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VOL. XXVIII JULY 1. No. 13
A.D. 1907—A.M. 6035
Views from the Watch Tower……………………195
Is Prosperity Waning?…………………….195
Methodist Teachings Curios………………..196
Infidelity in High Places…………………196
Remarkable Wesleyan Sermon………………..197
War Feared; No World’s Fair in 1913………..197
Berean Bible Study in Tabernacle Shadows……….198
Types in Saul, David and Solomon………………198
Adam and Eve—Christ and the Church: A Contrast….199
Our Obligations Toward Others…………………199
“Your Father Knoweth” (Poem)………………….203
“Keep Yourselves from Idols”………………….203
Some Interesting Questions Answered……………206
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“SCRIPTURE STUDIES”—INDIA EDITION
We repeat that orders are placed, for the past year, for all the volumes of SCRIPTURE STUDIES to be printed on India paper and bound in leather, with gold edges. It requires a long time to import paper, and our publishers were disappointed as to the quality of the first lot of it (afterward used in the “Karatol” bound edition). They hope for the new lot of best India paper soon, and lead us to hope that we will have all the volumes about Christmas next.
Meantime we are not “suffering” seriously, having the regular cloth edition and the regular leather edition, besides the first volume in Karatol and in magazine form.
“MANNA” AND “KARATOL” ORDERS
Orders for the Karatol edition of STUDIES, Vol. I., have been filled. If yours failed to arrive advise us.
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THE TABERNACLE AND THE PRIESTS
These two beautiful chromos, considerably delayed, are now in good supply and should be in all of our homes—to remind us of their glorious antitypes, of which we have been studying for some time past in our “Berean Lessons.”
By getting them out in large quantities we can supply them at 30c per pair, or 4 pairs for $1.00, post or express prepaid by us. They are very handsome and easily worth several times the price. We merely aim to meet the cost.
All orders have now been filled. If you did not get yours let us know particulars at once. To some who ordered 3 for $1.00 we sent four and to others we sent three and a copy of
They are mounted with metal and have hangers and are packed in tubes.
BRITISH PILGRIMAGE OF BRO. A. E. WILLIAMSON
Note change of dates
Carlow, Ire. July 10 Worcester, Eng. July 22 Warrington, Eng. ” 12 Tewkesbury, ” ” 23 Liverpool, ” ” 13, 14 Cardiff, Wales ” 24, 25 East Kirkby, ” ” 15, 16 Plymouth, Eng. ” 26 Nottingham, ” ” 17, 18 Bristol, ” ” 27, 28 Atherstone, ” ” 19 Bournemouth, ” ” 29 Leicester, ” ” 20, 21 Oxford, ” ” 30, 31
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VIEWS FROM THE WATCH TOWER.
IS PROSPERITY WANING?
THE QUESTION whether a period of hard times is approaching is one upon which the experts are unable to agree. Mr. Jacob H. Schiff has predicted an era of great suffering among the poor. Mr. August Belmont told the assembled capitalists and workmen at Mr. Carnegie’s industrial peace conference that we were about to have a halt in industry, which might not be altogether undesirable. Mr. James J. Hill, who has often seemed pessimistic in his views, denies that he has predicted a collapse of industry, but thinks that there will be a not unhealthy slackening. The view that trade has been going ahead too fast, and that it will have to slow down to give capital a chance to catch up, is pretty generally expressed. On the other hand, Chairman Gary, of the United States Steel Corporation, can see nothing but bright skies ahead, and a number of foreign observers take the same view.
Upon the theory of periodical crises it is not yet time for a great industrial depression. We had such disasters beginning in 1819, in 1837, in 1857, in 1873, and in 1893. The normal interval between them is twenty years. The shortest hitherto has been sixteen years, between 1857 and 1873, and the effects of the Civil War furnished ample explanation of the curtailment in that case. According to experience we should not expect another severe crisis until sometime between 1909 and 1913. There has usually been a mild reaction from the prevailing prosperity about half-way between two great panics. We had one in 1884, a little over half-way from 1873 to 1893. The corresponding break in the present period of good times came in 1903, just ten years after the panic of 1893. According to precedent that ought to last us for nine or ten years longer.
In the United States prosperity is largely dependent upon the state of the crops. The Baring panic of 1890 would have brought on our panic of 1893 two years ahead of time if the disaster had not been stayed by the bonanza harvests of 1891. The present crop prospects, therefore, are of vast importance in estimating the prospects for 1907.
If the extraordinary succession of good crops with which this continent has been favored can be continued for another year, there will be a pretty good assurance of another year of prosperity. The next three months will tell most of the story.—Collier’s Weekly.
* * *
We are glad that the present prosperous times are being made use of by many of the dear Truth friends as a special opportunity for spreading the good tidings of great joy. The “Harvest” work is the most important of all. It is “the King’s business”—the Father’s business. The numbers entering the Colporteur work lead us to surmise that this year may even exceed last year in its phenomenal output of DAWN-STUDIES.
A NOTABLE PREACHER’S VIEWS
“I have been twenty-five years in the ministry; and I regret to say it, but it is my honest conviction that there is more real brotherhood in the lodges than you find in the churches, and that there is infinitely more charity, sympathy and kindness in those outside of the Church than you will find in Mr. Lordly and Milady and their coterie who are running the churches as private clubs.”
* * *
With the above explanation Rev. M. C. Peters withdrew from the pastorate of one of the most prominent New York City churches. Apparently the “wheat” class is getting scarce in all denominations.
An exchange says:—
“Rev. Madson C. Peters, pastor of one of the leading Baptist churches of New York City, is reported as saying that, with an investment of $5,000,000, and an expenditure last year of $400,000, the seventy Baptist churches in that city had a net increase during that time of only nine members.
“He says also that the other churches of the city did little better. What is wrong?”
POWER OF THE CHURCHES
“A timely illustration of the tremendous and effective power which may be wielded by the churches when they unite is afforded by the closing of the gambling
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dens at Saratoga, a result brought about by the action of the Church federation of Saratoga county. Thus a condition which has been a notorious scandal and disgrace to the State for years, which has hitherto successfully defied all efforts at reform, and had come to be regarded as practically hopeless, has been effectively remedied by the joint action of the churches. What has been done at Saratoga can be done elsewhere in a similar way. The case is also an example of the practical usefulness of Church federations, local, state and national, and a good reason why the federation movement should receive the cordial support of all good citizens. Many public evils other than gambling come within the scope of Church federation activities, and no organizations existing in the country, of any name or nature, have the equipment, the power, and the special advantages for effective service such as these federations possess. We hope the time is not far distant when the churches throughout the entire country will be brought into the federation movement. A more promising work than this for the good of the world has not appeared among the religious activities of modern times.”—Leslie’s Weekly.
* * *
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Sometimes this power may be used for a worthy purpose, in which all could rejoice; but, especially when the still greater power of the general Church Federation comes, there will be naturally a temptation to use it to put down whatever the majority disapproves, however moral or good. This the Scriptures show will be the result: religious persecution.
METHODIST TEACHINGS CURIOS
“God save us from theological definitions! The doctrines of the Methodist Church are the curios of a time that has passed and ought to be put on the shelf. God save us from doctrines and help us into a larger understanding of Christian fellowship.”
This was the thunderbolt Rev. Davis W. Clark, retiring President of the Methodist Ministers’ Association, hurled into the meeting of his brother divines at Wiley Chapel.—Cincinnati Post.
* * *
Poor “Babylon” is catching it on all sides. Bible students object to her creeds because they are not sufficiently loyal to God’s Word: because she has incorporated too much of the traditions of men which make void the Word of God. We, however, recognize what these creeds have of divine truth.
On the other hand, the speaker above quoted is angry because, as a Higher Critic and New Theology man, he is not allowed to tear from the Bible the story of the Fall, the Redemption and the coming Restitution.
INFIDELITY IN HIGH PLACES
“In a railway coach recently sat three ministers in conversation—one a German Evangelical, one a Methodist, and the third an American Reformed. In their conversation the M.E. minister stated that among the professors of the Garrett Biblical Institute at Evanston, Illinois, no two of them believed just alike. He was asked if they all believed that Adam was the first man. He answered, ‘Not one of them.’ Another minister inquired, ‘What is their view?’ The reply was something about ‘Prehistoric ages and periods.'”
The above is an extract from a letter received from a brother in the Truth—his personal experience. It shows what we have heretofore pointed out, that ministers of all denominations are rapidly losing their faith in the Bible, and are becoming instead leaders of the people into infidelity. If they do not believe in Adam as the head of the race, and that by his disobedience condemnation passed upon all (Rom. 5:12), how can they believe, either, in the redemption accomplished by our Lord Jesus once for all for Adam and his posterity? “Alas! when the Son of man cometh shall he find the faith on the earth?” Assuredly, he does not so find it, but increasingly disbelief. Those whose eyes of understanding have been opened to a precious appreciation of the divine plan cannot too highly esteem the favor of God which they enjoy, nor too surely realize that in this way the Lord is keeping them from falling, according to the promise in his Word, “A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand, but it shall not come nigh thee.”
A BAPTIST PREACHER’S OPINION ENDORSED
“From Indianapolis, a city of which every American should be proud because of its evident Americanism in the best sense of the term, comes this fine bit, which originated, it is said, with a Hoosier Baptist preacher by the name of Taylor. It’s worth cutting out, says the Philadelphia North American:—
“‘What America needs more than railway extension, and Western irrigation, and a low tariff, and a bigger wheat crop, and a merchant marine, and a new navy, is a revival of piety, the kind mother and father used to have—piety that counted it good business to stop for daily family prayers before breakfast, right in the middle of harvest; that quit field work a half hour early Thursday night, so as to get the chores done and go to prayer meeting. That’s what we need now to clean this country of the filth of graft, and of greed, petty and big; of worship of fine houses and big lands and high office and grand social functions. What is this thing we are worshiping but a vain repetition of what decayed nations fell down and worshiped just before their light went out? Great wealth never made a nation substantial nor honorable. There is nothing on earth that looks good that is so dangerous for a man or a nation to handle as quick, easy, big money. It takes greater and finer heroism to dare to be poor in America than to charge an earthworks in Manchuria.'”
INFLUENCE OF THE BIBLE
AND OF “MILLENNIAL DAWN”
“One hundred delegates, representing Church clubs in almost all of the large Eastern cities, met in Washington last week, and problems of universal interest were discussed by prominent Church men. The speech that probably provoked the most discussion and called forth much comment was made by Bishop Satterlee.
“He began his speech by calling attention to the
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fact that, although the country was progressing materially and commercially at a wonderful rate, its moral progress was not so evident. He did not say that there was not a corresponding moral development, but that he was unable to see it in the churches. He thought the influence of the Church was decreasing, but that the influence of Jesus Christ was steadily increasing, due not so much to the churches as to the wholesale publication of the Bible, which was easily put into the hands of the masses.”
* * *
We would have appreciated the Bishop’s sentiment still more had he mentioned that a growingly better understanding of the Bible, both by the clergy and the laity, has to do with the Bible’s influence for good; and that this is largely the result of the wide circulation of “Bible Keys”—MILLENNIAL DAWN.
REMARKABLE WESLEYAN SERMON
Dr. R. P. Downes preached a sermon at the Wesleyan Church at Stoke-on-Trent on Sunday night which has occasioned much controversy in the town. Taking for his text, “God is Love,” the preacher declared his firm belief that human destiny is not fixed at death. He told his congregation that this was a view which for some time he had held secretly, and he knew others similarly situated, but the time had come when men must speak out. The popular doctrine of Christianity at this point was being strongly assailed by the sceptic, who demanded to know whether the God that was preached by the Christian Church, who could damn to eternal perdition the overwhelming majority of the human race, millions of whom had not had sufficient light or probation or privilege on which to base the stupendousness of an eternal destiny, could be the God of Love so often preached. He himself had heard this view expressed by Charles Bradlaugh twenty-five years ago at Rochdale, and such irrefutable logic could not be escaped from.
If (said Dr. Downes) I were to withhold the great revelation which has come to my soul, I should be like the man in the lighthouse who gave to the cottagers round the place the oil which was intended for the mighty lanterns of the sea. God is Love, which means that no man will be damned eternally without a chance, no man will be lost until he has had the revelation of Christ’s body and of Christ’s atonement. … He knew that the general idea had been, and he himself had thought it for many years, that man’s destiny was fixed at death, and that if a man died in a slum area, polluted and unworthy, having sinned, he was condemned guilty, damned for ever, and had no chance—his destiny was fixed. It was not true.
In John Wesley’s fifty-first sermon there was a passage which read, “Some have imagined that human destiny is fixed at death. There is no passage in the Scriptures that confirms any such thing.” Passing from John Wesley to Dr. W. E. Pope, the greatest, he said, of all Methodist theologians and one of the greatest theologians the world had ever known, he found Dr. Pope saying, “The fixed and unalterable state of man is always associated with the day of judgment and its issues, and not with the day of death. We must not antedate these issues or interfere with the full work of probation.” “Exactly,” said the preacher, “the absoluteness of Christianity, the only way of salvation, demanded that no human being should be adjudged until Christ should be made accessible and brought home to him, whether that took place in this life or the life after death. This is my view, and I mean before I die to drag it before the Methodist Church.”—English Journal.
IN EUROPE THEY HOLD 248 TIMES AS MUCH AS THEY DID 40 YEARS AGO
The anti-Jew faction in Russia declares that even with the present restrictions the Jews have managed to acquire a large portion of land, for which the following figures are quoted in the Jewish magazine, the Menorah:
“Within the pale the real estate of the Jews advanced from 16,000 dessiatins in 1860 to 148,000 in 1870, 370,000 in 1880, 537,000 in 1890, and to 1,265,000 in 1900.
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“In European Russia outside the pale Jewish landholding is said to have increased 248 times in forty years in the following proportion: In 1860, 3,000 dessiatins; in 1870, 18,000 dessiatins; in 1880, 96,000 dessiatins; in 1890, 262,000 dessiatins, and in 1900, 745,000 dessiatins.”
According to these statistics the total holdings of the Jews throughout the Russian Empire, which only amounted to 70,000 dessiatins in 1860, reached in 1900 the high figure of 2,381,057 dessiatins.
* * *
It is reported on apparently good authority that much of the trouble and bloodshed of the past few months in Russia is engendered by the fact that so many of the landlords are Jews: the poor, who rent their little farms at very high rentals, rarely see their landowners; but knowing them to be Jews they hate and injure the poorer Jews, their neighbors—as representatives of the rich absentees. The love of money is a root of all evil.
WAR FEARED; NO WORLD’S FAIR IN 1913
Berlin.—Opposition of Kaiser William is expected to cause the abandonment of the proposal to hold an international exposition in Berlin in 1913. Most significant, however, is the reason on which the German war lord bases his objection.
The emperor believes the possibility of Germany being drawn into a European war before the time set for the exposition is too great for the nation to take the risk involved in arranging an international exposition.
The statement that Kaiser Wilhelm opposes the proposed exposition on such grounds has caused a great sensation. It is argued that the government fears that the peace of the world is in constant jeopardy, and great uneasiness has been caused among the people, who feel that they do not know all the complications of the international situation.—Toledo News-Bee.
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BEREAN BIBLE STUDY IN TABERNACLE SHADOWS
“AND AFTER DEATH THE JUDGMENT”
What “judgment” is here referred to as following death? Heb. 9:27,28; T.87, par. 1.
How is this passage generally understood by Christians? and is their idea Scriptural? 2 Pet. 2:9; Rev. 11:15,18; Rev. 20:11-13; Psa. 96:10-13.
What was risked by the High Priest in the type whenever he entered the “Most Holy” on the Day of Atonement? Lev. 16:13,14; T.87, par. 2.
Was the eternal existence of our Lord endangered during his earthly career? See Acts 17:31; Heb. 5:7,8; T.88, par. 1.
What positive evidence have we that the life and sacrifice of our Lord was perfect and acceptable to the Father? Jno. 20:1-17; Acts 2:1-4; T.88, par. 2.
How will the Father’s acceptance of the sacrifice of the Body of Christ be manifested? Joel 2:28; T.88, par. 2.
For what is the “groaning creation” waiting? Rom. 8:19-22 (see Diaglott); T.88, par. 4.
Are the worthy saints of the Patriarchal and Jewish ages also waiting for this manifestation? Heb. 11:39,40; A.288, par. 2; 293, par. 2.
Must each member of the Body of Christ pass the same “judgment” as our Head? and, if so, how can we be acceptable unless we, like him, live perfect lives? Rev. 3:21; Col. 2:9,10; Isa. 61:10; T.89, par. 1.
How is the acceptance by God of the sacrifice of the Church shown in the type? Lev. 9:22-24; T.89, par. 2.
Will the world then appreciate the great sacrifice of the Christ? and how is this shown in the type? Isa. 40:5; 25:9; Rev. 15:3,4, Diaglott; T.89, par. 2.
What must intervene between now and the time when “the people will shout and fall upon their faces” before the great High Priest in glory? Acts 15:13-17; Dan. 12:1; T.89, par. 3.
Will those now dead, as well as the living nations, be participants in this great blessing? Heb. 2:9; I Tim. 2:5,6; Rom. 14:9; Hos. 13:14; Ezek. 16:44-68, etc.; T.90, par. 1,2,3.
How was the “good news”—the Gospel—”preached before to Abraham”? Gal. 3:8,16,29; T.91, par. 1.
What is the date of the beginning of the blessing to the world? and why can it not come before? Lev. 9:15,23,24; Rom. 8:19,21, Diaglott; T.91, par. 1, last half.
What was the typical significance of the High Priest’s going alone into the “Most Holy” once a year—on the Day of Atonement?
Did the High Priest and under priests enter the “Most Holy” after the Day of Atonement? T.91, par. 2. And what was thus typified? Num. 18:10; T.91, par. 3.
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TYPES IN SAUL, DAVID AND SOLOMON
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:—
May I suggest for your consideration whether there are not some lessons to be gleaned from the thought that in some respects the forty years of Saul’s reign were typical of the harvest of the Jewish Age, the forty years of David’s reign typical of the harvest of the Gospel Age, and the forty years of Solomon’s reign typical of the harvest of the Millennial Age?
Take, for example, the first seven years of David’s reign, in Hebron (meaning “ford” or “company”). Might they not in some sense represent the years from 1874 to 1881, before the full establishment of the Kingdom in the “New Jerusalem”?
Again: We know that the 7,000 years rest of Jehovah will terminate in the year 2874, so that it seems proper to think of the forty years harvest of the Millennial Age as the time when the Christ will be at rest from all its enemies, in a special sense, as in the days of Solomon.
In the case of Saul: It does not seem perfectly clear to me whether the act of presumption which led to his rejection and the rejection of his posterity followed the second anniversary of his elevation to the kingship, or whether it followed the third anniversary. (I Sam. 13:1.) But it is noteworthy that his rejection was due to his failure to properly recognize his typical mediator, Samuel, and this surely was the cause of Fleshly Israel’s rejection, 3-1/2 years after a share in the Kingdom was offered to them.
If there is any apparent value to you in the above suggestion, I respectfully inquire whether you see anything in the end of David’s reign to illustrate the close of the present harvest time? I will not presume to do more than suggest a line of inquiry. David virtually abdicated in favor of Solomon, Solomon’s power gradually increasing while his own strength was gradually failing. “He must increase but I must decrease.” Please note the seven years of famine in 2 Sam. 24:13, mentioned as three years in I Chron. 21:12. (The characters “7” and “3” resemble each other closely, so that one of these is probably incorrect.) In your consideration of the subject I venture to call attention to the seven years famine in the days of Elisha.—2 Kings 8:1.
TYPES IN THE BOOK ESTHER
Permit me to suggest that Ahasuerus, meaning “King,” is a type of the “Sun,” Christ; that Vashti typifies those that were bidden to the feast and would not come; that Esther, meaning “The Planet Venus,” typifies the Bride of Christ (Venus is the most glorious of all our planets, reflecting more of the rays of the sun); that Mordecai the Jew, meaning “Dedicated to Mars,” typifies the Ancient Worthies (Mars is, I believe, nearer to the earth than any other planet, and is between it and the sun); and lastly that Haman, the Agagite, the last Amalekite mentioned in the Scriptures (see last sentence of Young’s Concordance, article “Amalekite”), typifies the class that tries to take the power out of the hands of the Ancient Worthies in the end of the Millennial Age. Please take a mental review of the
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story of Esther, and see how well this picture fits. If this application is correct, the meaning of the word Mordecai would be one more suggestion in line with your present thought that the Ancient Worthies may, after the close of the Millennial Age, attain heavenly honors and stations.
Your brother in Christ,
CLAYTON J. WOODWORTH.
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ADAM AND EVE—CHRIST AND THE CHURCH: A CONTRAST
BRO. JOHN EDGAR, M.D., of Scotland, sends us the following, saying: “I am sending you a parallel between Adam and Eve and Christ and the Church, and would like your criticism of it.” Our only criticism is that it might perhaps better be termed a contrast rather than a parallel:
ADAM AND EVE
Adam by his disobedience sold the whole human race into sin and death.
CHRIST AND THE CHURCH
Christ by his obedience bought the whole human race for righteousness and life.
Adam’s disobedience consisted in exaltation of self. He ate of the fruit forbidden by God.
Christ’s obedience consisted in humiliation of self. He drank of the cup permitted by God.
The result was humiliation, sorrow and death.
The result was exaltation, joy and the crown of life (immortality).—John 5:26; Rom. 6:9.
The humiliation was from the perfect human plane to that of human imperfection, the lowest plane of existence in the likeness of God.
The exaltation was from the perfect human plane to that of the divine nature, the highest plane of existence in the likeness of God.
Adam’s children were begotten after his humiliation. Through the law of heredity they have been “born in sin and shapen in iniquity,” and accordingly under condemnation to death.—Rom. 5:12.
Christ’s children will be begotten after his exaltation. The law of heredity will cease (Jer. 31:29), and each will be given the opportunity of justification unto life.—Rom. 5:18.
Eve was the child of God and was formed from Adam’s body. Adam was put to sleep for this purpose.
The Church-members are children of God and are formed from Christ’s body. Christ was put to sleep (death) for this purpose.
Eve came into being before the fall. As Adam’s bride she shared first his glory, joy and life, and afterwards his humiliation, sorrow and death. She shared the loss of the first dominion, and access to the tree of life was barred against both.
The Church came into being after the exaltation. As Christ’s Bride she shares first his humiliation, sorrow and death, and afterwards will share his glory, honor and immortality. She will share the gaining of the first dominion (Micah 4:8), and both will be permitted to eat of the tree of life (Rev. 2:7).
Eve was disobedient first, and then Adam.
Christ was obedient first, and then the Church.
Adam was not deceived (I Tim. 2:14). He wilfully transgressed God’s law, knowing the result would be everlasting death.
“By his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many.” (Isa. 53:11.) He voluntarily kept God’s law, knowing the result would be death and afterwards a resurrection from the dead to immortality.
All the blame is placed upon Adam.
All the merit is placed upon Christ.
Eve shared Adam’s transgression of God’s will but her responsibility was less. (I Tim. 2:14.) Accordingly, she received the same penalty as Adam, not on her own account, and not through heredity like other members of the human race, but because she was Adam’s bride and shared in his transgression. This one-ness is expressed in the name “Adam” given to both.—Gen. 5:2.
The Church has shared Christ’s obedience to God’s will, but her responsibility is less. Accordingly, she will receive the same reward as Christ, not on her own account (Eph. 1:6), and not through heredity, but because she is Christ’s Bride and has shared in his obedience unto death. (Rom. 6:3). This one-ness is expressed in the name “Christ,” given to both.
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OUR OBLIGATIONS TOWARD OTHERS
—EXODUS 20:12-17—JULY 21—
Golden Text:—”Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.”—Lev. 19:18
WE CONTINUE our examination of the Decalogue, whose first three commands, we have seen, referred to Israel’s obligations to God. The remaining seven pertain to their relationship to each other and to all men. The fourth only is a kind of connecting link, being applicable to both God and man. Here again we do well to remember that not to Spiritual Israel but to Natural Israel these commands were given. It would be impossible for us to think of God as giving to his Spirit-begotten children the commands not to kill, not to steal, etc., for we know that the spirit of murder and the spirit of theft could not be in any one possessing the Spirit of God, the holy Spirit, the spirit of love.
Whoever, then, has been begotten of the holy Spirit, and is a Spiritual Israelite indeed, cannot apply the Father’s voice in these commandments to himself; but he can through these commands given to the natural man gain more and more clear conceptions of right and wrong on any subject relating to his fellow-creatures. Begotten of the spirit of love toward all, he can in the study of these commandments learn by antithesis how to exercise his loving disposition toward others more and more effectively. By the Lord’s grace let us seek to appropriate profitable instructions from these commands, that we may be more fully conformed to the perfect standard in our hearts, and so far as possible in our outward conduct toward all.
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THE FIFTH COMMANDMENT
In this commandment to honor father and mother we have the very foundation of society, because whoever learns to respect his forbears will proportionately have consideration for others; while those disobedient to parents and without natural affection are prepared to be covenant-breakers and anarchists when conditions shall favor such procedures. Growth of disrespect to parents is one of the notable features of our day, and one that the Apostle called attention to as marking the day of trouble in the end of this age. (Rom. 1:29-31.) He associates it with headiness and highmindedness, and we are not to forget that these condemned qualities are being inculcated and fostered by all the higher teachings of the worldly wise.
If our forefathers but a little while back were monkeys—as all the colleges and seminaries of the world are instructing the youth—why should we have much honor or respect for them? And why should not each member of the rising generation feel heady and highminded, self-conceited, puffed up with the thought that he is further from the monkey than his parents and nearer to the ideal set before him by his instructors? The great increase of knowledge along all lines in our day seems to corroborate this teaching of the worldly wise, and only those who have the instruction of the Word of God can realize that present progress is due to another cause than evolution—that it is the result of the development of the divine plan, in preparation for the glorious Millennial day already dawning. Let not those who have been blessed with a knowledge of Present Truth therein pride themselves either, but rather let them remember the Apostle’s words, that we should humble ourselves, and recognize that all of these blessings are from the mighty hand of God and not of ourselves, and that we have nothing except what we have received from him.
What about Spiritual Israelites in respect to this command? Have we not a father and a mother as New Creatures? Yea, verily! The Apostle tells us that the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ hath begotten us as New Creatures. Our Lord confirms this thought, saying, “I ascend to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.” “After this manner pray ye, Our Father which art in heaven, hallowed be thy name.” The spirit of loyalty to the heavenly Father, of obedience to him, should be continually with us and prevent any spirit of selfishness or self-seeking or boastfulness. The proper spirit of reverence for the Father is expressed by our Redeemer in the words, “I delight to do thy will, O my God. Thy law is written in my heart.” The Spirit of God is the law of love, and with that in our hearts and abounding more and more we will delight to honor the One from whom has come to us every good and perfect gift.
But who is the mother of the New Creature? The Apostle tells us: He points out that as the Jew corresponds to Ishmael, the son of Hagar, so the Spiritual Israelite corresponds to Isaac, the son of Sarah, and that Sarah represents God’s original covenant with Abraham; and that in this sense of the word the heavenly Jerusalem, the heavenly promises of the heavenly Kingdom, is the mother of us all. We are begotten and nourished of a good hope, a living faith. We must respect this faith, this promise, this hope, through which we are begotten, as well as respect the heavenly Father, by whose gracious provision we are begotten. If we thus honor the Father, the God of all grace, and thus honor his covenant and the faith which has been begotten in us, it will make us loyal in thought and, so far as possible, also in word and deed. And as there was a special promise of long life to the obedient Jew, so there is a blessing of a promise of eternal life, even of immortality, to the faithful Spiritual Israelite.
“THOU SHALT DO NO MURDER”
This commandment to the Jewish people did not signify that they might not kill animals for food or for sacrifice to the Lord, nor that they should not kill beasts destructive to man’s interests. Nor did it mean that they should not put to death those who had been judicially sentenced to death as injurious to the interests of their fellows—for all these things the Israelites did under and in harmony with that Law. To them this commandment meant that no individual had a right to take human life, that only a legal process of the divine sanction could do this.
The lesson from this command to the New Creature is a much broader and deeper one than the Jew or any other natural man, not begotten of the holy Spirit, would be able to appreciate. To the New Creature the higher statement of the Law, “Thou shalt love,” has a much more deep and searching signification than could be understood to be attached to this command, “Do not murder.” While the New Creature would not think of committing murder, taking the life of another, he needs to be still more deeply instructed—namely, that any wicked thought or sentiment in his heart against his brother, any malice or hatred or anger, is of the murder-spirit, which is contrary to his new standard and must be thoroughly eradicated. The Lord enunciated this when he said, “He that hateth his brother is a murderer”—he has the spirit or disposition which, under aggravation or excitement or removal of restraint, would imply that he would do injury to his brother; and the desire to injure at all, to wound, to maim, is the desire to that limited extent to murder him, to take away his blessings, to destroy his interests.
THE LETTER AND THE SPIRIT
The spirit of this commandment, its scope, would lead the followers of Christ to be careful of the lives and limbs of their employes or whoever might be under their charge or care. True, in our day we have laws made for such protection of laborers, mechanics, children, etc., and we are glad that it is so. We are not, however, to conclude that this signifies always a larger amount of the Spirit of the Lord, the spirit of justice, on the part of employers. Rather, as a rule, we may feel sure that they are a result of a growth of knowledge on the part of the masses, and that few laws of this kind are enacted that have not first been demanded. But Christians, those begotten of the Spirit of the Lord, should be forehanded in all such matters—not waiting for compulsion of law, but rather thoughtful of the needs of others, seeking their good, recognizing their responsibilities, and seeking to live up to them. Ah, yes! those who belong to the Body of Christ and are taught of God and actuated by
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his holy Spirit not only ought to be but are peculiar people, zealous of good works, zealous for righteousness, justice and loving interest in their fellow-creatures.
What we thus see to be true in our relationship to others in the world is, if possible, intensified in the Church—between the various members of the Body of Christ. If we would properly be careful for the welfare of the world, how much more interest we should feel in all whom we recognize as brethren in God’s family, traveling with us against the course of the world and the flesh and the Adversary, endeavoring with us to stem the tide of imperfection in ourselves and in all with whom we have contact, and live according to the divine ideals? What sympathy, what love for the brethren we must feel, how careful we must be not to kill them. As the Apostle says, Should I permit my meat to destroy one for whom Christ died? Should I exercise my liberties to that extent, and be careless of the welfare of a brother? How could I, if actuated by the Father’s Spirit, the Spirit of Christ, the spirit of love? Hence, as the Apostle points out, no one should be recognized as a leader in the Church of Christ, whatever his qualifications, if he be a striker, a wounder of the brethren.
Let us learn to appreciate the Spirit of the Lord as we find it amongst his brethren, and let us each be more and more zealous for its cultivation, that so far from doing injury or wounding any of them it would be our joy to minister to them, to serve them, to bind up their wounds, and to assist them in every manner within our power. Indeed there are some who, while very generous, very well-meaning, very self-sacrificing in the Lord’s cause, are forgetful of the spirit of love toward the brethren and open to this rebuke of being wounders. On the other hand, of course, all who are the Lord’s should seek not to be easily wounded or easily hurt, but, on the contrary, to be strong in the Lord, and so covered with the armor of the Lord that harsh words or harsh deeds, either from the brethren or from the world or from the Adversary, would take no effect because of the covering of grace and truth in the armor.
“THOU SHALT NOT COMMIT ADULTERY”
This seventh commandment was designed to be the protection of the home and the family, and we may be sure that to the Jew it included fornication and uncleanness in general. Obedience to this command is recognized the world over, even amongst those who have little or no knowledge of God, as being essential to the welfare and happiness of the individual, the home and the community—as affecting not only the moral interests and health, but also the physical. Whoever disregards this law brings upon himself most assuredly injurious consequences as respects the present life, and a degradation of mind and character which will have more or less influence upon his future welfare.
What lesson can the New Creature in Christ learn from this commandment to the old creature? It emphasizes to him the value and importance of the new mind, the new nature, which in him has already devoted to death the natural man with his affections and desires. It emphasizes to him the declarations of the Lord’s Word that, “If ye live after the flesh ye shall die: but if ye through the Spirit do mortify [kill, destroy] the deeds of the body, ye shall live” (Rom. 8:13)—ye shall correspondingly become strong as New Creatures and be acceptable of the Lord to the eternal life promised to them that love him.
The New Creatures are pure in heart, and to them everything akin to adultery, adulteration of any kind, must be recognized as contrary to the new nature—its foes. It recognizes the truth of the Apostle’s words, that the flesh and the new mind are contrary the one to the other, and are at warfare, and that the victory of the new nature means the putting to death of all such fleshly desires as would lead in the direction of adultery. The general law of love which the Lord has given to the New Creation is in harmony with the spirit of this command. He who loves his neighbor as himself would not wish to destroy that neighbor’s home and its sacredness, even as he would not wish his neighbor to destroy his home and its sacredness. Do unto others as you would that they should do to you—the Golden Rule of the New Creature in Christ—would effectively bar him from any disposition or desire in the direction of this prohibition. He would not need this command, because the law of love under which he is placed in the school of Christ is still more searching, still more effective.
Our Lord exemplified this higher teaching when he said, “He that looketh upon a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery already with her in his heart.” (Matt. 5:28.) In other words, the spirit of God’s law is that to desire to do wrong and to be merely hindered by circumstances and conditions, is in God’s sight as serious, as criminal, as to have really done that wrong.
“THOU SHALT NOT STEAL”
A proper recognition of the rights of others, the property of others, is here inculcated. There are no limitations here such as a natural man, worldly wise, would be inclined to recognize. It does not say, Do not steal if there is the slightest risk of your being caught, exposed, punished. It does not say, Do not steal a small amount, because it would not be worth while, and the risk of being caught would be too great—steal only, if you can do so, in a semi-legal manner, which could not easily be detected or which, if detected, would be shielded by some appearance of legality. It plainly and simply meant that each Jew should recognize the rights of every other Jew, his property, his interests, and not misappropriate them. This command, it will be seen, covers every form of theft, both public and private, for the most serious of all thefts we may see are the public ones, by which under pretense of legality and with the form thereof public properties are appropriated, or, in the language of the law, “seized” without giving a reasonable equivalent.
This command relates to justice in general, for the parent may steal from his child by failing to recognize the rights of the child, and his own obligations as a parent. For instance, it is a just obligation that attaches to parentage to give, if possible, the offspring a reasonable equipment of common education at least, as a preparation for the duties of life; and the parent who without necessity deprives his children of this is stealing from them, depriving them of those things which belong to them of right, of common decency, of justice. Children also should recognize an obligation toward their parents and toward each other; mine
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and thine should be recognized in every home as the first basis of order, the foundation of all estimation of justice. We know of nothing so productive of wranglings and disputings in families as the ignoring of one another’s rights—taking advantage of one another—in other words, stealing from each other, perhaps only trifles. The ignoring of conscience and justice in trifling matters leads to a general searing of conscience, and ultimately to a disregard of the rights of others and a selfish appropriation to one’s own use of any and everything possible where the risk and the penalty are not too great.
As for the New Creature: his law of love, the very essence of his mind and heart, is opposed to stealing; love rather prompts to giving, to doing: the New Creature delights to do good and to communicate, to give, in all good things. Not only does he delight to give the Truth to others, but in proportion as the Spirit of the Lord fills and permeates his heart and his life, he would have pleasure in the giving of earthly good things to all in need. Generosity is an element of the new heart, the new mind, the new disposition, begotten of the spirit of love. Nevertheless, trained in the irregularities which generally prevail, practised in the little injustices of home and business, it may take the New Creature some time to discover that these are out of accord with love. He will, however, in proportion as the holy Spirit abounds in his heart, consider his words, his deeds, yea, his thoughts, to see that justice, the very foundation of God’s throne, is the foundation of all of his conduct in life toward others—that he never gives less than justice to anyone.
Next he will consider how love will even do more than justice would demand on suitable occasions, where it would not be injurious; and so far as the treatment of himself by others is concerned he should be so full of sympathy for the world in general in its fallen condition that he would neither demand nor expect full justice to be done to him. His knowledge of the fallen condition of the race would enable him to sympathize with those with whom he had to do. He might find it even necessary to spur himself on this score lest his love and generosity should do injury, especially in his own family, where he holds a responsibility. Some of the Lord’s people as heads of families need to learn to kindly, gently, yet firmly, insist upon justice between the various members of their families, even though they may not insist on having justice done to themselves in every particular.
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“Who steals my purse steals trash;
But he who filches from me my good name
Robs me of that which not enriches him,
Yet leaves me poor indeed.”
The New Creature, searching deeply for the spirit of love in all the affairs of life, soon learns that one of the commonest forms of theft is referred to in the above lines of Shakespeare. Common theft may indeed be guarded against, but the person who either of malice or of recklessness steals his neighbor’s good name by starting slander is far more to be dreaded, and despised as well. We can see a reason why selfishness would permit the appropriation of another’s temporal goods, even though we cannot justify such a course; but who could excuse or justify, either in himself or in another, the theft of a good name? This violation of the eighth commandment is, alas, so general that almost none is exempt from it.
Sometimes the character of another is traduced for the purpose of implying a higher sense of honor or truth or righteousness on the part of the traducer; but he who rightly judges of the matter will draw an opposite inference, and feel a righteous indignation that the one who thus robs another of his name should expect the latter to sympathize with the act and to be a receiver of the stolen goods. By far the greater number, however, traduce their fellows thoughtlessly, because they have never trained themselves to a proper standard—the Golden Rule. Their tongues are loose, they lack secretiveness, and above all they lack love. How would love affect such a matter? We reply that love affects every matter of life, great or small. The number of people who would traduce themselves is fortunately exceedingly small, and if they loved their neighbors as themselves they would be equally careful in respect to the honor of the neighbor’s name, equally careful not to cast a reproach by statement or insinuation or glance or shrug of the shoulders.
The New Creatures in Christ must have this spirit of love, Spirit of Christ, spirit of the truth. Alas, that it requires some of them so long to learn how to properly extend this love in all the affairs of life, toward the brethren, toward their own kin, toward the world and toward their enemies. “If any man have not the Spirit of Christ he is none of his,” should ever ring in our ears, and we should remember that we are in the school of Christ to learn of him, to become copies of God’s dear Son; and that in no other particulars could we so discredit him and his Word than by evil speaking, slandering and slander-mongering. Let us awake to righteousness and sin not, for many seem not to have a knowledge of this truth. After preaching a discourse on this very topic, the writer shook hands with a member of the congregation passing out, who declared a great appreciation of the discourse and a realization of its importance, yet while still shaking hands and evidently quite unconscious of the fact, unkind reflections were made against a fellow-member of the Body of Christ.
THE NINTH COMMANDMENT
“Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.” This would not only apply to a case in court—perjury—but it would be equally applicable in all the little affairs of life. Having this in mind none would dare tell an untruth against his neighbor, against his goods, his business, his anything, however much the untruth might assist in the making of a bargain. Justice stands in defense of the neighbor, and whoever violates justice, violates the holy law of God. The New Creature, possessed by the Spirit of the Lord, would certainly not wish to bear false witness against his neighbor, yet with many the flesh is weak, and the temptation is strong to favor personal interest in violation of the truth—righteousness. The New Creature might be overtaken by such a fault, but could never assent to it, never agree to it. So surely as he is a New Creature and has the new mind of Christ, the spirit of love, he would be obliged to hate and abominate such a weakness and to make good any injustice
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done, to fortify his mind against a repetition of the offense. On the contrary, the disposition of the New Creature must be that of love to his neighbor, which would prefer to tell no evil about him, however true it might be—which would prefer to shield him, to guard his interests, and to lovingly think no evil or as little evil as possible respecting any conduct of his that might seem to us irregular. Love suffereth long and is kind; it imagines no evil, but rather imagines good.
THE TENTH COMMANDMENT
Covetousness is not the desire for more blessings for ourselves, but an enviousness of the possessions of others, and a desire to appropriate them for ourselves. It is akin to envy but worse, because it goes further. Someone has said, “Envy makes a weakling; covetousness a fiend.” Standing as it does as the last of a series of commandments, this one, as it were, casts a reflection upon all which precede it—it is the climax of all the commandments respecting our relationship to our fellowman; it takes hold of the thoughts, whereas the others take hold upon the words and deeds. Of it Canon Farrar has said:—
“This is a unique commandment. Search all the laws of the world and you will not find one which resembles it. The sixth, seventh, eighth and ninth commandments you will find in all codes, though only as prohibitions of crimes amenable to judicial punishment. The tenth commandment is the complement of all the rest. It shows that God requires of us not only outward virtue but inward holiness; that he demands in us the sacrifice of the will, from which wicked actions spring; that sinful imaginings are a crime against him, as well as wicked acts.”
The New Creature, guided by the new mind, with the spirit of love toward his neighbor, cannot covet anything belonging to another. He might desire to have good things of his own, but he would rather give to his neighbor than take from him. It is even permitted of the New Creature to covet—the things which he desires—”Covet earnestly the best gifts.” (1 Cor. 12:31.) The organ or mental quality which leads worldly minds to covet the things of others is differently directed in the New Creation, and guides them to seek for things on the higher plane, the spiritual, the things which God hath in reservation for them that love him. And these, as the Apostle remarks, must be sought lawfully—in harmony with the law of love which God has given us. Whoever seeks for glory, honor and immortality, the great price of our high calling, seeks a good thing and may rejoice respecting it and in the desire to attain it; but he must ever keep in mind that it can be attained only at the cost of the sacrifice of earthly interests—going to the Master without the camp, bearing his reproach. Let us to whom the Lord has given the royal law of love remember well that it is much more searching, much more strict, than the law of the ten commandments given to the Jew, because ours relates to us according to the mind, the heart, as New Creatures, and not merely to the flesh and its appetites and desires.
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“YOUR FATHER KNOWETH WHAT THINGS YE HAVE NEED OF”
Our Father knows what things we need,
Each step along the way;
His eye of love doth never sleep—
He watches night and day.
He knows sometimes, like ripening grain,
We need the sunshine bright;
Again, he sends the peace that comes
With shadows of the night.
Sometimes our pride would fain unfurl
Ambition’s flaunting sail,—
Ah! then he knows we need to walk
Sometimes he takes our eager hands
And folds them on our breast,
He gently lays our work aside—
He knows we need to rest.
Sometimes we need companionship,
Sometimes “the wilderness”;
How sweet to feel he’ll know and give
The state that most will bless.
Then let us leave it all with him,
Assured that, come what may,
Our Father knows just what we need,
Upon our pilgrim way. —G. W. S.
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“KEEP YOURSELVES FROM IDOLS”
—EXODUS 32:1-8,30-35—JULY 28—
A STRANGE picture of inconsistency is presented in today’s lesson. The Israelites—who, after witnessing many manifestations of divine favor and power on their behalf, after reaching Sinai and entering into a covenant with the Lord, in which their obligations were represented briefly in the ten commandments—are in this lesson shown as idolaters, violating the second commandment and the spirit of the first. Moses, after declaring God’s commandments to the people, ascended Mount Sinai in their sight into the presence of God, to receive the commandments written on tables of stone. Day after day passed and he did not return. The forty days absence in Mount Sinai must have appeared a long time to the people, who were waiting and longing for entrance upon the promised Canaan possessions. Yet how strange that they should forget the terrible sights and sounds which preceded his going, when the mountain shook and out of the clouds and darkness and midst flaming fire and the voice of a trumpet, God manifested himself to them and only Moses was able to approach, with Joshua, his servant. How strange that these things should all be forgotten within forty days! What an evidence we have here of the instability of human sentiment! Yet we must remember that these Israelites were born in bondage.
In the absence of Moses they came to Aaron, his brother, a very different man, not a leader in the same sense of the word, nor so courageous, nor so governed by principles. The people gathered to him, saying in effect, “Bestir yourself;
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we should be going on our way to the land of promise. We know not what has become of Moses who has been our leader; he may have deserted us here. We want God to be our leader, but we want something that will represent him, something that we can see. Moses did very well while he was with us, but he has gone and might go again. Make us an image of God, that we may always have God to be our leader, something that will help us as we seek to worship him with whom we have just made a covenant, who has promised to lead us into the land of Canaan.” The people were not irreligious; indeed, exceptionally few of the human family are irreligious. In man’s very constitution divine worship is provided for: the very topmost organs of the brain represent this religious sentiment and dispose him to worship somebody or something.
This, which was true of the Israelites, is true of mankind everywhere from then until now. Hence the necessity for instruction, that all may recognize the proper things to be reverenced, to be worshiped, to be most highly appreciated. The Israelites were learning this lesson, and with us as with them there is necessity often that we should not only have the plain statement of a truth, but that its weight and conviction should be borne in upon us by some particular lessons. The commandment had said that they should make no likeness nor graven image to represent God, and what they did was only indirectly a breach of this, for the golden calf which Aaron made for them was not graven, not carved, but cast in a mould, and it did not represent God, but probably—like the images they had seen in Egypt—was a nondescript thing which merely represented divine characteristics—a calf’s body with a human head and with wings, symbolical of strength, of intelligence, omniscience. So many Christians, similarly without a wish to infract a divine law, are disposed to take too great liberties and to introduce to too large a degree their own conceptions in divine worship—without sufficient care to hold to the exact instructions of the divine message. This is always a mistake, by whomsoever committed.
The only wise, proper course for any is to take heed particularly to the Word of the Lord, and to allow themselves little if any liberty beyond the very letter of that Word. Thus today we see in the religious services of various denominations how, little by little, the simplicity of the apostolic pattern for the Church and its worship has been departed from. Some have taken little liberties, some have taken great liberties, with the result that some have departed a little and others have departed a great deal from the divine standard, and always to their injury. The lesson to Spiritual Israelites here should be, “See that thou make all things after the pattern that I showed thee in the holy mount.” If we need divine instruction at all on the subject we need to follow those instructions carefully, explicitly. Let us remember that we cannot improve upon them, that any alteration means injury to us.
THE DANGERS OF EXPEDIENCY
We cannot suppose that Aaron fully sympathized with the people in the matter of this making of the golden calf; we must suppose that he knew better and meant better, and that it was a mere expedient on his part to hold in check the rebellion of the people whose discontent was manifest in this demand. We must suppose that, in apparently acquiescing in the demand, Aaron was seeking to gain time until Moses would return. Possibly, too, his demand that the people produce their earrings and other ornaments of gold was originally a mere subterfuge; that he hoped by making this demand they would draw back and decline to part with their ornaments, and that thus he would be able to say, “Well, I cannot make you what would represent a god except out of gold, and I have no gold for the purpose unless you sacrifice your jewelry.” But, however good his intentions, the lesson for us is that his course was an improper one.
Spiritual Israelites should never take this position—should never say, let us do evil that good may result, let us yield some principles for the sake of harmony and the good of the cause. Alas, this seems to be the difficulty with the leaders of God’s people all through the ages. The fear of man, that bringeth a snare, has interfered with the fear of God, which is the beginning of wisdom. All Spiritual Israelites should learn, should fix it in their hearts, that while moderation and a disposition to be obliging and helpful and considerate of the wishes of others are prominent elements of Christian grace and to be cultivated, nevertheless the principles of the divine law are never to be infracted, nor even compromised for the sake of blessing others. We are to remember that when great emergencies arise God is superior to every one of them, and they can never be understood as his voice commanding us to violate the principles of righteousness which he has set before us. We are to do our duty in harmony with his law as kindly, as gently, as wisely as possible, and leave all the results to him—the Almighty. Whatever others may do, however others may think or compromise, let us take the Apostle’s standpoint and say, “We can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth.” (2 Cor. 13:8.) Our consciences will not permit us to compromise where principles are involved, though we should gladly be the readiest of all to compromise where principle is not involved.
THE COST OF WRONG-DOING
People usually are attracted to wrong-doing by the thought that thus they escape difficulties or sufferings, or thus they gain advantages and blessings. But this is only a theory; as a matter of fact it is the reverse, every misdeed is costly. The Israelites stripped themselves of their jewels to carry out their misguided religious sentiments. And how often we see this amongst Spiritual Israelites! How many, in their worshiping of a sect or denomination, will strip themselves of some of their most valuable possessions! How many sacrifice to these idols what God has not directed! idols which are set up contrary to the instructions of his Word—devoting to them time, influence, money—time which should be devoted to a pure worship of God, based upon a study and better understanding of his Word; influence which should be exerted in a very opposite direction, to a maintenance of the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free, and to a fellowship with those who are seeking to stand fast in that liberty; money which should be spent in building up the most holy faith once delivered to the saints, and
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in putting down the strongholds of error, the golden calf of ignorance and superstition!
And undoubtedly many ministers and many of the more intelligent amongst the Lord’s people of all denominations realize that Churchianity is merely a golden calf, unworthy of the reverence and worship accorded to it. Undoubtedly many of this more intelligent class, represented in Aaron, reluctantly join in the various sectarian practices and customs which have a form of godliness and deny its power. They should be more courageous if they would be overcomers; they must learn this lesson, and come out from among them and be separate, and touch not the unclean thing, (2 Cor. 6:17); and again, “Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins and receive not of her plagues.”—Rev. 18:4.
MANY IDOLS IN CHRISTENDOM
While Churchianity is the idol which more nearly in our day corresponds to the golden calf, there are many more idols to which professed Christians are bowing the knees of their hearts. Chief amongst these is Mammon, the god of wealth, of money. O, how many forget the instructions of the Word, that we are to seek first the Kingdom of God and his righteousness, and to be content with such things as God’s providence will grant us along these lines. How many are anxious to have something better in this world than God’s providence has accorded them; how many have the love of money, of which the Apostle spoke in his day—the root of all evil, which some coveting after have stumbled and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.—1 Tim. 6:10.
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Yes, indeed! this idol has many votaries today, more perhaps than ever before, and the worship of Mammon is being encouraged on every hand—the poor are almost despised, the wealthy highly esteemed. The successful worshipers of Mammon, who receive his marks of approval in prosperity, are everywhere welcomed in society and Churchianity. We are not denouncing wealth or the wealthy; we are reprehending the love, the idolatry of the wealthy, that it is set up as the standard of human ambition—nay, almost as the standard of Christian ambition; whereas, on the contrary, God has declared that not many great, not many wise, not many learned, not many noble, not many rich, will inherit the Kingdom; hence not many of the wealthy are identified with the true Israel of God.
There are other idols, too, of name and fame and pride, that call for their toll from their worshipers. Each one of these idols calls for its devotees to break off their golden earrings, their advantages, their riches of time and influence, etc., for their service. Does it not behoove every Israelite indeed to make an inspection of his own heart to see to what extent there are any idols there, and to cast them out, that his worship may be of sincerity for the Lord alone? This idol-breaking may properly include the idolatry of persons, whether it be of Luther or Calvin or Knox in the past or of earthly leaders in the present time. Saint John the revelator is represented as falling down to worship before the angel who showed him certain things in respect to the divine plan, and the angel is caused to reprove him for it, saying, “See thou do it not: I am of thy brethren … Worship God.”
So every proper leader, in whatever degree of influence, should see to it that worship is not tendered to him without a rebuke. However well-intentioned the homage may be, it must be reproved, because there is but one proper object of adoration for the Lord’s people—God himself; “Worship God.” Fellow-creatures may be honored, respected, esteemed, as the Scriptures direct, “Honor to whom honor is due, tribute to whom tribute is due.” But God is to be recognized as the source of all our blessings, joys, advantages, comfort. If God has been pleased to make use of any of his children for the blessing of others, it would not be improper for us to rejoice in the Lord’s providence and to acknowledge the same; but in every case the Lord must be recognized as the Giver of every good and perfect gift. Had he not given the aid through one channel or servant he could and would have given it through another. Hence to him belongs the praise of the glorious plan of salvation, and of our share therein and of our knowledge of it.
“HE BUILT AN ALTAR BEFORE IT”
Evils are progressive: one wrong leads to another. Thus, after the golden calf had been made the next thing in order was to make a golden altar before it to offer sacrifice to it. So it is in respect to the idols of Spiritual Israel. An altar always implies a sacrifice, and it is but the natural thing that we should sacrifice to whatever we set up in our hearts as our idol. As we have already pointed out, some hearts have many idols, others a few, and it is not difficult to determine which idols a man worships. The worship will be indicated by the sacrifice. Tell us the things to which a man or a woman sacrifices his or her best thoughts, best time, chief influence, and we can tell you readily the idol which he reverences most and before which he has the largest altar and sacrifices most.
Each should be most interested in examining this question from the standpoint of his own heart; each should say to himself, “To whom do I render the sacrifice of my heart? Where are my chief affections? To whom or to what do I render sacrifices of the most precious things I possess?” The laws of nature require that a certain proportion of our time be spent in sleep; with many a considerable proportion is necessary for earthly toil, for the procurement of the things needful and the things honest and necessary for the present life. A certain proportion is also necessary for our personal convenience, partaking of food and care for our bodies. It would be easy to use the entire twenty-four hours in this way, for the tendency of our day is to greater and greater extravagance in every direction and to consider the luxuries of the past as the necessities of the present. Hence every hour of the twenty-four taken from the affairs of this life might be considered as in some sense of the word sacrificed.
Some divide their sacrifices, putting part upon the altars of their various idols; but the true Christian, enlightened by the Word of the Lord, must abandon all of these idols, and must realize that he has very little at most to present as a living sacrifice to the Lord. If he can save or redeem one hour a day or more, this should be recognized as a part of his reasonable service to the Lord and should be conscientiously devoted day by day if he would attain the divine
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favor and blessing for the life that now is and for that which is to come. As the steward of his gifts to the Lord he may use some of his time and influence in his own spiritual development along the lines of the divine Word. Another portion he may devote to the assistance of the brethren, building them up in the most holy faith, and thus strengthen incidentally his own faith. Other portions of this sacrificed time and means he may use in ministering to the sick or to assisting others along temporal lines, doing good to all men as he has opportunity, especially to the household of faith. But his sacrifices must not be made to persons nor things nor churchly systems, but to God, and be appropriately used according to his best ability to understand the divine will through the teachings of the divine Word.
THE BREAKING OF THE LAW
At the end of the forty days Moses came down from the mountain bearing the table of the Law written in stone, and, beholding the idolatry, he dashed the table of stone to pieces, symbolically representing the failure of Israel to keep the Covenant of the Law, and the impossibility of the fallen race ever being justified by the Law Covenant. After Moses had reproved the people and chastened the more wilful and explained to them their sin more fully, he went up into the mountain again to the Lord, acting as their mediator. In this connection we have introduced to us the grandeur of Moses’ character, his unselfishness, his love for his brethren in all their weakness. The Lord proposed to Moses to cut off Israel as a nation, and to make of Moses and his family the nation that he would bless as the seed of Abraham. But Moses, faithful to his trust as a mediator who had undertaken to represent the people before God and to represent God before the people, declined the Lord’s offer, and pleaded for the people, as mediator.
All of this, we may be sure, was intended as a type of how Christ Jesus, as the better Mediator of the New Covenant, would be loyal to his trust and stand for and represent the whole human family before God faithfully, notwithstanding their sinful condition, alienation and disobedience. Moses’ language is most pathetic—”And now wilt thou blot out their sin, and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of the book which thou hast written.” As Moses here staked his own eternal existence for the benefit of the people, so the life of Christ was staked for the race whom he died to redeem, and whom he represents and will continue to represent as its Mediator until he shall, under the terms of the New Covenant, grant to Israel and to all mankind restitution and full opportunity to return to divine favor. The course of Moses was pleasing to the Lord, and as the Mediator for the people he was directed to lead them on and bring the faithful to the promised land. Nevertheless the people who shared in the wrong-doing received a measure of chastisement.
The spirit of Moses was not only typical of the Spirit of Christ, but illustrative also of the spirit of all who will be members of the Body of Christ. We, too, must have this spirit of love and devotion, not merely to the members of the Body of Christ, our own Body, but a devotion to the mission, the work, to which in God’s providence we have been called. “Ye know your calling, brethren.” God has called us to be joint-heirs with his Son, to be the Bride, the Lamb’s Wife, to be participators with him in the great work of mediating the New Covenant, and under its blessed provisions assisting and uplifting the world of mankind and leading them during the Millennial Age along the highway of holiness to absolute perfection and eternal life at its further end—so many as will obey. It is for us to have the spirit of Moses, the Spirit of Christ in respect to this matter—to so far as possible measure up to the glorious privileges and calling which are ours, and in the present time to do all in our power, in harmony with the Lord’s providential leadings, for the blessing and uplifting of mankind in general, for their guidance in the right way, but especially to prepare ourselves for the glorious work of the coming age.
Chief amongst the elements of our preparation will be the spirit of sympathetic love which will enable us to be copies of our dear Master, who was kind to the unthankful and full of mercy and good fruits. Let us take this higher plane of thought in respect to our relationship to the world. Our Master declared, “Ye are not of the world, even as I
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am not of the world.” We are members of the Christ—members of the great Mediator, undergoing schooling and preparation for the great work before us of leading the people into the promised land of God’s favor and life eternal—Paradise restored. If we do not learn the necessary lessons, if we do not become copies of God’s dear Son, in sympathy, in love, in benevolence toward the world, we will be rejected from membership in the glorious Body, the Kingdom class, as unfit, the non-elect. Let us, then, give diligence, and remember that the great lesson to be learned is that of love—for God, for the brethren, for our neighbors, yea, for our enemies. If this love abound in us it shall make us neither barren nor unfruitful in God’s sight, and so through Christ an abundant entrance shall be granted us into the everlasting Kingdom as associates with the King of kings and Lord of lords in his great work as the world’s Mediator, the Mediator of the New Covenant, under which all the families of the earth are to be blessed.
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SOME INTERESTING QUESTIONS ANSWERED
Question.—Does not the foreknowledge of God seal our eternal destiny?
Answer.—However distinctly we may enunciate our belief in God’s foreknowledge of coming events the matter will always be beyond our human powers of comprehension. We could easily enough see how God, with all power in heaven and in earth, could predestinate certain events, and then cause them to come to pass, but our difficulty begins when we apply divine foreknowledge to human affairs in regard to which we recognize, according to the Scriptures, that man is a free agent, at liberty to choose his own course, at least concerning all moral and religious questions.
This need have no bearing whatever upon our duty and responsibilities, for we know assuredly from the Scriptures that God is dealing with us, not from the
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standpoint of his foreknowledge, but from the standpoint of our obedience. If we are willingly obedient to him, then he could not have foreknown otherwise respecting us. The Lord is dealing with his Church of this Gospel Age according to certain principles set forth in the Scriptures, and it is for us to obey or disobey his instructions, according to our will—God’s foreknowledge in no sense or degree interfering with our liberties.
Question.—Is the world growing better?
Answer.—In some respects it is growing better and in other respects it is growing worse. It is growing better in the sense that a higher moral tone prevails on the surface of things, because of knowledge being more generally diffused amongst the masses of Christendom. While Christian principles have not struck their roots deeply into the heart of civilization, they have, at least, given a tone to public sentiment which is very beneficial. The light of true Christianity, its loving spirit, has been exhibited to the world in the Master and in the “little flock,” who seek to walk in his steps; and it has established thus a higher standard of thought and deed amongst men—not only of the consecrated class, but also of the worldly class. Their consciences agree to the principles enunciated, and in some degree benevolence has been cultivated, even from a worldly standpoint; and even though it be true to some extent that many of the benevolences performed in connection with the establishment of hospitals, libraries, asylums, etc., are for show and for advertising and vainglory; and even though some benevolences in the care of the sick and the wounded, etc., in times of war are probably prompted by love of gain, nevertheless all these things attest that there is a generally diffused public sentiment which appreciates such things, and which it is sought to please. We are glad of this, glad to note it, glad to acknowledge it. We regret, however, to note that various things indicate that this greater benevolence of our day is a very thin veneer, covering a great deal of selfishness, malice, hatred, envy and strife, which, under certain circumstances, show themselves in a very keen ferocity and general devilishness which it is difficult for the Christian heart to understand. The fact of the matter is that general goodness, heart-consecration to the Lord and filling with his spirit of love, is apparently decreasing in the same ratio as the surface benevolence increases, outward moderation and gentlemanliness being accepted as instead of heart-consecration and sanctification.
Question.—Would it be proper for the consecrated to spend time in the study of foreign languages, music, art, etc., or in attending and belonging to social and literary clubs?
Answer.—It is well that each of us should judge for himself in such matters; but well, also, that each should leave the judgment of others to themselves. It is not for us to lay down any hard and fast rules for other men’s consciences, but we may suggest some lines which each conscience may apply to its own affairs, we believe, profitably.
(1) The consecrated person has given up his will, has covenanted that he will henceforth seek to do, not his own will, but the Lord’s will, whether that agrees much or little with his own natural tastes and proclivities. This point being decided, it follows (2) that in the spending of our time we would consider the Lord’s will, judging to the best of our ability from his Word and our experiences in life what would be his will—what would be to his glory and to our own spiritual profit and to the spiritual profit of others, and a decision on this point must be the rule of our lives as consecrated persons, in all of our affairs. (3) With the majority of the Lord’s people the providing of things needful of an earthly kind, for self or family dependents, requires much of consecrated time and leaves comparatively little for devotion to matters especially spiritual. (4) Every truly consecrated person, accepting the foregoing views, is bound to admit that the amount of time, talent and energy at his disposal for special service to the Lord, to the Truth and the brethren is very limited indeed. (5) Each realizing this situation will use his little time according to the measure of his zeal. If he loves foreign languages more than he loves the Lord’s Word it bespeaks an unsatisfactory condition of heart. If he loves the Lord’s Word and service better than foreign languages, but somehow feels that the study of languages, music and art are a duty more important than the study of the Lord’s Word and the service of the brethren, it implies a confused condition of mind and an imperfect appreciation of the fact that the time is short in which to make our calling and election sure. (6) The zeal which we show in respect to the use of opportunities in the Lord’s service and in our attempt to turn the ordinary affairs of life to his glory, constitutes the indication we are giving to the Lord regarding the amount of our zeal for him and his. (7) It is according to the measure of this zeal of our hearts for the Lord’s will and the Lord’s service, and not according to the perfection we shall attain in the flesh, that we shall be adjudged overcomers of the world or not overcomers—worthy or not worthy of the prize of our high calling.
Question.—Will the retributions of the Millennial Age be wholly in the nature of corrections in righteousness and punishments for transgressions of that time? or will the punishments be wholly in the sense of or for sins of this present life? or will they take cognizance of both of these?
Answer.—They will take cognizance of both, thus: While primarily they will be reproofs and corrections for transgressions committed during the Millennial Age, and will be reformatory in character, nevertheless in a secondary sense they will take cognizance of the wilful sins of this present life also, because every wilful sin of the present time makes an indelible mark in the character, the disposition, etc., and these indelible character-marks will be upon all in their awakening for trial in the Millennial Age. If the marks be many and deep it can be readily seen that the individual will be correspondingly at a disadvantage in the next life, and have corresponding difficulties and obstacles to hinder him, which he will be required to overcome in order to obtain the life that will then be offered him.
Of course, sins committed ignorantly and unintentionally have also a degrading effect upon mind and body, but far less so than sins committed in violation of conscience, sins against light and knowledge. We may reasonably suppose, too, that it will be part of the work of the Royal Priesthood during the Millennial Age of trial to assist mankind the more over the weaknesses which were incurred unwillingly.