ZWT - 1903 - R3125 thru R3293 / R3293 (449) - December 15, 1903
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VOL. XXIV. DECEMBER 15, 1903. No. 24
Views From the Watch Tower........................451
Humility at a Discount........................451
Hebrew, Infidel, Preacher.....................451
Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society
The Boyhood of Jesus..............................457
Requests for Pilgrims, 1904.......................460
John the Baptist and the Promised
In the Winepress Alone (Poem).....................462
Special Item: Vol. VI. Not a Special
LETTERS FOR THE EDITOR SHOULD BE SENT TO ALLEGHENY, PA., U.S.A.
BUSINESS COMMUNICATIONS AND REMITTANCES
WATCH TOWER BIBLE & TRACT SOCIETY, "BIBLE HOUSE," 610, 612, 614 ARCH ST., ALLEGHENY, PA., U.S.A.
--OR TO-- BRITISH BRANCH--24 EVERSHOLT ST., LONDON, N.W. GERMAN BRANCH--MIRKER STR., 45, ELBERFELD.
PRICE, $1.00 (4s.) A YEAR IN ADVANCE, 5c (2-1/2d.) A COPY. MONEY MAY BE SENT BY EXPRESS, BANK DRAFT, POSTAL ORDER, OR REGISTERED. FROM FOREIGN COUNTRIES BY FOREIGN MONEY ORDERS, ONLY. SPECIAL TERMS TO THE LORD'S POOR AS FOLLOWS:--
Those of the interested who, by reason of old age, or other infirmity or adversity, are unable to pay for the TOWER, will be supplied FREE, if they send a Postal Card each December, stating their case and requesting the paper. We are not only willing, but anxious, that all such be on our list continually.
ENTERED AS SECOND CLASS MAIL MATTER AT ALLEGHENY, PA., POST OFFICE.
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VOL. VI. NOT A SPECIAL TOWER ISSUE.
Owing to the postal ruling which deprived us of the privilege of mailing paper-bound DAWNS at second-class rates, as special issues of the WATCH TOWER, we cannot send Vol. VI. to our WATCH TOWER subscribers in the same manner as formerly. There will be no paper bound edition issued, and all subscribers who want the sixth volume should remit at the rate of 30c per copy for cloth-bound books. This price covers postage.
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VOL. V. IN GERMAN.
This translation is in good stock, and orders will have prompt attention.
MOTTOES IN GERMAN.
We can fill orders for German mottoes. A packet of three large and two small mottoes of pretty design will be sent for $1.00, postpaid.
"WHAT SAY THE SCRIPTURES ABOUT HELL?"
We can supply this effective booklet in the Swedish language at 10c per copy, $1.00 per doz., postpaid.
The English and German booklets still remain at the price of 50c per doz., postpaid.
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VIEWS FROM THE WATCH TOWER.
HUMILITY AT A DISCOUNT WITH CLERGY.
THE louder a man boasts of himself and the more domineering over others he becomes the more will he be reverenced. This is true in all religious circles to-day amongst the "clergy." It was so, too, in St. Paul's day. He pointed it out to the Corinthians, saying, in substance: The more a religious teacher brow-beats you and the more he exacts from you of money and reverence, the more you will esteem him. (`2 Cor. 11:20`.) This still seems to be the trend of unbalanced human nature. It is exemplified in every church organization except the true one, where alone meekness, gentleness and patience are recognized as the proper adornments of Christ's representatives.
As an extreme example note the following proclamation of John Alex. Dowie to his deluded followers, clipped from his own publication:
"The time has come when the world shall no longer make money out of Zion investments, for Zion can now invest more profitably in Zion industries, through Zion's own Financial Institutions. Therefore I say to you, are you loyal to Zion when you are backing up worldly institutions outside when Zion needs your resources and your strength and can use these to God's glory, and to your increased prosperity? I say to you, and I say to Zion everywhere, that you will have to recognize fully the tremendous fact that I was within my rights and only fulfilling my Divinely imposed and positive duty when I issued the Command of September 21st. After due time given for the prayerful consideration of that Command, every man or woman throughout the world who says, 'I will not obey,' is asked to send in his or her resignation. If you will not obey, then I will know that you are outside of Zion. My responsibility as your leader, under God, will cease; for you will have found another leader, or be a 'wandering star.'...I do not want you in Zion. You are a curse to Zion and the quicker you get out the better off Zion will be."
HEBREW, INFIDEL, PREACHER.
Felix Adler, rabbi and D.D., has been discoursing on prayer to New Yorkers. He said,--
"Prayer also gives vent to that instinct in the human heart to worship God. But here, too, in regard to worship, I cannot sympathize with the kind of worship of which we do so much nowadays--characterized by the posture in praying --by kneeling. When a congregation falls on its knees I recoil. I find it repugnant to my whole nature.
"Prayer is said to have the effect of putting before us a divine model. But the idea of God, when it rises in the mind, fills it with a kind of nebulous light, but doesn't present the clear outlines of a model.
"I think men are really better and abler examples for behavior and serve us better as models than deity--such men, for instance, as Socrates, Brutus and Lincoln. They furnish definite models, not a vague notion of perfection; they do us good. Let us have moral heroes, human exemplars."
* * *
Mark how vain Evolutionists speedily become. Pluming themselves on their humility in acknowledging protoplasm, jellyfish and monkeys as their progenitors, they pride themselves on having attained so high a dignity that it causes a shudder to see others bow to him whom they acknowledge as their Creator.
As for Mr. Adler's preference for a human rather than a divine model, let us remember that he rejects the human model provided by Jehovah--"the man Christ Jesus." Let us remember, too, that the horrible "doctrines of devils" promulgated by Satan (through Heathen, Jewish and Christian "Doctors of Divinity") so misrepresent the plan and character of God as to make any half-decent man a "model" of justice in comparison.
Thank God that Satan is soon to be "bound," that he may deceive the nations (peoples) no more. Then Felix Adler's eyes and all the other blind eyes shall be opened, and they shall see the glorious character of the great Creator. Then Felix Adler and all others will bow the knee: as it is written, "Unto me every knee shall bow." If he bow willingly and adoringly he may then go up the "highway of holiness" to everlasting life under the guidance of the wonderful teachers of the Millennium. If he refuse to bow his heart he, with all such, will "perish" in the Second Death.
REV. DR. DIX WARNS THE GREEDY RICH.
In the pulpit of the richest church in America
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Dr. Dix preached a Thanksgiving Day discourse of which the following is an extract:
"The account between God and man is still open, our debt to Him still unpaid. True, there is ample material whereof to bring a thank offering to Almighty God.
"Peace is within our borders. The horrible nightmare of the past winter induced by the coal strike no longer makes heads sick and hearts faint. The spirit of anarchy has done no more murder in high places. The state is secure from foreign assaults and domestic disaffection. For these and countless other instances of the Divine favor and goodness we do give thanks."
Then the eloquent preacher drew the other side of the picture and surprised his hearers with these words:
"Still, shadows fall, and under them we add intercession to thanksgiving. What casts some of those shadows? Class alienation. The insolence of wealth and the angry discontent of the poor, the growth of riotous living, the misuse of money and its reckless squandering on pleasure and pride; education without religion; the steady breaking up of homes by divorce and remarriage; the appearance of vast systems of religious imposture and their success in making converts; the spirit of gambling in every place where it can be practiced.
"Others are the cold-blooded assaults on private property by those who attack corporations and drag them down to bankruptcy in order to enrich themselves; the insecurity of life through contempt of the law, and the freedom of assassins, whether sane or insane, to wreck their will upon their innocent victims; the steady decline of womanhood from its old ideals and its deterioration through copying the ways and invading the sphere of men. These are some of the things that cast a shadow on the years. No one sees how they are to be stopped, and no one who thinks it over from a Christian standpoint can doubt that if they are not stopped the harvest will be frightful beyond telling."
HIGHER CRITICS CONTRADICT EACH OTHER.
Rev. Sheraton of Wycliffe College, Canada, recently, defending the Pentateuch, said:
"One good reason for rejecting the radical theory of the higher critics is that their criticisms have been nothing less than a series of speculations since their inception, each one contradicting all those that preceded it. Originally the crude objection was made that Moses could not have written the Pentateuch, because of the illiterate character of the age in which he lived. Discoveries in Bible lands, however, make it abundantly plain that there was a regular mania for writing and recording in ancient Egypt; and that tablets were erected and correspondence took place in
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Canaan before the Exodus. Moreover, recent research makes it evident that such an accurate knowledge was had by the sacred writer of the geography, arts, social and religious customs of Egypt, that no one but an eye-witness could have so described the conditions. No one living at a remote age could have drawn upon his imagination for the facts.
"It was objected at a later date, in 1866, that the body of laws in the middle books were placed there after the Babylonian exile; and this was a portion that the critics had hitherto declared to be the oldest. No unanimity was shown on their part. Objection was also made to the diversity of style appearing in Deuteronomy and by a process of vivisection thirty-six verses in that book were actually attributed to 32 authors. Almost all great literary works have been attacked in the same way, and in just as plausible a manner. Homer's authorship of the Iliad and Caesar's production of Commentaries were disputed for years because of the diversity of style. Sir Walter Besant, who finished a novel commenced by a dead friend, said no one had ever pointed out the place where he took up the work. The critics were captious and magnified differences, as the result of their restless analyses was fruitless, tedious and repulsive.--Toronto News."
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WATCH TOWER BIBLE & TRACT SOCIETY.
--ANNUAL REPORT.--DEC. 1ST, 1902, TO DEC. 1ST, 1903.--
"ONWARD, Christian Soldiers," seems to be our Great Captain's command to our Society--in its every department. When recording the year's results each December we have been amazed at "what God hath wrought," so great results from so imperfect instrumentalities. We are continually reminded of the feeding of the five thousand on five barley loaves and two small fishes, and the twelve baskets full of fragments left over. Each yearly report we have feared would be our best; not seeing how the following year could be a favorable. And just so is this year's report: Excellent, splendid, better than we could have surmised. The Lord be praised! We do not see how 1904 can equal or surpass 1903, but past experiences lead us to expect greater and still greater blessings from the great Chief Reaper in his service.
One of the encouraging features of the work is, that the newly interested seem to grasp the Truth quickly, thoroughly, and with a self-consuming zeal which stimulates afresh those who have been longer in the way. As an instance we mention a young woman of less than twenty years who, during the Eaton-Russell Debates in October, fully consecrated her life to the Lord, set about a systematic study of the Dawn volumes, and so on, resolutely sacrificing the comforts of an elegant home, became a Colporteur, and began to carry the water of life to others fainting by the way. She realized herself to be an "eleventh hour" laborer, and besought the Lord for privileges and blessing in the vineyard. The language of her heart was expressed in the words of the hymn:
"The hour is come to do and dare,
To win a heavenly prize."
Did she succeed, you ask? Surely; where faith and zeal go hand in hand to the Lord for service he rarely if ever rejects them; guidance, direction, alone was needed,
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and we were privileged to supply it. As a result that sister is circulating from fourteen to forty volumes of Millennial Dawn daily--delivering from 200 to 600 sermons daily, reckoning each chapter a sermon.
Some seem to get a worldly view of this matter of Colporteuring, and think of it as unworthy the time and service of the well-to-do and educated;--well enough for those who have no other business or trade, or who have no capital wherewith to engage in "something better." The contrary view is the proper one, namely, that this in God's esteem is one of the most honorable services rendered in his name to the household of faith. As the "Pilgrim" brethren do the service of Elders, so the "Colporteurs" and "Volunteers" are doing the service of Deacons and Deaconesses. And the more education, refinement and natural ability are brought to the service, the greater number of talents invested, the greater are the possibilities of grand results to the glory of our King and the assistance of his "brethren." Those who feel that their talents are too many or too valuable to be used in the Lord's service, but not too valuable to be used in law or medicine or merchandising or other money-winning employment, do not properly value the privilege of laboring in the Vineyard --do not rightly value the great rewards promised to those who forsake all to have the privilege of Kingdom service and self-denial now, and of Kingdom glory by and by.
True, many long for such service, but are so handicapped by earthly obligations that they cannot do as they would--cannot engage in colporteuring--should not so engage. We doubt not that with these the Lord, who knoweth the heart, reckons to their credit all the self-sacrifices of this sort they would be glad to make if the conditions favored. But such will be active along some other lines of service for the Truth and the Brethren. Faithfulness in all possible ways will doubtless bring them eventually new doors of opportunity.
While increase of interest is to be noted all along the line, we accord first place to the Colporteur branch of the service. The figures given in the summary following will no doubt astonish all of our readers, the total sales of Dawns being nearly three times last year's total. These were nearly all in cloth binding, too, whereas last year the majority were in paper covers. The cloth binding is much better appreciated, better cared for and displayed; and thus does more good.
We have one hundred and forty-three Colporteurs at work now, with many additions promised as soon as they can arrange their affairs. They are a noble band, laboring not for the meat that perisheth merely, but specially for the present and the prospective joys of the Lord.
Many of the great men in history, who won fame and renown as statesmen, soldiers, authors and scientists, or gained a world-wide reputation in commercial life, laid the foundation of their greatness, perhaps gained that knowledge of men and human nature which is such a factor in great minds, by acting as canvassing agents. Napoleon Bonaparte, when a poor lieutenant, took the agency for a work entitled "L'Histoire de la Revolution." In the foyer of the great Palace of the Louvre can be seen to-day the Emperor's canvassing outfit, with the long list of subscribers he secured. George Washington, when young, canvassed around Alexandria, Va., and sold over two hundred copies of a work entitled "Bydell's American Savage." Mark Twain was a book agent. Longfellow sold books by subscription. Jay Gould, when starting in life, was a canvasser. Daniel Webster paid his second term's tuition at Dartmouth by handling "De Tocqueville's America," in Merrimac County, New Hampshire. Gen. U. S. Grant canvassed for Irving's "Columbus." James G. Blaine began life as a canvasser for a "Life of Henry Clay." Bismarck, when at Heidelberg, spent a vacation in canvassing for one of Blumenbach's handbooks. None of these, however, labored thus for the King of kings. None of these carried to their fellow creatures so precious a gospel. None of these invited saints in the name of the Lord to prepare for a share in the throne with their Redeemer, or sought thus by faithfulness to make their own calling and election sure by attesting their loving devotion to the Lord and his cause, to the sacrifice of some earthly privileges;--esteemed in comparison as but "loss and dross."
ZION'S WATCH TOWER CIRCULATION INCREASING.
While the work has increased greatly during the past year and the Watch Tower's regular issues are now over 20,000, this, although very gratifying, seems less important to us, as we believe it is less important in the Lord's esteem than the evident increase in deep spirituality witnessed in so many ways--by the letters we receive, by the energy displayed, etc. We remark, by the way, that we continually receive evidences that there are thousands of interested Dawn readers who are not on the Tower list. Surely this ought not to be so. We should be in constant touch with all who are of like precious faith. Generally the reason given is scarcity of money. We know not how to tell these dear brethren and sisters that they are as welcome to the Watch Tower as to the air they breathe; but they must request it, even as they must inhale the air. Those who do not like to ask for it as "the Lord's poor," may, if they prefer, ask it on credit year after year, and if never able to send the money they may at any time so inform us and have the debt cancelled. What can we say more than this? We merely add that we are convenienced by those whose renewals (whatever their kind) come to the office before January 1st each year.
We are expecting great things for the next few years in the spread of the Truth. We expect that the regular issues of the Watch Tower will be 40,000 copies (representing 80,000 readers) before 1908. We want the cooperation of all of the Lord's people to this end. As the editor can do a part in this not open to others, so others can do a part which is not open to the editor. Let us continue to co-labor, hoping by and by unitedly to hear the Chief Reaper say, "Well done! good, faithful servants. Enter into the joys of your Lord."
THE VOLUNTEER WORK.
If space permitted we would enjoy giving details respecting this great work--explaining the practical methods adopted, by which in some large cities practically every house was visited--especially in Boston, Washington, Pittsburg and Allegheny, and their suburbs, for ten miles or more in every direction. Over three millions of tracts were thus used; besides the ordinary circulation of about two millions of other assorted tracts. Great as this work is, and far beyond all other tract distribution in the world, it can be more than doubled next year, if the
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friends in all other cities can arouse the same zeal displayed by some of those mentioned. For instance, at Washington practically the entire church, of about sixty engaged in the work. The trouble there was that with so many hands this much enjoyed service was too quickly accomplished. We are preparing "ammunition" for next year, and hope to be ready to supply orders in April. Let all prepare carefully and prayerfully for the opportunities of 1904. Remember that much depends on the selection of earnest-hearted and wise-headed captains and lieutenants, as well as on the zeal of the Church. Surely those who know no better way to use their time or to render service to the Truth, should be careful how they disregard this grand opportunity. The tracts are provided free; and the more of respectability, education and good address anyone can put into the service, the greater is likely to be the favorable impression to read and consider these messages from our King to nominal "Christendom" to select the "wheat" class.
THE TOWER-DAWN A SUCCESS.
The special issue of Dawn I. in Watch Tower form has been well received. Its price (5c per copy, including postage) is so cheap that it permits many to send it to their friends. One brother has sent about 300 to his friends and is still sending us large lists. A fund has been provided, by means of which this edition may be sent to every English-speaking minister and missionary in the world. We already have the lists, and about 50,000 have been sent out.
The cheapness of this edition and also of the handsome cloth-bound edition makes unnecessary the old paper-bound edition, which will be discontinued soon as present stock is exhausted.
OUR CORRESPONDENCE BIBLE SCHOOL.
Letters come to us from all parts of the world making inquiries on the lines of Bible study and for assistance in applying the teachings of the Word to the affairs of daily life;--as well as business correspondence. We take pleasure in replying to these as lengthily as the questions seem to demand--frequently referring the inquirers to the more convenient and elaborate treatises of Dawn and the Watch Tower. We rejoice in such opportunities for service, and trust that any of the Lord's children who so desire will freely appeal to us for willing assistance along these lines.
Letters and cards received from Dec. 1, 1902, to
Dec. 1, 1903....................................41,079
Letters and cards sent out from Dec. 1, 1902, to
Dec. 1, 1903....................................37,810
THE PILGRIM SERVICE INCREASED.
The Lord's guidance in regard to the "Pilgrim" service is continually in evidence; not only in the words of appreciation coming constantly from those who have been blessed, but also in the evidences showing an increasing zeal and spirituality in their wake. This is not merely the result of the excellent discourses delivered by the "Pilgrims," but also, and, in large part, a result of the exercise of energy necessary to the making of the arrangements for the "Pilgrim" and for the meetings. The activity and comminglings incident to the preparations, bring a blessing, according to the divine promise that he who assists in watering others gets watered also himself.
Elsewhere we ask for brief postal card answers to questions useful to us in connection with this service, from those desiring visits during the year 1904. Please respond promptly.
During the past year 25 persons took part in this "Pilgrim" work; 2,647 parlor meetings and 1,702 public meetings were held;--total 4,349. The distance traversed in connection with these services (the editor's trip to Europe included) was 154,214 miles. The expense was $7,956--a very modest amount for so extensive services. The One Day and Annual Conventions are also reckoned in account; but not the convention expenses, which are borne by the inviting churches.
CONVENTIONS OF THE YEAR.
These we have reason to believe were appreciated and profitable. The One Day Conventions are chiefly for the benefit of those "brethren" yet in Babylon, who are hungering for and seeking Present Truth; the General Conventions are chiefly for those already fairly established in it. Both are proving so helpful that we consider it the Lord's will that they be continued, as per regular announcements.
THE SOCIETY'S FOREIGN MISSIONS.
"Darkness covers the earth [civilized] and gross darkness the heathen." Our Society is making no effort to reach those in grossest darkness, believing that to be the work designed of the Lord for the Millennium. We have more than enough to do in dispelling the darkness prevalent in Christendom. For these are our labors and prayers, as were those of the Apostles.--`Eph. 1:13`.
The British Branch is well established, though by no means self-sustaining yet. A splendid work is in progress everywhere in Great Britain, and it is extending and broadening and deepening. Evidently, the Lord has "much people" in those islands. (`Acts 18:10`.) The editor was much refreshed by the manifestations of love and zeal everywhere encountered during his brief Pilgrim trip thither last Spring. Indeed, we know that all Watch Tower readers shared this through our reports, as was abundantly testified by your letters to us subsequently. A separate report of the British Branch is subjoined.
Work is commenced at Copenhagen and Stockholm for the benefit of our Scandinavian brethren;--to put into their hands the Present Truth and to co-operate with those who have already been blessed with the opening of the eyes of their understanding. We hope to have more to report in the way of works a year from now.
The German Branch has opened under fairly prosperous conditions, yet not what we had hoped for. The oneness of the "body" and of the "harvest" work does not seem to be sufficiently appreciated by the German brethren. It is proposed, however, to continue the mission during 1904, giving the field a fair trial and looking to the Lord for guidance as to whether or not there are more favorable fields for the use of consecrated time and money. Meantime Brother Koetitz has succeeded Brother Henninges as the Society's representative at Elberfeld, and the latter has passed to a new field, as below.
The work in French and Italian now centered at Yverdon, Switzerland, is being given a push, and promises well for the time. We are spending considerable money for free reading matter to be scattered all over Germany,
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Switzerland, France and Italy, as the Lord may stir up the hearts of his people to co-operate in the "harvest" work. We will do some witnessing. The Lord will use the Truth to gather the "wheat" and permit Satan to sift it clean. Experience seems to teach that the principal crop of ripe "wheat" will be gathered in Great Britain and America, where freedom has more or less prepared the way for the Truth amongst all nationalities. We must "harvest" while it is called day and where the wheat principally is.
THE AUSTRALIAN MISSION.
Little has yet been accomplished in Australia, yet everything we are able to learn about it seems to imply that it should be ripe for the sickle of Truth. Its population is chiefly British and we believe intelligent and liberal-minded. Its claims appealed to us as being in line with the leadings of the Lord, and accordingly Brother Henninges has been dispatched thither to open a Melbourne Branch or Mission.
Brother Henninges has had a large experience in Allegheny, and later in London, and is, we believe, every way competent to push the work there. He will doubtless make it a success if the conditions are as favorable as we hope--if the Lord has "much people" there. Although this is in the nature of an experiment, we have already shipped nearly eight tons of literature there--chiefly Dawns--so great is our confidence.
We bespeak for all the dear "Yoke-fellows" (`Phil. 4:3`) in foreign fields, as well as in the home Pilgrim service and in the Colporteur service afar and near, the prayers and co-operation of all who recognize the one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one harvest work, and who see that the time for co-operation is short. Yea, as we see how few there are loyal to the Truth, and how many are their opponents, "within and without," let it draw us the closer to all whom the Lord has counted worthy to receive the Truth and worthy to permit to remain in its light. Let us pray for one another and in every way assist one another to "stand" and to "fight a good fight." Love of the brethren is classed in Scripture as one of the evidences of the new life--with what propriety each who has this love can judge.
Our continued prayers ascend daily, for all the dear co-laborers and for all the Lord's true sheep--known to us as well as unknown. Brethren, pray for us. Under the Lord's providence our position in this "harvest" work specially draws the fire of the great enemy and his blind and misdirected servants. It is a comfort to us to know of your Christian love and prayers in behalf of the editor and his faithful co-laborers. And amongst these do not forget the 32 loyal office helpers at Allegheny.
THE FINANCIAL END.
With the opening of wider ranges of labor and influence the Lord sent an increase of the necessary means;-- our money receipts for the past year will surprise you.
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This is another evidence that the Lord's hand is guiding the "harvest" work;--grace sufficient to endure added trials; and money sufficient for the increased expenses, and that without either direct or indirect appeals for money. The Truth stirred the willing-hearted to do what they could, and the Lord gave the increase. We dare scarcely hope for as large opportunities or as ample means for next year, but we leave all in the Lord's hand and will seek to do with our might according to the opportunities and means the Lord will supply. All who have participated in the results summarized below, either through active service of the Truth or by money contributions in its aid, or both (and this includes almost every Watch Tower subscriber), may well join us in giving thanks to the Lord for the showing.
It will be noticed that while the work more than doubled the expenses did not double. We believe it to be a part of our stewardship to see that not one dollar of these consecrated funds is wasted. The dear co-laborers join heartily in this spirit. None here receives wages-- merely expenses--and all rejoice to keep these at the lowest notch, and each feels that he cannot do too much for our King and his "brethren." We are entirely safe in saying that no such work was ever before done, nor at so relatively small a cost. But then neither was such a gospel ever before proclaimed. "What manner of persons ought we to be?"
SUMMARY OF THE YEAR.
Surplus on hand Dec. 1, 1903......................$ 3,938.11
From Good Hopes and all other sources............. 39,526.08
For "Pilgrim" expenses............................$ 7,956.65
For publishing matter circulated free,--
tracts, etc...................................... 21,678.02
For expenses, postage, etc., on same.............. 5,026.49
For loss on Dawns incidental to rise in cost and
our desire to keep retail price low and give
Colporteurs every opportunity.................... 2,014.71
For Foreign Mission accounts, on which there
may be partial returns later on.................. 5,694.21
Surplus remaining.................................$ 1,094.11
SUMMARY OF LITERATURE CIRCULATED FREE.
Old Theology Tracts sent out, 5,487,700, representing 81,211,600 tract pages,--various languages.
Sample copies of Zion's Watch Tower, 198,590.
BOOKS AND BOOKLETS SOLD AT COST OR LESS.
Millennial Dawns, all volumes and languages..........210,961
Sundry booklets...................................... 63,057
Letters and cards received........................... 41,079
Letters and cards sent out........................... 37,810
"Pilgrims," regular and special, 25. Visits, 1,411; Public meetings, 1,702; Parlor meetings, 2,647; Miles traveled, 154,214.
* * *
Praising God for past mercies, let us begin the service of the New Year with a renewal of our consecration vows; and with the thought that we are a year nearer to the glorious "change" and "well done" for which we hope. "Now is our salvation nearer than when we first believed."
REPORT OF BRITISH BRANCH.
We give below Brother Hemery's Letter and Report. We all rejoice that the British Branch prospers, and hope
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that in another year there will be something to report respecting the "harvest" work in the lands afar.
Lest there should be some misunderstanding, we note the fact that the Financial Report takes no account of the cost of the tons of tracts sent from Allegheny, but merely of its circulation. We propose having the reports next year include cost of paper, printing, etc.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--
We are gratified in being able to send a report showing increase in the various branches of the work. The sale of Dawns has advanced upon last year's figures by 3,000, while that of the lesser booklets also shows an increase. But notable progress is shown in the account of tract circulation--we have sent out 1,033,000 free tracts and Towers. Of this number 700,000 represent the Volunteer matter; the new method of distribution lending itself to more extended opportunities of service than the previous one did. But while much has been done, much more remains. The increases plainly indicate further possibilities, telling us that "The fields are white unto the harvest." We pray the "Lord of the Harvest that he will send more laborers into His vineyard."
We believe your visit to us in the Springtime has, in the Lord's providence, done much to give a general impetus to the work in this part of the field. The brethren were stimulated to further assurance and zeal, and many new friends were made. Indeed, in view of the possibilities in these countries, it would appear that your early return is desirable. You will be glad to know that the work prospers in Ireland: the friends in Dublin especially were enthused by your visit there, and have, since then, sold a good many Dawns. The change of the British depot to its present address--brought about in harmony with your thought that this locality would be more desirable --already promises much advantage.
It has been our pleasure to have a Pilgrim visit from Brother Henninges this fall. He reports that the meetings have been well attended, and the usual good interest maintained. We are sorry to have to say "good-bye" to him and Sr. Henninges, though we are glad the work in Australia is to be helped forward by them. We are grateful to the Lord for all His favors to us--for the privilege of knowing His Truth, and for that of serving each other. We thank Him for all that He has done, and are hopeful concerning that which remains. Continue to pray for us here, as we do for you, that His purposes may be worked out in us and that we may all be good "laborers" in the vineyard.
Your fellow-servant, in the Lord,
L. s. d.
Deficit from last year.......................... 542 18 8
Postage, Rent, Labor, Gas and sundry
expenses....................................... 105 1 5
"Pilgrim" work expenses......................... 86 4 9
734 4 10
Tract fund receipts from Great Britain.......... 411 2 0
Deficit........................................ 323 2 10
Dawns sold, chiefly by colporteurs............ 20,590
Booklets sold, chiefly by colporteurs........... 3,851
Tracts circulated free, chiefly by "Volunteer"
These represented in pages...................... 18,368,600
Letters and cards received...................... 4,649
Letters and cards sent out...................... 9,842
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--READING LESSON, `PSALM 103`.--DECEMBER 27.--
THE lessons of the last quarter, dealing with Saul, David and Solomon, are fresh in our memories. Saul's great but wasted opportunities have impressed us with the thought that we also have great opportunities, and need to be on guard lest these should be wasted. Saul's opportunities were of an earthly kind, in connection with an earthly kingdom; ours relate to the everlasting glorious Kingdom. His mistake was in failure to give his heart entirely to the Lord. Instead of doing this he sought to serve the Lord but to maintain a will of his own. Seeing how great was his mistake impresses upon us the importance of making our consecration full, complete, and then seeing to it that, by the Lord's assistance, we faithfully carry out the provisions of that consecration.
In David, Saul's successor, we have a man after God's own heart--not in respect to all the affairs of his life, but in respect to his heart, his intentions, his holiness of will, of purpose. Seeing what God appreciated in David helps us to understand the better what he appreciates in all those who would please him. Not that we could hope to please God of ourselves,--but having accepted his grace in our hearts, having come under the robe of the Redeemer's imputed righteousness, and having realized ourselves accepted in the Beloved, then it must be the desire of our hearts to attain as nearly as possible to the divine standard in thought, word and deed. By so doing we are making our calling and election sure, for the Lord seeks only those to be his servants who worship him in spirit and in truth. He accepts us under Christ's merit because we have declared that we desire to be like Christ and to fulfil the Father's will. Our acceptance is with the view of giving us an opportunity to demonstrate the truthfulness of our assertions--to fulfil the covenant of self-sacrifice in obedience to the principles of righteousness. Failures surely will from time to time mark our very best endeavors, but so surely as we are of the David class, the beloved of the Lord, so surely our failures will cause us regret and pain, and lead us to the Lord to entreat his forgiveness in the name and merit of him who loved us and bought us with his precious blood.
David's warfare with the enemies of the Lord, and with the enemies of the Kingdom and Law which the
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Lord had established in Israel, were continued through David's career, and these very properly represent the warfare which all the Lord's beloved ones must endure faithfully if they would abide in his favor. Loyalty to the principles of the divine government is of prime importance; the royal banner must be lifted high; our lives must be risked and be given in defence of the divine character and teachings if we would be counted worthy of the Kingdom of glory, if we would belong to the house of David, the beloved, which the Lord has promised shall be established forever--the house of Christ, the house of sons.
We review Solomon's peaceful reign and note how its opening years were typical of the blessings of the noontide of the Millennial Kingdom. The glories and wisdom and wealth of Solomon were but trifles in comparison to the wisdom, honor and riches which God has promised to those who love him. Respecting the faithful overcomers, we remember it is declared that they shall know even as they are known by God, that they shall share the glory, honor and immortality of their glorious Head and Master.
We remember, too, the typical temple, and its construction from materials previously prepared during the Levitic reign, and how this prefigured our preparation as living stones for the glorious temple of the future, in which God shall make his presence known to all the families of the earth for their blessing and uplifting, and for the joy of all those who shall respond to the blessed influences of the Millennial Kingdom. The thought of the preparation of these stones causes us much comfort and joy respecting the trials and difficulties of this present time, as we realize that they are working out for us and in us preparation for the far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory which will be ours if we are faithful when we shall be brought together in glory as the spiritual temple of the Lord.
This review is perhaps as appropriate a lesson for the closing Sunday of the year as any, especially when we remember that all of these glories and blessings and privileges are ours because of the great redemptive work accomplished by him whose entrance upon the work is celebrated by Christmas day. Although we cannot agree that this is the proper day for celebrating the birth of our dear Redeemer, but must insist that it was about October first, nevertheless since he did not intimate his desire that we should celebrate his birthday it is quite immaterial upon what day that event, of so great importance to all, is celebrated. Upon this day, so generally celebrated, we may properly enough join with all whose hearts are in the attitude of love and appreciation toward God and toward the Savior.
The habit of giving little remembrances one to another at this time of year seems to us specially appropriate. God is the great giver of every good and perfect gift. He is continually giving and we are continually receiving from him; but amongst all his gifts the one of greatest importance to us is the gift of his Son to be our Redeemer. While, therefore, thanking the Lord for this great gift and for the great plan which centered in it, it is appropriate that we cultivate in our hearts the spirit of liberality, generosity, and that we allow this spirit to exercise itself to some extent--according to our conditions and circumstances--toward those with whom we have contact, especially to the members of our own households. We recommend that every little gift on this occasion should, so far as possible, represent or be accompanied by some little remembrancer of the great gift--something to draw the mind of the recipient to the fact that the great gift of God in Christ is and should be in the minds of all who give or who receive the trifling exchanges of the season.
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THE BOYHOOD OF JESUS.
--`LUKE 2:40-52`.--JANUARY 3.--
FOR the first six months of the new year the International Lessons turn again to the New Testament, beginning appropriately enough with the childhood of Jesus.
The more we think of it the more marvellous it seems that the Gospel narratives record so many of the particulars of our dear Redeemer's ministry--miracles, teachings, etc.--yet never once descend to the discussion of commonplace events, nor of our Lord's sayings or doings other than those directly connected with his ministry. This is one of the strongest internal evidences that these books were written under divine supervision. Our experience with the writings of men in all ages assures us that it would be almost impossible for four men to write biographies of one person, such as these four Gospels are, without entering into social features and events. Our Lord's mother is barely mentioned, and this only where her life touched particularly with that of Jesus. Her husband, Joseph, was probably dead at the time our Lord's ministry began, yet no mention is made of this fact either.
Respecting our Lord's life, previous to his consecration at thirty years of age, we know scarcely anything. The four Gospels merely bring to our attention his miraculous birth, Herod's jealous fury, and the escape of the child before the massacre of the innocents, followed by the little incident of our lesson, which occurred in his twelfth year, and the declaration that he increased in wisdom and stature and favor with God and man. How brief the record, yet how suggestive!
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It would have been no part of the Gospel to have explained the details of his life as a boy, as a young man, etc. It might, indeed, have satisfied the curiosity of some to have told us whether he was a farmer or a fisherman or a carpenter, matters about which people seem inclined to dispute. Undoubtedly the Lord's way in this matter was the better one. Our minds are more drawn to the important features of the Lord's work by reason of the brevity of the sketch given us of his earthly life and interests.
The important thing for us to know is simply stated, namely, that he was the beginning of the creation of God--the first born of every creature; that in his preexistent condition he had glory with the Father before the world was, and was the Father's instrument in the creation of angels, principalities and powers and men, everything that was made. (`John 1`.) The necessary particulars are also given us respecting the transference of this great spirit being to earthly human conditions--that he might become man and redeem man, the world; that he might be born under the Law and thus redeem those who were under the Law, the Jews. Let us then thank God heartily for the simplicity of the narrative, and for the fact that no item necessary to our comfort and peace and joy has been omitted therefrom, and that no needless items pertaining merely to earthly things have been permitted to intrude themselves and thus to dim in any measure the glorious record of the great love wherewith the Father loved us and the great redemption effected thereby.
Coming more particularly to the appointed lesson: We see that the boy Jesus, although miraculously begotten, not of the will of the flesh, nor of man, but by the holy Spirit, was permitted to grow after the ordinary manner, gradually getting stronger physically and mentally, being filled more and more with wisdom, and giving evidence that God's favor was upon him. Quite probably Joseph, his foster father, was a carpenter, and if so the boy Jesus unquestionably, like other boys, would have more or less association in the carpenter shop, its tools, etc. It has been wondered by some that our Lord never referred to carpenter tools or work in any of his teachings or parables, and this has been urged as an objection to the thought that he was reared in contact with such work and tools. It matters not, so far as we can see. Our Lord addressed, not classes, but the masses; and quite probably the majority of the people at the time knew little about the carpenter's trade, tools, etc., even less than in our day. Hence it was not necessary or appropriate that our Lord should use as figures and parables that which would not be common to the experiences of all or nearly all of his hearers.
In `verse 41` Joseph is evidently referred to as one of his parents. This is not in conflict, however, with the previous statements of the same writer, to the effect that Jesus was begotten, not by Joseph, but by the holy Spirit. (`Luke 1:30-35`.) We would consider it proper enough today that any child should speak of his foster-father or stepfather as father without explaining the particulars of the relationship, and likewise it would be proper for the friends to speak of both father and mother as the parents of the child, as in this verse under consideration and previous verses.--`Vs. 27`.
The narrative passes over the twelve years of Jesus' earthly life to tell of the incident of his tarrying behind after having been with his parents at the Passover Feast. The religious Jews from all parts of the country went to Jerusalem upon these feast occasions according to the directions of the Law, and naturally enough close relatives traveled in each other's company considerably. Thus it was that in the large concourse returning from Jerusalem after the feast a whole day elapsed before the boy Jesus was missed by those who properly had guardianship over him. Although admonished by the angel Gabriel that Jesus would in due time be greatly honored of God, and that he was born differently from others of the human family, nevertheless neither Mary nor Joseph seemed to have caught any considerable view of the greatness of the one whom they called their son Jesus. The prophecies spoken respecting him, like all the prophecies of olden times, were more or less vague, and could not be comprehended except by the aid of the holy Spirit, which had not yet been given. His mother Mary, however, we are told, kept all these things pondering in her heart, wondering what would be the consummation-- little dreaming, we may be sure, how great her son must ultimately be made, according to the divine arrangement.
The story of the boy of twelve amongst the Doctors of the Law, discussing the various types of the Law and what these probably signified, and what would be expected to be their antitypes, furnish us a very interesting picture, especially when we remember that the one who was asking the questions was the one who ultimately would give correct answers to those questions in his own experiences. We are not to assume that this precocious boy of twelve was unduly bold or forward; we are not to presume that he undertook to teach the Doctors of the Law. He was not yet anointed to preach, and was therefore not yet qualified. The narrative is that he was found hearing the doctors and asking them questions, and not attempting to teach them. There is a good suggestion here--especially for such as are not permitted to teach, by reason of sex or insufficient years--namely, that even a child
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can ask questions, and in asking the questions may suggest wonderful and powerful answers.
We may reasonably assume that Jesus had previously, after the manner of the Jewish boys, attended the synagogue worship at his home, and that hearing there the Law and the prophets, the Scriptures of the Old Testament, read Sabbath after Sabbath, and having a perfect memory and an active mind, because not blemished by sin and the fall, the various questions of the Law and the various declarations of the prophets would greatly interest him--especially as he realized that he had left the Father and had come into the world to do a redemptive work.
The Doctors of the Law doubtless remarked that they had never had such pointed questions asked them respecting the Law and the prophets, even by wise men of their day and by each other; hence they evidently noticed the precocity of this boy. As he asked questions which apparently showed that some of their interpretations were faulty and inconsistent, they in turn considered it not beneath themselves to ply the boy with questions. Doubtless they thought that after his questions had confounded them their questions would likewise confound the boy, but, according to `verse 47`, so far from confounding him they got their questions answered in such a manner as amazed them. Nevertheless we are to remember that our Lord Jesus could not have himself understood the full meaning of the Law shadows and the prophecies at that time--nor until after his anointing with the holy Spirit. (`1 Cor. 2:14`.) This little item gives us a suggestion respecting the ability of mind that would belong to a perfect boy. It gives us a suggestion respecting what we may expect of the ancient worthies when they shall be resurrected to human perfection, and the same suggestion also of what we may expect of the perfection of the Church in the glorious condition promised in the First Resurrection.
It was natural enough that after missing the boy for four days his mother should upbraid him somewhat, and, taking Jesus' answer in its simplicity, we must suppose that he had been so absorbed with the opportunities and studies that the time had passed without his appreciating the trouble and inconvenience he was causing to others.
"Wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business?" must have seemed strange enough even from so remarkable a boy. His parents did not fully comprehend the meaning of the words, but Mary set these apart with the other peculiar things to treasure up, hoping ultimately to see something that would fully justify the words, as she did afterwards see. After making this protest respecting his desire to be engaged in the heavenly Father's mission, studying his Word and teachings, and realizing that his sentiments were not understood or appreciated, and that really he was still properly under subjection to his parents, Jesus said no more, but went quietly with them to Nazareth and doubtless to his accustomed vocation.
Our Lord could not begin his ministry because he was under the Law and bound by its every restriction. We note, however, his promptness to engage in his heavenly Father's business at the very earliest moment, as we read, "Now when Jesus began to be about thirty years of age he came to Jordan to be baptized." We who are not under the restraints of the Law Covenant but, on the contrary, are under grace, are not thus limited as to the time we may present our bodies living sacrifices upon the Lord's altar to be used in his service; hence we rejoice the more if we can find that at an early date we can give our hearts and our all to him who loved us and bought us with his precious blood.
It was not the babe of Bethlehem that was to bless the world, nor the boy of Nazareth, nor the young man of Capernaum, but it was to be a full-grown man, a mature one, whose sacrifice would offset the sin of Adam, redeem him and his posterity and satisfy the demands of divine justice against the condemned race. So, then, while interested in everything pertaining to the divine character and plan, while interested to know how Jesus grew in stature and in wisdom as he approached the maturity of manhood at thirty years, while interested to know about his miraculous birth, our chief interest in all of these things is that they established our faith in him as the man Christ Jesus-- that he was holy, harmless, undefiled and separate from sinners, and therefore able to make the atonement sacrifice--to give his own life a ransom, a corresponding price for the life of Adam, and thus for the life of the whole race of Adam, in his loins at the time of his transgression and thus sharers with him in his condemnation.
We do well, therefore, to dwell less upon the birth and infancy of Jesus and more and more to grasp the precious themes set before us in the Gospel, of which the cross is the great point or center of interest. Similarly we regard all the followers of the Lord--not according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. True, we are glad to know of some that even before their consecration and baptism of the Spirit were noble minded, virtuous and irreproachable, and we have a measure of regret when we hear of some who had a contrary disposition to this; nevertheless our interest centers around the fact that they did turn from sin, did become the Lord's followers and that they have been begotten of his holy Spirit. In this we rejoice.
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Thus we know each other according to the Spirit as New Creatures in the Lord, and thus we know our Lord as the New Creature, as the Apostle suggests, "Though we have known Christ after the flesh, henceforth know we him so no more." Our special interest centers in our Lord from the moment of his anointing of the Spirit until he completed the work there begun three and one-half years later on the cross, crying, "It is finished." Our interest still holds beyond that point in the resurrection of our Lord from the dead, and the evidence thus given us that the begetting of the Spirit at his baptism became the birth of the Spirit at his resurrection, and that he was thus the first born from the dead, born of the Spirit to spirit conditions. Then our hope is to follow in his steps, and thus realize the promise that if we suffer with him we shall also be glorified together and share his Kingdom and his nature in glory.
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REQUESTS FOR PILGRIM VISITS, 1904.
THE following information is very important in connection with arrangements for "Pilgrim" services. There is no charge for these services, nor for the traveling expenses; nor are collections ever to be taken up. We expect that all friends of the Truth will be glad to entertain the "Pilgrims," during their brief stays, with "such things as ye have;" but where circumstances do not permit this, the "Pilgrims" are prepared to pay their way. If you desire to be remembered by us when we lay out the routes for these "Pilgrims," please answer the following questions--on a postal card or on separate paper from your letter. You need not repeat the questions, but merely number the answers, thus: No. 1--Yes (or No). No. 2--Twice a week--Sunday and Wednesday (or whatever may be the truth). No. 9-- Sunday at 3 p.m. at Bible House, 610 Arch Street; Wednesday 8 p.m., same place (or whatever may be the facts of your case). And thus with each question.
If you cannot answer all the questions reply to as many as possible. Neglect to send in such requests will be understood to mean that the "Pilgrim" visits of 1903 were not appreciated, and that you think it undesirable to have them continued so far as possible in 1904. Requests of 1903 hold good until Jan. 31, '04. "Pilgrim" routes are laid out sometimes several months ahead and cannot well be altered; hence the necessity for our having full information and in time.
ANSWER AS MANY AS POSSIBLE OF THESE QUERIES.
(1) Are regular meetings now held in your vicinity? (2) How frequently? (3) What is the present average attendance? (4) Is request for Pilgrim visits the publicly expressed wish of those who usually attend meetings? (5) Will suitable places be secured for parlor meetings? (6) Can suitable room for a public meeting be secured? (7) At what date are leaders or elders chosen? (8) Give full name and address of regularly elected elders,--that arrangements for Pilgrim visits may be committed to them. (9) Give addresses of meeting-places and hours. (10) To whom should the Pilgrim be referred for entertainment? (11) If no regularly chosen elders, give at least one address in full, beside your own. (12) Give your own name and address in full (state if colored) and any other information likely to be useful. (13) If not on the railroad give name of proper station and your distance from it, and the direction. State also if a conveyance would meet the Pilgrim at station and return him to it.
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"JOHN THE BAPTIST AND THE PROMISED ELIJAH."
--`MATT. 3:1-12`.--JANUARY 10.--
Golden Text:--"Repent ye: for the Kingdom of Heaven is at hand."
IN the `first three verses` of our lesson are summarized the mission and work of John, our Lord's cousin, respecting whom the Master said, "Verily I say unto you, there hath not arisen a greater prophet than John the Baptist: and yet I say unto you that the least in the Kingdom of heaven is greater than he." John's mission was to announce that Kingdom, but it was not his privilege to become a member of it. He was the friend of the Bridegroom, as he expressed it. He heard his voice communing with the prospective betrothed, and he rejoiced as his friend, but not as a member of the betrothed class--the bride, the church of this spirit dispensation, the least one of whom enjoys a higher privilege and station than did this noble prophet: because even hereunto were they called and he called not.
John from his birth was specially prepared to be a servant of the Lord in the capacity he filled, and on reaching the age of maturity he, being fully consecrated, at once began the service. He was six months older than our Lord, and hence began his ministry that much sooner. Abstaining from earthly comforts, he subsisted on the plainest of food, and was attired merely with a camel's hair girdle about his loins. His entire time and attention were thus left free for the mission before him.
We do not advocate that all the Lord's people follow the example of John the Baptist in respect to their food and raiment, but we do believe that a good lesson of simplicity, consecration and zeal may be drawn from his course. We do believe that our Lord's faithful followers might copy John's example to the extent of avoiding the
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extremes of social custom, not only in their clothing but also in their food. We advocate "things decent" and "things honest," as the Apostle expresses the matter--a simplicity of diet and wardrobe. Those who have consecrated their time and energy and influence to the Lord, and to the service of the Truth, will do well for their spiritual interests to be on guard against the fashions and follies of this world in these matters; and whether they eat or drink, or whatsoever they do or wear, that all may be done to the glory of the Lord--with a view to their own greatest usefulness in the divine service and in the service of the household of faith.
John's mission was heaven-directed, and exactly at the right time to introduce the Lord Jesus to the Jewish nation, which had been waiting for him for centuries to fulfil in and through their nation the promise made to Abraham, "In thy seed shall all the families of the earth be blessed." Under divine guidance the affairs of Israel were, outwardly at least, more prosperous than they had been for centuries, and they were as a nation hoping that this return of God's favor might culminate in the sending of the promised King for the exaltation of their nation, and through its establishment in power the blessing of Israelitish rule in the name of the Lord should be extended to all the families of the earth. We are told that amongst the Jews "all men were in expectation of the Messiah."--`Luke 3:15`.
No wonder then that so striking a figure as John the Baptist made an impression when he announced that God's Kingdom was soon to be established, and that he had been sent as an advance minister to proclaim it and to sanctify the hosts of Israel, that they might be prepared to be the hosts of the Messiah in the fulfillment of the long-expected promise to Abraham. By a new method those who accepted John's teaching were required to mark their reformation of life, namely, by an immersion of water, which symbolized their putting away of sin, their return to full covenant relationship with God, already established through Moses, the mediator of the Law Covenant. All who did this with true sincerity of heart, and not merely an outward form, undoubtedly were Israelites indeed, of the very kind that the Lord would be pleased to accept and own and bless under the spirit dispensation soon to be inaugurated.
And thus we find that not only many of the disciples of Jesus were previously disciples of John, but also that many of those who received Jesus had previously received John. Nevertheless the majority of those baptized by John evidently had not been touched to the heart by his preaching, but merely nominally repented and instituted some slight reform.
The movement became a popular one, and drew to it many who loved publicity and notoriety, and who are always foremost in the promise of godliness but are without its power, therefore without the sincerity, without the heart interest. John recognized the hypocrisy of many of the leading Pharisees and Sadducees who came to his baptism, and by some prophetic power was enabled to read their hearts in a manner which would be improper for us to do. This prophetic insight not only permitted John to call these false ones a brood of vipers, but permitted him also to intimate to them the great day of wrath that was soon to come upon that nation; "wrath to the uttermost," as the Apostle Paul speaks of it (`1 Thess. 2:16`)--the wrath of God which entirely swallowed up the nation and left the land almost desolate, scattering the people amongst all the nations. John would not baptize these until they showed by outward conduct a change of life, a change of heart and not merely a changed profession. He realized that this class in particular was stumbling over the promise made to Abraham, because they were his natural children without having Abraham's faith. John inspiredly warned them to the contrary, that God was quite able to establish his Kingdom in due time and to ignore them entirely.
`Verse 10` is a further part of his prophecy, declaring that fruitage was necessary on their part, and that any who did not bear the fruitage required would be cut off from divine favor and cast into the fiery trouble with which the Jewish age ended.
Prophetically John realized that his mission was merely a preparatory one, and that somehow--how he could not understand--the coming one would have the power to immerse the faithful in the holy Spirit, in holy power, and the unfaithful with a baptism of fire, of trouble. Again he likened the ministry of Christ to that nation as that of a reaper who, with a winnowing fan, would separate the true wheat from the chaff, gathering the wheat to the garner of the Gospel age at Pentecost and in due time thereafter permit the fires--confusion, anarchy and the Roman legions--to entirely consume the chaff of that people in an unquenchable fire, a trouble that would not be extinguished, that the Lord would not help them out of, but that would utterly destroy their national polity.
ELIJAH THE ARCHETYPE.
Elijah the Tishbite, who in the days of King Ahab was used of the Lord to produce a reformation in Israel by which the priests of Baal and their power over the people were overthrown, was declared to be a type or likeness of a greater reformer who would precede Messiah to announce him and to make ready for his reign. Our lesson (`verse 3`) declares that John the Baptist was an antitype to Elijah. We see that he did do a work of reformation amongst the Lord's people at the first advent, the work of introducing the Messiah. Moreover, we remember that the disciples asked Jesus respecting this very prophecy saying, If you are the Messiah what answer should we give to the Jews who say that Elias (Greek for Elijah) must first come? Our Lord's answer was that Elias had already come (John the Baptist, the antitype of Elijah), and that the Jews knew him not, recognized him not, but had done to him whatsoever they pleased--imprisoning him and ultimately beheading him in prison. Our Lord further added "likewise shall also the Son of man suffer of them." "Then the disciples understood that he spoke unto them of John the Baptist."--`Matt. 17:10-13`.
As it was a surprise to the disciples that John, the Lord's forerunner and the antitypical Elijah, should be put to death, so likewise it was a surprise to them that the Master himself, instead of reigning, should be crucified. It took them some little time to understand that the Lord's coming as Messiah had two phases--one in humiliation, a suffering ending in death and apparent defeat, the other to follow later in power and great glory, to reign, to uplift, to bless Israel and all nations, thus fulfilling on the richest possible scale all the precious promises through all the holy prophets since the world began. It was appropriate
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also that the Lord should explain that there should be a second coming of Elijah--an antitypical Elijah on a still higher plane, of as much larger proportions than John the Baptist as the second coming of Messiah will be grander and more glorious than his first coming.
John the Baptist himself understood that he was not fulfilling all the features of the antitypical Elijah--he evidently understood that there would be still a larger fulfilment by an archetype. This is evidenced from his own words when asked, Art thou Elias? And he saith, I am not. Art thou that prophet? And he answered, No. (`John 1:21`.) Our Lord's words explained the matter, showing that he was the antitypical Elijah in a certain measure, to a certain extent, to that the nation of Israel. Jesus said "This is Elias if ye will receive it." That is to say, to those who recognized his message and who obeyed it and who became the Lord's disciples, to these John fulfilled the work of Elijah (`Matt. 11:14`.)* Likewise Jesus is already the Christ, the Messiah, the King, to those few who have ears to hear and hearts to receive the message-- the household of faith, the Church; but as John was not the Elijah promised to the world in general, so Jesus was not yet come as the Messiah. This coming of Jesus to the world as the world's King, to take unto himself his great power and reign, is the grand event toward which all prophecy points, and before that event takes place the antitypical Elijah of still larger proportions than John the Baptist must bear a witness and message to the world.
As we have already pointed out, Christ, the Messiah of the divine plan, includes not only Jesus glorified, the Captain of our salvation, the High Priest of our profession, Head over the Royal Priesthood, the glorious Church, but it includes also the Church which is his body, the under priests, the faithful which shall sit with him in his throne, be like him and share his glory and his divine nature. And as the anointed Christ of glory is a composite one of many members under one glorious Head (`Eph. 1:18`), so the antitypical Elijah is a multitudinous one. Jesus in the flesh was the Head of this great Elijah, bearing witness to and preparing the way for the coming of the great Messiah and Deliverer in due time. The Church, the body of the Christ in the flesh all down through this Gospel age, has been the body of the antitypical Elijah bearing witness all down through these centuries to all the families of the earth that God is to set up a Kingdom, and urging preparation therefor, urging a repentance from sin and reformation toward God, and being used of God as the instrumentality for the anointing of the most holy ones. Soon this work of the Church, of announcing the Kingdom and calling upon men everywhere to repent and reform, will be at an end, and the Kingdom will be introduced with power and great glory. Soon the work of baptizing the anointed ones and witnessing to their relationship to God will be at an end. Soon this antitypical Elijah, like John, will be restrained from further proclamation--and ultimately be cut off. Soon thereafter the Kingdom will be revealed. The faithful overcomers, as the wheat gathered from the sowing of this Gospel message of the Kingdom, will be gathered into the Kingdom, glorified with their Lord and Head, and soon thereafter the Kingdom itself will be manifested--"revealed in flaming fire"--in judgments, in troubles, distress of nations, etc. Soon the Messiah, Head and body, in glory, will so overrule in the affairs of men, that the nations of earth shall be broken to shivers as potters' vessels; and soon thereafter, on the ruins of the present reign of sin and selfishness under Satan, who shall be fully brought to naught and bound for a thousand years, all the blessed influences of righteousness, justice, truth and love will be set at liberty amongst the people, that the whole world may be blessed according to the divine promise. --`Gal. 3:16,29`.
That the Church is the true antitype of Elijah is beyond question to those who have an understanding of the divine plan. As the Christ is composed of many members, and as the man of sin is a system of many members, so the antitypical Elijah is composed of many members. The three years and a half of no rain under the prophesying of Elijah the Tishbite are shown in Revelation to have their larger fulfillment in connection with the great Elijah archetype, the Church in the flesh. Those three and one-half years, a time, times and a half-time, or forty-two months or 1260 days, represent just that many years in the archetype, namely, the 1260 years that the true Church was persecuted and in a wilderness condition because of the power of papacy, which, in Revelation, is likened to the woman Jezebel who persecuted Elijah.-- `Rev. 12:14`.
*Millennial Dawn, chap. 8, Vol. II.
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"IN THE WINEPRESS ALONE."
In the dusk of the sorrowful hours,
The time of our trouble and tears,
With frost at the heart of the flowers,
And blight on the bloom of the years,--
Like the mother voice, tenderly hushing
The sound of the sob and the moan,
We hear, when the anguish is crushing,
"He trod the winepress alone."
And, therefore, he knows to the uttermost
The pangs that the mortal can bear:
No mortal has pain that the Master
Refuses to heal or to share.
And the cries that ascend to the Loving,
Who bruised Him for us to atone,
Are hushed at the gentle reproving,--
"He trod the winepress alone."
How sudden so e'er the disaster,
Or heavy the hand that may smite,
We are yet in the grace of the Master,
We are never out of his sight.
Though the winnowing winds of temptation
May forth from all quarters be blown,
We are sure of the coming salvation--
The Lord will remember his own!
From him, in the night of his trial,
Both heaven and earth fled away;
His boldest had only denial,
His dearest had only dismay.
With a cloud o'er the face of the Father,
He entered the anguish unknown;
But we, though our sorrows may gather,
Shall never endure them alone.