals, Y.M.C.A. privileges, sports, etc. Their hope is that this beneficial influence may gradually attract more and more the Chinese, and that thus will spring up a preference for Christian methods and places of worship over and above [R5011 : page 129] those of other religions.
WHICH IS THE RIGHT SHIP?
One missionary likened the Christian church and its salvation to a large ship: The passengers board the vessel in confidence, trusting all to the officers, and do not study the maps, charts and compass nor inquire particularly respecting the machinery. So all desiring to be saved, he said, should get into the Church and live and rest there contented, without inquiring particularly into doctrines, trusting implicitly to the final outcome.
But some of the hearers inquired, Which boat--which church? Are there not many Christian boats, Catholic and Protestant? Which one will surely be properly navigated and bring all of her passengers to the heavenly port?
Such knotty questions are, of course, perplexing to the missionaries, unused to such close reasonings in their own lands. We sympathize with the missionaries, realizing that they are in a very difficult situation. In conversation many of them manifested great earnestness and real piety and deplored their inability to accomplish greater results along religious lines. Others, a minority, we hope, seem to have a narrow and hypocritical spirit. Sent to convert the heathen they would like to make such reports as would please and not discourage those who sent them forth, especially in view of the fact that the Home Secretaries write them that donations are falling off and that encouraging reports must be made.
Much has been said respecting the fact that the missionaries live in palatial residences and hold themselves so aloof from the people whom they would interest that the latter discount all their professions of love and sympathy. Having heard such reports we sought to determine whether or not they were truthful, and, if so, the cause. We did find palatial residences of ministers in Hong Kong and Shanghai, but these were not, strictly speaking, missionaries who served the Chinese. These ministers serve and are chiefly supported by Americans, British, Germans, etc. (merchants, consuls, military officers, etc.). One of these serves the Union Church in Shanghai at $2,400 gold ($4,800 Chinese money) per [R5011 : page 130] year. Of course, out of this he can well afford to live quite luxuriously in China. It is true that the missionaries also live in compounds, near the college buildings, separate entirely from the natives. These substantial structures, of course, must appear to the natives as palatial, greatly in contrast with their own hovels.
But we have not the heart to blame Western people for desiring to live according to their own standard when it is possible. No doubt some of them would serve with equal zeal if they had nowhere to lay their heads superior to the native house-boats on the river or the hovels on the shore. As one of them very frankly said, The constant din and hum of voices from earliest morning till latest night is very wearing upon the more delicate nervous systems of Caucasians and calculated to bring on nervous prostration, hence the better houses, purer air, better food, etc., may be considered almost in the light of necessities. Nor can we suppose that those who sent forth the missionaries and are paying their expenses desire them to live on the same level as the Chinese, even if their health would permit. On the whole, the average missionary seems to be doing in this respect about as faithfully as the majority of Christian people and Christian ministers in their home lands. So far as their clothing is concerned, we saw nothing that would be considered extravagant, even though much superior to the poor toggery of the majority of the natives.
THE RED CROSS SOCIETY
We have for years heard much of famines and consequent pestilences in China and these have usually been reported from practically the same district--the valley of the Yangtse River, which is navigable by large vessels for 900 miles. There is no doubt about the distress; many of the poor people are in a very pitiable condition. This is the third year in succession in which they have suffered famine. Even the seed sown was lost by reason of the great freshets. It is safe to say that two millions are on the verge of starvation--many have already starved to death. Money and rice from America have been poured into this district time and again, giving a moiety of relief, but the cause of the trouble remains--the river conditions.
The American Red Cross Society, organized for the preservation of life, and having as its President the Honorable William H. Taft, sent engineers to look into the difficulties and to confer with the Chinese Government respecting a permanent remedy. It has required time to make surveys and for engineers to decide what is necessary. The matter had reached a satisfactory conclusion and work was about to be begun when the revolution interrupted. It is anticipated that the new government will take the matter up. The engineer in charge, Mr. Jameson, informed us that he hopes to put to work speedily on the necessary improvements 30,000 of the destitute, and thus help a little in stemming the famine difficulties. While the matter is not under missionary auspices, it nevertheless has, in the minds of the Chinese, a missionary association and a helpful influence. Indeed, it is only along the lines of higher civilization that any considerable work can be accomplished now in China. Nevertheless, the Chinese are awakening and, like the Japanese, are wanting a new religion, rational as well as reverential. Is it not the same in Europe and America?
Pastor Russell addressed the natives on two occasions. Considerable interest was manifested and Chinese reports of both discourses were published, the publishers proposing to continue such publications weekly after the manner of the American and British newspapers. Something in his presentation seemed specially to strike interest and convince many of his hearers. In response to an offer of free reading matter in English, many addresses were handed in.
THE MORALS OF CHINA
The Chinese moral standard differs considerably from ours, but they apparently respect their own; there is no obtrusion of the nude and lewd. We saw no immodest dressing--nothing to suggest impurity or licentiousness. Mr. Lerrigo, Secretary of the Canton Y.M.C.A., informed us that the Chinese of the Association had recently purchased a moving-picture outfit, but that they immediately objected to the immodesty of some of the pictures, which would be thought all right in Europe and America. A censorship committee was appointed, and every picture in the sligthest degree immodest is eliminated. In their Christian gatherings the sexes sit apart. When we sought for photographic views representing the Chinese, their customs and homes, we found them all modest, chaste. Vulgar, foolish and immodest pictures there were on sale, but they were of European manufacture, and apparently sold to Europeans and Americans. A missionary of thirty years' residence assured us that the moral status of the people in general is quite good, excepting that of the Buddhist priests.
UNITED STATES MISSIONS
Our visit to the Philippine Islands gave us a greatly increased respect for the American flag. The change wrought in the twelve years of American supervision of the Philippines is little short of a miracle. Little did we [R5011 : page 131] suppose that our Government had been carrying on so benevolent a work as we there beheld. True, it is not a missionary work in the proper sense of that term, in that it is not attempting to give the Filipinos religious instruction of any kind. Nevertheless, the work is very similar to that which all Foreign Missions are now attempting in Oriental countries--a work of education and moral and social uplift, etc. The officers and soldiers whom we met were a credit to the greatest nation in the world, including the Major General commanding the forces of the Philippines, the Civil Governor and those of the civil service officials with whom we became acquainted.
When our Government took over the control of these Islands from Spain there were thousands of Jesuits and Friars in the Islands in control of vast estates, but the people were ignorant. These friars still own 95 per cent. of the property within the walled city of Manila, we were told. The Government rents from them considerable property, paying $4,000 gold rent per year for one building alone. Nothing has been done by the United States Government against Catholicism; no Protestant denomination has been favored in any manner. Instead a thousand American teachers were imported, of whom 800 still remain. These are now supplemented by 6,000 native teachers. The Filipino thirst for education is rapidly increasing. The Legislature has recently determined upon the erection of 400 new school houses and the addition of many teachers. Do you have compulsory education? we inquired. The answer was, It is unnecessary; we cannot equip the schools rapidly enough as it is; we are obliged to run two shifts in order to accommodate those who are anxious to learn.
An up-to-date hospital has been erected; it is probably as complete as any hospital in the world, and its free dispensary has the distinction of being sixth in the world's record of cases treated in a year-- 80,000 cases last year.
Steam railways, electric railways, etc., with modern buildings and a newly dredged harbor are rapidly increasing the business interests and lifting the people from serfdom and peonage to intelligence and good citizenship. [R5012 : page 131]
UNITED STATES TREATING FILIPINOS AS AN ELDER BROTHER
To give an idea of the progress made, we note the fact that at a meeting addressed by Pastor Russell there were present about 1,000 Filipino young men, ages from 18 to 30, who understand English, and who gave the very closest attention. Following the address some 300 applications for literature were voluntarily handed to Pastor Russell. This is in keeping with the general manifestation of this people for knowledge along every line. Another indication of their progress was manifested recently. A proposal was made that a Y.M.C.A. for Filipinos be established. The American Central Committee made an offer of $140,000, provided the Filipinos of Manila themselves would raise $80,000. The amount was more than subscribed--$100,000 was contributed.
To our surprise, the Governor General and others assured us that all of these improvements are being made by the Filipinos themselves--at their own cost. The United States Government merely supervises the matter through its representatives. The judges, physicians, nurses, teachers, schools, are all paid for out of Filipino funds under our Government's wise and economical management of their affairs; as an elder brother doing for a younger. We felt proud indeed of the record. When we contrasted the results here manifested and the benevolent methods used with the selfish exploiting practices only too common, we thanked God that whatever the blemishes of our Government and whatever its shortcomings, it has a record for justice second to none ever made in this world's history, and that without hypocrisy.
This fairness manifested by our Government is telling upon the Filipinos, who at first misunderstood. It is also influencing the large number of Chinese residing there. Indeed, the whole world is taking notice; but alas! we fear that no colonizing nation is ready to follow the example. The peoples of the Orient are practical and nothing could much more commend to them the principles of Christianity than our Government's course. Quite to the contrary, the operations and exploitations of European governments have given the missionaries a very uphill work in what they have sought to do. The very fact that these exploiting governments have backed up and protected [R5012 : page 132] the missionaries has had, we believe, an influence derogatory to missions.
THE MALAY PENINSULA
Your Committee visited Singapore and Penang and had interesting and profitable experiences. The greatest missionary effort in both places appeared to be under Methodist control. The work being done in these two Malayan centers reminded us very much of what we have already mentioned respecting the work in progress in the Philippine Islands. Like that, it seemed to be chiefly a work of secular education, and quite successful, although conducted along different lines. The Government subsidizes the schools liberally, besides which a tuition fee is charged. In these respects we believe the work less successful than that in the Philippines, where the education is free, and where the Government provides the schools and teachers and cannot supply them rapidly enough.
These Methodist schools in Singapore and Penang, so far as we were able to learn, have 2,500 and 2,000 pupils respectively in attendance, and with Government subsidization, are self-supporting. These pupils are attracted from all parts of the Peninsula, and some from Siam and from Sumatra, across the Straits. Naturally the expenses attaching to these scholarships must reduce the number in attendance and confine it to the comparatively better-off classes. In the Philippines, on the contrary, the free schools and their teachers are scattered everywhere, and all people, rich and poor, have educational opportunities. While, therefore, we highly commend the work being done here, we still believe that the American plan is the superior one. It is astonishing to note how anxious the peoples of these parts seem to be to gain an education.
Inquiry respecting Christianity amongst the students revealed the fact that a certain amount of religious matter is introduced daily, in that the sessions are opened with prayer, and some of the simpler Bible stories and parables are brought to the attention of the pupils. Of course, only a small proportion of the entire attendance at these schools ever take the full course of instruction, but we are informed that one-quarter of those who do graduate profess Christianity, as preferable to the religion of their birth, although they do not very generally join any of the Christian churches. We were glad to learn that here, as well as in China, prejudice against Christianity is rapidly breaking down, and that the Chinese who predominate here prefer American and English teachers rather than their own. Indeed, they are quite willing to pay good salaries for competent teachers, who are in demand.
We did not have favorable opportunities for contact with the native Christians, who are of many nationalities. We learned with pleasure, however, that while they are few in number, they give evidence of sincerity. Other denominations were represented as active, but in a much smaller way, and much less successful than the work noted.
CHRISTIAN INFLUENCE IN INDIA
For centuries India has been a missionary field--particularly the southern portion, and the Island of Ceylon adjacent. Tradition has it that St. Thomas, one of the twelve Apostles, visited Ceylon and Madras. A cathedral to his memory stands in Madras, covering, it is claimed, his grave. The legend is quite specific. We were shown the cave where he was attacked by the Brahmins, but from which he escaped. About two miles from it is what is termed Mt. Saint Thomas. This is the place where, supposedly, he was speared to death by a Brahmin. Of course, these incidentals may have belonged to some other man by the name of Thomas, and centuries of time may have confounded him with the Apostle Thomas. But that some man by the name of Thomas, a Christian Missionary, visited those parts long ago could scarcely be questioned.
Additional tradition shows that at a very early period Syrian Christians made a settlement on the southwest coast. They still maintain an organization, and a church history running back from twelve to fifteen hundred years, and they now number about a quarter of a million in the Province of Travancore, whose population is about three millions.
The London Missionary Society, a Congregational institution, has carried on a work in Travancore since 1806. They have had some success, almost exclusively with the lower castes, some of whose forbears were slaves. They claim now a church membership of ten thousand. Although Travancore is one of the smallest of the India Provinces, we have given it prominence because Christian missionary effort here appears to have reached a better development than elsewhere, so far as we could discern. The natives are very poor, but industrious, and apparently honest-hearted. The higher castes, which adhere to Hinduism, seem not averse to Christianity, but reject it, because to them it seems less logical than their own beliefs. The natives from the lower castes, reached by the Gospel message, have certainly been blessed above their fellows still remaining under the grosser superstitions and idolatry of Hinduism.
Northward from Travancore and Madras we found evidences of missionary activity, but they were newer and their successful work correspondingly less in evidence. We were pleased, however, to note that some amongst the natives in all parts give evidence of great sincerity and Christian devotion to the extent of their knowledge of the Lord and His Word. These, however, of course, are very isolated cases, just as this class of Christians is scarce in every part of the world.
METHODS EMPLOYED TO INTEREST NATIVES
Various are the methods used by the Missionaries to gain a hold upon the people of India, and to lift them from idolatry and superstition. The college appears to be the most attractive bait. There is a thirst for knowledge, even though it be less in India than could be wished for. In only one locality did we hear of children being hired to attend school by the payment of a trifling sum. We were told that for this inducement the parents would compel [R5012 : page 133] the attendance of the children, but not without it. In various parts of India there are academies and colleges controlled by the Missionaries. These are attractive to the young men, because of the educational facilities. The students are not required to make any profession of Christianity in joining the schools, but rather are assured that no attempt will be made to indoctrinate them. These students, we are advised, come largely from the upper Brahmin caste, influence with which is much coveted by the Missionaries.
Inquiry as to how Christian interest was sustained amongst these young men brought the answer that the majority, after graduating, scoff at Christianity, and claim a superiority for Hinduism. They seem to catch in the schools the spirit of "Higher Criticism." We cannot surely tell the mental attitude of these young men when they enter the schools, because we know that the influence of the schooling in the colleges in Christendom tends to similar unbelief in the Bible. Inquiry respecting the status of the Protestant Missionaries on the subject of faith in the Bible brought the report that many of them are Higher Critics and Evolutionists, who no longer believe in the Bible as the inspired Word of God. It seems to be conceded, however, that higher critical teachings are not conveyed to the scholars in a public manner, but [R5013 : page 133] rather, as in Christendom, covertly.
We found evidence of very sincere Christian endeavor on the part of the Missionaries in the past, with some fruitage in consecrated natives. We found the Missionaries of the present time earnest and attentive to their work, but, like ministers of Christendom, they seem to have had their spirituality sapped, devitalized, and, probably, by the same influences--"Higher-Critical-Infidel-Evolutionary" theories. Only one missionary did we hear of preaching eternal torture, and he was a new arrival on the field. Contact with "heathendom" seems to fully settle in the minds of all reasoning people that God never intended the eternal torture of all except the comparatively few who put their trust in the redemptive work of Jesus, and subsequently seek to walk in His steps.
SINCERITY OF MANY NATIVES EVIDENT
On every hand may be seen evidences that the poor Hindus are as sincere at heart in their worship as any Christian could possibly be. There is not the sligthest sign that the devotions of the majority are hypocritical--"to be seen of men." Although their devotions are performed publicly, fearlessly, they are reverential and seem to be addressed to some unseen god, even though crude idols are at times apparently used to represent him, according to a philosophy which we are unable to appreciate. However, when we remembered the terrible mental pictures of the Almighty drawn by some of our creeds, and contrasted these with the ugly idols worshipped by some of these poor peoples, we felt inclined to say that of the two the creed idol was the more repulsive.
The Salvation Army has recently entered the missionary lists in India. Its sympathetic method of mingling with and aiding the lowest caste to better ideas of home-life and cleanliness is commendable. If only their fifes and drums called the people to hear of God's love, and the good tidings of His provision for all in Messiah's Kingdom, what good they might accomplish! They are making quite a show of success by attracting to their service young teachers, "catechists," from other missions, by more liberal allowances for their expenses.
MORE THAN EDUCATION NEEDED TO LIFT NATIVES OUT OF SUPERSTITION
At Benares we had a Christian native for a guide, and he informed us that many of the poor people who were bathing in the Ganges, and hoping thereby to wash away their sins, had been educated, some of them in Christian schools, so that quite a good many of them were conversant with the English language. This surely was a very discouraging discovery. It indicated that even more than education is necessary to lift these peoples out of their deep-seated superstitions.
Missionaries and Christianity have frequently been blamed with doing injury to the people. Many say, "You can trust a native who has not professed Christianity, but beware lest you ever trust one who has been Christianized --they are not dependable." It may be that something connected with Missionary effort promotes dishonesty in those who receive its benefits, but in our opinion the Missionaries and their methods are less to be blamed than the Europeans residing in India and transient visitors. Apparently the more consecrated people of Christendom remain at home. There can be no doubt that the influence of the white man in a general way upon the people of India has to a considerable extent been demoralizing, and this demoralizing influence, exercised by representatives of Christendom, seems to more than counteract the helpful influences of the Bible and the Missionaries. The natives of lower castes look up to the whites, but find their disgraces easier to copy than their graces.
In Madras we became acquainted with a native Christian worker who was conducting a temperance mission. We remarked that we had been greatly surprised to find the natives quite free from the influence of intoxicating liquors, and that we were surprised at his having a Temperance Mission. He corroborated our understanding of the matter that Hindus and Mohammedans, who constitute the bulk of the population, repudiate intoxicating liquors. He said that his labors were chiefly amongst the young natives who were influenced by Christianity, and who were rapidly becoming addicted to intoxicating liquors. We learned also that amongst the Mohammedans there is a class increasingly numerous which, following the example of the whites, are becoming skeptical of religion and correspondingly dissolute in their [R5013 : page 134] habits. As for the whites, nearly all seem to use liquors and tobacco. The irreligion and nominalism of the majority of the whites discount greatly all missionary efforts.
A REVIEW OF THE COMMITTEE'S TOUR
From the Straits of Malay our party came to the Island of Ceylon. We had some interesting experiences in its chief city, Colombo. A number of Bible students of that place met us on our arrival, and gave us hearty greetings of welcome. Our fellowship with them was sweet, and three of them subsequently accompanied us for a few days through the Travancore District of India. Here in Colombo a meeting had been arranged for in the Public Hall, to be addressed by Pastor Russell. Although the hour appointed was early, the house was crowded, about 900 being present. Close attention was given, and at the conclusion of the meeting many addresses were handed in for literature on Biblical topics.
Another interesting experience worth relating was a visit by the Committee to the Lepers' Hospital on an island adjoining the city. The hospital is presided over by an educated Indian of the Parsee faith, who with great cordiality arranged for Pastor Russell to give an address (through an interpreter) to the lepers. Many heard with interest, and amongst them some inquired for literature.
A full week was given to southwest India, and it was worthy of it. Our first stop was at Russell-Purim, the principal point at which Brother Davey for two years has let shine the "Gospel of the Kingdom." Pastor Russell preached there twice through interpreters to audiences variously estimated from two to five thousand. Nearly two miles from the meeting place we were met by a thousand of the natives who escorted us to a hastily improvised auditorium. A fife and drum corps preceded us, while behind us came bagpipes, tom-toms and various musical instruments unknown to us. Many of those who met us carried banners of welcome and marched ahead of our motor car, while on either side were lined up others who greeted us, singing native hymns of welcome. Our Committee was quite unprepared for such a reception, and in the general din could merely express our appreciation by bowing to the multitudes who walked and ran before, beside and behind us to the meeting place, constantly joined by other hundreds on the way, and finally by thousands who were waiting for us at the auditorium.
When we stepped upon the platform each member of the Committee was presented with a garland of flowers, strung after the native style. These were hung about our necks. To each of us was presented also a bouquet of flowers handsomely arranged in a manner which, we were informed, to the natives signified peace, love and good will. Next came fans and a glass of cocoanut milk. It was following these experiences and refreshments that Pastor Russell gave his address. Following the first address we were introduced to some of the officials of the vicinity.
Our next stop was at Nagercoil, where the London Missionary Society has a college. We were kindly received by the Secretary in charge, and, as per arrangement made in advance, Pastor Russell delivered an address. The auditorium was crowded, as were the doors and windows, while hundreds were unable to get within hearing distance. Natives constituted the audience, except the white teachers. Amongst them, we were informed, were educated Hindus as well as Christians, and nearly all were men.
The next stop was at Trivandum, the capital of Travancore. Two meetings were held in Victoria City Hall, which on both occasions was crowded to overflowing. We cannot, of course, know to what extent the hearers received the message. It was quite manifest, however, from their conduct, that some of the Hindus had come to sneer at anything Christian. It was equally manifest that by the time of the close of the meeting most of this disposition had faded away; the faces were earnest--many of them markedly sincere. They heard the Bible defended and Christianity upheld with more of an appeal than ever before to the Bible, as well as to reason. Nearly 200 requested literature, expressing a desire to study further the matter which they had heard-- some of them expressing deep concern.
WE REACHED MADRAS
In Madras we had very interesting experiences also. Three meetings were held in different localities, all of them crowded. Nearly three hundred applications for literature were handed in. It was while in this vicinity that we visited the Mount of Saint Thomas, where, according to tradition, the Apostle Thomas, as before referred to, suffered martyrdom by a spear-thrust at the hands of a Brahmin.
THE VIZAGAPATAM MISSION
We had an interesting visit to Vizagapatam, which has a mission now under the control of the Canadian Baptists, having been transferred to them by the London Missionary Society. A public meeting was held in the chapel and we attended. The missionary and his wife were present, and also two men and two women, native [R5014 : page 135] teachers or workers. It was Quarterly Meeting Day, and about six boys and six girls repeated Scripture verses, committed to memory, in the presence of an audience of about forty adults. These missionaries and teachers-- yea, and all missionaries--have the sympathy of the Committee, for we realized that they have a difficult proposition --an impossible one, so far as the conversion of the world is concerned.
CALCUTTA--CITY OF PALACES
Some of us journeyed from Madras to Calcutta, while another passed through the Mysore District to Bombay. All of our experiences were interesting. We were impressed with the fact that while the natives respect the whites as a superior race, they are perplexed with some of their religious teachings, and inclined to think that many professing Christianity are only partially sincere in professing such beliefs--for instance, Mohammedans cannot receive the "Doctrine of the Trinity." They accept our Old Testament Scriptures, but declare that these forbid the worship of any but the one God. They therefore oppose Christians in preaching that there are three gods, even as they oppose the Hindus for preaching that there are five thousand gods.
All (Hindus and Mohammedans) are perplexed that these superior whites should insist on justice, kindness and love and yet teach that the Creator is devoid of these qualities--that He foreordained their forefathers to an eternity of torture, well knowing what He was doing, and that He has allowed ignorance to prevail in the earth over the masses of mankind, while demanding knowledge and faith as a basis for salvation. They say, What we already believe seems to us more reasonable than this. We have some bad gods of our own, but none of them are so vicious as the Christian God is represented to be. We also have kind and generous gods and merciful gods, and these teach us that we must be kind and generous toward each other and towards even the brute beasts. Why, they ask, should we leave our own faith, which is older than yours, to accept your views, which are less reasonable, just and loving than our own?
RELIGION NOT GENERALLY TAUGHT
Of course, missionaries find it very difficult to answer such propositions. One result is that little is said about the future punishment of unbelievers, etc. If much were said on these subjects, Hindu children would not be allowed to attend the schools. To maintain a hold upon the children, to be able to make interesting reports of the progress of their work, and to seemingly justify their continuance in the work, the pupils must be held on to. Religious instruction is generally avoided, except at times, when it is optional with the pupils to attend.
Another matter connected with the schools should be mentioned: Of late years, the Government has been fostering education by giving liberal allowances to schools of a satisfactory curriculum. But the Government requires that such schools, aided out of the public treasury, shall be non-religious. The various mission schools of practically all denominations are now competing for such Government patronage--to compensate for the falling off of missionary donations. As a consequence these mission schools are non-religious--purely secular--with merely a Christian influence attaching, and, as already noted, this Christian influence is of late vitiated and neutralized by an unbelief in the Bible, the fruitage of "Higher-Criticism-Evolutionary" theories.
The critics of the Christian religion are, of course, mainly from the upper castes. Those of the lower castes wonder much, understand little, and seem to be in expectation of harsh language and ill treatment, both from the whites and the higher castes of Indians. In all of our journeyings we were impressed with the gentleness of the people as a whole, and the evident affection of parents for their children. Only amongst those who have been closely associated with the whites did we find the quarreling and wrangling disposition.
In Calcutta two meetings were held, addressed by Pastor Russell. Although the attendance was not large, the interest was considerable, as evidenced by the fact that 170 handed in their names and addresses for literature.
BENARES--"THE HOLY CITY"
Benares was our next stopping point. It is the Mecca of India. As a city it is said to be sacred to more people of different religions than any other city on earth. No attempt was made to hold a meeting there. The people seem more ignorant and superstitious than at any other point visited. The principal interest here, aside from the temples, which we did not visit, were the bathing ghats along the shore of the Ganges river. To these pilgrimages are made from various parts of India. They go down the steps into the water, which to them is sacred; they bathe, pray the while, and finally, before leaving, many of them fill little vessels with the "sacred" water, which they carry home with them. It was particularly saddening and discouraging to be told by a native Christian that many who go thither to bathe have had contact with Christianity and modern education. It reminded us of the saying of a Missionary in Japan, namely, that one of the most discouraging features of his work was that some of the members of his congregation who had professed Christianity for years, nevertheless went annually to the Shinto temple to worship their ancestors.
LUCKNOW--CAWNPORE--AGRA, ETC. BOMBAY, THE BEAUTIFUL
Our experiences at Bombay closed this most interesting tour through India. Here Pastor Russell addressed two very intelligent audiences, composed partially of whites, the remainder being of high caste natives. Some stood and many, desirous of hearing, were unable to gain admission. Here again many requests for literature were handed in.
The next day on the pier, as we were departing for Egypt, an educated native of the Parsee caste, who had accepted Christianity, came to bid us good by, bringing with him a long garland of flowers of sweet odor, which he hung about Pastor Russell's shoulders, and presenting him at the same time with a very handsome bouquet in the form of a scepter. He declared himself under lasting obligations for the assistance in the understanding of God's Word afforded by the meeting of the night previous. He also handed in his address for literature.
CONCLUDING THOUGHTS ON INDIA
From the foregoing it will be noted that in the Committee's estimation the true Christianity has made more advancement in the Province of Travancore than in any other. We believe the readers of this report will feel a special interest in the people of that Province. We tried to think of some little souvenir of that Province, and found one which, we believe, will be generally interesting. It is the smallest coin used in Travancore, and probably one of the smallest in value in the world, about one-tenth [R5014 : page 136] of a cent each. Yet in one sense of the word it is the basis of all monetary value, for it is called "cash."
We have brought with us several thousand of these from the Travancore mint--new. They are for the International Bible Students Association classes. Each class desiring these souvenirs should, through its secretary, send to the Brooklyn office a list of names of its members desiring one coin each; thus each class may be served at one sending--saving trouble and expense. These souvenirs will be sent free, postpaid.
With deep gratitude to God for the privileges and lessons connected with this world-tour of Mission Investigation, we conclude our Report with a Categorical Summary, which notes the questions given us for our guidance, and our answers thereto following each.
THE CATEGORICAL SUMMARY
Ans.--The success attained by Missionaries is small. We found Oriental Christians about as sincere, intelligent and earnest as the average of church attendants in America and Europe; and, as there, a very few who gave evidence of being consecrated to God and His service.
But, viewing the question from the standpoint of the present and future, rather than the past, our Report is different. The present methods cannot be called successful, because Christianizing endeavors seem pretty generally to have ceased! Present missionary endeavors are almost exclusively along the lines of secular education. Although this is not Christianizing work, it is, of course, a good work, for the poor Orientals surely need education. [R5015 : page 136]
In your Committee's opinion, however, there is less need for Academic and Collegiate education, such as the Missionaries forward, than for Common Schooling. The Oriental, after obtaining higher education, is spoiled for the common affairs of life about him, and aspires only to teaching, clerkship and office holding, which are over-supplied. Unable to get such employment, he is in trouble. He will not dig, and to beg he is ashamed. But the general Common School education, your Committee believes, could best be done by the Government, and along unsectarian lines, after the method followed by the United States of America in its supervision of the Philippine Islands. Christians, of course, would be the best for teachers.
Answer.--There are evidences of positive teachings in the past, but there is very little religious teaching now being done, because the people would resent it, and keep their children from the schools. We heard of instances where a small coin per day was given to each child attending school; but, aside from the schooling, the inducements offered by the Missionaries are chiefly social and medical.
Of late the natives are more and more averse to a public avowal of Christianity, because with increasing intelligence come doubts. The tendency of the times in the Orient, as in the Occident, is toward unbelief in any religion. If a Missionary falls from faith in the Bible into "Higher-Criticism-Infidelity," he may continue his office and profession. But the Orientals have no such inducements to outwardly profess what they no longer believe (except native teachers). Besides, these Orientals are very honest in respect to their religious professions, except where spoiled by contact with the hypocrisy of the whites.
Answer.--The Orientals are remarkably tolerant of all religions, but are often perplexed at the Missionary competition and opposition of Christian denominations. The higher castes consider the medley of Christian doctrines presented to them less philosophical than their own. Their own, however, is not satisfactory, they confess. But before exchanging for another they want to know that the change will be for the better. The common conception, that all the peoples of India, China and Japan are heathen savages, is very erroneous. Their upper classes, or castes, include some splendid characters of truly noble manhood, the moral and intellectual peers of Europeans and Americans. Indeed, the masses of these people are less vicious, less rude, more kind and considerate than are the masses of Europe and America. Drunkenness and outward immodesty are almost entirely unknown amongst the Orientals.
Many of the congregations of Christians in Japan, China and India are self-sustaining. And in such cases the Orientals prefer to take over the full control of all services, rather than to have the Missionaries take any part. The native ministers come closer to the people than it is possible for the whites to do. Habits and customs of life make it almost impossible for Missionaries to live in the very simple style of the Orientals, and it would not be reasonable to require it.
Answer.--The great change necessary to make Missionary work more successful is for the Missionaries to have and to impart to the people a more logical Gospel. To preach to the millions of the Orient that God foreordained them to ignorance of the true religion, and condemned all the generations of their forefathers, on account [R5015 : page 137] of that ignorance, to an eternity of torture is not logical, not loving, not just--not Gospel at all, when we remember that the word Gospel means "good-tidings of great joy which shall be to all people." The Missions would be much more successful in reaching the hearts of those they would serve if they presented the Gospel of God's loving provision of Messiah's coming Kingdom.
Although the doctrine of the Trinity corresponds considerably with the teachings of the Hindu religion, it is, nevertheless, difficult for those of other religions to fully accept it. They cannot understand the matter of three Gods in one person, as some put it; or three persons in one God, as others put it. There is a simplicity and honesty about these people that is commendable, and which refuses to confess that which they do not understand. The message of Messiah's coming Kingdom, in which God's will shall be done on earth, even as it is done in heaven, would, we believe, appeal to large and increasing numbers of Orientals.
Answer.--No one who knows anything of Oriental conditions would have the least expectation of the world's conversion during this present generation through the use of the thirty million dollars proposed. Nor, indeed, if the sum were a thousand times that. We would not, however, discourage the giving of money for Missions. Those who give will be benefited by so doing, and undoubtedly every million spent benevolently in Oriental lands will help to bring in the more extravagant civilization of the West. It will increase the wants of the natives, and thus promote commerce. As for promoting vital Christianity, we all know that this is not a purchasable commodity.
As to whether the Western civilization will really advantage the East is a question. The Orientals, economical and industrious, are also contented, which is more than can be said of their more favored brethren of the West. Nor can we claim that our Western civilization would make them more honest and more truthful.
The very suggestion of the conversion of the world is ridiculous to the peoples of the East--including the Missionaries. One Methodist minister frankly said, "I had to come here and see for myself, before I dropped the idea of the world's conversion, and the twin idea that all the unconverted would suffer endless torture."
Answer.--Our judgment is that that portion of money contributed to Foreign Missions, which reaches heathen lands, is wisely enough used for its intended purposes. Whatever waste there is would seem rather to be in the machinery of collections. One collector for such benevolent institutions told us that he was allowed, as his salary, one-half of all that he collected. We know not to what extent this principle obtains with other Societies. Each Society owes to itself to institute a very thorough investigation into its own affairs, and to ascertain what proportion of the funds received is ever forwarded to the Missionaries.
Nothing in these remarks applies in any degree to the Association under whose auspices this Committee went forth. It is well known by us all that the International Bible Students Assn. is conducted along most economical lines, and that all services in the home office are gratuitous.
We know nothing to suggest, except that the true Gospel of salvation be preached--the Gospel of the Kingdom of Messiah. Wherever Pastor Russell preached the soon coming of Messiah's Kingdom to "Bless all the families of the earth," all classes heard with keen interest. He quotes Scriptures relating to the coming "Golden Age," the lifting of the veil of ignorance and manifesting God's love to all men, including those now sleeping in death. It seemed good to Mohammedans, Hindus, Buddhists, Confucians--all. Many desired him to stay longer, but his time was limited; instead he promised them literature, for which they eagerly handed in their addresses.
In harmony with your suggestions, Pastor Russell arranged for the publication of free literature in the six principal languages of India, viz.: Hindustani, Guiarati, Malayami, Tulugu, Marotti and Tamil. This work is already under way, as is also a similar work of the Chinese and Japanese. The entire cost of producing three million copies, and circulating them through willing natives, will, he believes, be kept within the seven thousand dollars authorized by the Association.
In conclusion, your Committee assure you that they have done their very best to accomplish the purpose of their appointment. They thank the Lord, and also the Association, for the great privileges enjoyed in connection with the service.
C. T. RUSSELL, Pres. Adj.-Gen'l W. P. HALL F. H. ROBISON, Sec'y J. T. D. PYLES E. W. V. KUEHN R. B. MAXWELL DR. LESLIE W. JONES
THE COMMITTEE HOMEWARD BOUND
Leaving India the Committee journeyed via Suez, stopping two days at Cairo. A visit was made to the Great Pyramid, whose wonderful Passages tell by their construction so much of the Divine Plan that it has been called the Stone Bible. We need not here give space to an explanation of the meaning of the passages and their wonderful lessons, so in harmony with the prophecies of the Bible, because the majority of our readers already have this as one of the Chapters in the Third Volume of the STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES. We do, however, urge all to a fresh reading of this testimony, so helpful to faith.
On the second day an excursion was made to the ruins of Memphis, the ancient Capital of Egypt in Joseph's time, when he was next to Pharaoh in authority. Many of the scenes brought freshly to mind the Scripture narrative respecting Joseph, and later on respecting the finding of Moses in the rushes of the Nile. The land of Goshen, where the Israelites spent two centuries, and from which they were miraculously delivered, the place of their possible crossing the Red Sea, the wells of Moses, and the bitter waters of Marah on the opposite shore, were noticed.
ATHENS AND MARS HILL
Next we visited Athens, made famous through the visit of St. Paul eigtheen centuries ago. There we visited the Stadium, where Socrates and other orators of ancient Greece held large audiences by their eloquence. We thought, too, of the fickleness of public applause, as we viewed the ancient prison in which he died. Other items of interest at Athens were the wonderful Temple and the great Amphitheatre, with a seating capacity of forty thousand, recently remodeled after its original style, in marble. [R5016 : page 138]
But the ruins of the greatness of ancient Greece, grand as they were, led our minds still more particularly to the great Apostle St. Paul. We considered that his monuments in the New Testament writings are more eloquent a thousand times than all the achievements of all the philosophers, poets and artists of the whole period of Greece's fame. We climbed to Mars Hill, traversing quite probably the same steps, cut in the natural rocks, by which the Apostle ascended and descended. We went to a platform in the rocks above, and near to the old market house mentioned in the Scriptures, and surmised that St. Paul spoke to the people from that very spot. Our little company while on Mars Hill engaged in a short service of praise and prayer, and Pastor Russell gave a little sermonette re the Gospel which St. Paul preached--Jesus and the Resurrection--Jesus, the Redeemer and Savior; the Resurrection, the method by which a Divine blessing will come through Jesus to all the families of the earth.
We noted that as the doctrine of the Resurrection was scoffed at by the ancient Greeks, so the worldly-wise of today are still inclined to stumble over it and to mock and say, "We will hear thee again of this matter--enough for the present."
Two public meetings were held in one of the principal auditoriums of Athens, addressed by Pastor Russell. On both occasions many were turned away, while others were obliged to stand. Many heard the Gospel of the Two Salvations for the first time:--
(2) The Restitution blessing then to be brought to the world in general with full opportunity for all the willing and obedient to return to human perfection and a world-wide Eden and everlasting life--rejectors being destroyed in the Second Death.
Our experiences at Corinth were interesting. We were shown the ruins of ancient Corinth, which have recently been uncovered. We walked about some of the very market places and fountains visited by St. Paul, and probably upon the very stones. St. Paul's Cathedral, a fine, modern structure, is the City's memorial to the great Apostle. The Cathedral is Greek Catholic--or rather Greek Christian, for so the natives prefer to speak of themselves.
Here, at the request of the Mayor and the Ecclesiastics, Pastor Russell gave two addresses of about an hour and a half each. They were well received. The reasonableness of the presentations and deductions and the harmony of the same with the Bible seemed to be the general comment of the people, many of whom seemed hungry for a clearer knowledge of God's Word and a surer foundation for their faith. Here as well as at Athens many addresses were handed in with requests for reading matter.
Brief stops were made at two places in France, where several semi-private conferences were held with Bible Students. The following Sunday brought us to London, where a most interesting and profitable week was spent. Pastor Russell delivered eight addresses in London and nearby--four of these were in the London Tabernacle.
NEW YORK HIPPODROME MASS MEETING
TO HEAR I.B.S.A. COMMITTEE'S REPORT ON MISSIONS
Less than a week brought us safely across the Atlantic on the Cunarder "Mauretania." Here we received a most hearty welcome, which culminated on Sunday in a mass meeting of Christian people at the New York Hippodrome.
The Hippodrome, with a seating capacity of fifty-two hundred, had been secured for the Committee's report on March 31, 3 p.m. Crowds were at the entrances waiting for admission at 1:30 o'clock. Before 3 o'clock every seat was taken, and subsequently hundreds were turned away disappointed. No better evidence than this of the interest of the public and of Bible Students of all denominations could be asked.
The crowds entering beheld with bated breath the entire platform, or stage, over a hundred feet wide, banked with beautiful floral evergreen plants, etc., etc. We learned afterwards that it required eigtheen men to unwrap and place these floral tributes--from 4 a.m. until noon. The decoration was a master-work, both as respects the materials and their arrangement. It was declared the most beautiful floral display of the kind ever seen in the American Metropolis. The Chairman, referring to the flowers, remarked that they had come from Bible Students of twenty-one different States of the Union addressed to the Pastor and with greetings to himself and to the Committee. The central feature of the display was a large Cross of red carnations circled by a crown of yellow daffodils and surrounded by a circular wreath-work of dark green leaves in which were scattered beautiful white lilies.
The Hon. J. F. Rutherford of the New York Bar served as Chairman. He introduced Prof. F. H. Robison, who read to the audience the categorical Summary which constitutes the conclusion of their Report, explaining that the full Report would be printed, as we here have it.
Pastor Russell followed with a discourse from the text, "Ask of Me and I will give Thee the heathen for Thine inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for Thy possession." (Psa. 2:8.) It will be unnecessary for us to give a synopsis of this, as Bible Students in all parts of England and America have already had opportunity to read it in the more than one thousand newspapers which publish the Pastor's sermons every week.
ORDER COUPON For Pastor Russell's Studies in the Scriptures Advertised on Back Cover
Bible and Tract Society, London W., or Brooklyn, N.Y.
Sirs:--Please send me (all charges fully prepaid) for the enclosed $2.00 (or $2.65 with THE WATCH TOWER) the complete set of Pastor Russell's six volumes of STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES. It is expressly agreed that if, after reading the first volume, I desire to return the set, charges prepaid, my money will be promptly refunded.Date__________ Name__________ St. and No.__________ P.O.__________ State, Prov. or Country__________ ---------- ----------
ORDER COUPON For International Bible Students Association Bible Illustrated inside Back Cover
Bible and Tract Society, London W., or Brooklyn, N.Y.
Sirs:--Please send me (all charges fully prepaid) for the enclosed $__________, your International Bible Students Association Bible No. 1918 at $1.65, or No. 1919 at $1.75, or No. 1928 at $2.65, or No. 1939 at $1.95, or No. 1959 at $3.65.Name__________ St. and No.__________ P.O.__________ State, Prov. or Shire__________ Date__________ Country__________
page 139 Inside back cover colored picture of our Lord and his disciples in wheat field. page 140 Colored picture of six volumes (Three-fifths actual size)
THE DIVINE PLAN THE NEW CREATION THE TIME IS AT HAND THE ATONEMENT THY KINGDOM COME THE DAY OF VENGEANCE
VERITABLE BIBLE KEYS
ONE OF THE WORLD'S GREATEST OBSERVERS AND CRITICS ONCE SAID:
There is one thing which constitutes an effectual barrier against all progress; which holds out a restraining hand against the onward march of all attainment; which damps the glow of study and research; which blocks the channel to an endless succession of happinesses; and that thing is-- "CONDEMNATION WITHOUT INVESTIGATION"
The full set of STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES as above pictured (six volumes, over 3000 pages), all packing and carriage charges prepaid to any part of the world, for the small sum of $2.00 (8 s.), the usual price of one such volume. Address, BIBLE AND TRACTS SOCIETY, LANCASTER GATE, LONDON, E., ENGLAND; 13-17 HICKS ST., BROOKLYN, N.Y., U.S.A.; or 312 FLINDERS ST., MELBOURNE, VIC., AUSTRALIA. Or to secure above set of Studies and the religious journal which Pastor Russell edits, The Watch Tower, 16 pages twice a month for one year, send $2.65 (11 s.). See Order Slip bottom of preceding leaf.
These valuable books may be ordered at the same prices in any of the following languages, viz: German, French, Swedish, Dano-Norwegian, Greek, Polish, Arabic, Hungarian, Hollandish, Spanish, Italian or Finnish.
Top of Page