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    March 10, 1898

    “As Free as a Bird” The Present Truth 14, 10.

    E. J. Waggoner

    The Lord Jesus Christ began His earthly ministry by reading in the synagogue at Nazareth the following words from Isaiah: “The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He hath anointed Me to preach the Gospel to the poor; He hath sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord.” Luke iv. 18, 19. And then He said to the congregation, “This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.”PTUK March 10, 1898, page 145.1

    The whole import of the text therefore is that Christ came to give freedom in every sense of the word. It is charged with the idea of liberty, and that to an extent that few realise. We shall be amply repaid for a few moments closer study of it, and for many hours of meditation upon it afterwards.PTUK March 10, 1898, page 145.2

    The word “liberty,” in the statement, in Isa. lxi. 1, that Christ was anointed “to proclaim liberty to the captives,” is from a Hebrew word, the primary signification of which is “a swallow.” This noun is derived from a verb which signifies “to fly in a circle, to wheel in flight,” like a bird in the air. From this it is easy to see how the word came to signify “freedom” and “liberty.”PTUK March 10, 1898, page 145.3

    We learn, therefore, that the Bible idea of liberty is best represented by the graceful flight of a swallow through the air. We often use the figure, “as free as a bird,” and that exactly expresses the liberty wherewith Christ makes us free. Is it not a glorious thing? What a sense of freedom thrills the soul at the very thought of it!PTUK March 10, 1898, page 145.4

    Sin is bondage. Jesus said, “Verily, verily I say unto you, Every one that committeth sin is the bondservant of sin.” John viii. 34. Not only is the sinner in bondage, but he is in prison. The Apostle Paul says, “The Scripture hath concluded all under sin, that the promise by faith of Jesus Christ might be given to them that believe. But before faith came we were kept under the law, shut up unto the faith which should afterwards be revealed.” Gal. iii. 22, 23. The word “concluded” means, literally, “shut up together.” All sinners are in bondage, shut up together in prison, condemned to hard labour.PTUK March 10, 1898, page 145.5

    The end of sin is death. James i. 15. Consequently the sinner is not only shut up in prison, condemned to hard, unprofitable labour, but he has the fear of death continually before him. It is from this that Christ delivers us. See Heb. ii. 14, 15. So we read in Ps. cii. 19, 20, “For He hath looked down from the height of His sanctuary; from heaven did the Lord behold the earth; to hear the groaning of the prisoner, to loose those that are appointed to death.” Christ says, “If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.” John viii. 36.PTUK March 10, 1898, page 145.6

    “Free indeed.” With the knowledge already gained from Isa. lx. 1, we can easily grasp the fulness of that freedom. Imagine a bird that has been caught, and shut up in a cage. It longs for freedom, but the cruel bars make that impossible. Someone comes along and opens the door. The bird sees the opening, but has so often been deceived in his attempts to gain his liberty, that he hesitates. He hops down, finds that his prison is really open, trembles a moment for very joy at the thought of liberty, then spreads his wings and wheels through the air with such rapture as can be known only by one who has been a captive. “Free indeed.” As free as a bird.PTUK March 10, 1898, page 146.1

    This is the liberty wherewith Christ frees the captive of sin. The Psalmist had that experience, for he said “Our soul is escaped as a bird out of the snare of the fowlers, the snare is broken, and we are escaped.” Ps. cxxiv. 7. And this is the experience of every one who truly and without reserve accepts Christ.PTUK March 10, 1898, page 146.2

    But it is the truth that gives this freedom; for Christ says, “Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” John viii. 32. He is the truth, and His word is truth. The Psalmist says, “Thy righteousness is an everlasting righteousness, and Thy law is the truth.” Ps cxix. 142. And he also says, “I will walk at liberty, for I seek Thy precepts.” Ps. cxix. 45. As we learn from the margin, this is literally, “I will walk in a broad place, for I seek Thy precepts;” and this fits with what we learn in verse 96: “I have seen an end of all perfection; but Thy commandment is exceeding broad.” The commandments of God form an exceedingly broad place in which all may walk who seek them. They are the truth, and it is the truth that gives freedom.PTUK March 10, 1898, page 146.3

    “The law is spiritual.” Rom. vii. 14. That is, the law is the nature of God, for “the Lord is that Spirit; and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.” 2 Cor. iii. 17. Because the Spirit of the Lord God was in Christ, He could proclaim liberty to the captives of sin. So we read the words of one who had been a captive slave, “sold under sin:” “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus hath made me free from the law of sin and death.” Rom. viii. 1, 2.PTUK March 10, 1898, page 146.4

    The law of God was, and is, in the heart of Christ. Ps. xl. 8. Out of the heart are the issues of life (Prov. iv. 23); therefore the life of Christ is the law of God. When men attempt to keep the law in their own strength, they invariably get into bondage, just as surely as though they wilfully broke it. The only difference is that in the latter case they are willing slaves, while in the former they are unwilling slaves. In Christ alone the perfect righteousness the perfect righteousness of the law is found, and therefore His life is “the law of liberty,” into which we are exhorted continually to look. James i. 25; Heb. xii. 2. The law that shuts up to certain death the man who is out of Christ, becomes life and liberty to the man who is in Christ.PTUK March 10, 1898, page 146.5

    We have seen that the “commandment is exceeding broad.” How broad?—Just as broad as the life of God. Therefore the liberty, or the “broad place” in which one can walk who seeks the law of God, is the breadth of God's mind, which comprehends the universe. This is “the glorious liberty of the children of God.” “His commandments are not grievous,” but on the contrary are life and liberty to all who accept them “as the truth is in Jesus.” God has not given us the spirit of bondage, but has called us to the liberty which He Himself enjoys; for if we believe His word we are His sons,-“heirs of God, and joint heirs with Jesus Christ.”PTUK March 10, 1898, page 146.6

    Only the Spirit of God can give such liberty as this. No man can give it, and no earthly power can take it away. We have seen that no man can get it by his own efforts to keep the law of God. The greatest human efforts can result in nothing but bondage. Therefore when civil governments enact laws requiring men to follow a certain religious custom, they are simply forging fetters for them; because religion by law means a religion of purely human power. It is not the man who tries to do right, that is free, but the man who actually does right. But no man does the truth, except the one whose works are wrought in him by God Himself.PTUK March 10, 1898, page 146.7

    The liberty which Christ gives is liberty of the soul. It is liberty from the bondage of sin. That, and that alone is real religious liberty. It is found nowhere but in the religion of Jesus Christ. The man who has that liberty is free even in a prison cell. The slave who has it is infinitely more at liberty than his cruel master, even though he be a king. Who is there who does not want liberty that is something more than a name?PTUK March 10, 1898, page 146.8

    And now one more word of encouragement to the slave of sin, who is heart sick because of his bondage, and is discouraged through the failure of repeated attempts to escape. Freedom is yours, if you will but take it. Liberty has already been proclaimed. Your prison doors are already open, and you have only to believe it, and to walk out, continually believing it. Christ has gained the victory over Satan, and has passed through his prison house, taking away the keys. There is no fetter that can bind the soul that accepts His salvation. He has purchased every soul, and has loosed their bonds so that they may be free to serve Him. With the prison doors open, there is no excuse for anyone to remain in bondage. If anyone remains in bondage after Christ's proclamation comes to him, it is because he loves bondage more than liberty.PTUK March 10, 1898, page 146.9

    Christ is to-day proclaiming liberty to you, for He has broken the snare, and loosed your bonds. Ps. cxvi. 16. He tells you that He has opened this prison door, so that you may walk at liberty, if you will only walk by faith in Him. It is faith that opens the door to the one who is shut up in sin. Believe His word, declare yourself free in His name, and then by humble faith stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free. Then will you know the blessedness of the assurance:—PTUK March 10, 1898, page 146.10

    “They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; they shall walk, and not faint.” Isa. xl. 31.PTUK March 10, 1898, page 146.11

    “Parish and Public-House” The Present Truth 14, 10.

    E. J. Waggoner

    At the annual dinner of the Watford Licensed Victuallers’ Association, the vicar was present, and is reported to have said that he had persistently advocated societies like theirs, and that he thought that “a well-conducted public-house was a great blessing in the parish.” “He considered that it was not inconsistent with their higher duty they owed to God to carry on their business and sustain it, both morally and religiously.” Of course these sentiments were greeted with great applause.PTUK March 10, 1898, page 146.12

    “The Epistle to the Galatians. The Promise and Its Surety” The Present Truth 14, 10.

    E. J. Waggoner

    We closed our study last week with the fourteenth verse of the third chapter, the last words being concerning “the promise of the Spirit.” Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, in order that the blessing of Abraham might come on us, Gentiles, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith. It is clear, as shown in the last study, that the receiving of the promise of the Spirit through faith, refers not simply to the receiving of the Spirit, and much less to the receiving of the promises that we shall at some time have the Spirit, but to the receiving of that of which the presence of the Spirit is a pledge. From Eph. i. 13, 14 we learned that the Spirit is a pledge, the first-fruits of an inheritance that has been purchased for us. In our study this week we have to do with that promised inheritance. And first we will read the portion of the text that outlines it.PTUK March 10, 1898, page 147.1

    THE LESSON FOR THE WEEK

    “Brethren, I speak after the manner of men; though it be but a man's covenant, yet if it be confirmed, no man disannulleth, or addeth thereto. Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ. And this I say, that the covenant, that was confirmed before of God in Christ, the law, which was four hundred and thirty years after, cannot disannul, that it should make the promise of none effect. For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise: but God gave it to Abraham by promise.” Gal. iii. 15-18.PTUK March 10, 1898, page 147.2

    Before beginning our study, it may be well to state that we shall not try to treat of the whole of this portion of Scripture this week, so that if there are some things left untouched, the reader will not feel disappointed. There is so close connection between all the statements in this chapter that it is difficult to select out any special verses for study. All the verses just quoted are necessary to the subject before us this week, yet they must also be considered in connection with the verses that will come in our next week's study.PTUK March 10, 1898, page 147.3

    The Promise Was Made to Abraham. -It will be seen that Abraham is the one about whom this chapter centers. He is the one to whom the Gospel of world-wide salvation was preached. He believed, and received the blessing, even the blessing of righteousness. All who believe are blessed with believing Abraham. They who are of faith, the same are the children of Abraham. Christ hath redeemed us from the curse, in order that the blessing of Abraham might come on us. “To Abraham and his seed were the promises made.” “If the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise; but God gave it to Abraham by promise.” Thus it is clear that the promise to us is the promise that was made to Abraham, and in which we share as his children.PTUK March 10, 1898, page 147.4

    The Promise Concerns an Inheritance. — This is evident from verse 18: “If the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise; but God gave it to Abraham by promise.” This agrees with what has been already been noted in Eph. i. 13, 14, that the Spirit is the pledge of a possession that has been purchased. “The promise of the Spirit” is therefore an inheritance. That is, the Spirit not only promises us an inheritance, but the possession of the Spirit is the surety of the inheritance. When, therefore, we read that Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith, we can see that it is the same as saying that Christ hath redeemed us from the curse, in order that we might receive an inheritance. And so we read in Heb. ix. 14, 15 that Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered Himself without spot to God, will purge our conscience from dead works to serve the living God; because “He is the Mediator of the new covenant, that by means of death, for the remission of transgression under the first covenant, they which are called might receive the promise of eternal inheritance.”PTUK March 10, 1898, page 147.5

    What the Eternal Inheritance Is. — The last words of the preceding paragraph set us on the track of the answer to this. It is an “eternal inheritance.” This of course follows from the fact that Christ has redeemed us from the curse in order that we might receive this inheritance; for the curse is death, and whatever we receive as the consequence of being saved from death, must be eternal. But we must turn to the direct record of the promise to Abraham, and there we shall find the matter clearly stated. The promise is many times repeated, but in order to save time we shall take only one statement of it. In Gen. xvii. 7, 8 we read these words of God to Abraham:—PTUK March 10, 1898, page 147.6

    “I will establish My covenant between Me and thee and thy seed after thee in their generations for an everlasting covenant, to be a God unto thee, and to thy seed after thee. And I will give unto thee, and to thy seed after thee, the land wherein thou art a stranger, all the land of Canaan, for an everlasting possession, and I will be their God.”PTUK March 10, 1898, page 147.7

    THE WHOLE WORLD

    Here we see most clearly that the promised inheritance is land-the land of Canaan. But, let it be borne in mind, it is an “everlasting possession.” Abraham himself, as well as his seed, possess it to eternity. Therefore the possession of the land of Canaan, according to the promise to Abraham, involves the possession of everlasting life in which to enjoy it; but immortality is bestowed only at the coming of Christ and the resurrection. This Abraham well understood; for even while he was in the land of Canaan, he sojourned in it as in a strange country, desiring and looking for “a better country, that is an heavenly” (Heb. xi. 9-16); and the fact that he “died in faith, not having received the promises” shows that he knew that he was to receive it at the resurrection.PTUK March 10, 1898, page 147.8

    But when the land of Canaan is thus given to Abraham for an everlasting possession, the restoration of all things will take place (Acts iii. 20, 21), so that the possession of the land of Canaan will be in reality the possession of the whole earth. So Paul, speaking with direct reference to the record in the seventeenth of Genesis, says: “For the promise, that he should be the heir of the world, was not to Abraham, or to his seed, through the law, but through the righteousness of faith.” Rom. iv. 13.PTUK March 10, 1898, page 147.9

    Therefore we, “according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwelleth righteousness.” 2 Peter iii. 13. This is the promised inheritance, the possession of which is assured to us by the Spirit.PTUK March 10, 1898, page 148.1

    An Inheritance without a Curse. -“Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law, ... that we might receive the promise of the Spirit through faith.” This “promise of the Spirit” we have seen to be the possession of the whole earth made new-redeemed from the curse; for “the creation itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the liberty of the glory of the children of God.” The earth, fresh and new from the hand of God, perfect in every respect, was given to man for a possession. Gen. i. 27, 28, 31. Man sinned, and brought the curse upon himself. Christ has taken the whole curse, both of man and of all creation, upon Himself. He redeems the earth from the curse, that it may be the everlasting possession that God originally designed it to be, and He also redeems man from the curse, that he may be fitted for the possession of such an inheritance. And this, let it be noted, is the sum of the Gospel. The whole Gospel has reference to this, and to this alone. Man redeemed, but with no place to live in, would present an incomplete work. While the cross of Christ is the sole agent of redemption, yet “Christ crucified” would be nothing if it did not include Christ risen. But Christ risen means Christ risen to the right hand of the Majesty on high; and this means: “To him that overcometh will I give to sit with Me in My throne, even as I also overcame, and am set down with My Father on His throne.” Rev. iii. 21. Without this “blessed hope” our faith would be vain, and we should be yet in our sins; for the power by which we are redeemed is the power by which the new heavens and the new earth are made. their freedom from the curse guarantees our freedom from the curse, for God created the earth not in vain, but formed it to be inhabited, and “some must enter therein.” Then will be an earth without any curse, inhabited by people wholly freed from the curse of sin and death. “And there shall be no more curse.” Rev. xxi. 4.PTUK March 10, 1898, page 148.2

    The Covenants of Promise. -That the covenant and promise of God are one and the same thing, is clearly seen from Gal. iii. 17, where it appears that to disannul the covenant would be to make void the promise. In Genesis 17 we read that God made a covenant with Abraham to give him the land of Canaan-and with it the whole world-for an everlasting possession; but Gal. iii. 18 says that God gave it to him by promise. God's covenants with men can be nothing else than promises to them: “for who hath first given to Him, and it shall be recompensed unto him again?” Rom. xi. 35. God does not make bargains with men, because He knows that they could not fulfil their part. Kinowing that man is “wretched and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked” (Rev. iii. 17, God counsels him to buy of Him everything that is needed, but to buy “without money, and without price.” In short, God promises us everything that we need, and more than we can ask or think, as a gift. We give Him ourselves, that is, nothing, and He gives us Himself, that is, everything. That which makes all the trouble is that even when men are willing to recognise the Lord at all, they want to make bargains with Him. They want it to be a “mutual” affair-a transaction in which they will be considered as on a par with God. But whoever deals with God must deal with Him on His own terms, that is, on a basis of fact-that we have nothing and are nothing, and He has everything and is everything, and gives everything.PTUK March 10, 1898, page 148.3

    The Covenant Confirmed. -The covenant, that is, the promise of God to give men the whole earth made new, after having made them free from the curse, was “confirmed before of God in Christ.” He is the surety of the new covenant, even the everlasting covenant. “For how many soever be the promises of God, in Him is the yea; wherefore also through Him is the Amen, unto the glory of God through us.” 2 Cor. i. 20. In Him we have obtained the inheritance (Eph. i. 11), for the Holy Spirit is the first-fruits of the inheritance, and the possession of the Holy Spirit is Christ Himself dwelling in the heart by faith.PTUK March 10, 1898, page 148.4

    Confirmed by an Oath of God. -“When God made promise to Abraham, because He could swear by no greater, He sware by Himself; ... for men verily swear by the greater; and an oath for confirmation is to them an end of all strife. Wherein God, willing more abundantly to show unto the heirs of promise the immutability of His counsel, confirmed it by an oath; that by two immutable things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us; which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which entereth into that within the veil; whither the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made an high priest forever after the order of Melchizedek.” Heb. vi. 13-20.PTUK March 10, 1898, page 148.5

    It was the oath of God, therefore, that confirmed the covenant made to Abraham; that promise and oath to Abraham are our ground of hope, our strong consolation; but it is “sure and steadfast,” because the oath sets forth Christ as the pledge, the surety, and “He ever liveth,”—the covenant is confirmed in Him, and no one can disannul it or add anything to it. That is to say, The Gospel to-day is precisely the same in every particular that it was in the days of Abraham. It is summed up in this: God will give to men “the first dominion,” the earth free from all curse; the promise is to all without exception, and the fulfilment is to all who believe in Christ, “in whom we have redemption through His blood, even the forgiveness of sins.” Just as the earth was given to Adam in the beginning, without his having done anything to earn it, even so the new earth is a free gift,-the inheritance is solely by promise; but this inheritance is solely by promise; but this inheritance is an inheritance of righteousness, and this necessary righteousness God gives to us, creating us new creatures in Christ, even as in the beginning He created Adam a perfect man. And all this is assured to us by the oath of God, in which He pledged His own existence. But this oath was in Christ crucified, and the cross of Christ, bearing the curse everywhere, is the assurance that God in Christ ever liveth.PTUK March 10, 1898, page 148.6

    “Taxes” The Present Truth 14, 10.

    E. J. Waggoner

    It is said that on account of a proposed tax of five shillings on each house or hut in Sierra Leone, the natives are pulling down their huts, which are not worth the five shillings, and are living under the trees, rather than pay the tax.PTUK March 10, 1898, page 148.7

    “Notes on the International Sunday-School Lessons. The Death of John the Baptist. Matt. xiv. 1-12” The Present Truth 14, 10.PTUK March 10, 1898, page 149.1

    E. J. Waggoner

    MARCH 20

    From the closing part of the preceding chapter (verses 53-57), we learn that Jesus came “into His own country,” and that “He taught them in their synagogue” with such power that “they were astonished,” but instead of receiving the truth as a power to work changes in their characters, they remembered that this was “the carpenter's son,” and that they were well acquainted with His brothers and sisters, “and they were offended in Him.” And “at that time Herod the tetrarch heard of the fame of Jesus,” and it called to his mind one who had spoken before Him with a similar power, and he said, “This is John the Baptist; he is risen from the dead.” How did Herod know anything about the resurrection of the dead? Evidently from the preaching of John the Baptist. “For Herod feared John, knowing that he was a just man and an holy, and observed him; and when he heard him, he did many things, and heard him gladly.” Mark vi. 20. The Gospel of repentance and preparation for the kingdom of heaven which John preached (Matt. iii. 2) included the resurrection from the dead, and was preached with the resurrection power. To this Herod bears witness when he recognises the work of Jesus has been of the same character as that of John the Baptist.PTUK March 10, 1898, page 149.2

    “When Herod heard of the wonderful works of Christ in healing the sick, casting out devils, and raising the dead, he was exceedingly troubled and perplexed. His convictions were that God, whom John preached, was indeed present in every place, and that He had witnessed the wild mirth and wicked dissipation in the royal banqueting room, and that His ears had heard His command to the executioner to behead John, that His all eye had seen the exaltation of Herodias, and the taunting insult with which she had reproached the severed head of her enemy. And many things which he had heard from the lips of the prophet now spoke to his conscience in louder tones than the preaching in the wilderness. He had heard from John that nothing could be had from God, therefore he trembled lest some terrible punishment should be visited upon him for the sin he had committed. When Herod heard of the words of Christ, he thought that God had resurrected John, and sent forth with still greater power to condemn sin.”PTUK March 10, 1898, page 149.3

    THE POWER OF JOHN’S MINISTRY

    Jesus had already said concerning John: “Verily I say unto you, Among them that are born of women there hath not risen a greater than John the Baptist: ... And if ye will receive it, this is Elias which was to come.” Matt. xi. 11, 15. In his work as the prophet of the Lord, the true God, Elijah fearlessly reproved sin even in high places (1 Kings xviii. 17, 18) and called upon the people to recognise and worship Jehovah as God. And although “John did no miracle,” yet his work was “in the spirit and power of Elias,” and his words brought conviction of sin to the hearts of all classes, including Herod the tetrarch. His mission was to turn the minds of the people to the coming Messiah, saying to all, “Behold the Lamb of God,” and this he did not merely by his word but by revealing Christlike principles in his life. “His life was so unselfish, marked with humility and self-denial. His teachings, exhortations, and reproofs, where fervent, sincere, and courageous.” Thus the declaration of Herod, “This is John the Baptist,” was a remarkable testimony to the character of John's work, as being done in the same power in which Jesus worked. Thus it ought to be with every faithful servant of Jesus now. So, after the resurrection of Christ, those who examined Peter and John concerning their work “took knowledge of them that they had been with Jesus.”PTUK March 10, 1898, page 149.4

    VICTORIOUS IN DEATH

    The imprisonment and death of John testify to his own faith in his own work. His mission was “to make ready a people prepared for the Lord,” and this involved confession of sins and faith in the saving power of the Gospel. In pursuance of his work He reproved sin of every kind, and when as a result of his faithfulness he was cast in the prison, his own faith in the Gospel which he had preached to others sustained him and he was “faithful unto death,” just as He whose forerunner he was, “became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.” Those who look upon outward appearances merely might conclude that the work of John the Baptist ended in defeat, but “the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh upon the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh upon the heart,” and He recognised in the integrity of His servant and in His refusal to compromise right principles, a victory greater than a Hastings or a Waterloo. Because Jesus was faithful unto death, “wherefore God also hath highly exalted Him, and given Him a name which is above every name,” and with every loyal servant He shares His “new name.”PTUK March 10, 1898, page 149.5

    SURFEITING AND DRUNKENNESS A CAUSE OF CRIME

    But the faithfulness of John does not relieve Herod of the responsibility of taking his life, and this whole occurrence is a temperance lesson of great power. When in his right mind Herod would never have made such a rash promise as to give to this profligate dancer “whatsoever she would ask,” or even having made it he would never have kept it when she said, “Give me here John Baptist head in a charger;” but “Herod on his birthday made a supper to his lords, high captains, and chief estates of Galilee” (Mark vi. 21), and with his passions inflamed by surfeiting and drunkenness, and “pleased” by the bewitching presence and art of the dancer, his reason was overborne. Shocked by the inhuman request of the young woman, he is for the moment brought to his sense, “and the king was sorry,” but bound by a false sense of honour, and waiting in vain for his drunken companions to release him from his oath, he gave the fatal command and the life of a righteous man is sacrificed to the hatred of Herodias. But this crime is one of the many which lie at the door of intemperance.PTUK March 10, 1898, page 149.6

    “Too often in these days the most solemn responsibilities rest upon those who, from their intemperate habits, are not in the condition to exercise the calm and judgment and keen perceptions of right and wrong with which their Creator endowed them. The guardians of the people, men in authority, upon whose decisions hang the lives of their fellow creatures, should be subject to severe punishment if found guilty of intemperance. Those who enforce laws should be law-keepers. They should be men of self-government, in full harmony with the laws governing their physical, mental, and moral powers, that they may possess full vigour of intellect and a high sense of justice. In the martyrdom of John we have a result of intemperance among those invested with great authority. This eventful birthday feast should be a lesson of warning to the lovers of pleasure, and an exhortation to Christian temperance.”PTUK March 10, 1898, page 149.7

    THEY WENT AND TOLD JESUS

    Herodias was satisfied when she had received the head of John and the disciples were permitted to have the body, which they buried “and went and told Jesus.” How much is revealed in these few words. Having lost a faithful leader they “went and told Jesus.” In their grief at his shameful death, they “went and told Jesus.” With a natural longing for sympathy in their hour of trial, they “went and told Jesus.” This is the privilege of every Christian now. “For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like is we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” “Surely He hath borne our griefs and carried our sorrows.” When we have been overcome by any power of evil, we can go and “tell Jesus.” He will not take any advantage of our confessions. When death has gained an apparent victory and one has been taken from the family circle, we can go and “tell Jesus.” He who wept at the grave of Lazarus, wept with and for us as well, and He says to us “I will come again.” “Then shall be brought to pass the saying that is written, Death is swallowed up in victory. O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?” Whatever our circumstances in life, it is our privilege to go and “tell Jesus;” and this He invites us to do.PTUK March 10, 1898, page 150.1

    “Have we trials and temptations,
    Is there trouble anywhere?
    What a privilege to carry
    Everything to God in prayer!”
    PTUK March 10, 1898, page 150.2

    “Hidden to Be Revealed” The Present Truth 14, 10.

    E. J. Waggoner

    When the disciples of Jesus came to Him, to ask Him about a parable that He had spoken, He said to them: “Unto you it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God: but unto them that are without, all these things are done in parables; that seeing they may see, and not perceive; and hearing they may hear, and not understand; lest at any time they should be converted, and their sins should be forgiven them.” Mark iv. 11, 12.PTUK March 10, 1898, page 150.3

    To the casual reader, and especially to the one who reads with prejudice against the Lord and His Word, these words seem to indicate unfairness on the part of God; let us therefore give them a little further examination.PTUK March 10, 1898, page 150.4

    In the first place we notice from Matt. xiii. 13-15, that it is the people themselves who have closed their eyes against seeing, and have dulled their ears and harden their hearts. Then reading further in the fourth of Mark we find these words: “And He said unto them: Is a lamp brought to be put under the bushel, or under the bed, and not to be put on the stand? For there is nothing hid, save that it should be manifested; neither was any thing made secret, but that it should come to light.” Verses 21, 22, R.V.PTUK March 10, 1898, page 150.5

    So we find that things are hidden only in order that they may be revealed. Just as when Jesus thanked the Father that these things were hidden from the wise and prudent, and revealed unto babes. Matt. xi. 25. No one can complain of such a “hiding” of things as consist in revealing them to babes.PTUK March 10, 1898, page 150.6

    But where are these things hidden?—In Christ, we are told, “are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.” Col. ii. 3. But He is “the Light of the world,” and whosoever follows Him shall not walk in darkness. John viii. 12. Now a light is not brought in to be put under a measure, or under a bed, but in order to be put on a candlestick, that it may give light to all that are in the house. Compare Mark iv. 21, 22 and Matt. v. 15. Thus in the same connection in which Christ says that to the disciples it is given to know the mystery of the kingdom, while to the others all things are spoken in parables, He plainly shows that all the hiding of the things of God is of such a nature as to make them more apparent.PTUK March 10, 1898, page 150.7

    That this is so, is still further seen by what we learn of the nature of parables. Many people doubtless imagine that parables were used by Jesus to conceal His meaning from the multitude, whereas just the opposite is the case. Read Matt. xiii. 34, 35: “All these things spake Jesus unto the multitude in parables; and without a parable spake He not unto them; that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet, saying, I will open My mouth in parables; I will utter things which have been kept secret from the foundation of the world.” See Ps. lxxviii. 1-4.PTUK March 10, 1898, page 150.8

    Why was it, then, that Jesus said that to the disciples it was given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but that to the others it was not given? Mark iv. 11; Matt. xiii. 10. Why was it given to the one, and not to the other? The answer is obvious,-it was because the disciples asked Jesus the meaning of what He said, while the others did not care enough about what He said, to take that trouble. No person, young or old, can ever expect to learn much if he never asks any questions. If the rest of the people had had the same interest to know the truth that the disciples had, they could have learned it in the same way that they did, namely, by asking. For Jesus Himself, in encouraging men to ask, said, “Every one that asketh receiveth; and he that seeketh findeth; and to him that knocketh it shall be opened.” Matt. vii. 8.PTUK March 10, 1898, page 150.9

    “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him.” James i. 5. “For the Lord giveth wisdom; out of His mouth cometh knowledge and understanding.” Prov. ii. 6. God is a God that hideth Himself (Isa. xlv. 15), yet only in order that He may be found; for He says, “Look unto Me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth.” Verse 22. “That which may be known of God” is manifest not only to the heathen, but in them; for ever since the creation of the world the invisible things of Him, even His everlasting power and Divinity, are clearly seen, being perceived through the things that are made; so that no man on earth has any excuse for not knowing the Lord. See Rom. i. 19, 20.PTUK March 10, 1898, page 150.10

    Let us use our eyes, or, if they are closed, ask the Lord for the anointing which He so freely gives, in order that we may know all the things that are so freely given to us by Him.PTUK March 10, 1898, page 150.11

    “Back Page” The Present Truth 14, 10.

    E. J. Waggoner

    “Received ye the Holy Ghost when ye believed?” “We have not so much as heard whether there be any Holy Ghost.” “Into what then were ye baptized?”PTUK March 10, 1898, page 160.1

    Those two questions of the Apostle Paul teach us much. What! baptized, and have not received the anointing of the Holy Ghost! Strange baptism that; the Apostle did not have any knowledge of it, for it was not in God's plan. The idea that any should profess to believe, and should have been baptized, and not have received the Holy Spirit was altogether new.PTUK March 10, 1898, page 160.2

    Baptism and the receiving of the Holy Ghost ought to be inseparable. Not necessarily to the exact minute in point of time, for we read of some who received the Spirit before they were baptized, and of others upon whom He came just afterward. But the two are a part of one and the same work, for whoever believes from the heart that Jesus is the Son of God is a candidate for baptism (Acts viii. 36, 37), and the Holy Spirit is given to all who truly believe in Jesus. John vii. 39; Eph. i. 13.PTUK March 10, 1898, page 160.3

    Then let the Apostle's question come home to each one of you personally: “Have ye received the Holy Ghost since ye believed?” If not, there must be a lack in your belief. Search the Word, taking it as the living Word of the living God, see it active in creation, and you will experience the power of the words, “Receive ye the Holy Ghost.”PTUK March 10, 1898, page 160.4

    A Russian correspondent of the Daily Chronicle says that Russia is not ready for war in the Pacific, the meager supplies in that region, and the time and expense involved in transport, making it doubtful if Russia could at present hold its own in a war with Japan. He evidently thinks that Russia's work is nearer home, for he says: “From the day when St. Sophia was converted into a Mohammedan mosque, the Russians have regarded the destruction of the Ottoman Empire and the deliverance of the Christian populations as their historic mission.”PTUK March 10, 1898, page 160.5

    It has been made known to the world by Cardinal Rampolla that the Pope is “willing to act as mediator between the United States and Spain.” The Pope is as coy as a school-girl. A shrewd old gentleman is he. How delicately he puts it! “Willing,” he says, when all the world knows that the one desire and ambition of his life is not only to arbitrate between nations, but to rule them all. But he is very diplomatic, and knows that it is better to seem to have power thrust upon him, then to be openly too bold.PTUK March 10, 1898, page 160.6

    When the representative of an American journal asked Mr. Bryce the question, “If the policy of territorial extension by the British has been followed by a corresponding extension of civilisation, why might not this hold good with regard to the extension of United States territory?” Mr. Bryce replied that one would have to define civilisation in order to answer the question properly. “To give savage and backward races our railways and currency and laws is perhaps less of a benefit than we are apt to imagine.”PTUK March 10, 1898, page 160.7

    There is sound wisdom in that answer. One can feel very virtuous and philanthropic when his dealing with the savages is called civilising them, whereas all the glamour would be taken off it if it were said that he was exploiting them for his own personal pecuniary profit.PTUK March 10, 1898, page 160.8

    The Rev. Mr. Horton, a portion of whose sermon on “Romanism and National Welfare” we recently printed, says that there are “some hundreds of clergymen of the Church of England who are secretly ordained Romish priests, and there are twenty thousand nuns at work,” all labouring to bring England under Papal control.PTUK March 10, 1898, page 160.9

    One of the speakers at the recent Methodist memorial meeting was Dean Farrar, who said that he didn't know and didn't care what the ecclesiastical critics would think of his speaking for the second time in Wesley's chapel, and added, “We want not uniformity but unity.”PTUK March 10, 1898, page 160.10

    A new journal, Herald of Health, comes to our table from the office of the Bible Echo, Melbourne. It is a sixteen page monthly, with attractive cover, and full of interesting and useful matter neatly put together. There is great need of the instruction which it gives, and we wish a wide circulation for it and all of its kind.PTUK March 10, 1898, page 160.11

    Mr. Johansen, who accompanied Dr. Nansen on his journey farthest north, said they had no spirits whatever with them during the fifteen months’ trip, and did not need any.PTUK March 10, 1898, page 160.12

    The article “As Free as a Bird,” beginning on the first page, may be had in tract formed by sending to this office. Price, 1/2nd.PTUK March 10, 1898, page 160.13

    “The Worship of Force and Violence” The Present Truth 14, 10.

    E. J. Waggoner

    The Worship of Force and Violence .—All over the world people seem to be crazy for war. They want to fight; or if they themselves are not particularly anxious to expose their own persons to flying bullets, they want to see others do it. On the Sunday following the blowing up of the U.S. man-of-war Maine, in the harbour of Havana, when it was the general feeling that war between the United States and Spain must inevitably follow, it is said thatPTUK March 10, 1898, page 160.14

    In most of the churches clergymen prayed for victory for the American flag “in the impending conflict,” and national airs were sung with feeling by the congregations.PTUK March 10, 1898, page 160.15

    It will be remembered that both Spain and the United States are “Christian nations,” and that in case of war, while ministers in the United States would be praying God to give their soldiers success in killing Spaniards, the Spanish priests would be beseeching Him to help their men to slaughter Americans. And the men of the world, considering such an exhibition of “Christianity,” would naturally conclude that they were already converted.PTUK March 10, 1898, page 160.16

    “Heavy Stakes” The Present Truth 14, 10.

    E. J. Waggoner

    Heavy Stakes .—In these days when commercial and political interests are so widespread and the nations touch each other in all parts of the world, a struggle between any of the great Powers is generally considered to involve more than wars heretofore. Nations are practically staking their lives on their armaments, and most of the life of the Continental nations is being put into armaments. Speaking a little time ago of Britain's determination to fight if necessary for trade rights in Chinese ports, the Attorney-General said:—PTUK March 10, 1898, page 160.17

    That was not brag or bluster, but was the outcome of a courageous determination to hold our own. Even if we did have to fight for this cause and lost, we should have a quick and glorious death, instead of the slow starvation which the loss of trade would mean.PTUK March 10, 1898, page 160.18

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