HARVEST GATHERING AND SIFTINGS.

ZION’S WATCH TOWER VOL. XI. ALLEGHENY, PA., MAY, 1890. NO. 6.

 

R1214

 

...However, we were then merely getting the general outlines of God’s plan, and unlearning many long-cherished errors, the time for a clear discernment of the minutiae having not yet fully come.  And here we should and do gratefully mention assistance rendered by Brothers George Stetson and George Storrs, both now deceased, the latter the editor of The Bible Examiner.  The study of the Word of God with these dear brethren led, step by step, into greener pastures and brighter hopes for the world, though it was not until 1872, when I gained a clear view of our Lord’s work as our ransom price, that I found the strength and foundation of all hope of restitution to lie in that doctrine. Up to that time, when I read the testimony that all in their graves shall come forth, etc., I yet doubted the full provision-whether it should be understood to include idiots or infants who had died without reaching any degree of understanding, beings to whom the present life and its experiences would seem to be of little or no advantage.  But when, in 1873, I came to examine the subject of restitution from the standpoint of the ransom price given by our Lord Jesus for Adam, and consequently for all lost in Adam, it settled the matter of restitution completely, and gave fullest assurance that ALL must come forth from Adamic death and be brought to a clear knowledge of the truth and to fullest opportunity of everlasting life in Christ.

 

Thus passed the years 1869-1872, and the years following, to 1876, were years of continued growth in grace and knowledge on the part of the handful of Bible students with whom I met regularly in Allegheny. We progressed from our first crude and indefinite ideas of restitution to clearer understanding of the details, God’s due time for clearer light not having come until 1874...

 

C.T.R.

 

SONSHIP

THE WORLD’S CRISIS DATE (?-1861)

 

...On the Sonship I should have no controversy with Brother Grew but on the point of ‘being made like,’ it strikes me there is a principle involved that we should look to. If true in the first sense, it would not, but parity of reason, prove immortality, because Paul says, ‘it was Christ that died;’ therefore we (in spirit) might also dies. But would it not be a very strong inferential argument of the condition of man’s spirit between death and the judgment, and have a direct bearing on the case of the thief on the cross, Stephen, Paul’s being unclothed,’ ‘desire to depart,’ ‘be with Christ,’ etc.

 

G. W. STETSON

 

Olens, Ohio

 

———-

 

REPLY TO G. W. STETSON

THE WORLD’S CRISIS DATE (?-1861)

 

In reply to the question of Bro. G. W. Stetson, I remark that I understand that the union of the pre-existent Spirit, (denominated the Son of God, Ro 1:4) with the body prepared him, qualified or capacitated him for that actual participation of ‘our feelings and infirmities,’ which constituted him a faithful High Priest, whose offering and mediation were acceptable to God.

 

The fact that the divine Spirit of the Son of God existed anterior and independently of the body prepared him, involves no proof that mere human spirits can exist independently of the body. The Son of God was a peculiar being. Although, in his incarnate state of humiliation, he ‘was made like unto his brethren’; in his original ‘begotten’ divine nature, he was made ‘much better than the angels,’ Heb 1:4, whose nature is superior to ours. Heb 2:7.

 

As the Son of God, in his divine nature, was ‘begotten of the Father,’ Joh 1:14, his declaration, ‘I live by the Father,’ Joh 6:58, must be understood as referring to his highest nature, and consequently, the words, ‘thou shalt make his soul (life) an offering for sin,’ Isa 53:10, may be referred to the same nature. I understand that it was the voluntary offering of the heights and entire life of the Son of God, in conformity with the will of the Father, in connection with his general obedience, which constituted and adequate ‘propitiation for the sins of the whole world’; so that God might be just and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus.’ 1Jo 2:2 Ro 8:2. I appears to me, that both the Trinitarian and simple Humanitarian theories are open to the serious charge of diminishing the efficacy of the great sacrifice by limiting the actual death of the Son of God to simple humanity. I understand that my brother S. is not an advocate of either of these theories.

 

HENRY GREW

 

DOCTRINES OF STETSON’S CHURCH

 

January 18, 1863. (1) They believe in the personal coming and reign of Christ on the earth during the Millennium, as taught in Re 20

 

(2) At the beginning of which period the righteous dead will be raised, the living saints changed from mortal to immortality, and will reign with Christ during the thousand years.

 

(3) They now believe the intermediate state between death and the resurrection of both the righteous and the wicked is that of unconsciousness.

 

(4) They believe, as the wicked do not lay hold of Christ as their Life-giver, and neglect to seek for immortality, they fail of that attribute, and consequently will be raised up at the end of the one thousand years to a mortal life, and will fall under the power of the Second Death, being the wages of sin, which will be an extinction of being, and eternal in its results.

 

(5) Some believe that as all the family of man that have "died in Adam" will be raised up in the resurrection to another life, that all who have lived and died in unavoidable ignorance of a saving knowledge of God’s plan of salvation, in this or previous dispensations, will then have the opportunity of hearing of Him who died for all and tasted death for every man, and of accepting or rejecting Christ for themselves; then their due time for hearing of Him will have come.

 

(6) The belief in or the rejection of these doctrines or any part of them is not made a test of fellowship. The only test is Christian character.

 

(7) Their creed is simply this: ‘We, whose names are hereto attached, do hereby associate ourselves together as the Church of Christ in Norwalk and vicinity, and agree to take the Bible as our only rule of faith and practice."

 

 

 

"IN THE BEGINNING WAS THE WORD." -- John 1:1

THE WORLD's CRISIS (Wednesday, August 3, 18..)

 

 

A recent reading of this declaration of the Evangelist, and a careful comparison of his words with those of the other New Testament writers, as also his own comments thereon in his epistles, has led me to suspect that the phrase "In the beginning," like many other Scriptures, has been very generally misapprehended, and consequently misapplied. It is most frequently referred to the beginning of the creation of the material worlds, of the heavens and the earth, as recorded by Moses in Genesis, and outside of the record I do not recollect of having seen any other.

 

But is it even probably that John, is giving his "treatise of all that Jesus began to do and teach," would in his narration of events take some other and different starting point than that assumed by all the other evangelists and apostles, widely differing also from his own other statement, as made and recorded by himself in his first epistle (1:1-2)? We think not. Let us, then, collate the different writers on this point, and note the unity of testimony among them as given upon this subject.

 

Matthew introduces his narrative with -- "The book of the generation of Jesus Christ," and goes no further back than Abraham, fourteen generations. Then, "The birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise." (Statement of events follows.)

 

The record by Mark opens with -- "The beginning of the Gospel of Jesus Christ the Son of God." - 1:1. The preface of Luke is more explicit; thus: "Forasmuch as many have taken in hand to set forth in order a declaration of those things which are most surely believed among us, even as they delivered them unto us, who from the beginning were eye witnesses, and ministers of the word [i.e., the word of testimony, or the word testified]; it seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write unto thee in order, more excellent Theophilus, that thou mightest know the certainty of those things, wherein, thou has been instructed." Luke goes no further back for "the very first of this beginning" than to a "certain priest called Zacharias, in the days of Herod." -- 1:5.

 

Now in contradistinction to this beginning, Peter introduces a secondary, in Acts 1:22; "Wherefore of these men who have companied with us all the time the Lord Jesus went in and out among us, beginning from the baptism of John." Again (10:36-37), "the word which God sent unto the children of Israel, preaching peace by Jesus Christ. . . . throughout all Judea, and began form Galilee, after the baptism which John preached." (See also Mark 1:14.) Paul refers to the same when he says in Heb. 2:3, "How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him?" but this secondary beginning was only the manifestation of that word to which John refers when he says, "The word was with God." (John 1:1); i.e., the word of life; the word which God sent to Israel, preaching peach by Jesus Christ; the word which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord; the word of promise ("for this is the promise that he hath promised us, even eternal life; and this life is in his Son"); this word was in the beginning at the very first with God, and this word was God; became it constitute the utterance of the Spirit's voice, and God is spirit. So John in his epistle  (1:1-3) is in perfect harmony with the primary, declaration when he says, "That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life; (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father [of whom are all things], and was manifested unto us."

 

Next, let us turn to the record that God has given us concerning his Son, and see if this view is in harmony with that.

 

1. -- The word of promise. Matthew, in his narrative, goes back to Abraham; and Paul says, in Rom. 9:9, "For this is the word of promise"; then he quotes that which constitutes that word: "At this time will I come, and Sarah shall have a son"; and, in verse 7, "In Isaac shall thy seed be called." In Gal. 3:8, Paul says the gospel was comprehended in this promise of blessing to Abraham; and in ver. 16 he affirms that the seed of promise referred to Christ. So far, then, what was said of and done to Abraham, Sarah, and Isaac, was only the shadow of (foreshowing) the good things to come; but the body (substance) was of Christ. Leaven, then, the shadow, let us come at once to the substance of the word of promise, which "in the beginning was with God."

 

1. Gal. 4:4. "But when the fullness of the time was come God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law." How? In fulfillment of the promise. At this time, or at the set time, will I come. Where? Luke 1:26-55. "And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God, unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, to a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary. And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favored, the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women. And the angel said unto her, Fear not Mary: for thu has found favor with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his Father David; and he shall reign over the house of Jacob forever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end... The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the hightest shall overshadow thee; therefore, also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren. (see Gal. 4:2) For with God nothing shall be impossible. And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her. And Mary arose in those days, and went into the hill country with haste, into a city of Juda; And entered into the house of Zacharias, and saluted Elisabeth. And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost: And she spake out with a loud voice, and said, Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? . . . And blessed is she that believed: for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord. And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord, And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour. For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden: for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. For he that is mighty hath done to me great things; and holy is his name. . . He hath holpen his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy; As he spake to our fathers, to Abraham, and to his seed for ever."

 

In the beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ (Mark), the word (of promise -- Paul) of life (John), spoken (Peter), was with God. Came from God by the angel, sent to Mary in Nazareth, when God promised by the angel that she should have a son and call his name Jesus. (Luke.) "and the word [of promise] was made flesh, and dwelt among us." John 1:14. When in the fullness of the set time, Jesus was made of a woman, made under the law. (Gal. 4:4), "and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth." John 1:14. -- "For he received from God the Father honor and glory, when there came such a voice from the excellent glory, . . . and this voice . .. we heard, when we (Peter, James and John) were with him in the holy mount." 1 Peter 1:18.

 

Lastly, "The word spoken by our Lord" was "In the beginning" with God. John 17:5-22. "And now, O Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was. I have manifested thy name unto the men which thou gavest me out of the world: thine they were, and thou gavest them me; and they have kept thy word. Now they have known that all things whatsoever thou hast given me are of thee. For I have given unto them the words which thou gavest me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from thee, and they have believed that thou didst send me. I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine. And all mine are thine, and thine are mine; and I am glorified in them. And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are. While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled. And now come I to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves. I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world. Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth. As thou hast sent me into the world, even so have I also sent them into the world. And for their sakes I sanctify myself, that they also might be sanctified through the truth. Neither pray I for these alone, but for them also which shall believe on me through their word; That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us: that the world may believe that thou hast sent me. And the glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one."

 

Most assuredly the word of faith which we preach is the word of God, and was in the beginning with God. "And this is life eternal, that we may know the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom he hath sent."

 

Olena, OH. G.W. STETSON.

 

 

WHO WAS IT?

World's Crisis

Boston, Tuesday, May 24, 1864

 

"OF whom it was said, "Thou madest him a little lower than the angels." Heb. 2:7; Ps 8:3.

 

Our question is an important one if we consider that its definite, positive, and unequivocal answer must of necessity determine the application of the prophet, Micah 4:8, as to what is meant by the "first dominion." Should it appear as spoken of the "first Adam," who was of the earth, simply an animal or fleshly man, then the "first dominion" is spoken of in an ORDINAL sense; but if spoken of CHRIST, then it is used cardinally, i.e., as being pre-eminent, superior to, etc., answering to Paul's Jerusalem which now is, . . . in bondage with her children." Gal. 4:25; which "shall be trodden down of the Gentiles," (Luke 21:24,); and Jerusalem which is above, Gal. 4:26, i.e., uppermost, superior, having gotten the advantage of her adversary, who has heretofore led her a captive and had her foot upon the neck of the "free woman's" children, but now the time has come when "the tables are turned," and she that was first in order herself becomes subjugated, the children of the "free woman" having gained the ascension and the victory over their "persecutor," rising "above" the oppressor, obtain the "first" or superior "dominion," and the former oppressor becomes the "foot-stool" of the once oppressed.

 

But as the first Adam "was the figure of Him who was to come" (Rom 5:14) so the Jerusalem "that now is," is the figure of that which is to be "above," "free;" which is our mother." Gal. 4:24-25. Hence, says the apostle, "unto the angels hath He (the Father) not put in subjection the world to come, whereof we speak." If my memory be correct the phrae here is, "oi koumene," the habitable globe. After declaring that he is speaking of "the world to come," and not of "the heavens and the earth which now are," or "The earthly house of this tabernacle," he proceeds to quote the Psalmist (Psalm 8:4-8), "What is man that thou art mindful of him? or the Son of man that thou visitest him? Thou madest him a little lower than the angels; thou crownedst him with glory and honor, and didst set him over the work of thy hands. Thou hast put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that HE put all in subjection under him, He left nothing that is not put under him."

 

Now comes Paul's exposition of the same." "But now, we see not yet all things put under him, but we (do) see JESUS, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honor; that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man, for it became him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons unto glory, to make the Captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings." Thus we find the language supplied by the "one Spirit" through the apostle of the Gentiles to JESUS, the anointed of God, and "is his times he shall show who is the blessed and only potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords."

 

"Now if any many build upon this foundation . . . hay, wood, stubble; . . . if any man's work shall be burned, he shall suffer loss." May the Lord help us all to build thereon, "gold, silver, precious (and living) stones," that our work may "abide" the fiery ordeal.

 

Olena, Ohio

G. W. STETSON

 

 

THE ONE OFFENCE - No. 1

World's Crisis

Boston, Tuesday, May 31, 1864

 

"By the one offense judgment came upon all men." -- Rom. 5:18

 

The sentence of condemnation fell not upon man only; the ground, or earth, was also cursed "for man's sake;" or, as De Sola's, Lindenthal's, and Raphall's version give it, better, I think, "cursed be the ground because of thee."

 

Man was made "dust of the ground," and now this living dust had sinned, and by the penalty of the law was, according to its judgment given, to return "to the dust;" and, as if his MOTHER, earth, was in sympathy with him, groaning for deliverance from death, the source from whence man came is embraced in the curse, on account of his sin, as being a portion of himself; hence Paul in Romans 8:22 tropically represents the "whole creation" as groaning and travailing "in pain," anxious to "be delivered from the bondage of corruption," as we that are in this tabernacle, -- being constituent parts of the same building upon which the curse has fallen, and of the same "cursed" material -- do groan, being burdened -- with the curse pronounced upon the "whole creation," or ground, out of which we have our formation, and from which -- cursed corruption -- we would have deliverance, "that mortality might be swallowed up of life."

 

Death on account of sin, is in the ground from whence we came and wither we return. It is in the good we eat, the water we drink, the air we breathe, the fire we warm by, the cold we suffer from, the healing medicine we take; in the sunlight that invigorates, and the darkness that appalls; in the tempestuous storm and in the calm, alike we find death, on sin's account, by the curse that has fallen upon the whole creation, groaning "in pain." Oh! Who would not hope for the time when there shall be "no more curse?"

 

No sooner had man, by eating of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, become like the Elohim, that he was sent forth from the garden to till the ground from whence he was taken, and having been driven thence, the attribute of God's justice under the allegorical representation of a "cherubim and a flaming sword," was placed between man and the tree of life, "lest," said Jehovah of the Elohim, "he put forth his hand and take also of the tree of life, and eat and life forever."

 

So long as man had remained in obedience he had free access to that tree, but it seems from the word, "also," that he never had eaten of it, for the declaration of God is, that if he ate of it, as he had eaten of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, the result would be that he would live forever; and we are told that he had partaken of the forbidden fruit but once, became it is called by Paul, in Romans 5, the "one offense." This, God's goodness, compassion and justice, would not permit; he could create him knowing that he might transgress, and he is just, for he knew that if man became evil by his own act of disobedience, he could redeem him from that evil; but to give him unconditional access to the source of immortality after he had become evil, by which grant of right will would be eternally perfected by not living forever in evil, he could not do, and be persistent with his own attributes; for this would man have not, the other of evil, but of eternal perpetuation, and thereby contradict his word, which says that he will make and end of evil, it shall not rise up the second time.

 

Had man been permitted to eat of that tree subsequent to his fall, what a scene would this earth have presented for all time. I have listened to and read some graphic descriptions of imaginary hells gotten up for effect, but nothing human has ever begun to paint the living horrors that would have been witnessed on this planet, and never will, had sinful man only been permitted to taste of immortal life in disobedience. We see the dearest loved ones sicken and languish; painful, acute, agonizing suffering is added to disease; day after day, night after night, wear away, till days and nights pass into weeks, and weeks roll into months, and months are making years, and still the stricken ones are moaning, wasting, suffering in anguish, until bond after bond is sundered, tie after tie is loosed, hope after hope is extinguished; the sympathizing heart is beginning to desire that the suffering one may be released from all the ills of life, and be at peace; willing at last to part company, that the loved one may be at rest, for --

 

"There is rest for the weary;"

 

the silver cord is loosed, the golden bowl is broken, the pitcher also at the fountain and the wheel broken at the cistern, the throbbing heart lies still, and the weary are at rest, -- and the living thank a merciful God that men do not seek death, and are "not able to find it." We all come to it at last, and it is well it is so, for if it were otherwise, worn out nature and exhausted humanity overburdened with grief, sinking in despair, would only find relief in lunacy, and the world would be converted into one vast "mad house," filled with raging maniacs.

 

G. W. STETSON.

 

 

 

THE DAYS OF THE SON OF MAN

World's Crisis

Boston, Tuesday, March 8, 1864

 

"The kingdom of God" (Luke 17:20), "the days of the Son of man" (Luke 17:22), "the Son of man in his day" (Luke 17:24) "his times," (1 Tim. 6:15), "his appearing and his kingdom," (1 Tim. 4:1), "shall appear the second time" (Heb. 9:28), "the last time" (1 Peter 1:5), "the day of the Lord" (1 Thess. 5:3 and 2 Peter 3:10), "the day of God" (2 Peter 3:12), "the dispensation of the fullness of times" (Eph 1:10), "appointed a day in which he will judge the world" (Acts 17:31). "Ye shall not see me, until the time come when ye shall say, 'Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord" (Luke 13:35), "the times of the restitution of all things" (Acts 3:21), "everlasting kingdom of our Lord" (2 Peter 1:11), and "thy kingdom come" of our Lord's prayer, all refer, I apprehend, to one and the same epoch only, with reference to the events transpiring therein it is relatively like one of our days. Some things are done at its beginning, then others succeed in their regular order. Save, perhaps, this difference, that instead of measuring time by hours as now, it may be measure by events.

 

But it is urged by those claiming to be "teachers" among Protestants and Catholics that "the kingdom of God" was "set up" by the gift of the Spirit on the "day of Pentecost," and that the church of Christ on earth constitutes that kingdom, by Christ ruling the the hearts of believers through the Spirit. Now if this be true, it should be known and seen of all men, that they might not be deceived by heresies, schisms and false teachers blindly leading the blind, and if it be untrue then it should also be known, that those who have been deceived by these "piled up" teachers, "speaking lies in hypocrisy" may be undeceived and found clothed in their "right mind" by a knowledge of the truth.

 

When Christ had done talking to the Pharisees, who had asked him when the kingdom of God should come, he turned from those children of iniquity to his disciples, and said unto them (Luke 17:22), "The days will come, when YE shall desire to see one of the days of the Son of man, and YE SHALL NOT SEE IT." "For as the lightning that lighteneth out of the one part under heaven, shineth unto the other part under heaven, So shall also the Son of man be in his day." Who is ever deceived or mistaken concerning the bright, vivid, sudden, forked lightning's flash, as for a moment it lights up the dark and angry vault of heaven, overspread with rolling, surging, tempest tossed thunder clouds, "black as Erebus and dark as Hades," like the think canopy of nigh spread over us? And are we to be told after reading of the "down treading of the children of the free woman" for eighteen centuries, and have witnessed the "groanings of earth," the carnage and slaughter, the tears and sufferings, the despotisms, and oppressions," the "wrongs and outrages, with which earth is filled," the "carnival of death" that fills our own land, with lamentation, and weeping, with curses and blasphemies against God and his Christ, -- I say, are we to be told that ruin has been so many hundred years of "the kingdom of God" wherein his "will is done upon the earth as it is now done in heaven"? Do teachers of heavenly and divine truth expect to (XXXXXX XXX - EDITOR: The original copy is unreadable at this point) to "pandemonium on earth" upon lovers of truth (XXXX - EDITOR: The original copy is unreadable at this point) and righteousness, and seekers after holiness who love the "glorious appearing of the great God and Savior Jesus Christ, and his peaceable kingdom, and the days of the Son of man, in which "the righteous flourish and abundance of grace fill the earth so long as the sun and moon endure," with any hope or expectation of success?" If so, may the good Lord deliver us, and may they be confounded and most thoroughly disappointed, is my most devout supplication. (Paul, I think, would have said, improcation, "anathema maranatha," accursed at the Lord's coming. 1 Cor. 15:22)

 

Christ himself positively affirmed that before the kingdom of God, comprehending "one of the days of the Son of man," should come, himself must suffer many things and be rejected of that race of men, the Jews, and they, the disciples, should not see one of his days when persecutions against his church arose, and they should anxiously long to behold "one of his days."

 

Now look at it, the disciples were themselves baptized with the Holy Spirit, as none are at this day; preached the kingdom of God from Pentecost until they were killed for their witnessing in its favor. Some of them coming down over thirty years this side of the destruction of Jerusalem, making over half a century that some of them were absolutely living in the days of the Son of man -- if it be true that the kingdom was set up at Pentecost -- and yet Christ told them they should not see one of his days when they should desire to.

 

Again, he is still rejected of that race of men, and the church are still "filling up the measure of his sufferings that were left behind;" the Gentiles are still "treading down the holy city," and their times are not yet ended; and until they are, the "times of the Messiah" cannot begin, and the Jews are not yet crying, "Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord!" and we in the kingdom! What infatuation!

 

Olena, Ohio.

G. W. Stetson

 

 

THE VISIBLE AND THE INVISIBLE

No. 1

World's Crisis

Boston, Date Unknown 1864?

 

"The things that are seen are temporary," (A. Clarke's trans.) "but the things that are not seen are eternal." Paul, 2 Cor. 4:18.

 

The visible things of Paul's day of which he was then writing were the figurative or tropical, and have long since passed away; but the true temporary, still remain, and constitute the literal "first tabernacle" referred to by the apostle also in Heb. 9:8.

 

The unseen eternal, are yet future; but as surely as the "temporary" that now exist in fact, once, in times past, were not, so certainly will these things that now only exist in the purposes or plans of the Deity, be produced in their time and place. The things that now are, came into existence in their regular order and succession, and very many of the primary were of a long time completed prior to the commencement of others, and thus of the unseen, -- part may already exist, possibly incomplete, but like the "first tabernacle," now existing, shall be carried on to perfection by the formation and super-addition of the remaining portions, which as yet have had not beginning.

 

After this mode was the creation, the deluge, the call of Abraham, the going down into and the coming up out of Egypt, the giving of the law and the building of the tabernacle in the wilderness, the coming of the Just One, the rejection of Israel, the destruction of their house and chief city, and the calling of the Gentiles. So of all things human and divine, past and present, and so when he that "sat upon the throne" shall "make all things new."

 

The work of reconstruction, nevertheless, though progressive, is of long time commenced, and ever since the time of reformation, in the days of Christ and the apostles, has been steadily advancing towards completion.

 

A portion of the future, unseen, eternal things, are already occupied "at the right hand of God where Christ sitteth;" hence the unseen things of 2 Cor. 4:18, are the same as those of Col. 3:1, "upon which we are to set out affections," the things of 1 Cor. 2:9-10, "that God hath revealed to us by his Spirit," as in reserve for them that love him, the "good things to come by a greater and more perfect tabernacle," for which Christ has now the ministration of the office of the antitypical Aaronic high priesthood by the oath of the Deity." Not high priest, by a "greater and more perfect tabernacle," -- and incorruptible body -- but by the oath and after, or through "the power of an endless life," the Spirit of Deity, that raised him from the dead, and conveyed him away, beyond or above the vail. (See Heb. 7:16, 20-21; 9:11; 6:19-20; Eph. 1:19-21.)

 

These unseen but eternal things constitute "our far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory," of 2 Cor. 4:17, the "exceeding riches of his grace in" Eph. 2:7, the "glory of Christ" that is to come after "his sufferings," (1 Peter 1:11), but not until the measure of those sufferings that are left behind are filled up by the Ecclesia which constitutes his body." Col. 1:24. Then this grace of God (favor) will be brought unto us by the "revelation of Jesus Christ," at the end of this dispensation, "when this gospel of the kingdom has been preached in all the world for a testimony," (1 Peter 1:11, 13; Mat. 24:14), "that in the dispensation of the fullness of times (completeness) he may gather into one, all things in Christ, both which are in the heavens (marginal) and which are on earth, that we should be found unto the praise of his glory, at the redemption of the purchased possession;" on "the appearing of Jesus Christ," who "loved the church and gave himself for it; that he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word," in order "to present it unto himself a glorious church, [… there is a missing line in the original … ] or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish;" and having thus "made us unto our God kings and priests; we shall with him reign on the earth." Eph. 1:10, 14; Eph. 5:25-27; Rev. 5:10; 20:4.

 

These things constitute the temporary or first tabernacle in their typical or figurative representation, and an exact counterpart must constitute the second or true tabernacle "when that which is perfect is come." 1 Cor. 13:10. It was by a knowledge of these unseen future things drawn from the visible through the promised Spirit by the word, that Paul and Peter were enabled to give correlative testimony in relation to them without collusion. The evidence of this exists in the different style of narration in the two witnesses. The first, a learned Hebrew, of the Hebrews, schooled at the feet of one of the doctors of the Levitical law, Gamaliel, taking the seen temporary and the unseen eternal for his predicate, proceeds in the figurative and poetic style of the prophets, to rear his superstructure thereupon, after the model of the tabernacle of Moses reproduced on a grader scale in Solomon's temple, and then deduces legitimate conclusions from his promise by contrasting the two by opposition in , [… there is a missing line in the original … ]  "For we know (by the Spirit), that OUR earthly house (the temporary, that Christ called, in John 2:16, "my Father's house," , [… there is a missing line in the original … ] said in Matt. 24:3 "there shall not be left here one stone upon another that shall not be thrown down;) of this tabernacle (dwelling) were dissolved (taken down, destroyed, abolished, 2 Cor. 3:7-13), "we have a building of God, an house NOT MADE WITH HANDS (unseen), eternal, "in the heavens."

 

It would seem that Paul took it for granted that his Corinthian brethren were not so dull of apprehension as were those "whose minds were blinded," (2 Cor. 3:14), and had no need that one "should teach them again what be the first principles of the oracles of God." Heb. 5:11-12. Moreover, he had just gone over the whole "ground work" of the abrogation of the law and the introduction of the gospel, -- the typical end of the "things seen," and the "beginning," (John 1:1; 1 John 1:1) of the unseen, eternal things, that they might e without excuse for begin "unlearned."

 

But no sooner does he address himself to those "whose minds were blinded," and "dull of hearing," unstable -- not settled in the truth, though he maintains the figurative, how very careful he is to explain each point in the type as he proceeds step by step. Beginning with the "house," in Heb. 3, build by Moses under the law, he contrasts it with the house to be build under the gospel, going through the whole, progressively, until in Heb. 6:12, he brings his blinded Hebrew brethren to the perfected antitypical temple or tabernacle, the "Mount Zion, the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, the innumerable company of angels, the general assembly and church of the first born, to God, the Judge of all, and to the spirits (lives, Clarke) of just men made perfect and to Jesus, the mediator of the NEW covenant, and to the blood of sprinkling." THESE are the subjects and objects of our faith, represented by the "figurative tabernacle" and its "appointed divine services." "For there was a tabernacle made" (Heb. 9:2), "which was a figure for the time then present," (Heb. 9:9), "until the time of reformation." (Heb. 9:10). But Christ being come an high priest of good things, to come by a greater and more perfect tabernacle, not made with hands, -- that is to say, not of this building" -- (i.e., the building spoken of in verse two that WAS made with hands, Heb. 9:11); "for Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true; but into the heaven itself, not to appear in the presence of God for us," Heb. 9:24.

 

How plain he makes the thing, where in verses one and two, he says the first "tabernacle," "holy place," where the people met God, or "tabernacle of the congregation," was the "world sanctuary;" i.e., the EARTH, in verse six, he says, "The daily priests went always into the first tabernacle, accomplishing the divine service," named in verse one.

 

Now we are doing that very thing by faith, throughout all the earth, wherever the name of Christ is named, as further shown, 1 Peter 2:5 -- "Ye also, as living stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priest hood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God through Jesus Christ."

 

In Heb. 9:3, Paul says after the second vail was the holiest of all, and in verse seven, he declares "that the high priest went ALONE into this "Holiest of all," of verse three. IN verse twenty four he shows that this "Holiest of all" represented heaven.

 

G. W. STETSON

 

 

 

THE FIRST AND SECOND TABERNACLE

No. 2

World's Crisis

Boston, Tuesday, February 16, 1864

 

In verse 8, Paul tells them that the signification of the high priest going alone into the second tabernacle (Heb. 9) was that the way into the holiest of all, heaven, was not yet made manifest (laid open) while (so long) as the first tabernacle was not yet standing, and in Hebrews 10:19-20, he says, "Having, therefore, brethren, boldness (margin, liberty) to enter into the holiest (heaven) by the blood of Jesus, through a new and living way, which he hath consecrated for us through the vail, that is to say, through his flesh," etc. Whence some have concluded that since the rending of the vail from the top to the bottom (Matt. 27:51) at the crucifixion, the souls of believers in a conscious state as entities pass immediately into heaven at death, the king of terrors and the terror of kings, becomes to them

 

"The voice that Jesus sends

To call them to his arms,"

 

or "the gate to endless joy"; and yet they "dread to enter there." So also it becomes the "new and dying instead of living way," and Jesus himself is no longer the "strait way, the narrow gate," "the door," "the way and the life," but only the means by which death to them is made the way to life.

 

Perhaps these notions are the result of not having duly considered what the Scriptures of truth have said upon this subject. Nevertheless my apprehension of what is said leads me to quite a different conclusion; but in consequence of the difference of opinion, it becomes essential, for an agreement, that the subject of the "vail," the "living way," which he has consecrated (set apart) for us, should be a little more closely examined.

 

The point demanding our attention primarily is the phrase in Hebrews 9:8; -- "So long as the first tabernacle was yet standing." Now Paul has expressly stated, that that first, in the building "made with hands" by Moses, was a figure of the true and the temporary; and then he shows that the true temporary is the seen, the world, and the world "that now is" STILL STANDS as the first true tabernacle. Consequently "the way into the holiest" is not yet laid open to "the general assembly and church of the first born."

 

Again, Christ said that "though heaven and earth should pass away," one jot or tittle of the law should not pass away until all was (should be) fulfilled; and that law says (Lev. 16:16), speaking of the high priest and the atonement, "that he shall make an atonement for the holy place (world, sanctuary) because of the uncleanness of the children of Israel, and because of their transgressions in all their sins; and so shall he do for the tabernacle of the congregation THAT REMAINETH AMONG (or with) THEM, in the midst of their uncleanness; and there shall be no man in the tabernacle of the congregation, when he goeth in to make an atonement in the holy place until he come out."

 

NOTE -- Robinson's Calmet says that the expiatory sacrifice offered by our Saviour on Calvary, was the price or ransom, or the efficacy of which the atonement of the race of mankind depended; but to call that sacrifice the atonement, is an incorrect application of the word." Page 118. Consequently those who believe that the "sacrifice" was "the reconciliation," will have difficulty in understanding Lev. 16:16-17, when they read it; but if the reconciliation comes through the ministration of the high priest, after he enters the holiest, by the blood of sacrifice, then our application of the passage (Lev. 16:16-17) is legitimate to our subject, inasmuch as "the day of atonement" under Christ is not yet ended.


The idea contained in the words -- "There shall be no man in the tabernacle of the congregation, etc., until he come out," is in harmony with 1 Cor. 15:23. "Christ the first-fruits (of them that slept), AFTERWARD they that are Christ's at his coming." Even those that shall be alive and remain alive at his coming cannot be permitted to enter the "tabernacle of the congregation" here spoken of, the "eternal house," until "those who are sleeping in Jesus are raised from the dead," THEN those "who believe and shall never die" (John 11:26), will be changed instantly, and conveyed away in clouds to meet the Lord in the air (Query. In the spirit?); and so will they "ever be with the Lord," "that where I am (when I come again) there ye may be also." -- 1 Thess. 4:15, 17; John 14:2. So if there be no resurrection of the dead, there can be no entering into the tabernacle of the congregation; or no "being clothed upon with our house which is from heaven." "No man in," etc.

 

Once more on this point. Christ said -- alluding to the little ante-rooms in Solomon's temple, figurative emblems of those in whom should dwell the "promised spirit" -- "In my Father's house are many mansions (dwelling places); if it were not so I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you, and if I go and prepare a place for you, I will COME AGAIN and receive you unto myself, that where I am (when I come again implied), there ye may be also." Well, he has gone "into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God for us;" that by the sprinkling of his blood, that was offered through the eternal Spirit before the mercy seat, he might prepare us for the heavenly, by taking off the curse placed upon us because of sin, which is death, and also prepare a place for us by removing the curse that was pronounced upon the tabernacle of the congregation in the sentence -- "Cursed is the ground for thy sake," etc. Gen 3:17.

 

Now there is but one way of removing the consequences of transgression, and that is through the blood of Jesus; and he has not yet "come out of the holy," not yet "come again" the second time "unto salvation," and by parity of reasoning we know that the "preparation of the place is incomplete"; and consequently he has not yet received them unto himself, for he said he would do so when the place was prepared.

 

It only remains now to look at the "vail." The vail that was rent in twain was not the true vail but the typical; and just as that was rent from one extremity to the other, and taken away from between the holy and the holiest, so must the true temporary vail be destroyed and taken out of the way, before heaven and earth can be so approximated that the inmates of the one can have actual access and intercourse with the other. It is the true vail that bars us all from the heavenly court where "the trees are all green"; and Christ himself "after the flesh" could only reach that desire haven by tearing that vail of death asunder by a resurrection from the dead, and thus set apart the living way, or way of life, through or by his flesh, when he "counterworked death, and illustrated life and incorruption by the gospel." 2 Tim. 1:10 (A. Clarke's Trans.) Hence it is said that "he died for (on account of) our sins, but rose again for (or to obtain) our justification" unto life; or rose again that we might have life. Consequently the "entering into life," being at the resurrection, it cannot be at death.

 

Thus Paul says that "when this corruptible (body) shall have put on incorruption, and this mortal (soul) shall have put on immortality (by a resurrection from the dead, 1 Cor. 15:52) THEN shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up on victory." And this he quotes from Isa. 25:7; -- "And he will destroy (margin -- swallow up) in this mountain the face of the covering cast over all people, and THE VAIL that is spread over all nations. He will swallow up death in victory, and the Lord God will wipe away tears from off all faces."

 

So according to Paul's application and explanation of the BIBLE, the "vail" signified death, and its rending the resurrection, or abolition of death by it; but he shows clearly enough, to my understanding, that he was not referring to going to heaven at death, but an act of living faith of the Christina here on earth, when he says, in the succeeding passage (Heb. 10:22), "Let us draw near with a true heart, in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled form an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water," etc.

 

If further testimony were needed to show that Paul in 2 Cor. 5:1, when speaking of the "earthly house," made with hands, did not mean our corruptible bodies, in which "an immortal soul man is groaning," because it must pass through the gate of death, to reach eternal life, -- by the way, how will those who believe, and never die, but are changed at Christ's coming, reach that life, if death be the gate, and they never pass through it, -- that testimony may be found in his summing up the argument on the "dissolution of the tabernacle" in Heb. 26:27, in these words: "But now hath he promised, saying, Yet once more, I shake not the earth only, (the first true tabernacle, the visible) but heaven also. And this word "Yet once more," signifieth the removing of those things that are made that those which cannot be shaken (the future unseen, the eternal) may remain. Wherefore (in consequence of which) we receiving (we are to receive,) a kingdom that cannot be moved (therefore), let us serve God acceptably, with reverence and godly fear."

 

Before leaving this subject, we must allow the simple minded and plain spoken fisherman, Peter, to turn the focus of his Spirit lens upon it, when all metaphors will vanish.

 

G. W. STETSON.

 

 

THE WORLD TO COME

NUMBER ONE
Hebrews 2:5

World's Crisis

Boston, Tuesday, October 1864

(Exact Date Unknown)

 

Rabbinical notions -- the days of the Messiah -- the dominion of death -- the nature of man -- the Spirit land -- the world of fact vs. the world of fancy -- modern ideas -- the restitution -- the age to come -- the Christian's hope -- the kingdom of Christ -- the incentive to godliness -- the coming of Christ.

 

There have been and still are some curious notions in the world in relation to the world to come. The Jewish rabbis claim, first, "That the Bible history of the creation begins with the letter beth; because two worlds were created; this world and the world to come. Secondly, That the phrase -- the world to come -- hints at or points out the days of times of Messiah. Thirdly, That the world to come is the state after death. Fourthly, That it means only the future, or age to come; hence, when the Pharisees said at the end of their prayers in the temple, ad-olam -- forever, the Sadducees interrupted, saying there was no age but one, i.e., this age. Then it was appointed that the service should be concluded with, min-ha-olam, voad-ha-olam, i.e., forever and ever; or, both in this age and in the age to come. -- Bab. Bersooth," fol. 54. "The distinction of olam-hazeh, this world, and olam-ha-bah, the world to come, may be found almost in every page of the rabbins." -- A. Clarke's commentary on N.T. p. 122. But among the Hebrews, as among the Gentiles, it seems there were various opinions on this subject, some of which without doubt were derived from the Gentiles during the terms of Jewish captivity at Babylon.

 

Of the afore named opinions the second and fourth may be merged in one, for they are the same in fact, being only expressed in different terms. One thing however is admitted, here and settled beyond controversy, even by Adam Clarke himself, and that is, the same word rendered world, is also, rendered age, and is the quotation before as they are used as synonymous. This is an important item in the consideration of this subject, for it destroys the philological argument, so much relied upon by many that by the term world is necessarily implied another sphere than the one we now inhabit and running parallel with it.

 

On the same page, the same learned author also admits that Paul, in the language of our text, uses the phrase "world to come" as referring to the days of the Messiah. In Matt. 12:32, speaking of the sin against the Holy Spirit not being forgiven in this world, neither in the world to come, he says, it should be "dispensation." Not the reason for this declaration is apparent, for it the world to come be another sphere, running parallel with our earth habitation into which we enter at death, as an abode during another state of existence, and the present translation be allowed to stand as rendered in the text, then by the law of language is enevitably follows that the doctrine of a future probation and a possible resoration from all other sins says that against the Holy Spirit, may obtain for [.. the original is unreadable at this point in the article … ] as this is closely applied in the [.. the original is unreadable at this point in the article … ] should fail, and the poor [.. there is one word in the original that is unreadable at this point in the article … ] have another chance of escaping such a dire calamity by another trial, the [.. there is one word in the  original that is unreadable at this point in the article … ]  prevails, though it be at the risk of exposing to the common people the great truth that the "world to come" is only the "age to come," when all things shall have been subdued unto Christ. So again, in Eph. 1:10, "fullness of times," "dispensation"; and in 2:7, it is rendered "ages to come." In 1 Cor. 10:11, "ends of the ages." Hebrews 9:26, "conclusion of the ages," etc.

 

The first notion -- creation of two worlds, indicated by the Bible history, beginning with the letter beth, is simply ridiculous, for we all know by that same history (and so might these rabbins) that not only were two worlds created, but a universe of worlds was formed.

 

The third rabbinical notion -- "the state after death" corresponds with the more modern and still prevailing phrase and idea of "spirit land," being universally adopted and believed in by the Romanists and Greek Catholics, Mohammedans and Mormons, modern Spiritualists and shaking Quakers, Indians, Africans, Asiatics, and all other heathen idol worshippers, besides numerous self styled, and sometimes so called Orthodox, Evangelical, Protestant Christian denominations.

 

Of these -- the first and third notions -- I do not intend taking further notice, except by way of contrast in considering the second and fourth idea of the rabbins corresponds precisely with the teachings of the prophets, who in times past spake unto the fathers, and of the Son who in the last days spake unto us. It is also apparent that the apostles in adding their testimony as witnesses were influenced by the same spirit, for there is (but) one God and Father, one baptism, one faith, one Lord, one Spirit and one body, -- and there is uniformity in their teachings; hence Paul's idea in our text agrees exactly, as will be found -- with that of the rabbis (second and fourth) drawn from the book of Moses; "For," says the apostle, "unto the angels hath he (the Father) not put in subjection the world (or age) to come, whereof we speak. But one in a certain place (Psalm 8:4-5) testified, saying, 'What is man, that thou art mindful of him? Or the Son of man (Christ Jesus) that thou visitest him? Thou madest him (Christ) a little lower than the angels, thou crownedst him (in the time of visitation) with glory and honor, and dist set him over the works of thy hands. Thou has put all things in subjection under his feet. For in that he put all in subjection under him (Christ), he (the Father) left nothing (i.e. all sheep and oxen, beasts of the field, fowls of the air, fish of the sea, and whatsoever passeth through the paths of the sea, -- see Psalm 8,) that is not put under him." (Christ).

 

This is the testimony of one of the old prophets (David), spoken beforehand of the glory that should follow the sufferings of Christ. But is seems from 2 Cor. 4:5-7, Col. 1:24, and some other Scriptures, that the sufferings of Christ are not yet ended, for there is a filling "up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ . . . for his body's sake, which is the church." And this view of the case was held by the apostle; for having quoted the Psalmist to sustain his position in verses 5 and 6, he by the same Spirit adds his own testimony in corroboration of the former witness, when he says, "But now (in Paul's time) we see not yet all things put under him." (Christ). Then it was still future in Paul's time, and remains so in ours. "But (with Paul) we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels, for the suffering of death (that he might suffer), crowned with glory and honor (that is the extent as yet), that he by the grace (favor) of God should taste death for every man."

 

We here discover perfect concord between the prophet and apostle, only Paul says explicitly Christ's reign is over the age to come."

 

Olena, O.

G. W. STETSON

 

 

 

 

IN A DILEMMA.

The Herald of Life and Of the Coming Kingdom August 12,1868

 

Br. Storrs: I am perplexed. Allow me to tell you how I got into this dilemma. You know I have never been able to see the non-resurrection of the wicked, though I have always been kindly disposed toward those who claim to see it. But on April 1, {st} I went to the Conference at Boston; and on Thursday, P. M., listened to a discourse from Br. S. G. Mathewson, of Castleton, Vt., which upset all my philosophy and theology, too; and which, if true, leaves me no alternative, except that of no resurrection for the wicked. Speaking of ‘LIFE’ and of the State or condition in which the just or righteous are raised up from death, or out of their graves, he used the following language:

 

‘Talk about different kinds of life! Why, life is life, is it not? I do not know anything about Adamic and Christ life; about animal life and spiritual life; about temporal and eternal life; about mortal and immortal life, as differing one from the other in kind. There is but one kind of life and that was given to Adam; and if he had been obedient, he would have lived right on forever; and that would have been eternal life, would it not? But he was cut off from life on account of his transgression: and so are the wicked. Not this life is given to the righteous only, on account of their faith in Christ; and Paul says, they are raised INCORRUPTIBLE, does he not? The wicked do not get the gift of life! ‘For this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they, the dead, might be judged according to men in the flesh.”

 

Then leaving the remaining part of the verse {1Pe 4:6} incomplete in his quotation, he said:

 

‘Now let us have the right over again, so that we may fairly understand it.’

 

He then began again with Adam’s being cut off from life, etc., ran down to the same point in the quotation of Peter, and there he left it.

 

On asking him after sermon was through, When he came out on the non-resurrection of the wicked? he denied having done so; and on the query, ‘Why did you preach it, then?’ he denied that also.

 

But on calling his attention to the declarations as made by himself, and desiring to know how he was going to get the wicked up, if so be there is but one kind of life, and that one kind never given to the wicked, but to the righteous only? ‘O! (said he) I will preach another sermon and clear that up.’ Well, I hope you will, for it needs clearing up. But he did not clear it up; and as the discourse was before hundreds, and made the same impression on others as on myself, I do really hope our good brother will ‘preach another discourse’ at Springfield camp-meeting and help me out of the dilemma that he has been the means of getting me into. I never had that doctrine put home to me with such telling power since the question came up as on that occasion. But if it be true, as Br. M. says, that there is but one kind of life and that kind the wicked never get, but the righteous only, I declare my poor weak brain can see no escape from the conclusion that there is no possible chance for any kind of a resurrection for the finally impenitent sinner.

 

What say you, Br. Storrs? Is or is not such a conclusion legitimate to the premise assumed? Please send me the copy containing your answer and oblige yours in hope of life.

 

G. W. STETSON-Rutland, VT., June 1, 1868.

 

RESPONSE TO BR. STETSON

 

Without going in to the argument of the two kinds of life, it is undeniably true that ‘life is life.’ And further, Br. Stetson is entirely right in his conclusion from Br. Mathewson’s statements; we see not how it is possible to come to any other. We trust Br. M. will yet see that it is impossible to reach life and immortality as the gift of God, without excluding the wicked from any and all life, after they are once dead.

 

We never went forward to our present stand-point, until forced to do so or abandon our foundation principles. We found we had been preaching the doctrine of no future life out of Christ ever since we abandoned the doctrine of inherent immortality, and had to take special pains to keep those who heard us on the Life theme from thinking we taught that the wicked would not live again. This course we pursued for years, till we were forced in the midst of a sermon we were preaching contrasting the two Adams, 1Co 15, to see that there was, in the nature of the case no life by a resurrection from the dead to any man except in Christ; and that God had given to his ‘Son power...to give eternal life,’ and no other, ‘at the last day.’ ‘This is the record, that God hath given to us eternal life: and this life is in his Son: he that hath the Son hath life: he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.’ 1 john 5:11, 12. This we found agreed with Jesus’ own testimony, ‘Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood ye have no life in you.’ Joh 6:53. But they had the present life in them, though they did not partake of Christ. His words, therefore, will bear no other construction than that of a rejection from being ‘raised up at the last day’ into life.

 

From these starting points, we came to see that the general tenor of the Bible, and of the gospel in particular, was, that salvation from death is the grand theme of revelation from Genesis to Revelation; and that those who were only partakers of the Adamic nature inevitably perish in death, and are no more forever; that only by connection with Christ would any man be delivered from death’s dominion. ‘The Wages of sin is death.’ ‘The sting of death is sin.’ That sting must be extracted or death holds un in his eternal dominion: nothing but ‘the blood of Christ’ will destroy sin: that is the only healing or curative balm; so we see how forcible is that saying of Christ, ‘Except ye eat my flesh and drink my blood ye have no life in you.’

 

To a like result we are sure all who reject the doctrine of inherent immortality will sooner or later come, if they do not leave off ‘contending for the faith once delivered to the saints’ of ‘Christ our life.’ We can afford to wait patiently till their eyes shall be opened to see this crowning truth of the gospel, viz., ‘Life future and eternal alone in Christ:’ all out of him perish as if He had never come into the world, because they would ‘not come unto Me that they might have life,’ as saith Jesus.

 

 

INFANT DAMNATION-No. 1

WORLD’S CRISIS-September, 6, 1871

 

G.W. Stetson

 

About forty-five years ago, when quite a lad, I went one Sunday morning to a Calvinistic meeting, in Chazy, Clinton Co., N.Y., where the pastor of the flock stated in his discourse that "the way to hell was paved with infants not a span long." Now it may seem strange, yet this same old parson B___n was a good, kind-hearted old man; and, aside from his theology, everybody loved and respected him; but from that time forward he never looked so good to me as before. The third finger on his right hand was cut off just below the second join, and as he made the affirmation, he was holding up that hand, which brought the excised member conspicuously into view; and the declaration so horrified me, that the stub-finger was so ineffaceably impressed on my memory, that for nearly half a century I have never thought of him, but what that vocative digit, with his infantile pavement, are as plainly before me as when he uttered the sentiment. It may be more than probably that there and then was laid the foundation for my subsequent adoption of Armenians sentiments, little thinking that the theology held by the latter school involved all the infant race in the same sad destiny, as a result of their definition of terms.

 

But having said so much, more must be said, or my own affirmation will seem to many like a hard saying, and an untruthful statement. It is also much to be deplored that some of our most excellent and worthy Second Advent Church brethren, by their advocacy of certain theological tenants as Bible doctrine, involve themselves in the same inextricable dilemma, and it is to be hoped they will do one of two things: either get out of their glass houses, or stop throwing stones. In words and profession they say and hold that infants are saved; but in teaching they prove that infants are lost. Let us see how. Well, in Joh 3:3, Jesus said, "Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." In Joh 3:5, "cannot enter into the kingdom of God." Now the word "man’ in the text is a generic term, and not a specific one; that is, Jesus is speaking of all or any one of the race, without regard to age or sex. Some one may say that Nicodemus’ inquiry in Joh 3:4 proves otherwise. His answer only proves him to have been very ignorant in relation to the entire subject. Paul makes a like statement with that of Jesus, when he says in 1Co 15:50, that "flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom." Now, infants are men and woman not matured, and are as much flesh and blood in nature as if fully developed. They are also "corruptible" in their nature, but "corruption cannot inherit incorruption"; therefore, they are included in the term man, as used in the text by the Savior; therefore, must be born again, or remain outside of the kingdom.

 

N.B. The Savior does not say a man must be born twice more, making three births for the one person, but again, once more, making two births for each individual prior to entering into God’s kingdom. The word "again," in Joh 3:3, is just as significant, just as definite in its application there, as when applied to Christ’s coming, when he says in Joh 14:3, "I will come again," which means, as Paul shows in Heb 9:28, the second time, once more, in addition to his former and first coming; and I certainly have yet to see the first believer in that coming who is not very tenacious as to the particular expressiveness of that word "again," as applied to our Savior’s advent. Very well; let us be just as precise, just as particular, just as tenacious, just as critical in its use in Joh 3:3, and note the result.

 

The claim has been very general that conversion and the second birth are synonymous terms; and herein lies the secret spring which sent forth that other claim, that "born of water," in Joh 3:5, was baptism, and then, in the creeds and confessions of faith, made that baptism, regeneration, conversion, new birth. This was done expressly to cover the case of infants, because they saw that the term man comprehended them, and they knew that infants were not converted, as a result of faith and obedience in the gospel, like adults. The Roman Catholic, the Episcopal, and some other churches, still adhere to this doctrine openly, claiming that all infants not so regenerated (by baptism) are lost; hence their custom of rantizing (sprinkling) infants. Now, the question comes to me, "Do I not believe in the damnation of infants?" to which I give in answer, most decidedly and emphatically, No! but, IF conversion is being "born again," I can see no chance for them, for they are not converted; but I do not believe that conversion is the second birth, nor do I believe that baptism is, either. My scriptural evidence must await another issue.

 

Olena, Ohio

 

 

INFANT SALVATION-No. 2

WORLD’S CRISIS-September, 13, 1871

 

G.W. Stetson

 

We said in our former article that we could see no way for infants to be saved, if conversion was the new birth, but we did not believe that either conversion or baptism constituted the second birth. In Joh 3:5, "born of the water and of the Spirit" is manifestly synonymous with its equivalent in Joh 3:6 —"That which is born of the flesh [in the aqueous birth] is flesh" [and this is the first or natural birth]; but "that which is born of the Spirit is spirit," and this is the second or new birth, or being "born again." Of the first, we have a like form of expression in Nu 24:7, where it is said of Jacob’s descendants, "He shall pour the water out of his buckets, and his seed shall be in many waters." In Jer 51:13, Re 17:1, 15, "waters" are again employed to represent men in their natural or flesh state. Peter, in his second letter, 2Pe 3:5, refers to the same principle, when he says that water was an agent employed in the primary creation of the material world, and it is equally true of man’s perpetuation upon the earth, known as a physiological fact; hence the force and propriety of our Savior in using it in conversing with Nicodemus; thus avoiding tautology.

 

Of the second, also, we have a most glorious sample, and more than once referred to and specifically pointed out as the second birth, in the case of our Savior. He offers to us in his own person an exemplification of what he taught Nicodemus. In his own person he has been the subject of the first and second births. In the first, he was the word of God made flesh, when in the fulness of the time he was born of a woman, born of the flesh, and "that which is born of the flesh is flesh," and in it he was also put to death. But he was never converted. Do you say, Of course not, he never needed it? Well, we agree. But are you prepared to say, also, that he never was "born again"? Perhaps not. In Col 1:18, Paul says he was, and that he was "the beginning, the first born from the dead." But you may say, That was not the "new birth." I would like to know why; it certainly was not the old birth, of which Nicodemus inquired in Joh 3:4. Most assuredly that was the new birth, for then was Jesus born anew, or again, and was the Son of what, or whomsoever, brought him forth, which Peter and Paul testify was the Spirit of God, or God. Ac 3:15; 4:10; 10:40; 13:30; Ro 4:24; 8:11. Hence he was "born of the Spirit," and was, by being "born again," the Son of God; and "that which is born of the Spirit is spirit."

 

In 1Co 15:23, Paul declares that Christ is the (a) first fruit. But of what, and from what? Other scriptures show that he is a first fruit of the Spirit, produced or born from the dead; and then he proceeds to say that the next fruit of the Spirit will be those who are Christ’s, who are to be made alive, or born of the Spirit from the dead, at his coming. Now, in order to prove that this is just what Paul is here teaching, and that this constitutes the new birth, and is by the Bible denominated a birth, I will quote from the Bible a parallel passage, bearing upon this point; and allow me to write plainly, just as plainly as it is in the Bible; for this is an important matter that we have under consideration; something more than a theory, more than a theology; it is a Bible fact, a God given declaration.

 

Turn if you please to Isa 66:7. The prophet has just been telling us, in Isa 65, what God is about to do to Jerusalem; that one which Paul in Gal 4:26 says "is the mother of us all"; i.e., God’s children. Now in Isa 65:7, Isaiah says: "Before she [Jerusalem above, the free-woman] travailed, she brought forth; before her pain came, she was delivered of a MAN CHILD." All concede that this refers to Christ, and he (in Joh 16:19-22) applies this figure to himself. Passing over the inquiry in Isa 66:8, let us find the solution in Isa 66:9, filling out the ellipsis in fully expressed words, thus: "Shall I bring to the birth [Christ, "the man child," the "first fruit," the "first born," the "head of the body"], and not cause to bring forth [the body of Christ, the Church]? saith the Lord; shall I cause to bring forth [Christ from the dead], and shut the womb [and not bring forth afterwards those children that are Christ’s at his coming]? Saith thy God." We have studiously employed those sentences or words only, which Paul, by the same Spirit that moved the prophet, used in relation to the implied portions of the prophecy, lest some one should say we had done violence to the text, in which the resurrection of Christ and the Church is called a birth, as David also said in the second Psalm, and Pal also in Ac 13:33. But inasmuch as all of these persons had been previously born once of the flesh, this birth spoken of must necessarily have been when they were "born again" of the Spirit, for there are no more than these two births spoken of in Scripture—birth of the flesh, and birth of the Spirit, or (1) born of flesh, and (2) born of Spirit.

 

Three things are necessarily involved in order to a birth, whether natural or spiritual: 1st, the begetting; 2nd, the quickening; 3rd, the bringing forth. In the spiritual production, adults are subjected to the first, when they are begotten by "the word of truth" (Jas 1:18), the incorruptible seed, the word of God (1Pe 1:23), commonly termed "conviction." This transpires when any one "heareth the word, and understandeth it" (Mt 13:23), producing the first "the blade." Mr 4:28. The second occurs when the Spirit is conferred uponthe obedient believer, by which they are quickened from being "dead in trespasses and sins" (Eph 2:1), for "it is the Spirit that quickeneth" (Joh 6:63), by which they cry, Abba, Father. Ro 8:15. This is the work of the Father, by the Son (Joh 5:21), and constitutes the guaranty, or earnest, of our ultimate adoption into the kingdom, when we shall finally come to the birth. Ro 8:23; Eph 1:13-14. This period in Christian experience is usually called "conversion," and answers to fruit-bearing of the word (Mt 13:23), or the "earing" (Mr 4:28), or the "fruiting" of the Spirit—joy and peace in the Holy Ghost. In this quickened state we are called (proleptically) the sons of God; that is, sons by faith, in anticipation, and not yet in fact, not yet having Spirit-life of our own, but Christ living in us; and the (Spirit) life which we now live in the flesh, we live by the faith of the Son of God. Ga 2:20. For Christ is our Spirit-life, and this Spirit, or eternal life, is in Christ (1Jo 5:11), not in us, and "is hid with Christ in God"; and "when Christ who is our life shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory" (Col 3:4), at which time we shall be subjects of the third and final condition, the spiritual birth, being brought forth by the Spirit FROM the dead (not of the dead), (Ro 8:11); and for this manifestation of the sons of God, the earnest expectation of the creature is waiting, "because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God" (Ro 8:19-21); at which time we shall answer to the "wheat" (Mt 13:30), or the "full corn in the ear" (Mr 4:28), the resurrection state, the fruiting perfected, after which there will no longer a liability of "falling away," or "from grace," r sinning, or being abortives; because God’s seed (incorruption) will remain in us; giving to, or causing deathless natures in us; being (having been) the children of God (by faith), and being in fact the children of the resurrection by birth of the Spirit, or being "born again," made like the angels, going and coming like the wind, and none able to tell whence we came or whither we went. So is every one (person) that is born of the Spirit.

 

G.W. Stetson Olena, Ohio.

 

 

INFANT REDEMPTION-No. 3

WORLD’S CRISIS-September, 26, 1871

 

G.W. Stetson

 

Our next legitimate inquire, therefore, must be, how are infants redeemed so as to be heirs of salvation, and will they be in the next band or company that are to be made alive at Christ’s coming? Our first proof text is in Joh 1:29. —"Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world." Our second is Joh 3:17 —"For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world: but that the world through him might be saved." But saved from what, and how? In the light of Scripture, shining unto me in the face of Jesus Christ, my answer would be, saved from sin and its effects. By Ro 5:12 we learn that "by one man sin entered the world, and death by sin, and so death passed upon all [for in him—Adam] have sinned"; all are reckoned as sinful, "but not as the fall, so is the gracious gift. For if by the fall of the one [man—Adam], the many died [the all men of Ro 5:13], much more the favor of God, even that gracious gift by the one man, Jesus Christ, abounded to the many."

 

Paul then proceeds to show that the free gift is unlike the effects of the one (Adam) having sinned, in a very essential particular, "For indeed the sentence was from one [sin or offense] to condemnation; but the gracious gift is [justification] from many offenses to [unto] righteousness." "Therefore, as through one offense sentence came on all men to condemnation [of death], so also through one righteous act, sentence came on all men to [unto] justification of life. For as through the disobedience of one man the man [the all men of Ro 5:12 again] were constituted sinners [or sinful], so even through the obedience of the one the man [the same many] will be constituted righteous." Diaglott Trans.

 

The words man and men here in Romans are generic terms, like "a man," in Joh 3:3, and not specific; hence in 1Co 15:21-22 it is written—"since through a man there is death, through a man also there is a resurrection of the dead; for as by Adam all die, so by the Anointed also will all be restored to life." Now, according to Paul, infants die in consequence of the death sentence pronounced upon Adam for his one sin, and the entire race being at that time yet comprehended in Adam, the appointment unto many through him is, once to die, and after this once (dying), the judgment; and the judgment written is, that these same many who die through (in consequence of) Adam’s one sin, shall live again through Christ’s one righteousness, and then the children’s teeth shall no longer be set on edge in consequence of the sour grape eaten by the sire. But the soul (person) that sinneth (the sinning one) shall die.

 

I know very well that there are not wanting those who will affirm that Paul was writing of those who are adults, consequently are justified by faith in the gospel, and say he does not speak of infants at all. To such it is sufficient to say that Paul affirms that he was writing to all called saints, and many of these, according to Ac 28:17-29, were Jews with whom Paul labored diligently to prove that the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ was not the God of the Jews only, but of the Gentiles also, and he "expounded to them, and testified of the kingdom of God, persuading them concerning Jesus out of the law and out of the prophets." But what proves too much, proves nothing; and Ro 5:16 proves that the claim of or to adult-ship only, is certainly erroneous; for in that verse the apostle is very careful to particularly specify the sins of adult persons, in addition to the sin of the world, which he introduced and set before us in Ro 5:12; and the personal sins of adults he terms, in Ro 5:16, "many offenses." Now I not only concede, but contend, that we can only be justified from these through faith, repentance, and obedience toward God, through our Lord Jesus Christ, by the gospel. But "the sin of the world" came upon us all through the curse pronounced for Adam’s disobedience, without our agency; and it will be taken away from us all when the curse is taken off, through the obedience of Jesus Christ independent also of our agency. In other words, the first Adam by transgression runs the train down the track to the depot of death, but the second Adam begins just where the first Adam failed, and by his obedience reverses the engine and brings the train back again to the depot of life eternal; and when he gets it there, all who will receive the gift who have not forfeited that gift, as Adam did, by personal sins (Ro 2:6-11, 16); and among these returned exiles will be found infants, who have never committed personal sin in transgression, and for whom also there is no law. And Paul says, in Ro 5:13, that sin is not accounted or imputed, where there is no law; hence the typical promise in De 1:39 —"Your little ones, which ye said should be a prey; and your children, which in that day [on account of their youth] had no knowledge between good and evil, they shall go in thither [into the land of promise], and unto them will I give it, and they shall possess it." Isa 7:16; Ro 9:11.

 

But some theorizing, theological hair-splitter will say—"These children were God’s by covenant, they having received circumcision, and the promise has no relation to the children of Gentile unbelievers at all." In Ga 5:2, Paul says—"I say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing." Ga 6:15 —"For in Christ Jesus, neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature." Herein lies the foundation of infant sprinkling, called regeneration. Assuming that baptism under the gospel took the place of circumcision under the law, professed ministers of Christ undertook to do what Christ had already done for the infants. But the priest under the law, circumcising the child when eight days old, was not a type of a gospel preacher sprinkling infants down here. That was a type of the true circumcision, not made with hands, which Christ hath wrought for them in the reconciliation, by the putting away of the body of the sins of the flesh, by the Spirit.

 

Hence under the gospel we have both circumcision (the true) and baptism. The first is a gift conferred, a work done for us by our Savior, which we neither could or can do for ourselves. The second, unlike the first, includes not "all men," but adults only, and is a duty to be performed as a result of our having heard, understood and believed the gospel; hence faith and baptism are inseparable. All men (mankind) receive the benefits of Christ’s death; whereas those who hear, believe, and obey the gospel, alone receive benefit from his rising again to act as our mediator and advocate. For if we (all men) were reconciled by his death, how much more shall we who believe be justified by his life. "Thy children shall come again from the land of the enemy" is an affirmation made by Deity, not because they (whose death caused bitter lamentation in Ramah) were martyrs to or for the truth, for they were not, being victims only of Herod’s jealous ambition and rapacious cruelty; but because God desire to lay a foundation for our faith to rest upon, in Christ’s work of atonement for our race, and that we through the comfort and consolation of the Scriptures might have hope.

 

In this coming again from the land of the enemy these infants will experience the new birth, or be born again, and then God will put his Spirit in them, and they shall live and go in and inherit the land.*

 

*NOTE: In Dr. Wordsworth’s Greek Testament, we find the subjoined reading of Mt 19:28 —"Verily I say unto you, who have followed me, In the new birth of the saints, at the resurrection, in the New Jerusalem, when the Son of man shall sit on the throne of his glory, ye also shall sit on twelve thrones."

 

But what position they will there and then occupy, I know not. But Paul says as "one star differeth from another star in glory, so also is the resurrection of the dead"; and I am quite content to heave them thus in the hands of Him who hath done all things well.

 

 

STRIVE NOT ABOUT WORDS

WORLD’S CRISIS-September, 26, 1871

 

G.W. Stetson

 

2Ti 2:14

 

How often do we see brethren engaged in disputations, in which the entire controversy is a result of misapprehending the terms used by each other, and such, perhaps, to a very great extent, may be the case in regard to the subject of the "new birth." Therefore, I would say, let us reason together, and not to separation. Differences among brethren, however small, even in opinions, not to say in faith, are not desirable, nor agreeable; but where they do unavoidably exist, in consequence of our imperfections in the knowledge of the truth, it is well for the differing ones to be very kindly disposed to each other, and bear and forbear until we all come to know the way of the Lord more perfectly. Even in those cases where brethren have a zeal, but not according to truth, and may be decidedly in error, but think they are right, their exhortations to amendment, in those whom they judge to be wrong, even though right, should be kindly and thankfully received; because the motive was good, and intended to confer, or be the means of conferring, a blessing. To all such, my grateful acknowledgements are tendered for their kind sympathy in behalf of my spiritual well being; but dear brethren, it does not follow that because we deny the new birth as taking place here, that there fore we also deny spiritual regeneration, or a moral renewing here.

 

That there is a mighty, wondrous work of grace wrought upon, in, and for, every true believer by the eternal Spirit, through the word of truth, by faith in Christ, in this present life-time, as a means of fitting men for the kingdom of righteousness and everlasting glory, in blessed immortality, I think can never be called in question by any who have ever experienced "the love of God our Savior," and have come to a saving "knowledge of his mercy by the washing of regeneration, and a renewing of the Holy Spirit, being justified by his grace, that we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life, . . . which God (who cannot lie) promised before the world began, . . . and hath made his Son the depositary of this life for us, in consequence of which all long to see Jesus as he is, that they may be made like him; and whomsoever hath such hope in him will purify himself from all iniquity, even as he is pure, by obeying the truth, unto unfeigned love of the brethren, in consequence of having been begotten again [anna-gennemenoi], not from corruptible, but from incorruptible seed, through the living and enduring word of God." —Diaglott.

 

To every true believer, no argument is needed to convince him of the fundamental doctrine in the Christian religion, that the begetting always precedes the quickening. This follows the former, but is antecedent to the birth. So teaches the word, and I claim this order for the word. To the writer, it does seem strange that any one, professing faith in the holy religion of our blessed Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, can for a moment entertain the idea that anything short of an entire consecration, and sanctification of soul, body and spirit to God, and by him, so that we live pure and sinless lives before him, will be acceptable to him. Holiness of life, holiness of heart, cleansing ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and of the mind, is what the Spirit that raised up our Lord from the dead demands of us; and if we come short of this, by the grace of God assisting us, through the intercession of the eternal Spirit in our behalf, I can find no assurance of our ever reaching a spiritual birth. Like begets like, and the one grand object of divine grace in us, is so to fit, fashion, and develop us, by molding us into the divine likeness, as at last to produce the divine result, of a divine begetting, divine quickening, and divine nourishing, and development, in divine manifestation as sons of God in a divine birth. But now we are called (proleptically) the sons of God, and by the same metaphor we are spoken of as having been already born of God.

 

Let us now make an examination of the terms used, and try to get their true signification, so as to understand them as well as one another. Birth is the act of coming into life, that which is produced. In a theological sense, regeneration is called the new birth; but Scott says regeneration is to renew the heart by a change of affections; to change the heart and affections from natural enmity to the love of God; to implant holy affections in the heart. Robinson’s Calmet says: "Regeneration is used in two senses by the sacred authors of the New Testament: (1) For that spiritual birth received from grace; (2) for that new life we expect at the resurrection. Properly speaking, there are but two places where the term occurs; Mt 19:28; Tit 3:5. The first refers to a change of state (or condition); the second to a change of profession. The term is compounded of palin, again, and genesia, generation, or origin"; (i.e., to originate again). Schleusner applies it to "a renovation of the minds and characters of the Jews and Gentiles by means of the gospel." Others refer these words in Matthew to "the grand renovation of all things at Christ’s second coming (compare Ac 3:21), and particularly to God’s children being born again, as it were, from their graves; that is, resurrection is regeneration (compare Ac 13:33). Either way, the passage is metaphorical." "The second place (Tit 3:5) alludes, beyond all question, to the rite of baptism" —R.C. (EDITOR: Probably Robinson’s Calmet mentioned earlier in the paragraph), page 781. "But in Joh 3:4-5, the term is very different from that in Matthew and Titus, being gennetheanothen (Joh 3:3) and gennethenai, born again, or, as some prefer, born from above—Same.

 

The term used in 1Pe 1:3, where he thanks God for his abundant mercy, by which he regenerates us (anagennesas), in a lively or life giving hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, seems to come very near to the import of palingenesia, regeneration; but in either of these cases, Joh 3:5 excepted, so far from any of the reproducing us, which is necessary to our being "born again," or anew, the idea in all of them seems to be that something is reproduced in us, which is in perfect harmony with both Old and New Testament teaching, concerning the regeneration of the Holy Spirit of God in us, through faith and obedience to God’s word under the gospel. Hence to speak of the Spirit being born anew, or of a new birth of the Spirit in us, would be entirely proper and correct; but to apply that work of God’s Spirit wrought upon us, in our reproduction, by which the Spirit brings us forth the second time, to the work of God’s grace which is now going on in the heart of every true follower of Christ, seems to me like an utter confusion of terms, that carries us into an inextricable labyrinth of difficulties, as connected with our teaching that man is a unity, instead of duality or triplet. Of the passage in Joh 1:13, Griesbach notes a different reading. Instead of "who were," he reads "who was," making the entire connection thus—"He came to his own domain, and yet his own people received him not; but to as many as received him, he gave authority to become children of God, to those believing into His name, who was begotten not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God"; thus referring it directly to the physical generation of the Messiah by the Spirit of God, rather than to the moral regeneration of believers—Diaglott.

 

There are other Bible reasons for being called sons of God, than those of birthright. There may be, and I understand there is, such a thing as an adoption of sonship, on the conditions of faith.

 

Dr. James Macknight, who was for forty years President of the Westminster Assembly of Divines, says in his comment on the epistles—and Dr. Adam Clarke endorses his declaration—that "there is not in the whole Bible, strictly, such a phrase as born of God; but in every instance it should have been translated, begotten of God." I may not have given a verbatim quotation, as I write from memory, not now having the work before me, but such is the substance of his stricture.

 

 

A NEW CREATURE

WORLD’S CRISIS-February 28, 1872

 

G.W. Stetson

 

Christ the hope of glory formed in us is one thing, but to create us anew in Christ Jesus is quite another thing. Paul says in 2Co 5:17 —"If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature [a new creation, Diaglottold things are passed away; . . . all things are become new." Still it is evident, from the context and all his writings on this point, that he neither understood nor desired us to believe that this creative work was completed in either himself or us (see Php 3:12-14), but everywhere speaks of it as having been commenced, and to be continued unto completion in the day of our Lord Jesus. In Heb 8:6-13; Gal 5:16-25, he shows "the old" as those things which pertain to the former covenant, the law, or the flesh, and particularizes them; but "the new" are the things comprehended in the second covenant—grace, or the Spirit; and he also specifies them—love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance; nine in all. Now the possession and exercise of these, with the crucifixion of the old, is what constitutes us new creatures, so far as a moral regeneration or spiritual renewal is concerned according to Paul’s gospel. But every one of these are internal, mental endowments, or qualifications, externally manifested, and now one of them a product of the brain; for neither it or any other part of the body has been at all changed in its physical structure by this regeneration.

 

So far as the material man proper is concerned he is still the same flesh man that was born of the flesh, and all the nine new things combined do not satisfactorily show to me a new birth of the man, or that the man has been born again, unless we at once yield the point and submit that there is inside of the material structure another "immaterial man," "the man proper," as claimed by others, and that it is this "inner man" that has undergone the change involved by being "born again." But to yield this point is to yield the entire ground in controversy between the so designated materialists and immaterialists. But if these nine are not products of the brain (organ of flesh), what are they, and whence do they come? The apostle comes to our rescue, and at once relives us of the difficulty into which our theorizing theological notions would drive us, by saying that these are a fruit (i.e. product) of the Spirit of Christ, which God hath sent forth into our hearts, that we might receive (in order to our reception of) the adoption of sons. —Gal 4:5-6. In Ro 8:15 he calls this the adopting spirit (i.e., the spirit which is ultimately to adopt us as sons, as is proved by Ro 8:23), in which he says we have not yet received the adoption itself, but we are groaning and waiting for it. And in Eph 1:13, he informs us that the bestowment of this spirit secures to us this adoption as sons (or to sonship), which is the redemption of our body at the time set; when, according to Php 3:21, these vile bodies will be fashioned like unto Christ’s glorious (glorified) body. Then the substantial man proper will produce these graces of the Spirit, in and of himself, by virtue of the man himself having been born of the Spririt, the result of a work of grace wrought upon and in him; but now he has this treasure in an earthen vessel, and they are produced by virtue of the Spirit of Christ, begotten or born in him.

 

To my apprehension, such are the results of a work done for and in us through grace by the spirit of God (or mind of Christ), bestowed upon us in consequence of an intense desire for truth having been begotten in us by the incorruptible seed (implanted), the word of God, that liveth and abideth forever; and thus creates a hungering and thirsting after righteousness, which leads us to feed, and feast too, upon that true bread that came down from heaven, of which if a man eat he shall live forever; for man doth not live by bread alone, but by every word which proceedeth out of the mouth of God.

 

These processes of developing us in a new creation, as delineated by Christ and the apostles, is in complete and perfect harmony with everything in nature. Take for illustration the chicken. Take an egg from the nest subjected to incubation for a few days only. Break it into a clear glass; hold it up between yourself and the sun, and in its center you will see a little red spot with small lines radiating from it in every direction. Watch that center closely and you will perceive that it pulsates quite as regularly as your own hear. What is it? Well may you ask with wonder; but that is the primary process in the development of a "new creature" in order to a birth of the creature itself. That egg does not breath, never has breathed; no atmospheric air can reach is center, yet there is life there, a life germ, a life center; and in putting on its organism it begins precisely where every other life, whether animal, vegetable, or Christian, must begin—with the heart; for "out of it are the issues of life." But the egg existed before the life in it existed there. True, it existed elsewhere, and had to be begotten there; and so with us, and the Christ-life in us. And there must be a heart work in it; hence, "believing with the heart unto righteousness" in absolutely a necessary pre-requisite of Christ-life in us. A head belief, simply, will not do; it is not enough; it will not reach the fountain of life; and it is from and in the deepest innermost and hidden recesses of our being that this new creative process must begin, if begun at all, and in its beginning Christ must plan the life-seed in us, through the eternal Sprit, by his truth, and it must then be watere3d by the dew of his grace, until in its progressive development it shall find its completion in putting on a glorified body in the morning of the resurrection, in perfect harmony with and in obedience to "the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus," which shall make us free from the law of sin and death, in full and everlasting redemption, where faith shall be lost in sight, and hope shall realize a full fruition. Christ, who has deposited this life-germ in us, will hold us responsible for a faithful discharge of our trust in the performance of our daily work, until that life-force in us is fully prepared to be thus arrayed in its heavenly raiment of immortal beauty and unfading glory, in his everlasting kingdom, when born of the Spirit.

 

Olena, Ohio

 

 

ADVENT CHRISTIAN WITNESS—Aug. 27, 1872

 

It is now ten months since I was called and came to Pittsburgh, Pa. To labor, and though we have worked quietly and made no flourish of trumpets, we are able to say ‘the Lord is with us,’ and the Truth is spreading and taking a deep hold in this city and Allegheny. We now propose to ‘carry the war into Africa,’ i.e., invade the strongholds of ‘orthodoxy’ by scattering among them ‘the incorruptible seed,’ by free distribution of our standard works. The schism in the body is nearly healed, the fragments gathered up, the marks obliterated, and the brethren are meeting together in harmony and holding public service regularly in Quincy Hall, 127 Leacock St., Allegheny, every Sunday at 10:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. Through the week all are busy in disseminating and presenting the truth among and to others, as they may have opportunity. We might give the names of some ten or a dozen brethren who are especially assiduous workers, but as distinctions are invidious and comparisons odious, and all merit commendations, I forbear.

 

I had the pleasure, some weeks since, of seeing Bro. Cherry, now of Chicago, among us, who gave a good report of the Church there. He will be pleased to learn that several of his old acquaintances have since he was with us, ‘put on Christ in baptism,’ and now are ‘booked’ and will soon be ‘planted in the likeness of Christ’s death,’ that they may be with him in the likeness of his resurrection. The last three Sabbaths have been seasons of unusual interest and blessedness in our meetings. That the Lord may prosper, build and establish us in all our work and in his ways, preserve us from sin and from evil unto his glorious appearing, is our most earnest supplication to him who is able to keep us from falling, and present us faultless before his glory. Amen.

 

G.W. Stetson.

 

 

 

NOT SATISFACTORY

WORLD'S CRISIS - September 4, 1872

G.W. STETSON

 

"Flesh and blood cannot inherit." -- 1 Cor. 15:50.

 

The meaning of "flesh and blood cannot inherit," as commonly given among us, as a people, is very unsatisfactory, and looks more like a "play upon words" than a good, clear, open and honest explanation of a passage often quoted against us. The answer usually given is, "that is true, flesh and blood cannot, but flesh and bones can." But if it be true that flesh and blood cannot inherit, then it is equally untrue to say that flesh and bones can; for it is undeniably a scriptural fact that neither the one or the other of these can INHERIT the kingdom. But a mighty chorus of voices will at once cry out, "Did not our Savior say after his resurrection, 'Handle me, and see that it is I myself, for a spirit hath not flesh and bones as ye see me have"? and did not he inhabit after he rose from the dead, among them? Yes, that is all true; but INHERIT is not used in the text in the sense of INHABIT, or POSSESS, at all, and that is the almost universal error that we fall into. There is a possibility that this erroneous teaching may be corrected and reformed, but not much probability that it will be, for when men get a crotchet in the brain, it is seldom removed except by dissolution.

 

One man has been at work faithfully for nearly fifteen years to reform this abuse of language, but "they" think they know, and so the "stone remains in one end of the sack." But today, that one man makes an appeal to his preaching brethren for help in this matter. Come, brethren, to the rescue. Truth is surely better than error, and more sanctifying. We who preach the gospel to others are, to some extent, responsible for the opinions formed and views entertained. Now a dogmatic affirmation that a thing is or is not so and so, thus and thus, will never make or unmake it so., Let us then look this Scripture right square in the face, until it can no longer laugh us out of countenance.

 

1. We inquire, then, why cannot flesh and blood inherit the kingdom? We answer (1), because "flesh and blood" is simply a Hebrew equivalent for mortality; and mortality can no more result in immortality, than darkness can produce light. But immortality is an element of the kingdom, as well as of Deity, and flesh, nor blood, nor bones, has any claim either by inherent title or by promise to either. (2) We answer, because none but the children can inherit; for the children only are the heirs, and the heirs only are entitled to the inheritance. Now it is said of Christ, that he is appointed heir of all things; but he was not made heir by virtue of his descent from Adam, through David, as the Son of man, the seed of the woman, flesh and blood, or flesh and bones, as he was "made under the law." But he was made "heir of all things" by his having been made the Son of God, and this divine appointment to sonship and consequent heirship was not through the "begetting of blood, nor the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God." John 1:13 -- Diaglott. But nothing is said about "bones" in the proof. Let us see. After the flesh, Jesus was born of Mary, and as such was the "seed of the woman," to whom the promise was made in Gen. 3:15, concerning whose formation it is said (Gen. 2:21), "He took one of his ribs, and closed up the flesh instead thereof." Of this rib, transformed into a woman, "Adam said (Gen. 2:23), "This is now bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh; she shall be called woman, because she was taken out of man," where we find flesh and bones used as equivalents, having one common origin, subject to one common law, and destined to one common end. Enough on that point.

 

Now there are three things that are involved in making Jesus Son and heir of God. (1) The begetting by the Spirit; (2) the immersion; (3) his birth by the Spirit, when the Spirit brought him forth from the dead, as "THE FIRST BORN"; therefore eldest Son and heir, for to this Son God had given, willed, promised the INHERITANCE, not through the law, but THROUGH THE SPIRIT. Gal. 3:13-18. In Rom. 2, Paul shows us how we sin by the law of God; and in Eph. 2, that we are every one of us (Gentiles) aliens; and in Gal. 5:19-21, he tells us what flesh is heir to; but in Rom. 8, and Gal. 4, and Eph. 2, he informs us how we cease from being "in the flesh," and are brought into the Spirit, being no more servants or aliens, but brought nigh by the blood of Christ; "that we might receive the adoption of sons, . . . and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ" (Gal. 4:4-7); "for as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God; . . . the Spirit itself bearing witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God; and if children, then heirs; heirs of God (or God's heirs), and joint heirs with Christ" (Rom. 8:14-17); and the children, through the Spirit, can inherit, being entitled by promise through faith, and the inheritance, like the enabling cause, is incorruptible, and undefiled, and is reserved for us in heaven (the title being invested in Christ the eldest Son and brother), from whence we look for the Lord Jesus, who will change our vile body, and fashion like unto his own glorious body. In Judges 2:6 we read, "the children of Israel went every man to his inheritance, to possess the land," where inheritance and possessing, or inhabiting, occupying, or dwelling in or on, are not used as synonymous. Just so of the term inherit; it is not used by Paul in the sense of inhabit or possess; but purely in a legal sense, as a law phrase, by which he tells the brethren, that these men who have only got a fleshly descent from, or a blood relation to Abraham, can never get any place in the kingdom of God; because God has never had, nor has he now got, any such purpose; and it is not in accordance with his plan or purpose to make Agar's children heirs with those of Sarah. Agar's son was born "after the flesh" (illegitimate to plans and purposes), and therefore cannot inherit the land of promise, which was to come to Abraham by the Spirit, through a resurrection from the dead; therefore the legitimate heirs must come in the same way; and hence the promise to Sarah in her dead state; showing thereby the power and purpose of the Spirit of God to produce its (or his) own children and heirs of the inheritance by promise through faith.

 

That text is one of the strongest in the Bible as proof of the correctness of the views of those who entertain the faith of the Abrahamic inheritance through Christ, provided we do not spoil it by weakening it through barbaric torture.

 

Olena, Ohio

 

 

 

THE RANSOM

WORLD’S CRISIS-December, 18, 1872

 

G.W. Stetson

 

Light shining in dark places—2Pe 1:19.

 

The key to the position. The gates opened. Re 21:25.

 

Walk while you have the light—Joh 12:35.

 

After all the preaching, writing, printing and disputing, by clergymen, theologians, doctors of divinity, and the laity, saints, and sinners, in relation to the penalty for sin, as fixed by the divine Lawgiver, and recorded in the Bible, the question is still open, and likely to remain so, unless we can obtain light more resplendent than that which emanates from philosophy, science, nature, or reason, to shine away the surrounding darkness. Fortunately for all who believe the record that God has given of his Son, the true light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world, shineth, and is to shine more and more unto the perfect day.

 

"The entrance of thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding to the simple." Ps 119:130. By this divine illumination, as a lamp to our feet, and a light to our path, let us endeavor to walk out of this thick darkness, into the brightness of that light of the knowledge of the glory of God, shining unto us from the face of Him who walketh in the midst of the seven golden lampstands, whose countenance is as the sun shining in its strength, full of grace and truth.

 

Theories are of no account here. Preconceived opinions must be given up. Prejudices must be kept out of the way. Creeds are for sects only. Theologies are for those who make them; superstitions for the ignorant and the bigot. The truth, and the truth only, can make us free, and if the Son make us free, we shall be "free indeed." Error enslaves us. Facts are what we want, and alone can settle this penal question, and Bible facts at that; nothing else can. "The secret things belong to God, the things that are revealed belong to us and our children forever;" and the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness.

 

The nature of man, the state of the dead, the penalty for sin, and the final doom of the impenitent ungodly, are all comprehended in and elucidated by the teachings of Jesus and his sufferings for the human race, through his work of redemption in their behalf, when "made a curse for us." Gal 3:13.

 

In order to know what is to be redeemed we must know first what was lost, what was forfeit. This should be authoritative and final. We therefore appeal to Jesus himself. In Lu 19:10 he says—"The Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost." In Lu 9:56 he says—"The Son of man is not come to destroy men’s lives, but to save them." Save what? That which was lost. What was lost? That which Christ came to save. What was that? Jesus says men’s lives. In what sense? In the very same sense in which James and John proposed to destroy the lives of the Samaritans; and by turning to 2Ki 1:10-14, we find it was in a literal sense; and by this we also find from Jesus himself that life in Scripture means life, and death means death. Having found what was lost we learn what was forfeit; and having learned this, we know what must be paid as a ransom price, in satisfaction to the demands of the transgressed law, in order to redeem or save.

 

Life was forfeit, and life only can pay the price of ransom in order to redeem from death; and this is in perfect harmony with God’s law of atonement, as given in Lev 17:10-11 —"I will even set my face against that soul that eateth blood, . . . for the life of the flesh is in the blood; and I have given it [the life] to you upon the altar, to make atonement for your souls" (or life). Lev 17:14 —"for it is the life of all flesh; the blood of it is for the life thereof." Again, in Ex 21:23, we read—"Thou shalt give life for life, eye for eye, tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot, burning for burning, wound for wound, stripe for stripe." Such is the law of atonement, of redemption, and such is the price of ransom. Ge 3:17 —"Because thou hast harkened unto the voice of thy wife, and hast eaten of the tree of which I commanded thee, saying, thou shalt not eat of it; cursed is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou east of it all the days of they life; . . . in the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, till thou return; for dust thou art, and unto dust shalt thou return."

 

And such was the penalty for sin. Life was forfeit to the law. The body to the dust, the life to death, and the Spirit (or breath of life) to God who gave it. And this death, without redemption, would have been an eternal death. And this is just the penalty suffered, just the price demanded by the law, and just the sum paid by our blessed Lord, in order to redeem us from the penalty of the law.

 

Four fulfilled conditions are necessary to entitle to the right of redemption.

 

1. The birthright,

 

2. Nearness of kin,

 

3. The blessing,

 

4. Holding, or being in possession of, the ransom price.

 

All of these qualifications centered in Jesus of Nazareth:

 

1. "He was the only begotten of the Father." Joh 1:14, 18.

 

2. "The word was made flesh." Joh 1:14. "Made like unto his brethren." Heb 2:17. "In the likeness of sinful flesh." Ro 8:3. "For both he that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one; for which he is not ashamed to call them brethren." Heb 2:11.

 

3. The blessing was eternal life—"For there the Lord [Jehovah] commanded [bestowed] the blessing, even life for evermore." Ps 133:3. He was "The firstborn from the dead." Col 1:18; Ac 26:23. The first "made alive." 1Co 15:23. "Quickened by the Spirit." 1Pe 3:18. "After [by] the power of an endless life." Heb 7:16. "The gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." Ro 6:23. And this eternal life "is in his Son." 1Jo 5:11. "And having received of the Father the promised Holy Spirit, he hath shed forth this." Ac 2:33. "If we live in [by] the Spirit, let us also walk in [by] the Spirit." Gal 5:25. We cannot too highly prize this Holy Spirit; it is the power of eternal life, it is "the mighty power of God." Eph 1:13-14; 18-21.

 

4. The thing forfeited was a blood life. The redeeming price is its equivalent. "This is he [Jesus] who came . . . not by water only, but by water, and blood." 1Jo 5:6. This blood life Jesus had, as the seed of Abraham, the son of David, the seed of the woman, the Son of man. The Adamic life was forfeited by sin (Ro 5:12), a life sold under sin; a life upon which the law had a claim, covering the entirety in its sum.

 

(To be concluded)

 

 

THE RANSOM PART II

WORLD’S CRISIS-December, 25, 1872

 

G.W. Stetson

 

Light shining in a dark place—2Pe 1:19.

 

The key to the position. The gates opened—Re 21:25.

 

Walk while you have the light—Joh 12:35.

 

(Concluded)

 

The life offered in redemption as a ransom price must be, and was, one unforfeited by sin, one upon which the law had no claim. But all life, from Adam to Christ, was of the first kind, under forfeit by sin. Consequently a new blood life had to be generated, upon which the law had no claim through sin, and this was done when Jesus was begotten by the Holy Spirit, and this life that was in the blood, Jesus gave on the cross to death, in sacrifice for sin, in order to redeem our life from death. But the eternal life is a spirit life, and not a blood life, and as Jesus voluntarily gave up his blood life, he must be entitled to another life, or ever remain in death. This other life (the spirit eternal life) he got by purchase. He brought the birthright by obedience, or the right to a birth by the Spirit from the dead, which also gave to him the blessing of an eternal life. Ro 10:4-5.

 

But the price of ransom must not only be paid, it must remain with whomsoever or to whatsoever it is given in full satisfaction of the claim just created in the forfeiture. To recall or take back (take again) the ransom, is to reestablish the claim by law, of forfeiture, and the un-ransomed would remain unredeemed.

 

Illustration. A forfeits his watch. B holds it. The forfeiture is five dollars. C redeems it by paying the ransom price (five dollars) into B’s hands, but leaves the watch also with B for the time being. One hour or more after the transaction C calls again on B and asks him if he has any objection to his (C’s) taking back that five dollars, paid as ransom for A’s watch. B says he has not if C desires it, and C takes it back, and then (subsequently) demands A’s watch as his (C’s) by right of redemption. Now who is so simple as to affirm that B in justice is under any obligation to "deliver up" A’s watch to C under such circumstances, or to say that C has any claim of right by purchase or otherwise upon the watch?

 

And this principle of right, of equity, is just as true when applied to our redemption by Jesus of Nazareth as when applied to the watch. So that, if Jesus took again that same life in ransom, he has recalled the purchase price, and no one therefore is redeemed.

 

But suppose the forfeiture on A’s watch is twenty dollars, and C only pays ten to B but does not recall the ten. In such case redemption of the watch would fail equally as in the former case, but from different cause, inadequacy or insufficiency of ransom price. But it is affirmed by theologians that the demand of God’s law upon the inner as the penalty for sin, is eternal torment in misery. But if that be the curse or penalty of the law, then Christ must have paid that price in ransom (suffered eternal torment in misery) for our redemption, and if such be the penalty or forfeiture, and Christ has not paid that, then nobody is redeemed, and redemption fails by insufficiency of ransom price.

 

But "Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having been made a curse for us," and yet has not paid the price of eternal torment in misery, therefore eternal torment is not the penalty of the law for sin. But does not the same difficulty hold if we make the second (or eternal) death, in an absolute sense, the penalty for sin? Certainly not, for Jesus made an eternal satisfaction to the claim of the transgressed law, when he gave to death (his divinely begotten) blood life, eternally to remain there, in satisfaction of the law as a ransom price. He was made under (subject to) the law (Gal 4:4-5), the transgression of which was sin and brought death upon man; and as man he died in obedience to the law voluntarily. But his power to take it (his life) again, as the Son of God, was found, not in the righteousness which is of faith, but in that which resulted from his obedience to the same law, his Father’s commandment (Ro 10:5), through which he acquired a perfected title to eternal life; and in receiving it he became the Son of God by birth of the Spirit when he through the Spirit was born from the dead. There is a truth here involved that cannot be made too plain.

 

As the Son of man, as the Son of Mary, the seed of the woman, the seed of Abraham, Jesus has a life precisely like that of all other men, except in its begetting and its sinlessness. But as the Son of God he had an endless life. There never was a time, however, in which he possessed both kinds at once. From his birth by Mary to the time of his death, he had "the life that is in the blood," only. From the time of his resurrection from the dead, he had the spirit or eternal life only, and both belonged to him by right. But as his baptism, there was superadded to him the Holy Spirit, constituting him Emmanuel, or God with man, as in Ac 10:38; or "the mystery of godliness, God manifested in the flesh." 1Ti 3:16; Joh 14:10-11.

 

This Spirit of God that raised up our Lord Jesus from the dead, and by its being thus given in jointure to him, as now constituting a part of himself (for "he that is joined to the Lord is one Spirit, for there is but one Spirit"), is the same Holy Spirit that "came down from heaven" to quicken the seed of the woman, that the word of promise spoken in the beginning might be made flesh; and this Spirit of God that in the beginning moved upon the face of the waters, was the creative energy by which the worlds were made, and without which there was not anything made that was made. This is that which was with Noah in his preaching righteousness to the spirits shut up on prison while the ark was in preparation. It was with the church in the wilderness; was the glory that was with the Father before the world was; was the glory of God manifested to Martha in the resurrection of Lazarus from the dead, and will quicken our mortal bodies as it did that of Jesus, when the time of the redemption of the purchased possession shall have fully come. This is that glory of the Lord that shall in fulfillment of his own oath yet fill all the earth. The super abundant and eternal weight of glory in reserve for us.

 

This superadded Spirit remained with and in him until he cried out on the cross, "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani. My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" At this point Jesus was left alone as the Son of man, to die for man, to suffer the penalty of the law, to pay the forfeit, to lay down his life, and then a "soldier pierced his side with a spear, and forthwith there came out blood and water." He then made his soul an offering for sin, he poured out his soul unto death, he laid down his life, and he never took that same life again. That was sacrificed. That was the ransom. That was the price demanded by the law in full satisfaction for its transgression, as an equivalent for the life of the world, redeemed; and having been redeemed, the world in consequence of redemption is entitled to a resurrection from death.

 

But if the Savior had retaken that sacrificed life, then he would have recalled the price paid in redemption, and the life of the world would have remained in forfeit—lost. He gave that life obtained in reservation of right to enter*, as the seed of the woman in man’s behalf to death, in sacrifice for sin, and three days subsequently, the same Spirit of God given to him at his baptism, that left him on the cross, returned, and in raising him from the dead, gave him the purchased eternal life by which he still lives and will live forevermore.

 

* The reservation of right to enter (a life in ransom on man’s behalf) was comprehended in the promise of God (as recorded in Ge 3:15) to the woman’s seed.

 

Olena, Ohio

 

 

 

SIGNS IN THE HEAVENS

THE WORLD’S CRISIS May 21, 1873

 

G. W. STETSON.

 

BRO. GRANT: -- I clipped the subjoined from the Cleveland (O.) Herald and send to you for insertion in the Crisis, hoping to see it copied into the Times; as corroborative testimony, in confirmation of the words of Jesus, that there "should be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars," indicative of the approaching end.

 

Emanating as it does from one of our most eminent scientists, it is worthy of our deepest consideration. Nature and revelation uniting in their testimony should strengthen our faith, confirm our hope, and increse our diligence and earnestness in that labor of love that induces us to warn men to turn to God and flee from the wrath to come.

 

SUN SPOTS

 

"Perhaps no subject relating to astronomy has of late received more attention among scientific men than the physical constitution of the sun, and certainly none possesses a greater interest to the inhabitants of the globe, for it is from this luminary that we derive every life giving influence, and any irregularities in that body, or notable disturbances in the solar atmosphere are undoubtedly felt upon the habitable globes of our system. Anything, therefore, that is likely to throw any more light upon the subject than we now possess will be examined with interest."

 

"That these 'sun spots' have a periodicity -- that is, that they are more abundant at certain intervals of years -- has been pretty well established by observation, and it is generally conceded that the planet Jupiter governs this periodicity. This planet has an annual orbit of 4,332 days -- its year being nearly twelve of ours--and it happens at much longer intervals; that there is a conjunction of planets, at which times the solar disturbances are increased. We are not approaching one of these remarkable periods. There can now be seen in a single night, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn, which, with the earth, makes six planets (the asteroids are not included) now upon one side of the sun, and with the exception of the inferior planets, which have short periods, are not approaching conjunction; and Uranus and Neptune are fast advancing to join company with this grand constellation -- an event that has not been witnessed by man in centuries."

 

"The sun is nearly nine hundred thousand miles in diameter, and so great is the amount of matter it contains that should all the planets in our solar system be placed upon one side of that body (a condition now rapidly drawing near), according to Newton's law of gravitation, the center of gravity of the whole system would be within the circumference of the sun, and about one hundred and fifty thousand miles from its actual center. Now, the sun rotates upon its own axis once in about twenty five days, and hence it follows that the real center of the solar body would rotate in an orbit having a mean diameter of about three hundred thousand miles."

 

"With the preponderance of planets now prevailing, the center of the sun must describe an orbit every twenty five days of nearly two hundred thousand miles in diameter."

 

"If the sun possesses an elastic and fluctuating atmosphere, as modern observation clearly shows, then, according to the commonly received theory of tides, there must be an enormous tidal wave in the sun's atmosphere, flowing from east to west, and this tidal wave would be seen upon that side of the sun's body nearest to the disturbing elements."

 

"It is generally admitted by scientists that the sun spots are due to the openings in the sun's atmosphere, and this opinion is strengthened from the fact that the spots are generally situated at some distance form the sun's equator."

 

"On the 14th of the present month, the clear and beautiful morning, the first of the kind of a number of days, enabled me to get a good view of the sun's disc and with a glass of about eight linear diameters. A very large, irregular spot was seen at about 50 degrees altitude from the sun's lower limb, and about 20 degrees north of the sun's equator."

 

"This spot was observed every morning form 6h. 30m. to seven o'clock till the 19th, when it had reached within about 40 degrees of the western limb of the sun, thus passing through about 80 degrees in six days. No marked changes were observed in the spot, except what might be due to the spherical body of the sun. Cloudy weather prevented further observation till the morning of the 21st, when the spot was no longer visible. Two new spots, however, had just made their appearance on the eastern limb of the sun -- both nearly round -- the larger one situated about 20 degrees and the other about 40 degrees north of the sun's equator."

 

"Three days' observation showed the same regular advance, coinciding with the sun's relation, but the morning of the 24th being cloudy, no observation could be taken."

 

"From the fact that no important changes occur in the sun spots during the half revolution of the planet, and from the further fact that the same spots do not return to view, but that new ones are formed, shows that they are at first developed upon that portion of the sun's face that is turned from us."

 

"If the present conjunction of planets is the cause of the present remarkable disturbances in the solar atmosphere, may we not expect that a corresponding disturbance will be felt in our own atmosphere? And if so, will it be harmless to the denizens of earth? There is food for thought and reflection upon this subject. The next decade will be a marked one in the history of the world." -- Prof. J. Brainerd.

 

One of the effects resulting from this change of the center of gravitation of the entire solar system (as indicated above), removing that center one hundred fifty thousand miles form the sun's actual center, or one sixth of its diameter, doubled in its own revolution, so as to make three hundred thousand miles or one third of the sun's diameter, would be analogous to a wheel of twelve feet in diameter having the axle upon which it turned removed two feet from its center towards the periphery. Such an eccentric would be very irregular in its motion, if the axle were in rest; but if the wheel were to describe the same orbit at each revolution, then the axle and all supported by it, would be most tremendously "shaken." Watch and pray!

 

Edenboro, Pa.

 

 

IN MEMORY OF ELDER JONAS WENDELL

THE WORLD’S CRISIS Wednesday, September 10, 1873

 

G. W. STETSON

 

He was born December 25th, 1815, and fell asleep August 14th, 1873. Age fifty seven years, seven months, and fourteen days. He experienced remission of sins in Syracuse, N.Y., about 1843, and united with the M.E. church. About 1845 he came into the truth of life and immortality in Christ only, of his soon coming, and reign with the saints on earth renewed, and the everlasting destruction of the finally impenitent wicked. He began preaching these views at Syracuse, in 1847, and was instrumental in bringing Bro. C.B. Turner into the faith. HE was committed to what has since been called, "the 1854 movement," and was very sanguine in the correctness of the chronological data given, as reaching to "the end of the days," and the time of the promised blessing. The time passing without a realization of the expected event, his "faith failed him," as a result of overweening confidence in human computations of time, and human misapplication of data divinely given; and he turned aside from "the word," and got out of "the way," and for several years "went astray."

 

Bro. Turner becoming acquainted with these facts in his life, moved with true Christian philanthropy, came to Edenboro in the winter of 1864-1865, and proved instrumental in Bro. Wendell's recovery and restoration. He resumed "preaching the word," and his labors were owned and greatly blessed in Ohio, New York, Pennsylvania, and New England, from 1865 to 1871; since when he has been in failing health. I had particularly noticed that, for the last year especially, his powers of life, and memory seemed to be failing him rapidly; but during the same time his faith, love, purity of life, and spiritual mindedness, were as markedly and correspondingly increasing. He had settled on 1873 as the year in which "the hope of seeing Jesus and being made like him" should be realized by a waiting and expectant church, and set forth the reasons for his hope in a little work entitle, "Present truth," or "Meat in Due Season," to which Bro. E. Wolcott (of Keysport, N. J.), has added an essay on "The End." (I have a supply of these, for free distribution. Send stamps with orders for mailing.)

 

From June 15 to July 5th, Bro. Wendell was with the N. W. Pennsylvania mission tent, conjointly with Bro. Sweet and Ongley, and thence to July 10 at the "Time Conference," in Rochester, N.Y. From there he came home to adjust some pecuniary matters preparatory to his return to the Mission Tent. On Aug. 7th, he called to see Bro. Goodwin at the pump factory in E., and as he was about to pass form the upper to the lower story, made a misstep at the head, and was precipitated headlong to the bottom of the stairs, by which he received severe internal injuries, from which he never fully recovered, and which probably, hastened his dissolution. But on Wednesday evening, Aug. 13, by request, in absence of the pastor, he led the prayer and conference meeting, and much edified all present by his unusual fervency in prayer, exhortation, and singing. "What a friend we have in Jesus" was the last hymn he ever sung with us. On Thursday the 14th, he went to the Sabbath School picnic in most excellent spirits, and seemed to be very happy in the Lord. When time for adjournment arrived, he got out his horse to return home, but seeing a lad in trouble from a fickly horse, he went to his assistance, where he overtaxed his physical strength, and returned to his own buggy quite exhausted. But he got in and took the lines from his niece, to start home, but immediately loosened his hold, dropped them, and fell over backward in his seat, dead. He gave but two slight gasps for breath, and all was over. "He had shed his last tear, and fought his last battle, his warfare was over, and life's agonies ended."

 

On Saturday, Aug. 16th, at 2 P.M. his funeral was numerously attended at our chapel, when all the clergy of our village came to observe his obsequies, sympathize with his bereaved family, and participate in the services of the occasion. The writer endeavored to impart instruction to eager listeners, and comfort for mourners by discoursing from Psalm 27:13014. Medical opinion is divided between apoplexy and heart disease as cause of death.

 

Edenboro, Pa.

 

 

 

WAY-MARKS

THE WORLD’S CRISIS January 28, 1874

 

G. W. STETSON.

 

An imprecation is pronounced, in De 27:17, for removing landmarks, and not less than four times was the admonition repeated to Moses that he should make the tabernacle and its appurtenances like unto the pattern showed to him in the mount. Not less than twice is this distinctly referred to in the New Testament (Ac 7:44, and Heb 8:5), and king David says, concerning the temple of Solomon (God’s representative house), in 1Ch 28:11-13,19, when he had given to his son the pattern of the various parts, ‘All this the Lord made me understand in writing by his hand upon me, even all the works of this pattern.’ Paul says that this service was like unto the example and shadow of heavenly things, —a shadow of things to come; but the body, i.e., the substance was of Christ. Heb 8:5, Col 2:17.

 

Here, then, we have God’s ‘waymarks,’ pointing out to us how to work, how to build, whither we are tending, and how and when we may reach the place of final destination. The all-important inquiry now is, How many of the plans and devices put forth for divine teaching, for guides into ‘the world to come,’ are facsimiles of God’s handwriting? How many are in harmony with the plan given? How few, rather, are like the patter? How small the number, comparatively, who are studiously endeavoring to carry out the design and be guided by the waymarks through to the end. But how vast the number who seem to think—as shown by their work in teaching—that they can improve upon the original.

 

Take, by way of illustration, the temple stones and building, from the quarry to the dedication, when the house was glorifies. The quarry represents man in a state of sin. The stones, men individually, —rough and unfit for the builder’s use. To prepare them, they must be quarried—separated from the ungodly by ‘the word of truth.’ They must be squared, smoothed, and fitted in shape and size for their place as designated in the plan. And when fully wrought out and finished, they must be put aside with their fellows until the remaining stones needed to complete the building are all quarried and finished for their places. The stones thus made ready for the building must then be transported (every stone in its own order, i. E. the foundation or ‘corner stone’ first) to the temple site. And when all the stones are brought thus together, they are put, every stone, into their several places in the building, but they are not yet perfected. One thing is still wanting. That one thing was not in the stone when quarried or being fitted, but it was with and in him who was to build the house, and to be imparted to each and every stone after the building should have been ‘raised up’; and that one thing is the immortal, divine nature, which is the nature of the agent employed in fitting the stones for their places in the building; and that agent is the Holy Spirit.

 

In common parlance a man is quarried out when he experiences religion, or submits himself to the Lord. That is the starting point, and from that point it takes all the days of his mortal life to complete his transformation into a polished stone, ‘fitted for the Master’s use.’ Then he is numbered with them that rest, —’sleep in Jesus,’—waiting for the ‘holy convocation on the first day of the seventh month,’ when they will all be gathered unto the Lord. On the tenth day of the same month shall the atonement be announced, the blessing conferred, ‘even life forevermore’; the house of the Lord be glorified, the church be presented by the Son to the Father. Then will be the feast of dedication, —the marriage supper of the Lamb.

 

One by one the stones are quarried, fitted, and laid aside to rest. But all the stones are gathered and glorified together.

 

In our day it has come to pass that men teach otherwise, —that a stone is fitted when it is only quarried; that no blowing of trumpets is needed; that there need be no numbering, nor resting, nor waiting; no gathering together, and no raising up, before the stones are put into their places in that future temple, —that beautiful, glorified, spiritual house ‘not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.’ When the Shekinah descended and entered into that temple of Solomon’s then, and not till then, did it become the emblem of a living temple. Then, and only then, was it properly called God’s house.

 

Of that temple the Savior said, ‘Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up again.’ His body was called a temple, for the very same reason that Solomon’s building was so called, viz., because God himself dwelt in that building and in that body of Jesus. So is the body of every true Christian called a temple—a house—a tent; not because the believer himself dwells in that body; not because of an immortal soul as an entity, another immaterial man dwelling in him; —but so called as was the temple—as was the body of Christ; because God himself dwells in the believer by his Holy Spirit; and the believer’s body is the believer himself; and he—the believer—the body—the temple of God.

 

Not once in the whole Bible can it be found where an unregenerate, unsanctified, unholy man’s body is ever spoken of as a house temple, or tent. Work to the pattern. Remove not the ancient landmarks.

 

Edinboro, PA

 

 

THE SECOND DEATH

THE WORLD’S CRISIS Wednesday, March??, 1874

 

G. W. STETSON

 

On Re 20:14, Dr. Adam Clark says, ‘The first death consisted in the separation of the soul from the body of a season; the second death in the separation of body and soul form God forever. The first death is that from which there may be a resurrection; the second death is that from which there is no recovery. By the first, the body is destroyed during time; but the second, body and soul are destroyed through eternity.’

 

Now if we take the above comment as the Doctor has worded and italicized it, and apply the same rule of exegesis to the second as to the second as to the first member of the sentence, we shall have good sound Bible doctrine and a correct theology. In the first death ‘the body was destroyed,’ i.e., the specific thing was completely put out of existence, nothing but the primary elements of which it was composed, and to which it was reduced, and returned; remained. There is no good reason for saying that the same words used in the same way, when applied by the same rule, do not have the same signification, and will to the soul, as to the body, in the second case, produce the same or like results, and there is no valid authority for changing the rule, except the unnatural use of language in order to teach the traditions of en, instead of the commandments of God.

 

Philosophy has done, and continues to do more informing theological opinions, and religious sentiments as promulgated in the world than does the Word of the living God. What a pity! James says, ‘there is one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy.’

 

Edinboro, Pa., Feb. 12, 1874.

 

 

 

PUZZLED-BEWILDERED

FLESH AND SPIRIT

THE WORLD’S CRISIS Wednesday, April 22, 1874

 

G. W. STETSON

 

So it must be given up, and abandoned, must it? After all our turning of leaves, searching the Scriptures for truth, and investigating man's nature, and "disputing daily with the Scribes," in relation to man's state in death it turns out that we are wrong, does it? Well good men say so, and some of our own leaders seem to be leaning that way quite strongly; and if they are right, and we are wrong, why not let it go? But have we not shown, time after time, from the bible, that man is not "a compound being," but a simple uncompounded material creation of God, formed of the dust, and that he will turn to dust again; -- that he is not a triplet, nor a quality, but a unit. Have we not repeatedly proved that mind was a product of the brain, and that when God takes away man's spirit, or breath of life, gathers his spirit and his breath unto himself, that then men's thoughts, love, hatred, envy, all perish, that man then ceases to be a "living soul," and unless there shall come a resurrection from and of the dead, even "them that sleep in Jesus are perished also?" Have we not done all this, and more in the same direction, by the word of the Lord? Well, my dear brethren, we thought we had, but if the "inward man" (2 Cor. 4:16), is the Spirit in us changed by the second birth, and if "the new man" is the heart affections, the spirit renewed, if this be so, then my brethren we have not done was we supposed we had; for the Spirit of the living God by the word through Jesus Christ, in its travail of regenerating our race, does not bring forth nonentities; and John Wesley was not so far wrong when he said, in his renewed state, "I am an immortal spirit," for the twice born man cannot die any more, at least, so said our Savior.


But we need not be discouraged nor disheartened, notwithstanding experiences and compromises are considered and proposed by some, for the Word of our God will stand forever, and accomplish that whereunto it was sent. There is no middle ground here. We are either most gloriously right, or ignominiously wrong in this matter; and if wrong, let us act like and be men, confess our wrong, and give it up; if right, let us stand to our post, be true to the trust committed to us, and declare God's Word faithfully. We have nothing whatever to do with results. God will take care of them, and those also who honor him by honoring his Word. What we have to do, is to faithfully and truly declare the message given to us, and if it prove distasteful and repulsive to whomsoever it may be spoken, the responsibility will not be ours. Let us look to our marching orders, and not stand on the order of our going. The best way in the world to curtail a vicious dog is to excise the superfluous member be decapitation; and the most effectual mode of dealing with error is by the same process, -- cut off its head!

 

In reference to what is called the "new birth," very little, if any importance could attach to its consideration, as to whether it was here or there -- at conversion or resurrection, were it not that it is a great fundamental truth governing all other propositions in relation to man's nature, life in Christ, and the reception of eternal life as a gift at the second coming of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, to the believer only. If we are "born again" at conversion, we get it here; and if we receive it here and now, we do not receive it there. On the other hand, if we seek it now, and put it on at the resurrection, we do not get it now; and conversion is not the New Birth. It may well be doubted if the Divine mind regards these subdivisions as mend do in the process of regeneration; but looks upon, and speaks of it as one work, INENTIRETY.

 

We will now notice two things, terms and fact, and say of terms that we cannot determine the time of the new birth definitely, by the terms used only, for the same word is by our translators rendered into more than one English word in different places; as, for example, the Greek word prototokos ins rendered first born in Col. 1:18, and first begotten in Rev. 1:5, in the English version of the King James' translation. But these two words often mean the same thing, and are used synonymously in the Bible. In Num. 9:14 we read, "One ordinance for the stranger, and for him . . . born in the land;" and in Num. 11:12, "Have I conceived all this people? Have I begotten them? . . . ?" where the same sense evidently is, as it is in Col. 1:18, and Rev. 1:5, that of birth, produced, brought forth. Then again we have different Greek words rendered by one English word, so that the connection in which a word is used must very much determine its particular sense and meaning. Webster defines Beget thus. "To procreate, to generate, also to produce." Born -- brought forth, produced or brought into life, it is followed by of before the mother, or ancestors. GENERAT. To procreate, also to produce. Regeneration. Reproduction, the act (process) of forming into a new and better state." Where passages seem, by terms in them, to the averse to the general tenor of the Scripture, we have not need to translate, for there are translations, many, and we man, and should, consult them; then the best, and most faithful expounder of the Word, will be he who shall have come nearest to, and clearly brought out the idea, sense, and meaning that was in the mind of the Spirit when it spoke the word for our instruction. Let us all seek for the mind of the Spirit, and abide by and in it.

 

Edinboro, PA

 

 

 

FLESH AND SPIRIT

THE WORLD’S CRISIS Wednesday, April 29, 1874

 

G. W. STETSON

 

We now come to facts; and it is an undeniable fact that there are many passages in the New Testament in which believers are spoken of as if they had experienced the second birth, the new birth; and he been "born again," -- "born from above." -- "born of the Spirit." But do such passages speak of an existing fact, or do they speak of a fact proleptically; i.e., in anticipation, -- antedating it? There are many facts also in Scripture in support of such hypothesis; let us duly examine and consider some of them, and see if they will not reduce our proposition to a thesis. Of the many passages, the strongest of all are John 1:12-13; 3:6, and we will begin with these; for if they cannot be satisfactorily elucidated and harmonized, we need go no farther, and might as well stop here.

 

Griesbach notes a different reading of John 4:13, from that of the English version. Instead of hoe-egenneetheesan, he has egenneethee, the singular pronoun and verb for the plural; which would make the passage read -- "but to as many as received him, he gave authority to become children of God, to those believing into HIS NAME, who was not begotten of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of a man, but of God." Thus referring it directly to the physical generation of the Messiah, by the Spirit of God, rather than to the moral regeneration of believers." See Diaglott translation and notes in loc. This reading is evidently harmonious with John 4:14, 18; with 1 John 4:9; Luke 1:34-35; and entirely so with Rom. 8:23, 28-30, as we shall show directly. John 3:6 -- "That which has been born of the flesh is flesh; and that which has been born of the Spirit is spirit." In John 3:10-11, he said, "If I told you of earthly things, and you do not believe, how will you believe if I tell you of heavenly things? And no one has ascended into heaven except the Son of man who descended from heaven." Diaglott Trans.

 

The best and most satisfactory, because the most authoritative exposition of the sixth verse of John 3, is that given by the apostle Paul, in 1 Cor. 15:44-47, agreeing with our Savior's words in John 3:10-11, already quoted. "IF there is an animal [flesh] body, there is also a spiritual body, and so it has been written, The first Adam became a living soul, the last Adam [became] a life giving Spirit. The spiritual, however, was not the first, but the animal; afterwards the spiritual. The first man was from the ground, earthy; the second man is from heaven." In 2 Cor. 3:17, Paul says, "The Lord [Jesus Christ] is the Spirit," i.e., the spiritual man. Then in 1 Cor. 15:42 he says, "And thus is the resurrection of the dead; it is sown in corruption, it is raised in incorruption; . . . . it is sown an animal body [flesh man], it is raised a spiritual body [spiritual man] . . . . Of what kind the earthy one [i.e., such in kind as the earthy], such also the earthly ones [will be in the resurrection]; and of what kind [such in kind as] the heavenly one, such also the heavenly ones [will also be in the resurrection]. And even as we bore the likeness of the earthly one, we shall also bear the likeness of the heavenly one [in the resurrection]." "For our polity [citizenship] begins in the heavens, from whence also we are expecting a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform the body of our humiliation into a conformity with his glorious body." Phil. 3:20-21. "If he should appear, we shall be like him, because we shall see him as he is." 1 John 3:2. "And ourselves also, possessing the first fruit of the Spirit, [we] groan within ourselves, waiting for sonship -- the redemption of our body; . . . . because those whom he [God] foreknew, he also pre-determined to be copies of the likeness of his Son, for him to be a FIRST BORN [prototokos] among MANY BRETHREN." "The FIRST born [prototokos] from the dead." Col. 1:15, 18. The first born of the dead ones (prototokos). Rev. 1:5.

 

Joseph B. Rotherham, of England, is a translator of the New Testament, from the text of Tregelles. And is his "Exposition of the Gospel," as given in the Rainbow for Oct. 1872, I find the subjoined, and deem it worthy of being reproduced here, as giving light on the subject before us. He says: -- "Let us consider what our rising from among the dead implies. It implies the triumphant attainment of everlasting life. It is characteristically a resurrection of life. John 5:29. It is the coronation, by virtue of which we are to reign in life. Rom. 5:17. It is our final entrance into life. Mark 9:43-45. Moreover, it is our admission, as inheritors and as kings, into the kingdom of God. 1 Cor. 15:50; Rev. 20:6; Mark 9:47. This last cited passage is valuable as showing that entrance into life; and entrance into the kingdom, are synonymous. Once more, our resurrection from among the dead will be the completion and proof of our being sons of God. 'The sons of this age are marrying and being given in marriage; but those accounted worthy to obtain that age, and the resurrection which is from among the dead, neither are marrying nor are being given in marriage; for not even to die any more are they able; for they are equal to messengers, and are sons of God, being sons of the resurrection.' Luke 20:35-36. So, then, that resurrection will prove a birth into all the glories of divine sonship! That resurrection will impart an incapacity of death! That resurrection will usher into an age not otherwise to be obtained, -- the kingdom, eternal life, unveiled sonship, all welded into one magnificent promise of a Christ pledged resurrection from among the dead."

 

"Marvel not that I said unto you, Ye must be born again." "Because I live, ye shall live also." John 3:7; 14:19.

 

Edinboro, Pa.

 

 

GENERATION AND REGENERATION

THE WORLD’S CRISIS Wednesday, May 6, 1874

 

G. W. STETSON

 

In all things pertaining to life and godliness Christ is our example and the pattern. Nowhere does he set before us more than two births. Like the covenants, they are the old, and the new. Like his own comings, they are the first and the second, -- the first in the flesh, to be a sin bearer; the second in the Spirit, to be for salvation; and both personal and in person. First the flesh man, born of flesh, born of Mary; and Mary was flesh, and not spirit. But then, he was not generated by flesh, but by the Holy Spirit, and in death quickened by the Spirit, and then born of the Spirit from the dead. Thus we see that our Savior was the subject and illustration of the new, second, Spirit's birth; -- was himself "born again," and yet not converted; proving that our birth is not at our conversion, and that our conversion is not the new birth. But the process for and by which we attain to a birth of the Spirit is analogous to that by which our living Head attained it.

 

1. We are regenerated by the word of truth, -- the incorruptible seed (james 1:18; 1 Peter 1:23) -- anagegennemenoi. "The words that I speak unto you, they are spirit, and they are life." John 6:63. "He that receiveth seed into good ground is he that heareth the word, and understandeth it, which also beareth fruit." Matt. 13:23.

 

This first step, state, or condition, in the process of reproduction by ultimate spiritual birth is commonly denominated conviction for sin by the Word, and leads to repentance not to be repented of; -- leads us to turn unto God; to return to the Shepherd and Bishop of our souls (lives). It is said to be of and in the heart, because "out of the heart are the issues of life" (Prov. 4:23), and is the beginning of a new life, -- the Christ, the divine, the spiritual life in us, or, to speak more definitely, it is the implantation of the incorruptible seed in us, in order to the development of the immortal life by and for us.

 

2. We are quickened by the renewing of the Holy Spirit. Eph. 2:1; Titus 3:5-7. This is commonly called conversion, and is not very generally supposed to be the new birth; but as yet there has been only a work, -- and a mighty and wonderful work it is , too, -- wrought on, in , and for us, by grace, all looking still ahead, "in hope," to an ultimate promised consummation, the attainment of sonship by an entire change of us when the sons of God will be manifested -- brought forth -- born of the Spirit -- immortal, incorruptible, and imperishable. Then the believer will have what he has not now got -- and inalienable possession of eternal life in fact; but now this life is in the Son (1 John 5:11-12); not in us, except in so far as we by faith have Christ, the hope of glory dwelling in us by the Holy Spirit imparted to us (Rom. 8:15), as a pledge of our final attainment to sonship. Hence he is termed in this new relation to us the new, the inner, the hidden, the incorruptible man; and he is renewed in us day by day, by giving us "day by day our (super-substantial) daily bread," that true "manna," "of which if a man eat he shall live forever." But as Israel's children gathered manna daily, and ate daily, so must we day by day continue gathering and eating, in order to a daily renewal of the Christ life in us.

 

But not thus will it be with the sons of God born of the Spirit; for "when Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall we also appear with him in glory," as "the many brethren," among whom he was the first born, when God by his Spirit "brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus."

 

It was this renewal of title to life (forfeited by sin), through "the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Spirit," that enabled Paul to say, "I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh, I live by the faith of the Son of God." By the law he was counted as dead, because of sin; but in Christ he was reckoned as having life, because of righteousness (Gal. 2:16-21); and that not his own, but "the righteousness which is of God by faith." Phil. 3:8-9. He consequently stood in a new and different relation (position) to God from that in which he was placed under the law. There he was under condemnation, -- condemned to die; now he was justified, -- legally acquitted, not by works that he had done, but by God's grace, through the washing and renewing. Tutus 3:5-7. Therefore, being in Christ, under grace, and no longer under the law, he was "a new creature" (margin, "a new creation"). "Old things" -- those under the law -- "are passed away [Heb. 8:13]; behold, all things are become new." "For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature" -- (an new creation). Gal. 6:15. "For we are his workmanship [God's], created in Christ Jesus unto good works." Eph. 2:10. "Against such there is no law" (Gal. 5:23); "for Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth." Rom. 10:4.

 

Some make "the washing of regeneration" water baptism; but surely it is more than that, for Paul, in 1 Cor. 6:11, says -- "Ye are washed, ye are sanctified," -- "washed" in the name of the Lord Jesus, and "sanctified" by the Spirit of our God. "The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin." 1 John 1:7. "Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood," Rev. 1:5. So it would seem that the washing is a work preparatory to regeneration -- to renewal; for God will not place his pure mind, his Holy Spirit in an impure, unwashed vessel. "Therefore, . . .  let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God." 2 Cor. 7:1.

 

Edinboro, Pa.

 

 

HOME-BORN CITIZENS AND STRANGERS OBJECTIONS AND DIFFICULTIES

THE WORLD’S CRISIS WEDNESDAY, May 20, 1874.

 

G. W. STETSON.

 

When our Savior began the work of redemption for the human race, by which he was to bring many sons unto glory, he did it by taking on our life, as the ‘seed of the woman,’ to the end that our human nature in him should be regenerated, i.e., remade into a likeness of a son of God; and having carried that nature through all its processes and transformations to perfection, {Heb 5:9} he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him. So to speak, the divine nature stooped down to man, and received gifts in man, as man, for men; and now he reverses this order to man, and asks man to come to God, and take hold of the divine life that is now in him; that he may raise man up to God by a divine begetting, quickening and birth, into the family of God. ‘So is the kingdom of God; as if a man should cast seed into the ground, ... and the seed should spring and grow up, ... first the blade, then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear.’ Mr 4:26-28. That last state is of the children in the kingdom, —the resurrected immortal state, the consummation of the ‘groaning creation, travailing in pain until now’; but to ‘be delivered from the bondage of corruption, into the glorious liberty of the children of God.’ Ro 8:19. ‘For we that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened. Not for that we would be unclothed, but clothed upon, that mortality might be swallowed up of life.’ 2Co 5:4. ‘For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.’ Ro 8:18.

 

The result of a natural begetting, quickening and birth was manifested in the product of a natural body; and the manifested result of a spiritual begetting, quickening and birth will be a spiritual body.

 

Allowing this to be true, how can we properly account for the many expressions in the many passages spoken of believers, as children, sons, heirs, babes, new-born babes, and son on? I feel very grateful that God’s Word does not leave us in the dark on the point, but is full of light and instruction.

 

The foundation for these endearing expressions of citizenship and kindred relationship are laid away back in Genesis, and God at a very early period began to unfold his plans and purposes in Christ to the children of men, concerning human redemption. In his covenant with Abraham, the children of Sarah, through Isaac were the children of promise, and represented the regenerated spiritual seed, or that seed which was subsequently to be ‘born of the Spirit.’ On the other hand, the children of Hagar were not counted as the children of promise, being ‘after the flesh’; and they represented the race in an unregenerate state. These two classes were, in general terms, designated ‘Israel’ (or Jew) and ‘Gentile.’ The one were (by terms of the covenant) deemed and called ‘children and citizens’; the other ‘strangers and foreigners,’ ‘aliens.’

 

When God called Moses to lead the children of Israel out of Egypt, and gave him the ordinance of the Passover he said, in Ex 12:48, ‘When a stranger [Gentile] shall sojourn with thee, and will keep the Passover to the Lord, let all the males be circumcised, and then let him come near and keep it; and he shall be as one that it born in the land...One law shall be to him that is home-born, and unto the stranger.’ The Gentile here became a citizen by naturalization, and a child by adoption; but not by birth.

 

Now Paul says, in Eph 2:12,13, ‘We who were aliens...and strangers...who were far off, are made nigh, by the blood of Christ.’ Verse 19, —’Therefore we are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the saints, and [are] of the household of God’; consequently spoken of as ‘children,’ as ‘new-born babes’; but not children by birth, for we are constituted children, citizens, and of the household, by virtue of naturalization through the true ‘circumcision made without hands’ (in Christ), which is of the hearth, spiritual, not literal; having received a spirit of sonship, {Ro 8:15, —Diaglott trans.} but still waiting, looking, hoping and groaning for sonship. V. 23. So it seems we are now children, sons, heirs of God, by the adopting Spirit given us through faith, and are yet to be brought into the possession of the inheritance by actual birth, —by being born again of the Spirit.

 

To make conversion the ‘new birth’ of the Spirit is to establish on an immovable foundation the doctrine of ‘once in grace, always in grace’;—to tear up by the roots the very idea of any possibility of ‘falling away’;—for such a thing as proving to be ‘a castaway’ (literally, an abortion) subsequent to birth is a paradox that needs no comment. But the worst of all is, the terrible dilemma that little children are placed in by such application and definition of terms. They have never been converted, and not any probability that they will be in death. ‘Except a man be born,’ etc. Joh 3:5. Man, in this sentence, is a generic term, and comprehends the race, —any and every person, each and all, old or young; so that, look at it as you may, work at it as you please, it cuts off and casts away all children, as well as adults not converted. To say they do not need it, is to contradict the Savior; for he says there is need of being born again, and he makes no exceptions or limitations, but he has made provision and devised a way in and by which these sin-atoned-for children may ‘come again from the land of the enemy, and be brought to their own border,’ through a birth of the Spirit, by a resurrection from among the dead ones; the same way in and by which he himself came, —by being ‘brought again from the dead’; by being ‘born again,’ ‘born of the Spirit,’ even though they have not been converted. But give to children or adults an immortal birth of the Spirit here, and now, and so long as the world stands in its present state, there will be plenty of work to do in ‘laying the ghosts’ raised, by giving them life and beig, by a birth, but which will neither ‘out’ nor ‘down’ at our bidding. Neither will men believe, nor can they be made to believe that they have been born, and live, and do not ‘cry’ or ‘sing’ somewhere. The unconsciousness of the dead may be preached, and sung, and printed, and prayed, —it will amount to just what the effort of the reformers did when they undertook to ‘squelch’ purgatory by putting souls at death straight into heaven or hell, if we say they are born in conversion. Oh! oh! oh!

 

Edinboro, Pa.

 

 

PREACHING CHRIST CRUCIFIED, ONLY

THE WORLD’S CRISIS Wednesday, April 28, 1875.

 

G.W. STETSON.

 

Those only who are preaching the Second Advent of Christ, the resurrection of the dead, the judgment, and the reign in glory, know how often and for what purpose it is said, ‘Christ and him crucified is all that should be preached; that is sufficient; for Paul said that he was determined not to know or preach anything else; and what was enough for Paul to preach is enough for us and all others.’ Of course this statement is intended for reproof, but utterly fails of its object; for those reprimanded generally know very well that the sentiment is as fallacious in theory as it is untrue in fact, band betrays incompetence of judgment or inexcusable ignorance in the world-be-reprovers, relating to the facts in the case as they existed at Corinth, and are set forth by Paul in the Record.

 

The declaration is false in theory, because the death of Jesus constitutes but one elemental point out of several constituting the gospel of salvation; and Christ’s command was ‘Go ye, therefore, into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature....He that believeth shall be saved.’ He that believeth what? Why, ‘the gospel,’ of course; that which Jesus commanded us to preach. Not simply that one simple fact, out of it, as these grumbling, fault-finding, reproving tyros of the gospel of Jesus Christ would have us believe, is enough; but the whole of it; for the gospel, without any qualifying prefix or suffix, means, always, all of it. But the statement annexed to the declaration is untrue in fact; for Paul says, in his letter to the Corinthians, that he preached more than that. He also says that, on account of their carnality, he could not preach to them as he was in the habit of doing to spiritual men in Christ, but must confine himself to first principles, and preach to them just as he would to unbelieving, unrepentant, unregenerate men, —Christ crucified, comprehending the doctrines of faith, repentance, and obedience. But among the perfect he spoke ‘God’s wisdom in a mystery,’ revealing to us, by the Spirit, ‘things which God hath prepared for those who love him.’

 

In consequence of their divisions, contentions, strifes, debates, schisms, and litigations, he had determined to confine himself on that occasion, and under those circumstances, exclusively to the subject of Christ crucified for our sins, in order to bring them to repentance. But in another part of his letter he goes beyond this, and brings out not only the faith, but also the resurrection and translation of the saints, as the hope of the church. To them he said that he preached what was essential to salvation the least that could be given and received, in order to be saved, —the death, burial and resurrection of Christ; but to the Thessalonians, in addition to what he had preached to the Corinthians (though he afterwards wrote it to them), that ‘if we believe’ in his death and resurrection, we ‘must also believe,’ in his coming again, and the resurrection of the dead; and he then proceeds to give the manner of the one and the order of the other, with the results which, according to ‘the Word of the Lord,’ would follow.

 

His usual custom was (as to Felix, and at Athens,) to cover the ground, and embrace the whole, from the cross to the crown, from the shame and humiliation to the judgment, from the sorrow to the rejoicing, and reign in glory; and to dwell largely on ‘the day of this appearing’ -of his coming again. Hence every chapter in his first letter to the church at Thessalonica terminates with a reference to Christ’s second advent, and in the second letter the first and second chapters are almost exclusively devoted to it.

 

The men having entered upon the ministry of the Word, are to be pitied, if they have ‘so learned Christ’ that they can only preach him as the crucified. Paul says, ‘If we were reconciled by his death, how much more shall we be saved by his life;’ i.e., by his living to appear the second time, not to make of himself a ‘sin-offering,’ as at the first advent, in his crucifixion, but coming in the second, unto our salvation.

 

My prayer to God is, that it may never be given to me to be pastor of any professedly Christian church, so carnal, that I cannot, or ought not ‘to preach anything but Christ crucified.’ To say the least, it would not be very much to their commendation as—’beloved in the Lord;’ and I cannot but think that the Lord regards all church ‘ministers,’ as ‘the very poorest sticks that could be selected upon which to engraft the sacerdotal functions.’ Why, one might just as well try to span a river, with only one abutment on the hither side, and none in the other side to support his bridge, as to think of getting men into glory and the kingdom, on the gospel plan, with the one ‘coming of Christ.’ He had, after death, to live again, by rising from the dead, and he ascended on high, to act as a mediator between God and men, for the ‘middle structure;’ and he must, according to promise, come again the second time unto salvation,’ i.e., his work of redeeming man does not reach salvation without or until you have his second coming. That gives to us the abutment on the other side, and spans the river of death, competes the bridge of eternal life, and as a result, men (resurrected out of death), will pass over, dry shod.

 

But, blessed be the Lord for his faithfulness, mercy and truth. There are a few names, even in Sardis, who do try to preach a full gospel, and who keep assiduously to the work, who do ‘meditate on these things,’ and ‘give themselves wholly to them;’ and not only does their ‘profiting appear unto all men, but they behold most wondrous things out of God’s holy law, and ‘nothing doth offend them.’ But the days are few, and the times full of evil; therefore, brethren in the field, keep to the work! ‘Lift up the standard’ a little higher; fling it’s broad folds, unsullied, more freely to the breeze! Let it float out on the breath of heaven, free as the winds, until in victory it shall wave, and most gloriously triumph! Make your hearts a little bolder, your arms a little stronger, your swords a little sharper, your aim a little more center! Press the enemy a little closer! Deal your blows a little harder! Strike more at the heart, and oftener! Blow your trumpets a little louder, and give a more distinctive blast! Drive the plowshare of God’s eternal truth into the sub-soil of the fables of error and human traditions a great deal deeper! ‘There is work to do for Jesus!’ We will rest, at home in glory in the kingdom when he comes!

 

Endinboro, Penn.

 

 

THE WORLD’S CRISIS—October 11, 1879

 

Our dearly beloved Pastor has only lain down to rest for a while, having ‘fought the good fight of faith.’ In hope he awaits the crown of life so soon to be given to all who love the appearing of the Life-Giver. The church has lost a true friend of God; nevertheless, faith claims him alive from the dead, when ‘thy dead men shall live.’ To him religion was no mystery. It was a beaten way for forty years. He came to Edinboro six years ago, and was recognized as Pastor of the Church of God (commonly called Adventists), and has been a faithful servant of God and the church until up to May last, when he was stricken down with spinal fever, from which he did not wholly recover. During the time he has been with us, the Lord through his instrumentality has added 58 members to this church who have heard and believed. May the dear ones who survive follow him as he followed Christ, remembering his prayers and exhortations which were offered in demonstration of the Spirit and power. Words of comfort were spoken by Bro. C.T. Russell, of Pittsburgh, Pa.

 

N. White, per request.

 

 

BRO. G.W. STETSON

ZION’S WATCH TOWER VOL. 1  PITTSBURGH, PA., NOVEMBER, 1879  No. 5

 

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Death has laid our brother low. He died at his home, Edinboro, Pa., Oct. 9th, 1879.  Though an event not entirely unexpected, since he has been seriously ill for some time, yet his death is a heavy blow to his many friends abroad as well as at home.  He was beloved and esteemed by his fellow townsmen of all denominations as well as by the congregation of which he was pastor. He had been a faithful under-shepherd, ever holding before his hearers, as the great incentive to holiness and purity of life, that which filled his own soul with joy and peace and helped him to live ‘above the world’ -viz: The appearing of the Heavenly Bridegroom-The King of Glory, and our gathering together unto him.  Our brother was a man of marked ability, and surrendered bright prospects of worldly and political honors to be permitted to preach Christ, when the glories and beauties of the word of God dawned upon his heart.  The truth cost him much yet he bought it gladly.

 

The funeral services (Sunday following) were held at ‘Normal Hall,’ it being more commodious than any of the churches of the place, which through respect were closed, the pastors taking part in the services of the occasion.

 

The brother’s dying request, that the editor of this paper should preach his funeral sermon, was complied with.  About twelve hundred persons attended the funeral services, thus giving evidence of the high esteem in which our brother was held.

 

His family and congregation will feel keenly their loss, yet sorrow not as those who have no hope.

 

"If thou art a vessel of gold, and thy brother but of wood, be not high-minded. It is God that maketh thee to differ. The more bounty God shows the more humility he requires. Those mines that are the richest are deepest."