ZWT - 1911 - R4733 thru R4942 / R4932 (433) - December 1, 1911
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VOL. XXXII DECEMBER 1 No. 23
A.D. 1911--A.M. 6040
Bro. Russell's Round-the-World Itinerary..........434
Editor's British Autumn Tour......................435
Prayer of the Consecrated.........................436
"The Feet of Him".................................437
Our Responsibility to One Another.................439
"We Are Not to Please Ourselves"..............439
The Grace of Humility.............................440
"To Show Thyself Approved"........................442
"Fervent in Spirit, Serving the Lord".............442
Waiting for Messiah...............................443
"He Is Faithful and Just".........................444
"Now Are We the Sons of God"..................445
Land Was Forced to Keep Its Sabbaths..........446
Some Interesting Letters..........................446
Extension Work in Africa......................446
"Rolling Old Chariot Along" in Africa.........446
"Die Stimme" Stirring Up Jews in
Berean Questions in "Scripture Studies"...........447
WATCH TOWER BIBLE & TRACT SOCIETY
CHARLES T. RUSSELL, PRESIDENT
BROOKLYN TABERNACLE, 13-17 HICKS ST.,
BROOKLYN, N.Y., U.S.A.
Foreign Agencies:--British Branch: LONDON TABERNACLE, Lancaster Gate, W. German Branch: Unterdorner Str., 76, Barmen. Australasian Branch: Flinders Building, Flinders St., Melbourne. Please address the SOCIETY in every case.
ANNUAL SUBSCRIPTION PRICE $1.00 (4s.) IN ADVANCE. SEND MONEY BY EXPRESS, BANK DRAFT, POSTAL ORDER, OR REGISTERED. FROM FOREIGN COUNTRIES BY FOREIGN MONEY ORDERS, ONLY.
Terms to the Lord's Poor as Follows:--All Bible Students who, by reason of old age, or other infirmity or adversity, are unable to pay for this Journal, will be supplied Free if they send a Postal Card each May stating their case and requesting its continuance. We are not only willing, but anxious, that all such be on our list continually and in touch with the STUDIES, etc.
ALSO FRENCH, GERMAN, SWEDISH, AND DANISH EDITIONS. SAMPLE COPIES FREE.
ENTERED AS SECOND-CLASS MAIL MATTER AT BROOKLYN, N.Y., POSTOFFICE ENTERED AS SECOND-CLASS MATTER AT THE POSTOFFICE DEPT., OTTAWA, CANADA
INTERNATIONAL BIBLE STUDENTS ASSOCIATION MEETINGS AT WHICH BROTHER C. T. RUSSELL WILL BE PRINCIPAL SPEAKER FRIENDS FROM NEARBY PLACES ARE CORDIALLY INVITED.
NEWARK, N.J., DECEMBER 3
Discourse for the Public at 3 p.m. in Proctor's Theatre, Broad St.
Other services of the day will be conducted at Brooklyn Tabernacle, 17 Hicks St. Praise and Testimony at 10.30 a.m., and a meeting for the interested at 7.30 p.m., preceded by half-hour's praise service.
DALLAS, TEXAS, DECEMBER 6
At 10.30 a.m. meeting for Praise, Prayer and Testimony and at 3 o'clock in the afternoon discourse for the interested. Both services will be held in Woodman's Hall, 414 Harwood St.
SAN ANTONIO, TEXAS, DECEMBER 7
"The New Woodman's Hall" at 117 North Flores St., will be used at 10 o'clock for Praise, Prayer and Testimony meeting and again at 3 o'clock for a discourse to the interested.
LOS ANGELES, CAL., DECEMBER 10
Morning Rally and Discourse for the interested. 10 o'clock, Mammoth Hall, 517 S. Broadway. Discourse for the Public at 3 p.m., Shrine Auditorium, 655 West Jefferson St.
FRESNO, CAL., DECEMBER 11
Morning Rally for Praise, Prayer and Testimony at 10 o'clock and discourse for the interested at 3 o'clock, will both be held in the A.O.U.W. Hall, Fresno St., between I and J. The public address at 8 p.m. will be given in Armory Hall, J and Fresno Sts.
OAKLAND, CAL., DECEMBER 12
Morning Rally for Praise, Prayer and Testimony at 10:30. Discourse for the interested at 3 o'clock, Hamilton Auditorium, Jefferson and 13th Sts.
::R4932 : page 434::
BRO. RUSSELL'S ROUND-THE-WORLD ITINERARY
After serving the public at Newark, N.J., and also the Brooklyn Tabernacle congregation on the first Sunday in December, Brother Russell will start at once on the trip that will encircle the world:-- Tue. Dec. 5 Arrive at St. Louis, Mo., Penn. R.R.......8:30 a.m.
" " " Leave " " " M.K.&T. Ry.....10:05 a.m. Wed. " 6 Arrive Dallas, Texas, " ..9:10 a.m.
" " " Leave " " " ..8:00 p.m. Thu. " 7 Arrive San Antonio, Texas, " ..7:30 a.m.
" " " Leave " " " So. Pac. Ry.....8:30 p.m. Sun. " 10 Arrive Los Angeles, Cal. " ..6:30 a.m.
" " " Leave " " " " ..7:30 p.m. Mon. " 11 Arrive Fresno, Cal. " ..7:00 a.m.
" " " Leave " " " .12:30 night Tue. " 12 Arrive San Francisco, Cal. " ..7:50 a.m. Wed. " 13 Leave " " " ..Steamship "Shinyo Maru" Tue. " 19 Arrive Honolulu, Hawaii..... " " " Sat. " 30 Arrive Yokohama, Japan...... " " " Sun. " 31 At Tokio " ........Imperial Japanese Ry.
1912. Mon. Jan. 1 Leave Tokio, Japan............Imperial Japanese Ry. Tue. " 2 Leave Kobe, Japan...........Steamship "Shinyo Maru" Thu. " 4 Leave Nagasaki, Japan....... " " " Sat. " 6 Leave Shanghai, China....... " " " Tue. " 9 Arrive Hong Kong, " ....... " " " Wed. " 10 Leave " " " for Manila.......by steamship Sun. " 14 At Manila, Philippine Islands. Tue. " 16 Leave " " " ......by steamship Sat. " 20 Leave Hong Kong, China................P.&O.S.S. Co. Thu. " 25 Leave Singapore, Straits Settlements " " " Sat. " 27 Leave Penang, Prince of Wales Island " " " Thu. Feb. 1 Arrive Colombo, Ceylon.............. " " "
" 3 to 9 ..........................Visit Travancore District Sun. " 11 At Madras, India. Mon. " 12 Leave " " ..for Calcutta (via Juggernaut) Sun. " 18 Arrive Calcutta, " Mon. " 19 Leave " " for Bombay via Lucknow and Agra. Sat. " 24 Leave Bombay, " ...................P.&O.S.S. Co. Thu. " 29 Leave Aden, Arabia.................... " " " Sun. Mar. 3 .................(Disembark at Suez, rail to Cairo) Tue. " 5 Leave Cairo, Egypt................by rail 9:30 a.m.
" " 5 Arrive Alexandria, Egypt.......... " " 12:45 p.m. Wed. " 6 Leave " " .Khedivial S.S., 4:00 p.m. Fri. " 8 Arrive Piraeus, Greece... " " 10:00 a.m. Sat. " 9 At Athens, " Sun. " 10 At Corinth, " Mon. " 11 Leave " " ...........by rail 10:25 a.m.
" " 11 Arrive Patras, " ........... " " 3:45 p.m.
" " 11 Leave " "by steamship, sailing 7:00 p.m. Wed. " 13 Arrive Brindisi, Italy................... 3:00 p.m.
" " 13 Leave " " ...........by rail 4:55 p.m. Thu. " 14 Arrive Rome, " ........... " " 9:35 a.m.
" " 14 Leave " " ........... " " 11:50 p.m. Sat. " 16 Arrive Paris, France............. " " 6:45 a.m.
" " 16 Leave " " ...............about 1:00 p.m.
" " 16 Arrive London, England............. " 10:00 p.m. Sun. " 17 At " " .....................One week Sat. " 23 Leave " " ..................for America Thu. " 28 Arrive New York City...........Steamship Mauretania Sun. " 31 At New York Hippodrome....Public Service, 3:00 p.m.
" " " At Brooklyn..............Memorial Supper, 7:00 p.m.
::R4924 : page 435::
EDITOR'S BRITISH AUTUMN TOUR
GOD HAS greatly blessed us on our present tour. The meetings have been grandly inspiring. Not only have the attendances been large, but the interest has been keen and evidently deep. The friends as well as myself have been encouraged. In every place thus far visited the very best halls available have been secured. The volunteering has been thoroughly done, and the posters have been well placed.
All of our Sundays were apportioned to London Tabernacle except one given to Glasgow on the occasion of its Convention. Good audiences were the rule. The Tabernacle was packed in the evenings, sometimes with standing room only. This is encouraging to us and to all the friends who shall read this report and who properly feel that the work is theirs, because it is the Lord's and the Society's.
THE GLASGOW CONVENTION
This Convention was every way a success. The attendance ranged from 700 to 800 at the ordinary sessions, and the meeting advertised for the public ran up to 5,000, of whom about 500 stood, while about 200 failed to gain admission.
And such attention from so vast an audience! You could have heard a pin drop. For nearly two hours they studied with us "Which Is the True Gospel?" Together we considered what has been presented as the Gospel by various denominations, and then came to the one preached in advance to Abraham, and finally announced "in due time" by Jesus, who brought life and immortality to light through the Gospel. The audience saw a vast difference between the creeds of the Dark Ages and the Gospel of Divine grace, of which St. Paul was not ashamed and in which we, too, may well rejoice.
We had three delightful days of spiritual refreshment at this Convention. Friends attended from England, Ireland, Wales and Scotland. Our goodby greetings were at the railway platform, where about 300 tried to shake hands with us; they all waved and sang us away, using "Blest be the tie that binds our hearts in Christian love" and "God be with you till we meet again."
In the South of England, where we had few or no friends, we now have some loyal defenders of the Divine Plan of the Ages; and more, we trust, are ripening. At Brighton we had a grand auditorium, The Dome, whose capacity, 3,000, was none too much. We spoke on the "Hereafter" and had close attention to the message of God's Wisdom, Justice, Love and Power. Besides this witness 35,000 PEOPLES PULPITS had been previously used in announcing the meeting. The Lord only knows how many or how few had really "hearing ears."
At Southampton we had the Coliseum, seating 2,000, and a splendid audience; we used same topic; 20,000 copies of PEOPLES PULPIT had been distributed. Some told of blessing received; others are thinking.
Portsmouth: Another rousing meeting, in Town Hall, seating 2,000, crowded, middle class, reverential, thoughtful, many gray and bald heads; mostly men; same subject, "Hereafter"; 20,000 PEOPLES PULPIT. How many ripe grains of wheat and what will the Harvest be only the Lord knows.
Bournemouth: 10,000 PEOPLES PULPIT; we had an extremely intelligent and attentive audience--700--in St. Peter's Church Hall. The volunteering in some of these places was done considerably by brethren, who journeyed 100 miles or more at their own expense to thus serve the Lord, the Truth and brethren as yet unknown to them. How precious is such loving service in the sight of our Lord and his brethren!
Our visit amongst the Scotch Bible students was extremely interesting and encouraging, in the smaller places as well as in Glasgow. Everywhere we had the best halls obtainable, and correspondingly large and intelligent audiences. Our weekly sermons in some of the newspapers
::R4925 : page 435::
affected our audiences favorably, and we trust that the oral presentations will make the printed discourses more popular and more profitable.
It was our first visit to Perth, but the friends had advertised our coming thoroughly. The City Hall, of 2,000 capacity, was crowded in the evening with the public, while we gave an afternoon talk to the interested students of God's Word. A witness to the "Gospel of the Kingdom" was given which, we trust, will tell something for good when the Lord of the harvest shall reckon with His own servants, to whom He gave talents and pounds for service. Ten thousand copies of PEOPLES PULPIT were distributed to announce the service.
Dundee we visited some years ago, and amongst those who helped arrange for this visit were some interested then. Our afternoon session was for the interested in Masonic Hall. Nearly one hundred were present, their faces beaming out the joy within--the joy the world can neither give nor take away. Gilfillan Hall, 1,600 capacity, was well filled by the public at night to hear respecting
::R4925 : page 436::
"The Great Hereafter." We believe the Lord's blessing was upon the meeting and that good was accomplished; how much we may not judge. Our united services, dear friends, are rendered to the Lord. We are sure He accepts them irrespective of results seen.
Paisley we visited for the first time. We had a splendid hearing of intelligent middle-class people. Although the night was stormy, Good Templar Hall (capacity 1,000) was nearly full, although there were several public functions to divert. The message of God's Word respecting the "Hereafter" was presented in contrast with the horrible fantasies of the Dark Ages. Some got a start in Bible study and sober thinking such as they never before comprehended. Surely, as the Bible declares, the woman, with the golden cup in her hand full of explanations of her abominations, made all nations drunk with her false doctrines.--`Rev. 17:1-5`.
Greenock we visited for the first time. We had a splendid reception. The Town Hall, holding 3,000, was crowded. Here as elsewhere on this tour the intelligence of our hearers impressed us. Surely people with such heads and faces could not hear of God's Hereafter in contrast with human theories without being thereby impressed in regard to the Truth.
FOUR APPOINTMENTS IN IRELAND
The North of Ireland people like to remind us that their country was the original Scotland according to history; that some of their brothers conquered Caledonia and gave it the name Scotland, and that they have furnished the United States more than half her Presidents and statesmen. Thus impoverished for the blessing of others they fear the proposed "Home Rule." They declare that the Catholics of the south and west of the island, outnumbering them, will trample them.
We encouraged them to believe that Catholics as well as Protestants are more civilized than of yore, and that anyway it will not be long until Messiah's Kingdom shall set all matters right. We encouraged them to do all in their power to be well represented in that glorious Kingdom, in comparison to which victories in Scotland and America will be as nothing.
Belfast was our first stop. We were accompanied by three brethren of Irish birth or lineage from the Glasgow Church, and they rendered valuable aid in various ways in connection with the meetings. We had blessed fellowship. The meetings were quite successful, even though the attendances were smaller than in England and Scotland. Every night was stormy, and the night at Belfast was Hallowe'en. We certainly had very intelligent audiences, and many evidences that a good impression was produced. There were follow-up meetings held by Brother Hemery which manifested considerable depth of interest.
At Belfast we met about forty Bible students in private session. We discussed with them the great blessing of God upon the Elect Church, which, it is declared, is "His workmanship." Although God rested from His work with mankind to permit the Savior to redeem and restore it, God did not rest from His still higher work of developing the "New Creation." He is now "working in us to will and to do His good pleasure"--drawing, calling, sanctifying us by His Word and Providences.
In the evening we had about 1,000 present in the Large Ulster Hall. It was a remarkable gathering in many respects. (1) The personnel: The people were intelligent, fine looking and most attentive. (2) About three-fourths of the audience were men. (3) There were other large meetings and it was Hallowe'en Night. Our address was on, "Which Is the True Gospel?" We made it quite clear that we are in fullest sympathy with all Christians, but opposed to the creeds of the past, which have divided God's people into 600 sects and dishonored God and violated human reason.
We defended the Bible against the modern infidelity, which styles itself "Higher Criticism," and is undermining Christian faith and leading on toward Atheism and anarchy. We reminded our hearers that all Christians believe that there is but "ONE Church of the First-borns whose names are written in heaven: but ONE Lord, ONE faith, ONE baptism; that our forefathers organized our different "Churches," each as the only one, and consigned members of other churches to eternal torture, and sometimes even tortured them to death. All that is past, thank God; but the faulty creeds we still hold, and they still separate us. God's time has come for us to return to the Bible and to ignore and destroy all human creeds and isms if we can find, surely, what is the true Gospel, of which St. Paul was not ashamed. That Gospel we presented to the best of our ability.
Ballymena we visited for the first time and had a good hearing. The attendance was about 250; at Portadown about 500; at Dublin about 800. We had excellent order everywhere, except, we might say, at Dublin. At the latter place the same Y.M.C.A. secretary who formerly tried to catch us in our words was present, accompanied by about 100 young men of his association, who gave no great evidence of a work of grace. Evidently the "hell-fire" faith which they profess has not had sanctifying power in their lives. On occasions they yelled and hooted like "hoodlums," and quite disgraced the fair name of Dublin and of the Y.M.C.A.
The questions were of the usual order and were answered fully and promptly and to the apparent satisfaction of all the audience except the "Y.M.C.A." rowdies. One of the questions was inspired by an attack made on me there recently by the Rev. Dr. Torry. It was, "Is it true that you are divorced from your wife?"
I replied that my topic was, "Which Is the True Gospel?" and that my home affairs and my relationship to my God were my personal affairs. Nevertheless I would answer the question. "I am not divorced from my wife. The decree of the court was not divorce, but separation, granted by a sympathetic jury, which declared that we would both be happier separated. My wife's charge was cruelty, but the only cruelty put in evidence was my refusal on one occasion to give her a kiss when she had requested it." I assured my audience that I disputed the charge of cruelty and believed that no woman was ever better treated by a husband. The applause showed that the audience believed my statements.
::R4933 : page 436::
PRAYER OF THE CONSECRATED
"We seek not, Lord, for tongues of flame,
Or healing virtue's mystic aid;
But power thy Gospel to proclaim--
The balm for wounds that sin has made.
"Breathe on us, Lord; thy radiance pour
On all the wonders of the page
Where hidden lies the heavenly lore
That blessed our youth and guides our age.
"Grant skill each sacred theme to trace,
With loving voice and glowing tongue,
As when upon thy words of grace
The wondering crowds enraptured hung.
"Grant faith, that treads the stormy deep
If but thy voice shall bid it come;
And zeal, that climbs the mountain steep,
To seek and bring the wanderer home."
::R4925 : page 437::
"THE FEET OF HIM"
IT IS NECESSARY for the discipline, trial and final proving of the Church of God that they should be subjected to adverse influence; for "to him that overcometh" is the promise of the great reward. If we would reign with Christ, we must prove our worthiness to reign, by the same tests of loyalty to God, of faith in His Word, of zeal for the Truth, of patient endurance, of reproach and persecution, even unto death, and in the unwavering trust in the power and purpose of God to deliver and exalt His Church in due time. To such faithful ones are the blessed consolations of `Psalm 91`, which we believe is a picture of the Church in the end of this Gospel Age--a picture of The Christ. Hearken:
"He who dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High [typified by the Holy of the Tabernacle] shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty." We thus place ourselves under the Divine protection when, having come to a knowledge of God's willingness to accept us as His children, we gratefully accept the invitation and approach in His appointed way, through Christ our Redeemer, and consecrate ourselves fully to His service. Such may sweetly rest in the precious promises of God, all of which are yea and amen in Christ Jesus. (`2 Cor. 1:20`.) The world does not see the overshadowing wings of Divine protection, but the faithful have a blessed secret realization of it. Praise the Lord!
"I [Christ Jesus, whom David here, as elsewhere, personifies, and who thus addresses His Body, His Church] will say of Jehovah, He is My refuge and My fortress, My God; in Him will I trust, that He will surely deliver thee from the snare of the Fowler and from the noisome pestilence"--from the deceptions of Satan, into which all those not protected shall stumble; for our Lord said that so subtle and deceptive will they be that, if it were possible, they would deceive "the very elect." But this is not possible; for those who are making their calling and election sure abide under the protection of the Almighty. Such
::R4926 : page 437::
shall be delivered, not from the destructive pestilence of physical disease, but from the moral and spiritual pestilences of destruction--from the sinful propensities of the old nature, which in unguarded moments are liable to assert their mastery and overwhelm the souls of those who are not abiding under the secret protection of the Most High; and from the spiritual pestilences of false doctrine which, with subtle sophistry, destroy the faith of the unwatchful.
Such pestilences are already abroad in the world in the shape of so-called Christian Science, Spiritism and the various no-ransom theories which take the name of "The Larger Hope," and which bid fair, both from present prospects and from the prophetic outlook, ere long to become epidemic. From all these pestilences the Lord's elect shall be protected, resting safely and sweetly under the shadow of the Almighty.
"He shall cover thee with His feathers, and under His wings shalt thou trust; His Truth shall be thy shield and buckler." So close to His heart does Jehovah gather His loyal and faithful children that they feel the warmth of His love; and the responsive language of their hearts is, "I will abide in Thy tabernacle forever; I will trust in the covert of Thy wings; for Thou hast been a shelter for me and a strong Tower from the enemy; for Thou hast heard my vows; Thou hast given me the heritage of those that fear Thy name." (`Psa. 61:4,3,5`.) Yes, His Truth--that grand system of Truth comprised in the Divine Plan of the Ages--is an ample shield and buckler to all who in simplicity of heart receive it and prove faithful to it. It is the armor of God, which the Apostle urges all the faithful to put on--to appropriate, to meditate upon and to store up Truth in mind and heart--that they may be able by its use to withstand error and evil in every form presented to them in this evil day.
JEHOVAH SHALL KEEP THE FEET OF HIS SAINTS
"Thou shalt not be afraid for the terror by night; nor for the arrow that flieth by day; nor for the pestilence that walketh in darkness; nor for the destruction that wasteth at noonday." This is the "night," the dark night of which the Prophet Isaiah spoke and to which our Lord also referred, "The morning cometh, and also the night"; "The night cometh when no man can work." (`Isa. 21:12`; `John 9:4`.) The Millennial morning comes, and just as surely the great time of trouble will immediately precede it--the night wherein no man can labor for the dissemination of Divine Truth; so great will be the "terror," the tumult and trouble and persecution of that night; the arrows-- "even bitter words" of the opponents of the Truth--will fly by day--at the present time, which in comparison with the dark night that is coming, is called day. The various besetments and difficulties from infidelity, Higher Criticism and other false doctrines are pictorially represented as the shooting out of arrows, as pestilences, as stumbling stones. None of these are to injure the "elect," of which Christ is the Head and the Church His Members, as specially indicated in this Psalm. The Church shall be immune, and nothing shall in any way hurt them. As the Lord said, the difficulties of this day would, if possible, deceive the very elect; but this will not be possible, for "the feet" class shall be kept. No; the Church need have no fear of the moral and spiritual pestilences that walk in darkness, spreading and making their victims amongst those who are ignorant of the Truth, or who are unfaithful to it and are, hence, unworthy of it, and who, therefore, lack the Divine protection and are subject to the "strong delusions" of error that subvert the faith and hope of many, just when the light of Divine Truth is shining clearest upon the faithful, as it is shining upon us today.
"A thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand; but it shall not come nigh thee." Great will be the falling away from the Truth, even amongst those who, like ourselves, received it once with joy and who did for a time run well; but the Church, because of their loyalty and uncompromising faithfulness and because of the ample armor of Truth and righteousness, shall stand and not fall.
We are not to think of those who will be injured and who will fall ("A thousand at thy side and ten thousand at thy right hand") as of the world, but rather as being friends of the Church; closely associated with the Church. The world could not fall from Divine favor, for it has not been in Divine favor. The whole "world lieth in the Wicked One," and, therefore, could not be overthrown. This verse seems to apply to those who were actually begotten of the Holy Spirit or who have assumed a position such as those begotten of the Holy Spirit; as, for instance, the tares which affect to be wheat. They never were wheat, and will not be garnered with the wheat class. Time will show that they are not of this class. So in this picture we see the fall of these in general and of the consecrated in particular. There is a distinction between the thousand falling at the side and the ten thousand at the right hand. We might infer that the one thousand may fall into total unbelief, and the ten thousand, the "great company," into the great time of trouble to wash their robes white and to purify themselves. They will be partakers with Babylon in her sins and have part in her great fall.--`Rev. 14:18`; `18:10`.
::R4926 : page 438::
None too extravagant is the prophetic declaration, "A thousand shall fall at thy side." Only the sanctified in Christ Jesus, copies of God's dear Son, will be able to stand complete in Him. These will be the very elect, and it will not be possible for them to be deceived and ensnared; for God will give His messengers a charge [message] for them ["present Truth"] and thus these "feet" of the Body of Christ shall be upheld that they stumble not.
"Only with thine eyes shalt thou behold and see the reward of the wicked," who reject the Truth or prove unfaithful to it. We know that we are already passing through the beginning of these troubles (the troubles upon the nominal church incident to its testing), and that we are escaping, while many on every hand are falling into error and infidelity. We escape, not by being taken away from the scene of trouble, but by being supported, strengthened and kept in the very midst of it all by the Word of the Lord, our shield and buckler.
"NO EVIL SHALL BEFALL THEE"
"Because thou hast made the Lord, which is my refuge, even the Most High, thy habitation; there shall no evil befall thee, neither shall any plague come nigh thy dwelling" --no evil of the kind referred to; and any other seeming evils shall, under Divine providence, work together for your good.--`Rom. 8:28`.
God has so arranged that only the truly consecrated will be kept from stumbling into error in this evil day. Every day we learn to appreciate more and more the Divine favor which has anointed the eyes of our understanding, and permitted us to see the internal strength and beauty of the Divine Word and Plan. If, then, we are thus, by Divine favor, made strong in the Lord, and enabled to "stand fast" while thousands are falling from their faith and steadfastness, let us "rejoice with fear" (reverence). Let him who feels strong and well supported "be not high-minded," but "take heed lest he fall." Humility and zeal for the Lord are the terms upon which we received the great blessing, and are also the terms upon which we may retain it to the end--until our "change" comes and establishes in glory what grace began in our weakness.
"For He shall give His angels charge concerning thee, to keep thee in all thy ways." That is, God will raise up some faithful pastors and teachers who will "watch for your souls as they that must give account." True, there shall arise false teachers, perverting the Word of the Lord, and seeking by cunning sophistries to subvert your souls; but if in simplicity of heart the Lord's children require a "Thus saith the Lord" for every element of their faith, and carefully prove all things by the Word, they will be able readily to distinguish the true from the false. And having done so, the Apostle Paul (`Heb. 10:35`) counsels us to have confidence. The Lord, our Shepherd, will care for the true sheep.
The Apostle Paul assures us that the angels of God are ministering spirits sent forth to minister unto and serve those who shall be heirs of salvation, the saved ones of this Gospel Age--not only the overcomers of the "little flock," but also the overcomers of the "great multitude." Our Lord Jesus sets forth practically the same thought in His declaration, "Their angels do always behold [have access to] the face of My Father." (`Matt. 18:10`.) The Master's words seem to imply, at least, that one or more angels have charge over the consecrated ones, the "very elect." Nothing can by any means, therefore, harm these, except as the Heavenly Father sees that the earthly injury or disadvantage would prove profitable either to the individual New Creature or to the Lord's general cause. This is in full accord with His general assurance that all things shall work together for good to those that love Him. --`Rom. 8:28`.
Such a use of the heavenly messengers by no means invalidates the thought that the Lord's earthly children are frequently used of Him as ministers, servants, the one to the other. Indeed, we may be assured that the invisible messengers or servants, generally, if not always, are required to act through human instrumentalities--preferably through "the very elect." Of this kind of service done by the brethren, one for the other, we have illustrations in the Harvest work, for instance--supervised by our present Lord and His heavenly hosts, yet in the main
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carried on by the members of His Body still in the flesh.
THE HARVEST MESSAGE GOD'S KEEPING POWER
"They shall bear thee up in their hands, lest thou dash thy foot against a stone"--"thee"--all the members of the Body of Christ, individually and collectively, using all their strength to protect against any stumbling-stone of false doctrine, and especially that great fundamental Rock-Doctrine of the redemption through the precious blood of Christ; that "Rock of offense and stone of stumbling" to both the houses of nominal Israel. (`Isa. 8:14`.) "The feet" of the Body are its last members; the saints now living are members of "the feet of Him" (Christ), the ones who are now in danger of being stumbled, as the feet of the Jewish house of servants were in danger in the end, or harvest, of the Jewish Age.
How do such messengers bear up the feet of Christ? By helping them to a clear understanding of the Truth, and teaching and encouraging them by word and example how to be faithful to the Truth, and how to run so as to obtain the prize of our high-calling.
While doubtless the heavenly messengers are connected with this work, yet it is surely done through the Church in the flesh, as already intimated. The Lord in this present Harvest time has given His messengers, the leaders of His consecrated people, a "charge," a message, a word of warning, counsel, advice--an opening of the Word of Truth, an enlightening of their understanding-- that they should bear up all the members of "the feet" class, all of "the very elect" in this time of serious trial, testing and stumbling, lest at any time any of this class should stumble through the peculiar trials of the present time. How manifestly this is fulfilled! The Harvest message in its various features, bearing on every phase of Truth now due, and every phase of error now brought forward, is God's keeping power by which, according to His guarantee, we know that nothing shall by any means hurt "the feet" members of the Body of Christ.
It is for us to rejoice in these blessings and favors of the Lord and to increase our faith; and we remember that even before the "House of Sons" was organized the Lord had power and exercised it in the "House of Servants" in a way that illustrates to us the abundance of that power.
Satan would like to have us walk by sight, not by faith; he would like to have us continually tempting God, and demanding some ocular demonstration of His favor and protection, instead of accepting the testimony of His Word, and relying thereupon implicitly, in faith. In the light of the unfolding of the Scriptures we see that Satan, probably unwittingly, quoted this passage of Scripture wholly out of its proper meaning and interpretation, a passage which referred, not to the literal feet of Jesus and to literal stones and to literal angels, but to the symbolic feet-members of the Body of Christ today, and to the stones of stumbling, doctrinal and otherwise, which are now permitted in the path of the faithful, and to the angels, or ministers, of Divine Truth, who in the present
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Harvest time would be commissioned to bear up "the feet" members with such counsels, admonitions and expositions of Scripture as would be necessary for them.
"Thou shalt tread upon the lion and adder; the young lion and the dragon thou shalt trample under feet." Thus borne up in the hands of the Lord's faithful messengers and guarded by their vigilant watchfulness, and under the constant protection of the Most High, God's trusting, faithful children shall triumph over every device of Satan either to overpower or to beguile them--whether he goes about like a roaring lion, or whether, serpent-like, he stealthily lurks about to insert his venomous poison.
"Because he hath set his love upon Me, therefore will I deliver him; I will set him on high, because he hath known [appreciated] My name." On account of the love and loyalty of each individual composing "the feet" class, the heavenly Father will deliver him from the pestilences, etc., and will exalt him to joint-heirship with Christ, make him a member of the "Royal Priesthood" and a partaker of the divine nature.
"He shall call upon Me and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honor him. With long life will I satisfy him, and show him My salvation" --He will make him understand His Plan. As individuals they are known unto the Lord, who judges not merely by the sight of the eye and the hearing of the ear, but who discerns and judges the thoughts and intents of the heart. And, however widely they may be scattered, whether standing alone as "wheat" in the midst of tares, or in company with others, God's eye is always upon them. Dwelling in the secret place of the Most High (sanctified, wholly set apart unto God), they shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty, while the judgments of the Lord are experienced by the great religious systems that bear His name in unfaithfulness. They have no share in the judgment of Great Babylon, but are previously enlightened and called out of her.
Praise the Lord for such assurances of His loving care! "Bless the Lord, O my soul; and all that is within me, praise His holy name!"
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OUR RESPONSIBILITY TO ONE ANOTHER
"We that are strong ought to bear the infirmities of the weak, and not to please ourselves."--`Romans 15:1`.
THE GREAT PRINCIPLE set forth in our text is the principle of Love, the essence of the Divine Spirit. God is love; and the Spirit of love is the Spirit of God. This spirit, operating amongst God's people, necessarily makes them considerate of one another. It is the opposite of a selfish spirit. It seeks the welfare of others as well as of itself, especially the welfare of the household of faith.
In every case it should be our disposition, as far as possible, to help the weak and those who need assistance. The general disposition of the world, on the contrary, is to speak slightingly of those who are weak and to say, "They have my sympathy." But really, the weak do not get much sympathy. The world applauds those who are the most successful, the mighty, the rich. But as God has sympathy for the weak and lowly, so we should show sympathy more for those who are in need of sympathy than for those who are not. In the Church there are some who are intellectually strong, some who are intellectually weak, some who are physically strong, others who are physically weak; some who are spiritually strong and others who are spiritually weak.
In proportion as we are strong, we should not only help others to overcome their weaknesses, but should be assistful to all, encouraging them and pointing out to them how they can best overcome their shortcomings. We should not make these points too strong, however; for most people do not appreciate their own weaknesses; and the stronger should bear with them in their difficulty as well as bear some of their blunders. If anyone sees his own weakness, it becomes a wonderful incentive to endeavor. Therefore, the mission of the stronger would be so to call the attention of others to their weaknesses as not to offend or stumble them. If their attention be called to these weaknesses in a wrong way they are liable to be stumbled; but if called in a wise way, they will be helped. This might be applied in all the ramifications of life. We should ever be on the alert to see and to overcome our own weaknesses, and to be glad to spend and be spent in the interest of the brethren, considering matters from their standpoint and lending them our assistance.
The Elders in the Church should be really elder brethren. In the family the elder brother is supposed to be next to the father, helping and assisting, and spending himself for the interests of the other members. And so in the Church. Those who are older in the Truth, who are more developed in the Truth, should encourage, assist, lift up and defend the younger. This we observe in the affairs of earthly life in every family. The elders are helpful in the family to give assistance to the younger, and at the loss of their own convenience, their own preferences; their own pleasures are to be yielded up in the interests of the younger of the family. The thought of the Apostle is that both strong and weak should be growing in grace, in knowledge and in love by exercising themselves in spiritual things.
"WE ARE NOT TO PLEASE OURSELVES"
The latter part of the text, "And not to please ourselves," carries with it the thought that, although we have made a consecration to the Lord, although we have turned our backs upon sin, nevertheless we have a tendency, a disposition to sin. The disposition of the New Creature, however, is not to sin, but to do that which is right and to build himself up in the "most holy faith." Yet in seeking to build himself up in that "most holy faith" he might allow something of self-interest to stand first in his mind. But while he should have self-interest prominent in his mind--his own upbuilding--he should remember that, having responsibility in being a member of Christ, he should not wish merely to please himself, but should be willing to forego some of the right and proper things that he might serve others, and thus get a lesson in the Lord's providence. For instance, the more spiritually developed
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might choose to be off by themselves discussing the interests of the work. But the spirit of the Apostle's exhortation seems to be that they should look beyond their own preferences, seeking to arrange their own affairs so as to be most helpful to the brethren.
Amongst the different classes of the Lord's people, the classes of Bible students, there is a disposition among those who are more advanced to segregate themselves, to hold themselves aloof from the others. We have endeavored to throw our influence against this disposition. If there are some who have less knowledge let them have the opportunity to learn. If they should bring in good, hard questions, so much the better. We are not merely to please ourselves in respect to time and places of meetings. We might see that some would be desirous of having
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the meetings in places more difficult of access, but we are not to be selfish or self-seeking, but seek to please the majority of those whose interests are concerned. If this spirit were observed in classes, more progress would be made; and the Lord's people in general are learning this lesson.
The same thought applies to the servants of the Church. There is a disposition for the Elders to say, "We will meet together and discuss amongst ourselves different things." Now, this is not with bad intention. It might be wise to do so occasionally. But as a general thing, the Elders should meet with the Deacons and treat them with confidence, so that they also might be counted in the Lord's service: it is better for all to meet together, and in the majority of things to have the congregation informed about everything, rather than to keep secrets from the Church. Of course, there would be, at times, something not to be made public in a general way; but, as a rule, the Elders and the Deacons should seek to arrange their meetings so as to assist all the congregation who have time and ability, etc., that all will feel that there is no class separation.
Centuries ago the theory was started by the Catholic friends that the clergy are a separate class constituting the Church, and that the others are the children or infants of the Church. This theory was adopted afterwards by the Protestants. And so we see that the clergy set themselves off by themselves as a separate class. The fact that the Lord has set some in the Church as Elders does not make them separate. We are all one class. Thus, the Apostle says that the eye cannot say to the foot, "I have no need of thee." Every member is to be considered; and no one is to assume a position over others. If one has a higher office he is to use it for the others; if one has a lower office he is to use it for the general good. And so, the Church is to make herself ready until all come to the fulness of the Body of the Anointed, of which we are all members.
Principles may never be abandoned for any consideration; but liberties and personal rights may be ignored in the interest of others frequently and to Divine pleasing. The Apostle Paul was ready to go to any length in defense of principle (`Gal. 2:5-11`), but in the sacrifice of earthly rights and privileges and liberties for the sake of Christ and the Church, the Apostle evidently came next to our Lord Jesus, and is a noble example to all the Church.
"How wise are God's commands;
How sure His precepts are!"
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THE GRACE OF HUMILITY
"In lowliness of mind let each esteem
other better than themselves."--`Phil. 2:3`.
THOSE WHO naturally have a humble mind have no particular difficulty in esteeming others better than themselves. But there are some who naturally have another attitude of mind. This is not necessarily their fault, for they may have been born with larger self-conceit than were others. But even if we were born with humbleness of mind, we should need to take care that self-conceit and pride do not come in. Sometimes in their own heart some people feel boastful of the knowledge they possess. They like to shine, even though they know they have no more brilliancy than others; they would like to obscure the shining of others that they might be the more noticed in the darkness.
It would, therefore, be a safe matter for each of us to follow the Apostle's suggestion to cultivate this humility of mind and never allow it to be lost. "Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time"; "Whosoever exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted." (`I Pet. 5:6`; `Luke 14:11`.) God would do this abasing, not of a vengeful spirit, but because the one who would vaunt himself must be brought low.
There might, however, be circumstances when some who appear to be vaunting themselves really are not doing so, but circumstances and conditions make it seem so. Therefore, to best fulfil the Apostle's injunction, we should, as he suggests in this text, cultivate the spirit of humility--not considering our own good qualities so much as those of others. If we have good qualities, we are glad; let us make use of them.
In comparing ourselves with others, let us look at our own blemishes. There are very few in whom we cannot see some good qualities, good traits. If, therefore, we look at our own imperfections and the good qualities of others, we shall find ourselves more and more appreciative of others; and this will be of assistance to us in running the race.
As an illustration of seeing something to admire, even in our enemies, we have the suggestion of the old lady to her nieces. One niece said to the other, "Auntie can say something good about everybody. I believe she could say something good even about the Devil." "That is so," answered the other. "Let us ask her." Then she called, "Auntie, is there any good about the Devil?" "My dear," replied Auntie, "I wish we all had as much perseverance as he has."
So if we could find something in the Adversary that we could admire and commend, we can certainly find something in all others to admire and commend and to give them credit for. Thus we will cultivate the spirit that will be most helpful to ourselves for our future work.
The consideration of our own imperfections would, as we have suggested, make us very humble of mind and keep us in a very humble attitude of mind. This might discourage us unless we had the proper relationship with the Lord and His Word. We know that "all things work together for good to those who love God." (`Rom. 8:28`.) Through His Word our Lord has provided for such the "Balm of Gilead" for their encouragement, and the anointing oil and the comfort of the Scriptures.
The Lord does not cast us off if we are not wilfully wrongdoers and if we take in the right spirit the humiliating things. That disposition is what He wants. Those things which would humiliate us in the sight of others and in the sight of the Lord Himself, will, if we are rightly exercised by them, work together for good to us. Such He will bless and lift up and give an appreciation of His Love. This He purposes to do. We have every evidence that the Lord will give the necessary encouragement, and we have the assurance of the Scriptures that those who obey His Word to the best of their ability shall not be overcome.
For each one to look merely upon his own things, interests, welfare or talents and to ignore those of others would manifest a general selfishness and, consequently, a dearth of the Spirit of Christ, which is a spirit of love and generosity. In proportion as we are filled more and more with the Holy Spirit, Love, we shall find ourselves interested in the welfare of others. This was the mind, disposition, or spirit which was in our dear Redeemer, which
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He so wonderfully manifested, which we must copy and develop in our characters if we would ultimately be of the "little flock," who shall be joint-heirs with Christ in His glory, concerning whom God has predestinated that to be accepted with Him to this position they must be "copies of His Son."--`Rom. 8:29`.
OUR GREAT EXEMPLAR
That we may partially discern how our Lord Jesus exemplified this spirit of humility, the Apostle briefly sums up the story of His humiliation and shows how it led to His present exaltation. He points out to us that when our Lord Jesus was a spirit being, before He stooped to take our nature and to bear the penalty of our sin, He was in "a form of God"--a spirit form, a high and glorious condition. But instead of being moved selfishly and ambitiously to grasp for higher things than God had conferred upon Him--instead of seeking to set up a rival Empire, as Satan did--He did not meditate a robbery of God to make Himself the Father's equal (Satan's course), and say, "I will ascend above the stars [the bright ones, the angelic hosts], I will be as the Most High" [His peer, His equal]. Quite to the contrary of this, our Lord Jesus, "the beginning of the creation of God," was willing, in harmony with the Father's plan, to humble Himself, to take a lower nature and to do a work which would involve, not only a great deal of humiliation, but also a great deal of pain and suffering.
The Apostle points out how the "Only Begotten" proved His willingness and humility by complying with this arrangement; and that after He became a man He continued of this same humble spirit, willing to carry out
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the Divine Plan to the very letter by dying as man's ransom-price; and not only so, but when it pleased the Father to require that the death should be a most ignominious one in every respect, perhaps beyond the requirements of the ransom merely, He did not draw back, but said, "Thy will, not Mine, be done," and stooped even to the ignominious "death of the cross!"
Here we have the most wonderful demonstration of humility, meekness and obedience to God that ever was manifested or that could be conceived of. And this is the pattern the Apostle points out that we should seek to copy. "Let this same [humble] mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus."--`Phil. 2:5-10`.
This humility enabled our Lord to render perfect obedience, on account of which the Heavenly Father has so highly honored Him as to raise Him from the dead to the divine nature, to a station far above angels, principalities and powers, and every name that is named. That this is the Apostle's argument is shown (`verse 9`) by the word "wherefore"; i.e., on this account, on account of this humility just described, God has highly exalted Him.
Not only did our Lord's beautiful and perfect humility and obedience demonstrate that He was to the core loyal to the Heavenly Father, but it also demonstrated that in Him the Father's spirit, Love, dwelt richly, for He shared the Father's love for the race He redeems. On this account also He is found worthy to be the Divine Agent in the blessing of all the families of the earth, according to the terms of the Divine Covenant made with Father Abraham.
Thus He has become the "Seed of Abraham" which is to bless the race redeemed; and hence it will be to Him that "every knee shall bow and every tongue confess" when Jehovah's "due time" shall come for the pouring out of Divine blessings upon the redeemed world--that all may come to a knowledge of the truth and, if they will, into full harmony with God, and to eternal life.
Not only does the Apostle hold up the Lord Jesus as the great Example of a proper humility, self-abnegation and obedience to God in the interest of others, but he would also hold up before us the reward, the high exaltation of our Lord by the Father, the result or reward of His obedience, that we also might be encouraged and realize that, if faithful in following the footsteps of our Redeemer and sacrificing the advantages of the present to serve the Lord and His cause, then in due time we also may expect to be glorified with Him and to share His name and throne and work, as members of His anointed Body, His Church, His joint-heir.
Beloved, let us apply to ourselves the loving exhortation of the Apostle to the Church at Philippi, contained in the succeeding verses (`Phil. 2:12-16`), and continue in the way upon which we have entered, making more and more progress in the race-course, working out in ourselves through humility and obedience the character, the disposition of Christ, with fear and trembling, and thus working out each our own share in the great salvation to glory, honor and immortality which God hath promised.
WORKING OUT OUR SALVATION
We cannot work out our own justification, but being justified by the blood of Christ, and being called with the heavenly calling, we can make our calling and election sure. We can work out our own share in the great salvation to which we have been called in Christ by giving heed to the instructions of the Lord, by following the pattern which He has set for us; not that we shall attain perfection in the flesh, but merely perfection of will, of intention, of heart, and if we keep the body under to the extent of our ability, its weaknesses and imperfections will be reckoned as covered by the merit of our Lord, the Holy One.
It is encouraging also for us to know that this warfare against weakness and sin is not merely one of our own, but that God is for us, has called us, and is helping us. He already works in us, by His word of promise, and has led us thus far in the willing and the doing of His will, His good pleasure; and He will continue thus to lead and to help us and to work in us by His Word of Truth, if we will continue to give heed to His counsel. "Sanctify them through Thy Truth--Thy Word is Truth." The Gospel is "the power of God unto salvation" to every one that so accepts it; and no greater stimulus to true godliness can be found than the "exceeding great and precious promises given unto us; that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature."--`2 Pet. 1:4`.
Moreover, in following in the footsteps of our Lord Jesus, running the race for the great prize set before us in the Gospel, we are not to murmur by the way, finding fault with its difficulties and narrowness; nor are we to dispute respecting it, nor seek to have any other way than that which Divine providence marks out for us, realizing that the Lord knows exactly what experiences are necessary to our development in the school of Christ; and realizing also that, if obedience were possible, while our mouths are full of complaints and dissatisfaction with the Lord and our lot which He has permitted, it would indicate that we are at least out of sympathy with the spirit of His arrangement; and such an obedience, if it were possible (but it would not be possible), would not meet the Divine approval, nor gain us the "prize." Hence, as the Apostle exhorts, we should "Do all things without murmurings and disputings, that ye may be blameless and harmless, the sons of God without rebuke,...holding forth the Word of life in the midst of a crooked and perverse nation, among whom ye shine as lights in the world."--`Verses 14-16`.
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"TO SHOW THYSELF APPROVED"
"Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of Truth."-- `2 Tim. 2:15`.
GOD SEEMS to have greatly blessed and used in the "harvest" work the six volumes of STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES. Probably none who are today rejoicing in the Truth would dissent from this statement in the slightest degree. Some we know would express the matter more strongly than this. Nevertheless every now and then we are brought to a realization that many of those who rejoice considerably in the Truth have but an imperfect knowledge of it--they are not rooted, grounded, established and built up in the Truth; they are not able to "rightly divide the Word of Truth"; they are not workmen who need never be ashamed in discussing the Truth with others.
Some of these, deficient in their knowledge of the Truth, are mere babes, beginners, who have not yet had a full opportunity for study. Some of them have read Vol. I and have skimmed over the other volumes. They perhaps learned of the classes for Bible study, and, attending them and discussing with the brethren and hearing some discourses, seemed to assume that they knew the teachings of the entire six volumes as though they had read them, studied them.
This is a great mistake; more, it is a serious mistake, because we are in the time when each and all must expect to be specially tried and tested. And those who have only a partial understanding of the Divine Plan--those who have only a part of the provided armor, will find it difficult, if not impossible, to stand in this evil day the assaults of the world, the flesh and the Adversary. If they have proper zeal for the Lord and a proper love for the Plan, they should manifest that zeal by thorough and persevering study of the volumes. They cannot afford to do less.
We find also that some of the dear friends who read the SCRIPTURE STUDIES years ago, and not recently, imagine that they remember their contents, when in reality they are quite ignorant of many of their teachings. We all have leaky, earthen vessels and the precious treasure of Divine Truth soon exhausts unless we keep replenishing. One way of replenishing is to go to the Bible direct. But many have found what the Scriptures seem to imply, namely, that human teachers are necessary, and that they can get much more knowledge of the Scriptures through the assistance of a teacher than they could obtain by their own energy. Such of our readers as have not read the STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES this year can scarcely appreciate how much they probably have lost of what they originally learned therein.
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FERVENT IN SPIRIT--SERVING THE LORD
THE HEAVENLY FATHER, through His various agencies operating during the more than eighteen centuries of this Gospel Age, has been seeking for His Son a companion, a Bride of many members, although in comparison to the world a "little flock." Various good qualities are desired and all of these will make the Bride class in the character-likeness of their Redeemer, their betrothed Bridegroom. They are deficient in all of these qualities according to the flesh, but fortunately the flesh will not be the basis of the decision as to their worthiness or unworthiness of the glorious prize. All will depend upon the mind, the will, the heart. It must be not only good, but absolutely perfect. "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God." They shall be the children of God. They shall be the joint-heirs of the Redeemer.
This purity of heart which the Lord approves and desires might be summed up in the expression, loyalty of heart--loyalty to principles of Truth and righteousness, the principles of the Divine Government--loyalty to God the Father and to our Lord Jesus Christ and to all the members of His Body. This perfect heart-loyalty includes, therefore, love for God and for the Redeemer and for the brethren, as well as sympathetic love for the world of mankind, in harmony with the Divine purpose and Revelation. The Apostle says, "If these things be in you and abound, they make you that ye shall be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord," and "so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting Kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ."--`2 Pet. 1:8,11`.
There is a particular force attaching to this word "abound." All of God's people, all begotten of the Holy Spirit, are inspired by the Spirit of the Father, the Spirit of love, the Spirit of justice and loyalty. But how about the degree, the abounding, the having of this love permeate all of life's affairs? If this Spirit of the Lord abound in us it will influence our business, our pleasure, our homes, our workshops, our kitchens, our dining rooms, our bed chambers, our very thoughts.
May it be possible to have a measure of the Lord's Spirit with very little abounding, and hence have merely an enjoyment of some spiritual things, on special occasions, at church, etc.? It is the abounding love, the all-pervading influence of our Lord in the lives and in all of life's affairs of those who would have the abundant entrance into the Kingdom of Messiah as members of the Bride class, that is required. If they have this abounding loyalty and love they will be copies of God's dear Son, the Redeemer; otherwise, they will not. And God has predestinated that only such as are copies of His Son shall have a share in the Kingdom of Messiah. Others may reach, indeed, a secondary place, in the "great company" class, but will never reach the throne and never be members of the Bride class.
How important, then, that we discern clearly the necessity for this abounding love, this zeal for God and for righteousness which will amount to a hatred of iniquity, even while loving, succoring and helping the evil-doers into right paths.
THE HARVEST A SPECIAL TIME OF TRIAL
So surely as we recognize that we are in the "harvest" time, we must also assume that the Lord is now specially ripening the "wheat" and separating it from the "tares" and, shall we say, dividing the wheat into two classes? It is this special testing of this harvest time which the Scriptures draw particularly to our attention, frequently warning us of the necessity of having on the whole armor of God and being not slothful in business, but fervent in spirit, serving the Lord.
From our vantage-point in THE WATCH TOWER we perceive that just such testings as we should expect are in progress throughout the Lord's ripe wheat field. Divine providence is permitting tests of love and loyalty, faith and obedience, brotherly kindness and patience. Sometimes the trials come to the classes through the Elders,
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who should be the very ones to help, protect, admonish and assist the flock. Sometimes the Elders assume a lordly disposition quite contrary to the Divine Word and example and trying to the patience and love of the brethren.
Sometimes the trial is from the other side. Some members of the class may be very exacting, very ready to strain at a gnat and swallow a camel, very ready to find fault with everything that the Elder may do, however faithful he may be. Such experiences, whether coming from the one side or the other, are tests, and it behooves each of the Lord's people to see just how he receives these tests and just what effect they have upon his own heart and character. If the experiences embitter him, anger him, or wound deeply his pride, it proves that he needed just such disciplinary experiences to show him his own lack and to point him to the Throne of heavenly grace for mercy and help.
Again, some of the dear classes are assailed by the Adversary through false doctrines and have their own difficulties in endeavoring to defend the Truth, the Divine Plan of the Ages, and to maintain their stand in harmony therewith. Or, on the other hand, the difficulty may arise from some of the dear friends being hypercritical and trying to find differences where there are none--fomenting the spirit of strife rather than the spirit of harmony --discord rather than love.
We exhort, dear brothers and sisters, what we all can agree to, namely, that we are in the testing time and these various matters are our test. Only by the exercise of much fervency of spirit, much zeal for the Lord, for the Truth and for the brethren, can we hope to stand faithfully and to be of assistance to others to a faithful stand. Let us not be faint-hearted. If we faint not, we shall soon reap our reward and hear the Master's voice: "Well done, good and faithful servant, enter thou into the joy of thy Lord."
We are in the time of general unrest, grumbling, etc. Let us not think for a moment that such grumblings and murmurings are contentions for the "faith once delivered to the saints." Let us rather cultivate more and more the fruits and graces of the Holy Spirit. Let us specially exercise these in connection with our brethren of the "household of faith," of course not neglecting to "do good to all men as we have opportunity" and to be patient and forbearing to one another. But the special blessing of the Lord comes to those who specially seek to promote peace, happiness, welfare, prosperity and growth in grace in the Body of Christ, which is the "Church of the Living God."
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WAITING FOR MESSIAH
--`MAL. 3:1`; `4:3`.--DECEMBER 24TH.--
"Behold He shall come, saith the Lord, even the Messenger of the Covenant, whom ye delight in. But who may abide the day of His coming? for He is like a refiner's fire and like fullers' soap."--`Malachi 3:1,2`.
MALACHI'S PROPHECY, the most striking features of which constitute the lesson of today, concludes the Old Testament canon. It contains not only a Divine rebuke for sin, but also a Divine promise of rescue. It fits well to the time generally assigned to it--Nehemiah's period. It remained for Israel to show thorough repentance and to institute thorough reforms. The needed reformation fits equally well to our day. In their professed devotions they were robbing God and impoverishing themselves. It rested upon them to note what great blessings would be theirs if they rendered a whole-heart service to the King of kings.
The Jews, comparing themselves with other nations, perceived that as a result of being God's people they had been held to a more strict account than other nations, so that although their nationality was superior, it was through repeated and severe chastisements. They were even questioning the profitableness of being "God's chosen people." The arrogant, proud nations around them flourished in temporalities more than they. They could not stand this; they forgot that they were a people for a purpose, and that to fit them for Divine service in the future trying experiences were permitted, and were really evidences of Divine favor. "What son is he whom the father chasteneth not? If ye be without chastisement, then are ye not sons."
This lesson of a future reward is brought forward by the words, "They that feared the Lord spake often one to another, and the Lord hearkened and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before Him for them that feared the Lord and thought upon His Name. They shall be Mine, saith the Lord of Hosts, in that Day when I make up My jewels."--`Malachi 3:16,17`.
ISRAEL--TYPICAL AND ANTITYPICAL
The foregoing has revealed very much of all prophecies respecting Israel's favors to be fulfilled--a portion in Spiritual Israel's experiences and another portion in Natural Israel's. The faithful of the Jewish Age, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and all the Prophets, will surely have a great reward. When Messiah's Kingdom shall be inaugurated on the spirit plane, invisible to men, those Ancient Worthies, who were once called the fathers, will have a very high rank of service in connection with the Kingdom, in that they will be its earthly representatives and exponents. "Instead of Thy fathers shall be Thy children" [of Messiah], whom Thou [Messiah] mayest make Princes [rulers] in all the earth."--`Psa. 45:16`.
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Spiritual Israel, as history shows us, is the great Messiah for whom the Jews have so long waited. This Messiah has many members--Jesus is its Head, the Church are His members. This Messiah, Jesus and His members or Bride, constitute the Spiritual Seed of Abraham-- "as the stars of heaven." These must first be completed, and will be glorified in Kingdom power before the Ancient Worthies can receive their blessing on the earthly plane, and before Natural Israel can be gathered to them as the nucleus of the Kingdom of God on earth, to which ultimately all nations, peoples, kindred and tongues shall flow for a share in Israel's New Covenant blessings. Of these St. Paul says, "If ye be Christ's then are ye Abraham's Seed [typified by Isaac], and heirs according to the promise." (`Gal. 3:29`.) These are to be God's jewels on the spirit plane, as the faithful Jews of the past are to be the jewels on the earthly plane, marked or enrolled for distinguished honor in connection with Messiah's Kingdom.
"MESSENGER OF THE COVENANT"
The Israelites, discouraged with their failure to keep the Law and to get the blessings promised therefrom, were encouraged by the Lord with the promise that some day a great Messiah would appear--greater than Moses, with whom God would make a New Covenant on their behalf. The New Covenant would be superior to the old one in that it would have a better Mediator, for Israel already
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had God's perfect law. The New Mediator would not relax the Law, either. The advantage to accrue through Him would be that somehow His Covenant and Sin-Offering would be more efficacious than that which Moses instituted, because it would put away sin forever and give willing Israelites a new heart, a heart of flesh, after which they would be given everlasting life on condition of their maintaining their relationship with the Almighty.
Jeremiah particularized this, saying: "It shall come to pass after those days, saith the Lord, that I will make a New Covenant with the House of Israel and with the House of Judah, not according to the Covenant which I made with their fathers when I led them out of Egypt, ...but their sins and their iniquities will I remember no more."--`Jer. 31:31`.
Israel's hope thenceforth was in the Messiah, whose coming would bring to them the New Covenant blessings. They have waited for Him since. Who can help admiring the persistency of the Jewish faith--their loyalty to God! Who can help noticing how sharply it is in contrast with their previous unbelief and idolatry! Who can doubt that God still loves His people whom He foreknew and whom He has promised shall be regathered--back to their own land and back to His favor under the New Covenant! --`Rom. 11:25`.
But the Prophet Malachi clearly intimates that there might be disappointment in connection with the much longed for Messenger or Mediator of the New Covenant, in whom the Jews so delighted and hoped. The declaration is that His day will be a strenuous one: "Who shall stand when He appeareth?" "Who will abide the day of His coming?" (`Malachi 3:2`.) The intimation is that not many will abide, not many will stand--the majority will fall.
The reason is given. He will require such purity, such holiness, that few will come up to His requirements. The tests He will impose will be like fullers' soap, which is the foe of every spot upon a garment white. His requirements will be like those of a refiner of silver--all the dross must be eliminated, in a furnace hot enough to insure its separation. The test will last a considerable time, for He will sit as a refiner sits, giving close inspection, that the heat be neither too great nor too little, the time neither too long nor too short.
This great Messiah, the Messenger of the New Covenant, began His refining and purifying work more than eighteen centuries ago. He followed the Divine rule, "To the Jew first." He began to refine and purify a priestly class for association with Himself in the glorious Messianic work. To the Jew first came the privilege of being the antitypical Levites. Thousands of them responded at Pentecost, and subsequently, but not enough to complete the foreordained number of Spiritual Israelites, members of the Body of Messiah.
Since then the selecting work has been in progress for eighteen centuries. God has been calling and drawing from all nations, and as many as respond the great Refiner has been purifying; and if these suffer afflictions for righteousness they are sharing in the sufferings of Messiah that they may be accounted worthy also of a share in His glories to follow. Soon the "elect" number will be completed; the blood of the New Covenant will be made efficacious for Israel and for all the families of the earth, and on that basis the Messianic Kingdom or reign of righteousness will begin.
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"HE IS FAITHFUL AND JUST"
"If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness."--`1 John 1:9`.
WE KNOW of no heathen religion which teaches a god of mercy and love and kindness. Heathen deities are represented as powerful, ferocious, terrible. The people fear them as demons, but know nothing about the God of Love. Alas! that we must say it, but there are many Christians who, misled by the creeds of the Darker Ages, do not recognize, do not worship the God of the Bible--the God of all Grace, concerning whom we have the declaration, "God is Love."
The Psalmist's words give us a proper conception-- "But there is forgiveness with Thee, that Thou mayest be feared"--reverenced. (`Psa. 130:4`.) We can see readily enough that the Almighty must be the very embodiment of Justice--not, however, a justice of the kind we were taught, which was really a great injustice. God was just in sentencing Father Adam to death because of his disobedience to the Divine Law. He was just in making that sentence applicable to all of Adam's posterity. Had He let the sentence rest and allowed man to die like the brute beast, without any hope of a future life, we would have had no ground for complaint. It would have been simple Justice.
But God commended His love to us, and it is His love which constrains us to seek Him and to desire to serve Him and to walk in the footsteps of Jesus. God's will meant the requirement of Justice and He opened up the way by which He could be just and yet be the Justifier of those who believe in Jesus, who become His disciples, to take up their cross and follow Him; and having thus arranged for the satisfaction of these, God purposes to give a blessing to Adam and his race in a way which would do them the most good. And this showing of the Divine character is not merely to bring laudation to the Almighty, but specially for the purpose of making His creatures acquainted with His character, that they may have great confidence in Him throughout eternity, and that, seeing the beauties of His character, they may copy the same and thus be more abundantly blessed.
SALVATION'S FIRST STEP
The first step of God's Plan is the selection of a special class, a saintly few from amongst mankind. They are chosen for a purpose. In them God would show forth the exceeding riches of His Grace and His loving kindness in Christ Jesus (`Eph. 2:6,7`), in lifting sinners from the miry clay to so glorious a station as He has promised them--the divine nature, far above angels, principalities and powers. Additionally He proposes to use them and their experiences with sin, and their victories over sin, by making them joint-heirs with Christ in the ruling and blessing and judging of the world by and by.
Following the completion of the Church of the First-borns will come the later borns. It is the Divine intention, not only that the Church shall attain to the liberty of the sons of God on the spirit plane, like unto the angels, but it is His purpose also that humanity in general shall be granted an opportunity to become sons of God during Messiah's reign: "For the creation itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption [death and sin] into the glorious liberty of the sons of God" [human sons,
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such as Adam was in his perfection, free from sin and death, possessed of the full liberty which God provided for all in full fellowship with Him].--`Romans 8:21`.
IF WE CONFESS
Our text undoubtedly refers to those now called of God to be members of the Bride of Christ, and sharers of the liberty and glory of sonship on the spirit plane. Nevertheless it states a principle which will be applicable also during the thousand years of Messiah's reign. None then need expect to make progress on the Highway of Holiness except first they confess their sins and turn from them and accept the proffered blessing of Messiah, who then will be reigning for the very purpose of destroying sin and uplifting sinners.
Applying the text to the present time, we see that it does not refer to sinners in general, but to the Church of Christ, as again we read, "If we sin we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ." So this confession of sins does not relate to the world, who have not yet become children of God through faith and consecration. This statement corresponds to the one in our Lord's prayer which says, "Forgive us our trespasses as we forgive
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those who trespass against us."
"JUST TO FORGIVE US"
Those who have become new creatures in Christ by faith and obedience--those who have taken up their cross to follow Him and have been begotten of the Holy Spirit --God has agreed to forgive all their unwilling trespasses upon request. Hence the Apostle John here says that it will be merely just on God's part to fulfil to His holy ones this promise which He has made to them. Reasoning upon the same subject St. Paul urges, "Let us come with courage to the throne of heavenly grace that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need."--`Heb. 4:16`.
It was evidently because the Lord foresaw that His people might become so abashed by their repeated failures through inherited weaknesses of their flesh that He provided this special exhortation for their encouragement. This is a point well to be remembered. At this, the close of another year and the opening of a new one, we urge that all Christians keep daily record with the Lord and never retire to rest without obtaining this grace of forgiveness and help. But if any have delayed the matter and a cloud has come between them and the Lord, let them surely avail themselves of these promises in the close of this year that they may start the New Year with a clean slate--with the smile of their Father's face upon them, and with the fellowship of their Redeemer and with fresh resolves for earnestness and carefulness in walking in His steps.
WEARY AND HEAVY LADEN
There are other Scriptures which apply to those of the world who have not yet become the Lord's people, and who are not therefore included in our text. This class we refer to are included in the Lord's words, "Come unto Me all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn of Me, and ye shall find rest to your souls." (`Matt. 11:28,29`.) There is no rest of heart in the restless striving of selfishness and sin, yet these sometimes work out experiences which lead the weary to the great Sin-Bearer, the Friend above all others.
What more opportune time than the beginning of the year to make the one great contract with the Lord which will make us disciples indeed--the covenant of self-sacrifice, self-denial, self-renunciation, taking up the cross to follow the Lord's leading whithersoever He goeth, knowing that the end of the journey will be glorious and blessed; yea, and that the trials on the way toward the Heavenly Kingdom will be blessed and overruled for good, because Jesus will be a sharer also in them.
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"NOW ARE WE THE SONS OF GOD"
QUESTION.--Are consecrated believers actually or only reckonedly sons of God?
Answer.--Consecrated believers are actually sons of God. The Scriptures so state the matter. "Now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be; but we know that when He shall appear, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is." (`I John 3:2`.) Old things have passed away and all things have become new. (`2 Cor. 5:17`.) Either you are a son of God or you are not a son of God. If you have made the proper consecration and God has begotten you of the Holy Spirit, you are a son of God. It is just as well, dear friends, that we have this matter clearly before our minds.
In England a business man said to us after one of the great Albert Hall Meetings, "I was out to hear you at Albert Hall, and you discouraged me very much." At first we did not know what he meant. As he proceeded we found out. He said, "I had been thinking that I was a good Episcopalian, and that if God had anything good to give away I should be sure to get it if any one would. From the way you talk I see you think there is only a 'little flock' which gets these good things which the Father has. You have quite upset my faith."
When we came to understand what the gentleman meant we told him that we were very glad, for we wanted to wake him up before he should die with such a misunderstanding of God's terms. God is not calling people who say, "I would rather serve You than go to hell, but that is all the interest I have in you." God is calling those people who love righteousness and hate iniquity. Of that kind He is getting the number He wants for His special place--to be joint-heirs with His Son. He is not calling the remainder of mankind. After this Gospel Age will be the time for those on the earthly plane to receive their blessing, to reach human perfection.
But the only ones who will ever get the spiritual or high calling are those who are saints. How can we suppose that God will exalt to association with Jesus, as members of His Body, any who are not saints at heart, pure in their intentions, especially pure--loyal to God to the very core? Would you expect Him to take any others? You would not even respect the Government of God if you knew He would have all sorts of people in highly exalted places and give them the divine nature. If you believed such to be the case you must lose all respect for the Almighty's Government. But when He tells you that all those who will be highly exalted to association with Jesus will be copies of His Son, you will say, "That sounds right." It is right. The Lord's ways are just and righteous altogether. If we should never make our calling and election sure we would say, "True and righteous are Thy ways, Lord God Almighty."
But we could never count it right if anyone should be roasted through all eternity or in Purgatory for a time. We could never agree to the righteousness of that. Such
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ways would be most unjust. There is no one who for his shortcomings could ever warrant the sentence of eternal torment, or even one hundred years of torment, or even one year of torment. It could not be right for poor, imperfect human beings to be held responsible for perfection and to be tormented because of coming short of it. But you know, and everybody knows, that to whatever extent you co-operate with evil, to that extent you will bring upon yourself degradation, mental, moral and physical; and every step you go downward must be retraced, if you attain to anything good in this life or in the life to come.
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There is a righteous recompense of reward, as the Scriptures say, to the righteous as well as to the evildoers.
THE LAND WAS FORCED TO KEEP ITS SABBATHS
Question.--In a chapter in Vol. II of STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES it is shown how the Israelites while in captivity were forced to observe the Sabbaths which they did not observe before. Why are these Sabbaths called Jubilees in Vol. II?
Answer.--What the Second Volume of STUDIES says is, not that the Jews were forced to keep their Sabbaths while in Babylon, but that the land was forced to keep these Sabbaths, while the Jews were in Babylon. God says so. (`2 Chron. 36:20,21`.) The Jews were commanded that in the Jubilee year the land should rest. Like the rest of humanity, somewhat selfish, they were afraid that if they should let the land rest a whole year they would get behind in their taxes, etc. So they did not properly keep those Jubilees. Israel had kept nineteen Jubilees up to the time when they went into captivity; and the Lord was greatly dissatisfied with them. He said: While you have had the land, the land did not observe the Sabbaths. You did not keep the Sabbaths properly. We are not herein blaming the Jews, for we believe that if the Lord should put such a commandment upon the United States or any other country, very few would keep it.
According to the Law, the Sabbath year occurred every seventh year. The people were instructed to count seven times seven years, and then came the fiftieth, the Jubilee. Thus two Sabbaths came together, one of which, the fiftieth, was the great Jubilee year. The Jews kept these Sabbaths in a half-hearted way; so the Lord put them out of their land into the enemy's land, until their land should accomplish her Sabbaths. Evidently God did not wish the Jew to understand the full import of these time features; for the Jew does not understand even to this day. If God had meant for the Jew to understand, the Jew would have understood. But we believe that these time features were meant chiefly for the Spiritual Israelite, and that the number 70 was put there to show us when the time should come for the Lord to bless Israel and the whole world. When the time comes, then the Jews will understand about their Sabbaths, the captivity and the fulfilment of all things. But we get this information from the spiritual source, a higher source than the Jews and the remainder of the world.
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SOME INTERESTING LETTERS
EXTENSION WORK IN AFRICA
MY DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--
I have just returned from a Pilgrim visit to Johannesburg and am writing to supplement my reports of the work in that district by what I have learned from personal observation.
In fulfilment of a long-standing promise and regarding it opportune for the advancement of the Lord's work, I arranged a ten-days' visit to Johannesburg and the Orange Free State to meet brethren in both places. Most of that time I spent in the "Golden City."
As there were no regular meetings held there I did not have an opportunity to lecture, but spent a busy time visiting those who were more or less interested, seeking to strengthen and confirm their faith.
I had also some interesting conversations with friends who do not quite see eye to eye with us, among whom was the President of the Natal and Transvaal Conference of Seventh Day Adventists. I had a more profitable time with some other friends I visited, and the outcome is that with the beginning of September there will be a little class meeting in Johannesburg for the study of God's great Plan. This is a small beginning, but it is a beginning, and I am hopeful of further development.
Johannesburg is a peculiar city. Being the center of the gold industry of the world it attracts to itself from all parts people of an acquisitive type, whom we would not expect to show much interest in spiritual things. The vigorous existence of several modern religious idiosyncrasies, such as the Apostolic Faith Movement (gift of tongues), Spiritism, Christian Science, etc., etc., indicate, however, that, despite our expectations, there exists even in this modern Babylon a spiritual hunger, which the old errors and superstitions cannot satisfy and reveals the presence of many who, though meantime blinded by the Adversary, are nevertheless groping for the light.
While in that district I took the opportunity to run down seventy miles into the Orange Free State to make the acquaintance of some Dutch brethren with whom I had been corresponding. I suggested a Chart Lecture in the little town of Parys, where they live, and they jumped at the idea. Through the courtesy of the municipality we had the free use of the Town Hall for the lecture, which was quite an event. The Mayor of Parys occupied the chair and introduced the lecturer with a few well-chosen words. The Vice-Mayor, a brother in the Truth, translated our remarks into Dutch for the benefit of the non-English-speaking portion of the audience after we had been accompanied to the platform by a prominent merchant in town, also a brother in the Lord. There were about 250 people in the audience and they listened attentively to an exposition of the Chart.
I had also interesting talks with several of the Boers and found them quite ready to reason about God's Plan and very tired of the spiritual fare served out to them by the Predikants of the Dutch Reformed Church.
The South African Dutch are a Bible-loving people. They are as yet free from the demoralizing influence of Higher Criticism and Evolutionary Theories and are growing restive under the continued preaching of a theory of eternal torment that is an insult to the intelligence of humanity and a libel on the character of God. Having met some of these people I feel more than ever convinced that God has a work to do among them and would earnestly recommend the proposals which I submit under other covers for their assistance.
The Lord of the Harvest is at work. The time is short. Not a single grain of wheat will fail of being gathered. May we then be diligent in (His) business that we may gather fruit unto life eternal!
With much Christian love, dear brother, and earnestly soliciting your prayers for the Harvest work in Africa, I am,
Your brother and co-laborer, W. W. JOHNSTON.--Africa.
"ROLLING THE OLD CHARIOT ALONG IN AFRICA"
DEAR BROTHER IN THE LORD:--
We, a few in South Africa, gratefully own possession of your "keys" [STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES] and ofttimes praise our dear Lord for the privilege of the free access they afford us to the great storehouse of the riches of His Truth.
With uplifted hearts we bless and praise the God of our forefathers that He hath magnified the Law and made it honorable; that His mercy endureth forever.
Further, in addition to the "keys," which we may also term a magnifying glass, we are greatly blessed with a carpenter in the flesh and "he stretcheth out his rule; he marketh it out with a line; he fitteth it with planes, and he marketh it out with a compass." Oh, "What shall we render unto the Lord for all His benefits!"
Thus, our little band realizes that the Lord is ever mindful of us; yea, specially favoring us and we rejoice in the love and fellowship of His saints.
But, dear brother, we know full well that there are not many in South Africa who put "the keys" to their practical
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use and that few have the penetration of spiritual character that would lead them to the use of the magnifying glass and many there are who cannot be reached by present temporal facilities.
We are, therefore, praying the Lord of the Harvest to call a feast in order that special opportunities may be afforded the lame, the halt, the blind and the indifferent ones, to "see themselves as they are" and afterward contemplate the King in all His love and beauty.
We feel that this is the Lord's due time in this corner of the earth for a special awakening of estranged brethren and the shaking of the structures of the formalist, the scientist, the spiritist and the atheist.
The "weekly flashlights" from across the waters are specially welcome to us, but our hearts are fervently zealous in supplication to our Heavenly Father that He will ship to us the Instrument of His handiwork and favor us with His command --"Let there be Light."
We have come to realize "the liberty of the sons of God," hence our full freedom from restraint in holding converse with a brother we know and love, but have not yet seen with the natural eye, but hope to see in darkest Africa. And until you arrive on our shores we will do our best to serve the Lord and "roll the old chariot along" in His dear name, gratefully ascribing to Him all the honor and the glory.
May the special blessing of the Master rest upon you, dear brother, is our earnest prayer and thus will we continue to pray. Yours in the Lord, WILHELMINA J. PITT.--Africa.
"DIE STIMME" STIRRING UP JEWS IN RUSSIA
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--
Your favor of August 1 gladly received. My visit to this place is at an end. The Lord knows best what result shall come from it. The Truth is spread considerably over the country in many different ways. There is also a good deal of interest in Present Truth, but the Roman Catholics in general and Poles especially are very slow to join any Protestant congregation. Many are coming to the meeting and are circulating our literature, but they do not join the class.
The class at Warsaw is about twenty-five, at Pabianice twenty, at Ricin about eight, besides a few scattered here and there. On August 15 seven of the brethren were immersed. Some interest is manifested in Lodz. One of our brethren here in Warsaw doing Colporteur work will go there to assist. He is a young man, full of zeal, and consecrated; I believe it may be the Lord's will for him to go and do the work. Lodz is a large city of about 500,000 and is very close to Pabianice, where we have a class. At the railroad station in Lodz, at a newspaper stand, we placed Die Stimme; many Jews coming and going to Russia are buying and carrying the paper with them.
Many Jews in Warsaw and small towns already know your name. All Jewish papers were writing articles pro and con, but most of them have the idea that Die Stimme is a missionary paper. However, there is a good deal of interest all over the country amongst the Jews.
It is very hard to do Colporteur work here. One or two books is all that a Colporteur can sell in a day's work; besides, there are many difficulties at every step.
In regard to the permission for meetings, which Brother Bente tried to get, it is a complete failure. The first petition to the Secretary of Religious Affairs was refused on account of some miswording, though it cost fifteen rubles. The second petition was placed in the hands of a lawyer and cost seventy-five rubles and, after all, is good for nothing. I think I have found a man, however, who will do the work for us and bring desirable results. In whatever way the Lord's answer may come this time we will take it as from the Lord.
With this letter I enclose a copy of the Russian PEOPLES PULPIT, "Where are the Dead?" For ten thousand copies they charged seventy-three rubles, about $36. I ordered also stereo-types which will cost about $4 for four pages. Some difficulties were experienced before the paper could appear as it is now. While it is true that there are many difficulties, nevertheless there are many souls longing after God.
As soon as I have everything ready I shall leave for Galicia, and by the end of the month, or October 1, I expect to land in America.
May our dear Lord continue to bless you and all your co-workers until the Harvest work is over.
Your brother in the Lord Jesus,
R. H. OLESZYNSKI.--Russia.
BEREAN QUESTIONS IN SCRIPTURE STUDIES
Series VI., Study VI.--Order and
Discipline in the New Creation.
"LET EVERY MAN BE FULLY PERSUADED IN HIS OWN MIND."
(85) While it is desirable that each should reach a decision "in his own mind," is it reasonable to expect or demand that all should see exactly alike? P. 326, par. 1.
(86) How harmonize this view with the Apostle's exhortation that we "mind the same things"? P. 326, par. 1; P. 327, par. 1.
(87) To preserve order in meetings for study, to whom only should questions and remarks be addressed? P. 327, par. 2.
(88) While unity of knowledge is desirable, what is still more important? P. 327, par. 3.
(89) What general advice respecting funeral arrangements is suggested? P. 328.
(90) Who are best qualified to conduct a funeral service, and if none such be found, may any brother, or even a sister, with propriety set forth the Truth about death, and our hopes for the future? P. 329, par. 1.
SUGGESTIVE OUTLINE OF FUNERAL DISCOURSE
(91) What suggestions as to the order of such a service? P. 329, par. 1-3.
(92) Briefly state the general character and scope of a funeral discourse. P. 330 to 337, par. 1.
(93) What course should be followed with respect to the prayer immediately after the discourse, and in the closing of the service, and at the grave? P. 338, par. 1-3.
(94) What changes should be made to suit the varying circumstances of the deceased? P. 338, par. 4,5.
TITHES, COLLECTIONS, ETC.
(95) Why should public collections and the money question in general be avoided in assemblies of the Lord's people? P. 339, par. 1,2.
(96) Should this avoidance of collections and financial questions in the assembly be interpreted to discourage a spirit of generosity or cheerful giving? P. 340, par. 1; P. 341, par. 1, first six lines.
(97) Are our time, talents and influence more appreciated by the Lord than our money, and if so, what should be our course of action accordingly? P. 341, par. 1,2.
(98) What thoughts respecting God, the great Giver, are suggested by the Scripture, "It is more blessed to give than to receive"? P. 341, par. 3; P. 342, par. 1.
(99) In proportion as we have fellowship with the Lord and partake of His Holy Spirit, what are our experiences as New Creatures? P. 342, par. 2.
(100) How does this spirit of love, this desire to give, influence our every thought and action? P. 343, par. 1.
(101) What lesson may we learn from the poor widow and her "two mites"? P. 344, par. 1.
(102) Why is our consecration measured by our benevolences and self-sacrifices? P. 344, par. 2.
(103) How shall we determine the Divine Will with respect to carrying out our consecration of our time, our money, our all? P. 345, par. 1.
(104) Why did the Lord give the tithing system to the Jews and leave the New Creation without any such law? P. 345, par. 2.
(105) As all the gold and silver are the Lord's why does He permit His work to be in such condition as to need financial help from His consecrated people? P. 346.
(106) What is our conclusion with respect to the money question? and should money be solicited or accepted from outsiders? P. 347.