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VOL. XXI. AUGUST 1, 1900. No. 15.
“Let Us Draw Near”…………………………227
Privileges of the Royal Priesthood…………227
Having Our Hearts Sprinkled………………228
Washed With Pure Water……………………228
Ye Are Complete in Him……………………229
Poem:—Unto Him Belongeth All…………………229
The Great Shepherd and His Son,
the Good Shepherd………………………229
Christ the Door of the Sheep-Fold…………231
The Lord Appointed Seventy Others
Rejoice in Things Unseen…………………235
Is the Restitution Call Now Open?……………236
Chicago Convention—New Date…………………240
The Pilgrim Harvest Service…………………226
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SUBSCRIPTIONS AND BUSINESS COMMUNICATIONS
WATCH TOWER BIBLE & TRACT SOCIETY,
“BIBLE HOUSE,” 610, 612, 614 ARCH ST., ALLEGHENY, PA., U.S.A.
SUBSCRIPTION PRICE, $1.00 A YEAR IN ADVANCE.
MONEY MAY BE SENT BY EXPRESS, N.Y. DRAFT, MONEY ORDER, OR REGISTERED.
FROM FOREIGN COUNTRIES BY FOREIGN MONEY ORDERS, ONLY. SPECIAL
TERMS TO THE LORD’S POOR, AS FOLLOWS:—
Those of the interested who, by reason of old age, or other infirmity or adversity, are unable to pay for the TOWER will be supplied FREE, if they send a Postal Card each December, stating their case and requesting the paper. We are not only willing, but anxious, that all such be on our list continually.
BRITISH BRANCH NO. 131 GIPSY LANE, FOREST GATE,
LONDON EAST, ENGLAND.
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THE PILGRIM HARVEST SERVICE
We will be glad to have at once postal card requests for Pilgrim visits from all parts of the United States and Canada. (British friends please address cards to our British branch office, London.) We are re-arranging our “Pilgrim” routes and want the following information in few words on postal cards (not letters) for easy reference. Remember that these “Pilgrim” visits involve no expense for the Pilgrim or his traveling expenses—all of which are borne by the Society. We merely request entertainment for the Pilgrim during his two or three days’ stay. Answer the questions by number as follows:—
(1) Do you hope for public meetings,—as well as for private ones for those already interested?
(2) Could and would the friends secure the use of a school or church building or a public hall if public meetings are desired?
(3) Would a suitable room in a private house be provided for the private meetings?
(4) How many friends of present truth reside in your vicinity? (5) How many of these have been consulted and concur in the answers you are sending us? (6) How many of these are WATCH TOWER readers? (7) Do you now meet regularly for worship and study of the Word, as per Hebrews 10:25?
Most of these questions can be answered by either Yes or No or by figures. Number your answers, and add whatever may seem expedient, but do not crowd the card and make it difficult to read and understand.
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“LET US DRAW NEAR”
“Let us draw near with a true heart, in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from a consciousness of evil, and our bodies sprinkled with pure water.”—Heb. 10:22.
NOT TO SINNERS is this invitation addressed. The invitation to them is a very different one, vis.,—Repent, and believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thus obtain the remission of your sins, and then you will be in the attitude to receive the invitation, Draw near to God. The Apostle is addressing those who have already believed unto justification, receiving to themselves the benefits of the Lord’s promise, “Their sins and iniquities will I remember no more.” (Verse 17.) The Apostle is addressing the brethren, and not sinners, and urges them, saying, “Having therefore, brethren, boldness [courage, confidence, privilege] to enter into the holiest by the blood of Jesus, by a new and living way, … let us draw near.”
The Apostle’s words carry our attention to Israel’s Tabernacle in the wilderness, and the spiritual things which it illustrated. The Court, entered through the gate, signified the state or condition of the justified, who must pass the Altar representing Christ’s sacrifice for sins; secondly, approach the Laver of water for cleansing from defilements; and then be ready to pass under the first Vail into the apartment of the Tabernacle called “The Holy.” This “Holy” apartment represented the state or condition of God’s consecrated people (typified by Israel’s priests) while yet in the flesh, and had its Golden Candlestick for their enlightenment, its table of Shewbread, representing their privilege of fellowship with God,—drawing near to him in prayer, praise and communion. The next step beyond the “Holy” was the “Most Holy,” representing heaven itself; but this could be entered only from the “Holy” and by passing under the Second Vail, which represented the actual death of the priest, even as the First Vail represented the reckoned death or consecration. The Apostle has this same thought in mind when elsewhere he mentions the consecrated Royal Priesthood as “seated together with Christ in heavenly places”—in the heavenly condition, the condition represented by the first apartment or “Holy” of the Tabernacle and of the Temple.
PRIVILEGES OF THE ROYAL PRIESTHOOD
It is in reference to this proposition to advance from the “Court” condition of justification into the “Holy” or heavenly or spirit-begotten condition, reached through consecration (and the closest possible approach to God) that the Apostle urges, “Let us draw near.” His language implies that there may properly be a diffidence on our part in respect to this privilege. We might properly hesitate to expect to have communion, fellowship, close approach to the great Creator, realizing that by nature we are imperfect, “children of wrath, even as others,” and that in whatever degree we differ from others and are accounted worthy of such a privilege of drawing near to God, it is not on account of personal worth on our part, but on account of God’s grace bestowed upon us through Jesus our Lord. The Apostle therefore speaks to believers in an encouraging voice: “Let us draw near;” let us have courage to draw near; let us have faith in God, who has made us such gracious arrangements and promises.
The Apostle intimates that a close approach to God cannot be effected, except we have first a “full assurance of faith.” Only those who trust the Lord implicitly, “as a little child” (Luke 18:17) would trust
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its earthly parent, can expect to progress and to have the courage, the confidence, necessary to approach God in this very intimate manner; and the desire to draw nearer and nearer to God must be in the justified believer’s heart, else he will never go on and attain to this his privilege. And this desire to draw near to God is a manifestation of our hunger and thirst after righteousness, which the Lord expects to see before he fulfils to such his engagement that they shall be filled, satisfied.—Matt. 5:6.
Satisfaction will not be attained fully in the present life, tho the believer who progresses and draws nearer and nearer to God will have more and more of this satisfaction to the end of his journey in the present life, receiving the full measure of satisfaction in righteousness and perfection on the other side the vail. Similarly, in our drawing near to God, we may continue to draw nearer and nearer to him, as we obtain deeper experience in his grace, growing also in knowledge and love in the present life; but the full attainment of our privilege of drawing near to God will not be reached until we shall have passed the Second Vail—passed through death, and been changed from human to spirit beings, and have entered into heaven itself, the perfect heavenly condition. There and then we shall be fully at one with the heavenly Father and with our Lord Jesus, having drawn near to the full extent of the invitation and to the full of the opportunities granted us in the new and living way, the narrow way to life, consecrated for us, through the vail, by our Lord’s death as our ransom price.
There are, however, certain conditions specified as necessary to progress along these lines. As no one can draw near to God except by attaining a “full assurance of faith,” neither can he have a full assurance of faith unless he have his “heart sprinkled from a consciousness of evil,” for, as the Apostle elsewhere declares, “If our heart condemn us, God is greater than our heart.” (1 John 3:20.) We may be sure that if our course as new creatures is condemned by our own consciences it would also be condemned by God. Whoever, therefore, would make progress in drawing near to God must seek continually to have “a conscience void of offence toward God and man” (Acts 24:16);—a conscience that is clear, that can say, I am striving to do that which would be pleasing to God, in harmony with my covenant of self-sacrifice, and I am striving to do that which would be approved also by righteous men. Nothing short of this is at all permissible in those who have consecrated themselves to be royal priests, to offer themselves as living sacrifices in the Lord’s service, and to draw near to him in the name and under the merit of the great High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus.
HAVING OUR HEARTS SPRINKLED
How very much is implied in this expression, “Having our hearts sprinkled from a consciousness of evil”! It not only means that we are to avoid sin, and to take heed that the words of our mouths and the meditations of our hearts are acceptable to the Lord, but it means additionally that our hearts, having covenanted self-sacrifice, shall be able to look up to the Lord confidently and realize his blessing and approval, because of the honest, earnest efforts on our part to comply with the terms of our consecration. But since we cannot fully comply with the terms ourselves, it is requisite that we shall apply to ourselves by faith the merit of the precious blood of Christ, the blood of sprinkling, the blood of consecration, and that we shall realize that our acceptance is only in the Beloved One.
WASHED WITH PURE WATER
The expression, “Having our bodies washed with pure water,” figuratively represents the continued process of “cleansing ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and of the spirit, perfecting holiness in the reverence of the Lord,” as elsewhere enjoined by the Apostle. (2 Cor. 7:1.) By nature we are all imperfect, sullied, more or less depraved; and our devotion to the Lord is manifested, first, by our full acceptance and full assurance of faith in the merits of Christ’s sacrifice; and secondly, by our earnest efforts to put away from our flesh, as we have already put away from our hearts, all things defiling and displeasing in the Lord’s sight: that thus we may more and more become copies of his dear Son, our Lord. This “washing of water through the Word” is elsewhere represented (Eph. 5:26) in a similar manner as being a part of the duty and privilege of all of the Lord’s people throughout the remainder of their earthly lives. And we can see how beautiful is the illustration here used, that the Word of God, like water, is purifying, cleansing; as the Apostle declares, speaking of the Christian’s good hopes in the precious promises once delivered to the saints, “He that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he [who called him] is pure.”—1 John 3:3.
As it is necessary to a thorough cleansing of our natural bodies that we should wash with “pure water,” so much the more is it necessary to this cleansing of which the Apostle speaks, the cleansing of our moral characters, that we should have the pure water of divine truth, and not the muddy and polluted teachings of the Adversary, or of those whom he has blinded. And as we look about us upon the many streams of Babylon—the various sectarian theologies which profess to be the truth—we find that altho there is something
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of truth in them all, yet it is sadly befouled and wholly incapable of cleansing their votaries from filthiness of the flesh and of the spirit,—wholly incapable of perfecting them in holiness of the kind which the Lord requires. For instance, false ideas of God and of his character and his plan are incentives to those who so believe to copy these misrepresentations and perversions of justice and love, and are well calculated to develop in the devotees of such a theory a low standard of character, because the low standard which they set for themselves and other fellow-mortals is really higher than that which they ascribe to the Creator.
How important, then, is the truth, and how much meaning we find in our dear Redeemer’s prayer to the Father on our behalf,—”Sanctify them through thy truth; thy Word is truth.” Let us not attempt to sanctify ourselves through any other washing than this; let us not be satisfied with anything short of the “pure water,” the pure Word of God, the pure truth.
“YE ARE COMPLETE IN HIM.”—Col. 2:10.
Now view the class described by the Apostle: they are believers in the Lord Jesus Christ, and thus accepted with the Father through the Beloved One. More than this, to them has been opened up the narrow way to life, consecrated, made possible, through the sacrifice offered by our great High Priest. They are invited to become under-priests, sharers both of the sufferings, and also later on, if faithful, sharers of the glories of Jesus, the Chief Priest of this order. As a means of attaining the glorious end of their calling they are to cleanse themselves from defilement, and for their use in this respect the Word of God has been provided: it is at once a mirror to show them their blemishes, and water wherewith to cleanse themselves—the stimulus for the correction of life being the exceeding great and precious promises set before them in the Scriptures. Their hearts, justified by faith, and honest before God, are fully consecrated to him and to his service, and are to be so kept continually—by obedience to the best of their knowledge and opportunities, and by the blood of sprinkling which covers unintentional errors and failures. This is the class that is called to be associated with the Lord in his Kingdom; they are styled his Brethren, the Royal Priesthood, the Bride, the Lamb’s Wife, and various other names representing their near and dear relationship to the heavenly Father: and all of these who are faithful to the end of the race-course are to be made partakers of the divine nature, with its glory, honor and immortality.
But let us not deceive ourselves in this matter of having hearts that do not condemn us; let us remember that our covenant was unto sacrifice and not unto self-preservation; that it was a covenant to lay our all upon the altar—time, influence, means of every kind; and that we agreed with our Lord that we would reckon this our reasonable service. Do our hearts condemn us in this matter, or do they justify us? Do we feel that we are doing all in our power to serve the Lord and his truth and our brethren? If so, let us rejoice, and let us continue in the same way, patiently hoping for the glorious results promised to the faithful. But if our hearts condemn us, let us not be discouraged; but on the contrary remember that this is a part of the cleansing of the flesh and of the spirit necessary to our preparation for the Kingdom, and let us afresh bind our sacrifices to the altar (Psa. 118:27), and be more and more zealous in expending our little all in the service of him who loved us and who bought us with his own precious blood. Thus doing, it will be our privilege day by day to draw nearer and nearer to the “Most Holy,” and thus finishing our course with joy we shall have share in the first resurrection, awaking in our Lord’s likeness.—2 Cor. 5:14,15; Rom. 6:5; 1 John 3:2; Psa. 17:15.
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UNTO HIM BELONGETH ALL
“Just why I suffer loss
I can not know;
I only know my Father
Wills it so.
He leads in paths I cannot understand;
But all the way I know is wisely planned.
“My life is only mine
That I may use
The gifts he lendeth me
As he may choose;
And if in love some boon he doth recall,
I know that unto him belongeth all.
“I am his child, and I
Can safely trust;
He loves me, and I know
That he is just;
Within his love I can securely rest,
Assured that what he does for me is best.”
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THE GREAT SHEPHERD AND HIS SON, THE GOOD SHEPHERD
JOHN 10:1-16.—AUGUST 26.
“The Good Shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.”
DAVID, THE PSALMIST, wrote prophetically, “Jehovah is my shepherd; I shall not want” (Psa. 23); for in David’s day the arrangements for the Shepherd and the flock of this lesson had not been completed. True, the heavenly Father had purposed his entire plan as respects humanity’s redemption and return to his care as his flock, but he had not yet sent his only begotten Son, the Good Shepherd, to give his life for the sheep, to call the flock, to open the door and to lead them out and into pasturage and to rest. Nevertheless, in the Lord’s providence the nation of Israel had already been gathered, as those who would be prepared to be the flock of the Good Shepherd when he should come. These were “shut up under the Law” (Gal. 3:23), waiting for the coming of the Good Shepherd to open the door and to call them by name as his
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own sheep. Others, indeed, came before the Messiah, affecting to be the true shepherd, leaders sent of God, but they were mere pretenders, who sought their own good and glory, and not that of the sheep. They were thieves and robbers, who sought to gain possession of the sheep for their own selfish ends.
The “porter” (representing the Law) would not recognize any of these pretenders, nor approve them, nor open to them access to the sheep. But when the true Shepherd came he satisfied the Law (the porter), and bought the sheep from Justice, giving his own life as their redemption price. Thus he gained the full right to open the door, the full sanction of the porter, the full authority to lead forth the sheep to the green pastures and still waters of divine truth which then became due to them.
At the time of the giving of this parable our Lord was laying down his life, and at the same time uttering his voice, that the true sheep might learn to know him. And not only will all the true sheep learn to know the Shepherd, but, precious thought! the Shepherd knoweth his own sheep individually, so that he calleth each by name as he leads them out. This suggests to us the intimacy of the relationship between Christ and each member of his flock.
The treatment of sheep in this part of the world is very different from that described in the parable, which is still maintained in Oriental countries. Here sheep are driven, and have little or no acquaintance with the herdsmen. But in Palestine, for instance, every sheep has a personal acquaintance with its shepherd, and he with it, and it is said that this acquaintance is so particular that the shepherds have a separate name for each sheep, and know each individually by its name, and that the sheep knows its own name and will respond to a call from its own shepherd at any time. How beautifully this illustrates the close relationship between Christ and his flock, the Church! He gives to each one of us a new name, and we are each personally known to him—our peculiarities of character, temperament, etc., our strong points and our weaknesses—he knoweth them all. He loves us, cares for us, helps us over our trials and difficulties, and shields us from the temptations which would be too strong for us. “He will not suffer us to be tempted above that we are able, but will with the temptation provide also a way of escape,” and causes that “all things work together for good to them that love God, the called ones according to his purpose”—his “little flock” of this Gospel age.
We note also the care of the Shepherd over the sheep, for he says, “He putteth forth his own sheep and goeth before them.” The words “putteth forth” have the significance of looking after them, that they all get started in the way to the green pastures and still waters for soul refreshment. He is not heedless, careless, respecting them, whether they go or do not go; nevertheless, having started them in the way he will not drive them: he goeth before them to lead, that they may follow. Our Good Shepherd has indeed set us a noble example, so that we may walk in his steps; and whoever will, to the extent of his ability, trustfully do this, will find his wants abundantly supplied, for “No good thing will he [the Shepherd] withhold from those who [thus] walk uprightly.” “He will guide them with his counsel, and afterward receive them to glory.”—Psa. 84:11; 73:24.
Our Lord’s parable does not tell us about the disciplines which the sheep are sure to receive, but these are set before us in the prophetic psalm on the subject, in the words, “Thy rod and thy staff, they comfort me.” The thought is that the Shepherd, while going before and not driving the sheep, nevertheless has such an interest and care that he will not suffer one of the sheep to wander away without administering certain chastisements designed for its good, and to correct it and to bring it back into fellowship in the flock. This is a comfort, and yet it should certainly be the desire of all true sheep to follow the Shepherd so closely that the rod shall not often be necessary.
The link between the Shepherd and the sheep, as here indicated, is love. The Shepherd loves the sheep, and has demonstrated this in having laid down his life for them; and the sheep speedily learn to love the Shepherd, as their care-taker; they recognize him through his voice—the Word of God. This voice appeals to the hearts of all the true sheep, who quickly respond, “Never man spake as this man.”
The voice of the Good Shepherd is a blending of various sounds in a manner in which they are blended by no other voice. His voice sounds forth the chord of justice commingled with the chord of love, and the whole intoned with wisdom and with power. Other theories, plans and schemes of men and of devils, have no such harmony of sound as has the message which the great Shepherd has sent us through his Son. His voice speaks to us of a just penalty for sins—death; it speaks of love, in our redemption and the forgiveness of our sins, and the opening to us of the way of life, through resurrection. This “word of grace” constrains all the true sheep as no other message or voice could do. Moreover, when the true sheep hear the voice of the Good Shepherd, it satisfies their longings as nothing else could do. They will no longer be in danger of being attracted by other sounds or voices, theories or schemes, but will reply to all,
“Jesus has satisfied; Jesus is mine.”
There are many false voices in the world today, seeking to lead the Lord’s sheep astray, and these are
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sometimes sounded in deceptive tones, to imitate the Shepherd’s call, to draw away sheep after those who would be shepherds, but whom the great Shepherd has not appointed; shepherds who not only have not purchased the sheep, but who seek to ignore the great sacrifice by which the Good Shepherd did purchase them. We might mention many such false voices, or false would-be shepherds,—Christian Science, Theosophy, Spiritism, Evolution, Higher Criticism, etc., but we have the Good Shepherd’s word for it, that his true sheep will not be deceived by any of these. Well do they know his voice, and its combination of justice, love, and mercy cannot be duplicated by others,—its message of redemption by the precious blood, justification by faith, the high calling, the begetting of the holy spirit, the by-and-by deliverance of the sons of God, and eventually of all who will obey him of the entire groaning creation, through restitution.
This voice, once heard, can never be mistaken for another; and those who know this Shepherd and his voice need never be misled by others. The Lord’s true sheep, whom he knows by name and who follow him, will not heed the voice of strange shepherds, but will flee from them. They know when they hear a false
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voice, that it means that the Adversary is seeking to ensnare them; and such will flee from the voice of error that they may come the closer to the true Shepherd, who gave his life for the sheep. If, therefore, we see some whom we had supposed were of the Lord’s flock heeding another voice and following after strange shepherds, and heedless of the voice that speaketh from heaven, we need not be fearful; for if they are true sheep of the Lord’s flock they cannot long be deceived, if at all. We may indeed sound out the voice of the Good Shepherd, calling their attention afresh to the harmonies and beauties of the “voice from heaven,” but if still they do not hear and heed, we may know that they do not belong to the flock which our Shepherd is now collecting and shepherding.
Amongst those who heard this parable from our Lord’s lips, not many comprehended, not many had the hearing ear for the true Shepherd’s voice: only a small proportion of the Jewish people followed him and became his true sheep. Similarly now, many are professing to be the true sheep of the Lord’s flock, but in this day of the Shepherd’s presence his voice, the truth, becomes the test. All of the true sheep will hear and be attracted by the voice of truth now uttered, and will obey it. Those who are not of the Good Shepherd’s flock, and who have not his spirit, he desires shall now be separated; to this end they will hear the voice of other shepherds, and be deceived thereby: because they are not truly of the Lord’s flock.
Dr. Porter tells of a scene he witnessed, in which several flocks of sheep were for a time commingled, and how, when the due time was come, the separation took place. He says:—
“As we sat and looked, almost spell-bound, the silent hillsides around were in a moment filled with life and sound. Thousands of sheep and goats were there, grouped in confused masses. The shepherds stood together until all came out, and then they separated, each shepherd taking a different path, and uttering, as he advanced, a shrill, peculiar call. The sheep heard them; at first the mass swayed and moved as if shaken by some internal convulsion; then points struck out in the directions taken by the shepherds. These became longer and longer, until the confused masses were resolved in long, living streams flowing after their leaders.”
So at the present time there are many sheep in the nominal Church, but they are not all the Lord’s sheep. Some belong to human leaders of various sects, and some are God’s. The harvest, or end of this Gospel age, the time for separating the wheat from the tares, is the time for separating the different flocks of sheep. In harmony with this, we now hear various voices calling the sheep in various directions, as never before. This is, in the Lord’s providence, for the purpose of separating all others from his own “little flock.” His sheep will hear his voice and follow him—other sheep, consecrated to human leaders, human institutions, human theories, human efforts, will follow their own bents, and thus be separated from the “little flock,” and this is now the Lord’s good pleasure. Thus he will “gather out of his kingdom all things that offend and them that do iniquity,” before the glorifying of his Church and the great time of trouble that will follow.
CHRIST THE DOOR OF GOD’S SHEEP-FOLD
As a further explanation of the matter, our Lord refers to himself as the Door of the sheep-fold, the lawful, proper entrance-gate, by which God’s people might enter into rest. All who had ever come previously, claiming to be messiahs, had attempted to climb up by some other way than that of keeping the divine law and purchasing the sheep. They were thieves and robbers, attempting to take what they had not secured a right to, and that for selfish gain. But none of the true sheep would heed them nor follow them. Now, however, the Good Shepherd had come, and had purchased the sheep, opening a legal door of entrance to them and liberty for them, and it was appropriate that all of the true sheep should know it. Now it had become possible for the sheep to have in Christ the liberty so long desired, and to be led out and into pasturage and refreshment and to rest and security. Henceforth Jehovah’s flock should never lack for pasturage; because, having bought them through his Son, they shall be cared for. They may now say, “Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life, and I shall dwell in the house of the Lord forever.”
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Others who had approached the sheep, seeking to be their leaders, had done so selfishly; had been willing to sacrifice the sheep in their own interest; but the Good Shepherd, solicitous for the best interests of the sheep, demonstrated this by the sacrifice of his own life on their behalf, that they might have life more abundant, better than they had ever known hitherto,—eternal life. Hireling shepherds labor for the hire, and not from personal interest in the sheep, and consequently, instead of being ready to lay down their lives for the sheep in times of extremity and persecution for righteousness’ sake, they are ready rather to flee the trouble and avoid persecution. They think chiefly of their own ease and comfort, honor and dignity, and of how much of the golden fleece they can get from the sheep. They are not very deeply concerned respecting the spiritual progress of the sheep, their growth in grace, and in all the fatness of love and spiritual welfare; but specially in numbers and collections.
Perhaps never more than at present is this truth clearly illustrated amongst those who are professedly representatives of the Good Shepherd—under-shepherds in his flock. Many of them give evidence of wanting to be on the popular side of every question—of unwillingness to suffer anything for the sake of the truth; of carelessness respecting the real spiritual condition of the flock: of interest rather in the human institutions through which they obtain their support, and with whose welfare their honor, dignity and titles are associated. Of such shepherds Milton, the poet, wrote, styling them—
” … blind mouths.
The hungry sheep look up and are not fed,
But, swollen with wind and the rank mist they draw,
Rot inwardly, and foul contagion spread.”
The Christian philosopher, John Ruskin, commenting upon this, says: “These two monosyllables, ‘blind mouths,’ express the precisely accurate contraries of the right character in the two great offices of the Church,—those of bishop and pastor. A bishop means a person who sees; a pastor means one who feeds. The most unbishoply character a man can have is, therefore, to be blind. The most unpastoral is, instead of feeding, to want to be fed,—to be a mouth.”
Nevertheless, the Good Shepherd will always be represented amongst the sheep by those who have his own characteristics, and who are seeking to walk in his footsteps; and through these he will utter his “voice,” and lead his own sheep to pasture and to rest. These will not only have the same voice, the same Word, the same good tidings, but they will have the same devotion to the interests of the sheep—to feed the sheep, to lead them into the green pastures and by the still waters of present truth, and to preserve their liberties in the Lord, and not to pen them up as their own, nor to make merchandise of them.
The Father, the great over-Shepherd, Jehovah, is referred to by the Good Shepherd, Jesus, in verse 16. “The Father knoweth me” [has confidence in me—has entrusted the care of the sheep to me] and even so I know the Father [having full confidence in him, and recognizing him as my Shepherd, director, leader], and [it is in harmony with his arrangement for me and for the sheep that] I lay down my life for the sheep.”
The sheep that I am now calling and leading to pasture and caring for and calling by their own names, and who know me, are a very special lot of sheep; in all only a “little flock,” for whom Jehovah, the Great Shepherd, has made special arrangements and provisions in his Kingdom of glory. However, these are not all of his sheep, tho they are all yet called and led forth. “Other sheep I have that are not of this fold.” I bought the whole world with the one sacrifice for sins, and all who have the true sheep disposition, all who desire to be in harmony with righteousness, truth, and the author of these, I must recognize as my sheep, and must search them out far and near, until every one of them shall be found. But not yet: this will be by and by, after the present “little flock” shall be glorified with me. Then they, with me, shall be the shepherds who will gather in all of the true sheep, delivering them all from the power of the enemy, and bringing so many as will obey my voice ultimately into that glorious condition of oneness, harmony with the heavenly Father and with myself, in which condition, as my sheep, they will be entitled to everlasting life. “Then there shall be one fold and one shepherd,” as it is written, “Of whom the whole family both in heaven and in earth is named.”—Eph. 3:15.
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“THE LORD APPOINTED SEVENTY OTHERS ALSO”
—LUKE 10:1-11,17-20.—SEPT. 2.—
“The harvest truly is great, but the laborers are few.”
OUR LORD HAD previously sent forth the twelve apostles, as heralds of himself and the Kingdom. (Luke 9:1-6.) The sending forth of seventy was evidently some little time afterward, probably in the last year of his ministry. Their commission reads almost in the same words as that given to the twelve, tho they are not recognized anywhere as apostles on an equality of authority with the twelve. The fact that seventy men would voluntarily go forth as ministers of the Lord, without hope of earthly reward or salary, is a sufficient evidence that a strong influence had already been exerted by Jesus’ teaching. In this connection we remember the Apostle’s statement that above five hundred brethren were sufficiently advanced in knowledge and zeal to be accounted worthy of meeting the Lord after his resurrection, which implies a keen interest on the part of several times that number. We may reasonably suppose that these seventy were representatives of a much larger company of deeply interested ones. They were sent into the various cities and villages, whither the Lord himself would go. They were to prepare his way by announcing the Kingdom at hand, and by performing the miracles intended to demonstrate the authenticity of their message.
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An explanation of why they were sent forth is given (verse 2): it was because the harvest was great and the laborers too few to properly consummate the work in the time appointed of the Father. All interested were expected to share in this appreciation of the greatness of the work, and the necessity for more laborers being sent forth; and it is but reasonable to suppose that the seventy sent were chosen from amongst those appreciating the situation and anxious to be commissioned.
There are several lessons for us in this matter: we too are in a harvest time—in the harvest time of the Gospel age, as they were in the harvest of the Jewish age. Now, as then, the harvest work is great, and the laborers are comparatively few; and now, as then, we cannot hope that any would succeed in doing harvest work unless specially commissioned or sent forth by the Chief Reaper. Hence, all who appreciate the work now in progress, should pray to the Lord to send them forth in his service, or if already engaged in it, that he would graciously open to them doors of opportunity for greater usefulness in his service. In the beginning of this harvest comparatively few were used of the Lord in connection with the harvest work; but as we progress we find that the Lord is graciously pleased to send forth and use more and more those who are zealously anxious to lay down their lives for the truth.
The expression, “The harvest is great,” does not necessarily mean that the amount of ripe “wheat” to be garnered is great. It means rather that the difficulties and oppositions, and multitudes of “tares,” make it difficult to reach all of the “wheat” class. The work is great here, as it was great in the end of the Jewish age; yet only a “little flock” will be gathered now, as only a remnant was gathered from Israel, as the Apostle Paul pointed out. (Rom. 9:27.) The mass of Israel professed to be the Lord’s people, but their piety was little more than profession. They drew nigh to the Lord in attendance at the synagogues, and in celebrating the feasts, felt full and self-satisfied, and looked with pity upon the Gentile nations, and had a great spirit of missionary aggressiveness, and “compassed sea and land to make a proselyte” to Judaism. Nevertheless, the Lord, who read the heart, recognized that theirs was only a formal lip service, and that their hearts were far from him; and we see conditions to-day very similar to this, in nominal spiritual Israel.
None were fit to be sent out as heralds of the Kingdom except such who thoroughly believed in the Kingdom—such as had accepted Jesus as the Messiah; such as believed in his presence—such, therefore, as could speak forth with earnestness and power the message they were sent to bear. And so it seems to be in this harvest time. The Lord is sending forth more laborers continually; yet only such as recognize the Kingdom as nigh, even at the door; only such as recognize the parousia of the King; only such as have a zeal to tell the joyful tidings to others, are being used and blessed of the Lord in the gathering together of his elect,—the ripe “wheat,” his “jewels.”—Psa. 50:5; Mal. 3:16,17; Matt. 13:39,41.
It is not supposable that our Lord meant that any should appeal to him to send forth more laborers into the harvest, who at the same time would not be willing and anxious, to the extent of their ability, to enter this harvest service themselves. There may be some, but we trust very few, who would be prepared to pray: “O Lord bless, I pray thee, thy work, and send forth more laborers; but do not send me. Permit others to sacrifice time and strength and zeal, that I may rest, and have neither part nor lot in the matter, sacrificing little or nothing.” Only those are properly qualified to petition the Lord on such a subject, whose hearts are burning with a desire to do with their might what their hands may find to do, according to their opportunities. Such, in praying, would be anxious, first of all, to themselves be used as servants of the great Chief Reaper; for it is “he that reapeth that receiveth wages and that gathereth fruit unto eternal life” now, as it was also in the Jewish harvest. Those who are most zealous to serve the Lord, and most willing to sacrifice on behalf of his cause, are the ones who will receive the greatest present blessing of spiritual fellowship with the Lord, and who will be the best prepared to share the glories soon to be revealed.
The Lord adopted with the seventy the same method that he started with the twelve; viz., of sending them two and two; and similarly we, at the present time, encourage the colporteur laborers in this harvest to go two and two, for mutual encouragement and helpfulness, etc. As the poet has said,
“So when two together work, each for each
Is quick to plan and can the other teach;
But when alone one seeks the best to know,
His skill is weaker and his thoughts are slow.”
It is questionable just why the Lord chose seventy for this work. However, we remember that Moses chose seventy of the elders of Israel for his assistants, and that this number, seventy, was from that time onward preserved in Israel, and known as the “Sanhedrin,” or committee of seventy chief men and judges. In the light of this fact, it would appear that if the nation of Israel had been in proper condition of heart to receive the Lord, the chiefs of that nation would already have embraced his cause, and the seventy members of the Sanhedrin would by that time have been proclaiming the Messiah through the length and breadth of Palestine. But since they had not received the King, and had not prayed him to commission them to announce
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him, our Lord commissioned others, and the work went on, the honor and privilege passing by those of influence and education who might have enjoyed it had they been worthy. Doubtless the seventy sent forth were, like the apostles, chosen from amongst the honest-hearted of the common people, and not many, if any of them, were rich, wise or learned.
Likewise, in this harvest time, there are many ministers, professedly servants of the truth, and possessed of education, influence, etc., who by now should realize that we are in the harvest of the Gospel age, and should be seeking of the Lord an opportunity to engage in the harvest work; but instead, they are described as “dumb dogs, lying down, refusing to bark”—refusing to awaken the household under their care, to let them know that the Kingdom of God is at hand, and that all not received into the Kingdom are about to be plunged into a great time of trouble. All of the spiritual house of to-day must either receive a more than pentecostal blessing, in being “changed” and made sharers of the Kingdom, or else, being rejected from the Kingdom, receive a baptism of fiery trouble—having their portion with the world, not being accounted worthy to escape those things coming upon the world.—Luke 21:36.
That the Lord did not expect the seventy to convert and gather in all Israel is very distinctly shown in his statement, “Behold, I send you forth as lambs among wolves.” The Master knew that the majority of the professedly consecrated Israel of God were consecrated to self and selfishness, to sect and party, and not to the truth. The majority were represented as voracious wolves, not sheep. Nevertheless, there were lambs and sheep amongst the goats and the wolves, and these all must hear the message, and thus be prepared to receive the Messiah, when he should present himself to them.
Special instructions were given to these specially sent-forth ones. They had a peculiar work to do and the conditions accorded. They were not, therefore, a criterion for subsequent workers under different circumstances. They were to carry neither purse, nor valise, nor extra shoes, and were to salute no man by the way. They would thus be dependent on the generosity of those to whom they ministered the truth. And the effect of this would be beneficial in several ways. (1) It would test the faith of those who went forth, and keep them continually depending on the Lord’s supervising care, and trusting that he who had sent them knew how to make provision for their necessities while they complied with his commands. (2) It would furnish an opportunity for hospitality to those to whom they preached, and who, by reason of the necessities of the case, would be constrained to reach a decision promptly as to whether or not they were in sympathy with the
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message, and hence with the messengers, and willing to entertain them. The same lesson of dependence on the Lord was implied in the provision for no change of raiment. Besides, it was to be but a short tour.
The injunction not to salute any one by the way, may be understood to refer to the custom in Oriental lands of travelers stopping frequently to chat with each other respecting the news. The disciples had but one message, the good tidings, and they were to give all diligence to its promulgation, and not to be general newsmongers. On arriving at a house they were to take careful note respecting their reception, and were to anticipate this with a prayer that peace, blessing, favor, might be upon that house and its inmates. If a son of peace, a child of God, resided there, they might expect that under the Lord’s providence they would have a kind reception, and were to accept it as of the Lord’s arrangement. If they were not so received, they were to consider it as an evidence that that was not the home of God’s people, living in covenant relationship with him, and were to take their departure, seeking another and another place. Peradventure they found no entertainer in the village, they were, nevertheless, to give their testimony. And it should be given in a striking manner; viz., by the shaking of the dust from their shoes, which, to the Oriental mind, would signify a very solemn and final testimony; and then they were to say, “Notwithstanding, be sure of this, that the Kingdom of God is come nigh unto you.”
All who are engaged in the present harvest work may learn some very profitable lessons here, applicable, indeed, to the Lord’s people at any time while engaged in his service. We have no time for the ordinary converse. The time is short; the harvest work is great; the laborers are few; our time is consecrated; we must labor while it is called day, knowing that a night cometh wherein no man can work. We have consecrated our lives even unto death; we are commissioned of the great Lord of the harvest to seek for the true “wheat,” and to gather it into the barn. What time have we for frivolities or worldliness or the many social amenities? Rather, we must content ourselves with giving very little attention to these things, and must press along the line, engaging heartily in the work given us to do, if we would have the approval of our Master, his “Well done, good and faithful servant.”
Altho it is not customary to-day, as it was in Palestine nineteen centuries ago, to salute a house and say, “Peace be to this house!” nevertheless all of the Lord’s people should be peacemakers, peace-promoters, peace-lovers, and a blessing of peace and restfulness should go with them wherever they go. Alas! how many of them are slow to learn that God has not called us to
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strife, contentions, bickerings, anger, etc., but to love, joy, peace, etc. How few, comparatively, have learned how to speak the truth in love; and always to give a soft answer which turneth away wrath; and always to avoid the grievous words which stir up anger. Like the seventy of our lesson, in our daily avocations and efforts to minister to others, let the peace of God go with us, shining in our faces, governing our actions and intoning our language, so that, as the Apostle expresses it, our speech shall be always seasoned with grace.
Conditions in civilized lands to-day are very different from what they were and still are in Oriental lands, so that here and now it would be unusual to be expected to entertain strangers; nevertheless, all who are of the Lord’s true people should be on the look-out to entertain hospitably any servants of the Lord, who they are sure carry his message, the Gospel of the Kingdom. And, as the Apostle indicates, they should be just as careful not to entertain, not to assist, and not to bid God-speed to any who are bearing a false gospel, and denying that the Lord bought us.—2 John 10.
REJOICE IN THINGS UNSEEN
When the seventy returned from this mission they were full of joy; saying, “Lord, even the devils are subject unto us, in thy name.” Our Lord assured them that this was what he expected, and intended, when he sent them forth, and explained respecting his own knowledge of Satan in his pre-human condition, that there and then he had been a witness to Satan’s fall from high glory and privilege and position to his present attitude of chief adversary of God. “I beheld Satan as lightning [as a bright one] fall from heaven.” It is for those who deny the personality of Satan and who deny there are any fallen angels, to explain away these plain statements of Scripture. The true children of God, the true sheep who hear the voice of the Shepherd, will not be deceived upon this point any more than upon others. What matters it to us that we did not see Satan fall from his glorious condition? Our Master did, and he has borne testimony, not only respecting Satan’s personality, but also respecting his fall from brightness and honor. What is it to us that others deny that there are fallen angels, demons, who seek to impersonate the dead, through spiritualism, etc.? We have the Master’s words, and the words of the apostles, to the contrary, and as true sheep we both hear and heed the Shepherd’s voice and follow him. We heed not the voice of Satan, uttered through those whom he controls, telling us that there is no devil, that there is no Second Death, etc.
Our Lord proceeded to tell the seventy that it was he who had given them the power they had enjoyed, and that it included immunity from the bites of serpents and scorpions, and from all the power of the enemy—all enemies, but specially the enemy, Satan: the same one mentioned also in the prayer which our Lord taught, saying, “Deliver us from the Evil One.” It may not be amiss to note here the fact that these powers and authorities over Satan, poisons, serpents, etc., were confined to the twelve and to the subsequent seventy, and were never given to the Church in general. The only Scripture which even seems to so imply is Mark 16:9 to the end, and these verses are not found in the oldest Greek MSS., and are evidently interpolations, added probably about the fifth century: they are omitted from the Revised Version and others. But while no such immunity from poisons and bites and stings are granted to the Gospel Church in general, we have what serves every purpose in this respect; viz., the Lord’s promise that nothing shall by any means hurt us as new creatures,—that the Lord will permit nothing to happen to his consecrated ones that he is not both able and willing to overrule for their good, their highest welfare.
While rejoicing with the disciples in their increased faith and joy, resulting from their activities in his service, and in the exercise of the gifts which he had bestowed upon them, our Lord cautioned them against thinking too highly of such miraculous gifts, and assures them that their chiefest cause for joy lay in another direction—in the fact that they had been accepted as sons into God’s family (John 1:12); in the fact that their names were written in heaven, as prospective joint-heirs with Christ in his Kingdom—prospective members of the body of Christ, to suffer with him, and thus attest their fidelity, and by and by to be glorified with him to all eternity. This is in harmony with the Apostle Paul’s statement in 1 Cor. 13:1, where he assures us that the miraculous gifts conferred upon the early Church by the laying on of the apostles’ hands, such as speaking with unknown tongues, interpretations of mysteries, etc., are not proofs of spirit-begotten conditions;—that a greater proof is the possession of the spirit of the Lord, the spirit of love that never faileth.
The more of the spirit of love we possess the greater is our likeness to God’s dear Son, our Redeemer, and the more will we be fitted and prepared for a share with him in his heavenly glories. If, therefore, the Lord permits us to do some little service in the present harvest, or to bear some burdens in the heat of the day, or if he grants us the privilege of successfully contending against the great Adversary and his servants, and hinders us from being stung or “hurt” by their words or looks or deeds, and if he grants us opportunities for helping others out of soul-sickness by administering the good medicine of the present truth, let us rejoice in these privileges and opportunities; but let us rejoice still more that under the Lord’s providence we are his children, begotten of his spirit,—that our names have been recorded as members of his family, and that by and by we may expect to be joint-heirs with our Elder Brother. Yea, in these good hopes we will rejoice.
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IS THE RESTITUTION CALL NOW OPEN?
A DEAR BROTHER in the truth seems to think that the teachings of DAWN, VOL. V., differ from those of DAWN, VOL. III., on the question heading this article. He sees clearly that in DAWN, VOL. V., the view we present is that the restitution call cannot begin until the last member of the Gospel Church has been changed, glorified, but he thinks that the third volume teaches that the restitution call will be in progress simultaneously with the closing work of this Gospel age. This clearer statement of the subject in DAWN V., is the result of our having learned that some had gotten the wrong impression from VOL. III. In proof of his point, the Brother refers us to VOL. III., p.218, where it is stated that “the stopping of the favor or call here, in 1881, is followed, or rather lapped upon, by the general call of the whole world to the Millennial blessings and
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favors on condition of faith and obedience.” Also pp.365 and 367: “Further, where the special favor of the general Gospel call ceased, October, 1881, the blessings upon the world would seem to be due to have a beginning.” “It (1881) was the date of the closing of the high calling, and hence the date for the beginning of the restitution call for mankind in general.”
On questions of so much intricacy it is sometimes difficult to use language sufficiently exact; especially if at the time of writing objections or criticisms are not fully anticipated. Were we to express the above points again we would try still harder, as in DAWN V., to guard our statements, and thus to prevent any misunderstanding. Our thought is, that the close of the high calling in the year 1881 was a marked date, and that from that time onward we should expect manifestations along the line of restitution—evidences that restitution blessings were in process of development. We had no intention of conveying the thought that restitution, physical, mental and moral, should be expected in 1881, and onward. As a matter of fact, we see no such process of general physical restitution in operation, nor ought we to expect it until the Day of Atonement sacrifices (of this Gospel age—Christ and the Church, his body) are complete.
We have already pointed this out in the pamphlet, “Tabernacle Shadows of Better Sacrifices,” published in 1881. We there show that the high priest does not put on the glorious garments, representing the dignity and authority of rulership and blessing, until the “Lord’s goat” has been killed, its body burned without the camp, its fat burned upon the altar, and its blood carried into the “Most Holy” and sprinkled upon the Mercy-Seat. (We there show also that this goat typified the Church, all of whose experiences there typified cannot be accomplished until the last member of the body of Christ has finished his sacrifice completely.) Then it was that the high priest went to the altar, lifted up his hands, and began to bless the people, who meantime lay prostrate in the dust awaiting that very blessing, which typically represents restitution.
In the above statement that “the stopping of the favor or call here, in 1881, is followed, or rather lapped upon, by the general call of the whole world to the Millennial blessings and favors,” we hoped that the reader would have in mind our further statement; that altho the call, in its open or full sense, ceased in 1881, it would be prolonged in a special or private sense for a time, just as Israel’s national favor ceased five days before our Lord’s crucifixion, when he said, “Your house is left unto you desolate,” yet in an individual sense of the word, God’s favor continued with Israel exclusively for three and a half years following that date; only that instead of being a national favor, it was a private, an individual favor. On p.219 we endeavor to explain this continuation of the Gospel call, in another form, using the following language:
“But tho the general ‘call’ has ceased, the ‘door’ is not yet shut. The end of the call, and the shutting of the door are distinct and separate. The ‘door’ stands open for some to enter the race for the great prize of joint-heirship in the Kingdom after the general ‘call’ has ceased. God has predetermined a fixed number to constitute the Church, ‘the body of Christ,’ and there can be neither one member superfluous nor one lacking. (See this typically taught in Lev. 21:17-23.) It follows that he could not call or invite to that honor more than would complete the number that he had determined, and God’s Word shows that this number had been secured [called] in October, 1881. But since some of those who responded under the general call, and made the covenant with him, will fail to keep that covenant, fail to so run as to obtain the prize, the ‘door’ stands open after the general ‘call’ has ceased, to permit the entrance to the race, to self-sacrifice in the service of the truth, of some [under the private or individual call] to take the places of such as may, during the inspection, cast aside the wedding garment of Christ’s righteousness; and also of such others as, having made the covenant of self-sacrifice in the service, love the present evil world, become overcharged with its cares or pleasures, and fail to perform the requirements of their covenant.”
Our thought is that this secret extension of the privileges of the call, after it has ceased as a general offer, must of necessity precede the beginning of the restitution privileges, and hence that only preparatory
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work in respect to the restitution and the proclamation of it, will be in order until the harvest of this Gospel age has been fully gathered. The knowledge of restitution is granted to the Lord’s consecrated people now, to the intent that they should not be in darkness with the world in respect to the divine plan, and especially in view of the approaching great time of trouble, and also in view of the falling of the systems of error, false doctrines, etc. It is necessary that the restitution should be recognized by God’s people, in order to keep them from falling in this day of trouble. But the message or call to restitution is not due to the world, to our understanding, in any sense of the word; hence it is that the efforts being made in connection with the dissemination of present truth are confined, so far as seems reasonable and possible, to the Church—to those, at least, who professedly claim to be the Lord’s people, and not to the world.
Our brother’s letter suggests several questions, which we here propound and answer, hoping that the answers may be helpful, not only to him but to others.
(1) Question.—May it not be, that both the high calling and the restitution call are now open? Or, if only one of them, would it not seem the more probable that the restitution call alone is open now? I fail to see the force of your claim that the “door” stands open after the “call” ceases.
Answer.—We believe that we have shown, foregoing that the restitution call could not begin until the sacrifice of the Church is completely finished, and until the High Priest, with every member of his body, is fully clothed with the honors and dignities of his office, represented in the garments of glory and beauty. We doubt if we can make the matter of the open door after the general call has ceased, any plainer than above set forth. We think it beyond question, that the Lord could not call at any time a greater number than the elect number, even tho his foreknowledge assured him that many of the called ones would not make their calling and election sure, and therefore would not be amongst the chosen. We hold, therefore, that at such time as the full number of the elect had been called, the general call must of necessity have ceased; and yet, since the Lord clearly foretold that a casting out of some during the inspection of the guests would follow (Matt. 22:10-14), and since the elect number must be complete, it follows that there must be some way of bringing in others to take the places of those who would be cast out, after the general call ceased and the work of inspection began. To our understanding this work of inspection of the guests has been progressing for some time—since the call ceased. As some were found unworthy of their privileges and “cast into outer darkness,” similar to that in which the whole world is, others were admitted to the favors of the called, and the attendant testings. And this work must continue until the full quota of elect ones shall have passed divine approval. We can think of no other way that would permit God to be just and reasonable in his dealings, since he will not accept less than the foreordained number, and since he will not call to that number any who, in any sense of the word, might be open to disappointment. “Just and true are thy ways, thou King of saints!” As pointed out (DAWN, Vol., III., page 222) these additions are illustrated in the parable by those admitted to labor in the vineyard at the eleventh hour,—after the regular calls had ceased.
(2) Question.—Did not the restitution call precede the Gospel call? Were not Enoch, Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, and all Israel called to restitution? If this be true, then the Gospel call was merely a supplementary one, for the time being, and in that event its closing or cessation would at once put in force again the original call which it had temporarily superseded.
Answer.—No: none of the patriarches were called to restitution, nor was it possible that either they or others could attain restitution blessings until after the ransom had been paid; until after all the Atonement Day sacrifices had been offered. If restitution had been possible without the ransom, then Christ died in vain, so far as the world of mankind is concerned. But no; all that anyone enjoyed of restitution favors in the past, was what we now enjoy; viz., a knowledge of them. A slight knowledge or hint at restitution was given to father Adam and mother Eve. Subsequently a clearer statement of the same was made to Abraham, and confirmed to Isaac and Jacob. There is a vast difference between the promise of a thing and the thing itself. Had the restitution call gone forth in the true sense, anyone responding properly would have been restored to perfection and everlasting life. True, there was a kind of offer of restitution made to Israel under the Law Covenant—an offer that they would be restored to perfection and life if they would keep their Law Covenant inviolate. But, as we have seen, the keeping of that Law was impossible; and hence the attainment of restitution under it was equally impossible.
The special merit of the patriarches consisted in the fact that, living before any call to everlasting life was made, and with merely a hint of God’s gracious purposes, they exercised so great faith respecting the same,—enduring much in their endeavors to please God, and because of their confidence in his promises. From the Apostle Paul’s account, some of them endured, faithfully, experiences which, had they lived
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during this Gospel age, would have constituted them overcomers in the highest sense of the word, and joint-heirs with Christ in the Kingdom. But living before this high calling or any other call had been issued, and suffering and enduring valiantly and faithfully, they are promised a better resurrection, a more favorable resurrection than that of the world,—tho it will not be so wonderful a resurrection as that of the Church. As the Apostle remarks, God has promised some better thing for us (than for them), “that they without us should not be made perfect.”—Heb. 11:40.
Their resurrection will be better than that of the remainder of mankind, except the consecrated Gospel Church, in that it will be an instantaneous raising to perfection, while the world’s resurrection will be a gradual one, accompanied by disciplines and testings, and called by our Lord “the resurrection by judgment”—a gradual raising up of the obedient and willing throughout the Millennial age, step by step, to all that was forfeited and lost in Eden.
(3) Question.—Will not the restitution call be a call to faith and to obedience, without sacrifice? If we cannot imagine such a call as being now in process, let me ask, Why not? Was not this call the one that was open to Cornelius and to everybody else, both before and since his time, as mentioned by the Apostle Peter, “I perceive that in every nation he that feareth God and worketh righteousness is acceptable to him”?
Answer.—Peter did not mean to be understood that he that feared God and worked righteousness to the best of his ability had always been acceptable to God. Peter had just learned that a new dispensation had been ushered in, and that since Christ had redeemed, not the Jew only, but the whole world of mankind, therefore now repentance and remission of sins were proper to be preached in Christ’s name to every creature, Gentiles as well as Jews; and that whoever sought to do the Lord’s will to the best of his ability would be acceptable in the Lord’s sight.
The restitution call will be a very different one from any that has ever gone forth as yet. It will not be a call to faith and to reckoned forgiveness of sins, but a call to obedience and to the actual blotting out of sins. During the Millennial age the world of mankind will be dealt with according to the condition of each, and obedience to the extent of ability will be required of each individual. Every obedience will receive its reward, in the way of mental, moral and physical recuperation, restitution; and every disobedience will receive a just chastisement, and thus throughout that age all who will shall have the opportunity of development, mentally, physically, morally, until, at its close, if he has been obedient to the great Teacher, Christ, he will again be in the image and likeness of God, as was Father Adam, but with additional experience gained,—not only during the fall, but especially the experiences gained under the administration of Christ’s government, during the Millennial period, while rising again; while being restituted out of sin and death conditions, into conditions of righteousness and life.
What is now known to the Church of this Gospel age as “justification by faith” (in like manner also the ancient worthies were justified) will not be in operation during the Millennial age, nor be necessary; because the conditions then will be so different from present conditions. It is because “we walk by faith and not by sight,”—because faith is now so difficult, and therefore so rare, that it is so highly appreciated and rewarded of God. But when the Millennial age will have been ushered in, the age of faith will have passed—that will be the age of knowledge,—the age of evidences so clear, so unmistakable, that even “the wayfaring man, tho ignorant, shall not err therein, for the knowledge of the Lord shall fill the whole earth, as the waters cover the face of the great deep.” With knowledge thus abundant, so that there shall be no need to say to one’s neighbor, “Know the Lord, because all shall know him,” it follows that special faith will be impossible, and hence the rewards of special faith will no longer be offered.
We do not mean to say that mankind during the Millennium will not believe; on the contrary, none can do otherwise than believe: we do mean to say, however, that there is a difference between believing and exercising faith. We now believe various things by faith, which the world in the next age will believe, not by faith but on evidence, by knowledge—it will be impossible for them to doubt them, seeing that the evidences will be so indisputable. For instance, now God tells us to reckon all of our past sins forgiven, and ourselves fully justified in his sight. Nevertheless, we continually see evidences of our own weaknesses in our minds and bodies. The sins are not blotted out; they are merely reckonedly covered. In the case of the Church’s sins: they will not be blotted out until death shall destroy these mortal bodies, and until the Lord, in the first resurrection, shall grant us glorious, spiritual, perfect bodies. In them there will be no trace of sin or weakness or imperfection; all our sins will then be actually blotted out. But now we are required to believe in the covering of our sins; to exercise faith in God’s declaration. Our next step of faith is in connection with the high calling to sacrifice earthly and temporal interests for the gaining of the heavenly glory, honor and immortality. But the heavenly crown and blessing are seen only with the eye of faith; and whoever runs in the race now set before
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us in the Gospel, must not only look with the eye of faith unto Jesus, as the author and finisher of our faith, but with the same eye of faith must see the crown of righteousness which the Lord, the righteous Judge, has laid up for those who are faithful. Thus ours is preeminently an age of faith, of reckoned conditions, and of trust in the promises: and it shall have its great and precious reward.
Not so will be the conditions of the Millennial age, when ushered in. Knowledge will be there, as we have seen; and each day’s experiences will result either in mental, moral and physical development, or in chastisements for failures to make progress. Such experiences will give ample demonstration of what may be expected as the ultimate outcome,—restitution as the reward of obedience, or the Second Death as the punishment of disobedience.
The matter is clearly set before us in the Scriptures, which clearly teach that, during this age, the rule of divine dealing is, “According to thy faith be it unto thee,” while the rule of the judgment of the world in the Millennial age is clearly laid down in Rev. 20:12: “I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God: and the books were opened; and another book of life was opened [the first book of life is called the Lamb’s Book of Life, containing the names of the elect Church, his Bride:—this other Book of Life will be the book or record of those who shall pass the restitution trial or judgment satisfactorily], and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books [the Scriptures—John 12:48] according to their works.”
It would be a mistake to suppose that God will call mankind to sonship during the Millennial age, and not require them to make full consecration of themselves to him, and to that righteousness of which he is the personal representative. None can ever have eternal life upon any other condition than this—absolute obedience, and more—absolute harmony with the very spirit of the divine law, the law of righteousness, the law of love. And all who will be in harmony with the Lord to such an extent as this, would of necessity sacrifice, if there were opposition to the Lord or to righteousness which would make necessary a sacrifice of any kind, rather than deny the Lord and the principles of his holiness.
The reason why there will be no sacrifices required of the world during the Millennial age is, that sin and Satan will no longer be in control—”this present evil world” (dispensation) will have passed away, and in its stead will have been ushered in “the world to come, wherein dwelleth righteousness”—wherein righteousness will be the rule, wherein the King and all in favor with him and every feature of government will be one of righteousness, truth and love.
To suppose the restitution call already commenced, would be to suppose that God had in some manner authorized some one to announce that henceforth no one would suffer for right doing, but only for wrong doing; and that henceforth whoever sought to do right to the best of his ability, would find himself unopposed therein, and that his every effort would promptly bring mental, moral and physical strength and recuperation, which, going on and on, would by and by reach absolute perfection. Furthermore, it would be to promise that any who accepted this restitution call would never die the Adamic death; but on the contrary, accepting this call heartily, would find that day by day, year by year, the power of death in him was being vanquished and the process of restitution progressing.
When that call shall go forth, and those restitution privileges shall be offered to mankind, it will be as the Prophet has declared, that no man shall thenceforth die for Adam’s sin, nor for the sin of his fathers, but only for his own sin. (Jer. 31:29,30.) We understand that this time will not be reached until after the time of trouble—not until A.D. 1915. To our understanding, from that date onward, the Kingdom being fully established, the call of the world to restitution privileges will be opened, and whoever shall then die will die for his own sin [Second Death] and not for father Adam’s; and whoever will then be obedient to
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the Lord will experience the blessings of his grace in restitution,—actual, perceptible recovery beginning at once, as the reward to the faithful under the restitution call.
The sense in which Millennial blessings and favors are already lapping upon the Gospel age, to our understanding, is this: First, knowledge, inventions, etc., are bringing to the world of mankind blessings never hitherto enjoyed, and which are really intended for the Millennial age, and are merely being gotten ready or prepared in this “day of God’s preparation.” (2) Restitution blessings are lapping also, in the sense that these inventions, etc., are gradually leading on to the great time of trouble, in which present institutions, social, financial, political, religious, will all be overthrown—that in their stead God may bring in the better provisions and arrangements of the Millennial Kingdom. (3) Restitution blessings are coming to the Church now, in the sense that she is permitted to foresee these coming blessings upon the world, and to rejoice exceedingly, and to lift up her heart in thankfulness and praise to him who loveth us and who bought us with his own precious blood, and to realize how it is “the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.”
(4) Question.—Suppose some one should say, “I wish to give up this present world and all its honors and pleasures, to obey and follow Christ, no difference
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what trials and persecutions it may bring; but I have no expectation of salvation on the divine plane, and I am not running for that prize. Salvation on the human plane is better than I deserve, no matter how much it may cost me to follow Christ now, in the opening years of his reign, before Satan is bound. I am glad of an opportunity to show my loyalty under adverse circumstances, which will prove that I am sincere.” Who may say that such an one might not come in under the restitution call?
Answer.—The Apostle, on one occasion, said, “The times of this ignorance God winked at”—took no account of. So all the way down through this Gospel age, while this “high calling” has been presented, there doubtless have been some of the Lord’s followers who have not clearly grasped his promises in all their length and strength and beauty,—many who did not clearly understand that the overcomers of this age are to be heirs of God, joint-heirs with Jesus Christ, and partakers of glory, honor and immortality. Their ignorance, however, did not alter the call nor the Lord’s engagement. The heavenly Father is, so to speak, dealing with Christ rather than with us, and thus it is written that we are “accepted in the Beloved.” Whoever, therefore, during this Gospel age, has fully consecrated himself to the Lord as his Master, fully trusting in him also as his Redeemer, and seeking to walk in his footsteps, the same is an heir of God and a joint-heir with Jesus Christ, his Lord, whether he knew it or not; just as it would be in respect to an earthly inheritance.
It might seem strange that a son should not have some knowledge of his father’s wealth and of his father’s intention to give him a portion, but the son’s ignorance would not alter in any degree the father’s will, nor hinder him from participating in its provisions. So we should say respecting those of the Lord’s faithful ones during this age, who have not been aware of how great things “God hath in reservation for them that love him.” And this applies also to such an one as you mention in this question: his ignorance will not alter the divine arrangement; and if he faithfully follow the Lord now, we have every reason to believe that in the regeneration he shall sit in his throne, whether he expects so great a favor or not. Nevertheless, we should expect that now the Lord would graciously reveal to such a faithful sacrificer his goodly heritage. There surely is no Restitution Call at the present time—no offer, yet, of an opportunity to grow out of imperfection and death, into perfection in God’s likeness, and into life everlasting.
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THE CHICAGO CONVENTION
CHANGE OF DATE, TO AUGUST 25,26,27
IT HAS BEEN found necessary to change our Convention dates to one week earlier than announced in our last issue. All arrangements are now complete as follows:—
RAIL ROAD RATES, ETC. We are taking advantage of the extremely low rail road rates granted to the “G.A.R. Encampment,” but open to everybody: so Excursion Tickets for the “G.A.R. Encampment,” (and not for our Convention), should be called for. Make full inquiry of your R.R. ticket agent in advance, respecting date when he will have these cheap tickets on sale.
HOTEL ACCOMMODATIONS. The Chicago brethren assure us that they have made very complete arrangements for our entertainment, at reasonable rates.
“Hotel Grace,” Cor. Clark St. and Jackson Boulevard has been secured for headquarters. It is centrally located—within walking distance of all depots. A number of comfortable apartments have been secured at 50 cents per night each person—two in a bed: a few choicest rooms 75 cents each person. State which you desire reserved for you.
Restaurants are numerous in the vicinity of the hotel and hall. Plain meals can be had at from fifteen cents upward.
THE CONVENTION HALL. The committee has secured the use of “The People’s Institute,” corner of Van Buren and Leavitt Streets. It is commodious—probably quite beyond our needs—having a seating capacity of eighteen hundred. It is about 30 minutes ride from our hotel headquarters, and may be reached by the Garfield Park train on the Metropolitan Elevated Road: Get off at Hoyne Station. Or take the Van Buren Street car to Leavitt Street, or the Leavitt Street Car to Van Buren St.
BAPTISM SERVICE. Arrangements for baptism—robes, towels, etc., are complete; so that any desiring thus to symbolize their consecration can be accommodated on Monday afternoon, August 27.
WRITE US FOR PARTICULARS, as soon as you decide that you can attend, and have learned when your train will reach Chicago. Make your letter brief and to the point; thus for instance: “Our party will consist of six—two males and two females single, and one married couple. We expect to reach Chicago at 11 o’clock A.M. August 25, via Chicago and Northwestern R.R. We desire the fifty cent lodgings.” Mention names.
COMMITTEE OF RECEPTION of Chicago Church will, so far as possible, meet the friends at depots on arrival of trains indicated—at the door of the Ladies’ Waiting Room. Each may recognize the other by seeing a WATCH TOWER in his hand. However, should you for any reason fail to meet one of the committee, you can easily find a lunch room, and then “Hotel Grace” or the Convention Hall, at the addresses above given.
A LARGE ATTENDANCE EXPECTED
All who trust in the “precious blood” as man’s atonement price are cordially invited. We anticipate a large attendance, and urge that all who come shall seek to bring with him the Lord’s blessing, that all in attendance may be blessed and that the influence of the Convention may be far-reaching for good to the Lord’s flock and to the Chief Shepherd’s praise.