ZWT - 1906 - R3693 thru R3912 / R3909 (385) - December 15, 1906
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VOL. XXVII DECEMBER 15 No. 24
A.D., 1906--A.M., 6035
Views from the Watch Tower........................387
New Motives and Methods in Foreign
An Apostasy or a Revival......................388
The Cost of Conversions.......................388
Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society's Report
"A Little Child Shall Lead Them" (Poem)...........394
"If I Go Away I Will Come Again"..................394
Beginning at Jerusalem........................395
"This Same Jesus Shall So Come"...............396
The Story of Jesus in Review......................397
LETTERS FOR THE EDITOR SHOULD BE SENT TO ALLEGHENY, PA., U.S.A. BUSINESS COMMUNICATIONS AND REMITTANCES --ADDRESS TO-- WATCH TOWER BIBLE & TRACT SOCIETY "BIBLE HOUSE," 610, 612, 614 ARCH ST., ALLEGHENY, PA., U.S.A. --OR TO-- BRITISH BRANCH--24 EVERSHOLT ST., LONDON, N.W. GERMAN BRANCH--MIRKER STR., 45, ELBERFELD. AUSTRALASIAN BRANCH--EQUITABLE BLDG., COLLINS ST., MELBOURNE.
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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 June 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.
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ITALIAN Vol. I. is again in stock. Price same as the English edition. FRENCH translation of "Hell" booklet can also now be supplied at 10c. each, 50c. per doz.
Colporteurs will please use our Order blanks and direct letters to "Colporteur Department."
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VIEWS FROM THE WATCH TOWER.
NEW MOTIVES AND METHODS IN FOREIGN MISSIONS
AS general doubt begins to overshadow the Bible and its teachings, many intelligent people begin to wonder whether or not there is any future life. Decrying the Bible as the work of man, all higher critics and evolutionists are thrown upon the resources of their own judgment respecting the future, and they are very conscious that their intelligence on the subject is a large blank--a guess. Rejection of the doctrine of eternal torment as the punishment for sin, and the supposition that that doctrine is taught in the Scriptures, was the foundation for their scepticism, which now has spread so that their entire faith has been undermined, and what Jesus said of the Samaritans of old is true of them, "Ye believe ye know not what."--`John 4:22`. The religious instincts of man lead him to some kind of worship, and a desire to serve his God in some manner, whether that god be a stick or a stone or the sun or the true God. Hence Christian people of various shades of faith and doubt have during the past century contributed liberally for mission work under the stimulating thought that the poor heathen were going into death at the rate of 90,000 a day without a knowledge of the only name given under heaven and amongst men whereby men must be saved. But now as doubts become confirmed and faith weakens there is a slackening
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of the energies formerly put forth on behalf of the heathen. Furthermore it is beyond question that missionary effort has accomplished little in heathen lands in the way of making saints, and that its chief showing has been along the lines of civilizing influences introduced. And is this not true throughout Christendom? The new thought is that this civilizing influence called Christianization can be introduced better and more quickly by national treaties, etc. Thus Secretary Root's last visit to South America in the interest of better business relationship between those countries and the United States is pointed out by some as having been a great missionary enterprise. So greatly do the ideas of man gradually swing around! We quote below from the Springfield (Mass.) Union on this subject as follows:-- Rev. Newton M. Hall, pastor of North Congregational Church, preached yesterday morning on the modern motive for missions, as a timely topic, in view of the meeting of the American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions in North Adams this week. He showed how the old-time motive of soul-saving had largely given place to the motive of Christian work to uplift and better the conditions of the non-Christian peoples. He said in part: "We must admit that the impulse for missions simply from the standpoint of soul-saving is not as strong as it was a century ago. We may regret this, but we must face the facts. Yet the interest in missions must not die. No greater calamity, from both moral and economic standpoints, could happen to America than to lose interest in foreign missions. What, then, is to be the new motive for missions? It must be the motive, old, yet new, set forth by Paul in the text; the oneness of God, the brotherhood of all men as proclaimed and mediated by Jesus Christ. It is not our civilization which we wish to impose upon alien peoples, for we are far from being Christian, but the civilization which, please God, we mean to have. Brotherhood, fraternity, is the message, the lifting up of other races, not to our level only, but far beyond. "Now and then you will find a man who will defend the religions of the East. Do not believe him. Ask the men who have lived 'East of Suez, Where the best is like the worst,' who have looked the gods of the East in the face, and they will tell you that the work of Buddha and Krishna and the rest is the work of the beast. "We want to save men from bestiality and the superstition of heathendom to the glory of the brotherhood of Jesus. The mission of Mr. Root to South America was in a large sense a missionary journey. He went not with threats, but in the Christian spirit of love and brotherhood. Every missionary is first an ambassador
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of the Lord Jesus, and then God's ordained apostle of liberty and democracy. The peoples of the earth, the downcast, the oppressed, the king-ridden are on the march to freedom. Missionary activity in the 20th century means that we are to aid them in their progress. The haystack missionaries sought its individuals. We are to seek the nations and help them in the struggle until all shall come in the unity of the faith, to the kingdom which hath no end, the joy and expectation of the whole earth."
AN APOSTASY OR A REVIVAL
The editor of Ram's Horn declares that the Christian Church is facing an apostasy or a revival. He says:-- "For nearly twenty years we have been marking time, but we have not been making progress. True, we have been adding wealth and numbers, but we have not been gaining power. Sporadic revivals break out in places, but evangelism does not spread like a holy contagion. There is no use blinking facts. Conditions are serious. But they are not exceptional. Compared with those of some previous periods they are discouraging, but compared with other epochs they appear far from hopeless. The march of the Kingdom seems to be measured by the ebb and flow of the spiritual tide. Today the tide is low. It has been falling steadily since the stirring days of Dwight L. Moody. There are many signs that low-water mark has been registered, and that henceforth we will see a rising flood. But whether it comes this year, or next, or in five or ten years, Christ's people will not lose faith or courage. God is in this world with a purpose, and that purpose cannot be thwarted or defeated. He can do wonders with only a few to help him. He is in need of real Gideons, men and women whose primary business it is to serve God. Perhaps there are more of these faithful ones than we realize. Jonah was deceived by superficial appearances in Nineveh. Doubtless there are more amongst us than we think who have not bowed the knee to Baal. So we will be hopeful and charitable, yet alert and discerning. God is calling the Church and individual Christians to higher walks of faith and duty. It must be either advance or apostasy."
THE COST OF CONVERSIONS
The value of a genuine conversion from sin to the Lord--to saintship, to a membership in the "little flock" of the footstep followers of the Lamb--is almost beyond estimation; because they are all "Jewels." But when we think of the common run of Church membership, unregenerate, merely bearing a gloss of civilization, the following figures from a more than ordinarily reliable channel seem very high for the results obtained. We quote the following from the Pittsburg Chronicle-Telegraph:--
VILLAGE SINNERS CONVERTED CHEAPLY; IT'S DIFFERENT WITH THE CITY ONES
Frankfort, Ind., Oct. 11.--The closing session of the Indiana synod of the Presbyterian Church was made interesting by a report on the money it costs to convert a sinner and bring him into the Church. The report was made by the Rev. Dr. Donald Morrison, who showed that the cost in cities with the large churches is greatest. He found that the average ranges from $27 in villages to $212 in cities. In large churches the cost is greatly increased. Dr. Morrison showed that the cost to a Church for each sinner brought within its pale in Indianapolis is $620. There was no adverse comment on these figures. The Indianapolis sinner is supposed to be worth the time, effort and money required to get him into the Church.
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WATCH TOWER BIBLE AND TRACT SOCIETY'S REPORT
--DECEMBER 1, 1905, TO DECEMBER 1, 1906.--
VIEWED from the standpoint of the great institutions of the world, Bible Societies, Tract Societies, etc., ours is a very small work, if the measurement be by the amount of dollars received and expended; but if the measurement, on the contrary, be by the amount of work accomplished, we are certainly in the first rank so far as we know. We distance all tract circulators in the tract matter distributed freely, in the Bible Study Helps put into the hands of the people, etc., etc. God forbid that we should boast: we have nothing that we have not received of divine favor, and if the work has prospered we believe that it is of the Lord's providence and blessing and not by human wisdom and might. However, surrounded by much opposition from the world, the flesh and the devil, and the nominal Church, we have need to encourage ourselves in every way possible, and believe it to be the Lord's will that we should communicate these encouraging features to you all, knowing well that you will share in the trials and discouragements which the Lord forewarned us we should expect if we would be faithful to him and his Word. By the grace of God the report of this year is the most encouraging we have ever had to present to you. It shows progress, increase, all along the line. But there is one report we cannot set forth in dollars or figures of any kind, yet it is the most important of all-- the report of the spiritual condition of those who are in the light of Present Truth. It is not for us to judge the hearts except in the general sense that the Lord directed, that we may know the difference between thorns and grapes and between brambles and figs. "By their fruits ye shall know them." Viewing the entire harvest field from this standpoint which the Lord gives us, we are encouraged to believe that the spirituality of the flock is as high or higher than it has ever before been. We feel like saying higher than ever before, nevertheless remember that the Lord's dear people in various quarters have had some very severe trials during the year, from which, we
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trust, however, they are emerging purified and polished, better fitted for the presence of the King and for a share of his glory. These trials, for the most part, have come apparently from the outside: and although the Apostle suggests "false brethren," we like to hope that some who have apparently filled that role were not at heart false, but merely temporarily blinded by ambition or some other unworthy motive; and we like to hope also that, by the Lord's grace, some at least of these will ultimately overcome, realizing the force of the Apostle's argument that the Lord resisteth the proud and shows his favor to the humble. "Humble yourselves therefore under the mighty hand of God, that he may exalt you in due time."
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Though such storms and shakings may, while being experienced, seem very disastrous, we feel sure that the Lord will not forget his own, as it is written, "The Lord knoweth them that are his." We may be sure that he will not suffer them to be tempted above that they are able--that if they see to it that their hearts are loyal to him such experiences will not work them injury but really benefit, for are not all the Lord's people to be "overcomers"? and is it not by the "trial of their faith" that they are to be tested and proved? and is it not for this reason that the Lord permits such shakings? And are not the brethren the stronger after they have passed through such an experience and reached the further side in safety? Are they not the more reliant upon the Lord and the power of his might? And will they not more closely watch, not only to keep their own garments unspotted, but to assist all the Lord's dear flock who may be in any danger or trouble through their own weaknesses or those of others? One lesson in this is that we are our "brother's keeper;" that in meekness and gentleness we are to be courageous for the right, for the Truth, and thus to assist the weaker ones of the flock. As the years roll on we may expect more and more of these testings and shakings and siftings. We are not to suppose that all who have heard the message and received it with joy will ultimately be worthy a place in the Kingdom: hence "think it not strange concerning the fiery trial that shall try you, as though some strange thing had happened unto you."--`I Pet. 4:12`.
OUR GROWING Z.W.T. LISTS
It is with great pleasure that we announce that our subscription list has grown about 5000 since our last report a year ago. Today we have approximately 27,000 WATCH TOWER subscribers, which we may hope represents at least twice or three times that number of readers. We print 30,000 of each issue now, which allows some for sample copies, etc. Our financial sheet shows that our 27,000 subscribers paid us $12,666.59. Thus, with 5,000 increase in numbers on our lists, we have but $542 extra in money to show for it. Some might say that this was a bad showing, but not so we--we are glad to have it so. We have known for some time that many have been interested in the reading of the DAWNS and attending meetings that have not felt that they could afford to subscribe for the WATCH TOWER even at its low price of $1 per year. We have urged that these be encouraged by all the dear friends to send in their names either with the subscription price or without it-- either telling us that they are too poor or that they would like to have the TOWER on credit, etc. The increase of our list with the small increase of money receipts encourages us to think that some of these friends, who ought to be getting the WATCH TOWER (free, if they cannot afford to pay for it), have been reached and are being thus served with the spiritual food according to the Lord's good pleasure. We urge that all the dear friends keep this in mind--that we are desirous of having on our lists the addresses of all who are truly interested in the Present Truth, in the harvest work and message--especially the consecrated. If you know of those who are not subscribers but interested in the Truth, assure them of our good pleasure in respect to the visits of the TOWER whether they can afford to pay for it or not. Assure them that there are good friends of theirs and of the Truth glad to make good the deficiency, and that we would much prefer to have them on the lists. Please remember, too, that we like to hear from subscribers yearly, and that those poor who request the TOWER are expected to renew their request each year about June 1st, because that is a less busy season with us.
THE COLPORTEUR WORK
This branch of the harvest work seems to be particularly blessed and used of the Lord, and our friends as well as our enemies are astonished at the results being obtained. In every part of the civilized world these ministers of the harvest time, of the King and his coming Kingdom, are going persistently and quietly, making their way against opposition. Our opponents, indeed, are almost without exception those who have never read our books or tracts, and we look for great things from the wide circulation of this reading matter in the near future. By and by, when some of the changes which we see clearly set forth in the Scriptures, and which we see rapidly approaching, shall have reached the world so as to be visible to others, then we may be sure there will be a great awakening of the foolish virgin class, a great trimming of their lamps, a preparation of them for the great time of trouble through which they must pass to wash their robes and make them white in the blood of the Lamb.--`Rev. 7:14`. It will astonish you all, dear friends, as it does us, to find it possible to make a better report this year than last. When last year we announced that 254,083 copies of the DAWN had been put into circulation during the year, we were afraid to express any hope of even equaling that large number for the year ensuing. We merely determined to do all in our power. Now we have to announce to you that during the past year, 1906, we have exceeded the output of 1905 by nearly 50 per cent., the total being 377,959. What this means can to some extent be grasped when we point out that this represents an output of over 1200 volumes for each working day of the year. Now, how about next year? Shall we set our standard
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higher or lower? We believe that we may not go far astray if we set our mark for the coming year at 500,000 copies. No other books in the world are selling at this rate--no, nor anything like it!--and no other books in the world carry this glorious message of the Millennial Dawn, of the Parousia of the great King, of the harvesting of the wheat, and the things necessary to the preparation of God's people for a share in the Kingdom. Under God's providence much depends, of course, upon each one of our readers, as well as upon the colporteurs who reach the public in a more direct manner. The secret of this large output during the year has been the realization on the part of the dear friends that the harvest is great and the laborers are few, that the work of harvest will not last very long, and that he that reapeth receiveth wages--most wonderful wages of divine favor and blessing upon his own heart now, besides the gracious things which the Father hath in reservation for them that love him. The thought is gradually pressing itself home upon the dear flock that not many years remain in which this harvest work can be carried on--that "the night cometh in which no man can work"--that we are even now approximately in the eleventh hour. We have every reason to suppose that we shall have at least three more years of good opportunities; by that time apparently the forces of evil will be permitted to more or less shackle and restrain our efforts to tell the good tidings, because the work of harvest will be nearly ended, the wheat will nearly all be garnered. With such expectations, hopes, prospects before us, who that has the opportunity could sit idly by? Who that has the Spirit of the Lord will not strive to make opportunity for service? We encourage those who are free from encumbrances, whose hearts are full of zeal for the Lord and his cause, and who have any kind of reasonable address, to engage in this blessed service. And as for others, whose time and opportunities are less, we suggest to them that they earn those gracious words which our Lord gave to Mary, "She hath done what she could." Do what you can to forward the Truth amongst your friends, neighbors and acquaintances, either by loaning the books or, preferably, by selling them-- because people will generally read more carefully that for which they have paid money, from the natural desire to get back again their money's worth. And when we consider that these books are sold at about one-fifth the usual price of such books, and that the Lord's message is precious beyond price, we see readily that we are extending the richest and best of bargains to all our dear acquaintances. If each of our readers would sell during the year but one half-dozen copies, we might feel very sure of being able to reach the high mark set; and if each would sell at least a dozen copies, we should be almost certain of reaching that high mark, Love--Service.
THE TRACT WORK OF THE YEAR
Notwithstanding a handicap put upon us by the post-office department in ruling our Old Theology Quarterly Primary Scripture Studies as not entitled to the specially cheap newspaper rate of postage, our tract distribution for the year shows up wonderfully. It cost considerably more, too, for the extra postage ran into thousands of dollars. However, what we cannot hinder we must conclude that the Lord has permitted, and neither murmur nor repine. We are glad that we can render so good a report for the year. What we term the "volunteer" work has handled almost all of these tracts. We explain its operation for the benefit of those unfamiliar. We get out a special issue of our quarterly at the beginning of each year and use it as our "volunteer" number. All the dear friends far and near, in every land, are welcome to order of this special issue all that they can use in free distribution. We pay the freight charges. The method is that in each little Bible Study class a Captain be elected to take the supervision of this volunteer work. He in a general way districts the city and asks for the election of enough lieutenants to take charge of the different divisions of the city as he outlines them. Then, as many of the dear friends as can arrange their affairs to suit, meet every Sunday for tract distribution, each being
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enrolled as a worker under the general direction of the captain and the special care and direction of the lieutenant. In this way the distribution is thoroughly done, no part skipped and none done twice. Many of these companies of volunteers, after having completed their work of distribution in their own city, go out in little bands of two or three or more to adjoining towns and cities by electric or steam cars or otherwise. Thus the work of circulating the Truth is done in a most thorough manner. Only districts known to be strongly foreign or Roman Catholic are omitted. The dear friends assure us (and we could see it without their assurances) that this work, whether it accomplishes much or little for others, is a great blessing to their own hearts. It certainly does help to develop the courage necessary to those who would be "more than conquerors." Some who at first felt like hiring newsboys to be their substitutes in the work have found how great a blessing they have been missing, and are now engaging regularly in the service-- soldiers of the Truth, soldiers of the Lord. Amongst those who are thus engaged are many brethren and sisters of fine education, good address, and some of them of considerable business standing as merchants, bankers' clerks, physicians, etc. The intelligence of the person handing the tract or putting it under the door gives weight and influence to the tract itself, and, as for the day, no better day than Sunday could be found for such a circulation of the words of the living God. We would be glad to know that ministers in their pulpits accomplish as much good by their sermons as do those who thus circulate interesting and profitable discourses free of all charge. Whatever the world may think of these dear volunteers, and whether it hates their message or forbears, we know how the Lord and the brethren esteem them, and that the day is coming when the Master--who said,
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If any man be ashamed of me and of my words, of him will I be ashamed when I come in the glory of the Father and all the holy angels with me--to each one of these will say, "Well done, good and faithful servant, enter thou into the joys of thy Lord." Not that we are putting works before faith, but as the Apostle says, we show our faith by our works. We believe, and therefore speak--give utterance to the Truth, scattering it everywhere by word and pen and printed page. The great Chief Reaper has so arranged matters as to test us along these various lines of love for him, for his Word, for his brethren--to test our courage or our shame, to prove whether or not we are true soldiers of the cross and followers of the Lamb. All cannot engage in the colporteur work, but nearly all deprived of that privilege can if they will engage in the volunteer work. If they do not so engage we do not judge them: we will rather think kindly and generously of them, and assume that circumstances, of which we may or may not have knowledge, hinder them from doing all that they would do in this blessed work. But God, who knoweth the heart, will say the "Well done, good and faithful servant," only to those who are found zealous in his service. Let us strive to be pleasing to the Lord; let that be our standard. And in harmony with our text for the year let us "set our affections on things above, and not on things on earth." Let us remember that, whatever the opinions of men may be respecting us, we serve the Lord Christ, we have accepted his standard, receive our directions from him, and are satisfied to be found well pleasing in his sight, even though some who have named the name of Christ have not received the Truth in the love of it.--`2 Thess. 2:10`.
THE PILGRIM WORK
This branch of the service is, we believe, a very useful one--one which we feel sure has been very profitable to the Lord's dear flock during the year past. The "Pilgrims" are brethren recognized as having not only a clear knowledge of the Truth, but as additionally possessing more than average ability in its presentation to others. They go from place to place at the Society's expense, and meet with the dear friends for usually about two days at each place. They are prepared to speak at least twice every day if suitable arrangements can be made for them. We urge that not more than one-half of the meetings at any place be for the public, allowing the other half to be especially for the interested, and we are urging that the "Pilgrims" during the coming year shall make a specialty of giving examples of the successful way of conducting Berean Studies at each of their visits. We do this because we know how profitable these studies are to those who have learned how to conduct them along proper lines, and how insipid they may be if the real spirit of them be not caught by the leader and the class. In those classes where these studies have been most carefully and earnestly followed, and where tactful leaders have been chosen--leaders who will draw the answers to the questions from the classes rather than give the answers themselves, and then in conclusion will summarize the answers--results are excellent. We trust that all the dear friends will take hold of these Berean Studies. The majority of people neither know how to study nor how to teach, and hence fail to get the real food, nourishment, out of what they hear and what they read. Permit the "Pilgrims" to help you still more in this direction during the coming year. "Pilgrim" appointments are only made where we have a positive request, and each May we publish a series of interrogatories, requesting answers thereto from those who desire "Pilgrim" visits, that we may judge the better as to the needs and the possibility for public and private meetings. We are always glad to receive these from any of the dear friends, and your contributions to the Tract Fund, while appreciated, are not allowed weight or influence in the matter. We seek to supply the "Pilgrims" where they are needed and would do the most good, leaving it to the Lord to find the means for the expenses thus incurred. The fact that you may be quite a distance need not hinder you from answering these questions, and be assured that we shall respond as well as we are able to all such appeals and as often as the men and the expenses and the money at our command will permit. It is too late to make the request when you notice that a "Pilgrim" is headed your way, for their routes are made out several months in advance, and they generally go in continuous journey, thus effecting a great saving of traveling expenses. The labors of this department and the cost of the same shown in our reports will be interesting and are encouraging, though not all that we could have hoped.
THE YEAR'S CONVENTION WORK
We need not go into details respecting these gatherings, as we keep you informed from time to time. We merely remark here that we are realizing the Lord's blessing upon this feature of the work more and more. We are finding that the One-Day Conventions as a rule are preferable as respects opportunities for reaching the public, that the General Conventions are preferable as respects the assembling of those who are already interested in the Truth, for spiritual refreshment and further development. The latter, we find, can advantageously cover a longer period of time, even though all cannot attend throughout the entire session. Some combine with the Conventions their vacation, and anyway are much less fatigued by having the Convention meetings spread over a longer period with larger opportunities for rest and social intercourse in the interim. The General Conventions of the year at Asbury Park, N.J., St. Paul, Minn., and Dallas, Tex., were very interesting indeed, and we believe highly profitable to the Lord's dear people, who attended in large numbers. The One-Day Conventions are growing in interest and in results as the dear friends learn the necessity for business methods in respect to their arrangements.
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To reach the public it is necessary first to have a first-class hall, and such halls are expensive and cannot be indulged in advantageously unless a corresponding amount of money be spent for advertising purposes. This the dear friends have learned, and, following it with success, are greatly encouraged. This year we have requested the treasurers of these One-Day Conventions to send us a report of the total amount of the cost of the Conventions to the local congregations for hall, advertising, etc., and the amount of the expenses has been credited to those congregations as so much donated to the Tract Fund. This item, therefore, swells the Tract Fund contributions and correspondingly appears as an increased outlay in connection with the increased branch of the "Pilgrim" branch of the work. Of late we think it an excellent plan to follow these One-Day Conventions and their large crowds with Chart talks on the following Sundays, the latter being advertised at the large meeting. We thus seek to gather and hold all the interest created by the first widely advertised meeting. The Chart talk usually helps to fix the Truth in the minds of these dear friends, and the larger number are thus introduced to the local classes.
PILGRIM WORK SUMMARY, INCLUDING ALL CONVENTIONS
Total number who served as "Pilgrims," 1906.............30 " of visits made...........................1821 " of miles traveled in preaching tours..176,167 " of public meetings held..................1667 " of parlor meetings.......................3529
The above does not include Pilgrim and Convention work of other lands, Great Britain, Germany, Denmark, Sweden, Switzerland, France, Italy and Australia.
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NEWSPAPER HARVEST WORK
Very few probably realize what a great work is possible through the newspapers. This work does not conflict with the other departments of the service, but rather co-operates. The immense circulation of newspapers in our day amongst all classes of thinking people gives the public press a wonderful power for good or for evil. Why should we not seek to use these channels, these implements, in the harvest work? The Lord directed that in the Jewish harvest the message should be scattered everywhere, and we apply the same rules to the present harvest. At the present time and for a good while back Brother Russell's discourses are published regularly in five different newspapers whose combined circulation is 119,000 copies. This in a year represents 6,188,000 sermons printed and scattered broadcast amongst reading people. Besides this, in all the cities where one-day conventions are held the newspapers publish one of these discourses. So that altogether we would be quite safe in estimating that over 7,000,000 sermons were printed and scattered during the year. While we cannot say that 7,000,000 people were turned to the Lord and to his Truth thereby, we do know that some have been interested, profited, blest, brought into the Truth through this channel. What more can we expect? Besides, these lessons reach many who are not entirely convinced thereby, but whose prejudice against the Truth melts away gradually, preparing them for further blessings of the Lord now or in the future. The cause is indebted to many of the Lord's people for this circulation, for if you did not subscribe for these journals and thus encourage their publishers many of them would surely discontinue the service. All subscriptions should be sent through the WATCH TOWER office, except where the newspapers can be bought on the street. If these sermons in the newspapers were calculated on the basis of tract pages they would represent 20 pages each or a total of over 140,000,000. We estimate therefore that this is a very valuable feature of the harvest work. Indeed, we all know that many will read a newspaper article who will decline to read a tract. We are looking to the Lord for possible further opening of doors in this direction, and if we learn of any way in which you can assist we will be pleased to communicate with you. Postal cards to the editors of journals publishing the discourses serve to show the interest and encourage publishers.
OUR CORRESPONDENCE DEPARTMENT
We are always glad to have letters from the interested and rejoice that the Lord has granted such wonderful opportunities for mail communication in our day. Should we not estimate that all these arrangements are designed of the Lord primarily as aids in the harvest work? We see that the harvest of the Jewish age covered but a small field, Palestine and vicinity, whereas the harvest of this age properly extends to every part of the world where there are thoroughly consecrated Christian people. And yet the same length of time, forty years, was apportioned to each harvest. How necessary, then, it was that the Lord should arrange greater convenience for the harvest work in our day. And how we see that railroads, steamships, telegraph and mail services all co-operate and were evidently expected to co-operate as factors in this harvest work. Shall we say that these things were designed for the world, and that we are permitted to profit by them? Shall we not the rather say that these things were necessary and intended for the harvest work, and that the world is permitted to profit by them?
Total letters and cards received.................51,656 Total letters and cards sent out.................40,681
If sometimes the dear friends receive very brief replies to their lengthy letters they must not understand this to signify a lack of appreciation. Your letters are all very welcome indeed, but especially so if they are plainly written and concisely stated. Some letters do not seem to need a reply. When you do wish for information please make your question quite distinct. Do not be surprised if sometimes to your lengthy questions we send very brief replies, perhaps on postal-cards. We answer many questions by referring to our wide-margin Bible, noting there the reference
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to the treatment of the verse in the DAWNS or TOWERS. We call your attention to the same, knowing that the printed explanations are much more comprehensive than anything that we could take time to write by pen in a letter. Give us credit always, dear Brethren and Sisters, for having the very best and kindest intentions toward you all and toward the cause we serve, and be assured that we feel the same interest in those who get their TOWERS free and make no remittances to the Tract Fund. When receiving a brief letter reflect that we have 26,000 subscribers, and that we write lengthy letters twice every month to every one, to you --the various issues of the WATCH TOWER. Accept these as our principal replies to your kind letters, and our brief replies as mere post-scripts. In this connection, we remark that the wide-margin Bibles can no longer be supplied, and the little booklet promised some time ago, giving helpful references and texts, may be expected early in the new year. Due notice will be given in these columns.
HARVEST WORK IN FOREIGN LANDS
The harvest work is prospering greatly in Great Britain and Australia and fairly well in other quarters, Denmark, Sweden, Norway, Germany, Switzerland, France, Italy, Greece and near our own doors in the island of Jamaica--amongst the colored people. Reports from these fields are crowded out of this issue, but may be expected in the January 1st number.
THE FINANCIAL SHOWING
The receipts and expenditures of the year exceed those of any previous year. Not only so, but the shortage of last year has been overcome and we have a credit balance to carry over for 1907. We do not boast; --we are aware that our totals are as nothing compared with the millions devoted annually to the propaganda of error in its various compounds and delusions. Were it not for those millions spent in salaries for ministers, in Church edifices, etc., the bad tidings of great misery for all people except the elect would speedily give place to the "good tidings of great joy which shall be unto all people." Evidently the Lord has designed the permission of this great misrepresentation of his character and name by the Adversary who for so long has deluded so many of the true household of faith and totally blinded those who believe not. (`2 Cor. 4:4`.) And doubtless, too, it is of the Lord's permission that now, as the clearer light shines in upon his Word, that those millions should gradually turn to the support of that "religious infidelity" called "Higher Criticism" and its twin sister, the Evolution theory, which repudiate the Bible record that Adam was created an earthly image of God and fell into imperfection and death through disobedience; that hence the race needed the work of the Redeemer at Calvary for their forgiveness; and will yet need that Redeemer's work of restitution back to all that was lost in Adam (during the Millennium), ere God's plan of salvation is completed. (`Acts 3:19-21`.) Doubtless these "strong delusions," together with that of Spiritism and Christian Science falsely so-called are permitted now for the testing of Laodicea (`Rev. 3:14`), the separation of the wheat from the chaff and tares. "Even so, Father, for so it seemed good in thy sight." It consoles us to know that "The Lord knoweth them that are his," and that none of these shall be plucked from his hand, his power, his care. It will not be possible in this day for those strong delusions to "deceive the very elect," however ignorant or humble they may be. On the other hand we note that the Lord wonderfully blesses what money his wisdom does provide. And the very scarcity of money becomes a blessing in that it encourages the faithful to economy and self-denials which doubtless inure to their greater spiritual profit, in various ways. Doing what we can let us be thankful and content. "Thy will be done!"
1906--SUMMARY OF THE OUTPUT--1906
Total output of DAWNS, "Scripture Studies," cloth-bound, sold at cost.......................................... 377,959 Total output DAWN, Vol. I., magazine form, sold at cost.................................................. 43,100 Total output of free TOWERS, Tracts and newspaper publication of our sermons, stated in usual form of tract pages......................................215,308,672
"Good Hopes" realized.....................$36,127.02 Tract Fund from other sources............. 29,134.05 --------- $65,261.07
Deficit of 1905, paid.....................$ 3,952.73 Pilgrim and Convention expenses........... 11,752.45 For Tracts, free TOWERS and newspaper publishings.............................. 36,490.31 Maintenance of Foreign Branches........... 9,715.83 --------- $61,911.32 ---------- Balance, overplus, 1906................. $ 3,349.75
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Let us permit the blessings of this year to encourage and strengthen and nerve us for the New Year. It may be a strain upon our faith to expect still greater things in 1907, but who knows the mind of the Lord to the contrary? Let us do our parts faithfully and leave the results to him. He is able to put millions into the work through seemingly natural means if he choose; and as we approach the close of the reaping time it should not surprise us to see the work extend wonderfully in the next three years, and then more rapidly close. If we are doing all in our power, let us not worry but go on contentedly. If we on examination find that we are not doing all in our power we should not be content, but should watch and pray and strive to be of those of whom the Lord will say, "She hath done what she could." Remember that the best thing for your friend to read is STUDIES (or DAWN), Vol. I. Remember that every DAWN reader should be on the TOWER list. Remember that you can at no cost but time be a "Volunteer"-tract distributor.
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"A LITTLE CHILD SHALL LEAD THEM"
A little child shall lead them! Oh blessed, blessed time-- The Universe will be at peace, The Bells of Heaven will chime, As Angel Choirs again will sing The song of Bethlehem's plain, Glory to God! "How good He is!" On Earth good will to men.
A little child shall lead them; The fierce--the meek--the strong No chains shall hold, nor fetters bind The captives in that throng. But Love shall be the leading string The Universe to sway! A Baby's fingers will control And guide them in the way.
A little child shall lead them; The pride and pomp of War, The captives' groan, the angry tone The battle's awful roar-- No more disturb the harmony Of Earth's long-sought repose; And Wilderness and desert place Shall blossom as the rose.
A little child shall lead them; The meek, so long oppressed, Will then rejoice in perfect peace And all the earth possess. No more will vain ambition rule Nor drench with blood the sod, But all the ransomed human sons Rejoice before their God.
Oh Precious Master, in whose arms The little ones were blessed, Unmindful of the clamoring crowd That round thy pathway pressed,-- Fill our hearts with childlike faith, Let Love expel the leaven Of Sin's unholy blighting power, For of such is the Kingdom of Heaven. --Anonymous.
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"IF I GO AWAY I WILL COME AGAIN"
--`LUKE 24:36-53`.--DECEMBER 23.--
Golden Text:--"While he blessed them, he was parted from them, and was received up into heaven."
THIS lesson connects with our previous one, and is Luke's brief summary of our Lord's manifestations during the forty days of his presence up to the time when he left his disciples by ascending to heaven. It presents what in our last lesson we designated the fifth and eleventh manifestations of the risen Messiah to his faithful apostles, who were to be his witnesses to the Jews and indirectly to the whole world. The forepart, from `verses 36-43` inclusive, show how carefully, how wisely, our Lord presented the Truth, so that none of his followers would have occasion for stumbling, although he well knew that he was to be for a stone of stumbling, a rock of offence, to both the houses of Israel, the Jewish and the Gospel nominal churches. The account graphically sets forth how on the evening of his resurrection, while his apostles were gathered discussing the incidents of the day, the reported meeting, interview, etc., Jesus himself stood in their midst, the doors being shut. No wonder they were affrighted, for they were in a nervous condition throughout the day, not only fearing apprehension by the rulers but perplexed respecting the meaning of the day's incidents. What could they think now but that a spirit being stood in their midst? how could any other come in while the doors were shut? As a matter of fact, we have seen that although the Lord was put to death in the flesh, he was quickened, made alive in the Spirit, and that he was no longer a human being but born of the Spirit, and that it was by reason of his power as a spirit being that he was able to come into their presence, the doors being shut. We have seen that he could have manifested himself as a spirit being as he did to Saul of Tarsus later, but that instead of so doing he assumed a body of flesh so that they might be without distraction. The wisdom of his course is shown by the alarm of the disciples and his ability to assure them that what they saw was not a spirit but flesh and bones. His words were, "A spirit hath not flesh and bones as ye see me have." But spirit beings had assumed flesh and bones as Jesus did, and had thus appeared to men to deliver divine messages. We have already noticed such an appearance of our Lord and two angels to Abraham, and how they ate and talked with Abraham. Similarly in this case our Lord, to prove that his body was of flesh and bones, called for food and ate before them some broiled fish and honeycomb. Their fears thus allayed, they were the better prepared to receive the appropriate instructions of the hour--prepared as they could not have been under any other conditions of which we can think. Evidently our Lord chose the very best way of proving the two facts: first that he was risen, that it was his very self; and, secondly, that he was changed, not the same as previously, because now, as the angels, he had power to come and go, to appear and disappear, to assume one form and clothing or another as suited convenience and the objects he wished to serve.
OPENED UNTO THEM THE SCRIPTURES
Their fears allayed, they were prepared for further instruction --an explanation of the wonderful experiences through which they had recently been passing. We could hardly think of our dear Redeemer speaking to his loved ones upon any other topic at such a time. He explained that what they were experiencing was the fulfilment of his words while he was yet with them--intimating that he was no longer with them in the same sense as formerly. He proceeded to explain to them the necessity for their trying experience and his, that the Father had so arranged from the beginning, and had so outlined the matter in the prophecies of Moses and all the prophets, including the Psalms wherever they referred to him. Thus he opened their understanding, their minds, that they could appreciate the Scriptures. His words served as a Bible Key, bringing order out of their previous confusion. The fact that the Scriptures are so written that they cannot be understood without certain divine assistance is incomprehensible to the world. Not seeing the divine plan worldly minds think it unreasonable that God should hide his purposes from the wise and prudent and reveal them unto babes (`Matt. 11:25`); they think it strange that he so arranged his revelations through the prophets that they could not be understood except as he would furnish the necessary elucidation, keys or instructions. However, to us who do see
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the divine plan with a measure of clearness, it was evidently not only the wisest way but the best in every sense of the word for God to arrange his plan so that only those in heart harmony with him would be able to appreciate it in advance of its fulfilment, as the Lord declared, To you it is given to know the mysteries of the Kingdom, but to all outsiders these things are spoken in parables and dark sayings, that they might not understand; and again he said even to his faithful ones, "I have many things to tell you, but ye cannot bear them now." --`John 16:12`. The things which our Lord revealed to his disciples on this occasion as a key to their understanding of the Scriptures could not properly have been given them previously; those truths would not have been meat in due season to the household of faith earlier. They would do them more good now than at any other time--now that their minds were quickened and they were awakened, energized by the stirring events and perplexities; they now were ready to see the course of divine wisdom in the arrangement of the plan. And is it so now--today? As one by one the Lord's people come to that condition of mind and heart development where they are ready for it the Lord is pleased to give them more light of "present truth"; and when once their eyes of understanding are opened they wonder why they have been so blind that they did not see these things before. The secret is that they were not previously prepared: other lessons must first be learned before the deeper truths could be appreciated; and the great Teacher, reading the heart, was able to give them the opening of the understanding at the appropriate time for the highest welfare of his followers. We are not to suppose that our Lord worked some miracle upon the minds of his followers to open their understanding: rather we are to suppose that he operated then as he still operates in giving instruction; that he used natural means, that he reasoned with them, explaining to them the necessity for the one feature and the other of the divine plan, until they got before their minds the logical order and sequence of affairs and were able to some extent to grasp the divine purpose. We are sure, however, that they did not comprehend the Scriptures perfectly, because this was not to be their experience, according to our Lord's own words, until after he had ascended on high and sent forth the holy Spirit, which would guide them into all Truth, yea, into the deep things of God. What our Lord did do was to give all the details that the natural man in a consecrated condition of mind could appreciate and act upon. He doubtless showed them briefly that the sacrifices of the Law typified his own sacrifice, that the atonement for sin was necessary on a higher scale by better sacrifices before the real reconciliation could be effected and the whole world of mankind be permitted to come back into relationship with God and to have an opportunity for life eternal. He doubtless showed them that natural Israel was not worthy to constitute the Kingdom class, that therefore only those accepting him had been chosen--"The election hath received it and the rest were blinded."-- `Rom. 11:7`. He showed them, further, the work expected of them-- to declare not only his righteousness but that he was the sin-offering, and that although he died he arose again to give the blessing as the antitypical High Priest. He showed them that repentance would be granted through the merit of his death and the remission of sins, and that this would be open and applicable to all mankind--all nations. Evidently, however, he did not explain to them that the Gentiles were to be fellow-heirs with themselves in the great honor of being the
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antitypical Israel, Spiritual Israel, joint-heirs with Messiah in the Kingdom; because we find that Peter and the other apostles were quite ignorant of this feature of the divine plan until the time of Cornelius and the special manifestations connected therewith. Their witness was to begin at Jerusalem, but not to end there.
"BEGINNING AT JERUSALEM."
The call to membership in the Bride of Christ must be thoroughly promulgated amongst the natural seed of Abraham that it might select as many as were Israelites indeed before it would be extended to the Gentiles. They were to tarry in Jerusalem also to await enduement from on high-- the holy Spirit's anointing and begetting. He referred to the Pentecostal blessing, saying, "Behold, I send the promise of the Father upon you, but tarry ye in Jerusalem until ye be endued with power from on high." The Apostle tells us that the sending of the holy Spirit at Pentecost became a witness or sign of God's acceptance of our Lord Jesus' sacrifice, and thus a sign of his acceptance of the Church and household of faith, whose sins alone were covered by that sacrifice. His words are, "Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the holy Spirit of promise, he hath shed forth this which ye now see and hear." This was the seal of the Father's approval of the sacrifice of Jesus, and of the forgiveness of sins of those for whom his precious blood was applied; as the Apostle Paul declares, "He ascended up on high there to appear in the presence of God on our behalf--as the Advocate of believers, but not as the world's Advocate."--`Acts 2:33`. The record is that the apostles did tarry at Jerusalem until they received the Pentecostal blessing, and the lesson to all the Lord's disciples from that day to the present time is that none except those thus endued with power from on high--none except those who come under the blessing of the Spirit of the Lord, the holy mind of Christ--none others are qualified to be the ambassadors for God and his representatives before men. When our Lord sent forth his apostles during his ministry he put his Spirit or power upon them, which enabled them to preach and cast out devils, in harmony with his wishes and instructions; but as soon as he was gone they might do no more work until they received the actual blessing in their own hearts. We fear that a general trouble amongst those teaching in the name of the Lord today and in times past has been that they did not tarry until they were endued with the holy Spirit, but recklessly pressed into the ministry without this, the real credential of divine authorization. Let us not make the same mistake; let us realize that work not done under the guidance of the holy Spirit is sure to be defective and in some respects evil, and to result in evil fruitage, of which we
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can see so much everywhere about us in Babylon. Let us then not only see to it that we have come under the anointing which has been on the body since Pentecost, but see also that we abide in this condition, that we grieve not the holy Spirit, and that thus we shall be qualified to be witnesses for the Truth, ambassadors for God, servants of the Most High, co-laborers in the vineyard. At no time was this more necessary than now in the harvest time. All of the Lord's people should be awake to a realization that the Truth, the light now due to the household of faith, is not to be expected through any but sanctified channels.
"WITNESSES OF THESE THINGS."
The apostles as witnesses were not merely to tell about the Redeemer's virgin birth, nor merely about his holy, devoted life, nor merely about his Calvary cross, nor merely of our Lord's resurrection, nor merely of his ascension, but in addition to all these facts they are to tell that he was a properly qualified Redeemer, that he met all the conditions of the Law, and that now he ever liveth to succor those who come unto the Father through him. How faithfully the apostles performed their mission! how truly, as the Apostle Paul declared, they shunned not to declare the whole counsel! Worldly wisdom might intimate that to own a Master and Teacher who had been executed as a felon would be to their discredit, and thoroughly hinder them from progress in gathering followers to their Leader. But these faithful witnesses consulted not with flesh and blood as to what they should preach--they told the story simply in all of its details, not neglecting even those features which showed their own weaknesses, as in the cases of Peter and Judas, and the disputing as to which should be greatest, etc. The Truth in the simplicity in which God intended it to be delivered has evidently come down to us in the Bible account. Now we in our turn are the witnesses charged with the responsibility of carrying forward this same message--the message of our Lord's purity, that he was holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners; the message of his loving devotion to the Father's glorious plan unto death, even the death of the cross, his resurrection and his ascension, and his promise to come again to receive his faithful to himself and establish his Kingdom. Nothing less than the whole Gospel should be witnessed, and it is for each of us to say to what extent we are faithfully using our privileges. He who is ashamed of the Lord and his cause, or of anything pertaining to him--he who is ashamed of his agents and agencies of the past or of the present, is not a faithful witness and has the Master's word that "he that is ashamed of me or of my words, of him will I be ashamed when I come in my Kingdom." (`Mark 8:38`.) Let us, therefore, dearly beloved, not allow pride or any other evil condition of mind to hinder us from full heart-confession of what great thing the Lord has done for us, and of all the steps which he has been pleased to use in the doing of them.
"HE WAS PARTED FROM THEM"
Bethany was on the Mount of Olives, but a little distance from Jerusalem, and thither the Lord led his disciples at the end of the forty days, after having given them the various manifestations of his resurrection and change already mentioned. We read, "While he blessed them he was parted from them and carried up into heaven." Another account says, "A cloud received him out of their sight." We must remember that the apostles were still natural men, that the holy Spirit had not yet been shed forth upon them: hence we see the necessity for the Lord's giving them such evidence as natural men could understand. He could have vanished out of their sight as he did after talking with them and eating of the broiled fish and honeycomb in the upper room. But had he so vanished and ascended to the Father how would they have known about the matter? Would they not have been in doubt as to whether or not he had ever gone away to appear in the presence of God on our behalf? But when the changed Lord, the quickened spirit, was about to ascend to the Father, his last manifestation was in a body of flesh, and he was gradually parted from them and gradually ascended into the sky and was lost to their sight, so that they might have before their minds the thought that he was gone, that they were not to expect him to appear and disappear in the future as he had done during those forty days, that they were to think of him now as being with the Father in the heavenly glory. Now they could call to mind his promise, "If I go away I will come again and receive you unto myself." Henceforth their minds would center upon his second coming and the glorious things then to be accomplished for them and for the world. Doubtless this was part of what our Lord made plain to them in opening the Scriptures--that he accepted them and all spiritual Israelites indeed as his jewels, and was selecting these during this Gospel age, and at its close would come again and would receive them to himself as his Bride, and establish his Kingdom with power and great glory in the earth.
"THIS SAME JESUS SHALL SO COME"
Another account tells us that while they were looking upward to the point in heaven where last they had seen the Lord, two angels appeared and said to them, "Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye here gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus ye have seen go into heaven will so come in like manner as ye have seen him go." The lesson was a complete one and was well understood by the apostles; they fully believed that the Master had gone from them and that as truly he would come again. They did not forget his statement either, "Lo, I am with you alway, even to the end of the age," but accepted this properly as signifying that he would be with them in the plenitude of his power to protect them, to oversee their interests through various agencies at his command. But as to his actual presence, that was gone--"Ye shall see me no more until that day when ye shall say, Blessed is he that cometh in the name of the Lord." (`Matt. 21:9`.) He went from them quietly, unostentatiously, unknown to the world. Hence his followers are to be on the watch for the signs that will indicate the presence of the Son of man in the end of the Gospel age, and are to remember that it will be in his day as it was in the days of Noah, men will be eating and drinking, planting and building, marrying and giving in marriage, not discerning, knowing not that the Son of man
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is present, that the Gospel age is closing, that a new dispensation is about to dawn, to be inaugurated by the complete change of the members of the body of Christ, because flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom.
"THEY WORSHIPED HIM"
Although our Lord taught us to worship the Father in spirit and in truth, and again to pray, "Our Father which art in heaven," and although the Apostle said, "I bow my knees to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ," (`Eph. 3:14`), nevertheless the general sentiment of Scripture seems to imply that there will be nothing wrong in our addressing a petition to our Lord Jesus direct if any so desire at any time. As the head of the body it is but the appropriate thing that, as every member of the natural body makes known its desires, its petitions, to its own head, so the Church, the body of Christ, should be permitted to address him, and thus we read in our lesson that the apostles worshiped the ascended Jesus--they recognized his greatness and dignity and honor as the Messiah, the Son of the living God, the Redeemer of the world, who in due time shall come and receive his faithful to himself and establish his Kingdom for the blessing of the world. The Lord's own words are appropriate here: he says, "That all men should honor the Son even as they honor the Father."--`John 5:23`.
Matters had now taken a changed form in the minds of the disciples: their perplexities were gone, they understood
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why Jesus had died, the necessity for this, and that it was related to his second coming and the Kingdom then to be established--that it was the very basis of his future work. They knew not, indeed, how long it would be before he would come again--the Lord graciously kept this from them lest the length of the period might have discouraged them. Nor was it necessary either to them or their successors, because not one of them would live the entire period, and it was appropriate that each one should live his space of years in expectancy that the Kingdom might come in his day, and with the desire that he might be ready for it at any moment. We who live today have the happy lot to live "in the days of the Son of man"--in the days of his second presence--in the days of the establishment of his Kingdom--in the day of all days the best. Instead of being discouraged the disciples now had great joy as they waited for the promised holy Spirit of the fiftieth day. Meantime they were continually in the Temple --not that they lived there, but as we say today of a regular attendant of Church, "He goes to Church all the time," meaning regularly. So with the apostles: they were from Galilee, and had no special business in Jerusalem during the remaining ten days till Pentecost, and they improved the opportunity of spending much of their time in the Temple, praising God, thanking him, desiring to cultivate in themselves more and more the Spirit of the Lord. Applying this feature to ourselves, is it not true of us also that we have had great joy from the time the Lord opened the eyes of our understanding, that we might see his Word in its true light, that we might be his witnesses? All of this class, truly members of his body, are represented as abiding in the Temple, the Tabernacle, the Holy, as the Apostle says: "We are seated together with Christ in the holies," our hearts have fellowship with him, prayer and praise and worship seem to rank amongst the highest and most appreciated privileges. We have less to ask the Lord for than formerly, more to thank him for, as we begin to realize what great things the Lord hath done for us.
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THE STORY OF JESUS IN REVIEW
Golden Text:--"His name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The Mighty God, The Everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace."--`Isa. 9:6`.
THE closing lesson of the year is a review of the quarter's study of the blessed Redeemer, and truly the Golden Text serves well to congregate and crystalize all of our previous studies of the wonderful character and work of the Prince of Life, the world's Redeemer, the Church's Advocate, and soon to be the world's Mediator. Many are the names of the Son of man--the man Christ Jesus, the Son of God, who was made flesh that he by the grace of God should taste death for every man. The first name given in the list of the Prophet is called Wonderful, and is surely appropriate. His is the most wonderful career and the most wonderful character of which we have any knowledge. Who else than he left the glories of the heavenly state for human conditions? as he himself said, "No man hath ascended up to heaven save he which came down from heaven." (`John 3:13`.) He alone left the glory which he had with the Father before the world was; he alone exercised that wonderful faith in the Father which permitted him to sacrifice everything with joy, delighting to do the Father's will, with confidence that in due time the rewards of the Father's favor and love would more than compensate for every sacrifice. Wonderful, too, was his life amongst men, the Light shining in the darkness, the darkness comprehending it not. More and more as we come into the light ourselves we are able to comprehend this Wonderful One. As the Apostle suggests, the eyes of our understanding being opened we are able to comprehend with all saints the heights and depths and lengths and breadths of the love of God which passes all understanding, such love being manifested, exhibited, illustrated in this Wonderful One. Wonderful also was his resurrection, the "first that should rise from the dead," "the first-born amongst many brethren," "highly exalted, given a name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow."--`Rom. 8:29`; `Col. 1:15,18`; `Phil. 2:9,10`. The second name on the list, "Counsellor," is also appropriate. Who else is such a Counsellor? Who else is
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able to be touched with the feeling of our infirmities? Who else is able always to guide us with his eye? Who else has assured us that all things shall work together for our good? Happy are they who have made the acquaintance of this Counsellor, whom God hath set forth to be the satisfaction for our sins and to be the Counsellor, the Leader, the Guide, the Instructor of his people, and to bring them out of darkness into his marvellous light, out of the chains of sin and bondage of death back to full liberty of the sons of God. Let us more and more heed the voice that speaketh from heaven, our Counsellor. "The Mighty God," another of his names, is also appropriate. If the angels were called Elohim, gods, and if the angels appearing to men in the past were called Elohim, gods, because they were the representatives of divine power, surely much more appropriate is the name to him whom the Father specially sent as his special messenger to men. If elohim signifies a mighty one, surely he is above the other mighty ones, next to the Father himself, and may therefore most properly be termed the mighty Elohim--the Mighty God--the one mighty amongst the mighty. "Mighty to save" we sometimes sing; yea, says the Word of the Lord, "He is able to save unto the uttermost all who come unto the Father through him." (`Heb. 7:25`) Such a mighty Savior we need, one not only able to sympathize with us and to instruct us, but able also to deliver us from the Evil One and from our own weaknesses as well as from the divine sentence against our race as sinners. Let us exult in this "Mighty One," whom the heavenly Father, Jehovah, has sent forth as the Arm of Jehovah for deliverance from sin and death. The title "Everlasting Father" will in due time be appropriately his--but not yet. These words are a prophecy; some of them have been already fulfilled and others are yet to be fulfilled. When they were written Jesus had not yet left the heavenly glory. Jesus is not the everlasting Father to the Church. No; the Scriptures reveal him as our elder Brother, and again as our Bridegroom. The Apostle most explicitly tells us that Jehovah is our Father, saying, "The God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ hath begotten us"--we are his children. The dear Redeemer himself taught us to pray, "Our Father which art in heaven"; and again after his resurrection he sent the message to Peter and others of his followers, "I ascend to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God."--`John 20:17`. In due time he will be the everlasting Father to the world--to those of the world who, during the Millennial age, will hearken to his voice and receive of his life--restitution blessings. Jesus purchased Adam and all of his children by the sacrifice of himself: they are his, to make out of them everything possible and to bring as many as possible back into harmony with the Father and to eternal life. They died under divine condemnation; what they now need is life, and the Father has arranged that Jesus may be their Life-Giver, and to this end he has already given his life, purchased them, that in due time, during his Millennial Kingdom, he may offer them the return of all that was lost in Adam, for it is written, "He came to seek and to save that which was lost." Since that life which Jesus will give to the world during the Millennial age is the fruitage of his own sacrifice, therefore he is said to be the Father, the Life-Giver to the world. And since the life that he will give will not be merely a temporary one, but by obedience to him all those who receive of his life may be brought to perfection, and maintain that life eternally, therefore he is the Everlasting Father. He gives the everlasting life in contradistinction to Adam, who attempted to be the Father to the race, but through his disobedience brought forth his children to a dying condition. No so the everlasting life: the life which he gives to his children during the period of the Millennium, and which will accomplish the regeneration of the world, or of so many of the world as will accept his favor, will be unto life eternal. Not yet is he the Prince of Peace and King of Glory, but very soon he will take unto himself his great power and reign. Far from peaceful will be its beginning. The Scriptural description is that the nations will be angry and divine wrath will come upon them, and that they shall be broken in pieces as a potter's vessel: that the Lord will speak to them in his sore displeasure, and that there will be a time of trouble such as was not since there was a nation.--`Psa. 2:5`; `Dan. 12:1`. But the Lord wounds to heal, he chastises to correct, and will not "keep his anger forever," but will ultimately prove that he is "plenteous in mercy." The result of his righteous indignation against sin and all unrighteousness and iniquity will be the establishment of justice upon a firm footing throughout the world. Then as a consequence peace will reign and the King of Glory will be known as the Prince of Peace, whose blessings will fill the earth for the refreshment of every creature and the bringing of so many as will into full harmony with God through the processes of restitution.
As we long for the glorious day let us prepare our hearts that we may be approved of the King--that we may be accepted even as his Bride through his mercy and grace. Let us not forget that there are conditions expressed by the Apostle in the words, "If we suffer with him, we shall also reign with him," "If we be dead with him we shall also live with him"--"heirs of God, joint-heirs with Jesus Christ our Lord, if so be that we suffer with him, that we may also be glorified together." A little while and the trials shall be over; a little while and if faithful we shall have the crown and hear the blessed words, "Well done, good and faithful servant, enter thou into the joys of thy Lord. Thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things."--`Matt. 25:21,23`.