ZWT - 1916 - R5821 thru R6024 / R5842 (033) - February 1, 1916
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VOL. XXXVII. FEBRUARY 1 NO. 3
A. D. 1916--A. M. 6044
What Is Embodied in True Humility . 35
Suggestions for Self-Examination . 35
Humility the Path to Glory . . . 35
Illustration of True Submission. . 36
Illustration of False Humility . . 36
The Highest Standard of Obedience . 37
Typical Experiences of Elijah and Elisha 38
A Word of Warning . . . . 38
The "Chariot"--the "Fire"--the
"Whirlwind" . . . . . 39
What Elijah's Mantle May Signify . 39
The Humble to Be Exalted . . . . 40
Satan's Counterfeit of True Religion . 41
Christian Communism . . . . . 44
Why Repentance Was Not Preached . 45
Persecution's Good Results . . . . 46
Error's Bitter Fruitage. . . . 46
Opposition Inspired by Selfishness . 46
Gradual Triumph of the Light . . 47
Some Interesting Letters . . . . 47
WATCH TOWER BIBLE AND TRACT SOCIETY
CHARLES T. RUSSELL, PRESIDENT
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1916--THE MEMORIAL SUPPER--1916
On April 16, after 6 p. m., the anniversary of our Lord's death date, that great event will be duly celebrated by Bible students all over the world. We will give further mention later.
"EUREKA" DRAMA OF CREATION
Notwithstanding many requests, we get but few responses regarding the work being done by the EUREKA DRAMAS. We fear that many are lying idle, and this seems a great pity, in view of the wonderful blessing that goes forth where they are shown. We hope that all the dear friends are feeling encouraged and stimulated and becoming more and more active in showing forth the Master's praise.
We wish to remind the friends that we have lecture records in Swedish, Danish, German, Italian, Spanish and Polish. These have been prepared at considerable cost, and should be shown. They are good records, of which no one need be ashamed. There are multitudes anxious to hear, and those who have the opportunity of thus preaching the Gospel should surely esteem it and use it. Although the cost is more because of the smaller demand for these records, we propose supplying them, wherever they can be excellently used, at the same rates we have made on the English records and slides.
BETHEL HYMNS FOR MARCH
After the close of the hymn the Bethel family listens to the reading of "My Vow Unto the Lord," then joins in prayer. At the breakfast table the MANNA text is considered. Hymns for March follow: (1) 187; (2) 315; (3) 108; (4) 110; (5) 240; (6) 149; (7) 324; (8) 267; (9) 114; (10) 1; (11) 12; (12) 22; (13) 165; (14) 273; (15) 104; (16) Vow; (17) 47; (18) 50; (19) 153; (20) 240; (21) 87; (22) 199; (23) 144; (24) 14; (25) 8; (26) 99; (27) 5; (28) 222; (29) 154; (30) 252; (31) 130.
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WHAT IS EMBODIED IN TRUE HUMILITY
"Doing nothing from party-spirit or vain-glory, but in humility esteeming others as excelling yourselves." --`Philippians 2:3`, Diaglott.
LOWLINESS of mind, humility, is a mental quality which enables its possessor to look up with appreciation, not only to God, but also to earthly beings, recognizing their good qualities. The Apostle urges that this lowliness of mind should be in all of God's people; this fact proves it to be a quality that demands careful cultivation.
Not all of the Lord's people are lowly in mind. Some of them think more highly of themselves than they ought to think. Some of them may be proud of having the Truth or of their ability to serve the Truth. Any such pride is very objectionable in the sight of the Lord, and indicates that its possessor has a very small mind; for, with a proper estimate of matters, the best of us can see that we have nothing of which to be proud, nothing of which to boast. If we have received anything of the Lord, we should boast of our receipts, instead of glorying in something as if we had attained it of ourselves.
So the Lord's people should spend earnest effort to stimulate and encourage humility. Some have this quality naturally; but the larger number have to contend against the reverse tendency--self-esteem, self-exaltation, pride--a feeling that they are superior to others.
SUGGESTIONS FOR SELF-EXAMINATION
When we come to consider St. Paul's injunction, "in humility esteeming others as excelling yourselves," it is a question as to just what the Apostle meant. Those who
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have come into Christ should make progress, and should therefore feel that they are better than they were before they came into Christ. Those who have come into Christ know that they are not lower than all others. Evidently the Apostle did not mean that the Lord's people should rate themselves as inferior to other men. In his own case he felt that he was the chief of sinners, because he had been an open opposer of the Truth; and Jesus had said that whosoever should injure one of the least of His disciples would transgress seriously. We cannot say, therefore, that we are the chief of all sinners. We think that few of the Lord's people could say, I am the chief of sinners--either from the standpoint of committing crime or from that of persecuting the Church. We are not to bear false witness against ourselves.
In what way, then, are we to understand the Apostle's injunction? In this way: We are to realize that no two of the Lord's people are just alike. If we have the right focus upon the matter, we shall think of our own talents in a humble manner. We shall think, "I have something of this quality or that talent or grace; and therefore I have much responsibility to the Lord. I wonder whether I am using as faithfully as I could, this talent which I think is greater than that of my neighbor or my brother. Though they may have less than I have, they may be using all that they have with more resolute purpose to succeed than I am using what I have. If this be so, then he is better than I am, in this respect."
A PROPER ATTITUDE TOWARD BRETHREN
As we look around in the Lord's family, we are bound to see the weaknesses and frailties of its various members. We are not to allow our thoughts to dwell too much upon their undesirable qualities, however, but are to remember all their good ones, especially their loyalty of heart. With ourself personally, it is always a recommendation in any one that God has called and accepted him. Whenever we see one who has come into the Truth, we say to ourself, "Well, no matter what he may be according to the flesh, God saw in his heart something good, noble and true; and since God is dealing with him as a son, he is therefore to be esteemed as a brother." Although we might not be able to esteem that man highly according to his natural qualities, yet we would do him good as we had opportunity. He might not be one whom we would select as a companion; yet God may esteem that brother more highly than He does us. Realizing this we would try to keep very humble and to learn whatever helpful lessons we might be able to get from that brother.
In all persons there are certain qualities that may be esteemed and appreciated; even as the old lady said that she could wish that others had as much perseverance as Satan. We are to appreciate good traits whenever we see them in others. We do not know whether in the Lord's sight they may not be more noble, more self-sacrificing, more lowly in mind than ourselves. Our duty is plain. We are not able to read the heart, and hence we are to think kindly and generously of all those whom God has brought into His family. "Love beareth all things,... endureth all things." "As we have opportunity, therefore, let us do good unto all men, especially unto them of the Household of Faith."--`1 Corinthians 13:7`; `Galatians 6:10`.
HUMILITY THE PATH TO GLORY
The Apostles Peter and James also emphasize the necessity on the part of the Lord's people that they be
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clothed with humility. They tell us that this grace is indispensable to those who would abide in the Father's favor; for God resists the proud, while He continually shows favor to those who are of humble spirit. Thus He encourages humility and discourages pride. (`1 Peter 5:5`; `James 4:6`.) We can see a reason for this course. The Almighty sees that we have nothing whatever of which to be proud or to boast. Whatever we have has been of the Lord's providence, or favoring circumstances.
The Scriptures give some marked instances of the evil results of pride. Lucifer, one of the very highest of spirit beings, became proud and vain in his imagination, and encouraging these evil qualities he lost his exalted position, having become Satan, the adversary of God. If Mother Eve had possessed the proper humility she would have said, when tempted of the serpent, I will not listen to this suggestion to disobey my Creator; He knows what is for my highest good, and I therefore submit myself to Him who knows all things. "Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall."--`Prov. 16:18`.
In contrast, we have given to us a beautiful illustration of the opposite spirit--humility--in the case of the Logos. We are shown how He humbled Himself, and how God has highly exalted Him--to the very position which Satan coveted. So if we are fully obedient to the Lord, the results with us will be as with the Lord Jesus, a great blessing, a high exaltation. After presenting this argument, the Apostle says, "Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time."--`1 Peter 5:6`.
The Heavenly Father has deeper love for those who are humble. This is the reason why we should humble ourselves. Since we find that "God resisteth the proud," and that humility is one of the basic principles of a properly crystallized character, we should more and more seek to develop this grace and attain to the attitude in which God can give us the greatest blessing.
THE "SOUND MIND" IS HUMBLE
To humble ourselves does not necessarily mean to think that we have no talent, no power, no ability. Such an attitude would be foolishness. But we should think soberly of ourselves. We should think of all our powers as coming from God. So if we find that we have some blessings more than our neighbor or our brother or our sister, let us be thankful; but let us not for a moment think that we have anything to make us proud. It is a gift. We should appreciate the gift, but we should not be puffed up over its possession. The fact that we have received the gift indicates that we lacked it, needed it.
The one who has naturally a proud heart, but who brings himself to the point of submission, manifests humility. If, on the other hand, one who by nature has too low an estimate of himself, will submit himself to God, the Father will show him the proper attitude of mind. The Apostle speaks of those who receive the Holy Spirit as having the "spirit of a sound mind." In proportion as we seek to become acquainted with God and to submit ourselves to His will, in that same proportion we become balanced in mind. We become more and more sane, if you please. He who receives the mind of Christ, the mind of God, the holy mind, is instructed more thoroughly by the Word. Thus we are getting the balance of a sound mind, the spirit of a sound mind. Our reasoning faculties become more developed as we grow in grace and in the knowledge of the Truth.
ILLUSTRATION OF TRUE SUBMISSION
No one can come to the Father except through full consecration. We must admit that we need the Master, and that without Him we can do nothing. So we take this position: "I am nothing but a sinner; I know that I am imperfect, that I have nothing which I have not received. God provides everything; whatever I have is a gift from Him. Knowing all this, I gratefully accept these things, and humble myself under His mighty hand."
The world says, "No! I will not submit myself; if I need any punishment I will take what is coming to me." Such is the spirit of a worldly heart that has not yet learned its need and its impotence. But the spirit of a consecrated heart is that of submission to the will of the Lord. Such recognize that their only source of help is the Almighty God, through the Lord Jesus Christ as the Savior. For those alone who become His disciples can our Lord become the Advocate; and unless He be the Advocate none can be accepted of the Father. We might have a blessing in the Times of Restitution, but nobody can come to God now except through the Advocate.
The terms of discipleship are that we lay down all earthly rights, earthly interests. Everything must be submitted before the Father will accept us as disciples of Christ at all, before He will beget us of the Holy Spirit, before we can become a part of the anointed Body of Christ. If we would make any true progress, we must say from the heart, "Thy will, not mine, be done." We know that God's will is best, whether we understand that will or not. A person with large self-esteem might, as a natural man, think his own will better; but when he comes to see the Truth, he will say, "I have made mistakes before; but now I will do the Lord's way, regardless of what my judgment may be."
Such a course would evidence real humility, no matter how proud-spirited one might be by nature. As he would progress in the good way, and see more clearly wherein he had made mistakes, his humility would increase. So we are to submit ourselves, humble ourselves, have no will of our own, but merely seek the Lord's will.
ILLUSTRATION OF FALSE HUMILITY
There is such a thing as a false submission, which might deceive even the person himself. One might talk a great deal about submission to the will of God, and yet be only nominally submitting while he is really doing his own will. We are to watch, therefore, that we are carrying out the profession of submission, and that in our daily course of life we are asking, "Is this the course which the Lord wishes me to pursue? Is this the will of God?"
The most submissive will receive the greatest blessings.
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God will test our submission and our humility. We cannot suppose that our Lord Jesus, who was perfect, did not know that He had perfect powers. But no matter what His own ideas were, He submitted Himself to the Father, and said, "Not My will, but Thine, be done." A man who had no tastes or preferences would be a nonentity. We may know what we would will for ourselves; and yet, knowing this, we are to say to ourselves, "You cannot have your own way about this; you are to seek to know what is the Lord's will concerning you in this matter, and to carry it out, as far as in you lies."
SUBMISSION A TEST OF LOYALTY
Sometimes the Lord's hand is very heavy. It was in the case of our Lord Jesus, heavy, pressed down. But when the Lord felt the Father's hand pressing down, He meekly bowed Himself beneath the weight, in humble acquiescence to the will of the One whose purpose He had come to carry out. But the Hand did not crush Him, although it seemed to do so. Instead of being a crushing, it was the Hand of Love, testing His obedience to the full. When His obedience was fully tested, the same
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Hand lifted Him up and "set Him at His own right hand in the Heavenly places; far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come."--`Ephesians 1:20-23`.
Thus it will be with us, if we are found faithful. God will exalt us in due time. But He cannot exalt any who are not humble. Submission indicates faith. We would not submit ourselves unless we had absolute confidence in God. And not faith only, but loyalty also, is necessary. Therefore the Father tests us in these two qualities. Without these, we would be quite unfit for the Kingdom; and so the various tests of the present time are tests of faith and loyalty to God, and of entire submission to His will. It is to those "who, by patient continuance in well doing, seek for glory and honor and immortality" that God has promised "eternal life."--`Romans 2:7`.
We should recognize Divine providences and look for them. We should expect God's providential leadings in all of life's affairs. We should not pass through life with the thought that we are running this, or regulating that. As a child would look to his parent, or a pupil to his teacher, or as an apprentice to his master, or a maid to her mistress, so should our eyes be looking to the Lord asking His guidance.--`Psalm 123:1,2`.
OUR ATTITUDE IN TRIAL
This Divine guidance we should seek in all things. Suppose that some business complication arises. Perhaps one loses his situation. A child of God who had not learned full submission to the Lord's will might immediately blame some one else or find fault with his employers. But the right attitude for the Lord's people would be to say, "The Father knows all about this matter; He could have prevented it and would have done so had it been for my best interests. There is some lesson here for me to learn, and I will look for it." If he should discover that there had been some carelessness on his part, then he must perceive that the logical consequence would be that he lose the position.
But if after careful investigation of matters, he feels that he could not have been more faithful or more loyal to duty, then he should look further and say, "Lord, I do not see wherein I have deserved to lose this situation, but I am looking to Thee, to see what is Thy providence in the matter; for Thou knowest that I must have some kind of employment; and therefore I merely pray, Give me this day my daily bread. I cannot suppose that this is accidental. Surely Thou hast some lesson for me in this experience. I know not what Thy providence may be. Give me, I pray, the necessary grace and wisdom to perceive Thy will."
As he prays thus, he should at the same time be on the lookout for the Lord's providences and guidance. The child of God who thus acknowledges the Lord, and is faithful to Him in all the details of life's affairs, is the one who will come off victorious and be participator with the Master in His Kingdom. This great exaltation will be given all who are fully submissive to God's will, whether their powers and talents be many or few.
THE HIGHEST STANDARD OF OBEDIENCE
In our context the Apostle Paul urges that the Church cultivate the mind of Christ. He says, "Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus." He had been reciting the qualities necessary to the Church in order that they could be acceptable to the Father. Amongst these was an eager desire to please God. The Apostle exhorts all such to pursue the course of humility and submission taken by our Lord as the only proper path for the Master's footstep followers. St. Paul was endeavoring to impress that the mind of Christ was eminently worthy of imitation and painstaking cultivation.
As a further evidence of the Master's great humility, the Apostle brings forcefully to their attention what Jesus was in His prehuman existence. As the Logos, He was in the form of God--the spirit condition. Yet He was not ambitious; He was not self-seeking. On the contrary, He made Himself of no reputation--divested Himself of His former glory and honor, that He might do the will of the Father. His spirit was directly opposite to that of Satan. The Logos thought not to usurp the Father's place, or to claim equality with Him, but manifested a very different disposition--an attitude of humility. Then "let this mind be in you," urges the Apostle. "Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time." Consider that God has called you with the same High Calling, that you might attain to a place at the right hand of Christ, even as He attained to a place at the Father's right hand. Realizing this, permit this mind of Christ to be in you.
God was not seeking to force this mind upon Christ, nor is He seeking to force it upon us. Our Lord having taken this position of humility, in order to be man's Redeemer, it was needful that He maintain that mind in order to work out the blessed fruitage of patience. Three and one half years were required for Jesus to complete His work; and it was not until after He reached the Cross and could say, "It is finished," that He was "set down with the Father in His Throne." If we have become Jesus' disciples, if we have accepted the conditions of the High Calling, if we have received this mind, then we are to let, or permit, this mind to work out in us the character-likeness of our Head.
THE UNIVERSAL STANDARD OF OBEDIENCE
We have seen that the Logos did not meditate the usurpation to be equal with God, but humbled Himself. Lucifer took the opposite course. Instead of humbling himself, he said, "I will be like the Most High." (`Isaiah 14:14`.) Here we have an illustration of what we should not do. It is a principle of the Divine Government that "He that exalteth himself shall be abased, but he that humbleth himself shall be exalted." "Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time."--`Luke 14:11`; `1 Peter 5:6`.
Every creature of God, whether angel or man, should have this humble mind. This is the only proper attitude. This test comes during the Gospel Age to only the Lord and the Church. To what extent it may ever come to others is a question. It would seem to be impossible for this test to come to all. Those who have the right disposition will desire to do the Father's will at any cost. Doubtless if any one of the holy angels were allowed the privilege of becoming the Redeemer of a race, he would be glad to do so. We do not know, however, just how it would have been had the angels not seen the result of the obedience of the Logos to the will of the Father.
The world will be subjected to a test during the Millennial Age. The proper attitude for every creature would be to risk everything in the Father's service; it will eventually be the standing of the world of mankind --every one who shall attain everlasting life. We must remember, however, that Divine Justice never calls for self-sacrifice. It calls for obedience; and the obedience of the Church is the extreme of obedience--even "unto death." But the Father has offered a reward so high that such obedience has become the standard par excellence throughout the Universe.--`Revelation 2:10`.
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TYPICAL EXPERIENCES OF ELIJAH AND ELISHA
What a stenographer reported from
one of Brother Russell's meetings.
BEFORE we leave the dear friends here to go to another city, some of you will wish to say, "Brother Russell, we may not see you again for quite a while; and we wish you would say something about the hopes of the Church for the near future. Do you think that the Church will be changed very soon?" We answer, We do not know. We admit that there are many things that we do not know. If we knew all about the Book of Revelation, we would get out the Seventh Volume very soon. There are a few things of which we are not just sure. We do not like to do any guess-work. We could guess about some things, but we do not allow ourself to guess. "If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God."--`1 Peter 4:11`.
"But, Brother Russell, what is your thought as to the time of our change? Were you not disappointed that it
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did not come when we hoped that it would?" you will ask. No, we reply, we were not disappointed. Two years before that time we pointed out in THE WATCH TOWER that we did not think the change would come October, 1914. But, Brethren, those of us who are in the right attitude toward God are not disappointed at any of His arrangements. We did not wish our own will to be done; so when we found out that we were expecting the wrong thing in October, 1914, then we were glad that the Lord did not change His Plan to suit us. We did not wish Him to do so. We merely wish to be able to apprehend His plans and purposes.
"What do you think of things now?" you ask. "What would you think are the present indications?" To this we say, We have already mentioned in THE WATCH TOWER and in talks given to the friends what is our thought as to the type of Elijah and Elisha in the close of the earthly career of the Prophet Elijah. We will briefly refer to it again here, and perhaps might add a word further. We recognize that the Church of God is the antitype of Elijah because she is, with her great Head, The Christ of God. It is The Christ in the flesh that antitypes the Prophet Elijah. His experiences during his career as God's Prophet typified the experiences of The Christ class during all the more than eighteen hundred years of their earthly career. His closing experiences would parallel, we understand the Scriptures to teach, the closing experiences of the last members of the Christ Body in the flesh.
PASSING OF LAST CHRONOLOGICAL POINT A TEST
We remember that when the Lord would take up Elijah into the heavens He brought certain things to pass that would make a parallel to the taking away of the last members of Christ. We believe that this is a reasonable inference. We have seen how the Lord, upon the day that Elijah was to be taken away, sent him to four successive places--Gilgal, Bethel, Jericho and Jordan. At each of these different places Elijah evidently thought that the Lord would take him. And so it has been with us. During this Harvest of the Age the Lord, through His Word, has seemed to send His people to four different points of time--1874, 1878, 1881 and 1914. At each of these points of time the watching saints who realized that the end of the Age was upon the Church have thought that the "change" might come. They watched for it. When they came to each of these points, the Lord said, "Go to another place." Finally we reached the last place of the four--October 1st, 1914. This was the last point of time that Bible chronology pointed out to us as relating to the Church's experiences. Did the Lord tell us that we would be taken there? No. What did He say? His Word and the fulfilments of prophecy seemed to point unmistakably that this date marked the end of the Gentile Times. We inferred from this that the Church's "change" would take place on or before that date. But God did not tell us that it would be so. He permitted us to draw that inference; and we believe that it has proven to be a necessary test upon God's dear saints everywhere.
WHAT SMITING OF THE WATERS MAY MEAN
Did the Times of the Gentiles end by October 1st, 1914? It certainly looks very much as if they did. The great nations of the world there began to go to pieces under the terrible shaking process then begun. The shaking is still going on, day by day, week by week, and will continue until the work of destruction is complete. Do we see anything definite as yet as to when we are to finish our earthly course? We do not see anything positive thus far. If any of you find out anything, we wish you would tell us.
What do we expect? We expect just what the picture points out. Of late we have been thinking considerably of what took place when Elijah and Elisha came to the river Jordan. They stopped there and stood talking. Something must be done before they could go further. So the Lord's people have been standing for a time since we came to October, 1914. Then Elijah took his mantle, wrapped it together and smote the waters of Jordan. The waters divided to right and left, and the Prophets went over dry shod. After they had crossed, they went on, talking together. They had received no further instructions from the Lord. They simply walked on. Suddenly the chariot of fire appeared and separated them, and Elijah was taken away in the chariot by a whirlwind.
CHARIOT OF FIRE TO MAKE SEPARATION
What does this signify in antitype? We think that it signifies a division between the Little Flock and the Great Company. We are to be careful not to form a judgment as to who are to be of the Great Company, however. Some say to us, "What do you think of such a brother?" We are not to judge one another. It is not for us to say that such a one belongs to the Great Company class. We are to consider all the friends as one people. Only the Lord knows who are His wholly faithful ones, and He is leaving the matter to be manifested at the end of the earthly career of the Little Flock. The Lord Himself will do the dividing.
A WORD OF WARNING
Right here we will give you a little illustration of how serious a mistake might be made along this very line. On one of our tours we were in a car with one of the Pilgrim brethren and another brother living in that vicinity, plainly dressed. The Pilgrim brother remarked, "That is Brother So-and-so, and I do not think that he is very much interested." He intimated that he thought the brother was one of the Great Company class. We asked him why he thought so. He replied, "I don't know; but he does not seem to take a very active part in the service nor does he attend the meetings." Now we will tell you the facts concerning this brother. That man whom the Pilgrim brother thought was probably a member of the Great Company class was one who had given about twenty thousand dollars to the Lord's work, and he was living in very humble circumstances and wearing very plain clothes because of his sacrifice in
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the interests of the cause of Christ. The Pilgrim brother knew nothing of this, and had no particular interest in the matter. Thus you see how any of us might be deceived in respect to each other. "The Lord knoweth them that are His."
When the Lord's time comes for separating His Little Flock class, He will make no mistake. It will be the Little Flock that will go in the chariot, and no others. Let us, therefore, keep ourselves in the love of God. Never mind what any one else thinks. Of course we are to love and serve the brethren; but even when we do our best, some of the brethren may misunderstand us. But trust it all in the Lord's hands. He will take care of the entire matter. Do not decide about anybody else; but let each of us watch himself, and see to it that he keep his heart in the right attitude toward the Lord and the brethren. St. Paul says, "Judge nothing before the time." (`1 Corinthians 4:5`.) All will soon be manifested. We shall see the Elijah class taken away in the chariot; the others will not be taken. Then we shall see the radical division. We shall know all about it then. The Lord will attend to it.
THE "CHARIOT," THE "FIRE," AND THE "WHIRLWIND"
Now, as to the meaning of the fire and the chariot: Fire always represents destruction, and a chariot of fire would seem to signify some very trying experience that will separate the Elijah class from the Elisha class, and bring the deliverance of the Elijah class.
"Brother Russell, are you not afraid of alarming us?" some may ask. No! We are all very desirous of getting into the Lord's Chariot, surely. It is the best thing in all the world. "But it means trouble!" Well, we desire trouble, if this trouble will be our chariot to take us Home. We are waiting for it day by day. When Elijah's chariot came, it was in a whirlwind that he was carried into the heavens, into the atmosphere, beyond earthly vision. What did the whirlwind signify as regards the Church? "Does it mean more trouble?" you will ask. We think it does. Dear friends, we are waiting for that chariot and whirlwind. "What will it be?" Well, we know that the Lord pictures the great time of anarchy that is coming as a great whirlwind. He says, "Behold, evil shall go forth from nation to nation, and a great whirlwind shall be raised up from the coasts of the earth. And the slain of the Lord shall be at that day from one end of the earth even unto the other end of the earth; they shall not be lamented, neither gathered nor buried; they shall be dung upon the ground."--`Jeremiah 25:30-33`; `30:23,24`.
To our understanding the Elijah class will be amongst the first to be affected by the great whirlwind of anarchy. We believe it signifies that many of the Lord's people-- all of the faithful at that time--will be taken from the present life in some anarchistic movement. We would not talk about these things to the public; for the public would not be interested in them. The Master said, "Cast not your pearls before swine." We are talking about it here because we think that all here are deeply interested, and are expecting to share in the chariot and whirlwind experiences. Here is the point, then. We think that our final experiences will be during some kind of anarchistic uprising. For some time we have been wondering just how all the Church would be taken. If the "change" comes to each one by death in the usual way, it would seem very wonderful to see the consecrated all over the world die suddenly. Neither can they all die of old age; for this would mean that some would have to live a good many years yet.
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THREE IMPORTANT POINTS
But here is the way the Lord pictures the matter: First, there will be the chariot of fire. We do not know what this will be; but we understand that some fiery experience will cause a separation between the two classes of the Lord's people. Then will develop the whirlwind of anarchy. Perhaps this will be mobs that will destroy the lives of the faithful ones. We do not know. We cannot now imagine just what it will be. We do not wish to think anything foolish; we are merely studying the type, or picture. We do not intend to do anything to get into trouble. To do so would be like what the Devil suggested to Jesus: "Cast Thyself down from the pinnacle of the Temple." We are to be just as wise, kind, meek, gentle and as faithful to the Lord as we know how to be, and then have our minds perfectly calm and restful. When the Lord's time for us comes, all will be right. Let us rest in His love and wisdom and care. What He provides for His children will be the very best thing for us, and we shall be glad to have it.
"Are you expecting the fiery chariot any minute now, or do you think it some little distance off--perhaps some months yet, or perhaps a year or more?" will be asked. At least a year, or probably more, is my thought. Something else is coming first, dear friends. We do not as yet see clearly just what it is; but this matter of Elijah's rolling his mantle together and smiting the waters of Jordan seems to mean something, and also the crossing of the river. This picture is not given for nothing. "What does it mean?" you ask. Ah, we know that most prophecies are understood only after they are fulfilled! We might, however, have a suspicion. "What would that be?" Something like this: In Bible symbolic language, water represents Truth, and it also represents peoples. Both of these are given in Scripture as being symbolized by water. (`Revelation 17:1`; `Jeremiah 51:12,13`; `Revelation 17:15`; `22:1,2`; `Ezekiel 47:1-12`; `Ephesians 5:26`.) Furthermore, Jordan means testing, or judging down. Now who or what would be judged in the antitype?
WHAT ELIJAH'S MANTLE MAY SIGNIFY
We answer, we believe that the peoples of earth, the public in general, are to be judged by the Truth. The peoples are represented by waters. It would seem that in some way the people are to be judged and tested; and that a division of public sentiment is to be caused, in connection with the Truth. Waters are to be separated from waters, people from people, the Truth being received by some and rejected by others. Elijah wrapped his mantle together and smote the waters; and they were divided. Elijah's mantle was the outward indication, or sign, of God's power with him, and represented God's power and blessing with the Church. The mantle was in Elijah's hand when he smote the waters with it. So the Church, it would seem, will use what is in their hand, the power and authority of the Truth, the power of God, in smiting the waters--peoples.
"Do you think that this has not yet taken place?" may be a question in your minds. We think it has not as yet fully taken place. "Do you not think that the PHOTO-DRAMA OF CREATION has had a part in this?" It may be. "Will there be something more?" We do not know. We RATHER THINK THERE IS SOMETHING MORE. We do not state this positively. We are keeping watch to see in what way God will exercise some very wonderful power causing some division as respects the Truth. We are merely thinking aloud with you. We are looking for some very pronounced division on the subject of the Truth, something that will eventually lead up to a
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great hatred. You remember that in our Lord's ministry He presented certain truths that caused the Scribes and Pharisees to hate Him. It was their hatred that led up to His arrest and crucifixion. The hate was there. They said, "We must kill Him."
We shall not do anything foolish; we shall not go out on the streets to stir up trouble. We are to exercise the spirit of a sound mind--gentleness, meekness, patience, brotherly-kindness and love. We are to be "wise as serpents and harmless as doves." (`Galatians 5:22,23`; `Matthew 10:16`.) All these instructions we must not forget. But when we see any trouble coming upon us when we are doing what is right, when we are obeying the Lord, then we are able to take it as from Him. If we do not manifest the Master's spirit, if we speak proudly or boastfully to people, then we shall have it to regret that we did not follow in the footsteps of Jesus.
So, then, you see what we are looking for. Whether this will take place in a few months or in a few years more we may not be sure. But we think we shall see something that will bring a division in the sentiments of the people before we get into the fiery chariot. And now, dear brethren and sisters, we leave you with these thoughts, asking God's blessing upon us all.
"Mine eyes can see the glory of the presence of the Lord; He is tramping out the winepress where His grapes of wrath
are stored: I see the flaming tempest of his swift-descending sword:
Our King is marching on."
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THE HUMBLE TO BE EXALTED
--FEBRUARY 13.--`PHILIPPIANS 2:1-11`.--
HUMILITY THE GREAT LESSON FOR ALL--THE ONLY BEGOTTEN
AN ILLUSTRATION--HOW HE WAS RICH--HOW HE BECAME
POOR--WHY HE WAS EXALTED--HOW HE WAS
EXALTED--CHURCH WALKS IN HIS FOOTSTEPS.
"For ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that ye through His poverty might become rich."--`2 Corinthians 8:9`.
ST. PAUL, then a prisoner in Rome, wrote these words of our lesson to the Philippian brethren, whom he so dearly loved and from whom he had received so many proofs of their love for him. No other Church is mentioned as having aided St. Paul in his times of need. Their special assistance to him is mentioned--twice in Thessalonica (`Philippians 4:16`), once in Corinth (`2 Corinthians 11:9`), and now at Rome.
The Epistle to the Philippians has been styled an epistle of joy--so richly did the Apostle's heart seem to respond to the faithfulness of the brethren there. He would have them know that he appreciated their love, and that such love should abound toward each other and toward all. His joy would be filled full in proportion as he could realize that the brethren had the proper mind of Christ, its love and harmony. He exhorted, therefore, that they remember the conditions on which such character could be developed. Nothing should be done by them through strife or for vain-glory. All of their conduct should be marked by lowliness, humility and willingness to discern the good qualities of others--noting wherein others were superior to themselves.
This would not mean that they should deceive themselves, but that they should be on the alert to appreciate true quality and character wherever found--looking for noble qualities in others, and generously hoping that they existed even when not discerned--considering the interests of the Lord's cause, and ignoring self-will or pride. Therefore they should not look merely at their own things or interests, but also upon those of others--the rights of others, the ability of others. This, the Apostle assures us, is a mark of the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of a sound mind, which comes to the followers of Jesus as they grow in grace and the Master's character-likeness.
This mind, or disposition, the Apostle declares, was fully exemplified in Jesus. In His pre-human condition, when in the form of God, a spirit being, Jesus was humble. He did not meditate usurpation of Divine authority to exalt Himself, to seek a name higher than His own, as Satan did. He had no thought of robbing the Divine glory and honor by putting Himself upon an equality with God the Father. On the contrary, He had the same spirit that He had afterwards, when He declared, "Not My will, but Thine, be done"; and again, "I came not to do Mine own will, but the will of Him that sent Me"; and again, "My Father is greater than all."--`Luke 22:42`; `John 6:38`; `10:29`; `14:28`.
The Master always had this disposition of reverence for the Father and of full trust and confidence in the Divine Wisdom, Love, Justice and Power. Hence, when the time came that the Father had purposed--when He would send a Savior into the world, first to redeem it and later on to become its King and Deliverer--and the proposal to render this great service to God and to men was proffered to the great Logos--"the Only Begotten of the Father"--it was promptly accepted. "I delight to do Thy will, O My God!" was the response of the chiefest of all God's creatures. This involved a great humiliation-- leaving the dignity of the chiefest on the spirit plane, to become a human being--a man amongst men--"the Man Christ Jesus"--not a sinful man, but a perfect one, in the image and likeness of God, as was the first Adam originally-- "holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners."
"THE MAN CHRIST JESUS"
After Jesus by the change of nature found Himself a man amongst men, He still preserved the same loyalty to the Father. He was only a child when we hear Him say,
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"Wist ye not that I must be about My Father's business?" (`Luke 2:49`.) Having learned that He could not attend to the Father's business until He reached the age stipulated in the Sinaitic Law, He remained quietly at home until nearly thirty. Then promptly He went forth to John the Baptist at Jordan; and by a public immersion He testified His full obedience to the Father's will-- the full consecration of His life, even unto death.
Then there came upon Him a begetting of the Holy Spirit, as testified by John. Then, too, God granted that spirit-begotten One a special mental illumination; as we read, "The heavens [the higher things] were opened unto Him." The Divine Plan was made plain which involved His own death as the Antitype of the serpent raised on the pole by Moses, as the Antitype of the bullock of sin-offering slain by Aaron, as the Antitype of the Passover lamb slain by the Israelites and eaten by them for their strengthening and deliverance from Egypt--delivering the people of God from Satan's yoke of bondage to sin.
In all these experiences, we find that the Master was faithful, loyal to God, loyal to His covenant, loyal to the
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principles of righteousness. Thus it is written of Him, "Thou hast loved righteousness and hated iniquity; therefore God, even Thy God, hath anointed Thee with the oil of gladness above Thy fellows." (`Psalm 45:7`.) The oil of gladness represented the holy joy of our Lord and the holy prospects which sustained Him during this period when He made Himself of no reputation, and became poor indeed--finally losing even His life--all in loyalty to God's will and the Program marked out in the Bible.
His final cry on Calvary was, "It is finished!" His baptism into death was finished--His full approval for obedience to God and the principles of righteousness, all that the Father had given Him to do in the way of sacrifice, had been accomplished. Ah, then it was God's turn to act! Would He leave His faithful One in death? Nay, "faithful is He who promised," who performed His good promises to His faithful Son.
The Apostle tells of this, saying, "Him hath God highly exalted, and given Him a name which is above every name"--a title and honor, a distinction, a place above all others. (`Verses 9-11`.) He was received into glory; and all the angels of God worshiped Him whom the Father had thus exalted to His own right hand, giving Him, additionally to what He had resigned, glory and immortality-- the Divine nature. Well can we understand the acclaim of the Heavenly ones: "Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive power, riches, wisdom, strength, honor, glory and blessing."--`Revelation 5:12`.
MESSIAH'S GLORIOUS KINGDOM
But there is more glory yet to come to the great Redeemer. Those who crucified Him, yea, all the world of mankind, for whom He tasted death, are yet to be made aware of His great sacrifice on their behalf and of the great honor and high exaltation which came to Him as a result. He is to be the world's King of Glory and is to reign for a thousand years. As `Verse 10` declares, eventually every knee on earth will bow, and every tongue will acknowledge Him; and all others not willing thus to recognize and obey Him are to be destroyed from amongst the people as "natural brute beasts." (`2 Peter 2:12`; `Jude 10`.) "And it shall come to pass, that every soul which will not hear that Prophet shall be destroyed from among the people." (`Acts 3:23`.) And all this glorifying of the Son will directly be to the Father's glory; for the entire Plan of Salvation is of the Father and through the Son, as the Apostle assures us.--`1 Corinthians 8:6`.
Now then, let us not lose the point of the Apostle's lesson expressed in our Golden Text. While the world by and by is to profit by the Redeemer's great sacrifice and subsequent Kingdom, and all are to have the opportunity of being restored to human perfection and a world-wide Kingdom, a special blessing of God is for the Church, who now accept the Redeemer, consecrate their lives, as He did His, to the Father's will, and walk in the footsteps of Jesus. They shall become His joint-heirs in the Kingdom, and reign with Him a thousand years--yea, and beyond.
The essence of this lesson is elsewhere expressed by the Apostle Peter. "Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time." (`1 Peter 5:6`.) Only the humble-minded are prepared to learn the great lessons which must be learned before they will be ready for exaltation that would be profitable to themselves or to others. The course of selfishness and self-seeking is illustrated in Satan, who has failed and is ultimately to be destroyed. The same self-seeking spirit is styled the spirit of the world; and it is about to lead the world to the great catastrophe foretold in the Bible--from which, however, they will be rescued by Messiah and His Kingdom, and will have the opportunity of learning the great lesson of humility and obedience and of getting the reward.
Jesus, on the contrary, has illustrated to us the proper course which leads to glory, honor and immortality; namely, the course of full self-abasement and of full submission to whatever may be the Divine will. As the Savior has entered into His glory as a reward for His obedience, so the faithful of His people, the Church, demonstrating their humility and obedience, will be sharers, His joint-heirs in His future Kingdom of glory.
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SATAN'S COUNTERFEIT OF TRUE RELIGION
"There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death."--`Proverbs 14:12`.
IT MAY be a subject of some surprise to learn that Satan has a gospel, yet such would not be the case if all were familiar with the Satan of Scripture. Unfortunately for themselves the great majority today are not acquainted with the delineation of the Devil which God's Word supplies. They know little or nothing about his motives, his methods, his ministers, his machinery or his media. To them he is either a hideous monster with horns, hoofs and a tail, or else an abstract principle of evil--the absence of good, a negation. The words which Goethe put into the mouth of Mephistopheles in "Faust," "I am the spirit of Negation," is the popular definition of the Devil today. He is impersonal, immaterial, impossible. As one has quaintly put it, "They spell Devil without a 'd' as they spell God with two 'o's.'" Good and evil is their scheme. "All the Devil there is, is the devil within you," is the last word of modern theology.
Now, an intelligent enemy always keeps in the background, remains hidden, out of sight. It is an important factor to his success that his identity should be concealed. The assassin who plunges a knife into the back of his victim is generally hired for the purpose. The one who throws the bomb is merely a pawn, the master-mind that planned the deed is unseen and unsuspected. The police in some of our large cities know perfectly well that many of the most daring crimes are engineered by one who is too astute to show his hand. Those whom he employs to execute his plans may be caught, but the genius who "pulls the strings" is secure. Therefore it need not surprise us to find that the masses do not believe in the existence of a personal Devil. It would be strange were it otherwise. "Where ignorance is bliss 'tis folly to be wise" is doubtless an axiom, of the truth and value of which, in relation to humanity, the Devil is fully assured.
The Word of God does not leave us in any doubt as to the existence of a personal Devil. It furnishes us with a full-length portrait of him. It gives us a comprehensive description of his being, his emissaries and his aims. Personal names are ascribed to him and personal characteristics attributed to him. He is represented as being the originator and source of all evil in the Universe, and the implacable enemy of God and man. His power is so tremendous that we are informed, "Michael, the archangel,
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when contending with the Devil (he disputed about the body of Moses), durst not bring against him a railing accusation, but said, The Lord rebuke thee." (`Jude 9`.) His dominion is so great and his impudence so audacious that he offered all the kingdoms of the world to the Son of God, on the one condition that He would fall down and worship him. And our Lord did not challenge his right to make such an offer, but upon a subsequent occasion acknowledged him to be the Prince of this world.
Moreover, the Word of God not only describes at length the person and power of the Devil, but it also acquaints us with his purposes, which may be summed up under two heads, namely: To deny the Word of God and to destroy the Work of Jesus Christ. It would be apart from our present purpose were we to turn aside and show at length how every available weapon was employed in the first centuries of the Christian Era to destroy the Bible, and how in these last days Satan is using the pens of the "higher critics" to destroy the authority of the Holy Scriptures. Suffice it to say that, from the day when he repudiated the words of Jehovah to Eve, until the moment when he is cast into the Abyss, his untiring energies will be devoted to the work of denying the Oracles of God.
Ever since the first Messianic prediction Satan has tried to destroy the Work of our Lord Jesus Christ. First, by way of anticipation and secondly by a method
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of imitation. When Jehovah declared to the serpent that the Seed of the woman should bruise his head, it was not long before that old serpent, the Devil, tried to frustrate the purposes of God. Cain (who was of that wicked one) slew his brother Abel as the first attempt to destroy the woman's seed. Later on, God declared to Abraham that "in him should all the families of the earth be blessed," or, as the Holy Spirit's comment upon these words informs us, "Now to Abraham and his Seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many, but as One, And to thy Seed, which is Christ." (`Galatians 3:16`.) When in Egypt the descendants of Abraham began to wax numerous and it appeared that there was an immediate likelihood of this prophecy receiving its fulfilment, Satan tried to frustrate the prophecies of God and destroy the channel through which that Seed was to come by inciting Pharaoh to issue a command that the male children of the Hebrew women should be destroyed. (`Exodus 1:16`.) When at a still later date God made known to King David that the promised Messiah was to be born of the royal tribe of Judah, Satan made a still more persistent attack to thwart God, as may be witnessed during the time of the divided kingdom, when the ten tribes made an untiring and determined effort to exterminate the tribe of Judah.
When the fulness of the time was come and Immanuel was born at Bethlehem, Satan promptly made an effort to destroy the young child's life. Through Herod he slew all the children in Bethlehem from two years old and under. But his effort was in vain. For being warned of God in a dream Joseph had taken the young child and his mother and fled into Egypt. At the commencement of our Lord's ministry (in the Temptation), Satan tried to make Him throw Himself down from the Temple. On another occasion when, wearied out with the day's work, our Lord sought a few minutes' sleep in the bow of the boat, the Prince of the Power of the Air lashed the Sea of Galilee into a fury until the disciples feared that the little ship was doomed. And it was not until the Creator of the sea commanded it to be still that the plot of the Devil was foiled.
Other instances could be cited in which the Devil sought to prevent our Lord offering Himself as a Sacrifice for sin. Perhaps the supreme occasion was while He was upon the cross itself. Weakened by His sufferings, tortured by His merciless enemies, hanging helpless between the earth and Heaven, Satan challenged Him to demonstrate His Deity by descending from the cross. "Thou that destroyest the Temple, and buildest it in three days, save Thyself. If thou be the Son of God come down from the cross." (`Matthew 27:40`.) But glory to His blessed Name He never faltered, He patiently and majestically bore His sufferings in silence until He cried in triumph, "It is finished!" and surrendered His spirit into the hands of the Father. But the Devil had still another card to play. His sacred body having been borne from the cross and laid in the sepulchre, Satan then made it his business to see that it was securely sealed and guarded by a company of Roman soldiers. Ah, Satan! if thou canst only succeed in keeping in the tomb that Body, thou hast triumphed. But no, again thou art defeated! The grave cannot retain its victim, Death cannot hold the Lord of Life. "Up from the grave He rose, with a mighty triumph o'er His foe--Hallelujah, Christ arose!" And today He lives and is alive forevermore!
Having been thwarted and defeated at every point, having failed to prevent the incarnation [His being "made flesh," `John 1:14`] of our blessed Lord, having failed to prevent His offering Himself as a Sacrifice for sin, having failed to keep His body in the confines of death, it behooves us to inquire, Has Satan given up in despair? Has he ceased in his efforts to destroy the Work of Christ? Has he changed his attitude toward the Son of God? or is he still perpetuating his hellish deeds? Is he still seeking to annul the effects of Christ's Work? Is he yet desirous of destroying the virtues of the cross? An answer to these questions is of the greatest importance.
Again we need to turn to the infallible Word if we would obtain a reliable answer. In the parable of the Tares our Lord has exposed Satan's methods during the time of His absence from this world. After the Son of Man had graciously condescended to scatter the Word of God, Satan likewise did some sowing and went and scattered broadcast his Tares among the Wheat. It is to be noted that he sowed neither thorns nor thistles, but something which so closely resembles the genuine grain that it is not until the time of the Harvest that the one can be distinguished from the other. Then it is seen that the Tares, though resembling the Wheat in every other respect, bear no fruit, produce no increase. In a word, then, just as Satan formerly sought to destroy the Work of Christ by way of anticipation, he is now engaged in the work of nullifying the virtues of the Death of Christ by a method of imitation. Consequently, as Christ has a Gospel, Satan must also have a gospel. And, in the nature of the case, it must be a gospel which so much resembles the Gospel of Christ that it is capable of deceiving the unwary and deluding the unsaved. It will be our business now, not to expound his gospel, but, with the Spirit's aid, to expose it.
The gospel of Satan is not a system of revolutionary principles, nor yet a programme of anarchy. It does not inspire wars and strife, but peace and security. It does not set the mother against her daughter and the father against his son, but promotes the fraternal spirit whereby the race is regarded as one great Brotherhood. It does not seek to drag down and degrade the natural man, but to improve and uplift him. To use a popular phrase,
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it appeals to "the best, all that is good within us." It aims to make this world such a comfortable and congenial habitat that the absence of Christ will not be felt and God will not be needed. It endeavors to make men so satisfied with this life that they shall be totally indifferent to the life hereafter. It propagates the principles of self-sacrifice, mercy, charity and benevolence, teaching men to live for the good of others and to be kind to all. For those who observe its conditions and obey its commands, it promises the development of certain inherent occult powers, the solution of the more recondite problems of man's constitution and the accumulation of esoteric knowledge which is withheld from the multitude. In short, it declares that all who will eat of the forbidden fruit shall "be as gods."
In contradistinction to the Gospel of Christ, the gospel of Satan is one of works. Its fundamental principles are: salvation by good deeds, redemption by human merits and regeneration by reformation. Its sacramental phrase is: "Be good and do good." Its motto is: "Do unto others as ye would that they should do unto you." Its various ramifications and organizations are manifold. Temperance reform movements, Christian Socialist Leagues, ethical culture societies, "Peace" Congresses and various other organizations are all employed (perhaps unconsciously) in proclaiming this gospel of Satan --justification by works. The pledge card is substituted for Christ; social purity, rather than individual regeneration, is the idol of the hour; the cultivation of the flesh is considered more practical than the "birth" (begetting) of the Spirit; while universal peace is looked for without the interposition of the Prince of Peace.
The apostles of Satan are not saloon-keepers and white-slave traffickers, but for the most part "ordained" ministers. Thousands of those who occupy our modern pulpits are not engaged in presenting the fundamentals of the Christian faith, but have turned aside from the Truth and given heed unto fables. Instead of magnifying the enormity of sin and setting forth its eternal consequences, they minimize it by declaring that sin is merely ignorance, the absence of good. Instead of warning their hearers "to flee from the wrath to come," they call God a liar by declaring that He is too loving to destroy His own children and too merciful to send one of His own creatures to eternal damnation [krisis, condemnation]. Instead of preaching that "Without shedding of blood there is no remission" (`Hebrews 9:22`), they merely hold up Christ as the great Exemplar and exhort their hearers to "follow in His steps." "For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God." (`Romans 10:3`.) "For such are false apostles, deceitful workers, transforming themselves into [imitating] the Apostles of Christ. And no marvel; for Satan himself is transformed into an Angel of Light. Therefore it is no great thing [not to be wondered at] if his ministers also be transformed as the ministers of righteousness, whose end shall be according to their works."--`2 Corinthians 11:13-15`.
Added to the fact that hundreds of churches are without a leader who will faithfully declare the whole counsel of God and present His way of salvation, we also have to remember and take into consideration the lamentable and ominous fact that the majority in these congregations are in no way to learn, and have very little possibility of learning the Truth for themselves. The family altar, where portion of God's Word was wont to be read daily, is now--even in the homes of nominal Christians--a thing of the past. The Bible is not expounded in the pulpit and is not read in the pew. The demands of this rushing Age are so many that the multitudes have little time and still less desire to meditate upon the things of God. Hence the majority who are too indolent to search for themselves are left at the mercy of those whom they pay to search for them--those who betray their trust by studying economic and social problems instead of the Scriptures of Truth.
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In the Scripture which we have taken as the basis of these remarks the gospel of Satan--the Devil's Delusion --is described as "a way which seemeth Right unto a man." That is to say, it is presented in such plausible language that it appeals to the emotions; it is set forth in such a subtle manner that it commends itself to the intelligence of its hearers. The success of an illegitimate coiner depends upon how much the counterfeit resembles the genuine article. A lie is not so much the absolute denial as the perversion of the truth. Hence half a lie is always more dangerous in its effects than the total of the truth. Consequently, when the Father of Lies enters the pulpit, he does not flatly deny the great doctrines of Christianity, but he rather tacitly acknowledges them and then proceeds to give an erroneous interpretation and a false application. For example, he would not be so foolish as to boldly announce his disbelief in a personal God --he takes His existence for granted and then gives a false description of His character. He announces that God is the Father of all men, when the Scriptures plainly tell us we are "the children of God by faith in Christ Jesus." (`Galatians 3:26`.) Again, Satan would not make so flagrant a blunder as to ignore the central figure of human history; namely, the Lord Jesus Christ. Instead, He is acknowledged to be the most perfect person who ever lived. Attention is drawn to His deeds of compassion and acts of mercy, the beauty of His character and the tenderness of His teaching. His life is eulogized, but His Death is ignored, the all-important atoning work upon the Cross is never mentioned. It is a bloodless Gospel, and a crossless life and, in regard to His Person, He is merely considered as the Ideal Man.
In `2 Cor. 4:3,4` we have a Scripture which sheds an abundance of light upon our present subject. There we are told: "If our Gospel be hid, it is hid to those that are lost. In whom the god of this world [Satan] hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious Gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine upon them." He blinds the minds of unbelievers by hiding the light of the Gospel of Christ in presenting his own version of the Truth. Appropriately is he designated "the Devil and Satan which deceiveth the whole world." (`Revelation 12:9`.) In merely appealing to "the best that is within man," and in merely exhorting him "to lead a nobler life," there is afforded a general platform for all shades of opinion and every shade of philosophic speculation. Atheists, Pantheists, Unitarians, and all other Sectarians can unite to proclaim this common message.
Again we quote our foundation passage: "There is a way which seemeth right unto a man, but the end thereof are the ways of death." The Devil's Delusion is that we can be saved by our own works, and justified by our own deeds. Whereas God tells us, "By grace are ye saved through faith,...not of works, lest any man should boast." And again, "Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us." `Ephesians 2:8,9`; `Titus 3:5`.
Perhaps at this point an illustration from personal experience may be pardoned. Some two years ago the
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writer became acquainted with one who was a lay preacher and an enthusiastic Christian worker. For over seven years he had been engaged in public preaching and religious activities. But from certain expressions and phrases he used, the writer was not satisfied in his own heart that his friend was really a "born [begotten] again" man. When he began to question him he found that he was only very imperfectly acquainted with the Scriptures and had only the vaguest conception of Christ's work for sinners. For a while the writer sought to present the Plan of Salvation in a simple and impersonal way, in the hope that if he were still unsaved God would be pleased to reveal unto him the Savior for sinners. One night to his joy the one who had been preaching the Gospel(?) for seven years confessed that he had found Christ only the previous night. He confessed (to use his own words) that he had been presenting "the Christ ideal," but not the Christ of the Cross. He had been trying to know Christ as the "Truth" before he knew Him as the "Way."
The writer believes there are thousands like this preacher, who have been brought up in Sunday Schools, taught about the birth, life and teachings of Jesus Christ, who believe in the historicity of His Person, and who think that is all that is necessary for their salvation. When they reach manhood and go out into the world they encounter the attacks of atheists and infidels who declare that such a person as Jesus of Nazareth never lived. But the impressions of their early days cannot easily be erased and they remain steadfast in their declaration that they believe in Jesus Christ. Yet when you examine their faith, too often you will find that though they believe about Jesus Christ they do not believe in Him! They believe with the head that such a person lived (and because they believe this, imagine they are saved), but they do not believe with the heart that this Person died to save them from their sins. A merely intellectual assent to the reality of Christ's Person and which goes no further is another phase of the Way "which seemeth right unto a man," but the end thereof "are the ways of death!"
Lack of space prevents our doing more than just pointing out other ends of this Way which "seemeth right." Those who are trusting to an outward form of godliness, those who are religious because it is considered a mark of respectability, those who attend the House of God because it is fashionable to do so, and those who join some Church because they imagine that such a step will enable them to become Christians, all such are in the Way which ends in death--death spiritual and eternal.
And now, my reader, where do you stand? Are you in the Way which "seemeth right," but which leadeth to death, or are you in the Narrow Way which leadeth to life eternal? Are you trusting in yourself or in Christ? are you relying upon your own works, or are you reposing upon the finished work of Christ? A pious life, a self-sacrificing spirit, attractive manners, a charitable disposition, regular attendance at religious services, saying prayers and even reading the Bible, none of these things --nay, all of them together--without faith in the Blood of Christ can obtain for you a passport to Heaven. If any of the above virtues could ever save a single soul, where was the necessity for the awful death of Jesus Christ? No, eternal life is neither a wage nor a reward, but the free Gift of God through Jesus Christ our Lord. However pure your motives, however noble your intentions, however well-meaning your purposes, God cannot accept you as a son, until you accept His Son. By Arthur Pink.
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--`ACTS 4:32`--`5:16`--FEBRUARY 20.--
CHRIST'S SPIRIT IS SYMPATHETIC, LOVING--THIS WAS ILLUSTRATED
IN THE EARLY CHURCH AND SINCE--LOVE IS BENEVOLENT--
"SEEKETH NOT HER OWN" INTERESTS ONLY--
COMMUNISM TRIED--WHY IT FAILED--WHY IT WAS
PERMITTED--ANANIAS AND SAPPHIRA--HOW SEVERE
WAS THEIR PUNISHMENT?
"Love one another from the heart fervently."--`1 Peter 1:22`.
GOD is Love; and all, in proportion as they have fellowship with God, must have His character-likeness and be loving, generous, kind. Selfishness is of Satan, the Adversary. He is the embodiment of that spirit, since he allowed pride and ambition to mislead him. The world, under the influence of the prince of this world, Satan, and the influence of the fall, is a selfish world, and to that extent ungodly.
The work of the Millennial Age will be to give all mankind a full opportunity of recovery from the snare of the Devil--to Restitution, to recovery of all that was lost in Adam, and redeemed for Adam and his race by Jesus. That will be a glorious Millennium, helpful and uplifting to all the willing and obedient. The Church at that time will be with Jesus on the spirit plane, invisible to men and armed with all the power of God. Her work, like her Lord's is described. She will share with her Lord in His Kingdom rule, His Priesthood and His Judgeship--giving chastisements or rewards to mankind, and these shall be designed with a view to educating them, to uplifting them to the condition of perfection.
This Gospel Age is the period in which God has been selecting this Church from amongst mankind. All of the select ones will be saints, regardless of denominational lines. God has destined that none shall be of that company except those who are copies of His Son. (`Romans 8:29`.) The Church has received special testing and education for the glorious mission marked out for her-- the blessing of judging the world. The Church must not only have a sympathy for others, but must cultivate this quality to the attainment of Christ's likeness in heart, and as much as possible must have that likeness in outward living and in thinking.
The record tells us that the number of believers was many thousand in a little while. The spirit of love began to burn in their hearts--thankfulness to God, appreciation of His favor, a desire to serve Him, and a sympathy and love for the brotherhood.
We perceive that some were poor; and, controlled by the spirit of love, the well-to-do felt that they would like all the poorer brethren to have just as good as themselves. First they gave privately one to another, as they
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realized the needs. Then the matter went further and they organized a little community. Many of the wealthier sold their possessions and turned in the money to the Lord's treasury, desiring that a certain amount be supplied to themselves and all the other members of the community--share and share alike.
This manifested a very beautiful spirit, and under perfect conditions would have been the wise as well as the proper course. As it was, the community proved a failure. Nevertheless, the Lord apparently permitted that
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test and failure for a good purpose--to show us that no such community amongst His people is possible at the present time. The community principle will prosper wonderfully as soon as Messiah's Kingdom is established; but it is impracticable at the present time, as it was in the days of the Apostles.
BARNABAS NOT AN APOSTLE
This lesson introduces us to Barnabas, a godly man and wise, a mighty power in the Church. His name signifies consolation, and evidently it was an appropriate name. His proper name was Joses; and he must have been a very fine character when the Apostles gave him the new name Barnabas--implying that he had a beautiful spirit and was in his daily life a "son of consolation" to the brethren and all with whom he had contact.
Barnabas had a property or estate, and sold it, and brought the proceeds to the Apostles' feet. He was not an Apostle, for of them there were only Twelve, and at this time only eleven, because of the loss of Judas. St. Paul, the twelfth Apostle, the Lord's chosen vessel, and "not one whit behind the very chiefest of the Apostles" (`2 Corinthians 11:5`), had not yet had his eyes opened to the truth of the Gospel.
Barnabas was quite willing to take his share with the others from the general dole; however, amongst those who accepted the terms of the proposition were Ananias and his wife Sapphira. These had property and sold it and kept back a portion of the price, bringing the remainder to the Apostles as though it were the entire sum. Indeed in conspiring between themselves they had agreed to declare that the money they turned in to the treasury was all they received from the property. Our lesson tells of how St. Peter treated the matter. Under the guidance of the Holy Spirit, he said, "Ananias, why hath Satan filled thine heart to lie to the Holy Spirit, and to keep back part of the price of the land?" He pointed out to Ananias that the property was his own, that he was not compelled or urged to donate it to this community, that it was only his own voluntary gift, and that he had thus lied to God, and not merely to the community. Ananias, hearing these words, fell down dead--smitten of the Lord; and his wife suffered similarly a little later. A great fear fell on all the company when they heard of these things.
WHY REPENTANCE WAS NOT PREACHED
St. Peter doubtless remembered his own sad experience when he once denied the Lord. We query, Why did he not sympathize with Ananias and Sapphira, pointing out to them wherein they had erred, and urge them to repentance, and join with them in prayer rather than pronounce upon them the death penalty?
Our thought is that these two culprits were not really God's children--that they had never received the begetting of the Holy Spirit; and that the Lord took this opportunity to give a great lesson to the Church--to remind them that they were dealing, not with flesh and blood, but with Jehovah God. From this viewpoint, it was worth while to sacrifice these two persons under Divine judgment with a view to teaching the Church, then and in future generations, how displeasing in the Lord's sight is hypocrisy--especially in respect to religious things.
If these two had been spirit-begotten, then their punishment would be the Second Death; and we would have no Scriptural ground for expecting them to have any resurrection or future consideration from the Lord. But if they were merely children of this world, not fully appreciative of spiritual things, their future interests are not destroyed. They still belong to the great world of mankind for whom Christ died, and have not yet received in full the blessings of reconciliation with God through the Lord Jesus. Such glorious favor may be expected for the world in general, in the sweet by and by--during the Millennium, when "all the families of the earth shall be blessed" and be brought to a knowledge of the Truth and to an opportunity of accepting the same unto salvation.
If our surmise be correct, Ananias and Sapphira were in a very different position from Judas, who had companied with our Lord for years, who had witnessed His miracles, had received of His Holy Spirit and through that power had cast out demons, healed the sick, etc. Our charitable thought for Ananias and Sapphira is, that if they had not received the Holy Spirit they but imperfectly appreciated what they were doing. Although they did know that they were practising a deception, they apparently did not get a proper focus upon the matter. Our expectation for them is that they have not sinned unto death; and that the life which they lost they will have back again in the resurrection time, with full opportunity to get matters straight and to determine finally their loyalty or disloyalty to God under the illumination which they will then have.
The designed effect was realized. Great fear and respect for God and everything appertaining to Him in religion fell upon the whole multitude. It was worth while to punish the one couple severely, in view of the preparation made for their blessing in future and in view of the lesson which their experience brought to the remainder of the Church.
THE SAME SPIRIT OF DECEPTION NOW
We are not gifted, as was St. Peter, with authority to represent the Lord's interests in judging others. It would appear, however, from all that we are able to know, that there are many today living equally deceptive lives. We are not permitted to judge them, but they judge themselves by what they tell us. They profess to be consecrated to the Lord--Jehovah--sacrificed to the Divine cause. Nevertheless they keep back much through self-will, professing to be fully devoted followers of Jesus.
Some of these, doubtless, belong to the same class as Ananias. They have become associated with Christians, but have never been begotten of the Holy Spirit and have really neither part nor lot with Christ. Others may be real Christians, and be keeping back part of their consecration. If so, the latter may be sure that they will be dealt with. So the Apostle declares, "If we would judge ourselves, we should not [need to] be judged [of the Lord]. But when we are judged, we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world." (`1 Corinthians 11:31,32`.) Such Christians, building upon the Rock Christ Jesus, will apparently need to come through the fiery ordeal pointed out in the Bible, and "wash their robes and make them white in the blood of the Lamb," in great tribulation--for failing to live up to their covenant of complete sacrifice.--`Revelation 7:9-17`.
It would indeed appear as though hypocrisy, which the Bible intimates is especially wicked in the sight of God, is practised to a great length amongst the nominal followers of Jesus. Professions of creeds not believed and a form of godliness without its power seem on every hand to tell us that many must be living hypocritically and subject, therefore, to the Divine judgment. The lesson to us is, "Take heed that no man take thy crown."
Our Golden Text here comes in appropriately. We are to love one another--first our Heavenly Father, then our Heavenly Lord Jesus; and finally, we should love, and as we have opportunity serve, the brethren. Actively engaged in this manner, we shall be kept from hypocrisy and be ready for our share in the Heavenly Kingdom.
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PERSECUTION'S GOOD RESULTS
--FEBRUARY 27.--`ACTS 5:12`--`6:7`.--
METHODS USED OF GOD--DIVINE APPROVAL OF THE GOSPEL-- OPPOSITION BY THE SADDUCEES AND THE CHIEF PRIESTS-- MULTITUDES BELIEVED IN JERUSALEM--CHURCH COMMUNISM
BEGAN TO FAIL--SEVEN DEACONS APPOINTED.
"Bear ye one another's burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ."--`Galatians 6:2`.
THE manifestation of love and sympathy amongst the early Christians had a salutary effect in backing up the teachings of the Apostles. The principle is as true today as it was then. The living of the Christ life is necessary to a proper endorsement of the Gospel Message. "If any man have not the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His." (`Romans 8:9`.) The worldly are apt to read the Gospel influence in the lives of professors before they give particular heed to the Message.
Alas, that we can see so many evidences of the fulfilment of the Apostle Paul's words respecting our day! He declares that at this time many would have a form of godliness without its power, and be "lovers of pleasure more than lovers of God." (`2 Timothy 3:5`.) The difficulty
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seems to be that sectarianism has lost the essence of the Gospel Message which Jesus and the Apostles taught. That serious loss has had various substitutes favored by the great Adversary; but they are not the Gospel, and do not have the proper power upon the hearts and lives of those who even desire to do right. The Gospel Message which Jesus and the Apostles taught was expressed in our Lord's prayer: "Thy Kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth, even as it is done in Heaven." (`Matthew 6:10`.) The Apostles exhorted the people to prepare for the Kingdom of God's dear Son and to accept the invitation to become members of the Bride class.
The parables of Jesus, His sermons, and the teachings of the Apostles abound with the thought that Messiah's Kingdom will be the great panacea for all the ills of the world; and that the Church, if found faithful, will share her Master's glory, honor and immortality. It was because St. Paul had this glorious hope before him, he declares, that he was willing to endure hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ and to count all his afflictions and sufferings for Christ, his sacrifice, but light afflictions. Because of these hopes, because of this deep-seated faith, he counted all earthly prospects as valueless in comparison, and willingly sacrificed his fame, his family position and his Roman citizenship, and endured stripes, imprisonments, buffetings and derision.--`Philippians 3:7-11`; `2 Corinthians 4:17`; `11:23-28`.
ERROR'S BITTER FRUITAGE
The principle has not changed. The Gospel has not changed. Merely the true Message has been lost sight of. The theory came in that Christ's Kingdom was established in 800 A.D.; that the Popes were representatives, or Vicegerents--reigning instead of Christ; that the Cardinals were the Little Flock class in special glory and honor; and that Bishops, Archbishops and priests were also associated in the glory of the exalted Church.
We are not doubting the sincerity of those who promulgated these theories; but surely we now see that a great mistake was made. The nations of Europe were told that they were God's earthly kingdoms, responsible to the Papal system as the spiritual kingdom; and that thus in relationship with God, they had Divine appointment to rule the people. Under these unscriptural teachings the world has been for eleven centuries. What the Catholics started, the Protestants have continued.
When Great Britain rebelled against the Papacy, and King Henry VIII. declared his kingdom to be another spiritual empire, put the Bishops into the House of Lords, and made himself and his successors the representatives of Christ on earth in great power, it was a part of the same blunder that the Catholics had previously made. When, later, Luther and his followers attached themselves to the German princes, and favored and authorized them, and in turn were sanctioned by them, the German kingdoms were thus constituted kingdoms of God. And so with the other nations of Europe, great and small.
Claiming to be God's Kingdom, these kingdoms of the world have therefore been hindering the people from hearing the Gospel Message of the Second Coming of Christ to establish the true Kingdom of God, to put down sin, to scatter the ignorance and darkness of the world, and to help mankind out of evil back to the image and likeness of God. The Bible declares these deceptions to be from Satan--"doctrines of demons"--`1 Timothy 4:1`.
Now we are seeing some of the bitter fruitage of such false teachings. Millions have been gathered into sects and parties unauthorized by the Bible, while only the few have been properly joined to Christ Himself as His members. This great mass of people, deceived into thinking that they are true Christians, are today at war--fighting like demons. The great intelligence which came to the world through God's Message, illuminating the minds of men more and more, has been turned to one side. Instead of blessing the world, this intelligence has been cursing the world with inventions for human destruction, such as the heathen were not intelligent enough to invent, and perhaps not heartless enough to use. Alas, what a picture!
In all the churches of all denominations, prayers are going up for and against each other. The clergy are bewildered. The laity are bewildered. True faith in the Bible is at a discount. Little but a form of godliness remains. However, God has not left Himself at any time without witnesses in the world. Today the faithful followers of Jesus are realizing what is wrong. They are awakening, are giving the Bible a fresh study, and are getting blessings out of it. They are realizing that our difficulties have come from the creeds, which are really contradictory to the Bible, but which represent the strange notions of our deluded forefathers. Now is the time for the people of God who have not already put on the whole armor of God to do so; for the Bible seems to assure us that still more stringent conditions are before us.--`Ephesians 6:12-18`.
OPPOSITION INSPIRED BY SELFISHNESS
Our Study for today shows how the living of the true, simple life of faith, trust, obedience and love had its effect-- how that many were added to the Church, including "a great multitude of priests." It shows us, too, how angered were the Sadducees and the official class at that time. They were grieved that the people were taught; for the teachings of the followers of Jesus were so contrary to what they had taught and what they had hoped for.
Not believing the Prophets, they had been using religion largely as a cloak--"a form of godliness." Their real hopes were along the line of Gentile hopes--of becoming more intimately associated with the Roman Empire and thus obtaining special favor. They feared lest the teaching of Messiah as the coming King of the world would reach the ears of the Roman rulers and bring upon the Jews ridicule and disfavor, and perhaps take from them some of the liberties which they were enjoying, and crush all their aspirations respecting the future. Their
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opposition to the Gospel was therefore entirely selfish.
They had the Apostles arrested and put into prison for preaching. But the Lord sent His angel and delivered His faithful servants; and they, with good courage, appeared again the next day in the Temple, preaching to the people as before. Again they were arrested, brought before the officials and commanded to preach no more in this Name. The point of the official resentment is noted in their words, "Ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrines [teachings], and are liable to bring this man's blood upon us." That is to say, It looks as though you might really convince the people of this city that we have committed a great crime in putting to death that fanatical leader of yours called Jesus.
But the more they sought to oppose the Message, the more God blessed it; the more the common people received the Truth; the more the Church of Christ multiplied.
GRADUAL TRIUMPH OF THE LIGHT
We see this same principle illustrated at the time of the Reformation, when God's time had come to bring back the Bible to the people after it had been turned aside for twelve hundred and sixty years. When the Bishops began to claim that they also were Apostles, and when, using this Apostolic authority, they gave the people the Nicene Creed in A.D. 325, an end was put to all Bible study; for the people were taught that that creed, and other creeds subsequently made, contained all that was proper to be believed, and that any further Bible study was quite unnecessary-- indeed, dangerous, because by believing anything not in the creeds, they would be heretics and doomed to eternal torture.
When, under Divine guidance, Wyclif and Tyndale brought the New Testament to the attention of the people in the English language, it marked the start of return to an individual faith and a new beginning of Bible study. It has required the centuries since to help get us out of the gross darkness of those twelve hundred years during which we were without the Bible and were poisoned by the various creeds. No wonder that we still feel some of our poison! No wonder that it is still difficult for us to use our common sense in Bible study! Thank God for the light of the new Day beginning to dawn! Thank God that His true saints everywhere are awakening and, like Cardinal Newman, are praying,
"Lead, Kindly Light,
Amid the encircling gloom"!
But if God will hear our prayers and grant the guidance of this light to His faithful, the responsibility is upon us to step out from all the creeds and not support hypocrisy and error--as becomes those who walk in the path of the just, which "shineth more and more unto the perfect Day."--`Proverbs 4:18`.
COMMUNISM A FAILURE
Then came some of the difficulties of communism. Favoritism was claimed in the distribution of the necessities. Meeting this emergency, the Apostles realized that they could not undertake to manage a community along earthly lines. They concluded that they should, as the Master had directed, give themselves entirely to the Gospel work. They appointed seven Deacons to attend to the charities; but evidently these also by and by failed, and we hear no more of the early communism.
This experience, which the Lord permitted, served its purpose. It manifested the proper Christian spirit, but nevertheless taught us the impossibility of such a practise while ourselves and others are still limited by the imperfections of the flesh.
SOME INTERESTING LETTERS
THE DAILY INVENTORY
DEARLY BELOVED BROTHER AND PASTOR:--
Greetings in the name of our Lord and Master, Jesus Christ!
The matter of formally addressing you in regard to the "proposition" set forth in April 15th WATCH TOWER, concerning the cultivation of LOVE, has been in my mind for some time. Since your suggestion was that we note daily our progress in the matter, and write you occasionally of the same, I feel that I should not longer delay in so doing. I am greatly pleased and encouraged, dear Brother, with the success that I have been having in the cultivation of this most precious fruit, and I know that you also will be pleased to learn of my success.
Each evening before retiring I take an inventory of the little battles that have taken place in my life during the course of the day, and note to what degree I have exercised the spirit of love, forgiveness and forbearance toward those who oppose me. I find this to be an excellent tonic for the memory, which is ever inclined to forget; and by this method of daily rendering accounts, I have been enabled to come out of some of the most trying circumstances "more than conqueror." The spirit of resentment is fast leaving my heart; and I must say that since accepting and acting upon the "proposition" I have discovered that a great deal of it was there.
Love for my Heavenly Father and His Truth is greatly augmented, and greater appreciation of, and love for, the brethren have I now that I am constantly on the alert to exercise the spirit of love toward all. The ignorant and vicious world, and even those who hate me for the Truth's sake, I have learned to pity and forgive.
And now, dear Brother, feeling that the purpose of this epistle has been served, in that I have pointed out the lines along which I have noticed the particular development in love, and bearing in mind that you are a very, very busy man, I deem it expedient to close, happy in the intelligence that I am your Brother, by the Grace of God.
May your faith endure, and may the remembrance of your work on earth, among men, come up before God in everlasting praise. AMEN. W. A. JARRETT.--Kansas.
GRATITUDE FOR PRECIOUS PRESENT TRUTH
Enclosed find money order, which I hoped to have sent you some time ago. I wish it were more. When I consider how much it means to me to have an understanding of the precious Present Truth, and how wonderful are the opportunities of the present life with reference to the High Calling of God in Christ Jesus, I feel that nothing that I have to give can properly express my gratitude to the Lord.
I take this opportunity to express, also, my gratitude to the little band of faithful workers who are associated with our dear Brother Russell in the Lord's work. May His richest blessings attend you, and may He grant you an abundant entrance into His glorious Kingdom!
I am an Armenian who has taken refuge in this land of liberty from the persecutions of the Turks, and I thank our Heavenly Father for His mercies in this direction, as well as for the better understanding of His Word which I have gained since Pastor Russell's books were put into my hands. I have found some earnest Bible students here and am so thankful for the help I receive through association with them! "Blest be the tie that binds our hearts in Christian love!" How we long for the consummation of our hopes--when "we shall be like Him" and "see Him as He is"! Yours in the one Hope, H. H. TEORIZIAN.--Calif.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--
I have often thought that it was probably my duty to write you to give you the loving satisfaction of knowing that another one of the consecrated sons of God has taken the VOW. I did this long since, informing my Heavenly Father, through prayer, that I took the VOW until death.
Dear Brother, I pray for you often that our kind and loving Father may give you strength, grace and wisdom in every hour of need. I go to the Heavenly Throne of grace every night and morning in behalf of all the consecrated Israelites in every land, in harmony with one of the provisions of the VOW.
"O! who's like my Savior? He's Salem's bright King;
The sweet song of Moses He's given me to sing." Your brother in the Lord's service, W. A. NICHOLS.
International Bible Students Association Classes STUDIES AND LECTURES BY MEMBERS OF THE PEOPLES PULPIT ASSOCIATION