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"In that Hour" - Rev 11: 13
A period is herein allotted for the operations of "the Earth" upon the powers of the City. It is indicated by an hour; which, being a twelfth part of a Jewish circle of time, if that circle be a day for a year, would represent a month of days, or thirty days; or if a year-time of years, a month of years, or thirty years. I believe this is the proportional allotment of time for the earthquake and the events of the first five vials resulting from it.
The court, the nobles, the clergy, and the catholic superstition, were the chief objects of vengeance, and indignation in the earthquake. The epoch from 1789-'90 to A.D. 1794-'5, a period of about four years, was the epoch of this terrible earthquake, in which was demolished the order of things so carefully established in favour of the church by the emperor Justinian, whose Code was the civil law code of the kingdom of France.
This code was first promulgated in the epoch between A.D. 529-534. The code was a summary of former laws that still continued in force; the pandects published four years afterwards, of the principles of the Roman jurisprudence; and the novels were Justinian's additions. These altogether made up the Civil Law of the Great City.
Justinian's Decretal Letter to "JOHN, the Most Holy Archbishop of the sacred city Rome, and Patriarch," dated March, A.D. 533, became thenceforth part of the civil law. In this the Roman See was recognized as the chief in all his dominion; and its bishop consequently as the head of all the churches, and to be judged by none.
In those days, "magistrates were tyrants, and priests were wicked, superstitious, and intolerant, beyond any former age. Numberless laws and regulations were imposed in violation of Christ's authority, which defaced christianity, and robbed christians of their dearest liberties.
By Justinian's Code those powers, privileges, and immunities were secured to the clergy; that union established between things civil and ecclesiastical, and those laws imposed in matters spiritual, which have proved such a hindrance to the truth, and so calamitous to mankind.
Through the zeal of the clergy this code has been received, more or less, as the foundation of the jurisprudence of almost every state in christendom; and that, not only in things civil, but ecclesiastical; and by this means, as some author has observed, the old fancy of the Romans about the eternity of their command, is thus far verified."
Thus Justinian's legislation was all devoted to the building up and strengthening of the Catholic Church; while the legislation of the National Assembly was all directed to its destruction.
It is a remarkable fact, that these two mutually antagonistic and subversive systems of legislation flourished exactly 1260 years apart from epoch to epoch; and that the one hour of 30 years added to it, or 1290, brings us to the beginning of the outpouring of the Sixth Vial, A.D. 1820, upon "the Great River Euphrates;" the drying up of whose waters prepares the way of the Sun's Resurrected Kings for the destruction of the Great City, and the redemption of the Holy Land.
Is this, indeed, the true ending of Daniel's 1290? And if so, is A.D. 1865-6 the ending of the 1335, as well as of John's "forty and two months"? If it be, then there is an epoch upon us of four years, in any day of which Christ may "come as a thief" (Apoc. xvi. 15): to enter upon a work which will not intermit until it has fully established the kingdom at the end of Micah's period of forty years, about A.D. 1905.
This appears to me, at this writing, to be the correct interpretation of the times. It is, of course, impossible to say that the interpretation is without error. The ensuing years will determine this point beyond dispute. While I write, it is the most satisfactory to my own mind.
I have thought, that Daniel's 1290 terminated in 1864; and his 1335 in 1909. But in writing the exposition of this chapter, the fact of the Great Earthquake-resurrection of the witnesses being exactly 1260 years after the promulgation of the civil law of the City; and the Hour of 30 years added, bringing us to the beginning of "the pouring out upon the Desolator of the Holy Land that determined" (Dan. ix. 27), or 1290 years afterwards -- I do not feel at liberty to persist in rejecting my original conviction, that the 1290 ends in 1820; and the 1335 forty-five years after, or in the epoch current with 1865-6, or thereabout. Besides that, the same evidence that limits the termination of the Holy City's "forty and two months," also confines the 1335 days to the event of the resurrection.
John's symbolical "rising up" measures the continuance of the forty and two months practising (poiesai, to execute, practise, act) of the Beast's Mouth to the subjection, or trampling, of the Holy City (xi. 2; xiii. 5): even so Daniel's rising up measures the utmost limit of the 1335 days; concerning which he was told, "thou shalt arise (tiamod) to thine inheritance at the end of the days."
Set at nought
Pilate having given his final consent to crucifixion, the soldiers took Jesus aside, and divesting him of the mock imperial robe, they put on him his own clothes and led him away to be crucified.
Two others who were under sentence of crucifixion were brought out to be crucified at the same time. These were common thieves. Perhaps the centurion intended their joint-execution as an economy of arrangement; whatever his idea was, such an association was the last and bitterest drop of "the wormwood and the gall."
To be numbered thus with the transgressors! As he was led through the streets, many people followed him who had had no part in his condemnation, including many women, "who bewailed and lamented him." To these latter, at a certain stage in the journey, Jesus turned and said:
"Daughters of Jerusalem, weep not for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children, for the days are coming in which they shall say, Blessed are the barren and the wombs that never bare, and the paps that never gave suck. Then they shall begin to say to the mountains, Fall on us, and to the hills, cover us, for if they do these things in a green tree, what shall be done in the dry?" --
a proverbial expression contrasting Israel's fitness for the consuming fire of judgment shortly to be kindled, as compared with himself, who was as damp wood on which the fire could not catch.
If such terrible things were done to him, with whom God was pleased, what might not a "wicked and adulterous generation" expect who were thus putting him to death? The narrative of Josephus, of the events attendant on the overthrow of the Jewish state, is the full and awful answer.
It was customary with the Romans to make the prisoner who was doomed to crucifixion carry on his shoulders to the place of execution the cross on which he was to be crucified. That this custom was observed in the case of Jesus is evident from the statement of John that "he went forth bearing his cross."
But why the other statement that as
"they came out, they found a man of Cyrene, Simon by name: him they compelled to bear his cross?"
Tradition reports that Jesus, enfeebled and exhausted with his previous sufferings, was unable to carry the cross, and fell under it after walking a few steps, and that his guardians were compelled to get another to carry it. It is not improbable there may be truth in the report, (1) because it is not likely the Romans would willingly omit any aggravating circumstance of execution, and (2) because they would not be likely to have impressed a stranger into this service if Jesus had been able to carry the cross himself.
And thus in uttermost humiliation marched the Man of Sorrows to that sacrifice for the sins of the world which the Father required at his hands -- he in the middle with hands tied behind his back -- on each side, a file of soldiers -- behind him, a strong man carrying the piece of rude carpentry on which he was to be nailed, and before and behind, a rabble of running, vulgar, callous sightseers.
Only the reflection that it is all past, and that soon the dreadful ignominy was wiped away in the glad healing of the resurrection morning, enables the heart to endure the terrible scene.
Prefigured in the offering ,of Isaac, bound as he now was, near the very spot to which he was now on the way; typified in the Passover lamb, the very hour for whose annual national eating had now arrived; and pointed forward to in every slain animal offered on the Mosaic altar under whose very shadow he was now passing:
"Behold the Lamb of God that taketh away the sin of the world."
Nazareth Revisited Ch 57
"The Great Earthquake"
"And in that hour there was a great earthquake, and the Tenth of the City fell."
An earthquake, in symbolic language, is a shaking of "the earth," which, in the political system of the world, is representative of the common people. It answers to the phrase, a democratic and social revolution. There was to be a Great Democratic Revolution "in that hour," characterized by the ascent of the political witnesses of Jesus "in the Cloud" of Deputies "into the heaven," to the great alarm of all interested in the abuses and corruptions of Church and State. The events of that hour have since come to be spoken of as "the Great French Revolution," which has hitherto surpassed all others.
As the result of this great political convulsion, "the Tenth of the City fell." Not the other nine tenths of the Great City, which would have been the fall of the Great City itself; but of one tenth thereof. All the tenths are to continue unfallen, with the exception of the tenth before us, until after the advent of Christ, and the resurrection of his brethren. Then the Great City itself will fall, and be "found no more at all." Its thrones will all be "cast down," and not merely shaken; and the kingdoms which acknowledged their sovereignty will be taken possession of by Christ and his resurrected brethren.
The ten tenths of the Great City are symbolized in Daniel by the Ten Toes of the metallic image seen by Nebuchadnezzar; and by the Ten Horns seen by Daniel and John in their visions of the Fourth-Beast system of powers, commonly styled the European Commonwealth, acknowledging the Papal Supremacy.
They are the Ten Kingdoms of the Great City, situated south and west of the Rhine and Danube. Until the late temporary development of the Kingdom of Italy, and as the result of the Treaty of Vienna A.D. 1815, modified by the revolution of 1832, they were Belgium, France, Spain, Portugal, Greece, Bavaria, Hungary, Lombardy, Naples, and Sardinia.
The Italian Duchies, Venice, and Switzerland, though upon the territory of the Great City, are not reckoned as horns, because their executives are not diademed. The order of things existing in 1865 is exceptional, and therefore only provisional. Bavaria, Hungary, and Lombardy, with the Roman States of the Church, are concorded with the Little Horn, or Catholic Germany.
This symbolic order, however, is disturbed by the ambition of "the Earth," or revolutionary element of the Great City. Lombardy, Naples, and Sardinia, with the Duchies, and without Rome, is the unsymbolic order of things; and with France imperial instead of a simple diademed tenth. This arrangement of the city, I apprehend, will not last long. It contains in it elements of conflict, which will probably result in a threefold division of powers, after the advent of Christ (Apoc. xvi. 19).
Nevertheless, these powers continue to be styled "the ten horns, or kingdoms, which receive power as kings one hour with the beast; to whom, with one mind, they give their power and strength" (Apoc. xvii. 12,13).
Ten has been the predominant number of the papal kingdoms; and, therefore, though they may vary at times, as the vision does not follow them in all their history, they are symbolically indicated as the Ten. Of these, France is the most conspicuous in its relation to the witnesses. It is therefore styled kat 'exochen, "the Tenth of the City," which was overthrown as a Diademed Horn by the executioners of the national justice upon the king, nobles and clergy -- the class-murderers of the saints.
Ascension of the witnesses Rev 11:
The first business was the verification of the powers of the members. It became a question whether this should take place in common, or by separate orders. The Democracy insisted upon the verification in common. The nobility and clergy were for each order verifying its own members. The Democracy were determined not to give way. All compromise became impossible.
The inertia of the inexorable Third Estate, who would do nothing till the nobility and clergy were merged with itself into one homogeneous assembly, exhausted the patience and prudence of their enemies; who, forgetting the animosities between the Court and the higher orders, sought reconciliation between them, that they might be enabled to repress the audacity of the tiers-etat, "whose power was rising with such rapidity."
The nobles and titled clergy threw themselves at the feet of the King, and implored him to support their rights, which were attacked equally with his own. They strove to procure a dissolution of the States General, which would have been a dispersion of "the Cloud;" and a frustration of the providential purpose of its manifestation.
But the commons would not allow their enemies to dispose of them after this fashion. They proclaimed themselves, after a stormy sitting, THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY on June 17, 1789; whose mission it was to regenerate and restore the nation.
But, we are not to suppose that this heterogeneous cloud of deputies were the witnesses. The National Assembly contained many enemies to liberty and human rights and interests -- many who were devoted friends of the Roman Deity and arbitrary power everywhere.
Speaking of the witnesses against these, the prophecy says: "They ascended into the heaven en te nephele, in the cloud." They were in the States General, and of it; but they were not themselves the States General, nor National Assembly. The following extract will show how the prophecy harmonized with facts:
"In the National Assembly," says Ferrieres testifying concerning the deputies of his own party, "there were not more than about three hundred really upright men, exempt from party spirit, not belonging to any club, wishing what was right, wishing it for its own sake, independent of the interest of orders or of bodies, always ready to embrace the most just and the most beneficial proposal, no matter from what quarter it came, or by whom it was supported.
These were the men worthy of the honorable function to which they had been called, who made the few good laws that proceeded from the Constituent Assembly; it was they who prevented all the mischief that was not done by it. Invariably adopting what was good, as invariably opposing what was bad, they have frequently produced a majority in favor of resolutions, which, but for them, would have been rejected from a spirit of faction; and they have often defeated motions, which, but for them, would have been adopted from a spirit of interest."
This class of deputies was unquestionably "the Earth" -- the ascended political witnesses of Jesus. Of "their enemies," Ferrieres writes as follows: "While on this subject," says he,
"I cannot abstain from remarking on the impolitic conduct of the nobles and the bishops. As they aimed only to dissolve the Assembly, to throw discredit upon its operations, instead of opposing mischievous measures, they manifested an indifference upon this point which is inconceivable. When the president stated the question they quitted the Hall, inviting the deputies of their party to follow them; or, if they stayed, they called out to them to take no part in the deliberation.
The Clubbists, forming through this dereliction of duty a majority of the Assembly, carried every resolution they pleased. The bishops and the nobles, firmly believing that the new order of things would not last, hastened with a sort of impatience, as if determined to accelerate the downfall, both the ruin of the monarchy and their own ruin. With this senseless conduct they combined an insulting disdain both of the assembly and of the people who attended the sittings.
Instead of listening, they laughed and talked aloud, thus confirming the people in their unfavorable opinion which it had conceived of them; and instead of striving to recover its confidence and esteem, they strove only to gain its hatred and contempt. All these follies arose solely from the mistaken notions of the bishops and nobles, who could not persuade themselves that the Revolution had long been effected in the opinion and in the heart of every Frenchman.
They hoped by means of these dykes, to set bounds to a torrent that was daily swelling. All they did served only to produce a greater accumulation of its waters, to occasion greater ravages; obstinately clinging to the old system, the basis of all their actions, of all their opposition, but which was repudiated by all.
By this impolitic obstinacy they forced the Revolutionists to extend the Revolution beyond the goal they had set up for themselves. The nobles and the bishops then exclaimed against injustice and tyranny. They talked of the antiquity and the legitimacy of their rights to men who had sapped the foundations of all rights."
The "Great Voice" from the French throne, in commanding this Cloud of Deputies to ascend into the region of power, or "heaven," did not intend to convoke witnesses against itself, and against the nobles, the bishops, and their dependents, the natural pillars of every abomination in church and state.
The electoral body of the nation, however, had different views and purposes. In response to the "great voice out of the heaven, saying, Ascend hither!" the electors sent up some whom they knew not -- men of political integrity, lovers of justice, haters of oppression, detesters of hypocrisy and state craft, enemies of corruption, and friends of the people.
These "ascended into the heaven in the cloud; and their enemies," the Court, the bishops, and the nobles, "beheld them." We have seen from Ferrieres, how they "beheld them"; and how they treated them. They beheld them with hatred; and would gladly, if they had been able, have scattered, and rolled them into the dust of "the earth," whence they had so astoundingly ascended to the sovereignty of the nation. But this was not to be. The day of vengeance for the national crimes of 1572 and 1685, had arrived; and they were the divinely appointed executioners of judgment upon the court, aristocracy and clergy; so that no device contrived against them was allowed to prosper.
When their enemies beheld them, their hatred was the result of fear. History and prophecy both testify this. "Great fear," says John, "fell upon those who beheld them."
Having resolved themselves into the National Assembly without regard to the court, aristocracy, and clergy, they performed an act of power, in legalizing the levy of the taxes, though imposed without the national consent; but that they should cease to be levied from the day of their being broken up: and placed the creditors of the State under the safeguard of French integrity: they then proceeded to examine into the causes of the dearth and of the public distress.
"These measures," says Thiers, "produced a deep impression. The court and higher orders were alarmed at such courage and energy." The danger was equal for them all. The junction of the clergy with the Assembly was a revolution as prejudicial to the king as to the two higher orders themselves, whom the commons declared that they could dispense with.
By the imprudent counsel of the aristocracy, the king endeavored to prevent the meeting of the Assembly, but failed. On June 23, he held a royal sitting, in which, as the mouth of the nobles and clergy, he launched reproaches and issued his commands, which, if not obeyed, he would establish by his sole authority as the representative of the nation. He ordered the Assembly to separate immediately.
The nobility obeyed with part of the clergy: but the Commons had bound themselves with an oath, that they would not separate until they had given a constitution to the kingdom, established and founded on a solid basis; and this oath, they declared that nothing but the power of bayonets should prevent them from keeping.
The populace applauded the Commons; and the joy of the court and aristocracy was instantly turned into alarm, and the greatest agitation.
A minority of the nobles joined the Assembly; but terror seized those who directed the majority. They were exhorted by the court to give way to save the king. Their consent was at length extorted amidst uproar; and the majority, accompanied with the minority of the clergy, took their seats in the National Assembly on the 27th of June.
"The family," said President Bailly,* "is complete. We can now attend without intermission and without distraction to the regeneration of the kingdom and of the public weal." Thus great fear fell on their enemies when they beheld them.
[* Bailly was a plain citizen, known only by his virtues and his talents, on the union of the orders in the Assembly, was seen presiding over all the grandees of the kingdom and the church.]
The Signs of the Son of Man's Presence at the Destruction of Jerusalem
When ye shall see all these things know that he is nigh at the doors.-Jesus.
When Jesus was already in Palestine, and had been for many months delivering to the sons of Israel Yahweh's Message of peace through the re-establishment of the kingdom and throne of David, the subject of his "Coming" was dwelt upon with much interest among his disciples.
He had already come, and was there among them; but with that coming neither he nor they were satisfied. How could they! He and they were in deep poverty and great reproach. However much attached to his person, it was not in the nature of things possible for them to be content with such a coming; nor was Jesus himself satisfied with it as a finality; for he prayed, saying,
"And now glorify thou me, O Father, with thyself for the glory that I had in thy sight before that the world was."
He desired to be glorified, and for the Father to be glorified also through him; and that he might have that glory promised of the Father to Abraham's seed before the foundation of Israel's Commonwealth. The desire of his disciples was akin to his; for he had told them that
"When the Son of Man should sit upon the throne of his glory, they also should sit upon twelve thrones ruling the twelve tribes of Israel."
But after having received this promise, Jesus informed them that he was going to leave Palestine on a journey to a far country, and for a long time. This troubled their hearts greatly; for it would separate them from their beloved friend, and leave them, as they supposed, defenceless, comfortless, and forlorn; and the realization of the promised Sovereignty over Israel, which, as David had said, was
"all their salvation and all their delight,"
a questionable affair in the then weak condition of their faith. Jesus perceived this, and sympathized with them, saying,
"Let not your hearts be troubled; have faith in God and have faith in me. In the house (or kingdom) of my Father are many abodes; if it were not so I would have told you. I go away to prepare a place for you. And if I go away and prepare a place for you, I come again, and will receive you to myself; that where I am ye may be also."
These words were a comforting assurance for the future. They all had faith in Jesus, except Judas. They not only believed that he was the Anointed Son of God, but they believed what he said, and thereby proved that they really loved him; which is more than the pious millions of our day, who profess great love and devotion to him, can do. "I will come to you. * * * If a man love me, he will keep my words; and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him."
These are they to whom the Lord will come-not to those who believe he is coming, but to those who look for this, and prove their love to him in keeping his words. They shall not go to him; for said he,
"As I said unto the Jews, whither I go, ye cannot come; so now I say to you:" but He will come to them, as he wrote to the Thyatirans, saying, "Hold fast that which ye have till I come," and to the Philadelphians, "Behold, I come quickly;" and to the Laodiceans, "Behold, I stand at the door and knock; if any man hear my voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and he with me."
The coming of Jesus was the all-absorbing topic of the apostolic and christian mind of the first century. The last words ever uttered by Jesus to mortal man were,
"Surely I come quickly."
No well-instructed believers have any idea of going to heaven where Jesus is; their prayer is ever in the faith of his coming to them.
"Let your loins be girded about, and your lamps burning; and ye yourselves like unto men waiting for their lord, when he shall come away on account of the wedding; that coming and knocking, they may open unto him immediately. This is their attitude at all times and seasons; and death is forgotten in the earnest expectation of his appearing. They believe his words, that he will come quickly; and their hearty response to them is,
"Even so, come, Lord Jesus."
Herald May 1855
The reasons for the nature of Jesus being made sinful, appear from several portions in Paul's epistles.
"Jesus was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death."-(Heb. 2:9.)
The term "lower" can only be understood in reference to body; for the character of Jesus was quite equal to that of the angels, inasmuch as
"he did no sin, and in his mouth no guile was found."
And it is also evident that this is the intended sense, from the connection in which it stands to suffering death. Had Jesus been made equal to, instead of
"lower than the angels,"
it would have been impossible for him to suffer death. For Jesus himself teaches that the angels are immortal, and cannot die any more."-(Luke 20:35, 36.)
He was, however, made only a "little lower," and that little pertains to his nature only. The necessity for the mortality of the Messiah is apparent. Could he not have died in the real and true sense of the word, sin could not have been overcome by him, and hence, as touching man's redemption, he would have been of no avail.
So that there was a great mercy in making him "lower than the angels," whom he equalled in other respects. The apostle remarks this mercy in these words,
"that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man."-(Heb. 2:9.)
No other than the mortal nature could have tasted death. To "lay down his life" would have been an impossibility under any other arrangement. And if no death, no resurrection; and if no resurrection of Jesus, the dead in hope of life would have been dead for ever.
"I am the resurrection and the life."-(John 11:25.)
Paul exults over the death and resurrection, but more especially the latter, inasmuch as the other could not have profited without it. He says
"It is Christ that died, yea, rather, that is risen again."-(Rom. 8:34.)
When the words "sin" and "death" are Scripturally apprehended, the work which the Father gave Jesus to do is seen to require him to be of the same formation as those in whose behalf he came.
"He that sanctifieth, and they who are sanctified are all of one (nature); for which cause he is not ashamed to call them brethren"-(Heb. 2:11.)
As the children are, so is the parent.
"Forasmuch as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same."
Lest there should be any misunderstanding about this, the apostle adds,
"he took not on him the nature of angels, but he took on him the seed of Abraham."
It is manifest, then, that the bodily nature of Jesus was clothed with weakness. Of himself, he could do nothing. Where then lay the strength to unlock the gates of the grave? Where was concealed the power on earth to forgive sins and to raise the dead? For it is this that must be known before there can be intelligent and saving faith and hope in Christ.
The answer is that the power lay in the character which was
"without spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing." "I do not mine own will, but the will of Him that sent me." "If it be possible, let this cup pass from me, nevertheless, not my will, but Thine be done." "He was obedient unto death, even the death of the cross."
In all this, Jesus was not like his brethren.
"Sin is the transgression of law," and the wages of sin is death." And without a redeeming power, it is death from which there is no return
"None of the rich can be any means redeem his brother, or give to God a ransom for him, that he should still live for ever, and not see corruption."-(Psalm 49:7, 9.)
Though poorer than the birds and the foxes, the riches of Jesus far exceeded gold or rubies, or anything that could be compared thereunto. Hence, he could buy that for which the silver and the gold, and the cattle of a thousand hills would have counted no more than dross. He had a right to life, for he had never forfeited it by the transgression of law. "He did no sin," and hence deserved no death.
He was cut off, but not for himself." "For he had nothing in him." As a matter of law and justice, therefore, he could not remain in the grave. "It was not possible, " says Peter, "that he should be holden of it." His perfection of character is, doubtless, to be referred to the fact that God was his Father, and not man. For never, in all the untold millions of our race, has appeared such a man as he. This was abundantly confessed by foes as well as friends. "Truly," said the centurion and the Roman guard who were with him,
"this was the Son of God!"
Ambassador of the coming age, Jan 1869
Origins of twelve lectures
From the minutes, it appears that the advertised speaker for the morning did not come, and that the whole company present only amounted to four. In the afternoon, the meeting being held in the open air in St. George's Square, an attendance of street stragglers to the number of 70 was realised. At the evening meeting, indoors, only 12 persons attended.
After that, meetings were held in the Academy regularly morning and evening, the afternoons being devoted to out-of-door addresses, either in St. George's Square or the Market Place, when the weather was favourable. Out out-of-door audiences were of course the best. The indoor audiences varied from thirteen to zero. I find one entry as follows: --
"Sunday, Nov. 10 ----Brother Rhodes was absent from severe illness. Brother Clissett was spending the day at Heckmondwike, according to previous notice. Brother Kaye was detained by another engagement. Sister Kaye not so well - remained at home, and sister Roberts was kept at home with baby, in consequence of the wetness of the weather, having no umbrella.
Brother Roberts was therefore the only person in attendance. He spent a pleasant and profitable afternoon by himself. Evening: Present, two strangers. Messrs. Townsend and Drake. There were no formal proceedings. The evening was spent in pleasant conversation on religious topics in general around the fire." On Nov. 17, is the following entry: --"Present, brother Robert Roberts and Mr. Townsend. After 20 minutes' conversation, the meeting was closed."
As the year drew towards its close, it was resolved that we should make a more systematic effort and that I should give a complete course of lectures in exhibition of the whole system of the truth. I accordingly drew out a programme of twelve lectures, to be delivered on twelve successive Sunday afternoons. Of this, I had a thousand copied printed as handbills and a hundred posters, and arranged for their distribution.
It then occurred to me that it would be better to write and read the lectures than to attempt the extempore delivery from skeleton notes, as I was in the habit of doing. This idea I was enabled to carry out through having the reporting assistance before spoken of. Many police court day, I sat in the reporter's room in The Examiner office, getting ready the next Sunday's lecture, while my assistant was busy taking notes of the drunk and disorderly and petty assault and larceny cases heard before the magistrates.
The first lecture was delivered December 1st, 1861; about a hundred persons attended. At the second (December 8th), the attendance was between 50 and 60. At the third (December 15th), the attendance again rose to 100. At the fourth (December 22nd), it again fell. At the fifth, it went up again; at the sixth, it was 70, and so on up and down till the last, which was delivered February 16th, 1862.
There was close attention throughout, and some afternoons, questions were put at the close. There was not the same life in a read lecture as in one extemporised fresh from the heart. At the same time, there was this advantage: when the lectures were over, I had them in my possession in a written form.
I did not know what was to grow out of this. I supposed their work was done when read before the fluctuating audience of Huddersfield people, who heard them in Huddersfield in the winter of 1861. When the lectures were over, we had a tea-meeting of interested hearers at our lodgings. My companion wrote out the tickets of admission. One of these she showed me the other day. It was not a large party, numbering, perhaps, fifteen people.
At this meeting, the suggestion was thrown out that the lectures should be published. I said I had no objections, but how was it to be done? It would take more money than it was in the power of our feeble company to raise. An old stager, having some experience in such matters, suggested that the experiment might be tried with one lecture.
"Find out," said he, "what it would cost to print a thousand copies of the first lecture; then see how many copies friends would take here and there at 1d.; and perhaps you will get them all out in that way."
The suggestion seemed highly feasible; but had the lectures not been in actual writing, it could not have borne fruit. As it was, it was not long in leading to something. My companion wrote letters to all the friends we knew in sundry parts, apprising them of the proposal, and asking how many copies they would take.
It was a time before the response was complete. It did not come up to the number necessary for the payment of the printer, but it was sufficiently near (something over two-thirds) to justify the venture, relying on future sales. So the first lecture was placed in the hands of the printer (G. and J. Brooke, of Westgate, Huddersfield), and in due course, it came out, a neatly printed crown octavo in leaded brevier, extending to sixteen pages. On being supplied to the various friends who had ordered, they almost without exception expressed their satisfaction, and ordered the succeeding lectures to be sent.
My days and my ways Ch 18
The Spirit of Christ
Now Christ says we are to be kind to each other, and if we are not so, however much we may know the truth, we do not belong to him; the knowledge of the truth will then be to our condemnation.
...Now besides kindness, the spirit of Christ was a spirit of worship. He often retired to pray; and he told the woman of Samaria that the Father sought a certain class (in spirit and in truth) to worship Him. What is the worship of God, brethren and sisters? It is the deferential and reverential concentration of the mind upon Him, intelligently, consciously, lovingly, adoringly, trustingly, and prayerfully, with a deep sense of the things disclosed concerning Him and us in the truth.
...We require to abstract our minds from surroundings and fix them on the mighty Universal Presence in whose hand our breath is, and whose are all our ways.
This mental attitude, whether in an individual or in an assembly, will produce indifference to immediate surroundings. It cannot co-exist with attention to these surroundings. If, therefore, in singing, you see some look about to see what neighbours are doing; or speak and whisper with his neighbours, or attending to any second matter whatever, you are yourself interfered with in the luxury of worship, and perceive evidence of a want of worship in the disturber. This is an evil.
The worship of God requires all our attention -- a complete fixing of our mind upon Him, knowing that His ear is open and that His eye is upon us.
Bro Roberts - Holiness
Set at nought
At last they used an argument at once dishonourable to themselves and fatal to Pilate's further friendly efforts on behalf of Christ:
"If thou let this man go, thou art not Cesar's friend; whosoever maketh himself a king, speaketh against Cesar."
What, O Israel? "Whosoever?" Your own promised Messiah also? Ye say that this Jesus of Nazareth is not he; but do ye not believe that he will in due time appear? And do ye say that when he comes, he must be rejected for "making himself a king?".
To what a depth of faithlessness and darkness must Israel have sunk to employ an argument that shut the door thus against the promises of God; or into what mental perversity they must have come to use an argument against Christ which, if correct, would exclude the Messiahship for ever.
It was so that "darkness had blinded their eyes." Pilate was dark-minded, but not in the same way. He felt a regard for Christ that would have been gratified at his release: but he felt a much greater regard for his own skin. Consequently, when he heard an insinuation of treason that might be turned against himself, he felt he must not trifle with the case. He decided again that he must let the Jews have their will -- not, however, without a final and feeble struggle, like the parting shots of a vessel that sheers out of action.
He recalls Jesus from the judgment hall. On his emergence, in presence of the multitude, Pilate says, "Behold your king." "Away with him," shout the crowd; "Away with him! crucify him!" "What!" exclaims Pilate, "shall I crucify your king?" "We have no king but Cesar, "was the insane response.
Pilate saw that further opposition was unavailing, and he surrendered, but under protest -- made as ceremonially solemn as he could. He called for a basin of water, and washing his hands before them, said:
"I am innocent of the blood of this just person; see ye to it."
"His blood be on us and on our children,"
replied they in one tumultuous shout. And surely the imprecation has rested on them in tenfold severity. Let the afflicted experience of the Jews for 18 centuries testify. That afflicted experience is now near its end: and the day is near when,
"having received at the Lord's hand double for all her sins,"
Jerusalem will again see Christ, but this time to say,
"Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord."
Nazareth Revisited Ch 57
WE are on probation-a probation which must one day end.
Will it end in victory or defeat? This depends upon whether we are mindful of those little "ifs," which are providentially scattered here and there throughout the Scriptures:
"If we faint not"-"If we keep his commandments"-"If we walk in the light"-
"If we continue in the faith."
Are we helpless in the matter of these "ifs"? Have we or have we not a voice in meeting their requirements? Is the doctrine right which says that, if we are born to be saved, we shall be saved, and cannot help it; and if born to be damned, we are equally helpless?
No, this plausible, pleasing, popular doctrine is wrong-dangerously wrong. Fatalism is one of Christendom's deadly errors. Let us take care lest it insidiously take root in our weak and all-too-impressionable hearts. Let us think well before we excuse ourselves with a "cannot help it."
How does the matter stand according to the Scriptures? Moses thus expresses it:
"I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life"
What was said to the Jews is, in substance, said to Gentiles. To choose implies the action of free-will. The Scriptures do not trifle-they do not mock us. Our free-will may be bounded by limitations, and well that it is, but we have sufficient to obey or disobey-sufficient to establish a ground on which God can righteously bless or curse, save or destroy.
The psalmist's view is a right one, and his example is safe:
"I have chosen the way of truth"-"I will run the way of thy commandments"
(Ps. 119:30, 32).
Yes, it is a question of "I will" or "I will not." Let our choice be the wise one, and, having decided, let us cheerfully press onwards.
Bro AT Jannaway
The Christadelphian, June 1902
Ascension of the Witnesses into the Heaven
"And they heard a great voice out of the heaven saying to them, 'Ascend hither!' And they ascended into the heaven in the cloud; and their enemies beheld them."
By heaven in this place, we are to understand the political heaven which ruled over the plateia of the Great City upon which the corpses of the witnesses were extended:- the political heaven of "the tenth of the Great City." It was the power of this heaven embodied in the government of the "Grand Monarque," Louis XIV, that conquered and put them to death; and it was the power of the same heaven that blindly legislated them into an erect position, so that they were able to "stand upon their feet."
The forces operating this result are very clearly exhibited in "Thiers' Hist. of the French Revolution."
It would occupy too much space for details. The period was stormy and perplexing; and none were able to direct or allay the excitement, that agitated all classes of the people. The Court, the noblesse, the clergy, and the people, were all in antagonism; nor were these orders in the state agreed among themselves; added to which, the army was disaffected, the taxes intolerable to the masses, atheistic philosophy prevalent, depravity excessive, extravagance boundless, and the public treasury empty.
Alison writing upon this crisis says: "THE AMERICAN WAR was the great change which blew into a flame the embers of innovation. Such was the universal enthusiasm which seized upon France at its commencement that nobles of the highest rank, princes, dukes, and marquises, solicited with impatient zeal commissions in the regiments destined to aid the insurgents.
The passion for republican institutions increased with the successes of the American war, and at length arose to such a height as to infect even the courtiers of the palace. The philosophers of France used every method of flattery to bring over the young nobles to their side; and the profession of liberal opinions became as indispensable a passport to the saloons of fashion as to the favour of the people."
This combination of influences at length came to a head, and set, in a strong current, against the court. In order, therefore, to divert into another channel what might become an overwhelming flood, Louis XVI was now anxious for the convocation of the States General, the opening of which he fixed by "a great voice," or edict, "out of the heaven," saying, "Ascend hither!" on May 5, 1789.
The Court ordained that the total number of the deputies should be at least a thousand; and that the Tiers-Etat, or Third Estate, should be equal to the other two orders united.
The clergy, the nobles and the deputies of the people, were the three orders of the States General. The third estate comprehended nearly the whole nation; all the useful, industrious, and enlightened classes; for this reason, its deputies by the casting vote of Monsieur, who afterwards reigned as Louis XVIII, were doubled, or exceeded the other two orders united by sixty-seven, the whole number being 1254. This number constituted what, in the prophecy, is termed "the Cloud."
In nature, by the electrical force exhalations are elevated from the earth to the dew point of the aerial, where they are condensed into visible masses, termed clouds. So, analogously in the generation of symbolic clouds. The sovereign power of a state by its edict elevates from among the people their representatives, who when they reach the place to which they are convoked, become a visible and recognized body in the state, or political aerial, on the verification of the powers of the members. This verification is the condensation of them into "a Cloud."
The public mind, agitated by events, full of the confused idea of a speedy revolution, was in a continual ferment. In the heat of this the elections took place. "Tradesmen, lawyers, literary men, astonished to find themselves assembled together for the first time, raised themselves up by degrees to liberty." It was an extraordinary resurrection.
The moment of the convocation at length arrived. The King alone, who had not enjoyed a moment's repose since the commencement of his reign, regarded the States General as the termination of his embarrassments! It was therefore with joy that he made preparations for this grand assembly; which was opened with great national, military, and religious pomp, by which all hearts were deeply moved.
"The wicked shall be turned into Sheol; all the Gentiles that forget God."
The wicked are those 'who know not God, and obey not the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ.' Of these there are three classes:
first, sinners that never heard of the one true God, the Lord Jesus Christ, and the gospel; and others who are physically incapable of faith and obedience;
second, those who have come to an understanding of the gospel, but have rejected it; and
third, those who have obeyed it, but do not hold fast the beginning of their confidence steadfast to the end, nor walk according to its precepts, but after the flesh.
The first class dies and perishes as the beasts; the second also dies, but comes forth from the grave again to encounter the burning indignation of Christ, the Judge of the living and the dead, at his appearing and kingdom; and the third also comes forth to be judged, and to undergo, in condemnation, 'a sorer punishment' in the fiery indignation which shall devour the adversaries.
(Proof.-Psalm 9:17: 11:6: 2 Thess, 1:8-9; Psalm 49:12, 20; Isaiah 26:14; Eccles. 3:17-20; Acts 14:16; 17:30; John 5:29; Matt. 25:41, 46; Luke 13:28; 2 Tim. 4:1; Heb. 2:2, 8; 10:27-29; Rom. 8:13; Gal. 6:7-8)."
The Revealed Mystery, Proposition 46.
"Harpers harping with their harps."
Music is harmony, unity, beauty, and purposeful orderliness of sound, and our God is a God of order and beauty.
Surely there is intended to be power and significance in this three-fold repetition of this joyful, worshipful word! A harp is an instrument of praise and thanksgiving and joy. The harp was the comfort, inspiration and instrument of expression of David, the man after God's own heart.
The Psalms are not mere poems, but songs. There is infinitely more feeling, depth and
expression in song than in mere recitation.
Psa. 81 speaks of the "pleasant harp "and Isa. 24 of the "joy of the harp." Conversely the symbol of mourning is to refrain from the harp's use and hang it on the weeping willows (Psa. 137:2).
In 1 Chr. 16, we read of David's arrangements for singing in the worship of God. We read there of "the musical instruments of God" (v. 42), and of the first Psalm David delivered into the hands of Asaph, the chief of the singers-
"Sing unto Yahweh, all the earth:
Show forth from day to day His salvation . . .
Worship Yahweh in the beauty of holiness . . .
Let the heavens be glad, and the earth rejoice."
What are the "musical instruments of God?" In Rev. 15:2 the redeemed standing on the glassy sea have the "harps of God." What do these harps signify, for clearly they symbolize a much deeper and living reality-" Musical instruments are inanimate objects giving voice-like sounds of worship and praise. Their appeal and acceptability to God can only lie in their representation and symbolization and manifestation of the true heart-condition of the living
worshipper himself. This was Bro. Thomas' conclusion. He says:
"Every one of them has his harp, for he is himself a 'harp of the Deity,' and therefore an INSTRUMENT OF JOY."
Music is a very prominent aspect of Divine worship in Scripture. David's and Solomon's arrangements for the musical service are given in great detail, and with each reformation and restoration-Hezekiah, Josiah, Nehemiah-this aspect is much to the fore. It is a notable fact that in the Mosaic Tabernacle arrangement, there is no mention of music, while in the Temple it appears to be the principal aspect of the service.
This is not to indicate that our present Tabernacle and wilderness dispensation is without its joy and thanksgiving and praise, but it does teach that all our joy and desire has its roots in the future living Temple Age, and that we cannot in their fullness, sing the songs of Zion in a strange and captive land.
Our joy at present, though deep, and rooted in thankfulness and praise, is largely overlaid with passing sorrow, as we walk in mortal weakness through a dark vale of tears-
"Weeping may endure for the night, but joy cometh in the morning" (Psa. 30:5).
Bro Growcott - 144 000 on Mount Zion
Set at nought
We behold Christ marched back through the street, in the midst of a jeering mob, to Pilate's "Hall of judgment." Arrived there, Pilate sends for all concerned: "the chief priests and the rulers of the people," to lay the result of Herod's investigations before them, and to secure their concurrence in the release of Christ. His uneasiness about Christ, and his anxiety to release him, had been quickened by a message received from his own wife:
"Have thou nothing to do with that just man, for I have suffered many things this day in a dream because of him."
There may have been nothing in the dream of Pilate's wife but the idle reflex of the current city-excitement. At the same time, there is nothing improbable in the supposition that it was something more -- that her dream was of divine origin with the object of influencing Pilate in Christ's favour, and leading him to proclaim the innocence of Christ, in a position from which his words would (afterwards) be heard by all the world.
It was a judicial vindication of Christ at the very moment of his condemnation, and threw the whole responsibility of that condemnation on "the Jews, his own nation," who have since tried in vain to get rid of it.
The chief priests having assembled, Pilate briefly addressed them:
"Ye have brought this man unto me as one that perverteth the people: and behold I, having examined him before you, have no fault in this man touching those things whereof ye accuse him; no, nor yet Herod; for I sent you to him, and, lo, nothing worthy of death is done unto him. I will, therefore, chastise him, and release him."
Men swayed by reason would have acquiesced in this decision, and quietly gone their way; but the audience before Pilate were far from this state of mind. His words excited them to the utmost pitch of clamour. They cried out all at once, and with deafening persistency,
"Away with this man, and release unto us Barabbas."
Pilate recoiled before the demonstration. He asked what he was to do with Jesus, whose only fault was that he called himself King of the Jews.
"Crucify him!" shouted they at the top of their voices; "crucify him! crucify him!" "Why should I crucify him: what evil hath he done? I have found no cause of death in him: I will, therefore, chastise him, and let him go."
It is useless reasoning with hatred. Pilate's question was drowned in the storm of their hateful demand for crucifixion. "Crucify him! crucify him!" was all that could be heard. Pilate felt he must make some concession, or there might be serious riot, for which he would be held responsible at headquarters. His desire to release Christ was not strong enough to withstand the pressure of personal danger. So he signified compliance with the demands of the crowd, and secured peace and infamy by one and the same act.
Pilate gave sentence that it should be as they required.
"And he released unto them him that for sedition and murder was cast into prison, whom they had desired but he delivered Jesus to their will."
The first and ordinary preliminary to crucifixion was "scourging." To this Jesus was now subjected. Horror of horrors! Think of it ye who have been "bought with (such) a price." Hark at the resounding blows on that noble form!
If the usual practice was followed, which there is no reason to doubt, he was publicly stripped where he stood, and made to kneel down with his hands tied to a pillar, and many blows inflicted by a strong man on his bare back with a knotched and knotted bludgeon, which tore the flesh and drew blood at every stroke.
It is said that those subjected to this terrible torture frequently died under it. It would have been well for Jesus in a human sense if this had been his experience, for he survived it only to undergo more terrible sufferings.
The scourging at an end, he was handed over to the soldiers of the Pretorium, who "called together the whole band" to get sport out of their bleeding prisoner in their barrack room before conducting him to execution. The heart (already broken) reels at the sight of what follows.
The robe that Herod had put upon him having been taken off for the scourging, they roughly array him in a mock imperial purple, and force on his head a crown constructed out of a thorn plant, the spikes of which would inflict the utmost pain. They force him to hold in his hands a rod in imitation of a sceptre.
Then, in brutal mirth, they go through the mockery of pretending to salute him as king, and mingling their obeisances with a grotesque admixture of blows and insults, which elicit the loud laughter of the band.
While this was going on, Pilate was in a state of indecision. He had verbally given in to the clamour of the people, but had not yet made out the execution warrant. It seems to have occurred to him to make a last effort on behalf of Christ, or, at all events, to wash his own hands of all complicity in his death. He sends order to the centurion to bring Christ again to the hall of judgment, and meanwhile going before the un-dispersed assembly outside, says,
"Behold, I bring him forth to you that ye may know that I find no fault in him."
At this moment Jesus appears in the fantastic guise in which the soldiers had apparelled him, "wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe." Pilate announces him: "Behold the man." Instantly the chief priests and their supporters repeat the insane shout to which Pilate had already yielded: "Crucify him! Crucify him!" Pilate responded:
"Take ye him and crucify him; for I find no fault in him."
Christ having retired into the judgment hall, the Jews said:
"We have a law, and by our law he ought to die, because he made himself the Son of God."
This only increased Pilate's perplexity. His wife's message had perturbed him. The prisoner's extraordinary bearing had impressed him, and now the claim of divine sonship reported to him was calculated to stagger him. He rose from his seat and went straight to Christ in the judgment hall behind him, and said unto him, "Whence art thou?" Jesus made no answer.
Already condemned, and deeply suffering in body and mind, it was natural he should think all further communication useless. But Pilate was too much in earnest, though it might be the earnestness of superstition, to be put off.
"Speakest thou not unto me ! Knowest thou not that I have power to crucify thee, and power to release thee?"
This roused Jesus to assert the true character of the situation:
"Thou couldest have no power at all against me except it were given thee from above: therefore he that delivered me unto thee hath the greater sin."
Pilate was touched with this recognition of his position, though it is improbable that he understood the meaning of Christ's words. Christ was but affirming the truth apparent throughout the Scriptures that
"God ruleth in the kingdoms of men and giveth them to whomsoever He will -- putting down one and setting up another,"
as the providential exigencies of His purposes require. He meant to say that Pilate's power, though real and personal for the time being, was not his own, though he might think it was, but was divinely conferred, and could only be exercised conformably with Heaven's object in the gift: that, as the executive of Roman authority divinely permitted over Yahweh's land and people for the time being, he might not be personally responsible for its exercise: that the real sin lay with those who were using that authority for the private ends of malice and wickedness.
Whether Pilate understood or not, Christ's answer pleased him, and he returned to the Jewish assembly outside with an increased determination to release him. But it was all in vain. The more he argued in favour of release, the more tumultuous the Jews became in their opposition.
Nazareth Revisited Ch 57
- The spirit of life from the Deity - witnessing revived
Such is the system of truth in outline elaborated by the author from the word as the result of an earnest contention for the faith which, as I have said, continued about twelve years.
Its operation on his own mind was to cause him to be immersed; and, being thus put right himself, to go forth and show the "straight gate and narrow way" to others.
"The spirit of life from the Deity," which Mr. Bicheno was looking for but did not see, had "entered into the witnesses for gospel truth," as he expressed it, when in 1847, the Gospel of the Kingdom and Name was once more proclaimed for the obedience of faith.
A few congregations had been collected upon this basis in America, and "the earth" has been to some extent impregnated with their principles. These earthborns, however, mix up many traditions with what they have learned, which make the truth of none effect for their salvation.
They are known by various names, such as Millerites, Adventists, Storrites, and so forth, who while dissatisfied with their old mother and her daughters, have neither intelligence nor faith enough in the word to become citizens of the downtrodden Holy City.
This witnessing society is "too exclusive," "too dogmatic," "too denunciatory of the christians of other denominations," "makes too much of baptism," to suit them. It affords no scope for money-making by preaching, for personal glorification by conventions, conferences, periodicals, and so forth.
For these, and other reasons too numerous and burdensome to recount, they turn their backs upon those who are able to enlighten them, and exhaust their feebleness in the work of hewing out for themselves cisterns -- broken cisterns -- which will hold no water.
But, the author did not confine his testimony to the territory of "THE MODEL REPUBLIC". In that "wonderful year," A.D. 1848, signalized by the terrible shaking given to the kingdoms of the Great City by "the Earth," he reimported the testimony into his native land -- a land of Bibles, whose truth was buried under mountains of tradition for want of a living witness to exhume it, and to set it intelligibly before the people.
Two hundred and seventy discourses in a little over two years; the circulation of eleven hundred copies of Elpis Israel; and less than a hundred copies of the Herald of the Kingdom, per annum, for eleven years; with about a hundred and fifty copies of the first volume of this work -- has been his agency in witnessing for the truth against the Laodicean Apostasy in Great Britain.
The "very small remnant" has been increased by acquisitions in Britain. The Holy City has acquired voice; and though feeble, is making itself heard, and attended to, by the people. In 1862, the author revisited that country. He found several churches that had struggled into a semi-witnessing existence. The truth had more real friends than in 1848-'50; but it had also many more dangerous embarrassments to encounter, than at that time.
Its worst enemies are its pretended friends. It is from these that the truth now suffers both in Britain and America. "The Earth" is a good breastwork against the Serpent; but it is too ignorant and wise in its own conceit to be "a witness for gospel truth." I trust, however, that a better day has dawned in the current 1866; when the principles herein outlined will find such an earnest expression by their adherents, that no teaching will be endured among them, by press or tongue, that is not in strict accordance with the oracles of God.
The Upstanding Witness in 1847
By the year 1847, he had illustrated and proved the following propositions to the conviction of increasing numbers:
1. That the Gospel preached by the apostles was originally preached to Abraham, announcing blessedness for all nations in him and in his Seed, when he should possess the gate of his enemies.
2. That this Gospel promised Abraham and his Seed that they should be the Heirs of the World, which they should possess forever.
3. That Abraham, "hoping against hope," was fully persuaded that what the Deity had promised he was also able to perform, and therefore it was counted to him for righteousness.
4. That the land in which he sojourned, and kept his flocks and herds, and in scripture styled the Holy Land, and Yahweh's Land was promised to him for an everlasting possession.
5. That this promise of the land became a confirmed covenant 430 years before the Mosaic Law was added.
6. That the Seed of Abraham, whose day he rejoiced to see, was to descend from the tribe of Judah in the line of David; and to be at once both son of David and Son of God.
7. That a covenant was made with David, ordered in all things and sure, promising that the Seed should descend from him; that he should possess a kingdom in a future age; that he should be Son of the Eternal Father; that he should be afflicted unto death; that he should rise again; that the throne of his kingdom should be David's throne; that Christ should occupy the throne in his presence; that he shall reign over the House of Jacob, in the covenanted land, during the age; and that of his kingdom there shall be no end.
8. That these covenants made with Abraham and with David are styled by Paul "the Covenants of Promise," and that they contain "the things concerning the Kingdom of God," which must be believed as a part of the faith that justifies.
9. That the Christ is the Eternal Father by his spirit manifested in the Seed of David, and that Jesus of Nazareth is he.
10. That in his crucifixion, Sin was condemned in the same flesh that had transgressed in Paradise, so that in the crucified body he bore the sins of his people upon the tree, that they being dead to sin, should live unto righteousness.
11. That he was raised from among the dead by the power of the Father, for the justification or pardon of those who believe the covenanted promises, and the things concerning him.
12. That the things concerning the Christ as a sufferer, and fulfilled in Jesus, are "the things concerning the Name of Jesus Christ," which must also be believed as the other part of the faith which justifies.
13. That Repentance is a change of mind and disposition, produced by "the exceeding great and precious promises" lovingly believed, and resulting in "the obedience of faith."
14. That repentance, remission of sins, and eternal life are granted in the name of Jesus Christ.
15. That the Obedience of Faith consists in believing the gospel preached to Abraham, the preaching of Jesus Christ, and the revealed mystery of his Name, and in being immersed into the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.
16. That repentance, remission of sins, and a right to incorruptibility and life are institutionally granted to believers of the truth as outlined above in being buried with Christ by immersion into death to sin, from whence they rise with Christ, to walk in newness of life.
17. That Abraham, the prophets, and the brethren under the Mosaic Law, are justified by the belief of the promises covenanted to Abraham and David, which covenants were brought into force by the death of the Testator, or Deity in flesh-manifestation called Jesus Christ; and that the immersed, and they only, whether Jews or Gentiles, from the Day of Pentecost to the return of the Ancient of Days, are justified by belief of the same covenanted promises and of things concerning the Name of Jesus Christ as specified above.
Thus, there is one Deity who shall justify the circumcision ek pisteos, by, from, or out of faith; and the uncircumcision dia tes pisteos, "through the faith;" for whether under the Law or since the law, "the just shall live by faith," "without which it is impossible to please God."
18. That "the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit," is equivalent to "the Name of Jesus Christ;" and expresses "the great mystery of godliness," the Deity manifested in flesh: that this manifestation was first an individual unity, and then a multitudinous unity, in flesh and blood nature; that the individual divine unity was "justified by spirit" when Jesus was glorified; and that the multitudinous unity, consisting of all saints, will be made like him when he shall appear in power.
Hence, when this consummation shall be complete, "THE NAME" will be the Eternal Father by spirit manifested in a multitude of immortals, whom no man can number. The scriptural designation of this DIVINE UNITY is Yahweh echad -- the ONE WHO SHALL BE.
19. That this name exists in Two States -- the present and the future which states are separated by the resurrection. In the present state, the Name is apocalyptically symbolized by "the Sealed," "the Golden Altar," "the Holy City trampled," "the Woman and the remnant of her seed;" and in the future state, by "the Four Living ones full of eyes," and "the four and twenty elders;" by the Rainbowed Angel; by the Nave; by the 144,000 on Mount Zion; by harpists and singers; by the Lamb's wife arrayed in white; by the armies in the heaven; and by the Great City, the Holy Jerusalem, as a Bride adorned for her husband.
20. That the Gospel is glad tidings, inviting men and women to become constituents of this Divine Name, and therefore Heirs of the World with Abraham, on condition of believing the truth as it is in Jesus, being immersed, and walking in the newness of life, as shown above.
Nations moving their embassies to Jerusalem -
""I will make Jerusalem a cup of trembling unto all the people round about, when they shall be in the siege both against Judah and against Jerusalem".
The Upstanding Witness
Bro Thomas' declaration 1835
In the course of the year following he [Bro Thomas] called in question their [Campbellite] speculations and traditions concerning the soul, heaven, hell, eternal torment, the Devil, their salvation without faith, and so forth. He was not quite clear upon these topics himself; but their violent attacks, threw him upon the defensive, and compelled him to fortify. By a closer study of the word he attained to full assurance of faith, which was only confirmed by the feebleness of their arguments in debate. He maintained:
1. That "a living soul" was not an "immortal soul," but a Body of Life, exemplified by the first Adam.
2. That immortality was not an abstract essence, but life endlessly developed through incorruptible organic substance, or body.
3. That "the Deity only hath immortality" underived.
4. That incorruptibility and life, or immortality, are a part of the reward promised only to the righteous, on condition of their patient continuance in well-doing.
5. That they only are the righteous who believe the truth and obey it.
6. That "the dead know not anything."
7. That the just and unjust are rewarded at their resurrection from among the dead, and not before.
8. That "the righteous shall be recompensed in the earth," when the meek will inherit it.
9. That the wicked and the sinner will also be recompensed in the earth; from which they will "be cut off and rooted out," as unfit to inhabit it: for being without understanding of the word, they are like the beasts that perish.
10. That the clerical devil is a mythological fiction.
11. That the devil of scripture is, first, sin manifested individually in and through our common nature; secondly, sin in ecclesiastical and political manifestation. Hence, the powers of the world are styled "the Devil and his Angels."
12. That without faith there is no salvation.
The statement of these propositions stirred up the devil on every side, and made him roar like a devouring lion; but the truth of them turned his wrath into great bitterness. He denounced the author as "a moonstricken speculator," "a materialist," "an infidel," "an atheist, fit only for the society of Tom Paine, Voltaire, and that herd."
These are the weapons, endorsed with all the influence and power of the sect for evil, against one man, whom he contemptuously spurned as "a stripling," and classed with the unclean beasts of the ark!
But "the Earth that helps the Woman" being in power, these ravings and roarings were permitted to break no bones. Great efforts were made to suppress both the author and his writings, till at length they so far succeeded as to prevent their flocks from reading them and listening to his discourse. Alas, for any people reduced by crafty and designing men to such a case!
How can the truth enter those whose eyes and ears are closed?
Nevertheless, its advocacy was not abandoned, though the aspect of things was very discouraging. Several, however, avowed their conviction of the truth of these propositions; and though the policy of the Devil was to fight him by letting him alone, the study of "the faith once for all delivered to the saints" was continued; and, as it broke in upon his mind, was dealt out by the press and tongue to all who had "ears to hear what the Spirit had said to the ecclesias."
Here Bro Thomas identifies his work as the 'spirit of life from the Deity' prophesied in Re11:11.
11 And after <the> three days and an half, spirit of life from <the Deity broke in upon> them, and they stood upon their feet; and great fear fell upon <those who beheld> them.
In October 1834
1. That belief, built on the testimony of the prophets and apostles concerning the Christ; confession that Jesus of Nazareth is that Christ, the Son of the Living God; and immersion into the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, for repentance and remission, are part and parcel of, and necessary to, the ordinance of purification of sin, styled by Paul, the "ONE BAPTISM."
2. That mere immersion is not baptism; but that a man cannot be aqueously baptized without being immersed in water.
3. That they whose immersion is predicated upon "a certificate of former good character," and a tale of sights and sounds, frames and feelings, called "experience," with no more faith than amounts to a belief that "the word of God is a dead letter," and that "if they don't get religion they'll be damned" -- that an immersion in the name of the Father, &c., predicated on such premises, is not christian baptism.
4. That the subjects of any baptism not predicated upon the "good confession," are not entitled to the spiritual blessings consequent on the "one baptism."
5. That the Deity, having placed his name in his institutions, all communicable blessings flow through those institutions, of which christian baptism is one.
6. That every immersed person who is not immersed on "the good confession," is not founded upon THE ROCK; and consequently forms no part of the Church of Christ.
7. That the reimmersion of such a believer is not a re-baptism, and therefore justifiable -- such reimmersion being his first scriptural baptism.
A new edition of Scotch Baptistism in America
The author adopted with great zest and zeal the sentiment of their legend. He proceeded to "prove all things," and to "hold fast what" he believed to be "good;" and to call no man father, teacher, or leader, but Christ, THE TRUTH (John xiv. 6).
In doing this, he devoted himself to the study of the prophetic and apostolic writings, under the impression that he was engaged in a good work; and, as he was then publishing a periodical entitled The Apostolic Advocate, he would from time to time report to his brethren for their benefit, what he found taught therein.
In pursuing this study, he found many of their principles to be at variance with "the word," which was made void by them. Perceiving this, and supposing that the spirit of their legend was the spirit of their body, he did not hesitate to lay his convictions before them that they might prove them, and hold them, or reject them, according to the testimony.
This raised quite a storm among them, the thunderbolts of which were aimed at him by the thunderer of their sect. This uproar caused the author to discover that he had made a mistake in his reading of their legends; and that their reading of Paul's words was, "Prove all things which we have proved; and hold fast what we believe to be good;" and of Jesus, "Call no man father, teacher, or leader, but Alexander Campbell."
These were readings that he had never agreed to; and, therefore, he continued to read and publish according to the old method, very much to the indignation and disgust of the Simon Pures who misled the multitude.
But he saw that they did not walk honestly according to the truth, or the principles they professed. The gospel proclaimed by this sect of "the Earth," was a misunderstanding of Peter's pentecostian address. It preached "baptism for remission of sins" to every one who confessed that Jesus was the Son of God. This was styled "the Ancient Gospel." The preachers of the Baptist sect denounced it as a damnable heresy. Many of these same preachers, however, from divers causes, changed their minds, left their own mother, joined the Scotto-Campbellites, and, without reimmersion, became "evangelists" and "pastors" among them.
Considering this fact, it occurred to the author to inquire, "If, when ye were baptist 'divines,' ye denounced what, as Scotto-Campbellite 'evangelists,' ye now preach and believe to be the Ancient Gospel; what was that gospel ye obeyed when ye were immersed into baptistism?"
They either could not, or would not, answer this question; for they were acute enough to perceive that a scriptural reply would have convicted them of preaching a gospel for remission of sins which they had not themselves obeyed; and, consequently, that they were but pious unpardoned sinners, promising to others liberty while they were themselves the servants of corruption. These "evangelists" were the ruin of the sect. They succeeded in closing the eyes and ears of the multitude against the truth; and they remain closely sealed to this day.
The numerical increase of the sect [Campbellites], without regard to the scriptural qualifications of their proselytes, was the standard of the "good" done.
They preached the immortality of the soul; the translation of righteous immortal souls to kingdoms beyond the skies at death; the dismissal of unjust immortal souls into eternal torments in hell at death; the salvation of the immortal souls of infants and pagans -- a salvation, consequently, without faith; they proclaimed that the church is the kingdom, and was set up on the day of Pentecost; that Jesus is now sitting on the throne of David; that the apostles are ruling with him, and sitting upon twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel; that the old testament scriptures are as an old Jewish almanac out of date; that the gospel is, that Christ died for our sins, was buried, and rose again; and that whosoever believed these "three facts," and confessed that Jesus was Son of God, had the "one faith;" that he was justified by this belief, or pardoned, though he might be in doubt; therefore, to make assurance doubtless, they prescribed immersion for that enjoyment that comes from knowledge of remission of sins; that this was the "one baptism;" that there were three salvations -- salvation from present ills, salvation from sins, and salvation from hell-torments; that there were three kingdoms -- that of law, that of grace or the church, and that of glory; that the first was entered by birth of flesh; the second, by birth of water, or the right hand of fellowship; and the third, at death.
Such were the leading traditions with which the leaders intoxicated and demented the multitude for their own advantage; and surely he must be judicially blind, who cannot see that the Scotto-Campbellite sect, which, indeed, shook American ecclesiasticism severely, was, nevertheless, not the resurrected witnessing of the saints for the veritable ancient apostolic faith.
But, after all, good was done. The influence of the clergy over the multitude was vastly diminished; and great numbers were stirred up to read the scriptures, and to think for themselves.
The author and many of his friends were of this "very small remnant." Under the inspiration of the word believed, he could not be silent, whatever consequences might arise. Hence, in October, 1834, he raised his voice against the system in an article upon baptism. He maintained, that before immersion could be scripturally recognized as the "one baptism," the subject thereof must be possessed of the "one faith". This was a hard blow upon the baptistic Scotto-Campbellite "evangelists;" and they felt it. It also condemned the author's immersion; which, however, he did not discover till twelve years after.
"WHATSOEVER he doeth shall prosper."
Are we guaranteed success in everything we do? Yes, we ARE, if our "everything" is the everything of the godly man-
"ALL things work together for good to them that love God" (Rom. 8:28).
There are no failures, no mistakes, no disappointments, in the great and triumphant plan of God.
There IS a way of life in which we are guaranteed success and satisfaction in everything we do. That way is to "bring every thought into captivity to Christ"-to have but one pure, clear, single aim and intent in life: the fulfilling of the will of God.
In this way of life - (which only Christ perfectly achieved, but to which all can steadily get closer with ever-increasing satisfaction and success) - everything we do and everything that happens to us is, and is joyfully SEEN to be, one more meaningful, purposeful, necessary step carrying us forward to our eventual eternal goal at the end of the way (Prov. 4:18)-
"The path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day."
"AND WHATSOEVER HE DOETH SHALL PROSPER."
Bro Growcott - The Psalms
Revival of the Witnessing for Gospel Truth
There have been more of these efforts since the resurrection of the secular witnesses to renewed political life and vigor in France, than for upwards of a century before. Indeed, I am not aware, that there was any such effort at all in the great City of Babylon from 1572 to 1789; but since this last date there have been several in the outlying regions of the British Isles and America.
The Baptist Sect arose in England before the witnesses were put to death in the papal jurisdiction of the Great City. They were a separation from that class of "the Earth" known as "The Independents." The Word of God got possession of their minds and affections, and would permit them no longer to remain among "the children of disobedience."
They therefore separated themselves in 1638; and, having renounced the PAPAL ORDINANCE of Baby-Face sprinkling, profanely termed by all Laodiceans, "baptism," they dispatched one of their number to Holland to be immersed by the ANABAPTISTS (as they were ignorantly styled by Luther and his class) that on his return he might be qualified to immerse his friends at home.
Hence, these immersed brethren became witnesses of the Holy City class; that is, of the "One Body." They preserved the truth from dying out in England during the death-state of the witnesses in the papal section of the continent of Europe; and after 1789-'90, we find their testimony reviving in the writings of Mr. Bicheno and the organized circulation of the scriptures -- a society instituted by "the Woman" and "the Earth" which "helped" her.
During the time the witnesses were lying politically and spiritually dead (and of this death the Baptists partook as well as "the Earth," adopting Calvinistic, Armenian, and Free Communion traditions, which make void the Word of the Deity), a bootless effort was made to return to first principles by Mr. John Glass, a Calvinist "divine" of the Scottish Daughter of the Roman Mother.
To his honour be it said, that he was expelled by this apocalyptic "Harlot," on the charge of entertaining a design of subverting the National Covenant, and of sapping the foundation of all national religious establishments, by maintaining that the Kingdom of Christ is not of this world; in other words, he was expelled for affirming what Christ himself, "the Faithful and True Witness," bore witness to before Pilate.
Would a church of Christ have been guilty of such iniquity as this? Such papistic deeds only prove that "the churches" committing them have no claims to be regarded as christian in any scriptural sense. Mr. Glass, then, was expelled by this "woman," with whom he had been apocalyptically "defiled" (Apoc. xiv. 4), in the year 1728.
He and his adherents formed themselves into churches, which they endeavored to conform to the primitive order of the New Testament. Soon after the year 1755, one of their elders, named Robert Sandeman, became a prominent advocate of their principles.
He taught that justifying faith was a simple belief of the divine testimony, passively received by the understanding; which testimony carries in itself sufficient ground of hope to every one who believes it, without any collateral spiritualistic operation; that the gospel contained no offer but that of evidence, and that it was merely a record or testimony to be credited; that there is acceptance with God through Christ for sinners, while they are sinners, before "any act, exercise, or exertion of their minds whatsoever;" consequently, before repentance.
Hence, his theory was, justification by passive belief of the truth alone!
He was very severe, but not more so than was in accordance with the truth, in his criticism of the "popular preachers." "I would be far," says he, "from refusing even to the popular preachers themselves what they so much grudge to others -- the benefit of the one instance of a hardened sinner (the thief on the cross) finding mercy at last; for I know of no sinners more hardened, none greater destroyers of mankind, than they."
The Sandemanian section of "the Earth" differed from other sects of the Court, in the weekly administration of the supper; in dining together at each other's houses between the morning and afternoon meetings; these dinings were their love-feasts, of which every member was required to partake.
They differed also in the kiss of charity, as the act of receiving into fellowship; in a weekly contribution for all expenses; in mutual exhortation; in abstinence from blood and things strangled; in washing of feet; in a plurality of elders, pastors, or bishops, in each church, who, though unlearned and in trade, are sufficiently qualified for their office, if answerable to the specifications found in 1 Tim. iii. 1-7; Tit. i. 6-9.
They separated themselves from all such religious societies as appeared to them not to profess the simple truth for their only ground of hope, and who do not walk in obedience to it.
The Baptist churches in Scotland imbibed a considerable part of these principles, by which a nearer approach was made to the apostolic order of things; but not sufficiently to constitute them resurrected witnesses for the Ancient Gospel of Jesus Christ. The theory they professed was an improvement upon that of the Scottish Harlot.
It might be assented to as a basis for immersion; but would still leave the confessor "in the gall of bitterness and the bond of iniquity." The philosophy and vain deceit of Protestantism had so "defiled" the baptist mind in the period of death they had passed through, that their resuscitation as a society witnessing the gospel had become hopeless. It remained, therefore, to be attained in the face of their active endeavors to suppress it.
The effort was renewed in the United States of America, and crowned with the result desired.
Another "reverend divine" of the Scottish Harlot's family was stirred up to attack the institutions which had given him birth. In 1819, or thereabouts, he separated himself and a few others from her communion, and joined the Baptists. Upon this, he commenced a periodical called the Christian Baptist, in which he ably exposed the unscriptural character of the faith, order, and practices of the so-called "religious world".
He was particularly severe upon his clerical brethren, and "the benevolent institutions of the day," by which they proposed to introduce the Millennium! His unsparing attacks upon all the "Names and Denominations" caused him to be denounced on every side, as a demoralizing disturber of all ecclesiastical peace and comfort.
Papists, Presbyterians, Baptists, Methodists, and others, were all made to writhe in the anguish of his tormenting testimony against them; and would willingly have extinguished him after the approved fashion of former days, but for his brethren of "the Earth," who, at the epoch of their resurrection to political life and power, had founded the new government under which he lived.
This guaranteed civil and religious liberty to all sects and persons; and protected them in the freest exercise of all their natural and acquired rights.
The French army, which was sent to help "the Earth" established its independence of the Anglican Daughter of the Roman Harlot, on its return to France reimported into that land the principles of liberty and the rights of man; which, after the "three days and a half" were ended, as "Spirit of Life from the Deity, broke in upon" the constituents of the Third Estate, and caused them to "stand upon their feet" to the great terror of all who beheld them (Apoc. xi. 11).
Set at Naught
There is no doubt that if the priestly company outside the judgment hall had at this moment been in a peaceable, or even in a fairly well-disposed mood, Pilate's proposal would have taken effect, and Jesus would have been liberated. Instead of this, they were animated by a hatred that could not even simulate the decencies of judicial impartiality.
They burst into a tempest of clamour against Christ, in which they were supported by the voices of the fickle mob. They had no objection to the release of a prisoner, according to custom; but it must not be Jesus, but Barabbas, a recently arrested robber. For Jesus they demanded death.
Pilate was embarrassed. "He stirreth tip all Jewry," shouted the priests, "beginning from Galilee to this place." The mention of Galilee gave Pilate a momentary escape from the inconvenient clamour. He asked if Jesus were a Gililean, and being answered in the affirmative, he said he should send Jesus to Herod, whose jursidiction lay in Galilee and who himself was at that moment on a visit to Jerusalem. Upon this he gave the needful instructions, and Jesus was led away to Herod, the people tumultuously following. Then ensued another and more galling humiliation for the suffering Lamb of God.
With the eager insulting glare of a libertine, Herod plied him with many questions. But Jesus was silent: To Pilate he condescended to some opening of the mind: to this man, he had nothing whatever to say. The chief priests and scribes stood round, vehemently accusing him. To their words he made no answer.
Probably Herod would promise to set him free on condition of his working some miracles, but to all Herod's questions and suggestions he was absolutely impenetrable. Herod's mood then changed to exasperation. He jeered at him and mocked him, and was at a loss to express the intensity of his angry scorn and contempt. In this he was supported by his officers and soldiers, who easily and eagerly made sport of a prisoner who was the butt of their master's rage.
They procured a gorgeous caricature of the robe that kings only wore, and arrayed him in it with brutal mirth, and without gentleness we may be sure. "They set him at naught and mocked him." Then Herod despatched him to Pilate. We can imagine the derisive shouts of laughter with which they would greet his departure from Herod's presence, in the exaggerated robes of royalty. We cannot imagine the Lord's lacerated feelings under such treatment. They are fully described in the words of the psalmist, foreshowing his sufferings:
"I am a worm and no man, a reproach of men and despised of the people. All they that see me laugh me to scorn. They shoot out the lip; they shake the head, saying, He trusted in the Lord that he would deliver him; let Him deliver him, seeing He delighted in him ... Trouble is near.
There is none to help: Many bulls have compassed me; strong bulls of Bashan have beset me round. They gaped upon me with their mouths, as a ravening and a roaring lion.... Dogs have compassed me. The assembly of the wicked have enclosed me ... Thou hast known my reproach and my shame and my dishonour. Mine adversaries are all before thee.
Reproach hath broken my heart, and I am full of heaviness. I looked for some to take pity, and there was none: and for comforters, but I found none ... I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint. My heart is like wax. It is melted in the midst of my bowels. My strength is dried up like a potsherd, and my tongue cleaveth to my jaws: and thou hast brought me into the dust of death."
That Herod, who had been at enmity with Pilate, should have become reconciled to him again, through such a transaction, only added a further ingredient of bitterness and humiliation to the sufferings of Christ. Flattered with Pilate's attention in sending Jesus to him, Herod sent Jesus back to him for final adjudication; which Pilate, in his turn, accepted as a pleasant compliment, and returned to sentiments of amity.
It is no new thing for bad men to become friends, over the destruction of the righteous. But what about the vindication, when
"God shall judge the secrets of men by Christ Jesus?"
Nazareth Revisited Ch 57
Revival of the witnessing
These things were written by Mr. Bicheno seventy-two years ago. He lived at the crisis of the resurrection of the witnesses and at the opening of the Third Woe; consequently, only in "the dawn of what was then coming."
Since then, "dark and conflicting clouds" have darkened the hemisphere, spent themselves, and vanished away; for since he wrote, five of the vials of the third woe trumpet have been entirely drained of their wrath; and forty-five years of the sixth, have brought us over the year 1864; when he supposed the 1335 years of Daniel would end; and the work of destroying the remains of tyranny, and purifying and enlarging the Gentile church, would be finished; and the glorious appearing of the Lord be manifested.
This work however, we, who are contemporary with 1865, know to be yet in the womb of futurity. Mr. Bicheno did well in stirring up his own generation to the study of the apocalypse; and in discovering for us the true import of the "three days and a half." His labour was not lost; and we thank our Heavenly Father for raising up such witnesses, whose memory the faithful in Christ Jesus do always delight to honour.
The laborers of this class were contributing to that very resurrection he looked for; a resurrection, not merely of political life, but for that more excellent resuscitation of a witnessing for gospel truth.
The establishment of the British and Foreign Bible Society in March 1804, by which the scriptures, in defiance of the mandates of the God of the earth, have been circulated greatly among those nations in which the witnesses stood upon their feet again, has strengthened "the earth" in its resistance to arbitrary power; and prepared the minds of many to receive, and to seek for "the truth as it is in Jesus" for eternal life.
When the truth gets a sufficient hold of these prepared seekers of the unmeasured court, it makes them restless and dissatisfied with the dry, stereotyped, superstitions of their fathers. Hence, they are caused to make efforts for a return to the gospel and order of things, as preached and instituted originally by Christ and the Apostles.
Set at naught
The members of the Council did not go into the actual precincts of the judgment hall to which Jesus was conveyed, but remained outside, fearing ceremonial defilement on the eve of the passover. This necessitated Pilate going out to them occasionally during the hearing of the case. There would be an audience of the common Jews inside, in addition to the officers, and the members of the Sanhedrim and their immediate friends outside.
Having inside received the application for capital sentence, Pilate came out to the priests, and asked them what the accusation against the prisoner was; for it was a law with the Romans not to grant sentence against any man without just charge and hearing. Their first answer revealed the weakness of their case against Christ.
"If he were not a malefactor (an evil doer), we would not have delivered him up to thee."
In an ordinary case, they would have specified the charge; but they had no charge such as Roman law could recognise, or Jewish either, unless it were blasphemy, which they could not prove. Therefore they answered in the language of pique and wounded pride.
"Do you think we would have brought him as a criminal to you without just cause?"
But this was not enough for Pilate. He must have some allegation of offence. They then put their charge into a shape that would engage the sympathies of Pilate against the prisoner.
"We found this fellow perverting the nation, and forbidding to give tribute to Cesar, saying that he himself is Christ, a King."
This was a charge of high treason which, on proof, would subject Jesus to the capital penalty of Roman law. Pilate had, therefore, something that he could enquire into. He returned to Jesus, and enquired,
"Art thou the King of the Jews?"
Christ's answer was an enquiry of Pilate whether the question was spontaneous on his part or whether others had suggested it: "Am I a Jew?" responded Pilate. As much as to say, "How could I know anything on such a subject myself, being a Roman?" "Thine own nation and the chief priests have delivered thee unto me: What hast thou done?"
Then Jesus proceeded to indicate that he had done nothing that could bring him within the law. It was true that he was a King, and that he claimed a kingdom, but not now. He was not a competitor as other kings were one of another. He was not a political intriguer, or a stirrer-up of insurrection. He did not belong to the present order at all. His Kingdom was not of this world. If it were, his servants would fight, which was what he had expressly forbidden them to do. His Kingdom was "not from hence." It was "from thence" -- from heaven at another time.
"Thou art a King then, though not now?" was in substance Pilate's rejoinder. Well, yes: this was the truth, and that he might bear witness to the truth was the very object of his present appearance among the Jews. And then, as reflecting on the attitude of the chief priests, he added,
"Every one that is of the truth heareth my voice."
As much as to say, if they had been of the truth, they would not have been his accusers and calumniators. This excited a momentary curiosity in Pilate. What could this "truth" be which Jesus made so prominent. He asked him, "What is truth?" But he did not stay to get an answer. He had no earnest solicitude on the point one way or other. He was a hard-headed practical Roman who, like another after him, "cared for none of these things," except as they came in his way. He had evidently come to the conclusion that Jesus was a harmless person of the philosophic stamp, whom the chief priests had arrested from envy because of his influence with the people, and whom it would be wise policy on his part to discharge under the custom that had for some time prevailed of surrendering one prisoner to amnesty at the passover feast.
He therefore went out to them and said,
"I find no fault in this man; but ye have a custom that I should release unto you one at the passover. Will ye, therefore, that I release unto you the King of the Jews?"
Nazareth Revisited Ch 57
The "Three Days and a Half"
And what length of time was to elapse from the slaying of the witnessing bodies in A.D. 1685, to their resurrection? The answer of the text is in mystical terms "three days and a half." Now during all the time of their lying dead and unburied in the breadth of the Great City, no one was able rightly to conjecture what number of years was signified by this enigmatical formula. But, when they arose and "stood upon their feet," they convulsed the Great City, and made it tremble in all its ten kingdoms.
There could be no mistaking the fact, that the advocates of civil and religious liberty and the rights of man, who had been so cruelly massacred by Louis XIV, were again, in the reign of Louis XVI, in intense and terrible activity. This was, therefore, a resurrection of the same class that had been slain. New life had entered into them, and they were again a power in the state.
On May 15, 1789, the States General of France, consisting of 601 deputies of the Third Estate; 285 nobles; and 308 clergy; in all 1254 representatives, opened their sitting at Versailles. The Third Estate, which was the popular element, desired that the three orders should form but one assembly. This the nobles and clergy at first refused to do. On the 17th June, however, some of the clergy having joined the Third Estate, the deputies declared their assembly to be the only legal one, and constituted themselves as THE NATIONAL ASSEMBLY; which, on the 27th, was joined by all the rest.
On the 23rd of Aug. this new assembly published a decree proclaiming liberty of opinions, religious as well as political; on Oct. 1, it made a declaration of the Rights of Man in society; and on Dec. 24, issued a decree declaring all Frenchmen who are not Catholics admissible to all offices, both civil and military. Civil and religious liberty and the rights of man were the ancient testimony, both of the true believers, and of "the Earth" that helped them; and here we find the doctrine authoritatively reaffirmed by "the Earth" in its National Assembly, which restores these inestimable blessings to all non-catholic Frenchmen, who had been so mercilessly deprived of them in Oct. 1685.
A Louis had taken away this liberty from his non-catholic subjects; and his grandson by the same class of people was compelled to restore it.
Here, then, are two important and signal dates -- Oct. 1685, and Oct. 1789. These decrees of the National Assembly were as "the Spirit of life from the Deity;" and on the 10th July 1790 "they stood upon their feet;" for the Earth's Assembly on that day decreed, that the property of the expelled Houguenots unsold at date, confiscated by the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes, should be restored to their heirs.
They called this the National Justice, which it was the providential mission of the Third Estate to execute; and with terrible fidelity did they fulfil it in vindicating the oppressed, and in punishing the oppressor.
Now, between 1685 and 1790, is a period of 105 years. This is the duration of the death state in which the witnesses were deficient of all political life
Strangers and sojourners
It is not agreeable when everybody is busy and enthusiastic, to be looked down upon as a religion-warped lunatic, nursing utopian dreams, and letting the present substance slip.
It is not agreeable to be isolated in the corner, and considered as belonging to those whose society is to be avoided; yet the eye of faith, the mind of conviction, the soul that really and resolutely believes the gospel, will have no difficulty in "tiding" over the trial, and in keeping a tenacious hold of the invisible link of connection between a suffering and degraded present, and a glorious future-such a future as the world has no conception of and can never realise.
Ambassador of the Coming Age, Jan 1869
The Death-State of the Witnesses
"And they shall see among the peoples, and tribes, and tongues, and nations, their corpses three days and a half, and they shall not suffer their corpses to be put into tombs."
The ptomata, in this text rendered corpses, are so called because they had fallen down from their former position of "standing before the God of the earth."
They were to be in this prostrate condition until something providential should occur to cause them to "stand upon their feet;" when, of course, they would no longer be corpses.
The text before us, then, informs us, that the witnessing prophets having finished their tormenting testimony, were silenced. When witnesses are put to silence, they are symbolically dead; and so long as they are compelled by authority to keep silence, they are in the death-state: and though they may continue associated into bodies, yet being forbidden to assemble, and to propagate their principles upon pain of death, as by the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes, they are to all witnessing intents and purposes, dead bodies, or corpses.
They were reduced to this condition of death in all the breadth of the Great City over which the Deity of the earth exercised ecclesiastical sovereignty: not in France alone, but in Italy, and other papal countries also. This appears from the formula blephousin ek ton laon, &c., they shall see among the peoples, &c., their corpses. They must have been put to silence among these peoples, tribes, tongues, and nations, or they could not have been seen by them as unburied corpses.
These nationalities had often experienced the potent effects of their witnessing when "in their days of the prophecy" they had turned the waters into blood: but this they were now no longer able to do, for they had fallen down from their standing in their midst; and the time was come for these "waters upon which the Great Harlot sits," to rejoice over them in this the day of their prostration.
Now, when people are dead, it is usual for the living to put them out of sight, or to bury them, as soon as possible; but, in the case of these corpses "they would not suffer them to be entombed." Who would not suffer it? Their enemies? Or some others friendly towards them? Certainly not their enemies; for these did their best to destroy them, and to blot out the remembrance of them for ever.
It was the protection afforded them in the Protestant States that prevented their burial and decomposition. The refugee witnesses that fled by hundreds of thousands from the presence of the Deity of the earth and his regal adherents, settled in Holland, Britain, Protestant Germany, and America; where, under the protection of the laws, they existed as corporate societies, but bearing no testimony as of old.
Some of these governments remonstrated in their behalf which was not without influence in staying the destroyer's hand. Hence, an unburied remnant of them was permitted to remain in the breadth of the Great City -- a prostrate remnant, no longer able to testify, but waiting in silence for their resurrection to life and power.
Set at Naught
When the light began to dawn, there appears to have been a second and fuller muster of the Council, with the whole of their immediate associates among the scribes and priestly classes, all of whom would be deeply interested in the case. In their numerous and attentive presence, Jesus, after the miseries of that night, was more formally arraigned than at the hasty gathering of the previous night.
"Art thou the Christ?" said they; "tell us." Jesus knew the question was insincere. He, therefore, answered,
"If I tell you, ye will not believe; and if I also ask you, ye will not answer me nor let me go."
Then we may imagine a pause, during which whisperings would pass among the members of the Council, to the effect that at the night sitting, Jesus had openly professed his Messiahship but was now afraid to do so. His reticence now might perplex them as to their next procedure. If so, Jesus ended their perplexity by repeating the declaration of the previous night.
"Hereafter shall the Son of Man sit on the right hand of the power of God."
Eagerly catching at this, which was not sufficiently explicit for them, they all said, "Art thou then the Son of God?" -- to which Jesus signified his assent. This ended their dilemma. "We ourselves have heard of his own mouth:" what further need of legal ceremony or delay? The way was open to hand him at once over to the Roman Governor, without whose concurrence, they could not have the sentence of death carried out (for at this time the power of death had been taken away from the Jewish Council).
So, binding him as if he were a dangerous criminal, they led him away to the house of Pontius Pilate, connected with which there was a Roman "hall of judgment." Into this, Pilate having taken his seat on the bema or judgment seat, Jesus was taken by the officers and placed before Pilate, with request that there might be order for execution.
At this point, Judas reappears on the scene. He had anxiously followed the course of events, evidently expecting that Jesus, would deliver himself from the hands of his captors by the power that he knew he possessed, and which he had seen him put forth in self-preservation on more than one occasion before. When he now saw that all hope in this direction was at an end, and that Jesus was a doomed victim of authority in the hands of those to 'whom he had betrayed him, his spirit sank under the remorse excited by the full sense of what he had done.
"I have sinned in that I have betrayed the innocent blood."
He now hated the money he had made by his treachery. He felt he would give all he had to reverse the events of the past 48 hours. In vain. He could at least return the 30 pieces of silver. In a frenzy of despair, he went back to the officials in the Temple, from whom he had received the money, and threw the money before them in an agony of self-accusation. "What is that to us? See thou to that." Is it a wonder that
"Judas departed and hanged himself?"
Nazareth Revisited Ch 57
The wise in heart will receive commandments
"Have we not preached in thy name, and in thy name done many wonderful works?"
If our fitness rises no higher than an apprehension and agitation of the theory of the truth we are not fit for the kingdom of God. The truth is intended to hew us, intellectually and morally, into a certain shape: that shape is the shape of Christ.
We have him for an example, and if we do not follow his example, we shall not stand with him in the day of his glory. We are called to holiness. Now that word is a very expressive and comprehensive one: holiness is a state of cleanness, and cleanness in its moral relations consists of freedom from all that is constituted morally polluting by the law of God. That is right which God commands -- that is wrong which He forbids.
That is holy which He calls clean, and that is unholy which He disallows. There is no other rule of righteousness than that. The moral philosophy of the world is a very artificial affair. In most cases, it is an attempt to justify the commandments of God on natural principles.
Certain maxims have been brought to the notice of the world in the teaching of Christ, and men of carnal minds, utterly unsubject to the law of God, have taken hold of the mere aesthetic beauties of these things, and constructed out of them a philosophy of their own -- a standard of their own; but in point of fact they have no standard; there is no standard of right except the will of God. When men begin to talk of "the eternal fitness of things," they get into an intellectual morass. There is no standard of righteousness, but obedience to God's commandments.
God's commandments are unmistakable; they are so very simple that we are liable to forget them, and if we forget them, we cannot be saved. We must keep them in remembrance, and act upon them, especially the last. It is the doing of them that is acceptable. It is not sufficient to acknowledge them.
"Why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?"
Bro Roberts - Holiness
The Great City Babylon where our Lord was Crucified
Now, Nebuchadnezzar who was, as it were, the second founder of Babylon, which he had built for the house of the kingdom, by the might of his power, and for the honour of his majesty (Dan. iv. 30), was much interested to know what would be the fate of the kingdom over which he ruled. That he might know the thoughts of his heart (ii. 30) a symbolical representation was presented before him in a dream, illustrative of the general fortunes and consummation, of the kingdom of Babylon "in the latter days."
Hence, the kingdom of Babylon has been in continuous existence from his reign until now, for we are now living "in the latter days." It is true, that "the House of the kingdom" has not always been the Babylon, which was the beginning of Nimrod's dominion (Gen. x. 10); it has been sometimes at one place, sometimes at another, until at length Rome became "the House" of the Great City.
Various dynasties have become the inheritors of the kingdom of Babylon. After Nebuchadnezzar's, there was the silver dynasty, and the brazen dynasty, and the iron dynasty, and the clay dynasty -- five dynasties ruling over one and the same kingdom; called also, "THE KINGDOM OF MEN" (Dan. iv. 17).
This Babylonish kingdom in its latter-day manifestation, the Spirit styles apocalyptically, "that Great City Babylon;" and is the arena upon which will stand erect and complete in all its parts the entire Image, which, in these latter days, is to be smitten by THE STONE, or Angel of the Rainbow.
Now, a similar fate awaits the Roman House that in the days of Belshatzar befel the Chaldean House of this same kingdom of men. The Median father Darius, and his political son, but fleshly nephew, and Yahweh's Messiah and Shepherd -- Cyrus the Persian, besieged the Shinar House.
He dried up "the great river Euphrates" from the city; and marching their "sanctified ones" along its bed, captured the House of the Kingdom, and slew Lucifer, the Son of the Morning, with the sword (Isa. xiii. 3,17; xiv. 12; xliv. 28; xlv. l; Dan. v. 30). But in these things that were transacted against the original Babylon, there was a mystery.
Cyrus, whose Hebrew name Choresh, which is a contraction of Chayaraish, and signifies Like the Heir, was, as his name was intended to express, the type of Christ in the execution of his mission against "the Great City Babylon" of the latter days.
Yahweh's sanctified ones, the Medes and Persians, under Cyrus, were also typical of the saints, who with Christ Jesus "the Heir of all things," and "joint heirs with him," at the head of the armies of Israel, are to enter the Great City when "the great river Euphrates," in a political sense, shall be sufficiently "dried up" to admit of their passage through into the Roman House of the kingdom of men, in which they will slay the Papal Lucifer -- "the Beast and the False Prophet" -- the Little Horn that has Eyes and a Mouth speaking great things and blasphemies.
The great river Euphrates, which flows into the Great City, has dried up greatly; that the way of these kings from the Sun's risings, may be prepared -- the power of the fourth, or Ottoman, angel is now only nominal; and the Gallic Frogs have well-nigh performed their mission: what, then, remains, but that Yahweh whom we seek should suddenly come to his temple, even the Messenger of the Covenant whom we delight in? (Apoc. xvi. 12-15; Mal. iii. 1) and having broken, as a thief, into the strong man's domain, bind him with chains and cause Babylon to fall, no more again to rise and curse the world with her cruelty and deceit.
Thus did the Spirit select three of the most infamous centres of iniquity among the ancients by which to allegorize the Great City, upon the arena of which has been developed and matured the great Greek, Latin, and Protestant apostasy. It is "spiritually," or figuratively, called by these names, Sodom, Egypt, and Babylon, because of its striking resemblance to them in their beastiality, superstition, blasphemy, oppression of God's people, and fate.
Hence in Sodom, in Egypt, and in the Great City Babylon, "our Lord was crucified;" not in his own person only, but in that also of his witnesses; for what is done unto the least of his brethren, is done also unto him (Matt. xxv. 40); therefore in crucifying, or putting them to death, after their testimony was finished, he was again crucified with them in the Great City, they having been massacred in the noble service of witnessing for him against the deified usurper of his sovereignty and rights.
Peter's prompt repudiation of the impeachment appears to have thrown the bystanders off the scent; and he wandered off to the porch in the terrible uneasiness of his position. Here, after a little time, another maid called attention to him.
"This is one of them: this fellow also was with Jesus of Nazareth."
Those who were standing about the porch took up the cry, "Thou art also of them." Peter, at terrible war with himself, ejaculated, "Man, I am not." "Did I not see thee in the garden with him?" said a kinsman of Malchus, whose ear Peter had cut off. "I do not know the man," replied Peter. Again-repulsed, the loiterers leave him alone, and disconsolately hanging about for an hour in the cold and misery of the night, he finds his way back to the hall, where he becomes an object of renewed attention on the part of the group near the fire, whose suspicions of him had become excited.
They gathered round him, and protested that he must be one of Christ's disciples, for his very dialect betrayed him. Peter met this renewed suggestion with renewed emphasis of denials, cursing and swearing, and saying, "I know not this man of whom ye speak." It is probable that Peter forgot or did not realise that his words were audible in the open Council Chamber overhead. At all events, it happened that at this juncture, "the Lord (in the hand of his captors) turned and looked on Peter."
Peter noticed the movement and caught Christ's eye. There are circumstances in which a look is more impressive than the most eloquent and convincing harangue. Such a look must this have been. It was probably not so much a look of reproach as a solemn reminder. The absence of reproach would make it all the more crushing to Peter.
"Though all forsake thee, yet will not I;"
so Peter had boasted. The Lord had answered:
"Before the cock crow twice, thou shalt deny me thrice."
And lo, here was the agonising fulfilment. A look was enough to force it into Peter's inmost soul. He could not endure it. He went straight out and in the darkness and solitude of the night, poured out his broken heart in bitter tears.
Nazareth Revisited Ch 57
The house of the wicked shall be overthrown
So even supposing we were for a moment to admit that these political world-doctors could do all that they promise, we can see that what they might accomplish would be of very questionable advantage. They would bring about a state of things in which evil would reign to even a greater extent than now. If people were richer than they are now, they would become more lawless than now, more wanton, more proud, more generally disregardful of those principles whose acquaintance can only be made in circumstances of adverersity.
There would be no fear of God before their eyes.
"Our lips are our own; who is Lord over us?"-(Psalm 12:4.)
"We are the people who should make the laws; we will dispose of the earth and all things therein as we please." Such would be their cry. A spirit of Tower-of-Babel democracy would become rampant, and we should speedily have a state of things more obnoxious in the sight of God than the present, if that were possible.
I do not mean to say the present state of things is well-pleasing to Him, far from it; only the blood of well-fed wickedness is let out on every hand. The wicked punish, frustrate, and impoverish the wicked. God providentially dashes one against the other, so that they cannot combine to carry out those mad schemes which in time would extirpate all righteousness from the earth.
The schemes of the politicians, therefore, contain no blessing for the world. But the scheme with which we are identified is far different. It is one that does really involve the highest good for all mankind, and which will develop, in course of time, realities of glory and excellence far beyond the brightest visions of the most sanguine politician.
We are identified with a government that is able to conceive and carry out a government of unmixed blessing; we are identified with "another king, one Jesus," who will clear the way for true reform, by overcoming all kings, and putting down all governments, and breaking in pieces every dominion under the sun, and who will then establish his authority as the standard of universal law.
When this comes to pass-when one king enforces his power-when a righteous and single despotism brings wisdom, and love, and power, to bear in the government of the world, we shall see every difficulty touched. There will be no social or political problem too hard for solution or too insignificant for notice.
Yahweh's king will be able to do what the poor political tinkers of our day cannot do; he will bring about an equal division of wealth; he will justly diffuse and distribute the abundance of God's liberality, which is now scantily and unequally divided by the selfishness, and injustice, and impotence of man. He will do more than that; because mere plenty without wisdom to use it, would not be a blessing. Plenty with wickedness is a curse.
Therefore he will do something which these men cannot do, and never pretend to do, and never wish to do; He will teach men righteousness by the judgments of God in the earth. He will, by a period of trial and great and destructive judgments, train the nations of the earth to recognize their subordination to the Deity. He will enforce, as the first law of the world, "glory to God in the highest."
He will teach them that God must be first, before there can be true blessing. He will bring them to obedience before he bestows benefit. He will teach them wisdom, which politicians cannot do, because they know not wisdom themselves. He will teach them how to be happy, which no human power can do.
He will teach them how to make a beneficent use of things, which in the hands of wickedness are accursed; and he will abolish those standing sources of misery and poverty, of which political men complain, but which no human hand can ever get out of the way, viz., standing armies and immense fleets, the maintenance of which absorbs a great proportion of the world's wealth, and embarrasses the operations of peaceful industry.
He will abolish them by abolishing the necessity for them. Armies and fleets owe their existence to the fact that the world is divided among many governments, each of which can only hold its own against the rest by the right of might. Christ will put this plurality system of government out of the way, and erect a simple and absolute monarchy "by divine right," exercising supreme power unquestioned throughout the earth, and his iron hand will keep down all opposition for a thousand years.
He will thus bring about the possibility of beating swords into plough-shares, and spears into pruning-hooks, and for that period will exhibit the prediction of the prophets, and the hope of saints, as a blessed reality. It is idle for men to dream about such a thing now, at best all expectations that it can be realized in the present state of things can only be dreams. The facts are against them.
Political deceivers assure listening audiences that the world is getting better, and is getting towards the realisation of peaceful principles, when actually there are more armed men in the world now than there ever have been in the whole course of the world's history! and there is a greater tendency to, and danger of war, than there ever has been in recent times! The increase of these armaments going on before our eyes, is itself a disproof of the fair speeches and plausible theories by which they seek to secure the votes of electors.Ambassador of the Coming Age, Jan 1869
I will tell thee the mystery of the woman
In Apoc. xiv. 8, this Great city is styled BABYLON, for a like reason that it is called Sodom and Egypt. It is spiritually styled Babylon; for it is as much a city of confusion as was the original Babylon when the language of mankind was confounded in the days of Nimrod.
Its name signifies confusion; and certainly, if ever there was a city in which "confusion worse confounded" was enthroned, "the Great City" is that domain. In Apoc. xviii. 10,21, it is styled, "that Great City Babylon," to be hereafter "divided" under the Seventh Vial "into three parts" (Apoc. xvi. 19).
In ch. xvii, this Great City is likened to a Drunken Harlot, gorgeously arrayed, and sitting upon a Scarlet-colored Beast, the symbol of the power over which she reigns (verse 18). Her name is emblazoned in the fifth verse as, "MYSTERY, Babylon the Great, the Mother of Harlots and Abominations of the Earth." She is styled "Mystery," because she is the embodiment of that "Mystery of Iniquity," which Paul says, was working at the time he was writing (2 Thess. ii. 7).
Scaliger testifies that "Mystery" was once worn as an inscription on the Pope's tiara; but afterwards removed by Julius III. The term "Mother," as applied to the Great City in its ecclesiastical relations is recognized by all. As Jerusalem is the Mother of all the Saints; so Rome is the Mother of all their enemies -- "Romana Ecclesia," says the Council of Trent, "quae, omnium Ecclesiarum Mater est et Magistra" -- The Roman Church, which is the MOTHER and MISTRESS of all churches.
The Popes themselves seem determined that there shall be no lack of evidence to prove the identity of the ecclesiastical polity of which they are the deified head, with the apocalyptical Great City Babylon.
On occasion of the last Jubilee a medal was struck, a copy of which is given in Elliott. It is the size of a quarter of a dollar; on one face, is the effigy of Leo XII; and on the obverse, a Woman, symbolizing the Roman Church, sitting on a globe, with rays of glory on her head, a cross in the left hand, and a cup, signed with a cross in its mouth, in her extended right hand, as if presenting it to be drunk. Beneath her is the date, and around her face the legend "Sedet super Universam. Anno Iubi. MDCCCXXV." -- She sits upon the world.
In the year of Jubilee, 1825 -- (Apoc. xvii. 4,15). Yes, she sits upon the world, or "upon many waters," the shameless strumpet of the unmeasured court; and like certain notorious prostitutes of pagan times, bears her ignoble name upon her forehead.*
[* "In allusion," says Bp. Newton, of whose church she is Mother, "to the practice of some notorious prostitutes who had their names written on a label upon their foreheads, as we may collect from ancient authors. Thus Seneca says, Nomen tuum pepenit in fronte: pretia stupri accepisti -- 'Thy name hath hung upon thy forehead: thou hast received the reward of thy dishonour.'"]
But the Great City is not only spiritually styled Babylon because of the confusion of spiritual speech that obtains among all the "Names and Denominations" of which it is ecclesiastically constituted; but because it is the modern development of the same power that existed in the days of the Chaldean Babylon; whose golden head, for the time being, was the Dynasty of Nebuchadnezzar: and because a similar fate awaits her.
It is, I say, the same power, only modified by time and circumstances. I do not say by place as well as by time and circumstances; for, when the Gogue of Ezekiel shall have attained to the full extent of his latter day dominion, much of Babylonia, even more than he now possesses, will be his. He will be, in the full manifestation of his power, the very apex of the Little Horn of the Goat -- the Hellenistic Horn of the Great City, which even now includes the site of Babylon in its domain.
In remembrance of Me
Brethren are very unwise who neglect or treat lightly the meeting for breaking of bread. Such conduct is suicidal. The institution is of Christ-it has been arranged as a restorative-a divine tonic for the jaded spiritual man after six days' battling with an evil world.
Who does not feel himself run down on the Saturday night, and, as the result of Sunday's exercises, refreshed and invigorated on the Monday morning? Is it rash to say that without this weekly reminder of Christ many of us would long since have slipped away from the truth?
Truly, it is a merciful ordinance, and one for which we should be devoutly thankful. Let us not despise it. Let each one who attends to it see that he does not mar the good which Christ intended this institution to yield. It is very easy to do this.
Here are a few ways in which it can be done: Come in late, and chatter after the service has commenced. Show ourselves inattentive to the ministrations of the presiding and exhorting brethren (this may be done by yawning, giggling, talking, taking out the watch every few minutes, etc.).
Find fault after the meeting is over with everything that has been done. Send all with whom we come in contact home with their minds full of irritating, absorbing, superfluous items best unknown. On the other hand, if we would co-operate with Christ in making the meeting pleasurable and edifying, then let us shun these things, and show ourselves true worshippers-earnest, zealous, reverential, grateful, loving, anxious to make the meeting to all a source of comfort and upbuilding.
Bro AT Jannaway
"Set at Naught."
Sentence of death upon Christ having been resolved on, though not formally passed, by the Jewish Council (and the Council having retired), the officers of the court who had charge of Jesus felt at liberty to make brutal sport of their noble victim. The head swims at the indignities heaped upon him.
Some spat upon him: if personal humiliation could be deeper or more bitter, it was when they blindfolded him, and struck him, first one and then another, probably with foot and fist promiscuously, calling upon him in ribald mirth to name the smiter in the exercise of what to them was but his professed supernatural power.
The very servants caught their spirit, and made blows at him with open palm on the cheek as they could get a chance. Think of this, carried on at intervals through the sleepless night. What a preparation for the awful morrow! Early in these heart-breaking transactions, the maid-servant who kept the doors and had admitted Peter, observed him cowering among the servants at a fire in the waiting hall, outside the Council Chamber of the palace.
The waiting-hall was on a lower level than the Council Chamber, but within view of the chamber through the pillars, so that what was said and done in one place could be heard and seen from the other. The maid-servant, looking at Peter narrowly, said,
"Thou also wast with Jesus of Nazareth."
Peter was 'taken aback. He had come -- not as one of Christ's disciples, but as a neutral onlooker, "to see the end," as it is expressed. He had obtained admittance to the palace as an acquaintance of John, who "knew the high priest." Painful curiosity had prompted him to get thus near the Lord in his last moments. Not as a declared friend, but as a disciple incognito he had "followed afar off," and crept into the place of his Lord's humiliation.
Though he had protested that he would follow him to death, he felt very unlike it now, in the presence of scoffing enemies, and in the cold of midnight, after a fatiguing day, and in the confused state of the faculties which succeeds to such snatches of sleep as he had had in the Garden of Gethsemane while Christ was praying.
The servant-maid's challenge, therefore, threw him off his balance altogether. Acknowledgment of his connection with Christ would likely lead to participation in his fate. From this he shrank in the utter weakness of this unguarded hour. It was not wickedness; it was the instinct of self-preservation acting without control. Wickedness would have led him to take part, like Judas, in the plans to destroy Christ. This was furthest from his thoughts. At the same time, he felt unable to own to discipleship.
He could but deny the maid-servant's statement, and seek refuge in professed ignorance of her meaning. "I know not what thou sayest." It was a terrible failure under trial, but it was a failure with ameliorating circumstances, which secured his forgiveness. It was a failure that actually qualified him in one way for the work he had to do, as the chosen mouth-piece of the Apostolic witnesses of Christ's resurrection. It humbled himself in his own eyes for ever, and fitted him to wear the honours of his position afterwards, in which it was fitting that God only should be exalted.
Nazareth Revisited Ch 57
The "Great City Where our Lord was Crucified"
It was in the plateia, or Breadth, of the GREAT CITY, the witnesses were to be killed and to lie unburied for three days and a half. This is the first place where the phrase, the Great City, occurs in the apocalypse. It is evidently both a city and a country; for it is said to be "called spiritually Sodom and Egypt."
The literal Sodom sunk into the abyss in the days of Abraham; it cannot, therefore, be the city of Lot. But, though destroyed, its memorial remains in the Daughters of Sodom. Since its destruction, the city has "spiritually" existed again in Jerusalem, which was "spiritually called Sodom," because of the Sodomitish abominations of her rulers and citizens.
They were declared to be "a sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a seed of evil doers, children that are corrupters; who had forsaken Yahweh; provoked the Holy One of Israel; and gone away backward," or become apostate: so that "the whole head was sick, and the whole heart faint. From the sole of the" nation's "foot even unto the head, there was no soundness in it; but wounds and bruises and putrifying sores" (Isa. i. 4-10).
Hence, because of this moral likeness to Sodom and Gomorrha, the rulers and people were styled "the rulers of Sodom," and "the people of Gomorrha;" and would have met with the fate of those cities, but for the saving influence of "a very small remnant."
Now Jerusalem as a daughter of Sodom, is illustrative of the moral condition of the Great City in whose breadth the witnesses were slain. It is spiritually called Sodom, because its rulers and people are the moral counterpart of the Jews in their worst condition, upon whom that name was imposed because they were even worse than "the cities of the plain" (Matt. xi. 23,24).
There is nothing affirmed by Isaiah of Jerusalem as a spiritual Sodom, which is not literally descriptive of the uncleanness and filth of the Antichristian city and dominion. It is spiritually, or allegorically, styled Sodom, because of its moral likeness thereto, and because, being destitute of even "a very small remnant," the like fate is decreed against it.
The original Sodom suddenly went down crashing into hell; so, when the Angel of the Bow, Yahweh Elohim, shall judge the Great City, "as a great millstone cast into the sea," she will go down surging and plunging into her subterranean abyss, and "be found no more at all" (Apoc. xviii. 21).
But, the Great City is also allegorically styled "Egypt". It is the great "House of Bondage" in which Israel after the flesh, and the "very small remnant," not of the city, but trampled in it, "the Israel of the Deity," are sojourning, and waiting for deliverance. It is also spiritual Egypt because of its moral likeness to the literal land of Mitzraim.
Its superstition, its ignorance of Yahweh, its hatred and oppression of his people, its hardness of heart, its sorcery, adulteries and murders, its darkness that may be felt -- transcend the infamy of Pharaoh and his hosts in these abominations. The Great City is, therefore, well and truly styled Egypt.
But it is also thus allegorized, because the plagues of Egypt await her; and because, the Eternal Spirit will judge her to an overthrow, as terrible and effectual in the judgment as when he judged the Egyptians by the hand of Moses.
This Sodom-and-Egypt territorial arena of Gentilism is the Great City "where also our Lord was crucified." This is indicative of the empire allegorized by "Sodom and Egypt." Christ was crucified by Rome without the walls of Jerusalem. He was, therefore, crucified in a province of the Roman empire; for the Jews then inhabiting Palestine earnestly testified that they had no other king than Caesar (John xix. 15). Hence, the Great City is the empire of Rome, whose frontiers were decreed by Caracalla to be the limits of the city.
The empire and city, then, are coextensive; in other words, they are the same. In this Great City, three thousand miles in one direction, and two thousand in another, the personal and mystical Christs were both crucified, or put to death by violence of the Fourth Beast power -- Jesus in Palestine; and the witnesses of Jesus in the plateia, or western breadth thereof -- the special jurisdiction of Antichrist.
Rome and the Bible
The Council of Trent, the authorative expounder of the deepest thoughts of the Roman Mother of all the Abominations of the Earth, has decreed that,
"As it is evident that the free use of the Bible will produce more harm than good, all bishops, curates, and confessors are enjoined not to allow it to be read by any but such only to whom its perusal can do no harm, and to refuse absolution to such as shall read it without permission."-Council Trent, Sess. IV. De Lib. Prohib. Reg. IV.
Origin of "Twelve Lectures".
We returned to Huddersfield on the 15th of July, 1861. My secular avocation I always regarded as a mere accessory to what the Bible had brought me to look upon as the main business of life - that of preparing for the Lord's use in the higher existence to which he would introduce the accepted at his coming.
I had no ambitions, and no purposes to serve beyond getting through faithfully in this line. The idea of saving money, or aiming at a competency, or even at getting up or on in my profession, was the furthest from my thoughts. I regarded such a policy as out of reach, and out of question in those seeking to be faithful servants of the Lord in this day of darkness and small things, when we are called upon to lay ourselves upon the altar, in the maintenance of a testimony for the truth, and the assistance of the needy.
Therefore, the first thing we did on returning to Huddersfield was to arrange for the resumption of the Sunday operations connected with this object: that is, after we were re-settled. This re-settlement was a very simple affair. We had not saved enough to take up house again at once, so we took apartments in a private temperance hotel in Queen Street, kept by a Campbellite of the name of Butler, a round-headed, energetic Yorkshireman.
This hotel was a very quiet affair - scarcely more than a private lodging-house. But there were only two of us, and the two rooms placed at our disposal were ample enough, so that we were nicely suited, and for a while greatly enjoyed the change from out wandering life.
The landlord had a little knowledge of Dr. Thomas from Campbellite writings and felt a kindly, cousin-like interest in our devotedness to him; and the landlady, without much intelligence in the matter, one way or other, was a kindly, motherly person, of somewhat portly dimensions, and a general style that did not savour of over-fastidiousness in person or otherwise.
She had a son John who proved an item in the evolution of things. He was in a draper's shop (if I recollect right), and did not like his occupation. I suggested to him that he should learn shorthand and get into newspaper work by taking part of my duties in an informal way. He was delighted with the idea, which was favoured by both father and mother.
I mentioned the matter to my employer, and he was well pleased that the young man should acquire experience in the way proposed by working without salary. I had no idea at the time what use this arrangement would be to me. I doubt if Twelve Lectures would have been written apart from it, for I could not have commanded the necessary leisure if I had not had an assistant to take the police-court drudgery, which my young friend was soon ready for.
I have laid my hand upon an ecclesial minute-book, commenced a fortnight after our return. From this I discovered what I had forgotten, that when I came through on a visit to Huddersfield from York, as recorded in the last chapter, I found two men and the wife of one of them ready for immersion as the result of the Senior schoolroom effort, and baptised them in Lockwood baths, which was the commencement of the Huddersfield ecclesia.
The following entry occurs in said minute book under the heading of "Origin of meeting": --
"In the month of October and the following months of the year 1860, ___________ delivered a course of eight public lectures in Senior's schoolroom, East Parade, Huddersfield, to which attention had been attracted by previous outdoor labours. The subjects related to 'the things concerning the Kingdom of God and the name of Jesus Christ.' The lectures aroused the attention of several individuals, who were afterwards supplied with copies of Elpis Israel, by John Thomas, M.D., of America.
The perusal of this work led to conviction, and on Sunday, the 11th day of May, 1861, Mr. Josiah Rhodes and Mr. John William Kaye and his wife were baptised at Lockwood baths by ________ at their own retquest. These individuals were joined by brother Clisset, from Heckmondwike, who had up to that time been meeting with the ecclesia assembling at Halifax, which is more distant from Heckmondwike than Huddersfield. On July 15th, brother and sister _______ returned from a six months' absence from Huddersfield, and the ecclesia in Huddersfield was thus increased in numbers to six.
My days and my ways Ch 18
Rome Rejoices at their Slaughter - Rev 11: 10.
The massacre with which they were overwhelmed at the outbreak of the war against them in 1572, and which was then supposed to have entirely ruined them, when known in Rome was a cause of great joy to their enemies in that city.
When the letters of the Pope's legate residing at the Court of Charles IX, were read in the assembly of the cardinals, by which he assured the Pope that all was transacted by the express will and command of the French king, it was immediately decreed that the pope should march with his cardinals to the church of St. Mark, and in the most solemn manner give thanks to God for so great a blessing conferred on the See of Rome and the "Christian World;" and that on the Monday after, solemn mass should be celebrated in the church of Minerva, at which Gregory XIII, and the cardinals were present; and that a jubilee should be published throughout the whole of "Christendom," and the cause of it declared to be, to return thanks to God for the extirpation of the enemies of the truth and the church in France.
In the evening, the cannon of St. Angelo were fired to testify the public joy; the whole city illuminated with bonfires; and no one sign of rejoicing omitted that was usually made for the greatest victories obtained in favor of the Roman church. In addition to this medals were struck commemorative of the joyous event.
A copy of it is before me in Elliott's work, taken from Sir. W. Cockburn's work on the Massacre. It is about two inches and five eighths diameter. On one face is the bust of the Roman deity, Gregory XIII; and on the obverse a winged angel with an uplifted cross in the left hand, and a drawn two edged sword in the right, symbolizing the papal destroyers of "the earth" in France.
Men, women, and children are before the angel dead, dying, falling, and about to fall by his sword; while in the background is a woman, with uplifted arms supporting a mantle, and looking complacently upon the massacre, symbolizing the Catholic church. On the margin is the legend, "Ugonottorum Strages, 1572" -- The Massacre of the Hugonots, 1572.
These medals were for free distribution to one another commemorative of the death blow inflicted upon the hitherto unconquered enemies of the catholic idolatry. Thus was fulfilled the tenth verse of this eleventh chapter, saying, "They that dwell upon the earth shall rejoice over them and make merry, and shall send gifts (of medals) one to another; because these two prophets tormented them that dwelt upon the earth."
The conquest and symbolic death of the witnessing prophets, then, was illustrated by the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes, Oct. 23, A.D. 1685. This was the conviction of the whole anti-papal world at the time. The poor sufferers in France especially who survived, were of opinion that these unequalled persecutions were the slaying of the witnesses; and they were, therefore, in high expectation looking for the end of the "three days and a half," during which they were to continue politically dead, though not buried, or excluded from the observation of their merciless destroyers.
Peter Jurieu, a Hugonot pastor, whose work, entitled, "The Accomplishment of the Scripture Prophecies," was published in English two years after the Revocation, 178 years ago, treating on the Resurrection of the Witnesses; the Fall of the Tenth of the City; and so forth, says:
"It is a truth which must be held as certain (being one of the keys of the Revelation) that the City, the Great City, signifies, in this book, not Rome alone, but Rome in conjunction with its empire; the name of this great city is Babylon."
"This being supposed and proved, that the city is the whole Babylonish and Antichristian empire, it must be remembered, that this empire of Antichrist is made up of Ten Kingdoms, and of ten kings, who must give their power to the beast. A tenth of the city fell, i.e., one of these ten kingdoms which make up the Great City, the Babylonish empire, shall forsake it." "Now, what is this tenth of the city which shall fall? In my opinion we cannot doubt that it is France."
The "kings who yet remain under the empire of Rome must break with her, leave her solitary and desolate. But who must begin this last revolt? It is most probable that France shall." "Seeing the tenth of the city which must fall is France, this gives me some hopes that the death of the two witnesses hath a particular relation to this kingdom. It is the street, or place of this City, i.e., the most fair and eminent part of it. The witnesses must remain dead upon this street, and upon it they must be raised again.
And as the death of the witnesses and their resurrection hath a relation to the kingdom of France, it may well fall out, that we may not be far distant from the time of the resurrection of the witnesses, seeing that the three years and a half of their death, are either begun, or will begin shortly.
"I lay not down the exact time of the resurrection of the witnesses. I do not say it shall be exactly in such a year; for I have declared, and do still declare, that I know not from what time God shall please to begin the reckoning of the three years and a half; not but I strongly hope that God intends to begin it at the time of the Revocation of the Edict of Nantes, but this does not arise to a full assurance."
Do not get into debt.
"Owe no man anything but love"; it is an apostolic precept. You can be under a debt of gratitude as much as you like, but keep money out of the obligation; this is good advice, even apart from precept, but here is precept, therefore a binding rule on those who submit to apostolic law.
There are many evils connected with debt.
"The borrower is servant to the lender."
The debt is something between you which has power to cloud friendship; it is always an anxiety; a worm that gnaws the roots of joy. At last, perhaps, it is a seed of hatred and strife. Keep the air clear of debt, and the sun will have a better chance. But some say we cannot help it, and doubtless there are times when people cannot help it, but in ninety-nine cases out of a hundred they can help it, by denying themselves.
The advantages that come of the borrowing are very dearly bought, in a higher than a commercial sense. Most borrowers find that out by experience, but it is better not to let experience teach in this matter, since we have a command; it is better to obey the command and not to get into debt; a recognition of duty in this matter will greatly help.
There is nothing like duty as the motive principle of life; applied to this matter, it would save worlds of trouble. Acting on this principle of not getting into debt, people would be saved much trouble. Once get into debt, the difficulty of getting out is greater than dreamt of, but some people do not think about it. They see an opportunity; they conceive a desire in a certain direction; and borrowing is as easy with them as possible.
This is wrong. They have no business to handle money that is not their own; they are not sure they will live to repay; their health may fail, prospects may desert them and the lender is robbed, and that the lender may have plenty is no weakening of the obligation to give him his own. In our circumstances, it is specially important to be particular on this point. The Lord may be upon us any day, and how discomfiting for him to find us with hands and feet tied in debt and unable to do anything for his name, for the burden we have taken on our shoulders.
There is nothing but wisdom in this precept: a noble-hearted lender may forgive debt; but we must not presume on this; nay, rather refuse to be forgiven and insist on the advantage of being free and independent. Shut your ears to flattering projects. Say not, "I will pay up in a year." Ye know not the year is yours. Even if ye live, things may go wrong, and ye in a fix will have to say with humiliation, "I would pay but I cannot."
Traffic in love without limit, for love is the fulfilling of the law. We are allowed to contract indefinite obligations in this direction; the interest is sweet to the payer and receiver, and leaves a man richer in the article when paid. At the same time, beware of counterfeits; beware of such as talk of love, and on the strength of it get into debt and bear false witness.
Love is the fulfilling of the law only in the sense that it is the sentiment that leads to the spontaneous doing of what the law enjoins, and abstinence from what it forbids. It will not do to put love in the place of obedience; this is characteristic of the false religions of the day. We must always guard against the misapplication of good principles, that we may see the right fulfilment of all in the Kingdom of God.
Bro Roberts - Submission to human law
When the disciples saw that Jesus was fully arrested, they fled. The record is that
"they forsook him and fled."
This is one drop more bitter. It seems to imply that they might have gone with him if their faithfulness to Christ had prevailed over their personal fears. Deserted by friends, and in the hands of enemies who sought his life, what situation could be more desolate? Perhaps the one that followed, when friendship itself repudiated him in the presence of his foes.
Peter and John seem to have rallied themselves after a temporary flight. They turned back, and followed the band that were returning to Jerusalem with Christ. They did so. however, at a safe distance. They followed "afar off," yet sufficiently near to notice the direction taken by the sinister procession.
The high priest (who that year was Caiaphas), had summoned the chief priests and elders and scribes to wait the result. They were all assembled in his official palace -- one of the leading public buildings in Jerusalem; but the band stopped first at the house of Annas, who was father-in-law to the high priest. Why they did so we may only conjecture.
Annas, as the high priest's father-in-law, and associate in the high-priesthood, would be a man of high consideration in the city; and possibly the captain of the band thought the capture of Jesus would be a very acceptable piece of news to him, and a look at him a gratification to his curiosity, seeing they all hated him and had for some time plotted his death.
It was only for a moment: Annas sent them on at once to the palace, where the whole council were eagerly waiting their expected prey. Hearing the band approach and enter, they were all attention, and took their places in the council room. They feared the Nazarene, though they hated him: and all they had heard of his wonderful works had inspired them with a high interest in his person, though it was but the scared interest of a hateful curiosity.
Here he was a manacled prisoner in their hands. Was not this a proof that he was a pretender, and not the true Messiah? Could the true Messiah be arrested? So they doubtless reasoned, to their own satisfaction, as they sharpened their eyes on the sad and dejected man who stood before them, under the high vaulted roof of a stately chamber, with seats for 70 old men ranged in crescentic form at one end, the horns of the crescent reaching each side of the hall towards the middle.
The high priest, as mouthpiece of the body, interrogated the prisoner. How many disciples had he? What did he teach? Jesus was in no mood to answer useless questions. He therefore mildly said,
"I spake openly to the world: I ever taught in the synagogue and in the temple, whither the Jews always resort. In secret have I said nothing. Why askest thou me? Ask them who heard me, what I have said unto them: behold, they know what I said."
This meek and reasonable answer sounded insulting to those accustomed to the cringing subserviency shown in all ages and countries to the holders of power. An officious officer of the court avenged the indignity by slapping Jesus on the face with his hand, and asking,
"Answerest thou the high priest so?"
Boils the blood at this monstrous official sacrilege? Prays the heart for the vengeance that paralysed Jeroboam's arm uplifted to sieze a prophet who uttered the word of the Lord against his idolatrous altar? The prayer will have its answer shortly, when the insulted Son of Man appears "in flaming fire, taking vengeance," and when these very men will see, in terror, the victim of their cruelty enthroned in glory as Israel's King and Sovereign of all earth.
As yet, it was not the time to show the Father's anger, or interfere with the mission of malice. The officer felt none the worse for his presumptuous sacrilege, but rather the better, as he looked toward the high priest for the approval of his zeal.
Jesus replied in meekness:
"If I have spoken evil, bear witness of the evil; but if well, why smitest thou me?"
The high priest then enquired if there were no witnesses? Those who had the matter in charge called several who had been manufactured beforehand, official false witnesses -- men ready to say anything required by authority. One said one thing; another, another; but their statements were so incoherent, so improbable, and so inconsistent with each other, that the council could not for very shame profess to act on them.
Jesus stood silent as they tried in vain to inculpate him. At last, the high priest, in a dilemma, addressed himself directly to Christ again, in the hope of eliciting something against him.
"Answerest thou nothing? What is it that these witness against thee?"
To this most improper question, from a judge to an unconvicted prisoner, Jesus made no response, and the court was non-plussed. Jesus might have foiled them to the last if the high priest had not thereupon put a question in a form which compelled him to answer, and which at the same time furnished an accusation upon which it was glorious to die.
Rising in his place, and fixing his eyes on Christ, he said, in a powerful voice,
"I adjure thee by the living God that thou tell us whether thou be the Christ, the Son of God." "Art thou the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?"
"Thou hast said (that is, thou hast said the truth), I am; and hereafter ye shall see the Son of Man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven."
At this the high priest professed to be unutterably shocked. He tore his clothes, according to the Eastern practice, and with dolorous emphasis exclaimed,
"He hath spoken blasphemy: what further need have we of witnesses?"
He then appealed to the council for their verdict. They had but one answer: "Guilty,' and but one sentence, "Death." The council was the supreme authority in the Jewish nation at this time, in all Jewish affairs: but being subject to Rome, they could not inflict death without the sanction of the Roman Governor. Consequently, it was needful to apply to Pilate, who was governor in Jerusalem at the time; which they arranged to do as soon as it was daylight.
Nazareth Revisited Ch 56
Corpses unburied (awaiting resusitation) - Rev 11: 8.
The execution of this decree [revoking the edict of Nantes] was terrible, and its consequences most deplorable. Many were cruelly tortured and put to death; many were imprisoned or sent to the galleys; dragoons, "the basest troops of the kingdom, fellows that would stick at nothing," were quartered upon them, who insulted and pillaged them, in order to force them to change their religion.
Terror and dread marched before them, and the cruelties of 1572 were enacted over again.
"Die or be catholics!"
was the war-cry of these savages who executed the behests of the Little Horn. M. Claude, in his "Short Account," published in 1686, says:
"Amidst a thousand hideous lamentations and horrid blasphemies, they hung men and women by the hair of their heads, or by the feet, to the roofs of their chambers; or to the racks in the chimneys, and there smoked them with wisps of wet hay, till they were no longer able to bear it; and when they took them down, if they would not sign, they immediately hung them up again. They plucked off the hair of their heads and beards with pincers, till they left none remaining.
"They threw them on great fires kindled on purpose, and did not pull them out till they were half roasted. They plunged them again and again into wells, from whence they would not take them up till they had promised to renounce their religion. They bound them as they do criminals put to the rack, and in this posture, with a funnel poured wine down their throats, till the fumes of it depriving them of reason, they were made to say they were catholics.
They stripped them naked, and after having offered them a thousand indignities, they stuck them all over with pins. They lanced them with penknives, and sometimes with red hot pincers took them by the nose, and so dragged them about the room till they promised to turn catholics.
They bastinadoed them most cruelly, and then dragged them thus bruised to the churches, where this forced appearance was accounted abjuration. They kept them from sleeping seven or eight days together; they tormented them in a thousand ways. They tied them to bed posts, and ravished their wives and daughters before their eyes. They plucked off the nails from the fingers and toes of some; and blew both men and women up with bellows till they were ready to burst."
Such were the infamous dragoonings by which the Earth was subdued and silenced by the beast of the abyss.
A million of them are said to have emigrated into other countries; and to have carried with them two hundred millions of money, besides their skill in arts and manufactures. The flame was smothered, but the embers remained, yet again to be fanned into a terrible and consuming conflagration. But for the present they were prostrated, as "corpses upon the breadth of the Great City spiritually styled Sodom and Egypt."
Such, then, was the war by which they were overcome and put to death. It continued with intermissions during a period of a hundred and thirteen years from A.D. 1572. But although their testimony was silenced, and they were as dead "among the peoples, and tribes, and tongues, and nations," upon which the Great Harlot sits in reeling instability, "drunk with the blood of the saints AND with the blood of the witnesses of Jesus" -- their inanimate polities did not suffer dissolution.
Their corpses remained entire. Communities of them still were seen in "the breadth of the Great City" awaiting "spirit of life from the Deity" to break in upon them for their resuscitation.
The one body
The perfect, complete, glorious body of Christ will not be seen till put together in all its parts at his coming, when he will present it to himself
"a glorious ecclesia, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing."
It is now but being developed. The merest fragment exists in our day. To look on that fragment as the body of Christ would be a mistake calculated to inspire disgust and destroy heart in the whole matter. It is as when a manufacturer is getting up a splendid article to send to an international exhibition. It is got up in pieces; and an unskilled eye, seeing one of those pieces in the grimy workshop, unfinished and among dirt and litter, would form a very unfavourable idea of it.
If he were ignorant of the plan and the pieces, he would be disgusted to be told that that unsightly piece of metal was to dazzle the eyes of courtiers at the world's fair. At present we are in the polishing shop; and we are but a very minute part of the mechanism -- as it were a bolt or pin.
The eye of intelligence looks at the situation and is not disappointed because things are at present so unartistic, so unlovely, so un-Christlike, in many ways.
The world looks not with the eye of intelligence, but looks at Christ's work in the workshop stage and jeers. Well, we can afford to bear this.
We know that a glorious work is being done, and that all who profess the truth are not Christlike; that there is, nevertheless, being developed by the truth a people, here and there, who will form constituents of that great body Christ, in which there will be all symmetry and sympathy.
We look forward, with the eye of faith, to the complete body -- the principal members of which are now in the dust. Meanwhile, as regard the duties of our present position, we accept the professed friends of Christ, as the body of Christ in our day, towards which we are to be faithful and kind -- "good unto all men," but specially those who are of the household of faith.
We know not who are Christ's. We must leave that to the judge of all the earth, who will do right. We must, in the dullness and bitterness of the time, do our duty, even unto kindness to the unthankful and the evil, in the full prospect of that day when, if we thus sow to the Spirit, we shall reap life and everlasting joy.
But the time had not come. It was the time for humiliation and death, yet a time when it might be shown it was the Son of God's surrender to the wisdom of God, and not the victory of a wretched man's cupidity, that had placed power on the side of the armed ruffians who were seeking his life.
The latter were made to feel this as they gathered themselves up from the ground and stood with Judas a second time in the presence of this extraordinary man whom they desired to get into their possession. They were silent for a moment. Then Jesus said again, "Whom seek ye?" They repeated, "Jesus of Nazareth" His answer was,
"I have told you that I am he; if therefore ye seek me, let these (the disciples) go their way."
Upon this they seized him.
Peter could not quietly submit to this. He had drawn one of the two swords referred to at the table, and flourishing it, he excitedly enquired of Jesus if he should smite. Without waiting an answer, he brought it down over the head of one of the company, who proved to be Malchus, a servant of the high priest, cutting off his right ear. Jesus had an instant word for Peter and for Malchus. To Peter he said,
"Put up again thy sword into its place, for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword. The cup which my Father hath given me to drink, shall I not drink it?" "Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels? But how then shall the Scriptures be fulfilled that this must be."
To Malthus he said. "Suffer ye thus far," and touched his ear and healed him.
How impressive is the moral grandeur that could not only teach and practice submission to evil under circumstances so provocative of resentment, but that could at the same moment confer a benefaction on one of his murderers. This was not only "enduring the cross for the joy set before him" (the work of faith); it was the crowning grace of charity added to faith and hope; in which he hath set us an example that we should follow in his steps. It was not only that "when he was reviled, he reviled not again," but he "did good to the unthankful and the evil," which is a higher degree of excellence.
There yet withal followed a protest against the triumph of pure wickedness, which we cannot but feel to be pleasing, and some mollification of the pain caused by the spectacle of transcendent excellence overpowered by mere villainy. The protest came from the same lips that commanded Peter's submission:
"Are ye come out as against a thief with swords and staves for to take me? I sat daily with ye teaching in the temple, and ye laid no hold on me."
What reasonable answer could be expected at the hands of enmity? The Lord gave his own answer:
"The Scripture must be fulfilled;" "This is your hour, and the power of darkness."
The officers tightened their hold on their surrendering victim. The "power of darkness" for the moment prevailed. The thongs reserved for the worst of mankind were fastened on hands only beneficent and righteous; and he who had done nothing but good among his enemies was led away bound, and insulted like a common felon.
They might have spared him the indignity of bonds had they known. He was no common prisoner who would try to make his escape. He went of his own will to prison and to death, "for the love wherewith he loved us."
Faith only can endure the heart-breaking scene. Its meaning soothes and upholds:
"Behold the Lamb of God, that taketh away the sin of the world."
The enemies of Christ were only actors in the scene, though at the same time acting the perfectly witting part of malice and wickedness. As Peter afterwards told them,
"Those things which God before had showed by the mouth of all his prophets, that Christ should suffer, he so fulfilled" (Acts iii. 18).
By "wicked hands" they took him; but it was
"by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God"
that they had the opportunity (Acts ii. 22; iv. 27, 28).
Nazareth Revisited Ch 56
"He that is dead (or hath died-R. V) is freed from sin" (Rom. 6:7).
This does not mean that sin releases all hold upon a man as soon as he passes out of being. Death tightens or consummates sin's grasp. Man, while living, is in a hundred ways the victim of sin, but when death arrives sin's mastery is complete.
To understand Paul we must go backward and forward in his argument. His argument concerns living people (people actually alive though symbolically dead), and is carried on with a risen, immortalised Saviour in view.
The chapter opens with reference to the duty of saints in abstaining from unrighteousness, and proceeds to give the reason why. Baptism, the Apostle explains, is a symbolical dying with Christ, to the end that the baptised ones might, through their union with him, actually attain unto his present unending life.
Hence, whilst awaiting this life, the Apostle argues, the baptised ones should walk in a manner becoming it-"in newness of life."
Christ's death, Paul shows, was a condemnation of sin's nature ("our old man"), and this condemnation was a necessary prelude to a deliverance from it. The sixth chapter is, in brief, a disquisition on the nature which we have, and that to which we hope to attain, and the consistency of our now striving to bring forth moral fruits harmonious with the prospective immortal state.
The seventh verse may be paraphrased thus: He that hath symbolically died hath been symbolically delivered from the consequences of sin. (For another example see Gal. 2:20.) As to whether we are to be actually delivered is conditional upon our now yielding up ourselves to the claims of holiness. The revised version makes the meaning of the chapter more clear..
Bro AT Jannaway
The Christadelphian, Jul 1901
Bringeth forth his fruit
This is what John said-
"Bring forth FRUITS. Every tree that bringeth not forth fruit is cut down and cast into the fire" (Jn. 15:2).
This is the test. "Faith without works is dead." Where is our fruit? What do we have to show? What have we done, what are we doing, for God?
Truly at best we are unprofitable servants, and we cannot be discouraged if our best seems very little, as long as we can honestly say it IS our most and our best. *
His leaf shall not wither
Here is the real test of the wisdom of anything. What is the END? Will it last? Are we building for eternity? Or are we building on sand? Is the ultimate result of our course life or death?
Planning and providing for the future is recognized in the world as the difference between thoughtful intelligence and improvident stupidity, yet the REAL planning and preparing for the future almost everyone neglects.
But how soon health fails, and life comes face to face with death, and it is all over, and one more sinks into an endless grave-
"This their way is their folly" (Psa. 49:13).
But, "HIS leaf shall not wither." He, and he alone, has really planned for the future, and the future is his-in glorious, endless immensity!*
*Bro Growcott - The Psalms
When they < may> have finished their testimony Rev 11:7.
I have shown before that there were frequent wars, in which they smote the earth with plagues as often as they willed.
But, this at the end of "their days of the prophecy" was a special war, resulting as no previous wars had hitherto done, namely, the putting of them to death in the symbolic sense of the prophecy.
This war was to supervene upon their finishing their testimony hotan telesosi, "when they may have finished their testimony" for Jesus Christ, and against the Antichrist. The testimony concerning the faith was silenced first; afterwards, that against the Antichrist, and for civil and religious freedom.
"The Earth" maintained the conflict longest, having been energized by the accession of new life from the antipapal rebellion of the Lutherans and Calvinists. These not being of the Holy City, but advocates of a reformed national system of religion, were prepared to draw the sword against the papal powers with potent, though not universally subversive results.
After a lapse of twelve hundred years, these sturdy combatants arose to disturb the peace, in which the worshippers of the Roman God were glorifying themselves greatly.
They fought valiantly, but did not conquer: and, though in Germany, Holland, Denmark, Sweden, Switzerland, and Britain, they established governments independent of "the God of the earth;" yet, in all the Breadth of the Great City -- epi tes plateias poleos tes megales, which is allegorically styled Sodom and Egypt, -- in Rome, Italy, Belgium, France, Spain, Portugal, the Austrian states and Poland, "the witnesses were overcome and put to death."
In the year 1530, the witnesses had been entirely employed in paving the way for union with the German reformers. Those of them residing in the South of France, did not encounter the enemy with their usual fortitude. They shrunk from the cross, and fell into the practice of feigning acquiescence with the national forms of worship.
In the middle of this century also those of them residing in Calabria, coalesced with the presbyterian church under the pastoral care of the celebrated John Calvin and Theodore Beza at Geneva. The consequence of this was, that several presbyterian ministers of their school settled among the witnesses of Calabria, as pastors of their churches. This was their situation in A.D. 1560.
The Calvinists and Lutherans, both princes and divines, claimed fellowship with them; and the claim was unscripturally allowed: for, while Swiss and German Protestantism in those days, was a powerful antagonism to popery, it had no affinity in faith and practice to the ancient apostolic religion, of the primitive age.
It is an unbaptized speculation, which no true Christadelphian, or Brother of Christ, can fellowship without incurring the crime of apostasy from the faith.
This was the position of the witnessing prophets in A.D. 1576. "Their testimony," with which for 1260 years they had tormented their adversaries, "was finished." "Their days of prophecy" were now expired. They could no longer teach others "the great salvation" by which they might escape the guilt and condemnation of sin unto eternal life in the kingdom of the Deity; and as for protesting against "the God of the earth," the Lutheran and Calvinistic antipapists, with whom they had fraternized, were effective enough for that.
The terminal epoch Rev 11:7.
Thus, then, having finished their testimony, the impending sentence of conquest and death was about to burst upon them in a dreadful storm of massacre and desolation. Exactly 1260 years from the birth of the Imperial Man-Child of Sin (who, they testified had no more to do with the church, than christians with kings, or their bishops with courts); that is, in the year 1572, the first of a terminal epoch of four years, a dreadful calamity befel them in Paris and other cities of France.
This was the celebrated papal massacre of "St. Bartholomew's Day," as the 24th of August is termed by the worshippers of the saints. The murderers ravaged the whole city, and in three days butchered above ten thousand lords, gentlemen, presidents, and people of all ranks. From Paris the massacre spread throughout the whole of France.
According to Thuanus, 30,000 persons were destroyed in this massacre; or, as others affirm, 100,000. This was a notable beginning of that war which "the beast ascending out of the abyss" was to wage against them. It burst forth upon them most unexpectedly in that section of the plateia, or breadth, of the Great City, styled in the thirteenth verse, to dekaton, the tenth -- one of the Ten-Horn-Kingdoms of the Beast.
I must leave to history the narration of the details of the events of this war between the beast and the witnesses. It will be sufficient to remark that, in the course of it, Richelieu, the cardinal premier of France, was convinced that either the antipapists must be admitted to the full enjoyment of unlimited liberty, and of all the privileges of the state, uncontrolled by catholics, and even at the hazard of the permanent establishment of the catholic faith, or that they must be totally subdued.
He preferred the latter; and to accomplish it, turned the whole power of France against them; and succeeded in totally disarming them, leaving them, however, in possession of considerable privileges, civil and religious, guaranteed to them by the Edict of Nantes.
In this Tenth of the Papal Breadth they still amounted to over 1,500,000; many of them wealthy merchants, skilful manufacturers, able sailors and soldiers. The question with the Antichrist and his "eldest son" Louis XIV, was, should such a sect be permitted to exist; and whether their power was not now able to subdue it, and extirpate the heresy?
The king believed that God had raised him up and prospered him for this very thing. The season seemed to them favorable.
There was none of the European States that could protect them. England was weakened by its own discontents. The Emperor of the West was engaged in a war with Turkey. Spain was unable to contend with France. Other states were awed by her power, and however willing to support the Huguenots, dared not to provoke so mighty and unrelenting a foe as the GRAND MONARQUE.
He was therefore free to essay their conversion to Romish idolatry, or to exterminate them from his kingdom. He accordingly began this great work of putting to death the witnesses by revoking the Edict of Nantes granted by Henry IV, April 1, 1598. The revocation was decreed October 23, 1685.
It provided, that all their churches should be forthwith demolished; that there should be no meeting for religious worship in any place, on any pretence; that every kind of religious exercise in the houses or castles of nobility or gentry should be punished with death and confiscation of property; that all non-catholic ministers should leave the kingdom in fifteen days, or embrace the catholic religion; that all their schools should be absolutely shut up; that their children should be "baptized" by the curates of the parish in which the parents resided, on pain of 500 livres; and that every one attempting to leave the kingdom should be condemned to the galleys or death but, that all who were not decided, or not prepared to declare themselves, until it pleased God to enlighten them, might remain where they resided, continue their trades or arts, and enjoy their property undisturbed, provided they refrained from all exercises of their religion, and from every kind of meeting on that account.
This was putting them to silence, or killing them as witnesses against Romish idolatry. So long as their mouths were closed they were unable to testify; so that as witnesses they were literally dead, though not therefore buried.
After a time, being strengthened, "he rose up from prayer," and then returned to the three disciples. He found them asleep. He had asked them to "watch with Me."
What an addition to his sorrows it must have been, that in his darkest hour his closest friends were for the moment insensible to his needs. He evidently felt it:
"What! could ye not watch with me one hour? Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation."
But reason and pity (blended as they never were in human breast before) quickly mollified rebuke, and led him to find excuse for men late at night who had been busy all day, and who had been brought into the depression of sorrow by his own words. He added,
"The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak."
The armed rabble that was to arrest him, under the guidance of Judas, was on its way, but there was yet time for prayer. So he went back to the heart of the wood -- "about a stone's cast" away from his disciples, and prayed as before. Returning a second time, he found the disciples again overpowered with sleep: "their eyes were heavy." He spoke to them, but "they wist not what to say to him." Still the band was at a distance.
Again he went away to prayer. Returning a third time, the hour had come. The hum of men's voices was outside the garden; the flare of their lanterns and torches was visible through the trees. With a touch of sorrowful sarcasm, he said to his sleeping disciples, who quickly roused up in the presence of danger,
"Sleep on now, and take your rest.... The Son of Man is betrayed into the hands of sinners."
They sprang to their feet, and Peter drew a sword. The armed crowd began to enter the garden in search of Christ.
They did not know him, and would have been powerless to find him without Judas. This need occasion no surprise, when we realise that the class of men employed to apprehend him were such as hang only about courts and prisons, and could not be found among Christ's audiences during the comparatively short and recent time he had been in Jerusalem as a teacher. Judas had undertaken there should be no mistake as to his identity. He should walk straight to him and kiss him, and the officers would do the rest.
"Jesus, knowing all things that should come upon him,"
anticipated the action of the crowd and walked forth from the concealment of the garden towards them. Judas quickly saw him, and at once gave the signal agreed upon. He walked up to him and saluted him, "Hail master, master!" Christ's first response to the infamy was in the mildness of powerful though agitated self-control:
"Friend, wherefore art thou come?"
Then, as Judas made no answer -- could make no answer -- to such a question, Christ's words deepened in their tone; smothered indignation underlay them, as he said with emphasis,
"Judas, betrayest thou the Son of man with a kiss?"
What viler treachery could man be guilty of than to hand over an irreproachable friend to his enemies for the sake of money? But to do this with the privileged token of affection, and to do it in a case like Christ's who went about doing good, and whose only offence was his zeal for righteousness, was to sink to a depth of wickedness that beggars language to characterise Its unutterable infamy was condensed into Christ's simple interrogatory.
It is probable that the trenchant power of the question staggered Judas, and cowed the officers themselves for a moment, for Judas made no response, but "stood with" the officers; and Jesus found it necessary to say to them, "Whom seek ye?" They timidly answered, "Jesus of Nazareth!" Jesus firmly said, "I am he," and upon this, they all staggered backward and fell to the ground.
What was the reason of this? There is no explanation given. It may seem a singular circumstance, but it strikes the mind as singularly in harmony with the sentiments belonging to the situation. Here was Jesus, the great and glorious and sinless, treacherously brought into the power of an unfeeling mob, the instruments of still more unfeeling and cruel foes assembled at the palace of the high priest.
It seemed as if his word and his claims were utterly falsified by such a triumph of brute force. It seemed as if, after all, he were not to "lay down his life" of his own accord, but that it was to be "taken from" him by his enemies, whether he willed or no, notwithstanding his earnest deprecation of this view in the course of his public teaching.
How terribly torturing was such an appearance of things, when it was the very question which had been decided with much prayer-wrestle in Gethsemane. It seems altogether fitting, therefore, that Jesus should have been permitted to show at this last moment that it was his own surrender to the Father's requirement and not the superior power of his enemies that brought him into their cruel hands. The withering glance of his eye, which threw them on the ground, could have consumed them in a moment, like the captains and their fifties who went to arrest Elijah.
Nazareth Revisited Ch 56
"Their Days of the Prophecy"
In the sixth verse of the chapter are the words, en hemerais auton tes propheteias, about which "the recent editors" are at variance with their predecessors. They recommend that it be changed, and translated, "during the days of their prophesying." But, with all due respect to their recencies, I suggest that the words be let alone, and translated, "in their days of the prophecy."
The whole apocalypse is "the prophecy;" for so it is termed in ch. i. 3. But the days in which the witnesses stand bearing testimony against "the God of the Earth," do not extend through all the days of the prophecy.
The God of the earth was undeveloped in all those days of the prophecy extending from John's location in Patmos to the birth of the Catholic Woman's Man-Child. In all this time, therefore, the witnesses could not stand before him; and, consequently, these years were no part of "their days."
And from the finishing of their testimony to their resurrection and ascension, was over two hundred years. These, therefore, were no part of "their days," unless a man can be said to stand in the presence of another, and testify against him while he is dead.
It must be evident, then, that the days of the prophecy are of much longer measure than the days of the witnessing against the Antichrist. These days are the 1260, and therefore they are emphatically and specially "their days" the portion of time appropriated to the One Body and its Helper, to contend earnestly for the "one Lord, one faith, and one immersion;" and to testify against the Vice-Christ and his idolatrous institutions.
And these "their days" neither begin nor end with the days of the prophecy. They began, as I have shown, in the three years' epoch of A.D. 312-316, and would consequently end A.D. 1572-76; because 1260 + 316 = 1576.
Thus, their sackcloth-witnessing had its beginning and ending, long before the deliverance of the Holy City from its "forty and two months" of subjection to the Gentile governments.
The Holy City still exists under Protestant ascendancy, in the lowest stratum of the abyss -- trampled in the dust; but it is nowhere to be found under Catholic ascendancy, witnessing against the Antichrist, and tormenting him and his adherents with their testimony.
In all catholic countries the saints have been "prevailed against;" and, though existing in Britain and America to a very limited extent, their witnessing for the truth as originally proclaimed by the apostles, and their testifying against "the spirituals of the wickedness in" protestant and catholic "high places," and their gospel-nullifying traditions and institutions, command but little attention.
Sceptical indifference, and profane contempt for "the testimony of Jesus Christ," are the characteristic of the times in which we live. The Holy City has but few citizens left, whose voice is overpowered in the unintelligible babble and confusion of the Great City. They testify, nevertheless, as this exposition of the apocalypse evinces; but their witnessing is not "in sackcloth."
Since their ascension, their enemies have been restrained from the use of the whips, and chains, and fire, and faggot. These, which used to be the most powerful arguments against which they had to contend, have been wrested from their destroyers by "the Earth;" so that now they can advocate the truth, and testify against the apostasy, none daring, however willing, to make them afraid.
Now, the "forty and two months," measure of the Holy City is bounded by two events -- the giving of the saints into the hand of the Little Horn of the West, for its beginning; and the resurrection [Bro Thomas' premature in expecting an early advent - papal despotism did end as he correctly deduced] for its ending: so also, the days of its sackcloth-witnessing are placed between the flight of the Woman, for their commencement; and the finishing of her testimony, for their termination.
We find this ending indicated in the seventh verse, as,
"when they may have finished their testimony, the beast which ascendeth out of the abyss will make war with them, and overcome them, and put them to death."
The beast herein referred to, is that which John saw arise, and describes in chap. xiii. 1-7. As John saw it arise, it was not extant in his day, but appeared afterwards. It was a new development of powers upon the same territory as that upon which Daniel beheld his fourth beast. It was the ten horns and little horn of this in middle-age manifestation -- the Civil and Ecclesiastical Polity of the Gentiles who trampled the Holy City.
The Mouth of this beast represents the same power as the Eyes and Mouth of Daniel's Little Horn. John says, that the beast's Mouth made war with the saints, and overcame them; and Daniel says,
"the little Horn made war upon the saints, and prevailed against them;"
by which, John and Daniel identified the Horn and mouth as symbolical of the same power.
With such testimony as this before us, we ought to find 1260 years after the Donatist trials in the presence of the Woman's Imperial Man-Child, a people specially obnoxious to the ecclesiastical and civil authorities of the nations with whom they were at war, for the purpose of putting them to silence, and suppressing their principles, by the advocacy of which they were "tormented."
We ought to find, too, that the conflict of this people with the powers was not only unsuccessful, but that it resulted in the death of the cause of civil and religious freedom, and the rights of man, in all the countries of the beast. We are however, not to suppose that they were not made war upon before the end of the 1260 years; I have shown before that there were frequent wars, in which they smote the earth with plagues as often as they willed.
But, this at the end of "their days of the prophecy" was a special war, resulting as no previous wars had hitherto done, namely, the putting of them to death in the symbolic sense of the prophecy.
If the government of Christ is now in force in the earth, it would be natural to say:
"We recognize no king but Christ, and decline to obey the laws of other rulers."
But the truth teaches us that the power of the Lord Jesus, as king over the whole earth, is not to come into practical force until his return at the season appointed for the manifestation of the sons of God. Then the Lord will be king over all the earth: there will be but one Lord. All other lords will be broken like a potter's vessel. The present question is, What is, meanwhile, our relation to the powers that be?
In answer to that question, this chapter tells us something that prevents us from being rebels against the authorities of the time, or from being political plotters or political agitators in any shape. It prevents us, indeed, from taking any part in the political movements of the time, and shuts us up to the position of "strangers and pilgrims," whose energy is all required for the work of preparing for the great administration of authority that is to come on earth in God's appointed time, of which we shall have a share, if God account us worthy.
"Let every soul be subject to the higher powers."
This passage practically deals with the question:
"How can we, who are subject to God, submit to those who are opposed to Him?"
The answer is, that although on the surface it appears otherwise, there is no power but what is of God. The kings of the earth have one object in what they do, and God, who controls them, has another. The king of Assyria went against Israel for his own aggrandizement; but, in reality, he was an instrument invisibly wielded by God against his people.
"Howbeit," said the prophet, "he meaneth not so" (Isa. 10:7). He does it to aggrandize himself, but he cannot go beyond his appointed line.
"Shall the rod shake itself against him who uses it?"
So it is with all the kingdoms of the earth; God is making use of them; God superintends them by the angels of His power. Daniel tells us, in a sense that does not conflict with the Gospel of the kingdom, that He ruleth in the kingdoms of men, setting up some and putting down others. The kingdoms now existing are provisionally of God's appointment. God's purpose to make the earth a habitation of order, love, intelligence, and glory, requires a preliminary prevalence of evil, and yet the evil must be regulated.
If evil were allowed to run riot, it would make the world a desert in which it would be impossible for the preliminary work of trial in patient obedience to be done; we could never assemble here this morning if evil were not controlled in its operations. There is a necessity for a certain machinery to exist, and God has appointed that machinery, but only for mechanical service. It is, so to speak, but the scaffolding for the erection of the future building. They are a crude work; the saints are called to a higher work in all respects. Even now, it is highest work to preach the gospel of the future kingdom.
Paul's explanations on this point are perfectly necessary. These governments are of God's appointment; therefore, if you resist them, you will be resisting God. The truth teaches us to be the most obedient subjects in the realm. It imposes upon us the attitude of subjects, having nothing to do with State questions, except to obey, and give honour and respect to the constituted authorities for the time being, when their commands do not conflict with what God requires. Submission and respect, in these circumstances, are a duty. We disobey if we refuse them.
Bro Roberts - Submission and human law
Gold was very abundant in the days of Solomon.
"All his drinking vessels were of gold . . . none were of silver. It was nothing accounted of in the days of Solomon."
We are also informed of the source of the supply of the precious metal (1 Chron. 18:11; 1 Kings 9:28; 10:14).
Concerning the days of Christ, the antitypical Solomon, it is written,
"For brass I will bring gold, and for iron silver, and for wood brass, and for stones iron" (Isa. 60:17).
The day for this age of splendour in all things, as well as righteousness, is at the door: and there are many providential preparations visible in the field of human action. For fifty years there has been an enormous increase in the output of gold. New auriferous regions have been found-in California, in Australia, in Africa, in Russia, and now in Canada: and these have been worked with great industry.
The quantities of the precious metal got out of the mines have been, and are, year by year enormous. Where does it all go? Not much into circulation or into industry. It is bought up as fast as it comes into the market, by the various European governments, who imitate the example of the first Frederick William of Prussia and pile barrels of the precious metal in vaults under banks and palaces, as a war-fund against contingencies.
The gold of the world is all piled away in rat holes, as it were, because of the mutual fears and jealousies of mankind. This is one source of the abundant supply that is to characterise the coming age. When the Lord has overthrown all the governments, he will lay his hand on those useless hoards and bring them out to the light of day, and transform them from the mere solace of kings' fear into a sparkling joy for the whole earth.The Christadelphian, April 1898
When King David told his son Solomon, about his preparations to build the Holy Temple, he said, "Behold, I have taken much trouble to prepare for the House of the Lord, one hundred thousand talents of gold [about 3,500 tons worth about $1.63Trillion] and one million talents of silver [about 35,000 tons worth about $19.58Billion], and bronze and iron beyond measure, for it is so abundant. I have prepared timber and stone also, and you may add to them" (1 Chronicles 22:14).
King David throughout his rule, stockpiled in his treasury, precious metals, and other resources, for the building of the Beit HaMikdash, the Holy Temple, and the utensils used in it. This preparation, also bolstered the kingdom's economic clout.
King Solomon ruled from about 970 BCE to 931 BCE, and during this time he is said to have received 25 tons of gold for each of the 39 years of his reign, which would be worth about $48Billion in 2019. Along with the other riches he amassed from taxation and trade, King Solomon's personal fortune has been estimated to be over $2.2Trillion in today's money.
King Solomon inherited peace on his borders and a thriving economy from his father. The kingdom was an economic superpower. When the time came for King Solomon to start the construction of the Beit HaMikdash, he had all the resources needed.
Israel should learn from King David and do the same today!
Besides strengthening the Shekel, as the world slides into economic chaos and possibly a global depression, it's important to have the precious metals, and other resources ready and available, when the time comes to build the Third Temple.
The Bank of Israel should start purchasing gold now!
Ariel Natan Pasko, - Arutz Sheva
It is out of the power of politicians to bless the world.
Even supposing they could do all they seem to imagine possible to be done, it would not touch the root of human misery. There is no doubt that by means of sensible contrivances and regulations, it might be possible to cheapen food and increase employment, and generally to multiply those substantial advantages that are much set by in the world, and which, in their proper places, are unqualified blessings; but the simple bringing about of these things would not confer upon the world the real conditions of well-being.
Supposing, under the leadership of the party which is most prominent and most popular in the country at present, everybody received higher wages and was more plentifully supplied with the good things of life, which is about as high as political benefaction aspires to reach, or can possibly reach, we should only have an extension of the conditions already existing in the well-to-do part of society.
And we have even to look at the state of things prevailing among even the higher ranks of society to see how utterly such privileges fail in bringing about a true state of happiness. Where is there more secret crime, more false pride, more disregard of God, more feasts and revelries and wasting vanities, than among the titled and the wealthy, who have more time and money than they know how to use?
And who is more impervious to considerations of principle? who is more unkind? who is more selfish? who is more wretched than the successful commercial man of the day? who, with much money and plenty to do, is, generation after generation, finding out the truth of Solomon's verdict,
"that all is vanity and vexation of spirit."
Those bulls of Bashan, those great creatures of success and sin who flaunt a pompous presence in our busy streets and marketplaces, are no better off as respects happiness or purity than the more refined sinners of the upper ten. And if this is the case amongst those who have plenty, what guarantee have we that the world would be any better with a more general diffusion of wealth than now exists? I think it would not be very difficult to show that a greater diffusion of wealth, under present circumstances, would involve a greater prevalence of wickedness.
The mass of the population now is compelled by poverty to be quiet and well behaved. The force of hard circumstances acts as the lance on the full-bred horse; it reduces the violence of disposition which would grow with good living, and curtails those evil acts which would increase with greater opportunity. But suppose they had plenty of every necessary; suppose they were so well to do that it was not much an object to them to gain their daily bread, we should have a very different state of circumstances.
We have an example of what would prevail, in those cases where working-men are now able to earn £4 or £5 per week. What do they do? In the majority of cases, as we in this part of the country have evidence of, they spend it in riotous living, and bring wickedness and misery on all around. Plenty of wealth would, doubtless, reproduce the sin of Sodom on a large scale; and what was her sin? It is mentioned in Ezekiel 16:49.
"Behold this was the iniquity of thy sister Sodom, pride, fulness of bread and abundance of idleness was in her and in her daughters; neither did she strengthen the hand of the poor and needy. And they were haughty and committed abomination before me, therefore I took them away."
Now even in her present condition with so much poverty, misery and ignorance, England is a very proud nation; she delights in those national songs that pander to the national vanity, by exaggerating the national importance; and if she is proud when she is poor, what would be the case if wealth was general? Why, her pride would increase to the dimensions which characterized Sodom, and brought down the burning vengeance of the Almighty. We should have a state of things in which there might be more animal enjoyment, more creature luxury, but so far as moral and intellectual excellence and true happiness are concerned, we should be in a worse position than we are at present.
We see this lesson taught in the fact that God has chosen the poor of this world as the heirs of His kingdom. He has chosen poverty as the condition of preparation for those whom He shall deem worthy to be entrusted with the administration of His power in the age to come. And we may depend upon it that if poverty were not a good thing for such a purpose, poverty would not be chosen.
God is much wiser than we are; and perhaps it is not difficult to discern wisdom in this arrangement by which His children are first poor, and subjected to circumstances of slight and adversity to begin with. By this they are tried and developed, as they never could be were they nursed in the lap of plenty.Ambassador of the Coming Age, Jan 1869.
How am I straightened
Having made known his distress to the three disciples, he asked them to remain where they were and wait. He then went further into the thicket, and threw himself on his face in a transport of earnest entreaty. How long he occupied himself thus we are not told, unless we have it in Christ's question,
"Could ye not watch with me one hour?"
(it was long enough for the waiting disciples to fall asleep): nor are we informed of all the words he used in his agonised imploration, but enough is recorded to show us the exact workings of his inner man at this supreme moment, and to give us the sublimest instruction as to what is the acceptable attitude in prayer to God when we are called upon to suffer. He did not pray the fatal prayer of unconditional deliverance.
At the same time, he showed his desire for deliverance if it were compatible with divine ends:
"O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless, not as I will, but as Thou wilt. Abba Father, all things are possible unto Thee: take away this cup from me: nevertheless, not as I will, but as Thou wilt. Father, if thou be willing, remove this cup from me: nevertheless, not my will but Thine be done." "Being in an agony, he prayed more earnestly."
Was the Father angry, or even indifferent to the sorrows of His beloved? Far from it. He could not grant deliverance in harmony with the object he was aiming at in the sufferings of Christ, and Christ did not ask it or wish it otherwise.
But He gave what He could: strength for the conflict.
"There appeared an angel unto him from heaven, strengthening him"
-- not strengthening him as a man is strengthened who takes strong drink for an emergency, for that would not have required an angel; but a simple afflatus of the spirit from God. The strengthening would be mental strengthening by appeals to that faith which overcomes, and which is liable to fail in moments of weakness.
Who but an angel could have performed such a part for the Son of God? We can imagine the tender, loving words in which the angelic comforter (probably Gabriel, who communicated the prophecy of the Messiah's sufferings to Daniel, and announced his coming birth to Mary) would rally memory, dimmed in the "sickening anguish" of the hour: how he would remind him of the great "joy set before him;" of the momentary character of the shame and suffering to which he was about to be subjected; of the certainty of Yahweh's performance of the promise of resurrection and the oil of gladness; of the multitudes who would attain to everlasting life and joy through his submission: and of their glad praises of him in the day of glory.
We may have sometimes seen a beautiful, earnest, loving child shrink from a task appointed or a medicine prescribed, yet strive, under the soothing persuasions of love, to bring itself into conformity with what is required. Its tearful, suffering face is a spectacle to melt a father's heart. How immeasurably more touching must have been the agonised countenance of the Saviour as
"yielded to his Father's will,"
In sad Gethsemane.
Nazareth Revisited Ch 56
Psalm 48 - Bro Arthur Hughes
"Oh, that men would praise Yahweh for his goodness, and for his wonderful works to the children of men" (Ps. 107:8).