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VOL. XXXI OCTOBER 1. No. 19
A.D. 1910—A.M. 6038
Views From The Watch Tower……………………307
Signs of Restitution Continue…………………307
Church Federation at the Door……………..308
“The Image of the Beast”………………….308
“Watchman, What of the Night?”………………..310
St. Paul and Moses Patriots Extraordinary………311
Wise and Foolish Virgins……………………..312
The Reckoning Hour…………………………..313
The Sheep and the Goats………………………314
The Mark of Perfect Love (Poem)……………….315
This Looks Reasonable………………………..315
Some Interesting Questions……………………316
Moses and the Law Covenant………………..316
Justification by Faith……………………317
How to Determine the Lord’s Will…………..317
Faith the Gift of God…………………….318
Is the Church in the Flesh a Royal Priesthood?….318
Some Interesting Letters……………………..318
Berean Questions in “Scripture Studies”………..319
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WATCH TOWER BIBLE & TRACT SOCIETY
CHARLES T. RUSSELL, PRESIDENT
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INTERNATIONAL BIBLE STUDENTS ASSOCIATION MEETINGS
BROOKLYN, N.Y., OCT. 2
Morning rally for praise and testimony at 10:30 o’clock at the Brooklyn Tabernacle, 13-17 Hicks street. The evening Praise Service at 7 and Question meeting at 7:30 o’clock will also be in the Tabernacle. Discourse for the public at 3 p.m. by Brother Russell will be in the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Lafayette avenue and St. Felix street.
NEW YORK CITY, OCT. 9
By invitation of prominent Hebrews, Brother Russell will speak on “Zionism in Prophecy” at the Hippodrome, West 44th street and Sixth avenue, at 3 p.m., Sunday, October 9.
LONDON, ENGLAND, OCT. 23, 30, NOV. 6
Brother Russell will sail for Great Britain on Oct. 12 and will speak in Royal Albert Hall at 7 p.m., on above dates.
CLEVELAND, OHIO, NOV. 20
OKLAHOMA CITY, OKLA., NOV. 27
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THE ANTITYPICAL JUBILEE BEGINNING
Some of our readers have been disturbed by one item relative to the beginning of the antitypical Jubilee in the September number of the Overland Monthly. Nothing in that article is intended to be different or contradictory to our presentations in the SCRIPTURE STUDIES showing the year 1875 A.D. as the opening year of the antitypical Jubilee of a thousand years. In the Overland article we merely showed that the seventy years destruction of Jerusalem in the days of Daniel represented Israel’s entire Jubilee system. We showed two ways of counting it:—
(1) Seventy times fifty equals 3,500 years;
(2) Nineteen times fifty plus fifty-one times forty-nine equals 3,449 years ending with 1874, marking 1875 as the first year of the antitypical Jubilee.
The latter is, to our understanding, the proper method of counting the Jubilee and agrees perfectly with our presentation of the matter in SCRIPTURE STUDIES, Volume II.
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Remember that harvest privileges may soon cease. Remember that they are now many and great. Remember the Master’s word, “He that reapeth receiveth wages and gathereth fruit unto life everlasting.”
We have plenty of territory open, both for SCRIPTURE STUDIES and for HEAVENLY MANNA. The publishing of the sermons is preparing many for the SCRIPTURE STUDIES. All who purchase and use the MANNA are blessed and ready then to buy and read the STUDIES. Write to our Colporteur Dept.
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VIEWS FROM THE WATCH TOWER
SIGNS OF RESTITUTION CONTINUE
THE United States Government is experimenting with a new kind of wheat recently found in Palestine by Dr. Aaronsohn. Experiments are being made in the arid districts of the far West, where ordinary wheat failed for lack of moisture. The claim made for the new wheat is that it is really the very oldest of all the various wheats—the original or wild wheat, the parent from which all other wheats have descended. Lost for a long time, it is now coming to the front again. Dr. Aaronsohn declares his belief that not only wheat, but oats, barley and rye originated in Syria and Palestine. He claims for this parent or wild wheat that it endures the most extreme climatic conditions, enduring more cold and more heat than other varieties, and subsisting with almost no moisture. He claims also that it is not subject to the pest which attacks others. What will our evolutionist friends think of this—that the parent wheat is better than any of its children.
Wheat is the great staple of the world, and, used with milk as a diet, it supplies really everything essential to the maintenance of the human system; hence, as the New Dispensation will be ushered in, the matter of wheat will be an important one. Dr. Aaronsohn says, “It seems to me that we are justified in hoping to produce races of wheat better adapted to the semi-arid regions of Algeria, Tunis, Syria, Egypt and Turkestan, as well as to those of America. If we secure races that will enable us to increase the yield by as much as one bushel per acre on these vast areas, the world’s total production of wheat will be materially augmented.”
MIRACLE WHEAT AND MIRACLE RYE
Some years ago we made mention of the miracle wheat discovered in Virginia, which originated with the fruitage of one grain found growing by itself. Two grains of this wheat were given to the Editor, who, in turn, handed them to a brother in the Truth, who reported that the two grains produced 1,312, which, planted, produced five pounds—one grain having fifty stools of well-developed stalks or straws. The brother planted the miracle wheat
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alongside of some ordinary wheat, and reports that the miracle wheat heads are from three to five inches long and from three to five grains to the mesh, whereas with the common wheat the heads are from two to three inches in length.
Another brother obtained some of the miracle wheat and, out of the first crop, presented the Editor a peck of the same. This was entrusted to another brother, a farmer, who has just handed the Editor $100 proceeds therefrom, with the following report:—
As you remember, I secured also a peck of the miracle wheat from a brother in the Truth as a donation to yourself (because he first heard of the miracle wheat through THE WATCH TOWER). This was sowed on half an acre of run-out land. On the adjoining half-acre was sowed a bushel of common wheat for comparison. The sowing was done in the midst of a seven weeks’ drouth. During the late fall and the early spring the miracle wheat looked very thin compared with the common wheat. However, in the month of May both plots appeared to be about the same, except that the miracle wheat laid flatter on the ground. Late in June the miracle wheat was much the heavier, and stood nearly a foot higher than the common wheat, and about a week later in point of ripening. Not having threshed, I cannot at this writing report the respective yield, but am satisfied that the miracle wheat will be more than double that of the common.
The grains are in appearance similar to ordinary red wheat. I can with difficulty distinguish a difference. The color of the miracle wheat is a trifle richer. I will send you a photograph of a dozen heads and the largest stool I can find of both the miracle and the common wheat. Brother Kuesthardt advertised the wheat in his paper, and the money sent you is the result of the sales at $1 per pound.
Your brother in Christ, J. A. BOHNET.
RABBI SALE AN IDEAL CONGREGATIONALIST
The public press reports the following sentiments expressed by a prominent Hebrew Rabbi:—
“Orthodoxy as it is known today, with its doctrines, creeds and dogmas of the Trinity, the communion, of heaven and of hell, has been given a severe jolt by Rabbi Samuel Sale, of the Shaare Emeth Hebrew Congregation, in an address before a body of Christian ministers at the Congregational Ministers’ meeting at the First Congregational Church.
“Rabbi Sale’s remarks brought a breathless silence among his hearers, and his expressions regarding the “universal religion” created a sensation.
“In the views of Rabbi Sale his Satanic Majesty, starring through the ages as a figure of ignominy and evil, is given a new role, in which he is only a negative force and becomes a servant of God, not a rival, in the activities of men. Heaven is declared to be not a place for future preferment, but a condition to be realized here, now and forever. Hell is abolished,
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as being no justifiable disposition for those not qualified for eternal bliss. Adam and Eve are relieved from responsibility in the matter of original sin. The Bible, said to be as great a composite as Homer’s Iliad or the Odyssey, is about as fallible as these. It is not a book of plenary inspiration, Doctor Sale asserted, for the only reliable scroll of the Law or the Word of God is the intelligent consciousness of the individual man.
“Rabbi Sale denies the Jews the privilege of being the chosen people, except in their own estimation. Christianity, as it is known today, with its foundation doctrines of the Trinity, communion and metaphysical difficulties, Doctor Sale classified as an aftergrowth, and entirely foreign to the exalted simplicity of the lowly Nazarene.
CREEDS BLAMED AS BARRIERS
“The jealous assumptions of creeds and dogmas, with their insistence on incidentals, conventions and artificialities, are blamed by Dr. Sale as the barriers which prevent the realization of the ideal religion—that preached of in the prophetic writings—the worship of God in the service of man.
“In serious mien, Doctor Sale smiled solemnly at the traditional idea that God revealed his laws in the beginning exclusively to the Jew. It was a very natural idea for the Jew to entertain, he thought. Choosing his words slowly and reflectively, he said: ‘Not to Israel, not to man of any creed, sect or nationality, but to man, has God revealed himself. Not in the scroll, not in the Bible, is his infallible Word, but in the intelligent consciousness of every individual.’
“When he had concluded, there was a moment of thoughtful silence on the part of the audience, when Doctor Albert H. Jordan arose and said:—
“‘That was great.’
“‘We’d like to make you a Congregationalist, Doctor Sale,’ a minister observed.”
* * *
“The intelligent consciousness of the individual” was indeed God’s original writing of his Law—in the first perfect man, created in his Maker’s likeness. But the Bible tells truly that all of Adam’s children are blemished by sin, and by its death penalty. What about people who have only unintelligent consciousness! And what about the thousands of gradations of unintelligent consciousness—all men! God gave a revealed religion for these in the Bible! Only those intelligently unconscious of their ignorance disdain it!
CHURCH FEDERATION AT THE DOOR
While the religious world has been waiting for the slow processes of denominational action to bring about Church Federation in a couple of years or more, some active ministers in various parts are hastening the matter by methods of their own. The latest of these movements, as well as the one nearest home, is described in The New York World as follows:—
“Protestant ministers in New York have taken a step that may lead, so they hope, to a united Protestantism in New York and eventually in all America. The meeting was held upon invitation of the Federation of Churches, and one hundred ministers present were made up of Baptists, Congregationalists, Disciples, Seventh Day Adventists, Episcopalians, Quakers, Lutherans, Methodists, Moravians, Presbyterians, Pentecostal Nazarines, Reformed Swedenborgians, Unitarians, Universalists and three ministers who said they did not belong to any of these.
“This, the most remarkable religious gathering ever held in New York City, was called a clerical conference. The Bronx and Brooklyn were represented as well as Manhattan. It was the first gathering, but it was announced that it is to be continued with regular monthly meetings, save during the summer.
“Among the ministers present were the foremost leaders in all the bodies named. All of the eight speakers asserted that hereafter Protestants are going to show a united front. Bishop Greer of the Episcopal Church presided.
BISHOP GREER OPTIMISTIC
“‘We hear at times,’ he said, ‘that the churches are failing. It is not true. The churches are well filled, some of them crowded, and the proportion of men attending them is greater than ever. We are all well aware of the sin prevalent in our midst. But it has always been prevalent. The gain is that the churches now know it exists, and are doing something to stamp it out.’
“Speaking for Presbyterians, the Rev. Dr. George Alexander, moderator of the New York Presbytery, declared they stand ready to meet Episcopalians half way. Bishop Greer had mentioned the moderator by name, saying he wished he might have the privilege of laying on of hands upon such a leader as he. Replying, the veteran Presbyterian leader said he would not seriously object. It surely would not hurt him, and it might do good. He allowed there are some Presbyterians in New York who stand on what they are pleased to call their principles, but he added that some who have few principles manufacture them out of their prejudices.
“The Rev. Nehemiah Boynton of Brooklyn, speaking for Congregationalists, enumerated the political, social, amusement, Sabbath rest, labor and other questions on which, he said, Protestants might unite.
A STRONG LIST OF SPEAKERS
“Other speakers included the Rev. Dr. J. B. Remensnyder, who spoke for Lutherans; the Rev. Dr. F. Mason North, who believed the Methodists would join heartily; the Rev. Dr. Swift of the American Tract Society, who wondered how many religious bodies are ‘ willing to sacrifice their names in order that the cause of Christ may be advanced.’
“In closing, Bishop Greer stated that the next matter in hand is to hear from representatives of each body in the conference what are their hindrances to co-operation. The Bishop believed the time in America to be ripe for unity, and declared that the Episcopal Church stands ready to aid.
“The conference membership is to be much enlarged until, if possible, it includes all of the Protestant ministers in the greater city. The Unitarians and Universalists are usually barred in such meetings, but both were present, three men from each.”
“THE IMAGE OF THE BEAST”
Here we have exactly what we have been looking and waiting for since 1881, when we announced the Federation of the Protestant Churches to be set forth in the Bible as one of the prominent features of the harvest of this Gospel Age. We then pointed out that the attempt to organize Protestantism, first made in 1846 through the Evangelical Alliance, would reach consummation soon. We pointed to the Scriptures which indicate that this Protestant Federation will so considerably resemble the Roman Catholic Institutions as to properly deserve to be called its “Image,” and that the “Image” already existed
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in a disorganized condition, as represented in the terms of Protestant orthodoxy and their co-operation with Catholicism. We pointed out that the important matter waited on and necessary to the power and activity of the Protestant “Image” is the “life” which it is to receive from the Protestant Episcopal System.
Up to the present time Protestant denominations have hesitated to pronounce anybody or anything heretical, except as each denomination may have occasionally done this within its own borders. There has been a strong desire to formulate a creed which would have the support of all and permit the denouncing of everything outside of it. But the way to do this was not heretofore clear, because the retort might be, By what authority do you set yourself up as a judge of what is orthodox and what is unorthodox? What have you more than your own opinion of the Bible’s teaching? Have you any authority more than others? Produce the authority.
The fear of being thus questioned has exercised a salutary effect heretofore, except with the ignorant. But when the various ministers of other denominations shall have in considerable numbers accepted re-ordination as ministers at the hands of Episcopalian Bishops, matters will be different. Speedily the validity of other ordination will be questioned. The authority of this so-called
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“Apostolic Ordination” will give seeming right of authority, dignity and power. After the prominent ministers of various denominations shall have submitted themselves to such re-ordination the “lesser lights” will make a rush for it. The Episcopal Church proffered it on easy terms years ago, and the only objection to its acceptance has been the fact that it implies that Protestant ministers heretofore have been without Divine authority, sanction, power or ordination to preach the Gospel as God’s ambassadors.
“THE BLIND LEADING THE BLIND”
The situation is becoming strenuous. The great ministers realize that with their own teachings and those of the colleges along the lines of Higher Criticism and Evolution, intelligent Christians are rapidly losing faith in the Bible. These ministers realize that this places Society in a dangerous position—that without faith in some higher authority, civilization would soon drift into anarchy. They feel the need of a substitute for the Bible—the need of some voice to address the people authoritatively. The desired end, they believe, can be best secured through the Federation of the Churches and the coming of all ministers of the Gospel under the Episcopal ordination. Then, they think, we will present to the world a large system and a bold front and command their attention to the voice of the Church and the Voice of God coming down through the “apostolic succession”—just as the Catholics do—a mild “Image” of Catholicism, but full of its power and vigor.
The Scriptures show that by the time this Catholic power and vigor and “apostolic-succession” authority are felt by the Federators, a spirit of autocracy and persecution of everything contrary to the Federation and contrary to Catholicism, of which it is to be the “Image,” will be dealt with more and more severely, energetically and ruthlessly, as the masses fall in line with the Federative Movement and catch its spirit of bigness, dignity, power, authority—a spirit very different from that inculcated by the Master and the Apostles in meekness, gentleness, patience, long-suffering, brotherly-kindness, love.
Far be it from us to suppose that the gentlemen participating in the meeting described foregoing are animated by all the vicious malevolence which the Scriptures indicate will ultimately result. On the contrary, they little realize the end of the road upon which they are entering. It is a case of the blind leading the blind. As the Scriptures indicate, the ditch is before them—the ditch of anarchy, the very thing which they are desirous of averting. To us the Scriptures indicate that the prosperity of the Federated Protestant “Image” will for a little time be so great, so pronounced, and its arrogance become so great that the sympathy of the masses will be entirely alienated and turned into bitterness. Hence the Scriptures show us that the climax will come suddenly, unexpectedly, “In one hour.”—Rev. 13:15-17.
IS THE WORLD BETTER?
“Commenting on Dr. C. W. Eliot’s statement that ‘The world has been re-made within fifty years,’ Thomas E. Watson, the Southern statesman and publicist, responds with the inquiry, ‘Is the newly made world of today a better world than that of fifty years ago?’ Mr. Watson, answering his own question, wrote:—
“‘It seems to be a fact that a large percentage of the people have departed from the old faith, in the matter of religion. It seems to me that this is indisputably true; but does the man who loses his faith in Christianity become a better man on that account? Is the scoffing son or grandson of the New England Puritan a higher, nobler type than was his pious forefather? Is the preacher’s son who is an infidel a more useful citizen than the preacher father?
“‘Again, are we an honester, more temperate people than were the Americans of fifty years ago? What is the exact social and moral significance of the fifty or sixty thousand divorces that are being granted by the courts annually? What weight is to be given to the fact that President Roosevelt appointed a commission to investigate existing conditions in the homes of the people of cities, and that this report, officially made after painstaking investigation, revealed such an appalling state of affairs that the government decided it would be advisable to suppress the publication?
“‘Again, what is the real meaning of the astounding size of our yearly drink bill? And what is implied by the infinite variety and ingenuity of the devices invented to keep us from stealing? Every time you go into a store you are bound to be reminded of the fact that the proprietor places no confidence in the employee and the employee places none in the proprietor.
“‘In the cash drawer, in the system of collecting fares on street cars and railway trains, in the check and counter-check at the hotels, in the elaborate system of the banks, in the expensive safe vaults provided against the burglar, the robber and the sneak thief—in fact, in every direction that our eyes take in the business world, we are bound to see that commerce goes upon the idea that every man will steal if he gets the opportunity, and the whole trend of the ingenious, elaborate, and constantly changing system is to take away the chance to steal. The entire precautional system cries out: ‘Every one of us will steal if you don’t watch us!’ Was it that bad fifty years ago?
“We cannot agree with Mr. Watson, because of what he sees to commend in the past, that the people as a whole are not very much better conditioned than they were half a century ago. The writer here, who has almost reached the three score and ten, has seen great progress in the improvement of human life and living, much more than the most optimistic fancy of his boyhood days could have dared to imagine.
“Mr. Watson, who, by the way, is an ardent Baptist and clings most tenaciously to the ‘old faith,’ wants to know if the liberal religious teachings of today have made the present day American a more useful citizen than his orthodox father. We think it has. It is within our remembrance when there was constant warfare between the rival sects. The Catholics were denounced by the Protestants and the Protestants were as roundly abused by the Catholics. Liberalism has changed this.”—The Sunday Call.
* * *
There are two sides to nearly every question—sometimes three. Two sides of a question are discussed foregoing. The third side, which harmonizes both, and which we believe is the Truth, is this:—
Moral standards of the world in general certainly have improved in many respects. The world as a whole is more intelligent, broader-minded and more benevolent than in the past. It is along religious lines that we seem to see an unfavorable comparison. The light and liberty of our day have overbalanced many of the best minds of the world and led into Higher Criticism, Evolution and various other doctrines contrary to the Scriptures. As a result, Christian faith is weak and sterling Christian character is becoming scarce. Our Lord prayed, “Sanctify them through thy Truth; thy Word is Truth.” And we are learning that there can be no sanctification without the Truth. Hence the decline in Christianity, because of the departure from the Divine standard. True, indeed, many of the things believed by our fathers were unscriptural. True, indeed, many of the sentiments of the world today are sounder and clearer and more logical and more God-like.
If our forefathers had presented only errors, the loss of them would have been beneficial, rather than otherwise. However, with the errors, they had truths derived from
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the same Word of God and their faith rested upon a sure foundation, even though it was blemished, imperfect. A blemished faith is much better than no faith. And hence, from this standpoint, today is less favorable than fifty years ago. We could not expect Prof. Eliot, nor any other Higher Critic disbeliever in the Bible, to see the matter from our standpoint. Nor shall we try. It is our part to do what we can for the establishment of faith and for the purging of it from all the inconsistencies and errors of the “dark ages”—the restoring of faith to its original simplicity and purity. In so far as we succeed in ourselves or others, we know that the result will bring a blessing and sanctification, under which all the light and blessing of this present time will be helpful in a proper approach toward God and appreciation of his character and Word.
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“WATCHMAN, WHAT OF THE NIGHT?”
From “The Life of Faith”
WATCHMAN, what of the night? The watchman said, The morning cometh.” (Isaiah 21:11,12.) The nineteenth century beheld, perhaps, the most amazing progress the Church of Christ has ever experienced. A little more than a hundred years ago there was no Bible Society; today three Anglo-Saxon Bible Societies alone pour forth annually over ten million portions of the Scriptures, in four to five hundred languages of the world. Can any imagination conceive the spiritual effect of this mighty river of Truth pouring itself among all mankind? A little more than a hundred years ago missionary societies—apart from the Jesuit and Moravian—were practically unknown; in 1909 there were 19,875 missionaries scattered, as living epistles of Christ, through the heathen world. It would be difficult to say what was the membership of God’s Church when the century dawned; but it is now computed that the membership of Protestant Evangelical communions is not less than one hundred and forty to one hundred and fifty millions. It is possible that eternity will reveal to us that the nineteenth century was the richest toward God of any century in the world’s history.
Nor does God’s worldwide advance slacken; the last decade is probably the most wonderful of all. “The morning cometh!” More educated converts have been won in India in the last two decades than in the whole preceding century. Bishop Moule, of Mid-China, says that when he first landed in that Empire it held less than fifty Protestant Christians; in the first decade of the twentieth century there have been 16,000 martyrs; and nearly two thousand missionaries are now planted throughout China. A little over twenty years ago the Christians in all Korea numbered seven; in 1908, alone, there were fifty thousand converts; and, at a recent conference of twelve hundred laymen, some walked for ten days to enjoy the Bible study. In Tokachi prison, in Kokkaido, Japan, a spiritual movement, sweeping through it in 1908, brought nearly two thousand of the inmates to Christ, and most of the prison officials have been baptized. Four years after the Welsh revival, in spite of the reaction, from sixty to seventy thousand converts were known to be established in church fellowship. The census bureau of the United States, reports that, between 1890 and 1906, an average of eight new churches had been built every day. It has been recently stated that within the last decade more Jews have become believers (it is, of course, but an approximate computation) than in all the seventeen hundred years after Paul.
All these are but symptoms of a work of the holy Spirit which is nothing short of stupendous. For the first time since our Lord ascended, nearly the whole world is now open to the Gospel, and is being penetrated by heralds of the Cross. The year 1908 was a phenomenal one in missionary advance; 164,674 native members were added to the Church, or an average of five hundred a day. Nor is the heroism of the Cross confined to any Christian group. Dr. Ambrose Shepherd recently met a young Roman Catholic priest in a railway carriage, on a farewell visit to his mother before leaving for the Congo. “When do you expect to come back?” Dr. Shepherd asked. “Never,” was the reply; “we have buried fifteen already, and the average period of life is about two years”; and when the young priest arose to take farewell, in a voice that trembled with emotion, he said, “The life which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God.”
“The watchman said, And also the night.” The facts are not more antithetical than are the words of the watchman. “Of no time in the history of the world,” said The Times recently, “are so many signs of general unrest recorded as those which seem to confront us today”; or, in the words of the Bible Society’s report (1909), “The horoscope of the future is written over with signs of incalculable change.” As the Rev. James Johnston has pointed out in his, “A Century of Missions,” the heathen and Mohammedan population of the world counts more by two hundred millions than a hundred years ago, while the converts and their families number less than three millions; a seventy-fold increase of the darkness over the light. There are millions more of heathen souls in China today than when the first Protestant missionary landed a hundred years ago; for every convert added to the Church a thousand souls are added to Chinese heathendom by mere growth of population. “If our plans of education be followed up,” said Lord Macaulay in 1836, “there will not be a single idolator among the respectable classes in Bengal thirty years hence”; today there is a false god for every member of the population of India—between two and three hundred millions. In Japan there are four hundred and fifty heathen temples for every single Christian missionary. There are 400,000,000 of mankind who have not a leaf of the Bible in their 2,700 languages and dialects.
Nor is faith what it was in the lands of faith. In 1908, in the State Church in Berlin alone, the fall in membership was ten thousand persons. The Bible Society reports that the sale of the Scriptures is falling. In Liverpool—the third city of the empire—in 1881, 40 seats out of every 100 were filled at morning worship in the Free Churches; in 1891, 31; in 1902, 25; in 1908, 12. So also evening attendance has fallen from 57 in every 100 seats in 1881, to 28 in 1908. “Tom Paine’s work,” says the editor of the Freethinker, “is now carried on by the descendants of his persecutors; all he said about the Bible is being said in substance by orthodox divines from chairs of theology.” At the last census in France, eight millions enrolled themselves as atheists; “We have driven Jesus Christ,” says the Premier, M. Briand, “out of the army, the navy, the schools, the hospitals, the lunatic asylums, and the orphanages; we must now drive him
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out of the State altogether.” This decay in faith is already producing its inevitable recoil in morality. While the population of the United States has grown one hundred per cent., crime has increased by four hundred per cent. The decade of unprecedented revivals—in Wales, Madagascar, Korea, China—is the decade of unparalleled earthquakes—at Valparaiso, San Francisco, Jamaica, Messina; it would seem as if grace is speaking her loudest as the earth trembles with premonitory judgments. The vast revival in Moslem lands; the flood of infidel literature which Japan is pouring into China, a fourth of the human race; the mushroom growth of such spiritisms as Spiritualism and Christian Science; the actual rumors of the rebuilding of Babylon and the Temple—”the watchman said, And also the night.”
“The watchman said, If ye will inquire, inquire ye.” “If the light that is in us be darkness, how great is the darkness”; and if the Lamp of Prophecy be extinguished, how inextricable is the confusion. “Inquire ye.” Why inquire? Because the future which God has revealed, is the future which I ought to know; because without a knowledge of prophecy, the present workings of God are plunged in unintelligible mystery; because prophecy uncovers the pitfalls that lie in our path; because a knowledge of the future is of incalculable importance in shaping the present. Hear the watchman’s mournful undertone: “If ye will inquire, inquire ye.” It is a strange irony of the situation that worldly eyes can read the signs more acutely than the general Church. Says a novelist whose works sell by the hundred thousand, in many languages:
“All things that Christ prophesied are coming to pass so quickly that I wonder more people do not realize it; and I especially wonder at the laxity and apathy of the Churches, except for the fact that this also was prophesied. Some of us will live to see a time of terror, and that before very long. The blasphemous things which are being done in the world today cannot go on much longer without punishment. We know by history that deliberate scorn of God and Divine things has always been met by retribution of a sudden and terrible nature—and it will be so again.”
Prophecy is the profoundest pessimism and the profoundest optimism; it is profoundly pessimistic of all that a Christ-rejecting generation is about to do; it is profoundly optimistic of all that an almighty and an all-gracious God will effect in the imminent establishment of his Kingdom. Dr. Kelman recently asked an eminent American man of science his solution of the problems of modern city life. “An emperor!” came the answer, swift and decisive. “An emperor?” asked Dr. Kelman, in surprise; “I thought you had done with all that in America. Besides, your emperor would need to be a very wonderful man, incapable of mistakes, and extraordinarily competent for leadership.” “Precisely,” was the quiet answer; “and we know the Man; we are waiting for him, and his name is—Messiah.” “The thrill of that reply,” says Dr. Kelman, “will never leave me.”
“The Watchman said, Turn ye; come.” It may be that some unbelieving eyes may alight upon these words. The Rabbis expound the Watchman, who speaks here, as the Messiah; so it is—”turn ye”—repentance toward God; and “come”—faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ. Why thus turn and come? Because, to press forward, if we are right, is to press forward amid perhaps the mightiest operations ever put forth on a worldwide scale by the holy Spirit.
“The difficulty in the world today is not to find God, but to escape him. Because every moment that a world hardens itself against Divine light, an atmosphere is being produced in which it is every moment more difficult to believe. Because, if to Chorazin and Bethsaida, after three years of Gospel opportunity, Jesus said, “It shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon,” shall it not also be said of our cities, after a thousand
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years of opportunity? Because nineteen hundred years ago the Night was far spent, and the Day was at hand; there can be no time to lose now. The day before the wall of fire rolled down on St. Pierre, the telephone clerk spoke through to Fort de France, saying that the people were fleeing. Next morning, at ten minutes to eight, he was heard to exclaim, “My God! it is here!” and he was afterwards found, with the receiver in his hand, burnt to a cinder. “Watchman, what of the night?” That is, what hour of the night is it? “Little children, it is the last hour.”—I John 2:18.
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ST. PAUL AND MOSES PATRIOTS EXTRAORDINARY
“For I could wish that myself were accursed from Christ for my brethren, my kinsmen, according to the flesh.”—Romans 9:3
THIS is one of the most patriotic expressions to be found in the Bible. It is comparable only to the request by Moses in respect to the Children of Israel, that if God would blot out Israel, he should blot out him also from his book of remembrance and special favor. We have a very high estimation of St. Paul’s generosity of heart and loyalty of mind to his kinsmen, the Jews, and also for that of the great Law-Giver.
We are not, we think, to understand this as though it merely read, I do wish myself accursed. Neither are we to understand this expression to signify, I could wish myself damned; but rather, I could wish myself cut off from membership in the Body of Christ, if by my being cut off it could be so arranged, in harmony with the Heavenly Father’s will and provision, that it would benefit my brethren, my nation—so that as a whole nation the Israelites would constitute the Royal Priesthood and become Israel on the spiritual plane. I perceive that they do not realize how much they are missing. I feel such a grief for them, that having received the promises centuries ago and having hoped in these promises (many still hope in them) they are now so blinded as to reject the favors of God, because it was not on a spiritual plane that they anticipated them. If my being cut off from fellowship with the Lord Jesus Christ as a member of that Body of glory would thus benefit them and were to put me down on the plane of the “Great Company,” instead of my being one of those who would share in the glory of the Kingdom, I would be well pleased, indeed, if it were God’s will, that thus I might have the satisfaction of knowing that I had been such a blessing to my own people.
ST. PAUL’S GREAT UNSELFISHNESS
We confess that the Apostle’s attitude on this subject is marvelous. We cannot doubt his sincerity. He was proving this in all of his course of life. For one to will to sacrifice his place in the Body of Christ for the sake of the multitude of his sinful nation, is something very
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wonderful. This, however, is not an example to us—that we should say that if we could bring some of our children or friends into the Truth we would be willing to be cut off for the benefit of these, and thus to subordinate ourselves and take the lower position. It is our privilege to take the position God has offered us, but those who may be able to rise up to so high a standard are worthy of admiration because of the grandeur of character implied. St. Paul’s great unselfishness was one of his grand traits, and we think it would be well for each of us to cultivate that trait to a greater degree, looking to the interest of the brethren, willing to subordinate our own preferences and our own ways in certain particulars if we can see that this would be an aid to others, especially an aid to a number of others. This is the Spirit of Christ; this is certainly in full accord with all the instructions of the Lord—that we should humble ourselves, and in honor prefer one another, even to the extent of self-sacrifice. The Apostle’s course was self-abnegation to an extent, however, that we do not understand the Lord has demanded, although he has said, “we ought to lay down our lives (our human lives) for the brethren.”
In a sense, we might say that the Jewish nation stood related to Saint Paul in much the same way that the nominal Christian church of today stands related to the fully consecrated. They are our brethren by a nominal consecration or nominal profession. Such a relationship we ought to feel, we think. We believe this text encourages us to feel a great deal of interest in these brethren, and to be willing to do a great deal to help them. We do not know how many may really be saints and merely for the time blinded by the errors which the Adversary has caused to be promulgated. “The god of this world hath blinded the minds of those who believe not.” (2 Cor. 4:4.) We understand these words, “believe not,” to apply not only to an entire lack of faith, but to apply also to the various imperfect degrees of development of faith in ourselves and in others. What is it that has hindered us from reaching the very highest attainment of that which God has provided for us? Some of these errors are standing in the way. Where did they come from. They came from our Adversary.
“LET NOT SIN HAVE DOMINION OVER YOU”
And he it is who has completely blinded the heathen and has darkened the understanding of Christians, and we ought to be glad to do all in our power to remove those blinding influences. To whatever extent we do this, to whatever extent we are of aid to our brethren in the nominal church, it will make us proportionately sympathetic with them—not with the systems that are contrary to the teachings of the Word, but sympathetic with the people who are blinded by the teachings of those systems—not sympathetic with the blindness, but with those who are experiencing the blindness. The Apostle seems to give the thought of a gradual obliteration of blindness when he speaks of “the eyes of your understanding opening ye might be able to comprehend with all saints,” etc. So we see that in our own cases it is a gradual opening of the eyes of our understanding, and this progresses in proportion as we get free from the power of Satan and his blinding influences. We get free from these influences in proportion as we lay hold upon the Lord Jesus Christ and his wonderful provision made for our liberation, that we might ultimately stand free in the liberty wherewith Christ makes us free. He makes us free as the Emancipation Proclamation made the slaves free. And yet, after the proclamation is made, it is one thing to learn of our liberty and another thing to avail ourselves of that liberty and thus to become actually free. It takes, perhaps, months or years to gain this full liberty from blindness. “Let not sin, therefore, have dominion over you.”
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WISE AND FOOLISH VIRGINS
—MATTHEW 25:1-13—OCTOBER 2—
Golden Text:—”Be ye therefore ready also; for the Son of man cometh at an hour when ye think not.”—Luke 12:40
THE Great Teacher in today’s Study tells us further about his glorious Messianic Kingdom and concerning those who will be accounted worthy to share it with him—as his Bride. This parable has not been of general application all through this Gospel Age. It applies merely at the close of the Age—at the present time, we believe. It does not take into consideration the world, nor even the nominal Church, but solely, only, the true Church, the Virgin class. The word “virgin” signifies pure and in using this term the Lord implies that he is referring only to those who have been justified, by faith and consecration, because by nature none are pure; none are holy; none are virgins.
FIVE WISE—FIVE FOOLISH
One of the special lessons of the parable is to show that amongst the pure, the wise, the consecrated people of God, there are two classes. For a time these will be all together—unseparated. But in the fulfilling of this parable certain circumstances and conditions and truths will develop and separate these two classes of saints, virgins.
The parable shows all the virgins as sleeping, waiting for the coming of the Bridegroom. Apparently, there is no difference; but really there is a difference—the wise had a larger supply of oil than had the foolish. Then came an announcement of the presence of the Bridegroom and a call to go forth to meet him. This implies that something from the prophetic Word at the appropriate time will call the attention of all the Virgin class to the presence of Messiah. But at the Second Advent it will be as it was at the First Advent, when John said of Jesus, “Behold there standeth one among you whom ye know not.” We are not to expect the Second Coming of Christ in the flesh, but as a spirit being.
We are to remember that the Scriptures outline two distinct features connected with the Second Coming. First will come the parousia or “presence” of the Lord, recognizable only by the Wise and Foolish Virgins. In his parousia or “presence” he will test and prove his Church, dividing them into wise and foolish virgin classes—the wise virgins to become the Bride class and the foolish virgins to become the class who will experience
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a second grade of salvation—coming up out of great tribulation and becoming the Bridesmaids, so to speak, “the virgins, the Bride’s Companions, who follow after her.” (Psa. 45:14.) These will attain great blessings in spiritual life, but fail to gain the prize of joint-heirship with the Lord in his Throne, in his Kingdom.
Later on will come the manifestation of Christ with his Church, in power and great glory, in the setting up of his Messianic Kingdom and in the overthrow of everything contrary to it. Concerning this manifestation we
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read, “When he shall appear, we, also (the Bride class), will appear with him in glory.”—Col. 3:4.
It will be in the time of the presence, the parousia, of the Son of man, for the gathering of the “elect,” that all the Virgins will be awakened by the message of the Truth. Some will be able to appreciate, others will not be able to appreciate his presence. The latter will need to “go and buy” the oil, the wisdom, the understanding, of the Divine Word. It will cost some of them considerable of self-sacrifice and humiliation to learn their lessons. Such as obtain the oil in time will join the party that will go in with the Bridegroom to the marriage feast. Then the door to that High Calling will close forever.
Thank God that it is not as we once supposed—that the door of mercy is to close, shutting out the foolish Virgins of the Church, together with the whole world of mankind; and, as we once supposed, shutting them into eternal torment. The parable merely shows that the closed door will exclude any others from coming into the Bride class, to be joint-heirs with Messiah in his Kingdom. The door will close because the full number elected and predestinated to this high honor will have attained the necessary character-likeness of Christ and will have stood the necessary testings.
As no one of the Jewish priests could ever serve as High Priest if he had a superfluous finger or toe, it is thus shown in the type that the antitypical High Priest, the Messiah, will have only a definite, fixed number of members in his Body—neither one too few nor one too many. Later on, the foolish Virgins came to the “door,” but found it forever shut. They lost the great prize. They were foolish in that they did not give attention to getting the oil in time; foolish also in that they cared too much for the things of this present life; but they were Virgins, nevertheless. They finally got the oil, which represents the holy Spirit, but too late! The door was shut! They could not be of the Bride class. The Master answered, I know you not. I could not recognize you as my Bride.
In view of this the Lord exhorts that his consecrated followers of the Church or Virgin class be constantly on the alert, because they know neither the day nor the hour of the Master’s coming and of the invitation to go in to the wedding. The parable shows, however, that although the time of the Master’s coming could not be known in the past, nevertheless, it would be known to all of the Virgin class “in due time.” It will be announced, as indicated in the cry. The cry will be so loud that all of the Virgins will hear it, even though the world will have no knowledge of it. The Master merely wished us to understand that the great event would not be foretold in advance.
The parable does not show how the foolish Virgins, excluded from the wedding and from membership in the Bride class, will be treated. Other Scriptures, however, show that this foolish virgin class will share with the world in a great time of trouble, which will then come to every nation. In that time of trouble these foolish virgins will suffer severely and “Wash their robes and make them white in the blood of the Lamb,” and thereafter be accounted worthy to “serve God in his Temple,” though not worthy to be of the Temple. They will be accounted worthy to serve before the Throne, though not worthy to sit in the Throne. They will be accounted worthy to have palms of victory, but not be accounted worthy of crowns of glory. The lesson to God’s people is to Awake, to hearken, to have our lamps, the Word of God, trimmed and burning, and to have oil, the holy Spirit, in our vessels—to be living in an attitude of full consecration to God.—Rev. 7:9,14,15.
We see the marriage splendor,
Within the open door;
We know that those who enter
Are blest for evermore;
We see our King, more lovely
Than all the sons of men;
We haste, because that door, once shut,
Will never ope again.
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THE RECKONING HOUR
—MATTHEW 25:14-30—OCTOBER 9—
Golden Text—”His Lord said unto him, Well done, thou good and faithful servant; thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things; enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.”
THIS study follows the one of last week. It also illustrates the fact that Messiah at his Second Advent, before appearing to the world in power and great glory and in the time of trouble, will be present amongst his consecrated people and many of them will know of his parousia, or “presence,” in this time. He will do amongst them a judging work—deciding their rewards in proportion to their faithfulness. It is well that we keep in memory the difference between the parable of the pounds and the parable of the talents. Both represented money. But a talent is sixty times as valuable as a pound. In the parable of the pound, each servant got one pound, but in the parable of the talents the numbers given varied. In some respects all of God’s people have one common footing and common privilege of service, as represented by the pound. In another respect their opportunities, privileges and advantages vary, as represented in the present study, the parable of the talents.
This is another parable of the Kingdom. The Great Teacher himself went into the far country, even heaven; but before departing he delivered unto his servants certain blessings, privileges, opportunities—”to each according to his several abilities.” The beginning of this parable was in the days of the Apostles when Jesus ascended up on high and at Pentecost shed forth in the Father’s name the holy Spirit, communicating a blessing upon each one of his followers, as represented in the talents and opportunities of each follower. All through this Gospel Age these servants have been making more or less use of their privileges and more or less wisely exercising themselves to serve the Master. Some traded with their talents, or used them in preaching, teaching, etc. And others hid them in the earth, perhaps under cares and responsibilities. After a long time the Lord of these servants cometh and reckoneth with them. This long time is the Gospel Age, and the presence of the King in the end of the Age to hear the report of his servants and to reward them represents the parousia (or presence) of Messiah and his testing, sifting work in his Church. We should distinctly note that this testing and proving is not of the world, for Christ never recognized any as his servants, except the consecrated. Many Christian people believe that we are now in the time when the servants of the Lord are rendering
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up their accounts, and when he is saying to some, “Well done, good and faithful servant; enter into the joys of thy Lord,” and when he is saying to others, “Thou wicked and slothful servant … take ye away, therefore, the talent from him, and give it unto him that hath the ten talents.” But all of this testing and rewarding of the servants of Christ is manifestly prior to any outward manifestation of the King in his glory, because the worthy ones are to share with the Master in his glorious manifestation and this testing must demonstrate the worthy ones, in advance of the revelation in glory.
TO RULE OVER EARTH’S CITIES
The one who had received five talents and used them wisely, energetically, faithfully, loyally, doubled them and was invited to share in the Master’s joy and glory. His reward would be to sit as a ruler of many. In other words, the service of the present life is but an insignificant one in comparison to the glorious service which awaits the Lord’s faithful people in the future—when they shall sit with Messiah in his Throne and, as kings and priests, bless and instruct and uplift and control Israel and all the nations of the world. The approval of the one who was given two talents and who was equally faithful, was in equally kind and benevolent terms. He also was a good and faithful servant over a few things; he also would be set as a ruler over many things; he also might enter into the joy of his Lord. The servant who failed to use his talent was branded as wicked and slothful. He knew in advance that the talent was given him for use and because he had professed to be a faithful servant. His failure to use the talent proved him disloyal, unfaithful. It was, therefore, taken away from him.
It is not for us to presume to say that the Lord will have no blessing whatever for that unfaithful servant. He was a servant all the time. He respected the talent. He did not lose it. But he did not use it properly. He seems to represent a very similar class to
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the one described in our study of a week ago as the foolish virgins. This class will fail to get into the glories of the Kingdom, but will surely get into the time of trouble and its outer darkness, disappointment and chagrin, with which this Age will end and the New Age be ushered in. The Lord grant that this lesson may help some of his consecrated servants to be more faithful, more careful, in the use of their consecrated talents, that they may glorify the Lord and hear his “Well done” in the end!
One difficulty with many of us in the past has been fear of the Master. We should have gotten better acquainted with him. We should have learned more respecting his real, true character and his purposes. If now the eyes of our understanding are opening, if now we are seeing the beauty of our talents and privileges of service as never before, let us quickly dig the talent out and wash it free from all soil of the earth and use it earnestly, zealously, vigorously, for the praise of our King, redeeming the time, knowing that the days are unfavorable.
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THE SHEEP AND THE GOATS
—MATTHEW 25:31-46—OCTOBER 16—
Golden Text—”Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these, my brethren, ye have done it unto me.”
PREVIOUS studies have pointed us to the Kingdom and incited the Lord’s people to strive to become members thereof—kings and priests unto God in association with the Redeemer. Today’s study tells of the Kingdom, but from another standpoint. It explains the work of the Kingdom after it shall have been set up—after Messiah at his Second Advent shall have gathered his “jewels” to constitute his Bride class—after these shall be with him in the Throne of his glory—after he shall have taken unto himself his great power and shall have begun his Messianic reign of righteousness “under the whole heavens.” It is important in every study of the Scriptures that we recognize the Divine Plan as a whole and properly locate the teaching of each parable.
We know that the parable of the sheep and the goats belongs not to this Age, but to the coming Age of Messiah’s glorious reign, because the introduction declares this, 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; and he shall separate them one from another as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats.” Those sheep and goats will not include the Church, to whom the promise is, “When he shall appear, we also shall appear with him in glory”—sharing his Throne.
The salvation of the Church will be finished before the salvation of the world will begin. Today’s study pictures the salvation of the world, showing us how every member of Adam’s race will be on trial during the reign of Messiah and, by his obedience or disobedience to the light and knowledge then prevailing, he will be deciding his own everlasting future, either as a sheep or as a goat. It will require the entire one thousand years of Messiah’s reign to complete the testing and separating work.
THE WICKED NOT TO BE PRESERVED
All then obedient will be recognized as children of God and brethren. All the disobedient will be reckoned as children of the Adversary and worthy to share his fate, because, under favorable conditions, they were rebellious. Such shall be destroyed with Satan in the Second Death, which is symbolically represented as fire, because fire is always destructive, never preservative. On the contrary, the sheep class at the conclusion of Messiah’s reign will have reached perfection, the image and likeness of God, on the human plane. These will be invited to become the kings of earth under the Divine supervision—even as was Adam in his original perfection—crowned with glory and honor and set over the earthly creation.—Psalm 8:3-5.
The terms and conditions which will test and determine who will be sheep and who will be goats, who will be obedient or disobedient to the Divine regulations, will be mercy, kindness, love. The loving and sympathetic character is the only one which God purposes shall have eternal life, either on the heavenly or on the earthly plane—all having either the wolfish or devilish character, or even the goat character—of waywardness and unsubmissiveness, will be accounted unworthy of any further blessing after the close of the reign of Messiah. The testing then will not be as to believing or disbelieving, striving to do well or not striving to do well. The Church is dealt with now along such lines. God’s dealings with us make allowances for our unwilling imperfections. But in the trial of the world in the future every man shall be tried according to his work, not according to his faith. In that time knowledge will have practically supplanted faith;
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hence faith will have no special rewards. Works will then have the rewards, and each member of the race will be expected to strive for perfect works and to be assistants of the Great King Emmanuel and his Bride, the Church on the spirit plane. Mankind will be enabled gradually to attain such perfection of mind and of body as will make perfect works possible. At the conclusion of the Millennial Age perfect works only will be rewarded.
REWARDS AND PUNISHMENTS
We have already referred to the rewards that will be granted to the “sheep” class at the close of Messiah’s Kingdom—they will enter into life eternal and become possessors of the earthly Kingdom originally given to Adam, but lost through disobedience, and redeemed by the sacrifice of Jesus and restored by his Messianic reign, for which we pray, “Thy Kingdom come; thy will be done on earth as in heaven.”
As for the “goat” class, we have already intimated that their punishment will consist of destruction in fire, or destruction everlasting, the Second Death—the destruction which God has already determined for Satan and all who are his messengers and servants, after the manner of this goat class—because, with all the favorable opportunities, they failed to develop such characters as God could reward with life everlasting. The contrast is emphasized in the last verse of the study. These (the goat class) shall go away into eternal punishment; but the righteous, the sheep class, into eternal life. The contrast is perfect. The one gets life to all eternity. The other gets the specified punishment of destruction to all eternity. The Greek word here translated punishment is kolasin, which signifies restraint, cutting off—in this case cutting off from life—Second Death. “The wages (punishment) of sin is death.”
Some one has well said:—
“Sow a thought and you reap an act;
Sow an act and you reap a habit;
Sow a habit and you reap a character;
Sow a character and you reap a destiny.”
The Divine intention as respects the salvation of this Gospel Age and the salvation of the world during the coming Age is that only such as develop the God-like character shall be permitted to enjoy Divine favor to all eternity. God has determined that the time shall come when there shall be no more sighing, no more crying, no more dying; but instead, every creature in heaven and in earth and under the earth shall be heard praising God and the Lamb.
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THE MARK OF PERFECT LOVE
Oh Lord, we thank thee thou hast set
A Mark of perfect love
Which we must reach ere we can win
Approval from above.
For, in the reaching of that Mark,
Our characters are built,
Which thou requirest of all those
Whom Christ has freed from guilt.
We consecrate to follow him
Along the “narrow way”;
And so we strive to overcome,
And grow, from day to day.
And “perfect love”—what does it mean?
Must we attain thereto?
And actually love, and perfectly,
Our God and brother true?
E’en so, we actually must love
Our Father, first and best,
And love our “Elder Brother,” as
In him we find true rest.
And then our enemies we love;
We seek to do them good!
We ever try to render them
The services we should.
Ah yes, ’tis actual, perfect love
We truly must attain;
But, oh, how often do we fail!
And failure gives us pain—
Because this creature of pure love
In sin-racked body lives;
But, praise his name, our Advocate
His loving service gives.
So, perfect will and perfect love
Are handicapped till we
In his own likeness shall awake—
Like him for e’er to be! F. A. R.
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THIS LOOKS REASONABLE
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:—
WHILE reading the article in May 1 TOWER, entitled “The Binding of the Strong Man,” certain further conclusions presented themselves to my mind; but they were of such a startling character that I have refrained from mentioning them to a single soul, as I would not for all the world wish to promulgate an idea that had any measure of error in it. However, the more I have thought over it the more has it impressed me as correct. It is herewith submitted for your consideration. If you can discern anything unscriptural in it I shall drop the matter altogether, as it is far better to suppress a questionable truth than run the risk of propagating a possible error.
The Lord has permitted the Church in these last times to be blessed with such an abundance that it makes us tremble lest we might be instrumental in the circulation of some one of the many forms of unscriptural teaching, thus assisting in marring in our own mind, and in the minds of others, the beautiful harmony of the Divine Plan. How the Truth has made us love our Lord, and how grievous it would be if we were to find that in any way we have encouraged that which did not properly represent him!
The article referred to suggests the thought that just as there is a Christ company, the Church, the Body of Christ, and then an individual Christ, who is the Head of the Body, even Jesus, so likewise there is a Satanic company, a System over which the Devil is head, as well as the individual Satan, Beelzebub, the “Chief of Devils.”
In that article you remind us that during the last thirty-five years there has been considerable evidence that a work of restraint has been going on in this great “system of which Satan has stood as the representative or head.” You there point out how much evidence we have of the gradual binding of this system of things in the Prohibition movement, and we saw how the light along all lines was the agency being used of the Lord in the accomplishment of this binding or restraining of some
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of the things connected with the evil system. However, you made it plain that you did not refer to the binding of the individual Devil, but to the binding of the satanic organization.
But right here I thought of the words of our Lord in Matthew 12:29, to which your article also refers, “How can one enter into a strong man’s house and spoil his goods, except he first bind the strong man? and then he will spoil his house.” According to this, if the Lord were to bind the Strong Man, Satan, before he began to spoil his house, and if we see reason to believe that the house is being spoiled already, then must we not conclude that the personal Devil has been bound for some time? May it not be that part of the work accomplished by our invisibly present Master between 1874 and 1878 was the binding of the Wicked One? One of our Lord’s first experiences after his baptism 1800 years ago was with Satan, and how likely that one of his first experiences at his second coming would be with the same Adversary!
If the question is asked, Where, then, if Satan is now bound, do all our temptations come from? I answer, from the fallen spirits who were once under the control of Satan. For some cause, possibly the fact that he had been a being of a higher order than they, Lucifer appears to have had power over the other angels that had fallen, which they could not successfully resist; so if they were ever to be brought back into harmony with God it would be necessary for them to be set free from the bondage they were in to their leader, Satan.
In Hebrews 1:6, we find that all the other translations give quite a different thought from that in the King James translation; even the margin of the authorized version gives the correct thought. The Revised Version says, “And when he again bringeth in the First-Born into the world, he saith, And let all the angels of God worship him.” This would, to my mind, seem to imply that when our Lord would come into the world the second time, one of the things he purposes is to give the fallen angels a chance to prove whether they are willing to become angels of God once more, and one of the ways whereby they might demonstrate that they are sick and tired of the service of the Devil is to acknowledge the authority of the One who has now returned to be King of earth, by worshipping and obeying him. On the contrary, those of them who would continue in sympathy with the evil principles of their wicked master, would simply use the increased liberty that would come to them through the binding of Satan, to introduce new forms of wickedness.
During the ages in which they served Satan, no doubt many wicked ideas apart from their leader occurred to them, but as he had his own idea of how his kingdom should be run, they were not allowed to have their own way. But now Satan’s restraint has given them the occasion wished for, and would account for the great diversity of spiritualistic phenomena, compared with that of former times.
I cannot see how the fallen angels could have a fair trial as long as Satan was at liberty to coerce them to do his bidding, as seems to have been the case in the past.
If Satan is now bound, it would also teach another lesson: Many have the idea that in order to bring all the iniquity in the world to an end, it is merely necessary to bind the great Author of Sin, when things would naturally readjust themselves in harmony with the will of God. But the fact that after the binding of the Evil One things would in some respects be even worse than they were before, resulting in the worst time of trouble that had ever been, would prove to all the universe that sin is not merely such an awful thing because Satan was here to direct things, but that the real cause of the trouble was sin, whether there was an archangel behind it, or one of the lower order of angels, or simply a man; that sin is the terror, with Satan or without him; that sin is the cursed thing.
The last point to be mentioned is this: If Satan was bound about 1874, and if the period of his restraint is also to be a thousand years, he would be due to be set at liberty about 2874. On the other hand, a thousand years from 1915, when the world will have been fully turned over to Christ, will bring us to 2915, when the world will have been fully turned over to the Father. This would allow a period of about forty years as the “little season” when Satan is to bring upon the world the great and final test. But if the binding of Satan is to be reckoned from 1915 it would be difficult to see where the little season, “when the thousand years were finished,” would come in. From this standpoint these various Scriptures would be equally applicable to the individual Satan, and also to the satanic system.
Now, dear Brother, if you have anything that even half-way looks like proof that I am wrong in these suggestions, I think it would be better for me to drop it altogether, as far as presenting these things to others is concerned, as we cannot afford to risk stumbling our brethren with a doubtful interpretation.
Praying the Lord’s continued direction in all your affairs, as you seek to pour out the little strength and time that remain to you, in the service of the Lord of the Harvest, I remain,
Your Brother and servant in the cause which seeks the Glory of our Lord, BENJ. H. BARTON.
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SOME INTERESTING QUESTIONS
MOSES AND THE LAW COVENANT
Question.—Was Moses out from under Adamic Condemnation?
Answer.—If he was a member of the Jewish nation then he was in this special covenant-relationship with God. Adam, when he sinned, lost his covenant standing with God and was sentenced to death. God made a new arrangement with the Seed of Abraham, that he would enter into a Covenant with them as though they were perfect; and to this end Moses became their mediator. We have every reason to suppose that Moses was also a participator in the arrangement as well as being the mediator of it. So we suppose that Moses was under the Law the same as were his successors, and this Covenant, by its arrangement year by year continually, not only put them, at the first, in this condition of typical justification or covenant-relationship with God, but it gave them a whole year of that favorable condition; and only at the end of the year, when the period for which the sacrifice had been offered had lapsed, were they no longer in covenant-relationship with God. Then they put on sackcloth and ashes and, like the remainder of the world, they were sinners, under condemnation, but under more condemnation than the rest of the world because they had the additional condemnation of the Law.
We understand, then, that if Moses could have kept the Law under that Covenant, God would have been bound to give him eternal life according to the promise—
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“He that doeth these things shall live by them.” God did not say anything about Christ or believing in Christ or anything of that kind; merely, he that doeth these things shall have eternal life by doing them. And so we think that this promise applied to Moses and all the Israelites under the Law, and still applies to the Jews. And we believe God would give eternal life to anyone who could do those things perfectly, but this offer was made only to the Jews. They were out from Adamic condemnation in that tentative sense; not that they had escaped, for since they still bore unchanged the same imperfections as the remainder of the children of Adam, they could not do what they wished to do; as the Apostle says, “We cannot do the things that we would.” So they had a condemnation as a people which other nations did not have. Adam, individually, had been sentenced to death. His children did not have, individually, that condemnation. They were born in “prison”—in this death condition. But in the case of the Jews, God treated them as though they had been separated from the remainder of the world.
It was as if they had said, “We did not do anything wrong, Lord; why do you not give us a chance?”
“I will give you a chance; I will give you my Law to keep.”
“What will you give us if we keep your Law perfectly?”
“I will give you eternal life.”
“We will keep it. We agree to keep your Law, and you agree to give us life.” So, then, these children of Adam, the Jews, who, like the rest of the world, were not on individual trial previously, and had not, therefore, been sentenced as individuals, but were merely sharing the effect of Adam’s condemnation—all these Jews were now put on trial for life, and when they failed it meant a special penalty upon them, because they now had an individual trial and failed. Therefore, we see that it was necessary that the Jew, under this second condemnation, or this individual trial and individual condemnation, should all be under Moses as the Mediator, so that Christ could take the place of this Mediator and effect something for that nation. Moses was merely typical of the better Mediator. Therefore, since they were in that Mediator, who was only a type of Christ, God was merely showing to them in a typical way what he will do for them by and by, when Christ will be Mediator of their New (Law) Covenant.—Jer. 31:31.
JUSTIFICATION BY FAITH
Question.—Will any of the Gentiles be justified by faith during the Millennial Age?
Answer.—We understand that justification by faith applies to the present age and to our salvation—the Church’s salvation—which is called “salvation by faith” in contradistinction to the salvation that was offered to the Jews in their Age, the salvation by works, under the Law Covenant, and also in contrast with the salvation that will be offered to the Jews and to the world in the next Age, which will be a salvation by works under the New (Law) Covenant. In other words, this Gospel Age is the only Age in which faith takes the place of perfection. It is true, of course, that no Jew could have been justified before God by keeping the Law Covenant unless he had believed in God; and it is equally true that no one will be justified under the New Covenant arrangement except he believe in God and is in harmony with the arrangements that will then be open to all. However, this will not make it a faith-salvation, a salvation by faith, but a salvation by works—the works of the Law.
The works of the Law were unable to save the Jews during the Jewish dispensation because they could not keep the Law, and because there was no arrangement made through an efficient mediator to lift them up out of their degradation, but this arrangement has been made future for all Israel and all who will come in under this arrangement in the Millennial Age. They will be enabled to perform the works. They will be helped out of their degradation. So we read in Revelation that the sea will give up her dead, the grave will give up the dead that are in it, and that they shall all stand before the great white throne during the Millennial Age, and shall all be judged out of the things written in the book; according to their works shall they be judged, then. The distinctive statement made regarding us now is that it is not according to our works that we are judged, but according to our faith. So, then, there will be faith and works in the Millennial Age, and there are faith and works in this Gospel Age; but the faith of the Millennial Age will be less meritorious in proportion because everything will be very plain and easy to believe, and hence it will not be the faith that will be specially rewarded then, but the works. In this Age faith takes the most important place, and we are not rewarded according to our works, for we have none to reward. But it is the faith that will be rewarded.
Faith and works apply to both ages, but in the one age it is the faith that is rewarded, and in the other the works will be rewarded. In the one, faith is the standard or test of whether one is worthy or unworthy and in the other works will be the standard or test of whether one is worthy or unworthy of eternal life.
Galatians 3:8 seems very particularly to show that the reference is to the Gentiles who are justified through faith and not by works; hence, we understand that this text applies to the Gospel Age in the sense that God foresaw that during this Gospel Age he would justify certain of the Gentiles through faith, just as he intended also to justify some of the Jews through faith. The Gentiles never were under the Law of works, but are accepted under the Gospel arrangement, by faith.
HOW TO DETERMINE THE LORD’S WILL
Question.—Suppose some one has in mind an undertaking which he believes is of the Lord’s leading, and yet others who are as consecrated to the Lord as himself, seem to think it may not be of the Lord’s leading, is there any way whereby he can assure himself that he is right?
Answer.—We think that it is a good rule, when one is uncertain as to what is the right course, to simply stand still and wait, if the matter can be dealt with in that way. But if it is a matter that cannot be delayed but must be determined at once, it would not do to stand still; but it would be well in many instances to merely stand and wait.
For instance, a gentleman asked us as to whether he should build a house or not. We were not hasty in giving him advice, and he urged us to tell him our thought. After he had told us all the conditions, we advised him not to build, and gave our reasons. We did not attempt to urge our views upon him at all, but left them there. It is well for us to remember not to give too much concern about things that are not in our hands to decide; we would thus save ourselves a deal of trouble. In everything, however, that is in our hands to decide, we should use a great deal of care and judgment and try to find out the Lord’s will in the matter.
In the case of people having different opinions about
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things, we think it well for one, if the responsibility rests with him, to hear what others may have to say and then consider the matter with as much wisdom and judgment as possible, and proceed to act according to his best judgment, taking into consideration the reasons advanced by his friends, bearing in mind, however, that the responsibility of decision is with himself.
FAITH THE GIFT OF GOD
Question.—Is faith the gift of God?
Answer.—”By grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God.” The Apostle seems to intimate that grace is God’s favor; in fact, the word “grace” has the signification of gift, or that which is favor. Our salvation is of Divine favor—not of any necessity on God’s part, not because Justice required it, not because anyone could have demanded it from him, but it is his own merciful, gracious provision, and this salvation in our case is through faith. And the faith is not of ourselves, as a matter of course. Hence we think that when the Apostle says “it is not of ourselves,” he must refer to faith. However, faith, in a very important sense, is of the individual; we are urged to “have faith unto God.” One cannot have faith for another. The individual must exercise his own faith in God; and yet in this text we are told that our faith is of God.
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In what sense could this be of God? We answer that it is of God in the sense that every good and every perfect gift comes down from the Father. Our faith must have a foundation, must have a basis. We must have knowledge of a matter in order to have faith in it. We have knowledge of God, and this knowledge which is granted us as a grace or favor brings us to the place where we are enabled to exercise the faith. The faith in a great measure rests upon the knowledge. The knowledge shows us God’s character; the Divine Revelation makes known to us certain facts respecting God’s purposes, and we see the purposes thus outlined to be in harmony with the character of God, and this enables one to believe the promises; and believing them, we are enabled to act upon them; and this is faith.
So, then, our faith, while it is of ourselves in the sense that we must exercise it, is of God in the sense that he supplies the necessary elements from which that faith is to be compounded.
IS THE CHURCH A ROYAL PRIESTHOOD NOW?
Question.—Is the Church in the flesh a royal priesthood?
Answer.—We recognize that we are not a royal priesthood, in the full sense of the word, yet, because we are not yet certain that we shall be in the priesthood finally. We must first make our calling and election sure.
It will have to be determined whether we shall be in the “Little Flock” or “Great Company”—whether Priests or Levites—or whether we shall be worthy of life at all. Since this matter, then, is in process of determination and will not be fully settled until our death, it follows that we are not in the fullest sense of the word officiating priests, but candidates for this priesthood, and temporarily acknowledged as priests and counted as priests—just as some time you might meet a gentleman who had been nominated for Governor. By way of compliment you might say, “Good morning, Governor.” He is not really a Governor yet. That will be determined by the election, but before he is elected it might be proper or courteous to call him Governor. And so with us. We hope we shall make our calling and election sure; that we shall be of that royal priesthood in the fullest sense, and in one sense we are now members in the Body, in that we have already received a begetting of the Spirit, acknowledgment of the Lord as ambassadors of God. This is an acknowledgment in one sense of the word of our priestly office, for these priests are “ambassadors,” and to whatever extent we are conducting ourselves as ambassadors of God, to that extent we are priests of God—of the probationary kind, and not fully of the Melchisedec kind, which we shall be when our change shall come and we shall be like our Lord.
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SOME INTERESTING LETTERS
QUARTERLY REPORTS DESIRED
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:—
We take this opportunity of advising you of the progress of the evangelistic services the Cleveland, O., class is engaged in.
We have held four meetings in Chardon; the first had an attendance of thirty, and this with opposition from a political meeting held in the church; the number at our service exceeded the church service. The next Sunday there were thirty persons present again, the third Sunday fifteen, and the fourth Sunday ten. An immense amount of literature was taken, and the ten seemed to be interested enough to form a class. They are now reading the first volume. It was thought advisable that they thus continue for a short time, when organization will be taken into consideration.
Upon receipt of a letter in a roundabout way from Lorain, twelve consecrated children of God who had left the Salvation Army, because of methods of which they could not approve, were formed into a class, and are meeting regularly every Sunday. Some sixteen volumes having been purchased since their first meeting. We are furnishing a leader every Sunday.
On July 24 we held a public meeting in Clyde, O., at the direction of the Bellevue Ecclesia, where about fifty were present. The Bellevue friends have been very zealous this summer, and no doubt their efforts are showing some fruit. We have in view two or three one-day meetings, after which we again purpose holding three or four meetings in towns where the expenditures will justify the efforts.
We would appreciate any suggestions from you that you might see fit to make. We are anxious for all the service that we can undertake.
Yours in Service,
INTERNATIONAL BIBLE STUDENTS OF CLEVELAND.
I accept the above as a Quarterly Report. It is excellent. The classes which have a surplus of energy and talent surely do well to employ it thus in nearby places. May the Lord’s blessing continue richly with you as a class and individually, and upon your labors in the “harvest” field.
I take this opportunity to request Quarterly Reports from all the classes which have elected me their Pastor. To fulfil the pastoral office I must look specially after the interests of these classes—even though I know not how I can really do more for them than I now endeavor to do for all.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:—
I feel impelled to write you a word of encouragement and endorsement. In WATCH TOWER issue of Sept. 15 there is an article captioned, “Is the reading of SCRIPTURE STUDIES Bible study?” which I read with great pleasure; and in it I note your defense of the Bible and your humility and meekness. My answer to the question would be “Yes, the reading of SCRIPTURE STUDIES is Bible study, for who of us ever understood the Old or New Testament till we, by God’s goodness, through your loving, zealous and Christlike effort, came in contact with these STUDIES?”
Those of us who were trained for the ministry studied everything and anything but the Bible. What some of us did, at best, was to memorize as much of the good Book as we could, but neither bishops, nor D.D.’s, nor B.D.’s, nor any other understood the Book, and consequently could not help the weaker ones.
You have spoken the truth; for I remember when I served “Ism,” I honestly came to the conclusion that I was unfit to be in that position as a teacher of God’s Word when I was practically
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unable to give a clear, definite and reasonable answer to one of the members of the congregation who asked a Biblical question; and in substance I said, “I will stop any endeavor to teach others until I know what I believe, what to teach and how to teach it.” And it was not many days after this decision that our Father apprehended me through these STUDIES, and I apprehended his Truth.
God bless you! War a good warfare, be courageous and may the blessings in Numbers 6:24-26 be yours until the end of your pilgrimage.
I am yours fraternally, J. J. HARRIS.
By an oversight, or rather by a misunderstanding as to who should send in the request for Pilgrim service, we have not been having the calls we expected, and did not know where the trouble was till your letter to us of Sept. 3. Then we found that one Brother who was to send in the request did not so understand it, and this we learned when the class met. Most assuredly we want a Pilgrim Brother every time we can get him, and we want you to plan for us a two-days’ visit also each time. This we have always had, and want the same if you can let us have so much of service without in any way taking service from some other class. We shall gladly have Brother Hall with us. He was with us on one other occasion for two days, and we greatly enjoyed his visit. Our class is growing in the knowledge of the Truth daily, and we want every help we can get.
Yours in our dear Redeemer, CHAS. BOAZ, M.D.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:—
Greetings from the Church at Lancaster to you, our beloved Pastor, through whom the Lord has called and made us to sit down at his table and through whom he has served us with “meat in due season.”
We rejoice with you in the increased light that is shining so brightly on the various features of the Divine Plan (the sin-offering, the covenants, etc.). We have been led and fed, nourished and cherished of the Lord by the precious truths which he has brought to us through you, his servant, until we are caused to exclaim with Brother Paul, “Oh the depth of the riches, both of the wisdom and knowledge of God, … for who hath known the mind of the Lord or who has been his counsellor?”
We also recognize with you the evil day in which we are living and the increased powers of evil in various directions, and herewith send the names of those who have sufficiently realized this to make the Vow their own unto the Lord. And as was suggested by you, that all the names of those in the Lancaster class who have taken the Vow be sent to you together, we take this opportunity to do so. Those having previously sent in their names are listed separately.
We earnestly request to be remembered at the throne of heavenly grace that we might faithfully keep both the spirit and the letter of the Vow until we are all brought face to face with him who died for us and bought us with his own precious blood.
Yours in the love and service of our King,
SIGNED BY FORTY-FIVE.
BELOVED IN THE LORD:—
I acknowledge your letter of the 16th inst., and assure you that its words of love and fellowship in our dear Lord are highly appreciated and fully reciprocated.
I am also refreshed through this token of your confidence, prizing the approval of the fellow-members in the Body next to that of the gracious heavenly Father and our dear Lord himself.
I note, with gratification, that so many of the Lancaster Class have, in acknowledgment of all the benefits which they have received from the Lord, paid their vows to him in the presence of all the people. It is surely strengthening to note the names of the twenty-five friends who have more recently paid their vows to the Lord, in addition to the twenty who did so earlier and who previously notified us.
May each of us be more and more diligent to hold our “Head” purely; that we may grow more and more into him and at his revelation be given a seat with him on his throne.
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BEREAN QUESTIONS IN SCRIPTURE STUDIES
Series VI., Study III.—The Call of The New Creation
(25) Would it be consistent with the Heavenly Father’s character of Justice and Love to extend a single invitation which could not be made good, if accepted? P. 94, par. 2.
(26) At what time did the general call cease? P. 95, par. 1.
(27) Did the ceasing of the “call” signify the end of all opportunity for admittance into joint-heirship with Christ? P. 95, par. 1.
(28) What evidences may be considered as good proof of having been accepted of the Lord as prospective heirs with Jesus Christ by those who have consecrated since 1881? P. 96.
(29) How does God call the New Creation? In what sense is Christ our Wisdom? What is the value of Wisdom in general? P. 96, par. 1.
(30) Is our natural Wisdom sufficient for us as New Creatures? P. 97, par. 1.
(31) What conditions are essential in order to have a hearing ear for the “Wisdom from above?” P. 97, par. 2.
(32) What important facts must be grasped, and how is Christ made our Wisdom before we can be justified? P. 98, 2d to 18th lines.
(33) Does Christ cease to be our Wisdom at the time of our Justification? P. 98, 18th line to end of par.
(34) Explain the orderly operation of this “Wisdom from above.” P. 98, par. 1.
(35) How is Gentleness manifested in this heavenly Wisdom? P. 99, par. 1.
(36) Explain the relationship of mercy and good fruits to “the Wisdom from above.” P. 99, par. 2.
(37) How is heavenly Wisdom “without partiality?” P. 100, par. 1.
(38) Why is this Wisdom “without hypocrisy?” P. 100, par. 2.
(39) How has God given us this heavenly Wisdom through his Son and the Members of his Body? P. 100, par. 3.
(40) If Christ is our “Justification,” what are the primary thoughts contained in the word Justification? Give an illustration. P. 101, top.
(41) Apply this illustration to mankind. P. 101.
(42) Since we as a race are all imperfect, and none can meet the requirements for himself or “his brother,” explain how God has purposed to accept and deal with these unjust, imperfect beings in general. P. 102.
(43) Explain the “Justification by faith” provided for the New Creation. P. 102, par. 1. See also W.T.’10-85-88.
(44) How long does this reckoned or faith-Justification hold good? P. 103, par. 1. W.T.’10-87, 1st col.
(45) Is Christ the cause or ground of our Justification? If so, explain in detail the prevalent confusion respecting the ground or basis of our Justification, giving Scriptural quotations. P. 104, par. 1.
(46) How may we harmonize these apparently conflicting statements? P. 105, par. 1.
(47) Explain how we are “Justified by God’s grace.” P. 105, par. 2.
(48) How are we Justified by Christ’s blood? P. 105, par. 3.
(49) Why was the resurrection of Jesus Christ necessary to our Justification? P. 106, par. 1.
(50) How is the Church justified by faith? P. 106, par. 2. W.T.’10-86,87.
(51) Explain the difference between the faith necessary to vitalized Justification of the Church, and that which will be required of the world for actual Justification, in the Millennial Age. P. 106, par. 3.
(52) What is the difference between our relationship to God through reckoned Justification and that of the world in the next age through actual Justification? P. 107, par. 1. W.T.’10-92, 2d col.
(53) What is the object in granting this reckoned Justification to the Church in the present time? P. 108, par. 1.
(54) What do works have to do with our Justification, and are we judged according to our works? P. 108, par. 2.
(55) Give an illustration of the general operation of Justification by grace, by the blood, and through our faith, and the relation of works to the same. P. 109, par. 1.
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