ZWT - 1910 - R4539 thru R4732 / R4598 (129) - April 15, 1910
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A.D. 1910—A.M. 6038
To What Degree Should We Confess Faults?.....131
Were the Ancient Worthies on Trial for Life?...132
More Tolerable for Sodom.......................... 132
“I Will Have Mercy and Not Sacrifice”.............133
Birthday Greetings (Poem).........................134
Be Temperate in All Things........................135
“Professing Themselves to Be Wise”................135
Some Interesting Questions........................136
Woman the Glory of Man........................136
Significance of Coals from the Altar..........137
Some Types of the Resurrection................137
Joyful in Tribulations (Poem).....................138
The Privilege and Power of Prayer.................138
The Redemption Price and Its Application..........141
The Memorial Supper...............................142
Some Interesting Letters..........................142
WATCH TOWER BIBLE & TRACT SOCIETY
CHARLES T. RUSSELL, PRESIDENT
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THE “SPECTATOR” AND “THE WORLD”
The Hamilton Spectator will resume publication of the sermons if sufficiently encouraged. Rate for daily, additional to WATCH TOWER subscription, $1.80 per year; $1.13 for six months, or 68 cents for three months; 75 cents for the semi-weekly per year or 38 cents for six months. Send orders to us. The Toronto World also will continue the sermons in full if sufficiently encouraged. Price, additional to WATCH TOWER, 50 cents per year for Monday issue. Do not forget to encourage the publishers by complimentary letters and cards.
Arrangements for Water Baptism have been made in Brooklyn for those who desire to symbolize their baptism into Christ’s death. The service will be conducted immediately after the afternoon service of Sunday, April 17. Those desiring to avail themselves of this privilege will, if possible, kindly advise us in advance.
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SERMONS IN THE NEWSPAPERS
How about renewing your subscriptions for newspapers publishing Brother Russell’s sermons? Do your part! Be prompt! If a few narrow souls hating the good tidings of God’s love try to discourage the Editors from publishing the sermons; the thousands who are being blest should tell of their profit and pleasure and thus encourage the newspaper men. Renew through us or direct, as you please. Use part of your “Good Hopes” thus if you think proper. You have
our clubbing rates in the PEOPLES PULPIT—December issue.
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TO WHAT DEGREE SHOULD WE CONFESS FAULTS?
“Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another that ye may be healed.”—James 5:16.
THIS text represents a general principle of humility and willingness to make acknowledgment when we commit a fault, particularly to the one against whom the fault or wrong has been committed, with due apology and reparation so far as possible. It is quite proper for us to freely concede that we are not perfect, and no one should attempt to pose as perfect, but rather to acknowledge what the Scriptures declare that “there is none righteous, no, not one”; that we are merely righteous in our intentions and efforts and are trusting for full covering in the sight of God through the merit of our Lord Jesus Christ.
There might be times when the confession of a fault should be made publicly to the advantage of others and if we feel sure that the telling of our own shortcoming would be of advantage to others, we should not hesitate
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to tell of the matter in a proper way with a view to assisting others; but our thought is that in general we do well, not only to hide our imperfections, but that it should be our daily endeavor to put our faults away completely.
In this passage, however, the Apostle has a deeper thought; he is discussing here the case of one who has committed a sin that has alienated him from God, causing a cloud to come between them. It has been a repetition of sins, or something to this effect. He is spiritually sick, whether physically sick or not. The prescription for him is that he call for the Elders of the Church that they may pray over him and anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord. “The prayer of faith shall save the sick” (the spiritually sick, we think), “and though he has committed trespasses or sins they shall be forgiven him.” The brother is not in a condition to advocate his own cause with the Lord, and the Lord therefore arranged it so that we should feel a sympathy with our brother and go to his relief and make intercession for him. Not that our intercessions would avail of themselves; it must be the intercession of our Advocate that would avail for the wrongs and imperfections before justice; but our Advocate may at times thus withhold himself for the good of one in error and for the sake of drawing out the sympathy of the brethren who have knowledge of the case, that they may seek to assist, remembering themselves lest they also should be tempted, lest they also should fall from their steadfastness, and that therefore the spirit of sympathy and mutual helpfulness may be encouraged in the Church.
There is nothing that would be in the way of an Elder Brother in the Church praying for one of the fellow-members of the Body of Christ or against the members of the Church praying for each other in general without special request. This would be entirely proper. If one should see a brother taking a wrong course, he should not only pray for him, but should seek to restore such a one in the spirit of humility by calling attention to the course he has taken, as wisely as he may be able; but of course the matter could not go so far under such circumstances as under the circumstances above recited—that the sick one should call for the Elders to pray for him, realizing his own need.
Not merely should the Elders pray for those whom they see going astray, but the Lord has put a special responsibility upon every member of the Church, every member of the Body, to look out for all other members to the extent of ability and opportunity, yet there could not be the same degree either of responsibility or of propriety in a younger brother in the Church attempting to correct and rebuke and exhort, etc., an Elder Brother. The Apostle says to Timothy, “Rebuke not an Elder, but entreat him as a father”; thus we see what a younger brother in the Lord’s family might do, if he saw what he thought to be a deflection from the proper course. But he should feel a hesitancy about approaching the matter and feel also that he would be laboring under a disadvantage and would not be as likely to accomplish good results as if he were one of more experience. Therefore it would be wise for him to pray for the person in secret for a while, rather than be too free about giving advice. But if he finally thought it necessary, it would perhaps be wiser for him to speak to some of the Elders of the Church and ask them for their opinion; or if they thought it would be wise that the brother be spoken to by them.
We are not supposing that he is imagining evil—“evil speaking”—about the person, but that he has some absolute knowledge about some wrong qualities of disposition, wrong course of life, something he knows to be wrong, something that is outwardly seen, something that is not merely imagined. We realize that many of the things that comprise evil speaking, etc., are purely imaginary, such as, “I thought he was going to do so,” and “I thought she was doing so,” or “I thought she might have been intending to do” thus and so. These things are classed with
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evil speaking. In these cases the brother should make the subject a matter of prayer to see that he is not busy-bodying in other people’s affairs; that he is not setting up his judgment in a matter that is of no great importance; that it is something really serious and disastrous to the brother and dangerous to his interests as a New Creature in Christ Jesus.
The general course, however, should be to go to the person alone, as our Lord instructed in Matthew 18:15; the going to an Elder would be only in the case of some very serious matter in which the person felt that his own power to set the matter right was entirely insufficient. It is our belief that those instances would be very few. If the matter is a trespass against himself, it would be his duty to go to the person alone; if it is something against the Church or that is outwardly immoral or wrong or a violation of some recognized principle of righteousness, it would seem to be on a little different plane and would call for someone who would be more in authority, since it is not the rights of the individual that are trespassed upon, but the interests of the Church or the Truth or the Lord’s cause. In such cases the Elders would no doubt be the better able to judge and would know better how to approach the matter.
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WERE THE ANCIENT WORTHIES ON TRIAL FOR LIFE?
THE Ancient Worthies were not on trial for life or death; they were never brought to that condition of intelligent opportunity for eternal life which would make them amenable to a sentence of death. Such a condition of knowledge and opportunity did not obtain in the world until our Lord came. “Grace and truth came by Jesus Christ”; “he brought to light, life and immortality.” These were never disclosed before our Lord’s time, and consequently no such responsibility, as now exists, had come.
In a certain sense the Jewish nation had been typically justified and was typically on trial for life or death, but this was not an actuality so far as life and death eternal were concerned, because God knew in advance that they could not keep the Law, and that they could never have eternal life under it; and he had arranged in advance that they should be redeemed from the curse of the Law irrespective of anything they might themselves do in the matter. Hence it was only in the typical, or figurative sense, that they were on trial for life or death.
The Ancient Worthies “had this testimony that they pleased God.” They pleased him in that when they ascertained his will they set about doing it, even before he gave it to them as a law or obligation, even before he could ask them to obey him and promise them eternal life for their obedience. Abraham manifested his faith in God although there was no redemption yet accomplished in the world. Christ had not yet come. And although Abraham was not on trial for life or for death God granted Abraham his favor and declared that he pleased him; and his word tells us that “a better resurrection” is to be not only to Abraham, but to all these Ancient Worthies—a resurrection to human perfection. But since human perfection will come only under the mediatorial reign of Christ, the Ancient Worthies will not be introduced to the Father in the complete sense until the close of the Millennial Age.
Hence, they will not have life, in this fullest sense, until that time, when, at the close of the Millennial Age, the Kingdom shall be delivered over to the Father. What they will have in the meantime will be the perfection of human nature and all the blessings that God provides for mankind, through the great Mediator. But they will not come into actual and personal relationship to God, so as to be determined worthy of eternal life, until the completion of the Millennial Age, because that age is set apart for the very purpose of determining who of all mankind may have eternal life, aside from the spirit-begotten ones of the present time. At the close of the Millennial Age, when all mankind shall be in perfection of being, they shall be tried of the Father for their worthiness or unworthiness of eternal life—just as Adam, while enjoying perfection, was tested as to whether or not he was worthy to have life made perpetual or eternal.
Since the Ancient Worthies will be a part of the world under the New Covenant arrangements, it follows that they will not have this decision of the Divine Court, Divine Justice, respecting their worthiness of eternal life until the completion of the Millennial Age, until the conclusion of the trial at the end of that age, which will bring to them, as it will bring to all others who are faithful, the great reward of life eternal.
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MORE TOLERABLE FOR SODOM
—MATTHEW 11:20-30.—APRIL 24.—
Golden Text:—“Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy-laden, and I will give you rest.”—V. 28.
IN the cities of Capernaum, “his own city,” Bethsaida, and Chorazin, situated on the Sea of Galilee, the majority of our Lord’s notable miracles were performed. Nevertheless, even in these cities, the majority rejected his Messiahship. Today’s study tells how the Great Teacher arraigned the people of those cities for their unbelief, declaring that if the mighty works done in them had been done in the Gentile cities of Tyre and Sidon they would have repented. Hence it will be more tolerable for the people of those cities than for the people of Capernaum in the Day of Judgment.
We must rid our minds of the old and fallacious thought that the Day of Judgment will be a period of twenty-four hours. We must see that from God’s standpoint a day simply signifies a period or an epoch; as, for instance, a twenty-four hour day, a forty-year day in the wilderness, and the thousand-year day of Christ, the Millennium. The latter is the day referred to in our text as the Day of Judgment. Only a few of mankind have their Day of Judgment or trial now. These few are specially blessed with eyes of understanding to see and with ears of understanding to appreciate the special privileges of this present time. The great mass of mankind are thoroughly blind and deaf to the spiritual things connected with the present calling and election of the Church.
Respecting these the Master thanked the Father, “Because thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes; even so,
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Father; for so it seemed good in thy sight.” (Vs. 25,26.) The Great Teacher did not mean that he was glad, thankful, that his message was hidden from the majority, that they might slide down into eternal torture in darkness. Oh, no! Surely not! He did mean that he appreciated the Father’s wisdom in not allowing any but those of proper condition of heart to see and clearly understand the present call of the Church. For the uncontrite of heart to see, to understand, would mean two things:—
(1) They would oppose God’s Plan the more;
(2) They would come under greater responsibility themselves.
Hence we with the Master may be glad of the wisdom displayed in the Divine arrangement of hiding certain features of the great Plan of the Ages from all except the “very elect.” “The secret of the Lord is with them that fear (reverence) him and he will show them his Covenant.”—Psa. 25:14.
“Thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven (highly exalted in privilege and opportunity), shalt be brought down to hell (to hades, to the grave, to destruction); for if the mighty works which have been done in thee had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day.” (V. 23.) The reason is clear. The people of Capernaum were evidently harder-hearted than the people of Sodom and, from the Lord’s standpoint, were more blameworthy. What shall we say, then, of our day of still greater privilege in many respects—Bibles in every home, preaching in every city, education in every family? What might not the Lord reasonably expect of us?
MORE TOLERABLE FOR SODOM
We have already referred to a Day of Judgment as the thousand-year day of Christ’s Millennial Kingdom, when the people of Capernaum with those of Tyre and Sidon and Sodom and Gomorrah and all the other cities and nations, except the elect Church of this age, will be placed on trial—for life everlasting or death everlasting.
According to our Lord’s words present knowledge, great or small, brings its proportion of responsibility. The greater the favor of God enjoyed now, the greater will be our responsibility then. Evidently this means surprises for the world. Not only the Sodomites, but many of the heathen who have thus far enjoyed little or nothing of God’s grace, will be in a more favorable condition as respects the prospects of the future than some who are now richly favored but are neglecting their privileges. Our Lord intimates that the Judgment or trial of the Millennium will be tolerable, not intolerable, for the people of Capernaum and more tolerable for the people of Sodom. How much more reasonable this is than the unscriptural nonsense that was once taught us by our well-meaning, deluded forefathers, who made the various sectarian creeds that are now causing trouble, and who then burned each other at the stake because of differences of opinion respecting these creeds and claimed that in so doing they were copying God, who was torturing the people of Tyre and Sidon and Capernaum and Sodom and hundreds of millions of others, heathen and civilized!
How seriously we have all misunderstood and misrepresented the Gospel message! Let us turn to the prophecy referred to by our Lord and note this. In Ezekiel’s prophecy, 16:49-61, the Lord rehearsed in advance the greater wickedness of Israel than of her neighboring sister peoples, Samaria and Sodom, and tells that nevertheless he will restore all three of them, bringing them again from the tomb and establishing his Covenant with them through Messiah in the Millennial Age. Let us remember, too, that our Lord made this promise of restitution (Acts 3:19-21) through the very Sodomites who were destroyed by fire which came down from heaven. (Luke 7:29,30.) They were temporarily destroyed by fire as an example or illustration of the absolute annihilation, destruction, which ultimately will come upon all willful sinners, the Second Death. But before any will be thus cut off from all hope he must be brought to a clear knowledge of the Truth and have a full trial in the great and glorious day of Judgment, which St. Paul tells us God has provided and in which the saints of this age, the Bride of Christ, with her Lord, will share in the work of judging.
The Father hath delivered all of his great work into the hands of the Lord Jesus, and only by knowing him can we know the Father in the proper sense, in the intimate sense, because the Son, as the Great Teacher, reveals the Father to all who are pupils in his School.
Our study closes with our Lord’s invitation to those who now have the hearing ear and seeing eye of obedient faith. To these, life’s experiences, sin’s burdens, and general unrest are preparations for the Divine message, “Come unto me, all ye that labor and are heavy-laden and I will give you rest.” Those invited must expect to be servants and to wear the “yoke” of obedience to the Divine will—the yoke of Christ, the service of Christ. To be successful they must learn of him, walk in his steps. They must be meek and lowly in heart. Such, and such only, will find his yoke an easy one and his burden a light one—much lighter than the yoke and burden of sin. Only such will find rest unto their souls now and be prepared to enter into the heavenly rest as “joint-heirs” with Christ in his heavenly Kingdom, which is shortly to bless and judge the world.
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“I WILL HAVE MERCY, AND NOT SACRIFICE”
—MATTHEW 12:1-14.—MAY 1.—
SABBATH observance is the essence of this study. Reasonable people, regardless of their religious convictions, are ready to admit the wisdom, the expediency, yes, the necessity, for a Sabbath day, a rest day once a week. Whatever disputes there are on the subject, therefore, pertain to which day shall be observed and to the manner of the observance. When, through Moses as Mediator, God adopted the nation of Israel as his peculiar people, accepting them into Covenant relationship through their promised obedience to the Law, he fixed for them a special day of the week, the seventh, to be their Sabbath, or day of rest. This Law specially appertained to Palestine. Had it extended beyond, to encompass the whole earth, it would have been necessary for the Law to specify which day should be considered the Sabbath on the other side of the earth, where the time would, of course, be twenty-four hours different.
But those of us who are not Jews by nature and not under that Law Covenant are not bound by its limitation that the Sabbath should be on the seventh day of the week. Indeed, neither Jesus nor the Apostles ever placed
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the Gospel Church under the Law Covenant at all. They tell us that those under it were the “house of servants” in bondage and that we are the “house of sons,” if we “stand fast in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free.”
This does not mean liberty or freedom to do wrong. But since Christians are not limited to the land of Palestine, it leaves us free to follow the spirit of the Law rather than its letter. This is true of the entire Ten Commandments, as well as of the Fourth. The Heavenly Father does not address his spirit-begotten children with commandments not to kill, not to steal, etc., because such commandments to them would be unnecessary. Begotten of the holy Spirit, they love God and reverence him alone, and would not think of homaging images, nor of profaning the Holy Name, nor of doing injury to a neighbor or a brother. On the contrary, their love for God would lead them to honor his Name, to serve his Cause.
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And their love for their neighbor as for themselves would prompt them to render him service—“doing good unto all men as we have opportunity, especially to the household of faith.” (Gal. 6:10.) This love, the Apostle assures us, is the fulfillment of the Law, so far as we are concerned—the fulfilling of the spirit of the Law—for “ye are not under the Law (Covenant), but under [the] Grace (Covenant).”—Rom. 6:14; Gal. 3:29.
The Jews had a system of Sabbath Days and Sabbath Years—the Seventh Day and the (7 x 7 + 1 = 50) Fiftieth Day, or Day of Pentecost. And they had a system of year Sabbaths, the Seventh Year and the (7 x 7 + 1 = 50) Fiftieth Year, or Year of Jubilee. These were typical, as the Apostle explains, and true Christians may enjoy the antitypes. Thus to us the Seventh Day represents a Rest of a higher character than that of the Law—a rest of faith, as instead of a physical rest. “We who believe do enter into his rest”—a faith rest based upon our acceptance of Jesus as our satisfaction before God. The fulness of this rest we attain when we receive the begetting of the holy Spirit. And this was typified by the sending of the holy Spirit on the Day of Pentecost. Similarly Israel’s Sabbatic Year of Jubilee has its antitype in the great Millennial Age of Rest. (Acts 3:20.) But we leave the discussion of this for a more convenient season.
The Great Teacher as a Jew was as much under the obligations of every feature of the Law Covenant as any other Jew. We may be sure that he did not violate any feature of it. He was obligated to keep the letter of it in a sense and degree which he has not commanded us, his followers. It is ours merely to keep the spirit of it. Hence if we were living in Palestine neither the Seventh Day nor any other particular day of the week would be obligatory upon us. But it would be our pleasure to maintain the spirit of the Jewish Law. Acting along the lines of this liberty, the early Church began to meet on the First Day of the week, because it was on that day that their Redeemer arose from the dead. On that day he appeared to some in the upper room and to two on the way to Emmaus and to Mary, and subsequently to others of the disciples near the tomb. These four manifestations of the Lord’s resurrection marked that day in a special sense as a holy day to the early Church. They waited during an entire week and then again he appeared on the first day of the week. Indeed, so far as we may know, all of his eight appearances to his followers after his resurrection were on the first day of the week. No wonder, then, it became known to them as the Lord’s Day. No wonder if they specially associated with that Day all the blessings of God and a rest of faith which came to them through the Redeemer. Quite probably those who lived in Jewish communities would continue to observe the Seventh Day also, because its general observance would make this a necessity. But the First Day of the week became the general time for the Lord’s followers to assemble themselves and to partake of a simple meal called breaking of bread (not the Lord’s Supper) in commemoration of the fact that on the day of his resurrection Jesus manifested himself to his followers in the breaking of bread.
THE LAW MADE VOID BY TRADITIONS
But we are not to understand from the present study that the Master reproved the Jews for keeping the Seventh Day, which was their duty. His reproofs attach to certain extremes. The Pharisees exaggerated some features and entirely overestimated other features of the Law. In their theory there was no harm in eating the corn on the Sabbath Day, but to pull an ear of it they construed to be reaping. And to rub it out of the chaff they considered to be threshing and winnowing. Similarly, to scratch or look for a flea was estimated to be hunting, and thus God’s reasonable Law was made to appear absurd. It was such absurdities only that Jesus combatted. He showed that one had a right to satisfy his hunger, and cited a case where the Prophet David had done so without blame. He cited also the fact that the priests labored on the Sabbath Day without blame. He explained that God was desirous of seeing in his creatures the quality of mercy towards one another, rather than merely the sacrificing of their comforts. Had they recognized this Truth they would not have found fault with the Apostles.
Then, as though to demonstrate his position, he healed a man with a withered hand, also demonstrating by his miracle that he had the Divine favor and that his teaching on the subject had this evidence of its truthfulness. He pointed out the inconsistency of his critics, saying that since they would relieve one of their brute beasts, if he fell into a pit on the Sabbath they would see, therefore, how illogical was their position in objecting to his performing cures of human ills on the Sabbath Day. But the evil heart is not amenable to reason. The very fact that he demonstrated his teachings to be superior to theirs excited the Pharisees to envy, malice, hatred, and the very spirit of murder. Thus they evidenced that they lacked the quality of mercy, love, which God would specially approve, and without which we cannot be his children. Sacrifice is right in its place, but mercy more particularly indicates the acceptable condition of the heart. Quite probably Jesus did so many of his miracles on the Sabbath Day as a type—as a prophetical picture of the great fact that the antitypical day, the great Sabbath Day, will be the Seventh Thousand Year period, the Millennium.
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Four pounds of love we send to thee today,
And only four,
For Uncle Samuel’s mail bags, they say,
Can take no more.
But mail bags, boxes, sacks of ev’ry kind
Are all too small,
And only hearts are large enough
To hold it all.
So take our love on the installment plan,
Dear friend of mine—
We send a part today, more when we can.
We trust for thine!
CLASS AT NASSAU, N.H.
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BE TEMPERATE IN ALL THINGS
—PROVERBS 23:29-35.—MAY 8.—
Golden Text:—“At the last it biteth like a serpent and stingeth like an adder.”—V. 32.
WHILE it cannot be said that the Bible commands total abstinence from intoxicating liquors, it can be said that everywhere from Genesis to Revelation it reprobates drunkenness and points us to its debauching effects as injurious both physically and spiritually. We think probably that the climatic conditions of the centers of civilization and the nerve tension of our day make the evils of intemperance specially grievous at this time. These facts would fully justify us as followers of Jesus and the Apostles should we go beyond them in urging absolute total abstinence as respects all alcoholic liquors. Special emergencies and conditions require to be specially met.
As, for instance, while Adam’s children being nearly perfect could and did intermarry, nothing of the kind would be wise or in any sense justifiable now because the great depravity of our race through heredity has so prefaced our natures along certain lines of our weaknesses that even for two cousins to marry is dangerous as respects the sanity of their posterity. In other words, circumstances alter cases. In the interim of nearly nineteen centuries undoubtedly great changes have taken place along certain lines and the wisest and noblest of humanity are practically agreed that in our day, at least, alcoholic beverages are extremely unwise, extremely injurious. They are dangerous for the strong of character, and awful, irresistible temptations to the weak, who should have the encouragement of the strong in the bearing of their burdens of hereditary weakness. The amount of crime and sin which directly and indirectly are traceable to the influence of alcohol should make all good people stand in awe of it and use their influence in opposition to it. In this we are not condemning all those who more or less participate in the stream of crime and sin produced by alcohol. Doubtless amongst those who manufacture and dispense these beverages there are, as well as amongst those who own stock in distilleries and breweries, persons of noble minds, who would rather do good than do evil. By some process of reasoning which we do not fully comprehend they throw the responsibility off their own shoulders upon the shoulders of their weaker brethren and sisters of the human family. Unquestionably money is at the bottom of the traffic. As the Apostle declares, “The love of money is the root of all evil.”
THE DRUNKARD’S PORTRAIT
In today’s Study Solomon the Wise gives us the picture of the drunkard—redness of eyes; woe; sorrow; contentious; complaining. He advises, “Look not thou upon the wine when it is red and giveth color to the cup and goeth down smoothly. At last it biteth like a serpent and stingeth like an adder.” It would appear that there is a charm or enticement connected with alcoholic stimulants which gradually wastes the strong and quickly enthralls the weak of will. The wise man associates the demoniacal power of liquor with its twin-sister, fleshly desire and general immorality, saying, “Thine eyes shall behold strange women and thy heart shall utter perverse things.” He adds, “Thou shalt be as he that lieth down in the midst of the sea [like floating wreckage] and as he that lieth on top of the mast”—in imminent danger of destruction. He describes the condition of those who become beastly drunk. They are unconscious of injury and seem to have their chiefest pleasure in unconsciousness, so that, upon recovering from one debauch, their desire is to seek the stimulation again. Thus are the chains of slavery to a most degrading habit gradually forged and manhood gradually enslaved and earthly prospects, not to mention heavenly hopes, go glimmering.
It is written in the Scriptures, “No drunkard shall inherit the Kingdom of heaven”—no drunkard, therefore, can hope to be a member of the Body of Christ, the elect
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Church. Thank God, this no longer means to us his utter perdition, but it does signify great loss. We are never to forget, however, that, having once been a drunkard and having turned from that deplorable condition, the individual would be a drunkard no longer. Let us remember that only “overcomers” are promised a share in his Millennial Throne and Kingdom. He who loses the mastery of his flesh to the extent of being a drunkard is certainly not an overcomer and not at that time in line for joint-heirship with Christ. The President of the United States expressed the following sentiment: “To a man who is actively engaged in reasonable work, who must have at his command the best that is in him, at its best—to him I would, with all the emphasis that I possess, advise and urge, ‘Leave drink alone—absolutely.’ He who drinks is deliberately disqualifying himself for advancement. Personally I refuse to take such a risk. I do not drink.”
When Mr. Taft expressed this he was Secretary of War, and evidently did not disqualify himself for advancement by his total abstinence. General Frederick D. Grant, an outspoken total abstainer, said: “Drink is the greatest curse of Christendom, because practically all crime and all disaster are the result of it. Ninety-five per cent—I will make it no less—of desertion and acts of lawlessness in the Army is due to drink. Vice is simply drink in another form. Whoever heard of a saloon completely divorced from the ‘White Slave Traffic,’ or a house of infamy without a bar? You may tell the young men that General Grant does not drink a drop of liquor—has not for eighteen years—because he is afraid to drink it.”
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“PROFESSING THEMSELVES TO BE WISE”
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:—
A few days ago a Brother put into my hands a little booklet published in America, with the object of demolishing faith in the Scripture chronology as shown in the STUDIES, and to show that the deductions which have been drawn are hopelessly wrong. I found the booklet very dull, with its many reiterations of statements that the findings of Vol. 2 are at fault. Because it cannot do better it quotes Vol. 2 on the necessity of a correct chronology, and that a difference of a single year in that shown would throw the harmony into discord. Then it goes on to “prove” the chronology is wrong, and being ill-content, it proceeds to make the discord. The claim is that Jehoram, of Judah, did not reign as king of Judah for eight years, as the Scriptures say, but that he reigned four years with his father Jehoshaphat, and only four as real king. As I happened to be familiar with the passages bearing on this point of history I replied at once to the question put to me, and the suggestion was made that
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I send the reply to you, and in case you may have nothing better at hand, you may judge it worth while to use it.
The difficulty is raised by the attempt to correspond the events of the kingdoms of Israel and Judah, a task which, so far as chronology is concerned, must always give unsatisfactory results, because of the peculiar methods of reckoning the years of a reign, and because no attempts were made to give details. The Father knew our needs, and caused a second account to be given, one which gives an unbroken record of the kings of Judah from David to the end of the kingdoms. That which the book of Kings did not give we have in the books of the Chronicles, surely a direct word to us from our God, and surely a sufficient ground for our faith. But take the passage upon which all this opposition is based, and it will be found to be a confirmation rather than a source of doubt; it strengthens our faith!
Here is the account of the kings of Judah and Israel about that time: Asa was contemporary with Ahab of Israel, three years. (I Kings 22:41.) His son, Jehoshaphat, reigned twenty-five years. In the seventeenth year of Jehoshaphat, Ahaziah of Israel began to reign and is said to have been king two years. But in the eighteenth year of Jehoshaphat, Jehoram of Israel was made king, and he reigned for twelve years. In his fifth year Jehoshaphat died and Jehoram of Judah reigned in his stead, and in the twelfth and last year of Jehoram of Israel Jehoram of Judah died, having reigned eight years. (I Kings 22:42,51; 2 Kings 3:1; 8:16,25.) These passages and this item of history well illustrate the difficulty of getting a certain chronology from a comparison of the lives of the kings of Judah and Israel; but it also shows that the account in Chronicles is reliable, for the total years under review agree even though the details do not show the closest harmony, owing, as we have said, to the method of counting which obtained. In this period the number of years for Judah is: Asa, three years; Jehoshaphat, twenty-five; Jehoram, eight; total, thirty-six. The number for Israel is: Ahab, twenty-two years; Ahaziah, two; Jehoram, twelve; a total of thirty-six, exactly the same as recorded of Judah when we take the Scripture statement that Jehoram of Judah reigned eight years.
With much love in the Lord, your brother,
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SOME INTERESTING QUESTIONS
SIGNIFICANCE OF THE GARMENTS OF GLORY AND
QUESTION.—Was there any significance in the fact that the High Priest, after having performed the services of the Day of Atonement, took off his linen garments in the Holy and left them there and put on garments of glory and beauty when he came forth to bless the people?
Answer.—The High Priest all through this Gospel Age is carrying on the work of sacrifice; it was not only when he offered up himself, but during all this age he continues to be the sacrificing Priest, and although he has passed beyond the vail, he is still, so to speak, in the linen garments of sacrifice; and his secondary offering, that of the antitypical goat, will be accomplished in the linen garments, when he will enter in beyond the vail and present the blood of his Body, which is the Church, at the close of this antitypical Atonement Day, when the Church shall have filled up its share of the sacrifice of Christ. Our Lord, the High Priest, will then, the second time, sprinkle the blood, the merit, upon the mercy-seat, thereby sealing the New Covenant and applying his merit on “behalf of all the people.”
Having done this he will come forth to bless the people; but he will not again appear in the linen garments of sacrifice. The change will be made unseen to the world. The last they will see will be the going in of the priests after the sacrificial work of the present time, the Gospel Age, and the first they will see in the New Dispensation will be the appearance of the great Priest in glory and beauty—in “the glorious garments.” Not that they will see these with their natural eye; but his glory shall be revealed through the ministration of the New Covenant blessings to Israel and the world, and this revelation of all the glorious things represented in the various garments of the High Priest will be a manifestation that will last all through the Millennial Age—the various robes, the ephod, etc., will all have their fulfillment then in the glorious work of the Anointed One.
The beginning of this manifestation in glory will be in the time of trouble, of which time we read: “All shall wail because of him.” It is his manifestation in power, the breaking in pieces of things of this present order of affairs, that will cause the great time of trouble that the Scriptures announce will be the conclusion of this Age and the inauguration of the Millennial Age. Thus the appearing in glory will have various stages, but all will be on the glorious plane; none will be again on the sacrificial plane of the present age.
In this picture of the robes of the Priest we understand that the High Priest typified the entire Priesthood, the Under-Priests as well as the Head; that the Head did not need the covering, but that the covering of the linen garments represented the merit of Christ imputed to us, the members of his Body, whom the Father accepts and justifies and whose imperfections are covered through him. We understand that the white robe represents especially our share in the picture; that the High Priest going forth in glory typifies in large measure the glory of the Church in connection with her Head, as we read: “It doth not yet appear what we shall be, but we know that when he shall appear, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is.” Another Scripture declares that we shall be his glorious Body, or his Body in glory, and that “we shall be glorified together with him.”
WOMAN THE GLORY OF MAN—THE CHURCH THE
GLORY OF CHRIST
Question.—In the Scripture which says that woman is the glory of man, is the intimation conveyed that the Church is the glory of Christ?
Answer.—We understand it is. We are not to understand by this, however, that woman is the glory of the man in the sense of being more glorious than the man; nor that the Church is the glory of Christ in the sense of being more glorious than Christ; nor that the Son is the glory of the Father in the sense of being more glorious than the Father; but we do understand that the Father is especially glorified in the Son because of the closeness of the relationship existing between them and because of the honor that the Father has shown the Son. Similarly Christ will be glorified in the Church because the wonderful glory that will be manifested through the Church will be a reflection of the glory of Jesus—all as a result of the Father’s grace through him.
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THE SIGNIFICANCE OF COALS FROM THE ALTAR
Question.—What is signified by the Priest’s taking coals from the altar and using the same for the offering of the incense in the Holy?
Answer.—We see that the fire used in all three of these different places represented our Lord’s dying, or death process. The fire outside the Camp represented the destructive influences which came against him and caused his death, as viewed from the world’s standpoint. The fire in the Court represented the same destructive influences that came against him and caused his death, as viewed from the standpoint of believers. To those outside the Camp the burning of the flesh and hide and hoofs and horns had a very evil odor, bad odor. To those that were inside the Court the burning of the fat—it was practically all fat in the sin-offering that was offered on the altar at this time—represented that which is not a bad odor, as the burning of fat does not give off a bad odor when burned under proper conditions and circumstances, as it is almost all pure carbon. As has already been suggested, the fat would represent the love and zeal which would characterize the sacrifice. In a lean animal there is very little fat; in a fat animal there is much fat to be put on the altar and correspondingly would augment the zeal, the flame, with which it would burn. But entirely aside from the burning of the fat and of the animal outside the Camp is the fact that fire was used to start this flame of sacred love and self-sacrifice.
The coals of fire upon the altar, that which caused the burning of the fat, would not seem to represent anything that our Lord had or did, but rather experiences from the ordinary affairs of life. Wood doubtless was used on the altar, as we read in some places, and the glowing embers from this fire upon the altar were taken inside the vail to constitute the basis of the offering on the Golden Altar, the offering of the incense. This shows, therefore, that the fire was of the same kind in all three of these pictures—wood-fire that burned the animal outside; wood-fire that burned the fat in the Court; and wood-fire or coals of fire, that burned the incense upon the Golden Altar.
What does fire here represent? We answer that, as usual, fire represents destructive influences. Was there anything peculiar about these destructive influences that would mark them as separate and distinct from many other destructive influences. Our thought is that the fact that they are connected with the altar and were typified by the fire which burned only on the altar, implies that they were destructive influences which were connected with the sacrificing; not the destructive influences which might come against mankind in general, as disease, or war, or famine, or pestilence, or from some other such general source of fire, trouble, destruction, but rather here a sacrificial fire, sacrificial influence, something connected with what was being offered; therefore such adverse influences as would be of the Father’s appointment and for the very purpose of accomplishing this test or sacrifice; as our Lord expressed it, using another figure: “The cup which my Father hath poured for me, shall I not drink it?” It was not the Jews that poured that cup for him; it was not the Pharisees that poured that cup; it was not the Romans; it was not the people nor the hypocrites; it was not the scribes that poured that cup; but it was the Father who provided the cup.
We would understand, then, that all these coals of fire represent those classes of circumstances and conditions which the Father provides for the very purpose of proving the character and the loyalty and the genuineness of our devotion. Carrying the coals into the Holy would thus seem to identify those two altars as expressing to us in symbol or type that the spirit of devotion which believers see consuming the sacrifice that is voluntarily offered to the Lord and which, while in line, in harmony with righteousness, is not commanded by the Divine law, is the sacrificing principle which is so acceptable in God’s sight. It was in harmony with this, therefore, that our Lord offered up himself, in the sense of crumbling the incense upon the fiery coals. Thus day by day he laid down his life, allowed himself to come in contact with these experiences, which served to destroy his earthly nature and sent forth a sweet fragrance to God. It was not any and every tribulation, as before intimated, but simply those which the Father had provided and were connected with his sacrificial experience.
SWEETENING OF THE WATERS OF MARAH
Question.—What typical significance is there in the fact that when the waters of Marah were found to be bitter, and the Children of Israel had no water to drink, Moses caused a certain tree to be cut down and thrust into the stream, and thus sweetened the waters?
Answer.—As a result of Adam’s sin there was nothing permanently refreshing for God’s people to partake of. Those who desired to be his people, those who left the world behind them, found a great deal of unsatisfaction, if we may so express it, from the provisions of the law, which brought only condemnation. In due time, however, God caused the death of our Lord Jesus, and through or by means of his death—through the message of the ransom sacrifice—those who drink of this fact, this water, will not find that brackish taste.
We might say that it would not be unreasonable to consider that there is a correspondency of this at the present time. During the Dark Ages the water of life
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became very much polluted, and, as a consequence, undesirable. When we came to the waters of the Lord’s Word and found that they were brackish and impure, nauseating, not wholesome, the Lord in his providence showed us more clearly than we have seen in the past the great doctrine of the Ransom, the reason for the cutting off of our Lord Jesus in death. Here was the manifestation of Divine Love and Mercy. And since we have realized this truth; since the truth has come in contact with and purified the message of the Dark Ages, we can partake of it with refreshment and joy.
We may not know if this was intended to be a correspondency, but we can at least draw some lessons from it, the lessons being true whether the matter was intended to be thus applied or not.
SOME TYPES OF THE RESURRECTION
Question.—Since the Lord arranged very many types during the Jewish Age respecting the Gospel Age and the future, what would you consider the most important type of the resurrection?
Answer.—If we consider this question as relating especially to our Lord we see a number of types that very forcefully illustrate his resurrection. The one our Lord mentioned should be classed as amongst the most important, for two reasons: First, because he mentioned it and thus gave it prominence, and second, because it and it alone of all the types gives the exact length of time of his entombment. Our Lord’s words were, “As Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the fish, so shall the Son of man be three days and nights in the heart
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of the earth,” thus indicating that his resurrection would be on the third day and that he would be brought forth from the grave as Jonah was brought forth from the belly of the fish, which he styled “the belly of hell,” the grave, sheol, the hades condition.
It would appear, too, from the Apostle’s words, that we should give prominence to the picture of our Lord’s resurrection as shown by Abraham’s receiving Isaac as from the dead, when he had already consecrated him to death and was about to slay him, the Lord staying his hand and giving him instead another sacrifice.
We are justified also in supposing that the “wave-sheaf” offering was a very prominent illustration or type of the resurrection of our Lord, particularly because it occurred just at the time which marked the day of his resurrection, the morrow after the Sabbath, the fiftieth day before Pentecost. This was apparently given to illustrate the raising up of our Lord Jesus as “the first-fruits unto God,” “the first-fruits of them that slept,” “the first that should rise from the dead.” It, therefore, is a very beautiful picture. See Lev. 23:10,11,15,16.
If we think of the types of the world’s resurrection we see a variety. As has been suggested, the crossing of Jordan might be considered a type of the passing out of the death condition into Canaan beyond. The Jubilee, the restoration of every man to his former estate, is certainly a wonderful picture of the “times of restitution of all things,” of the lifting of humanity up out of sin, degradation and death, out of their lost condition, and bringing them back to the former estate, full perfection of the human nature.
We would be fully justified, we think, in considering as types the miracles of our Lord in awakening some of the sleepers—Lazarus, Jairus’ daughter and the son of the widow of Nain. These were given to us as foreshadowing, and therefore in a sense as typifying or illustrating the resurrection.
Another picture of the resurrection, not only the awakening, but also the raising up of mankind, is shown in the end of the Day of Atonement. When Moses had received the blessing for the people as a result of the second sprinkling of the blood, he came forth, and, lifting up his hands, blessed the people. The people were waiting in dust and sackcloth and sorrow because of sin, and now the blessing of Moses and Aaron, the Lord’s blessing through them, signified the removal of that curse and the uplifting of the people—their raising up from sorrow to rejoicing in the Lord.
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JOYFUL IN TRIBULATIONS
“ESTEEMING THE REPROACH OF CHRIST GREATER
RICHES THAN THE TREASURES OF EGYPT.”
When we consider all thy goodness, Father,
Thy gentleness, thy tenderness, thy grace,
Our hearts stir with the mighty impulse
Thy praise to show in every time and place.
That all our outward life might show thy praises;
That other souls might know how good thou art,
And that our every thought and word and action
Might show our heart, like thine own perfect heart.
Thy sons, indeed! and when thy face, O Father,
Seems turned away, and we are chastened sore,
We thank thee for thy love so true and faithful
That scourgeth whom thou lovest more and more.
We praise thee, since in all thy gentle dealings
We see thy glory and thy beauty shine,
And in each act of thine we read so clearly
The sacred, holy peace of love Divine.
But, Father, more than all for this we thank thee—
For privilege to serve and suffer still,
As did our blessed Lord and holy Master:
Our sacred joy, since ‘tis thy sacred will.
Thus, Father, spare us not; let fall the death stroke
Of pain and suff’ring that our flesh must see.
But give us grace that in the sharp ordeal,
Our hearts may yield sweet perfume unto thee.
We glory in our fleshly tribulation:
No joy of earth is sweet as pain for thee.
If pain for thee is sweet, what is the measure
Of Kingdom joy, our rapture soon to be!
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THE PRIVILEGE AND POWER OF PRAYER
“And Jesus spake a parable unto them to this end, that men ought always to pray and not to faint.”—Luke 18:1-8.
TO THE thoughtful, appreciative mind, one of the greatest privileges which the Word of God offers is that of personal audience and communion with the King of kings and Lord of lords. When we consider how great is our God, and how exalted his station, how wonderful is the condescension that thus regards our low estate! He it is whose glory covereth the heavens, and whose kingdom ruleth over the whole universe. He it is who is without beginning of days or end of years—“From everlasting to everlasting thou art God.” He is the immortal, the Self-Existing One, “dwelling in the light which no man can approach unto, whom no man hath seen nor can see.”
The heavens declare his glory and the firmament showeth his handiwork. In all his vast universal domain there is nothing hidden from him, nor can he be wearied by its care. His wisdom, who can fathom? and his ways, who can find them out? or who hath been his counsellor? His mighty intellect grasps with ease all the interests of his wide dominion, from immensity to minutia. His eye never slumbers nor sleeps, nor can the smallest thing escape his notice, not even a sparrow’s fall; and the very hairs of our heads are all numbered. It is his skill which clothes with life and beauty the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven.
And are not we, the creatures of his hand, “fearfully and wonderfully made,” and the subjects, too, of his love and care?—“O Lord, thou hast searched me and known me. Thou knowest my downsitting and mine uprising; thou understandest my thought afar off. Thou compassest my path and my lying down, and art acquainted
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with all my ways; for there is not a word in my tongue, but, lo, O Lord, thou knowest it altogether. Thou hast beset me behind and before, and laid thine hand upon me.
“Such knowledge is too wonderful for me; it is high, I cannot attain unto it. Whither shall I go from thy spirit? or whither shall I flee from thy presence? If I ascend up into heaven, thou art there; if I make my bed in the grave, behold thou art there; if I take the wings of the morning and dwell in the uttermost part of the sea, even there shall thy hand lead me;...even the night shall be light about me. Yea, the darkness hideth not from thee, but the night shineth as the day; the darkness and the light are both alike to thee.”—Psa. 139:1-12.
Fallen creatures though we be, from the noble estate in which we were created, God so loved our race, even while we were yet sinners, as to make provision at great cost for our redemption and restitution and subsequent eternal glory. And therefore it is—because he loves us—that through Christ he extends to us the gracious favor of coming to him as children to a father. Wonderful is the condescension, wonderful the love and favor of our God!
Yet our God is a God to be revered. He is not one like ourselves, our equal, into whose presence we may come without that ceremony and decorum due to his glorious person and office. (Job 9:1-35.) The court of heaven has regulations and ceremonies of respect and due deference which must be complied with by every man who would gain an audience with the King of kings; and it behooves us to inquire what those regulations are before we presume to address him. Here the Word of God gives explicit directions. Our Lord Jesus, the appointed “days-man” for whom Job so earnestly longed (Job 9:32,33), said, “No man cometh unto the Father, but by me. I am the way.” (John 14:6.) Then he gave us an illustration of the manner in which we should address him, in what is known as the Lord’s prayer.—Matt. 6:9-13.
The illustration teaches (1) that we (believers in Christ) may consider ourselves as in God’s estimation reinstated (through faith in Christ) to the original position of sons of God, and that we may therefore confidently address him—“Our Father.” (2) It indicates on our part worshipful adoration of the high and holy One, and profound reverence for the glorious character and attributes of our God—“Hallowed be thy name.” (3) It expresses full sympathy with his revealed plan for a coming Kingdom of righteousness, which will be according to his will—“Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is done in heaven.” This shows the attitude of heart to be toward righteousness, and fully submitted to the Divine will and purpose, that God may work in it to will and to do his good pleasure. (4) It expresses in plain and simple language its dependence on God for daily needs, and the confidence of a child in the Father for the supply of those needs out of his abundant fulness—“Give us this day our daily bread.” (5) It seeks forgiveness for trespasses, and recognizes also the obligation thus incurred to render the same to those trespassing against us—“And forgive us our debts as we forgive our debtors”; and (6) it seeks to be guarded against temptation and to be fortified by God’s abounding grace against all the wiles of the Adversary—“And abandon us not to trial, but preserve us from evil.”
Such are the principles which must ever characterize our attitude of mind and heart when we would avail ourselves of the privilege of addressing the throne of heavenly grace. In brief, our prayers, to be acceptable to God, must express confident faith, loving esteem and reverence, full sympathy with the Divine Plan and submission to the Divine will, child-like dependence upon God, acknowledgment of sins and shortcomings and desire for forgiveness, with a forgiving disposition on our part toward others, and an humble craving for the Divine guidance and protection. These may not always all be expressed in words, but such must at least be the attitude of the soul.
Those who thus come to God are privileged always to have their interests considered at the throne of grace, and the welcome we shall always find there may be judged of by the cordial invitations to come often and tarry long. Well might we hesitate to avail ourselves of such privileges were we not thus assured, but having this assurance we may come with confidence to the throne of grace.
The Lord knew how necessary to our spiritual life would be this communion with himself. Tempest-tossed and tried, how much we need our Father’s care and the comfort and consolation which his presence and sympathy realized imparts. And have not all the meek and contrite in heart the promise not only of the occasional attentive hearing, but of the abiding presence of both the Father and the Son, our Lord Jesus? Jesus said, “He that hath my commandments and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me; and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him. Judas—not Iscariot—saith unto him, Lord, how is it that thou wilt manifest thyself unto us and not unto the world? Jesus answered and said unto him, If a man love me, he will keep my words, and my Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him.”—John 14:21-23.
The thought which this promise of the abiding presence of the Father and Son conveys to our minds is that their thought and care and interest will be constantly upon us, and that at any instant we may engage the special attention of either or both. The same idea is also conveyed by the words of the Apostle Peter (I Pet. 3:12)—“For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers.” And we are urged to be “instant in prayer,” to “pray always, and not to faint,” to “pray without ceasing”; for “Like as a Father pitieth his children, so the Lord pitieth them that fear him; for he knoweth our frame, he remembereth that we are dust.” “As the heaven is high above the earth, so great is his mercy toward them that fear him,” and “As far as the east is from the west, so far hath he removed our transgressions from us.” Yea, “the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear him, and his righteousness unto children’s children, to such as keep his covenant and to those that remember his commandments to do them.”—Rom. 12:12; Luke 18:1; I Thes. 5:17; Psa. 103:13,14,11,12,17,18.
We cannot come too often, then, to the throne of the heavenly grace, if we are of those who can claim the abiding presence of the Father and the Son—if we are of those who love him and keep his commandments and who recognize the Lord Jesus as the only way of access to the Father. And even “if any man sin”—be overtaken in a fault—so that from his outward conduct he might be judged as not loving the Lord, yet, if he repent, let him remember that “we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous,” who “is the propitiation [satisfaction] for our sins,” “who also maketh intercession for us.” “Who,” then, “shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect? It is God that justifieth. Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.”—I John 2:1,2; Rom. 8:33,34.
Wherefore, the Apostle urges, “Seeing, then, that we
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have a great High Priest that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession; for we have not a High Priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities, but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us, therefore, come with confidence to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.”—Heb. 4:14-16.
With such urgent and loving invitations let no child of God hesitate to come to him often or to tarry long in communion and fellowship with him. It is our privilege to enter into our closets and shut the doors and pray to our Father which seeth in secret, who will reward us openly. (Matt. 6:6.) And not only so, but he will go with us through all the business and hurry and commotion of the day; and at any instant in the midst of cares and perplexities we may turn our prayerful thoughts to him for wisdom, for strength and Christian fortitude, or for comfort and consolation for ourselves or others. And though we hear no responding voice, if we are attentive to the course of his providence we will shortly see the shaping of events and circumstances for our good and the good of others in answer to such prayers. Beloved, have we not many a time proved this true?—in perplexities, in tribulations, in afflictions, in persecutions, in bereavements, in temptations and trials?
In coming to God we need have no fear that he is too busy with other matters of greater importance, or that he is weary of our coming to him repeatedly with things of small importance. It was to assure us against this very thing that our Lord spoke the parable of the importunate widow, who was heard and answered on account of her importunity. In so doing we evince both the earnestness of our desires and our faith that our prayers will be answered, if we faint not from lack of faith or zeal when the answer is delayed, as often it must necessarily be, since time is an important element in all God’s work.
All night, until the break of day, Jacob wrestled in prayer, saying, “I will not let thee go, unless thou bless me.” Paul thrice besought the Lord until he was assured his grace would be sufficient for him. The Lord himself frequently spent whole nights in prayer, and he prayed earnestly and with many tears. (Luke 6:12; Matt. 14:23; Mark 6:46; 1:35; Luke 5:16; Heb. 5:7.) And the Apostle Paul says, “In everything, by prayer and supplication [earnest pleading] with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.”—Phil. 4:6.
The Apostle himself acted on this principle when he urged, in his letter to the Romans, that the saints “strive together [Greek agonize] with me in prayers to God for me,” that he might safely accomplish a certain work which seemed to be of the Spirit’s leading.—Rom. 15:28-32.
“In every thing”: That signifies that our heavenly Father is deeply interested in everything that relates to us and ours. What thing is too small for his notice who numbers even the very hairs of our heads? In today’s household or business cares, then, we may have his loving sympathy and helpfulness. Do a mother’s counsel and a father’s wisdom seem inadequate to restrain and guide aright the wayward course of impetuous and over-confident youth, they may bring their cares and fears to the Lord; and, as the children cross the threshold to meet the world’s temptations, his wisdom and providence may be invoked to so shape their circumstances and surroundings as to show them eventually the sure, safe way and the folly of pursuing any other.
Do business cares perplex and annoy? remember the Lord’s caution, “Be not overcharged with the cares of this life,” and the Apostle’s warning, “They that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts which drown men in destruction and utter ruin; for the love of money is the root of all evil, which, while some coveted after, they have erred from the faith, and pierced themselves through with many arrows. But thou, O man of God, flee these things and follow after righteousness, godliness, faith, love, patience, meekness. Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life.” And, remembering these things, come to the throne of the heavenly grace for wisdom and direction as to how you may so adjust your temporal affairs as not to be overcharged with the cares of this life. It is right to be charged with them to the extent of diligence (Rom. 12:11) and the utilization of such diligence in the Lord’s service; but it is the overplus, the corroding care, that interferes with peace of mind and communion with God, that is to be avoided.
Does poverty pinch and cause anxious thought? take that also to the Lord in prayer; and then, while diligently using the means at hand to provide things decent and honest, patiently and confidently wait and watch the indications of providence, assured that he who feeds the fowl of the air, “which neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns,” and who “clothes the grass of the field, which today is and tomorrow is cast into the oven,” is both able and willing to clothe and feed you and yours.
And so through all the list of earth’s trials and cares, its wants and its woes, its bereavements and disappointments and calamities and distresses, its failures and shortcomings and sins and mistakes, we may take them all to the Lord in prayer and receive that strength and sympathy and consolation and help we so much need. Let us live in the presence of the Father and the Son who have promised to abide with us. It will sweeten our days and comfort our nights and ease our burdens and lighten our cares and brighten our hopes, and, in a word, it will lift us above the world into a higher and purer atmosphere. Such is the will of heaven concerning us. Let us appreciate and avail ourselves of the privilege.
By all the encouragements of precept and example, the Lord assures us that the fervent prayer of a righteous man (a justified and consecrated child of God) availeth much. (Jas. 5:16.) We are urged also to come in faith. Jesus said, “If ye have faith and doubt not...all things whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.” (Matt. 21:22.) As he was addressing his consecrated disciples, it must of course be understood that all their petitions would be subjected to Divine wisdom, and therefore the answers to their prayers, though always sure, might not always be in the way expected, but they would always be considered and answered in some way for their highest good.
What a blessed privilege, dear fellow-disciples of the Lord, is ours, to be “instant in prayer,” to “pray always”—to lift up our hearts and minds to God at any time and in any place and to realize thus daily and hourly that the Father and our dear Lord Jesus continually abide with us. And then, when the active duties of the day have been performed under his eye and supervision, or at any time when the soul realizes its necessity, how precious is the privilege of entering into our closets and there alone with God unburdening our hearts.
While secret prayer is the blessed privilege of every child of God, and one without which his spiritual life cannot be sustained, it is also the privilege of Christians to unite their petitions at the throne of grace. This united prayer is specially commended by the Lord. (Matt. 18:19.) “Again I say unto you, that if two of you shall agree on earth as touching anything that they shall ask,
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it shall be done for them of my Father, for where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”
With such promises as these, together with an experience of their fulfilment, who can doubt the love and favor of our God and of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ? Therefore let us be encouraged to pray always and not to faint when the answers seem to tarry long, for time is often required to work out the deep designs of an allwise and loving Providence. Remember the words of the angel to Daniel. Daniel said, “While I was speaking and praying and confessing my sin and the sin of my people Israel, and presenting my supplication before the Lord my God, for the holy mountain of my God; yea, while I was speaking in prayer,” the answer came by the hand of an angel who said, “O Daniel, I am now come forth to give thee skill and understanding. At the beginning of thy supplications the commandment came forth, and I am come to show thee; for thou art greatly beloved.”—Dan. 9:20-23.
On another occasion, when Daniel had mourned three weeks, fasting and praying, because of his inability to understand, the angel of the Lord came and said, “Fear not, Daniel, for from the first day that thou didst set thine heart to understand, and to chasten thyself before thy God, thy words were heard, and I am come for thy words.”—Dan. 10:2,3,10-12.
Even so shall it ever be with all the beloved of the Lord. At the beginning of our supplications God begins to set in operation the influences and to shape the circumstances which are designed to work out the intended blessing for us—if we faint not, but continue instant in prayer, thereby evincing our continued earnestness of desire, and if we confess our sins, and set our hearts to understand, and chasten ourselves before him. How many prayers are not heard or are hindered because the one who asks does not first purify himself of evil in his own heart? “Ye ask, and receive not, because ye ask amiss, that ye may consume it upon your lusts”; i.e., you ask selfishly and without regard to the will of God. (Jas. 4:3.) But to the chastened and sanctified comes the promise—“Before they call [reading the desire of the heart even before it finds expression in words] I will answer [will begin so to shape events as to bring the answer soon or later]; and while they are yet speaking I will hear.” (Isa. 65:23,24.) While this is in connection with a prophecy relating to the Lord’s people in the Millennial Age, it is also true of all his faithful ones of this age.
Praise the Lord for all his loving kindness even to the least of his lowly children!
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THE REDEMPTION PRICE AND ITS APPLICATION
“Ye were redeemed, not with corruptible things, such as silver and gold...but with the precious blood of Christ.”—I Pet. 1:18,19; I Cor. 6:20.
OUR Lord’s sacrificed life constitutes the price of redemption, but his having the price and the application of the price are properly considered two things. He applied the price for believers when “he ascended up on high, there to appear in the presence of God for us”—the Church, the household of faith, the consecrated ones. And the Scriptures show us that he will later apply this price for all mankind—that it is intended for all ultimately, but has not as yet been applied for all.
Hence the Scriptures declare that the “world still lieth in the wicked one”; that mankind are still “children of wrath.” We were “children of wrath even as others” still are, but we have escaped the condemnation that is on the world, because the merit of Christ’s sacrifice has been applied on behalf of believers and we came under the terms of that application when we believed the Lord, turned from sin, accepted the Redeemer by faith, and made a consecration. Then we were begotten of the holy Spirit of the Lord.
It might be asked: Since our human life is sacrificed at the time of our consecration and begetting of the holy Spirit, will it be true that, when the last member of the Body of Christ has offered himself in sacrifice and is spirit-begotten, all the imputed life rights so sacrificed will be in the hands of our Lord? And if this be true, would it be necessary for all the Tribulation Class to be resurrected before the blood or merit could be applied for the sealing of the New Covenant? And again: Might not the New Covenant be sealed and the Ancient Worthies brought forth as the first-fruits thereof before the resurrection of the Tribulation Class?
The sacrifice is unto the Father and accepted by the Father, and, so far as we will be concerned, the matter might be considered as ended at the time the last consecrated member of the Body of Christ has made his calling and election sure. But on the other hand the “great company” class entered into an arrangement, not with confidence in their own ability to accomplish anything for themselves, but because of the specific arrangement made that the Redeemer would cover all their sins, all the imperfections and shortcomings that were theirs at the time of their consecration, which the Apostle speaks of as “the sins that are past through the forbearance of God.”
The Lord Jesus offered to be their Advocate with the Father and to be with them, an ever-present help in time of trouble. He promised to be their Advocate in respect to all the trials and difficulties of life, and in their battlings with the flesh and in the occasional manifestations of the imperfections of the flesh, contrary to the will of the New Creature. He agreed to advocate for all this, and hence his interest in these members of the “great company” will continue after the “little flock” class shall have been dealt with and shall have passed beyond the vail. And since the basis of his advocacy is the merit of his sacrifice, the maintaining of his standing as their Advocate would seem to require that he should retain for this purpose, in the hands of the Father, the merit of his sacrifice, and hence would not yet apply it for the sealing of the New Covenant for Israel and through Israel for all the world.
In the type, the sending away of the scape-goat into the wilderness toward the close of the Day of Atonement and no account being given of its destruction, might seem to imply that the “great company” and their experiences would not be taken into consideration at all beyond the time of the sending away of the goat; but the argument foregoing seems to prove conclusively that the merit of Christ must continue applicable until the last member of the “great company” class shall have suffered the complete destruction of the flesh which he failed to give up voluntarily.
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THE MEMORIAL SUPPER
DIVINE PROVIDENCE permitting, Brother Russell and the party of friends accompanying him on the trip to Palestine, expect to have the privilege of celebrating the antitypical Passover Supper, commemorating our Lord’s death, by partaking of the emblems, the bread and the wine, in Jerusalem, and in the “upper room” in which, according to tradition, the Lord and the Apostles partook of the last Passover Supper together, and where the Lord instituted that service which so wonderfully sets forth his death and the privilege afforded the “members in particular of his Body” of being broken together with him, and of participating in the communion (common-union) of his sacrificial blood, by drinking the cup with him.
That all who desire may be together in spirit at that season and have their thoughts and prayers directed along the same lines at the same time, we submit a table of the relative time of day it will be in other places:—
7 p.m., Friday, April 22, at Jerusalem, will correspond to the following time, on same day, at these places:—
6 p.m. in Berlin, Germany, and surroundings.
5 p.m. in London and British Isles.
1 p.m. in Maritime Provinces.
12 noon, in New York, N.Y.; Washington, D.C., and all Eastern time cities.
11 a.m. in Chicago, St. Louis and all Central time cities.
10 a.m. in Denver and all Mountain time cities.
9 a.m. in San Francisco and Pacific Coast time cities.
The Congregation of the Brooklyn Tabernacle will gather together to celebrate the Memorial at 13-17 Hicks street in the evening of the same day at 8 o’clock. As before announced in THE TOWER no special invitation is extended to distant friends, as the best interests are perhaps served by each group gathering together in its respective locality. However, those living in places which present no favorable opportunity for observing the event will be welcomed at any of the classes anywhere.
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SOME INTERESTING LETTERS
MY DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:—
Richest greetings in the name of Christ. Permit me to express my heartfelt appreciation of your loyalty to the Lord and his precious Truth; also your earnestness and zeal in striving to do God’s will, daily laying down your life in his service, spending and being spent, even though the more you love the less you are loved.
Dear Brother, I have enjoyed “Present Truth” for the last four years, and I can truly say by his grace that these few years have been the grandest season of my life.
Pardon me for not having written to you before this, for I really wish to say that I appreciate your labor of love on behalf of the household of faith. My only regret is that I am not able to express to you my love and gratitude for your faithfulness (words fail me to thus express my feelings), but trust, my dear Brother, you shall be able to receive these few lines in the spirit in which they are sent.
When I look back into the past, I realize how dark was my way before the eyes of my understanding were open. Oh! I cannot thank our Heavenly Father enough for permitting me to see and appreciate this glorious light of his Truth, thus unfolding his great love to even me, the least of the least. Oh! I know I have not been worthy, but trust that I shall (by his grace) go on to the end, daily to show forth his praises, who has called me to this precious Truth.
I also wish to say that I have received a great help, and a rich blessing, since taking the Vow; it is certainly helping to keep on the whole armor, while some who have not taken the Vow are not withstanding the darts of the Evil One.
Assuring you that I ever remember you before the throne of grace, I am and hope to remain,
Your humble and loving Brother,
F. MANGOLD,—, N.Y.
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DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:—
Your kind letter to the Pilgrims and Colporteurs at hand, which was very much appreciated, and I will indeed endeavor to profit by suggestions. We have been in the Colporteur work now for seven years, and these years have indeed been the most blessed of all others. We have by the Lord’s grace delivered 6,271 books this year as against 7,088 last year. We trust that we may prove so faithful that the Lord will permit us to serve to the very end. It would be hard to do anything else; and if faithful we need not, but may continue for 1,000 years in this glorious work. How wonderful that the Lord arranged his work in such a way that we can all help and receive the blessing connected therewith!
I wish, dear Brother Russell, to assure you of my continued and growing love for you as the Lord’s servant over the harvest work. I am very thankful to the dear Lord that my faith in you, and in this being the whole Truth and nothing but the Truth, has not been shaken.
It seems very clear to me that if I have been reckoned perfect, and then say I need a mediator (a reconciler), I ignore my reckoned perfection. Surely I would want to know in advance what I am to receive in place of the blessed Truth, before I cast it aside.
I feel sure that the Lord’s grace will be sufficient for you, for our Master said, No man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand. Nevertheless, let me assure you of my deep sympathy and also appreciation for your labor of love. I received all my knowledge of “present truth” through the DAWN-STUDIES, and surely, if my heart is right, I would esteem you very highly in love for your work’s sake. May the dear Lord bless you more and more. May he pour you out such a blessing that there shall not be room enough to receive it. I remember you personally in my prayers daily, that you may continue to abide in his love. Pray for me, dear Brother. I thank you very much for the cross and crown pin; you may send it to my address here.
Yours in the glorious harvest work,
RAY VAN HYNING,—Ohio.
MY DEAR BROTHER AND BELOVED PASTOR:—
I thank God and take courage, because of the marvelous light that is now shining upon my so darkened horizon; and, praise God, it is to shine brighter and brighter unto the perfect day. Running from one denomination to another, thinking myself satisfied and soon finding myself more thirsty than ever, oh how I was craving for the real water of life! At last I landed among the tongue-people, who got under the power. I cried to God night and day to give me this new tongue.
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I was sure now that if I could only get this tongue I should always be satisfied. I starved myself for days and weeks in order to “get down flesh.” I was soon a veritable skeleton and, of course, commenced “to shake” from nervousness. Then the tongue-people commenced to operate on my jaws and soon I was declared of the interpreter as “speaking in a new tongue.” I kept fasting, kept nervous, kept shaking and kept “talking away” as long as I felt a nervous strain; I thought “the spirit” was upon me.
Yet under all this I am sure God saw my earnest heart, and sent me deliverance. Two sisters of the tongue-people were the cause. One, the foremost in the ranks of the tongue-movement, was under the power; the other had a vision. “I see a hand,” said the sister. “It’s a child’s hand,” said the sister under the power and supposed to be used by the holy Ghost to answer all questions. “No, it is a grown person’s hand,” said the sister in her vision. “Ah, yes! (as correcting herself) the Savior’s hand,” said the sister under the power. I was sitting listening to them, and I thought at the moment, “If the holy Spirit is giving a vision to one and explaining it through another, would it not correspond”? At once the scales fell from my eyes, so to speak. From that time the demons lost their control over me more and more. Soon after a friend (not in “present truth”) handed me THE DIVINE PLAN OF THE AGES. I was offered this book six years before, but would not accept it, answering that my Bible was enough for me. He kept on advising me to read it, so at last I told him I would look it over. I had scarcely opened its pages when I saw things explained, according to Scripture which I had long been looking for. I at once began to study it night and day. I can now say, “glory to God in the highest.” His choicest blessing upon you, dear Brother Russell.
One of the smallest of his little ones, C. J. JENSEN.
I am duly in receipt of your kind letter of the 5th instant and rejoice with you in the peace and joy that has come to your heart through a clearer appreciation of the love of our God as it shines in the face of Christ Jesus our Redeemer, and the wonderful Gospel in him. Truly, our God “has put a new song into our mouths, even the praises of our God,” and we go forth with great rejoicing in the privileges that we have of being witnesses of these things.
So walking in our dear Lord as you have received him, may you become rooted and grounded and built up in him that at his revelation you may be granted an abundant entrance into the everlasting Kingdom.
Very sincerely your Brother and fellow-servant.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:—
Greetings to you and the dear co-laborers at Brooklyn. Some months ago a sister handed me the report of expenditures of a mission in India. I wrote to the address, telling how wonderfully God is revealing to his people his wonderful Plan, mentioning among other things Daniel’s prophecies, and saying that if they would like to read along lines which have been specially helpful to me I would be glad to send them some literature. I heard nothing for some time and was about to give up all hope. But while in Chicago a letter came which I will copy and enclose. This sister who handed me the report, Sister Pauline Martens, of Ft. Wayne, says these native missionaries are strong characters, but, as you will see by the letter, lack light.
I have already sent “Food for Thinking Christians,” “What is the Soul,” “Our Lord’s Return,” and several other tracts, also several copies of PEOPLES PULPIT.
I had no extra copy of Vol. I and, thinking you would be interested in this matter, I copied the letter for you.
Your sister in his service and in the hope of a share in the “First Resurrection.”
B. H. ROSS.
MY DEAR SISTER IN CHRIST:—
I am very late in answering your kind letter, but I know you will pardon the delay, as my illness this year has caused it. My head and my eyes have troubled me for several months, but the Lord is faithful and he has kept me. I am much better now and can attend to almost all the work the Lord has put into my hands.
I shall be so glad and so thankful to you for the reading you said you would send me regarding the prophecies of Daniel, if I wanted them. Not only I, but my friend and sister in the Lord, Miss Chandra, also will thankfully receive and read what you send. I had been praying the Lord specially and I regard your offer as an answer to my prayer.
The Lord bless you abundantly above all that we can ask or think. Wishing you a very happy New Year with rich gifts from the Lord unto his glory,
I am gratefully yours in him,
In the absence of Brother Russell we are acknowledging your kind letter.
With you we are much interested in the dear one in India concerning whom you advise us. We know that it would be in harmony with Brother Russell’s desire to send this brother at least the first volume of SCRIPTURE STUDIES, but are uncertain whether you request us to mail this copy to you that you might remail it to him, or if you desire that we forward it to him from here. We await information on this point, when we will bring the entire matter to the attention of Brother Russell.
Yours in the love and service of the Truth.
BELOVED BROTHER RUSSELL:—
My greetings to you will be found in Numbers 6:24-26. My last and first letter took more of the form introductory. The present is indited as a mark of praise and thanksgiving to our Heavenly Father for the wonderful unfolding of his Word, granted me through a study of your valuable works—DAWN-STUDIES, Tracts, TOWERS, etc. I feel, dear Brother, caught away from the present evil world and, like some new flower, transplanted in “the world which is to come,” as with patient eagerness I read THE TOWER as delivered.
At time of writing I have read Vols. 1, 2, 3 and have gone far enough into Vol. 4 to be able to repeat my eulogy of 1, 2 and 3 and say—“Wonderful! Nobody ever has told me before.”
My vocation is that of a preacher; the congregation to which I minister is in a good measure interested in the wondrous things being made known through God to those having the hearing ear and eye of faith.
Why preachers of Christendom in general will have nothing to do with your valuable writings is accounted for by saying they have greater privileges, better salaries, and higher praise in the service of the world and of the devil, than in the blessed service of the King of kings.
H. WILSON CUST.
STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES
THESE STUDIES ARE RECOMMENDED TO STUDENTS AS VERITABLE “BIBLE KEYS.” PRICES ARE NET AND BARELY COVER COST OF PRODUCTION, WHEN DELIVERED BY COLPORTEURS THE COST AND PRICE ARE INCREASED.
SERIES I., The Plan of the Ages, gives an outline of the divine plan revealed in the Bible, relating to man’s redemption and restitution: 386 pages, in embossed cloth, 25c. (1s. 1/2d.) India paper edition, 75c. (3s. 1-1/2d.).
This volume has been published as a special issue of our journal—at the extremely low price of 5c. a copy, in any quantity, postage included. (To foreign countries, 9c.) This enables people of slender purse to herald far and wide the good tidings in a most helpful form.
SERIES II., The Time is at Hand, treats of the manner and time of the Lord’s second coming, considering the Bible Testimony on this subject: 370 pages, in embossed cloth, 25c. (1s. 1/2d.) India paper edition, 75c. (3s. 1-1/2d.)
SERIES III., Thy Kingdom Come, considers prophecies which mark events connected with the “Time of the End,” the glorification of the Church and the establishment of the Millennial Kingdom; it also contains a chapter of the Great Pyramid, showing its corroboration of the dates and other teachings of the Bible: 384 pages, in embossed cloth, 25c. (1s. 1/2d.) India paper edition, 75c. (3s. 1-1/2d.)
SERIES IV., The Day of Vengeance, shows that the dissolution of the present order of things is in progress, and that all the panaceas offered are valueless to avert the predicted end. It marks in these events the fulfilment of prophecy, noting specially our Lord’s great prophecy of Matt. 24 and Zech. 14:1-9: 660 pages, in embossed cloth, 30c. (1s. 3d.). India paper edition, 85c (3s. 6-1/2d.)
SERIES V., The At-one-ment Between God and Man, treats an all-important subject—the hub, the center around which all the features of divine grace revolve. Its topic deserves the most careful and prayerful consideration on the part of all true Christians: 507 pages, in embossed cloth, 30c. (1s. 3d.) India paper edition, 85c (3s. 6-1/2d.)
SERIES VI., The New Creation, deals with the Creative Week (Genesis 1 and 2), and with the Church, God’s “New Creation.” It examines the personnel, organization, rites, ceremonies, obligations and hopes appertaining to those called and accepted as members of the Body under the Head: 740 pages, in embossed cloth, 30c. (1s. 3d.) India paper edition, 85c (3s. 6-1/2d.)
The above prices include postage.
IN FULL LEATHER BINDING, gilt edges, the set (6 vols.) $3.00, (12s. 6d.), plus postage, 60c. (1s.).
Is also published in foreign languages as follows: In German, five vols.; in Swedish Vols. 1, 2, 3, and 5; in Dano-Norwegian, three vols.; in Greek, three vols.; in French, two vols.; in Hollandish, Spanish, Italian, Hungarian and Polish, one vol. each; bound in cloth, uniform with English edition, prices the same.
Vol. 6, German and Swedish (WATCH TOWER form), $1.50 each.