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VOL. XXVI. MAY 1, 1905. No. 9
Views from the Watch Tower……………………131
Socialism Spreading in the West……………131
The German “Dome” or Cathedral……………131
Will Church and State be Reconciled in Italy?…132
The Memorial Celebration General………………133
Do You Desire “Pilgrim” Visits?………………134
Knowledge—Bible Study for May………………135
“I Pray for Them”……………………………136
God’s Power in God’s Time…………………138
“That They all May be One”………………139
As a Deceiver, Yet True………………………140
“What is Truth?”…………………………141
“I Find No Fault in Him”…………………142
Favorable Press Comments from Australia………143
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LETTERS FOR THE EDITOR SHOULD BE SENT TO ALLEGHENY, PA., U.S.A.
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GENERAL CONVENTION, CHATTANOOGA, TENN., JUNE 3-6
THE RAILROADS of the Southern, Central and South-western Associations will sell tickets to this Convention at one fare and one-third, plus 25 cents, on the “Certificate Plan.” You purchase a regular ticket to Chattanooga, telling your ticket-agent at the time that you desire a Certificate, that you are going to the WATCH TOWER BIBLE & TRACT SOCIETY’S CONVENTION, and which will entitle you to purchase a return ticket at one-third a regular fare. Hold on to that certificate, as without it you would be charged full fare when buying your return ticket. The Certificates will need to be signed, but we will publicly announce at the Convention the name of the brother who will attend to the matter for you and save you all trouble.
ACCOMMODATIONS should be secured in advance to avoid confusion and trouble to yourself and the Entertainment Committee. Therefore, if you will attend, write at once, saying briefly (a) how many will be of your party; (b) how many of each sex; (c) if colored, so state; (d) married couples desirous of rooming together should so state. AS TO RATES.—It will be safe to count that a room for one person will cost $1.00 per night in a good, respectable house, or a room for two $1.25. Unless you specify to the contrary, arrangements will be made for two in a bed and two beds in a large room at the cost of 50 cents each person. MEALS can be secured from 15 cents up, according to quantity, kind and service.
Do not write on this subject at length. Tell us about things at the Convention. Give the information briefly and to the point. A postal card will do. Address the WATCH TOWER BIBLE & TRACT SOCIETY, 612 Arch St., Allegheny, Pa.
GET READY PROPERLY
Prepare your heart for a blessing. Come to the Convention in the proper spirit—as a disciple, a learner. Come intent also on doing good as well as getting good, of consoling and encouraging others, as well as to be yourself comforted. Above all, come realizing that the Lord himself is the fountain of blessings, and remembering his word—not by might, nor by power, but by the Lord’s Spirit are we to expect the blessings we hope for. In making ready and en route do not forget this important item, for on it your share in the Convention’s blessing greatly depends.
1905—VOLUNTEER MATTER SOON READY—1905
Send in your orders for Volunteer Matter at once, please. The “ammunition” is not yet ready, but will be soon. The house to house distribution is planned for this year. It worked well last year, except in districts where the population is largely foreign and Catholic. In those parts it is still advisable to serve the Protestant English churches. Let us know how many you can use all told and how you prefer to have them addressed. We will not send all the tracts at once, except where quantity is small. We hope that we may have fresh “Volunteers” this year to join in the work of the free circulation of the Society’s literature. Those who participate most freely seem to receive the greater blessing. We do not urge. It is a volunteer service. The Master says, “He that reapeth receiveth wages and gathereth fruit unto life everlasting.”
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VIEWS FROM THE WATCH TOWER
SOCIALISM SPREADING IN THE WEST
REV. CHARLES STELZEL recently appointed by the Home Missionary Society of the Presbyterian Church, was a machinist until recently, and is now appointed to look out for the welfare of wage earners and devise means for interesting them in Presbyterian Christianity on the basis of its new Statement of Faith, which quite covers and hides the doctrine of foreordained damnation of all except the “very elect,” stated in the Westminster Confession still retained—sub rosa.
Rev. Stelzel visited the region of the Colorado miners’ strike recently, and his report of what he found is set forth in the Boston Transcript as follows:
“In an interview Mr. Stelzel, after his return from Colorado, where he had been studying the labor situation, said that Socialism is increasing among the workingmen of the West faster than Easterners realize. In Colorado, for instance, the issue, as he discovers it, is not unionism but Socialism; and the strike has entered many churches, officials differing fundamentally on the issues involved. For thousands of workingmen Socialism has become a substitute for the Church, the idealism of the earthly propaganda taking the place of the visions and ideals of the religious faith. This Mr. Stelzel has tested not only by word-of-mouth conversations and by hearing the speeches of orators, but by a careful poll—through correspondence of the leaders among the Western labor leaders. He finds that they are sending about the country as organizers and agitators, men who were formerly ministers in Protestant churches or who were Roman Catholic priests, who will use the religious terminology and appeal to the religious motives, but to the end that an earthly Utopia may be set up, and without any reference to the life beyond the grave. He believes that the Church must begin a propaganda which must be carried on out of doors wherever wage-earners congregate; that literature, inexpensive and attractive, written in the language of the people among whom it must circulate and written to their level, must be printed and circulated lavishly.”
This is significant, and points exactly in the direction and to the events portrayed in God’s Word,—in its pictures of the “day of wrath” coming on Christendom.
THE GERMAN “DOME,” OR CATHEDRAL
The completion and dedication of a great Cathedral at Berlin, Germany, is an event of world-wide note. It is to be to central Europe what St. Paul’s Cathedral, London, is to Great Britain and what St. Peter’s is to Rome. Newspaperdom concludes that it marks the closest possible approach of the German Emperor to the position of Pontifex Maximus to Germans. The N.Y. Times considers that “under the direct and personal care of the Emperor” it as closely marks “the establishment of a State Church as the exertions of the monarch could bring it.” It adds:—
“That would be the conclusion to be drawn from the establishment of the cathedral, even without more explicit explanation. But the pains that have been
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taken to secure at the opening the attendance of conspicuous representatives of other Protestantism than that of Germany shows that the intention goes much further than the establishment of a Prussian state church, in the sense, at least, of a Prussian Court church. It is almost avowedly to make Berlin the Rome of the Protestant world, in so far as the idea of an ecclesiastical center may consist with the right of private judgment as opposed to ecclesiastical control, which is at the very basis of Protestantism. And the establishment of a Protestant cathedral which aims to transcend the limits of any one communion or of any one country seems to involve the establishment, in a manner of speaking, of a Protestant Pope. Dr. Dryander, the Prussian court preacher who preached the opening discourse, did not shrink from this conclusion. On the contrary, he dotted his i’s with great explicitness in setting forth ‘the Emperor’s desire that this building should be the center of Protestantism, and that the German Emperor should in a general sense be the protector of the faith.’
“Without doubt, if there is to be a Protestant Pope, or in so far as there is to be one, the Kaiser fills the bill
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more nearly than any other earthly potentate. He has more Protestant subjects than any other, excepting the King of England. And the Anglican variety of Protestantism has always been recognized, both by its admirers and its detractors, as a variety suited only for home consumption, or at least for consumption by English-speaking persons imbued with British traditions, and not for exportation. King Edward would hardly be moved to compete with his royal nephew for the headship of the Reformed churches throughout the world. The headship of Continental European Protestantism, at least, naturally devolves upon the German Kaiser, in so far as it devolves upon anybody. We may now see that the necessity under which the Kaiser has felt himself to be, of forming and expressing opinions upon such subjects, for example, as biblical criticism, had a special root, in addition to his general necessity of forming and expressing opinions upon all matters of human concern or interest. …
“It is very impressive to find such a demonstration of the essential Christian unity of Protestantism as was afforded by the ceremonies of the consecration. It is not fantastic to expect that such a demonstration may have its effect upon the religious evolution of the world.”
A Catholic daily comments on the “Dome,” etc., as follows:—
“The German Kaiser is a good man and certainly he has so far treated his Catholic subjects with fairness, the Catholic Poles of Posen excepted, but really can not a melancholy note be caught in the midst of this Berlin hallelujah? The Kaiser’s own statisticians prove that Protestantism is perishing in Germany. The professors in his great universities so assert and even some of his own preachers so admit. Between the advance of materialism on one side and Catholicism on the other, Lutheranism is being ground to powder. If it were not for the support of the German Catholic party it is questionable if the crown would be on his head to-day. Socialism would be singularly dominant.
“Without a supporting Catholicism what would be the fate of the Kaiser’s Protestant St. Peter’s? It could not remain. It is environed by a perishing Protestantism, and when the latter dies the great structure must pass to other hands. Whose? It may be those of Socialists temporarily, but eventually the Catholic Church will come into possession. As a far-sighted statesman the Kaiser must foresee this. As to the English and American clergymen who lauded his purpose, why, compliments are easy to give. They knew better while they spoke.”
“BOTH GOOD AND RIGHT”
The German Emperor supplements his views regarding the purpose of the great Protestant Cathedral to be built in Berlin:
BERLIN, March 8th.—Upon the Emperor’s recent remark that his “Dome” should be a new place of pilgrimage, a new St. Peter’s Church, a cry of indignation sounded throughout the entire [Roman] catholic world. At an after-celebration to the dedication of the Cathedral the Emperor declared:
“The theological controversies between the two churches have nothing whatever to do with its [the Cathedral’s] value. The Roman Catholic Church has ever been the strongest organization and is so to this day. How the conflict will yet end rests with God. If Catholicism is the true religion, then no one can destroy it. It will become a greater power in the world than it already is. My conviction is, that both religions are good and right, and only misunderstandings do separate them.
“If in the course of developments Catholicism shall finally come off victorious, well and good. But until one or the other side has reached a clearer light, and until the overhanging cloud has been dispelled, a space of 500 years will probably have passed, and until then let us live in peace.”—Translated from the German.
WILL CHURCH AND STATE BE RECONCILED IN ITALY?
Pope Pius X, and his Secretary of State, Cardinal Merry del Val, have determined to introduce a radical change in the policy of the Vatican toward the civil power in Italy. If this assurance be well founded, and many recent incidents confirm it, the upholders of the established social order in the peninsula will be immensely strengthened, and we may be sure that the royal Government will do everything in its power to satisfy the just claims of the Papacy.
On the occupation of the Holy City by Italian troops in the winter of 1870-1, the Government of Victor Emanuel strove to conciliate the head of the Church by offering to give him every assurance of independence, except the recognition of his temporal authority over any considerable section of Italian territory. It promised that he should be treated as a sovereign within the precincts of the Vatican, and to compensate him for the loss of revenues previously enjoyed the Italian Parliament voted him an annual grant of more than $600,000.
REFUSED GOVERNMENT ALLOWANCES
The Papacy has hitherto refused to touch a penny of the money, but that statute has never been repealed, and in the eyes of many Italian jurists it is a nice question of law whether the Pope might not at any moment demand the arrears of the subsidy, which now would amount to a vast sum, that, however, could easily be raised by a loan.
Simultaneously with his stern refusal of what he termed a bribe for connivance in the spoliation of Peter’s patrimony, Pius IX. issued to faithful Catholics the famous injunction non expedit, to the effect that it was not expedient for them to seem to condone the wrong done to the Church by taking part in any parliamentary election held under the regime of the usurper.
RADICALS AND SOCIALISTS THE POWER TO CHANGE
That injunction was solemnly reaffirmed by Pope Leo XIII. For more than thirty years it has been obeyed, with the result that the friends of the existing social system have been deplorably weakened by the refusal of nearly one-half of the registered electors to exercise the franchise. The control of the Italian Parliament had, up to the recent general election, passed virtually into the hands of advanced Radicals and Socialists. Nowhere else in Europe have the doctrines of Karl Marx exerted so much influence on legislation, or constituted so grave a menace to existing social and political
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institutions, as they lately have in the kingdom of Italy.
We pointed out not long before the late general election in Italy that it had become a question of vital moment to the Papacy to decide whether a continued enforcement of the injunction non expedit would be consistent with a due regard for its own safety. Little cause as has the Vatican to regard the Quirinal with sympathy, it must recognize that the ominous drift of events has exposed them both to a common danger, for it has been taught that there is something worse even than a usurping monarchy by the deadly assaults to which the Catholic religion has been and is being subjected in France at the hands of the Radical-Socialist party now dominant in that country.
PAPACY LEARNING A LESSON
Pope Pius X would have shown himself but an incompetent pilot had he shut his eyes to the warning given by the resolve of Premier Combes to abolish the Concordat between the French Republic and the Papacy, the warning, namely, that the aloofness which formerly seemed expedient had become so no longer, and that the law of self-preservation required the Church and the monarchy to co-operate for defence in Italy, lest both go down in a common shipwreck.
That the warning had been heeded to a considerable extent was evident from the outcome of the recent general election, at which the party of order was rescued from possible defeat and materially strengthened by the support of many faithful Catholics at the ballot box. The full significance, however, of the part then played by a considerable section of the registered Catholic electors is brought out for the first time by our correspondent in Rome. He tells us that the injunction non expedit, though not formally lifted, will henceforth be suffered to become a dead letter.
CATHOLICS MAY NOW PARTICIPATE IN ITALIAN ELECTIONS
The proof offered for this assertion is that at the Parliamentary as well as the municipal elections that have taken place during the last year the instruction or permission given to Catholics to participate in the voting emanated directly from Cardinal Merry del Val, the Papal Secretary of State. We are further informed
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that in order to facilitate co-operation with the civil power in behalf of the established order of society, and with a view of minimizing the chances of jealousy and discord, the Vatican has decided to discourage the creation of a specifically clerical party in Parliament, and consequently will recommend Catholic electors to vote either for Government nominees or for non-militant clericals.
By this judicious course it should be possible to avoid raising in the Chamber of Deputies the inflammatory question of a partial restoration of the Papacy’s temporal power, a question which plainly can best be dealt with in friendly negotiations between the Vatican and the Quirinal.—Literary Digest.
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THE MEMORIAL CELEBRATION GENERAL
FROM every quarter reports show that the numbers who celebrated our Lord’s Supper on April 16th were much larger than on any previous occasion. It would appear, too, that it was a more solemn occasion and observed more reverentially than ever before. This is right. God forbid that any of us should lose any of our respect or reverence in connection with the great sacrifice or its memorial. In our last we suggested some reasons for celebrating on the anniversary day nearest to the year date, and thus keeping the more closely in touch with the days of our Lord’s last week of earthly life and their great events. We hope that all of our readers will weigh the matter, that between now and the next Memorial we may be of one heart and one mind on this matter. A few years ago the Jewish mode of reckoning brought the Memorial Supper on Thursday evening. We recall that the harmony of the days of the week with those of the first celebration added special zest as well as peculiar solemnity to the days of that week.
Reports show very many small gatherings. The number celebrating at some of the principal cities follows:—
Boston, Mass., 186; Philadelphia, Pa., 99; Cleveland, O., 73; St. Louis, Mo., 75; Washington, D.C., 94; Richmond, Va., 30; Altoona, Pa., 36; Indianapolis, Ind., 67; Toronto, Ont., 58; Columbus, O., 47; Binghamton, N.Y., 37; Chicago, Ill., 170; Providence, R.I., 42; Cincinnati, O., 54; Youngstown, O., 35; Dayton, O., 40; Scranton, Pa., 42; Buffalo, N.Y., 40; Houston, Tex., 45; New York City, 109; Los Angeles, Cal., 142; Allegheny, Pa., 525; London, Eng., 190; Glasgow, 142; Liverpool, 66+; Manchester, 37+; Bristol, 29; Edinburgh, 21; Sheffield, 25; Sevenoaks, 21; Dublin, 20; Elberfeld, 64.
* * *
DEAR BROTHER:—Last evening the little company here met to celebrate the Memorial. There were sixteen present, twelve sisters and four brethren.
It was an hour of blessed privilege, into which we all heartily entered. We remembered the other companies who would be gathered together to likewise “do this” in our Lord’s remembrance, not forgetting the isolated ones.
We feel assured that we, too, were remembered by the other ones who were joining in this Memorial, and that our prayers for blessing on the Body were being repeated by all its members.
May the Lord’s blessing continue with you as you are still spared to serve him.
__________., Atlantic City, N.J.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:—Last Sunday evening a few earnest, fervent Truth-seekers, twenty-four in number, assembled at the home of Bro. D__________ to partake of the Memorial Supper, and thus commemorate the death of our dear Lord and Master. After appropriate hymns,
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reading a few extracts from the sermon in March 15 Tower, and prayers, the emblems were partaken of and we dispersed, “silent, like men in solemn haste,” to our homes, there to “think on these things,” and renew within our hearts our covenant to die with him, to have no mind or will but his. The thought underlying all is, if we would share with him in his Kingdom we must be a part of the broken loaf—that as his blood-life was poured out for the world, so our blood-life must be poured out, even to death, for only in this way can we be worthy to drink with him of the new wine (immortal life) in his Kingdom.
Dear brother, we all share in the prayer that God may bless and strengthen you and your co-laborers for the contest ever before us, and grant that we may all drink the new wine with him in his Kingdom and share with him in blessing all the families of earth, in that glorious day which shall have no end.
With much love to all the brethren, we are, sincerely in the one hope,
THE CHURCH AT DETROIT, MICH.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:—Ten brothers and sisters partook last evening of the emblems of the broken body and shed blood of our dear Redeemer. We considered the meaning of eating the sinless flesh and drinking the precious blood, as by faith appropriating its virtues and merits each for himself. We also had our attention called to the deeper significance of the loaf and the cup to us as representing our communion and fellowship in his sufferings and with those of the fellow-members which we have been so graciously permitted to have. The propriety of observing the memorial on the anniversary of its institution was entirely new to one sister, who became quite interested. It was truly a blessed hour of spiritual refreshment. Praise God, from whom all blessings flow.
With much Christian love from us all, yours in our dear Redeemer,
__________, Racine, Wis.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:—Last evening a few of us, seven in number, met and together celebrated the memorial of our dear Redeemer’s death. One brother and sister came 25 miles to join with us in this most solemn feast. We realized our dear Lord’s presence and felt drawn closer to him in our sincere desire to serve him better. As this was our first celebration since entering into the light of Present Truth, the partaking of the emblems was, as to their true meaning and import, keenly felt and much appreciated by each one as a great favor. We remembered at the throne of grace all who similarly met together, praying that our heavenly Father would keep each and all from falling and help us to be faithful until death.
Yours in love and fellowship,
__________, Port Jervis, N.Y.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:—I am very glad to be able to tell you that five of us were permitted to assemble together to celebrate the Memorial. I feel that the Lord was with us. One of our number said it was his first participation in the observance and that he thought its influence would last him through all eternity. We all seemed to be like-minded in the desire to know the full significance of a “full consecration” and to conform our lives thereto. We were rejoiced to know that all over the world were like companies enjoying a similar blessing.
Praying the Lord’s blessing upon your labors, in his name, __________, Tallapoosa, Ga.
DEAR BRO. RUSSELL:—Bro. H__________ and I met last evening at my house and partook of the Memorial Supper, showing forth the breaking of his body and the pouring forth of his blood, our passover sacrificed for us, at the same time renewing our pledge of consecration to him and to his service.
Our hearts assured us of his presence, though the eyes of our flesh saw him not. We realized somewhat of the infinite love of our Father in giving his only begotten Son, “a ransom for all,” but especially of them that believe; and more, that the Son willingly, joyfully, made the great sacrifice. Shall we not then patiently endure our light afflictions in the hope of sharing with our Head an “eternal weight of glory”?
In our present state we can but faintly estimate the infinite wisdom and love that conceived the plan and bestowed this gift upon mankind, and we can only measure our love for him by the love we bear to the brethren. This is commonly called “Holy Week,” and is not this season indeed holy to us? We pray its solemnizing and humbling influence may continue and grow till we drink of the new wine with our Head in the Kingdom. May his blessing continue with you and your helpers, and may your work prosper as our Head deems best.
Always yours, in the greater love begotten of the greatest of all events, that we have just been commemorating. __________, Winnipeg, Man.
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DO YOU DESIRE “PILGRIM” VISITS?
HEREAFTER we will invite requests for “Pilgrim” visits not at the first of the year, but about this time, when moving will be mostly past. We now inquire for the year beginning May 1, Who desire Pilgrim visits? We do not promise to grant all requests but we will surely do our best to serve the interests of the general field as the Lord shall grant us to see his good pleasure in the matter.
These “Pilgrim” visits are free—no charges are made for time or traveling expenses, and no collections of any kind are taken up by them. All of their expenses are met out of our general Tract Fund, to which many of you contribute, but for which no solicitations of any kind are authorized. The “Pilgrims” make but brief stays at each point of interest. It is presumed that those requesting their services will be glad to provide them with food and shelter. They are quite content to share with the “brethren” the blessings of the Lord’s bounty as he grants them to you. They seek not your’s but you.—2 Cor. 12:14.
For our assistance please answer the following questions if you desire these Pilgrim visits—as many of
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them as you can—on a postal card, at once. Indicate your answers as below, (a), (b), etc.:
(a) How many DAWN readers in your vicinity?
(b) Are weekly meetings held now by these?
(c) How many are usually in attendance?
(d) Where do they meet now?
(e) Was a vote taken on this “Pilgrim” invitation?
(f) How many voted for the invitation to be sent?
(g) Did any vote against the invitation? How many?
(h) Give full address of the one who has volunteered to care for the Pilgrim.
(i) If your town is off the railroad, state proper railroad station to stop at, and how the “Pilgrim” could get from station. Would he be met?
(j) Could a suitable place be found for one or two public meetings?
(k) Could a suitable place be found for semi-private meetings for the interested?
(l) What attendance do you think could be secured for the public session by such notifications and advertising as you could give?
(m) Have the DAWN readers chosen leaders or elders in accord with DAWN, Vol. VI., chapters v. and vi.? If so, give addresses of the two to whom notification of a Pilgrim’s coming to you should be sent.
(n) Give writer’s name and all addresses in full.
If you are the only TOWER reader answer such of the questions as you can.
Write very plainly, and should conditions so change during the year as to make the withdrawal of this invitation advisable, please drop us a postal card to that effect at once.
Sample of how your reply card to us may be written: (a) About 14. (b) Yes. (c) 8. (d) In Bro. Smith’s home. (e) Yes. (f) 7. (g) 1. (h) Bro. and Sister Jones. (i) Clifton on P. & Ft.W.R.R. Bro. Jones will meet with “rig,” if notified the hour of arrival. (j) Yes. (k) Yes. (l) 100 to 200. (m) Yes. J. Smith and W. Jones. (n) W. Jones, 804 Some St., Ourtown, N.H.
Attend to this at once, please. It may be too late after you see in the TOWER the announcement of a “Pilgrim” headed your way. The routes are made out and timed from start to finish in advance.
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A BIBLE STUDY ON KNOWLEDGE
(For method of using these Studies and meaning of abbreviations, see our issue of March 1.)
1. What is the importance of knowledge? Matt. 4:4; Z.’02-245-248; Z.’03-166 (2nd col. par. 3) to 167.
2. In what four ways may knowledge be obtained? A.121, par. 3.
3. In which of these ways did Adam possess a knowledge of evil before he sinned? A.122, par. 2.
4. Where is the source of all true knowledge? Jno. 17:17; Prov. 2:6; Jno. 6:45; E.54, par. 1,2,3.
5. How is knowledge “God’s first gift to man”? Z.’03-435.
6. What is the relation between knowledge and faith? A.13, par. 1; A.20, par. 2; A.21, par. 1; Z.’94-329 (1st col. par. 2); Z.’99-3 (2nd col. par. 1).
7. Who only are counted “worthy” to know “the deep things of God”? Psa. 25:9,12,14; Matt. 11:25; Z.’00-136 (1st col. par. 3); Z.’02-332 (1st col. par. 3,4) and (2nd col. par. 1); Z.’97-255-257.
8. Is knowledge necessary to salvation? Rom. 10:17; A.102 (par. 1) to 106; Acts 10:22; Z.’02-108 (2nd).
9. What is the difference between knowing about God and knowing God? Jno. 17:3; Z.’97-115 (1st col. par. 1,2,3); Z.’97-117 (2nd col. par. 1;) Z.’00-136 (2nd col. par. 1).
10. Does knowledge increase responsibility? Luke 12:47,48; F.719, par. 1; A.349, par. 1.
11. What is our duty toward building up each other in knowledge? F.263, 264; Z.’03-207 (2nd col. par. 1).
12. How do we know we are accepted as probationary members of the body of Christ? 1 Thess. 1:4,5; E.249, 250; F.191, par. 1.
13. What is our present inheritance through obedience to our knowledge of God’s will? Eph. 1:7,18; Z.’01-55 (2nd col. par. 1) to 56.
14. What effect does the knowledge of the Truth have upon superstitious fears? Jno. 8:32; Z.’03-62 (1st col. par. 2) and (2nd col).
15. How do we “grow in knowledge”? Prov. 2:3-6; 2 Pet. 3:18; Z.’03-61 (2nd col. par. 1 to 4) and 62 par. 1; Z.’03-70 (1st col. par. 1).
16. What is the significance of “the helmet of salvation,” and is it more important now than in the past? Eph. 6:17; F.658, par. 1; Z.’01-286 (“Philosophy of the Ransom.”) Z.’03-69 (2nd col. par. 1).
17. Can we give too much attention to acquiring knowledge? F.319, par. 1; Z.’99-156 (1st col. par. 1).
18. What is the relation between knowledge and love? 1 Cor. 13:2; Z.’03-56 (1st col. par. 1,2); 2 Pet. 1:8; E.259 (par. 1 to 3); Z.’00-184 (1st col. par. 2,3); Z.’03-200 (1st col. par. 1 to 3); Z.’97-234 (1st col. par. 1).
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19. What is the difference between the knowledge which precedes justifying faith, and the knowledge which we should “add to” our faith? 2 Pet. 1:5; Z.’96-221 (“Questions of Interest”).
20. How are “grace and peace multiplied” unto us through knowledge? 2 Pet. 1:2,3; Z.’97-114 (1st and 2nd cols.); A.346.
21. What is the relation between knowledge and prayer? Jno. 15:7; F.679,680; F.688, par. 1; Z.’03-204 (1st and 2nd cols).
22. Do all kinds of knowledge profit us? Jno. 17:17; F.137, par. 2.
23. How can we explain the Apostle’s statement,
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“Ye know all things,” and “need not that any man teach you.” 1 Jno. 2:20,27; E.304 to 311; F.260,261.
24. Explain Isaiah 53:11. E.100, par. 1,2; Z.’95-156 (2nd col. par. 1).
25. Should we expect to have any knowledge of the future? Amos 3:7; Jno. 16:13; B.15, par. 3; Z.’02-86 (2nd col. par. 1).
26. What evidences have we that Dan. 12:4 is being fulfilled? A.337, par. 1; D.414, par. 1; Z.’02-86 (1st col. par. 1 to 3).
27. When will “the knowledge of the Lord fill the earth as the waters cover the sea,” and “all men come unto the knowledge of the truth“? Isa. 11:9; 1 Tim. 2:4; A.74, par. 3; E.20, par. 2; A.105, par. 2.
28. What will be the relation between knowledge and faith in the Millennial Age? Z.’00-238 (2nd col. par. 1,2) to 239; F.106 (par. 3) to 107.
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“I PRAY FOR THEM”
—JOHN 17:15-26.—MAY 14.—
ON the night of the institution of the memorial of his death, our Lord, so far from being concerned wholly with himself and his approaching crucifixion, was specially thinking of and praying for his disciples. The closing verse of John 16 records his words of admonition, “These things have I spoken unto you that in me ye may have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.” These words spake Jesus and lifted up his eyes to heaven in prayer for his disciples, saying, “I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for those whom thou hast given me; for they are thine, and thine are mine; and I am glorified in them. And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thy own name those whom thou hast given me.”
Our Lord’s entire life furnishes an illustration of what the Apostle commends to all the Church in the words, “Pray without ceasing.” Our Lord evidently was always in that prayerful attitude of heart, which was filled with thankfulness to the Father in respect to all of life’s affairs, which recognized his guardian care, which trusted him, confided in him and in every distressing circumstance looked to him to overrule and to cause all experiences to work for good. But our Lord’s constant attitude of prayer without ceasing did not hinder his more particular devotions when he turned aside from the affairs of life to speak to the Father in secret—sometimes briefly and sometimes spending a whole night in prayer in the mountain solitude. Though he loved his disciples they were not yet begotten of the Holy Spirit and could not fully comprehend matters from his standpoint. The Father alone was able to comprehend the full situation, and hence the very isolation of our Lord from all human help drew him the nearer and the oftener to the Father in prayer.
So it is or should be with the Lord’s followers. Proportionately as we grow in his character likeness we will similarly pray without ceasing and in everything give thanks, singing and making melody in our hearts to the Lord, realizing him as the center of all our hopes and ambitions and joys. And similarly we will avail ourselves of the privilege of more formal approaches to the throne of grace, to obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. Similarly also, in proportion as at times we may find that our dear ones either of earthly or spiritual relationship are unable to sympathize with our experiences, we may be profited by such a lack of earthly sympathy in that the experiences will send us the more frequently to the heavenly Comforter from whom we will derive the greater blessing and joy.
THE CHURCH NOT THE WORLD
In this prayer, as elsewhere throughout the inspired Word, a sharp line of distinction is drawn as between the Church and the world. A great loss is sustained by those who do not see this, for it wonderfully assists in the “rightly dividing of the Word of Truth.” “God so loved the world,” Jesus “by the grace of God tasted death for every man,” and was a propitiation for the sins of the whole world, yet he is not of the world, and those who become his disciples are not of the world. “Ye are not of the world even as I am not of the world.” The losing of the clear line of distinction between the Church and the world has been a serious injury to true Christianity.
The world has appropriated some of the promises and customs and ceremonies which more or less resemble or counterfeit the graces of the Church, and this is called civilization, and thus a large proportion of the world are to-day mistakenly recognized as part of the Church. This is to their disadvantage, for not discerning that those who are of the Church must be begotten again, that in the resurrection they may be born again, they are merely deceiving themselves. It is a disadvantage also to the true Church, the true followers of the Lord, whose new natures must contend with the weaknesses of the flesh, and whose flesh seeks to justify itself by common custom, and to claim that to go much beyond the common standard is to be fanatical, extremists. The Lord’s people need to remember that, judged from the standpoint of the world and the nominal Church, they must be extremists if they would come up to the standards set for them by the Lord and the apostles—standards illustrated in the lives of Jesus and the apostles, in their self-denials even unto death.
Our Lord prayed not for the world, because the Lord’s time for dealing with the world had not yet come—would not come until after the selection of the Church, the body of Christ. He prayed for the apostles especially, because they would be his special representatives in the world, and his prayer included also all of the five hundred brethren who up to that time had believed on him with sincere hearts. Not only so, but (v. 20) he extended the petition so as to cover all of a similar class even to the end of the age—all who should believe on him so thoroughly, so sincerely, that their faith would separate them from the world to be his disciples, his followers in the narrow way in very truth.
WHAT HE DID NOT PRAY FOR
As we look out over the world to-day and take a view of the nominal Christian Church, and attempt to put ourselves in the place of the nominal Christian believer
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and his professed view of matters, and if, then, we suppose that the Lord prayed for the present condition of things, his prayer would be something like this:
I pray that my followers may become very numerous, very wealthy and very learned, that they may be the notables of the world. I pray that they may be divided up into great denominations, some holding one fragment of truth and some another, blending the same with much of inconsistency and error. I pray that there may be a dignified class, self-satisfied and reverential in form, who may be known as Episcopalians. I pray for another dignified class who will hold the Westminster Confession of Faith, and subsequently in 1902 supplement it with a briefer statement which, in effect, will contradict it. I pray for another great schism under the leadership of Wesley, which shall mingle with its devotions many worldly customs and attractions, and shall prosper greatly and be able to boast the building of one church every day in the year. I pray for another great sect or party of my followers, to name my name and be the followers of Luther. I pray for the great Roman Catholic Church, which will claim to be my kingdom, claim to reign in power and great dignity and honor over the kingdoms of the earth, claim that its head and representative is my vicegerent, the spiritual emperor of the world. I pray that its cunning policy may keep my Word from reaching the public, and that it may represent my great sacrifice for sins in its innumerable sacrifices of the mass, and that it may prosper and “wear out the saints of the most high God.”
I pray also for all the little sects and parties and splits, that they may prosper, that each may think that they have the truth and be satisfied with their creeds, and be hindered from searching the Scriptures to know therefrom the way, the truth and the life. I pray for all these that they may be thus scattered and separated and have fences between each other. I pray further that they may not only have denominational lines to separate them, but, additionally, political lines and lines of national prejudice, so that millions of them of one party or nationality may threaten and make war upon and slaughter those of another nationality or party. I pray that these national distinctions amongst them shall run so high that it will require hundreds of millions of dollars every year for armies and weapons and battleships
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to fight each other or to threaten each other or to intimidate each other. I pray all this that the heathen world may be charmed with the glorious effect of my teachings upon Christendom, and that all the heathen may say with one voice, Let us also become partisan and sectarian. Let us also arm and fight. Let us also learn of the practices of these Christian nations that they do not have the entire monopoly of profanity and drunkenness and debauchery, that we may share in these.
WHAT OUR LORD DID PRAY FOR
Very different was our Lord’s petition. His prayer represents his disciples as being a small minority in the world, hated of the world, opposed by the world, misunderstood by the world, not many great, not many wise, not many learned, not many rich, not many noble—chiefly the poor and altogether a “little flock.” The characteristics of the disciples whom Jesus personally gathered were to be expected in all who should afterward be gathered to him as his true followers.
Notwithstanding the great array of Christian nations and Christian sects, the Lord “knoweth them that are his;” and in harmony with this prayer he has not during the age separated his people from the world, but left them in the world, merely separating them so far as the heart is concerned—”I pray not that thou shouldst take them out of the world, but that thou shouldst keep them from the evil.” We are not to say that the evil is good, we are not to say that the world has become saintly; it is still evil. Christendom is practically in the same condition to-day that Judaism was in when it crucified the Lord and persecuted his followers.
Then the chief sect of the Jews called themselves God’s holy people (the meaning of the word Pharisee), and the whole nation stood on a plane of outward morality which the Lord declared was in his sight a farce. He called the leaders whited sepulchers, inwardly full of corruption. He told them that while they washed the outside of the cup they left it filthy within; that while they made broad their phylacteries and prayed in public, in their hearts they were far from a condition of holiness or love—so far that they would be willing to wrongfully take a home from a poor widow if the outward forms of the law permitted and if the transaction would not bring too much reproach. (Matt. 23:14,23-28.) It is much the same to-day; there is an outward gloss or veneer that in many cases is hypocritical, an outward form of worship, a drawing near with the lips while the heart is far from him, busy with fashion and dress and pleasure and money-making idolatries, if not with grosser sins.
Our Lord prayed that his true followers might be kept by heavenly power free from such conditions—out of sympathy with them, not of them. And we believe this has been true all down throughout this Gospel age. We believe that the Lord’s prayer has been fulfilled, and that his scattered little flock, the branches of the true vine, have flourished in heart, spiritually, keeping up a separate life entirely from the nominal system, which is only a part of the world. We believe that the same is true to-day, and that these in the world but not of it are now, in the harvest time, being called out of Babylon, “Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins and receive not of her plagues.” But as the entire number of Israelites who returned from Babylon when the opportunity offered was only about 50,000, so we may expect here that the Lord has so arranged matters respecting the popularity of error and the unpopularity of the Truth, that the number ready and glad to forsake all to follow the Truth and the right will be few.
“SANCTIFY THEM THROUGH THY TRUTH”
The prayer, continuing, points out two things—first, how the Lord’s followers will be kept, and, secondly, why they will be kept. (1) They will be kept because they are not of the world, because they have taken a positive stand on the Lord’s side, because they have reckonedly died to the world and sin and been begotten again of the holy Spirit to newness of life. (2) They will be kept in the world, but not of it, by the power of the Truth in their hearts. The Truth will sanctify or separate them. Not any truth, not all truth, but the Truth—the Truth of the divine revelation respecting the divine character and the divine plan, and their relationship to these. Summing this all up the Lord declares, “My
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Word is Truth”—the Truth which only sanctifies and separates my disciples from the world.
We are aware that “doctrine” has become very unpopular in every quarter of the world and in the nominal Church. No wonder! The doctrines, the creeds, of the various sects and parties of Christendom are so mingled with error, so offensive to the spiritual senses of the spiritual mind, that they could have no pleasure in partaking of such things from their tables. The prophet describes the matter, saying, “All tables are full of vomit”—every creed formulated in the Dark Ages is necessarily repulsive to-day. But the Truth, “Thy Word is Truth,” never becomes stale, never becomes rancid or offensive; it is still the Bread from Heaven, it is still the Word of Life; and all who are of the Truth, all who have progressed from being merely babes in Christ and by partaking of the meat of his Word have come to an appreciation of it, all who have been weaned from the milk and drawn from the breasts, can say with the poet respecting the wonderful story of the divine plan,
“IT SATISFIES MY LONGINGS AS NOTHING ELSE CAN DO”
The Truth has a sanctifying power in the heart because it fills the longings of the heart. Every heart has talents and appeals which demand operation, activity. Something must be supplied to meet the hungerings and thirstings of these various talents and qualities of the mind. If the exceeding great and precious promises of the divine Word be not received into the heart to satisfy its cravings or longings, it will feed upon other things; and the world, the flesh and the devil are all crowding upon it, offering various attractions, some of which will be received if the heart be not filled and kept filled. Thus our Lord’s parable represents a heart swept and garnished, with the devil cast out, and then that heart, still empty, is represented as being re-entered by seven devils. Our hearts need not only to be cleansed from sin through justification of life, through faith in Christ, but they need also to be filled with the Lord himself; and our Lord, who calls himself the Truth, furnishes to our hearts various truths as food, as nourishment, as filling our hearts and satisfying our cravings, and by thus filling he sanctifies those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, and thus separates them completely and keeps them separate from the world, its spirit, its hopes, its aims, its ambitions.
GOD’S POWER IN GOD’S TIME
Have we love for righteousness? We cannot hope to find it in the world, nor hope to establish it here under present conditions. We are obliged to admit that nothing short of God’s promised Kingdom can establish righteousness; hence our hearts, as Noah’s dove, return to the Lord as the center and fountain of righteousness. Have we a desire for peace and joy? Our past experience in the world convinces us that, while the whole world is seeking for happiness, it has not found it. We who have found the Lord have found the secret of happiness, the Christian’s secret of having every day a happy one. Do we long for power and influence that we may exercise them for good? The Word of Truth assures us that it is impossible to find them in present conditions, but that we shall, if faithful, attain to the power and glory, honor and immortality, in the First Resurrection, and that then our grandest hopes and ideals will be realized in the Kingdom blessings that will come to all the families of the earth. Do riches seem attractive to us? The Scriptures hold out the true riches, and assure us that in following the Lord all things are ours by faith now, and shall be actually ours by and by, when we become our Master’s associates in the heavenly Kingdom.
Our Lord declares, “As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world.” It is evident enough how the Father sent the Son, who left the glory which he had with the Father before the world was made flesh and dwelt amongst us; but in what sense are we sent into the world, we who are born of the world? Of course the apostles were specially sent once, but all the Lord’s followers are sent in a sense or degree. We are not sent until we are separated from the world to be his in heart and in truth. Then he gave us a commission or a message, a work to do in the world in his name and for the cause which he represents, namely, the cause of righteousness. So, then, the true followers of the Lord are ambassadors for God, representatives for Jesus. As he was in the world, so are we in the world; hence he calls upon us to walk as children of the light, to oppose sin in ourselves, and to use our influence in all proper ways in opposition to sin and in favor of righteousness and truth and right.
GLORY SHARED WITH CHURCH
Continuing our Lord declares, “For their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth.” This seems to carry with it the thought, elsewhere suggested in this prayer, that our Lord had by this time come to a full realization of the Father’s plan, namely, that his disciples were to be developed for the purpose of becoming his joint-heirs in the Kingdom, sharers in his glory. At first thought such a sharing of the great glory of the Kingdom might appear to be a lessening of the great glory of Jesus, just as the appointment of the seventy elders of Israel to be associates with Moses in judging Israel seemed at first to be a contraction or diminution of the dignity or authority of Moses.
But as Moses in the type was very meek, and gladly welcomed all the elders to joint-service, saying,
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“Would God that all the Lord’s people were prophets, and that the Lord would put his Spirit upon them!” (Num. 11:29), so the Lord Jesus, so far from feeling that the gathering out of the Church to be his joint-heirs in the Kingdom would diminish his glory, joined heartily in the divine plan, and declares here that he set himself apart, he separated himself from that feature of the glory and dignity of the Father’s reward that his followers might have a share in it, that they might become his joint-heirs, being set apart and brought to this honor through the Truth, through the great and precious promises bestowed upon them. This same thought seems to be presented in the words (vs. 22,23)—”The glory which thou gavest me I have given them, that they may be one even as we are one: I in them and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me.”
The love of God pervades our hearts so that selfishness has no room there, and thus it was that our dear Redeemer, instead of feeling jealous that any others
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should be exalted to the divine nature, participators in the Kingdom, in this prayer to the Father declares his full acquiescence in the plan, his hearty cooperation, his joy to have it so. What a thought this gives to us as the prospective Bride, already espoused to the heavenly Bridegroom. He is pleased to exalt us from our lowly estate to be one with himself in his Kingdom, in his throne, in his Father’s love.
Wonder of wonders! Where will the divine compassion cease! While we were yet sinners, under divine condemnation of death, we were loved and redeemed at a great price; and now, having been redeemed, we hear the voice celestial saying, “Come up higher,” yea, even to the throne, to joint-heirship with the King of kings, the Lord of lords, the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. Could we keep ever before our minds this grand display of love and unselfishness how thoroughly it would scatter from the minds of all who are seeking to be copies of God’s dear Son every thought of rivalry one with another. How it would cause us to rejoice in the growing usefulness and advancement in the Lord’s service of every member of the body. How we should more and more feel what the Scriptures describe as “in honor preferring one another,” and which rejoices in the prosperity of a brother, in his growing usefulness in the Church, in the growing evidences of his favor with God and man. Those who can thus rejoice in the prosperity of the fellow-members of the body have another evidence of their growth in the likeness of our great and glorious Head. Those who are without this sentiment should strive for it and be very discontented until it is attained.
“THAT THEY ALL MAY BE ONE”
The spirit of trusts and combinations which is abroad in the world and which is permeating everything has the effect of combining congregations, combining denominations, and in general is leading on rapidly to the formation of great religious trusts, whose development will be a serious menace to the liberties of the Lord’s truly consecrated people, but not an injury to their spiritual interests. On the contrary, it will prove a blessing to the Lord’s little flock in that it will more particularly differentiate them and confirm to them the teachings of the Scriptures, separating them the more completely from the nominal systems and the binding in bundles of the tares, giving them the while the confirmations of the Scriptures, which clearly predict this condition in the end of this age as preceding the collapse of great Babylon.—Rev. 18:21.
Our Lord’s prayer, “That they all may be one,” has been fulfilled throughout the age. All who have been truly his have had a oneness of heart, a oneness of purpose, a oneness of spirit, with the Father and with the Son—a fellowship divine which cannot be produced by earthly creeds and fetters. So it is to-day, and so it is always between those who are truly the Lord’s. They know each other not by outward passwords or grips or signs, but by the touch of faith and love which it gives and which each recognizes. “By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, in that ye have love one for another.” “We know we have passed from death unto life because we love the brethren.” True, we love all men and seek to serve all as we have opportunity, but, as the Apostle explains, “especially the household of faith,” especially those who love the Lord and are trusting in the precious blood, and are fully consecrated to him and, so far as they are able, doing his will and seeking to further know that will day by day.
This union between those who are the Lord’s people is evidently not the union of person. The Lord’s followers are not one in person but in spirit. And this is the illustration which the Lord gives of the oneness which exists between himself and the Father—they are not one in person but one in spirit, purpose, will; for our Lord declares that he always does the Father’s will, those things which are pleasing in the Father’s sight. And thus we abide in his love and abide in him by doing his will, which is the Father’s will, and thus Father and Son and the Church, the Bride, are all one—in spirit and in truth.
WITH CHRIST, SHARING HIS GLORY
Our Lord’s words (v. 24), “Father, I will that they also whom thou hast given me go with me where I am, that they may behold my glory which thou hast given me.” This is not a petition, but a declaration of the Lord’s will, as though he were saying, Father, I understand that this is thy will in respect to these my followers, and I will it also, acquiescing in this great and liberal arrangement which thou hast made. I will be glad to have my followers ultimately on the same plane of glory with me, and that they may there be blessed by seeing and sharing the glories thou hast conferred upon me whom thou hast loved always even before the foundations of the world—even before the arrangements were made for these my disciples.
The closing words of the prayer are beautiful and give us an insight into the Lord’s confidence in the Father and fellowship with him. He knew the Father, and so he has declared respecting us that this is the highest evidence that could be granted us of our acceptance with the Father and of our participation in the life eternal which he has provided, namely, “This is life eternal, that they might know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou hast sent.” Our Lord declares, “O righteous Father, the world hath not known thee: but I have known thee, and these have known that thou hast sent me.” And I have made known unto them thy name, thy character, thy greatness, thy goodness, thy love, thy benefactions, and will make known still further as they are able to bear it, as they grow in knowledge of the Truth, that the love wherewith thou hast loved me may be in them and I in them.
How wonderful is this love of God and love of Christ! How impossible it seems for us to measure its lengths and breadths and heights and depths! Those who have accepted the Lord as their Redeemer and have entered into covenant relationship with him, giving him their little all and accepting from him a participation in all these blessings of his provision, if ever cast down because of weakness or opposition or what not, should call to mind this great love which the Father has for us and which the Son shares, the love which not only redeemed us while we were yet sinners, but which since then has called us to such wonderful blessings and privileges, making us joint-heirs with Christ our Lord, if so be we suffer with him;—this love will not be lightly turned away, this love would chasten us rather than permit us to fall away into the second death; this love will
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finally deliver, either in the little flock or in the great company, all who continue to trust in Jesus and continue to hold the faithful Word. But in proportion as this love of God dwells in us richly, in proportion as Christ is enthroned in our hearts, in that same proportion we will have a responsive love which will delight to do those things which are pleasing in our Father’s sight and acceptable to our Lord, and in the same proportion we will be loth to do anything which would bring a cloud between the Lord and our souls. Let us, then, have fresh courage because of what we discern of the lengths and breadths and heights and depths of love divine, and let this love of God constrain us to greater zeal and devotion to him and to his cause.
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AS A DECEIVER, YET TRUE
—JOHN 18:28-40.—MAY 21.—
Golden Text:—”Everyone that is of the Truth heareth his voice.”
OUR LESSON relates to the trial of Jesus in the judgment hall of Pilate’s palace. He stood before the representative of the greatest empire in the world, greatly disadvantaged yet remarkably calm and self-possessed. It was still early in the morning, probably eight o’clock or earlier. There had been no intermission of the strain upon Jesus’ nerves from the time that he ate the Passover with his disciples, then washed their feet, then instituted the Memorial Supper as a symbol of his own death, the breaking of the bread of life to his followers. Then he bade Judas do whatever he intended to do, knowing full well the results. Then he talked to his disciples en route to Gethsemane about the vine and the branches, and prayed for them as in
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John 17, and, reaching Gethsemane, was in an agony of prayer on his own account, anxious to be shown that his work had all been thoroughly and satisfactorily done to the Father’s approval.
From the moment that he got that approval through the angel who ministered unto him, all was peace and calm. His arrest, the scattering of his disciples, the hearing before the High-priest’s court, the raillery, the smiting, the pulling of the hair of his face, the spitting upon him, his being blindfolded and asked to prophesy who had struck him, all this ignominy he endured patiently, and then, it being contrary to Jewish law to condemn a man in the night, his further trial was postponed until the members of the Sanhedrin could be called at daybreak to formally condemn him. Meantime his dear followers had all scattered like sheep, and the beloved Peter had denied him even with cursing before the cock crew. After passing through all these experiences, and probably without having been furnished with refreshments, it is remarkable that our Lord—weakened through his ministries and the giving out of his vitality in the healing of others—should have been so calm and strong as he stood before Pilate.
His enemies, the members of the Sanhedrin, and the High-priests, who had before determined that he should be put to death, with murder in their hearts had still a form of godliness, and would not enter the judgment hall because, according to their tradition, this would have constituted a defilement of their holiness. Alas, how deceitful the human heart can be! How much of murder and meanness can be covered with a garment of light, with a claim of religious purity, professing to be seeking to know and to do God’s will. This which is so conspicuously illustrated in this lesson is observable in our day as well in many of the affairs of life. Hypocrisy seems to be a very general failing, and sometimes the falsity is hidden from the heart of the deceiver as it probably was in this case. We remember Peter’s words subsequently respecting these very men: “I wot that in ignorance ye did it, as did also your rulers.” The fact that great crimes may be committed in ignorance, and even with the thought of doing God service, should make all who are children of the light, all who are lovers of the truth and righteousness, to be very careful indeed to search their own hearts and motives earnestly lest they also should be of this class—self-deceived.
THAT THEY MIGHT EAT THE PASSOVER
This expression has caused some confusion of thought. Jesus and his disciples ate the Passover Supper the evening before. Why, then, it is asked, should these fear to be contaminated lest they should thus be prevented from eating the Passover Supper, if it were in the past? We reply that their solicitation was in respect to the Passover Feast which would last the entire week, beginning that very day. We must bear in mind when using this word Passover that it is applicable both to the Supper and to the Feast week which followed it, and that the Jews thought more of the Feast week, while we as Christians center our interests specially in the Passover Supper, or rather in the Memorial Supper instituted that evening to take the place of the Passover Supper for the Lord’s followers throughout this Gospel age.
Our Lord frequently reproved the Jews along this very line of making clean the outside of the cup while inwardly it was filthy—of presenting a clean outward appearance as individuals and as a nation while at heart far from pure. On one occasion he reminded them that they would fast with great solemnity and outward show of restraint of appetite, whereas in their hearts they had that lack of love, that selfishness which would permit them to appropriate anything and to figuratively devour widows’ houses. The Lord said nothing against outward ceremonies of cleanliness, purity and holiness, but declared that these would never take the place of the heart purity which in God’s sight is all important.
When Pilate discerned that they would not enter the judgment hall he remembered their customs, and went to an outer court and had his official chair placed there. Much to their surprise he asked them to name their charges against the prisoner.
Evidently from his previous custom they had expected that Pilate would receive any culprit that they would bring to him, and be satisfied that if they had condemned one of their own nation he must be indeed a bad man and worthy of condemnation and execution at the hands of the Romans. Their surprise is indicated in their reply: “If he were not an evil-doer we would not have delivered him up to thee”—Do you suppose, Pilate, that we would be willing to place in your hands as the representative of Roman authority any of our citizens of good repute?
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TAKE YE HIM AND JUDGE HIM
Pilate’s thrusting back the responsibility upon the Sanhedrin was very proper. The context shows us that he discerned that it was because of malice and envy that they were thus dealing with Jesus—that he was not an ordinary criminal, one whose liberty would in any wise be calculated to disturb the peace of the Roman empire.
The reply of the disappointed Jewish rulers was to the effect that they would have been willing, indeed, to attend to the whole matter, only that authority to put any man to death had been taken from them. The Jewish Talmud contains this statement: “Forty years before the destruction of the Temple the judgment of capital crimes was taken away from Israel.” Supposing this to be a correct statement, it follows that in divine providence the power of the Jews to punish an offender with death had been taken away that very year in which our Lord was arraigned. This is the more remarkable when we remember that the Jews never crucified any one, and that crucifixion was the legal and official method of putting to death under Roman law, and that prophecy long before had declared, “Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree,” and that our Lord himself prophesied his crucifixion, saying, “And I, if I be lifted up, will draw all men unto me.” This he said signifying what death he should die. (John 12:32,33.) Only by that taking of the authority away from the Jews that very year was the matter put in such a form that Jesus was not stoned to death, but was crucified.
The real charge against Jesus according to the Jewish trial was that he was a blasphemer, that he had declared himself to be the Son of God. The Jews never claimed to be sons of God; the highest station known amongst them was that occupied by Abraham, namely, a friend of God, and that occupied by Moses, namely, a servant of God, the prophets also being servants. Not until Christ came as the Head of the new house of sons were any recognized as sons. To this agree the words of the Apostle, “Moses verily was faithful as a servant over his house, but Christ as a son over his house, whose house are we if we hold fast the confidence of our faith and rejoicing firm unto the end.” This charge of blasphemy under which our Lord was convicted before the Sanhedrin was punishable with stoning to death, but the power of putting to death being out of the hands of the Jews and in the hands of the Romans altered the whole matter, and our Lord was crucified, was made a curse for us according to the forestatement of prophecy.
THE KING OF THE JEWS
Luke gives us other particulars respecting the trial (23:2), informing us that the Jews brought their charges under three counts—all of them signifying treason against the Roman government. (1) Sedition. (2) Forbidding to give tribute to Caesar. (3) That he claimed himself to be an anointed king. Doubtless witnesses were produced to substantiate these charges.
No man could occupy the position which Pilate held without possessing some degree of mental acumen and thought. And though but a heathen and a sinful man, Pilate quickly discerned the true status of the case before him, that it was a case of religious persecution, that the accusers were not interested in upholding the Roman government, and that the accused was not a menace to that government in any particular. After hearing the testimony Pilate entered again into the judgment hall to personally speak with the prisoner and to consider what he should do in the matter. Here all four of the evangelists agree that his first words to Jesus were, “Art thou the King of the Jews?”
This was a question which our Lord could not properly evade. He was the King of the Jews; he had left the heavenly glory to assume this very position; his coming had been heralded for centuries before and had constituted the basis of the divine promises and prophecies. He could not deny the fact now before Pilate; to have done so would have been to counteract and overthrow his own teachings and the very faith which he wished to establish according to the divine plan. At the same time it was due to Pilate and to us all that he should plainly show by his answer that he was not seeking to wrest the government from Pilate and the Romans at this time. The answer was along this line—”Sayest thou this thing of thyself, or did others tell it thee of me?” or perhaps we might paraphrase the answer thus: “Are you asking this question from your own standpoint as a Roman, or are you asking from the standpoint of the hopes of the Jews as religionists?”
Pilate’s retort was, “You are aware that I am not a Jew and do not enter sympathetically into the hopes of your nation. It is your own nation and the chief religious rulers of the same, over whom you might be esteemed to be a prince or king—it is these very men who have
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delivered you to me, who have put you in my power, who want me to put you to death. What have you done to them? In what way have you so displeased them and angered them and aroused their fierce jealousy?”
Our Lord was calm and moderate, yet just to the point: “My Kingdom is not of this world,” not a kingdom of the present order or arrangement. This was as much as was necessary to be told under the circumstances, as much as Pilate could have understood—more probably would have confused him. How brief and how wise was this answer! Our Lord proceeded to call Pilate’s attention to the fact that his followers were not fighting for him, not seeking to establish his sway, his Kingdom authority by force; that if his Kingdom were thus to be established he would never have permitted himself to thus have been left at the mercy of his enemies; that his Kingdom was not from hence, was not yet due to come into power. In one of our Lord’s parables he pointed out this very same lesson, saying, “When the Son of man shall come in his glory and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory: and before him shall be gathered all nations.” He marks his Kingdom as beginning at his second advent.
Pilate evidently caught the thought, as is implied in his answer, “Art thou not a King, then?”—Do I understand you to mean that you are to be a King, but have not yet become a King, that your reign is in the distant future? Our Lord replied, Yes, you were right in your original assumption that I am a King. I was born a King, I came into the world for this very purpose of being a King, all my testimony is in line with this great truth; every one who is honest, everyone who is of the truth heareth my voice and is thus drawn to be my disciple or follower and to appreciate me as King. Others, however, are in the majority and do not recognize me now, and will not until the time shall come when I shall set up my Kingdom. Thus we paraphrase the record.
“WHAT IS TRUTH?”
Our Lord’s reference to truth, sincerity, honesty, seemed to touch a tender spot in Pilate’s conscience. Few worldly people respect insincerity. Many would not
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wish to lie or deceive egregiously or injuriously, but nevertheless deception is considered a part of the life and character and practice of every successful person in business and in society. So, catching at our Lord’s last statement, Pilate, as he turned on his heel to go back to the Jews, said, Yes, but who will tell us how closely that word truth or sincerity should be or could be applied in life’s affairs?
It is well for the Lord’s people to have clearly in mind that as the Master designated himself the Way, the Truth, the Life, so all who are truly his disciples must be of the Truth, must be sincere. It would appear that the Lord is during this Gospel age especially calling this class, the truth-hungry, the sincere, the honest-hearted, and that others are not apt to be much influenced by any of the hopes and promises now extended; but that even if such persons should now get a clue of the Truth they do not hold it long, not being at heart children of the Truth, children of the Light. How important, then, that we should be honest-hearted to begin with, sincere in all our words and thoughts and conduct; and while this honesty of word and deed should guide all of our relationships with the world, we should be doubly careful to have them measure our relationship to the Lord and to his people and to his Word! Only the sincere will ever be truly overcomers.
Poor Pilate, as he thought of his own disregard for sincerity in many of the prominent affairs of his life, and as he looked at the leaders and rulers of the Jewish nation, which claimed to be the most holy people in the world, feared that question of What is truth? What is it to be sincere? How true and how sincere should we be? These were questions beyond his depth, beyond his power to properly weigh, and apparently equally beyond the power of appreciation of the chiefest of the Jews. Jesus himself apparently was the only representative and exponent of the Truth—he was preaching a doctrine which evidently was too high above the heads of his own nation. We may see, however, that in the Lord’s plan this preaching of the Truth is the means whereby the Lord would gather together a people for himself, his jewels during this Gospel age.
No wonder the Scriptures tell us that those whom the Lord is thus choosing along the lines of truth and sincerity are peculiar people, different from the majority, and no wonder either that they tell us that in all they will be but a little flock. Let us, dear readers, make every effort that by the grace of God we may be amongst these very elect ones. Let us prize the Truth above riches or honor of men—yea, above life itself; so shall we be true disciples, followers of him who is the truth, and who prayed for us saying, “Sanctify them through thy Truth, Thy Word is Truth.”
“I FIND NO FAULT IN HIM”
In these words we have Pilate’s verdict—not guilty. According to Roman law this was the proper ending of the case. But the Jews, realizing now that after all their efforts their prey was about to escape from them, were angered and threatened Pilate, not too openly so as to taunt him, but in a very effective manner. Not long before they had accused him to the emperor, and now in covert language they threatened a further accusation, hinting that this time their charges would probably be very powerful in the estimation of the emperor. They intimated that their charge would be that Pilate was fostering sedition, that he was no friend of the emperor, Caesar, that they themselves were more loyal than he; that when they found a seditious person of their own nation raising a disturbance they freely brought him to Pilate, merely asking for his execution, and that the emperor’s representative was guilty of treason in refusing to execute one who claimed that he was the King of the Jews and was gathering to his standard many of the people all through the length and breadth of Palestine.
Pilate at once discerned that such a charge brought by such influential persons would be a serious matter in the eyes of the emperor; but, hearing of Galilee, he inquired if Jesus were by birth a Galilean, and receiving an affirmative answer he found a loophole and said, Then he belongs to Herod’s jurisdiction and I transfer the whole matter to Herod’s court; let him deal with him.—Luke 23:5-12.
We remember how the Lord was maltreated by Herod and his soldiers, crowned with thorns, invested with a purple robe and returned to Pilate. It was in the meantime, probably, that Pilate’s wife told him of her dream respecting Jesus, and no doubt the governor was doubly perplexed when the prisoner was returned to his court in the gorgeous robe which made more prominent his real claims, and yet made even more ridiculous the pretensions of the Jewish priests and rulers that he was a dangerous person, a menace to the government.
It occurred to Pilate that one way to appease the Jews—to let them feel that they had not been utterly defeated—would be to allow the supposition that he was justly condemned and then to let him be the prisoner usually respited at this season every year. He proposed this, but the rabble cried out for Barabbas, who was really a seditious person and a murderer, and probably the real ideal of many of those who were hounding Jesus at the instigation of the priests. It was then that Pilate asked, “What, then, shall I do with Jesus?” and, instigated by the priests and Pharisees, the answer came, “Crucify him! Crucify him!”
“VOX POPULI, VOX DEI”
Alas, poor fallen human nature! How little it is to be relied upon! How untruthful is the proverb, “Vox populi, vox Dei“—The voice of the people is the voice of God. If we could suppose the world filled with perfect men and women, in the image and likeness of God and actuated by the spirit of holiness, then, indeed, we could suppose that the voice of the multitude would be the voice of God. But the very reverse is not infrequently the case; the voice of the people is often the voice of the demons who are deluding them, as the Apostle intimates, saying, “The god of this world hath blinded the minds of them that believe not.”
In accord with this thought, that the judgment of the world is not to be depended upon under present conditions, is our Lord’s suggestion to all of us, “Marvel not if the world hate you; ye know that it hated me before it hated you. If ye were of the world, [blind, still servants of sin in fellowship instead of opposition to the principles of selfishness now prevailing] the world would love its own. But now ye are not of the world, for I have chosen you out of the world, that you should go and bring forth fruit and that your fruitage should be perpetual.” To us, then, the voice of Jesus is the voice of God, and only his sheep hear his voice and follow him. We are glad, however, to remember the assurances of the divine promise that ultimately all the families of the earth shall be blessed and brought to a knowledge of the Truth, released from the bondage of sin and Satan, who then will be
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placed under restraint. Meantime those who stand for the right must be content to be of the minority, but their faith will be strengthened by the assurance that he that is for us is more than all that be against us. By and by, when the clouds of darkness of this present time shall have rolled away and the new Kingdom shall be in power, the Sun of Righteousness shall shine forth, and the righteous shall be in the majority, and whosoever will not obey the laws of that empire shall be destroyed from amongst the people.—Acts 3:23.
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FAVORABLE PRESS COMMENTS FROM AUSTRALIA
“MILLENNIAL DAWN is the title of a book of 350 pages dealing with the future age of peace and content to which the Scriptures point and to which the whole creation moves. The preface indicates that six other volumes are to follow, so that on the completion of the seventh volume there will be a whole library on a very absorbing and interesting study. Much in the book commends itself to us, and while some current theologies would almost reject it in toto, it is a sound exposition of Scripture along the line of pre-millennialism, a theory which, based on Scripture, advocates the view that the Millennium must be preceded by the second advent of Christ.
“We believe the positions taken up by Mr. Charles T. Russell, the author, to be in the main true, and in accordance with the Bible teaching. The chart given in the front of the volume is a help to the understanding of the subsequent chapters. There is no doubt that matters pertaining to the last things are, in the mind of the average believer, in a state of flux. … In this volume much is cleared up, and a scheme of the “Ages” propounded which is both interesting and edifying, if not quite final on the subject.
“The book as a whole is most loyal to the Scriptures, and has interesting and vindicating chapters on The Permission of Evil, The Day of Judgment, Ransom and Restitution, The Existence of an Intelligent Creator, The Bible as a Divine Revelation, viewed in the Light of Reason; and in matters of eschatology would probably open the eyes of Presbyterian and Methodist divines to their profit and advantage. The book is issued by the WATCH TOWER BIBLE & TRACT SOCIETY, Allegheny, Pa., U.S.A.; it is neatly got up on good paper, has clear type, and is a marvel of cheapness.”—Evening Mail, Bendigo, Vic., Oct. 7, 1904.
“MILLENNIAL DAWN,” by Charles T. Russell:—Watch Tower Bible & Tract Society, Allegheny, Pa., U.S.A.
“Whenever human methods of reasoning have failed to solve the ‘Divine Plan of the Ages,’ whenever our system of theology has failed to harmonize in itself every statement of the Bible, we have been prone to console ourselves with the unsatisfying reflection that God’s ways are not our ways. Revised versions of the Bible have helped but little, for we have been content to accept as unquestionable a system of theology based in many cases upon an erroneous interpretation of Holy Writ. The book under notice convinces us that this is so. It claims to unfold a system of theology that harmonizes in itself every statement of the Bible, and appears to thoroughly justify its claim. Where it differs from the system of theology commonly preached, it upholds its claim by the strongest scriptural evidence. It is designed to be a ‘helping hand for Bible students,’ and will, we believe, be hailed as a book of glad tidings, strengthening the earnest and encouraging the weakhearted. Those who have loved their Bibles and found therein comfort and help in adversity, will find new beauties revealed, and derive fresh hopes in the light of this interesting guide.
“The various creeds of to-day teach that the many hundreds of millions of Christless heathen are on the road to everlasting torment. Most Christian people appear to accept this idea with a shudder, perhaps, at the awful punishment for blameless ignorance. Missionary enterprise is not without energy, but among such countless hordes, the best missionary efforts in the world are as the drops of water that wear a stone. Then, there are those humane persons, who argue that a merciful Creator will not punish with eternal torture the blameless ignorance of the heathen. In other words, that either Christ’s sacrifice or heathen ignorance will suffice for salvation. They don’t mean this, but that is what the argument amounts to. When asked ‘What must I do to be saved?’ the Apostles answered, ‘Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ.’ ‘There is none other name under Heaven given among men whereby we must be saved.’—Acts 4:12.
“These difficulties have long wanted a solution in vain. Altogether it cannot be said that the system of theology commonly accepted among Christian peoples is a satisfactory one. Not only has it been repugnant to our ideas of justice that the ignorant shall be punished while salvation through ignorance is opposed to reason and Scripture; but it has occurred to many that of those who fail in the broad light of Christianity, all are not equally culpable. Some have been brought up surrounded by every influence for good, others in associations of vice and wickedness. Clearly the struggle has not been at all equal. Christ said to Capernaum, ‘If the mighty works which have been done in thee had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day.’
“The author of ‘MILLENNIAL DAWN’ quotes many Scriptures to show that the day will come when all, under whatever conditions they have lived, will have equal opportunities, when any who sin wilfully against full light and ability will perish in the second death. And should anyone during that age of trial, under its full blaze of light, spurn the offered favors, and make no progress toward perfection for a hundred years, he will be reckoned unworthy of life, and will be “cut off” tho at a hundred years he would be in the period of comparative childhood. Thus it is written of that day: ‘As a lad shall one die a hundred years old.’ (Isa. 65:20.) Thus all must have at least one hundred years of trial, and if not so obstinate as to refuse to make progress, their trial will continue throughout the entire day of Christ, reaching a culmination only at its close.
“This is a very different idea of the Judgment than that ordinarily held by Christians, but it is a hopeful one, and tho space does not permit us to give the whole array of reasoning put forward by the author, we trust sufficient has been said on the point to induce a study of the book. … We heartily commend it to all Bible readers, and hope that it will prove the boon to them we anticipate from our careful reading.”—Daily Argus, Bathurst, N.S.W., Nov. 17, 1904.