ZWT - 1893 - R1485 thru R1610 / R1514 (115) - April 15, 1893
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VOL. XIV. APRIL 15, 1893. NO. 8.
"THE WORD WAS A GOD."
"In the beginning was the Logos, and the Logos was with the God, and the Logos was a God. The same was in the beginning with the God. All things were made by him [the Logos], and without him was not anything made that was made."--`John 1:1-3`.
The Apostle gives us in these words a brief statement of our great Redeemer's pre-human history. We adopt the word Logos as one of our Lord's many names. Dr. Adam Clarke also advocates its use in this manner, saying, "This term [Logos] should be left untranslated, for the very same reasons why the names Jesus and Christ are left untranslated. As every appellative of the Savior of the world was descriptive of some excellence in his person, nature or work, so the epithet Logos, which signifies a word spoken, speech, eloquence, doctrine, reason, or the faculty of reasoning, is very properly applied to him."
Another difference, between the above translation and the common version, is the addition of the italicized words a and the. These are supplied in order to give the reader the true sense of the Greek text, in which the presence or absence of the Greek article is very important. In the above translation the represents the article, while a shows that the article is lacking.
With this translation verified and appreciated (as can be done by consulting any Greek Testament or any Greek scholar), these verses, long doubtful and obscure to so many, become luminous. In them John tells the same story that our Lord tells us over and over again (See `Rev. 1:8,11,17`; `2:8`; `3:14`; `21:6`; `22:13`), that he is the beginning and the ending, the first and the last, of the creation of God.
The Apostle Paul adds his testimony in the same line, saying, He "is the image of the invisible God, the first-born of all creation: for by him were all things created....All things were created by him and for him." (`Col. 1:15`.) The Heavenly Father had no beginning, but is from everlasting to everlasting the same. Our Lord's great honor is shown in that he was not only the first of God's creation but the last. From this we are to understand that the great Jehovah did not directly employ his own power in creating either men or angels; but that he delegated his power to his Only-begotten Son--using him as his honored agent and representative in every case--in every respect giving him the pre-eminence over all others; second only to himself.
But although our Redeemer had always occupied the place of honor in the heavenly courts, it was not until his faithful obedience to the Father had been tested to the extent of his changing nature to that of man, and then giving himself as fallen man's ransom, that he received his present unexcellable glory and
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honor. It is since his resurrection that the message has gone forth--"All power in heaven and in earth is given unto me." (`Matt. 28:18`.) Consequently it is only since then that he could be called the Almighty (as in `Rev. 1:8`). The Heavenly Father has always been almighty, and
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this all-power or all-might was never given to him, but was his eternal possession. But now that he has given the same power to his Only-begotten and well-pleasing Son, our Saviour, both we and angels delight to know it, and delight to honor him whom the Father has so highly honored, and whom he has instructed us to honor, saying: "That all should honor the Son, even as they honor the Father."-- `John 5:23`.
The reasons leading up to our Lord's present great exaltation are clearly stated by the Apostle, as examined below.
ROBBERY TO BE EQUAL TO GOD.
The Apostle's words in `Philippians 2:6` have (by a bad translation, at the hands of those whose judgments were warped by an erroneous view) been turned about and made to say the very reverse of what he intended.
The Apostle is showing Christ's faithfulness or loyalty and obedience to the Father. Not satisfied with referring to his earthly course, he goes back of it to the time when our Lord was a spirit being, before he humbled himself by his translation or change of nature to a lower one, --from spiritual to human nature. The Apostle seems to have had Satan's course in his mind,--contrasting his wrong course and its end with Christ's proper course and its glorious results. Satan did not hesitate to rob God of his glory, saying, "I will ascend above the stars [above the other bright ones of the angelic host--I will be a leader, a chief], I will be like the Most High" [I will pose as another Potentate a rival and peer of Jehovah]. (`Isa. 14:14`.) But, says the Apostle, Christ, when a spirit being in God's form, thought not of robbery to be God's equal, "but [on the contrary, in obedience to the Father's plan] stripped himself [of the glory and dignity already enjoyed], taking a bond-servants form, being made in the likeness of men. And [afterward], being in the likeness of men ["Made flesh"--`Jno. 1:14`], he [still further, and in harmony with the same obedient spirit] humbled himself, becoming obedient unto death, [and, yet more humiliating] even the death of the cross. Therefore [because he did not attempt to usurp, but on the contrary was humble] God hath supremely exalted him, and given to him a name [honor, title, dignity] above every [other] name."
What a wonderful contrast! Satan, who attempted to rob God of his honor and station, is cast out, and will ultimately be destroyed. Christ, who humbled himself in every sense of the word, has been exalted to the very position which Satan coveted. And the Apostle recounts this matter in order to enforce upon all followers of Christ that, like their Master, they should be humble and unassuming--humbling themselves that they, too, may be exalted in due time.--See the context: `verses 3-5`.
The word Godhead occurs three times in the Scriptures--`Acts 17:29`; `Rom. 1:20`; `Col. 2:9`. It is a meaningless word, and merely a bad translation. It should be rendered Divinity or Deity, and then would be intelligible.
MIGHTY GOD, EVERLASTING FATHER.
These are among the great titles of our glorified Lord, predicted through `Isaiah--9:6`.
In our issue of June, 1892, in which this subject was much more thoroughly examined, we showed the meaning of the word "God" to be mighty one. We gave instances in which this same word (in Hebrew, El and Elohim) is used when referring to great men and angels. Our Lord would be reverenced and titled Very Mighty or Very Great.
The signification of the title, "Everlasting Father" or Father Forever, is seen when we remember that the special meaning of father is life-giver. Jehovah is the Life-giver of all creatures in the sense that he is the fountain from which all life originally proceeded. But after man had forfeited his God-given privilege, by disobedience, he needed a new life. And Jehovah sent forth his Only-begotten Son, to become man's Life-giver, by redeeming man's life with his own and then giving the new life to whoever will accept it under the terms of the New Covenant, which he mediated.
Since all of our race have thus been redeemed, and restitution to human perfection is thus provided for all, through this Life-giver,
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he will be known to the redeemed world as their Father Forever, the one through whom their redeemed, restitution life was obtained. The propriety of this is evident when it is remembered that the restitution life which our Lord will give the world was purchased by him with his own precious [life] blood.
The "little flock" now being selected as "members of his body," his "bride," would also have been of this class of children of Christ, were it not for their high-calling to become his "brethren," "body" or "bride," and to experience the change of nature which this calling implies and necessitates. To fit these for their "high-calling," they are begotten again (from the restitution-life hopes obtained through faith in Christ), to the divine nature. (`2 Pet. 1:4`.) This divine nature was not purchased by our Lord Jesus; hence he is not the father or giver of it. Jehovah alone gives it: hence the Apostle declares, "The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ hath begotten us," and Christ is "not ashamed to call them Brethren."
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Judge not; the workings of the brain
And of the heart thou can'st not see;
What looks to thy dim eye a stain,
In God's pure light may only be
A scar, brought from some well-won field,
Where thou would'st only faint and yield.
The look, the air, that frets thy sight,
May be a token that below
The soul had closed in deadly fight
With some internal, fiery foe,
Whose glance would scorch thy smiling grace,
And cast thee, shuddering, on thy face.
The fall thou darest to despise:
May be the angel's slackened hand
Has suffered it that he may rise
And take a firmer, surer stand;
Or, trusting less to earthly things,
May henceforth learn to use his wings.
And judge none lost; but wait and see,
With hopeful pity, not disdain;
The depth of the abyss may be
The measure of the height of pain
And love and glory that may raise
This soul to God in after days. --Selected.
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THE RACE IN ADAM.
"Ye shall not surely die."--Satan--`Gen. 3:4`.
God's blessing upon his prime agents, in his purpose of peopling the earth--"Be fruitful and multiply"--embraces in it the full power and authority of the agents to bring forth the race entrusted to them.
God's purpose did not contemplate a dead race, but he had made bountiful provisions for the happiness of a race of perfect beings, reflecting moral and intellectual qualities the exact counterparts of his own; and while he well knew and had arranged for all possible contingencies, he did not design them. He could not design or "do evil that good might come." In his purpose the race was already alive, and hence alive in the agents prepared and empowered through his blessing.
This recognition of things that are not (yet) is lawful and right in view of the certainty of the agents employed and the steadfastness of purpose in him who "worketh all things after the counsel of his will" and according to his own purposes.
Contending for change of forms of Scriptural expressions upon the grounds of grammatical construction cannot affect the recorded condition and facts of experience.
To say that "By Adam all die" does not change the relationship nor responsibility of Adam--Levi is said to have paid tithes to Melchisedec while yet in the loins of his father. (`Heb. 7:10`.) The case is not altered whether we say the tithes were paid by Abraham or in Abraham. Adam, then, did not represent a dead race, neither was he on trial for a dead race, but he certainly did stand for and represent a living race--God's purposes were centered here: outside of Adam God had made no
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provision, unless as contingencies should arise to make them necessary for the completion of his benevolent plans. In Adam were wrapped the destinies of the race; from him it should inherit life, and that life was in him, so that, instead of not living in him, mankind had no other source of existence; and when the hour of Adam's testing came, the crisis of the race had come, and the fatal sequence is that he entailed death upon mankind instead of any right to life. Thus by Adam all die, while yet in him, for none had yet been born when he fell under condemnation. The sentence was pronounced, and its justice is open to the investigation of all intelligences; and the very throne of Jehovah depends upon its being found "True and righteous altogether."
Thus we see that the race never had life: its inheritance was death; for a condemned thing is already dead and can only resolve to "dust as it was." Evolution upwards, or out of death, is wholly impossible; for there is nothing left. The "dying now" is not "a double infliction of the penalty," but a carrying out of the sentence--destruction.
There is no hope but in a Ransom--a man's life for a man's life. That only can remove the legal hindrance and permit the call, "Return, ye children of men," without impugning the exact justice of the penalty.
Thus we see that Satan can devise no scheme offering hope for man except it be upon his prolific lie. And so we find this according to the latest deduction (erroneously drawn from Scripture statements of God's designs and foreknowledge) to be as follows: "Hence death as a result of sin could not have been, either in fact or design, more than temporary. The wages of sin is death--looking forward to deliverance --eternal life!" In other words, "Ye shall not surely die."
Good men of all ages have conceived of deliverance upon reasonable hopes within their experience and conceptions of God, having no grounds for a formulated theory save the one that makes God a liar; but how much severer ought our judgment to be, if we, after seeing God in the amazing revelations of himself, should wilfully reject the only basis and means of the designed and soon to be accomplished deliverance, and insist upon the same errors?
H. L. GILLIS.
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In `2 Cor. 13:5`, Paul says, "Try your own selves whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Or know ye not, your own selves, that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates?" The context apparently shows that the Corinthians had accused Paul of having no influence over them for good, and his ministry as being weak and insignificant. Paul replies by telling them to look at their present condition as compared with their past, see the change that has taken place in their lives, see the possession they now have, and in the light of these things let them say whether his influence over them has been for good or not, or if his ministry is weak and insignificant. Again, in `1 Cor. 11:28`, the same Apostle says, "Let a man examine himself." But in this Paul means only to interpose a caution to prepare the receiver to eat the Lord's supper worthily.
It is impossible to know ourselves by looking at the present. We only partly know ourselves as we see our life in the past. Every day our actions surprise us, and frequently we find that we have done the very thing we never thought we would do. I suppose Abraham did not really know the strength of his faith till called upon to sacrifice Isaac. In the light of that trial he could estimate the real strength of his faith. In the shortness of memory we fail to profit by past mistakes. In every action of ours there are so many details giving rise to so many causes of actions which may differ in each action, thus making it impossible for us to judge truly of our own condition. The Greeks had a favorite motto among their philosophers, "Know thyself;" but by this they did not mean to teach that by merely looking into their own actions they came to understand their own character and became able to estimate their real worth, but
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rather that each one should examine the basis and facts of his philosophy for himself, and not be content to receive them second-hand. Then, again, many people do not grow better from rigid self-introspection. The bad only see good and excuses for the evil in their lives. The good only see evil in theirs, and sadden their lives by deploring it. One of the saintliest women I ever knew, and whom all reverenced, began to direct her attention to her own life, to examine it, to search it, and to question whether she did truly believe or not, till in a few months she concluded she had no faith, that her life was full of evil deeds, that she was unsaved and had no hope, and that there was none for her; and in this state she lives to-day.
We make a distinction between heart-searching and life-searching, which many fail to make. Our hearts, that is our wills, should be perfect; but our lives cannot be perfect, because "we have this treasure [our new wills or new hearts] in earthen vessels [in imperfect bodies]." He, therefore, who judges of his acceptableness with God by judging of his perfection or imperfection in thought, word and deed, must condemn himself, if he be honest and if he have a proper estimate of perfection in these respects. But he that judges his heart, his motives, his will, his intentions, should always be able to find it true to the Lord,--however much his life may come short of his new will,--the mind of Christ begotten in him by the exceeding great and precious promises of God's Word.
We are not merely to ask ourselves whether we love God, but also whether our love takes the practical form of willing and trying to serve God. This, his Word indicates, is the real
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test;--not what we succeed in doing, but what we honestly and earnestly try to do.
The mother never questions whether she loves her children or not, but shows her love by her services; the industrious man never stops to wonder if he is industrious. Christ says, He that heareth my words and doeth them, he it is that loveth me.
We can know our hearts only as God, who sits as a refiner of gold, tries us: under the hand of his proving we learn to know ourselves. God does the searching to see if there be any evil way in us. He searches, tries and proves us, and not we our own hearts. The Christian only grows Godlike, strong in faith and hope, as he learns to look away from himself to the Son of Man. It is said that one of the gifted painters of the world stood before the masterpiece of the greatest genius of the age. This he never hoped to rival, nor even to equal, yet the infinite superiority did not crush him, nor cause him to despair. He saw realized those conceptions that had long floated vaguely before him in unsubstantial form; in every line and touch he felt a spirit immeasurably superior. As he stood gazing at it his heart swelled with emotion, his feelings became elevated, and he turned away exclaiming, "And I, too, am a painter." Let the hesitating believer look on Christ, the embodiment of the highest and holiest of all conceptions, till his heart can feel his spirit and touch, then he can turn to the world, believing and declaring, "I, too, am a Christian." --Sel.
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ROMANIST DESIGNS ON AMERICAN CITIES.
BY C. CHINIQUY, A FORMER ROMAN CATHOLIC PRIEST.
When, in 1852, it became evident that my plan of forming a colony of French Canadians on the fertile plains of Illinois was to be a success, D'Arcy McGee, then editor of the Freeman's Journal, the official paper of the Bishop of New York, wrote me to know my views, and he determined immediately to put himself at the head of a similar enterprise in favor of the Irish Roman Catholics. He published long and able articles to show how the Irish people, with few exceptions, were demoralized and kept down in the cities, and how they would soon be raised to the top if they could be induced to exchange city grog-shops and saloons for the rich lands of the West. Through his influence a large assembly, principally composed of Irish priests, to which I was invited, met at Buffalo in the Spring of 1853. But what was
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his disappointment when he saw that the greater part of these priests were sent by the bishops of New York, Albany, Boston, etc., to oppose and defeat his plans! He vainly spoke with the most burning eloquence for the support of his pet scheme. The majority of the priests coldly answered him in the name of their bishops: "We are determined, like you, to take possession of the United States and rule them; but we cannot do that except by acting secretly, and by using the utmost wisdom. If our plans were known they would certainly be defeated. What does a skilful general do when he wants to conquer a country? Does he scatter his soldiers over the farm lands and spend their time and energies in plowing the fields and sowing the grain? No. He keeps them well united around his banners, and marches at their head to the conquest of the strongholds. He subdues the large cities one after the other; he pulls down the high towers and the citadels which he meets on his way. Then the farming countries are conquered and become the price of his victory without moving a finger. So it is with us. Silently and patiently we must mass our Irish Roman Catholics in the great cities of the United States. Let us remember that in this country the vote of one of our poorest journeymen, covered with rags, has as much weight in the scale of power as the vote of the millionaire Astor, and that if we have two votes against the millionaire's one, he becomes as powerless as an oyster. Then let us multiply our voters, let us call on poor but faithful Irish Catholics, and gather them from the far corners of the world into the very hearts of those proud citadels which the Yankees are so proudly building up under the name of New York, Boston, Chicago, Albany, Buffalo, Troy, etc. Under the shadows of those great cities the Americans consider themselves as a giant and an unconquerable race. They look upon the Irish Catholic with the utmost contempt, as only fit to dig their canals, sweep their streets, or humbly cook their meals in their kitchen. Let no one awake these sleeping lions to-day; let us pray God that they may sleep and dream their sweet dreams a few years more. How sad will be their awakening when, with our outnumbering votes, we will turn them out, and forever, from every position of power, honor and profit! What will these hypocrite sons and daughters of the fanatical Pilgrim Fathers say when not a single judge, not a single school-teacher, not even a single policeman will be elected if he be not a devoted Irish Catholic? What will those so-called giants think and say of their unsurpassed ability, skill and shrewdness when not a single governor, senator, or member of congress will be elected if he be not sincerely devoted to our Holy Father, the Pope?
"What a sad figure those Protestant Yankees will cut when we will not only elect the President, but fill and command the armies, man the navy, and have the key of the public treasury in our hands! It will then be the time for our devoted Irish Catholics to give up their grog-shops to become the governors and judges of the land. Then our poor and humble Irish mechanics will come out from the damp ditches and the canals to rule the cities in all their departments, from the stately mansion of mayor to the more humble, though not less noble, position
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"Then, yes, we will rule the United States, and lay them at the feet of the Vicar of Jesus Christ, that he may put an end to their godless system of education, and sweep away those impious laws of liberty of conscience which are an insult to God and man."
Poor D'Arcy McGee was left almost alone when the vote was taken.
But the Irish Roman Catholics were taught to consider San Francisco as their "promised land," and the rich inheritance God had in store for them. The consequence is, that when you find only a few American, German and English millionaries in San Francisco, you count more than fifty Irish Catholic millionaries in that city. It is to San Francisco that you must come to have an idea of the number of great and powerful organizations with which the Church of Rome is preparing herself for the impending conflict, through which she hopes to destroy the system of education, and every vestige of liberty and human rights in the United States, as she bravely and publicly announced it not long ago in her most popular
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organs, the Catholic World, of New York, and the Catholic Review:--
"The Catholic Church numbers one-third the American population, and if its membership shall increase for the next thirty years as it has for the thirty past, in 1900 Rome will have a majority, and be bound to this country and keep it. There is, ere long, to be a State religion in this country, and that State religion is to be Roman Catholic. The Catholic is to wield his vote for the purpose of securing Roman Catholic ascendency in this country. All legislation must be governed by the will of God, unerringly indicated by the Pope. Education must be controlled by Catholic authorities; and, under education, the opinions of the individual and the utterances of the press are included. Many opinions are to be furnished by the secular arm, under the authority of the church, even to war and bloodshed."--Catholic World, July, 1870.
"While a State has rights, she has them only in virtue and by permission of the superior authority, and that authority can only be expressed through the church. Protestantism of every form has not had and never can have any right where Catholicity has triumphed, and therefore we lose the breath we spend in declaiming against bigotry and intolerance and in favor of religious liberty, or the right of any man to be of any religion as best pleases him."--Catholic Review, July, 1870.
In order to more easily drill the Irish Catholics, and prepare them for the impending conflict, the Jesuits have organized them into a great number of secret societies.
Almost all these secret associations are military ones. They have their headquarters in San Francisco, but their rank and file are scattered all over the United States, from the Pacific to the Atlantic ocean. They number 700,000 soldiers, who, under the name of United States Volunteer Militia, are officered by the most skilful and able generals of the great Republic.
STUDIES IN THE OLD TESTAMENT.
--INTERNATIONAL S.S. LESSONS.--
SUGGESTIVE THOUGHTS DESIGNED TO ASSIST THOSE OF OUR READERS WHO ATTEND BIBLE CLASSES WHERE THESE LESSONS ARE USED; THAT THEY MAY BE ENABLED TO LEAD OTHERS INTO THE FULNESS OF THE GOSPEL. PUBLISHED IN ADVANCE, AT THE REQUEST OF FOREIGN READERS.
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SOLOMON AND HIS WRITINGS--PROVERBS, ECCLESIASTES AND SOLOMON'S SONG.
These three productions come down to us from Jewish archives of sacred religious literature; and, notwithstanding the imperfections of the writer, they come with clear indications of divine supervision and inditement. The wisdom expressed is above that which is natural to our fallen humanity. It is not necessary to the reverent study of the moral philosophy therein set forth that we should either forget or ignore the defective moral character of Solomon; for even the story of his life with its checkered manifestations of virtue and vice is no inconsiderable part of the lesson of these books.
In `1 Kings 3:11,12` we have the assurance of the divine inspiration of the wisdom of Solomon: "And God said unto him, Because thou hast asked this thing, and hast not asked for thyself long life, neither hast asked riches for thyself, nor hast asked the life of thine enemies, but hast asked for thyself understanding to discern judgment, behold, I have done according to thy word. Lo, I have given thee a wise and an understanding heart, so that there was none like thee before thee, neither after thee shall any arise like unto thee." But while we recognize and duly appreciate the wisdom of Solomon, we also mark his typical character, and perceive that only as a type of Christ could the fulness of the promise belong, of wisdom and riches superior to any preceding or succeeding him. In this light the statement of our Lord (`Matt. 12:42`)--"A greater than Solomon is here"--is in perfect harmony with `1 Kings 3:12`. His peaceful and prosperous reign, his famed wisdom and his marvelous wealth and glory were typical of the Millennial reign of Christ, though it all falls far short of the glory of the antitype-- as types always do. As a type, the peace of his reign in contrast with the warlike reign of his father David is strikingly similar to the predicted peace of Christ's reign in contrast with the turmoil and war and confusion
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of the Gospel age which precedes and prepares the way for the reign of his Son and for the building and establishment of the glorious temple of God, whose living stones are now being made ready, even as David similarly prepared the materials with which Solomon built the typical temple.
The Song of Solomon, though in the form of an oriental love song, is really an allegorical representation of the mutual love of Christ and the Church.
The Book of Ecclesiastes seems to have been written in later life, when the heart had grown sick with excess of sensuous pleasures and the lack of the real happiness which comes from a close and perfect walk with God, when he turned from all his riches and honors with the sad refrain, "Vanity of vanities, all is vanity." From his own experience he proves the truth of his theme, and counsels to others a different course from that which he himself had pursued, saying, "Remember thy Creator in the days of thy youth....Fear God and keep his commandments; for this is the whole duty of man."--`Eccl. 12:1,13`.
The Book of Proverbs was probably the latest production of Solomon, when not only the promised wisdom from above, but also an experience gained under very peculiar and varied circumstances found expression in numerous concise and pithy sayings for the guidance and instruction of all who would live godly. These are frequently quoted and referred to in the New Testament.
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WISDOM'S WARNING OF PRESENT DANGER.
II. QUAR., LESSON V., APR. 30, `PROV. 1:20-33`.
Golden Text--"See that ye refuse not him that speaketh." --`Heb. 12:25`.
"The reverence of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the Holy is understanding."
"The reverence of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and instruction."--`Prov. 9:10`; `1:7`; `Job 28:28`; `Psa. 111:10`.
The Book of `Proverbs` is a poem, the first nine chapters of which are a discourse on wisdom, which is personified. (The major part of the Book consists of the proverbs of Solomon, some of which--`chapters 25-29` --were collected and added later by King Hezekiah. `Chapters 30` and `31`, however, do not claim Solomon for their author.)
It has been inferred that the personification of wisdom in this Book was meant to represent Christ; but when we consider that wisdom is one of the divine attributes, it is evident that wisdom existed even before our Lord Jesus, although he was the beginning of the creation of God, the first born of every creature. But so perfectly did our Lord Jesus exemplify the divine wisdom that it is not at all strange that some have inferred that wisdom, here, personified Christ, instead of recognizing Christ as the personification of that wisdom which from eternity was an attribute of Jehovah. It is described by the Apostle `James (3:17`) as coming "from above," and as being "first pure, then peaceable, gentle and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy."
In contrast with this heavenly wisdom he places what the Apostle Paul (`1 Cor. 3:19`) calls "the wisdom of this world," which James says "descendeth not from above, but is earthly;" and, worse than that, it is "sensual;" and, worse still, it is "devilish." It is the kind of wisdom which delights in envying and strife and confusion and every evil work. (`Jas. 3:14-16`.) It is the wisdom of selfishness which, regardless of the rights and interests of others, seeks to grasp and hold every thing for self. This kind of wisdom, Paul says, "is foolishness with God; for it is written [`Job 5:13`], 'He taketh the wise in their own craftiness.'" --`1 Cor. 3:19`.
All of the fallen human nature have more or less of the earthly wisdom of selfishness, which disposition continually gravitates lower and lower unless it is resisted and displaced by the heavenly wisdom whose fruits are love, mercy and truth. This heavenly wisdom, we are told, has its beginning in the reverence of the Lord. That is, we must look away from our own narrow thoughts, plans and schemes and allow our minds to dwell upon the grandeur of God's benevolent, loving and glorious character until a gleam of his glory awakens in us a feeling of admiration, veneration and love, and then of longing to be conformed to his image. And while we, as God's faithful children, thus look and hold ourselves in position to receive the impressions from above, the divine likeness is traced upon our hearts, as we study God's revelation; and the heavenly wisdom begins to manifest itself in the peaceable fruits of righteousness.
Those who thus reverence him, the Lord is pleased to recognize as his sons, and to acquaint them with his plans for their salvation through the great redemption which his
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wisdom provided; and to such the counsels of these Proverbs are addressed, while warnings are given to others. Thus we read--
`CHAPTER 1:8,9`--"My son, hear the instruction of thy Father [God], and forsake not the law of thy mother [God's covenant of justification and regeneration in which we are begotten to newness of life]: for they shall be an ornament of grace unto thy head, and chains about thy neck." Those only are accounted sons, who are thus begotten of the truth and in covenant with God.
`VERSES 10-19`. "My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not," etc. The counsel here, while it has reference to all enticements of sinners, has special reference to a condition of things which was prophetically foreseen--not necessarily by Solomon, but by the Lord who indited the matter, merely using Solomon as his mouthpiece. The picture drawn corresponds exactly with that condition of things predicted by other prophets, and by the apostles, which was to come to pass in the end or harvest-period of the Gospel age, when great Corporations, Trusts and Monopolies, on the one hand, and Unions and Labor Federations on the other, would offer their enticements to the iniquitous business of shedding innocent blood and fattening on the spoils of the slain.-- See `Jas. 5:1-6`; `Mal. 3:5`.
These two parties are now addressing everyone: the Capitalistic party addresses its temptations only to those who have money and influence of which they desire to make use; the Labor-Union party addresses all others. But the voice of the Lord, the voice of true Wisdom, says to all God's people: "My son, if sinners entice thee, consent thou not." Both of these parties present worldly-wise arguments based on selfishness --opposed to justice as well as to love.
Capitalism says, and truly, We have the brains, but are in the minority: we are prosperous, but less contented than ever. Let us enlarge our ambitions; let us unify our interests so that our rule and prosperity may be prolonged, even though the masses are awaking and may attempt resistance, in this dawn of a new era.
Laborism says, and truly, If we were ignorant and asleep in the past, we are awake now; if we were contented in the past with less, we are discontented now with more. Let us unite our muscle and skill and squeeze Capitalism into subjection to us; let us appropriate the fruit of their brains.
Both are saying, "Come with us [join our Union or Trust], let us lay wait for blood" [for opportunities to squeeze the life out of those under our power: let us make, for instance, a "corner" in wheat; let us buy up all the wheat in the market, fix our own prices and so control the market that we can financially kill the small dealers and wring the revenue out of the public--the masses, both rich and poor. Or let us play this game in oil or corn or any other commodity. Or let us make a corner in the skilled-labor market, by getting up a strong Union and ordering a strike; by "boycotting"
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all who oppose us, and by financially killing fellow workmen who will not join with us. Let us look out for Number One, --ourselves. Thus both combinations seek to prey upon each other for selfish ends, and generally to the disregard of justice]. "Let us lurk privily for the innocent without cause." [Let us watch for our opportunity to take advantage of their ignorance of our movements, etc. And generally it is the innocent who suffer most from such conspiracies.] "Let us swallow them up alive as the grave, and whole as those that go down into the pit." [Present efforts are not for existence merely (for all are prosperous as never before), but for control. Capitalism wants full control, and Laborism wants no less. Each would swallow up the smaller of his own kind, and then effectually crush the other. Thus, say they], "We shall find all precious substance, we shall fill our houses with spoil." Thus, like ocean wreckers, they would grow rich upon the losses and injuries of others.
"Union" is the watchword of both these great opposing parties. Both sides cry (`Verse 14`):--"Cast in thy lot with us; let us all have one purse"[--let us put our money and skill together; thus only we can succeed, and control the markets, and reap the harvest]. But what saith the Lord?--
"My son, walk not thou in the way with them; refrain thy foot from their path; for their feet run to evil, and make haste to shed blood. Surely in vain the net is spread in the sight of any bird. [Each party can see the devices of the other, and each "snare" and device will be check-mated by the other side; and ultimately each party will become entangled in the snare set for the other. As we read,--
"But they [these conspirators] lay wait for their [own] blood; they lurk privily for
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their [own] lives. So are the ways of every one that is greedy of gain, who taketh away the life [or living] of the owners thereof" --for the time is coming when the overwhelming numbers of those oppressed by these systems will arise in their fury like the raging waves of the sea, and anarchy will prevail--the predicted "time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation." (`Dan. 12:1`.) And who but the blind cannot see this very trend of events to-day? But who but "the wise" will heed these instructions of the Lord--the instructions of Wisdom?--`Dan. 12:10`.
"Wisdom [the voice of righteousness and of prudence--the voice of God] crieth without; she uttereth her voice in the streets; she crieth in the chief place of concourse, in the openings of the gates, in the city she uttereth her words." This is truer to-day than at any other time in the world's history. Never before were the obligations of human brotherhood forced upon the attention of all men as they are to-day; and men are coming to see, though they be not free to admit it, that the only solution of the great social problem now before the world is found in the "golden rule."
"We will have to act on that new rule we hear so much talk of in the papers nowadays," said a business man recently to a perplexed associate. "What's that?" said his friend. "The golden rule," he replied, and his friend assented. Yes, the "golden rule" is coming to the front, even in the newspapers, and men are obliged to consider it, whether they are ready to act upon it or not. Thus wisdom crieth in the streets in the city--everywhere--saying,
`VERSE 22`. "How long, ye simple ones, will ye love simplicity [--will you prefer to remain in ignorance of the just and right ways of the Lord]? and the [proud] scorners delight in their scorning [of justice and truth], and fools hate [that real] knowledge [which cometh from above, preferring the ways of selfishness]?"
`VERSE 23`. "Turn you at my reproof." But they will not turn, because, as the Psalmist says (`Psa. 2:1-3`), they "imagine a vain thing"--they "take counsel together against the Lord and against his Anointed [King, who has come to rule in righteousness, and whose presence and power is now forcing upon the minds and consciences of men the perplexing questions of this eventful hour, and their only right solution]." However, they will not be permitted to plead the excuse of ignorance of the right ways of the Lord; for the Lord says,--
"Behold, I will pour out [make manifest] my spirit [my disposition] unto you: I will make known my words unto you;"--notwithstanding the fact that they "hate" such knowledge.
`VERSES 24-27` are in exact agreement with the prophecy of `Psalm 2:4,5` showing not only that men will not heed the reproofs and counsels of this hour, but also predicting the disastrous results that will ensue. When the Lord has clearly set before men the momentous issues of this "day of preparation," and they have disregarded them, and scorned the reproofs which the occasional outbreaks of dissatisfaction and discord shall have brought, then he will begin to speak to them in more positive and commanding tones, saying--"Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded; but ye have set at naught all my counsel, and would none of my reproof: I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh --when your fear cometh as desolation, and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish cometh upon you."
The thoughtful observer of the present social and political aspect of the world can easily see that if the voice of Wisdom and Prudence be not heeded among men the culmination of the present unrest will be a terrific whirlwind. (See also `Jer. 25:31,32`.) "He that sitteth in the heavens shall laugh: the Lord shall have them in derision. Then shall he speak unto them IN HIS WRATH, and vex them in his sore displeasure."
`VERSES 28-32`. It will not avert the trouble for men to call upon the Lord then. If they despise his counsel and reproofs to such an extent as to make necessary the exhibition of his wrath and righteous indignation for their correction, the Lord will not cease to scourge them because of their crying, but the penalty of their evil courses shall be given in such measures as to make a lasting impression. It will therefore be "a time of trouble such as never was since there was a nation;" "no, nor ever shall be" (`Dan. 12:1`; `Matt. 24:21`), because so thorough will be the correction that it will never again need to be repeated. "Therefore shall they eat the fruit of their own way [for the "whirlwind" of trouble will be the natural
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result of their selfishness], and be filled [to satisfaction] with their own devices. For the turning away of the simple [from their ignorance will be to the earthly wisdom of selfishness and not to the heavenly wisdom with its fruit of love and peace, and will work their injury. It] shall slay them, and the prosperity of fools shall destroy them." Their own feet will be caught in the snares they had set for others. The very fact that, by their selfish, oppressive and unrighteous course, they were able to amass great fortunes will, by inciting the jealousy and hatred of the masses, make them a prey in the time of trouble--special targets for the venomous arrows of hatred.--`Jas. 5:1-6`.
`VERSE 33` is a promise in which the few, who are wise enough to heed the instructions of Wisdom, may take comfort, even in the midst of the calamities that shall overwhelm the world. "The Lord knoweth them that are his," and "The angel of the Lord encampeth around about them that are his, and delivereth them.--`Psa. 34:7`.
The voice of heavenly Wisdom found clear and forcible expression through the lips of our Savior, who was the personification of God's wisdom as well as of his love. His message was that Love, not Selfishness, should be the rule of life, if true happiness would be obtained. "Whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them" states this law in practical form. It has sounded down the centuries since, awakening thought and civilization wherever heard. It is the greatest leveller and equalizer; for it ignores class and caste.
But alas! many respect it merely because it lifts them up; and, when getting up from the slough of despond themselves, they forget to practice this precept toward others who are lower down than they. Thus many have used and are using the precept of Love in a selfish spirit. They desire that those more favored shall exercise this principle of Love toward them, but they will not exercise it themselves toward those above or those below their own social plane.
Only the "little flock" are to any appreciable extent even seeking to obey in spirit this voice of God--this voice of heavenly Wisdom: and these are often misjudged and misunderstood, as was their Lord and Redeemer, by the world in general, whose motive power is Selfishness.
The civilized world stands to-day in a false position: professing to be Christ's Kingdom and to be ruled by his law of Love, it is really the kingdom of the Prince of this world--Satan--and operates in general under his law of Selfishness. God will demonstrate this as soon as he has finished the selection of the "Bride," the "Body" of Christ. He will show the difference between the holding of a truth in unrighteousness and the practice of a truth in its real spirit or intent. The result will be the breaking into pieces of these false kingdoms of Christ (`Rev. 19:15`), the establishment of the true, spiritual Kingdom of Christ, the full enlightenment of all the people and the full establishment of the law of Love, in fact as well as in name.
It is as a means toward this end that God is now permitting the world to run riot in the spirit of this world (Selfishness) that the counsel of heavenly Wisdom may be justified when those moved by earthly wisdom (Selfishness) shall be snared in their own devices.
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To his people God saith: "Wait ye upon me [Be patient, Brethren]; for my determination is to gather the nations, that I may assemble the kingdoms, to pour upon them my fierce anger; for all the earth [society] shall be devoured with the fire of my jealousy; and then will I turn unto the people a language of sincerity [love will then mean love], and they shall all call upon the name of the Lord, to serve him with one consent." --`Zeph. 3:8,9`.
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THE VALUE OF WISDOM.
II. QUAR., LESSON VI., MAY 7, `PROV. 3:11-24`.
Golden Text--"Trust in the Lord with all thine heart, and lean not unto thine own understanding."--`Prov. 3:5`.
With a clear understanding of the purpose of this book, which, as we have seen, is for the moral instruction of all of the children of God (those who are now his children, or those who shall become his children during the Millennial age), there is less necessity for explanation than for careful personal consideration and application. They are certainly worthy to be bound about the neck and written upon the table of the heart. --`Verse 3`.
`VERSES 11,12` are given an inspired comment in `Heb. 12:4-13`.
`VERSES 13-18` represent the happiness and blessedness of the man that findeth wisdom --not the wisdom of this world which is foolishness with God, and which is earthly,
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sensual and often devilish (`1 Cor. 3:19`; `Jas. 3:15`), but the wisdom of meekness that is from above, and is "first pure, then peaceable, gentle and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy." (`Jas. 3:13,14,17`.) Those who have this kind of wisdom--viz., that attitude of heart and mind which fits us to receive the instruction of the Lord and to profit by it--are sure to get understanding of whatever truth is meat in due season for them. "The wise shall understand." And in the understanding of God's ways there is joy and peace and blessing which the world can neither give nor take away. `Verse 18` is a beautiful reference to the restitution to the trees of life and the Edenic bliss, of all who shall "lay hold upon" and "retain" that heavenly wisdom of meekness and entire submission to the will of God. And truly, "Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace."
`VERSES 19,20`. It was this same kind of wisdom, described above as pure, peaceable, merciful and kind, that actuated God when he established the heavens and founded the earth. And in consequence we see the beautiful harmony of the material universe, and experience the blessings of those beneficent laws of nature so beautifully adapted to our necessities.
`VERSES 21-26` are words which we cannot well afford to disregard: "Sound wisdom and discretion" (wise policy) are not only the course to eternal life, but even in the present time they bring grace, the favor of God, and preserve us from fear and from stumbling; and the Lord will keep the feet of all such from being caught in the snares of the adversary.
`VERSES 27-30` counsel fair dealing with our fellow-men.
`VERSES 31-35` counsel patient waiting for the rewards of righteousness and that we should not envy the wicked who prosper in the ways of oppression.
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FRUITS OF WISDOM.
II. QUAR., LESSON VII., MAY 14, `PROV. 12:1-15`.
Golden Text--"The fruit of the righteous is a tree of life, and he that winneth souls is wise."--`Prov. 11:30`.
The simple teachings of these proverbs are so plain as to need no explanation; but they are worthy of careful and prayerful pondering. They suggest a series of questions for self-examination which every child of God would do well to propound to himself in the quiet retreat of his accustomed place of prayer. Let him not ask himself, Am I perfect in every thought, word and deed, knowing that none of the fallen are so; but let him ask (`verse 1`), Do I love instruction and knowledge? am I seeking for it daily in the line of God's Word and providences? and am I ready to consider and heed reproof rather than to spurn and resent it? `VERSE 2`. Are the purposes of my heart all pure and upright, bringing with them a constant sense of the Lord's favor? `VERSE 3`. Am I rooted and grounded in the principles of righteousness, so that I will not swerve and cannot be moved? `VERSE 4`. Am I faithfully acting my part in my station in life--in my relationships to my fellow-men and my family?
`VERSE 5`. Am I keeping a vigilant guard over my thoughts, that they stray not into forbidden paths? `VERSE 6`. Am I ever ready to defend the righteous against the snares of the wicked? In these days when the wicked are devising perverse doctrines to overthrow the faith of the righteous, am I zealous in my endeavors to establish them in the right ways of the Lord? `VERSES 7 and 8` are precious promises to the righteous. `VERSE 9`. "He that is despised and laboreth for himself is better than he that aimeth after honor and lacketh bread." How true!
`VERSE 10`. The truly righteous extend their tender mercies to the lower creation, as well as to human kind. `VERSE 11`. The true child of God is no idler or visionary dreamer. `VERSES 12-14`. The rewards of virtue and the penalties of wrong-doing are sure to follow, sooner or later, and every act will meet its just deserts in due time.
`VERSE 15` cannot be too carefully considered --"The way of a fool is right in his own eyes." Herein is the danger of an evil course: it is deceptive to those who take it: the wrong-doer, having succeeded in justifying himself, finds the downward course smooth and slippery, until the retracing of his steps becomes almost impossible. "But he that hearkeneth unto the counsel of the Lord is wise."
The `Golden Text` is very suggestive. A righteous life may indeed be compared to a tree of life of whose virtues others may partake and live. And blessed are those whose wise and righteous course of life becomes a constant incentive to virtue, winning others away from the path of sin and ungodliness to righteousness, peace, faith and trust in God.
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WISDOM OF TEMPERANCE.
II. QUAR., LESSON VIII., MAY 21, `PROV. 23:29-35`.
Golden Text--"Wine is a mocker, strong drink is raging: and whosoever is deceived thereby is not wise."-- `Prov. 20:1`.
Here we have a pen picture of the drunkard, true to life; and those who pursue this folly find themselves finally bound in the galling yoke of a terrible slavery. Would that this curse were banished from every land. And, thank God, the time is not far distant when, under the established Kingdom of God, this evil shall be thoroughly and promptly dealt with. No such stumbling stones as enticing saloons will then be permitted to stand in the way to tempt the weak. Gather out the stumbling stones and cast up a highway for the people, says the Prophet (`Isa. 62:10`); and when this is done not a single evil--licensed or unlicensed --shall be permitted a footing.
But a highway, a broad thoroughfare (the established new covenant), gently sloping upward to life (for a grand reversal of public sentiment will make the way easy of ascent) will be there; and the ransomed of the Lord (the whole human race) shall go up thereon. Every step in this way shall bring its reward of peace and joy: and they shall come to Zion with songs and everlasting joy upon their heads ...and sorrow and sighing shall flee away. (`Isa. 35:10`.) Blessed times of restitution and refreshing! Our hearts sing for joy in anticipation of the nearness of those blessings for all mankind.
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A WISE WOMAN.
II. QUAR., LESSON IX., MAY 28, `PROV. 31:10-31`.
Golden Text--"Favor is deceitful, and beauty is a breath: but a woman that reverenceth the Lord, she shall be praised."
This lesson is poorly chosen: it is an ideal woman, pictured by an uninspired pen, which is not at all the present ideal. This is not a part of Solomon's writing, but, as stated in `verse 1`, was written by King Lemuel. We have no sympathy with the thought that a true wife should purchase fields and plant vineyards (`verse 16`), spin, weave, even toiling into the night (`verse 18,19`), and rising before daylight prepare breakfast (`verse 15`); and all this while her husband, well fed and well clothed, sits a member of the City Councils.--`Verse 23`.
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Energy, economy and forethought are of course commendable in both men and women; and without these no home can be either comfortable or happy. But this is an extreme view.
The `Golden Text` is the best of this lesson; especially the latter clause. The Christian woman, like the Christian man, while careful to be faithful in the duties of home and family will "seek first [chiefly] the kingdom of God and [conformity to] its righteous requirements," making the fields, vineyards, silks and wealth quite secondary considerations. Few, if any, women of the Lord's choice--few of those who will be of his "little flock"--will have all the points of Lemuel's ideal woman.
King Lemuel's wisdom on strong drink (`verses 6 and 7`) is also contrary to the true wisdom.
ENCOURAGING WORDS FROM EARNEST WORKERS.
DEAR BROTHER:--We would have liked so much to be with you at the Memorial this year, as once or twice before. However, we were present with you in spirit. At about the same time you and others of the Church were commemorating the death of our precious Redeemer, we, in this place, were assembled for the same purpose, there being twenty-two present, seven of whom symbolized by immersion the entire consecration and baptism of their wills into Christ.
We enjoyed a very precious season: our dear Head seemed to be very near and dear to us at that particular time. We also remembered our loving Father, and how much it must have cost him to give such a valuable gift as a ransom for us. In closing, we sang Hymn 276, and went each to our homes, there to ponder over all that occurred on that memorable night and the day following, in which he was delivered for our offenses.
We trust, dearly beloved in the Lord, that you likewise enjoyed sweet communion with Him who loved us and gave himself for us. May we, even as he did, be true to our consecration, until the sacrifice is wholly consumed upon the altar. This is the earnest prayer of
Your humble brother and servant,
W. J. THORN.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--We observed the Lord's Memorial Supper at our house on the night of the 30th. Though few in numbers (twelve), and poor in oratory, we had a blessed season of harmonious communion, while with much joy of heart we symbolized the appropriation to our unworthy selves of the life and
righteousness of our Redeemer, and pledged ourselves afresh to follow voluntarily in his footsteps even unto death. Pray for us, dear brother, that by his grace we may faithfully fulfil our covenants.
Your fellow servant in love,
W. J. WEBB.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--Our little meetings proved a season of sweet refreshing and communion to the few permitted to meet together. We spent parts of two days in study and thanksgiving, ending last evening by keeping our Lord's supper in commemoration of his death. After a careful study of the symbols, bread and wine, discerning the Lord's broken body and shed blood, realizing that the whole body or "loaf" is to be broken as the head has been, and thanking God for the gift of his Son and for the privilege of being broken in his service, we gladly partook of the emblems. Those of "like precious faith" know from experience the blessedness and peace which come to our Father's children at such times.
"Sweet the moments, rich in blessing,
Which before thy cross I spend," and then parted--I trust with a deeper sense of our own unworthiness and of Christ's sufficiency. May those precious moments and blessings often be our experience.
Yours in love and hope, C. C. WRIGHT.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--About eight interested ones met here to commemorate the death of our dear Redeemer. In the afternoon we had a grand experience meeting--grand because each one had something to say about the wonderful way he had found the precious truths now due to the truth hungry.
The meeting was opened by the reading of the `first chapter of 2 Peter`. Especially appreciated were the words: "Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust."
In the evening we came together to partake of the bread and wine in remembrance of the sacrifice our dear Master made on the cross for our redemption, and it was truly an impressive time. Brother Cole conducted the service by prayer and reading appropriate Scriptures, followed by some profitable remarks which were listened to with earnest interest. Others also spoke with much feeling and gratitude for such a display of God's love for poor humanity.
We remembered the dear brethren and sisters elsewhere who were enjoying the same blessed privilege, knowing that the same love and affection for our dear Master filled your hearts as it did ours, and doubting not that you remembered us with the same kind feelings.
Your brother in Christ, A. B. PERINE.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--On Thursday evening, March 30th, at 7:30 P.M., the Anniversary of our Lord's death was celebrated at my house. There were eighteen in attendance, the number being larger than on any previous occasion. The meeting was opened by an appropriate hymn, followed by prayer; then another hymn, after which a portion of Scripture was read and a suitable article selected from the TOWER.
We considered the true import of the emblems, how they not only signified our Lord's sacrifice by which we are justified to human life and all its rights, but also how they signified our own consecration to be joined in sacrifice with him and to be dead with him. With additional remarks I endeavored to make the subject clear, and as plain as possible. After the lesson we sang another hymn, then prayed, after which the sacrament was administered. Then a final prayer and closing hymn.
I was very glad to read Brother Adamson's letter in March 15th TOWER. It did me much good. The next day after reading it, I started out to distribute some tracts. A few days later a gentleman called to thank me for the tract I had left at his office, and desired to know whether he could not get more for his Sunday School. Have supplied him with 150 copies of Thy Word is Truth, which he has promised to distribute next Sunday. I hope some good may result therefrom. On a separate sheet I enclose his subscription to the TOWER.
Your brother in the Redeemer,
H. N. RAHN.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--For the Memorial Supper and all day Friday meetings, we obtained the use of a small Baptist meeting house. About sixty brethren and sisters of this city and vicinity met to commemorate the Lord's death. We had a very blessed season, the Lord manifesting his grace among us. On Friday about forty gathered for a season of Bible study and communion. Friday evening we had baptism services, and fifteen symbolized their immersion into Christ. Since then four others have asked to be baptised.
With love and greetings in Christ,
S. D. ROGERS.
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