ZWT - 1895 - R1794 thru R1910 / R1839 (161) - July 15, 1895
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VOL. XVI. JULY 15, 1895. No. 14.
Special Items: Missionary Envelopes,
Views from the Tower..............................163
Walk by this Rule.................................167
Bible Study: Journeying to Canaan.................168
Bible Study: The Report of the Spies..............169
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Fill the space with loving work and therein stay.
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God will help thee bear what comes of joy or sorrow."
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A WISE WORLDLY CONCLUSION.
The Arkansas Baptist relates the following: "Three or four traveling men were stopping for a day and night in an Arkansas village, and having heard that a revival was going on, intended going to it at night; but after playing checkers for three hours in the afternoon with the preacher who was conducting the meeting, they concluded his ministry would do them no good. This is no idle tale, but a record of the facts."
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VIEWS FROM THE TOWER.
ONE of the notable events of our day was the recent peace-demonstration on the occasion of the opening of the Baltic canal. The canal was projected by the grandfather of the present German Emperor and begun by his father; and, as intended, it will doubtless be of great benefit to Germany's commerce as well as to her navy. The German Emperor determined to make the occasion of its opening a forcible reminder of the blessings of peace on earth and good will toward men, and invited all the great governments of "Christendom," and Turkey as well, to send to it their representative battle-ships or peace-makers.
They came: over a hundred of the most awful engines of war; and they made, as they steamed through the canal, the most remarkable exhibition of the kind ever witnessed on earth. The cost of the vessels and their armament represented hundreds of millions of dollars; and one salute fired simultaneously by 3,500 guns consumed in an instant thousands of dollars' worth of powder, and produced, as it were, a voice of mighty thunder such as never before was heard. Of course, while telling them that this was a peace-demonstration, the Emperor feasted his guests royally. He could well afford to do so, for the people would foot the bill, which in this case is stated to have been in round figures $2,000,000.
As the eye of the mind beholds the pageant we inquire --Who are these Christian nations? And for what purpose have they built these floating fortresses? Are they to defend civilization and Christianity from barbarous foes seeking their destruction? No; the barbarian savages never dreamed of such death-dealing devices. It was not the fear of these that led to the construction of these vessels. Perhaps there once were such savages, and mayhap these are the vessels by which they were conquered long ago, and therefore they are symbols of peace and good will toward civilized man? No; not one vessel in the entire number had ever been in battle: they were all new vessels of the most modern type. Vessels launched ten years ago would be too antiquated for such a naval parade; indeed would be almost useless in warfare against one of these modern vessels. Why then were hundreds of millions spent in building these vessels? and why are other millions spent annually in keeping them manned, armed and provisioned for war?
Ah! the only answer is that the name Christian, as applied to nations, is a mistake. Although Christianity has done much for the nations of Europe and America--bringing them civilization and a measure of liberty and some ideas of justice and decency--it has not converted them as a whole, nor more than a small minority. To many it has merely brought enlarged ambitions of selfishness which are scarcely restrained by public weal and sentiment. The nations have not been converted from principles of selfishness to principles of love: and none know this better than the rulers. They know that they dare not trust each other-- that if one got much more power than the other, so that she dared to do it with impunity, she would not hesitate to steal away their liberties for her own gain; "might would make right." Hence it is a race for power, for self-defence against each other. Such a peace evidently rests upon a poor foundation.
How much the world needs a general government, a good government, a righteous government, a paternal government, that would really "speak peace to the nations" and bid them spend time and treasure and blood in a nobler cause than destroying one another financially and literally. Six thousand years of experience proves that such a government cannot be organized amongst the fallen sons of Adam. For even though a few might be found able and willing to
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do their best, their efforts would be handicapped by others seeking to do their worst while deceiving the people and posing before them as patriots. And even the best intentioned would be in great danger of being corrupted by power.
But as God's people read the great, divine plan of the ages they see that God has for centuries been selecting and preparing, under Christ their head, a peculiar people, "a royal priesthood," who, with Christ their Chief Priest, shall shortly rule and bless and help up, out of sin, degradation and death, all the families of earth. They pray for that promised Kingdom of God--"Thy kingdom come, thy will be done in earth as it is in heaven." They realize that when God's Kingdom is in control, the present implements of human destruction will be of no further value, and human energies will be otherwise invested. But first the great battle of the Great Day of God Almighty must be fought. The nations realize faintly, even while they cry, "Peace, peace," that a conflict impends: and hence in the language of Scripture the weak are saying, "I am strong." (`Joel 3:10`.) This is the real meaning of the naval display at Kiel. The nations desire to impress each other with their strength, hoping thus to put off the evil day of war.
But the world in general is not deceived by the cries of Peace! Peace! Even though they do not see the glorious outcome as we see it, they see the "battle," the "irrepressible conflict," and know the real meaning of the recent peace-demonstration. We quote from the London Spectator as follows:--
"And yet the irony of the situation is very keen. It was a grand festival of peace and constructive industry, but its highest glory was the presence of the fleets prepared at vast sacrifices of treasure and of energy solely for war and for destruction. An ironclad has no meaning, unless it is a mighty engine for slaughter. There is but one phrase which describes fully the grandeur of that 'peaceful' fleet, and this is that it could in a day destroy any port on earth, or sink the commercial navies of the world, if gathered before it, to the bottom of the sea. And what depths of human hatred were concealed under all that fair show of human amity. One squadron was French, and its officers were panting to avenge on that exultant Emperor the dismemberment of their country. Another was Russian, and its Admirals must have been conscious that their great foe and rival was the Power they were so ostentatiously honoring, and had only the day before broken naval rules to compliment the Emperor's most persistent and dangerous foe. A third was Austrian, whose master has been driven out of the dominion which has made the Canal, and jockeyed out of his half-right in the province through which the Canal in its entire length winds its way. And there were ships from Denmark, from which Holstein had been torn by its present owners, and from Holland, where every man fears that some day or other Germany will, by another conquest, acquire at a blow, colonies, commerce, and a transmarine career. The Emperor talked of peace, the Admirals hoped for peace, the newspapers of the world in chorus declare that it is peace, but everything in that show speaks of war just past, or, on some day not distant, to arrive. Never was there a ceremonial so grand in this world, or one so penetrated through and through with the taint of insincerity."
We noticed not long since that in France some of the theaters were presenting scenes from the New Testament. Now a "Sacred Opera," Christ, composed by the celebrated pianist, Anton Rubinstein, now deceased, is being presented at the City Theater of Bremen, Germany.
The tone is reverent, the building is hung with dark drapery, and no applause is permitted. The prologue opens with a shepherd scene in which the wondrous star appears over the manger. Soon the heavens open and the Annunciation angel appears surrounded by a heavenly host and declares the Redeemer's birth, when follows the joyful song, "Glory to God in the highest, Peace on earth, good will toward men." The music changes, a Moorish king and retinue appears, then one from the North, and finally a third from India. Each sings of his own greatness, but also of that longing which the whole world feels for something better. The door of the manger opens and the infant Jesus with his mother and Joseph are seen in a flood of light.
Then follow scenes in our Savior's life:--his baptism at Jordan, by John, who preaches the Kingdom of Heaven at hand, and who salutes Jesus as the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world; the temptation in the wilderness, in which our Lord is represented in white garments, while Satan is represented behind him in black garb, etc. Scene 3 represents the sermon on the mount. (`Matt. 5`.) As each beatitude falls from the lips of the great Teacher, the disciples repeat quietly the word, "Blessed." But presently when the hungry clamor for bread, the miracle of the loaves and fishes is represented, followed by the awakening of the son of the widow of Nain.
Another scene represents our Lord driving the tradesmen and money-changers out of the temple, saying, "My house shall be called a house of prayer, but ye have made it a den of thieves." The scene shows the buyers, sellers, children, etc., in oriental dress, scurrying across the stage before the scourge of small cords. Then Caiaphas and the Pharisees appear, demanding his authority and taunting him. Our Lord's answers are given in dignified form, tone and music.
Then follows the scene of the Last Supper; Gethsemane's agony; the trial before Caiaphas, Herod and Pilate; the latter represented with great dramatic effect, followed
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by the dragging away of the Master to execution. The crucifixion scene is omitted because the stage is insufficient in size. A scene representing Judas' remorse is brought in and the whole concludes with a representation of St. Paul preaching in bold strains the gospel of the cross of Christ.
It is truly remarkable that worldly men, we presume as a financial speculation, are finding that the common people are hungering for the gospel of the Son of God, while the preachers of various denominations declare that they cannot attract them with grand organs, and singers, and free seats, and essays upon science, art, politics, etc., which contain but little food for the soul--little of the
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bread of everlasting life. Thus while the colleges and churches are explaining away our Lord's miraculous birth and all of his miracles, God finds defenders and mouthpieces for his truth, even amongst non-professors.
The latest development of Protestant union is called "The League of Catholic Unity," which, acting along the lines laid down in 1888 at the Lambeth (England) Conference, sets forth the following four rules as the basis of union:
"1. The Holy Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments, as 'containing all things necessary to salvation,' and as being the rule and ultimate standard of faith.
"2. The Apostles' Creed, as the baptismal symbol, and the Nicene Creed, as the sufficient statement of the Christian faith.
"3. The two sacraments ordained by Christ himself: baptism and the supper of the Lord, ministered with unfailing use of Christ's words of institution, and of the elements ordained by him.
"4. The historic episcopate, locally adapted in the methods of its administration to the varying needs of the nations and peoples called of God into the unity of his Church."
This league has been joined by quite a number of ministers.
The Coptic Catholic Church of Abysinnia seems disposed to unite with the Roman Catholic Church; and the pope is supplying money for the establishment of Roman Catholic schools among them.
A splendid specimen of Roman Catholic love for Protestantism, the Bible, the American flag and the Public School, was given in the great city of Boston, on July 4. Boston (like New York and several other large cities in the United States) has a large foreign population, and hence the Roman Catholics, under the name of the Democratic party have had control of the city government for years.
It is usual for Patriotic orders to celebrate by parade, etc., the Nation's birth, and this was done by the Patriotic Sons of America and the "American Protective Association," unsectarian organizations whose special object is the preservation of American liberties, and especially the protection of the Public School from the hostile attacks of Romanists. The R.C. Board of Aldermen refused permission to take along a "float" representing a New England school house, and two of their number, knowing the loving and liberal spirit of their supporters, prophesied trouble and it is believed encouraged it by their utterances, so that their expectations were realized. But the A.P.A. people thought that they should cling to a shred of liberty on the day of its celebration and obtained the Governor's consent and that of the Police Commission, which is of his appointment, and did parade as intended.
The parade was to emphasize the value of the public schools as nurseries of freedom; and a miniature "Red School House," of the pattern general throughout New England, led the procession guarded by 300 policemen. It was mounted on wheels and drawn by horses covered with American colors. At its door stood a man dressed with striped pants and starry coat, representing "Uncle Sam," the promoter and protector of the public school system. At one of its windows stood the Rev. H. F. H. Miller, a Baptist minister, with an open Bible before him resting upon an American flag; and near him stood Prof. H. H. Lincoln, the first and for forty years a school teacher in East Boston.
The procession got along fairly well until Saratoga street was reached, when the mob, which lined the sidewalks hooting and using vile and insulting language, grew aggressive. The minister and the Bible were the mark for tobacco quids and gobs of mud. As the school house was known to be the chief objection, the police were massed near it; but when the school house and police were past the mob of Romanists closed in upon the rear of the procession with most foul and insulting language, and women joined in spitting upon and striking the marchers. The mob cut off the rear of the procession, assaulting it with stones, etc. The result was two killed and many wounded severely. Of course the decent people of Boston are all hurt by the wound given to the fame of their city.
The lesson is that however much the pope and his cardinals and bishops and Protestant ministers may desire unity between their system and Protestantism, the fact remains that there is a wide gulf of bitter feeling between their people and all the institutions of liberty. Poor creatures, they are so blinded by priestcraft and superstition that they are scarcely accountable. Thank God! the time is not far distant when they shall all "come to a knowledge of the truth" under the instruction of the "royal priesthood." Then the blind eyes shall be opened, and no doubt many will be saved by the Redeemer from their present malicious, antichristian, murderous spirit, which surely is unfit for any place in or under the Kingdom of God's dear Son.--`1 John 3:15`.
While God's consecrated saints should see all this clearly, they are to take no part in such parades and battles. We have a greater battle and labor: a battle with spiritual wickedness and an overcoming of our own carnal tendencies. The world will fight its own battles, some on each side, but we must wait for the salvation that shall be brought unto us at the revelation of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
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"Trust in the Lord and do good: so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed. Delight thyself also in the Lord; and he shall give thee the desires of thy heart. Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him, and he shall bring it to pass; and he shall bring forth thy righteousness as the light, and thy judgment as the noonday. Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for him."--`Psa. 37:3-7`.
WHILE the Word of God abounds in precepts and admonitions, in warnings and instructions, and while it lifts high the standard of moral excellence--so high that in our weak and fallen condition we cannot attain unto it, and in our efforts to do so in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation we must of necessity encounter the
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wrath of all the powers of darkness strongly entrenched in the hearts of fallen fellow-men, this same blessed Word comes to the faithful children of God in the very midst of this battle of life with sweet and refreshing consolation.
Consolation! What is it? Oh, you who have never enlisted under the banner of the cross, you who have never made an honest endeavor to withstand the powers of darkness, to fight the good fight of faith, to stem the current of your own fallen nature's tendencies, or to contend earnestly for truth and righteousness in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, what can you know of the sweets of divine consolation? It is the balm for wounded spirits on the battle fields of time; the cooling draught for fainting souls hard pressed by the relentless foe; the soothing caress of a loving hand upon the fevered brow of a noble contender for truth and righteousness; the gentle whisper of hope and courage when the heart and flesh begin to fail-- that is consolation, divine consolation, the only consolation that has any virtue of healing and refreshing in it. But it is reserved only for those noble souls who are faithfully bearing the burden and heat of the day; while those who listlessly drift with the current of the world's favor, and of the downward tendencies of the carnal nature, can never have an intimation of its sweetness.
It is to the faithful soldiers of the Lord that the above words of the Psalmist are addressed--to the persecuted, tempted and tried. Hear them, tempest-tossed and fainting souls: they were long ago penned by the Lord's prophet
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for your edification--"Fret not thyself," but "trust in the Lord and do good, so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed." How strong is the Lord, how wise and good! His promises have never failed to those that put their trust in him. We may feel that our efforts to be good and to do good are very unproductive, and that the opposition from within and without is very strong; but it is when we are weak--when we thus realize our own incompetency --that we may be "strong in the Lord and in the power of his might." Let us endeavor to make straight paths for our feet, lest that which is lame be turned out of the way, and then lay hold of the Lord's strength to help us pursue our course in the narrow way of difficulty and trial. The fact that we are weak and lame does not separate us from the love and power of God; for "he knoweth our frame, he remembereth that we are dust." He knows that we have the treasure of the new nature in earthen vessels, and therefore it is that, while we strive to overcome, we have his proffered sympathy and aid and the imputed righteousness of Christ for our all-sufficient covering. "Trust in the Lord and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land; and verily thou shalt be fed." Our food and shelter will be sure: he will never leave nor forsake his own, but will make all things work together for good to them.
"Delight thyself also in the Lord, and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart." This delight in the Lord is a still more advanced step in the Christian life. It is a blessed thing to learn to trust in the Lord; but it is when continued trust and responsive providences have ripened into personal acquaintance and fellowship with God that we learn to delight in him. Yes, it is when heart answers to heart, when pleading prayer brings recognized answers of peace, when the divine care and love are specially seen in the guidance of our way: in a word, when we come to feel that the Father and the Son have so clearly manifested themselves to us that we can recognize their abiding presence with us. Ah! then it is that we begin to delight ourselves in the Lord. Then, however dark may be the way, or however heavy may be the storm that rages about us, the balm of divine consolation is always there, so that the child of God, though often troubled on every side, is not distressed; though perplexed, he is never in despair; though cast down, he is not destroyed; and though persecuted, he is never forsaken.
To delight thus in the Lord is to have the affections centered in him; it is to have the heart in such sympathy with righteousness and truth as to see in God the fountain of all goodness and truth, the one altogether lovely. The Psalmist expresses such an attitude of heart when, personifying our Lord Jesus, he said, "I delight to do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart." And again, "O how love I thy law! It is my meditation all the day." And again, when he says, "O God, thou art my God; early will I seek thee: my soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee in a dry and thirsty land where no water is....Because thy loving kindness is better than life, my lips shall praise thee....My soul shall be satisfied as with marrow and fatness, and my mouth shall praise thee with joyful lips when I remember thee upon my bed, and meditate on thee in the night watches. Because thou hast been my help, therefore in the shadow of thy wings will I rejoice. My soul followeth hard after thee: thy right hand upholdeth me."--`Psa. 63`.
Such an experience springs only from the felt consolations of divine grace in times of sore and pressing need, and however great the afflictions or the trials of faith, patience and endurance that lead to such an acquaintance with God, there is great cause for rejoicing in them; for
"E'en sorrow, touched by heaven, grows bright
With more than rapture's ray,
As darkness shows us worlds of light
We never saw by day."
When the heart has been thus centered in God, it is its most natural impulse to commit its way to him. As one has beautifully expressed it--
"We'd rather walk in the dark with God
Than go alone in the light;
We'd rather walk by faith with him
Than go alone by sight."
And how precious is the promise to those who thus learn to trust in the Lord and go on doing good, no matter how obstinate or fierce may be the persecution it may excite, and who delight in the Lord and confidently commit their way to his loving wisdom. Surely they shall have the
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desires of their heart, and no good thing will he withhold from them. Their fervent prayers avail much, and in his own good time their righteousness, however misrepresented and evil spoken of now, shall be brought forth as the light --clear, cloudless and widely manifest; and their judgment, the justice and righteousness of their hearts, as the noonday. And even while we remain here as aliens and foreigners in the enemy's land, verily we shall be fed, both with the temporal bread and with the bread of heaven for our spiritual sustenance. "Rejoice in the Lord, O ye righteous, and give thanks at the remembrance of his holiness."
But the Psalmist adds one more important word of counsel to the Lord's beloved children. It is this--"Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him." Do not make the mistake of expecting him to give you the desires of your heart at the very instant of your request; to make your path peaceful, easy and pleasant as soon as you commit your way to him; and at once to bring forth your righteousness as the light and your judgment as the noonday. He has not promised to do that. Time is necessary for the working out of his kind providences in our individual affairs; for God works on philosophical principles and for lasting and blessed results. So--
"If not to-day, be thou content, poor heart!
God's plans, like lilies pure and white, unfold;
We must not tear the close-shut leaves apart;
Time will reveal the calyxes of gold."
This waiting, under severe trial or affliction, will indeed be a blessing in disguise, if the soul be rightly exercised unto patience, endurance, faith, hope, meekness, long-suffering, kindness and true Christian fortitude. And it will be in the darkness of these waiting seasons that the blessed stars of hope will shine the brightest, and the bright Morning Star, the harbinger of day, will shed his beams into the deepest recesses of our hearts. "They that wait upon the Lord," says the Prophet (`Isa. 40:31`), "shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run and not be weary, and they shall walk and not faint."
Blessed promises! and, to the praise of his abounding grace, his saints of the past and present all bear ample testimony of their fulfilment.
"Who need faint while such a river
Ever flows our thirst to assuage?
Grace, which, like the Lord, the giver,
Never fails from age to age."
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WALK BY THIS RULE.
"And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them and mercy."--`Gal. 6:16`.
PEACE, rest of mind, tranquility of soul, is the happiness that all men crave, yet seek for in vain, because they seek it where it cannot be found. God created man for his own pleasure (`Rev. 4:11`; `Isa. 43:7`) and in his own image, so that man's true pleasure, happiness and peace should be found only in harmony, fellowship and sympathy with his Creator, that thus the fellowship of the Creator and the creature might be responsive. He wanted that love should respond to love, admiration to admiration, virtue to virtue, and grace to grace, in the Creator and the creature, as face answers to face in a glass. In this natural attitude of the Creator and the creature generous benevolence and filial gratitude combine in mutual happiness. God is happy in the realization and in the exercise of all the noble traits of his glorious character, which happiness is enhanced by appreciation of the same on the part of his creatures, and by manifestation in them of the same qualities and dispositions of mind and heart. And likewise man must both realize and exercise the noble endowments of his nature and form a character modeled after that of his heavenly Father and meeting his approval, if he would find that true happiness which consists in the approval of his own conscience and of his Creator and Judge, in whose favor is life, and "at whose right hand there are pleasures forevermore."--`Psa. 16:11`.
True, all men have lost much of the original likeness of God, but this does not alter the fact that they still crave the happiness and peace which can never be found except under the natural, original relations to his Creator. No matter how deep a man may sink in sin, how far he may stray from the path of rectitude, how low and vile he may become, he still remembers that he is a man, a member of that noble though fallen race which God created in his own likeness, and he knows and feels his degradation. He knows that he was made for higher and nobler ends than those toward which he is ever tending, although he has
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neither inclination nor desire to strive toward those nobler ends, not having the fortitude to resist the inherited and long-cultivated bias of his fallen nature.
In this painful realization of the absence of true happiness and peace of mind and heart, men have sought for happiness and peace in ways in harmony with the more or less depraved tendencies of the fallen nature--in the poor substitutes which pride, ambition, strife, rivalry, wealth, fame, power, etc., have to offer; but the happiness they find in these is only delusive, and at most very short-lived. The bubble of success may burst in an instant, and the peace and happiness built upon it be utterly wrecked.
There is no peace, therefore, to any man except in the reestablished relationship between himself and his God. And since this relationship of sons can only be reestablished through Christ, there is no peace to any man out of Christ. "There is no peace, saith the Lord, to the wicked." (`Isa. 48:22`.) And "if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature; old things have passed away, and behold all things have become new" (`2 Cor. 5:17`): he has "passed
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from death unto life," and has found the peace which the world can neither give nor take away. He realizes himself a son and heir of God. And to these justified sons and heirs of this age God has not only granted his recognition, but also his special favor, in offering to them exceeding great and precious promises--to become sons of God on a higher plane, and joint-heirs with Jesus Christ, his only begotten Son, the conditions of which relationship are that we follow in his footsteps of sacrifice, even unto death.
Those who thus covenant with God are begotten of the spirit of God, and as many such as are thenceforth led of the spirit of God, they are the recognized sons of God (`Rom. 8:14`), while those who fail to recognize, appreciate and accept the great favor offered, lose the benefit of their reckoned justification in this age.
It is to these new creatures, begotten and led of the spirit of God, that the words of our text are addressed--As many such as walk by this rule, peace be on them and mercy. The rule referred to is the rule of the new creature mentioned in the `preceding verse`--"For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature." Forms and ceremonies are not the rule, but the new life itself, the new creature filled with the holy spirit of God and led of the spirit. "Walk in the spirit," says the Apostle, "and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh; for the flesh lusteth against the spirit, and the spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other."--`Gal. 5:16,17`.
To as many as walk by this rule are promised peace and mercy--mercy, because our best efforts to walk after the leading of the holy spirit will be imperfect; but God who judges our heart's desires and efforts is merciful and will not exact from us more than we are able to perform. And therefore, notwithstanding our lameness and halting steps in following the lead of the spirit, he gives his blessed peace to all them that walk by this rule--the rule of the holy spirit, the rule of the new creature.
Now if any man be in Christ, a new creature, he has put away the old man--the carnal nature, which is enmity against God and is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be--with all his evil deeds, which the Apostle thus enumerates (`Gal. 5:19-21`), "Now the works of the flesh [the carnal nature] are manifest, which are these: Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings and such like, of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God."
While we might wonder that the Apostle, in addressing the saints, should make mention of the grosser forms of sin which could only be predicated of those who have fallen from grace, when we consider, we see that it would not have done to leave these out, because they belong to the category of evils which are opposed to the spirit of God, and can have no place in his Kingdom. Then, again, they are the abominable ends to which the lesser evils inevitably tend, as the nature of sin is always progressive. The Apostle gives fair warning that those who do such things, no matter how loud may be their professions, have no inheritance in the Kingdom of God; and therefore they have no right to the fellowship of the saints upon whom, and the cause of Christ in general, they bring only disgrace.
But the effect of the rule of the spirit, in all those who are truly new creatures, begotten of God and led of his spirit, is very differently described by the Apostle. He says, "But the fruit of the spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and desires." If we are living according to the rule of the new nature, following the leading of the spirit of God, then we must have these fruits in some measure, even from the very start of our Christian experience; and if we are following on to know the Lord and to walk in the spirit, these fruits are surely growing and becoming more and more manifest to all with whom we are associated.
If those who are in Christ would observe this principle, and deal with each other as new creatures, much discord would be avoided; for the motives and endeavors of the "new creature" would be considered, and not the frailties or mistakes of the "earthen vessel." "Let us follow the things that make for peace."--`Rom. 14:19`; `1 Thes. 5:13`.
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JOURNEYING TO CANAAN.
--JULY 28, `NUM. 10:29-36`.--
Golden Text--"Come thou with us and we will do thee good; for the Lord hath spoken good concerning Israel."
THERE are two phases of Israel's typical character; one in connection with the tabernacle service, in which the whole camp of Israel represents the world, and in which the priesthood, Aaron and his sons, and the tabernacle service of sacrifices, etc., represent Christ and the Church and the great work of atonement for the sins of the world. The other phase of its typical character is that in which the whole nation, regarded as the chosen people of God, represent God's chosen people of the Gospel age and their journey, under the divine direction and leading, from the bondage of sin into the blessed Canaan rest of justification by faith in Christ, which is also a foretaste of that still more glorious rest that remains for the people of God beyond the Jordan of death, in the heavenly Canaan, whence all the hosts of sin will have been forever expelled.
To this latter phase of the type the Apostle Paul refers in his letter to the `Hebrews (3:8-19`; `4:1,2`). Here the Church is warned against failure to enter into the heavenly Canaan, by the example of fleshly Israel in its wayward course from Egypt to Canaan; and the fact is pointed out that a whole generation of them forfeited that privilege and died in the wilderness, because of unbelief and departing from the ways of God. In unbelief, they murmured against the divine leading, and their carcasses fell in the wilderness.
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Then he adds, "Take heed, brethren, lest there be in any of you an evil heart of unbelief, in departing from the living God."--`Heb. 3:12`.
While he speaks (`Heb. 4:9`) of the rest that remaineth for the people of God, referring to the final rest, the heavenly Canaan, the glorious spiritual condition beyond the vail of the flesh, he also speaks of a present rest--the blessed foretaste of the rest that remaineth in the heavenly Canaan, the rest of faith, saying,--"For we which have believed do enter into rest."--`Heb. 4:3`.
In this view of the type, let us examine it, that we may see the more clearly our own blessed privileges and our responsibilities on the higher plane of the spiritual Israel of God; for though we who have believed do enter into the Canaan rest of faith now (`4:3`), our course with reference to the rest that remaineth for the people of God (`4:1`) --the heavenly Canaan--is still aptly represented, as the Apostle Paul shows, by the wilderness journey and its wonderful divine leading. Think of it! There was a numerous host of men, women and children suddenly emancipated from four hundred years of bondage, with only a few days' preparation and but a scanty outfit, traveling through a barren, trackless wilderness toward an unknown land promised to their fathers. There were hostile nations about them, and many privations and dangers to be expected by the way. But what had they to fear? Had not the God of heaven promised to go before them and to lead them all the way?
Just so it is with the Church. The true Church is the Church in the wilderness (`Rev. 12:6,14`; `Luke 15:4`; `Hos. 2:14`; `Isa. 51:3`; `Cant. 8:5`)--separate from the world, and under the divine protection and guidance. It is a company of widely varied degrees of growth and development in the spiritual life. There are babes in Christ and a host of those more or less slowly approaching maturity. And God is leading us all through the trackless wilderness of this present evil world. He is our shield and our guide, our glory and our defence; and it is our part to faithfully,
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follow where he points the way. Our bread and our water are sure, and our joy is to realize that his presence is in our midst, and that he is able to bring us to the promised inheritance. Let us follow his leading, and not be wayward, as was the faithless generation which fell in the wilderness.
Referring again to the type, and comparing our own experiences, we see that the Lord pursues much the same methods with his people now as then. The leading of the Lord is by the way of that experience and discipline which tend to develop character. And to such discipline every "Israelite indeed" will faithfully submit, while those who will not do so are thereby proved unworthy of the promised inheritance. Let us not be of that unworthy class, but humbly and patiently seek to profit by the experiences, rough though they be, and by all the discipline and teaching so necessary to fit us for the glorious inheritance of the saints in light.--`Col. 1:12`.
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THE REPORT OF THE SPIES.
--AUG. 4, `NUM. 13:17-20,23-33`.--
Golden Text--"The Lord is with us; fear them not."--`Num. 14:9`.
STILL bearing in mind the typical character of Israel's experiences; that the consecrated Gospel Church is her antitype; and St. Paul's statement (`1 Cor. 10:11`) that these things are written for our admonition, let us consider the important lessons of the scrap of history before us. In reading the full account, included in `Num. 13:14`; `Deut. 1:1,2,19-36`, several thoughts are brought forcibly to our attention; viz., (1) That "without faith it is impossible to please God." (2) That the faith which God expects to find in us is a reasonable faith, having for its basis a good, solid foundation justifying its exercise. (3) That treason against God will not go unpunished. (4) That God hears and answers intercessory prayer on behalf of his people, except in the one case of treason. (5) That fidelity to the truth will in due time be gloriously rewarded, though for a long time the faithful may suffer to some extent on account of the unfaithful.
Let us consider the illustration of these principles. God gave to Israel abundant evidence of his love and power and of his special favor toward them above all the families of the earth. With a mighty hand and an outstretched arm he brought them out of Egypt, across the Red sea, fed them with manna in the wilderness, caused the barren rock to bring forth refreshing waters, gave them his law amidst the inspiring scenes at Sinai and led them through the desert with the pillar of cloud and of fire, the emblems of his presence.
When they came to the borders of the promised land their faith was put to the test by the reports of the spies and their conflicting counsel as to the ability of Israel to go up as the Lord commanded and possess the land. Ten of the twelve discouraged the undertaking and counselled disobedience to the divine command, while the other two, with Moses, reminding the people of the fact that the Lord in whom they had abundant reason to trust would go with them, counselled that they go up immediately and possess the land, and that, with the Lord on their side, they were abundantly able. The latter was the language of faith and obedience; the former of cowardice and rebellion.
To the evil counsel the people hearkened and became mutinous against Moses and the faithful spies, declared their purpose to return to Egypt, and were about to stone these faithful ones to death and choose from among themselves a leader to guide them back to the land from which God had delivered them.--`Num. 14:1-4,10`.
Just here God interfered on behalf of his servants, and declared his purpose against the disloyal hosts of Israel, saying to Moses, "I will smite them with the pestilence and disinherit them, and will make of thee a greater nation and mightier than they." (`14:12`.) What a suggestion of personal honor and preferment was this to Moses--that his own posterity should inherit the blessing, instead of this rebellious host. And then it would relieve him at once of all the labor and care and weariness of leading, instructing and judging this people, and permit him to spend the remainder of his days in the tranquility of domestic life. Such a course, too, on the Lord's part would have been entirely consistent with his plan and perfectly just; yet for the time it would have been misunderstood by the world at large; for the attention of all the nations had been attracted to the wonderful power of Israel's God, and in such a case they would be ready to take up a reproach against him and say that his power had failed and that he was unable to fully accomplish the deliverance of his people.
But Moses was more mindful of the Lord's honor than of his own. "And Moses said unto the Lord, Then
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the Egyptians will hear it,...and they will tell it to the inhabitants of this land; for they have heard that thou Lord art among this people....Now if thou shalt kill this people as one man, then the nations which have heard the fame of thee will speak, saying, Because the Lord was not able to bring this people into the land which he sware unto them, therefore he hath slain them in the wilderness." How beautiful this self-forgetfulness in its zeal for God, this humility and patient endurance and the loving spirit that could so tenderly pray for the wayward and even mutinous hosts that conspired against his life! What a lesson is here for every one filling a responsible position in the body of Christ!
But mark how the faithful man of God frames his petition in harmony with God's law. He does not ask that the Lord might clear the guilty, persistently wilful sinners, contrary to his law, but that only so far as might be consistent with his just and holy law he would pardon the iniquity of his people as he had done in the past, and not utterly consume them in his just wrath. Hear him: "And now I beseech thee, let the power of my Lord be great, according as thou hast spoken, saying, The Lord is long-suffering, and of great mercy, forgiving iniquity and transgression, and by no means clearing the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation. Pardon, I beseech thee, the iniquity of this people according unto the greatness of thy mercy, and as thou hast forgiven this people from Egypt even until now."--`Num. 14:17-20`.
Now mark the answer--"And the Lord said, I have pardoned according to thy word"--according to the word of his own holy law, whose promise of mercy to the erring (though not to wilful, determined sinners) Moses had pleaded on behalf of Israel. This mercy could be extended to the young, but not to the adults who were inexcusable; and this was now the tenth time they had rebelled against the Lord, showing their hearts strongly set to do evil. In this they were a type of a class of wilful sinners in this still more favored Gospel age who, having been once enlightened, etc., nevertheless, afterward prove disloyal to God and come under condemnation to the second death.
The Lord told Moses and Aaron to say to them, "As truly as I live, saith the Lord, as ye have spoken in mine ears, so will I do to you. Your carcases shall fall in this wilderness;...but your little ones, which ye said should be a prey, them will I bring in, and they shall know the land which ye have despised."--`Num. 14:28-33;1-4`.
Here was a type of the value of intercessory prayer on behalf of those who sin not unto death. (`1 John 5:16`.) Let us bear in mind this privilege and duty of intercessory prayer for all such, and for our encouragement let us remember God's dealings with his faithful ones of old. And let us beware of any thing approaching to disloyalty to God--of any disposition to rebel against him and return to Egypt, the world; and also of that lack of faith which indicates a serious lack of appreciation of all of God's favors and leading in the past and which therefore fails to trust him for the future.
Beloved, the Lord has led us in the past by a way we knew not. It has not always been an easy way, but it has always been a safe way, a profitable way though often a rough and thorny one. True, it has been a way of privation, a lonely, wilderness way, but it has been good for that discipline and training so necessary to fit us for the greater blessings of the Canaan beyond. And has not the glory of the divine presence and favor been sufficient to compensate for all the barrenness of the wilderness way? Ah, yes! we hear you say; and our hearts respond, Amen!
"Oh, what are all earth's gilded toys
Compared with heaven's eternal joys?
Or even to the feast now spread
For pilgrims through the desert led?
Oh, sweeter far the wilderness,
With all its bleak, wild barrenness,
Than all the city's pomp and pride
Without our heavenly Friend and Guide.
Its manna is a foretaste sweet
Of heavenly bounty all complete;
Its cloudy pillar, guiding light,
Are earnests of the future bright."
Let us keep the wilderness way and rejoice as we go. See Poems and Hymns of Dawn, p. 57.
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ENCOURAGING WORDS FROM FAITHFUL WORKERS.
DEAR BROTHER:--I enclose report and order for more books. The small-pox scare is about over, and I am again taking orders--nearly as many orders for sets as for single copies.
To-day I have been confined to the house, and a Seventh Day Adventist has been with me nearly all day, talking on the plan of the ages and reading the DAWNS. He can find nothing in the DAWN to object to, and he is now reading the TOWER, of Nov. 1-15, '94, which I think will clear him on the subject of the Law. I have met him often, and we have had many talks and prayers together.
I placed several DAWNS in the East End when I first came here, and a group of six now meets once a week at a private house for prayer and the reading of the DAWNS. Pray for us, that we may all remain faithful and do all the Lord would have us do.
Yours in the Lord's service, WM. T. McCLAIN.
[This city in Mississippi was threatened with small-pox and cut off from communication with other cities. The colporteur was unable to get away and the people were too excited to be canvassed for DAWN; so he sought out some who had already purchased and read, started a meeting and introduced the WATCH TOWER. God is ready and willing to make all things work together for good to his people, if they are but willing, obedient and faith full.--Editor.]
DEAR BRO. RUSSELL:--We are unable to colporteur to-day owing to the inclement state of the weather, and I take this opportunity to write you.
I heartily thank you for the concern you seem to have for me, and also for the help and encouragement that you have given me in the past. My brother, you do not know how anxious I am to serve the Lord in an acceptable manner. I realize that the Lord has been very gracious in leading me out of Babylon; and the fact that I was glad to withdraw from the Presbyterian church and the Y.M.C.A. shows that my love for the truth is pure and that I greatly appreciate the call to run for the glorious prize that is to be rewarded to the Church of Christ. I believe I know now what consecration is, and daily I strive to be
an overcomer--to please the Lord in all things. I remember that it is one thing to be called, but quite another thing to be chosen. The Lord says--"To him that overcometh will I grant to sit with me in my throne." It is the faithful overcomer who is chosen. And then I want to be more zealous in the Lord's work--in disseminating the truth. I realize that now is the time to work, because the dark night is fast approaching when no man can work.
Your Brother in Christ, WM. P. CAUSER.
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DEAR BRO. RUSSELL:--Many thanks for your kind and welcome letter. It is always so refreshing to my soul to receive a letter from the office.
Well, praise the Lord! He has yet his people, filled with his spirit of love and peace, left in the world, though they are but few. Then it is a comfort to know that one is not entirely alone yet; and I am so apt to think so, sometimes, when I look around me and find only such a little handful who care to walk not after the flesh, but after the spirit--so few who want to be fully the Lord's and to follow the Lamb whithersoever he goeth, in the narrow way to life; so few trusting in the great and glorious promises of God, or believing in so great and blessed salvation as we do.
I am glad that the Lord has not left his children in darkness concerning his plan, but has made everything so plain for us, even informing us of the appointed times and seasons for the accomplishment of the different features of his wonderful plan. It would indeed be a gloomy thing for us, if God had left us entirely in uncertainty and darkness now, so we could see nothing of the impending great events, the time of trouble, the harvest work, the Lord's presence and the soon establishment of his Kingdom, "the restitution of all things spoken," the Jewish question, and all these important truths now so clearly seen and so much appreciated by God's saints. I am glad we are yet in the path that is shining more and more for the just and the faithful children of God, being led by his spirit to see and understand the promised "things to come."
In answer to your inquiry about the number of Danish DAWNS disposed of in Denmark up to date, I am pleased to say that five hundred of the books are already among the Danes, most of them in good hands, I believe. The English lot is nearly all sold; but as yet I have sold only a few single copies of the German, and about half a dozen of the Swedish translations.
The Swedish brother here, Bro. Holm, would be very happy to engage in the work, but is hindered now; he will write you a letter soon. The Danish brother, who I mentioned to you was canvassing around in his neighborhood, has opened his house for meetings where the truth can be freely proclaimed by voice. I was there on Easter Sunday, and about twenty intelligent people were present to listen to the discourse on the plan of the ages. Many questions were asked and answered.
My new-found brother in the Lord is daily growing in love and knowledge of the truth. He has been with me two weeks now, canvassing.
Wishing you all an abundant measure of the favor and blessing of God, I am
Yours in Christ, JOSEPH S. WINTER.
[This is the Brother mentioned in our last issue, laboring as Colporteur in Denmark.]
DEAR BRO. RUSSELL:--I went up to Wesson on Sunday, and talked on the Scriptures to a little gathering there. Had a good delivery of DAWNS on Monday. What a stir the books have made there! Some oppose it very bitterly, while others defend it fervently. Some are searching it just to find something to criticize, and they accuse it falsely of many things, but their accusations do not agree. Even this I believe results in good, for the few who defend it read it with the more care. God is able to make the wrath of men to praise him. One brother said that he had heard much against it, and read it carefully to find the statements attributed to it, but he read it through without finding them. He said it cost him a few cents, but he would not take five dollars for it.
In love and haste, H. W. DEMING.
[Yes! the truth is a sword in the present harvest, as it was in the Jewish harvest. (`Matt. 10:34`.) As the Apostle declares, it is either "A savor of life unto life [tending toward life eternal], or of death unto death [tending in some toward the second death, as they array themselves, in prejudice, in opposition to the truth]."
We are pleased to see the colporteurs growing more earnest and careful, not only to plant the truth, but to water it.--EDITOR.]
DEAR BROTHER:--Brother McPhail's visit has stirred up the people of our little village more than anything else has done for years. Both believers and infidels say, "What new doctrine is this? This restitution is something we have never heard of." Although we have been talking about this truth and distributing tracts and lending TOWERS and DAWNS for years, they do not seem to grasp the idea until they receive an object lesson such as the chart is capable of giving. One infidel neighbor, who attended one of Brother McPhail's meetings, was deeply impressed. At the close of the meeting he asked a very reasonable question, and our good brother answered it satisfactorily to all present. Previous to that he could not be induced to read anything but Ingersoll; but now he is investigating the truths contained in the first volume of DAWN. May the Lord, by his wondrous truth, open the blind eyes!
The Church here also has been awakened to renewed energy and closer fellowship as a result of our dear brother's visit and ministry. Much of the misunderstanding has been removed, for some existed as a result of early training and preconceived notions. A neighbor, who is an unbeliever, kindly offered us the use of a vacant room in his house in which to meet for worship and study of the Word, and we meet once a week.
Our desire is to keep close to Christ and let him lead us in all things, and to grow in grace and knowledge of the truth. Of course we are misjudged and evil spoken of by some; but we expect that; and we are endeavoring by his grace to show the true spirit of Christian love toward all. May the good Lord help us to stand in this evil day against all the wiles of the enemy!
I must tell you of a remark that was made before Brother McPhail reached us. One of the brethren was speaking of his coming to hold some meetings to some parties, and they replied that they presumed he was like all other preachers--that he would hold a few meetings, take up a collection at every meeting, get all the money he could, and then leave the village. But to their surprise the brother came quietly, without any pomp or show, held four good meetings, and went as quietly as he came, without even mentioning money, and left an influence which no other man has ever left. And they do not know what to
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make of it. We thank the dear Lord for sending him to us to help us; and I take the liberty to tender to you, on behalf of the Church here, our thanks for the part you have had in this matter of sending the brother here. We hope that he may find it convenient to come again.
I send greeting on behalf of the Church.
Yours in the one hope, JOHN N. LATHWELL.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--Herewith is a letter from Brother James A. Church, which nearly explains itself. I need only add that Mrs. Church is a daughter of a Presbyterian minister to whom (Dec. 27, '87) I sent DAWN, VOL. I., and (Apr. 27, '89) VOL. II. Some portions of the letter, underlined with my blue pencil, are of general interest, and I would suggest that they be printed.
Mr. W. M. Wright. Dear Sir:--You will probably be surprised to receive a line from me a stranger, but the matter will explain itself as you read.
You probably remember that some years ago you gave my wife's father the first two volumes of M. DAWNS. How long they laid in his library, I do not know, but about five years ago my wife, while at home on a visit, saw the books and became interested.
When we took God's Book and drew our theology from it instead of man's teachings, we find that now we have discarded all the theology that we were brought up on except the Ransom; and how different that is as set forth in the DAWNS and TOWERS from the limited and emasculated doctrine as taught in the theology of the churches.
I write to let you know the results (or some of them), for it is sometimes a pleasure to find after many days the result of the bread cast on the waters; and it is an encouragement that if one only sows the seed that it will spring up somewhere, though perhaps not at the point we intended and hoped to reach. I know that we would like much to hear from some of the seed we have scattered since we made up our minds on this subject. Some fruit (a very little) we can see, but with the majority it is all a matter of faith as to how it germinates or where. Fortunately we are not held responsible for the fruits, all our part is to do the present duty and sow the seed, and leave the results with the Master.
Our old associates in the church regard any one that has cast off human tradition as of course gone to the bad, and their reports as to our views and belief are not much to be relied on, for they class all that do not accept tradition as astrays and out-casts. We would not for the world go back to the views that we were brought up on. I wonder that Christian people can be so blinded by their prejudices that they will not read or examine the subjects. If they did, and took the teachings of the Bible, I cannot see how they could escape coming to our conclusion.
Very truly yours, JAMES A. CHURCH.
Another brother has written me, among other matters, the following commendable sentiments:--
"My desire is to make the things of the 'Kingdom' more and more my care, that I may appreciate more clearly the blessings coming to all in it, and to be infused more and more with earnestness in making my calling and election sure.
"Thank God, his plan is so consummately arranged that in due time it will be fully wrought out without the jarring of one imperfection in the agents he commits it to. Corruption, incapacity, ignorance, envy, strife and every form of sin and imperfection may mar present man-made plans, teaching all the exceeding evil of evil; but when the fulness of time has come, God's elect, selected because they loved righteousness and hated wickedness during the time iniquity abounded, will come on the scene and put an end to the troubles from which no man could escape, if God, even the Most High, did not thus provide a Savior.
"Thus holding, and, as we can, proclaiming God's purposes in Jesus, and using all diligence to add to faith, virtue, to virtue, knowledge, to knowledge, temperance, to temperance, patience, to patience, godliness, to godliness, love, we may know that we will gain an abundant entrance into the Kingdom.
"This course will naturally separate us from those relying on, and working to maintain, present governments, thinking them to be of God, and our views to be erratic and anarchistic; and the more they affiliate with present kingdoms, and try to bolster up their waning powers, and, added to this, the more they understand the trend of our faith, the more surely we must become unpopular."
Your fellow servant, W. M. WRIGHT.
DEAR BROTHER AND SISTER RUSSELL:--It is with great pleasure that I am trying in my weak way to do what I can to serve my Master, as I deem it my duty to do. I have been holding meetings every Sunday for nearly two months, though the attendance is somewhat small; but this is because the locality is thinly settled. I can say that the people seem to take great interest and that these doctrines, although new to them, they find when rightly administered are old and reliable. I tendered them my services free of charge, if they were willing to spare the time to come and listen, although it is quite a task for me to walk five miles and back as I do every Sunday and I am getting quite old and crippled somewhat with rheumatism; yet I thank God that I am able to this much. Pray for me, that I may be able at all times to do my Master's will, and that though the road be rugged and steep I may have the strength and ability to climb to the top.
Enclosed you will find a small order for DAWNS. I could not have succeeded in getting any one to subscribe, had I not first got them interested. I think before long nearly all in the neighborhood will have a set.
Yours in Christ, PETER HEBERT.
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DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--Please send as soon as possible the Plan of the Ages Wall Chart. Brother Draper wishes to give a lecture on the Chart before going home. I wish you could have seen him yesterday, as he was looking it over with my husband and myself. Tears would fill his eyes and his face light up with a deeper appreciation of God's love and his plan for the Church. It is truly grand!
Some of the people here say of us as a little band, the reason they live such good, pure lives is, they want to reign over some one. Is not that encouraging? I tell you this to let you see how we are holding up the banner of Christ. Praise God for his spirit! It seems strange that back of all their treatment of us they look to us to live a better life than other professing Christians; and I am very glad of it, for it makes us stronger. We long to hear some voice other than our own proclaiming the truth, and would be glad of a visit from one of the brethren sent out by the Tract Society.
Yours in the truth, MRS. S. J. PORTER.
[Yes; surely we who have a knowledge of God's great plan should also be "partakers of his holiness," if we partake at all of the spirit of the Truth: and "If any man have not the spirit of Christ, he is none of his." "What manner of persons ought we to be in all holy living and godliness."--EDITOR.]