ZWT - 1895 - R1794 thru R1910 / R1805 (101) - May 1, 1895
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VOL. XVI. MAY 1, 1895. No. 9.
Special Item--Celebrations of the Memorial........102
An Excellent Plan.............................102
Views from the Tower--............................103
The Religious View............................103
The Social View...............................104
Perfect Through Suffering.........................105
Priestcraft Opposed to Liberty....................109
Bible Study: Jesus before the High
Bible Study: Jesus before Pilate..................111
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CELEBRATIONS OF THE MEMORIAL.
WE have heard from about 70 celebrations of the Lord's Memorial Supper by various little companies of the consecrated. These varied from two to two hundred in Allegheny, and two hundred and fifty in New York, where the Brooklyn friends also met. As usual on such occasions, there were a number of immersions. Altogether the occasion seems to have been specially blessed to almost all from whom we have heard;--not excepting a few isolated ones who met with the Lord alone.
However, let us not forget that this is specially a season of temptation, and let us continue to "watch and pray," to "stand" and to assist others to stand. "Let him that thinketh he standeth [securely], take heed lest he fall."
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AN EXCELLENT PLAN.
FOR a few years past we have supplied the Scripture text calendars at very low prices; but this year, being unable to secure them at prices that would suit the majority of our readers, who are poor, we got none. Many have expressed regret at not having them, and in our own family we at first experienced quite a loss; but now have found a substitute which serves us much better in some respects. It is this: We sing one of the hymns from Poems and Hymns of Dawn every morning before breakfast. This, with the rendering of thanks at the breakfast-table, constitutes our family worship for the day (being preceded by such personal prayer or communion with the Lord as each may desire,--and the same before retiring at night).
Since very few of the hymns are original, and since they represent the choice thoughts of many of God's saints for the past three hundred years, we may speak freely of them and say that we consider them most beautiful, soul-cheering and spiritual-life awakening. They are prayer, thanks and praise combined, in which all our hearts and voices can and do unite.
We commend this plan to you all. Try it for a week. The collection is so choice that you can scarcely make a poor selection, and if you continue it for a week you will probably want to continue it indefinitely --until we all join our hearts and voices in glory, singing, Allelujah! to him who loved us and bought us with his own precious blood. To those who cannot sing well now, who must wait until their stammering tongues are changed, but who can and do make melody in their hearts unto the Lord, we suggest the reading aloud of one of the hymns, or, better still perhaps, of one of the poems in the forepart of the book.
Try this! we believe that there is a blessing in it for all who are in heart-harmony with the Lord. It will help to lift your minds from earthly things and the cares of this life and to fix them upon the things of greater worth, the things eternal.
POEMS AND HYMNS OF DAWN is a book of 494 pages (150 poems and 333 hymns). It is published at $1.00, but supplied to TOWER readers at wholesale rate, 50 cents by mail, $5.00 per dozen by express. But as the plan proposed above would require several books for each family, we will make a special offer, good until June 1, of THREE COPIES FOR $1.00, postage paid by us.
DO NOT SEND MONEY UNLESS "REGISTERED."
COMPLAINTS of money lost in the mails continue. Send only by Draft, P.O. Money Order or Express Order. Then if letters be stolen the money can be recovered.
MILLENNIAL DAWN, VOLS. I., II. and III., English and German; VOL. I. in Swedish and Dano-Norwegian, at uniform prices, 25 cents per volume in paper covers, $1.00 per volume in embossed cloth binding.
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VIEWS FROM THE TOWER.
RECENTLY, says the Catholic Mirror, at a meeting of the Sunset Club, Chicago, Howard L. Smith, a prominent Protestant, surprised his hearers by predicting that
"The Church of the future would be the Catholic Church. He based this not so much on his own knowledge of Catholicism. The Church of the future would be due to organization. The Catholic Church, he said, would overcome the broken sects of Protestantism as easily as the regular army would defeat a mob of strikers. Independence in religion was chaos in religion. Let each man be his own pope, and you have religious anarchy, which is the same thing as sectarianism. Catholicism and Agnosticism [Infidelity] would divide the twentieth century between them."
How remarkable it is that the very liberty which the Bible commends is regarded by many as "religious anarchy." In the early Church each believer was expected to prove individually every item of his belief. They were to accept nothing as a congregation, nor as a denomination. Thus each was to be bound only to Christ, and, so far as others were concerned, each one was to stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ makes free, and not to be entangled with any human yoke of bondage. They had no denominational "ties," no clerical "fetters," no creed "yoke," no traditional "chains." Each one united to Christ could not do otherwise than "love the brethren," and "love the truth," as well as love the Lord; and this love constituted the only bond that held their hearts and lives together. Love to the Lord made them attentive to his Word through the apostles, and watchful for his providential leadings in all who attempted to teach them in his name--attentive to prove all that they heard, to reject all not in harmony, and to accept and hold fast all that, according to that standard, they found "good."
But now the general sentiment is union: small unions and large unions are proposed; and all who would return to the primitive method of individual liberty will more and more be anathematized as "heretics" and "religious anarchists," just as they were during the dark ages when the outward union was most complete. Let all who are the Lord's stand fast in the liberty which his truth alone can give; but let them avoid arrogance, and in meekness "speak the truth in love."
The following from The Sun (Baltimore) explains itself, and indicates that the way back to Rome can be made sufficiently smooth for English high church clergy.
"A gentleman writes from Italy: I hear that Pope Leo is devoting considerable time daily to the study of the literature bearing upon the question of Anglican orders. He is disposed to abolish the law of compulsory celibacy for the secular clergy, confining its obligation to members of religious orders who take vows of poverty, chastity and obedience. It is not generally known that secular priests make no vows, though the law of the Roman Church forbids them to marry, and annuls their marriages if contracted in defiance of its precepts. This is a point of ecclesiastical discipline which applies only to the secular clergy of the Latin rite.
"It is well known that the Oriental clergy of the various Eastern rites who are in communion with Rome are allowed to marry, provided they do so before reception of the order of priesthood. His Holiness, therefore, in order to facilitate the reunion of the Anglican Church with the Roman, is favorable to the extension of the same privilege to the secular clergy of the Latin rite. In point of fact, the sovereign pontiff is well aware that the law of compulsory celibacy has become a dead letter among the parochial clergy throughout South America, from Mexico to Patagonia, and to a great extent also in Spain, Portugal, Italy, and the dependencies of those countries. Cardinal Vaughan and the Anglo-Roman Bishops generally are unfavorable to any change in the existing discipline, but Dr. Brownlow, Bishop of Clifton, and Dr. Hedley, Bishop of Newport and Menevia, are believed to entertain the same sentiments as the Pope on this question."
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A Catholic priest was recently appointed to teach "The Philosophy of St. Thomas," in a Protestant University
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Lord Acton, a Roman Catholic, was recently appointed Regius Professor of Modern History in Cambridge University, in the place of the late Prof. Seeley.
Comment is unnecessary.
The Episcopal Church of the United States proposes a change of its constitution. It is proposed to district the United States into "Provinces," in each of which there shall be a legislative body competent to manage all of the affairs of the Province (as do the State Legislatures in civil affairs). It is proposed to have a more definite head and mouth than ever before for doctrinal utterances;--that all questions of doctrine shall be submitted to the House of Bishops, whose decisions shall be final. Furthermore, it is proposed to elect one of the bishops a chief, to be called Primus, and in position therefore to correspond to the Roman Pontiff.
This means that four thousand ministers and nearly half a million communicants shall, even more completely than at present, give up the liberty wherewith Christ proposed to make them free, and come completely under a yoke of bondage. It means probably much more. It is probably an outline or skeleton of the great Protestant Union, sure to come, clearly outlined in God's Word as an image or likeness to Papacy.
THE SOCIAL VIEW.
In Manitoba about one-fifth of the population is Catholic, and four-fifths Protestant. It had been the custom to divide the school funds of the State and let each sect have its own schools; but this was abandoned in 1890, and a free secular school system was introduced, similar to that in vogue in the United States. The Roman Catholics have since been fighting to get their share and have their separate schools. They appealed to the Canadian Parliament in the matter, and afterward to the Privy Council of Great Britain, and have been supported in their demands. But the people of Manitoba are so pleased with their present unsectarian schools that they threaten rebellion rather than abandon them.
A leading Manitoba paper says,--
"The restoration will never be made: Manitoba has too keen a sense of justice, too much regard for truth and equity....As a civilized people attempting to realize in a measure the ideals of the nineteenth century, Manitobans will not quietly submit to the preposterous demand that they should turn back the wheels of progress three hundred years."
Both France and Spain have been on the verge of Revolution during the past month. Indeed nothing is more evident than that discontent and revolt are the order of the day in matters religious, political, social and family. What little there is of national cohesion in Europe seems to be largely the result of fear of each other. Take away that fear, and disband the armies as has been proposed, and the result would surely be general revolution and anarchy within two years, probably within one year.
Thus we see the social "earth" ready for the great social conflagration predicted in God's Word--"the day that shall burn as an oven," in which "the proud and all that do wickedly [unjustly] shall be as stubble," the great "time of trouble such as was not since there was a nation." But not yet: the conflagration must not come, the winds of war must not seriously blow, until the servants of God have first been "sealed in their foreheads" (intellectually) with the truth. Then the great storm predicted for twenty-five centuries will come "as a whirlwind." But meantime men speak of the assured peace of Europe, while France finds that her army is inferior to that of Germany by over one hundred thousand men, and proceeds to increase her army as an assurance of peace; and Great Britain finds that her navy is insufficient to maintain her dignity as the mistress of the sea, and will increase her navy.
It seems a difficult matter for human brains to arrange laws which will protect the weaker elements of society from the mentally, physically and financially stronger elements without violating principles of justice and equality. For instance, the Illinois Legislature passed laws to prevent the employment of women in factories more than eight hours per day. The object was to benefit women by such restriction, and to do away with "the sweating system." But the Illinois Supreme Court has decided that the help cannot be constitutionally afforded in this manner; that such a law would be a restraint of a woman's rights to work as long as a man may work if she pleases,--a discrimination as between men and women the State constitution forbids.
It is a sad case: competition and necessities on the one hand are grinding the life out of fellow beings, yet when benevolent people would render help justice, which all are bound to respect, says, Holding that men and women are equal, no legislation for or against either sex can be allowed.
The U.S. Income Tax decision is somewhat similar. The tax is upon incomes above $4000 per year, under the general sentiment that those people who are by reason of superior ability or position so much more favorably situated than the masses should in justice pay a larger proportion of the expenses of government, etc.
The U.S. Supreme Court has been called upon to decide as to the constitutionality of the law. A portion of the Court holds that the law is entirely unconstitutional-- that no tax can be applied to one man that does not apply to another in equal proportion; that if, for instance, an Income Tax of two per cent be collected, it must apply proportionately to every man, whatever his income. The remainder of the Court upheld the law so far as it relates to profits or income not already taxed; but held that income from bonds and from real estate, having already paid taxes, cannot constitutionally be taxed again more than the real estate, bonds, etc., of others.
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In a word, the Constitutions, State and National, were designed to secure liberty and equality to all, male and female, rich and poor. If laws could be made to discriminate between males and females on one point, other laws might be made that would reduce one sex to slavery and make the other sex the masters. And if laws could be made to pinch the rich, the time might come when laws would be passed to pinch and enslave the poor. Hence these Constitutions were formed to prevent any partiality.
The fact is that mankind are not at all equal; and hence, all being free, the inferior either in strength or intellect, as well as the superior in heart and benevolence, are apt to suffer more or less from the intellectual and financial giants, and need a paternal government that will recognize the inequalities and protect without enslaving the inferiors. But where can such a government be found? Who can be trusted? The one and only hope before the groaning creation is that set before us in the words: "Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is done in heaven." Ah, yes! when that Millennial Kingdom comes, it will be indeed "the desire of all nations," although now they know it not.
The London Spectator, after telling of the ravages of Influenza during the past winter doubling the death rate, suggests that the world is resting in a fancied security as to safety from plagues such as have visited the world in the past,--for instance, "the black death," with which physicians could do little,--that such or worse may come again, and gives some reasons for fearing them. It mentioned a fever approaching Europe from Russia, and now says:--
"The disease which, when we wrote, had just crossed the German frontier, has now reached the low quarters of Berlin, causing many deaths and much suffering. It is a fierce fever which attacks the mouth, causing the loss of all teeth in a few hours, after which it kills, or departs leaving its victims toothless. Dr. Virchow believes it to be the 'foot-and-mouth disease of cattle,' probably transmitted to the human subject by diseased milk. It is, however, infectious, and moves Westward. We shall know more about it in a few days; but if it reached our shores, it would be a terrible addition to our stock of painful complaints,--and, we repeat, there is no reason, except our short experience of exemption, why it should not."
The Scriptures indicate that pestilences, as well as physical convulsions, will mingle with anarchy in making up the sum of the great trouble approaching, which will be a judgment from the Almighty to reduce the world to humility and submission, and make mankind ready to hear "Him that speaketh from heaven," whose voice shall thus "shake the earth [society], and also the heavens [ecclesiasticism]." --`Heb. 12:26-29`.
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PERFECT THROUGH SUFFERING.
"Who, in the days of his flesh, when he had offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared; though he were a Son, yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; and, being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him; called of God an high priest after the order of Melchisedec."--`Heb. 5:7-10`.
WE take up the examination of this scripture under the following five heads:--(1) In the days of his flesh; (2) What he feared, and from what he was saved; (3) He was a Son; (4) In what sense he was made perfect; and (5) To whom he is the author of eternal salvation.
These words of the Apostle give us an insight to the experiences of our dear Lord which help us to appreciate the load he bore for us in the days of his flesh. We notice particularly this expression--
"IN THE DAYS OF HIS FLESH,"
because there are some who claim that in our Lord's existence there can be no distinction between days when he was in the flesh, and days when he was no longer in the flesh; for, say they, his resurrection life is his humanity, his flesh, glorified. Others there are who claim that he had no existence prior to his human life. But the reverse of both these ideas is not only implied in this statement of the Apostle, but is also definitely expressed in other scriptures, e.g., "Forasmuch as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same;" he "was made flesh, and dwelt among us;" "Though he was rich, for our sakes he became poor." Then he said, "My flesh I will give for the life of the world." (See `Heb. 2:14`; `John 1:14`; `2 Cor. 8:9`; `John 6:51`.) Yes, his human body was the body of his humiliation, the "body prepared" for sacrifice (`Heb. 10:4,5`), and which was sacrificed; and which, being sacrificed, was never taken back: it was given as the price of our redemption. Therefore he no longer lives the life in the flesh, the human life, but, having sacrificed that, he is now highly exalted and ever liveth as our divine high priest. "Yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now, henceforth, know we him [so] no more."--`2 Cor. 5:16`.
His humiliation, therefore, was not an eternal humiliation, but was followed by a glorious exaltation, even to the divine nature and to the glorious body which belongs to that nature--"the express image of the Father's person" (`Heb. 1:3`), who dwelleth in light which no man can approach unto, but which Christ's faithful followers may one day see; for it is written that "we shall be like him, and see him as he is"--not as he was. For this he prayed while he was yet in the flesh, saying, "Father, I will that those whom thou hast given me shall be with me where I am, that they may behold my glory."--`John 17:24`.
And yet, though changed, our Lord is the very same
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Jesus; for, says the Apostle, "He that descended [into the grave] is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that he might fill all things." (`Eph. 4:10`.) The change of nature from the human to the divine no more destroyed his identity in this case than did his change from the spiritual to the human nature at his incarnation. Of himself he said after his resurrection, "I am he that liveth and was dead, and behold I am alive forevermore." --`Rev. 1:4,18`.
It is with grateful hearts that we accept the statements of Scripture that the Son of God was indeed made flesh; and we thank God also that his days in the flesh were numbered and few. With him, as with us, they were "few days and full of trouble." Especially after his consecration to the work of sacrifice, they were days of affliction, sorrow, disappointment and trouble, days that led him often to the throne of the heavenly grace to find help in time of need. It was our Lord's custom, therefore, often to seek the place of prayer after the busy days of service were ended. The mountains and the deserts were his closets, and not infrequently he spent the whole night in prayer.
It was from these seasons of secret communion with God that he drew spiritual strength, consolation and comfort. They were seasons of precious communion when he could open up his heart to the Father as to no one else; when he could tell him all his sorrows and burdens and fears; and when the Father manifested himself to him in tokens of loving approval and sustaining grace.
WHAT HE FEARED, AND FROM WHAT HE WAS SAVED.
What, says some one, in surprise, did our Lord have any fears? Yes, the above words of the Apostle indicate the great mental conflict through which the Lord passed on our behalf "in the days of his flesh." This conflict began in the temptations of the wilderness, immediately following his baptism, and reached its culminating point in the garden of Gethsemane, where, probably as never before, "he offered up prayers and supplications with strong crying and tears unto him that was able to save him from death, and was heard in that he feared."
That which the Lord feared was not that the love or the promises of God would fail. He knew that "without faith it is impossible to please God," that God is a covenant-keeping God, and that all his conduct and dealings are founded on the eternal principles of truth and righteousness, from which to vary in the least iota would be a moral impossibility. But he knew, too, that the plan of human salvation was all made dependent upon the obedience of the anointed high priest to every jot and tittle of the law concerning him, as shown in the typical service of the tabernacle.* Not only must the sacrifice be made, but it must be made and offered exactly as prescribed. If the typical high priest, Aaron, had at any time failed to conform to the directions given for the offering (See `Lev. 9:16`), if he had forgotten or ignored any part of the directions, or if he had substituted some feature of his own ideas, he would not have been allowed to sprinkle the blood of such imperfect sacrifice upon the mercy-seat; his offering would not have been accepted: he would have died, and could never have come out and blessed the people.--`Lev. 16:2,3`.
Thus we see that in undertaking the great work of redemption, the high priest not only bore in himself the issues of life and death for the whole human race, but for himself as well. Figuratively speaking, he took his own life also in his hands. No wonder, then, if, under the weight of his responsibility, the Lord feared. The tension of the great trials to which he was subjected was too great for even the perfect human nature unaided by divine grace. And therefore it was that he so often sought the place of prayer. Consider the great fight of afflictions through which he passed--the subtle and deceptive temptations in the wilderness,+ the contradictions of sinners against himself, and the base ingratitude of those he came to save: consider also his poverty, his loss of friends, his labors and weariness, and homelessness, his bitter and relentless persecutions, and finally his betrayal and dying agony. Surely the tests of endurance and of obedience to the exact requirements of the law of sacrifice under these circumstances were most crucial tests. What carefulness it wrought in the Lord; for he feared, lest the promise having been left him of entering into the rest that remaineth and the glory to follow the day of atonement, he should come short of the full requirements of his office as a priest to render acceptable sacrifice. So also, says the Apostle (`Heb. 4:1`), should we fear lest a promise being left us of entering into his rest, any of us should come short of it.
When the Lord came to the last night of his earthly life, then it was that the questions came to his mind with increased force, Have I thus far done everything in exact accordance with the will of God? and now, in full view of the agony it will cost, am I able to drink the bitter cup to its very dregs? Can I endure, not only the physical agony, but also the ignominy and shame and cruel mockings? and can I do it all so perfectly as to be entirely acceptable with God in my own righteousness? Can I endure to see my disciples scattered and dismayed and my life-work apparently destroyed, my name and the cause of God covered with infamy, and my enemies triumphant and boastful?
Such was our Lord's last conflict. Doubtless the powers of darkness were busy in that awful hour, taking advantage of the circumstances and of his weakness and weariness to discourage his hope and to fill his mind with fears that after all he should fail, or had failed to do the work acceptably, and that a resurrection therefore was by no means certain. No wonder that even the perfect human heart sank before such considerations, and that an agony of emotion brought great drops of bloody sweat. But did he yield to the discouragement and give up the struggle when
*See TABERNACLE SHADOWS, page 78.
+See our issue of Aug. 1, '94.
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the crucial test was thus upon him? No; he took these human fears to his Heavenly Father, "to him who was able to deliver him out of death," in order that his human will might be reinforced by divine grace to go forward and complete his sacrifice acceptably to God--to freely submit to be led away as a lamb to the slaughter, and, as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so to open not his mouth in self-defence.--`Isa. 53:7`.
And his prayers to the Father were not in vain: "he was heard in that he feared." Though his words were few
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because no words could express the emotions of his soul, his chastened spirit was all the while making intercession for him with groanings that could not be uttered. (`Rom. 8:26`.) And God sent an angel to comfort and minister unto him; to assure him still of the divine favor, and thus to give him fresh courage, strength of mind and steadiness of nerve to endure all that was before him, even unto death. With this assistance of divine grace our dear Lord went forward from that moment with undaunted courage to finish the work that was given him to do. Calmly he could come now and say to his beloved, but weary and bewildered, disciples, "Sleep on now, and take your rest." The bitterness of the mental conflict was now over, and the light of heaven shining into his soul had chased away the deep gloom that had hung over him like a funeral pall, making him exceeding sorrowful, even unto death. Yes, "he was heard in that he feared," the fear was all taken away, and, strong in the strength which God supplied, he felt that he was able to offer the acceptable sacrifice, to meet every jot and tittle of the requirement of the law in doing it, and hence that his salvation out of death, his resurrection, was sure.
This fear on the Lord's part was not a sinful fear: it was a fear such as we also who are striving to walk in his footsteps are told to have, lest we fail to realize the precious promises vouchsafed to us upon conditions that are positive and unalterable. (`Heb. 4:1`.) It was a fear begotten, not of doubt of the Father's ability and willingness to fulfil all his promises, but of a knowledge of the righteous principles which must in every case govern the Father's course of action, of the inflexible law which righteously affixed the reward of eternal life and glory to his fulfilling of his covenant of sacrifice, while at the same time he began to realize that of himself as a human being, though perfect, his heart and flesh would fail unless reinforced by divine grace. The Psalmist expressed this fear of the Lord, and the source from which his help came, when he said, "My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart and my portion forever." (`Psa. 73:26`.) It was a filial fear, a fear entirely compatible with his relationship to God as a recognized Son; for
THOUGH HE WERE A SON
yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered. His continual recognition by Jehovah as a Son was a guarantee of his perfection, and to sin at any time would have been to forfeit that relationship. On the same principle, we, the Church, are recognized as sons of God, because we have the righteousness of Christ imputed to us by faith.
And yet, though he was a recognized Son, and hence perfect, without sin, the Apostle speaks of him as being made perfect--as being perfected in some sense through a process of experience--of experience of humiliation and suffering. In what sense, then, we inquire, was he perfected? The answer is implied in the words of the text--"Yet learned he obedience by the things which he suffered; and, being made perfect [in this lesson], he became," etc. Although he was a recognized Son of God in whom the Father was always well pleased, and one who had never disappointed in the slightest degree the fondest hopes of that righteous Father; although he had always recognized the Father as the source of his being, and the fountain of all wisdom, goodness and grace, and as that superior Being to whom he owed the deepest gratitude for life and all its manifold blessings, in whom also dwelt all wisdom and honor and glory and power, and whose perfect will was therefore the supreme law, the expression of the most perfect righteousness and truth, the profoundest wisdom and the deepest love and grace; to whom, therefore, was due the most loyal and loving obedience at all times and under all circumstances; and although he was a Son who had always recognized and delighted to do the Father's will; yet he was not counted perfect in the sense of that established and demonstrated character which was the necessary requirement for the priestly office to which he was called. For this office he must be proved beyond all peradventure by the severest tests, and that before many witnesses, in order that all might know the strong foundation upon which they could build their hopes. It was for this purpose that his sense of loyalty was put to the severe test which it met in Gethsemane. Possibly even our Lord himself did not realize the strength of his righteous character until brought face to face with this last trial. There he was tried and proved to the uttermost, and under the fiery ordeal his character, always perfect to the full measure of its testing, gained by divine grace its glorious perfection of completeness.
Thus, through suffering, he learned obedience to the perfect will of God down to the lowest depths of self-abnegation; and God permitted it so to be, because such proving was necessary, both for the development and manifestation of that perfection of character which would be worthy of the high exaltation to which he was called.
It should ever be borne in mind that perfection of being and perfection of character are two different things. Perfection of being is the work of God, while perfection of character is the work of the intelligent creature, wrought out in obedience to divine law and under the divine direction and supervision. Adam was a perfect being, innocent, free and glorious in his pristine beauty; but in the work of character-building he soon failed, and hence lost his perfection. Character cannot be developed wholly without trial. It is like a plant: at first it is very tender; it needs an abundance of the sunshine of God's love; frequent
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watering with the showers of his grace; much cultivating through the applied knowledge of his character as a good foundation for faith and inspiration to obedience; and then, when thus developed under these favorable conditions, it is ready for the pruning hand of discipline, and is also able to endure some hardness. And, little by little, as strength of character is developed, the tests applied to it serve only to develop more strength, beauty and grace until it is finally fixed, developed, established, perfected--through suffering.
In the case of our Lord, this valuable plant of character, perfect in its infancy, maintained its perfection through all the tests applied to it, until it was finally made perfect in completeness, being established, strengthened, settled. This brings us to the last topic of our text, viz.,--
TO WHOM IS CHRIST THE AUTHOR OF ETERNAL SALVATION?
"And being made perfect, he became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey him; called of God an high priest after the order of Melchisedec."
There is much food for thought in this introductory phrase, "And being made perfect,"--and that, too, as previously shown, through the painful discipline of suffering. Being thus made perfect, he is now a suitable one to fill the office of a high priest, a mediator between God and men. This office, it is declared, he will fill on behalf of all men who obey him. The disobedient and wilful, who do not love the right ways of the Lord, and who have no desire to walk in them, will receive none of the benefit of his mediation; but to those who do obey him he will be "a merciful and faithful high priest;...for in that he himself hath suffered, being tempted, he is able to succor [to assist, comfort, relieve] them that are tempted.
Ah, that was why he was first made perfect through suffering. The heavenly Father knew through what suffering, ignominy, shame and sorrow his beloved followers all through the Gospel age must pass. His omniscient eye foresaw the fagot, the torch, the rack, and the thousand refinements of cruelty with which Satanic ingenuity would fight the Church on her journey through this wilderness to the promised land. He foreknew how the fiery darts of the wicked, even bitter words, would wound them (`Psa. 64:2,3`), and therefore "It became him [Jehovah]...to make the Captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings." (`Heb. 2:10`.) He was tempted in all points like as we are, yet without sin, so that we might know that we have a high priest who can be touched with the feeling of our infirmities, and so come boldly unto the throne of grace that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. (`Heb. 4:15,16`.) Ah, how carefully and wisely our heavenly Father foresaw and considered the interests of all his people! Through these glimpses of his character and dealings we can see how true were our Lord's words to his disciples, --"The Father himself loveth you."
But, aside from the process of perfecting for the office of priesthood,--through suffering,--there is the fact of the perfection of our High Priest, to be considered for our comfort, satisfaction and consolation. He is one who, though when surrounded by sin and tempted in all points to sin, yet "knew no sin; neither was guile found in his mouth." He was "holy, harmless, undefiled and separate from sinners," yet acquainted with our griefs and bearing our sorrows. Through bitter experiences he was perfected as our High Priest--to mediate for us (1), by presenting to God an acceptable sacrifice which made our salvation a legal possibility; (2), by undertaking to cleanse, purge and purify us until we also can stand approved of God and blameless --a glorious Church, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing.
The absolute perfection, both personal and official, of our great High Priest, and the fact that he was ordained of God for this office, is the strongest possible demand and incentive for the Church's obedience to him, just as the
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heavenly Father's perfection and office were the all-sufficient reasons to our Lord for his obedience to the Father. God has not set over us a novice, nor one actuated by selfishness, nor by any ignoble motive; but he has made us a great High Priest whose every command is wise and good and in love calculated to lead us on from grace to grace until we also, like him, shall be established, strengthened, settled.
The discipline through which he leads to this glorious end must of necessity be, in some measure at least, such as he himself experienced, a discipline of suffering. And since the Church is called, not only to perfection in righteousness, but also to share with Christ in the priestly office as members of his body, it is theirs also to follow him in the pathway of humiliation and sacrifice, even unto death. To obey him now, in this age, signifies all of this; for this is the will of God and the will of Christ, even our sanctification. --`1 Thes. 4:3`.
In submitting ourselves fully to this great High Priest, the Church has the fullest assurance of his love, of his perfect integrity of character and purpose, of his superior wisdom and grace, and that in all things he is actuated by the purest and loftiest principles of virtue, love and benevolence. Never once has he been swayed from the most exact line of perfection, though assailed by the fiercest temptations. Every exhibition and testimony of his character inspires the fullest confidence, so that obedience to him signifies progress toward perfection at every step of the way. And to those who follow in this way he is the author of eternal salvation. Praise God for such a High Priest!-- glorious in his perfection and glorious in his office, one touched with the feeling of our infirmities, but himself having no infirmities, no shortcomings, no sins. If he were an imperfect human being with only some superior qualifications, but liable like ourselves to err, to fail in judgment, or to be moved by selfishness or inferior considerations of policy, or who with a beam in his own eye would seek to extract the mote from ours, well might we fear to commit ourselves to his direction, and wonder why the Almighty gave us such a high priest. But our High Priest is not so. His
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perfection is testified by Jehovah himself, and his great love for us has been manifested in a thousand ways, chiefly in that he gave himself for us.
Previous to his incarnation the evidences of our Lord's loyalty to the will of God--which always was the law of righteousness--were the acts of delightful service in cooperation with God in the works of creation and in things pertaining thereto. The humbling to human conditions was a step down from that exalted service, yet cheerfully and gladly undertaken. Then followed the trials of his earthly life; and last of all came the severe test of Gethsemane and Calvary. Here was a test of his fidelity to God which would cost him all that he had. Beyond this he could hope for nothing, save by the mercy and love of God, to whose wisdom, love and power he commended his spirit. (`Luke 23:46`.) It was indeed a crucial test, and though at the time he evidently could not see the necessity for every feature of it (`Matt. 26:39,42,44`), he nevertheless knew that the love of God was too great to allow a needless pain to afflict his beloved Son, and therefore he trusted him where he could not at the time trace his inscrutable ways.
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PRIESTCRAFT OPPOSED TO LIBERTY.
SOME of the friends write us that their friends, ministers, etc., upon learning that it is the custom amongst us to celebrate the Memorial of our Lord's death, in little groups, or even alone when there are no others who appreciate and desire to commemorate it, have expressed astonishment, and pronounced such doings sacrilegious; --declaring that only the "clergy" have the right to administer to themselves or others the emblems of our Lord's broken body and shed blood.
We reply that the entire expression of our Master's will, and the only authority upon the subject, is found in the New Testament; and there we find no restriction, no limitation, except such as every true Christian can answer to,--faith in the precious blood of Christ, and consecration to the Redeemer's will and work.
The entire theory and arrangement marked by the terms "clergy" and "laity" is of Papal origin, and was arranged with the special object of binding and blinding God's children by taking from them the very liberty wherewith Christ made them free. Our Lord made no restriction as to who should serve it or give thanks for it, but intimated that all were to be ready to serve and in honor to prefer one another. His simple expressions were "eat ye all of it," and "drink ye all of it." Neither did the Apostles place any restrictions on the matter, nor say that when the clergy may please to prepare and bless and distribute, the laity may eat of the Lord's Supper. What restrictions did they place, if any? Like the Lord, they placed none, but advised that "a man examine HIMSELF" as to his worthiness to partake of the emblems. (`1 Cor. 11:28`.) It was not the "clergy" that were to examine and determine who might partake, but each one whom the Son had made free was to use his own freedom and examine himself before God and in the light of God's Word.
The Apostles knew nothing about "clergy" and "laity," and those words do not occur in the Holy Scriptures: they were a part of Papacy's invention for keeping the masses subject to the priests. The Apostle Peter, whom they falsely style the first pope, contradicts all such popish ideas by declaring that the entire Church, including the very humblest one united by faith to Christ the Head, constitute together God's Royal Priesthood, God's Holy Nation, God's Peculiar People.--`1 Pet. 2:9`.
As a part of the scheme of the Papal priesthood for their own exaltation as a special or "clerical" class, it was assumed, without the slightest warrant of Scripture, (1) that there was a special or "clerical" class; (2) that only such are authorized to teach, preach, baptize, bury the dead, read the Scriptures, or arrange for a celebration of the Lord's Supper. The evident design was to fasten with the cords of priestcraft and superstition the infant a few days old (for the baptism of believers was changed to sprinkling of infants), and to keep those tightly drawn until the last spark of consciousness expired; and then the theory of masses and prayers for the dead was not only to get money but also to teach that the priestly cords extended beyond the present life, beyond the grave, and that the eternal blessedness or misery of every being was at their disposal. Can we wonder that our ignorant priestridden fathers of the dark ages feared the priests and regarded them as beings of a different nature than themselves?
One of the strongest of these superstitious cords was the one associated with the Lord's Supper. This cord was doubled and twisted several times and made very strong and sacred, under the claim that literal bread and wine had to have a miracle performed upon them so as to change them into the actual body and blood of the Lord Jesus; for it was and is yet claimed by Papacy that in their Mass Christ is recreated by the priest, and then killed or sacrificed afresh
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each time the Mass is celebrated for those special persons or sins for whom the Mass is performed.
The doctrine of the Trinity added to the homage paid to the priesthood; for it was said, and with reason, that if the priest can create Christ out of bread and wine (by merely pronouncing a few Latin words over it), he must, if Christ be God the Father, be considered able to create the great Creator of the universe by virtue of special power and authority of office conferred upon him. No wonder the people, the "laity," worshipped the "clergy," and reverenced and obeyed them as though they were God.
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But the people were not thereby lifted up and blessed; for nothing but the Truth sanctifies, and the Truth makes free and is in opposition to bondage.
The Great Reformation of the sixteenth century made a wonderful and blessed change in many respects, not only with those who became Protestants against these enslavements of priestcraft, but also in that those still fully enslaved were thereafter less tightly bounden.
But even those who thought that they had gotten free had been only partially released. Some of the cords were snapped asunder at once, but others were replaced by smaller and less noticeable cords, which nevertheless are very strong upon Protestants. They still retained the words "clergy" and "laity;" and, although robbed of much of their power, those words still imply a wide gulf between two classes of sheep in the Great Shepherd's fold.
Hindrance to Bible study was a cord that was snapped promptly, but some Protestants still seek to restrain that liberty by implying that only the clergy are competent to explain the meaning of the Bible. The Protestant clergy still seek to give the inference that none but the "clergy" are commissioned to preach, but they rarely express themselves plainly upon the subject, knowing that the Bible recognizes no such special "rights" as they would wish the common people to infer. So, too, generally by inference and custom, they give the impression that baptism and burying of the dead belong to them. And while Protestants wholly reject the Papal doctrine of the Mass, and with it the thought that Christ is recreated by the officiating minister or priest, so as to be sacrificed afresh, yet they carry with them a portion of the shadow of the error. They have a feeling that in some way which they cannot explain, and for some reason not given in the Bible, it would be sacrilege for any one not of the "clergy" class to pass the emblems of the Redeemer's body and blood. Well, priestcraft is surely in danger wherever the Word of God is clearly understood; and ZION'S WATCH TOWER is published for no other purpose than to help God's benighted children out of the blindness and bondage put upon them by Satan, and to assist them into the light and liberty wherewith the Son makes free.
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JESUS BEFORE THE HIGH PRIEST.
--MAY 12, `MARK 14:53-64`;--`MATT. 26:47-75`; `LUKE 22:47-65`; `JOHN 18:2-27`.--
Golden Text--"He is despised and rejected of men."--`Isa. 53:3`.
`MARK 14:53`. Jesus was first led to Annas (`John 18:13`), who, although deposed by the Romans, was the rightful high priest according to the law, the office being for life, and he was probably so regarded by the Jews, who, therefore, sought counsel of him first. His son-in-law, Caiaphas (the same who had prophesied that it was expedient that one man should die for the people--`John 18:14`), was the acting high priest appointed by the Romans. Apparently, Annas agreed with the general sentiments of the rulers, and, after asking Jesus a few questions about his doctrine and his disciples, sent him bound to Caiaphas.-- `John 18:19-24`.
Since it was contrary to the Jewish law to hold a session of the Sanhedrin for the trial of capital offences by night, and this being the night of the paschal supper, making it still more objectionable, it is clear that this was an irregular meeting of this assembly of the nation's representatives, drawn together by common consent to participate in the crime of condemning their Messiah, Jehovah's Anointed. From it, however, were carefully excluded, evidently, a few such men as Joseph of Arimathea, Nicodemus (`John 19:38,39`; `7:50,51`) and probably a few others known to be favorably inclined toward the new teacher. They probably knew nothing of it.
`Verses 55-59`. What an astonishing fact is here stated: that the great men of the most favored nation on earth, --the learned men, the wise men, the rulers, the men of years and experience, the religious teachers--should thus deliberately, and of long premeditation, wickedly conspire against the purest and most noble character that had ever graced the earth. Not only had they frequently deputed emissaries to catch him in his words as he taught in public, but finally they had bribed an apostate disciple to betray him and a band of Roman soldiers to arrest him, although there was no charge against him. And then this august, learned and dignified assembly, having secured their hated prisoner, busied themselves to find some two witnesses whose testimony should agree together, according to the requirement of the law (`Deut. 19:15`), in order to his condemnation. They found many who willingly bore false witness against him, but none whose witness agreed together.
`Verses 60-62`. Failing in their effort to satisfy this requirement of the law, the high priest then endeavored to force Jesus to criminate himself, saying, "Answerest thou nothing? what is it which these witness against thee?" But he (wisely) held his peace and answered nothing, knowing that the truth was not desired and would avail nothing with these men who so warmly cherished murder in their hearts. And, further, he had no disposition to defend himself, knowing that his hour was come for the sacrifice of his life. But when further urged to express himself by the inquiry --"Art thou the Christ, the Son of the Blessed?"-- knowing that his reply would be like the signing of his death warrant, he deliberately answered, "I am," and added this prophecy--"And ye shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven."
This prophecy compassed the certainty of his death and resurrection, and pointed to his return in the end of the Gospel age in power and great glory--the power and glory of his Kingdom, which he had previously affirmed was not to be of this world, or dispensation, of which Satan is the prince (`John 14:30`), but of the world to come, wherein dwelleth righteousness.--`Heb. 2:5`; `2 Pet. 3:13`.
This frank and fearless acknowledgment of his divine origin and appointment as the long predicted Messiah, the Savior of Israel and the world, was taken as blasphemy, and the hypocritical high priest, whose very robes were symbolic of the blessed one who stood in their midst fulfilling to the letter the predictions of the prophets, rent his clothes in token of astonishment and horror at such blasphemy, saying, "What need we any further witnesses? Ye have heard the blasphemy: what think ye? And they all condemned
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him to be guilty of death"--the prescribed punishment for blasphemy.--`Lev. 24:16`; `Deut. 18:20`.
Thus fell the Jewish hierarchy into the ditch of unbelief and crime, and the masses of the people, who had shifted upon them their personal responsibility in the matter of receiving and rejecting Christ, considering first whether any of the Pharisees or of the rulers believed on him, fell with them, crying, "His blood be on us and on our children." Well hath the Psalmist said, "It is better to trust in the Lord [in the word of his truth] than to put confidence in man; it is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in princes." Let Christians of the present day heed this in this corresponding period of the Gospel age, when again the unfolding of truth in its due time is bringing the professed people of God to a crisis "which shall try every man's work [of faith], of what sort it is." If we lean upon human props, we shall surely fall; but the word of the Lord endureth forever.
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JESUS BEFORE PILATE.
--MAY 19, `MARK 15:1-15`;--`MATT. 27:1-30`; `LUKE 23:1-25`; `JOHN 18:28-40`; `19:1-16`.--
Golden Text--"But Jesus yet answered nothing, so that Pilate marvelled."
SINCE the informal meeting of the Sanhedrin described in the preceding lesson could not give a legal sentence before sunrise, this morning meeting and consultation were merely for the purpose of ratifying the conclusions then reached. They then delivered Jesus bound unto Pilate, the whole company escorting him thither to make sure that their purpose should be accomplished.--`Luke 23:1`.
`Verses 2-5`. The wicked shrewdness of the Sanhedrin, in preferring the charge of blasphemy, for its effect upon the people before whom they desired to appear very zealous for the law, while an entirely different, but equally false, set of charges was brought against him before Pilate, the Roman governor, who cared nothing for their religious ideas, is very manifest. The accusation brought before Pilate involved the charge of treason, a charge most likely to arouse the indignation and wrath of the Roman rulers. They accused him of seditious agitation, of prohibiting the payment
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of tribute money, and of assuming the title of King of the Jews, and thus apparently of conspiring against Caesar and the Roman government.
While the second charge was entirely false (`Matt. 22:21`), the other two had an appearance of truth, and to these were added numerous petty individual charges. But to none of them did the Lord make reply, so that Pilate marvelled that he made no effort at self-defence in the midst of such danger.
`Verses 6-14`. The several efforts of Pilate to release his innocent prisoner, who, he discovered, had been delivered to him for envy, were unavailing before the boisterous mob who, instigated by their rulers, loudly clamored for his death, and that by the most ignominious and cruel method, crucifixion, so that his memory should ever be covered with infamy.
`Verse 15`. Then Pilate, who was influenced more by considerations of policy than of principle, willing to satisfy the people, delivered Jesus to be scourged and crucified, yet at the same time protesting the innocence of his prisoner and washing his hands in token of his own innocence in thus delivering up to them this just person. Not until he himself was threatened by the mob to be reported to Caesar as one hostile to the government and a traitor to his trust in encouraging seditions and conspiracy against the government, did he relinquish his efforts to save Jesus.--`John 19:12-16`; `Matt. 27:24,25`.
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ENCOURAGING WORDS FROM FAITHFUL WORKERS.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--Sincerely desiring to render some assistance in the service of the truth revealed in the Divine Word, but realizing that there are now few opportunities open to me to engage in the present harvest work, I have concluded to furnish some means by which others better qualified may be enabled to carry forward that work. I own two 80-acre tracts of unimproved land in southern Illinois (Jefferson County). It is my wish that this land should be sold. Accordingly I have deeded these 160 acres of land to you, and desire that you sell them to the best possible advantage, and use the proceeds according to your best judgment in spreading the true gospel of a ransom for all, to be testified in due time, with a full opportunity for all to be blessed thereby with everlasting life by obedience to the terms of the New Covenant, sealed with the precious blood of Christ.
May the Lord graciously accept, use and bless my offering. Your Sister in Christ, CAROLINE BALDWIN.
[Sister Baldwin's gift to the Lord's cause is accepted and greatly appreciated. The land is for sale; and the proceeds will be used to the best of our judgment in the Lord's service. May the divine blessing rest upon both giver and gift.--EDITOR.]
DEAR BRETHREN:--About sixty brethren and sisters assembled here [Chicago] to commemorate the death of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Brother John and I spent a few minutes in trying to show the necessity of our Lord's death, as a man, for the redemption of the human race. You are well aware that a great deal is being said, to-day, about the example of Christ, but very little about his sacrifice. In fact, his sacrifice is being almost entirely ignored. Why is this? Is it not because we are living in the day when "a thousand shall fall at thy side, and ten thousand at thy right hand?" Is it not because the cross of Christ has become foolishness to the thousands, although it still remains "the power of God and the wisdom of God" unto them which are called? God forbid that we should in any way detract from or belittle the perfect example which our blessed Lord left us. His example was wonderful. Indeed, too much cannot be said about it. It will be well for us to consider Jesus in his perfect character and perfect example, and endeavor to become like him, following in his footsteps. For if we fail to do so, we will be sure to come short of the promised reward, which will be given simply to the overcomers. But while we are considering Christ's character and example,
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which were absolutely perfect, let us not forget that we were not redeemed by these.
The Word of God very plainly teaches that our Lord Jesus was (1) perfect in character; holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners (`Heb. 7:26`); that he was (2) perfect in his organism; for he kept God's perfect law, which would have been impossible without a perfect organism, was "crowned with glory and honor" of perfect manhood (`Heb. 2:9`) and was "without spot or blemish" (`1 Pet. 1:19`); that he was (3) perfect in his example, which we should endeavor to follow. (`1 Pet. 2:21`.) But the Word of God very plainly teaches, also, that while Christ's character, organism and example were all absolutely perfect; and without this perfection he would not have been acceptable to God as man's ransom or substitute in death; yet it required something else to redeem us. "The man Christ Jesus" must give himself "a ransom for all."
We were "redeemed [not with the example, but] with the precious blood of Christ, as of a Lamb without blemish and without spot (`1 Pet. 1:19`)--which was "shed for many [all] for the remission of sins." (`Matt. 26:28`.) "We have redemption [not through his example, but] through his blood." (`Col. 1:14`.) He has been set forth to be "a propitiation through faith [not in his example, but] in his blood."--See `Rom. 3:24-26`; `1 John 2:2`; `4:10`.
Thank God for "the blood of Jesus Christ, his Son," which "cleanseth us from all sin!" (`John 1:7`) for without the shedding of blood there could be no remission of sins.--`Heb. 9:22`; `Matt. 26:28`.
We tried to show how we "ate of the flesh of the son of man" and "drank his blood," and thereby passed from death unto life (justification); how we became part of the one loaf by consecration; and how, after having become part of the loaf, we are to be broken, "suffer with Christ," in order that we may "reign with him."
Your brother in Christ, M. L. McPHAIL.
DEAR BROTHER:--The congregations in Brooklyn, Yonkers and New York, including some from other near-by places, united for baptism service and the Lord's Supper. The baptism service was held at a Disciples church in the afternoon. After remarks by Brother Blunden, sixteen symbolized their consecration by immersion. In the evening, previous to the Memorial Service, Brother Martin explained portions of the Gospels, showing how our Savior spent himself unto death for us. Brother Blunden was requested to take the charge of the Memorial service, which he did, introducing the subject and explaining very briefly its meaning. There were at least two hundred and fifty present, and, with very few exceptions, all were in the race for the prize.
It was a grand, spiritual feast for us all. Not a jar nor an inharmonious spirit amongst us. All seemed to receive a blessing. Yours in the one faith, EDWIN C. MOTT.
DEAR BRO. RUSSELL:--At the request of the Church at Philadelphia, I met with them, after making arrangements with Bros. Gillis and Jackson to be with the little company at our house. At 2 P.M. we met to consider the subject of baptism, and at 4 P.M. we adjourned for this service to a small church building kindly put at our disposal. Four brethren and six sisters symbolized by water the burial of their wills into the will of their Redeemer and Lord.
Between forty and fifty participated in the Memorial service, which was preceded by a praise and testimony meeting. The testimonies, in which nearly all took part, showed how firmly every brother and sister was grounded on the true foundation, Christ Jesus.
The Church in Philadelphia is doing a good work. How wonderfully the truth is spreading! May every one of the saints see his opportunity (the time is getting short) to use our talents in the Harvest work. While we cannot all serve in the same way, every one of us can use the talents which he or she possesses. May we all be up and doing, and not sleep as others, but work while it is called to-day, for "the night cometh wherein no man can work." "Not every one that saith unto me, Lord! Lord! shall enter into the Kingdom of Heaven, but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven."
Your brother in our Redeemer, HENRY WEBER.
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DEAR BROTHER AND SISTER RUSSELL:--I am glad that a few of us are still striving to walk the narrow way and trust that another year will still find his work in our hands. The interest here is increasing.
We are very much interested in a little girl, not quite 13 years old, that I found in my canvass. When I called at her home, she met me at the door, and insisted on my coming in. She said, "I am very much interested in Bible study, and would like to talk to you." I found her to be very earnest and well versed in the Bible. Since then she has read DAWN nearly through, and accepts it as far as she can understand. She is such a happy Christian, and says she has nothing to live for only to do the Lord's will.
Yours in the Master's service, MRS. L. P. BEELER.
[The above, and other cases show the readiness with which a child's mind, unprejudiced by human philosophies, can grasp the truth. Let us not fail to let our light shine before the children, also.
Seeds sown in childhood, whether good or bad, take deep root and yield most profusely. It is a great mistake to suppose that spiritual development must wait until carnality has taken deep root, so that the remainder of life will be one of degradation or a fierce battle to overcome and root up what was sown in childhood.--EDITOR.]
DEAREST FRIENDS:--Please find enclosed the amount of our Good Hopes for the quarter.
We had a two days' visit from Bro. McPhail. He came first to my house, and we at once notified all we could find who we thought would be interested and had a meeting in the evening; and I am glad to be able to say that it was just grand, especially bringing to view the grandeur of the High Calling. The next day another meeting was held, with a goodly number, some of whom are new readers of DAWN. The Chart was explained, and in all a very interesting time was had; and a happy few were left here with new hopes and renewed vows and fresh strength to help in the struggle against the wiles of the Adversary.
For my part, I must say I never before saw more vividly than right now my duty to the truth and the necessity of living up to my consecration; and I earnestly pray that I may be able to lay aside every weight and the sins that so easily beset me and run with patience the race which is set before us. Truly it has been said by the Apostle that there is nothing in this world now, nor ever was, to be compared to the glory to which we are invited; and if we appreciate properly our privileges, there should be nothing allowed to stand in the way of our obtaining that to which we are called. In all I think Bro. McPhail's visit was beneficial. I felt better in his company than I have for a long time. It seemed to have a holy influence over me. We had a pleasant separation, wishing each other all the blessings that could attend us in our efforts to serve the Master.
Your brother in Christ, S. M. TAYLOR.