ZWT - 1915 - R5600 thru R5819 / R5758 (257) - September 1, 1915
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VOL. XXXVI SEPTEMBER 1 No. 17
A. D. 1915--A.M. 6043
Christian Duty and the War........................259
War's Demoralizing Influence..................259
Ministers as Recruiting Agents................260
The Ultimate Design of the Law of God.............261
Definition of "Good Conscience"...............262
Honesty Respecting Faith Essential............262
Full Deliverance Promised to God's Saints.........264
Human Works vs. Works of New Creature.............265
God's Part a Great Work.......................265
Elijah's Work Before Ascension....................266
Lesson Taught by the War......................266
Why God Permits War...........................266
"Yet Will I Rejoice in the Lord" (Poem)...........267
Obedience and Kingship............................268
Messiah's Kingdom Begun.......................268
Restitution Blessings in Kansas...............268
The Two Parts of the Harvest Work.................269
The Plowman Overtaking the Reaper.............269
Promote the World's Peace.........................270
WATCH TOWER BIBLE AND TRACT SOCIETY
CHARLES T. RUSSELL, PRESIDENT
"BROOKLYN TABERNACLE," 13-17 HICKS ST.,
BROOKLYN, N.Y., U.S.A.
Foreign Agencies:--British Branch: LONDON TABERNACLE, Lancaster Gate, London, W. German Branch: Unterdorner Str., 76, Barmen. Australasian Branch: Flinders Building, Flinders St., Melbourne. Please address the SOCIETY in every case.
ANNUAL SUBSCRIPTION PRICE, $1.00 (4s.) IN ADVANCE. SEND MONEY BY EXPRESS, BANK DRAFT, POSTAL ORDER, OR REGISTERED. FROM FOREIGN COUNTRIES BY FOREIGN MONEY ORDERS, ONLY.
Terms to the Lord's Poor as Follows:--All Bible Students who, by reason of old age, or other infirmity or adversity, are unable to pay for this Journal, will be supplied Free if they send a Postal Card each May stating their case and requesting its continuance. We are not only willing, but anxious, that all such be on our list continually and in touch with the STUDIES, etc.
ALSO FRENCH, GERMAN, SWEDISH AND DANISH EDITIONS. SAMPLE COPIES FREE.
ENTERED AS SECOND-CLASS MAIL MATTER AT BROOKLYN, N.Y., POSTOFFICE. ENTERED AS SECOND-CLASS MATTER AT THE POSTOFFICE DEPT., OTTAWA, CANADA.
I.B.S.A. CONVENTION, HERSHEY, PA., SEPT. 5-12
Hershey is described as a delightful, quiet place, exactly suitable for an I.B.S.A. Convention. It is a new little city, whose chief enterprise is the manufacture of the Hershey Chocolates, etc. The I.B.S.A. have been invited to have an eight-day Convention there and are promised every possible convenience for the comfort of the gathering. Board and lodging can be had at from One Dollar per day upward.
We are not expecting delegates from far-off places, but we believe Hershey will be a very convenient place for quite a good many residing in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland and Virginia. There will quite probably be a thousand in attendance. Those who can afford it should count on $1.50 a day for expenses, besides railway fare, although, as stated, $1.00 would be a possibility.
Railroad Rates.--All roads in the Trunk Line Assn. (Middle Atlantic States) have granted a special rate of 2c per mile, in each direction; tickets on sale Sept. 3 to 5, with final return limit Sept. 15. Where ten or more travel together, a still greater saving may possibly be effected by the purchase of a common ticket on the theatrical plan. Confer with your local agent, mentioning I.B.S.A. Convention.
Those desiring to attend will please advise the Convention Committee, 13 Hicks Street, Brooklyn, N.Y., at once.
PASTOR RUSSELL'S SERMONS IN SPANISH
Sermons in Spanish will appear in La Prensa of Los Angeles, Cal., weekly. A clubbing rate of $2 per year has been arranged for, through H. A. Varro, 755 S. Flower St., Los Angeles, Cal.
CURE FOR PYORRHEA DISCOVERED
Doctors and dentists are elated over the discovery of a cure for pyorrhea. This disease affects the teeth, gradually producing slight inflammation and pus. Since learning what pyorrhea is and how to cure it, doctors declare that it has been responsible for many other diseases--indigestion, bowel trouble, etc.
The medicine is Ipecac. Expert dentists and physicians inject the Ipecac at the roots of the affected teeth--sometimes hypodermically into the veins. For those who cannot have the service of a competent dentist we recommend tincture of Ipecac, to be used twice a day on the gums, letting it soak to the roots of the teeth. Also we recommend that Ipecac be taken internally, one drop of the tincture in a little water for a dose.
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THE GENERAL WORK NOT INTERRUPTED
A notice in THE WATCH TOWER to the effect that a goodly number of the friends had left Bethel has been misunderstood. Those who left are quite competent to earn their own living, and more. They left Bethel in as good financial condition as they came to it, because all expenses were met while here.
The general work is not interrupted, but proceeds as usual. Only the Drama Department and the Newspaper Department were particularly affected by the curtailment of expenses. The pilgrim work progresses as usual; also the Colporteur Work and the Tract Distribution. In the latter case, however, we are making one change; we prepay postage or express or freight charges only on regular volunteer matter and on small sample parcels of mail. We have learned with regret that some who have ordered free literature have not been careful of their stewardship, but have allowed the literature to lie idle, unused. If now they pay the express charges, it will make them more careful not to order more than they will use. In the case of volunteer matter supplied to classes, it is our understanding that the Class Secretary takes responsibility. Free literature for the announcement of Pilgrim visits will be classed in with the regular volunteer matter to be sent express prepaid.
BETHEL HYMNS FOR OCTOBER
After the close of the hymn the Bethel family listens to the reading of "My Vow Unto the Lord," then joins in prayer. At the breakfast table the MANNA text is considered. Hymns for October follow: (1) 149; (2) 282; (3) 114; (4) 105; (5) 22; (6) 273; (7) 112; (8) 160; (9) 261; (10) 166; (11) 128; (12) 313; (13) 50; (14) 325; (15) 104; (16) 279; (17) Vow; (18) 145; (19) 199; (20) 245; (21) 130; (22) 168; (23) 267; (24) 235; (25) 222; (26) 305; (27) 303; (28) 19; (29) 324; (30) 283; (31) 119.
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CHRISTIAN DUTY AND THE WAR
AS THE war progresses a bitter, partisan spirit spreads. The people of each of the warring nations are convinced that right is on their side, and that everything to the contrary is wrong. The sense of justice seems more and more to go blind. Any attempt to consider matters justly, equitably, is resented as disloyalty, stupidity, etc. The best elements of the natural man seem to be paralyzing under the influence of the war. Germany and her allies claim that they have maintained the world's peace for thirty years, during all of which time their jealous neighbors, noting their prosperity, have sought to hinder it and have awaited only a favorable moment for attempting their destruction. To them their commercial progress and attempt to build a navy proportionate to their population have aroused the jealousy of their neighbors already entrenched commercially on the sea.
They claim that Belgium was not neutral, but conniving with their enemies, and that, any way, the passing of German armies through Belgium was a military necessity. Similarly they claim that the protection of their national life against the European combination makes necessary their submarine warfare and blockade and other things which they do not prefer. They claim, too, that necessity knows no law, that this is the hour of their necessity, and that the object of war is success--to be obtained as honorably as possible, but to be obtained.
Britain and her allies take the contrary view. They declare that for forty years they have noted the progress of the Germans and considered it a menace to their rights. Accordingly, the French maintained an army of equal size with Germany; Russia, an army of double the size; while Great Britain has striven to have a navy stronger than that of all the remaining nations of the world. If Germany be not crushed now, her spirit of progress will ultimately put her at the head of the nations, commercially and financially. This would mean that all the other nations would be less powerful proportionately. They see in this a terrible nightmare of militarism. Germany must be crushed at any cost, not only for the sake of the present, but also for the sake of future generations.
The Bible declares, "God is not in all their thoughts." (`Psalm 10:4`.) Although all the nations of the Continent, except the Turks, style themselves Christian nations, not one of them manifests any faith in God. They all feel that the entire responsibility, both for the present and for the future, rests altogether upon themselves.
"FEAR HATH SURPRISED THE HYPOCRITES"
Convinced of having a Divine commission and with sundry forms of godliness, but without any of its power or faith, many of these nations are only now awakening to the fact that this war is not like other wars--that God has let loose the winds, is no longer restraining them. The time has come for Him to allow the angry passions of men to bring the whirlwind of trouble, which shortly will lead on to revolution and then to anarchy, and will thus prepare the way of the Lord and His Kingdom.
What a sad spectacle the war presents--twenty millions of soldiers engaged, at a cost of over forty million dollars per day for their maintenance! Twelve millions of men in the prime of life have already been wounded, captured or killed. The consumption of ammunition is astounding. One of the British ministers recently declared that in one battle in Belgium the British forces used more ammunition than in the entire Boer War!
National debts were already enormous, and British consols (bonds) were selling at twenty-five per cent. less than their face value before this war began. Can any rational person suppose that the debts of the warring nations represented by their bonds will ever be paid? And when the people shall realize the meaning of all this and of the crash of financial institutions which this will involve, the discovery will be terrible. The only logical result to be expected of the discouraged people will be as the Bible predicts--so great an earthquake as was not since man was on the earth--social earthquake, revolution, gigantic in its character.--`Rev. 16:18`.
WAR'S DEMORALIZING INFLUENCE
Professed ministers of Christ of various denominations seem to be vying with each other in leaving the Great Captain of our Salvation and His standard of peace and love in order to associate themselves more and more with militarism. Appealed to by the representatives of the Government, these professed representatives of the Prince of Peace are making themselves popular with their governments by preaching war. We hear only a little from Great Britain along these lines, but the suggestion of the Bishop of London is quite sufficient on this point. His suggestion urges boys and girls to marry early and to raise large families, presumably for mortal combat--not to be soldiers of the Cross of Christ and followers of the Lamb, but soldiers of the Cross of St. George which marks the British flag.
Recently in Canada the Editor was astounded by the activity of the preachers there--especially those of the Church of England. One was out in Khaki uniform
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marching through the streets with the volunteers. Asked by a college friend, "Did I see you in the ranks?" he answered, "Yes; I wanted to encourage the boys." "And did you think of going to the front, to the trenches?" "Not a bit of it!" He was merely acting as a decoy to get others to the front; just as a bull they have at one of the Chicago stockyards which meets the animals about to be slaughtered and, tossing his head in the air, becomes their leader up the gangway leading to the slaughter. There he knows his little niche, into which he glides and is sheltered; while the others drive and press one another forward to the slaughter. But it is in the pulpit that the minister has his opportunity to address the mothers--"Why not have your boy go to the front?"
MINISTERS AS RECRUITING AGENTS
To give the matter a religious coloring, some of these ministers have taken texts from the Bible, which certainly have no application whatever to the subject in hand. The text of one in preaching about the valor of the Canadians who lost their lives in war was, "Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from henceforth." (`Revelation 14:13`.) The text of another, intended to encourage enlistment, etc., was, "These are they that follow the Lamb whithersoever He goeth."--`Rev. 14:4`.
What a terrible perversion! And for what a purpose! To inflame the passions of humanity, to deceive people, to get them to do the very thing which Christ has directed shall not be done. Such ministers may gain favor and influence with their earthly king and his ministers and representatives in the government, but how will they stand with the other King, whose Empire is to be inaugurated with the great Battle of Armageddon, to which this present war is leading? We tremble to think of their responsibility, if they know what they are doing.
It is quite possible that they do not realize the true situation. Ninety-five per cent., probably, of all the educated ministers in all the great cities have confessed for years that they do not believe the Bible. Indirectly they have admitted that they merely use it as a book from which to select texts because the common people have a sort of superstitious respect for it. They have gotten so in the habit of selecting texts without any reference to the contexts--so in the habit of deceiving themselves and their trusting flocks--that they probably do not realize what they are doing and how they are misrepresenting the Word of God. We know that the Lord's judgment in all cases will be just; we defer to it.
The ministers of Toronto, to show their patriotism and their confidence that the war is of God, that all the holy angels are applauding the recruits and that they will all go to Heaven at death, etc., etc., we suppose, have raised a purse of money for the purchase of a Gatling gun, to be carried across the seas and used to kill German Christians--in whose Christianity they have no confidence and evidently believe that God has none. The viewpoint of Bible students is that the fact that both British and Germans claim ninety-five per cent. of their population to be Christians is no proof that they are such really. Hence the Toronto preachers, in purchasing the Gatling gun to kill Christians, are quite right, probably, in supposing that they will not be killing real Christians, just as Bible students feel doubts that all Toronto ministers are Christians, in the true sense of the word.
THE CHRISTIAN'S PROPER ATTITUDE
Meanwhile, where do the true followers of Christ stand, and what is their duty? Bible students more and more are awakening to a realization of what the present war is, and are conscientiously inquiring respecting their own responsibility. Some have inquired in respect to the situation in connection with the manufacture of war ammunition. Our advice to them has been to avoid engaging in such work as this, except as the money would be absolutely necessary to provide food and shelter for their families and themselves. And then, taking such a situation merely as a matter of necessity, we recommend that it be vacated as speedily as something else can be found, no matter how poor the pay, if it will provide life's necessities.
We are not unaware that this is a far-reaching subject, and that many would class us as narrow in the giving of such advice. Some would tell us that we carry this matter to an extreme; that on the same principle an employee of a railroad or steamboat should avoid loading such war munitions, the bill-clerk object to his part of the matter, the stenographer to his, etc. We would say that so far as reasonably possible we should avoid having anything to do with these implements of destruction, but if compelled from necessity, should hold our situation only until one for a better cause could be obtained.
In SCRIPTURE STUDIES, Vol. VI., we have set forth a suggestion that the followers of Christ seek by every proper means to avoid participation in war. We there suggested the possibility, but that in the event of conscription the Lord's followers should use all their influence toward obtaining positions in the Hospital Corps or in the Provision Department of the Army, rather than in the actual warfare. We suggested further that if it were impossible to avoid going into the trenches, it would still not be necessary to violate the Divine requirement, "Thou shalt do no murder."
We have been wondering since if the course we have suggested is the best one. We wonder if such a course would not mean compromise. We reflect that to become a member of the army and to put on the military uniform implies the duties and obligations of a soldier as recognized and accepted. A protest made to an officer would be insignificant--the public in general would not know of it. Would not the Christian be really out of his place under such conditions?
"But," some one replies, "if one were to refuse the uniform and the military service he would be shot."
We reply that if the presentation were properly made there might be some kind of exoneration; but if not, would it be any worse to be shot because of loyalty to the Prince of Peace and refusal to disobey His order than to be shot while under the banner of these earthly kings and apparently giving them support and, in appearance at least, compromising the teachings of our Heavenly King? Of the two deaths we would prefer the former-- prefer to die because of faithfulness to our Heavenly King. Certainly the one dying for his loyalty to the principles of the Lord's teachings would accomplish far more by his death than would the one dying in the trenches. We cannot tell how great the influence would be for peace, for righteousness, for God, if a few hundred of the Lord's faithful were to follow the course of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, and refuse to bow down to the god of war. Like those noble men they might say, "Our God is able to deliver us, if He chooses so to do; but if He does not choose to deliver us, that will not alter our course. We will serve Him and follow His direction, come what may."
Those Hebrews of the past cast into the fiery furnace because of their faithfulness to God, but afterwards delivered, are a noble example. Indeed, the millions of soldiers enduring terrible privations through loyalty to
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earthly kings during the present great war are wonderful examples and illustrations. May not the soldiers of Christ well say to themselves, "If the Ancient Worthies knew God only partially, yet were so faithful to Him, and if these earthly soldiers are so faithful to earthly kings, what manner of persons ought we to be who have come into the family of God by the Spirit of begetting, who have entered the School of Christ, who are being guided and led by the Captain of our Salvation, and who have His exceeding great and precious promises in respect to our eternal future! How should we stand for Him and for His teachings? Could we lay down our lives in a better way than by faithfulness to the King of kings and Lord of lords, our Redeemer and Head?"
We are not urging this course. We are merely suggesting it. The responsibility fully belongs with each individual. We are discharging our responsibility toward many Bible students who are inquiring of us respecting the mind of the Lord on this subject. We gave them our best thoughts previously, but now fear that we were too conservative. We always advocate conservatism, in the sense of not rushing into difficulties simply because they are difficulties and would mean trouble. But we do advocate that, while seeking to avoid trouble and to live peaceably with all men, where duty calls, or danger, we should not be wanting there.
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THE ULTIMATE DESIGN OF THE LAW OF GOD
"The end of the commandment is love out of a pure heart, and a good conscience and an undissembled faith." --`1 Timothy 1:5`.
WE HAVE in the above text the summing up of the Divine Law in the word "commandment." As a matter of fact, there are various commandments, all of which were in a general way represented in the Decalogue. Our Lord divided these commandments into two parts, declaring that these two parts were a synoptical statement of the entire Law of God. A law is a commandment, imposed by rightful authority--a rule of conduct which we are bound to obey. The children of Israel did not appreciate the commandments given in the Law. To them it consisted of merely so many statements of what they should do and what they should not do--no more. They did not get the proper scope of the matter. Even the Christian Church has largely failed to get a comprehensive view of the Divine Law.
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We are not to think of the Law as imperfect, for God, being perfect, could not give an imperfect law. God's Law, or commandment, then, is perfect. Speaking of the Law the Apostle Paul writes, "The Law is holy, and the commandment holy, and just and good." (`Romans 7:12`.) The reason why the Israelites could not keep the Law was not that the Law was imperfect, but that they were sold under sin, as the Apostle declares. (`V. 14`.) We recognize the Law as being the standard of perfection. Our Lord, when He came, "magnified the Law and made it honorable." He showed how grand and far-reaching the Law is when fully comprehended.
It is impossible for any of the fallen race to live up to the requirements of God's perfect Law, because of the imperfections and weaknesses of the flesh. In the case of the Church, this impossibility is removed by Christ. "The righteousness of the Law is fulfilled in us," because God has made this arrangement for us, that the merit of Christ shall cover our imperfections and shortcomings. This enables us to live in full harmony with this Law; for we can keep it in spirit, though not fully in letter, and the blood of Jesus makes up for all the rest--our unwilling imperfections.
PURE, UNSELFISH LOVE
The Apostle speaks here of "the end of the commandment." The expression seems somewhat obscure. The thought seems to be this: the ultimate purpose of the Law, that which it is designed to produce, is love--to bring us to the place where we shall be in full harmony with the One who made the Law, and who is Himself the embodiment of Love. This will be the final result of God's Law to all who receive it. He wishes that those who are perfect shall remain perfect, and that those who are imperfect shall see the proper standard for all Jehovah's creatures to be a just standard, a loving standard; that God is to be obeyed, not from compulsion, but from love for Him and for the principles of righteousness. It is His ultimate purpose that all His intelligent creatures who will be granted eternal life must be perfect, in full harmony with their Creator.
The Apostle proceeds to point out that this love required by God's Law must be of a certain quality. We can understand the love of a parent for a child, the love of a person for an animal--quite proper if not carried to an extreme. There might be more or less selfishness in such love. A person might love a dog because it was his dog, or love his child because it was his child. This love, therefore, would have a selfish feature and would not be the disinterested kind, the benevolent kind, not the highest form of love. The love that would fulfil all the requirements of God's Law would be "love out of a pure heart."
Love can be entertained in a heart not altogether pure. There can be a mixture of love and selfishness, and this is very generally the case with fallen humanity. Even as Christians our love may be only partly pure at first, but gradually the spirit of the commandment, received into our heart, should purge out the selfishness. Godlike love would mean love for God's Truth, love for His holy Law, love for His creatures. It is an unselfish love, as is the love of God. God has nothing to gain by all He is doing for the Church or purposes to do for the world. He does it out of a pure heart, out of a good, benevolent, loving heart--not to see what He can get out of it.
A pure heart is one which has no selfishness in its motives; it has a desire to do good to all, to do evil to none, to see others blessed as well as itself; to love and serve God perfectly, with all its powers. Our Lord commended this condition of heart, saying, "Blessed are the pure in heart; for they shall see God." It is very evident, then, that such a pure-hearted person is not merely one who starts out in the Christian life with a good intention. All who start in the Christian life do so with a good intention; but they must be instructed and educated. They must develop to perfection this purity of heart. Hence the experiences of the Christian are for the very purpose of bringing his heart into this condition of pure, unselfish love.
At the beginning of the Christian way our hearts are pure in the sense of being sincere, truthful. We mean what we say, what we profess. We are not merely drawing near to God with our lips and not with our hearts. But
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love out of a pure heart, this purity of love referred to in our text, is attained by the putting off more and more of the things of selfishness and the putting on more fully of the Lord's Spirit. The Apostle is addressing these words to Christians, implying that they have some of these things to put off after they have become Christians. "Put off all these--anger, malice, envy, hatred, strife," works of the flesh and of the Devil. These things more or less attach to you. And put on all these--meekness, self-control, patience, faith, long-suffering, gentleness, brotherly-kindness, love. As we do these things, our hearts will be in the attitude the Apostle mentions. We shall have attained that which God purposes, designs; namely, "love out of a pure heart."
DEFINITION OF "GOOD CONSCIENCE"
The Apostle proceeds to say, "and a good conscience." Conscience seems to be that moral quality of the mind which admonishes in regard to right and wrong. Some persons have a keen conscience and can quickly discern as to what is right and what is wrong. Others have a very dull conscience and find it difficult to determine between right and wrong, or else are measurably indifferent as to the moral quality of their course. While God created man with a good conscience, ability to determine accurately what is right and what is wrong, sin has depraved this conscience. Hence it is the duty of every Christian to get his conscience made right, to educate his conscience to discern correctly. God lays down the principles of righteousness in His Word. It is through the Law of God that the Christian is able to discern these principles, to see what is right or wrong in principle.
The Golden Rule admonishes us, Do unto your neighbor as you would have him do unto you under similar circumstances. Consider what you would like to have your neighbor do unto you under certain circumstances and conditions, and thus help conscience to see what is the right thing to do. There are many things which are morally wrong, which are forbidden in the Law of God. These would be more readily discerned by the conscience, as there could be but one course of action possible in harmony with the expressed will of God on the matter. But there are other things which require a conscience trained to fine discernment. The Golden Rule is especially helpful here. As the principles of righteousness become firmly established in our characters, there is little difficulty in discerning the course of duty and of love.
One whose conscience has not been properly trained by the Word of God might be entirely honest and yet be pursuing a wrong course. A man might follow a certain course for years; he might have been doing so with all good conscience, that is, in all sincerity. Perhaps long after he has become a Christian he would come to see that something he had been practising was not wise or proper. He would say, "I see now that I have been taking a wrong view of this matter. Hereafter I shall be better able to see my proper course under such circumstances. I realize that the principle of justice needs to be thoroughly ingrained in my being in order that I may be more pleasing to God. Christian love goes beyond justice, but justice must come first." A properly developed Christian has a properly educated conscience.
A "good conscience," as used in our text, is a rightly educated conscience. It is not one which is always accusing its owner, making him feel that he is always doing wrong. There are morbid consciences which are constantly accusing, not able to get a proper balance. A truly good conscience is one which is well balanced. One may have a scale, for instance, that is perverted either one way or the other. A scale which is rightly adjusted will stand level. It is reliable. And so with a good conscience--it is one which can determine the slightest deviation from God's Law.
HONESTY RESPECTING FAITH ESSENTIAL
Lastly, St. Paul adds, "and an undissembled faith." An undissembled faith is a faith that is properly represented to others. It is not deceitful. To dissemble is to misrepresent. We are to have a faith which is not misrepresented, which is undissembled, as the Apostle says. We as Christians have a certain standard set before us in the Lord's Word. We are to go beyond the Law. We are under a still higher Law--the Law of sacrificial Love. Our faith takes hold of things not seen as yet, that portion of the Lord's arrangement for us which goes beyond what is now visible to us with the natural eye. Whatever the Lord has revealed to us that our faith has been able to accept as His will, must be held honestly and loyally. We must be honest with respect to our faith and in respect to our life.
There are many who may have a good conception of justice and who may be fine people in many ways, and yet they might dissemble as regards their faith. They might think more or less that the end justifies the means, and that they might profess something in regard to their faith which would be for the good of someone else, even though it would not be true. There are people all over the world who thus dissemble in respect to their faith. They misrepresent their faith. They do not believe what they are teaching or what they profess to believe.
Many are teaching eternal torment. If you ask them as to their belief on this subject, they will say, "I do not believe that doctrine, but it seems necessary to
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preach it." Others are teaching Higher Criticism, Evolution, New Thought, etc.,--deceiving and being deceived --yet still claiming to be Christians. All such people are in a wrong condition. Unless they speedily correct this they will not be fit for the Kingdom; for the purpose of the Law, Love, is to be fulfilled in those who will be accepted for that high and honorable station. This love requires, first of all, supreme loyalty to God, which means loyalty to His Word. What is the use of having an end of the Law, an ultimate object of the Law, if that end, that object, is never to be attained? Christ met this end, or object, of the Law. The righteousness of the Law was fulfilled in Him actually. The true Church now reach this in spirit. That is to say, their hearts, their minds, are in harmony with this Law; and they are striving day by day to more and more bring their lives--their words, thoughts and actions--into full accord with this perfect Law of Love.
THE LAW OF THE NEW CREATION
The Scriptures everywhere represent that in God's estimation love is the principal thing. Neither justice nor other qualities, other virtues, are ignored; but this quality is placed at the very top of the list of Christian graces. From the list which the Apostle Paul gives of the fruits of the Holy Spirit, we see that at the head he places love, then come joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, self-restraint. (`Galatians 5:22,23`.) The Apostle Peter gives the list of fruits of the Spirit as cumulative--as a process of addition, leading up to the sum of all the graces. He begins with faith, the foundation. Then are to be diligently added, fortitude, knowledge, self-restraint, patience,
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brotherly love, then the broad love which includes all the world, even our enemies.
We are to remember, however, that love is not something which is instantly developed. It grows. Therefore those who have some love today, something of this Holy Spirit, may have more of it tomorrow, still more of it in a year; for it is a matter of development. Since God Himself is love, the implanting of the Divine likeness in humanity six thousand years ago when Father Adam was created signifies that God gave man the quality of love. Even in man's fallen condition we see this manifested more or less on every hand--natural love. This in many cases has become considerably perverted into self-love. But there are some very noble people who have a considerable degree of love naturally, who have much of original Godlikeness still remaining. They have much less to overcome in this direction than those who are more selfish. All the elements of sin seem to be more or less connected with selfishness--thus warring against the best interests of the individual.
The love which the Bible commends to us as New Creatures is the love which had its start in our spirit-begetting. Whoever has been begotten of the Spirit of God has some of this pure, unselfish love of which St. Paul speaks. In proportion as one grows as a New Creature, he grows in love--so that he may gradually be filled, his capacity for love increasing in proportion to his growth. At the beginning of our Christian experience, we merely have a beginning of love, as it were. This is to spread and fill our whole system. This love of God will make us more loving, kind, gentle, toward our friends, toward everybody, even toward animals.
But the Scriptures draw attention to the fact that as the love of God develops in us it will have a special interest in the brethren--those who have received the same Spirit. Therefore, wherever the Spirit of God is it will have a sympathetic flow toward others of the same spirit. Whoever has the Spirit of God at all will be sure to love his brethren, because he will see the mind of God in them; and this love will increase as he develops and as he sees development in the brethren.
All the brethren in Christ, however, have imperfect bodies, and therefore can give but imperfect expression to the spirit of love. And since the brethren are brought closer together through their common hopes and ambitions, they are likely to become more of a trial to each other than are the world. They are tempted sometimes to say to a brother or a sister, "Well, you do not show much of the spirit of love!" Thus the spirit of criticism is aroused, and love is put to the test. In proportion as we grow in love, this spirit of love will be ours and we shall take a kindlier view of the frailties of the brethren. Our daily experiences should teach us more and more of our own shortcomings. The discovery of our own faults and the battling with them should humble us. Whoever realizes his own shortcomings should extend the feeling of sympathy toward his fellow pilgrims in the Heavenly way, who are fighting similar battles. Unless we do so we shall not be pleasing to our God.
The fact that the brethren have this Spirit of God and are seeking to develop love, however much they may come short of their own ideals and of our ideals for them, demands that we love them. Our sympathy for them must broaden and deepen so that if we see them overtaken in a fault we shall seek to restore them in love, remembering ourselves, lest we also be tempted. As to the depth of love we should manifest, it is clearly laid down in the Scriptures. We should love the brethren as Christ loved us. This is very broad. Christ loved us to the extent that He was willing to lay down His life for us. We should be full of love, sympathy, for our brethren in Christ, desiring to be helpful to them. Whatever we do for them is a manifestation of our love for the Lord.
The Lord has arranged that our love for the brethren and our laying down our lives for them and in their defense is all done to Him; and He so esteems it. If the time should come when it would be necessary, there should be a readiness to lay down our lives for them. But more particularly, we are to lay these down inch by inch in their service, whether it be by cleaning off the snow from the pavement, or caring for them when they are ill, or cooking the dinner or the breakfast, or mailing papers to them to encourage them in the good way--no matter what the service. All these ways and many others are ministries to those who are the Lord's-- laying down our lives for them. We rejoice to have such privileges, such opportunities--using our time and strength as the Lord in His providence shall indicate, realizing that the only use we have for our present life is to lay it down in the service of the Lord's brethren and ours, and to do good to any as we have opportunity, giving the brethren the preference.
We may never attain to the place, while we are in the flesh, where we shall say no word, do no act, to hurt a brother. We all have imperfections that we are striving against. But "The Lord looketh upon the heart," and not at the imperfect execution. If He sees the earnest endeavor to do His will, He will cover the deficiencies and imperfections with the merit of our Savior. If we make a mistake, we are to be glad to rectify it and to make proper apologies and reparation--assuring the brother that we did not mean to hurt his feelings. Or, if under temptation we felt less concern than we should about wounding him, we should ask pardon, confessing our sorrow, and then confess our fault at the Throne of Grace, asking forgiveness in Jesus' name.
If, then, we hope to be of those who will be granted a place with Christ in His Throne, let us see to it that by His grace we attain the end of the commandment, the end of the Law, as given to the New Creation. Let it be "love out of a pure heart, and a good conscience, and an undissembled faith"--a love which inspires to the willing, joyful sacrifice of every earthly hope and ambition, and which gladly lays down even life itself for the brethren, that we may be accounted worthy of the heavenly inheritance awaiting the "more than conquerors." --`Romans 8:37`.
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"Love is the filling from one's own
Love is a daily laying down
And taking up;
A choosing of the stony path
Through each new day
That other feet may tread with ease
A smoother way.
Love is not blind, but looks abroad
Through other eyes;
And asks not, "Must I give?" but, "May
Love hides its grief, that other hearts
And lips may sing;
And burdened, walks, that other lives
May, buoyant, wing.
Brother, hast thou a love like this
Within thy soul?
'Twill change thy name to saint when thou
Dost reach this goal."
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FULL DELIVERANCE PROMISED TO GOD'S SAINTS
"He shall call upon Me and I will answer him; I will be with him in trouble; I will deliver him and honor him."-- `Psalm 91:15`.
WHEN considering the above text, we are naturally interested to know who or what class would be thus favored of God and whether or not we might become members of that class. The context seems to show that the Psalm is prophetic and refers to the Lord Jesus and the Church--The Christ as a whole. No doubt it has been true in a certain sense of some others. For instance, when Abraham called upon the Lord, God heard him in his troubles and blessed him. And the Lord will yet give him great honor, because he loved and trusted God. The same might be said of the faithful ones all through the Jewish Dispensation. But the Psalm seems to refer especially to The Christ. These are the ones who bear the closest relationship to God. Their love is manifested in a special sense by their faithfulness to the will of God, their faithfulness in honoring His name, their faithfulness in upholding His Truth, in being willing to die in God's service, in laying down their lives for the brethren, in developing the fruits of the Holy Spirit; for all this is included in their covenant.
It is this class, therefore, that the Lord will answer when they call upon Him; it is this class that He will deliver and honor, will care for in trouble. All who come to God, must necessarily, before they can be accepted, enter into a Covenant of Sacrifice with Him through Christ, giving up their will--loving the Lord and His will better than themselves and their own will or the will of any other. Of course, a large proportion of those who proclaim themselves to be Christians are merely nominal Christians--Christians in name only, who never made a covenant with God.
Of those who do enter into this Covenant, not many, judging from what we can observe, carry it out faithfully, submitting their lives and their every interest to God's will. Noticeable examples of the faithful ones of the past were our Lord Jesus and His Apostles. And there have been others, of course, of this faithful class throughout this Gospel Age, now closing. All these are styled by Jehovah His jewels, and are to be made by Him into a glorious diadem, the Lord Jesus being its brightest and choicest gem. These are to show forth during eternal ages Jehovah's Wisdom, Justice, Love and Power. Throughout this Gospel Age God has been working in these to will and to do His good pleasure.
CONDITIONS OF OBTAINING THE PROMISE
But God works in no one contrary to that one's own will. If we wish to step out from under Christ's instruction, there is nothing to prevent us. God would that we remain, but is not willing to urge upon us, to press upon us, this matter. God wishes only such to worship Him as worship Him in spirit and in Truth, because they love Him. This class who seek faithfully to do the Lord's will because they love Him may call upon Him in every trouble and difficulty. His answer will not come in an audible voice, and may not come in the manner that we expect; but He will answer in the best way the petitions of His saints which are asked in harmony with His will, His Word. That is, as Jesus said, "If ye abide in Me, and My words abide in you [if you remember and act upon My teaching], ye may ask what ye will and it shall be done unto you"; for those thus abiding in Him would ask only those things which God has provided for them, only such things as His providence has arranged for them, only such things as His Word authorizes His saints to pray for. The Lord has promised these that they shall have their requests. He has been blessing and caring for His people throughout the Gospel Age. Their needs are often supplied before they call. They are to have the Word of God clearly in mind that their prayers and endeavors may be in line with His will. Thus their disappointments will be His appointments, and will be accepted as of the Lord.
THE BLESSINGS OF TRIBULATION
"I will be with him in trouble," is the promise. The intimation here is that the Lord will not, necessarily, prevent our getting into trouble. We might see the trouble coming and pray to the Lord, but He might not deliver us from the trouble. And we should not ask that we might be spared the affliction if His Wisdom sees it is best for us to have it. The trouble might prove very beneficial to us.
The Lord has already told us in His Word that we are to rejoice even under tribulation; for tribulation, rightly received, will work out for us a "far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory." So while the Lord does not promise us that we shall escape trouble, He does promise that with the trouble He will give His children consolation of heart, sustaining grace, that will enable them to rejoice in the midst of their tribulation. (`2 Corinthians 4:6-18`; `12:9,10`; `Isaiah 43:1,2`.) This was exemplified in our Lord Jesus and in the Apostles. Paul and Silas were able to sing praises to God in prison with their feet fast in the stocks and their backs bleeding from the whippings which they had received. They could rejoice in tribulation for Christ's sake.
The Lord is ever with His people; therefore they should not be discouraged. His children have the comfort and assistance of the letter of the Truth and the spirit of the Truth. But they have all these blessings only in proportion as they are willing to exercise faith; for the glories promised are not yet theirs in reality; these are theirs only by promise now.
OUR FULL DELIVERANCE
"I will deliver him and honor him." The deliverance of the Lord's saints, in the fullest sense of the word, will be by their participation in the First, Chief Resurrection. Our Lord Jesus was delivered from all His trials and afflictions when He was raised from the dead. The promise to the Church also is that we shall be delivered when our resurrection "change" shall come to us. "Sown in weakness," we shall be "raised in power"; sown an animal body, we shall be "raised a spiritual body." This will be the full deliverance, and with it will come the promised honor and exaltation.
There are deliverances, of course, for the children of God at the present time, according to our need. And the Lord gives us a certain kind of honor, but not usually the kind of honor that the world appreciates. This honor may come mixed with such tribulation as would make it not desirable in the world's eye. But the honor that will come to the saints in the end will be such as all will know and will appreciate. All the members of Christ will share in the Kingdom glories and honors with their Head. He and the members of His Body glorified will reign in the Father's Kingdom, and will be associated together throughout all eternity in the great work of God.
"Press on, beloved, in the race,
The goal is very near,
Faint not, thou soon shalt see His face--
Then, be thou of good cheer!"
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HUMAN WORKS VS. WORKS OF THE NEW CREATURE
"Beloved, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God that worketh in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure."--`Philippians 2:12,13`.
OUR text is not an exhortation to the world. The Apostle is not urging natural men to work out their own salvation. The exhortation is to the Church of Christ alone, the "beloved," as St. Paul calls them. According to many theologians this advice would seem strange, because of the commonly accepted belief that a person is saved as soon as he becomes one of the Lord's
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people. To this we agree in part--"we are saved by hope." But the actual salvation we have not yet attained. It will not be attained until we shall have experienced the "change" of the First Resurrection. Up to that time there is always a possibility of our leaving the faith, being turned away from the faith--away from seeking to follow on faithfully to the attainment of the Lord's ultimate will concerning us. This salvation to the High Calling is to be worked out by the development of character.
God has promised that certain characters shall attain to the highest place in His gift, the chief place of exaltation and favor, to be partakers of His own Divine nature. The Scriptures indicate that there are others who will attain to an inferior place--vessels unto lesser honor. (`2 Timothy 2:20,21`.) So we see that we should be on the qui vive, on the alert, to win the very best offered, the attainment of which will be pleasing to God as well as being the best thing for ourselves. Those who have entered into a covenant with the Lord must attain spirit nature, either on the Divine plane or a lower one; else they will lose all and die the Second Death. We are called in one hope of our Calling--that of attaining the Divine nature. There has been no other call issued during the Gospel Age.
The question arises, Does this exhortation to work out our own salvation conflict with St. Paul's other statement, that our salvation "is not of works, lest any man should boast"? We reply, No; our salvation from death is entirely by faith. As men we have no opportunity of doing any works that would justify us before God. Until we have been accepted into God's family no works that we could do would be acceptable. God who is perfect, is not pleased to receive anything imperfect, either works or anything else. But when we have received the forgiveness of our sins--not by works, but by faith--and have become sons of God, through consecration and Spirit-begetting, then comes the time when we can do acceptable works; for we are then members of the Lord's family, and the Holy Spirit within us through this begetting now has an opportunity to show itself, to do some works. In other words, as imperfect human beings, we cannot work out our salvation; but as New Creatures we can do this.--`Philippians 4:13`.
OUR PART OF THE WORK
If after its begetting the New Creature never became active, it would never develop strength and character, just as a child would not develop if it never moved its limbs. We receive the Holy Spirit at the time of the Lord's acceptance of us, at our consecration. But this New Creature germ cannot long remain quiet. It must grow through nourishment, through feeding. At first we "desire the sincere milk of the Word, that we may grow thereby." We become strong by the exercise of ourselves as New Creatures. But it is God who started the new life in us. All our studying would not have made New Creatures of us; no amount of works would have done it. These things would never have brought us into the Lord's family; but after we have come into His family through the Lord Jesus, these good works will begin to show.
The New Creature takes over the old body as its possession, to be its servant. Legally, the old body is dead, having been slain as a sacrifice. But actually, we still have it in lieu of our new body, that it may serve us until the New Creature is sufficiently developed to be given its resurrection body, and until our work here is done. It is the possession of this old, imperfect body that makes it necessary for us to wear the robe of Christ's righteousness while we remain in the flesh.
The New Creature masters its old body, gets more and more control of the old disposition of the flesh. This may be more manifest to our neighbors and friends, and to our brethren, than to ourselves. The Father works in us as New Creatures, through Christ. And as we as New Creatures exercise ourselves in the control of the flesh, we become strong. Thus, as the Apostle says, we more and more become copies of God's dear Son. "It is God that worketh in us both to will and to do His good pleasure," and as we thus will and do, we accomplish our salvation. The Apostle is speaking here, not about the natural man, but of the "beloved" class, and is explaining that God wishes us to know that now, as we are His sons, He is working in us to accomplish His will.
GOD'S PART A GREAT WORK
There is a work that God did for us before we ever could have come into Christ--a great and important work. That work was the purchasing of us through the sacrificial death of the Lord Jesus, and the arrangement by which the knowledge of this reaches us. Through the circumstances, incidents, affairs of our lives He showed us the way by which we might become His children through full consecration. All this is the work of God, and in the Scriptures is called drawing and calling. "No man can come unto Me except the Father which sent Me draw him," said the Master. It is the Father who draws, but by way of the Son. Then we are called with a "Heavenly Calling." After we have accepted the Call upon the Lord's terms, there is a work to be done in us-- a great work. And God is doing this work.
Elsewhere the Apostle says of this class, "Ye are God's workmanship." Our Lord Jesus says of these, "I am the Vine, ye are the branches." The Father is the great Husbandman. It is for God to prune the branches of the Vine, to give them all the experiences requisite to their fruit-bearing. We all need pruning to develop the best of which we are capable as New Creatures, and to prove what we shall be qualified for.
So God's work in us progresses. He works through the world, through the brethren, through all the varied experiences of life, and through His precious promises. In proportion as we love God, we get the good out of our experiences. "We know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to the called according to His purpose." If we know this, we shall receive in the spirit of submission and trust all that comes to us. The Lord continues to feed us upon His Word. Our progress is a matter of gradual development--a growing in grace, a growing in knowledge, a growing into God's character-likeness. Thus He works in His children to will and to do His good pleasure. He shows us more and more what His good pleasure is. Whoever becomes a child of God realizes later on more clearly than when he made his consecration what is the will of God, the mind of God. He comes to see things from an altogether
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different angle from his viewpoint when he first entered upon the narrow way.
As the Lord works in us through His various providences, etc., we are to accept these nourishments for the New Creature, appropriating them to ourselves, that we may grow thereby--grow in strength of character, and thus be prepared for the Kingdom, for the glory, honor, immortality awaiting us if faithful. Of course, these great blessings and honors will not be given us unless we become such characters as the Lord will approve. The Apostle exhorts us to remember that what is to be reckoned on is, How much as a New Creature have you done in battling against the weaknesses of the flesh, in overcoming unfavorable surroundings? How fully have you really developed the likeness of Christ in your character?
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ELIJAH'S WORK BEFORE ASCENSION
--SEPTEMBER 19.--`1 KINGS 20:1-21`.--
DEFEATS THROUGH DRUNKENNESS--SYRIA'S KING WARS WITH ISRAEL--ISRAEL'S CAPITAL IN DANGER--KING BENHADAD CONFIDENT OF VICTORY--HE CELEBRATES IT IN ADVANCE IN DRUNKEN ORGIES--ISRAEL'S SMALL ARMY
UNDER DIVINE COMMAND DEFEATS THE SYRIANS WITH
TERRIBLE SLAUGHTER--MODERN WAR'S CONTRAST--WHY GOD PERMITS WARS, CALAMITIES, SICKNESS, INSANITY,
ETC.--WHEN WARS WILL CEASE--SHOULD CHRISTIANS ENGAGE IN WAR?
OUR lesson recounts the attack of the Syrians upon the Israelites, whose capital city, Samaria, is besieged and its king in fear of the necessity of capitulation. The Syrian king boastfully tells what he will do and commands a surrender. King Ahab, perplexed, considers resistance useless, until the Lord's message revives his courage, directing him how to proceed with the battle. Following this direction a great victory for the Israelites was gained--this partly because the Syrian king, Ben-Hadad, was very drunk, and many of his lords with him. They were thus incapacitated from using the vital strength of their large army, and suffered great defeat.
All the wars of the past, however, pale into insignificance before the present great struggle progressing in Europe. One of the British lords, addressing workmen recently and urging efficiency in the manufacture of war munitions, declared that the British had expended for ammunition in Belgium recently more money than during the entire Boer War. The rapidity with which modern guns are fired and the terrible slaughter which they accomplish are appalling. Authentic reports declare that twelve millions of the picked men of Europe have already been either killed, wounded or made prisoners; and we may safely assume that the armies now contending number ten millions.
When we consider that one man, armed with a rapid-fire
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gun, is more than an equivalent of twenty men, yea, than of a hundred men as in former wars, we get some conception of what a terrible war the present one is. The Scriptures seem to declare that it will bring no great victory to any of the contestants, but that eventually all the nations thus engaged will be terribly weakened, not only in the loss of their most able manhood, but also financially impoverished and embarrassed to the extent that their bonds will probably never be paid.
LESSON TAUGHT BY THE WAR
It is a sad reflection upon the boasted civilization of our day that such a war should be considered the only way by which the great nations of the world could come to an agreement on matters of mutual interest in respect to an earth which God has given to the children of men as their common heritage. When we consider that the nations at war are claiming to be Christian nations, the thought is all the more horrible. Our only comfort is in the thought that the poor deluded people do not understand the meaning of the term Christian, and that the great mass of them never were Christians. True Christians, saints, no doubt are to be found in all the armies of the countries where conscription is the law. Bible students from the different armies from time to time give us word of their welfare and of their endeavor to hold up the Light and to show forth the Lord's praises, even under such terrible conditions.
Surely the people of the world are beginning to awaken to a realization of the fact that the boasted four hundred millions of Christians are, for the most part, as far from God and from Christian ideals as are the twelve hundred millions of heathens. Their awakening should help them to realize what the true Church is, and that her mission is not to convert the world but to prepare herself to be Messiah's Kingdom class, the Bride, the Lamb's Wife, Messiah's Joint-heir in His Heavenly Kingdom. If the war should teach this lesson to any considerable number, it will not have been in vain. And if these saints of God, learning the way more perfectly, shall carry out a full consecration of themselves to the Lord, and thus make their calling and election sure to a place in the Kingdom, they will have a share in the First Resurrection to spiritual conditions. Then, associated with their Redeemer, they will bless the world of mankind on the human plane, uplifting the willing and obedient to human perfection.
WHY GOD PERMITS WAR
Many are inquiring, Why does God permit war-- yea, why do the Scriptures imply that God brings about wars? We reply that it makes little difference to the person dying whether his death comes as a result of a bayonet wound, a sword wound or a bullet wound, or whether it comes from consumption, pneumonia, smallpox or general constitutional breakdown. And if it makes little difference to the individual, we may say that it makes less difference to the Almighty. God's penalty upon our race is a death penalty--come how it may. For six thousand years the penalty has been in operation; and the entire race is going down to the tomb under that sentence, "Dying, thou shalt die."
The hope for all, then, is in Christ and through His death--by the resurrection of the dead which He will accomplish during the Millennium. His faithful Church, His Bride, who is to share with Him in the Kingdom, will be the first resurrected, and then to a plane of glory, honor and immortality. The remainder of the world will come forth, "every man in his own order," as the Bible declares. They will come forth that they may learn of the Goodness of God, the Wisdom of God, the Power of God, the Love of God, and be enabled to contrast these with what they learned in their previous lifetime under
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the reign of Sin and Death. Meantime, the Bible declares, from the Divine viewpoint the whole world of mankind are falling asleep in death, to await the awakening of Messiah's Kingdom and the beginning then of the grand opportunity which He has secured for all, whereby they may escape from sin and, ultimately, from death.
"THERE SHALL BE NO MORE CURSE"
The Divine promise and provision is that under Messiah's Kingdom wars will be made to cease forever, and all other calamities will cease. Instead of mankind's going down into the tomb, the reverse order will be established--the resurrection of the dead. Instead of sickness, disease and insanity will come healing, strength, restitution. (`Acts 3:19-21`.) Speaking of the effect of His Millennial Kingdom, Jesus declares that the curse will be rolled away and God's blessing will come on instead, until there shall be no more sighing or dying or crying or pain. All these blessings are as yet only promises, and hence only for the Church to rejoice in or understand--and they according to their degree of faith in God and of understanding of His Word.
The Bible informs us that after Messiah's spiritual Kingdom shall have taken charge of the world's affairs, nothing will be permitted to hurt or destroy in all God's glorious Kingdom. This will mean that a spiritual police force will have humanity under absolute control. Every misdeed will be punished as soon as it is determined upon and before it shall have been put into effect. Likewise, every good act, good word and good thought will bring a blessing of restitution, health, strength--mental, moral, physical. Under such conditions the world will very speedily learn to differentiate right from wrong. They will speedily learn of the change of dispensation, and that thenceforth every sinful thought, word and act will be sure to receive punishment, while every good thought, good word and good act will be sure to receive a blessing. The Bible tells of this condition of things, saying, "When Thy judgments are abroad in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness."--`Isaiah 11:9`; `26:9`; `28:17`.
CHRISTIANS ENGAGING IN WAR
Many are perplexed to understand the teachings of Jesus and the Apostles in respect to war, when they contrast these with the Lord's directions to the Jews and His blessing of their wars. This matter can be understood only from the one viewpoint--the Bible viewpoint.
The first invitation to fallen men to become sons of God, joint-heirs with Jesus Christ their Lord, dates from the time of Jesus, and particularly from the time that He died for our sins, arose from the dead, ascended to Heaven to appear in the presence of God on our behalf, and as a result of that work shed forth on the waiting disciples the Holy Spirit of God and the begetting power to a new nature. None prior to that had ever been sons of God from the time that Adam sinned. At very most Moses was a servant and Abraham a friend. St. John assures us that the liberty or privilege to become sons of God came through our Lord Jesus at His First Advent to those who fully accepted Him.--`John 1:12,13`.
These sons of God, otherwise the Body of Christ, otherwise the Bride of Christ, are not of the world, but chosen and separated from the world by the Divine call and spirit-begetting. To these Jesus said, "Ye are not of the world, even as I am not of the world." "I have chosen you [out of the world], and ordained you that ye should go and bring forth fruit. Herein is My Father glorified, that ye bear much fruit." (`John 17:14`; `15:16,8`.) Now the fruits of the Spirit, the Apostle tells us, are manifest--meekness, gentleness, patience, long-suffering, brotherly-kindness, love. These things being in us and abounding in good measure will make us that we shall be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ; and that we shall have an abundant entrance ministered unto us into the everlasting Kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, for which we pray, "Thy Kingdom come," and which we are to enter by resurrection change, in due time.-- `Galatians 5:22,23`; `2 Peter 1:5-11`.
Does God give special direction to this class of His spirit-begotten children in respect to war, or are they in this matter subject to the powers that be? We reply that all the Lord's people are soldiers of the Cross, and that the Apostle has forewarned us that the weapons of our warfare are not carnal. (`2 Corinthians 10:4`.) There is no commission anywhere in the Bible for God's consecrated people to war, to fight, to kill, to take from others either life or property. The present great war is merely a demonstration of the fact that if any considerable number of those participating in it ever were Christians, they have been merely babes in Christ and did not understand the teachings of the Lord.
Nevertheless, we perceive that in all the warring countries the professed ministers of Christ are acting as recruiting agents. All kinds of arguments are used to persuade the young men of the country, contrary to the teachings of the Master. The same men who are accustomed to laugh at the declaration that the Turkish soldiers in former wars were promised, in event of death, a sure passport to Heavenly Paradise--these same ministers are now urging all the eligible with whom they have influence to prepare to go to battle to lay down their lives. While the Germans have put upon their soldiers' belts, "God with us," the British ministers are quoting Bible texts to encourage enlistment of their young men and to throw a halo of glory upon the soldier dead.
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"YET WILL I REJOICE IN THE LORD!"
Though the fig-tree shall not blossom,
Though the olive's labour fail,
Though a murrain, sore and grievous,
Smite the herd on hill and dale,--
Yet my soul shall bless and praise Him,
And my faith shall still prevail!
Though the earth be filled with violence,
And the Dove of Peace hath fled,
While the land and sea are groaning
'Neath the burden of their dead,--
Yet, amid the awful tumult,
I rejoice and lift my head!
Though the vision seem to tarry,
And the waiting time prolong,
Though my faith be strangely tested
In the conflict fierce and strong,
Yet His Grace shall be sufficient,
And the burden of my song!
Though He slay me, I will trust Him,
Though my very heart He break,
For I know with loving wisdom
He hath planned the way I take.--
Thus my dying breath shall bless Him,
And I'll praise Him when I wake!
--G. W. SEIBERT.
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OBEDIENCE AND KINGSHIP
--SEPTEMBER 26.--`PSALM 21`.--
THE GLORY OF MESSIAH'S KINGDOM--THE REWARD OF HIS OBEDIENCE TO JEHOVAH--THE DESTRUCTION OF HIS FOES A NECESSITY--ARE WE FORTY YEARS INTO THE MILLENNIUM?
"The King shall joy in Thy strength, O Jehovah, and in Thy salvation how greatly shall He rejoice!"--`V. 1`.
THE Jews took a practical view of the promised Kingdom of Messiah, in which they were to have a glorious place, and in which all nations were to be blessed. Two things they failed to realize: first, that a Redemption-price for the sin of Adam must be provided before Adam and his race could be returned to Divine favor and everlasting life in Eden; second, that Messiah Himself, before having so great an exaltation as Jehovah purposed, must demonstrate His worthiness to it by humility, obedience, loyalty, even unto death. St. Paul points out that Jesus the Redeemer did all this-- that He left the glory which He had with the Father, humbled Himself to become a man (though not a sinner), and then as a man further humbled Himself unto death, even the death of the Cross; that on this account God highly exalted Him far above angels, making Him partaker of the Divine nature and Inheritor of all the promises of glory, honor, immortality.--`Philippians 2:8-11`.
Many who see this much fail to get the Scriptural declaration that God's purpose equally included a Church class as a Bride to Messiah--as sharer of His sufferings and trials, and sharer of His exaltation and glory. Only when this is seen can we properly understand the delay in the establishment of the Kingdom. It has delayed in order that the entire Church, foreordained of God, might be completed, tested, proved, glorified in the First Resurrection, and then inaugurated with Messiah as the Heavenly Kingdom.
Many peculiar ideas prevail because of a failure to take the Scriptural proposition and because of a false theory that the Kingdom has already been set up in glory. Ridding our minds of these difficulties, Bible students are now discerning Messiah's Kingdom near at hand--even at the door. They are more and more realizing that the present terrible war is the beginning of a series of troubles which will wind up the present order of things and inaugurate the New Dispensation of Messiah's Kingdom, for which we have so long prayed, "Thy Kingdom come; Thy will be done on earth, even as it is done in Heaven."
Although it will be a spiritual Kingdom, no less so
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than Satan's kingdom of the present time, and the Father's Kingdom--invisible to men--nevertheless it will be a real Kingdom, exercising power and authority more completely than any earthly kingdom could, because not handicapped by human limitations and conditions. Moreover, the Bible indicates to us that the Ancient Worthies of the Jewish line will be resurrected to perfection and in an earthly glory will become visible representatives to men of the glorified spiritual Christ, Head and Body. Jesus emphasized this thought to the Jews saying, "Ye shall see Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and all the Prophets in the Kingdom." (`Luke 13:28`.) But respecting Himself He declared, "Yet a little while, and the world seeth Me no more." (`John 14:19`.) All will see Him, however, in the sense that eventually all the eyes of understanding will be opened, that all may see the light of the knowledge of the glory of God fill the whole earth.-- `Revelation 1:7`; `Habakkuk 2:14`.
MESSIAH'S KINGDOM BEGUN
Many Bible students are claiming that, according to the prophecies, Messiah's Kingdom began in 1878. They claim that while its chief activities have been in respect to the Church--the harvesting of the wheat, the separating of the tares, etc.--nevertheless it has had a worldwide influence also, in that during this time of the dawning of the New Dispensation God has been lifting the veil of ignorance and showing mankind mechanical and chemical secrets which have proved invaluable thus far, and which undoubtedly will increase in the near future, when the Messianic Kingdom shall have been fully inaugurated, at the close of the great Time of Trouble, already beginning in Europe and in Mexico.
Amongst the other indications of the operation of the Kingdom influence in the world, Bible students point to the wonderful progress made as respects reform along the lines of intemperance. The wonderful wave of prohibition which has spread voluntarily over many of the States of the American Union has been supplemented by the necessities of the war in foreign countries. We must not expect too much along these lines. We must expect more or less of reaction, especially in the case of so sudden a turn as the war brought upon Europeans.
Indeed, evidence is not wanting that the first fervor of prohibition in Europe is reacting. We had similar experiences in America, but we perceive that as a whole the world is moving onward in this respect in a right direction. The movement against opium and other narcotics also tends in the right direction, as do the many exposures of vice and the lessons being given as respects the terrible penalty of vice, as witnessed in the now well-recognized fact that syphilis stops brain development and generally in a few years leads to insanity.
While continuing to pray, "Thy Kingdom come," let us as God's consecrated people continue to labor in character-preparation, that we may be found worthy of a place in that Kingdom, making our calling and election sure. And let us continue to note evidences on every hand that we are in the dawning of the Kingdom, even though its Sun of Righteousness cannot fully arise until the Church shall have passed beyond the veil. In this connection we call attention to an interesting report in respect to one of our States, which, having passed prohibition laws, is said by its Governor to be enjoying grand blessings of prosperity--Kansas. The following extract is from the "North American."
RESTITUTION BLESSINGS IN KANSAS
Recently the Governor of Kansas issued a public statement, saying that he hoped no one would waste pity upon the people of his State. We quote:--
"'With more than $200,000,000 on deposit in our State and National Banks, we could weather a worse storm than this without hardship.' This money, equally divided among the men, women, children and babies of Kansas, would give each of them $118 in cash, not to mention the tidy sum of $1,684 each is credited with as his or her share of the State's assessed wealth. Kansas last year produced $325,000,000 worth of farm products.
"In eighty-seven of her one hundred and five counties there are no insane. In fifty-four of this number are no feeble-minded. Ninety-six counties have no inebriates, and in the other nine they are as scarce as hens' teeth. Thirty-eight county poorhouses are as empty as a last year's locust-shell, and most of these have been so for the best part of a decade.
"The pauper population of the State falls a little
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short of 600. That is one pauper for each 3,000 of the kind making a living, and a good one--the kind that now own $255,000,000 worth of live stock and in the last twelve months have added more than $45,000,000 to their taxable personal property. Her own people this year hold more than $67,000,000 in this form of wealth, an increase of over 500 per cent. in five years.
"At one time not long ago the jails in fifty-three counties were empty and sixty-five counties were on the roll as having no prisoners serving sentence in the penitentiary. Instead of being hampered by a large mass of illiterates--thirty years ago 49 per cent. of her population came under this head--her present ratio of two per cent. is next to the lowest in the land and two-thirds lower than Massachusetts, including Boston.
"It is the combination of sense and solid muscle that has kept her growing stronger and richer through extremes of climate which soon would decimate a less fit lot. These people have made good in a zone once declared to be unquestionably unproductive. In the last twenty years they have made this 'unproductive' soil yield corn and wheat worth $2,517,902,640.
"SO SOMETHING WOULD SEEM TO BE THE MATTER WITH KANSAS.
"SOMETHING IS THE MATTER WITH HER. That something, we believe, can be boiled down into these first fourteen words constituting an amendment made to her constitution in 1881:
"'THE MANUFACTURE AND SALE OF INTOXICATING LIQUOR SHALL BE FOREVER PROHIBITED IN THIS STATE.'
"It is this fundamental provision, fought and evaded in some localities as it was for a quarter-century, and strictly enforced in all parts of the State only within the last five years, that has helped Kansas to flaunt a two-hundred million bank-account in the face of a partial crop failure; that relieves her of spending much time, strength and money on paupers, criminals, insane and feeble-minded; that gives her people the best of chances for living and the fewest excuses for dying."
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THE TWO PARTS OF THE HARVEST WORK
SOME of the dear people of God have wondered what relationship the PHOTO-DRAMA and the Colporteur work have to the end of the Harvest. One's knowledge of the DRAMA would necessarily be limited to his contact with it. There are some who have heard of it, but who have not much knowledge of it. The general reports received since its production have been very satisfactory. In some parts the Classes have been largely increased in number. In certain places the friends at first felt disappointed; but these reported later that after a few Sundays, when the people had had time to let the Truth sink more or less into their minds, a number came out of the churches, where they could not get satisfactory food, and began to attend our meetings. As a rule, wherever the DRAMA has been shown the Classes have been increased. Some very remarkable characters have come into the light of Present Truth--some of the Lord's people who before were in the darkness through prejudice and superstition, and others from the world. These who became thus interested have been started to investigating and reading the STUDIES, through the Colporteur work.
Similarly, the 42,000,000 copies of BIBLE STUDENTS MONTHLY put out this last year, while they have not brought millions into the Classes by any means, have no doubt been doing a good work, a work of stirring up the minds of the people, awakening them to think, and reaching some of the Great Company class. Others, perhaps, have been brought directly to full consecration through our free literature. All of these works seem to belong to the Harvest; for they did not belong to a previous time.
THE PLOWMAN OVERTAKING THE REAPER
The Harvest work has been increased rapidly to its consummation. We are not to understand that the Harvest is yet wholly finished; for there are two parts to the work--the gathering of the wheat, and the burning of the tares. We might have thought that the gathering of the wheat has been accomplished; that if our expectations are true, with the end of the Gentile Times the number of the Very Elect would be complete, so that no more could enter. We are not positive of this, and we must not go by guessing. The latter part of the Harvest work is to be the burning of the tares, and the waking up of the Great Company class and preparing them to go out and purchase the oil for their lamps. Now seems to be the particular time, if we have the right focus on the matter, in which the Great Company class would hear-- when the foolish virgins would get the light, get the oil, and the time when the wise virgins have gone in, or are soon to go in, to the Marriage.
In the text of Scripture which speaks of the plowman overtaking the Reaper, we are to remember that the Reaper is the Lord, and that the plowman is the great Time of Trouble. This Time of Trouble will overtake the reaping work, and bring it to a close. But the Time of Trouble will go on, the plowman will keep on plowing, after all our efforts have ended in respect to the reaping. But meantime, before this dark night fully sets in, we are to go right on with the work which the Lord has put into our hands. The Truth is designed, not only to perfect the "Bride" of Christ, the Chief of the First-borns, but to develop the Great Company class, and also to be a witness to the whole world. Any carelessness on our part, or any cessation of activity in the service of the Truth while opportunity yet remains, would in our estimation be a great mistake. If we are loyal, the Lord will give us far greater opportunities in the future--the blessing of all the nations, all the kindreds, all the families of the earth.--`Galatians 3:8,16,29`.
THOSE CONSECRATING BETWEEN THE AGES
It is our thought that with the closing of the "door" of this Gospel Age there will be no more begetting of the Holy Spirit to the spirit nature. Any afterward coming to God through consecration, before the inauguration of the Restitution work, will be accepted by Him, not to the spirit plane of being, but to the earthly plane. Such would come in under the same conditions as the Ancient Worthies who were accepted of God. The Ancient Worthies came in, no call being opened to them--the High Calling not being yet open, and the Restitution opportunities not open. But they freely gave themselves up to God without knowing what blessings their consecration would bring, except that they had the intimation that they would, in the future life, have a "better resurrection" than would the remainder of the world.
Our thought is that whoever under such conditions as these will make a full consecration to the Lord, to leave all to follow in His ways, and will live up faithfully,
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loyally, to that consecration, may be privileged to be counted as a similar class to those who preceded this Gospel Age. We know of no reason why the Lord would refuse to receive those who make a consecration after the close of the Gospel Age and its High Calling and before the full opening of the Millennial Age.
THE BURNING OF THE TARES
Whether the overcoming saints will have a part in the burning of the tare class is a thought not very clear at this time. "This honor have all His saints, to execute the judgments written." All the saints would include, then, those who would be living in the world when the judgments are executed, as well as the resurrected saints. Just how any living here would have a share in executing the judgments written we do not see; but we are keeping our eyes open, with the thought that this may be so.
It would seem that the burning of the tares has now been going on for some time; that is, some who have professed that they are Christians and have thought that they are Christians, but have never entered into true relationship with the Lord and become of the wheat class, are to be destroyed as tares, shown in their true light. If questioned now as to their consecration, these will say, "I am no saint, but I wish to be right and just in my dealings so far as possible." Thus such demonstrate that they have not understood what it is to be a real Christian.
This great war in Europe is waking up people to think in a way that they have never thought before; and now is the time when the real Christianity and the counterfeit will be differentiated. Many people will come more or less rapidly to recognize this. But there is a large proportion of tares that have not yet been burned. Emperor William of Germany, King George of England, the Czar of Russia, the Pope, etc., have not yet learned the difference between the true Christianity and the imitation. So it is with many others. But the burning will progress to its completion, and the true and the false will be completely manifested to all.
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PROMOTE THE WORLD'S PEACE
[From editorial of New York American, Aug. 11, 1915.]
THE people of this nation are either in favor of peace, or they are not. If they are in favor of peace, they should be against war and against the supplying of arms to the nations engaged in war, when they know that those arms are to be used to increase the murder and destruction of that war. If the people of this country are not in favor of peace, then they should continue to supply arms to the murdering nations and make all the money they can out of the murder. But in that event
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they should stop prating about peace. If we cannot be conscientious let us, at least, be consistent. We should cease assuming a virtue which we do not possess, and go coldly and boldly out to acquire any blood money which may be "coming our way."
We have that right under international law, but have we that right under moral law?
We have that right under the law of nations, but have we that right under the law of God?
The Lord God has said, "Thou shalt not kill." Does that mean also, "Thou shalt not help to kill?"
If it is criminal to be a murderer, is it not just as criminal to be an accessory before the fact? In the case of two accomplices in murder, is he who murders for hate any worse than he who murders for profit?
These people of ours are sincerely devoted to "principle," and they do not care whether the operation of that principle embarrasses Germany and benefits England, or whether it embarrasses England and benefits Germany, as long as it is a just and righteous principle. We are not partisan in our "principle," President Wilson. We are not pro-German or pro-British, Mr. President. We stand for abstract principle and for its concrete application in a neutral, impartial and absolutely just and righteous manner.
We speak thus directly to you, Mr. President, because we have the grateful testimony of your own words that you yourself view this matter as this newspaper views it. We find these words in your message upon the subject of Mexico, which you delivered to the Congress in August, 1913:
"I deem it my duty to exercise the authority conferred upon me by the law of March 14, 1912, to see to it that neither side of the struggle now going on in Mexico receive any assistance from this side of the border. I shall follow the best practise of nations in the matter of neutrality by forbidding the exportation of arms and munitions of war of any kind from the United States--a policy suggested by several interesting precedents, and certainly dictated by many manifest considerations of practical expediency. We cannot in the circumstances be the partisans of either party to the contest that now distracts Mexico, or constitute ourselves the virtual umpire between them."
It seems to us, Mr. President, that you could not possibly have better stated then, and could not possibly better state now, the high and solemn obligation of this country to "follow the best practise of nations in the matter of neutrality by forbidding the exportation of arms and munitions of war of any kind from the United States," not only to the Republic of Mexico but to any and to all republics, kingdoms and empires which are engaged in this dreadful and frightfully destructive war across the Atlantic.
Sir, is there any "manifest consideration of practical expediency," or any consideration of duty and of humanity which applies to the Mexican conflict that does not apply far more weightily to this other vastly greater and more deadly and destructive European conflict?
The miserable plea that some Americans are making money out of this traffic can have no more weight with you, Mr. President, than it has with the millions of your fellow citizens who abhor blood money. The suggestion that we should sell arms and munitions of war in order to make up for the gigantic losses inflicted upon our peaceful, legitimate commerce by Great Britain doubtless meets with the same disapproval from you, Mr. President, that it meets from all self-respecting American men and women. Nor do we think that you, Mr. President, attach any importance to the preposterous argument that it would be unnatural for us to discontinue the sale of arms to the warring nations, since one side could not perhaps carry on the war many more months without a steady supply of arms and munitions from this country.
NEUTRALITY, as you, of course, well know, Mr. President, DOES NOT ACTIVELY AID either belligerent to overcome the other, in any war.
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LOVE SUFFERETH LONG AND IS KIND
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--
For some time I have felt that I should write you about the results of THE PHOTO-DRAMA OF CREATION in this vicinity and of the strenuous opposition which this, together with our work, has brought about.
At Manchester, Iowa, a permanent Class of eight or ten has been established by the service of the Dubuque Elders, holding regular meetings. The Baptist minister fought every inch of the way until he met with a misfortune which prevented further action on his part. He used all kinds of methods to bring the Truth and yourself into disrepute, continuing this for possibly two months, when he made a final effort for as large a crowd as possible to hear him "expose Russellism," as he termed it.
Two of our brethren "faced the music" and heard a terrific onslaught which was generally accepted by the audience, although some expressed disapproval of his language and methods. The next morning the poor man was stricken with paralysis of the face and did not preach another sermon for about three months; he is now able to talk only a very short time. Many people in Manchester and vicinity assert that this affliction was a judgment sent upon him. The Methodist minister at this place is friendly and has attended a number of our meetings.
At Warren, Ill., we rented the Orpheum Theatre. At our first exhibition the manager of the house became so enthusiastic that he went out during its progress to bring in others to hear the "good tidings of great joy." During three exhibitions the opposition was very busy, and by the time of our fourth exhibition we were refused the use of the theatre because of the pressure the local ministers brought to bear upon the owner. They also intimidated the editor of the local newspaper so that he refused our paid advertisements.
The Methodist minister here, who was the real instigator of the opposition, was so bitter that he not only made special attacks from his pulpit every Sunday, but even accosted people on the street--including the brethren from the Dubuque Class, threatening to drive them from the town, etc.
We then rented a small hall owned by a man who had become much interested, but the intense opposition forced us from this place also. One of our brethren then leased the Opera House for five Sundays, paying part down and securing contract from the owner, who was friendly to the Truth. The ministers turned their attacks upon this man, three of them calling at his store. He replied that we should have his Opera House as often as we wanted it, even though he should lose every dollar he had; that WE were the only people who had ever preached the Gospel in Warren. At the same time another friend offered his home for our meetings, where a Class of ten or twelve meet regularly.
The Presbyterian and Baptist ministers joined the Methodist in a special sermon on the same Sunday, on "Some Facts Concerning Russellism"--word for word alike, indicating a stereotyped attack.
The owner of the Opera House attended the Methodist service and, in the midst of the attack, arose and challenged the minister to prove the things he was saying.
During all this we have endeavored to manifest a spirit of love. We have continued preaching the Truth and have won the approval of all the fair-minded people of Warren, and are also recompensed by the organization of a Class of earnest Bible Students, who are rejoicing with us in the glorious prospects that await those who patiently endure.
With love to all of like precious faith, we are
Faithfully yours, THE DUBUQUE ECCLESIA.--Iowa.
DEATH BLOW TO CLERGY ORDINATION
DEAR PASTOR RUSSELL:--
I have today read Vol. 6, No. 8, of THE BIBLE STUDENTS MONTHLY, and have been deeply impressed by the article under the heading, "Clergy Ordination Proved Fraudulent," appearing therein. The text from `Isaiah`, "Cry aloud, spare not; show My people their transgression," is most appropriate. I unhesitatingly agree with every word in the article.
In my opinion there is absolutely no Divine authority for ecclesiastical titles. I am happy to know that such a personage as yourself is living in this Age. This article of yours is, I believe, the death-blow to "Clergy Ordination"; it is bound to go to oblivion hereafter.
May you, by the grace of God, continue to expound the Scriptures in this straightforward manner for many years. With every good wish for your future happiness, I am
Yours cordially and fraternally,
A. VANIER.--British Guiana.
THE PROMISED ESCAPE PROVIDED
DEAR BROTHER IN CHRIST:--
Your recent letter has been read with much interest, as I had been passing through a siege of testing doubtless permitted to see if I would tolerate evil thoughts. Your kind and sympathetic letter struck the proper chord. The thought that possibly the Adversary had been touching me awakened the impulse to call at once upon our dear Lord for relief, remembering the promise of `1 Corinthians 10:13`.
He has answered my prayer, has granted me release, and has given me that peace of mind which those only can know who dwell "in the secret place of the Most High."
Although this has been a very severe test, the one which I had soon after making consecration was more so. It began in thoughts of hatred toward every one I met. This continued about two days, when I commenced continually repeating the sentence, "I LOVE EVERYBODY!"
Having a very sensitive nature and an abhorrence of evil which is highly developed, it is possible that my self-examination is too critical. My daily and oft-repeated prayer is that everything not in harmony with the Divine will may be rooted out of my heart, making it a fit temple of the Holy Spirit.
I have never let slip an opportunity to witness for the Truth, either by handing out literature or by word of mouth. This activity has resulted in my business being boycotted. I was notified that this would result if I persisted. But I rejoice in the persecution, which I experience also in my own home. It only stimulates me to further zeal for the Lord.
Again thanking you for your sympathy and brotherly love, which I appreciate more than words can express, with much love, I remain
Your brother and fellow-servant, H. C. KEITH.--Ind.
BRITAIN'S SOLDIERS STUDYING THE TRUTH
WATCH TOWER BIBLE AND TRACT SOCIETY:--
I have a brother who has been twice wounded in the war. I wrote and told him some Truth and sent some tracts while he was in England. (He is still there at Belfield Park, Weymouth, County Dorset.) He wrote and told me that to forgive your enemies is not in a soldier's creed, and that they must take revenge on the Germans.
I received a letter again a day or two ago, and he said he was pleased with the tracts I sent, and that he was beginning to realize the Truth. He says he got some of the men to read them, and now they have a class of fourteen, and their officer has allowed them a tent for study. They sent for books to the London Tabernacle, and received them. He says their officer drops in occasionally. He asked for more tracts on the PHOTO-DRAMA OF CREATION, so I sent some, together with other tracts. I ask your prayers for these poor men, should any have the qualifications for the Truth. I told my brother to write again to London Tabernacle to see if they could not get somebody to go down to teach them. It would, indeed, be well if this could be done. I pray that your good work will bring forth fruit. Pray for me!
Yours very sincerely in Christ,
EDWARD H. CLAY.--Toronto, Can.
FAR-OFF TASMANIA HEARD FROM
I must tell you what a blessing the STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES have been to me, and what joy and peace they have given me! Although a believer for years past, yet I was dissatisfied and unwilling to consecrate myself. But now the Lord has seemed to meet me as He met the Prodigal in our Lord's parable.
The "Vow unto the Lord" I have recently taken, and I would like to be baptized; I suppose, however, that none of the Pilgrims visit this place, as it is isolated and the people are generally indifferent to spiritual matters. I have met but one interested person--a humble, simple woman--grieving over the loss of a child, the sorrow opening her heart to the things of God. Talking with her, she begged me to come again; she is eager to know more. I think others like her can be found here.
I should like to tell Pastor Russell fully what his books have done for me; but although I cannot do this, I do pray for him and his coworkers.
I hope soon to send a contribution for the work; I hope also that a Pilgrim will make his appearance up this way. I occasionally attend a monthly religious service and would like some Withdrawal Letters if you will kindly send them.
Your Sister in Christ,
MRS. BLANCHE JOHNSON.--Tasmania.
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