ZWT - 1911 - R4733 thru R4942 / R4825 (161) - June 1, 1911
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VOL. XXXII JUNE 1 No. 11
A.D. 1911--A.M. 6039
Views From The Watch Tower........................163
Wisdom From Above the Noblest
Chicago Dissatisfied With Revivals............164
Tameness Emptying the Churches................165
Right Habits of Thought...........................165
The Truth of a Thing is But One of
Sowing and Reaping................................167
The Sin Unto Death................................169
The New Will Cannot Sin While It
Remains a New Will..........................170
Could Our Example Lead Another Into
the Second Death?...........................170
Sennacherib Turned Back...........................171
Jehovah's Suffering Servant.......................172
"O, Glorious Day" (Poem)..........................173
Some Interesting Letters..........................174
Berean Questions in Scripture Studies.............175
WATCH TOWER BIBLE & TRACT SOCIETY
CHARLES T. RUSSELL, PRESIDENT
BROOKLYN TABERNACLE, 13-17 HICKS ST.,
BROOKLYN, N.Y., U.S.A.
Foreign Agencies:--British Branch: LONDON TABERNACLE, Lancaster Gate W. German Branch: Unterdorner Str., 76, Barmen. Australasian Branch: Flinders Building, Flinders St., Melbourne. Please address the SOCIETY in every case.
ANNUAL SUBSCRIPTION PRICE, $1.00 (4s.) IN ADVANCE. SEND MONEY BY EXPRESS, BANK DRAFT, POSTAL ORDER, OR REGISTERED. FROM FOREIGN COUNTRIES BY FOREIGN MONEY ORDERS, ONLY.
Terms to the Lord's Poor as Follows:--All Bible Students who, by reason of old age, or other infirmity or adversity, are unable to pay for this Journal, will be supplied Free if they send a Postal Card each May stating their case and requesting its continuance. We are not only willing, but anxious, that all such be on our list continually and in touch with the STUDIES, etc.
ALSO FRENCH, GERMAN, SWEDISH, AND DANISH EDITIONS. SAMPLE COPIES FREE.
ENTERED AS SECOND-CLASS MAIL MATTER AT BROOKLYN, N.Y., POSTOFFICE ENTERED AS SECOND-CLASS MATTER AT THE POSTOFFICE DEPT., OTTAWA, CANADA
INTERNATIONAL BIBLE STUDENTS ASSOCIATION MEETINGS
AT WHICH BROTHER C. T. RUSSELL WILL BE PRINCIPAL SPEAKER
FRIENDS FROM NEARBY PLACES ARE CORDIALLY INVITED.
FIVE-DAYS BIBLE STUDENTS CONVENTION
Oakland, San Rafael and San Francisco brethren extend a most cordial invitation to all outside friends to attend the 5-day joint-local Convention in San Francisco--June 22, 23, 24, 25 and Oakland June 26. Brother Russell will speak twice in San Francisco--June 25--and in Oakland June 26. Pilgrim service will be arranged for all days. Opportunity for water baptism will be arranged in Oakland June 26.
Arrangements will be made for visiting friends. Rooms may be engaged in advance at 50 cents, 75 cents, $1 and up per day. Send full data and money as soon as possible to "Sec'y Hotel Committee, I.B.S.A.," 2018 Green street, San Francisco. Data should show sex, color, those that wish to room together or are willing to share room and bed to save expense, also rate desired, exact dates, etc., and hour and route of expected arrival, if known. Free sleeping accommodations will be furnished by local brethren to those that can come, but cannot afford room rent; these should also advise promptly in advance. Visitors' mail may be sent in care of above address.
Meetings and headquarters for four days in San Francisco will be at Lyric Hall, 513 Larkin street, with public lectures afternoon and evening of Sunday, June 25, at Dreamland Rink.
Meetings and headquarters in Oakland, June 26, will be at corner of Jones street and Telegraph avenue.
TORONTO, ONT., CONVENTION, JULY 15-17
All services for the interested in Broadway Hall, 450 Spadina Ave. On Sunday, July 16th, Brother Russell will address the general public at 3 p.m., and again at 7.30 p.m. in Massey Hall, corner of Victor and Shuter Sts.
The Eastern Canadian Passenger Association, embracing the territory east of and including Port Arthur, Sault Ste. Marie and the St. Clair and Detroit Rivers has granted a rate of one fare for the round trip plus 25c. on the certificate plan. Buy a single trip ticket to Toronto and secure a standard certificate showing that you have purchased a one-way full-fare ticket to Toronto. This certificate, plus 25c., will, if the required number attend the convention, entitle the holder to a return ticket free. Deposit your certificates with the proper party at the Convention Hall immediately after arrival.
Inquire of Brother Wm. A. Sinclair, 193 Concord Ave., Toronto, as to rooms, sleeping accommodations, etc.
BROOKLYN, N.Y., JUNE 4
Morning Rally for Praise and testimony at 10.30 in the Brooklyn Tabernacle. Discourse for the Public at 3 p.m. in the Brooklyn Academy of Music, Lafayette Ave. and St. Felix St. Evening service in Brooklyn Tabernacle, 7 p.m.
Those desiring water baptism or to present their children in consecration should notify in advance.
A COLORED PILGRIM BROTHER
Brother Walton is engaged in Colporteuring, but is pleased to serve classes composed wholly or mainly of colored people, when requested. Additionally we have other colored Brethren of good education, good address, and as clear in the Truth as white Brethren who might give some of their time similarly. We invite classes of colored friends who so desire to send in applications for such service.
TRACTS IN MISSIONARY ENVELOPES
Be careful not to put more Tracts into your envelope than the stamps will carry. Otherwise the Post Office will put "postage due" and the envelope will be refused and all be wasted.
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VIEWS FROM THE WATCH TOWER
WISDOM FROM ABOVE THE NOBLEST SCIENCE
WE REPEAT that the wisdom from above is the noblest science and the best instruction. Well do the Scriptures say, "The entrance of thy Truth giveth light." Well did the Lord through the Prophet foretell of our day--The wisdom of their wise men shall perish and the understanding of their prudent men shall not be manifest.--`Isa. 29:14`.
The great Sir Isaac Newton, guided by the promise of the Lord through the Prophet Daniel, declared his belief in the possibility of rapid transit amongst men. Daniel the Prophet declared, "Many shall run to and fro and knowledge shall be increased." The philosopher, guided by his faith in God's Word, declared his belief that some day mankind would travel at the rate of fifty miles an hour. And yet the locomotive was centuries away, and the power of steam had not even been discovered. Nearly two centuries later, a worldly-wise man, scoffing at the Bible, scoffed also at the philosopher who would allow the Bible's suggestions to influence his expectations of the future. The infidel savant, Voltaire, called the Christian Newton "a poor old dotard, misled by that old Book, the Bible." We all know by this time which of these great men was the dotard!
Scientists are still guessing and still repudiating the guesses of each other. To such an extent is this true, that no scientific book written more than twenty-five years ago, except the Bible, is worth a penny. No college, no school, no professor, no man of learning, would recommend any scientific work of twenty-five years ago as being authoritative--scientific. But this failure of their brethren in the past in no way intimidates those who call themselves learned at the present time. They keep on looking wise and guessing just the same. They keep on laughing at the Bible and reviling it and speaking of its being unscientific and do not see its beauty and the real fulfilling of its promises. They still have a fashion of breaking a chip off a rock, looking at it long and carefully and then declaring, with an air of wisdom, the hundreds of thousands or millions of years since that stone was soft mud and sand or gravel. They keep a stiff upper lip, knowing that they are merely repeating the words and mannerisms of their predecessors and teachers. They know, also, that the more astounding their statements, the more wise the laity will think them to be and the more they will honor them. Any man who can, by looking at a piece of stone, reckon up all the hundreds of thousands of years since its formation, must be a wise man indeed in the estimation of the street urchin, or the farmer and others, who, though more intelligent, have never done any thinking, but have merely swallowed the advice of others.
SOME WHO DO A LITTLE THINKING
This is the kind of trash that is dispensed in many of the school-books of our day. And when the students inquire, how, then, does it come that the Bible tells of only six thousand years of the history of man upon the earth? the professors merely sneer and smile at the simplicity of the question and say, You will know more about it before you graduate. You must study geology, biology, etc. There is, indeed, a small class of people who, without great pretention, do a little common-sense thinking and have intuition. Some of these, properly enough, take note of the fact that certain alluvial processes of our far West, when dug are soft and can be worked with a pick or a shovel, but in a very short time, when exposed to the air, become absolute stone. These same thinkers take note of the fact that humanity has learned in our day to combine various clays and gravels and to make therefrom concrete and cement stone work. These are asking with propriety, Why must we assume thousands or hundreds of thousands or millions of years for the hardening of the stones and clays which constitute the surface of our earth, when man knows how to produce such hardness in a few hours?
The celebrated "Mark Twain" had a good many grains of common sense in his make-up. It was part of his delight to poke fun at the pretensions of geologists respecting some of their theories. One of his amusing illustrations along this line discussed the Mississippi river and the changes known to have taken place in it within a few years. The supposition that similar changes had taken place every year for a thousand years would, he argued, imply that in that period the Mississippi river extended out and over the Gulf of Mexico several hundred miles. His irony was to the point.
It is not scientific nor wise to assume that the conditions of today or of this century or of many centuries have been true for thousands of years. Who does not know that for years the Missouri river has been so erratic in its course, so prone to cut new channels for itself, that farms in one State, by its changes of course, have been forced to be parts of another State. But geologists get so into the habit of guessing, and rely so much on the guesses of their predecessors, that they are slow to profit, slow to learn to base their calculations upon facts rather than fancies. "God is not in all their thoughts." His
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Word is neglected; hence the proper foundation for reasoning and judgment along geological lines is lacking.
THE GALLEY HILL MAN
Some twenty-three years ago a human skeleton was found imbedded in clay sand eight feet below the gravel which, we are assured, appeared to be in its original state. The finder of this, of course, felt sure that he had found a treasure, and in order to be a treasure and valuable it must be classed as very, very ancient. All theories and imaginations respecting a flood tide of the River Thames, or respecting a burial, must be discouraged. The find must be a valuable one for the sake of the finder.
The next thing necessary to be found was a gray-haired professor who also should be made famous. Dr. Keith, conservator of the Royal College of Surgeons, was the man of the hour. He has become famous through the wisdom he has displayed and the information he has given to the world in respect to mankind. He declares that the skeleton found belongs to a man who lived one hundred and sixty-four thousand years before the time when the Bible says Adam, the first man, was made in the image of his Creator!
We sit appalled at such wisdom. If we dared ask so great a man a small, trifling question, which, perhaps, any foolish person would know how to answer, our question would be, "How long, O sage, may we suppose the bones of an ancient Briton might have continued in good preservation had they not been ruthlessly disturbed?" We might further ask whether or not a sandy loam might be considered a favorable burying ground, so that corpses in general would not disintegrate and go to dust in a comparatively few years? Surely a miracle must be claimed by Prof. Keith for the preservation of these bones, so as to give him an opportunity of enlightening the world respecting
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the Briton of one hundred and seventy thousand years ago!
But the Professor hedges a little. He first says what nobody could dispute, namely, "No accurate estimate could be made of the age of a skeleton." But the professor was too scientific to stop with that sensible remark. He goes on:--
"We must judge of the past from what we know of the present, and on this basis the land movement is a slow one, for so far as can now be told, the level of the river has scarcely changed since the Roman period. If, then, a movement of a foot be allowed for each thousand years, one may with some safety assign a period of at least one hundred and seventy thousand years to have elapsed since the high level terrace was laid down at Galley Hill. Further research will probably show that the period is much longer."
Here the generous professor leaves room for some ambitious rival to come forward and claim a still greater miracle--that the bones of this skeleton were miraculously preserved for millions of years. Nevertheless, "The Word of the Lord standeth sure," writes the Apostle.
As another illustration of the exactness of scientific men and of the reliance we may place upon their conclusions, note the following:--
Prof. Hauser recently found in Southern France a human skeleton. He thought and studied very carefully over the subject to ascertain as nearly as possible the exact minute at which the corpse had been deposited. His conclusion, after this deliberation, was that it had been where he found it for a hundred thousand years--more than sixteen times as long as man has been upon the earth, according to the Bible.
But now comes Prof. Klattsch of Brescia who, after a similar amount of thinking, studying, etc., to find the exact moment, tells us that the skeleton was deposited four hundred thousand years ago. Of course, it makes no difference to the poor man whose skeleton it was or what these professors say, and it makes even less difference to us, except as the little discrepancy of three hundred thousand years proves to us the "exactness" of "scientific" attainment along such lines. The more we see of the foolishness of men, the more we should rely on the wisdom and Word of God. "The wisdom of this world is foolishness with God."
Let us, dear readers, be willing to be smiled at incredulously by Dr. Keith and others. And let us smile back again good-naturedly and stick to God's Word and trust, with good assurance, that in the dawning of the Seventh Thousand-Year period Messiah's Kingdom will be established and the blessings of mankind begin and the shadows of ignorance fade away, and God be found true and many wise men mistaken.--`Rom. 3:4`.
CHICAGO DISSATISFIED WITH REVIVALS
For three consecutive seasons Chicago has supported an expensive evangelistic campaign, having sought the leadership of the greatest men in this field. And, in turn, says The Christian Century (Chicago), Torrey, Gipsy Smith and Chapman have "inspired and disappointed the hopes of Chicago churches that this city might be stirred with new religious life."
The Northwestern Christian Advocate (Methodist, Chicago) recently undertook a questionnaire addressed to the various Chicago pastors of its denomination, "asking each to tell what results the recent Chapman-Alexander meetings brought to his church, his community, and the city as a whole." When these pastors frankly state that, "for the most part, the results are negligible in their churches," observes The Christian Century, "it is time for some one to arise and ask if the $50,000 spent in this evangelistic campaign could not have been spent to better advantage for the Kingdom of God." The replies of forty Methodist preachers are thus summarized:
ADDITIONS TO MEMBERSHIP
Twenty-two report "none"; one reports ninety; one reports forty; one reports thirty-six; one reports thirty; one reports twenty-one; one reports twenty; and the remaining twelve show lesser numbers aggregating thirty-four. Total for forty churches, 271.
ADDITIONS TO SUNDAY-SCHOOL
Thirty-five report "none"; one reports six; one "cannot tell"; one has "largest [attendance] in the history of the school"; one "cannot accommodate any more"; one, "some increase."
ATTENDANCE UPON MORNING SERVICE
Thirty-six report "no increase"; one reports an increase; one, "the congregation fills the house"; two, "slight increase."
ATTENDANCE UPON EVENING WORSHIP.
Thirty-eight report "no increase"; one reports "some increase"; one reports "best we have had."
ATTENDANCE UPON MID-WEEK PRAYER-MEETING
Thirty-five report "no increase"; two report "better attendance"; two report "some increase"; one reports "gratifying increase."
INCREASED RELIGIOUS INTEREST IN CHURCH AND COMMUNITY
Twenty-one report no change; thirteen report "slight increase"; five report "marked increase"; one reports the influence to have been less than favorable.
The meetings are declared "profitable," but "they did not reach the class it was hoped they would." "Relatively few of the unconverted were present." One man declares that "the people were not stirred by the meetings and Christians attended for the most part from a sense of duty."--Literary Digest.
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TAMENESS EMPTYING THE CHURCHES
"Speaking the truth in love" does not suit the combative natures of two of our religious contemporaries. That plan is all very well, exclaims the editor of The Congregationalist and Christian World (Boston), but speaking in that mild temper is "tame when compared to speaking the truth in the heat of controversy." This editor finds no simile within his own sphere of activities to express his feeling of the weakness of one method as contrasted with the other, so he boldly sets them forth as "basket-ball compared to a prize-fight with knuckles." "The decline of religious controversy is surely one reason for the falling-off of Sunday-morning congregations at church," he asserts. Dr. Buckley, in The Christian Advocate (Methodist, New York), echoes approvingly and adds that "the decline of religious controversy also has a great effect on evening services." He finds the smiles used by The Congregationalist "highly original and expressive," going on to supply some more himself:
"When Christianity dispenses wholly with controversy it will be like a sleeping man--harmless and helpless; it will be a sad spectacle.
"We were entertained at the house of a friend in New Hampshire, where Henry Ward Beecher was spending a day or two. It was his birthday and he was jubilant.
"He conducted prayers, and his utterances were equal to any of his published prayers in beauty, simplicity, and comprehensiveness.
"Immediately after he arose, he called the writer to him and pointed to a large picture hanging on the wall, representing a huge mastiff sound asleep with a piece of meat placed before him, and a lap-dog quietly drawing it away. Said Mr. Beecher, pointing to the sleeping mastiff, 'That is Orthodoxy,' and to the little dog, 'That is Heterodoxy.'
"So it is and ever will be. Controversy was the life of Paul's works--polite controversy, brotherly controversy; but strong in exposing error and building up the truth. The Epistles are full of controversy. Moreover, many of Christ's sayings were strictly controversial.
"It is more than a fine art to combine in one sermon the forcible overthrow of an error and a heartfelt appeal; but it is possible to attain unto it."--Literary Digest.
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RIGHT HABITS OF THOUGHT
"Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report--if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things."--`Phil. 4:8`.
AS THE mouthpiece of the Lord, the Apostle Paul is here giving instruction to the Church respecting how she should build herself up. Referring to the great influence of the mind over the body, he lays down certain rules for thinking; for as a man thinketh, so he will become. The more he thinks on good things, the better he will be. The more he thinks on evil things, the more evil he will be. The things we think about, the Apostle says, should be honorable, just, praiseworthy, beautiful. If a thing has none of these qualities the Lord's people should not think on it at all. A wonderful transformation of character is effected by thinking on those things which have wisdom and depth of instruction--those things which come from no one else but God.
"WHEN THE SPIRIT OF TRUTH IS COME IT WILL GUIDE
YOU INTO ALL TRUTH"
St. Paul was the one privileged to see the Lord after his ascension. We perceive that he, as well as all the other Apostles, had fulfilled in him the Master's words, "Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in
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heaven; and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." (`Matt. 18:18`.) That is to say, the Apostles would be so guided by Divine wisdom that whatever they should declare necessary in life, would be upheld in heaven, and whatsoever they should declare unnecessary, would be so considered in heaven. Hence, the whole duty and responsibility of the Church is outlined by this Apostle. Whatever we see in the Old Testament Scriptures that is valuable to us, we perceive that our Lord through the Apostles has marked out.
Much that our Lord said was spoken in dark sayings. The exposition of some of these sayings and some of these particular instructions he left to the Apostles, under the direction of the Holy Spirit. The reason why Jesus did not give the explanation of the deeper and more spiritual things was that the disciples were not then spirit-begotten and could not understand these things; whereas, after their begetting of the Holy Spirit, they were able to understand the deeper things of the Word of God.
Our Lord said, "When he, the Spirit of Truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth;...and he will show you things to come." (`John 16:13`.) This he has done through the writings of the Apostles and by believers all through the Gospel Age. Thus the Lord is making ready for the glorious consummation of our hope; and thus the Bride is making herself ready for the marriage of the Lamb, which will shortly take place.
"Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life." (`Prov. 4:23`.) These are inspired words of the wise king, Solomon, and it was evidently with the same thought in mind that the Apostle penned the words of our text. How beautiful this, the Apostle's final admonition to the Philippian Church, whom he addressed with affection as his "joy and crown"; and how much in keeping with the thought that out of the heart are the issues of life!
The heart represents the will, the intentions; the will must be kept true and centered in God, for it is the governing power of the whole man. Yet, though the will is the controlling power of man, it is also subject to influences. If the thoughts be impure, unjust, or unholy, the power of the will becomes more and more impaired. Hence the wisdom of the admonition of the Apostle as to what should be the character of our thoughts. In those who are striving to perfect holiness in the fear of the Lord--to adorn themselves with the beauty of holiness-- the thoughts must not be neglected and permitted to browse in every pasture, but must be disciplined to feed upon pure and healthful food, as the Apostle directs.
THE TRUTH OF A THING IS BUT ONE OF THE TESTS
Is this true, or is it false? is the first question to be asked in the consideration of any matter. Love for the Truth lies at the very foundation of a righteous life, and whoever sympathizes with falsehood or exaggeration is more or less defiling himself; but whoever cleanses his thoughts is to that extent purifying his entire character. With our poor and imperfect brains there is great danger
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of our being misled; and hence the Word of God exhorts us earnestly that we should not touch that which we realize is untrue.
The truth of a thing, however, is but one of the tests to which we should subject every matter. Who does not know that there are many things that are true, and yet dishonorable, not worthy of our thoughts. The true, but dishonorable and unworthy things presenting themselves for our consideration are, perhaps, oftenest in connection with the weaknesses, the errors, the follies, or what not of our neighbors, our brethren. The dismissal of these thoughts, so unworthy, will leave us the opportunity and the energy, if we will, to spend upon things that are honorable as well as true, worthy of our attention as New Creatures in Christ Jesus.
"Things that are just." Here we have another limitation. That which is just is that which is right. Justice and righteousness are synonymous terms. Very often that which is just is supposed to be the same as that which is lovely; as, for instance, The Golden Rule, "Do unto others as you would have others do unto you." This is not the rule of love, but of justice. We have no right to do unto others anything that we would not that they should do to us. In keeping the Golden Rule, therefore, we are not keeping the great Law of Love, but we are taking a step in the right direction. No one should begin to think about love until he is just. Love would be something more than that which is right. Love is more than justice. We have no right to expect more than justice. Whatever we receive more than justice is love, favor.
JUSTICE SHOULD BE THE RULE OF OUR LIVES
In thinking on those things suggested by the Apostle, we should think, first of all, on our own course. We should critically consider whether we are always thinking on these things which are right, just. We should never be prejudiced in the matter. Justice should be the rule of our lives, of our conduct. Again, in thinking on these things, we might naturally think in respect to the conduct of others. We could think about the influence, for instance, of various things. We could allow our minds to dwell much on the injustices practiced about us and elsewhere; on how much injustice is done in Africa against those who could rule themselves better; on how much injustice is done in business, etc. Thus there could be a great deal of muckraking. But this should not be the subject of our general thoughts. We should think of the good things, the higher things, the happier things; not only the good things of this life, but the blessed things of the life to come; and thus have our minds running along the lines of justice at all times.
WE SHOULD NOT WAIT FOR THE LORD'S CHASTENING
No one can cultivate justice until he gets some appreciation of what it is. This necessary knowledge is obtained through the Scriptures. Some are born with a larger sense of justice than are others and some are born who seem to have no appreciation of right or wrong. But whether we have, naturally, a keen sense of justice or not, the Bible is the standard. As we know, the Scriptures say that we should do unto others as we would that they should do unto us; that we should forgive others as we would they should forgive us. When we have considered well these first lessons, then we are ready to cultivate justice and to put it into practice in our daily lives. This we do by asking in respect to our words and acts, Did I tell the truth? And was it just to tell it? Was it right to tell it? Was it in harmony with what I should wish others to tell in respect to my affairs? Did I do the right thing?
Whoever is in the school of Christ is there to study and practice along the lines of justice and of love. It is the work of a life time. We find that we can improve from day to day. We should not wait for the Lord to chasten us, but should be so desirous of having the Lord's will done in us that we would scrutinize our thoughts. We should walk circumspectly. We should think about what we are doing, about what we are thinking. We should not allow our thoughts to ramble. People who do so do not keep themselves under proper grip. The will dominates the life. First of all, we should make a full surrender to the Lord by giving him our wills, the control over our thoughts, our words, our actions. Those who have accepted the control of Christ over their affairs are not at liberty to act as they will. They are to be controlled by his Word, and to walk according to his rules. Our Master said, "A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another as I have loved you." (`John 13:34`.) This is more than justice. The Lord so loved the world that he laid down his life for them. So should we be ready and willing to lay down our lives for the brethren.
We are not to allow our minds to run along lines that would be unjust. We are to learn to apply this test of justice to every thought and word and act of ours, while learning at the same time to view the conduct of others, so far as reason will permit, from the standpoint of mercy, pity, forgiveness, helpfulness. But we cannot be too careful how we criticize every thought we entertain, every plan we may mature, that the lines of justice shall in no way be infringed by us with our heart's approval.
OUR MINDS SHOULD BE FILLED WITH THAT WHICH IS
PURE AND LOVELY
In scrutinizing our thoughts from the viewpoint of purity, we should consider, first, the nature of the thoughts; and, second, their influence upon others. Not only should our thoughts be true and honorable and just and right, but they should be pure, and such as will not excite others to impurity. We should avoid anything that, while not impure in itself, might have the effect of arousing impurity in another. The Apostle's thought seems to be that we should guard our thoughts at all times.
"Whatsoever things are lovely" calls to our attention the fact that we should not allow our minds to dwell upon things that are not lovely, that are not praiseworthy. We might permit our business to so fill our thoughts that we would think continually about that particular thing; for instance, one interested in the iron business might always think about structural iron; another, about the coal business; another, about potatoes and codfish, etc. These things might be just enough, true enough, honorable enough, but constant thought on these lines is not profitable to the New Creature. When we are employed in digging, we should give attention to that business; when we are in the iron-work business, we should give proper attention to it. But when we are in the thinking business, we should not allow our minds to dwell on the things which the Apostle stipulates to be injurious. We must endeavor to bring our thoughts into subjection and train them along the lines that will transform us more and more into our Lord's glorious character likeness.
Our thoughts must not only be true, honorable and just, but they must be pure, they must be beautiful. By the word beautiful we understand, not only the thoughts relating to the beauties of nature, the flowers, the animal
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creation, the fruits, etc., but also and chiefly the things of character--the fruits and graces of the Holy Spirit-- meekness, gentleness, patience, long-suffering, brotherly-kindness, love. With these things our minds can become filled and enamored. If, on the contrary, we allow ourselves to neglect these things that are pure, just, lovely, we shall not grow in the fruits of the Spirit; but by thinking on these things and cultivating them in our hearts we become more and more God-like. If we do not cultivate these desirable qualities, then will be developed envy, hatred, strife, works of the flesh and of the Devil--the fruits contrary to righteousness.
In a word, then, we can hardly overestimate the importance of right thinking. There are on record instances of persons who were naturally depraved in mind, but who, by giving their attention to the things of the Truth, have become very noble characters, indeed. We can scarcely overestimate the power of the mind over the body. If we take pleasure in the cultivation of the fruits of the Spirit, they will prove a rich blessing to ourselves and to others. Thus we shall follow in the Master's footsteps and eventually become overcomers and associates with him in the Kingdom.
PURITY OF THOUGHT AN ESSENTIAL
We are to love and cultivate that which is pure to such an extent that that which is impure will become painful to us, distressing, and we shall desire to drop it from memory. This will be accomplished only by continually thinking upon those things that are pure, and avoiding the giving of thought to the things that are impure. We are to recognize true loveliness and to esteem it. When we would think on the purest of things, we must of necessity lift our mental vision to as high a point as possible and, as nearly as we may be able, discern the loveliness of the perfect character of our God and of our Lord Jesus Christ and, proportionately, the loveliness manifested in one and another of the followers of Jesus who walk closely in his footsteps.
"If there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things." While we should not think to praise ourselves nor to strive to obtain praise, yet we should strive to be praiseworthy. We should think about the praise of God. If there is anything that has any value, any merit, that has anything worthy of praise, we should recognize it. We should note in those about us, and particularly in the Church, the elements of character which are worthy of praise. We should not underestimate gentleness, faithfulness, patience. We should take note of constancy, of energy, of devotion to duty. We should not think of the trifling failures of others or of even their greater failures. If we continue to fill our minds with unhappy thoughts, we shall do injury to ourselves. As we continue to recognize the commendable things in our own lives and in the lives of those about us, we shall become the more God-like.
Things of any virtue, or value, things in any degree praiseworthy--the noble words, or noble deeds, or noble sentiments of anyone--we may safely meditate upon and, as a consequence, find ourselves growing toward those ideals upon which our minds, our new natures, thus feed.
Thus shall we become more and more transformed by the renewing of our minds, and approach nearer and nearer to the glorious likeness of our Master, being changed from glory to glory, inch by inch, step by step, little by little, during the present life; and our thoughts being in this attitude and our union with the Lord maintained, we shall have part in the First Resurrection, which will perfect us forever in the Lord's image and likeness.
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SOWING AND REAPING
"Be not deceived,...he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting."--`Gal. 6:7,8`.
THE thought of sowing is that of planting with a view to development or result. Some time the harvest will come. All of our thoughts, all of our actions, have an effect on future character. Little by little the character is made up. The sowing of today will bring the reaping of tomorrow. If our thoughts and our attention are given to earthly things, the result will be an increase of development along earthly lines; but if our thoughts and attention are given to heavenly things, the development will be along spiritual lines.
Sowing to the flesh, minding the things of the flesh, means gratification of the desires of the flesh, minding the things that are craved by our fallen nature. If yielded to, these cravings will grow stronger and stronger. It is a mistake to suppose, as some do, that a reasonable gratification of the flesh is proper. Every gratification of the fallen flesh satiates only the animal propensities. Those who continue to yield to these propensities will ultimately reach corruption, death--the Second Death. Those who mind spiritual things set their affections on things above, not on things of earth; those who seek to develop themselves along spiritual lines, will progress in spiritual attainment. In due time such will reap a character likeness to the Lord, and become copies of God's dear Son, sanctified more and more through the Truth. To such is promised the gift of life eternal.
The words of our text are addressed to the Church, and relate, therefore, to "those who have made a covenant with the Lord by sacrifice." If these live after the flesh, they shall die, as the Apostle says; for they have already surrendered their human life-rights. If by earnest endeavors they seek to lay down their lives and to develop the new life by mortifying the flesh, by putting it to death, by striving to overcome the weaknesses which they inherit, they shall shortly be rid of all the impediments and be clothed upon with the new body. Then they shall be like the Lord.
FEW REALIZE THE EXTENT OF PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY
Comparatively few realize to what extent we form our own characters, to what extent our minds, our affections, are gardens in which we may plant either the thorns and thistles of sin, or the merely moral and practical qualities corresponding to the useful vegetables, or those seeds which produce the fragrant and beautiful flowers and fruits which more particularly represent the heavenly and spiritual graces. Whatsoever a man soweth he shall also reap, whether he sow to the flesh or to the spirit. Whoever, therefore, seeks for the heavenly things, joint-heirship in the Kingdom, etc., must plant, or set out in his mind, in his affections, those qualities and graces which the Lord marks out as essential to the development of characters such as will be "meet for the inheritance of the saints in light."--`Col. 1:12`.
Thus the Father throws upon all those whom he calls to this "high-calling," this "heavenly-calling," and who
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accept the call and make a covenant thereunder, the responsibility for their success or their failure in attaining the prize. Through his Word he tells them of their own natural weaknesses and imperfections, and shows them how he has provided a full off-set or counterbalance for these imperfections in the merit and sacrifice of the Redeemer; he shows them also what are the fruits and graces of the Spirit which they must possess, in heart, at least, if they would be joint-heirs with Christ; he shows them also, in the Redeemer's life as well as in his teachings, the copy which all must follow who would reach the same glorious station and be his joint-heirs.
We might look at this matter merely from the standpoint of the responsibility which it throws upon us, and might well feel overawed thereby. Rather, however, we should view it from the standpoint of Divine grace, and consider what a blessed privilege has been granted us, of being transformed by the renewing of our minds, that we may come more and more to know and to strive for the good and acceptable and perfect will of God. In addition to all this, God has set before us the grandest reward imaginable for the doing of that which is merely our duty and our reasonable service--the doing of that which would bring us the largest measure of joy and peace, aside from a future reward.--`2 Pet. 1:3,4`.
WE NEED CONSTANTLY TO PLANT GOOD SEEDS AND
WEED OUT THE EVIL
There is for all mankind a natural attraction toward earthly things; even though, during this reign of evil, the earthly things are blemished and in many respects distasteful to those who have learned to love
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righteousness and hate iniquity, there is still, nevertheless, a strong attraction toward the marred and blemished earthly things. Like weeds, earthly affections and desires spring spontaneously from seeds which come we know not whence. The Christian, therefore, who would keep his heart in the love of God, must not only keep planting good seeds, keep setting his affections on heavenly things, but he must keep rooting out the weeds of earthly desire and attraction.
Our new life is not manifest to all, nor upon all occasions to any. This the Apostle intimates when he says, "Your life is hid with Christ in God"; it is a life of new desires, new aims, new aspirations, which the world can neither see nor fully appreciate, though it sees some outward manifestations of the new life in our daily conduct. Even the "brethren" may not be able to appreciate the progress of the new life in us; and we ourselves may at times be perplexed respecting the rapidity and strength of its growth; and we may need to look back over weeks or months, or perhaps years, in order to determine unquestionably that it is growing. Our new life, represented by our endeavors to follow the will of Christ, is hidden thus in Christ and in the Father.
In harmony with this thought the Apostle in one place declares that neither the world nor the brethren were capable of judging him--that only the Lord, who could read the heart and know all the conditions, testings and weaknesses to be striven against, could properly judge him. He even declares, "Yea, I judge not mine own self." (`I Cor. 4:3`.) It is an excellent plan neither to condemn others who claim to be walking conscientiously as children of the Lord, nor even to condemn ourselves if we are sincerely striving to do the Lord's will. We should simply press along, day by day, doing the best we can to cultivate the heavenly graces and to serve our Master, leaving all the results with the Lord. He careth for us, and so long as our hopes and aims and objects of life are centered in the heavenly things and our lives thus hid with Christ in God, we need fear no evil, present or future; for the Lord will be with us and bless us and keep us from falling and, ultimately, present us to the Heavenly Father both blameless and faultless.
PUTTING OFF AND PUTTING ON
Coming down to a particularization of the changes which take place in those who have consecrated themselves wholly to the Lord, the Apostle enumerates certain alterations of disposition which should be attempted and, so far as possible, accomplished, namely, the putting away of all the following: anger, wrath, malice, evil-speaking, impurity of language and falsehood in its every form. (`Col. 3:8,9`.) The necessity for such correction of life might, at first thought, seem to be unnecessary to mention, such evil traits being too coarse and entirely opposed to every true Christian principle; but, as we scrutinize the matter we find that the Apostle has really taken into his list nearly all the weaknesses of the flesh which beset those who have become "New Creatures in Christ."
What is more common with Christian people than to become angry? How many there are who have named the name of Christ, but who have malicious or, at least, unkind thoughts respecting others, and who harbor these, permitting them at times to influence their conduct! How many are there who indulge in evil-speaking --that is, slander (here translated blasphemy)! This is often done in such a manner as to deceive, not only the hearer, but also the speaker as respects his real intention in speaking of others discreditably, unkindly.
If all evil and impure language were avoided, what a wonderful world this would be! Every Christian should see to it that, henceforth, every word which proceeds from his mouth shall be such as will minister grace to the hearers, such words as will do only good and be edifying. Finally, how much need there is, not only of having good intentions in the heart, but also of expressing those good intentions truthfully one to another, without deception, without hypocrisy. But it requires that a heart be very pure and very full of love if it would be very truthful; otherwise it would lead to trouble continually. If the unloving, ungenerous, unkind hearts, full of evil surmising, malice, hatred and strife, were to express themselves frankly it would add immensely to the trouble of the world. The Apostle therefore urges, first the purifying of the heart, and then general candor.
With the thought before our minds of the oneness and equality of those who have been accepted into the Body of Christ, the Apostle urges upon our attention the necessity not only of putting off the evil dispositions of our fallen flesh, but also of putting on, cultivating, the various graces of the Spirit exemplified in our Head, Christ Jesus.--`Col. 3:12-14`.
He specifies these: (1) Compassionate sentiments; a disposition of largeness and generosity of heart toward everybody and everything--toward the saints, toward our neighbors, friends and relatives, toward our enemies, and toward the brute creation. Amplifying, he continues, showing that it would imply (2) kindness toward all; (3) humbleness of mind, the reverse of boastfulness, headiness, arrogance; (4) meekness, or gentleness of disposition; (5) long-suffering, or patient endurance with the faults and weaknesses of others. It implies that we should bear with one another's peculiarities of temperament and disposition, freely forgiving one another, if there be found cause of offense in each other-- learning the meanwhile to correct ourselves, as we see our own blemishes mirrored in others. And the standard
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for all this course of conduct is found in the Lord's course toward us; for he surely has been generous, kind, forbearing and forgiving.
THESE INJUNCTIONS ARE ADDRESSED TO THE CHURCH
The Apostle brings to the attention of the "holy and beloved," the Elect, the fact that he is not attempting a reformation of the world along these lines, but merely a transformation of those who have entered into a special covenant with the Lord. All who have thus covenanted with the Lord and who hope to make their "calling and election sure" to membership in the glorified Church, will not only seek to cultivate these fruits of the Spirit in their own lives, but also to assist in the cultivation of the same fruits, as they may have opportunity, in their Christian friends and neighbors; and above all, will seek to exercise so good an influence upon their own families that, as their children receive from them, as parents, the natural life and the necessary instructions and start therein, these may also, if possible, receive from them a start in the new life, and the necessary instructions and equipment for it.
But the Apostle, as the mouthpiece of the Holy Spirit, is a thorough instructor. Not only does he tell us what dis-graces to put off and what graces to put on, but, viewing the Lord's Body arrayed in these qualities of heart-- compassion, kindness, humility, meekness, patient endurance, forbearance and forgiveness, he adds, "And above all these put on love, which is the bond of perfectness." Love is thus pictured as the "girdle" which binds and holds in place the folds of the robe of Christ's righteousness with its various graces. In other words, the Apostle would have us see that forbearance, meekness, patience, etc., must not be matters merely of courtesy or merely of policy. However much they might partake of these qualities in the beginning, the wearers will not be perfected in heart, nor be fit for the Kingdom, until they have reached the place where these various graces of their wills, or intentions, are bound to them by the cords of love--love for the Lord, love for righteousness, love for the "brethren," and sympathetic love for the whole groaning creation. Love is, indeed, "the bond of perfectness," the very Spirit of the Lord.
CAN WE BE DECEIVED IN THIS MATTER?
In our text the Apostle says, "Be not deceived." The question naturally suggests itself, Is there danger that we may not know whether we are sowing to the spirit or sowing to the flesh? We answer, there is danger of being deceived along this line. The Scriptures represent that the flesh is very crafty; that the natural mind is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked, and that the new mind needs to guard continually lest it fall into a trap of the old nature. If one is living according to the flesh, he may expect to reap accordingly. Though others may be deceived, God cannot be mocked by our outward service of him and his Truth while we inwardly live according to the flesh. If we plant corn, we reap corn; if we sow wheat, we reap wheat. In all the affairs of our lives we are either building up the old nature that we agreed should be destroyed, or faithfully seeing to it that the deeds of the flesh are mortified and killed, that we may prosper as New Creatures.
We "Sow to the flesh" every time we allow the fleshly, selfish, unjust, unrighteous desires of the flesh to have sway in our hearts and lives. Each sowing makes more sure the end of the way, which is death-- Second Death. On the contrary, each sowing to the Spirit, each resistance of the desires of the flesh toward selfishness, etc., and each exercise of the new mind, of the new will, toward the things that are pure, the things that are noble, the things that are good, the things that
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are true, the things that are spiritual, is a sowing to the Spirit, which, if persevered in, will ultimately bring the attainment of the Lord's gracious promises and arrangements --everlasting life and the Kingdom.
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THE SIN UNTO DEATH
THE HUMAN MIND, with its various qualities, is very much like a legislative body. The vote, or decision, of that body is its will. So the vote or decision of our minds is the will. Once, when we knew no better, the vote was for sin. But when light came in we voted out the mind of the flesh and voted in the mind of Christ and agreed with ourselves, individually, that we would be New Creatures, dominated by that new mind. As we say that the old will died when the will of Christ came in, so we think it proper to say that the old will is being revived, raised from the dead, when we turn again to the "beggarly elements of the world."
What is the influence which revives the old will? It is minding the things of the flesh. If we live after the flesh we shall die as New Creatures. (`Rom. 8:13`.) We mind the will of the flesh when we permit the fleshly desires which we have given up, abrogated, gotten free from, to become again the ruling, or controlling influence of our minds. So, then, the new mind is dead and the old mind, or will, revived when we seek to do the will of the flesh rather than the will of the Lord--to mind earthly things instead of heavenly things, etc.
In the case of all those who have not passed "beyond the veil," the New Creature, which has been begotten of the Holy Spirit, has merely a fleshly body, or organism, in which to exercise itself. This body is not at first fully under the control of the new will. It is the duty of the new will both to rule the body and to bring it completely into subjection, even unto death. After gaining this victory, the New Creature receives the new body which God intended for him. By its opposition to sin the New Creature demonstrates its loyalty to God, its harmony with righteousness. God judges this New Creature, not according to the flesh, but according to the will. If the flesh should gain the victory over the new will and there should be a fall, it would not mean that the new will had ceased, but that it had not been on the alert.
In such a case the Lord might, in time, judge that the new will was not worthy of the highest honors, because it had failed to keep the body under and to sacrifice the fleshly interests. Or, if a wrong course were persisted in, the new will would become so weakened and the flesh so strong that there would be a gradual dying of the new will; and finally it would cease to exist. The Apostle John, in speaking of this matter, declares that these New Creatures are to so keep themselves that "that Wicked One touch them not." (`I John 5:18`.) Again, he says, "He who is begotten of God cannot sin," so long as the "seed" of God abides in that individual. In other words, so long as the mind, the will, is in complete subjection to the Divine will, he could not willingly, knowingly, intentionally, do that which is opposed to the Divine will, just as a person could not go north and south at the same time.
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THROUGH LACK OF KNOWLEDGE, ETC., THE NEW
NATURE MAY FOR A TIME LIE DORMANT
We believe that there are instances in which persons, begotten of the Holy Spirit, have fallen away from zeal and obedience to the new will on account of lack of spiritual nourishment, lack of knowledge, lack of appreciation of things that strengthen the new nature and "Build it up in the most holy faith;" sometimes this is on account of ignorance, superstitions, which cause it to lose its zeal. This might happen when the new will was neither dead nor had given way entirely to the flesh, as might seem to be the case. Thus, while the new will was submitting itself and allowing the old will to have its way, the conduct might be blameworthy through lack of spiritual nourishment, as has been stated. Such persons have been regained through a better understanding of God's Word--by more knowledge; and have been known to turn out very noble Christians, even when the new mind for a time had been dormant. The Apostle warns us against this state saying, "I keep my body under"; "Forget not the assembling of yourselves together"; "Build one another up in the most holy faith."--`I Cor. 9:27`; `Heb. 10:25`; `Jude 20`.
When one, once begotten of the Holy Spirit, has willingly, intentionally adopted the old life of sin, then the "seed" with which he was begotten has perished and he is one mentioned by the Apostle as "twice dead, plucked up by the roots" (`Jude 12`), one under condemnation of the Second Death, for whom there would be no more sacrifice for sin. (`Heb. 10:26`.) When he first presented himself to God and was accepted through the merit of Christ, the new will was recognized of God and the person was begotten of the Holy Spirit. Old things had passed away; all things had become new. His body was not new; but he had a new will, a new purpose. When later he willingly left the service of the Lord and willingly, knowingly and intentionally became the servant of sin, his course would imply that his new will had died; that his old will had come to life and had gained the ascendency.
THE NEW WILL CANNOT SIN WHILE IT REMAINS A NEW
Thus, by losing the Divine will and voluntarily accepting the will of the flesh again, the New Creature could commit the sin unto death. This, however, would not mean that the new will--which is always in harmony with God--could sin. If the will sins it has ceased to be a new will. If one never willingly turns from God, he would never commit the sin unto death. So the losing of this "seed" of the desire, the spirit, to do that which is pleasing to God, would be the step by which one passes from the life condition into the death condition. We have never as yet had the new life in its fullness. But we could lose the spirit, the new mind. If we lose the spirit, the mind, we lose all.
As there was a particular moment in which the Lord accepted us and we were begotten of the Holy Spirit, so, likewise, in the event of the Second Death, there must be a particular moment at which that would take place. Similarly, as we learn of the Lord's will we come gradually to the point of presenting our bodies living sacrifices. As this was a gradual work, so we should suppose that the retrogression, departure from the Lord, would be gradual. A sudden denial of the Lord does not seem probable, neither would it be in line with the declaration of Scripture. The falling away is a process of retrogression, a departure from the living God and from our covenant with Him. This may be, first of all, a gradual departure from the arrangements by which we have made a covenant of sacrifice with the Lord. This might more and more increase until it becomes a defiance of God, a deliberate and wilful sin.
Stumbling is one thing; but wilful sin is another. The righteous man may stumble many times and yet recover himself. We that are spiritual may recover such a one, remembering ourselves, lest we also be tempted. (`Gal. 6:1`.) These stumblings are not, however, what is referred to as "the sin unto death." The Second Death condition, according to the Scriptures, we understand to imply the full giving over of the individual, his entire abandonment by the Lord and his going into utter, hopeless destruction, from which there will be no resurrection. But no one could come into this condition without deliberately and wilfully abandoning the Lord and without having received chastisements for the purpose of bringing him back and of restraining him from going into this condition.
AFTER BEGETTAL THE WORK OF TRANSFORMATION OF
Our begetting as New Creatures is at the time when we make a full consecration of our lives to the Lord and receive the merit of Christ as necessary to cover our blemishes. God's acceptance of this consecration is manifested by the impartation of the Holy Spirit, spoken of in the Scriptures as the begetting of the Holy Spirit. The work following this begetting is that of renewing the mind--"Be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God." (`Eph. 4:23`.) The Apostle was not here speaking to the world, to sinners, or to any one except the brethren. Although the wills of these brethren are already renewed, yet it is another thing to bring every thought into harmony with the will of God in Christ. We should demonstrate to ourselves, first, what is the good will of God--what is his will as to our following righteousness, etc.; then what is wholly acceptable to him; and, thirdly, what is his perfect will. (`Rom. 12:1,2`.) This gradual development is to proceed with those who are Spirit-begotten; and only those who are thus brought to the graduating point will be members of the Bride class, perfected in the First Resurrection--"Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the First Resurrection; on such the Second Death hath no power, but they shall be priests of God and of Christ and shall reign with him a thousand years."--`Rev. 20:6`.
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We are not to understand that the conduct of one could send another into the Second Death, without his co-operation. No one could intervene to separate us from God. As the Apostle asks, "Who shall separate us from Christ?" (`Rom. 8:35`.) But whatever influence we have may be used for either the assistance or the injury of another. It is possible for us, not only to so live as to be helpful to others, but to so act as to injure others. Nothing in the example of another could give us eternal life; but the doings and example of one might be an assistance to another; and if we can be of assistance to each other, we can also be injurious.
COULD OUR EXAMPLE LEAD ANOTHER INTO THE
The question, then, comes up, in what way could a brother's example so stumble another that he could go into the Second death? We answer that if one should be influenced by another to violate conscience, one might thus be started on the downward course which would lead him from righteousness. It might be a small matter to begin with, but shortly it would lead off into sin. We should so guard our actions and our words that others
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would be made stronger and more tender in their consciences; we should try as far as possible to help them in the right way.
The Apostle speaks of our liberty becoming a stumbling-block to those that are weak--"For if any man see thee which hast knowledge sit at meat in the idol's temple, shall not the conscience of him which is weak be emboldened to eat those things which are offered to idols?" (`I Cor. 8:10`.) Thus we might, unintentionally, not only offset the good that we might do, but do harm when we are not aware of it. If the same tongue can curse men and praise God (`James 3:9`), how careful we should be to speak that only which will be helpful and uplifting and not destructive and injurious!
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SENNACHERIB TURNED BACK
--JULY 2.--`ISAIAH 37:14-38`.--
God is our refuge and strength, a very
present help in trouble."--`Psa. 46:1`.
IN A PREVIOUS STUDY our attention was drawn to the good King Hezekiah of Judah, his zeal for the Lord and the notable Passover celebration which he brought about and the overthrow of idolatry following. Our present study relates to him at a later period in his reign. The Assyrian empire to the north and east, with its capital at Ninevah, had become great and powerful and threatened to become the first Universal Empire.
Before Hezekiah came to the throne of Judah his father entered into a treaty whereby peace was secured by the payment of an annual tribute. Egyptians, Philistines and Sidonians urged Judah to join them in the confederacy by which they hoped all might regain their liberty from the Assyrian yoke. Urged by his people, Hezekiah joined this confederacy and stopped the tribute money--contrary to the Lord's admonition through the Prophet Isaiah. The measure was popular, and the king did not seem to realize how fully the Prophet represented the Lord in the matter. He should have remembered that Israel was under a special Covenant with the Almighty by which He was their Sovereign, their King, and the Arbiter of their destiny. The error was allowed to work out a serious penalty for the disobedient, but when the king and the people repented and gave evidence that the lesson had been learned. Divine mercy came miraculously to their assistance, as we shall see.
SENNACHERIB THE CONQUEROR
The King of Assyria, with a large army, took the field. Knowing the difficulties of a siege of Jerusalem, he did not begin with it, but passed down the Mediterranean coast, overthrowing the Sidonians and Philistines, to Joppa and farther south; and then eastward to Lachish, a fortified city of Judah. The whole country was filled with fear, as nearly forty cities of Judah, one after the other, fell. King Hezekiah and his counselors resolved to avoid, if possible, a siege of war, and sent ambassadors to King Sennacherib apologizing for their temerity in refusing the tribute money and asking what compensation would satisfy him.
The penalty was a heavy one, amounting to nearly one million dollars, which at that time was a much larger sum than it would be today. The payment of it required the removal of much ornamental gold from the temple, but it was paid over and the release granted. The successful Sennacherib, about to attack Egypt, rued his agreement with Judah, and, in violation of his compact, his general appeared before Jerusalem and demanded its surrender.
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Loudly did he proclaim the victories already achieved and warned the people of Jerusalem not to trust in their God for deliverance, telling them that other peoples had trusted in their gods and that all had failed before Sennacherib.
Fear prevailed in Jerusalem. The king and his counselors were not only fearful of war and captivity and the loss of their all, but they dared not trust the people lest they should surrender and open the city gates. Then it was that the king and his advisors and the people sought the Lord in prayer.
The Lord was waiting to be gracious, as He always is to those who are His true people. He delayed, however, to give the word of comfort, until the necessities of the case had humbled the people and taught them a lesson of faith and dependence upon their God. Then came the answer of the Lord, the prophecy that the King of Assyria should not come into the city nor shoot an arrow there, nor even come before it with shields, nor cast up embankments of siege, but that the Lord would defend the city as His own. Doubtless the prophecy seemed strange to the people. By what miracle this could be accomplished they could not think. The lesson to us is that:
"God moves in a mysterious way
His wonders to perform;
He plants His footsteps in the sea,
And rides upon the storm."
A HUNDRED AND FORTY-FIVE THOUSAND SLAIN IN A
Isaiah briefly and poetically declares that the angel of the Lord smote the camp of the Assyrians, without explaining in what manner. We remember the statement of the Scriptures that wind and fire and lightning may be the Lord's messengers or angels. Quite probably, in this instance, the messenger of death may have been a malignant form of fever said to prevail at times to the northeast of Egypt; but it matters not to us what messenger the Lord used to turn back the Assyrian hosts.
The lesson for us is to note the Divine power which overrules, orders and directs, so that all things shall work together in harmony with His will. It was not His will that Assyria should become the first Universal Empire. That honor was reserved for the kingdom of Babylon, a century later--at exactly the proper time when God was prepared to withdraw His own typical kingdom, of the line of David, from the earth--to be "overturned, overturned, overturned" until the Messiah should come.
The lesson to the Christian is that we should keep right with God, abiding under the shadow of the Almighty; and that so doing, all things shall work together for our good.
"THE ENEMY MELTED LIKE SNOW AT THE GLANCE OF
The story of Sennacherib's defeat by the angel of the Lord has been put into verse by one of our great poets, Byron, as follows:--
"The Assyrian came down like the wolf on the fold,
And his cohorts were gleaming with purple and gold;
Like the leaves of the forest when summer is green,
That host with their banners at sunset were seen.
"Like the leaves of the forest which autumn hath blown,
That host on the morrow lay withered and strown;
For the Angel of Death spread his wings on the blast
And breathed in the face of the foe as he passed.
* * *
"And the tents were all silent, the banners alone,
The lances unlifted, the trumpet unblown;
And the might of the Gentile, unsmote by the sword,
Hath melted like snow at the glance of the Lord."
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JEHOVAH'S SUFFERING SERVANT
--JULY 9TH.--`ISAIAH 52:13`; `53:1-12`.--
"Jehovah hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all."
IN THIS STUDY we have a Divinely drawn portrait of the experiences which God foreordained should come upon the One whom He has promised shall ultimately be the great Messiah of glory who will exalt the nation of Israel and through it pour blessings upon all the families of the earth. Thus it is written, "In thy Seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed." Much of the prophecy of this study has already been fulfilled, but not all of it--the glorious features are yet to come, and we believe are nigh, even at the door.
These prophecies were written nearly seven hundred years before our Christian Era. They had their most striking fulfilment in the personal experiences of Jesus. However, it should not be forgotten that a faithful handful, a "little flock," the followers of Jesus, have walked in His steps during the nineteen centuries of this Age; they have followed Him through evil report and through good report; they have suffered with Him, and the reproaches of those who reproached Him have fallen upon them; and when the hour of glorious revelation, the Kingdom power, shall come, these will be with their Redeemer and share His throne and glory, and, as His Bride, share His name. "This is the name whereby she shall be called, Our righteousness of Jehovah."--`Jer. 23:6`; `33:16`.
The key to the understanding of the long delay in the establishment of Messiah's Kingdom is found in the fact that the Church is a very part of Him, members of His Body. Had it not been the Divine intention to gather an "elect" few from Israel and from all nations to be the Bride of Messiah, and a sharer in His Kingdom, there would have been no need of the long delay between the sufferings of Jesus and the outpouring of the glorious blessings which His death secures.
Again it must be remembered that the elect Church is wholly different from the nominal church, as represented in its various systems. The true Church of God consists only of the saintly few who may be found inside and outside of all denominations of Christendom. "Gather My saints together unto Me, saith the Lord, those who have made a covenant with Me by sacrifice." (`Psa. 50:5`.) Of these St. Paul wrote, "The world knoweth us not even as it knew Him not." But the assurance comes--"The Lord knoweth them that are His." The completion of the selection and character-perfecting of this "little flock" will come--the end of the "sufferings of Christ"--and immediately the glory will follow, the glory of the Messianic Kingdom.
THE PROPHETIC SUMMARY
In the `first three verses` of our study, the entire work of Messiah, not only in its preparation, but also in its revelation in Kingly power, is set forth. It is applicable, specially, to the Head, but is applicable also to the members of His Body. A preferred translation reads:--
"Behold my Servant shall deal wisely; He shall be exalted and lifted up and shall be very high. As many were astonished in Thee; but His visage was so marred more than any man. For so shall He startle many nations; kings shall shut their mouths to Him, for that which had not been told them shall they see, and that which they had not heard shall they understand."
There are two reasons why the world and its great ones will be astonished when the Millennial Kingdom shall suddenly burst upon the world. They have heard such chimerical and unreasonable statements respecting Messiah's Kingdom, even from the people of God, that they will be taken completely by surprise when they shall behold the reality. Some have told them that Messiah's reign was accomplished during the period of the Dark Ages, in the triumph of the Church of Rome. Others have told them that Messiah's reign is now in progress, that the various kingdoms of earth, at war and preparing for war, are branches of Messiah's Kingdom.
Still, others have claimed that the Kingdom is to be an evolutionary matter brought about by moral reforms. When it shall be ushered in, following a great social revolution, it will be so much more majestically grand than anything dreamed of that every mouth shall be stopped and, as the Lord through the Prophet declares, that Kingdom of Messiah shall be the "desire of all nations."-- `Hag. 2:6,7`.
AS SEEN BY HIS FOLLOWERS
`Chapter 53, verses 1 to 6`, picture the experiences of Jesus as viewed from the standpoint of the disciple of His day and since. Following their commission, they have told the wonderful story of the Savior's love and sacrifice, even unto death. But how few have heard, in the true sense of hearing; how few have appreciated it; how few have seen in Jesus the Arm of Jehovah, stretched down for the relief of Adam and his race from sin and death! Only a handful, the saintly few, really and truly believe the message, for surely every true believer would not only accept the proffered share of the Redeemer's merit, but also the proffered share of His sufferings, that they might have a share also in the glory to follow. We read:
"Who hath believed our report, and to whom is the Arm of the Lord revealed? For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, and as a root out of dry ground. He hath no form or comeliness; and when we shall see Him, there is no beauty that we should desire Him. He is despised and rejected of men; a Man of Sorrows, and acquainted with grief; and we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we esteemed Him not. Surely He hath borne our griefs and carried our sorrows, yet we did esteem Him stricken, smitten of God and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; the chastisement of our peace was upon Him and with His stripes we are healed. All we, like sheep, have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on Him the iniquity of us all."
Not understanding that there must be a sacrifice for sin before the Divine blessing could come, the Jews looked for a mighty hero, a conquering general, to deliver them from the Roman yoke. Hence their disappointment in finding Jesus a gentle teacher, full of tenderness and compassion, laying down his life for the "sheep." He, indeed, had the blessing of purity and Godlikeness, but this was not the blessing of their dreams and hopes. The experiences endured by Jesus were misunderstood by many-- misunderstood even by His disciples, one of whom said, "Far be it from thee, Lord; this thing shall not happen unto Thee"--his crucifixion; and when the crucifixion did come, it was accepted by the many as an evidence of Divine disapproval, as an evidence that Jehovah repudiated the Servant and the service.
A MORE MATURED VIEW
`Verses seven to nine` portray the matured view of Jesus' disciples as they began to consider more carefully and to understand more fully their Master and His work. As with the Head, so with many members of His Body, the Church; only after their decease is their real spirit understood and appreciated from the Divine standpoint.
We read: "He was oppressed, yet He humbled Himself
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and opened not His mouth. As a lamb that is led to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, He opened not His mouth. By judicial oppression he was taken away; and as for His future offspring, how could there be any, for He was cut off out of the land of the living! For the transgression of my people was He stricken. And they made His grave with the wicked, and with the rich in His death; of all He had done, there was no violence, neither was any deceit found in His mouth."
How could one dying as Jesus died, without natural children and as a felon, ever expect to become the great Messiah, of whom it is written, "He shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, a Mighty One, the Prince of Peace, and the Father [or Giver] of everlasting life!" How could the crucified Jesus give life to any one?
The Scriptures explain that in the Divine arrangement He purchases Adam and Adam's race, condemned through Adam's fall. Being raised from the dead by the Heavenly Father, Jehovah, Jesus is now the glorified One, merely waiting for the completion of the Church which is His Body, that He may take to Himself His great power and reign, as the Messiah of Israel and of the world. During the Messianic reign, opportunity will be given to Adam and all of his race to be resurrected or uplifted out of sin and death conditions--up, up, up to full human perfection and everlasting life--to all that was lost in Adam, to all that was redeemed through the cross. This is explained in the `following verse`: "He shall see His seed"--His progeny; so many of Adam's progeny as will obey Him He will adopt as His children, giving them life everlasting on the plane of human perfection.
THE PROPHETIC EXPLANATION
`Verses ten and eleven` give the following prophetic explanation of the experiences of Jesus: "Yet it pleased Jehovah to bruise Him; He hath put Him to grief. Thou shalt make His soul an Offering for sin; He shall see His seed. He shall prolong His days, and the pleasure of Jehovah shall prosper in His hand. He shall see of the travail of His soul and shall be satisfied. By His knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many, when He shall bear their iniquities."
THE REDEEMER'S EXALTATION
The `last verse` of our study points out to us that the exaltation of Jesus in His resurrection, far above angels, principalities and powers and every name that is named, was as a reward for His faithfulness in doing the will of the Father, according to His covenant of sacrifice. Jehovah also tells us that this great reward Jesus will share with His Church, His Bride, "the strong, the overcomers." Finally the Prophet summarizes the Master's work as respects the present Age:
"Because of this will I divide Him a portion with the great, and He shall divide the spoil with the strong, because He poured out His soul unto death and was numbered with the transgressors; yet He bare the sin of many and accomplished intercession for the transgressors."
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BUT ONE Ransom-price was arranged for by our Heavenly Father and provided for in the death of his Son, our Lord Jesus Christ. That Ransom-price is for the sins of the whole world. But the world has not yet gotten its share of the benefit of that Ransom-price provided more than eighteen centuries ago; for it still "lies in the Wicked One." (`I John 5:19`.) Our Lord, knowing the Father's will in this matter, declared, "I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me."--`John 17:9`.
The application of the merit of the Ransom for the Church was made when our Lord Jesus "ascended up on High and appeared in the presence of God for us"--the Church class. (`Heb. 9:24`.) His application of his merit for us was manifested by the Pentecostal blessing, which has since continued with all of the "us" class, begetting these to the new nature, as joint-heirs with our Redeemer.
Our great High Priest will not make application of his Ransom-merit on behalf of the world until the end of this Age, until he shall have finished the use of it on behalf of the Church--now enabling those drawn of the Father to "present their bodies living sacrifices, holy and acceptable to God, their reasonable service."-- `Rom. 12:1`.
During this Age, he accepts, therefore, as part of his own sacrifice, the offering of the Church. This enables this class, as referred to by the Apostle (`Col. 1:24`), "to fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ for his Body's sake, which is the Church." Thus, suffering with him in this present time, they will shortly be glorified with him in his Kingdom as his Bride.
To recapitulate: The Ransom-price is one thing, and the Sin-atonement made with that Ransom-price is quite another. The Ransom-price for all was provided by our Lord in the work finished by him at Calvary. The appropriation of the Ransom-price is two-fold:--
(1) In this Age, for or on behalf of, the Church.
(2) In the coming Age, for the sealing of the New Covenant with Israel, which will be open for acceptance by all the families of the earth--all nations.
The Atonement, so far as God is concerned, all proceeds from the Ransom-price provided at Calvary. The first application of that price was made after our Lord ascended up on High, when he appeared for us, his Church. The second application of the Ransom-price will be at the close of this Age, when, as the Great Priest, he will mediate the New Covenant with the House of Israel and the House of Judah. This Covenant is different from the Covenant under which the Church is developed, namely the Abrahamic Covenant, which has no mediator, and which is a Covenant of sacrifice, while the New Covenant is a Covenant of Restitution, to return man to his original condition of perfection.
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"O GLORIOUS DAY"
"Thou hast been faithful--
Thou hast borne the cross,
The thorns have pierced thy feet;
But now the night is past--
The day has come--bright,
Glorious Day of endless joy and love.
The trial time hath proved thee true
And thou art safe, Beloved,
In thy Father's home.
"O, glorious Day, for thee we long!
We will be faithful, will the
Burdens bear, sustained by grace Divine.
In meek submission to thy holy will;
Dear Lord, by faith we clasp thy hand
As side by side we tread the Narrow Way,
And wait--for it will surely come--
Some day, some dear, sweet day;
O, tarry not too long!"
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SOME INTERESTING LETTERS
PRAYER AND TESTIMONY MEETING
DEAR PASTOR:--The matter of a topic for the Wednesday evening testimony meeting was brought up at our Board meeting recently. It seems to some of us that it would be fine if we could have a topic suggested in THE WATCH TOWER, so that all would be considering the same topic, and so that, wherever we might be, we would know what the topic is.
Some suggested your sermon-text as the topic, but so many do not get the sermon until after Wednesday, that it hardly seemed best. Others suggested the MANNA text for Wednesday as the topic. We hope that in due time you may have some plan for a general topic, if it seem best to you, and the Lord's will in the matter. Yours in the Redeemer,
R. H. BRICKER.--PA.
We have had many suggestions relative to the advisability of unanimity of topic for these meetings. We take this opportunity of reiterating the counsel offered in STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES, Volume VI., namely, that we know of no meetings more helpful than the testimony meetings, where they are properly conducted, and after the friends have had about a month's experience with them. Testimonies as to one's conversion years before, or as to how one first received the knowledge of the Truth, may be very good in General Conventions, etc., but such testimonies we certainly believe very tedious and tiresome in a weekly class. It would be tiresome also for the friends to tell you what they ought to do and what experiences they ought to have. What is desirable and refreshing is crisp, up-to-date testimonies touching the events and experiences of the preceding week. Such meetings tend to make all of the classes holding them more attentive to note the providences of God and the lessons of life daily and hourly. Thus more valuable experience is gained daily than when such things are passed by with little or no attention.
We recommend this plan for Wednesday evening and that Thursday's MANNA text become the topic for each new week ending with the Wednesday night meeting.
There is nothing in the nature of a bondage in this suggestion. But those who approve might accept it, and those who do not approve may do otherwise. It is the affair of each class. It would be, however, very nice to know, not only that the Vow and its prayer daily draw all of the Lord's people close to the Mercy Seat, but also it would be pleasant to know that all are thinking of God's providences along the same lines each week.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--
I have been seeing some of the Truths for about seventeen years, but did not have an understanding heart, I suppose, or else the sacrifices were too great. But our Heavenly Father allowed me to see the imperfection of human love and happiness away from Him, and now the eyes of my understanding are being opened that I may understand His blessed Word.
I symbolized my consecration unto death last month, and we have started a little class up here in Doylestown. I am enclosing some clippings on the use and abuse of narcotics. I gather from `I Cor. 8:13`, that we should not stumble or offend any of the brethren and that must apply to all matters.
You can see from the clippings how scientists are classing caffeine with the harmful, nay, dangerous narcotics.
We should be so glad to have an article in THE TOWER on the subject of abuse of such things as coffee: "and every man that striveth for the mastery is temperate in all things." (`1 Cor. 9:25`.) This seems to me to include even the very small sacrifices of our daily life, if the things sacrificed are in any sense harmful.
Yours in the Blessed Redeemer, E. J. HAYMAN.
BELOVED BROTHER RUSSELL:--
Pardon me for taking a few moments of your valuable time to express my appreciation of the Truth. In the four years I have been privileged to have it, it has caused a great hunger, not only for the knowledge of God's Plan, but also that I might be found in the likeness of His character.
The March 15 TOWER was especially helpful in that it searched my heart as to what effect the Truth has had upon me--how much I have permitted it to cleanse me from all "filthiness of the flesh and spirit."
Thanks be unto God, where there was envy and jealousy there is now a greater measure of the Spirit of Christ. I find myself grieved by the least omission in my allegiance to His law of liberty.
Words fail me to express my thankfulness to the Lord for His goodness in permitting me to be awake to my own condition and to allow the Truth to reveal to me the secrets of my heart, while thousands of Christian people are asleep, not only to their heart condition, but to the marvelous work the Lord is performing in the earth today!
Yours in the Harvest work, H. FINJORD.--Minn.
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Please find enclosed $1, for which send THE WATCH TOWER. I received a copy of the issue of the 15th of last January, from which kindly date my subscription.
"The Divine Plan of the Ages," the New Testament, and a few copies of THE WATCH TOWER which you have sent me, have been of more service than all of the preaching I ever listened to.
I have been called a skeptic and an infidel for forty years, but, when the kind of light we had is considered, it is no wonder the world is full of skepticism. Give me light! more light!
Very respectfully yours, W. M. BURKE.
DEARLY LOVED BROTHER:--
Greetings in the name of "him by whose kind favor heavenly Truth has reached our ears."
Knowing that your time is much occupied, I have hitherto restrained my desire to write, but as present circumstances forbid my seeing you in the flesh, I trust you will permit me to express my loving sympathy for and confidence in you as the Lord's faithful servant.
May he stand by you and strengthen you, and may his strength be made perfect in your weakness, enabling you to be faithful until death, when you shall hear the "Well done, good and faithful servant; enter thou into the joy of thy Lord!"
Your Sister in the glorious hope,
MY DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--
Please accept the enclosed as a small token of my love for the dear Lord, and also for yourself as one of his very own.
I can never praise him enough for all his great, loving kindness in the way that he has led me and is still leading me day by day.
It is now rather more than three years since your books came my way, and I can truly say they have been the best years of my life.
I was hungering for the food which I could get nowhere, for, although a regular attendant in the nominal church, I got nothing there and I did not understand my Bible.
But now, praise the dear Lord, since getting the "key," which was supplied in STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES, how I love to read my Bible!--for now I know, to some extent, our dear Heavenly Father's great love as shown in his glorious Plan for the salvation of mankind--first for the Church and then for the world.
I want to tell you that I took the Vow some time ago. I feel that I need every help I can get.
I am sorry that I shall not be able to hear your address, as I am confined to bed. But I shall not forget you at the Throne of Grace, nor shall I forget all who are associated with you in the great "Harvest" work--that you may all be abundantly blessed and strengthened in your labor of love, and that the true "wheat" may all be safely garnered.
With much Christian love, I am,
Your Sister in his dear service,
Enclosed find twenty-five cents, for which please send me PEOPLES PULPIT one year and also "interesting sermons," as mentioned in a recent issue.
This is the literature I have been wanting ever since I was old enough to think for myself. It is almost like a glimpse of Paradise to read Pastor Russell's sermons. May God bless and prosper you in your work.
I. N. RITTER.--KANSAS.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--
I have much pleasure in writing to you and thanking you as I have already thanked the dear Lord, for the many blessings I have received through you and your writings.
I have been in Present Truth only about six months. But during that short space of time the Lord has taught me many things which have been a great blessing, far greater than I asked or dreamed. I am pleased to tell you, dear Brother, that I am still progressing in the Truth, and striving to keep humble, and thus faithful. But to tell you all this was not the only
reason that this letter was written. I am pleased to tell you, dear Brother, that I have taken the Vow, and I find it a great help, especially in the keeping of my heart; it keeps me continually on my guard, and thus I am able to gain many victories over self. Now, dear Brother, I pray the Lord will bless you and the great work that he has given you to do. He is faithful and true, and waits for us to prove faithful, so that he can reward us with that crown that he has in store for them that are faithful.
I am your Brother in the one hope of our calling,
J. T. JAHME.--Eng.
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BELOVED PASTOR RUSSELL:--
I have been thinking over the article in the January 1 TOWER, "Was the Alarm Clock Right?" Does it really matter to any of those who are striving faithfully to carry out their consecration vow? All I have of real solid truth, I gratefully acknowledge has come through that faithful Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society which God raised up to feed his flock with meat in due season. Who can shut their eyes to the rapidly fulfilled prophecies of the holy Prophets, our dear Saviour and the Apostles? Is not Daniel's prophecy alone sufficient warning to the household of faith to set their house in order? But apart from the vast amount of evidence we have of the near close of the Gentile times, I think the "Shaking
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among the dry bones of the House of Israel" would alone be sufficient to prove that the time is at hand. It was necessary that the Lion of the tribe of Judah should be able to take and open the Book and loose the seven seals thereof, for to him was committed the task of carrying out the Divine Plan. But as far as the little flock is concerned, it is not necessary that they should know the exact hour of the closing of the Gentile Times. Surely, enough of the precious Present Truth has been revealed to awaken even the dullest believer.
We are to live by faith, and our faithfulness in this matter may be one of the tests of our faith. Who, I would ask, could read the parable of the Ten Virgins, and not see its application to the time in question? They all slumbered and slept, but at midnight there was a cry made, "Behold the Bridegroom!" Only the five wise virgins who took oil in their vessels with their lamps were ready at the sudden call to follow the Bridegroom, and went in with him to the marriage. Undoubtedly the attitude of every true child of God is one of prayerful watchfulness. The sealing in the forehead has been ample to all who are earnestly seeking to be overcomers through the blood of the Lamb. God's wonderful Plan of Salvation, as shown in the STUDIES, is sufficient for all those who have by Divine love been called and chosen and are faithfully striving through the merit of Jesus to be honored, and we have our Heavenly Father's promise that the Adversary shall not be able to pluck them out of his hand.
Oh, how many have reason to thank God for the wonderful help they have received through the STUDIES, THE WATCH TOWER and all the other helps to the footstep-followers of our Redeemer!
Beloved Pastor, may the dear Lord continue to make you a blessing to his Church until your work is finished, and you hear the "Well done, good and faithful servant, enter thou into the joy of thy Lord," is the prayer of your humble fellow-servant in Jesus.
The enclosed $10 is for use in the Harvest Work, to be used in whatever way you think best. It comes in grateful acknowledgment of the blessed hope gained through the STUDIES and the other helps, and with an earnest prayer that our Heavenly Father will guide and strengthen you through the coming year as in the past, and continue to make you a blessing to the household of Faith through our precious Redeemer.
DEAR PASTOR RUSSELL:--
I am writing you because I wish you to have my name as one of those who have taken the Vow. It is some time since I made it my own, but have delayed sending in my name until now. In talking with a dear Brother recently in regard to the matter, I saw that I was neglecting a privilege and am glad now to state my position respecting the Vow. I realize that it has proved a great blessing to me and a constant reminder of the narrowness of the way that leads us upward to the life immortal. It is surely of the Lord, from whom cometh all good and perfect gifts. With much Christian love, I remain,
Yours in the one hope,
FRANKLIN H. MACKENZIE.--Mass.
BEREAN QUESTIONS IN SCRIPTURE STUDIES
Series VI., Study V.--The Organization of the New Creation.
(75) Is this illustration of the Apostle that of a fully developed human body? P. 239, par. 2.
(76) While unity of faith is desirable, upon what is the Scriptural idea of unity based? P. 240, par. 1, first half.
(77) What are the two essentials upon which unity must be demanded? P. 240, par. 1, last half.
(78) Should we expect and look for a continuance of the Lord's gifts to the Church in respect to prophets, pastors, teachers? P. 241, par. 1.
(79) Why should force not be used in an attempt to unify the members of the Church? P. 241, par. 2.
(80) What lessons may the antitypical "Royal Priesthood" learn from the typical priesthood? P. 242, par. 1,2.
(81) Should mental or physical deformities in any member, unfitting him for public service, hinder his spiritual development or recognition as possessing full rights at the Lord's table and at the Throne of Heavenly grace? P. 243, par. 1, first half.
(82) Who are to be regarded as "Elders" in the Church? P. 243, par. 1, last half, and par. 2.
(83) What is the meaning of the word Bishop, and what is the relation between the terms bishop and elder? P. 244, par. 1.
(84) How is the term "general overseer" applicable to an elder in the Church? and what qualifications should be expected in such a one? P. 244, par. 2.
(85) What spirit gradually led to Papacy and later to sectarian and unscriptural divisions into clergy and laity? P. 245, par. 1.
(86) While all the elders are caretakers, what various services may they render according to individual qualifications? P. 245, par. 2.
(87) What does the word prophet strictly signify? P. 246, par. 1.
(88) What is the most essential qualification to eldership? P. 246, par. 2.
(89) What is the duty of every member of the Church with respect to the selection of leaders? P. 247, par. 1.
(90) Is it absolutely necessary for every Ecclesia to have a public servant? P. 248, par. 1.
(91) How should the self-seeking and novices be regarded in selecting elders? P. 248, par. 2.
(92) What explicit advice is given by the Apostles Paul and Peter concerning the character, etc., of those who should be recognized as elders? P. 249, par. 1,2.
(93) Is there any limitation as to the number of elders in an Ecclesia? P. 249, par. 2.
(94) Is it essential that an elder be "apt to teach"? and does this necessarily imply ability for public speaking? P. 249, par. 3, first part.
(95) Should we expect the Lord to raise up public speakers in every Ecclesia? and if none are supplied, what should be the conclusion and our course of action? P. 250.
(96) How may elders, not so apt to teach, exercise other talents? P. 250, par. 1.
(97) What does the word Pastor signify? and how does it apply to an elder? P. 251, par. 1.
(98) What is the Scriptural injunction respecting "Elders that rule well"? (`1 Tim. 5:17,18`.) P. 251, par. 2.
(99) What is the significance of the word Deacon? P. 252, par. 1.
(100) With the foregoing view of the subject, should we understand that no distinction as respects service obtained in the early Church? P. 252, par. 2.
(101) How is the word deacon specifically applied in the New Testament? P. 253, par. 1.
(102) Mention a notable example of the fact that deacons, while serving chiefly in temporal affairs, were not hindered from exercising their talents in other ways. P. 254, par. 1.
(103) What was the most marked characteristic of the early Church arrangement? P. 254, par. 2.