ZWT - 1903 - R3125 thru R3293 / R3162 (081) - March 15, 1903
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VOL. XXIV. MARCH 15, 1903. No. 5
Views from the Watch Tower........................ 83
Ancient Tablets Agree with Bible.............. 83
A Statesman's Views of Europe's
Christian Soldiership......................... 84
The Editor's Visit to Europe...................... 85
"Whatsoever He Saith, Do It"...................... 85
The New Life in Christ............................ 88
Review Lesson..................................... 91
Able to Comprehend With All Saints................ 91
Life and Death (Poem)............................. 94
Letters of Interest............................... 95
General Conventions, Etc.......................... 96
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THE MEMORIAL SUPPER.
The date of the celebration this year will be Friday evening, April 10th--after 6 o'clock. We mention the date thus early for the benefit of the brethren afar off.
THE EMPHATIC DIAGLOTT.
The new rates on the Diaglott brought an extraordinary demand and has quite exhausted our stock, before the new editions are ready. Have patience and we will have plenty for all.
VOLUNTEER AMMUNITION FOR 1903.
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"STRONG'S EXHAUSTIVE CONCORDANCE."
We fear we did this valuable work an injustice in describing it as inferior to "Young's Analytical Concordance." Use of a copy during the past year has greatly attached us to it. We can supply them at the following established prices (and give 3 cloth vols. of DAWN postpaid as a premium): In cloth binding, $6; in half leather binding, $8, express prepaid.
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VIEWS FROM THE WATCH TOWER.
ANCIENT TABLETS AGREE WITH THE BIBLE.
IN view of the fact that most lecturers on the Babylonian excavations are endeavoring to prove that their findings date back thousands of years before the flood, and hence are in total disagreement with the Bible narrative, the following testimony to their corroboration of Scripture is the more appreciated. Excavators seem prone to "magnify their office" and to make their services and findings more wonderful than they really are.
"Dr. Albert T. Clay, curator of the Babylonian department in the museum of the University of Pennsylvania, lectured in Widener hall yesterday on 'The Old Testament in the Light of Recent Excavations.'
"'Accounts of the creation and deluge,' he said, 'have been deciphered from early Babylonian monuments. No direct account has been found referring to the fall of mankind, although engraved rocks representing a man and woman sitting under a tree, with a serpent near by, have been found, which undoubtedly refer to it.'
"The lecturer went on to show that the events recorded in the Bible had taken place contrary to what had been contended by critics of the Old Testament in the past few years. He presented a photograph of an engraved rock referring to the deluge and translated it. Although the period of time which elapsed while Noah was in the ark did not exactly correspond to the number of days given in the Bible, yet the historical significance of the event was corroborated. Dr. Clay presented many such photographs, all of which had been excavated in Babylonia, and are now in the museum. The translations of these were parallel accounts to passages found in the Bible.
"He further said: 'This work is yet in its infancy. Research has not yet come to a limit. The lowest excavations show civilization in advanced stages and there is every reason to believe that future excavations will bring to light the majority, if not all, the history recorded in the Old Testament.'"--Philadelphia Times.
A STATESMAN'S VIEW OF EUROPE'S FUTURE.
A Philadelphia Ledger correspondent writing of the eminent correspondent of the Times, M. de Blowitz, deceased, says:--
"Blowitz believed that his own forecast of events was more accurate than that of any living statesman. He not only placed himself on an intellectual level with Bismarck, but he spoke of himself as belonging to the same rank. I am not at all sure that he was not right, and that if his early lot had been cast in high places Blowitz would not have been a greater man than Bismarck. He had his faults and vanities, but he was a man of extraordinary capacity.
"His opinions about the future of Europe are interesting, because his predictions were so often fulfilled, and his views, therefore, on the subject are worth consideration. As far back as ten years ago de Blowitz held that in the course of a generation Europe would be a congerie of bankrupt states; that all the national debts in Europe would be repudiated, with the exception of Britain's, and that vast social changes, involving bloody wars and reigns of terror, would come to pass in many countries. He took a pessimistic view of the future of Britain, though he admired the qualities of persistence and freedom, which form part of the British character.
"He believed that the twentieth century would be a century of struggle, and that in Germany and Russia especially the development of the industrial idea would lead to the evolution of new surfaces of society, just as the iceberg which has changed its centre of gravity presents a new profile to the spectator. If these predictions had been made today no great power of discrimination would be credited to the prophet. To have formed such views ten years ago
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implies the possession of great analytic power, coupled with imaginative faculty."
* * *
This is interesting, as showing how the wisdom of this world corroborates the forecast of prophecy--the revelations of the divine Word. "We have a more sure word of prophecy, unto which we do well to take heed, as unto a light shining in a dark place until the day dawn."--`2 Pet. 1:19`.
We are pleased to credit the following article to a secular journal--the Atlanta Constitution:--
"Endure hardness as a good soldier of Jesus Christ."-- `2 Tim. 2:3`.
"The service of Christ resembles no other so much as that of a soldier. There are few life-callings among men that demand such absolute self-surrender from the recruit as that of the soldier....
"In the decision to be a soldier one subordinates all other considerations--those of self-will, family supremacy and the varied opportunities of the freeman. It is to go under a vow of complete, unquestioning obedience to the orders of superiors. It is to abandon home for the camp, to forego the right of first serving the interests of father and mother, wife and children, business or friends. It means the entire suppression of every selfish interest for the advancement of the supreme cause one has contracted voluntarily to serve, to follow and for which, if need be, to die.
"It seems hard to some minds to compare the service of Christ with that of a good soldier. Nine-tenths of those who call themselves Christians refuse to give their service that significance, and mutiny outright when called upon to act upon that principle. The weakness of the church universal as the leader of morals and life culture in the world is due to the fact that most Christian men and women serve Christ as independent camp followers. They are unattached, or uncommanded, or disobedient to the duty of discipline, and do as they please rather than as they are obligated by the commands and principles of Christ.
"Goethe said that 'earnestness is eternity,' and the spirit of God is the spirit of earnestness. He who is informed and inflamed by that spirit will be filled to overflowing with zeal, courage, daring, fortitude and the faith of conquest. In the fervor and forcefulness of these feelings he will serve his Master, as the soldiers of Alexander followed unquestioning where he led; as the soldiers of Leonidas, who died rather than retreat; as the soldiers of Napoleon, who believed him invincible always; and as the soldiers of Lee, who felt that he could not lead them wrongly or to defeat.
"If Christ possessed in this world today an army of men and women one-hundredth part the figures of official Christendom, who would follow him--who would labor, fight and endure as do the soldiers of our American armies--he could not long be kept from his world-wide conquest.
"But he has few real soldiers in his service. Most of his followers are pensioners, pleading always that he will do something for them--ease their pains, disperse their enemies, smooth their paths, increase their fortunes and bed them in places of plenty and comfort. They are a hungry and a helpless host.
"One would expect naturally to find in the pulpits stalwart captains of the army of our Lord. And yet how few are they who do not look more closely to their hire than to their opportunities to endure hardness? They are eager for rich and easy pastorates, they dwell in luxuries and preach as those who make pleasant music on a lute. Transfer them to posts of poverty, scant rations, hard service among the poor and the sick, and they become broken-hearted over their lot as soldiers!
"The true soldier does not debate his cause. He is rightly supposed to have settled upon its justice and righteousness before he enlisted to serve it. Thereafter he avouches it and defies contradiction of it. He is ready to spend all and be all spent in its defense. He does not fight for the rations that are doled to him, but for the great principles and great purposes of the cause to which he is committed....
"No man should deceive himself in a matter so plain and serious as the service of Christ. If he doesn't mean to abandon himself to the commands and demands of his Master, he ought to be honest enough not to offer a hypocritical profession and a
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treacherous or abortive promise of service. The causes of Christ on earth need men who are strong in will, courageous of heart and hardened to self-sacrifice, sufferings and the perils of conflict and death. None other can do the work that is needed to pull down the strongholds of sin, rout the enemies of righteousness and set forward in hostile territories the standards of the Kingdom of Christ.
"It is glorious to serve Christ in honesty and in fulness of fidelity. There is an ineffable joy in being on the right side, in knowing that one's service is toward victory and that beyond the field of blood and the valley of shadows is an abundant entrance into the joys and peace of the triumphant King of kings. For that hope none should shrink from the harness of battle, none quail before the rage of the enemy, and none tremble before the certainty of hunger, thirst, nakedness, wounds or death!"
THE EVOLUTIONISTS' TREND.
The Western Recorder tersely expresses the truth, thus:--
"When a man starts on the line of evolution and higher criticism he gives up more and more, and he has no logical stopping-place till he has given up everything. The frantic efforts of those who start on this line to hold to 'what is vital,' while giving up more and more, are pitiful. Their claiming that 'after all we have this or that much left' is simply whistling to keep their courage up. They have surrendered everything, and have left themselves at the mercy of the enemy. As George Adam Smith says, it is left only for the critics to fix the indemnity, and to take all they want, and everybody ought to have learned that they want everything. With them 'progress' means to deny more and more. And their work will not be done as long as any belief is left."
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THE EDITOR'S VISIT TO EUROPE.
For several years the Editor has been promising the friends abroad that as soon as the sixth volume of MILLENNIAL DAWN series would be ready for the press he would comply with their many urgent invitations for a visit. From present appearances he hopes, by April, to have the manuscript of Vol. VI. in the hands of the compositors, with also a sufficiency of WATCH TOWER matter to last during the four issues of the period of his proposed absence.
Not only does he anticipate joy in meeting many already known through correspondence, and new friends in Great Britain, but additionally it is his thought that a considerable extension of the service of the truth may be possible in Germany, France, Switzerland, Holland, Sweden, Norway and other European countries. He will make brief visits to these various countries, conferring with the friends, and ascertaining, so far as he can, the advantages and opportunities of the present time.
Announcements for TWO-DAY CONVENTIONS for the trip are as follows:--
London, England...............April 25,26.
Stockholm, Sweden.............May 2,3.
Glasgow, Scotland.............May 9,10.
Liverpool, England............May 16,17.
Thun, Switzerland.............May 23,24.
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"WHATSOEVER HE SAITH UNTO YOU, DO IT."
THESE were the words of our Lord's mother to the servants, at the marriage in Cana, about the time of the beginning of our Lord's ministry-- our Lord, his mother and his disciples being guests at the wedding. There was a shortage of wine, it will be remembered, and Mary evidently expected our Lord to exercise his power in some manner: although just why she should expect this is not evident, because we are distinctly informed that the miracle of turning water into wine was the beginning of Jesus' miracles. (`Vs. 11`.) And, by the way, this distinct statement by the Apostle John, gives emphatic contradiction to the apocryphal legends which accredit to our Lord various miracles, etc., previous to this time.
How suitable are Mary's words to all of the Lord's people: "Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it!" How important that all should learn the lesson that it is not merely the hearing of the gospel which brings blessing to the heart; but obedience to the glad tidings! Of course, it is necessary that we should believe the Master before we could be ready to obey him; yet the expression, "Whatsoever he shall say unto you, do it!" includes a faith in the Lord on the part of all those who are obedient. The Christian cannot do better than adopt these words as one of the mottoes of his life,--Whatsoever my Lord saith unto me, I will do it.
We are not to hear and to obey every voice, but, as our Lord himself said, "My sheep hear my voice, ...and they follow me." (`Jno. 10:27`.) There are many voices in the world (`1 Cor. 14:11`), some calling in one direction and some in another. The world calls us, the flesh calls us, the Adversary calls us, and the Master calls us. The Christian may readily enough discern the voices of the world and the flesh, and should be on his guard against their seductive influence. But he may have more difficulty in discerning between the voice of the Adversary and the voice of the Good Shepherd; because, the Adversary's method is to simulate, or counterfeit, the voice of the Shepherd. His usual methods of deception are through false teachings backed by human organizations; the whole being made to appear as a message of light through messengers of light. (See `2 Cor. 11:13,14`.) Christians need to be specially on guard on this point; many are hearing and adopting the voice of the Pope, others the voices of Presbyteries, Conferences and Councils, which hinder them from hearing and obeying the voice of the Shepherd. They have need to remember that the proper course is to "take heed that ye refuse not him which speaketh from heaven"--"Whatsoever he shall say unto you, do it."
Hearken to his words! "A new commandment I give unto you, that ye love one another as I have loved you." (`Jno. 13:34`.) "If ye love me keep my commandments." "He that hath my commandments and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me; and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him." (`Jno. 14:21`.) "He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me. He that taketh not his cross, and followeth after me is not worthy of me. He that findeth his life shall lose it; and he that loseth his life for my sake shall find it. He that receiveth you receiveth me, and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me." (`Matt. 10:37-40`.) He speaks again and says, "Blessed are the meek, the merciful, the humble-minded, the peacemakers, the pure in heart and those hungering and thirsting for righteousness and enduring persecution for righteousness' sake"--"Blessed are ye when men shall revile you, and persecute you and say all manner of evil
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against you falsely for my sake. Rejoice and be exceeding glad; for great is your reward in heaven." He saith to us again,--"Ye are the salt of the earth and the light of the world;" "let your light so shine before men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father which is in heaven."--`Matt. 5`.
From heaven, he continued to speak to us through the Apostles to the same effect:--"Present your bodies living sacrifices to God, holy, acceptable, your reasonable service." (`Rom. 12:1`.) "Love as brethren; be pitiful, be courteous." (`1 Pet. 3:8`.) "Laying aside every weight, run with patience the race set before you, looking unto Jesus, the author and the finisher of your faith." "Laying aside all malice, and all guile and hypocrisies, and envies and all evil-speaking, as newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the Word, that ye may grow thereby." And "giving all diligence add to your faith fortitude; and to fortitude knowledge; and to knowledge moderation; and to moderation patience, God-likeness, brotherly-kindness, love."--`1 Pet. 2:1`; `2 Pet. 1:5`.
We have heard his words. They impress us as being the very essence of wisdom and righteousness. We know that he is faithful who has promised that if we do these things we shall never fall, but be granted an abundant entrance into his everlasting Kingdom. We have taken the first step of belief; we have taken the second step of response, and have agreed to do these things; the important question with each one of us, therefore, must be--Am I obedient to him from heaven who speaketh? Am I doing whatsoever he says? To whatever extent any shall find shortcomings on the line of obedience to the Shepherd's voice, to the extent of ability let him beware and arouse himself, promptly, energetically to do these things; for the Father also saith, "This is my beloved Son: hear him!"--`Luke 9:35`.
Returning to the narrative: We note our Lord's command to the servants to "fill the water-pots with water." Remembering the statement of the prophet,
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corroborated by our Lord's own words "without a parable spake he not unto them," we are inclined to surmise that this, his first miracle, contains some spiritual lesson for us. Endeavoring to draw such a lesson from this miracle, in harmony with the general testimony of the Word, we reason thus: The water-pots symbolize the Lord's people; their number, six, might indicate that it refers to the Lord's people in the present time of evil, because the number six is a symbol for imperfection and evil condition, as seven is the symbol for completeness and perfection. Thus six days of the week are set apart for labor, while the seventh is set apart for rest and refreshment: likewise the six thousand years of the world's history are permitted by the Lord to be evil, through man's disobedience and fall; while in the seventh thousand God proposes to bring in his Millennial Kingdom--his reign of everlasting righteousness.
The water with which the water-pots were commanded to be filled, is in Scripture the symbol for the truth, the "water of life"; not merely the word of truth, but the word accompanied by and infused with the spirit of the truth--it is with this that the Master commands that we shall be filled. In the symbolic miracle the servants obeyed; not doubtfully or slothfully did they fill them half full, but, as it is recorded, "They filled them up to the brim." So it should be with us; having heard the Master's word, "Be ye filled with the spirit," we should draw abundantly from the fountain of grace and truth, nor cease until we are filled with the spirit "to the brim"--completely. And if we so do the Master's commands, what may we expect as a result? We may expect, as illustrated in the symbolic miracle, that the water will ultimately be changed into wine--the symbol for unalloyed pleasure, heavenly joys.
In the symbol the miracle of change from water into wine came only to those vessels which were filled to the brim with water; so, likewise, the Lord has promised a still greater change to his faithful followers who receive the treasure of divine truth, and its spirit into their "earthen vessels," and who are filled with it. They shall be "changed" in a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, under the sounding of the seventh trumpet; they shall be changed from the human nature to the divine nature; from earthly conditions to heavenly conditions: this greater miracle, yet to be accomplished by our Lord, was well symbolized in the change of the water into wine--the joys of the Kingdom, the joys of the new nature. The Lord's consecrated people are symbolized not only by the water-pots and by the servants who fill them, but also they are symbolized by the bride at the marriage, just as the bridegroom is also the one who commands that the vessels be filled with the water. The governor of the symbolic feast who pronounced the new wine to be of the very finest quality, aptly symbolizes the heavenly Father who is the great Governor of the great feast associated with the union of the heavenly Bridegroom with his Bride, and the excellence of the wine represents fitly the joys of the Lord with which we shall be filled at our "change." Already we share to some extent in the blessings of this union; already we know something of the joys of our Lord; already we taste not only of the cup of his sufferings, but also "have tasted that the Lord is gracious." Already we partake of the wine on the lees, and the fat things full of marrow (`Isa. 25:6`); but our present
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joys are but foretastes of the coming realities--the best of the wine comes at the end of the feast, when our heavenly Bridegroom shall have changed us to his own image and likeness that we may share his glory.
Oh, how important that we remember the words, "Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it!" 'Tis but a little time since we heard his voice directing us how our dearth of joy and happiness might be overcome, and how, instead of impurities and filth of the flesh, we might be filled with the truth, its spirit and its joy, and subsequently have the whole instantly "changed" to the perfection of joy,--into the divine nature. How are we heeding the Master's words? To what extent have we gotten filled with the truth and its spirit? He will give ample opportunity to each of us to be filled, and if any, therefore, is only partly filled, it will be because of a lack of the proper spirit of obedience. Our vessels may not all be of the same size; as with those in the symbol which apparently varied in size, holding from two to three firkins apiece, so our capacities, opportunities, etc., may vary; but, to fulfil the Master's requirement, each must be filled full,--no more, no less,--if we would experience the desired "change."
While this lesson evidently applies merely to the hearing of the Lord's voice by the Church, during this Gospel age, the principle holds good also for the Millennial Age. Now, the vast majority of the world do not hear the Lord's message of grace, and, consequently, are not responsible; but by and by all the deaf ears shall be unstopped, and all the sin- and prejudice-blinded eyes shall be opened; and the Lord shall be recognized as the great Teacher, and all shall hear his voice. This is set forth by the Apostle Peter (`Acts 3:22,23`); after picturing the great Prophet (teacher), Christ the Head and the Church his body, whom God is raising up during this Gospel age, and fitting for the great work of the Millennial age, he declares, "Him shall ye hear [obey] in all things whatsoever he shall say unto you. And it shall come to pass that every soul which will not hear [obey] that Prophet, shall be destroyed from among the people" --in the Second Death.
If the responsibility of those who will hear during the Millennial age is thus prefigured, and declared, so as to leave no doubt that "everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord" shall be visited upon all who shall then refuse to obey, what shall we say would be the result of a refusal now to obey on the part of those who hear the Master's voice during the Gospel age? We will not say positively that there is no hope for such; but we see little room for hope for such as, hearing the voice and recognizing it, make no effort to obey it. On the contrary, we hear the Apostle saying, "If we sin wilfully after we have received a knowledge of the truth" [heard the Lord's voice], after we have tasted of the good Word of God and been made partakers of the holy spirit, and [experienced in our justification] the powers of the age to come, there remaineth no longer a share for us in the great sacrifice for sin; but only a fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation which would devour us as adversaries who had despised the mercy and grace of God.--`Heb. 4:6`; `6:4,5`; `10:26-31`.
Hearken to the Apostle's words again, "See that ye refuse not him from heaven who speaketh." (`Heb. 12:25`.) "We ought to give the more earnest heed to the things we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip."..."How shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation." (`Heb. 2:1,2`.) So far as we may judge, the hearing of the Word of the Lord in every case brings with it responsibilities; and becomes "a savor of life unto life or of death unto death." We do not say that those who are partially negligent--who fail to fill their "earthen vessels" to the brim with the truth and its spirit--will be esteemed to have despised the words of the great Teacher; on the contrary, the fact that they are seeking at all to be filled with the truth and its spirit is an evidence that they have respect to the Lord's Word, and do not reject nor refuse "him that speaketh from heaven." But their failure to give diligence to be filled with the truth and its spirit will mean their loss of the great prize, the fulness of joy in the "change." These are they who neglecting to use their opportunities zealously, neglecting to be filled full with the spirit of the truth, are correspondingly partially filled with the spirit of the world, and not accounted "overcomers" of the world. These are they who will "come up out of great tribulation," washing their robes in the blood of the Lamb. (`Rev. 7:9,13-15`.) Losing the great prize because of a deficiency of zeal, these will, nevertheless, get a great blessing because they did not refuse "him from heaven that speaketh."
We must remember, however, that the hearing of the natural ear is not the only hearing to which the Scriptures refer. Hence, the expression, "He that hath an ear let him hear;" and again, "Ears have they, but they hear not;" and again, our Lord's words respecting the multitudes, "To them that are without, these things are spoken in parables, that hearing they might hear, and not understand." Our responsibility is not, therefore, marked by the opportunities of the outward ear. Many have heard with the outward ear who have never heard in the responsible sense of the Scriptures, in the sense that all
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eventually must hear;--in the sense of understanding, appreciating the message. The responsibility as to how we hear, and how we reject, is upon those who have an understanding of the Lord's grace. "Blessed are your ears for they hear, and your eyes for they see." But the blessing can only come to such as "refuse not him from heaven that speaketh." Let us all, therefore, who have heard the Master's voice, strive to remember his Word, as we have considered it foregoing: and let each of us seek to live as nearly as possible according to that Word. "Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it."
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THE NEW LIFE IN CHRIST.
--`EPH. 2:1-10`.--MARCH 22.--
Golden Text--"By grace are ye saved through faith."--`Eph. 2:8`.
IT WAS from his Roman prison that the Apostle Paul wrote the Epistle to the Ephesians, one of the most beautiful of all his letters to the churches; full of deep spiritual instruction. Its keynote is "in Christ," this expression, or its equivalents, occurring at least twenty times in this Epistle. As the first chapter points out that the Church is chosen in Christ Jesus, so our lesson shows that we have life in Christ alone; and, subsequently, the Epistle shows that all of God's blessings and favors toward his people are solely upon consideration that they are in Christ Jesus --members of the body of Christ, members of the New Creation. None can get clear-cut, distinct appreciation of the Apostle's meaning except those who clearly differentiate between the Church and the world, and discern their different hopes, built upon different promises; and perceive that in God's plan only the Church is being dealt with at the present time--that the world's hope is future, and very different from that of the Church, now being called as the body of Christ, "members in particular."
Our lesson opens with a dark picture, delineating the condition of the whole world through the fall; a condition of sin and worldliness under the power of Satan; in disobedience to God, under divine sentence of death, which has already operated to the extent of corruption in matters moral, mental and physical. The whole world, although creatures of God, and thus in a general sense his offspring, or children, ceased to be children of his favor, and became "children of wrath," through sin. The Apostle points out to the Ephesians that this had once been their wretched and terrible condition in common with the rest of mankind. How true is the picture even today! But let it be remembered that this is not merely the picture of the villains and outlaws of the world, but a picture of the world as a whole, including its very best representatives. "All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God." All are "children of wrath"; all are more or less under the power and control of the great Adversary; all are more or less controlled by the spirit of disobedience common to the whole world of mankind.
The only exceptions to this rule are the few who, like those addressed at Ephesus, have escaped this bondage, this corruption, this death state, this condition of alienation from God;--and surely these are few today, as they were in all but a "little flock" in the days of the Lord and at the time the Apostle wrote these words.
But the Apostle passes on to note what a great change came to the saints at Ephesus, on their acceptance of the Gospel; and how glad we are that a similar change has come to all who have become the Lord's saints, from that day to the present time! The experience of passing from death to life is the same in every instance, although the circumstances connected with the transformation may vary considerably. The steps of grace by which the Lord delivered us from being children of wrath and under power of the Adversary are set forth by the Apostle in the succeeding verses. Let us trace these steps, and note to what extent we have taken them, and to what extent our experiences correspond to those which the Apostle delineates.
Our recovery did not begin with something in ourselves, --good resolutions, good works, etc. We did not improve ourselves, and thus commend ourselves to God: on the contrary, God was the prime mover in our release and recovery. He was inspired to give us aid by the benevolence of his character, for he is "rich in mercy." He is rich in all of his attributes, rich in wisdom, rich in justice, rich in power, rich in love; but it is with the attribute of love and its corresponding benevolence, or mercy that the Apostle is here dealing. How necessary it is for us to get this thought of God's richness of mercy well rooted and grounded in our hearts--that we may never doubt his generosity, his kindness, his sympathy, his mercy toward all those who desire and seek to know and to do his will! We need great faith in our heavenly Father, and it is only as we come to a clear knowledge of his glorious plan through the Word that we can exercise such a confidence in his love and mercy. The Adversary evidently desires that we should misunderstand our Creator, and, hence, has in every way possible sought to misrepresent his character and his plan;--and so successfully has he done so that at this very moment 999
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out of every 1000 of those who profess his name are moved by fear of an eternity of torture, rather than by love for him and appreciation of his love for them.
The Apostle assures us that God had great love for us, even when we were dead in sins--when we were corrupt. It is difficult for us to think of God's greatness, purity and splendor of character, and of man's fallen condition--his corruption, mental, moral and physical--and then to understand how the holy Jehovah could have love for his fallen creatures. We may be sure that it was not the love of affection, such as he has for us now, as his sons, newly begotten of the spirit, but merely the love of sympathy. He beheld our miserable condition, and realized that an offer of release from our corruption, and of return to holiness and harmony with himself, would be joyfully appreciated and accepted by some--let us hope, by many;--and it was, undoubtedly, in view of such a response to his goodness and mercy that our Creator opened up for the world of mankind "a new way of life," in and through the Lord Jesus and his redemptive work.
But although this sympathetic love was toward the whole world, it has not yet been made generally known--it has not yet been practically exercised toward the world, but only toward a comparatively small proportion of the whole. Here and there the message has been sent to a special class--to those who have "an ear to hear"--the remainder being left for the present, to be dealt with later. (`Isa. 35:5`.) It is to those who had the "ear to hear", and who hearing, have responded and laid hold upon the grace of God in Christ, that the Apostle is now writing. He calls attention to the blessing of such an experience. He does not here differentiate between those who have taken merely the first step of faith and obedience unto justification, and those who have gone on and taken also the second step of full consecration to the Lord, "even unto death"; but addresses the latter class only --those who, having made a full consecration to the Lord of their justified selves, have been begotten of the spirit, quickened and energized by that spirit as members of the body of Christ. The Apostle here interjects in parenthesis (`2:5`) a reminder that all this blessing has come to us, not of our worthiness, nor of our work, but by divine "grace are ye saved"; we reached this position in the new life, this reckonedly saved position, by faith;--delivered from the sentence of sin, saved from the darkness and delusion of the Adversary,* saved from the wrath of God, and brought, instead, into his loving favor. Oh, how great is the salvation which accompanies a complete conversion and full consecration to the Lord! What a wonderful change it brings to us, in thought, in word and in act! And yet this is only the beginning of our salvation, or what the Apostle elsewhere speaks of as being "saved by hope." (`Rom. 8:24`.) While thus saved by grace now, we are still waiting for a further salvation, by grace--"for the grace [salvation] that is to be brought unto us at the revelation of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ"--the First Resurrection.
All that, by the Lord's grace, we shall ultimately have through the "change" of the resurrection as members of the body of Christ--all the heavenly things, including full fellowship and communion with the Father and with our Lord--are reckoned as having their beginning in the present life. He, therefore, who knows not such a beginning of the new life, and its holy spirit now, has no reason whatever to believe that he has been begotten of the holy spirit--that he is a new creature in Christ. These new creatures are reckoned as having been raised up out of the state of sin and death into a new condition of life, and love of righteousness. Symbolically, they are ushered into the Holy of the Tabernacle, where they have the light of the Golden Lampstand, and partake of the spiritual Shewbread, and may offer the spiritual Incense to God, and have fellowship with him "in Christ Jesus"--as members of the Ecclesia, "the Church which is his body." This is a figurative resurrection from the dead--a figure and earnest of the real resurrection from the dead which shall come to each of these if they prove loyal to God and faithful to their covenant as members of the body of Christ--to be dead with their Head, that they may also live with him, through participation in his resurrection. --`Rom. 6:5,8`.
Counting the new life as beginning now--counting ourselves as members of the New Creation, which by and by is to be glorified, we ask ourselves with the Apostle, What great thing must God work, then, in us and for us, eventually, if present foretastes of his goodness and grace are so superlatively grand? The Apostle answers such a query (`vs. 7`) assuring us that "in the ages to come God will show forth the exceeding riches of his grace through [in] his kindness toward us [who are] in Christ Jesus." He does not attempt to tell us what these riches will amount to. He would have us see that God is rich in mercy, rich in grace,
*The Apostle was a firm believer in a personal devil, and a Bible study of his teachings on this subject would be profitable to many of the Lord's people in the present time, when, through Christian Science and other deceptive teachings, the very existence of the Adversary is being denied, and thus many are the more exposed to his wiles and deceptions. Note the following references to Satan by the Apostles: `Acts 13:10`; `26:18`; `Rom. 16:20`; `1 Cor. 5:5`; `7:5`; `2 Cor. 2:11`; `11:14`; `Eph. 4:27`; `6:11`; `1 Thess. 2:18`; `2 Thess. 2:9`; `1 Tim. 1:20`; `3:6,7`; `5:15`; `2 Tim. 2:26`. Our Lord also frequently referred to the Adversary: `Matt. 4:10`; `12:26`; `25:41`; `Mark 4:15`; `8:33`; `Luke 10:18`; `22:31`; `John 8:44`; `14:30`.
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and rich in every other grand and estimable quality, and he would have us trust that so rich a Father will do for his adopted children "exceeding abundantly more than we could ask or think." Indeed, he assures us elsewhere that it is impossible for him to explain or for us to comprehend "the riches of our inheritance." "Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man the things which God hath prepared for them that loved him; but God hath revealed them unto us by his spirit."--`1 Cor. 2:9,10`; `Eph. 3:19`.
Nevertheless, the revelation by his spirit is only an approximate one. We cannot clearly discern those unseen things, we cannot comprehend them with our finite natural minds. "It doth not yet appear what we shall be;" but with the new mind we can, even though but vaguely, grasp the thought of our Heavenly Father's riches of grace and love, and can draw analogies from the things of this present life, and thus gain some idea of the glorious things which await us. As we see our heavenly Father's provision for the natural man,--a little lower than the angels,--as we look at the beautiful flowers of earth, and taste of its delicious fruits, it is but another step for the consecrated heart to realize that the rich Father who planned so beneficently for his human sons, and who permits so many of these blessings to come to mankind, even in its fallen condition, is no less rich in love and mercy toward his spiritual sons, and will make abundant provision for them also. And that as he has provided harmonies of music for the natural ear, and pleasant odors and flavors and scenes for the senses of the natural man, so, only on a more exalted plane, there will be gratifications for all the high qualities of heart and of mind for the New Creation;--there will be what will correspond to the present beauties of nature, but higher and grander, for those who shall gain the new nature. There will be that which will correspond to the flowers and the birds, the fields and the trees, the mountains and the valleys. There will be that which will correspond to the most delightful gratifications of the eye, the ear, the nose and the mouth, and to the most pleasurable thrills of the heart. Thus does faith, based upon a knowledge of the riches of grace and love in our heavenly Father, enable the new creature to see the things invisible and to rejoice in the wonderful things only partially disclosed at the present time.
From this exalted position and favor and fellowship with God, associated in the heavenlies in Christ, we are enabled by faith to rejoice in those promises of our Father's Word, which assure us that we shall be permitted to cooperate with him in the great work of the next age, the Millennial Age, in showing forth his praises, in lifting up so many as will of the world of mankind out of their present fallen condition,--up to full restitution of that which was lost in Adam and redeemed by Christ.
We notice (`vss. 8-10`) how carefully the Apostle seeks to guard us against the thought that any of these blessings have come to us on account of our own merit. He reiterates, "By grace are ye saved through faith." And if by grace, no longer of works, as he elsewhere points out. (`Rom. 11:6`.) If of works it would not be of grace. As members of the fallen race we were incapable of doing any work which our holy God could accept--we were dead, corrupted, foul, under condemnation as children of wrath, when he had mercy upon us, and opened up the way of life. Our present standing, therefore, as new creatures, is not the result of anything that the old creature did, or could have done. It is not of ourselves; it is a gift of God. This lesson must be thoroughly appreciated, else we will be continually in danger of falling. The grace is not of ourselves, certainly, and we may say also that although we exercised some faith at the beginning (else we could never have come to him at all, to accept his favors), yet the faith by which we were enabled to accomplish our consecration even unto death, and thus to become new creatures in Christ, was not of ourselves--we had no such faith when God laid hold upon us. He developed in us that faith by the revelations of his love, through his promises, through his Word.
If our present standing were the result of our own efforts or "works," there would probably be some room for boasting;--it would imply that we were not so fallen that we could not have lifted ourselves out of the miry clay of sin,--on the line of the Evolution Theory. But such theories are not recognized in the divine Word and must not be recognized by any who would maintain their standing as new creatures in Christ. On the contrary, so far from considering the New Creature as an evolution of the old creature, the Apostle would have us understand distinctly that it is a new and separate creation. We were created in Christ Jesus, God's workmanship--prepared for good works, but not by good works.
The Apostle assures us that God foreordained that this New Creation should progress in good works. To become new creatures in Christ we gladly surrendered our all to the Lord, that we might know his will and do it; and having accepted us in Christ, he informs us that it is his good pleasure that our entire life should be renewed, that we should discard entirely from our hearts, our minds, our wills, everything sinful, everything unholy, and that so far as possible our mortal bodies should be brought into subjection to our new minds, and that we should walk in newness of life, even on this side the vail--thus giving evidence of our
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sincerity, developing character and becoming meet "for the inheritance of the saints in light," in glory. Whoever is not disposed to walk in the Lord's ways of holiness and opposition to sin, and in cultivation of the mind, the spirit of the Lord, the holy spirit, surely deceives himself, if he thinks he has passed from death unto life, and that he is a new creature in Christ Jesus.
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Golden Text.--"Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world!"--`Matt. 28:20`.
REVIEWING the lessons of the quarter, showing the missionary labors of the Apostle, and introducing to us a number of his colaborers, our principal thoughts may well be that the same gospel is still being preached--Jesus and the resurrection; --that the privilege of being ministers of this gospel, and colaborers with our Lord, is still open to us; that the rewards of such ministry may still be won by us; indeed, it is well that we get the thought that every member of the Church glorified will have been an active member of the Church militant--warring against the Adversary and his works, and influence. Whether our warfare be of the more public kind or of the more private sort, there must be warfare, and more than this, there must be progress and victory, else we can never be accepted of the Lord as "overcomers."
Another thought should be borne in mind by us all; viz., that while we have gifts differing one from the other, and are, therefore, able to contribute to the Lord's cause relatively larger or smaller amounts of energy or service or wealth, the Lord in making his estimate will take knowledge of the spirit which actuated us, rather than of the results secured by our efforts; so that of some small talent it may be said, as it was said of the poor widow who cast in the two mites into the Lord's treasury,--that the smaller gift was more appreciated by the Lord than some of the larger ones. In view of this, let us see to it, not only that we do with our might what our hands find to do, but also that our every sacrifice and gift to the Lord and his cause is so full of love and devotion that the Lord will surely approve it; as done from love for him and his, and not from vainglory.
The Golden Text of this lesson contains a precious thought,--that the Lord has been with his representatives in all their labors of love and self-denial, throughout the entire age, noting their efforts, assisting, encouraging, sustaining them, and surely watering and refreshing all who are making his service their special object in life,--ministering his grace to others, watering and feeding them. And if this has been true in the past, all through the age, how specially true we may realize it to be now, in the end of the age, in the time of harvest, in the time of our Lord's second presence! How we may realize that he is with us, in sympathy, in cooperation, in assistance, in sustaining grace,-- able and willing to make all of our experiences profitable to us, and to use us abundantly in showing forth the praises of him who has called us out of darkness into his marvelous light!
Let these thoughts quicken us to fresh and greater energies, and to an appreciation of the fact that the things of this present time are but transitory (both its joys and its sorrows); and that the ambitions and hopes of the world are not worthy of comparison with these noble and laudable ambitions to serve and to please our Master, and to have his rewards--the chief of which will be fellowship with himself in glory, and the privilege of being colaborers with him in the blessing of the world,--the grand fulfilment of the heavenly Father's gracious plans for the world of mankind.
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ABLE TO COMPREHEND WITH ALL SAINTS.
"PROCRASTINATION is the thief of time," is an old proverb and a true one: and time lost means opportunities lost, and the advantages and privileges which went with the opportunities, also lost. If Christian people (all the truly consecrated) could get the proper view of the divine plan, and could see clearly, with the eyes of their understanding, the great work which God is now doing amongst mankind, and could see their privileges in connection therewith, life would become much more real, much more earnest, to them than it is. We do not mention the world in general, but recognize it as having no hearing and no sight for divine things now;--being blinded by the god of this world, and deafened by the babel and clamor, which he induces and perpetuates for this purpose. Thank God for the gracious promises of the Word: that in the new dispensation, under Christ's Millennial Kingdom, all the blind eyes shall be opened, and all the deaf ears shall be unstopped. (`Isa. 35:5`.) But, seeing that the world is blind and deaf, we pause not to attempt a miracle with its children; but follow the Lord's injunction, and speak, so far as possible, only
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to those who have ears. "He that hath an ear, let him hear."
Those who have heard in any measure,--who have seen to any extent,--who have tasted to any degree, that the Lord is graciously extending his favor toward all those who come unto him through the Redeemer, and who have thus come into the household of faith,--are privileged far beyond the masses of our race who are still aliens and strangers and foreigners to God. But one difficulty is, that through false doctrines instigated by the Adversary, believers have gained so wrong a conception of the divine plan, and of the divine character formulating that plan, that they not only do not love God with all their heart, but, on the contrary, they desire to have as little to do with him as possible;--as little as will secure their everlasting escape from an eternity of torture, which they have been taught to believe he has prepared for the great mass of his creatures.
We cannot blame people, who view God and his plan from this false standpoint, if they take comparatively little interest in studying the Bible, which they believe is the revelation of these horrible preparations, --predetermined before the world was made. Our first effort in approaching the average Christian professor should be to anoint the eyes of his understanding with "the oil of joy," by briefly explaining to him the way of the Lord more perfectly. It is well to begin where God begins, and where the apostles begin the story of salvation; viz., with the cross of Christ. It is well to impress, first of all, that as a race we are all under condemnation through original sin, and that there is no escape for any, except through the Redeemer whom God has provided. Next, it is well to show just what the penalty is, that it is not eternal suffering,--torment; but eternal death, a death from which there could be no recovery,--annihilation. Next, it will be in order to show God's compassion in providing the Savior, who paid for us the very penalty against us-- that in his flesh he "suffered, the just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God" (`1 Pet. 3:18`): that he did not suffer eternal torment, but the very penalty against us; viz., eternal death. Next, it will be in order to show that although the flesh of Christ was thus given up eternally, as man's ransom price, God nevertheless raised him from the dead, giving him a new life, a new being,--making him a "new creature;" and that accordingly he is no longer a man in the flesh, but is again a spirit being, now of the divine nature, far above angels, principalities and powers.--`Eph. 1:21`; `1 Pet. 3:22`.
Next in order it will be proper to show how the death of Christ could effect all mankind;--that it was because Jesus took the place of father Adam, and thus redeemed his life;--and because the whole race was condemned in Adam, therefore his personal redemption would imply, legally and justly, that the penalty was sufficient for the sins of the whole world condemned in him,--and not condemned on their own account. Next in order we should show that the object in this purchase of the world, was, and still is, that every member of Adam's race might have an opportunity, as Adam had, of showing the Lord his willingness to be obedient to him and to his laws, and thus to obtain at his hand the great gift of everlasting existence. To Adam only this will be really a second chance, as his race has had no chance yet;--being born in sin and under its penalty of death.
By this time your hearer should be ready to see that the trial which God proposes to give mankind is not such a trial as comes to a felon, a convict, before a criminal court,--to determine whether he is guilty or not guilty; for, on the contrary, in the case of mankind God already has determined that "all are guilty," that "there is none righteous, no not one." It is because such a trial would be a useless mockery, that nothing of the kind is proposed by the Lord, though this is the unreasonable thought common among his people. Seeing that we are hopeless as respects clearing ourselves, God has by his own plan and arrangement already paid the penalty for every man, --through the sacrifice of his Son. Hence, the whole world of mankind, when put on trial for life everlasting, will not stand trial as convicts, but as redeemed freed-men whose release from the original death sentence has been fully paid by the ransom-sacrifice of Christ. Their trial will be to determine their choice of lasting life or death--on God's terms--as Adam made choice in his trial;--to determine which they would choose after gaining a knowledge of sin and its penalty, everlasting death,--and a knowledge of righteousness and the reward of righteousness, life everlasting; --their choice being indicated by their obedience or disobedience to the divine mandates.
Whoever follows the plan thus far, is prepared to see that God has not yet given to mankind in general the great trial, or opportunity secured for all by the sacrifice of our Lord Jesus,--for testing their worthiness or unworthiness of life everlasting. All who are not grossly blinded by error and prejudice can see that a full, fair opportunity for judging between right and wrong, and for choosing the right and rejecting the wrong, has not yet come to the world as a whole. They can see that ignorance, prejudice and superstition are blinding the world still; and looking back along the aisles of history they can see that such blindness has been in the world for centuries;--since before the redemption price of the world was paid.
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If your hearer be of an inquiring mind he will now be questioning when or how a full knowledge and opportunity, or trial will, or could be extended to mankind; and this will be the favorable opportunity for reminding him of the Apostle's words, "God hath appointed a day [still future] in the which he will judge the world [not condemn the world, for the world is condemned already, for which reason Christ died for the ungodly;--but he will judge the world in the sense of granting all a trial] in righteousness [under righteous, favorable, just, reasonable conditions] by that man whom he hath ordained [the great Messiah, the Royal Priest, whose reign is to bring blessing and uplift to whomsoever will of all the families of the earth]." (`Acts 17:31`.) It is of these times of blessing and restitution that the Apostle Peter declares that all the holy prophets since the world began have spoken. (`Acts 3:19-21`.) And no wonder, since they spoke as oracles of God; for God has had this very purpose from the foundation of the world;--knowing in advance the course that sin would take, and the course which man would take under the delusions of sin, because of experience.
BEGINNINGS OF COMPREHENSION.
As the mental eyes and ears of the believer begin to take in this fulness of God's provision for his creatures, his former fears begin to subside; and he begins to get a realizing sense of the goodness and love of God, as never before. But still he will have queries. He will want to know when this day of which the Apostle speaks will begin;--the day of the world's judgment, or trial in righteousness, under favorable conditions. He will want to know why it did not begin immediately after our Lord's death and resurrection, --if it waited for and was dependent upon his atoning work. This will be the proper opportunity for opening before the eyes of his understanding another department of our heavenly Father's gracious plan; --showing him what is so clearly set forth in the Scriptures; viz., that the Father has purposed an elect and select Church to be as a Bride joined to Christ, her Lord and Redeemer and Bridegroom;--as a special illustration of divine mercy and goodness, sharing his glory, honor and immortality;--"changed" to the divine nature in the first resurrection.
He now will begin to understand faintly what the Apostle meant when he declared, "Eye hath not seen nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared [in reservation] for them that love him; but God hath revealed them unto us by his spirit." (`1 Cor. 2:9,10`.) He will begin to appreciate the fact that when we enter the Lord's family and become members of the household of faith, we are only on the threshold, of knowledge and appreciation, and have need of progress and growth. He will begin to understand the force of the Apostle's words when he said, speaking to Christians, and not to worldly people, "I bow my knees unto the Father,...that he would grant you... that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth and length and depth and height; and to know the love of Christ." (`Eph. 3:14-19`.) As again he says, "I cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of
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you in my prayers, that the...Father of glory may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him, the eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints."--`Eph. 1:16-18`.
It requires time for heart and head so to expand as to take in a glimpse of such a wonderful blessing as this which God has provided for the "elect." But whoever gets even a faint glimpse of the greatness of God's favor toward the Church, will not be surprised that in the divine plan so liberal an allowance as nearly nineteen centuries was made for the calling and chastisement and perfecting of the saints for the great and glorious work to which they, as joint-heirs with Messiah, are called. Neither will they think strange, the fiery trials which try all of these whom the Lord our God calls, and accepts as probationary members of the elect Kingdom class. They will perceive, readily enough, that if it was expedient, yea, necessary, that our Lord Jesus, with all of his experience in the heavenly courts, must "learn obedience by the things which he suffered," and prove his loyalty to the Father by faithfulness even unto death, much more must his followers --whose previous history was that of sinners-- be tried and thoroughly tested in respect to their loyalty to the Lord.
From this standpoint, the experiences of Christians take on a totally new meaning; and those who have made consecration of themselves to the Lord realize that they are running for a mark, and for a prize; --no longer are their steps so unsteady, no longer are their hearts so faint and so careless, no longer do the world's baubles prove so enticing and ensnaring. God is thus working in them through the Word of his grace, through its exceeding great and precious promises. Through these he works in them to will to be faithful to him; and then to do;--conform their lives to the requirements of his Word. The same truth becomes also a power, a strength of God, in them, enabling them more and more to do those things which they should--the things pleasing in God's sight.
In this view, all is clear and plain; not only do we
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see that God permits evil in the world that the world may learn certain lessons of bitter experience, as to the natural rewards of evil doing, but we see also a ministry of evil in respect to the saints--in their testing and polishing and refining; making them ready, and proving them worthy, as overcomers, to inherit the wonderful things which God has in reservation for the faithful. This will be, to the intelligent believer, a full explanation of why God has not yet undertaken the blessing of the world;--of why the promises, made through the prophets, of a coming time when the knowledge of the Lord will fill the earth, and the curse be rolled away, have not yet been fulfilled. They can see that it is the rolling away of this curse, the wiping away of all tears, the bringing of blessings to mankind, that is the very work for which God has commissioned his glorified Son, and for joint-heirship in which he is selecting the Bride, the Lamb's wife.
From such a vantage point of view, the most sluggish intellect will catch wonderful and refreshing glimpses of glory and blessing that are to follow, as soon as the present "ministry of evil" shall have accomplished its work. Looking into the future they begin to realize something of the lengths and breadths and heights and depths of the divine plan, and they will be ready to exclaim, "Oh, if God's plan is so great that it has required such a broad foundation, such great preparation, in the person of our Lord, and in the persons of his people who will be joint-heirs with him in the Kingdom, how very great must be the blessing that shall be ministered to the world through these, when the appointed time shall come!"
At first, the thoughts of the blessing coming to the poor groaning creation, and of the glories coming to the faithful and loyal and suffering saints, will overwhelm your auditor; and he can see and think of nothing else, for a while, than the stupendous grace of God manifested in this wonderful plan of human salvation. But, by and by, he will begin to think of himself, and what part he is privileged to have under the divine arrangement; and, as he sees a possibility of joint-heirship with the Lord amongst the faithful overcomers, he will find that all the exceeding great and precious promises of God's Word, and the new hopes inspired thereby, will be an energy and a power in his soul which he never before knew;--a purifying energy, a sanctifying power. "He that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure." Instinctively he will begin to heed the Apostle's exhortation, to "lay aside every weight, and the sin that doth so easily beset us; and to run with patience the race that is set before us in the Gospel."-- `Heb. 12:1`.
Soon after, various exhortations of the Word will have a new and a deeper meaning to him. As for instance, when he reads the Apostle's exhortation, "Let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and of the spirit, perfecting holiness in the reverence of the Lord" (`2 Cor. 7:1`), his words, his thoughts, his actions, his clothing, his personal appearance, will all come under inspection from a new standpoint;--he is no longer a condemned sinner, but a justified and sanctified son of God;--his representative;--his ambassador. It will be a new thought to him, to some extent, that cleansing the flesh is a part of the sanctifying work; and that a cleansing of the spirit or mind or thoughts or intentions, is equally necessary,--in order to the attainment of a condition of heart pleasing and acceptable to the Lord. And although he will never attain the perfection in the flesh, because of inherited blemishes, he will, nevertheless, assuredly make considerable progress in this direction; and not to see some progress should be a cause of disappointment, and should lead to self-examination at the mercy-seat. (`Heb. 4:16`.) He will hear, moreover, the Apostle Peter's exhortation to the same class, saying, "Add to your faith virtue [fortitude]; and to virtue knowledge; and to knowledge self-control; and to self-control patience; and to patience godliness; and to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness love. For if these things be in you and abound they make you that ye shall be neither barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ. ...For so an entrance shall be ministered unto you abundantly into the everlasting Kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ."--`2 Pet. 1:5-8,11`.
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LIFE AND DEATH.
So he died for his faith; that is fine--
More than most of us do.
But stay, can you add to that line
That he lived for it, too?
In his death he bore witness at last
As a martyr to truth;
Did his life do the same in the past,
From the days of his youth?
It is easy to die; men have died
For a wish or a whim--
From bravado or passion or pride--
Was it harder for him?
But to live--every day to live out
All the truth that he dreamt,
While his friends met his conduct with doubt,
And the world with contempt;--
Was it thus that he plodded ahead,
Never turning aside?
Then we'll talk of the life that he led--
Never mind how he died. --Ernest Crosby.
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LETTERS OF INTEREST.
DEAR MR. RUSSELL--
My sister and I are forwarding our subscriptions for the WATCH TOWER for the ensuing year. You must get many letters of the sort that I am going to write to you, but you can never tire of hearing how our loving Father uses you for emancipating and feeding burdened and hungry souls such as we were before we read your books. We daily bless God for raising you up to be such an unspeakable blessing to us. The feast spread before us and the light shed upon God's Word almost overwhelms us at times. If you had known us two years ago! We were brought up with the doctrine of eternal misery of some sort for the vast majority, and only a few to be saved, drilled into us. We never really accepted it complacently, and in consequence we were in bondage for the struggling masses,--but I am sure you must understand all that we went through. For years we prayed that God would reveal himself in love to us but did not understand in the least how he would do it; and now he has; and how fully only those who have read and love your books know. We love the TOWERS and look for them.
We both do what we can to spread the glorious gospel of the love of God, but are most surprised to find that professedly Christian, consecrated people will not search the Scriptures to see whether these things are so, and have simply repudiated the subject. We cannot understand it. We have been used of the Lord for ordinary professors of religion and for people of the world, and have found some of them really hungry. We understand our Lord's words now, "Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." Yours in our Redeemer and Lord,
(MRS.) E. NEWTON,--England.
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--
Greetings to you in the Lord! My heart is filled with joy over the remarkable attention the Truth has drawn in the Carnegie Hall meetings, and what a joy it must be to you to be the instrument in the Lord's hands to convey the wonderful message to "whosoever hath an ear." May God's blessings continue to rest on you richly and abound, and on your noble coworkers in the Allegheny Church.
Just a few words about the class here. I think it is because the Lord has been opening my eyes more and more each month and filling my heart with heavenly blessings that I am able to see the wonderful growth of the others in our class. The spirit of love and unselfishness is growing very rapidly, for which we greatly rejoice in the Lord. We meet every Sunday afternoon for Bible study, and Sunday night we use our new Bibles and DAWNS and TOWERS. Wednesday evening we have a prayer and testimony meeting, and the last Friday evening of each month we meet for a song service and a general good talk along the lines of the truth.
There are quite a few getting interested and we feel quite encouraged. One of these was a very worldly man, and a chance (?) sentence or two of mine one day in the
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shop raised a question in his mind which I was only too glad to answer. The seed seemed to light on good soil, and I gave him the first volume to read, then the second and third. Of course profanity had to go, and then tobacco and so on, and he is really making remarkable progress. Your brother in the Lord,
C. B. SHULL,--Ohio.
Our Volunteer report is tardy, but the churches have comparatively few in attendance until the weather begins to be unfavorable at the Beaches, at which time also the tourists begin to reach here, making it more favorable to await.
We received 14,000 TOWERS for distribution, only 400 of which are on hand; these remaining ones we will see are properly disposed of.
Our Volunteers have manifested more love and zeal, I think, than in the past, and feel they were disappointed to find the work completed for this time. We meet more opposition than ever in the past. One minister came out the church and said he would see to it that there were laws passed which would stop this distribution of literature. When he left his church his farewell sermon was against this truth. In private, this same man said he thought he would do God a service to take the lives of such people who held such devilish doctrines.
We served about 110 churches in L__________ A__________ and about 21 churches in surrounding towns. The friends at P__________ served their churches alone this year.
We thank you all for your share in this work, your labor of love, and are grateful for the privilege we have in service, and trust we may receive more ammunition for future work. Sincerely yours in Him,
I received box of tracts some time ago with joy. It gives me joy to read the report in the TOWER at the last of the year--to know of the tons of glad tidings going forth in search of wheat grains. I have filled out and mailed all the addressed wrappers you sent me for India and other foreign countries, without the loss of one. I have, by the Lord's help, mailed over forty-seven thousand tracts since March 26, 1901, including the India and foreign mail, besides about twelve thousand before that date, while I was not so deeply interested. As I am appointed by the community of this place and the Post Office Department to hold the office of postmaster, the Lord, I think, has opened a way for me to work. I wish to use it, so long as it will be opened, for the good work, as I fear soon we will not be permitted to distribute the glad tidings. The Lord said, "Work while it is day, for the night cometh when no man can work."
Your unworthy servant in the Lord,
J. L. FREED,--Pennsylvania.