ZWT - 1911 - R4733 thru R4942 / R4844 (177) - June 15, 1911
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VOL. XXXII JUNE 15 No. 12
A.D. 1911--A.M. 6039
Acceptable to God.................................179
"Keep Back Thy Servant From Presumptuous
The Rewards of Sacrifice..........................180
Sacrifices Acceptable During the Gospel
The Work of Grace in the Heart....................182
We Must Learn Thoroughly the Lesson
"Study to Show Thyself Approved"..................183
Divine Justice and Mercy..........................185
A Godly Young King................................186
Deliverance From the Curse........................187
"Love Casteth Out Fear"...........................188
Face to Face With Trouble (Poem)..................188
"Christ in You the Hope of Glory".................189
The Robe of Christ's Righteousness................189
Questions of Interest.............................190
Some Interesting Letters..........................191
WATCH TOWER BIBLE & TRACT SOCIETY
CHARLES T. RUSSELL, PRESIDENT
BROOKLYN TABERNACLE, 13-17 HICKS ST.,
BROOKLYN, N.Y., U.S.A.
Foreign Agencies:--British Branch: LONDON TABERNACLE, Lancaster Gate, W. German Branch: Unterdorner Str., 76, Barmen. Australasian Branch: Flinders Building, Flinders St., Melbourne. Please address the SOCIETY in every case.
ANNUAL SUBSCRIPTION PRICE, $1.00 (4s.) IN ADVANCE. SEND MONEY BY EXPRESS, BANK DRAFT, POSTAL ORDER, OR REGISTERED. FROM FOREIGN COUNTRIES BY FOREIGN MONEY ORDERS, ONLY.
Terms to the Lord's Poor as Follows:--All Bible Students who, by reason of old age, or other infirmity or adversity, are unable to pay for this Journal, will be supplied Free if they send a Postal Card each May stating their case and requesting its continuance. We are not only willing, but anxious, that all such be on our list continually and in touch with the STUDIES, etc.
ALSO FRENCH, GERMAN, SWEDISH, AND DANISH EDITIONS. SAMPLE COPIES FREE.
ENTERED AS SECOND-CLASS MAIL MATTER AT BROOKLYN, N.Y., POSTOFFICE ENTERED AS SECOND-CLASS MATTER AT THE POSTOFFICE DEPT., OTTAWA, CANADA
INTERNATIONAL BIBLE STUDENTS ASSOCIATION MEETINGS
AT WHICH BROTHER C. T. RUSSELL WILL BE PRINCIPAL SPEAKER
FRIENDS FROM NEARBY PLACES ARE CORDIALLY INVITED.
FIVE-DAYS BIBLE STUDENTS CONVENTION
Oakland, San Rafael and San Francisco brethren extend a most cordial invitation to all outside friends to attend the 5-day joint-local Convention in San Francisco--June 22, 23, 24, 25 and Oakland June 26. Brother Russell will speak twice in San Francisco--June 25--and in Oakland June 26. Pilgrim service will be arranged for all days. Opportunity for water baptism will be arranged in Oakland June 26.
Arrangements will be made for visiting friends. Rooms may be engaged in advance at 50 cents, 75 cents, $1 and up per day. Send full data and money as soon as possible to "Sec'y Hotel Committee, I.B.S.A.," 2018 Green street, San Francisco. Data should show sex, color, those that wish to room together or are willing to share room and bed to save expense, also rate desired, exact dates, etc., and hour and route of expected arrival, if known. Free sleeping accommodations will be furnished by local brethren to those that can come, but cannot afford room rent; these should also advise promptly in advance. Visitors' mail may be sent in care of above address.
Meetings and headquarters for four days in San Francisco will be at Lyric Hall, 513 Larkin street, with public lectures afternoon and evening of Sunday, June 25, at Dreamland Rink.
Meetings and headquarters in Oakland, June 26, will be at corner of Jones street and Telegraph avenue.
TORONTO, ONT., CONVENTION, JULY 15-17
All services for the interested in Broadway Hall, 450 Spadina Ave. On Sunday, July 16th, Brother Russell will address the general public at 3 p.m., and again at 7.30 p.m. in Massey Hall, corner of Victor and Shuter Sts.
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A DONATION OF MIRACLE WHEAT
Brother Bohnet writes us that he has gradually accumulated a crop of miracle wheat from the few grains he obtained as a start. He prefers that the first opportunity for obtaining this wheat shall go to THE WATCH TOWER readers. He will sell it for $1 per pound, including postage, and give the entire proceeds to our Society. All orders for this wheat should be addressed, Miracle Wheat Bohnet, 17 Hicks street, Brooklyn, N. Y. This will keep mail on this subject separate from his personal mail and from ours.
Brother Bohnet promises to be ready to ship this wheat by August 1. He says miracle wheat should be sowed one-fourth as thick as common wheat. Ordinarily it should produce from ten to fifteen times as much proportionately to the amount sown. To save keeping account, money should accompany the order. WATCH TOWER readers will have the preference up to August 15, after which orders will be attended to indiscriminately, so long as the supply holds out. This wheat should be sown in the fall.
BROOKLYN BETHEL HYMNS FOR JULY
After the close of the hymn the Bethel family listens to the reading of "My Vow Unto the Lord," then joins in prayer. At the breakfast table the MANNA text is considered. Hymns for July follow: (1) 32; (2) 24; (3) 95; (4) 176; (5) 130; (6) 105; (7) 57; (8) 182; (9) 260; (10) Vow; (11) 281; (12) 129; (13) 135; (14) 110; (15) 229; (16) 330; (17) 315; (18) 324; (19) 145; (20) 9; (21) 46; (22) 78; (23) 65; (24) 3; (25) 279; (26) 193; (27) 131; (28) 249; (29) 259; (30) 322; (31) 217.
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ACCEPTABLE TO GOD
"Let the words of my mouth and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in Thy sight, O Lord, my strength and my Redeemer."--`Psa. 19:14`.
HOW BEAUTIFUL in the sight of right thinking men is a well-balanced, self-possessed and disciplined character! And in contrast with such, how unlovely are the undisciplined and ungoverned--the selfish, the unjust, the unkind and the violent-tempered! Naturally, the one awakens in us emotions of pleasure and admiration, and the other, of pain. And if such is the appreciation of virtue and the abhorrence of the lack of it among men who have lost much of the original image of God, with what a keen appreciation must they be observed by a pure and holy God!
Men of the world who have no personal acquaintance with God have no special thought as to how they appear in His sight; but with what carefulness should those who love Him and who value His approval study to conform their conduct to His pure and holy mind! True, all who are "begotten again," notwithstanding their imperfections and shortcomings through inherited weaknesses, are acceptable to God through Christ, whose robe of righteousness amply covers them; but the measure of their acceptableness to God, even through Christ, is only to the extent that, while availing ourselves of His imputed righteousness, they are earnestly striving to attain actually to the standard of perfection. By so doing they manifest their real appreciation of the Divine favor.
With what confusion and chagrin would one be covered who, in the midst of a fit of violent temper or an unjust or mean transaction, unworthy of his dignity or his profession, should be suddenly surprised by the appearance of a beloved friend of high and noble character! And yet, the eye of such a One is ever upon us. And only to the extent that we dismiss this thought from our minds, or else that we undervalue the Lord's opinion and approval, can we allow the evil propensities of the fallen nature to run riot.
"WHEREWITHAL SHALL A YOUNG MAN CLEANSE HIS
Realizing the downward tendency of the old nature, how constantly should the above prayer of the Psalmist be in the minds of God's consecrated children! But how, one inquires, may the difficult task of subduing the inherent depravity be accomplished? It is hard for one, particularly under exasperating circumstances, to control a hasty or violent temper, for another to bridle a gossiping tongue; and especially if the trials of life to some extent put their colored glasses on the eyes. And then what a host of inherent weaknesses there are, which every one of God's true children realizes and knows that he must strive against, if he would be acceptable with God! The thoughts of our hearts are not manifest to fellow-men until we express them in words or actions; but even the very thoughts and intents of the heart are all open and manifest to God. What a comfort to the honest-hearted!
The Psalmist repeats this inquiry, saying, "Wherewithal shall a young man cleanse his way?" and then replies, "By taking heed thereto, according to Thy Word." Then he frames for us this resolution: "I will meditate on Thy precepts and have respect unto Thy ways; I will delight myself in Thy statutes; I will not forget Thy Word." (`Psa. 119:9,15,16`.) Here is the secret of a pure and noble life, acceptable to God. It is to be attained, not merely by prayers and righteous resolutions, but, in addition to these, by careful painstaking heed, by systematic and diligent effort at self-cultivation, by care and perseverance in weeding out evil thoughts, and by diligent and constant cultivation of pure, benevolent and noble thoughts, and by nipping in the bud the weeds of perversity before they bring forth their hasty harvest of sinful words and deeds.
But observe, further, that this heed or care is to be taken, not according to the imperfect standard of our own judgment, but according to God's Word. The standard by which we test our lives makes a vast difference in our conclusions.
The Psalmist further commends this standard to us, saying: "The Law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul. [That is, if we take heed to our ways according to God's Law, it will turn us completely from the path of sin to the path of righteousness.] The testimony [the instruction] of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple [the meek, teachable ones--clearly pointing out to them the ways of righteousness]. The statutes [the decrees, ordinances and precepts] of the Lord are right [the infallible rules of righteousness], rejoicing the heart [of the obedient]. The commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the Lord is clean [not a mental, servile fear, but a noble fear, begotten of love--a fear of falling short of His righteous approval], enduring forever. More to be desired are they [the Law and the testimony of the Lord] than gold; yea, than
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much fine gold; sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb.
"KEEP BACK THY SERVANT FROM PRESUMPTUOUS SINS"
"Moreover, by them is thy servant warned [concerning the dangers of the way and the snares of the Adversary, and concerning everything which is calculated to discourage, or to hinder his growth in grace], and in keeping of them there is great reward. Who [in the use merely of his own fallible judgment and without the standard of God's Law] can understand his errors [can rightly judge himself]?"
But when, as we measure ourselves by this standard, we detect and deplore our shortcomings, let us remember the Psalmist's prayer: "Cleanse thou me from secret faults"--thus supplementing our efforts by our prayers. --`Psa. 19:7-12`.
But there is still another part of this prayer which the Lord thus puts into our mouths. It reads: "Keep back thy servant also from presumptuous sins; let them not have dominion over me; then shall I be upright, and I shall be innocent from the great transgression." Let us consider what kind of sins would be presumptuous sins. To presume signifies to take for granted without authority or proof. A presumptuous sin would, therefore, be taking for granted and asserting as truth something which God has not revealed, or the perversion of what He has revealed. To claim and hold tenaciously as a part of God's Plan any doctrine, merely on the ground of fallible human reason and without Divine authority, would therefore be a presumptuous sin.
Of this nature is the sin of those who malign the Divine character by boldly teaching the blasphemous doctrine of eternal torment without warrant from the Scriptures, and in direct contradiction of them. And there are many other sins of greater and less degree which partake of the same character. But the words here seem to refer directly to some particular error into which there is danger of drifting--"Then shall I be innocent from the great transgression"--evidently, the sin unto death referred to by the Apostles also. (`I John 5:16`; `Heb. 6:4-6`; `10:26-31`.) Such a sin would be that of presuming upon the love of God to bring us salvation, even though we should wilfully refuse it through the channel which He has appointed--the precious blood of Christ, shed for our redemption.
"BLESSED IS THE MAN WHOSE DELIGHT IS IN THE LAW
OF THE LORD"
Well, indeed, may we pray and strive to be kept back from presumptuous sins--sins of pride or of arrogant self-will which does not meekly submit to the will of God! Let us, beloved, beware of the slightest tendency toward pride and self-will, or the disposition to be wise above what is written, or to take for granted what God does not clearly promise. "Then," indeed, if we watch and strive against the very beginning of that proud and haughty spirit which surely presages a fall, we shall be "innocent from the great transgression."
"Blessed is the man whose delight is in the Law of the Lord, and who doth meditate therein day and night. He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither, and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper." (`Psa. 1:1-3`.) If we make the Word of God the theme of our constant meditation, its principles will soon be assimilated and become part of our mental makeup, making our characters more beautiful and commendable both to God and to our fellowmen; and in harmony with this habit of the mind the acts of life will speak.
The purified fountain will send forth sweeter waters than formerly, bearing refreshment and good cheer to all who come in contact with it. It will make happier homes --better husbands, better wives and better children. It will sweeten the temper, soften the voice, dignify the language, cultivate the manners, ennoble the sentiments and lend its charming grace to every simple duty. It will bring in the principle of love and cast out the discordant elements of selfishness. Thus it will make the home the very garden-spot of earth, where every virtue and every grace will have ample room to expand and grow.
It will not only thus favorably affect the individual and the home-life, but it will go out into the avenues of trade, and truth and fair-dealing will characterize all the business relations; and thus will God be honored by those who bear His name and wear the impress of His blessed Spirit.
While the heights of perfection cannot be reached so long as we still have these imperfect bodies, there should be in every child of God very perceptible and continuous growth in grace, and each step gained should be considered but the stepping-stone to higher attainments. If there is no perceptible growth into the likeness of God, or if there is a backward tendency, or a listless standstill, there is cause for alarm.
Let us constantly keep before our eyes the model which the Lord Jesus set for our example--that model of the complete fulfilment of the will of God, in which the whole Law was kept blamelessly. Let us follow His steps of righteousness and self-sacrifice as nearly as a full measure of loving zeal and faithfulness and loyalty to God will enable us to do, and we shall have a blessed sense of the Divine approval now, and the glorious reward of Divine favor in due time.
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THE REWARDS OF SACRIFICE
"I beseech you, therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service."--`Rom. 12:1`.
NOWHERE IN THE SCRIPTURES are we commanded by the Lord to sacrifice our earthly rights and privileges. The Divine commands end at the line of justice. In other words, justice and righteousness are one and the same thing. Sacrifice, self-denial, taking up the cross to follow Jesus, are all propositions away beyond the Divine Law. The Law Covenant proffered a perpetuation of human life to all who would fulfil its requirements. None of the Jews, with whom that Covenant was made, were able to fulfil those requirements, except the One who came from above and for whom was provided a perfect human body, which enabled Him to keep the requirements of the Law Covenant, entitling Him, therefore, to everlasting earthly life.
The New Law Covenant, under the antitypical Mediator, will offer the same reward of everlasting human perfection to all who will fulfil its requirements. Its superiority over the first Law Covenant will consist in its having a better Mediator, capable of helping mankind fully out of condemnation, death and weakness and authorized so to do because of the merit of His "better sacrifices."
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But while Jesus, born under the Law, was obligated to the conditions of that Covenant and fulfilled them and through them had a right to everlasting earthly life, He did more. He sacrificed that earthly life--laid it down-- permitted sinful men to take it from Him without resistance, although He had the power to call for legions of angels for protection. This was His sacrifice. He did not sacrifice sinful weaknesses, for He had none. He sacrificed perfect life and all His legal rights and privileges. His reward for so doing was exaltation from the human nature to the divine nature--far above that of angels, principalities and powers. (`Eph. 1:21`.) Thus exalted He has the human rights (which He never forfeited) to give Adam and his race--their ransom-price. These He will give to them in the end of this Age, applying them to the sealing of the New Law Covenant, under which Israel and all mankind may be restored to all that was lost through the first man's disobedience. Meantime, the glorified Redeemer uses that sacrificial merit (which He intends to give eventually to the world) to cover (imputatively) the blemishes of those of the household of faith who may hear the Divine call (and accept the same) to follow in the footsteps of Jesus--to sacrifice and suffer with Him in the flesh, that they may be glorified and reign with Him on the spirit plane beyond the veil.
SIN-OFFERING SACRIFICES ACCEPTABLE DURING THE
GOSPEL AGE ONLY
Throughout this Gospel Age the Law Covenant has continued upon the Jews only, the remainder of the world being without any Covenant with God and waiting for the "times of restitution" under the New Law Covenant of the future. (`Acts 3:19-21`; `Jer. 31:31-34`.) It is during this time (the Gospel Age) that God draws and calls a certain loyal class and gives them an opportunity of sharing with their Redeemer in sacrificial death. The faithful will be counted His members or His Bride or joint-heirs in His Kingdom of glory and honor and immortality. All men, in proportion as they know the Divine will (what is just, from the Divine standpoint), are correspondingly in duty bound to fulfil that righteous requirement or Law of God to the extent of ability. But
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those desirous of following in the footsteps of Jesus are shown what they can do more than justice; but they are not commanded to do more. All sacrificing is a privilege, not a duty, not a command. In harmony with this, St. Paul writes, not commandingly, but entreatingly, "I beseech you, brethren,...present your bodies living sacrifices." He did not command this. To have made it a command would at once prevent the opportunity of sacrifice. What we sacrifice is something that is not commanded. Whatever is commanded of God is obligation and not sacrifice.
The Ancient Worthies presented their bodies, laid down their lives, renouncing earthly rights, but they did not sacrifice. Why? Because it is one thing to kill and another to have the slain creature accepted of God as a sacrifice. God did not call for human sacrifices prior to Jesus' sacrifice of Himself. God was unwilling to accept imperfect, blemished creatures at His altar. They might lay down their lives, but He would not count them sacrifices. Jesus was accepted as a sacrifice because He was perfect and His followers, since Pentecost, have been acceptable as sacrifices, because they are perfect--made so by the Redeemer's imputation to them of a sufficiency of His merit to compensate their blemishes.
Thus this Gospel Age is called the "acceptable day (or time) of the Lord," because, during this Gospel Age God is willing to accept a predestinated number as joint-sacrificers with Jesus. But as soon as that predestinated number shall have been completed the acceptable time will immediately end. No more presentations will be accepted as sacrifices--the antitypical Day of Atonement will have ended.
But suppose that some should present themselves after the close of the acceptable time; what would be their status and God's dealing with them?
Since God is unchangeable, we must assume that He would always be pleased to have His creatures devote their lives wholly and unreservedly to the doing of His will, as He was pleased with the faithfulness of the Ancient Worthies to lay down their lives before a Covenant of sacrifice was in force. We may reason that as God has promised human perfection to those Ancient Worthies who laid down their lives, He would be willing similarly to reward any who might follow the same course after the completion of the Church--after the ending of the acceptable time of sacrifice.
Quite likely, therefore, there will be some in the end of this Age who, although faithful unto death, will not have been begotten of the Holy Spirit and not attain the spirit plane of being in the resurrection, but who will come forth members of the same class as the Ancient Worthies, who were developed before this Age began.
THE PRESENTATION OF ONESELF ALWAYS A REASONABLE
In view of these facts our advice to all who love the Lord and who desire to be in complete fellowship with Him is the same message that has gone forth throughout this Age--"We beseech you, brethren, by the mercies of God, present your bodies living sacrifices." We cannot now assure them that, after presenting themselves as sacrifices, God will accept them as such and grant them spirit-begetting to a new nature; but we can assure them that it will be their reasonable service and that God always gives large rewards to those who manifest their faith and loyalty towards Him and His cause. We can tell them, too, that, to our understanding, the Scriptures teach that the Ancient Worthy class (of which they may be a part if they fail to be accepted to the new nature) will be highly honored of God, perfect on the human plane and made "princes in all the earth." We can assure them that, to our understanding, these princes will have a glorious precedence over the remainder of mankind as the special representatives of the invisible Messiah class for a thousand years. We can assure them that, to our understanding, after participating in that glorious work, these princes will be uplifted at the close of the Millennium to the spirit plane of being--as part of the antitypical Levites.
Since none can know when the elect number will be fully completed all should be alike anxious to lay down their lives in the service of God and of His Truth. To say that we would refuse to serve because any uncertainty would prevail in our minds respecting the character of our reward would be to show our unworthiness of any favor of God, for, to be acceptable to Him, our service must not be rendered to obtain the reward, but to serve righteousness and to please God! "I delight to do Thy will, O God"--everything written in the Book. Hence at Memorial season all of the consecrated should manifest their love, loyalty, obedience, faithfulness, by symbolizing the Redeemer's death and symbolizing also their own desire to share in the sufferings of Christ as parts of the "broken loaf" and as participators in the cup of His suffering.
As to how much we should expect for our children is
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another matter. It is not for us to say at how early an age the children might demonstrate loyalty to God and to the Truth in a manner pleasing and acceptable to God. Those who are parents should, in all reasonable ways, by example and precept, illustrate and exemplify their appreciation of the privilege of the Lord's service--even unto death. Furthermore, their children should be instructed weekly and, if possible, daily, in respect to the different features of the Truth, that they may receive as much as possible. God knows whether a child of even tender years and short mental and heart development might not present himself in an acceptable manner. Parents, therefore, should do their best by their children and leave the results with the Lord, with full satisfaction with whatever may be His wise, just and loving decision for them, either on the earthly or on the heavenly plane. We are to remember, however, that none can enter either of these planes of instantaneous perfection in the resurrection unless his trial be finished successfully in the present life and by passing into death. The remainder of mankind, however, as already shown, will then have glorious opportunities and possibilities before them.
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THE WORK OF GRACE IN THE HEART
"The love of Christ constraineth us."--`2 Cor. 5:14`.
THE WORD constrain has the double thought of drawing together, holding together. The Apostle had been recounting his own activities in the Lord's service, and had stated that with some his course seemed to indicate an unbalanced mind. He explained that this was not so; that he had a sounder mind than ever before. He felt himself bound to Christ, constrained by love of Christ to love Him and all who were His with a pure heart.
Why should this love constrain? For this reason: If we reckon that all are dead, then all need the service of the Life-Giver; and if Christ died for all, and if we now have come to life through Him, we should hereafter live not according to, or after, the flesh. We should give up the flesh entirely and live the new life which we have received from Christ. St. Paul would say, I am not mad; but I am so closely drawn to Christ that I have the same sympathetic love for others that He had. As He had laid down His life for the brethren, so would I.
Our Lord's love was specially manifested toward His disciples, and chiefly toward those who were the most zealous and energetic--Peter, James and John having the particular love of the Lord. Similarly the Church is thus instructed. There is no exhortation to lay down our lives in the service of the world, but specially for those of the household of faith. We see that the benefits of Christ's sacrifice are to reach the whole world of mankind, every member of Adam's race.
Assuming, however, that the Lord knew from the very beginning who would betray Him, and that Divine discernment would know all who would go into the Second Death, we could not think that the Lord would do anything on their behalf. In other words, the blessing of God is only for the "Israelites indeed." Only those who will come into harmony with Him will have the rich blessing and favor of the Lord. These are included in the redemptive work, not because of anything in themselves, but because of the love of the Lord, which is broad enough and deep enough for all who will receive it. But God cannot love wicked characters. His blessings are only for those who are His children now, or who will be, under the blessings and privileges which He later on will grant. It is our duty to bless all to the extent of our ability.
THE CHIEF OBJECT OF OUR TRAINING THE DEVELOPMENT
The work of grace for the Church during this Gospel Age is the transforming of our perverted characters and the re-establishing of them in the likeness of the Divine character, Love. Whoever fails to attain this transformation
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fails to attain God's will concerning him, and must, necessarily, fail to win the prize set before us in the Gospel. We are, to begin with, very poor material out of which to form likenesses of God's dear Son. We were "children of wrath, even as others." (`Eph. 2:3`.) The original likeness of God, possessed by Father Adam before he transgressed, has been sadly lost in the six thousand years intervening. Hence, instead of finding ourselves in the Divine likeness of love, we find that we were "born in sin and shapen in iniquity" to such a degree that instead of love being the natural, ruling principle in our characters, it is in many instances almost entirely obliterated; and what remains is largely contaminated with evil, self-love and carnal love--perversions which are in direct antagonism with the wholly unselfish love which is the essence of the Divine character.
"This is life eternal, that they might know Thee, the only true God"--the God who is Love. (`John 17:3`.) To know God means more than to know something of His loving Plan and character; it means to know God in the sense of personal acquaintance and intelligent appreciation of His character; and no one can have this except as he partakes of the Spirit of God, the spirit of holiness, the spirit of love. And this spirit of holiness and love cannot be acquired instantly; it is a growth; and its development is the chief business (and should be the chief concern) of all who hope to know God in the complete sense which will be rewarded with life eternal.
But since our transformation of mind or will is not accompanied by a physical transformation, or restitution, it follows that so long as we are in the flesh we shall have to contend against its inherited weaknesses and disposition to selfishness and sin. But this sharp and continual conflict not only selects a special, overcoming class, but serves to develop the desired character more quickly than will the more easy processes of the Millennial Age. In consequence, while it will require nearly a thousand years for the world's perfecting, the perfecting of the saints in character may be accomplished in a few years, under the special training of sharp discipline and the special course of instruction designed for the "little flock." But whether in a few years or many years, and whether with little or much friction with adversity, the transformation and polishing of character must be accomplished. This love-likeness of our wills to the will of God is the end to be sought, if we would finish our course with joy and with good hopes for the eternal glory.
WE MUST LEARN THOROUGHLY THE LESSON OF LOVE
If we possess the love of God in our hearts it will rule all the affairs of our lives and will make us God-like in thoughts, actions and words. In the School of Christ, the great lesson which the Master is teaching us
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day by day is the lesson of love, which we must learn thoroughly if we would attain "the mark for the prize of our high calling."
In the School of Christ, all the instructions of the Divine Word and providences are intended to develop our hearts and influence our conduct in harmony with the lines of love. While the fruits and graces--meekness, gentleness, patience, etc.--are manifestations of the Spirit, yet the Holy Spirit must be present before these manifestations could appear at all; and while the spirit might be perfect, its manifestations might be imperfect. The vine may be good, but for a season the grapes will be immature. So with these graces of the Spirit. They are outward manifestations of the inward condition of the heart, which may attain perfection before these graces are perfect. Indeed, these graces may never be perfect on this side of the veil.
At the moment of making consecration, before we had borne any fruits of the Spirit, we were not at the mark of perfect love. We were consecrated and had the right spirit, so far as we had knowledge. But we had not a sufficiency of knowledge to recognize what would be expected of us. For this we needed some development, some instruction in the School of Christ. The knowledge of what it would cost to follow Christ came gradually. If the will kept up with the knowledge, one would reach the mark of perfect love in the heart. The manifestations of the graces of character which this condition of heart produces may never be fully perfect in the present life, but only when we have the perfect bodies. The heart which shall have reached this condition will be in perfect tune with the conditions which will obtain on the other side.
"BY THEIR FRUITS SHALL YE KNOW THEM"; YET
PERFECTION IN THE FLESH IS IMPOSSIBLE
We must recognize each other, in the good professions which we make to each other and in the evidences of these professions which are manifest. As a gardener might go to his vine and look through the different branches for grapes, so the Lord knows whether the heart is in the proper attitude to bring forth fruit. Of those who have openly professed a thorough consecration to the Lord, all those whose lives do not contradict their profession, and who are walking, not after the flesh, but after the Spirit, may be known and recognized by us in the same way by which they will recognize us. "By their fruits we shall know them"--by the outward obedience, but not by the full fruit-development. We know each other, therefore, not by the full development of the fruits, but by the measure of the obedience and striving to obey the Lord.
Absolute perfection would mean perfection of thought, word and deed, which is not our condition at the present time. The most that any of us can have now is perfection of love in our hearts; that is, a perfect love for God, for the Truth and for the brethren. Perfect love leads to sacrifice. "If ye love Me, keep My commandments." (`John 14:15`.) Those who have perfect love will fulfil their sacrifices. But at any time one may pass from the stage of perfect love to that of alienation and opposition. The person might come into such a condition of heart that the fervency of his love would become cool. Gradually he would become estranged from the Lord, and might become identified with the "great company" class. Then, if the chastisements of the Time of Trouble did not lead to a thorough reformation, he would pass on to the Second Death.
After Love's provision of the Lamb of God (the Ransom-price for all mankind laid down by Him, and the imputation of His merit to the Church, all the various steps for our deliverance from sin are along the line of developing us in the character of love, the character of God, which alone, according to the Divine standard, will make us acceptable before the Father and bring to us His grace of everlasting life. How important, then, that we should be "taught of God" and develop this character!
The work of grace for the world, during the Millennial Age, will be to make known to all mankind the gracious character of God and His provision for the salvation of all; and to transform all who are willing, from the depravity of sin to perfection of character-- Love; making mankind once more images of God. This transformation of their wills, accompanied by a gradual physical transformation, will remove from them all the blemishes of sin and all hereditary inclinations thereto and leave them in the likeness of God, with a recollection of the undesirability of sin and its evil consequences.
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"STUDY 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`.
THIS TEXT does not say, "Study the Scriptures," but "Study to show thyself approved" --study to know what God would approve. And yet it means, first of all, to study the Revelation He has made. Then, after having come to some knowledge of the Scriptures, we must meditate upon them and consider how the Word is applicable to all of life's affairs. Thus we would study the nature of everything that we come in contact with, as to whether it is good or evil. The word "study" here is used with very much the same thought as when the Apostle says, "Study to be quiet."
Evidently the central thought of this expression is the approving of ourselves to God, not to men. It is proper enough that we should have the approval of all good men and good women. But our study, primarily, should not be along this line. First, we should study to please God--to be approved of God. We notice that there is a contemplative study, such as David speaks of when he says, "I meditate upon thy Law day and night"--to see how that Law would work out its height and depth, its length and breadth of influence upon himself. And so the Apostle's thought here is that it should be our chief aim to please God.
"Rightly dividing the Word of Truth" would signify the proper application of the Word of Truth; the understanding of how and when and where it should be applied and what was the purpose and thought and Plan of the Divine Mind in the giving of this Word of Truth, the Word of God's Message. Up to the advent of our Lord, God's Message had been given chiefly through the Old Testament Scriptures. Then God's Message was attested by Him who came from heaven. Additionally, our Lord left twelve chosen Apostles to be His special mouthpieces, to increase the Word of Truth, to increase the Word of knowledge, to increase the Word of explanation of the Divine Plan. Everything, therefore, that Timothy could
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recognize as being the Lord's Message he was to give heed to. For instance, one part of God's Message applies to the past, a part applies only to the Jews, still another part applies to Christians in the present life, and yet another part to their future hopes.
WE SHOULD HAVE CLEARER LIGHT THAN HAD OUR
And so, as we get the matter rightly divided before our minds, we get the true understanding, the special enlightenment needed in our day, and we are enabled to rightly divide the Word better than did our fathers, so that today we can see, as our fathers did not see, the teaching of God's Word respecting the "high calling" and "restitution"--the spiritual portion of blessing for the Church and the human portion of blessing for the world. We also see something about the times and seasons --which apply to the Church and which to the blessing of the world.
Thus, in our Day, to rightly divide the Word of Truth necessitates the taking cognizance of everything that seems to be of the Lord and that throws any light upon the Word, and thus we may be able to "rightly divide" it. We must always bear in mind that in the Scriptures of the Old Testament "holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Spirit," and that the Lord also said of the Apostles: "Whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."
We are not to forget that the Lord promised that He would guide His people in the way of the Truth and show them things to come. We are to "study" to show ourselves approved--study the doctrine and endeavor to have our course of conduct harmonize with it--study to perform faithfully the duties of a loyal soldier of the cross of Christ.
The Christian soldier must study to perform even the smallest duty in a manner creditable to his calling; he must not permit himself to become entangled with other things which do not relate to his duties as a soldier and thus be side-tracked. The Christian soldier who turns aside to seek some personal, temporal advantage to the detriment of his duties as a soldier is to that extent an unfaithful soldier and likely to be drawn out of the ranks entirely.
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"Study to show thyself approved." Study the Word; study yourself, that you may become well acquainted with yourself; that you may know your talents for service-- in what direction they lie, and what are your weak points and how they may be guarded against--that you may know both your abilities and your shortcomings. Then study to avoid error and to shun all foolish questions and profane and vain babblings. Remember that only "the foundation of God standeth sure"; that all other foundations are worthless and that all other theories must come to naught. But "The foundation of God standeth sure, having this seal, "The Lord knoweth them that are His." And let every one that nameth the name of Christ depart from iniquity."--`2 Tim. 2:19`.
WE SHOULD STUDY TO MAKE OUR IMPUTED RIGHTEOUSNESS
MORE AND MORE ACTUAL
There is much significance in the word "study" and it is important to note that this Divine injunction is given to the Church, to those who are believers in Christ and who have consecrated their lives to His service. Having been reckonedly cleansed from sin, we are to give all diligence to the work of studying to make this reckoned cleansing, this imputed righteousness, an actual thing, to the extent of our ability. It is purely of Divine grace that we are reckoned righteous before we are actually so. Looking at our hearts and seeing in them, not only our good and honest intentions, but also our desire for righteousness and our efforts to become righteous in the way He would approve, God accepts the will for the deed. Accordingly, He counts us as righteous now and treats us as His children, since we have been redeemed from the curse and have accepted His gracious provision for reconciliation.
LET US STUDY TO SEE THAT OUR LIVES ARE AN HONOR
TO THE CAUSE WE ESPOUSE
Let us, then, study our hearts to see that we are striving daily to cast out all the old leaven of sin; to be sure that we are not content to allow it to remain in us and work in us; otherwise we prove by our course that our love for righteousness is growing weaker. Happy are those who find that they are not merely working down the leavened mass occasionally and allowing it again and again to ferment, but are casting it out, by constantly resisting sin, by cleansing their thoughts, words and deeds with the Truth and cultivating the blessed "fruits of the Spirit"--love, joy, peace, etc.
Only the studious find the way to Divine approval and acceptance. Let us study to see that our lives are an honor to the cause we have espoused; that we abstain from even the appearance of evil; that we are circumspect in all our conversation, in our conduct--watching our thoughts, our lips, our lives. Let us study to be diligent in every duty, performing it with a ready mind and with joy and gladness of heart. Let us never lose sight of the fact that we are soldiers, and that as true soldiers we are to learn to "endure hardness."
A soldier has many trivial duties to perform and he is as really doing his duty as a soldier when he is polishing his armor, foraging, cooking his meals, cleaning camp or building bridges for the army to pass over, as when he is fighting the enemy. Such things are incidental work, but are necessary and entirely consistent with his commission as a soldier and should not be regarded as entanglements and hindrances. These duties cannot be disregarded nor carelessly done without a measure of unfaithfulness.
WHATEVER OUR CAPTAIN HAS RECOGNIZED AND APPROVED
IS PROPER FOR US
So with the Christian soldier. The routine of life-- housework, shop work, daily toil, anything, everything, incidental to a proper and honest provision of "things needful" for ourselves and those dependent upon us for support, as well as for provision for the prosecution and care of the Lord's work--all this is a proper part of our engagement as soldiers of the Lord.
The Apostle Peter was as truly serving the Lord when catching the fish from whose mouth he got the coin with which to pay his Master's taxes and his own, as when proclaiming, on the day of Pentecost, the "raising up" and ascension of the Lord. The Apostle Paul was as truly a soldier of the cross and doing his proper work as such when making tents (rather than be chargeable to any) as when at Mars Hill he preached Jesus and the resurrection. Whatever is done with a view to the glory and honor of our Lord, the Captain of our salvation, or for the benefit of any of our fellow-soldiers, or for our own preparation for this warfare, or in the discharge of obligations which our Captain has recognized and approved, is proper work for us as soldiers and is not entanglement in the affairs of this life.
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DIVINE JUSTICE AND MERCY
--JULY 16.--`2 CHRON. 33:1-20`.--
"Cease to do evil; learn to do well."--`Isa. 1:16,17`.
MANASSEH, the central figure of this study, was the son of the good King Hezekiah. Manasseh succeeded to the throne of Judah in his twelfth year--the bad son of a good father. This matter of good fathers and evil sons, and evil fathers and good sons was probably due, frequently, to the good or evil character of the mothers, as well as to the fact that the king, occupied with the affairs of state, could not give proper attention to the cultivation of his own children. Doubtless, there are exceptions to every rule, but it is impossible to avoid a certain amount of reflection against the parents in respect to every scape-grace child.
HOW FEW RECOGNIZE THE SACREDNESS OF PARENTAL
Parentage is undoubtedly the highest and most important function of human life. Yet how few realize the sacredness of parental responsibilities! The Prophet inquires, "Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean?" While admitting the inference that none of our race can possibly be perfect, we must admit also that in the parents reside great possibilities respecting the good or evil of their children. This responsibility should be felt in mating--before marriage. We are not urging that marriage should be put upon the same plane as stock breeding, and the finer sentiments disregarded; but we do claim that the spirit of a sound mind should be sought in connection with the most important contract of life, affecting not only the destiny and happiness of the pair, but also of their offspring.
Whoever will acquaint himself with the care exercised by the scientific florist and gardener for the obtaining of choice varieties of fruits and flowers and vegetables, will have reason to feel ashamed of the little attention that is paid to the attainment of proper ideals in respect to the human race--indeed, it is amazing that with the majority there is no ideal whatever; blind, brute passion alone is recognized.
The breeder of fine horses, dogs, cattle, etc., will explain how careful he is with the mother during the period of breeding--her health, her surroundings, all are considered, because all have to do with her offspring, yet these same breeders of cattle, horses, poultry, etc., seem to give little consideration to the condition of the wife, the mother of their own children, during the period of gestation. How strange that a horse-fancier realizes that the breeding mare will be benefitted by pictures of running horses and by seeing horses racing, and that as a consequence her foal will be more speedy and more valuable, yet fails to apply this principle to his wife!
Is it any wonder that children are born nervous and peevish when we know that the mother in bearing them was fretted and annoyed in a thousand ways? Is it any wonder that children are born to a heritage of passion, anger and lust, when we think of the experiences of their mothers which are thus impressed upon them? Surely all parents of reasonable judgment, understanding these matters, would lay proper foundations for character in their children--foundations upon which, subsequently, they would patiently, carefully and lovingly develop their children along the lines of the highest standards of righteousness and the beauty of holiness and loyalty to the Creator! But while this should be the endeavor of all, when could we hope ever to bring the world into a condition to desire and strive for such results? Never! Hope for the world would die were it not based upon the sure Word of the Lord, which promises mankind help from on High in the great Kingdom of Messiah.
THE VALLEY OF HINNOM
King Manasseh reintroduced idolatry, built altars for the worship of Baal in the courts of the temple, used enchantments and communicated with evil spirits. The Lord permitted him to take this course and apparently the majority of the nation were swayed either to good or evil by the example of their kings. Thus the people were
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made to err. The punishment for this course followed. The king of Assyria was permitted of the Lord to be the executioner of the punishment. He captured the city and took the king prisoner. The punishment for idolatry was not eternal torment, be it noted; that erroneous view came to us during the "Dark Ages." We are getting back to a better understanding of God and His Word.
After the king had been in captivity a while, his senses commenced to return to him and he began to learn his lesson. Thoughts of his good father, King Hezekiah, and the Lord's blessings upon him, surely came to his mind. King Manasseh repented, sought the forgiveness of the Lord and obtained it, and was restored to his own kingdom.
In connection with the king's idolatrous delusions, it is recorded in `verse six` that he "caused his children to pass through the fire in the valley of Hinnom." That valley lies just outside the city of Jerusalem, to the south. It is now considerably filled up and covered with orchards. Of old it was a deep valley. It was used for religious rites at one time. A great brass image erected there, the body of which was hollow, constituted a flue for the fires built underneath. The image had outstretched arms, which became heated and upon these arms children were sometimes offered in sacrifice to the false deities, wholly contrary to everything authorized by the Almighty.
Later on, this valley of Hinnom was polluted so that it might never again be used as a place of worship. No doubt it was used as a place for the destruction of the offal of the city of Jerusalem--dead cats and rats and dogs, etc., were thrown there and fire and brimstone burned therein for the destruction of the foul gases. The bodies of the vilest criminals might after death also be thrown into this valley as refuse, indicating no hope of future life for them.
In the New Testament, written in Greek, this "valley of the son of Hinnom" is styled Ge-hinnom, or, later, Gehenna. Our Lord several times used this valley in illustrating the Second Death--the hopelessness of all those who would wilfully, intelligently and persistently refuse the grace of God.
LEARN TO DO WELL
Our text, from Isaiah, is the Lord's admonition, "Cease to do evil; learn to do well." It represents God's general attitude toward our race. He does not chide us for being sinners, for He Himself explains that we were born in sin and mis-shapen in iniquity, in sin did our mothers conceive us. What the Lord desires in us is that, realizing our wrong condition, we shall turn therefrom to the best of our ability to do right. We shall not be able to effect this transformation in ourselves except so far as to have a right will and a pure heart, or honest endeavor for righteousness. To all such the Lord proposes succor, assistance, and this assistance
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He has provided for us in our Redeemer. He is an assistance already to those who can accept Him and His Word by faith. He will be an actual assistance to the great majority of mankind through the establishment of His Kingdom. Eventually all who will come to love righteousness and hate iniquity shall be enabled to attain eternal life, and all who will love iniquity and hate righteousness shall have the punishment of the Second Death, symbolically represented in Gehenna--"everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord."
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A GODLY YOUNG KING
--JULY 23.--`2 CHRON. 34:1-13`.--
"Remember now thy Creator in the
days of thy youth."--`Eccles. 12:1`.
KING MANASSEH of our last lesson had a bad son, Amon, who reigned but two years, and was murdered by his courtiers in his own palace. His son, Josiah, the central figure of today's study, became king in his eighth year. By the time he was sixteen his heart had begun to seek after and to desire to serve the Almighty God. By the time he was twenty his religious convictions were so deep and fixed, and his authority as a king so in his own hand that he dared to begin the work of reformation. The idols and their temples and groves for idolatrous worship were destroyed. The valley of Hinnom, as already suggested, was desecrated and made a dumping-place for the offal of Jerusalem.
The temple of the Lord was repaired and cleansed of all its idolatrous defilements, and worship and praise therein to the Almighty, was restored. More than this, the king extended his influence for the destruction of idolatry into what was once the territory of the two tribes, north of his kingdom.
MISTAKE TO ASSUME THAT WILD OATS MUST FIRST BE
What a force there is in our text, "Remember now thy Creator in the days of thy youth"! What a great mistake some parents make in assuming that their children must have an experience in "sowing wild oats" before they will be prepared to appreciate righteousness and become its servants! This thought is reflected upon the minds of the young, both male and female; rarely do
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they seek to live by a higher standard than that expected of them by their parents or guardians. We have known saintly mothers to unintentionally lay snares for the feet of their children by introducing them to ways of the world in which they themselves would not walk. Their expressed sentiment was, "I must not put upon these children the weight of the cross, nor expect of them saintship; if ever they become truly consecrated saints of God they will then know the trials of the 'narrow way' and have plenty of them."
Alas! such Christian mothers have failed to grasp the situation properly. They have failed to realize that, at the present time, there is no real happiness in the world except in the "narrow way." The "broad road" of self-gratification, pride, lust, sin, selfishness, is indeed a beautiful picture at a distance, but the picture is a mirage-- it can never be reached--it is a delusion. The millions of those who throng the broad road of selfishness, pride, etc., are all bent on pleasure, seeking it with all their might; but how many of all the millions on that road have found pleasure? We hold that they are merely pleasure-hunters and not pleasure-finders; we hold that the only real pleasure and substantial joy in the world is to be found in the narrow way of self-sacrifice --in the footsteps of the Great Teacher--in taking up the cross to follow him--in laying down life as He laid down His--in "suffering with Him that we might also reign with Him"--in being "dead with Him that we might also live with Him."
Of those who enter the broad road, few ever turn to the narrow way. Parents, friends, Christians have given them the misunderstanding that the broad road is the one of pleasure and happiness. When they find it the reverse they naturally think that the narrow way must be much less happifying, much less desirable.
A CERTAIN SIMPLICITY AND HONESTY IN THE MIND OF
Of the few who do find the narrow way after having walked in the broad road their plaint is, "Oh, why did I not earlier find the way of the Lord, the way of Truth, joy, peace and happiness!"
Notwithstanding the depravity with which all are born, there appears to be a certain simplicity and honesty in the mind of every child. It is that principle which must be used by teachers and helpers in general, if the child is led in the right way, by which he would most quickly attain a relationship and harmony with his Creator; nor is it necessary always that there shall be a preceptor. At times, under God's providence, the message from on High reaches the heart, and draws it with seemingly little resistance. The hollowness of life is perceived, the need of wisdom from on High is recognized, and perhaps by the servant, perhaps through parental instruction, perhaps through the counsels of a friend, perhaps by a tract or a book, the young heart is shown the way of wisdom and is pointed to the Lord and to the narrow way.
We are to remember that the will is the real director of our destiny, under Divine providence, and that it is all-important to have the will rightly directed and established. Many a one is in the broad road of sin and selfishness--away from God today--who has in his make-up many good qualities entirely out of sympathy with his position and course in life. But without the will to guide, to lead, he goes downward. Similarly there are some on the narrow way who have many physical, mental and moral blemishes of heredity continually drawing them toward the broad road, but who are kept in the narrow way of the Lord, not by the self-will of the flesh, but by the power of a renewed will. How important, then, the proper directing and fixing of our wills in youth! How much greater blessing we may enjoy in the present life, and how much more adequate preparation we may thereby have for the future life!
King Josiah of today's study is an example of the proper course for every young person to take. First of all, the heart should be given to the Lord in the days of youth, before the evil days and evil experiences have come; before one shall have learned so much of evil that the remainder of life would not suffice to eradicate it. Then, like Josiah, when time shall bring us opportunities for the service of righteousness, let us be whole-hearted in our advocacy of the right and in our opposition to the wrong, and in everything show forth the praises of our God, with the motto, GOD FIRST.
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DELIVERANCE FROM THE CURSE
"He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life"; "but the wrath of God abideth on him."-- `1 John 5:12`; `John 3:36`.
THE BELIEVER referred to in this text is he who believes with the heart--not merely one with an intellectual appreciation of the fact that Christ is the Son of God: "With the heart man believeth unto righteousness." It means one who has come into relationship to the Son of God, to acknowledge Him as his Leader, the Head over the Body! "He that hath the Son hath life." At the present time such a one has this life imputed to him; but he does not, of course, possess it in its full sense. He has merely the begetting to the new nature and the promise that, if faithful, he shall have part in the First Resurrection. "Blessed and holy is he that hath part in the First Resurrection; on such the Second Death hath no power; but they shall be priests of God and of Christ and shall reign with Him a thousand years."--`Rev. 20:6`.
In this resurrection change, which will come in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, such will, in the fullest sense, have life. Now, they are looked upon as New Creatures. They have passed from under the death condemnation; "For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord." (`Rom. 6:23`.) Those who have accepted this gift are, therefore, in this condition. The remainder of mankind are still under the death sentence, the wrath of God. They are not under the sentence of eternal torment, but under the curse, the condemnation of death. All mankind were born under this sentence. So the Apostle again says that we "have escaped the corruption which is upon the world." (`2 Pet. 1:4`.) It is still upon the world, but we are free.
THE NEW COVENANT TO BE MADE WITH ISRAEL
There is a difference, however, between this Age and the next. Before the world shall be put on trial it will have a Mediator provided, composed of Christ, the Head, and the Church His Body. This Mediator will stand between Divine Justice and the masses of mankind. The first act of the Mediator will be to put into operation the New Covenant. `Jeremiah` the Prophet (`31:31`) tells us that the New Covenant will be inaugurated with Israel: "Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will make a New Covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah." Messiah will be the Mediator of that New Covenant. Moses was a type of this greater Mediator; and the Law Covenant a type of this New Law Covenant. All the Jews will be transferred from Moses to Christ, the better Mediator; and from the Old Law Covenant to the New Law Covenant.
This New Covenant will be open to all mankind as they come to realize their need, the supplying of which can be accomplished only through the Mediator. All must come under the arrangements of the Messianic Kingdom in order to share with the Jews in the blessings of that time. So we read, "And many nations will go and say, Come ye, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; and He will teach us of His ways, and we will walk in His paths; for out of Zion shall go forth the Law, and the Word of the Lord from Jerusalem." (`Isa. 2:3`; `Mic. 4:2`.) They will say, He has done for the Jew first; but he will also do for us.
"HE SHALL BE CALLED WONDERFUL, COUNSELOR,
MIGHTY GOD," ETC.
Thus the Lord's blessing will extend from one nation to another until the whole world will be full of Divine blessings; and thus all the families of the earth will be blessed. This New Covenant arrangement, however, will bring blessings to mankind only in proportion as they accept the Mediator. All down through the Millennial Age the eyes of their understanding will be opened as they come into harmony with the New Covenant arrangements. Thus to gain life through the great Life-Giver in the next Age will be very different from the attaining of life now. All through that thousand years of His glorious ministration and reign, Christ, as the Mediator of the New Covenant, will be developing Israel and the world, raising them from their fallen condition and bringing them up to perfection.
As Isaiah the Prophet puts it, "He shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace." (`Isa. 9:6`.) So the relationship of the great Mediator to all the people will be that of a Father to His own children. The period of Christ's reign will be the time in which everlasting life will be given to whomsoever will; and every creature will have fullest trial, fullest opportunity to come up to everlasting life. At the end of the thousand years mankind will be delivered up to the Father to be finally tested.
The relationship of Christ to the Church, however, is a different one. He is not our Father. He is our Brother. Nevertheless, He is the Advocate through whom we must come to the Father; through whom we may cry, Abba, Father.
Our text applies now, primarily. It will apply in the Millennial Age, gradually, as men shall come to a knowledge of the Truth. The Jews will be transferred as a nation from the Law Covenant to the New Covenant. God kept them bound up under the Law especially to that end, that they might be transferred in due time. But as for other people, they will be obliged to accept the great Mediator; and thus from the moment they accept Christ the provisions of the New Covenant will cover them. But upon those who do not accept God's arrangements the wrath of God will still abide.
LONDON (ENG.) CONVENTION opened the season and has already been reported.
BOSTON CONVENTION, May 28, 29, 30, was a blessed success. The average attendance was between 500 and 650, while the public services ran up to 2,000 for the discourse on "Zionism" to 4,000 who heard "Which Is the True Gospel?" The dear friends entered heartily into the work--physically and financially--and the Lord greatly blessed their efforts.
THE WESTERN CONVENTION TOUR, already announced, will extend conventional blessings far and wide. Our dear Brother Jones' Special Train will surely add to the zest of the various programs.
TORONTO (CANADA) CONVENTION, JULY 15, 16, 17, has secured very favorable railroad excursion rates, as elsewhere announced. Accommodations, $1.25 per day and up. Address Wm. A. Sinclair, 193 Concord avenue, Toronto, Can.
ST. JOHN'S (NEW BRUNSWICK), August 20, 21, 22. This gathering will accommodate the friends of a considerable area, and no doubt will be a joy as well as a blessing. Rates, $1.25 per day and up. Address us.
MOUNTAIN LAKE PARK, MD., SEPT. 1-11. This is expected to be the Convention event of the year. The place is a choice one for resting and Bible study. It is a Summer Tourist Rate Point so far as railways are concerned. We can secure no further concessions. Entertainment, $1.25 per day up to $3. Particulars later. This Convention will be the last for the year except possibly one at GLASGOW, SCOTLAND, Oct. 28, 29, 30, concerning which we still await information.
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"LOVE CASTETH OUT FEAR"
"There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear; because fear hath torment."--`I John 4:18`.
BETTER expressed could have been the thought of the text by saying, "There is no dread in love." We do not dread that which we love. In one sense, however, the more we love, the more we fear. We would not be so careful about pleasing a person whom we do not thus love. This is not the kind of fear, however, that the Apostle wishes us to cast out. On the contrary, it should be much enhanced. Consequently, the word dread would more accurately express the thought of our text.
The Scriptures speak of some who have "no fear of God before their eyes." (`Rom. 3:18`.) Evidently these are unregenerate. Often, among men, there is a thoughtlessness in respect to God and the future. The Apostle in this text does not intimate that all hearts have fear; but that if any heart has fear, perfect love will cast it out. As the knowledge and love increase, the fear diminishes. We may say that those of the world who have a reverential fear are such as are in a preferable attitude of mind; they are in better condition than the thoughtless. In life, certain conditions which surround us call for reverence; and man's brain is so constituted that reverence will be a part of his mental attitude if he be not depraved. Hence, the Scriptures say that "The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom." (`Prov. 9:10`.) The fear of the Lord, the reverence of the Lord, will bring a blessing. This fear of the Lord rather increases as the child of God comes to know His Maker; but it is a gradual process.
There is a certain kind of fear which comes as the result of imperfect knowledge. We do not credit the Adversary with producing all the evil thoughts of the human mind, yet we believe he has very much to do with the evil influences which surround our race. People may be without fear of God; and we think that even after they have come to the Lord, and are learning to reverence Him and to know something about Him, they may lack the right kind of fear. Then the Adversary's plan will be to plant dread in their minds.
So we find with all heathen peoples. As soon as they have any knowledge of God, the Adversary seems to conjure up slavish fear which crowds out love, and produces dread. We read that "The god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not." (`2 Cor. 4:4`.) We think that this evil influence is accountable for many of the things which seem so remarkable to us. It explains the fact that the heathen have devilish doctrines mingled with dread of God; and that all the worldly who have knowledge of God, both Jews and Christians, have fear also--dread. Yet Christians have much greater light upon God's character than have others, and so should have correspondingly less fear than the heathen.
A CERTAIN KIND OF FEAR PROPER
Evidently our text is not intended to signify that a Christian should have no sense of fear. This fact is shown by the experience of the first Christian, our Lord Himself, in the Garden of Gethsemane. He there feared, as the Apostle tells us in speaking of this occasion, and He was heard in that He feared. He offered up strong cryings and tears to Him who was able to save Him out of death. (`Heb. 5:7`.) If the Master feared, so should His followers. The Apostle says, "Let us, therefore, fear, lest a promise being left us of entering into His rest, any of you should seem to come short of it." (`Heb. 4:1`.) How shall we harmonize these fears with our text. The text is, evidently, not intended to contradict the great lessons otherwise taught. Our Lord Jesus appealed to the Father who, He knew, loved Him; but He knew also, that the Father was absolutely perfect, righteous, just; and he feared lest He might have come short in fulfilling some of the requirements.
So with us. Let us know that "God is love" (`I John 4:8`), but let us fear respecting ourselves, and have such a carefulness, such a desire to please God, that we should feel fearful lest in any degree we should come short. Ignorance begets fear; but love for God will enable us to cast out that fear, and will also enable us to come to God with great confidence. So let us "Draw nigh unto God" (`James 4:8`) with full confidence that He will bless us. This thought is the very opposite to that in the heathen mind. Their conception of a god is that of a demon. The Christian, on the other hand, who is walking in the footsteps of the Master, learns to love his God and to wish to do the Father's will only. Nothing is acceptable in the nature of a sacrifice that is not prompted by that love. "The Father seeketh such to worship Him as worship Him in spirit and in truth."-- `John 4:23,24`.
FACE TO FACE WITH TROUBLE
"You are face to face with trouble,
And the skies are murk and gray;
You hardly know which way to turn,
You are almost dazed, you say.
And at night you wake to wonder
What the next day's news will bring;
Your pillow is brushed by phantom care
With a grim and ghastly wing.
"You are face to face with trouble;
A child has gone astray;
A ship is wrecked on the bitter sea;
There's a note you cannot pay;
Your brave right hand is feeble;
Your sight is growing blind;
Perhaps a friend is cold and stern,
Who was ever warm and kind.
"You are face to face with trouble;
No wonder you cannot sleep;
But stay, and think of the promise,
The Lord will safely keep,
And lead you out of the thicket,
And into the pasture land;
You have only to walk straight onward,
Holding the dear Lord's hand.
"You are face to face with trouble;
And did you forget to look,
As the good old father taught you,
For help to the dear old Book?
You have heard the Tempter whisper,
And you've had no heart to pray,
And God has dropped from your scheme of life,
For--oh, many a weary day!
"Then face to face with trouble;
It is thus He calls you back
From the land of dearth and famine
To the land that has no lack.
You would not hear in the sunshine;
You hear in the midnight gloom.
Behold, His tapers kindle
Like stars in the quiet room.
"Oh! face to face with trouble,
Friend, I have often stood,
To learn that pain has sweetness,
To know that God is good.
Arise and meet the daylight;
Be strong and do your best!
With an honest heart, and a childlike faith
That God will do the rest."
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"CHRIST IN YOU, THE HOPE OF GLORY"
"The mystery which hath been hid from ages and generations, is now made manifest to his saints;...which is Christ in you, the hope of glory."--`Col. 1:26,27`.
THIS expression in various slightly different forms occurs many times in the New Testament. The consecrated children of God are spoken of as being "in Christ Jesus," whom God gave to be Head over the Church which is His Body. We are "baptized into Christ." This the Apostle explains as the Mystery hidden from the Ages, but now made known to us--that God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself.--`2 Cor. 5:19`; `Col. 1:26`.
This Christ is composed of many members. (`I Cor. 12:12`.) The Greek word Christ corresponds to the Hebrew word Messiah. In either language the significance of the word is, The Anointed. In olden times the Priests were anointed with oil, as were also the kings of Israel. This ceremony seems to typify the anointing of the antitypical kings and priests. The Messiah, therefore, is the anointed King and Priest, whom God hath foreordained from before the foundation of the world --for putting some down and lifting up all who will be obedient to His arrangements.
This Gospel Age is the time in which the Messiah is prepared. The Head of the Messiah, therefore, very properly, is first; and following Him the Apostles and all down through the Age the various members of the Body. This Age will end when the full number of the "elect" shall have been found and tested. Then the Body will have been completed. When The Messiah is complete, The Christ will be complete.
This part of God's Plan is hidden from the natural man, who sees nothing in it. Only those who reverence God sufficiently and who are in close touch with His arrangement can see. It was hidden from the Jews, who saw not that Jesus was the Head of this Messianic Body, and was to be a Spirit-being, not human; and that God is taking from them and from all nations those who shall compose this Body.
"YE HAVE AN UNCTION FROM THE HOLY ONE AND YE
ALL KNOW IT"
In view of the various statements of Scripture relating to this subject, we see how Christ is represented in us. In proportion as we have the Holy Spirit, in that proportion we are faithful members of His Body, and have the anointing in us. As the Apostle says, "The anointing that ye have received of Him abideth in you"; "Ye have an unction [or anointing] from the Holy One, and ye all know it." (`I John 2:27,20`.) It manifests itself to us as it would not to the world. We know that we have the mind of Christ--the opposite of selfishness. This we can more and more discern in others--better than in ourselves. As every good seed will bring forth good fruit, so we, if we abide in the Vine, shall bring forth the fruits thereof--meekness, patience, brotherly-kindness, long-suffering, love.
Christ in you is the hope of glory in the sense that to this Christ, this Anointed One, God has promised glory, honor and immortality, the divine nature. Only those who possess this anointing, the Spirit of Christ, can properly possess this hope; for what we now have is merely an earnest of our inheritance and a foretaste of what is to come. But this call is to ignominy now. "They shall say all manner of evil against you" who have this anointing. The world will know you not, even as it "knew Him not." (`I John 3:1`.) This, which we have now, is a bitter foretaste; but coupled with this there is a joy which the world cannot give.
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THE ROBE OF CHRIST'S RIGHTEOUSNESS
"Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered."--`Rom. 4:7`.
THE "WEDDING GARMENT" mentioned in the Lord's parable (`Matt. 22:2-14`), is the Robe of Justification, which becomes ours at the time of consecration. At the very moment of our begettal, when the Lord accepted us, we became probationary members of the Body of Christ, the Bride Class, and were covered with the Wedding Robe.
This "wedding garment" is given, not to the Old Creature, but to the New Creature, to cover the blemishes of its imperfect body. At the moment of God's acceptance of our sacrifice, and of the begetting of the Holy Spirit, the New Creature is reckoned as coming into existence and as wearing this robe. Thenceforth, the Old Creature, from the Divine viewpoint, is non-existent--"Old things are passed away; all things are become new." (`2 Cor. 5:17`.) But this New Creature must have a new body. The New Creature has the old body, but a new will--the will of Christ. The Apostle tells us that we should not be satisfied with merely reckoning ourselves dead according to the flesh, but that we should reckon ourselves as having been made alive in the Spirit. If the Spirit of Christ be in us, it will quicken our mortal bodies--vivify them.--`Rom. 8:8-14`.
These mortal bodies, then, which were under the influence of the old imperfections and under the old course of life, have now, under the new mind, a restraining, or constraining influence put upon them and the New Creature is expected to use the new mind, or will, to overcome the desires of the flesh. While in this body of flesh, the New Creature is expected to demonstrate such faithfulness in the development of character that he may be accounted worthy of being raised in the First Resurrection as a Divine being. Having this imperfect body, he needs the robe of Christ's righteousness to cover his imperfections.
THE ROBE DOES NOT COVER SINS OF THE NEW MIND
In studying this subject, it is well to keep in mind that the robe does not cover, as some seem to think, sins of the new mind. The Scriptures ascribe no sin to the new mind, and no perfection in righteousness to the fallen flesh. If the new mind were disloyal to God, the robe would not cover it; it would cease to be a new mind. To continue to have the imperfections of the flesh (which we have inherited from Adam) covered, the New Creature must remain loyal to God; otherwise, it will deserve the Second Death. Hence, these New Creatures, with imperfect bodies under the control of the new mind, have the Bridal Robe granted to them, that they may have a standing in the sight of the Lord and of each other.
This righteousness of our dear Redeemer is represented as being imputed to us. It is for us, then, to work out the glorious embroidery, the stamp of which is already upon the robe--the directions as to how we may work out the fruits of the Spirit thereon.
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QUESTIONS OF INTEREST
THE GRADUAL END OF GOSPEL FAVOR
QUESTION.--Do you understand the Scriptures to teach, either directly or indirectly, through the Parallels of the Jewish Dispensation, that it was necessary that all who would eventually constitute the "little flock" must have been in a justified condition previous to October, 1881?
Answer.--No, we do not so understand the matter.
Question.--Was it necessary that all who would be of the "little flock" should have made their consecration by or before October, 1881?
Answer.--No, we do not so understand the matter.
The chapter in SCRIPTURE STUDIES, Vol. II, showing the parallels between the Jewish and Christian Dispensations, makes prominent four dates, viz., (1) October, 1874; (2) April, 1878; (3) October, 1881, and (4) October, 1914; these dates being parallel to four in the Jewish harvest, viz., (1) The beginning of our Lord's ministry; the beginning of the trial or harvest time of the Jewish nation, October, 29; (2) The end of our Lord's ministry, His crucifixion, and the rejection of the Jewish nation as a nation, April, 33 (See SCRIPTURE STUDIES, Vol. 2, chapter 7); (3) The close of the "seventy weeks" (`Dan. 9:24-26`) of favor upon the Jewish nation--October, 36--after which the Gospel privileges were open to the Gentiles, Cornelius being the first convert; (4) The full end of trouble and destruction which came upon Israel's polity, October, 69.
It should be clearly noticed that the parallels between the Jewish and Gospel Ages all belong to the nominal systems then and now, and if this is borne in mind, it will prevent our applying these parallels either to the gathering out of the Gospel Church or to the gathering of the Lord's people out of Babylon now.
Noting these parallels, we find 1874 as the beginning of this "harvest" and the gathering together of the "elect" from the four winds of heaven; 1878 as the time when Babylon was formally rejected, Laodicea spewed out--the time from which it is stated, "Babylon is fallen, is fallen"--fallen from Divine favor. The parallel in 1881 would seem to indicate that certain favors were still continued to those in Babylon up to that date, notwithstanding the rejection of the system; and since that date we would understand that that relationship has been in no sense an advantageous one, but has been in many senses of the word a distinct disadvantage, from which only with difficulty could any free themselves, the Lord's grace and truth assisting. And in harmony with this parallelism, October, 1914, will witness the full end of Babylon, "as a great millstone cast into the sea," utterly destroyed as a system.
Coming back: We concede it reasonable to infer that the close of the favors upon fleshly Israel represent the close of the special favor of this Gospel Age, viz., the invitation to the High Calling; accordingly, our understanding is that the open or general "call" of this Age to Kingdom honors ceased in October, 1881. However, as already shown in SCRIPTURE STUDIES, we make a distinction between the end of the "call" and the closing of the "door"; and believe that the door into the Kingdom class is not yet closed; that it stands ajar for a time, to permit those who had already accepted the "call" and who fail to use its privileges and opportunities in self-sacrifice to be thrust out, and to permit others to enter to take their crowns, in harmony with `Rev. 3:11`. The present time, therefore, from 1881 until the door of opportunity for sacrifice in the Lord's service shall fully close, is a period of "sifting" as respects all who are already in Divine favor, in covenant relationship with God.
And since those who have gone into the "Feast" through the "door" represent all who are called (except those who have afterward been rejected and expelled), it follows that the places of those thus expelled must be taken by some who were not previously amongst the called, amongst the consecrated. This, we trust, makes plain the answer to your question, proving that some not previously consecrated will, in the eleventh hour, be admitted to the vineyard labors and to the rewards of the faithful, after the open call ceased, and before the "door" closes.
Indeed, we are to distinctly remember that in speaking of the gathering to take place during this harvest time, our Lord mentions amongst others those who have been in the field (in the world), apparently referring to a class who previously had been neither justified nor sanctified through the Truth. See SCRIPTURE STUDIES, Vol. III, Chap. 6.
THE NEW CREATURE GIVEN THE ROBE
Question.--Can the New Creature's body sin?
Answer.--The New Creature's proper body is the Spirit body of the First Resurrection. But before getting it he is placed on probation and given his old human body to practice with. The New Creature cannot make the old body obey him perfectly. But he can develop strength in his endeavors to bring words, actions and thoughts into perfect accord with the perfect Law of God--Love.
Unable to conquer, he must show the Captain of his salvation his loyalty to the core by "fighting a good fight."
The imperfections of the flesh to which the new mind does not consent are all of heredity--all from Adamic weakness--all, therefore, forgivable by the Redeemer, who merely needs to be appealed to as the great Advocate. But every transgression of the flesh is charged to the New Creature, who owns the flesh and is using it. This obligates repentance, prayer, etc., and means the greater blessing to the New Creature. To whatever extent the New Creature gives consent or sympathy to the sin of his flesh he is worthy of "stripes," which correctively will assist in his character development. "What son is he whom his Father chasteneth not?"
The New Creature only is given the wedding robe, the robe of Christ's righteousness, as a covering for his imperfect flesh. It represents his justification as a New Creature. It shows him as in Divine sight, holy, harmless, undefiled, through the merit of Jesus his Advocate and Redeemer.
THE NEW CREATURE AND SIN
Question.--Can the New Creature sin?
Answer.--Yes! and No! The Apostle says, "He cannot sin, for his seed remaineth in him." (`I John 3:9`.) That is to say, so long as any New Creature continues to possess the Spirit of God, the Holy Spirit, he cannot consent wilfully to do sin. If one Spirit-begotten does sin wilfully it implies that prior to that wilful sin he parted with his spirit of holiness (lost the seed of his begetting) and got instead a spirit of sin, the spirit of the Adversary. In other words, a holy person, possessing God's Spirit of begetting, cannot wilfully and intentionally do that which he knows to be unholy and displeasing to God. He cannot take pleasure in sin. He once died to it, and to have it revive means a return to wallowing in the mire--"twice dead, plucked up by the roots"; ready to be taken and destroyed as a brute beast.--`Judge 12`; `2 Peter 2:12`.
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SOME INTERESTING LETTERS
I feel constrained today to say a few words concerning the joy which I feel in my heart and what I owe to your faithful ministry. No loyal heart could fail to be impressed by your unwavering fidelity to our Master and to His "flock," to whom you stand so peculiarly related.
Appreciating the "Vow" submitted in 1908 as a Heaven-provided safeguard for the "flock," I felt from the first that subtle tests just ahead were sure to emphasize the needs of just such a safeguard. Realizing that there is a practical side to the Christian warfare, I promptly availed myself of the "Vow," at the same time realizing that our relation to it must be the same as to our original Vow of full consecration; that while the taking of the Vow was the initial step, its value as a safeguard is in the faithful carrying out of all it expresses. While the developments following this note of warning have been more startling than I had anticipated, I have been impressed as never before with the significance of the Scripture, "Surely the wrath of man shall praise thee; the remainder of wrath (that which could not praise Him) shalt thou restrain."--`Psa. 76:10`.
During 1909 I tabulated a large number of subjects being treated in WATCH TOWER concerning the "Ransom" and closely related topics. I feel that those wonderful explanations of Truth which have come to us, especially during the past two years in a faithful endeavor to shield the "sheep," are a forceful illustration of the "Vine and Branch" proposition --that nothing the Lord permits means loss to the fruit-bearing branches. The Divinely provided nourishment withdrawn from the unappreciative means added enrichment to those giving evidence of a disposition to use it. Truly, we have realized that the more searching the analysis the more glorious the Truth becomes; indeed, our hearts should be filled with wonder, love and praise.
I am trying to weigh the serious side of it. Sometimes I cannot keep back the tears as I think of the abounding wealth into which we have entered. I feel that if we are not energized to greater appreciation and to greater faithfulness, as the reasonable acknowledgment of such favors, then we have lost all reasonable grounds for hope of their continuance. Surely we must enter into the spirit of His work now (the development of the "Bride"--laying down our lives for the brethren, not only willingly, but gladly), if we are to share in the ultimate work after the preparatory features are completed.
God bless you richly, dear brother; our prayers follow you on your missions of love. We are constrained to express our sentiments in the language of the MANNA comment for Sept. 1, as follows: "It is because we see Jesus to be the Father's choice that we unite ourselves to Him; because we see the Father's character manifested in Him, that we leave all to follow Him. Similarly, if we lend our aid, our support, to any human being in connection with the Divine Plan and service, it should be simply upon this ground--not merely a personal magnetism or favoritism, but because our hearts are touched by the Lord with the leader's being of His appointment."
The hearts of the dear ones in these Lower Provinces of Canada are made glad with the hope of arrangements for a Three-Days' Convention during this season.
We ask that you pray for us all, increasing faithfulness. Sister Black shares with me, dear brother, this expression of love for yourself and for the Lord's flock.
Faithfully yours in the joy of service,
W. W. BLACK.--CANADA.
DEAR PASTOR RUSSELL:--
I thank our Heavenly Father for the Truth and for you, through whom great blessings have come to me. I am also very thankful for the opportunity to be associated in the Harvest work, in Berkeshire Co., Mass., with Brother Goodwin, of Torrington, Conn., through whom I have received added blessings.
I have recently had some remarkable experiences with the Jews, of whom there is a colony of about twenty families, including a Rabbi, in the vicinity of my home.
Some time ago I distributed among them copies of Die Stimme, the Yiddish paper. The young people of the colony cannot read Yiddish and are asking for similar matter in English. As PEOPLES PULPIT sermons are along lines of Christian teaching, I have not distributed them, lest the motive be misconstrued.
These people have the correct idea concerning the cause of the centuries of suffering which they and their ancestors have experienced. They acknowledge that Christ was sent of God to bless the world; even the Rabbi assented to this. They were very cordial, urging me to come again.
This colony, composed mainly of farmers from Russia, I am told, has the support of the Rothschilds. They are looking for the resurrection of the Ancient Worthies, expecting it within a few years.
Your statements upon Jewish matters, when clearly understood by them, will, it seems to me, be one of the most potent factors in uniting the Jews in the Zionist movement. Since the distribution of the Yiddish paper, I find your name a household word among them. I would like suitable literature (English) to give them, as they request it for the young people. Dear Brother, I wish always to be
Your faithful brother in Christ,
NEWTON T. HARTSHORN.--MASS.
DEAR PASTOR RUSSELL:--
I am enclosing just a "mite" for use in the Harvest Work. Although I realize that you are very busy, I will take some of your time to tell you about it, for I know you will find it interesting.
It is the contents of a "mite box" to which I contributed for six or eight months, putting in small amounts for each blessing which I received--not counting the daily blessings of bread and health, etc. It shows that the Lord was good to me, doesn't it? However, the most interesting part follows:--
My box was one among several which our Sunday School teacher gave to us girls in 1909. We had previously withdrawn from the church with which we were associated, and its school, but had been held together by the Lord's loving kindness, and had weekly classes of our own. For some reason, which we could not then exactly understand, we were reluctant about sending the money to the Missionary Society of our denomination.
About a year ago our teacher died after a short illness. I will not dwell upon the persecutions which she had suffered in the church, nor our own sorrow afterward. I will only say that God has opened the eyes of our understanding and enabled us to see Present Truth. As in her life she was a great blessing to me, so, also, in her death. I believe the Lord had me save the money for this very purpose, and that she was one of his bright "jewels."
I cannot express the blessing which you have been to me, and the rest of us, and I thank Him for it. We daily remember you before the Throne of Heavenly Grace, and also the general interests of the work and the dear co-laborers.
By His grace, one of the "Little Ones in Christ."
MARY L. JENKINS.--MASS.
Having a growing conviction that the following extraction may be of interest to you (the more so after reading WATCH TOWER of March 15), I determined to send it along, hoping that you would be able to spare about two minutes of your valuable time for its perusal.
The Rev. S. Manning, who traveled through the Holy Land in the early part of 1873, in recording his experiences, says concerning the barren slopes of southern Palestine: "Even yet we can trace the lines of those ancient terraces, showing what the land once was, and what it may yet become again when 'the time to favor Zion, yea, the set time, is come.' From our camp, a few miles north of Bethel, we could see the hills clothed to their very summits with fig gardens, now in their bright spring greenery. A Syrian gentleman, who was my frequent companion through this part of Palestine, plucked the young figs as he passed without stint or scruple. His reply to my question as to his right to
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do so was instructive, as throwing light upon an incident in the life of our Lord, as to which some difficulty has been felt.
"In the early spring, when the first leaves appear, an immense number of small figs are produced, which do not ripen, but fall from the branches, crude and immature, to the ground. To these we find a reference in `Rev. 6:13`. The true crop is not produced till later in the year. This first crude, 'untimely' growth, though of no commercial value, is yet plucked and eaten by the peasantry, sometimes with a pinch of salt, sometimes with bread. Like the wild fruit of our hedgerows it is free to all passersby. It was just at this early season, before the feast of the Passover, that our Lord and his disciples, having walked from Bethany, 'hungered.' Seeing a fig tree 'afar off having leaves' they sought fruit, but found none. Seeing leaves they had a right to expect fruit. Finding fruit they would have had right to pluck it, 'for the time of figs was not yet'--the true and valuable crop was not yet produced. This incident He turned into a solemn lesson of warning to the Jews, etc., etc."
Yours humbly in Him and His service,
STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES
THESE STUDIES ARE RECOMMENDED TO STUDENTS AS VERITABLE "BIBLE KEYS." PRICES ARE NET AND BARELY COVER COST OF PRODUCTION.
SERIES I., "The Plan of the Ages." gives an outline of the Divine plan revealed in the Bible, relating to man's redemption and restitution: 386 pages, in embossed cloth, 35c. (1s. 6d.) India paper edition, 75c. (3s. 1-1/2d.)
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SERIES II., "The Time is at Hand," treats of the manner and time of the Lord's second coming, considering the Bible Testimony on this subject: 370 pages, in embossed cloth, 35c. (1s. 6d.) India paper edition, 75c. (3s. 1-1/2d.)
SERIES III., "Thy Kingdom Come," considers prophecies which mark events connected with the "Time of the End," the glorification of the Church and the establishment of the Millennial Kingdom; it also contains a chapter of the Great Pyramid, showing its corroboration of the dates and other teachings of the Bible: 384 pages, in embossed cloth, 35c. (1s. 6d.) India paper edition, 75c. (3s. 1-1/2d.)
SERIES IV., "The Day of Vengeance," shows that the dissolution of the present order of things is in progress, and that all the panaceas offered are valueless to avert the predicted end. It marks in these events the fulfilment of prophecy, noting specially our Lord's great prophecy of `Matt. 24` and `Zech. 14:1-9`: 660 pages, in embossed cloth, 35c. (1s. 6d.) India paper edition, 85c. (3s. 6-1/2d.)
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SERIES VI., "The New Creation," deals with the Creative Week (`Genesis 1` and `2`), and with the Church, God's "New Creation." It examines the personnel, organization, rites, ceremonies, obligations and hopes appertaining to those called and accepted as members of the Body under the Head: 740 pages, in embossed cloth, 35c. (1s. 6d.) India paper edition, 85c. (3s. 6-1/2d.)
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