INTERESTING ITEMS AND LETTERS
J. PIERPONT MORGAN'S WILL
No doubt many, as well as the Editor, were surprised to read the opening paragraph of Mr. Morgan's will, as reported in the public press, as follows:
"I commit my soul into the hands of my Savior, in full confidence that, having redeemed it and washed it in His most precious blood. He will present it faultless before the Throne of my Heavenly Father, and I entreat my children to maintain and defend at all hazards and at any cost of personal sacrifice, the blessed doctrine of the complete atonement for sin through the blood of Jesus Christ, once offered and through that alone."
Many know of a prominent part taken by this gentlemen in the affairs of the Episcopal Church. The newspapers also informed the world of the fact that Mr. Morgan more or less recognized the Pope. Many were inclined to think of his church membership and church attendance as merely formalism--"Churchianity."
Now it appears that, regardless of whether or not Mr. Morgan was a fully consecrated saint of God, he at least trusted in the Savior. Moreover, the faith professed in the above quotation from his will intimates a much clearer appreciation of the Atonement Work of Christ than the majority of ministers of various denominations would be ready to acknowledge.
Evidently Mr. Morgan was not a Higher Critic, nor in sympathy with them; for Higher Critics cannot and do not receive the Bible teaching respecting the value of the death of Christ as the Atonement Price for the sins of mankind.
Evidently, also, Mr. Morgan was not a believer in the doctrine of Evolution; for that doctrine holds that instead of having original sin, which needs to be canceled before the [R5253 : page 173] sinner can have fellowship with God, the contrary is true. Evolutionists hold that man started as second cousin to the monkey, too unintelligent to be guilty of any transgression, and that as a race man has been progressing upward, upward, and needs only to be let alone in order to fully evolute into a god--that is to say, the generations of evoluted men millions of years in the future will be gods. But respecting man present and past, Evolution makes no claim, seeing only a destructive process in operation, and trusting that it is working out the preservation and development of the best of the species.
The great financier's will, viewed from this standpoint, is meaningful. It implies that, notwithstanding vast financial enterprises and the social round of which he was more or less the center, he, nevertheless, caught the thought that he was a sinner; that he needed a Savior; that Jesus was that Savior sent of God; and that through His blood, His death, and through it alone, can come remission of sins and deliverance from the penalty of sin--corruption, death--by a resurrection.
GOD'S ESTIMATION DIFFERENT FROM THE WORLD'S
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--
I request your opinion upon the correctness of a thought expressed in a friendly publication in the following language:
"When the holy Jesus died, it was as a victim of Sin, which, for the moment, seemed to have the victory. Indeed, He could not have died, had sin not been imputed to Him; for all the promises of health, prosperity and life which were by the Law were His. The Law said, 'The man which doeth these things shall live by them.' (Rom. 10:5.) Thus came a necessity for our Lord to be accounted a sinner, in order that He might die for the people. For this reason we do not see that it is possible for the members of the Church to die unless, like Him, they are accounted sinners."
I am well aware that the Lord Jesus would not have died
(the publication says, "could not have died") if there had
been no sin to be atoned for. But if our Lord died as above
suggested, it seems to me that His death must have been a
penal death and not a sacrificial one. Could He die both a
penal and a sacrificial death? It seems not so to me. If the
Lord Jesus died a penal death, it would appear to me that
He could have no life-rights left to His credit to bestow upon
either the Church or the world....
I anxiously await your reply, for if the foregoing expression is correct I have seriously misunderstood both the Scriptures and the Dawns.
Your loving brother in our dear Redeemer,
W. W. M.--Va.
THE EDITOR'S REPLY
DEAR BROTHER M__________:--
I am glad to note your careful discrimination in your Scripture studies. This is one lesson that all the dear friends in the Truth need to learn--not to accept implicitly everything that they read, nor everything that even a regular Pilgrim may express. The same principle, of course, holds true with respect to our own presentations, oral and printed. All that we receive as spiritual food should be thoroughly masticated before assimilation. We have great confidence in all of the dear brethren engaged in the Pilgrim service; otherwise they would not thus represent the Society. However, we must not be held responsible for their every expression. We believe them to be thoroughly well-intentioned, but perfection will be reached only beyond the veil. We come now to your question.
We cannot quite endorse the phraseology of the statement which you quote. All of the Church die as the victims of sin in the sense that Sin and Death are personified in the Scriptures. Sin has actuated all those who oppose the Truth and persecute the Lord and His consecrated footstep followers.
But we cannot agree to the thought that our Lord's death was a penal one. One Scripture might be considered as supporting this thought, namely, the words, "He hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin." (2 Cor. 5:21.) But this Scripture we understand to signify that our Lord who knew no sin, was made a Sin-Offering on our behalf. We remember also the Scripture which declares that "As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of Man be lifted up." (John 3:14.) The serpent, indeed, is the symbol for Sin. But we can think of only one way that our Lord was viewed as a serpent--in the sense that He underwent all the experiences which a sinner could have been required to undergo. Thus He suffered as a sinner and for the sinner the same penalty that might be required of any sinner. But while He was a malefactor, a sinner, etc., in the eyes of men, He was the reverse of all this in the eyes of His true followers and in the Father's sight.
What Jesus did He plainly stated--He laid down, or surrendered, His life, because thus He could best serve the Father's purposes. He did not give away His life. Nor did He die under condemnation as a sinner. He did not forfeit His life. Nor did the Jews or Roman soldiers take His life away from Him contrary to His permission. He laid it down of Himself. Had He died a sinner in God's sight, with sin imputed to Him by the Father, He would have had nothing to give for the redemption of Adam and his race--He would have been unable to become their Regenerator in the Times of Restitution.
We submit that the only proper view of the Lord's death is that it was a manifestation of His absolute obedience to the Father's will. That extreme of obedience was rewarded with the Divine nature and glorious exaltation in His resurrection. The risen, glorious Redeemer made no satisfaction of Justice and paid nothing over on behalf of anybody until after He ascended up on High. Then He appropriated of His merit to all who, during this Age, would accept the Father's call and drawing to become members of Christ's Body. To each of these He has imputed enough of His own merit to make good the deficiencies of their flesh, in order that they, like Himself, might present to God sacrifices holy and acceptable, and thereupon be begotten to the spirit nature.
Later on, our Lord's human life, unforfeited and not yet
given away, will be given away on behalf of Israel and the
world, canceling "the sins of all the people" and securing for
Himself the Mediatorial Throne of the Millennial Age, for
the blessing of Israel, through its Mediator, and all the
families of the earth through Israel, and under Israel's New
I note your second question, relative to our statement in THE WATCH TOWER of March 1, 1910, page 88, second column --where we set forth that Satan's "little season" will be after Messiah shall have delivered up the Kingdom to the Father. It is true that some years ago we were not so clear on this point as now--less positive. The great Mediator will indeed "destroy from amongst the people" all who will not obey Him, throughout the Millennial Age; so that at the transfer of His Kingdom and the vacating of His Mediatorship, the world of mankind will be perfect. The Mediator will step from between God and man, and Divine tests will be applied, to prove, to demonstrate, the heart-faithful. The sentence upon the disloyal is: "There will come fire from God out of Heaven and destroy them." This indicates a testing and punishing by Divine Justice. This would not be possible so long as the Mediatorial Kingdom held sway. However, we understand that our Lord will be the Father's Representative in connection with that exhibition of Divine Justice which will follow His Mediatorship, just as He was the Father's Representative and Agent before He came into the world to be our Redeemer.
The trial will follow the thousand years of Christ's reign, at the conclusion of which He will deliver up the Kingdom to God, even the Father. Hence the loosing of Satan and the testing of the perfected race will be the result of their being turned over into the hands of absolute Justice, and in contradistinction to their having been in the hands of Mercy through the Mediator for a thousand years. That judgment, or test, therefore, will be of the Father, of Justice--a similar test to that which originally came upon Father Adam.
However, it is written that all things are of the Father
[R5254 : page 173] and by the Son. We are to understand that the glorious Son of God will be the Father's active Agent in respect to that Judgment, as well as in all other matters. But it will be the Father's Judgment, or the judgment of Justice, for the Son's Mediatorial Kingdom will have ended.
REPORT OF THE GLASGOW CLASS I.B.S.A.
DEARLY BELOVED PASTOR:--
We have just held our annual business meeting, and we know you will unite with us in praising God for all His lovingkindness and tender mercies throughout 1912 in permitting us to have the privilege of serving in the Harvest Work. The following are a few of the items reported on:
There are now more Departments, and more workers in these Departments, than ever before; and what is more encouraging, there is more activity and energy displayed than at any previous time. Doubtless all taking part are realizing the shortness of the time and are doing with their might what their hands find to do.
There are now nine Elders and twenty-three Deacons. [R5254 : page 174] the work being divided into nineteen Departments. A schedule of these divisions and appointments has been printed this session and a copy is enclosed herewith.
We have thirty regular Church meetings each week, besides a number of occasional meetings from time to time, including a monthly Question Meeting, Quarterly Harvest Work Meeting, meetings to report progress, and extra meetings when Pilgrims visit us. The Elders hold a monthly business meeting, and all the elected brethren meet every Saturday to consider and advise on any matter coming forward.
The printed syllabus enclosed includes all the regular Church meetings. These syllabuses are not only distributed among the brethren, but are also given to any interested who ask for them.
Our meetings are as follows:
(1) Seven Sunday morning meetings in different districts; aggregate attendance about 253. Two Sunday morning meetings outside boundaries, for which chairmen are provided from Glasgow; attendance about 40.
(2) A united meeting on Sunday evenings, well advertised, for the Church and all interested; attendance varying from 400 to 700.
(3) Eleven Wednesday evening meetings in homes of the brethren; aggregate attendance, 146.
(4) Eight Berean Studies on Fridays, and one on Sunday afternoon; total number of students, about 180.
(5) One week-night united Church meeting on Monday evenings, for the study of "Tabernacle Shadows"; average attendance, about 90.
Monthly Question Meetings are held about the last Saturday of the month, and questions are answered by the Elder brethren (who take the meeting in turn), or by a Pilgrim, when the Question Meeting fits in with his visit.
A "Harvest Work Meeting" is held quarterly, on a Sunday afternoon, to hear and give experiences, and also to exhort one another, in the different branches of the work; average attendance, about 150.
Visitation.--There are now 50 visitors (9 brothers and 41 sisters) engaged in this work. It is intended that the visits should be monthly, and in case of sickness or distress oftener.
The Volunteer Work is now divided into two sections; viz., extended Glasgow (being designated, "The Inner Circle"), and the 30 miles radius around Glasgow (being called "The Outer Circle"). The number of Peoples Pulpits distributed from January 1 to December 31, 1912, is 510,230 for regular volunteer work, including special distribution in July; and the number of Everybodys Paper, for Class Extension work, is 291,600, making a total of 801,830. About 200 Volunteers take part in this work.
Occasional Colporteuring.--Thirty-six brethren are taking part in this branch, compared with twenty last year--an increase of sixteen. The number of books sold is close to 1,000.
Besides these thirty-six, there are sixteen sisters and one brother from the Glasgow Church giving all their time to this work, and several other brethren, who are in readiness for another branch of the work, are devoting a good deal of time to colporteuring at present.
Book-loaning.--Thirty-one brethren are taking part in this Department. At present there are 225 books in the work. Each one has 6 books, but some wish 12. This work seems to be opening up and we anticipate more will be done in this way.
Local Pilgrim Service.--Twelve Churches are served, monthly visits being paid on request.
Class Extension.--This work has increased rapidly during the past year. There have been 17 series held, which comprises 15 series of 6 meetings, one of 3 meetings, one of 2 meetings; and there have also been three single meetings; total number of meetings 98. Tracts distributed, 291,600; attendance averaging one person per 100 tracts distributed. The attention at all the meetings has been most marked.
New classes have been formed in four places and existing classes strengthened in three places.
The total expenditure has been approximately L190 ($950), averaging barely L2 ($10) per single meeting.
Convention.--The outstanding feature of the past year was the General Scotch Convention, held July 25-28, and the presence of you, our dear Pastor, with us for three whole days. The number attending the Convention ranged from 500 to 800.
We appreciated very much, and benefited greatly by, your presence with us at that time. The Convention finished with a Love Feast in the Convention Hall, and a large public meeting in St. Andrews' Grand Hall, filled to overflowing, the attendance being about 5,000 and many being turned away.
Baptisms at Glasgow, during 1912, numbered 81, and the number at the Memorial Supper in March was 363.
At the close of the Business Meeting it was unanimously decided to send you a message of love, with the following texts:
"The Lord bless thee and keep thee; the Lord make His face shine upon thee and be gracious unto thee; the Lord lift up His countenance upon thee and give thee peace."-- Num. 6:24-26.
"Wherefore, also, we pray always for you, that our God would count you worthy of this calling and fulfil all the good pleasure of His goodness and the work of faith with power; that the name of our Lord Jesus Christ may be glorified in you, and you in Him, according to the grace of our God and the Lord Jesus Christ."--2 Thess. 1:11,12.
And we wish to say how much we appreciate your loving interest in us, and all the help we receive from you through THE WATCH TOWER and through the many visits from Pilgrim brethren who come to us from time to time. We thank you and our Heavenly Father for all these blessings, and we would just like to say how much we are longing to see your face and to hear your voice again. Come soon!
With much Christian love,
GILBERT MACKENZIE, Secretary.
"IT SATISFIES MY LONGINGS"
DEAR PASTOR RUSSELL:--
I came to the Lord in 1886, and had been a worker in the vineyard for over sixteen years, but on account of the inconsistency of Christian teachings, I, ten years ago, went out to seek the Truth somewhere else, having lost faith in Christianity. For ten long, weary years I roamed through the world. Theosophy, the Vedas, the Ancient Mysteries, Agnosticism, and all else have been the food of my soul. Finally, last Easter morning, I decided that Christianity, with all its faults and shortcomings, held out more hope for the weary than all the above mentioned husks together. True, I found some truths in all, but nothing, nothing to be compared with the Truth that is accessible even to the weakest Christian. Well, I found my way back--the old, old story of the prodigal's return--an Easter morning in my soul.
Since then one of your tracts came into my hands, and I joyfully accepted the truths I found. I am now studying the SCRIPTURE STUDIES; I love them.
I never thought that I would ever be able to believe in the miracles recorded in the Bible. But I do now. I now look on the laws of nature merely as the habits of God, and as I would set aside a habit whenever I thought expedient for a certain purpose, He would set a settled habit aside for the time being.
As I said above, I am studying the SCRIPTURE STUDIES. I would also be pleased to subscribe to the WATCH TOWER, if your will be good enough to enter my name as a subscriber.
Thanking you again for your kindness, I am
Yours in Christ,
ALEX. P. RIEDEL.--N.Y.
THE LIGHT IN INDIA
MY DEAR PASTOR RUSSELL:--
I want to thank you for sample copy of THE WATCH TOWER, and also for Report on Foreign Mission Work, received a few months ago, and very much appreciated.
I would like to have THE WATCH TOWER sent regularly, beginning with January 1913, to above address. I will send subscription price in due course.
I am much interested in prophetic Bible Studies, and am looking for the Lord's speedy return. I have been working as [R5255 : page 174] a missionary in China for many years, and am now on furlough, most of which will be spent in Travancore, India. May I ask an interest in your prayers for future guidance?
With thanks in anticipation, believe me to remain,
Yours very sincerely.__________.--Travancore, India.
REJOICING IN TRIBULATION
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--
Greeting in His name! Your good and encouraging letter of 17th inst. received and very much appreciated.
While we suffered much loss of goods, we did, and still do, and intend always to cling closely to Rom. 8:28. Yes, we were in perfect peace. The flood of water did not reach our second floor by 18 inches; and though our neighbors left their homes and went to the hills, we stayed where we were (upstairs) seven days and eight nights, having plenty to eat and [R5255 : page 175] drink (thanks to your advice as to food for time of trouble). We went to bed every night and slept soundly.
While some of those of the world noted and commented on our peace, others said it was wicked to take things so calmly and serenely while they (the world) were so worried and so many were losing their goods.
Your brother and sister by His grace,
MR. AND MRS. J. L. DILLI.--Ohio.