VOL. VIII. July 1, 1925 No. 13
VOL. VIII. July 15, 1925 No. 14
VOL. VIII. July 1, 1925 No. 13
the suggestion of brethren in various parts, arrangements are again under way for a
convention at Ulster Park, N. Y. September 25, 26, 27, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday are
the days when it seems best for this conference of the friends.
By this time many of the brethren throughout the East are familiar with Ulster Park and its environment -- fruits, flowers, and beautiful lakes, and well know that this is a most delightful place to spend a few days together in spiritual communion with one another and with their Divine Master.
The Golden Rule Inn has splendid and ample accommodations for the entertainment of all in attendance; and the adjoining auditorium is a very desirable room for the exercises of the convention. The friends residing at Ulster Park extend a very cordial welcome to all the brethren to join them in this season of fellowship.
Ulster Park is located about seventy-five miles north of New York City; about four miles south of Kingston, N.Y. It can be reached either by boat or railway. It will be well for all those purposing to attend this convention to communicate with Brother Greiner regarding the accommodations, that ample arrangements may be made. The rates will be reasonable. Address your communications to Brother P. L. Greiner, Box 11-A, Ulster Park, N.Y.
THE shaking in the ecclesiastical heavens continues. As is quite apparent Jesus referred to it as being associated with the end of the Age and His Second Coming as among other signs then in evidence: "The powers of the heavens shall be shaken." (Matt. 24:29.) We believe the reference here is to the shaking and disintegration of the ecclesiastical or religious elements preparatory to their complete removal, as saith the Apostle quoting the Prophet: "Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven. And this word, yet once more, signifieth the removing of those things that are shaken, as of things that are made, that those things which cannot be shaken may remain." -- Heb. 12:26, 27.
The inconsistencies and errors of the time-honored creeds and practices, not supported in the Scriptures, have paved the way for infidelity in the name of science, evolution, modern learning, etc,, to make innumerable inroads into the Church; so much so that it is probably a fact that the majority of the ministers of all denominations are agnostics and unbelievers so far as the essential elements are concerned that constitute the foundation of the Christian system. It is undoubtedly true that the increasing light and knowledge of modern times has exposed to an alarming degree the weakness and falsity of much that the creeds of the past have contained and that has led to their rejection. But this does not justify the repudiation of the true teachings of the Bible, which does not uphold .the wrongful teachings of the creeds.
"What is Christianity?"
Thus the warfare in these days is between modernism or modern infidelity and the inspiration of the Scriptures, and is observed to be at the present time most active and heated in the Episcopal, Baptist, and Presbyterian bodies. Nor is it to be wondered at that the discussion should gather around the One who is the very foundation of the Christian institution-Who is He? and whence cometh His healing virtue as the Savior of mankind? Dr. Harry Emerson Fosdick, much in the limelight as champion of modern infidelity, who recently accepted the pastorate of the Park Avenue Baptist Church of New York City following his resignation from his post in the Presbyterian communion, submits in his initial sermon in the Park Avenue Baptist Church an interesting statement as to his idea of what constitutes Christianity:
"What is Christianity? The Nicene Creed? That is a great creed. But it is not Christianity. What is Christianity? Is it the Catholic Church, or the Episcopalian Church, or the Baptist, or the Presbyterian Church? No. These are important. They have made great contributions, but they are secondary. They are not Christianity. What is Christianity? Is it baptism or the Lord's Supper? They are very beautiful to us who know them, but they are not Christianity.
"What is Christianity? Christianity is the spirit and quality of life that is breathed into people from fellowship with Jesus, and the people in whom it is, you will find among all creeds and churches. Father Damien, the Catholic, going out to help the lepers because they are sons of God-that is Christianity. George Fox, the Quaker, proving the reality of the inner light that God had given by the radiance of his living-that is Christianity. The Protestant missionary, murdered by the Boxers in China, sending back word to his ten-year-old son that when grown he should go out to China to tell the people who had killed his father about the love of God -- that is Christianity.
"And, my friends, when you are all through discussing the things that are needed for the improvement of the Church, this is what the Church needs most of all; more real Christians, to whom Christianity is keeping fellowship with the Master and learning how to live."
"By Faith in His Blood"
Mr. Fosdick not only rejects the errors in the Presbyterian and Baptist creeds respecting the incarnation of Jesus, to the effect that the great Creator, Jehovah, became a man and pretended to live, and suffer, and die as a man on the cross, and afterwards appeared to come forth to life again by a resurrection, etc., but he also rejects the clear, sensible Bible teaching on the subject that Jesus, who was not Jehovah God, but the Son of God, dwelt in the heavenly court as a holy angel of high rank, left that glorious estate and became actually a man by miraculous transference and birth (Phil. 2:5-8); grew to manhood's estate without sin, suffered and (lied as a. vicarious atonement for the sin of Adam and all the race in him. (1 Pet. 3:18; Heb. 2:9; 2 Tim. 2:4-6.) All of this counts for naught in the mind of Mr. Fosdick. From his statement above, and other well known remarks it is evident that his thought is that human efforts and good works merely, are man's only hope of salvation. He says, "Christianity is the spirit and quality of life that is breathed into people from fellowship with Jesus." He does not touch on how one gets into fellowship with Jesus. With the rejection of faith in Christ's vicarious sacrifice and the power of the precious blood to cleanse from sin, we discover that the very means of getting "into fellowship with Jesus" is removed; and hence the results he refers to of "keeping fellowship with the blaster and learning how to live," are impossible to such as take that position. For verily if Jesus Christ was not the Son of God in the sense that the Scriptures teach-that He came forth from God having been transferred from the heavenly plane to that of the human by the operation of a most stupendous miracle, if He did not thus have power to redeem from death, and if there was not merit in His blood to cancel the death sentence against our race, then His many statements concerning Himself and His Messianic mission, as well as the statements by His Apostles, are proved false; St. Paul's reference to justification by faith in the precious blood is all in vain; and most surely this illustrious Bible character is no more the Savior of the world than any fallen man, and "fellowship with Jesus" means no more than fellowship with Plato or Confucius, for He has no more healing power than they; and in fact the whole Christian system goes down as a farce, and total darkness as to God and the future, is the result, as is evident all around us today.
LIFTING HIGH THE BANNER OF THE CROSS
But not all are swept off their feet today by infidelity in its modern form. Here and there are to be found even in some of the great denominations some Christian leaders who have more or less of a clear vision of the Bible truths concerning the great Founder of Christianity. The voice of one of these was recently heard at the "137th annual Presbyterian General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church," held in Columbus, 0., during the month of May. It was that of the retiring moderator, Rev. Clarence E. N. Macartney of Philadelphia, who in his opening address gave review of the general situation in which the points of vital concern were dealt with in a worthy and becoming manner, and which we deem interesting and profitable for all to read. It would seem that one giving expression to such truths would be in an attitude fit to be admitted into a still more clear appreciation of the Divine plans and purposes. We submit below extracts from his address: -
"The first question one must ask about Jesus Christ is this: 'Who is Christ?' Upon the answer depends the truth or the falsehood of the Christian faith. The tremendous answer of St. Paul, of the New Testament, is that God leas in Christ. The history of the Christian Church can display no sadder spectacle than the present day tendency to explain our Lord Jesus Christ in the terms of exalted humanity only. 'With what Paul called 'good words and fair speeches' men who have never really bowed before the Son of God as Redeemer have 'deceived the hearts of the simple' and induced them to follow a literary and rhetorical Jesus -who never existed and who is unable to deliver from sin and death.
"From this fictitious Christ of modernism the Church, if it would restore its triumphant faith, must turn back to the Christ of the Four Gospels, eternal Son of God, the sinner's substitute, King of kings and Lord of lords, His death our atonement and His resurrection our hope of life everlasting. For bookmaking and sermonic rhapsodies; and for good words and fair speeches, and for tickling the 'modern mind,' the literary Jesus who never existed may do very well. But the only Christ for sinners is the Christ of the ages. We have Christ in the New Testament; and outside of that, silence and darkness.
Why Did Christ Come?
" . . . The chief trouble with our churches today is that nobody is a sinner any more. From our pulpits we hear much of the divinity of man, and a great deal about vision, courage, service, community obligation, and how to abolish war, abut almost nothing of sin, old fashioned, Scriptural, uneducated, unevolved, undecorated, Goddefying, death-deserving, soul-destroying sin. Yet to deal with that kind of sin Christ came into the world.
"The present day confusion in religious thinking and teaching is clue to the fact that Christianity is a Divine remedy for sin and a salvation for sinners, and men are making the hopeless and impossible effort to fit such a religion to men who are not sinners. .An 'emancipated' preacher once said to me that the time had surely come when such a line as 'that soul-destroying monster, sin,' ought to be deleted from our hymn books. Yes, that is the whole trouble: too many have deleted sin from their hymn books and Bibles and conscience, and yet try to find still some meaning in the Christian religion.
Where the Offense of the Cross Has Ceased
"Popular preachers present the death of Jesus Christ as the supreme example of obedience and submission to the will of God, as .the sublime illustration of the universal principle of vicarious suffering, or as the mighty appeal to the moral nature of man . . . . Satan need not trouble himself at all, for his 'angels of light' who thus preach Christ do his work to his complete satisfaction.
"Wherever the Gospel is preached with the great doctrine of expiation and atonement left out, there the offense of the Cross has ceased. That is the one doctrine in Christianity which the world scorns and which the gates of hell fear.
"The appalling thing is that in so many of our churches the doctrine of the Cross is preached with its offense left out. And shall the offense of the Cross cease? We might. have great cathedral, and eloquent human speech, and singing which would cause Gabriel himself to hang his head in silence, and the hum and rumor classes and organizations, and much stained glass, and great ecclesiastical conventions, and great men's classes-and with it all, no offense of the Cross, no Gospel.
"One of the most alarming tendencies of the day in Christian circles is the tendency to dilute and tone down the Gospel to suit the prejudice or unbelief of the Age in which we live. Because some college student does not like the bitter-sweet of the doctrine of Calvary and the atonement, therefore we are told to leave it out of our preaching. Because some other 'modern mind' cannot endure the resurrection, therefore let us speak of the resurrection of Jesus as if it meant only some evidence of His continuing personality! So far has this shameful accommodation and this cowardly acquiescence in the world's unbelief been carried in some quarters, that Paul and John and Peter would never recognize what is called a Christian sermon in some places today as the tremendous doctrine which they preached and which turned the world upside down.
Lighthouses With Quenched Lights
"God save our churches from becoming lighthouses whose light has been quenched, or, what is even worse, lighthouses which flash and glow with false lights to deceive and lure to destruction the pilgrims on life's stormy sea! The wound in the Savior's side, made by the thrust of the spear of the world's rejection and scorn, is wide enough as it is. Let not the Church make it wider with its own recreant thrust! Better that the Church should lose with the Gospel than win with 'another Gospel, which is not another'!
"The proudest name the Presbyterian Church carries, the name which reverberates through the minutes of all our Assemblies and Synods and Presbyteries, is 'the witnessing Church.' May it continue faithful to Christ and show to lost sinners the Lord's death until He come.
Against Anti-Christian Teachings
"Nothing in the history of the Christian Church should so hearten and fortify the hearts of Christ's disciples as the way in which in our own day and generation, men out of all churches and communions, clasping the hands of brotherhood and faith, arose to cry out with one voice against anti-Christian teaching and preaching and shake the earth with their testimony to Jesus Christ as the Eternal Son of God and the sinner's Savior. Thank God that it has been so! Let us not forget that while men assail Christian truth and earnest men defend it, in thousands of homes and churches the true friends of Christ are finding Him their all in all. In Christ's strength they are breaking the bond:. of , sin and temptation. They know and love Him in whom they have believed. The deadly miasmas of heresy and modernism touch and defile them not at all, for they dwell high up in heavenly places with Christ their Savior. There, in the hearts of these disciples, is the true Church of Christ. With them Christ hath made His covenant. Neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate them from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus, our Lord. To win others to that ;blessed communion, to introduce men to the citizenship of heaven, to plant their wandering feet upon the Rock of Ages, that is the high and holy task of Christ's Church upon earth."
SERIES XXXIX -- DANIEL GIVEN THE RESURREC'T'ION HOPE
"But yo thou thy way till the end be: for thou shalt rest, and stand in thy lot at the end of the days." -- Dan. 12:13.
THUS the beloved Daniel is told that the communications are at an end. With the ' conclusion of the disclosures regarding the strange and eventful times and the mysterious but significant chronological predictions. the highly favored Prophet is dismissed b;- the angel of the Lord from his life-work, with the consoling testimony that all is well with him and that he will stand in his own lot in the end of the days."
Go Thy Way
The words 'Go to thy way," contain no thought of disrespect; they do not signify, "go hence," that is, "depart, die;" nor do they mean "go away, instead of standing here waiting for an answer." Rather the words are the angel's choice manner of conveying to Daniel's mind the fact that there is nothing more to be revealed, no further communications on the great and momentous matters that had been under discussion. The words are quieting and restful, as if to say, "be at peace, rest the matter now." "Go thou thy way till the end," we understand with the noted Theodoret, and most interpreters, to mean, "go thy way to the end of thy life;" not the "end of the days" mentioned just subsequently, when he would stand in his lot; for he could not live on through all the centuries intervening till the "end of the days." He was then a very old man, and as there was nothing more to be communicated to the Prophet he was told to rest the matter and go on his way, that is, fulfill the remainder of the course of his natural life without expecting the fulfillment of the prophecies in the present life-time; he must wait for the disclosures of future times. "When that should occur which is here called 'the end of the days,' he would understand this more fully and more perfectly. The language implies, also, that he would be present at the development which is here called 'the end,' and that then he would comprehend clearly what was meant by these revelations. This is such language as would be used on the supposition that the reference was to far distant times, and to the scenes of the resurrection and the final judgment, when Daniel would be present."
For Thou Shalt Rest
Daniel was told that he would "rest." Undoubtedly the meaning is that he would rest in the sleep of death. The messenger had already mentioned those who "sleep in the dust of the earth" coming forth, and the allusion here would seem to be the same as applied to Daniel. The fact that he would thus rest and sleep implies a waiting period -- indeed waiting for the long promised morning. "The end of the days," when he would stand in his lot, was manifestly far distant from that time; significant developments were to intervene and the long list of predictions that had been recounted in Chapter 11; were all to find their fulfillment, which would mean-an extended period of strife, revolution, and momentous changes before that consummation would be reached. But Daniel's peaceful sleep would not be disturbed by any of these changes or events; he would rest through it all.
"This also is such language," says Mr. Barnes, "as would be employed by one who believed in the doctrine of the resurrection, and who meant to say that lie with whom he was conversing would repose in the tomb, while the affairs of the world would move on in the long period that would intervene between the time when lie was then speaking, and the 'end' or consummation of all things-the final resurrection. I do not see that it is possible to explain the language on any other supposition than this. The word rendered 'shalt rest' would be well applied to the rest in the grave. So it is used in Job 3:13 : 'Then had I been at rest'; Job 3:17 : 'There the weary be at rest.'"
Resting Till the Morning
It is then obvious that the word "rest" is applied to the waiting period in death, just as the word sleep is used. This place of rest was trot pointed to by the angel as the desirable goal for Daniel, neither is there any intimation given that it was a place of pain and suffering. Since lie had pleased Jehovah throughout his lifetime as a faithful and obedient servant, his portion at death could not in any event be one of punishment. Neither would lie be resting in heaven during all this tune, for the angel made no reference whatever to such a thing as being in prospect for Daniel. Not only so, but our Lord, who gave His message more than five hundred years later, declared that "no man had ascended to heaven at any time," thus precluding the possibility of Daniel resting in heaven at death. Besides, "in death there is no remembrance of Thee." We are left to the one and only conclusion, namely that Daniel fell asleep and has rested with all .of his forefathers, with all the holy Prophets preceding him, in the sense of waiting in death for the due time, waiting for the dawn of the Millennial morning of the resurrection. For this morning time all humanity are waiting in the "rest" of the death sleep. They have neither pain nor pleasure, sorrow nor joy, for "the dead know not anything." - Eccl. 9:5.
Falling Asleep in Death
It is recalled that death itself is the wages of sin originally pronounced upon our race; but because of redeeming love providing the ransom price represented in the Lamb of God, who by His death cancels the claims of justice against our race, therefore the sentence is set aside so far as Adam and all his posterity are concerned; and they now have hope of coming out of the tomb. In view of this fact, going into death, the grave, now merely means a temporary suspension of existence; or figuratively speaking it means sleep, in the sense that the death state is to be broken by the awakening time, the morning, the resurrection.
It was in view of the Divine Plan to bring all humanity out 'of the tomb, even from the time the curse was pronounced, that throughout the Old Testament times it became the custom to speak of all the world, both of the good and the bad, as falling asleep in death. Daniel and all the holy Prophets of ancient time saw sufficiently of the great scheme of redemption to recognize that the resurrection of the dead was planned. St. Paul, in addressing the Hebrews and recounting the sufferings of holy men of old, tells us whence they derived the inspiration that enabled them to serve God obediently in the face of every kind of suffering. He tells us that they, "Through faith subdued kingdoms, wrought righteousness, obtained promises, stopped the mouths of lions, quenched the violence of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens, women received their dead raised to life again; and others were tortured, not accepting deliverance; that they might obtain a better resurrection." - Heb. 11:33-35.
Daniel Hears of the Resurrection
In concluding the prophecy to Daniel the angel had said, "Many of them that sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake, some to everlasting life, and some to shame and everlasting contempt." (Verse 2.) This, without doubt, is a reference to the same thing mentioned by Jesus, "Marvel not at this: for the hour is coming in the which all that are in the graves shall hear His voice, and shall come forth; they that have done good, unto the resurrection of life; and they that have done evil, unto the resurrection of damnation." (John 5:25, 29.) Again St. Paul says, "There shall be a resurrection of the dead, both of the just and unjust." (Acts 24:15.) And last of all, St. John relating what he saw and heard on Patmos, says: "Blessed and holy is lie that bath part in the first resurrection . . . . And I save the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the (lead were judged out of those things which were written in the books according to their works." - Rev. 20:6, 12.
Two Resurrections Promised
It was therefore manifestly the great and stupendous redemptive work of Christ, culminating in the resurrection of the dead that was communicated to Daniel; this which truly constitutes the very heart of the Christian religion and center of the Divine Plan. Not only so, but lie saw what is most distinctly explained in the revelation of the New Testament times, namely that there was to be a division or distinction in the great awakening time ='some to life and some to shame and everlasting contempt." In a previous vision the venerable Prophet had been given an insight into this future period wherein lie saw that "the kingdom and dominion, and the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given to the people of the saints of the Most High." (Dan. 7:27.) Here then a special saintly class are pointed out as given decided precedence in the resurrection.
Those Who Come Forth to Life
As the Scriptures clearly set forth, the Church called, chosen, and faithful, in the Gospel Age, between the two Advents of the Redeemer, is now on trial. They are tempted and proved in all ,points as was their Master. They walk in Ills footsteps, bearing the cross after Him. They are disciplined and chastened and developed in character that they may be qualified to be joint-heirs with Christ in His Kingdom -- "kings and priests unto God"; and to be judges with Him of the vast multitudes of humanity during His great triumphal reign of one thousand years. These then are most surely among those who are referred to by the angel as coming forth to life, having passed successfully their trial at the present.
Additionally there may be included with these another class of righteous ones who will also have precedence over humanity in general, because in a previous Age they were faithful to God, having trusted, suffered, and obeyed; and who likewise under His supervising providence developed character and therefore are prepared for a better resurrection than the masses of mankind. Such faithful ones are to be found during all the long stretch of the four thousand years from faithful-Abel to our Lord's First Advent. These were not called to be joint-heirs with Christ and to be His Bride; this heavenly prize was not then open to any. The sacrifice for sin not yet having been made, no actual justification to life, nor complete-freedom from the original condemnation could be granted any. Nevertheless certain promises were made to these faithful ones of ancient time, looking toward the great era of the resurrection, and they were given to understand that a more blessed resurrection would be theirs than the others of the race. -- Heb. 11:31.
To Shame and Lasting Contempt
As for the other class coming forth "to shame and everlasting contempt," these may be understood in a general way to include all humanity who have not in the present life come to know God, and have not been freed from death's condemnation. While some have interpreted the angel's words to mean that these come forth to a hopeless state of shame and condemnation and that they will without further opportunity or trial be consigned to a state of endless torture or to complete destruction, yet to our understanding this is not the thought and is far from the truth.* The facts to the contrary are that all having gone down into sin, degradation, and death, will come forth in more or less a state of shame and contempt, since there is no possibility of change in the tomb; some more and some less, owing to the degree of wickedness and degeneracy during the present life. Since they are all members of Adam's race for whom Christ died, they accordingly share in the great redemption which He has wrought. -- 1 Cor. 13:22; Rom. 5:17-19.
*For a clear explanation of the subject of the penalty for sin, the reader is referred to a special issue of this journal which gives an examination of every text in the Bible in which the word "hell" is found, and presents in a convincing manner what is the Divine testimony regarding the state of the dead. Mailed on request.
They will come forth to times of refreshing and restitution which will be administered under the rule of the Kingdom of God for their uplift and restoration to paradise. The word "everlasting" used in this text does not mean without end; rather the original conveys tile idea of age-lasting or an indefinite time, the thought being that the shame and contempt will last as long as the shameful and contemptible state of mind continues in the individual. Wholesome chastisements and stripe, all in the nature of reformatory punishment, will be administered to each one according to his requirements; and as they respond to these disciplinary measures and yield to the commands of earth's new King and to the principles of righteousness their shame and contempt will gradually pass away and they will feel the reviving effects of the restitution processes lifting them out of weakness and degradation back to perfect life, which will mean to them back to eternal life. (Isa. 26:9.) Such as will not yield to the blessed influences after full knowledge and opportunity will come under a second death sentence; and from this there is no recovery promised, no second redemption. One thousand years is the time allotted to this coming dispensation, during which time those who sleep in the dust of the earth shall awake and come forth. (Rev. 20:2, 3.) Indeed, this is the great thousand-year judgment day during which Satan will be bound and evil and sin of every description will be retrained and temptation removed, when a full and impartial trial will be given to all of the awakened ones, not having had such an opportunity in the present life.*
* For a more exhaustive treatment of the subject of the resurrection, the future hope of the world, the day of judgment, etc., we refer the reader to "The Divine Plan of the Age."
Daniel to Stand in His Lot
How the heart of the beloved Daniel must have been stirred as he heard the angel assuring that he would "stand in his lot." The words would surely signify that there was a place reserved for him. When that due time should come, Daniel would be remembered. He would be found in his place. "The language is derived from the lot or portion which falls to one -- as when a lot is cast, or anything is determined by lot. (Comp. Judges 1:3; Isa. 37:6; Psa. 123:3; 16:3.) Gesenius renders this, 'and arise to thy lot in the end of days'; that is in the Messiah's Kingdom."
The evident meaning to be drawn then is-that Daniel need have no apprehension for himself as to the future; that was not now revealed to him, and the subject was left in designed obscurity. "He would 'rest.' perhaps a long time, in the grave. But in the far distant future lie would occupy his appropriate place; he would rise from his rest; lie would appear again on the stage of action; he would have the lot and rank which properly belonged to him."
Just what conception the words would convey to Daniel's mind we may not fully determine, for he gives us no statement on that point. But it is clear that it is such language as would be appropriately employed by one who believed in the doctrine of the resurrection of the dead and who purposed to direct the mind onward to "those far distant and glorious scenes when the dead would all arise and when each one of the righteous would stand tip ill his appropriate place or lot."
A Goodly Heritage for Daniel
In the light of further revelations made to the children of God since Daniel's day we are privileged to understand much more clearly about what Daniel's "lot" will be than he himself could then apprehend. Daniel's faith and piety are indirectly referred to in the grand review that St. Paul gives of the worthy ones of ancient time. (Heb. 11:33.) As has just been noted foregoing, though there was no High Calling to become joint-heirs with Christ before His Advent, no offer of the Divine or heavenly nature to any prior to the great sin-offering made by Christ, yet during those long centuries while the world waited for the Redeemer, the record is clear that there was a class of faithful ones developed, of whom we read that on account of their faith and loyalty to God they were privileged to enjoy certain special blessings and to have advantages above the masses of humanity in the way of Direction than the masses of mankind. Such faithful ones are to he found during all the long stretch of the four thousand years from faithful Abel to our Lord's First Advent. These were not called to be joint-heirs with Christ and to be His Bride: this heavenly prize was not then open to any. The sacrifice for sin not yet having been made, no actual justification to life, nor complete freedom from the original condemnation could be granted any. Nevertheless certain promises were made to these faithful ones of ancient time, looking toward the great era of the resurrection, and they were given to understand that a more blessed resurrection would be theirs than the others of the race. -- Heb. 11:35.
More than this, we now see that there will evidently be two phases to the Kingdom of God when it is inaugurated here on earth-a spiritual, invisible, or heavenly phase, and an earthly, visible: or material please. The inference seems to be clear and strong that while the Church of this Gospel Age will occupy the former-the heavenly, the other class of faithful ones will constitute the latter-the visible phase, as our Lord said to the unbelieving Jews who were rejecting Him, "Ye shall see Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and all the Prophets in the Kingdom of God." It should be observed that the Savior does not state that He or the Apostles will be seen with Abraham. "As a matter of fact, men will see and mingle with the earthly phase of the Kingdom, but not with the spiritual; and some will, too doubt, be sorely vexed to find that they rejected so great an honor.
One of the Princes in All the Earth
"We are not given explicit information as to the exact manner in which these two phases of the heavenly Kingdom will harmoniously operate; but we have an illustration of the manner in which they may operate, in God's dealings with Israel through their representatives. Moses, Aaron, Joshua, the Prophets, etc. -- though the manifestations of Divine power will far exceed those of that typical Age; for the work of the coming Age comprises the awakening of all the dead and the restoration of the obedient to perfection. This work will necessitate the establishment of a perfect government among men, with perfect men in positions of control, that they may rightly order the affairs of state. It will necessitate the appointment of proper educational facilities of every character, as well as philanthropic measures of various kinds. And this noble work of thus elevating- the race by sure and steady steps (under the direction of the unseen spiritual members of the same Kingdom) is the high honor to which the ancient worthies are appointed, and for which they will come forth prepared soon after the final wreck of the kingdoms of this world and the binding of Satan, their prince. And as the divinely honored representatives of the heavenly Kingdom, they will soon receive the honor and cooperation of all men." It is then as we consider various Scriptures and facts together that we are given a strong hint of what Daniel's "lot" will be an where he will "stand" as one of the highly favored worthies occupying a position as one of the earthly rulers or "princes in all the earth." -- Psa. 45:16.
"At the End of the Days"
Daniel would stand in his lot "at the end of the days," that is at the close of the period that had been mentioned by the angel, when the consummation of all things should take place. "It is impossible," say; Mr. Barnes, "not to regard this as applicable to a resurrection from the dead; and there is every reason to suppose that Daniel would so understand it."
As we have seen in a previous article of this series, there are those who leave claimed that the chronological predictions contained in verses 7, 11 and 12 of chapter 12, refer to literal days, and that all three of the periods mentioned -- 1260, 1290, and 1335 days leave their endings somewhere in connection with the reign of Antiochus Epiphanes. Even if the words "stand in his lot at the end of the days," be interpreted to mean the ending of those periods as literal days in connection with the persecutions of Antiochus Epiphanies, we would still be compelled to understand that a resurrection would be implied. "The interval between the prophecy and that event was 370 years. It is impossible to believe that it was meant by the angel that Daniel would continue to live during all that time so that he should then 'stand in his lot,' not having died, or that he did continue to live during all that period, and that at the end of it he 'stood in his lot,' or occupied the post of distinction and honor which is referred to in this language. But if this had been the meaning, it would have implied that lie would, at that time, rise from the dead. If it be referred, as Gesenius explains it, to the times of the Messiah, the same thing would follow -- for that time was still more remote; and, if it be supposed that Daniel understood it as relating to those times, it must also be admitted that he believed that there would be a resurrection, and that he would then appear in his proper place.
Sublime Hope Soothes Daniel's Heart
"There is only one other supposition, and that directly involves the idea, that the allusion is to the general resurrection, as referred to in verse 3, and that Daniel would have part in that. This is admitted by Lengerke, by Maurer, and even by Bertholdt, to be the meaning -- though he applies it to the reign of the Messiah. No other interpretation, therefore, call be affixed to this than that it implies the doctrine of the resurrection of the dead, and that the mind of Daniel is left at the close of all the Divine communications to him, looking into the far distant future. His attention is directed onward. Fragments of great truths had been thrown out, with little apparent connection, by the angel; hints of momentous import had been suggested respect in great doctrines to be made clearer in future ages. A time was to occur, perhaps in the far distant future, when the dead were to be raised; when all that slept in the dust of the earth should awake; when the righteous should shine as the brightness of the firmament; and when lie himself should 'stand in his lot' -- sharing the joys of the blessed, and occupying the position which would be appropriate to him: With this cheering prospect the communications of the angel to him are closed. Nothing could be better fitted to comfort his heart in a land of exile; nothing better fitted to elevate his thoughts."
How appropriate that the hook of this sacred prophecy closes with a definite statement concerning the sublime and glorious doctrine of the resurrection of the dead! The resurrection hope was fitted to soothe and console the mind of Daniel as nothing else could, in view of all the troubles which he then experienced and of all the darkness which rested upon the future; for what all most want "in the troubles and in the darkness of the present life is the assurance that after having rested in the grave, in the calm sleep of the righteous, we shall 'awake' in the morning of the resurrection and stand in our lot, in our appropriate place, as the acknowledged children of God 'at the end of the days."'
Clearer Revelations Thrill Children of God Today
Though we are now far removed from Daniel on the stream of time, and have approached nigh unto the end of the clays, we are still in the night-time of the old dispensation, and therefore, like Daniel, it is eminently proper that we should look onward for the fulfillment of all our blessed hopes and expectations. Indeed, all the revelations of God terminate in this manner, leaving the faithful believer to look beyond. All the Divine communications given through the Prophets, our Lord, and the Apostles are thus adapted to direct the mind forward to those most blessed and happy scenes connected with the great consummation.
Today we have all that Daniel had and far more; the have what Daniel had not -- a clear revelation of the entire Plan of God, embracing all the ages required to consummate all His holy purposes. In those many luminous communications of the Spirit made since the Redeemer's Advent there is afforded us in a still clearer manner, a knowledge of those glorious truths respecting the termination of the reign of sin arid death and the ushering in of the Kingdom of God -- truths that are fitted to cheer and sustain us in the time of trouble, to elevate our minds amidst the dark scenes of earth, and to comfort and uphold us as we approach the mystical river. Verily, with much more distinctness than Daniel beheld them we are permitted to contemplate the truths respecting the state of the dead, the resurrection hope for all, the scenes connected with the rapture of the Church and the restitution of all the willing and obedient to paradise.
still further, we now have through the-special dispensation of knowledge and light shining
upon our pathway, an understanding of the work and offices of the great Redeemer Himself
-- His Advent, His nature and mission while in the clays of His flesh, thence His glorious
resurrection to the unspeakable heights of the Divine nature; and the fulfillment of His
blessed "Lo, I am with you alway." We behold through Him the assurance that all
His faithful cross-bearing, footstep followers will be raised up together with Him to
share His honor and glory preparatory to entering with Him upon those blessed offices of
delivering and uplifting the human family, recovering for all the righteous and obedient,
all that was lost of life and home in paradise. Though there are various details
associated with the resurrection of both the Church and the world still obscure to our
eyes, there is afforded us in these latter days all that is essential to give inspiration
and courage in fighting the good fight of faith, in the endeavor to secure the crown of
life, while we onward press in the valley of shadows "till the morning breaks, and
the shadows flee away."
ETERNAL PEACE AND REST
IN THE LAND OF EGYPT
IN THE morning of February 19 we drew close to the wharf in Alexandria where we would first set foot on Egypt's soil. Second only to the Holy Land in the esteem of Christian hearts is this country so closely associated with Bible history and story -- the Egypt out of which Jehovah once called His Son, and where history even in its earliest dawn bears record of a flourishing civilization, the art and architecture of which we may still see, and the religion of which we may read in its temples and tombs as we journey through.
Palestine, through various invasions, the unenduring quality of its rock, and a not especially favorable climate, has little left to satisfy the longing eyes of the pilgrim of today, looking backward some twenty centuries. But in Egypt Aye see Great Cheops, the foundations of which were laid over four thousand years ago, "in the midst of the land, and at the border thereof." And in the museum at Cairo we can look upon what is alleged to be the faces of the Pharaohs who oppressed the children of Israel, noting the very lips that demanded the death of the male babies of the Hebrews, from which death Moses was saved by Thermuthis, daughter of Seti I.
Three Epochs of Egypt's Glory
Three well defined epochs into which Egypt's history is divided helps us to an understanding of this great country and its glorious past, and it may be of interest to briefly mention them here.
The first epoch is known as the Old Empire; its beginning is variously estimated, from 3800 B.C. to 2700 B.C., and reaching a point somewhere between 2500 B.C. and 2080 B.C. The period following it, the Middle Empire, ended at approximately 1600 B.C. It was probably in the early part of this second epoch that Abraham journeyed hither, and that Joseph was sold by envious brothers into the land where, through God's providence, he was to arise to such dignity and power.
The New Empire beginning where the Middle Empire ended, about 1527 B.C., and extending to about 527 B.C., was the most illustrious period of Egyptian history. Here belongs Thothmes III., known as the Alexander of Egypt, who carved on the temple of Karnak, a magnificent ruin 450 miles up the Nile, the names of 628 nations and cities he had conquered. To this same period belong Seti I, and his greater son Rameses II., whose sister is supposed to be the one who mothered Moses. The inscriptions on the obelisk. in Central Park, New York City, are those of Thothmes III., and Rameses II., and their mummies were two of the twelve royal ones found in 1881 in one tomb, having been carried there from their individual tombs for fear of robbers.
Memories of the Buried Past
And so looking forward to the interesting things just ahead of us, we stood on deck, eager to get on shore, and trying to pass patiently the several hours of unexpected delay. We watched the Egyptian porters unloading the great net full of trunks that swung down to them every few minutes. Their queer dress, trousers made of many yards of cloth, pleated full at the waist, admitted great freedom of movement as they hurried back and forth, their bodies bent nearly parallel to the ground under the weight of the great trunks on their backs, while over them, cracking his whip and using it if necessary to hurry them along, stood a Legree-like foreman, or driver. I watched with sympathy these men, sweating, it seemed like the Israelites of old under their taskmasters, but thought, as always, traveled joyfully on to the promised future when "none shall make them afraid." Thus the knowledge of God's gracious Plan sweetens every sadness of thought or experience and we realize better with every passing day the blessedness of him that cometh to the end of the 1333 days of Daniel.
Alexandria, founded by the great conqueror 332 B.C., was intended by him to be the capital of the world. Today it has many fine streets and modern buildings, and of a population of 320,000 more than one-eighth are European. It was the home of Ptolemy, the astronomer of Philo, and the philosopher whose writings Paul had studied. Here lived Apollos and Barnabas and also Mark, the author of the Gospel of Mark.
We took our train soon for Cairo, 133 miles distant. This journey is through the rich green country of the Nile delta, with its mud villages and an occasional row of white sails which marks the course of some not far distant stream or canal. Camels stalked majestically along the road or were hitched to plows in the field.
Cairo, with its Broad streets and fine buildings, except in the native quarters, proved a most interesting city. Large, luxurious hotels offer comfort to its many visitors, and from the spacious veranda that fronted ours, the changing kaleidoscope of the street never lost its interest. Arab guides, or dragomans, crowded about offering their services to the tourists, boasting much of their efficiency and wisdom. The soft brilliant colors of their robes, blue, orange, rose, gave color to the scene and on the crown of each head was a tiny crocheted skull cap around the edge of which the cheese-cloth turban is tightly wound. These men are usually very intelligent with much data and knowledge along the lines of antiquity. Their English is more or less clear and they are keen at bargaining. The red fez with black tassel is the customary head dress here and adds its pleasing touch of color.
There are blind beggars, sometimes a girl led by another who bids you "Pity her, she is blind." Often it is an old man led by a small child. He keeps repeating in a self-pitying tone as he walks through the crowd, "Poor blind man! Poor blind man!" Those for whose benefit this is staged do indeed pity these people. Blindness amounts to a curse in Egypt and a large per cent of the people from tiny babes upward are repulsively blind or nearly so, due to an ignorance of cleanliness and sanitation. Their religious belief encourages the blind to beg, saying, "God made this man blind that you might pity and assist him."
Street vendors with beads, canes, post-cards, and curios from the tombs (?) of kings follow the tourist about with nil insistence that seems to heed not the most emphatic "No." Along the street ;passes all occasional funeral procession, the bier carried on the shoulders of men, and hired mourners following. At the head of the bier is a tall post and if this is topped with a crown of flowers the deceased is young and a woman, if the top piece is a fez it is a young man, but if there is no symbol, it is a man of advanced years.
Mohammedans and Mosques
There are many mosques in Cairo, each encircled with its beautiful round dome and graceful minaret. High up on these slender spires or minarets, is a narrow walk from which the call to prayer is sounded five times daily. We heard this call several times in other places and while a few responded by hurrying towards the mosque, the majority went on their way unheeding. The, call to prayer translated into English is:
"God (or Allah) is great,
I bear witness that there is no God but God, Come to prayers, cone to prayers,
Come to salvation, come to salvation,
God is great, there is no other God but God."
Before entering the courtyard, elderly Arabs tied leather slippers on our feet without the least regard for size or mates, their minds intent upon the coins they hoped to receive. The mosques are all similar in arrangement. A passage or doorway brings one first into a large court with a fountain for cleansing in the center. From here the mosque proper is entered. Its floor is covered with the rich rugs of the Orient. There is always the slender high pulpit with its narrow flight of steps and the niche-in the wall showing the direction to Mecca.
An important mosque is that of Sultan Hassan, over 500 years old. As soon as it was finished, the Sultan ordered the hands of the architect cut off that no other could be built just like it. Beside it stands a tall tower battered by the cannon balls of Napoleon, and one ball may still be seen imbedded near the surface. The mosque of Mohammed Ali, whose lineal descendants are still reigning, has its court and first story made entirely of alabaster.
Darkness Still in Land of Egypt
A dusty drive through open country, passing on the way the sacred pond or lake where tradition says Moses washed his feet, brought us to an old mosque 1000 years old. Here were two small pillars of stone set into the wall, much like the ornamental sides of a fire place. Around each pillar the government has placed an iron grating to discourage the devout, who, supposing it to have some mysterious power of healing, applied first the juice of a lemon to its surface and afterwards licked it with the tongue until the blood ran. The deep hole worn into the solid stone, still dark with the stain of blood, gives mute evidence of the extent of this practice. As we looked upon it we realized something of the depths of the gross darkness that covers the world and its people.
A visit to an old Greek church over a legendary cave where Joseph, Mary, and Jesus are supposed to have stayed while in Egypt, took us to a Coptic village. The Coptic religion is a degenerate form of Christianity-Catholic in form. The village, filthy, and with its many blind ones crowding about us, did not offer anything of pleasure, and when we reached the church we looked without emotion at the spot where Mary slept (?). Although the admission fee had already been given, a Russian priest stood at the doorway as we passed out, collection plate in hand.
Hearing a babel of voices, we followed the sound and soon looked through an open doorway into a bare, square room, around the sides of which, seated on the floor with shoes beside their, were the boys of a Mohammedan school and their teacher. With open Korans all were shouting their studies aloud and did not pause as they looked at us with amused interest.
In the Museum at Cairo is a wonderful collection of the antiquities of Egypt. Here are the great sarcophagi of stone, granite, and marble, covered outside and often inside with carvings, the picture language of which proves most interesting when translated. Fruit and bread found in the tombs still show much of their former appearance. Large funeral boats dug up beside the tombs of kings, the wood of long ages past, still preserved and forming their outlines, are here; also the mummified forms of sacred animals, rams, bulls, cats, and monkeys. One room displays the things found in the recently discovered tomb of Tutankhamen -- a chariot covered with beaten gold and set with precious stones furniture, gold covered and inlaid; also jewelry and bric-a-brac, the estimated value of which today is $15,000,000.
Egypt's Fallen Pharaohs
In a gallery which contains the royal mummies we looked for some few moments at the face of Seti I. We remembered the edict against the Hebrew babes, but prejudice could not ignore the nobility of that face, so well preserved, it seems to have lost none of its human outlines and expression. In contrast was the countenance of Menephtah, son of Seti I, thought by some scholars to be the Pharaoh of the Exodus. Although this is denied by others, I felt inclined to the former view, my judgment based entirely on the face before me, rather than any knowledge of the historical facts. The cruel hardness of the high-bridged nose, flattened at the end. and the obstinate lines of the mouth-in fact the whole countenance so lacking in pleasing qualities, confirmed rather positively to my mind that there lay the Pharaoh of the Exodus.
One day we ferried across a branch of the -Nile to the Island of Roda, where, according to tradition, Moses was found in the bulrushes. We felt on reaching the spot rather disillusioned at the total absence of bulrushes. But the old Nilometer on this island interested us greatly. It has been in use for the past 1000 years and is a large well with a column in its center inscribed with Arabic measurements. When the Nile is low, the water in this well reaches a measurement of 7 ells, each ell representing 21 1/3 inches. When it reaches 15 ells. the public is informed that the height for general irrigation has been reached and the people make known their joy in various celebrations
-G. M. H.
"Behold, I have given him for a witness to the peoples, a leader and commander to the peoples." -- Isa. 55:4; Acts 13:13-52.
SOON after the evangelical work of Paul and Barnabas was well under way, the Lord indicated that it was His good pleasure that St. Paul should come into greater prominence and play a more important role in the ministry of the Divine Truth, not only for the Church in that period, but for the Church of the entire Age. Hence as the ministry progressed we read of what "Paul and his company" did, whereas previously the narrative was respecting Barnabas and Paul. Barnabas was still the ''Son of Consolation." still loved and approved of the Lord, but Paul was His "chosen vessel to bear His name to the Gentiles," and the special power of God upon him and through him promptly manifested itself. If, thereby, any spirit of jealousy awakened in the bosom of Barnabas, it was a great mistake. We trust that there was not that he still realized that his special talent for Divine service was in being a "Son of Consolation" -- now privileged to help, to encourage, to comfort St. Paul. To so do would be to properly recognize the Lord's oversight of His own work, and to rejoice to have His will done. Testings similar to those experienced in the Apostolic era come to all of the Lord's brethren to this day-testings of humility, of brotherly love, of full submission to the Lord -- of faith in His guidance of His own work. These testings are specially severe upon brethren of prominence in the Church. Hence the Apostle's exhortation, "Be not many of you teachers, brethren, knowing that the man [who is a teacher -- in any failure] shall receive the greater condemnation." (James 3:1.) Nor can we complain against the providence which thus tests us; rather we must concede the propriety of it; that those being selected for the glorious privileges of the future must fully demonstrate to the Lord humility and absolute loyalty to His will, even in our secret thoughts. Let us each apply the lesson, remembering the Apostle's words, "Let him that thinketh he standeth take heed lest he fall." (1 Cor. 10:12.) And again, "Humble yourselves, therefore, brethren; under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time." -- 1 Pet. 5:6.
A Notable Sermon by a Notable Man
Antioch of Pisidia was honored with the presence of Paul and Barnabas in their missionary tour. While this was an important city, it was not such a metropolis as the Antioch where the disciples were first called Christians.
The first Sabbath day found Paul and Barnabas in a Jewish synagogue, according to their custom; because the Jews who had been waiting for the fulfillment of the Messianic prophecies were the best prepared soil for the Gospel message; at least so far as their heads were concerned. Entering with the others they took seats and, after prayers, listened to the reading of a portion of the Law, a selection from the Prophets by the Elder of the congregation, styled the "angel of the synagogue." Then came the time for addresses by the rabbis or other learned persons. The officiating Rabbi recognized Paul and Barnabas as intelligent and cultured men and, sent them word that they would be pleased to have them use tile liberty of the synagogue, and give the people an address, if they felt so disposed. Then Paul stood up in his place, not going to the public stand. Saluting with his hand, St. Paul began his address, saying that he had something that should be heard by all Israelites and by others who reverenced God. He proceeded in a wonderful discourse, which in some particulars reminds us of Stephen's address which St. Paul had doubtless heard and rejected. His argument was:
(1) That God, having- a great blessing to bestow upon mankind, had chosen the nation of Israel as a channel for the blessing; and that His care for that nation, ordering its affairs for centuries, was in line with this original purpose.
(2) He showed that, by and by, in that nation of Israel God had further indicated the choice of a special family through which the blessing should come. Messiah was to be the offspring of David. And "the sure mercies of David," to be accomplished in Messiah, would mean God's sure mercies to Israel as a nation, because Messiah would come to them as their King.
(3) Finally, after centuries of waiting, Messiah did come in this very line of descent-of the house of Israel-of the family of David-Jesus- of Nazareth. -- Ver. 23.
(4) The Messiahship of Jesus had already been recognized to a considerable extent. -- Ver. 24-26.
(5) The Jewish nation as a whole, however, represented by their rulers, heedless of the testimony of the Prophets, and ignoring Jesus' manifest purity, had accomplished His death through the Romans. -- Ver. 27-29.
(6) The Messialiship of Jesus was proved by His resurrection from the dead. This accorded with the prophecies of the Scriptures and was attested by numerous witnesses. (Ver. 30-37.) Note the absence of cant and rant in this discourse. Note the appeal to reason, the logic of the argument-fact upon fact, each in its proper place and order. However, the mere recitation of these facts might have accomplished little. The Apostle proceeded to draw from the facts a great lesson, most important to his hearers, namely that
(7) All were sinners, and that Jesus, the Messiah, through His death, had become the Savior of sinners. Whatever His future work, He was already doing work for all those who would hear the message and give hearty response.
The Same Gospel -- A Ransom for All
Here is still the test of the right preaching of the Gospel. It must recognize sin and not claim, as Evolutionists do, that "If man fell at all, lie fell upward"; that instead of being condemned of God as a sinner, man is being approved of God for his evoluting endeavors and successes. The Gospel of Christ recognizes original sin and the fall from God's likeness, the need of a ransom sacrifice, the fact that Christ is our Redeemer and that "by His stripes we are [to be] healed"; that through His death our reconciliation was made possible; and that reconciliation means the covering of the sins of the believer from God's sight now, his privilege of entering the School of Christ and being prepared for heavenly glory. The Apostle briefly showed how justification from sin and alienation from God has thus been made possible -- a justification far greater and snore thorough than that which the Jews had enjoyed for centuries under their Law Covenant; for theirs was only for a year and the "Law made nothing .perfect," while the blood of Jesus, applied on behalf of believers, is effective for all the various kinds and degrees of sin traceable, directly or indirectly, to the original sin of Adam, tinder which condemnation passed upon all.
Warnings of the Gospel
It is significant that the Apostle did not say- to his hearers that a rejection of this message would condemn them to eternal torment. But he did quote them and Old Testament Scripture which said. "Behold, ye despisers, and wonder, and perish; for I work a work in your days, a work which ye shall in no wise believe, though a man declare it unto you." -- Acts 13:41.
Nor does the Apostle say that his quotation declares absolute hopelessness for the despisers when they perish. The prophecy merely states that God's Plan would be declared and that all who despised it would nevertheless wonder at it and would perish without availing themselves of the blessings of salvation. God knows, not we, how many of these despisers who wonder, while perishing, have sinned against a sufficiency of light to hinder them from ever having any further opportunity during the Millennium. The Apostle does assure us that "Satan. the god of this world, hath blinded the minds of them which believe not," and the Scriptures assure us that the tinge is nearing when Satan shall be "bound" and deceive the people no more. (2 Cor. 4:4.) The same Apostle assures us that when the New Covenant shall be sealed and its beneficent arrangement inaugurated, God "will have all men to be saved; and to come to a knowledge at the truth." -- 1 Tim. 2:4.
In the older manuscripts the 42nd verse reads differently and indicates that the Apostles, after having delivered their address, did not stop (as was the usual custom) in the synagogues to hear and answer questions. Having delivered their message they preferred that it should take effect upon the hearts and that the discussion sure to follow might thus he delayed for a time. The people present, both Jews and proselytes, exhorted the Apostles that they might hear more of these things. One version implies that they desired this further information during the week; another, that they would expect it on the following Sabbath. In the synagogue there were quite a number who were devout, and of course, a still larger number who were merely formalistic in their worship. The devout ones, as usual, were interested in the Truth. They followed the missionaries, who exhorted them "to continue in the grace of God," to realize that they had already been recipients of God's grace through the Law and the Prophets and that they should go on and attain to the full fruition of, their hopes, through the Lord's continued guidance, indicating that our Lord's advent and work were but a further part in the grace of God, in which they had already become sharer, and that to reject this would be to reject all the favors hitherto bestowed upon them.
Envy, Evil-Speaking, Contention, Blasphemy
The next Sabbath there was a great concourse to hear the Apostles. Whether they spoke inside the synagogue or from its steps to people gathered in a broad plaza, we are not told. However, they had not proceeded far in their discourse until there were interruptions, contradictions, anger, and blasphemy from some of the prominent Jews. Envy was at the bottom of all this. Their preaching had never drawn such crowd, and beside the message given by these Apostles claimed to be something better than Judaism offered, something better than the Law and its sacrifice: and feast; and fasts. Behold how the Truth is a searcher of the heart! How it draws some and repels others! What a foe to Truth is the spirit of ambition, of jealousy, of envy! How it leads the natural man to anger, malice, hatred, strife, envy! And how the interests of the -N New Creature are endangered from this same quarter'. How pertinent St. Paul's exhortation that all who name the name of Christ shall put off anger, malice, and strife and works of the devil and be clothed with meekness, patience, love, if we would fight the good fight and gain the great prize!
The effect tipon the missionaries was to embolden them. They had spoken most gently, avoiding everything to arouse prejudice and opposition; but now, when, its spite of all, the opposition arose and threatened the efficacy of the Truth, they must be bold. They must state plainly tire facts. They must show the envious, evil-speakers just where they stood. The people in general, dominated by these leaders, needed also to be shown the line of Truth. Now the Apostle declared, " We have done our duty in giving you Jews the first opportunity to hear of this grace of God, but seeing that you thrust it front you and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life, we turn to the Gentiles."
Judge Yourselves Unworthy
What a force there is in these words! God has so arranged matters during this Gospel Age that His Word of Truth and grace judges, tests-, the honesty, the sincerity of those who profess to be His. It was not that the Apostle was judging their hearts and saying, You are not worthy of this message. The rejection of the message showed that the hearer was unworthy at heart. Each one who thus decided, added to the count or list of those not worthy of eternal life tinder present conditions, under the present offer to faith and obedience. How many of them will have any further opportunity, and whether or not the further opportunity would avail them anything, is not for its to say. They are in the Lord's hands. Whatever He will do for them will be entirely satisfactory to all who have the mind of Christ. We are sure of the "Love Divine all love excelling," and that it will give every member of Adam's race a full, impartial trial for life eternal, as a result of the redemption which is in Christ Jesus.
Similarly today some who hear the message reject it with anger and malice and hatred and strife. They little realize that they are passing judgment upon themselves and proving by their prejudicial course and lack of harmony with righteousness that they are not worthy of life everlasting. And alas! Some who had tasted of the good Word of God and the powers of the Age to come and been made partakers of the Holy Spirit and been fellowshiped as disciples and fellow-heirs of the same Body--some of these have exhibited similar anger, hatred, malice, strife, bitterness, blasphemy, evil-speaking.
We shall be glad for anything that God may have for them; but we are reminded of the words, ''It is impossible to renew them again unto repentance," if they fall away from the Truth, after once having seen and enjoyed it. It is notable, too, that such, as a rule, lose all fear of Second Death. Their eves of understanding on this, as well as on other features of the Plan, grow dim. Our sorrow for them would be unspeakably deep, were it not that we realize that "The Lord will judge His people" and that we are in the day of which He has foretold us -- when the sifting and shaking and purging of His people is due to take place. When we realize that "He doeth all things well," and makes no mistakes, it convinces us that we might have greatly erred in the past respecting heart condition, or that changes of character call be speedily effected under the bite, the poison, the sting, of pride, envy, slander, etc.
Then the missionaries quoted from the prophecies the Lord's Word, to the effect that the light which was to first shine to Israel was also to be to the Gentiles, and that the salvation which was first offered to the covenanted people was vet to extend to the uttermost parts of the earth. How consoling! How satisfying! We are reminded that but very few realize the length and breadth of this great salvation through the only name; that it is vet to extend to every creature, even though it requires the Millennial Kingdom to bring this widespread knowledge and glorious opportunity.
Christians Reflect the Beauty of Christ
When the Gentiles heard this, they were glad and honored the Word of the Lord. "As the same sunlight melts wax and hardens clay, so the same Truth may touch one heart into tenderness and faith, and y turn another towards 'hardness and unbelief. 'Take heed how ye hear.' The Gentiles were not only glad, but they also glorified the Word of the Lord: they praised the Truth and turned it into such gracious deeds and beautiful character as reflected the glory of God Himself. The purest saint can add nothing to the inherent glory of God, as the most perfect mirror can add nothing to the brightness of the still. But as even a bit of broken glass can reflect a beam of the sun's brightness, so a very imperfect Christian call reflect some of the beauty of Christ."
"And as many as were ordained to eternal life believed." This does not signify ordained of God to have eternal life, but literally so many of them as were of the class and character which God proposed should have eternal life -- these believed. There is a good thought here which applies as a general principle, namely under the Divine arrangement, the Truth and the believing of it, are so related that only those of a certain cast of mind can believe, under present conditions. This includes the thought that they must have a certain harmony with God and righteousness, and that they must submit their minds to the Lord, that they may be taught of Him through the channels He may be pleased to use.
"Blessed are they that have been persecuted for righteousness' sake; for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven." -- Matt. 5:10; Acts. 14:1-28
WHEN they persecute you in this city, flee Y ye to another," our Lord instructed His twelve Apostles when He sent them forth as lambs among wolves. "Expelled" from the coasts of Antioch, the missionaries obeyed this injunction. Their next stop was at Iconium, about seventy-five miles southeast. Here again they first preached in the synagogue to the Jews, and a great multitude, both of the Jews and also of the Greeks (Jewish proselytes), believed. But again the unbelieving Jews worked upon the Gentile population by calumnies. Hence the Apostles remained there a "'long time," probably several months, because there were many converts needing instruction and because it was an excellent field of labor every way. Finally, however, the chief Jews of the synagogue and the Gentiles whom they influenced, formed a plot for the stoning of the missionaries and alleged blasphemers. Learning of this the Apostles again followed our Lord's instructions to flee from persecution. . Their next stop was at Lystra, twenty miles further to the southeast.
How history repeats itself! As it was God's covenanted people -- yea, and the chief of the synagogue who opposed the Gospel and maltreated its servants who sought merely to do them good-so all through the Age the professed servants of God have been the persecutors of their brethren! And so it is today! The slanders, the misrepresentation, come not from the politicians and the worldly, but from the Lord's professed followers, some of them of large influence. It is still true that there are ''perils amongst false brethren." How shall we receive these things? If they discourage us or turn us aside in fear, it would prove that we are not worthy of the Kingdom privileges and honors, which are to be granted only to those who come off, by the Lord's grace, "more than conquerors"; to those who willingly, gladly, take the spoiling of their goods, their good names, earthly reputation, etc., rather than prove disloyal to the Lord and His brethren. Nor must we render railing for railing, nor slander for slander. We must take maltreatment patiently.
The Miracle at Lystra
Lystra was the capital of Lycaonia, a name meaning wolfland. Its people were less civilized than in other places visited. Evidently there were few or no Jews there and no synagogue. The preaching to the people was in the forum.
While St. Paul was preaching, he perceived amongst his auditors a man lame from birth, giving close attention and, perceiving that he had faith to co-operate with healing, he commanded him, "Stand upright on thy feet." The miracle astonished the people, who, in their amazement, began to speak to each other, no longer in the Greek language, but in the Laconian, which the missionaries did not understand, saving that these were gods in human form. The Apostles evidently retired to their own dwelling apartments after the miracle and were astonished when, a little time afterward, the people came together to offer sacrifices to them, calling Barnabas Jupiter, and Paul -Mercury. The people had certain traditions about the gods coming down to earth as men and these doubtless led up to their remarkable treatment of the missionaries.
One of these tales was to the effect that Jupiter and Mercurv once visited this very city of Lycaonia. The people took them to be vagrants and refused to entertain them, and ridiculed and maltreated them: At last two peasants received them into their but with hospitality, giving them their best. In return the gods transformed their but into a glorious temple, over which they were set as the chief ministers of earth, while their neighbors were overwhelmed in a flood. The statue of Jupiter stood before Lystra's gate, and it was supposed that this story was repeated annually in the hearing of the people. Thinking of Paul and Barnabas as later manifestations of these same gods, they determined that now was their opportunity to show them reverence and hospitality.
Tempted to Receive Honor of Men
Now came a temptation to the missionaries-such temptations as in one form or another are apt to come to all who engage actively in Christian work. V-ould they receive the homage of the people and then, as gods. seek to instruct them respecting Christ as the true Son of God come from heaven, who had died for the world's redemption, etc., or would they stop the procedure forthwith? Such temptations are very forceful with many: "Let us do evil that good may follow." Similar temptations of the ,present time might be suggested. A minister might sail under false colors, under denominational name or other pretext which really misrepresented his heart and which he misrepresented. He might seek thus to do God service and to advance the Truth, but would it be right? Would it please God to have us thus do evil that good might follow? We think not. The Truth may be presented as kindly, sympathetically, harmoniously as ,possible, but , it can never fight a good fight under a cloak of hypocrisy.
The same principle applies to others; the business man may .put his light under a bushel for the sake of trade and with the promise to 'himself that lie will use money gained in forwarding the Truth. But would such a course be acceptable to the Lord a believe not. Some effect ignorance of the Truth or disdain for it, that they may retain social position, and persuade themselves that there are more than compensating advantages favorable to the Lord, the brethren and the Truth, in the course which they pursue. We believe that they prove themselves unworthy of a position in the "little flock" of overcomers. The principle is of broad application, and it is the principle each of the Lord's people should see, and fix clearly in his judgment, that he may guide himself accordingly.
Honesty Rewarded With Stones
The missionaries ran in amongst the people, dissuading them from sacrifice and assuring them that they were ordinary men like themselves. They informed them that their very mission was to turn them from such works of ignorance and superstition and to indicate to them the true God, His true character, and His proper worship. They said to them, "We bring you good tidings, that ye should turn from these vanities unto the living God, which made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all things that are therein." Wisdom from on high guided them to know that it would be useless to quote the Old Testament Scriptures to these people, who had no knowledge of them. They discoursed, therefore, what the people could understand and appreciate, and thus they set a grand example to all who should ever speak as messengers of the Lord. Much of the preaching is far over the heads of the hearers.
They introduced to their attention the God who made the heaven, earth, sea, and all the contents of these. They explained that although this great God was interested in His creatures always, yet hitherto He had permitted all the nations to walk in their own ways untaught, unrestrained. Nevertheless He did give them certain evidences of His constant care, in the sunshine and the rain, with the fruitage of earth and its seasons, thus providing mankind with food and occasion for gladness and appreciation of life.
Only a scrap of the discourse is given. We may suppose that the Apostle here, as elsewhere, proceeded to explain that the times of this ignorance of the past, which God had winked at or paid no attention to, were now ending; that a new phase or turn of His great Divine Plan had come. And now all men everywhere are admonished to repent, to turn from sin, to strive to come near to God in reverence and obedience, and to hope for eternal life in His provision. Doubtless he explained that the foundation for these hopes and these commands to repent were laid in the great fact that God had given His Son to be man's Redeemer, and by and by man's Restorer. No doubt he explained to them that every effort toward righteousness and Truth and godliness would have its reward, while every willful sin would surely, at some time, have its punishment, either in the present Age or in the Age to come. No doubt also he showed the people that the Divine call of the present time is intended merely to call out of the world a "little flock" of saintly followers of Jesus to be His Bride in the Kingdom.
However, it was probably only a few days after this that some other Jews carne to Lystra, zealous as Saul of Tarsus himself had been to oppose the message respecting the Nazarene. The benighted people, who one day were ready to do sacrifice to St. Paul as a god, shortly afterward, under the envious slanders stirred up by the Adversary, stoned him and then dragged him out of the city and left him to be devoured by beasts and birds. But evidently some disciples had been made, for as we read, "As the disciples stood round about him, he rose up, and came into the city; and the next day he departed with Barnabas to Derbe." Such a man with such a spirit was necessarily a force wherever he went; a force for good, as he had once been a force for evil, because now the spirit which energized him was a consecrated one, a holy one. There is a lesson and example here for all of us which we must not miss. He wisely determined that it would be unwise to do more public work at Lystra, so long as the public mind was in such a ferment. To have done so would have been merely to bring needless persecution upon the disciples who, young in the faith, might not so well have been able to stand it.
Derbe, Then Homeward Bound
Evidently some Divine ,power, some supernatural strength, was accorded the Apostle, else he never could have so quickly recovered after the stoning. The explanation is, first, St. Paul's own indomitable will, which mastered his body and made it his servant; and secondly, Divine co-operation assisting him so to do. And will it not be considerably so with us? Will not faith and courage and zeal and determination effect much as to our ability to stand and withstand the trials and difficulties of life? And will not the Lord's grace be sufficient for us? And whether He permit us to be smitten down with the literal stones or the symbolic arrows, the bitter words, is He not able to succor us, that we be not overwhelmed?
Apparently the preaching at Derbe resulted in making many disciples. Then the Apostles turned their faces homeward-toward Antioch, the Ecclesia which sent them forth as its representative. Seeking not merely return, but braving return by the same way as they went, they had the opportunity of meeting with the disciples at the various places and strengthening them and encouraging them in the good way, "the narrow way." Nor was there any deception in their preaching. They did not tell believers that shortly they would find themselves prospering in their business interests by becoming disciples of the. Crucified One. They did not tell them that they would find Christianity the passage way into the social circles of the wealthy and refined. On the contrary, their message was in harmony with our Lord's words, "In the world ye shall have tribulation. These things have I. spoken unto you, that in Me ye might have peace." (John 16:33.) Again, "Marvel vet not, my brethren, if the world hate you;" (1 John 3:13.) "Blessed are Ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you, falsely, for My sake." -- Matt.5 :11.
So we read that, as they journeyed, they "confirmed the souls of the disciples, exhorting them to continue in the faith and explaining to them that through much tribulation we must enter into the Kingdom of God"-that this is the Divine arrangement for the perfecting of our characters and for our testing as respects our fitness for joint-heirship with our Lord: Let us not forget, that the present evil world (Age) has not yet closed; that Satan is still its Prince, and that tribulation is still the cost of a place in the Throne! Expecting this, persecution will not disappoint us when we receive it. As with our Lord, we may find that "A man's foes shall be they of his own household" -- his own people, his own nation.
We are not here to play, to dream, to drift;
We have hard work to do and loads to lift;
Shun not the struggle-face it; 'tis God's gift.
It matters not how deep y entrenched the wrong;
How hard the battle goes, the day how long;
Faint not-fight on! Tomorrow comes the song."
VOL. VIII. July 15, 1925 No. 14
The recent earthquake at Santa Barbara, Calif., has brought the subject of evil and calamities fresh before the minds of the people at this time; making it specially propitious for those who have the truth on the subject to bring it to the attention of those who have ears to hear. We have just replenished our stock of the tract, "Why Does God Permit Evil?"; also of another, "When the Morning Cometh," being merely a change of name of the one formerly called, "The Inauguration of God's Kingdom." We also still supply two others -- "Where are the Dead?" and "A Dark Cloud and Its Silver Lining." The friends may order freely all they can use judiciously of the above. We also have under way still another, which will deal with the Bible and Evolution, in view of the prominence of this subject at this time. Let us bear the glad Tidings to all.
OUR Lord said of the people of His day, "This generation seeketh a sign"; and so it has been of every generation, every people -- the whole world. The way of God, which is a way of faith in this Age, a way of humility and reproach, is not satisfactory to the world nor to many who profess to be our Lord's followers. The worldly mind wants miracles or outward show of sanctity and great professions. Some responding to this spirit of the world have adopted peculiar dress. Monks, nuns, Quakers, and others make profession of wonderful powers received through laying on of hands, and would thus impress the world along worldly lines. Others claim the power by magic words to change the bread and wine into the actual body of Christ, and authority then to sacrifice Him. Similarly the red and purple and old and white and black robes, miters, not now enjoined.
Signs of Wonder-working Magic, etc.
The world seeks after signs of healing, wonderworking magic, etc., and the nearer the Lord's people approach to these things the more they may expect to influence the world. Romanists are leaders along these lines, and have relics of saints, garments, bones, etc., to which reverence is attached in the minds of all classes except in the most civilized lands. Many of these things are attempted also by tire Mormons, Spiritualists, Christian Scientists, and magnetic healers, and there is a general tendency amongst all denominations to attempt something of the spectacular, whereby to arrest and fix the attention of the public.
True, our Lord performed some miracles of healing, but we should remember that the numbers healed as compared with the whole number of the people was comparatively small. We should remember also that these were the foretold witnesses by which He should be recognized, that they were foreshadowings' of His coming glorious work of restitution to all the families of the earth, which steal: ire accomplished in due time during the Millennia: Age. True, also, there were miraculous gifts and tongues in the early Church, which we see through the Apostle's statement were designed for the establishment of the Church, until the work of grace should more thoroughly be developed in the heart; of the Lord's people, when the fruits of the Spirit should and did supplant the miraculous gifts of the Spirit.
What Work Shall We Do?
Nor can we think that there is any reason of foundation whatever for any man or association of men today to see themselves mystically or mysteriously referred to either as antitypically fulfilling some illustrious personage of the Old Testament history, or as represented in some of the strange but sublime symbolical pictures of the Bible. There is no basis for any to make startling and bombastic claims to special Divine unction above fellow-members; none are authorized to launch out on some spectacular movement or project to do some wonder-working among the brethren. No special "commission" or "works", that none others in the Church have done nor can do, is assigned any one today. A work of judging the brethren, a work of smiting, or a work of issuing and spreading some startling proclamation or indictment against the civil and religious powers that be, is entirely outside of the province of the Church, and is sure to result in diverting the attention away from the true commission Jesus gave, including that of developing the fruits of the Spirit.
The spirit of our Divine Master, which is a spirit of discernment, a spirit of sobriety and humility, bids us be wise in these days.: to be oil guard against the efforts of the Adversary to deceive the "very elect." Giving heed to the inspired testimony, none of the Lord's faithful followers seek honor and distinction of one another or of men; they seek not to enter upon any work that they have not been strictly commissioned to do. They know of no other commission than that which Jesus fulfilled and gave to His disciples as He was parted from them, of meekly and quietly presenting the Divine message of truth and grace. Hearkening to His words, they recognize their chief commission is to let their light shine by word and by example, and to so apply the Truth daily that they will grow into the character of their heavenly Pattern. Such are content to wait the Lord's due time for entering upon the great work that He has planned for the world. As our Lord, therefore, avoided anything and everything spectacular so should also His followers.
The service of ambassadors for God is a reasonable service, and those who are in the proper line, in the footsteps of Jesus, will be found to possess more and more of the "spirit of a sound mind." -- 2 Tim. 1:7.
SERIES XL - CONCLUDING REFLECTIONS
"And Daniel continued even unto the first year of King Cyrus.' -- Dan. 1:21
THE foundation of God standeth sure," wrote St. Paul, and truly it is the privilege of al: the faithful watchers today to realize increasingly that the great foundation of them faith remains immovable, indestructible even in this time when the raging billows aroused and driven by the winds of error, skepticism, infidelity, and disguised in the form of godliness; are lashing and beating against the faith structure of God's faithful people. The testimony of Jesus, which is the spirit of prophecy, has richly illumined the Divine Message in these last days, as was promised, so that none of those walking by faith need falter nor be dismayed. Such may realize with some of old, the force of the Master's words, "Blessed are your eves for they see, and your ears for they hear."
Among these holy writings whose general meaning is clear today is the prophecy of Daniel the beloved of Jehovah. In reaching the conclusion of our reflections upon this prophecy it is with the genuine conviction that all who read, in the spirit, recognize that we have in this sacred message and prophecy a most rare contribution to the treasures of truth that are of inestimable value to the Lord's people. In our examination of the book of Daniel the significance of the Apostle's words have come home to us with fresh meaning to the effect that these God given prophecies were intended to shine as a light in a dark place until the dawning of the day, to all who give earnest heed.
Daniel and the Revelation
Similar to the book of the Apocalypse in the 'New Testament, we have seen that Daniel's prophecy is largely a forecast of history, an announcement of future things -- future from the day in which Daniel lived. Indeed, none can read carefully and critically the prophecies of St. John and Daniel without observing a most remarkable resemblance between the two, and the impression is common among writers and students that no matter what interpretation or construction is placed on the two books, it is difficult to expound or write on one of them without carefully considering the other, and without substantially producing to a considerable extent an explanation of the other. Thus observes Mr. Barnes:
"There is no evidence, indeed, that John, in the book of Revelation, intended to imitate Daniel, and yet there is so strong a resemblance in the manner in which the Divine disclosures respecting the future were made to the two writers; there is so clear a reference to the same great events in the history of the world; there is so much similarity in the symbols employed, that no commentator can well write on the one without discussing many points, and making use of many illustrations, which would be equally appropriate in an exposition of the other."
The striking feature about both the prophecy of Daniel and that of St. John is that they portray the history particularly of the Church, both true and false, and also the world power- to whatever extent these have affected the interest experiences of the Lord's professed people, Daniel's prophecy covering approximately twenty-five centuries, from the time he lived unto Messiah's Kingdom; and that of the Apocalypse covering much the same period, but more particularly from the First Advent of Christ onward and reaching unto the conclusion of His future glorious reign.
Considering the vast importance of these two prophecies, the scope of their influence and power to enlighten and cheer the saints, it is not to be wondered at that the great opposer of Truth has bitterly assailed the prophecy of Daniel and also that of the Revelator. In the case of the Apocalypse every effort bas been made to confuse the mind of the truth seeker and to discourage diligent study of the subject, notwithstanding the fact of its "Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein."
Daniel in the Critic's Den
With the book of Daniel, for long years past most strenuous efforts have been made, principally by unbelievers, to discredit it as an authentic portion of the sacred writings; the claim being made by Porphyry, who wrote in the third century, and others, that it was a forgery and was written not by Daniel .but by "another who lived in Judea in the time of Antiochus, surnamed Epiphanes; and that the book of Daniel does not foretell things to come, but relates what had already happened. In a word, whatever it contains to the time of Antiochus is true history; if there is anything relating to aftertimes, it is falsehood."
Among other opponents of more recent times is one, De Wette. This writer with others living contemporaneous took the position "that the book leas written at or about the time of the Maccabees, by some Jew, who, in order to give greater authority and importance to his work, wrote under the assumed name of Daniel, and laid the scene in Babylon in the time of the captivity." The arguments offered by these various critics are for the most part vague and worthless and may be regarded as having no weight with those who keep before them all the facts.
In the exposition that we have presented, of which this article forms the concluding series, the criticisms of Daniel's prophecy have not been considered worth time and space, believing that the internal evidence of Divine supervision and inspiration observed in the examination and exposition, is all that would be necessary to satisfy the minds of, the Lord's people and as an answer to Daniel's critics. Mr. Barnes, who evidently made an exhaustive examination of all the charges and claims made against the book of Daniel, finally sums up briefly the main lines of testimony that stand unrefuted in support of the genuineness of the prophecy and of Daniel as its author.
By Many Indisputable Proofs
"There is (1), on the face of the book, the testimony of the writer himself to his own authorship-good evidence in itself, unless there is some reason for calling it in question or setting it aside. There is (2) the fact that it was early received into the canon as a part of the inspired Scriptures, and that it has always been, both by Jews and Christians, regarded as entitled to a place there. There is (3) the express testimony of the Savior that Daniel was a prophet, and a clear reference to a part of the prophecy by him, as we have it now in the book of Daniel. There is (4) express testimony that the book was in existence before the time of the Maccabees and was then regarded as a genuine production of Daniel; particularly (a) the testimony of Josephus ; (b) of the author of the book of Maccabees, and (c) of the authors of the Septuagint translation. There is (5) the fact that the book was so written in two different languages that we cannot well attribute it to a writer of the Maccabean period. And there is (6) 'the accurate knowledge which the writer of the book of Daniel displays of ancient history, manners, and customs, and Oriental-Babylonish peculiarities, which shows that he must have lived at or near the time and place when arid where the book leads us to suppose that he lived.' For the genuineness and authenticity of what other book can more clear and decisive testimony be brought:
"These considerations seem to make it clear that the book could not have been a forgery of the time of the Maccabees, and that every circumstance combines to confirm the common belief that it was written in the time of the exile, and by the author whose name it bears. But if this is so, then its canonical authority is established; for we have all that can be urged in favor of the canonical authority of any of the books of the Old Testament. Its place in the canon from the earliest period; the testimony of Christ; the testimony of Josephus and the Jews in all ages to its canonical authority; the testimony of the early Christian fathers; its prophetic character; and the strong internal probabilities that it was written at the time and in the manner in which it professes to have been, all go to confirm the opinion that it is a genuine production of the Daniel of the captivity, and worthy to be received and accredited as a part of the inspired oracles of truth."
Predictions Have Come to Pass
Another expositor whose deep spiritual insight into the prophecies has made his writings of much edification to the Lord's people, -- Mr. H. G. Guinness, has in his concluding thoughts presented the following interesting observations:
"The prophecies of Daniel stand pre-eminent among all others in their evidential value. Not only does his brief book give a foreview of twenty-five centuries of Jewish and Gentile history, including the First and the Second Advents of Christ, but it also fixes the chronology of various episodes of the then unknown future, with a simple certainty which would be audacious if it were not Divine.
Mould any mere man dare to foretell not only a long succession of events lying far in the remote future, but the time at which.-some of them would occur and the periods they would occupy. This Daniel did, and the predictions have come to pass.
"This unquestionable fact can be explained away only on one of three grounds.
"I. The accord between prediction and fulfilment must be purely accidental and fortuitous; or --
"II. The events must have been manipulated, so as to fit the prophecy; or
"III. The prophecy must have been written to fit the events, i.e. after them; it must, in other words, be a forgery of a later date.
"None of these three explanations can account for the agreement between Daniel's predictions and history, as reflection will show. For --
"1. Such an agreement cannot be merely fortuitous. It is too far-reaching and detailed, too exact and varied. Chance might produce a few coincidences of fulfillment out of a hundred predictions, not a hundred or more without a sin')e exception. Common sense perceives this at a glance. As far as time has elapsed every single point predicted in Daniel has come true, and there remain but a few terminal points yet to be fulfilled.
"2. The events were certainly not made to fit the prophecy by human arrangement. The rise and fall and succession of monarchies and of empires, arid the conduct and character of nations, for over two thousand years are matters altogether too vast to be manipulated by men. Such a notion is clearly absurd. What did Babylonian and Persian monarchs, Grecian and Roman conquerors, Gothic and Vandal invaders, mediaeval kings and popes, conspire for long ages to accomplish obscure Jewish predictions, of which the majority of them never even heard.
"3. The third and last solution is consequently the only possible alternative to a frank admission of the Divine inspiration of the book, and of the Divine government of the world amid all its ceaseless political changes. Can the prophecy have been written to fit the events.' In other words, can it be a forgery of a later date' This is the theory adopted by all the unbelieving critics, who start with the assumption that prophecy in any true sense is impossible. They endeavor prophecy assign to the book a (late later than the true one, a date towards the close of the reign of Antiochus Epiphanes, who died in the second century before Christ.
Then they endeavor to compress all the four empires into the four centuries previous to that date, excluding therefore from the prophecy any allusion to the Roman Empire and the First Advent of Christ. Multitudinous have been the attacks made on these lines on the fortress of this book of Daniel; for skepticism has realized that while it stands impregnable, a relic of the sixth century before Christ, all rationalistic theories must fall to the around, like Dagon before the ark.
History Working Out Divine Purposes
"But the fortress stands firm as ever, its massive foundations revealed only the more clearly by the varied assaults it has repelled. The assailants, German as well as English, have been beaten off time after time by one champion after another, earnestly contending for the faith. The superficial and shallow nature of the linguistic, historic, and critical objections has been demonstrated, and one line of assault after another has had to be abandoned. But even if this were not the case, and the later date could be substantiated, it would not in the least establish the skeptical denial of the existence of prophecy in Daniel. The predictions of the First Advent and of the Roman destruction of Jerusalem would be in nowise affected by the later date, nor those of the tenfold division of the Roman Empire, and of the great Papal and Mohammedan Apostasies.
"Candor is shut up to the conclusion that real, true, and marvelous foreknowledge is, beyond all question, indicated by the predictions of the book, since twenty-five centuries of history can be proved to correspond with it accurately, in their chronological as well as in all their other features. If this be so, the question of inspiration is settled for honest minds. Nor that alone. For the rule of God over the kings of the earth-the fact that history is working out His Divine purposes, and that all the changing kingdoms of the Gentiles are merely introductory to the eternal kingdom of the Son of man and of the saints-is also established beyond controversy.
"If eight or nine centuries of fulfilled prophecy drove Porphyry, in the third century, to feel that we must either admit Divine inspiration or prove the book of Daniel spurious, ought not the twenty-five centuries of it, to which we in our days can point, be even more efficacious in convincing candid inquirers and confounding prejudiced opponents' The battle of authenticity has been fought and won; no fresh objections call be invented. Archeological discovery play vet find Daniel's name among the Babylonian records; it will certainly produce no evidence against the book which it has already done so much to authenticate. It rests with Christian teachers and preachers to use the miracle of the last days, fulfilled and fulfilling prophecy, for the conviction and conversion of men."
Covering Many Successive Ages
Still another, Mr. Thomas H. Newton, who wrote earlier than Mr. Guinness and whose research has reflected much light on Daniel's prophecy, concludes his work in the following language
"Upon the whole, what an amazing prophecy is this, comprehending so many various events, and extending through so Inane successive ages, from the first establishment of the Persian Empire, above 530 years before Christ, to the general resurrection.' And the farther it extends, and the more it comprehends, the more amazing surely, and the more Divine it must appear, if not to an infidel like Porphyry, yet to all who like Grotius have any belief of revelation. How much nobler and more exalted the sense, more important and more worthy to be known by men, and to be revealed by God when taken in this extended view, and applied to this long and yet regular series of affairs, by the most easy and natural construction . . . . What stronger and more convincing proofs can be given or required of a Divine providence, and a Divine revelation, that there is a God who directs and orders the transactions of the world, and that Daniel was a prophet inspired by Him, 'a man greatly beloved,' as he is often addressed by the angel! Our blessed Savior (Matt. 24:15), bath bestowed upon him the appellation of 'Daniel the prophet'; and that is authority sufficient for any Christian: but in this work have been produced such instances and attestations of his being a prophet, as an infidel cannot deny, or if lie denies cannot disprove. The character that is 1-iven of him by Josephus is nothing more than strictly his due. It expresseth the sense of the Jewish church: and the same must be the sentiments of every man, who will consider and compare the prophecies and events together. This historian is commending the superior excellence of Daniel's predictions; 'for he was wont, says he, not only to foretell future things, as other Prophet; also did; but he likewise determined the time, wherein they should happen.'
"In short, we see how well Daniel deserves the character which his contemporary Ezekiel hath given him (Ezek. 14:14; 28:3), for his piety and wisdom."
Four Grand Divisions of the Prophecy
We may safely venture the assertion that there is no portion of the entire canon of inspiration especially in the Old Testament, that call be considered of greater importance than the prophecy Daniel; presenting as it does the strongest proof s of inspiration and in support of its supernatural origin, and revealing details of information Concerning the consummation of the Divine Plan, which are needed to strengthen the faith of the children of God in this Age of doubt and infidelity.
We have seen during our reflections upon this prophecy that it is divided into four main divisions, the last of which is still unfulfilled:
First, the prediction twice repeated that there would be a succession of four great empires. finally succeeded by a government from heaven.
Second, a complete chronological prophecy of Messiah's Advent and the fall of Jerusalem.
Third, a lengthy outline of the events associated with the second and third of the four great monarchies, including especially the wars of the Ptolemies and Seleucidae, the Maccabean persecutions and martyrdoms, and the career of Antiochus Epiphanes; also of the two great outstanding Apostasies which came into existence in the sixth and seventh centuries A. D.: the one, the Papal Apostasy of the West, and the other the Mohammedan of the East.
Fourth, prophecies relating to events beyond -- Christ's Second Advent, the resurrection and glorification of the Church, the establishment of the Kingdom of God, the restoration of Israel, the general resurrection of the dead, and the restitution of all things.
The Great Image and the Four Beasts
Concerning the first division, two distinct revelations of the succession of the four great empire is given that represented in Nebuchadnezzar's dream of the great fourfold metallic image, and that of Daniel's vision of the four great beasts that cam up from the sea diverse one from the other. More than this, we have specially observed that while these two particular prophecies are conveyed by means of symbols, we are left in no doubt or obscurity on this account; for the divinely selected symbols are divinely interpreted: "This is the dream: and we will tell the interpretation thereof before the king. Thou, O king, art a king of kings. Thou art this head of gold," etc. To Daniel the angel said, interpreting his vision, "These great beasts, which are four, are four kings, which shall rise out of the earth, but the saints of the Most High shall take the kingdom, and possess the kingdom for ever, even for ever and ever." The detailed statements in the case of both of these prophecies enables the careful student to readily locate their place in the governments of the world since that time. . The great fourfold image and the vision of the four beasts both picture the Roman power as continuing in existence up to the Redeemer's Second Advent and as being destroyed and supplanted only by the new heavenly government. More than this, they represent the fourth or Roman Empire as rising al the time the Grecian fell and as occupying the entire interval between that date and the conclusion of the Gentile times. There is no cessation or gap in the image and the fourth beast, it is plainly stated, continues till the Kingdom of the Son of Man and the saints is inaugurated.
Messiah's First Advent
Concerning the second division of the prophecy relating to Messiah's First Advent and the destruction of Jerusalem, the records of both sacred and profane history leave no room for doubt as to the fulfillment, which took place about five hundred and fifty years after the prophecy was uttered. In the midst of the last of the seventy great symbolic weeks Messiah was cut off, but not for Himself, not on account of His own sin, but to make reconciliation for the iniquity of the people. Three and one half years later, marked the full end of the seventy weeks; Divine favor turned definitely to the Gentiles to make up the Divine selection-of a people for His name to compose the Bride of Christ -- joint-heirs with Him in His coming Kingdom. Then A.D. 70 or thereabout, as history has informed us the terrible ravages overtook Jerusalem, its complete fall occurred and the scattering of the people amongst all the nations, whither they have remained unto this day.
Presenting March of Events
The fulfillment of the third main division of the prophecy represented principally in the 7th, 8th, and 11th chapters, relating to the second, third, and the fourth great monarchies, may be found upon the pages of history. These predictions are observed to be political in character, for in presenting the march of events and the proceedings of human governments down to the time of God's Kingdom, the prophecies of necessity must relate to "kings and kingdoms, victories and defeats, treaties and royal marriages, and the fortunes of different nations; and in this fact we have a fresh proof of the suitability of the instruments divinely selected for the work they are destined to do."
As we have made comparison with the historian, we have observed that the outline has been so clear and comprehensive and so completely fulfilled up to date that there can be no possible uncertainty or doubtfulness as to the correspondence of prophecy and fulfillment. When a long series of consecutive events comprehending the political fortunes of all the prominent governments of the world for twenty-five centuries, including the characters and epochs of the greatest heroes of history, are forecast as literally anal plainly as if the prophecy were a historical account, it must be either actually fulfilled or riot so. Thus we have in this prophecy the very greatest evidence and strength in support of the Divine foreknowledge, and of the control of the course of history by Divine power.
Events Still Future -- Near at Hand
The fourth main division of the prophecy, dealing with matters and events still future from the present, is probably in some respects at least of greater concern to God's people than any of the other three divisions-, because herein all the blessed hopes and promises of the entire revelation center. This portion of the prophecy, which clearly predicts the coming of the Lord with His saints in power and glory, the establishing of His Kingdom, and the resurrection of the dead, is thus seen to deal with matters that are clearly set forth by other Prophets, as well as by our Lord and the Apostles. In fact, the very kernel of the Gospel proclaimed by Jesus and the Apostles is represented in these predictions of Daniel. Our examination of the prophecies as a whole, and finding ourselves in the midst of those stirring scenes and events that have been marked for the last days -- the increase of knowledge on all subjects and its wide dissemination, the general assembling of the nations by international intercourse, treaties, agreements, etc. (Zeph. 3:8, 9), the general perplexity, strife and distress of the nations of earth, the evidences of the last or Laodicean apostate state of the Church, and the remarkable signs of Divine favor returning to natural Israel, the progress of Zionism, etc.-all of these matters, events, and developments associated in prophecy with the Second Advent of Christ and the inauguration of His Kingdom, lead us to believe that the earnest and devout followers of the Lord today have every reason for confidence and for lifting up the head with encouragement, knowing that their deliverance draweth nigh, and knowing that the glorious times of restitution for all the world follows closely upon the deliverance of the Church. -- Acts 3:19-21.
In view of all these facts and circumstances, says another, "how solemn and intense are the feelings of those who have faith in the sure word of prophecy. The momentous and perplexing questions which will culminate in the great trouble, of which Daniel forewarns us, are now agitating the public mind, and are fast approaching the terrible crisis.
But let us rejoice in the fact that beyond the trouble, and even beyond the helpful discipline of the reign of Christ, we see the glorious land of rest, the blessed and eternal inheritance of a redeemed and restored race. Wonderful times indeed are these, yet few heed the sure word of prophecy; and consequently the future is viewed by most men only from the standpoint of present indications. Men see the rapidly gathering clouds, but can know nothing of their silver lining except from the Word of God."
Inspirational Lessons from His Life
The careful and devout reader, as he has perused the pages of Daniel's prophecy, cannot have failed to catch the import and ultimate design of the Lord in preserving for His faithful people to this day, this very valuable portion of the divinely inspired revelation. Surely it was that His people might have strong consolation and the rich benefits of its holy and sanctifying influence. The very life and example of the Prophet cannot fail to yield the most blessed fruitage to all who give them holy contemplation. Inspiring lessons are to be found all through his life.
Even as a "mere work of very ancient literature it is an intensely interesting one, while as an important part of the Word of God it well repays study. Its life-like sketches of the state of things in which the writer lived, and of the characters of those with whom he came in contact; its graphic accounts of the tragic and wonderful incidents of his career; its pictures of saintly devotion, heroic self-sacrifice, calm faith, holy courage, and prevailing prayer, of fidelity under most ensnaring temptation, and of patriotism that nothing could shake; above all, its glorious witness to the delivering power and grace of God, and its lessons of lofty morality, to say nothing of its wonderful anticipations of the world's history-all conspire to make it a document of surpassing attraction. The greatest and wisest philosopher may ponder its pages, as the in comparable Sir Isaac Newton loved to do; while the simplest child finds no stories more interesting than those of the den of -lions, the Hebrew children, and the handwriting on the wall; and evangelists like Moody find no theme more moving than the experiences of the holy Prophet."
When he was yet but a lad, Daniel found himself captive in a foreign land, ruled over by a proud, cruel, conquering, worldly monarch; and eve may say that with the entrance of Daniel into this royal court, went also the providence of God. It was the magnificent Babylon in the midst of whose glory, iniquity, and idolatry, Daniel grew up, wiser than his teachers; "prayerful, and pious, pure and holy, steadfast to the God of his father, faithful unto death. Blessed illustration of the truth, that without taking His people out of the world, God can keep them from the evil! The character of Daniel is lofty, beautiful, and gracious -- a model character in many respects, and one befitting a prophet of peculiar privilege."
We can scarcely imagine a more powerful demonstration of true and genuine faith and loyalty to God and duty, than that exhibited in the life of Daniel. His "'career of prosperity in . a strange land," remarks Mr. Guinness, "never weaned his affections from his fatherland, or lessened his longing for the restoration of his people and the temple at Jerusalem. Three times a day he prayed 'towards Jerusalem,' as we learn incidentally in his old age. He led a life of earnest, longing prayerfulness for Jewish interests, while all those seventy years doing faithfully the king's business. So perfect vas his fidelity that his enemies could find no fault in him in leis official capacity, and the length of his career makes the statement remarkable."
A Place Amongst the Highest and Holiest Men
The simple words concerning Daniel are, "Daniel continued even unto the first year of King Cyrus." "But what a volume of tried faithfulness is unrolled by them!" says still another eminent writer, and he goes on to say: "Amid all the intrigues, indigenous at all times, in dynasties of oriental despotism, where intrigue too rolls round so surely and so suddenly on its author's head; amid all the envy towards a foreign captive in high office as a king's councilor; amid all the trouble incidental to the insanity of the king, or to the murder of two of his successors-in that whole critical period, for his people Daniel 'continued.'
"The force of the words is not drawn out; but, as perseverance is the final touchstone of man, so these scattered notices combine in a grand outline of one, an alien, a captive, of that misused class who are proverbially the intriguers, favorites, pests of oriental courts, who revenge on man their ill-treatment at the hand of man; yet, himself, in uniform integrity, outliving envy, jealousy, dynasties; surviving in untarnished uncorrupting greatness the seventy years of the captivity; honored during the forty-three years of Nebuchadnezzar's reign; doing the king's business under the insolent and sensual boy Belshazzar; owned by the conquering Medo-Persians ; the 'stay doubtless and human protector of his people during those long years of exile; probably commissioned to write the decree of Cyrus which gave leave for that long longed-for restoration of his people, whose re-entrance into their land, like Moses of old, he was not to share. Deeds are more eloquent than words. Such undeviating integrity, beyond the ordinary life of man, in a worshiper of the one God, in the most dissolute and degraded of the merchant-cities of old, first minister in the first of the world-monarchies,"* gives him a place among the highest and holiest men the world has ever seen.
*Posey, "Lectures on Daniel the Prophet."
Who indeed can fail to realize an impelling inspiration toward the higher things in dwelling upon such a character! "He is under a good influence, and he is likely to have his own piety quickened and his own purposes of unflinching integrity and faithfulness, and of humble devotion to God strengthened, who studies the writings and the character of the Prophet Daniel."
Surely the earnest and devout contemplation of the ways and life of this godly man, as well as his illustrious prophecies cannot but have the effect of establishing the souls of the saints in the pursuit of that same piety, wisdom, and confidence in God, and lead their minds to contemplate with a more steady and enlightened faith those future closing scenes which are vet to occur when Christ and the saints shall reign' and when shall come from every land and every clime the chastened and obedient of God's creatures and join in that grand choral strain: "Blessing, and honor, and glory, and power, be unto Him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever."
"Be ye doers of the Word, and not hearers only." -- James 1:19-27.
AMONG the holy writings that have come down to us from the Apostolic period is the Epistle of Tames. This book throughout bears strong evidence that the author was truly a man of God. The deeply spiritual and moral character of its messages are suggestive that the author was a close follower of the Lord Jesus and had been taught of Him in things pertaining to true piety and godliness.
There is no way of determining definitely just which James mentioned in the New Testament is the author of this book. There are at least two persons, if not three of this name, referred to. Two are mentioned as among the Apostolate, one the son of Zebedee and brother of John (Matt. 4:21; 10:2); and James, the son of Alpheus. (Matt. 10:3; Luke 6:15.) There is what appears to be another mentioned as James the brother of our Lord. -- Matt. 13:55; Mark 6:3.
While some have supposed that the first mentioned, James the son of Zebedee, was the author of the Epistle, yet there appears to be some sound argument unfavorable to this view, as the records seem to indicate that this James, known as James the elder, was beheaded by King Agrippa I, about the year 44, and it is scarcely probable that the Epistle was written that early. In fact the Epistle bears internal marks showing that it was o£ later origin. Mr. Barnes observes that the "belief that it was this James, the son of Alpheus, who resided so long at Jerusalem, who was the author of this Epistle, has been the common, though not the unanimous opinion of the Christian Church, and seems to be supported by satisfactory arguments." We incline to this latter opinion in view o£ the general style and Apostolic character of the writings. The authority with which the writer speaks and yet with that modesty and simplicity gives strong testimony in support o£ the view that he was one of the specially chosen Apostles of the Lord.
Directs Mind to Lofty Truths
As to the time when the Epistle was written there is absolutely no means whatever of determining. It appears to be well along in the Apostolic period, as the writer addresses his Epistle to the twelve tribes of Israel scattered abroad, meaning to those residing outside Palestine, and therefore implying that it was at a time when Christian bodies were established here and there in various countries, which mould require quite a number of years; but as to fixing any exact time when the Epistle was written, the most that any one could say upon the subject would be merely a guess.
Like all the other teachings by those who were especially appointed of the Lord to instruct the Church, the Epistle of James directs the minds of the Lord's people into the consideration of those grand and lofty truths that have a bearing upon the development of the spiritual life and that encourage consecration to God and the building of character in conformity to the Truth.
After announcing to the brethren their privileges in Christ, that in their insufficiency and lack of wisdom they may come in faith, asking for heavenly wisdom; and announcing that these privileges belong to all the brethren, for they are all upon a common footing, the Apostle urges fellow members of the Christ to be prepared to endure temptation; and at the same time to recognize that while trials and tests of faith are permitted, yet they are not caused by the Lord, and that when temptations and enticements allure and lead away from the Lord, it is because the mind has given way to the desires and lusts of the flesh. He declares that those who this yield themselves over to sin fall into grave danger, for "sin when it is finished bringeth forth death." The writer further reminds the brethren that all good gifts and mercies come from the Father of lights, assuring that there is no shadow of turning with Him -- that He will not change or renounce the purpose decreed; that the object of starting in us the new life by His Word of Truth is that we should be a kind of first fruits of His creatures.
Swift to Hear Slow to Speak
The Apostle James' admonitions are of a very practical kind: "Let every- man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath." Since God is not the source of evil and does not tempt any man, and since evil emanates from another source, in connection with the mark of sin and the depraved desires of the flesh, therefore it is of great importance that followers of Christ shall be oil guard-they are to listen to the instructions of the Truth and be more ready to hear than to speak, in view of the fact that the tongue may become a great factor for evil. It is claimed that the ancients have some sayings on the subject of hearing and speaking that are well worthy of consideration:
"Men have two ears, and but one tongue, that they should hear more than they speak." "The ears are always open, ever ready to receive instruction; but the tongue is surrounded with a double row of teeth, to hedge it in, and to keep it within proper bounds." "How noble was the response of Xenocrates! When he met the reproaches of others with a profound silence, some one asked him why he alone was silent? 'Because,' says he, 'I have sometimes had occasion to regret that I have spoken, never that I was silent.' So the son of Sirach, '.Be swift to hear, and with deep consideration give answer.' So the Rabbins have some similar sentiments: 'Talk little and work much.' 'The righteous speak little and do much; the wicked speak much and do nothing.'"
The words of the wise man are closely related:
"Be not rash -with thy mouth, and let not thins heart be hasty to utter anything before God." "The tongue of the wise useth knowledge aright, but the mouth of fools poureth out foolishness."
Christians are to be slow to wrath, because what is ordinarily termed -,wrath has in it the elements of anger, bitterness, vindictiveness, all of which are contrary to the spirit of Christ. "The particular point here is, however, not that we should be slow to wrath as a general habit of mind, which is indeed most true, but in reference particularly to the reception of the truth. We should lay aside all anger and wrath, and should come to the investigation of truth with a calm mind, and an imperturbed spirit. A state of wrath or anger is always unfavorable to the investigation of truth. Such all investigation demands a calm spirit, and he whose mind is excited and enraged is not in a condition to see the value of truth, or to weigh the evidence for it."
Put Away Wrath and Uncleanness
The Apostle announces what is well known by all of experience: "The wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God"; the thought being that the tendency of anger and bitterness is not to produce that upright course of life, and love of truth, which God requires. A person is never certain of doing the right thing under the influence of disturbed and excited feelings. He will probably do that which is in the highest sense wrong and which is much regretted all his life. It is undoubtedly true that wrath in the mind of man will not have any tendency to make him righteous.
The Apostle exhorts, "Lay apart all filthiness," which appertains to evil conduct, considered as disgusting and offensive To those begotten of the Spirit and of holy mind, uncleanness and sin in any form is loathsome. Nevertheless by reason of weakness of the flesh such a one may temporarily yield to its influence under pressure of temptation.
The statement, "superfluity of naughtiness," is designed to express the abhorrence of the Christian of evil by a still more emphatic description, as evil abounding, overflowing. "The particular reference in these passages is to the reception of the truth, and the doctrine taught is, that a corrupt mind, a mind full of sensuality and wickedness, is not favorable to the reception of the truth. It is not fitted to see its beauty, to appreciate its value, to understand its just claims, or to welcome it to the soul. Purity of heart is the best preparation always for seem, the force of truth."
Be Ye Doers of the Word
Experience also teaches that only those who "receive the truth with meekness" are in a fair way to make progress in the spiritual life. It is the engrafted Word, the Truth implanted in the Christian that produces fruit of its own, whatever may be the original character of the tree into which it is engrafted. As it is the Word of life, the Apostle's language expresses the thought that it is "able to save your souls."
Hey goes on to imply that the truth which -we receive is not merely for some idle purpose, but that it mat- work out in us the grand consequences designed: "Be ye doers of the Word, and not hearers only." Those who merely hear the Word without doing it, deceive themselves and, as saith the Apostle, are like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was; the thought being that the Divine Message of truth is as a glass that reveals to us just what we are, so that we see what our condition is before the Lord. And one who is not impressed by the truth so as to be affected in a practical was-, is as the man who forgets what manner of person he was.
On the other hand, the one beholding the Divine Message and looking "into the perfect law of liberty and continues therein, he being not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deeds." The perfect law of liberty may well be understood to mean the perfect law of God or His will. It is called the perfect law as being wholly free from all defects. It is the law of liberty or freedom, because it is a law producing freedom from the servitude of sinful passions and lusts. The blessing promised to such doers is a peace of conscience and a happiness of a high order to the mind. It will exert a good influence over the whole soul.
Seeming to be Religious
No room for doubt is left in these writings of the Apostle as to the ultimate import and object of religion. "If any man among you seemeth to be religious"; the inference clearly is that there may be certain appearances which would make it seem that there is religion in the heart, and yet it may be utterly devoid of that spiritual force that constitutes a religious life. Thus said the -Master, "Not all that saith unto Me, Lord. Lord," professing to be Christians shall enter the Kingdom of Heaven. "If there is any one thin,'" says another writer, "in reference to which it does not bring us under its control, that one thing may show that all other appearances of piety are worthless."
Bridling not the tongue is mentioned. There was perhaps some particular reason why, the Apostle referred to this as a special sin. Doubtless it was a prevailing evil in his time as it is in ours. Anyway the lesson would be that if there is any one evil propensity which religion does not control, or if there is an-,- one thing in respect to which its influence is not felt, whatever other evidences of piety there may be, this will demonstrate that the other appearances of religion or piety are vain. For the spirit of the Lord in His people is designed to bring the whole being under control and to subdue every faculty of the body and mind to its demands. The Lord does not look for perfection in the direction of controlling the tongue any more than in another, but He does reasonably expect progress along this line as along others, and positive evidence that there is earnest endeavor in the direction of restraining the tongue.
The Apostle's argument is that failure to exercise self-control and restraint implies that the spirituality, if any, is at a very low ebb. Again, all know that there may be evidences of piety which seem to be plausible and clear, but which in themselves do not prove that there is any true religion. The Master said, "Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh," and His Word assures us that His judgment of His people is from the standpoint of the heart. As another has said: "If the tongue is not subdued, if an-v sin is indulged, it will show that the seat of the evil has not been reached." and that the soul as such is not being brought into subjection to the law of God.
Love and Holiness in True Religion
The Apostle presents some practical effects of what "pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father" is. In mentioning certain things he does not say that these are the whole of religion or that there is nothing else essential to it; his design rather is to explain that religion will lead to a holy life, and he mentions certain matters as specimens of what it will lead us to do. In keeping with the Apostle Paul's sublime analysis of love, St. James says that pure religion will lead to a life of practical benevolence, and that it will keep us unspotted from the world. The benevolent spirit will be on the lookout for opportunities of expression among all men as far as possible, but especially unto the household of faith, visiting the widows and fatherless in their affliction, and rendering helpful service wherever reasonably possible. Where this disposition to be a friend to all, exists, there will no doubt be other corresponding things which are essential in the religious character. This will not stand alone. Such will be friends to every good work. Such a one will also strive to be pure and uncontaminated in his walk and deportment, and live in the consciousness of the fact that as God is holy, so he as one of His children should copy the Divine example.
It is then to be observed that the line of reasoning pursued by St. James is of a most edifying and uplifting character. "It is, therefore," says another writer, "'an easy matter for a man to determine whether he has any religion; and equally easy to see that religion is eminently desirable. Who can doubt that that is good which leads to compassion for the poor and the helpless, and which makes the heart and the life pure."'
Am enclosing herewith an order for the second volume on Revelation, and a subscription for "The Herald." I have rather hastily read the first volume and it looks very reasonable to me. I feel sure I will profit by reading the second.
I have been in present truth since 1911, and when the divisions began to take place in 1917, I remained with the W. T. B. & T. S., feeling like many others, perhaps, that loyalty to the "channel" was very essential. However, I did not permit the thought to take the place of reason and my responsibility to "prove all things." I am sure the test is not loyalty to any earthly organization, but .to His Word; and while the Lord sets the teachers in the Body as it pleases Him, yet He holds me individually responsible for accepting or rejecting what those teachers present. I am not to shut my eyes and swallow everything as it comes. I realize very keenly that I cannot rely on my natural ability unaided by His Holy Spirit to properly separate truth from error and apply the principles of righteousness to .the varied experiences that come to me day by clay. When I see those with whom I have so long been associated and in whom I have had so much confidence, putting an interpretation on a Scripture that seems to me so very unreasonable, it makes me wonder if their heads or mine has gone wrong, and I feel very much the need of a proper heart condition to keep the head right. As the Lord has said, "if it were possible, the very elect would be deceived," we may be sure that if we are not of that class we will be deceived, regardless of how much head knowledge we may have. So I cannot agree with the thought expressed by many of the friends that making our calling and election sure has taken a secondary place and witnessing or "service" has taken the first place.
Much more might be said, but I am taking your time. Brother Hoskins spoke here some time ago, and as I was so dissatisfied and disgusted with what I had been hearing and reading, 1 went out to hear what he had to say. The thoughts presented and the spirit manifested looked good to me and I borrowed some back numbers of "The Herald" and the first volume on Revelation to investigate further. What I have read has the proper ring to my ears, and I would like to hear some more of it. However others: may feel, I think my chief work is making my own calling and election sure and assisting others to make their calling sure, and when I have heard the "well done" I will then be prepared to do restitution work and not before.
Praying the Lord's blessing upon you and your efforts at serving Him, I am,
Your brother in Christ, -- C. H W.-Tex.
IN THE LAND OF EGYPT-Continued
The Pyramids of Gizeh
IN VIEW of the interest we as Bible students have felt in the Great Pyramid, believing it to be the altar of stone which God declared He would place in the land of Egypt (Isa. 19:19, 20), it seems strange that I have so little to relate concerning my visit there. I must refer the dear readers of "The Herald" to "Studies In The Scriptures," Vol. III, Chapter 10, for satisfactory information, even as I have been refreshing my own mind recently froth those pages, and will confine my own account to nothing snore than personal experience and impression.
I had read many times that the pyramids are situated near Cairo, but the mental picture formed had seemingly ignored this, and so my first glimpse of the pyramids held much of surprise. I had always had a vision of a long stretch of sandy desert that must be crossed to reach there, and when one day from the citadel in Cairo I suddenly caught sight of those huge peaks of stone standing on a floor of yellow sand just outside the city, a distance of but six miles, I experienced much the same sensation I should have felt had I unexpectedly collided with some object previously considered as at a safe distance. We later drove to them by automobile, along a broad and well paved highway, scarcely leaving the suburbs of Cairo behind before we came to the small village of Gizeh. Here a row of gaily caparisoned camels awaited us, each with a hopeful, dusky owner, and with them 'vas a sprinkling of small donkeys for the more timid. But we did not stop until we reached the Great Pyramid and there we mounted camels for a ride around the pyramids and the sphinx. We did not realize until we had dismounted, two hours later, how much greater the distance is around and between them than we had thought, for the desert of sand, stretching away from them is so vast and their own size so great, that the eye loses much of its sense of proportion.
Emblems of Past Glory
The solemn majesty and magnitude of these great monuments bring a feeling of awe and littleness, much the same as that Which sometimes humbles man before the mighty works and forces of nature, as he cries within himself, "What is man that Thou are mindful of him!"
The sphinx, with the head of a man and the body of a lion, has stood here through the passing millenniums, a figure that represented to the ancient Egyptians the rising sun, a symbol of the resurrection.
The pyramids are now a rough but regular mass of great stone blocks, making an ascent to the top comparatively easy; but at the top of the second pyramid, a smooth polished covering, all that remains of the former outer layer, may be seen. Sultan Hassan started the robbery to build his mosque and it continued until only this one small portion of polished stone is left. This capping of glistening stone gives us . an example from which we can picture these pyramids in their one time glory.
Later, in London, I noticed in the picture supplement of a newspaper, a photograph of a pyramid taken from an aeroplane by the publication's artist. It had under it the title of the Great Pyramid, but it was not Cheops, for the smooth outer covering of stone that tops only the second pyramid was there.
The entrance to the Great Pyramid, 48 feet above the ground, opens into a passage so slippery, and stifling that we were advised not to attempt it, and an altercation among the Arab dragomans as to whose part should have precedence, further helped to a decision not to enter, a decision since regretted.
We looked back as they were leaving, that the scene might be better impressed upon our memory. Our impression at that moment, still full of awe and wonder, may have differed little from that of Abraham and Sarah as they beheld these same things. And the eyes of Isaac and Joseph and Benjamin, and perhaps those of Joseph and Mary must also have looked and questioned. Thoughts such as this came, enriching our privileges and experiences as we "sojourned" those eight days in the land of Egypt.
A Trip Up the Nile
We left Cairo one evening for a trip to Luxor, 450 miles up the Nile. This trip may be made by boat if one prefers, even up to Assuan many miles south of Luxor. Here is located the great Assuan dam, a masterpiece of modern engineering built by the British. This great barrier across the watercourse of the Nile, is built at the First Cataract, the construction beginning in 1898. It is one and one quarter miles long, and gives to Egypt a dependable and controlled water supply instead of, at the season of inundation, an over-flowing river. But this, a great blessing to the land, adds its quota to the unrest and dissatisfaction among the masses; for, stirred no doubt by more or less of the propaganda at work now in the world, they believe that the motive back of its building was that another country might hold the destiny of Egypt in her hands.
In contrast, we heard several statements froth Egyptians of intelligence, some of them in business, all agreeing that their country had prospered under English rule, and conditions are not so good since Fuad I, was crowned king three years ago and Egypt was recognized as an independent.
There are over 11,000,000 Moslems in Egypt, with but a small per cent literate. This reminds me of a visit we made to the famous Moslem university in Cairo, El-Azhar. There are students here from all over the 'Mohammedan World, and the fount of all learning for them is the Koran. Only the memory is trained, and there is no individuality of thought or reason, and thus no progression. One touching sight was the section for the blind, where each sightless student learned his lesson as it was read orally by one seated oil the mat beside him.
To Luxor and Tombs of the Kings
We regretted very much that our arrangements took us up the lovely Nile valley at night, but we awakened early the next morning to see, in the dawning light, a country just rousing from sleep, that fulfilled every expectation. Our modern train with its comfortable, if too ornate, sleeping compartments, rushed through a land unchanged since the days of Abraham. On either side was the thick greenness which springs from the rich, alluvial soil of the Nile, edged with the bordering deserts. Every few miles we passed mud villages. The houses, built compactly together, were usually roofless, although sometimes covered loosely with straw. Arabs lazily watching a few goats or sheep were here and there, sitting in their favorite position of rest -- a squat. All along the way were primitive wells -- a big flat wheel laid horizontally, with a bullock attached; or a long sweep with a bucket of skin, worked by a man, who sings as he works, it is said, the same song his ancestors sang.'
Many beds of poppies brightened the way. From this blossom the native derives a drug which lie adds to his coffee. His food is simple-no meat except on feast days, his main fare consisting of a sour bread and a dish of legumes. Around this dish the family sits, each member using his hand as an aid in securing his portion.
The river that forms the land they live on and moistens it, that they may have bread, is regarded with a feeling almost akin to worship by these people. Our native Guide at Luxor, clean) and intelligent, surprised us greatly by drinking from a jar that an old Arab had just filled from the stream. "We inquired if he did not thinly it unsafe to drink such dirty water, and he answered earnestly, "Water from our sacred Nile! Do you think that could ever harm me?"
Worshipers of the Sun
The ancients were sun-worshipers and so they made idols of stone, typifying Amen-Ra, or Ra. the noonday sun, the sun at its zenith. This form of religion was changed by Amenhotep, the father-in-law of King Tutankhamen, into a worship of the solar disk itself -- Aton. King Tutankhamen, who was the son of a high priest, had married the daughter of this king. He promised to continue the worship of Aton, but soon after becoming Pharaoh of Egypt, he went down to the temple of Luxor, established the old worship of AmenRa and for this was greatly beloved by his (people. He died after a few years reign, a young man. His tomb, recently found and opened, caused intense excitement and interest over the world, as it was found intact and robbed of none of its treasures.
Luxor is situated on the east bank of the Nile, while ancient Thebes, the "No" of the Bible, lay on both banks and covered an area of 14 square miles in this vicinity. This great city of Amen-Ra had 100 gates and 20,000 chariots; and its great temple of Karnak, the most magnificent pile of ruins in the world, is near Luxor, while in the town is another fine ruin-the temple of Luxor. Religion formed a great part of the life of the early Egyptians and influenced their art and architecture. Everything was done in its name and under its inspiration. The great stone temples and colossal figures, the paintings which cover the walls of their tombs, the mummified figures so numerous that the land of Egypt was found to be one great tomb, are all due to their religious belief as they groped "blindly in the darkness." We find, as Longfellow poetically expressed,
" . . . that in all ages,
Every human heart is human,
And in even savage bosoms,
There are longings, yearnings, strivings
For the good they comprehend not."
Hopes and Fears of Ancient Egyptian
To the early Egyptians were not given the oracles of God, and this country, used in the Bible as a type of the Empire of Sin, has held and still holds "many who will be glad to go forth to serve the Lord under the leadership of one like unto, but greater than Moses." (Vol. III, page 315.) And so with sympathy I looked upon the hopes and fears of these people, as I read the record upon walls of stone and saw in their mummified bodies their puny human struggle against the great enemy of Death and the sentence, "dust thou art and unto dust shall thou return."
We ferried across the Nile one morning to the rocky desert on the other side, which holds the tombs of the kings; the temple of Der-el-Bahri, which is partially excavated and is being restored by J. P. Morgan; the temple of Ramesseum; and the Collossi, still gazing across the desert. . Outside the Ramesseum lies the remains of a statue of Ramses II, thrown down by some destroyer. Cut in one solid piece, and weighing not less than 1000 tons, the transportation and setting up of this stone image is a mystery not easily understood. The ear that still remains measures three and one-half feet in length, and the circumference of the elbow is seventeen and one-half feet.
There are many tombs in this desert, about forty in all, that of Seti I, being the most magnificent. Following the flight of steps that leads downward, we found ourselves in a series of lofty rooms (14 in all) 150 feet deep, with an entire length of 330 feet. The walls, ceilings, and columns were entirely covered with paintings in relief. These pictures showing the religion, life, and achievements of the dead king, seemed as fresh and untouched by time as though they had been painted there in recent years, instead of 3500 years ago. The tombs when first opened still bore the footprints of the workers upon the sandy floors. As soon as a Pharaoh ascended the throne, work was started to prepare his tomb, which continued during his reign and ceased at the moment of his death. And so we see in each of these tombs an unfinished room where work ceased abruptly. This accounts for the extensive and elaborate tomb of Seti I, whose reign was long, and the small undecorated tomb of Tutankhamen, who died young.
Believed in Future Life
The care taken in digging these sepulchres down deep into the rock, carefully concealing them from possible robbers, and the art of preserving dead bodies against decay, resulted from a strong faith in the resurrection and a fear that if the body were in any way destroyed such hopes would be frustrated. And, further reasoning that the spirit must have a place of abode while the body slept, a facsimile of the deceased was made in stone and placed in the tomb. Many of these statues or "doubles" are now in the Cairo Museum.
Our hotel in Luxor fronted the wide placid Nile and the barren desert stretching from its opposite shore. In size and beauty of appointment, with a tropical garden in the rear, it offered everything of loveliness and comfort to the traveler. But near it were the miserable homes of the natives, a village so infested with flies that the faces of the babies were covered black with these insects, the eyes and features almost, if not entirely, hidden. Mothers refused to even brush them away as it is against their religion to molest them. These people are so afflicted with sore eyes that it is unsafe to venture into this village without a thick veil and a fly-brush. These brushes, with handles of beads or carved ivory, are made for tourists by the natives and furnish them that much employment. Many of them make tiny stone beetles or "scarabs" for sale-such faithful copies of the scarabs found in the kings' tombs that only an expert can tell the difference. This sacred beetle of the ancients represented to them the principle of life, because of its natural peculiarities. It was carved in stone and used in the rings of the kings.
On the east bank of the Nile, where Luxor is situated, stands the ruins of two great temples, Luxor and Karnak. Both of these are magnificent specimens of ancient Egyptian building, but the temple of Karnak is the greater. The magnitude and grandeur of this great temple cannot be described. Its great columns, which support the roof, are 33 feet in circumference and 80 feet in height, and beside them man stands a mere pygmy. Traces of the original colors may be yet seen in places. Outside are the famous avenues of sphinxes. The only explanation offered of how these great blocks of stone used in constructing Karnak were raised and placed at such great heights is that the earth was gradually built up to its level as the work progressed and then removed. We returned to Cairo. from which we would travel on to Palestine. Eight days later we met our boat at Haifa, the present port of the Holy Land. -- G.M.H.
"We believe that we shall be saved through the grace of the Lord .Testis."-Acts 15:1-35.
CHRISTIAN liberty was one of the important questions that came before the Church early in the Age for discussion and settlement, and it is surely to the profit of Christians today that we have a record of much that was said and done as the subject was dealt with by the early Christians.
To the Jews who had been under the Mosaic ritual and its washings, fastings, feasts, new moons, sabbaths and holy days, Christian liberty meant a release from a considerable measure of these institutions, many of which were typical and educational-suited to the "house of servants," but not appropriate to the "house of sons." To the Gentiles, to whom God had never given the Law, and who were therefore not under any of its provisions or conditions or requirements, but who were under certain superstitions, wrong appetites and customs, Christian liberty meant the abrogation of all wrong customs and superstitions, and, additionally, the imposing of a law-not the Mosaic Law and its institutions and ceremonies, however, but "the perfect law of liberty"; the "law of the spirit of life-in Christ Jesus" -- restraints of the will of the flesh, tinder the law of love. (Jas. 1:25; Rom. 8:2.) We are not to be surprised that both Jews and Gentiles, coming from opposite directions into the Church of Christ and its perfect law of liberty, were somewhat confused and bewildered respecting its requirements and proprieties.
The Threatened Schism
It was nearly twenty years after the day of Pentecost that there was a special conference held at Jerusalem for the purpose of reaching a decision respecting this very subject -- the Law of Christ, its bearing upon Gentile converts, and upon Jewish converts-to what extent the Mosaic requirements were abolished as regarded the Jews, and to what extent the Law of Christ put restraints upon the converts from amongst the Gentiles, and to what extent these two classes, previously separated socially and religiously, by the requirements of the Mosaic Law, might now come together with full brotherly fellowship and affinity, without the violation of the consciences of any, and without unnecessary restraint of the liberties of any.
The Church at Antioch had become the center of Christianity amongst the Gentiles, and Jews born in Gentile lands. Its Gentile surroundings, no less than its membership, tended to cultivate in it a broad spirit of Christian liberty; some of its membership under the influence of brethren who had come from Jerusalem, feared that it had gone too far in the matter of Christian liberty, and held that Gentiles, upon accepting Christ through faith, should likewise accept Judaism and the Mosaic Law, and come as fully under the conditions of these, including circumcision, as though they had been born Jews. Certain brethren who had recently arrived from Jerusalem accentuated these fears, and as a result there was quite a dissension in the Antioch Church amounting, as the Greek word shows, almost to a schism, a split. But the right spirit evidently prevailed; because, instead of splitting over a vexed question, each party respected the conscientious convictions of the other, and it was wisely determined to appeal the matter to the Church at Jerusalem for such words of counsel and advice as its leaders, the Apostles and elders, should see fit to give.
The Right Spirit Prevailed
The Antioch brethren evidently had full confidence that God had appointed the Apostles, and that their conclusion on the matter would ultimately be the correct one. At the same time, knowing that the brethren at Jerusalem were surrounded by the Judaizing influence, tending rather to narrowness of view as respected the Mosaic customs, they sent their two leading representatives, Paul and Barnabas, to present before the Jerusalem Council the views which seemed to the majority of the Church to be the correct ones, that thus the entire subject might be fully, fairly, thoroughly investigated, and the mind of the Lord determined as accurately as possible.
This was a beautiful spirit -- the right spirit; far more commendable in God's sight and in the judgment of sound-minded men than any immoderate course they could have taken. People who take the immoderate course are generally those who do not have sufficient faith in the Lord as the real Head of the Church, and in His overruling providence in the affairs of those who are seeking to know and to do His will; they are generally those who feel too much self assurance, as did even the meek Moses, when he erred in smiting the rock in the wilderness the second time, saying: "Ye rebels, must we fetch you water out of this rock?" -- Num. 20:10.
The truth has nothing to lose by fairness, openness, a reasonable moderation, and the turning on of all light obtainable. And while the Church at Antioch evidently had great confidence in Paul and Barnabas, they properly also had great confidence and respect for the Apostles at Jerusalem, and reasoned that since these men all gave evidence that they were truly the Lord's special servants and mouthpieces, it would be strange indeed if meeting together and 'hearing all that could be said on both sides of the question, they could not arrive at a unanimous decision respecting the Lord's will, that would assure the Church in general. We commend this noble principle which is as applicable now as it was then. Today, however, as we cannot refer questions to the living Apostles, we must refer them to the recorded teaching of our Lord and the Apostles -- seeking assistance in this amongst the brethren who appear to have the best knowledge of God's Word and the greatest insight into the Divine Plan.
The Question Before the Conference
Arrived at Jerusalem, the representatives of the Antioch congregation were met with a hearty welcome, for such is the significance of the Greek word rendered "received," in verse 4. As they had given to the others en route, so the returned missionaries gave the Jerusalem brethren detailed accounts of the Lord's blessing upon their journey, telling what miracles and wonders He had wrought, that a considerable number had believed, and how loyal, faithful and enduring were some of these newly-found brethren in Christ, who had previously been aliens, strangers, Gentiles.
Now the question of receiving Gentiles, and how they should be treated, and what were their obligations, etc., came up in a natural way, without forcing -- rather, it forced itself for decision. The Apostles and elders heard the reports of God's blessing upon the Gentiles, and offered no objection, evidently being quite in accord with the matter from the first; but, as was to be expected, there was dissatisfaction amongst brethren who previously lead been Pharisees. This sect of the Jews was firmly set, not only for the Law of Moses and all of its ceremonies, but also for many additions and accretions to it; so that they were quite dissatisfied, we remember, with our Lord's observance of the Law, which we know was perfect. These, in all honesty, objected that the missionaries were too lax, too slack in their work, and that all believers should be required to be circumcised and to keep the Mosaic laws respecting fasts, new moons, sabbath days, washings, etc.
Disputes Among the Lord's People
Thus the question was brought forward, and a special meeting- was appointed, at which the Apostles and elders heard all that was to be said on the subject, and we read that there was "much dispute." We do not want to say a word in favor of disputes, wrangling, etc., amongst the Lord's people. On the contrary, we understand the Scriptures to teach that wranglings in general are improper, out of order, injurious to the interests of the Church and of the Truth; because such wranglings and disputes are generally about things to no profit, but to the subverting or unsettling of the believers, and especially of those who are new or weak in the faith. But it is a different matter when the question is an important one, as was this under discussion; and at such a time dispute, in the proper manner, with the spirit of love, with force and yet with kindness, love, and gentleness of word and manner, is most appropriate.
We rejoice that there was such a spirit of broadmindedness in the early Church as is represented ill the course pursued. We rejoice that when an important subject was to be considered, with a view to knowing the mind of the Lord, there leas fullest liberty granted for as much dispute or debate, in a proper manner, as was necessary to bring the whole subject before those who had it under consideration. - There is a difference, however, between disputes and discussions inside the pale of faith and disputes outside that boundary. As the Apostle says, "He that is weak in the faith receive ye [do not reject him because lie has not such full, strong, vigorous faith as we should like to see]. but not to doubtful disputations'' -- do not receive him to dispute his doubts -- what he does not believe. Let him have a full opportunity for hearing the faith discussed.
The Bible Teaching on Christian Liberty
Another has emphasized the importance of liberty and freedom in the statement that such full "opportunity for freedom of discussion, within reasonable limits, is absolutely necessary to spiritual health and progress. To shut it off means to crush proper activities of thought, and in many instances means to accumulate a force which would ultimately result in an explosion, which would be damaging in some respects at least. Let us remember, in this matter, the Golden Rule; and let us accord to others differing from us the same reasonable liberty, inside the boundaries of foundation principles, that we would like to have them accord to us, if our positions were revered."
Well would it be for God's children throughout the world today if the same spirit of freedom and Christian liberty were granted as that which they observe in the primitive Church. Notwithstanding the fact that there were twelve inspired Apostles specially appointed and inspired of the Lord to speak His messages, they nevertheless recognized that there was but one Head to the Church and one source of authority -- all of the brethren were on a common footing. Even the Apostles, with their special authority from the Lord, did not set themselves tip as an inspired "channel," from which all the other members of the Church were to take instruction without the privilege of weighing matters and deciding for themselves. And one of their number, the Apostle Paul, admonished "prove all things" and "hold fast" to that only which is good. Thus the principle of personal right and liberty to think and to interpret the Divine messages and will, was accorded all the members of the Church in those days. The Apostolic teaching was against any one lording it over God's heritage, or attempting to dictate to any what should be believed.
Guarding Our Liberties Today
It was after the days of the Apostles that the Church merged into the period of Apostasy, when the spirit of lordship gained supremacy and the spirit of meekness and humility was driven out. "Powers" and "authorities," in some instances, centered in one individual such as a bishop or pope and at other times represented in councils and synods, ruled the Church, and Christian liberty became a thing of the past. We fear it is much the same today, even amongst many of the brethren in Christ who have had these lessons prominently set before them and who should, therefore, be in a position to understand clearly what the rights and prerogatives of every member of the Church really are. We cannot too emphatically urge upon all followers of Christ today, that they become awakened to a sense of their Christian duty and liberty, and vigorously resist all encroachments of the spirit of Nicolaitanism and organizational leadership and lordship which is a sure sign of apostasy. Brethren in Christ should today stand free in the liberty wherewith the Lord has made them free, and should recognize that any man or association of men who claims a right to dictate the faith and to control the views of the Church is flagrantly violating the teachings of both our Lord and the Apostles.
Peace and Love Ruled the Church
In the case of this conference at Jerusalem, when a fair hearing had been granted to both sides of the question, Peter, one of the leading Apostles, and doubtless the eldest, rehearsed his experiences with Cornelius; then Paul and Barnabas were heard and James closed the discussion. All upheld the teachings and practices of Paul and Barnabas, and cited the leadings of the Lord's Spirit, as well as the prophecies of the Old Testament, in corroboration of this position which doubtless, as above suggested, they had held tentatively for some time, though they only now thought it necessary to make a public statement regarding it. The conclusion was satisfactory to the Apostles and elders and the whole Church; and an answer in harmony with this was sent to the friends at Antioch, Syria, and throughout Silicia -- the regions which had been affected by the Judaizing teachers.
The message was received in faith by all, and caused universal rejoicing in the Church. There was a general recognition of the Lord's providential care in the Church's affairs, and this faith and confidence in God prepared all \ parties to receive the message on this subject, which they believed God would assuredly give them, and which they had rightly looked for through the channels which God had previously been using for their blessing and edification. Thus Aye have a lesson respecting the proper course of the Lord's dear people today-not to carry disputes, even on important matters (not fundamental) to the length of rupture, division, but, with hearts anxious to know and to obey the truth, inquiry should be made of the oracles of God, and the results, after a fair hearing of all the testimony, should be conclusive, satisfactory, and bring consolation-peace and joy-so that the unity of the faith in the bonds of love may continue within the walls of Zion.
May such occasions as those in the Apostolic period be likewise treated by the Lord's people today, and with similar blessed results, tinder the' guidance of the same Lord and Master who more than eighteen centuries ago guided by His Word and Spirit.