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- Weighted Relevancy
- Content Sequence
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August 9, 1894
“Temptation and Sin” The Present Truth 10, 32.
Temptation and Sin.—“My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not.” . To be tempted is not a sin, for Jesus Christ “was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin.” . The sin comes in only when the temptation is consented to.PTUK August 9, 1894, page 497.1
“The World and Self” The Present Truth 10, 32.
The World and Self.—“For all that is in the world, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.” . “The world,” therefore, is the natural, human heart, and the only way in which one can be separate from the world is to be separate from self.PTUK August 9, 1894, page 497.2
“Christ for the World” The Present Truth 10, 32.
Christ for the World.—“If any man sin we have an Advocate [Comforter] with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and He is the propitiation [sacrifice] for our sins; and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.” . God is no respecter of persons, for Christ by His grace tasted death “for every man.” “Whosoever will may come.”PTUK August 9, 1894, page 497.3
“Knowing the Right Way” The Present Truth 10, 32.
Knowing the Right Way.-The Psalmist prayed, “Teach me Thy way, O Lord.” . What a blessed thing it is to know the way of the Lord,—to know His way in every affair of life; that is, to know His way of doing those things. If we knew His way, we should make no mistakes, for “as for God, His way is perfect.” . May we indeed have the blessed privilege of knowing His way?—Yes, if we are willing; for the promise is, “The meek will He guide in judgment; and the meek will He teach His way.” .PTUK August 9, 1894, page 497.4
“A Strong Plea” The Present Truth 10, 32.
A Strong Plea.—“Remember, O Lord, Thy tender mercies, and Thy lovingkindnesses; for they have been ever of old.” . The Lord Himself, through His prophet, says, “Ye that are the Lord’s remembrancers, take no rest, and give Him no rest.” . R.V. This is not because He is in danger of forgetting, but for our hope and courage. His mercies have been ever of old. He changes not, so that He is the same to-day. Therefore in order to receive Divine mercy, all that is necessary is for us to come to Him believing that He is, and to claim the mercy, not because we deserve it, but because His own nature demands that it be rendered.PTUK August 9, 1894, page 497.5
“Boundless Mercy” The Present Truth 10, 32.
Boundless Mercy.—“Let Thy mercy, O Lord, be upon us, according as we hope in Thee.” . This prayer was inspired by the Holy Spirit, who alone can teach us what to pray for. The Spirit can teach us what to pray for, because He knows what we need, and what the Lord is willing and anxious to grant. Every inspired prayer is therefore the same as the promise of the Holy Spirit. So we are sure that we may have as much of the mercy of the Lord as we can hope for. “Hope maketh not ashamed.”PTUK August 9, 1894, page 497.6
“Thought and Deed” The Present Truth 10, 32.
Thought and Deed.—“By faith Abraham, when he was tried, offered up Isaac; and he that had received the promises offered up his only begotten son.” . Yet Abraham did not slay his son, who lived to a good old age. The offering was made in the heart of Abraham. He had received his son from the Lord, and he gave him up at the Lord’s call; but the Lord gave him back. God looks upon the heart. The gift which a heart makes, and which would be offered if there were the ability or opportunity, is counted by the Lord as already given. On the other hand, the evil which men meditate, but which circumstances, where lack of ability prevent, is counted to them as actually accomplished.PTUK August 9, 1894, page 497.7
“Waiting for Fruit” The Present Truth 10, 32.
“He spake also this parable: A certain man had a fig tree planted in his vineyard; and he came and sought fruit thereon, and found none. Then said he unto the dresser of his vineyard, Behold, these three years I come seeking fruit on this fig tree, and find none: cut it down; why cumbereth it the ground? And he answering said unto him, Lord, let it alone this year also, till I shall dig about it, and dung it; and if it bear fruit, well: and if not, then after that thou shalt cut it down.” .PTUK August 9, 1894, page 497.8
This parable is in the line of the words of the Saviour in : “I am the true vine, and My Father is the husbandman. Every branch in Me that beareth not fruit He taketh away; and every branch that beareth fruit, He purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.”PTUK August 9, 1894, page 497.9
These scriptures contain a lesson of encouragement and of warning. They show the longsuffering of God. He is not hasty in His judgments. He does not cut a man off at once, because of his failures. His word is, “All day long have by stretched forth My hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people.” . His great desire is to save, not to destroy. When professed Christians manifest impatience with the erring, and are ready to condemn them, they misrepresent God.PTUK August 9, 1894, page 497.10
There is encouragement for those who are conscious of their defects, and of the poor service which they render. After the man had borne with the fruitless tree for three years, it is not supposable that he would cut it down because the fruit which began to bear the fourth year was small. So after the Lord has borne with us for years in our utter neglect of Him, much more will He be merciful to us when at last we heed His voice. “If, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.” .PTUK August 9, 1894, page 497.11
But the text contains a warning against presuming upon the mercy of God. We are not to continue in sin, that grace may abound. We are cautioned against thinking that we can freely transgress because we are under grace. It is not safe to trifle with God. “He that being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy.” . Therefore, as the Holy Ghost says, “To-day, if ye will hear His voice, harden not your hearts.”PTUK August 9, 1894, page 498.1
“The War Spirit” The Present Truth 10, 32.
In that prophecy of Joel, concerning the time when “the day of the Lord is near,” we read, “Proclaim ye this among the Gentiles; Prepare war, wake up the mighty men, let all the men of war draw near; let them come up. Beat your ploughshares into swords, and your pruninghooks into spears.”PTUK August 9, 1894, page 498.2
This is the very spirit that is abroad in the nations to-day. There has always been war in the earth since sin entered. There never was a time, perhaps, when peace was more talked of than now. But the world has never seen such preparations for war as mark our own times. The produce of the ploughshare and pruninghook is literally being turned into swords and spears, and it seems to be counted a sure thing amongst the nations that the struggle must come, and that soon.PTUK August 9, 1894, page 498.3
In the Revelation, John points to the fierce spirit of war as one of the conditions which should exist at the time of the end. “The nations were angry, and Thy wrath is come, and the time of the dead, that they should be judged.” . As it was in the days of Noah-when violence filled the earth-so the Lord said it would be in the last days.PTUK August 9, 1894, page 498.4
No one need expect anything other than violence in the earth so long as Satan is the god of this world. He it is that stirs up the fierce spirit of war, wherever it is. As the apostle saw almost the very end of the history of this world’s sin, he saw the spirits that are manifestly already at work—“the spirits of devils, working miracles, which go forth unto the kings of the earth and of the whole world, to gather them together to the battle of that great day of God Almighty.” .PTUK August 9, 1894, page 498.5
“Indifference” The Present Truth 10, 32.
The word of the Lord-and every word of God-is something to be lived. The temper of mind which discusses matters of truth theoretically, as simply so many facts to be determined and weighed, and properly labelled, as one would examine and ticket a specimen of rock or plant, is not the one that finds the truth as it is in Jesus.PTUK August 9, 1894, page 498.6
Believing the truth is living it, and the man who lives, “by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God,” knows that every word is a living, vital thing, and not to be treated indifferently. Although the Scriptures are so easy of access to-day, it is plainly apparent that indifference to what the Lord says is the characteristic of the age. Mrs. Lynn Linton recently summed up this condition as follows:—PTUK August 9, 1894, page 498.7
“For liberty to worship God in the way which seemed to him the sole and only truth-for liberty to live the self-respecting life of a free citizen in a free land-a man would go to the stake in the days of a long ago; and the coward who would have faltered, the renegade who would have turned back, would have been of all men then the most miserable and accursed.PTUK August 9, 1894, page 498.8
“Times are changed, and the supreme test of faith and valour no longer exist. We have loosened the bonds of personal and social obligation to their widest extent; and beyond obedience to the common law of the land, where disobedience would render us amenable to the policeman and the magistrate, we have no great principles to maintain. We have waxed fat, and we do what is right in our own eyes. Nothing is quite right, and nothing is very wrong; and things do not matter a hair’s breadth one way or the other.PTUK August 9, 1894, page 498.9
“The age has lost its perception of lines and colours. In place of the old broad black unmistakable lines of the archaic wood-block, we have come to the confused vagueness of the new process. Instead of the distinct dye, which left nothing uncertain, we have come to complex tints which are neither pink and yellow, neither blue and green. And in like manner, instead of things being absolutely right and absolutely wrong, we cherish an emasculate kind of via media, where the old distinct and separate spheres overlap and intermingle, and where we are not quite sure of anything. This is our predominant iniquity.”PTUK August 9, 1894, page 498.10
“Studies in Romans. Jew and Gentile.” The Present Truth 10, 32.
In these verses last studied we have had some sharp questions to those who are “called Jews,” that is, who profess to be followers of the Lord. Mere form and profession do not constitute one a proper teacher of the truth of God. He who does not exhibit in his life the power of that which he professes, is only a detriment to the cause. In the verses now before us we have a brief but explicit statement concerningPTUK August 9, 1894, page 498.11
CIRCUMCISION AND UNCIRCUMCISION
“For circumcision verily profiteth, if thou keep the law; but if thou be a breaker of the law, thy circumcision is made uncircumcision. Therefore, if the uncircumcision keep the righteousness of the law, shall not his uncircumcision be counted for circumcision? And shall not uncircumcision which is by nature, if it fulfil the law, judge thee, who by the letter and circumcision dost transgress the law? For he is not a Jew, which is one outwardly; neither is that circumcision, which is outward in the flesh; but he is a Jew, which is one inwardly; and circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.”PTUK August 9, 1894, page 498.12
QUESTIONING THE TEXT
Definition of Terms.-The two terms “circumcision” and “uncircumcision” are here used not only to indicate the rite and the absence of it, but also to designate two classes of people. “The uncircumcision” evidently refers to those who were called Gentiles, those who worshipped other gods. This use of the terms is very plain in the following passage: “When they saw that the Gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me, as the Gospel of the circumcision was unto Peter (for he that wrought effectually in Peter to the apostleship of the circumcision, the same was mighty in me toward the Gentiles); and when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision.” . Here we find that the terms “uncircumcision,” “Gentiles,” and “heathen,” all refer to the same people.PTUK August 9, 1894, page 499.14
Just what was the profit of circumcision, we are not told in this chapter. The statement of the fact was enough for this place, for the only point in the mind of the writer was to show what circumcision is, and who are the really circumcised. A great deal depends upon these few verses. They should be studied carefully, because upon them depends the proper understanding of a large portion of the prophecies of the Old Testament. If these verses had received the consideration that they ought to have by professed Bible students, there would never have been any “Anglo-Israel” theory, and the unprofitable and misleading suppositions about the return of the Jews to Jerusalem before the coming of the Lord would never have been made.PTUK August 9, 1894, page 499.15
What Is Circumcision?-This question is answered in plain language in , where the apostle, speaking of Abraham, the first one who was circumcised, says: “And he received the sign of circumcision, a seal of the righteousness of the faith which he had yet being uncircumcised.” To the question, therefore, “What is circumcision?” the answer must be, The sign of circumcision is a seal of righteousness by faith.PTUK August 9, 1894, page 499.16
Circumcision Made Uncircumcision.-This being the case, it is evident that where there was no righteousness, the sign of circumcision was worthless. So the apostle says, “If thou be a breaker of the law, thy circumcision is made uncircumcision.” As in the previous verses we learned that the form without the fact amounts to nothing, so here we are told that the sign without the substance is of no account. It is very easy for a poor man to put out a sign advertising boots and shoes; but to fill the shop with goods requires capital. If he has the sign, but has no boots and shoes, he is worse off than if he had no sign.PTUK August 9, 1894, page 499.17
The Mistake of the Jews.-The Jews made a mistake of supposing that the sign was sufficient. They finally came to hold the idea that the sign would bring the reality, just as many professed Christians in these days suppose that the performance of certain rites will make them members of the body of Christ. But circumcision of the flesh alone could represent no righteousness, but sin. See . As a matter of fact, many of those whom they despised as “uncircumcised” were thus in reality “circumcised,” while they themselves were not.PTUK August 9, 1894, page 499.18
Circumcision of the Heart.-Real circumcision is a matter of the heart, that is, of the inner life, and not at all of the flesh. The apostle plainly declares that what is outward in the flesh is not circumcision, that is, which consists only in outward form; but “circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter.” This is stated as a general truth. This was not a new departure in the days of Paul, but was the case from the beginning. In we read the words of Moses to the children of Israel: “And the Lord thy God will circumcise thine heart, and the heart of thy seed, to love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, that thou mayest live.” All true Jews recognised that true circumcision was only of the heart, for Stephen addressed those who rejected the truth as “stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears.” .PTUK August 9, 1894, page 499.19
Righteousness in the Heart.-The Psalmist says, “Behold, thou desirest truth in the inward parts.” . Mere outward righteousness is nothing. See ; . It is with the heart that man believeth unto righteousness. . When Moses, at the command of the Lord, rehearsed the law to Israel, he said: “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart.” . There can be no righteousness that is not the real life. Therefore, since circumcision is but a sign of righteousness, it is evident that there can be no real circumcision except circumcision of the heart.PTUK August 9, 1894, page 499.20
Circumcised by the Spirit.—“For we know that the law is spiritual.” . That is, it is the nature of the Holy Spirit, for the word of God is the sword of the Spirit of God that can put the law of God into the heart of man. Therefore true circumcision is the work of the Holy Spirit. Stephen called the wicked Jews uncircumcised, because, said he, “Ye do always resist the Holy Ghost.” . It seems evident, therefore, that, although the word “spirit” in is not spelled with a capital letter, it refers to the Holy Spirit and not merely to the spirit of man. Of course in the Greek there is nothing to indicate any difference, just as in English the word is spelled the same whether it refers to the Spirit of God or the spirit of man. If we remember that circumcision was given as the seal of righteousness by faith, and that the inheritance promised to Abraham and his seed was through the righteousness of the law ( ), and we shall see that circumcision was the pledge of the inheritance. Now read , where the apostle says that we obtain the inheritance in Christ “in whom also, after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession.” The possession promised to Abraham and to his seed was assured only through the Spirit of righteousness; therefore, from the very beginning there was no real circumcision that was not of the Spirit.PTUK August 9, 1894, page 499.21
Circumcision through Christ.-Read . “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ. For in Him dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. And ye are complete in Him, which is the head of all principality and power; in whom also ye are circumcised with the circumcision made without hands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ.” Circumcision must have meant as much when first given as it ever did. Therefore from the very beginning it meant righteousness through Christ alone. This is sufficiently shown in the fact that circumcision was given to Abraham as the seal of the righteousness which he had by faith, and that “he believed in the Lord; and He counted it to him for righteousness.” .PTUK August 9, 1894, page 500.1
Who Are the Circumcision?-This question is answered by the Apostle Paul in : “For we are the circumcision, which worship God in the spirit, and rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh.” And this is but saying in other words what we have in our text, “Circumcision is that of the heart, in the spirit, and not in the letter; whose praise is not of men, but of God.” Nobody therefore was ever really circumcised who did not believe and rejoice in Christ Jesus. That is the reason why Stephen called the unbelieving Jews “uncircumcised.”PTUK August 9, 1894, page 500.2
Meaning of Circumcision.-We have not space to go into this question in detail, but the above texts put us on the track. A careful study of the chapters in Genesis which speak of God’s covenant with Abraham will also help to clear up the matter. We learn in . that God made a covenant with Abraham on the basis of his faith. The sixteenth chapter tells how Abraham listened to the voice of his wife instead of the voice of the Lord, and sought to work out the promise of God through the flesh and made a failure. His son was to be born of the Spirit, and not after the flesh. See . Then the seventeenth chapter shows the revival of Abraham’s faith, and the renewal of the covenant, with circumcision as the seal. A portion of flesh was cut off to indicate that he was to have no confidence in the flesh, but was to expect righteousness and the inheritance only through the Spirit of God. The descendants of Abraham would thus have a continual reminder of his mistake and would be admonished to trust the Lord and not themselves. But they perverted this sign. They regarded it as indicating that they were better than other people, instead of looking upon it as an evidence that “the flesh profiteth nothing.” But the fact that the Jews perverted and misunderstood the sign does not destroy its original meaning.PTUK August 9, 1894, page 500.3
Who Are Jews?-We have seen in a quotation from the second chapter of Galatians that the term “uncircumcised” refers to those who do not know the Lord, or who are “without God in the world.” See . The Jews are “the circumcision.” But only those who rejoice in Christ Jesus are the circumcision, who have no confidence in the flesh. Therefore the real Jews are none other than Christians. “He is a Jew, which is one inwardly.” There never was a real Jew in the sight of God who was not a believer in Christ. And every true believer in Christ is a Jew in the Bible sense of the term. Abraham, the father of the Jewish nation, rejoiced in Christ. See .PTUK August 9, 1894, page 500.4
A Mark of Separation.-Many have entertained the notion that circumcision was given as a distinguishing mark between the Jews and the Gentiles. The fallacy of this idea is sufficiently shown by a study of the giving of circumcision, and by the statement of the apostle Paul of what it really signified. Others suppose that it was given to keep the Jews separate, so that the genealogy of Christ could be ascertained. This also is simply an unfounded guess. Christ was to come from the tribe of Judah, but as all the tribes were circumcised, it is evident that circumcision could not by any means preserve his genealogy. Moreover, circumcision in the flesh never did make any separation between the Jews and the Gentiles. It did not keep Israel from idolatry, and it did not keep them from joining the heathen in their idolatrous practices. Whenever the Jews forgot God, they mingled with the heathen, and there was no difference between them and the Gentiles. Circumcision did not separate them.PTUK August 9, 1894, page 500.5
Still further, God did not wish the Jews to be separated from the Gentiles in the sense that they were to have no dealings with them. The object of his calling out the Jews from Egypt was that they should carry the Gospel to the heathen. He did wish them to be separate in character, but outward circumcision could never effect this. Moses said to the Lord, “Wherein shall it be known here that I and Thy people have found grace in Thy sight? is it not in that Thou goest with us? So shall we be separated, I and Thy people, from all the people that are upon the face of the earth.” . The presence of the Lord in the heart of men will separate them from all others, although they live in the same house and eat at the same table. But if Christ is not in the heart of a man, he is not separated from the world, though he may have been circumcised and may live a hermit.PTUK August 9, 1894, page 500.6
Literal and Spiritual Seed.-Much of the confusion that has existed in regard to Israel has arisen through a misunderstanding of these terms. People suppose that to say that only those who are spiritual are really Jews is to deny the literalness of the seed and of the promise. But “spiritual” is not opposed to “literal.” That which is spiritual is literal, and real. Christ is spiritual, but He is the real, literal Seed. God is spiritual, and is only Spirit, yet He is not a figurative Being, but a real, literal God. So the inheritance of which we are heirs in Christ, is a spiritual inheritance, yet it is real. To say that only those who are spiritual constitute the true Israel is not to modify or turn aside the Scriptures, or to weaken in any way the directness and force of the promise, because the promise of God is only to those who have faith in Christ. “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.” . “And if ye be Christ’s, then are ye Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.” .PTUK August 9, 1894, page 500.7
“‘Earthquakes in Divers Places’” The Present Truth 10, 32.
The earth is waxing old like a garment. It has endured the reign of sin and the curse until it has grown old under it, and is groaning for its redemption. Speaking of the signs of His coming and of the end, the Lord said: “Nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom; and great earthquakes shall be in divers places, and famines, and pestilences; and fearful sights and great signs shall there be from heaven.” .PTUK August 9, 1894, page 501.1
Take the earthquake record for this year. Greece and Turkey have been visited by a most destructive one, and severe shocks have occurred in Hungary, South America, and in the East. A newspaper says of the South Pacific regions:—PTUK August 9, 1894, page 501.2
Several severe shocks of earthquake have been felt in Fiji lately, and some damage was done on the island of Ovalau, on which the large town of Levuka is situated. Earthquakes have been unusually frequent of late years in the Fiji Archipelago, and many fear that a heavy outburst may occur before long. Ambargo, the burning mountain in the New Hebrides, between New Caledonia and Fiji, has been active lately, and it is not at all unlikely that the activity may spread before long to other parts of the volcanic zone.PTUK August 9, 1894, page 501.3
“Dogmas for Children” The Present Truth 10, 32.
Dogmas for Children.-Mr. Mundella, in a recent speech at Chelsea in support of the compromise measure now in prospect of being set aside in the Board Schools, said it was a fact recognised by all authorities that it was pure folly to teach children of tender years the religious dogmas which would be placed in the curriculum if the efforts of Mr. Athelstan Riley and his co-workers were successful. This simply states the most self evident side of the truth on the subject of such teaching. It is not only unjust to teach children doctrines in the schools contrary to the wishes of their taxpaying parents, but it is folly to teach church dogmas to any person, young or old, unless they can be taught in the language of Scripture. The truth is that the Spirit of God, and not man, is the Teacher of all religious truth, and when man puts himself in the place of the Spirit, the result is simply a darkening of counsel by words without knowledge.PTUK August 9, 1894, page 501.4
All persons, whether young or old, who experience the new birth, must become babes in Christ. The only food fit for a new-born babes is milk, and the only milk for babes in Christ is the Word. See . To read dogmas to infants out of the creed books of the Church is therefore not feeding them with the milk which they need to make them grow. And just as milk causes bodily growth in the infant, so the simple word received into the mind and heart causes Christian growth, because the truth stated therein is impressed upon the heart by the Spirit, who is able to teach even children of tender years. In all religious teaching, the truth must be impressed upon the heart by the Spirit, through the word of God. Any other kind of religious teaching is of no value.PTUK August 9, 1894, page 501.5
“Fill Up with the Good” The Present Truth 10, 32.
The only way to forget the things that are behind is to press on to the things that are before. The way to stop thinking of evil is to fill the mind with the good. It is the duty of parents not simply to warn against the evil, but to teach the little ones to be constantly employed in ways that are helpful and good and true. Dean Stanley once said:—PTUK August 9, 1894, page 501.6
“Leisure misused, an idle hour waiting to be employed, idle hands with no occupation, idle and empty minds with nothing to think,—these are the main temptations to evil. Fill up that empty void, employ those vacant hours, occupy those listless hands; the evil will depart because it has no place to enter in, because it is conquered by good. It is a simple fact, and well known, that if a cup is full it can hold no more; and likewise the child whose time is fully occupied with good and useful occupation, will have no time for the sins which Satan always finds for idle hands to do. Idleness is an active as well as a passive evil. God made the child to be busy; and if it is not busy with good, it will be busy with evil.”PTUK August 9, 1894, page 501.7
“Nonconformist Disestablishment” The Present Truth 10, 32.
The Nonconformists are not to have it all their own way in their attack upon the Established Church. The Church Family Newspaper has found a weak spot in Nonconformity, of which it proceeds to probe. Taking Dr. Parker’s City Temple as a type, it shows that many of the arguments against the Church of England lie against the Nonconformist churches, as well, although of course not to the same degree. We wish for the sake of quotation that Dr. Parker’s name were not used, as we are quite sure that he is not responsible for the state of things that exists, and that he does not ask help or recognition from the Government. The Church Family Newspaper expressly states that it does not design any invidious reference to Dr. Parker, but simply uses the City Temple as one of the best known and most important of the Nonconformist places of worship. Following are some of the points made:—PTUK August 9, 1894, page 501.8
The State, through the Registrar General, has recognised and legalised Dr. Parker’s chapel as a building erected and set apart for public worship, and in its character as such-different from its treatment of all other buildings devoted to secular purposes-the State has conferred on Dr. Parker’s chapel certain valuable exemptions and privileges.PTUK August 9, 1894, page 501.9
By virtue of the provisions of 39 and 89 Victoria, chap. 55, se, 150, 151, Dr. Parker’s chapel-the City Temple-is exempted from the payment of rates and taxes. This itself is a State endowment of the building. By the Charitable Trusts Acts 1869, se 63, it exempts the City Temple as well as all certified Nonconformist places of worship, and the property thereto belonging, from the control of the Charity Commissioners, except so far as their advice may be voluntarily sought and their consent may be necessary in dealing with the property.PTUK August 9, 1894, page 501.10
The State confers important legal privileges, which are, or might be, of considerable money value, upon the City Temple, as well as upon other Nonconformist places of worship, in that by 13 and 14 Victoria, chap. 28, it can, if need be, have new trust deed schemes drawn up, and new trustees appointed by the Charity Commissioners, the entire expense of which would have to be borne by the State, which really means the tax-payers of the country.PTUK August 9, 1894, page 501.11
These points are well taken, although they do not prove what the Church Family Newspaper designs to prove by them. It thinks to show by them that the Church of England is all right. But it shows a very weak case when a man has no other reply to a charge of evil-doing than to say to his accuser, “You do the same thing yourself.” The charge simply shows that Nonconformists, in the past, at least, have eagerly followed in the steps of the Established Church, and have been anxious for State patronage.PTUK August 9, 1894, page 501.12
It now remains to be seen what Nonconformists will do with this charge. Nothing is more sure than that whatever church receives special favours from the State, is to that extent an established church. To the extent to which it receives favours from the State, it must consent to be controlled by the State. Of course the most, if not all, of the Nonconformists of the present-day had nothing to do with bringing about the state of things that exist. If they are consistent, they will acknowledge the justice of the charge, and plainly say that they are ready and willing for the State to withdraw from them all the patronage it has bestowed on them.PTUK August 9, 1894, page 501.13
Of course the organs of the Established Church point out these things for the purpose of weakening the Nonconformist argument against the Establishment. If the Nonconformists do not come out and say that they do not desire any support from the State, and that they are perfectly willing for the State to tax their church property whenever it pleases to begin, their argument against Church establishment will not only be weakened, but will be wholly nullified. It will show that the attack upon the Church of England is prompted by jealousy of her superior privileges, and is not a matter of principle. But it would be a grand thing if the charge should have the effect of causing Nonconformists to see that the real power of the Church of Christ consists in its entire independence of the State, and in its dependence for protection and support wholly upon the Spirit of the Lord.PTUK August 9, 1894, page 501.14
We have spoken of the Nonconformist “attack upon the Church,” and the fact that the force of this attack is weakened by the support which Nonconformity receives from the State. We would not wish to be understood as favouring this or any other “attack” upon the Church of England or any other body. The true business of the Christian is to live and preach the Gospel of Christ, and not to “attack” any man, nor any body of men. A straight message of truth, and a living representation of the principles of truth, form the best possible “attack” upon any erroneous position.PTUK August 9, 1894, page 502.1
“Harmonising Scripture” The Present Truth 10, 32.
Harmonising Scripture.-At a recent Sunday afternoon meeting of religious people in Westbourne Park, the discussion turned upon “Paul’s Attitude toward Women,” and the speaker who introduced the subject said that if Paul’s teaching collided with Christ’s, Paul’s must go,—which sentiment elicited an expression of approval from the audience, and was endorsed by several speakers to follow. But who is to say whether Paul’s teaching collides with Christ’s or not? The Apostle Peter endorsed Paul’s writings, for he said, “And account that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also according to the wisdom given unto him hath written unto you; as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to be understood, which they that are unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other Scriptures, unto their own destruction.” . And Paul himself said, “I am crucified with Christ; nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me;” and also, “I say the truth in Christ; I lie not, my conscience also bearing witness in the Holy Ghost.” ; . Those therefore who presume to question the harmony of Paul’s writings with other portions of Scripture, assume to stand above Peter and Paul as expounders of Divine truth. But if such men wish their assumptions to be taken seriously, they should first show their ability to write something worthy of being compared with the epistles of either of those writers.PTUK August 9, 1894, page 502.2
“Sunday ‘Disorder’” The Present Truth 10, 32.
The question of the proper observance of Sunday seems to be coming rapidly to the front in the United Kingdom. As is well known, there exist in England two organisations which are based upon opposite conceptions as to the character of the first day of the week; and these two bodies, which were always antagonistic in principle, have now come into open conflict. The occasion is a recent lecture delivered on Sunday by Mr. Max O’Rell, the clever Frenchman, in the Colosseum, at Leeds. By an Act of George III. any building in which entertainments of any kind are given on Sunday, where money is taken at the doors or people are entitled to admission tickets for subscriptions, is to be considered a “disorderly house,” and the proprietor of the same becomes liable to prosecution. Under this law of the proprietors of the Leeds building have been prosecuted by the “Lord’s Day Observance Society,” for permitting the aforesaid lecture. The Sunday League, whose object is to secure recreation and pleasure for the people on Sunday, have taken up the gauntlet thus thrown down, and by their invitation Mr. O’Rell delivered the same lecture in St. James’s Theatre, London, in order that the people of the Metropolis might judge concerning the nature of that which the “Lord’s Day Observance Society” would put under the Sunday ban.PTUK August 9, 1894, page 502.3
The Chronicle, in noticing the event, pertinently observes that “had the lecture delivered... by Mr. Max O’Rell, on British national characteristics, been given on a Sunday, instead of Tuesday, the theatre, according to a judicial decision, would have been condemned under an old statute as ‘a disorderly house.’ Not that there was anything in the lecture to which exception could be taken by the most prudish, unless innocent drollery, clever satire, and keen observation of character wittily expressed are to be put under a ban. The day on which a discourse is delivered, however, makes all the difference.” In other words, that which is perfectly proper and right on a Tuesday, becomes “disorderly conduct” when it takes place on a Sunday! This is the logic (?) upon which rest numerous recent cases of prosecution for Sunday work in America, where conscientious and law-abiding citizens have been fined and put in gaol on the charge of becoming by such work a public nuisance. The only reasonable, consistent, and valid Sabbath law ever enacted, is that spoken by the Creator Himself from the quaking summit of Sinai, and which constitutes the fourth commandment of the decalogue. And that law commands the observance of “the seventh day,” and therefore has nothing to do with Sunday. See ; . And as obedience to God’s law must spring from love to Him, even from “faith which worketh by love,” and can come in no other way, it is worse than folly for any human being or organisation of men to attempt to enforce that law by human penalties upon any portion of mankind.PTUK August 9, 1894, page 502.4
“The Liberal Soul” The Present Truth 10, 32.
As well might we urge a man to pray who does not want to, as to urge people to give when they do not wish to. Giving to the Lord’s work is a privilege and duty, just as prayer is. The Lord’s cause no more needs the gift that is given grudgingly than He needs the prayer that is offered as a matter of form, with the idea that He exacts it for His good.PTUK August 9, 1894, page 502.5
The converted soul is a liberal soul, and needs no urging. There are many who satisfy the flesh by the form of religion, and who plan to have it cost as little as possible, whether the price of duty be money, or friends, or worldly ease. What they need is more Gospel. Bazaars and variety entertainments do not meet the case. A Nottingham vicar finds that people who consider the sermon cheap at a penny put the same price on the organ recital. He says in his parish magazine:—PTUK August 9, 1894, page 502.6
At the recital on the Thursday evening, four “ladies” sat together in one party; they contributed one penny amongst them. At the same service, one “gentleman” was overheard saying to another, “Will you lend me a penny?—I haven’t got a ‘threepenny bit.’” And another “gentleman” went away with the remark, “Well, that’s as good a threepennyworth as you get anywhere in Nottingham.” A clergyman was preaching in our church a short time ago for a special object. Immediately in front of him sat a lady, a stranger, well dressed; the dress and rings and bracelets and ornaments must have a cost at least ?50, so he says. He thought he had made an impression, and that at least ?1 would go to the plate for the benefit of the society. He was curious to watch her, but was disappointed when a penny was put in. I might multiply such instances indefinitely, but what’s the good?PTUK August 9, 1894, page 502.7
“Two Sides” The Present Truth 10, 32.
The Congregationalist (Boston, U.S.A.) has a very interesting and instructive article about the “Taxation of Churches.” The article is called out by the fact that there is a vigorous movement in some quarters against Roman Catholicism, a portion of the energy being expended in an effort to secure the taxation of church property. This, it is thought, will touch the Catholics most closely; but the Congregationalist says:—PTUK August 9, 1894, page 503.1
That there are two sides to this question all will admit. But both sides must be clearly understood in order to any fair discussion. The amount of property in the United States in church buildings and equipment is very large, being in 1890, according to the census report, $679,604,439. But of this amount Roman Catholics control only ?118,000,746. If an attempt by Protestants to weaken the power of Catholics were wise under any circumstances, it evidently would not be wise for Protestants to advocate, for that purpose mainly, the taxation of church property.PTUK August 9, 1894, page 503.2
“Happy is he that condemneth not himself in the thing which he alloweth.” . This is a most pertinent text in all Protestant attacks of Catholicism, and especially in this one. Through the non-taxation of church property, the people in general are being taxed to sustain Catholic worship. Certain professed Protestants see this, and think that by protesting against Church exemption from taxation they can strike a blow at the Roman Catholics. But, lo, they find out that they themselves are involved in the evil to a greater extent than the Catholics are, and so they conclude that they must seek some other point of attack.PTUK August 9, 1894, page 503.3
It is most pitiful when professed Protestantism is forced to acknowledge that it cannot protect against Romish error, because it is involved in the same mischief. But it should serve as a valuable object lesson upon the difference between true and false Protestantism, and their different methods of working. True Protestantism is not an “attack” upon anybody. It never has to withhold its protest, even though the Protestant are not perfect, because it consists simply in holding up the true standard-Jesus Christ and His word-to which all alike should conform.PTUK August 9, 1894, page 503.4
The form of the protest made by Wycliffe and Tyndale against Catholicism, lay in their giving the Bible to the people in their own tongue, and in teaching them to read and obey it. Luther’s strongest protest against Rome was his preaching of justification by faith. True Protestantism is to “preach the word,” no matter whose course is crossed by it. The true Protestant can never have his mouth stopped by the pointing out of the errors in his own course, for he will at once accept the reproof, and let his life conform more closely to the standard. The one proper work of all professed Christians is to preach the Gospel; and preaching the Gospel does not mean an attack upon any man or any body of men, but a presentation of truth which has power to convert both preachers and hearers.PTUK August 9, 1894, page 503.5
“News of the Week” The Present Truth 10, 32.
-Earthquake shocks have been reported recently from Mercedonia; Old Servia, and Eastern Bulgaria, many houses having been injured at Varna. A number of lives are stated to have been lost.PTUK August 9, 1894, page 510.9
-The aggregate tonnage of shipping peeing through the port of Liverpool during the past year was neatly ten million tons, an increase of about half a million on the previous twelve mouths.PTUK August 9, 1894, page 510.10
-A dispatch from Calagaran, in the Island of Mindanao, announces that the Spanish troops attacked the Mussulman Malaya on July 24, and completely routed them, with the loss of some 250 killed.PTUK August 9, 1894, page 510.11
-The Victorian Budget, which has been introduced in the Legislative Assembly at Melbourne, shows a deficit of ?1,801,000, caused chiefly by the financial crisis and the fall in value of raw products.PTUK August 9, 1894, page 510.12
-There is war among the Moors in Morocco. A sanguinary conflict is reported to have occurred between the tribes of Mazuza and Ben Isicar, in which three persons were killed and about thirty wounded.PTUK August 9, 1894, page 510.13
-The Paris Figaro’s correspondent at Tangiers telegraphs that the Sultan has been ill for some days past, and has seen no one but Bahamet. It is believed his Majesty has narrowly escaped death by poison.PTUK August 9, 1894, page 510.14
-The British schooner Mayer, of Gibraltar, was recently boarded by an armed band of Riff Arabs off the Morocco coast, and stripped of its contents, the British flag being rent In pieces and trampled upon.PTUK August 9, 1894, page 510.15
-A detachment of British troops have been Ianded at Bluefields, Central America, from H.M.S. Mohawk. The Mosquitos have fortified the town and the river front in expectation of an attack by the Nicaraguans.PTUK August 9, 1894, page 510.16
-The Wellman Arctic expedition, which was supposed to be lost, has been heard from. Their ship has been crushed in the ice, but the party are well, and in no immediate danger. A ship will be sent to bring them back.PTUK August 9, 1894, page 510.17
-The cholera in its westward march has reached Rotterdam, and at Maastricht the scourge has almost assumed epidemic form, there having been thirty-two cases and sixteen deaths reported up to Aug. 2.PTUK August 9, 1894, page 510.18
-The South African chief Malaboch has surrendered to General Joubort, in charge of the Transvaal troops, after making two desperate attempts to break the cordon round the caves in which the chief and his followers were hiding.PTUK August 9, 1894, page 510.19
-The Horsham County Council have passed by-laws, fixing a penalty in the case of any person in a public place or highway singing or reciting a profane piece or using profane language. They should now pass an ordinance defining what “profane” language is.PTUK August 9, 1894, page 510.20
-The little town of Cottel, situated in the heart of the Balkans, not far from Slivno, has been completely destroyed by fire. The inhabitants are camping out in the neighbouring fields and woods. Nothing is known as to the number of victims, which is believed to be large.PTUK August 9, 1894, page 510.21
-The foundation stone of a new hospital for the treatment of fever and diphtheria, has been laid at Shooter’s-hill, near Gravesend. It will increase the accommodation for London fever patients to 5,500 beds, one to every thousand of the population. The cost will be ?200,000.PTUK August 9, 1894, page 510.22
-It is stated that the French postal authorities are contemplating the suppression of the employment of young women in the post-office, in consequence of the continuous complaints from the public as to their dilatoriness, and because it has been found that no saving has resulted from the experiment, owing to their inability to withstand fatigue.PTUK August 9, 1894, page 510.23
-An alarming discovery was made recently on the tramway leading to the laboratory at Priddy’s Yard powder stores, Gosport. Several match heads cut into minute pieces, it was found, had heel placed on the line. A workman stopped on a match-head, which exploded. Fortunately no loose powder was in the vicinity at the time, otherwise the consequence might have been disastrous.PTUK August 9, 1894, page 510.24
-In view of the recent railway war in America the following figures are interesting. There are no fewer than 1,800 companies working 176,161 miles of railway, and employing 873,602 persons of all grades. Those railways carried in 1893 no fewer than 593,560,612 passengers and 745,119,482 tons of freight. To carry, these passengers and move the freight required 34,788 locomotives, 31,384 passenger cars, and 1,047,577 freight cars.PTUK August 9, 1894, page 510.25
—Liverpool continues to be the most densely populated city of any in Great Britain. Taking the whole area—5,210 acres—within the municipal boundaries, the density (says the Lancet) is 97.9 persons per acre, and excluding the space occupied by the docks and quays the density is 114 per acre. The total deaths were 13,919 last year—1,248 more than in 1892—giving a rate of mortality of 27.3 per thousand of the population.PTUK August 9, 1894, page 510.26
-Danger lurks in the railway carriage. Some investigations made by German specialists revealed the following startling facts:—In fourth-class carriages the number of bacteria swept up from one square metre of surface was estimated at 12,624; in the third-class 5,481; in the second-class 4,247; and in the first-class 2,583. The presence of the Koch bacillus was proved in three oases, the result, doubtless, of expectorations from consumptive persons.PTUK August 9, 1894, page 510.27
-Intense heat has prevailed over a large part of the United States during the latter half of July, and many fatalities from sunstroke are reported from New York and Chicago. In New Jersey and Wisconsin forest fires have resulted from the heat and drouth, and the railroads have sustained heavy losses. The town of Phillips, Wis., has been destroyed, leaving 500 persons homeless. The fires have been attended by considerable sacrifice of human life.PTUK August 9, 1894, page 510.28
-War has finally been declared between Chins and Japan. Several naval fights are reported in the open sea off Korea, in which the Japanese were victorious, but in a severe land engagement in Korea the Japanese were defeated with heavy loss. Japan has probably involved herself in difficulty with England by the sinking of the Kow Shang, an English ship, while conveying Chinese troops to Korea, there having been no declaration of war made at the time China is sending large bodies of troops into Korea from Manchuria, her northern province. It is stated that England and Russia will act in concert in the effort to secure an early termination of hostilities.PTUK August 9, 1894, page 510.29
“Back Page” The Present Truth 10, 32.
The census returns for India give 2,284,380 as the number of people professing Christianity. A quarter of a million of these are Europeans or Eurasians. The total population is 287,223,431.PTUK August 9, 1894, page 512.1
Two young ladies of fortune have recently given an enormous sum to Roman Catholic institutions. Both are of Protestant parentage, and were put in a convent school for their education. The result is that the fortunes won by Presbyterian and Wesleyan families are turned over to the Church of Rome. Yet many Protestants are sending their children to such schools.PTUK August 9, 1894, page 512.2
The National Federation of Sunday Societies, has, through its Executive Council, approved of a Bill which has been drafted by Mr. Mark H. Judge, to amend the Act of 21 George III., so as to “give greater freedom for the enjoyment of science, literature, and art, on Sundays.” Here is where the National Federation of Sunday Societies gives its case away. By moving for the amendment of a Sunday law, they concede the righteousness of such laws. If they are going to deal with the law at all, they ought to move for its unconditional repeal. All such laws are simply relics of Paganism and of the Dark Ages.PTUK August 9, 1894, page 512.3
The Bill referred to above provides that the application of the Act of George III. shall not extend “to a museum, art gallery, science or art exhibition, and garden, or library, as such, nor to a lecture on science, literature, art, or kindred subjects; nor to performances of music, provided they be under the management and control of a committee or society,” which is specially defined. That is to say, the Act shall not apply to any reputable affair. But disreputable affairs are sufficiently provided for by laws applicable every day in the week alike; hence the uselessness of any Sunday law.PTUK August 9, 1894, page 512.4
Like most of the great Foreign Missionary Societies, the Wesleyan Society has to face a large deficit. At the recent conference Dr. Jenkins held that this was not because of the depressed times altogether. “Money was never,” he says, “spent with such profligacy for merely selfish pleasure, and this not only outside, but inside the church.” The love of pleasure is abroad in the world, and every believer must be on his guard lest his love grow cold and his service formal.PTUK August 9, 1894, page 512.5
At the recent Wesleyan Conference there was quite a discussion in regard to the reading of sermons. It was quite generally agreed that the practice is growing, but to the detriment of the church. One minister told of a conversation with a man whom he met in a railway train, who said that he was a Methodist, but that in his circuit conversations had gone out of fashion, because three out of their four ministers read their sermons. Rev. Mr. Wilkinson said that if they did not preach as their fathers did, Ichabod would be written on their walls.PTUK August 9, 1894, page 512.6
Sympathy is literally a “feeling together.” That is, the one who truly has sympathy for another, has the same feeling that that other one has. No one but a cripple can truly sympathise with a cripple. A strong man may feel sorry for one who is ill, but he cannot sympathise with him unless he has been similarly affected, and retains a vivid recollection of his sufferings.PTUK August 9, 1894, page 512.7
No one, therefore, can sympathise with a sinner, except one who realises that he himself is a sinner. Every man is a sinner, but not every man realises that the same sin that appears in others is in himself likewise. Such ones can have no sympathy with those who are out of the way. Christ did no sin (), yet He was made to be sin for us. . He “was it all points tempted like as we are.” . In all things He was “made like unto His brethren” ( ), and therefore He sympathises with the sinful and has “compassion on the ignorant, on them who are out of the way.” . Only the consciousness of the fact that the sinless One has a fellow-feeling for sinners, enables us to come with boldness to the throne of grace.PTUK August 9, 1894, page 512.8
“A Safe Position” The Present Truth 10, 32.
A Safe Position.—“And now little children, abide in Him; that when He shall appear, we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before Him at His coming.” . They who are in Christ are as safe as He is, and may be as free from fear; but they who are without will have no shelter from the storm. The one class are at home at the seat of glory, for glory is their inheritance; the other class have rejected true glory, and when it bursts upon them they are dazzled and overpowered by it.PTUK August 9, 1894, page 512.9
“A Political Prayer” The Present Truth 10, 32.
A Political Prayer.-The papal encyclicals counsel peace, but in Austria the clerical party came dangerously near disturbing the peace by their strenuous efforts to defeat the desire of the Hungarian people to be freed from priestly control in civil matters. Now the clergy have secured a special prayer from the Pope to be used as a campaign document. The Times correspondent says:—PTUK August 9, 1894, page 512.10
The prayer is addressed to St. Stephen, the first king of Hungary, and to the Virgin Mary, and craves for deliverance from the enemies of the Roman Catholic Church. An indulgence of 300 days is conceded to all those offering up the prayers once a day in the manner prescribed.PTUK August 9, 1894, page 512.11
“Gruesome Calculation” The Present Truth 10, 32.
Gruesome Calculation.-Terrible as war has always been, the modern improvements in arms must make the carnage more terrible than ever. Military authorities have to reckon with this, and must plan for the care of the wounded and mangled victims on different lines from those heretofore employed. It is discussed in as matter-of-fact a way as a farmer would talk of getting in his harvest. Of course it must be, and yet it only shows the cold-blooded horror of war, when a newspaper which has much to say of military matters writes as follows:—PTUK August 9, 1894, page 512.12
The hail of bullets which will sweep over the battlefield of the future will have little regard for the Geneva Cross, and the surgeon will undoubtedly perish with the wounded whom he has come to succour. We would substitute for the present system an organisation which would attempt to grapple with the problem of treating the wounded by the aid of the field hospitals well in the rear, to which no one would be brought till the fighting had ceased. The idea of carrying off the wounded from the modern battlefield while the fight is still raging is utterly absurd, and should be dismissed at once, while the system which would needlessly sacrifice the lives of the majority of our army surgeons, at the very time when they would be most useful, is utterly indefensible, and opposed to all experience and common sense. The lot of the wounded in the next European war will be terrible enough in any case; it will not be improved by a measure of the doctors.PTUK August 9, 1894, page 512.13