ZWT - 1912 - R4943 thru R5152 / R5144 (381) - December 15, 1912
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VOL. XXXIII DECEMBER 15 No. 24
A.D. 1912--A.M. 6041
The Truth in Foreign Fields...................383
The Adversary's Tactics...........................387
Accuser of the Brethren.......................387
The Philosophy of Our Daily Experiences...........388
Suffering Develops Character..................388
What Constitutes Purity of Heart..................389
Honorable Motives Indicative of Heart
By One Man's Sin the Death-Curse..................390
Death the Curse--Not Torture..................390
The Temptation of Eve.........................391
The Mark of Cain..................................391
Sin Croucheth at the Door.....................392
Brother-haters are Murderers..................392
Wise as Serpents--Harmless as Doves...............393
The Point Illustrated.........................393
Price List--Bibles, etc...........................394
WATCH TOWER BIBLE AND TRACT SOCIETY
CHARLES T. RUSSELL, PRESIDENT
"BROOKLYN TABERNACLE," 13-17 HICKS ST.,
BROOKLYN, N. Y., U. S. A.
Foreign Agencies:--British Branch: LONDON TABERNACLE, Lancaster Gate, London, W. German Branch: Unterdorner Str., 76, Barmen. Australasian Branch: Flinders Building, Flinders St., Melbourne. Please address the SOCIETY in every case.
ANNUAL SUBSCRIPTION PRICE, $1.00 (4s.) IN ADVANCE. SEND MONEY BY EXPRESS, BANK DRAFT, POSTAL ORDER, OR REGISTERED. FROM FOREIGN COUNTRIES BY FOREIGN MONEY ORDERS, ONLY.
Terms to the Lord's Poor as Follows:--All Bible Students who, by reason of old age, or other infirmity or adversity, are unable to pay for this Journal, will be supplied Free if they send a Postal Card each May stating their case and requesting its continuance. We are not only willing, but anxious, that all such be on our list continually and in touch with the STUDIES, etc.
ALSO FRENCH, GERMAN, SWEDISH AND DANISH EDITIONS. SAMPLE COPIES FREE.
ENTERED AS SECOND-CLASS MAIL MATTER AT BROOKLYN, N.Y., POSTOFFICE. ENTERED AS SECOND-CLASS MATTER AT THE POSTOFFICE DEPT., OTTAWA, CANADA.
INTERNATIONAL BIBLE STUDENTS ASSOCIATION MEETINGS
AT WHICH BROTHER RUSSELL WILL BE THE PRINCIPAL SPEAKER
[FRIENDS FROM NEARBY PLACES ARE CORDIALLY INVITED.]
LANCASTER, PA., DEC. 22
Morning Rally and Discourse for the Interested at 10 o'clock. Afternoon service at 3 o'clock, public lecture. Both services will be held in the Colonial Theatre, North Queen St.
LOUISVILLE, KY., DEC. 29
Praise, Prayer and Testimony meeting and Discourse for the Interested at 10:30 o'clock in I.B.S.A. Hall, 528 S. Sixth Street. Public lecture at 3 p.m. in Macauley's Theatre, corner Fourth and Walnut Streets.
WASHINGTON, D.C., JAN. 5, 12, 19
Public Service at 3 o'clock, Washington Temple, New York Avenue and Thirteenth Street, N.W. Address to I.B.S.A. Class at 7:30 p.m., Old Masonic Temple, corner Ninth and F Streets, N.W.
SYMBOLIC BAPTISM IN WATER
On Sunday morning at 10 o'clock, January 5, at the Brooklyn Tabernacle, an opportunity will be given for symbolic baptism in water. Robes, etc., will be provided. Any desiring to symbolize will please give us timely notice.
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WATCH TOWER BIBLE AND TRACT SOCIETY
DECEMBER 1ST, 1911-DECEMBER 1ST, 1912
OUR FISCAL YEAR begins and ends December 1. The year past has been one of the most interesting and successful in our Society's experience. Every day has seemed to add momentum to the work. Those who have been enjoying the light of Present Truth for years seem generally to be ripening in Christian character and in loving zeal for the Lord, the Truth and the brethren. Nothing pleases us more than this.
The next most interesting thing is the manifest awakening of thinking Christian people of all denominations. Many dear people of God have lived in a sort of religious lethargy for years. Sometimes they dreamed of converting the world, only to be rudely awakened to a fresh realization that if the heathen were brought to the same civilization that prevails in Christendom, God's will would be as far as ever from being done on earth as in Heaven. Others have had nightmares of horror as their minds would be recalled to the teachings of their creeds--as they would remember the old theory that all except the saintly Elect few will spend an eternity in torture.
The awakening ones very generally wander off into "Higher Criticism" unbelief, Evolution theories, and general doubt respecting everything. Others wander into Christian Science, and seek to convince themselves that aches and pains are purely imagination, etc., etc. Still others wander into New Thought, etc., only to find, in these, dangerous quicksands. Under the Lord's providence many of all these classes during the past year have been brought in contact with the Bible's own teaching, which we all have so long lost under the debris of human theory and tradition.
It has been a real pleasure to note, as the weeks went by, the increased attendance at the meetings and the increased number of meetings being held and the development of faithful brethren everywhere as heralds of the "good tidings." It has been a great satisfaction to read some of the warmly encouraging letters that have been received from hungry souls. Some tell of the sweetness of the Truth at its very first hearing. Others tell of how increasingly precious the Word of God grows, as their study of it continues in the light of the Divine Plan of the Ages. Surely THE WATCH TOWER is the favored place for a review of the entire Harvest field!
The Lord has greatly blessed the brethren who have engaged in Class Extension work, especially in Great Britain and America. There is room in this Department for the talents of every consecrated child of God. The Harvest is great. The laborers are few. All who are praying to the Lord to send forth more laborers are surely zealously watching for opportunities to take a hand in the work themselves. And all this energy is showing fruitage. There is nothing like it in the whole world. No money inducements! Everything is done from the love of the Lord and His Truth, and from a great desire to "show forth the praises of Him who hath called us out of darkness into His marvelous light." The blessing is two-fold. Not only are many thus brought into the light and caused to rejoice in the fullness of our Savior and His great salvation, but the laborers all receive spiritual refreshment, in proportion as they seek to lay down their lives and talents in the Harvest work.
THE TRUTH IN FOREIGN FIELDS
Our readers are aware that our Society has been doing something in South Africa and South India during the past three years. Evidently the Lord's blessing in some degree on the work in foreign lands led up to the sending of an I.B.S.A. Committee to see the conditions of the heathen and to report. The report was given in the early part of the year, and published in a special issue of this journal. We have received complimentary testimonies respecting the truthfulness of the Report and the kindly spirit with which those truths, not altogether flattering, were presented. Some of these have come from foreign lands.
As a result of that investigation it was decided that conditions in heathendom warranted the expenditure of some of the Society's funds in proclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom there. Accordingly, free literature was printed in six of the principal languages of India, the two principal languages of China, in the Japanese and in the Korean. This literature was designed principally for those professing Christ. But reports indicate that many non-Christians have manifested eagerness for the study of these things.
The Bible story of the election of the Church to be joint-heirs with Jesus in the Messianic Kingdom was new and palatable to many of the Christian natives and others; and the Bible assurance presented to them, that their friends and forefathers who have died in heathenish darkness were not in purgatory nor a hell of eternal torture, but in the Bible hell, the grave, was a relief to many.
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God's character, cleared of the awful stain laid upon it by our creeds, shone more brightly before the minds of many. We may be sure that the effect on honest hearts everywhere is the same; namely, that "the Love of God constraineth us."
THE WORK IN SOUTH INDIA
In South India, where the London Missionary Society has had a start for over a hundred years, where it has established colleges, etc., the field seemed ripe for the Gospel of the Kingdom which we sent to them. As the people heard and read of the good time coming, it cheered them. According to the reports, the missionaries endeavor to keep the people from hearing, even threatening to excommunicate those who attend our meetings, and, going further than this, threatening to excommunicate whole families if even one member attends our meetings. And further, they are reported to have declared that they would not allow any marrying between any of their faithful and any who might come to hear and have a relish for the "good tidings of great joy which shall be for all people." But in spite of all the threats and endeavors and influence and rice, the hungry hearts came to our meetings and got some crumbs of comfort, benefiting in the present life and preparing them, we trust, for the life to come.
The latest reports from South India are that the missionaries of that vicinity, unable to stem the popularity of our Bible meetings, have been obliged to start similar Bible instruction respecting the Kingdom. Well, whether it be from strife or from some other motives, we are glad that Messiah's Kingdom is being heralded to whoever will be "Israelites indeed" of far-off India.
If the missionaries would all preach the Gospel of the Kingdom, if they would all tell the people the Bible Truth respecting "the wages of sin" and "the gift of God," the coming of Messiah, the rolling away of the curse and the pouring out of God's blessing, and announce that this grand consummation of the Divine Plan is near at hand, how glad we would be! If now our efforts have stirred them up to give the people the real Bible Message, we are glad.
Undoubtedly there are sincere missionaries, but such sincere ones are hampered and hindered by the limitations placed upon them respecting the creeds--burdens which are becoming galling to all "whom the Son makes free." But with the missionary, as with the home pastor of civilized lands, every one seems bound up in his congregational
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fetters. Only the courageous "overcomers" could even think of bursting the bonds which associate them with their food supply, their honor of men, and all opportunity they know for Divine service. We sympathize with such. Would that they might take a more satisfactory course! Would that they might exercise more faith in God!
If the ministers have much advantage every way as respects education, time, opportunity for study, etc., they are also having weightier trials, because any change of denominational base to them means practically their all. Few of them realize that this is the very test which the Lord wishes to bring to bear upon every one called during this Gospel Age--faithfulness, loyalty, zeal for God and His Truth--even unto death, counting not their lives dear unto themselves. It is of this class that it is written, "They shall be Mine, saith the Lord, in that day when I make up My jewels."--`Mal. 3:17`.
THE NEWSPAPER WORK
Very encouraging reports come to us respecting the influence of the Truth as it goes out from week to week through the public press of the English-speaking world. Approximately fourteen hundred newspapers are publishing our sermons and Sunday School comments every week. Our Adversary, God's Adversary, Satan, is, of course, displeased now, as he was eighteen hundred years ago, to perceive that "the poor have the Gospel preached unto them." Yet notwithstanding slanders, misrepresentations and violent attacks made by some, God's blessing continues with the work; and approximately twelve millions of people have the opportunity every week of learning a little respecting God and His Word--His Plan.
One would think that every true Christian in every pulpit, in every pew, would thank God that the people whom they could not get into the churches are having the Message of God's Love laid before their eyes in an attractive form weekly. It would be a pity if anything akin to jealousy should anywhere spring up to poison a Christian heart against a fellow-Christian and fellow-servant. Any one engaged in sowing such seed and planting such roots of bitterness would assuredly have Divine disfavor for his portion in some manner. But our point is, that, by the grace of God, the Gospel is preached. Earnest souls are being found. Hungry ones are being fed and made to rejoice. God is being glorified.
Let us be thankful to have any share in this great work. More and more it appeals to us to be the Lord's work. We cannot see how it could progress so marvelously as it has done, except under His blessing. We give Him our thanks. What if it has stirred up here and there an evil spirit in a class which the Bible describes as "sons of Belial"? What if these do fulfil toward us the Word of the Lord which declares, Whoever of you will live godly shall suffer persecution?
What if we do receive from some revilings, slanders, persecutions? Did not the Master forewarn us that this would be a part of our wages, saying, "They shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for My sake? Rejoice, and be exceeding glad, for great is your reward in Heaven; for so persecuted they the Prophets which were before you." St. Paul, who suffered not only from the tongues of men, but also from their whips, declared that present experiences were light afflictions, when viewed from the standpoint of the glory that is to follow as a reward of faithful endurance.
The proper way to view such experiences is to call to mind the blessed revenge which soon we shall be fitted and prepared to mete out to our enemies. In the language of the Scriptures, we shall by and by heap coals of fire upon the heads of those who now persecute us, by blessing them, opening the eyes of their understanding and helping them onward and upward to greater knowledge of God and harmony with His gracious arrangements. That is the kind of revenge that God is preparing for those who now so grievously misrepresent Him and His Word--ignorantly.
Let us be assured that ignorance rather than malevolence is at the foundation of opposition to the Truth. It was so at the First Advent. Many of those Scribes and Pharisees and chief priests were fairly decent people. They had theories of their own respecting God's Plan-- as to how it must be fulfilled. Their own plans seemed better than God's because they were worldly-minded--not "Israelites indeed"--at heart.
Cannot very similar things be said truthfully and kindly respecting many of the ecclesiastically prominent in the present Harvest time? If so, instead of thinking too harshly, let us rather take our cue from St. Peter's words when, speaking under the influence of the Holy Spirit, he said to repentant Jews, "I wot, brethren, that in ignorance
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ye did it, as did also your rulers"; and St. Paul's words, "for, had they known, they would not have crucified the Lord of Glory."
So ignorance is the excuse for much of the wrong that has been done in the world amongst those bearing the name of Christ during the past eighteen centuries. And the same is true today. It behooves us, while seeking to rid ourselves of ignorance and to come to a clear knowledge of the Truth, to have sympathy for those whose eyes of understanding are still more or less blinded by "the god of this world." Let us pray for such, as St. Paul did, saying, "I pray God for you that the eyes of your understanding opening, ye may be able to comprehend with all saints the height and the depth, the length and the breadth --and to know the Love of God, which passeth all understanding." --`Eph. 1:18`; `3:18,19`.
THE WATCH TOWER LISTS
Post Office rulings require us to keep our subscription lists very clean. When subscriptions expire, but a short time can be left for renewals. This insures that our list is quite a live one. For several years we have been urging the friends that, instead of lending their papers to interested friends, they encourage them to become subscribers to THE WATCH TOWER and to the papers publishing the sermons. Friends of the Cause have provided a special Fund out of which any such subscriptions can be paid, so that poverty need not be a hindrance to the receiving of a regular supply of spiritual food.
In various ways we know that our list still represents only the smaller portion of those really interested in the Harvest Message. The list, however, is gradually growing. Many of you will be glad to know that we are now publishing thirty-five thousand or more copies at every issue. We wish we dared hope for an increase of fifteen thousand or more during the coming year. The matter is in your hands. If you are receiving a blessing through these channels, and if you desire to extend the blessings to others, be sure you properly advise them.
THE PILGRIM SERVICE
The Lord continues His blessing with the Pilgrim service. It is not the Society's desire to supply regular preaching for the Classes or in any manner to relieve them of the responsibility for their own spiritual upbuilding. The frequent supply of Pilgrims, therefore, is confined to large cities, where a more public witness than the local Class is able to provide seems necessary. Even then, we encourage the Classes to continue their regular studies, just as though the Pilgrims did not come so frequently.
Pilgrim visits are intended to serve a double purpose: First, to assist in giving from time to time public witnesses for the Truth--but preferably only one or two public discourses at each visit; second, the coming of a Pilgrim affords excellent opportunity for refreshing and strengthening the Household of Faith. They may be called upon to help unravel knotty questions which may arise, although there will generally be found in every Class some familiar enough with the STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES to give a Scriptural answer to nearly every important question.
Many Classes of Bible Students have written us that by vote they have chosen the Editor of this journal as their Pastor (under-shepherd or bishop). We suggest to such that the Pilgrim brethren be considered in a general way our assistants, and that they be received accordingly. This does not mean that the lessons they give, the spiritual food which they present, should be received carelessly, or without proper mastication.
Rather, the Lord would have all of His dear sheep use their consecrated minds in rightly dividing the Word of Truth, giving special heed to the suggestions and expositions of those whom they have reason to believe are serving them according to the will of God. This advice would be applicable to the presentations of the Pastor or the Pilgrims or the local Elders--everybody.
Whenever public meetings are thought to be desirable, remember that one of the chief necessities for such an occasion is the procurement of a desirable auditorium-- clean and in good repute. In many respects opera houses or small theatres of good class are more desirable than churches, because people of all denominations and those who attend no church services will feel free to come. The friends are gradually learning that it is useless to invite intelligent people to a meeting held in a dingy place or more than one flight of stairs from the street level. They are learning, too, the necessity for advertising meetings when they have good halls.
For success, the three things must co-operate--a speaker of ability, a desirable auditorium and the meeting well advertised. In the past much advertising effort has been wasted by poor auditoriums. Where notified that a public meeting is desired the Society will, as far as possible, apportion Sundays--especially if the town is of reasonable size and if the promises in respect to auditorium, etc., are encouraging. Increase of wisdom along these lines is helping forward the work in every direction. These same remarks apply in a lesser degree to Class Extension work, by which we mean meetings held in surrounding
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villages and towns by those Elders who have talent for public speaking and whose services are not needed by the local Class sending them forth. The Society has had the pleasure of co-operating along these lines during the year. The results are encouraging every way. All classes that have the talent to spare and that have not engaged in this Extension work should write to us for particulars at once. This work is in harmony with the Master's instruction, Pray the Lord of the Harvest that He will send forth more laborers into His vineyard. Let us labor while we pray.--`Matt. 9:38`.
SUMMARY PILGRIM SERVICE
Total number of ministers engaged................. 60
" " " cities and towns visited.......... 5,788
" " " public meetings................... 3,683
" " in attendance........................ 564,707
Semi-public meetings held......................... 9,881
Total number in attendance........................ 248,293
" miles traveled.............................. 622,373
BIBLE STUDY CLASS EXTENSION
Number of meetings reported....................... 3,595
Attendance at meetings............................ 108,563
Number of copies "Everybody's Paper" and
other announcements circulated................... 1,732,870
Reported cost of these meetings................... $9,389.02
Amount supplied by the Society.................... $1,003.18
THE CORRESPONDENCE DEPARTMENT
Naturally, our correspondence increases every year. However, a change is noticeable in the character of the communications. Those who have been long on our list are asking fewer questions, finding that they have the answers already in THE WATCH TOWER and in the six volumes of STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES. But our clerical force is still busily engaged in replying to questions from beginners, who have received of our literature and desire further spiritual nourishment. Herewith we present to you a memorandum of the number of letters received and
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the number dispatched. All parts of the earth are represented in our mail.
Total letters received 1912--Brooklyn............. 143,756
Total letters dispatched 1912--Brooklyn........... 264,190
THE COLPORTEUR WORK
It amazes us that the sale of STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES continues as it does. Colporteurs report to us that with the new method they are using they can generally sell the entire set of six volumes as easily as they formerly sold one volume or three volumes. The general awakening amongst Christian people is permitting many of them to become enlightened, preparing them for the Truth. They are satisfied neither with the darkness of the past, nor with the unbelief of Higher Criticism or Evolution. A soul-hunger is abroad in the world--with an increasing number of people. We thank God that we have for them the true Bread of Life, of which both they and we have so long sung,
"It satisfies my longings
As nothing else can do."
The number of volumes of STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES, etc., circulated during the year, we here report with considerable satisfaction. We congratulate especially all the dear Colporteurs. Nearly all of these books were sold by them.
The total number of volumes of STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES circulated in 1912 was 634,951.
FREE LITERATURE CIRCULATED
Our two little papers, PEOPLES PULPIT and EVERYBODY'S PAPER, circulated for the most part free, have gone far and wide this year in thirty-three different languages. The friends, our readers, knowing that they can have literature in any language, are more and more availing themselves of the privilege and seeking to interest their neighbors. Incidentally we remark that the majority of people can serve the Lord's Cause much better by handing a tract with a few commendatory words than by seeking to explain the Divine Plan. So many forget in telling of God's glorious Plan that their hearers are comparatively ignorant of it--that they know only the first principles of the Gospel of Christ, and have need that one teach them again the rudiments. A teacher must be wise and give only the kind and only the quantity that will nourish.-- `Heb. 5:12-14`.
Too many make a mistake, choking their friends with strong meat. Others make the mistake of talking too boastfully and drawing unpleasing comparisons, saying, What you believe, and, What we believe. We are glad, however, that all are gradually learning the import of the Master's words, "Be ye wise as serpents, harmless as doves." Let us remember that we not long ago were in similar darkness to that which generally prevails--and still we were Christians.
Hence we should not, in talking to our friends, give any hint that they do not belong to the family of God. Rather we find it the much better way to class ourselves in with all as true neighbors, to acknowledge that once we were in darkness, and to express the thought that all Christian people are becoming more and more enlightened in respect to the teaching of God's Word, because we are now living in God's due time for revealing some of the secrets of God's glorious Plan of the Ages. We are now living in the time of which the Prophet Daniel declared, "The wise shall understand"--the Wise Virgin class.--`Dan. 12:10`; `Matt. 25:1-3`.
TRACTS DISTRIBUTED, INCLUDING EVERYBODY'S PAPER
AND PEOPLES PULPIT
November 1, 1911, to November 1, 1912.
In the English language................. 34,672,475 copies.
In all other languages.................. 848,000 "
Grand total of tracts................... 35,520,475 "
Equaling in usual tract pages........... 481,632,950 pages.
The above does not include the millions published in Great Britain and Australia nor in foreign languages.
As we look back over the past, we perceive a steady progress in the amount of money donated to the Tract Fund for the promulgation of the Truth. Each year has shown a little better than its predecessor, and the present one is no exception to this rule. Remember, too, that few of our donations are large--that not many WATCH TOWER subscribers have much of this world's goods. Two things astonish our enemies and our friends:--
(1) While all denominations of Christendom are in distress because of increased expenditure and decreased contributions and because they are ashamed to beg more than they have done, our receipts, on the contrary, without solicitation, come gradually forward, apparently just as they are needed. Or rather, we should say, keeping within our receipts we are enabled to push the work a little more and a little more every year. Of course, we could do much more if we had more means; but we are not worried about that, for if the Lord desires us to do greater things, He is abundantly able to provide the means.
(2) The other point which surprises both our enemies and our friends is the large amount of work accomplished with the small amount of money expended. This is attributable to the fact that we pay no salaries, and all of our expenses are kept at a minimum. Our home and office force of over a hundred persons all labor diligently, earnestly, perseveringly, rendering their services as unto the Lord. We have no drones. All are provided for decently, comfortably, as, we believe, the Lord would be pleased with, but very inexpensively. This is one secret of our ability to do more than others with the same amount of money. Financial statement follows:--
Paid Shortage of 1911............................ $22,415.93
Receipts from "Good Hopes,"
Tract Fund, etc............... $200,767.51
Expended in the work mentioned above:
In the United States and Canada 134,228.43
In Great Britain............... 20,038.60
" Austria..................... 4,663.97
" Germany..................... 1,562.12
" Sweden...................... 1,338.04
" Denmark and Norway.......... 1,059.52
" South Africa................ 1,298.77
" Jamaica and South America... 3,933.69
" Japan....................... 2,300.00
" China....................... 2,300.00
" Korea....................... 2,028.62
" India....................... 1,723.19
" France, Italy and
" Greece...................... 240.00
" Hungary and Poland.......... 471.29
" Philippine Islands.......... 157.95
Cash balance on hand........... 663.72
We will not here mention particularly the outlook for the future, but will leave that for next issue. We thank God for the privileges and blessings of the year closing,
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and rejoice with you all that by His grace we have had the privilege of His service. Let us press forward,
"Still achieving, still pursuing."
Let us not be fearful of the great Adversary's roar, when, like a roaring lion, he would seek to intimidate us. "Be of good courage and He shall strengthen thine heart." "He who has begun a good work in us is able to complete it." "He knoweth our frame and remembereth that we are dust." He will not suffer us to be tempted above that we are able, but will, with every temptation, provide a way of escape.--`I Cor. 10:13`.
"Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,
But trust Him for His grace;
Behind a frowning providence
He hides a smiling face.
"Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take;
The clouds ye so much dread
Are big with mercy and shall break
In blessings on your head."
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THE ADVERSARY'S TACTICS
"For we are not ignorant of his devices."--`2 Cor. 2:11`.
AS WE PROGRESS toward the consummation of the Harvest, it should not surprise us that in every way the Adversary becomes more persistent in his attacks. Opposition to the Divine Plan of the Ages is on the increase everywhere. Slanderous misrepresentations are so unblushingly made as to carry a measure of conviction with them, to the injury of the Cause we serve.
What Satan cannot do against the Truth along the lines of logic, the Bible and common sense, he seeks to do through slanderous misrepresentations of all who take their stand on the side of Truth; and his opposition is incurred usually in proportion to the activity of the servants of the Truth. This opposition is to them a trial of faith and of patient endurance. It tests their loyalty to God, to the Truth and to the brethren. It becomes, likewise, a test of brotherly love to the household of faith. It does a sifting or separating work. "The Lord your God proveth you."--`Deut. 13:3`.
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The same line of attack furnishes special trials for the church nominal--both wheat and tares. It gives opportunity for exhibitions of envy, anger, malice, hatred, strife, evil-surmising and evil-speaking. Thus many are being tested and their love of unrighteousness is being shown. "By their fruits ye shall know them." (`Matt. 7:20`.) The thorn and brier classes, however closely affiliated with religious things, are not Vine branches. They do not bear the fruit of the Vine, but contrariwise are injurious to the Lord's people. "The poison of asps is under their lips." Some of them are courageous enough to make lies; others, less courageous, love the lies and are mean enough to circulate them. The advance of the Day of the Lord will ultimately reveal the true situation. Some will have shame and contempt, while others will shine as the stars forever and ever.
All who have the Spirit of the Lord, the spirit of meekness, gentleness, patience, long-suffering, brotherly-kindness and love--will be tested, too, along these same lines. The Lord's will for such is that they should deepen and broaden their characters along all these lines in proportion as contrary temptations assail them. Thus more and more will they become copies of God's dear Son, and the trials will assist in making them meet, fit for the Kingdom.
ACCUSER OF THE BRETHREN
Another of Satan's devices is to discourage the Lord's faithful disciples who are seeking to know and to do His will. The more conscientious they are, the more subject they will be to Satan's suggestions of unworthiness, rejection, condemnation, Second Death. God permits this as a test or trial to faith. "Without faith it is impossible to please Him." To be developed, faith must be tried with opposition. The more our faith is developed, the more pleasing in the Father's sight we shall be. He would have our faith in Himself implicit, unwavering.
The Adversary, on the contrary, would destroy our faith. Sometimes he attempts this by misrepresenting God's character as unloving, unjust, unkind, and sometimes by exaggerating our weaknesses and failures, to cause us to cease striving for the goal of Divine approval. He would have us give up in despair.
Persons who have been obsessed by evil spirits tell plainly that first of all the spirits personated God and His angels, advised prayer, etc. Afterwards they gave evil suggestions. By and by they gave both good and evil suggestions. The evil suggestions entertained, they would next condemn the individual for having entertained them. Finally all pretense would be dropped, and the individual would be told that he had sinned away all Divine favor and was wholly at the mercy of the evil spirits. Then would come suggestions of evil deeds or of suicide, the endeavor being made to drive the individual to a full surrender of his mind, his will, in order to full possession and mental unbalance.
The only remedy for persons in such a deplorable condition is that they exert their will power to oppose all such false suggestions. Nothing is so helpful under such circumstances as correct knowledge of the Divine teaching respecting God's Love and the abundance of His merciful provision in Christ. Persons in this condition should be encouraged to cast themselves fully and unreservedly at the foot of the cross in the spirit of their minds--in fullness of consecration. Then in proportion to their faith they may lay hold upon the Lord in prayer for complete deliverance from the Adversary's power. We know of no other way to get rid of the evil spirits.
There are also cases where the obsession has taken place and where the Adversary seems to be able to exercise an evil influence upon the mind, causing doubt, fear, alienation from the Lord. Generally "sin lieth at the door"--some violation of the soul's covenants with the Lord. Such are in danger of great gloom, loss of faith, trust--everything. The cure for their case is a knowledge of God's real character--His great Love and sympathy exercised through the Lord Jesus Christ and made available through Him to all who give their lives in full consecration.
Faith should triumph, or the light of joy and blessing will die. "According to your faith be it unto you," is the Divine rule. Those who will not exercise the faith will never be acceptable to the Father for membership in the Kingdom class. Such must wait for the next Age and have different experiences. The Little Flock, the Elect ones whom the Lord is now choosing, must all be faith-full.
"THE WICKED ONE TOUCHETH HIM NOT"
The Apostle John declares that a certain course of conduct is possible in which the Adversary would be unable to touch us. (`I John 5:18`.) The picture brought before our mental eyes is that of a charmed circle, within which God's people may come. This circle is not a fence,
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but merely a line of light, which can easily be overstepped. On the inside of that circle is the Lord's favor. The very center of it is the Lord Himself, the Head of the Church. The exhortation of the Scriptures, the leadings of the Holy Spirit, and the providences of the Lord, all encourage His followers to press close to Him--"Nearer, my God, to Thee."
Outside the charmed circle are the powers of evil. These are sometimes allowed to touch the earthly interests and temporal affairs of the children of the Light; but the demon influence is not permitted to really touch the New Creatures in Christ inside this circle. Over that line they cannot exercise their influence. But alas! lured by the world, the flesh and the Devil, some of the saints at times go too close to the line, perhaps pursuing some fleshly bait or golden bauble or earthly honor. Such the Adversary is ever ready to lay hold of, to drag them out into the darkness of sin, doubt, despair--further and further away from the Lord.
The lesson of this picture to all Spirit-begotten children of God is, "Abide in Him," "Abstain from all appearance of evil," "Draw near unto God," "Press onward and upward," "Take heed to yourselves," "Forget the things that are behind," "Mortify your flesh," and earthly desires and ambitions, Keep close to the Master, that "the Wicked One touch you not."
But we again remind any who may be touched by the Adversary and temporarily ensnared that God is full of loving-kindness, that His mercy endureth forever, for all those who desire to live in harmony with Him. While it is true that the nearer we get to the separating line, the nearer do we come within the range of the Adversary's influence and power, and the weaker becomes the power of the Truth, the Spirit of the Lord, in our control, nevertheless, there is joy in Heaven over one sinner that repenteth, and the Lord will welcome the strayed sheep, even though He temporarily allow trying experiences. Ultimately to the returning one these experiences will prove valuable lessons, safeguarding against any further tendency to stray or to dally with earthly things.
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THE PHILOSOPHY OF OUR DAILY EXPERIENCES
"If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is he whom the father chasteneth not?"--`Heb. 12:7`.
ALL CHASTENINGS are testings, but all chastenings are not necessarily punishments. We should judge of the purpose of our experiences by self-examination, that we may ascertain whether in our conduct there has been something out of harmony with the Father's will. In every case our experience is a test of our loyalty of heart-- as to our willingness to learn the lessons which the Lord is seeking to teach us and our recognition of the source from which they come.
The trials and difficulties of the consecrated child of God are not to be esteemed as the results of Divine carelessness or indifference in regard to his interests, but rather as the outworkings of Divine providence in his behalf. Those who can see the matter from this viewpoint are thus enabled to learn some of life's most helpful lessons, and are thereby prepared for the glorious future which God has arranged for those who faithfully carry out their Covenant of sacrifice.
Ordinarily the word chastisement is used to signify correction for wrongdoing. But in the Bible, it is especially used to convey the thought of discipline or instruction in righteousness. Sometimes we use it in this way in the ordinary affairs of life. If we sin, we receive punishment indeed. But those who are trying to do right are continually receiving discipline of the Lord. There is a purpose in this training, or chastisement. The Church is learning how to build character pleasing in the Father's sight, to be well qualified for particular service; and discipline is the means employed for that instruction.
If a man were about to train a dog for the circus, he would first choose the right kind of animal for that special service. He would not think of selecting any chance poodle that might come to hand, but would find a dog that was capable of being taught. In carrying out his course of instruction, he might find it necessary to chastise the dog in order to teach him some trick. This would not mean that the animal was bad, surly or vicious, but that there was no other way by which he could learn. An animal that was being fitted to guard the house would not need the same training that was necessary for the dog that was to perform in public. The watch-dog must know how to guard property; but the animal that is to jump through hoops, etc., must be trained carefully by those who have in mind his future career.
So with the Church. They need practical lessons in character-development of a very high order, and consequently they are receiving experimental knowledge such as no other creatures in the universe receive. Because they are trying to live righteously, trying to please the Heavenly Father, they are being chastened for instruction, that they may be fully conformed to the Divine will, that they may lay aside their own preferences, that they may not do their own will, but that of the Lord.
Such experiences are not for mankind in general. Such experiences were not given to Adam. He was required to live merely in harmony with his environment and to be obedient to the Heavenly Father. Such experiences are not for the angels. They are required merely to live righteously, to avoid sin and to use their bodies in harmony with the Divine purposes of their creation. They occupy such positions as are natural to them. Therefore the angels have never required chastisements.
SUFFERING DEVELOPS CHARACTER OF A HIGH ORDER
With those, however, who are to be associated with the Redeemer and ultimately to be exalted to the Divine nature and glory, it is necessary that they make special manifestations of loyalty, of self-abasement and of self-sacrifice. What was true of Christ is also true of the Church, which is His Body, and which He purchased with His own precious blood. (`Col. 1:24`; `Acts 20:28`.) We are called to follow in His footsteps; hence every son whom the Father receives is chastised.--`Heb. 12:6,7`.
Every child of God will need chastening. If we wander from the paths of righteousness, we are chastened to bring us back; but even if we did not wander, we should still need chastisement, that we might learn obedience. Our Lord Himself learned obedience by the things which He suffered. (`Heb. 5:8`.) Of St. Paul the Lord said, "I will show him how great things he must suffer for My name's sake." (`Acts 9:16`.) The Apostle was put through disciplinary experiences because he was a favored child of God.
We revert to our illustration of the dog under training for a special purpose. The dog must yield himself submissively to his teacher. Another dog that was watching
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the process by which the one was being trained might think that he was suffering unnecessary hardship, and might feel that if it were himself, he would assert his rights and not suffer so much. But in the end the trained animal would prove to be the more valuable, for the one that had escaped the suffering would remain only a commonplace dog.
So it is with the Church. There are people who say of us, "Those who endeavor to do God's will suffer more than do those who do not try; we do not care to undertake any such experience." These people may succeed in having fewer trials in the present life, but they will have blessings of a lower order in the world to come, when the faithful Church will be glorified with her Lord and Head.
These experiences with trouble are the very tests of character necessary for our development. The reason why some of the consecrated will get into the Great Company is that they have not had enough determination-- enough strength of character. In the time of trouble, such will either develop that strength by faithfulness under severe trial or they will go into the Second Death.
The Great Company class are loyal in heart or they would not be in that class. But they are willing to compromise; and because of this willingness to do so, they weaken their character. In order to be overcomers they must develop this element of character at any cost.
Let us be thankful that we are of those who appreciate the privilege of being trained in the School of Christ--of suffering with Him now and of reigning with Him by and by. In this school we are learning valuable lessons of experience. Here we receive chastisements, many of which are not punishments for sins, but preparation for the work of the next Age. Let us remember that unless we are willing to learn these lessons and to endure hardness, we shall not be prepared to enter into the eternal glory.--`2 Tim. 2:3`; `I Pet. 5:10`.
All things are ours; for we are Christ's and Christ is God's, and God called Christ to these glorious experiences. (`I Cor. 3:21-23`.) Whoever does not appreciate the spiritual joys can hardly be expected to endure the present training with patience and thankfulness. We must see something of "the glory that shall follow" (`I Pet. 1:11`) in order to realize the necessity of the vicissitudes of the present trial time.
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WHAT CONSTITUTES PURITY OF HEART
"Blessed are the pure in heart; for
they shall see God."--`Matt. 5:8`.
THE WORD pure is a comprehensive term, meaning without adulteration, sincere, unsullied. Purity of heart is purity of motive, of intention, of effort, of will--purity in the sense of transparency, of truthfulness. In other words, Blessed are the honest-hearted --those who have absolutely right intentions. The word heart in this text does not refer to the organ which pumps the blood throughout the system, but to the intention, the will of the man.
In his creation, man was made in the image of God, and so was originally pure in heart--honest, sincere, truthful, perfect in intention; but by reason of the fall from his natural condition, sin and selfishness have developed in his heart, and the Godlike qualities given him in his creation have been to a considerable degree obliterated. While there are many worldly people who to some extent might claim honesty of heart, yet only those who have given themselves to God in full consecration can belong to the class which shall see Him.
When one has made a full consecration of himself and has been begotten by the Holy Spirit, he is said to have a new heart, a new will, new ambitions, new desires. Where the conversion from sin to righteousness is thorough, it may be truthfully said, "Old things have passed away; behold, all things are become new." (`2 Cor. 5:17`.) To accomplish so radical a change requires the operation of a powerful influence--that of the Holy Spirit.
Purity of thought, however, does not mean absolute perfection of thought, word and deed. To this condition no member of the fallen race can attain until the beneficent influences of the Kingdom shall have restored the race to its original perfection. But to will right, to will perfectly, to be pure in heart, is quite possible; indeed, it is very necessary to all who desire Divine approval. The standard set before us, to which our hearts, our wills, must give assent, is the Divine Standard, "Be ye perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect."-- `Matt. 5:48`.
As long as we are in the flesh, we are obliged to think, to speak and to act through the imperfect medium of the fallen body, whose affections are continually in opposition to the new will and must be resisted. Therefore to perform all that the new will would prompt is sometimes beyond the ability of the Lord's most earnest followers: and all have need that the merit of Christ cover their blemishes, so that the new will, the new heart, may be
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judged of the Lord and tested as to its worthiness or unworthiness of eternal life and the attendant blessings which God has promised to the overcomer.
Only the pure in heart have the promise of seeing God. These continue faithful to the end of their pilgrimage; and not only do they attain the character-likeness of the Lord Jesus in their purity of heart intention toward all, but eventually they shall be made like Him and "see Him as He is," in the glorious change of the First Resurrection.--`I John 3:2`.
HONORABLE MOTIVES INDICATIVE OF HEART PURITY
When one finds imperfection in himself, when he discovers that he is not up to the glorious standard of righteousness set forth in the Scriptures, when he realizes that he comes short of the glory of God, then it becomes his privilege to seek to amend his conduct. The very act of deciding to do right is the beginning of the process by which one gets a new mind, a new will. This renewing of the mind corresponds to the perfecting of certain organs of the brain.
The will is able to control the whole body. Occasionally there will be opposition from one or another of the lower organs, which will resent the control of the superior ones; but in a general way, the will has the mastery. The qualities which constitute the mind were originally a part of the image of God; but all of the powers of the human mind have been injured by the fall of man. All have been more or less weakened.
The organs of veneration, conscientiousness and firmness form a very powerful combination. If these qualities rule the life, the growth of the new mind will be rapid. Whoever has sufficient brain capacity to determine to do right and to serve God to the best of his ability, may, notwithstanding the weakness of his flesh, will to live in accordance with the Divine standard. So long as the motives of his new will are honorable, he is pure in heart; and as long as he maintains that condition, he
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has the assurance that he may ultimately reach perfection through obedience.
In olden times, this purity of heart intention was as much as any one could have. On one occasion, Joshua said, "As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." (`Josh. 24:15`.) In that statement the old warrior manifested purity of heart--the determination of the mind to serve the Lord. David and all the other Ancient Worthies had this determination. This was as much as they could do; and therefore, they had this testimony, that they "pleased God."--`Heb. 11:5,6,39`.
Whoever has this determination shall be blessed. He shall one day see the light of God's countenance. If, however, for a season he should fail to maintain this standard, there would be a cloud between him and the Lord. This can be removed only by repentance and forgiveness. Then with the Psalmist he could say, "Return unto thy rest, O my soul; for the Lord hath dealt bountifully with thee."--`Psa. 116:7`.
During the Gospel Age, the people of God may have, not only this purity of heart, or conversion to the Lord, turning to Him in fulness of consecration through the precious blood of Christ, but also something more. They may have the Divine acceptance of that consecration and the begetting of the Holy Spirit. Therefore these are the children of God in a sense peculiar to this Age. These may cry, "Abba, Father." (`Rom. 8:15`.) To them, God is not merely the Controller of the Universe, but their Father.
During the Gospel Age, the people of God may have special blessings greater than anything previously enjoyed. They have the illuminating power of the Holy Spirit, which comes through the Divine Word, the Divine providences, etc. It requires an illumination of our mental conceptions in order that we may see God. Therefore the Church of Christ, who are begotten of the Holy Spirit, may see Him with the eyes of their understanding in a sense in which the Ancient Worthies could not.
If we maintain our purity of heart by purity of mind, we may have the assurance of future blessings as well as of present favor and happiness. If this be our course in "the life that now is," we have the Lord's promise that we shall see Him in a very special sense in the life "which is to come." We shall be changed to spirit beings and shall see Him as He is and shall share His glory. Every one who has this hope within him purifies himself, even as the Lord is pure.--`I John 3:2,3`.
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BY ONE MAN'S SIN THE DEATH-CURSE
--JANUARY 19.--`GENESIS 3`.--
"Every one that committeth sin is the
bond-servant of sin."--`John 8:34`.
ADAM'S FIRST SIN brought the penalty specified in this lesson; but it is not the thought that subsequent sins brought other additional penalties. The Bible proposition is that God, having made Adam perfect, required perfect obedience as the condition of his continuance in Divine favor and everlasting life. One act of disobedience broke the covenant between God and Adam by which he was treated as a son and guaranteed everlasting life. (`Hosea 6:7`, Margin.) As a sinner he dropped from favor immediately, under the sentence, "Dying thou shalt die."
Nothing that Adam or his children could do subsequently could alter that sentence or recover to him covenant relationship with God. The death penalty was the limit. It could not be increased by any subsequent sins, just as a murderer sentenced to be hanged could not receive a more severe penalty, whether he had committed one murder or a thousand. By a law of nature, heredity, Father Adam transmitted to his race a share of what he possessed, both good and bad. Hence we were all born in sin and "shapen in iniquity; in sin did my mother conceive me."--`Psa. 51:5`.
As Adam could not increase his penalty, neither can his children. As Adam could not restore himself to covenant relationship with God, neither can his children. But as Adam could, by obedience to the Divine Law, prolong the process of his dying, so may his children. He was nine hundred and thirty years dying before the death penalty was fully attained. But the impairment wrought by sin has so progressed that many of Adam's children die in infancy, and few can maintain the struggle for existence for a hundred years.
DEATH THE CURSE--NOT TORTURE
Our forefathers during the Dark Ages, before the day of printing and Bibles and general education, got some strange misunderstandings of the Heavenly Father's character and Plan. And their errors of doctrine naturally led them on to errors of conduct, that, to us, are abhorrent. Misunderstanding the Bible to teach that God arranged for the eternal torture of all mankind except a saintly few, the true Church, they sought to copy their misconception of Jehovah by torturing their fellow-creatures. Some were stoned, some sawn asunder, some made outcasts, some tortured on the rack, some had their tongues cut out by the roots, some were skinned alive and some were roasted at the stake.
But we must not think of these, our forefathers, as fiendish at heart, but as deceived by what St. Paul calls "doctrines of demons." (`I Tim. 4:1`.) We sympathize with their godly intentions, but reprobate their devilish procedures. It is because God's people have been gradually getting back nearer and nearer to the teaching of His Word, and its spirit, that the horrible practises of the past are no longer approved. But many have much yet to learn respecting the true Plan of God--the true teaching of the Bible. We must be zealous for ourselves and patient with others.
One of the first lessons for us to learn is that the curse which God pronounced against our race is not a sentence to eternal torment at the hands of devils, but plainly and simply, as the Apostle says, "The wages of sin is death." Then he points us to the remedy, a resurrection from death, secured for all through the Redeemer's death at Calvary. The Apostle therefore adds, "But the gift of God is eternal life, through Jesus Christ our Lord."--`Rom. 6:23`.
All experience the death penalty, with its weakness, pain, sorrow, tears. All will have an opportunity sometime of learning of God's grace in Christ and of manifesting obedience to the Divine will and of regaining everlasting life through Messiah's redemptive work and His Millennial Kingdom with its Restitution. For some, a few, a Little Flock, who in this Age have ears to hear and hearts to obey the Master's voice, God has provided glorious things, far superior to anything that Adam had or lost.
To those who now hear, consecrate, sacrifice their own wills, and walk in Jesus' footsteps, God promises a share in the First Resurrection, to glory, honor, immortality, the Divine nature. These will constitute the Bride
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class and be joint-heirs with the Master as His Elect, in His glorious Kingdom, which soon is to be established for the rolling away of the curse of sin and death and the lifting up of humanity--of all who will--to all that was lost in Eden and redeemed at Calvary.
THE LESSON OF THIS STUDY
If our Christian forefathers could but properly have studied and appreciated today's lesson, they would have known what the Bible teaches respecting "the wages of sin," and would soon have seen how seriously public thought had drifted away from the Divine testimony to "doctrines of demons." How plain the Scriptural account! How distinctly God forewarned our first parents that the eating of the forbidden fruit would be disobedience and would bring upon them the death penalty!
After they had disobeyed, can we not see the force of the declaration that God drove them out of the Garden of Eden that they might die--that the penalty He pronounced against them might be accomplished? Had they continued in Eden, eating of its life-sustaining fruits, they would have continued to live indefinitely. In order that the sentence of death might be executed upon them, they were driven out and the angel's flaming sword protected the entrance to Paradise.
Moreover, after their expulsion from Eden God explained to our first parents the whole procedure, saying, "Cursed [unfit] is the ground for thy sake; in sorrow shalt thou eat of it all the days of thy life; thorns and thistles shall it bring forth unto thee...In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread, until thou return unto the ground;...for dust thou art and unto dust shalt thou return."--`Genesis 3:17-19`.
WHY EVIL WAS PERMITTED
The Bible distinctly tells us that God foreknew the fall of man, and that before the foundation of the world, in His purpose, He had provided the Lamb of God to take away the sin of the world and thus to effect ultimately a reconciliation for all of Adam's race desirous of living righteously. God had a glorious purpose interwoven with His permission of sin, which the majority, even of Bible students, evidently but faintly discerned until lately.
The words of Jesus intimate that shortly, before the establishment of His Kingdom, His Church will be like a company of virgins, all pure and justified, but some of them wise and some of them foolish. He intimates that at that time the Wise Virgin class will understand features of the Divine Plan previously kept secret. Evidently we are living in such a time now. It is on this account and not by their own superior wisdom that the Wise Virgin class is today attaining an appreciation of God's Plan, including His reasons for having permitted a reign of Sin and Death amongst mankind for six thousand years --which is to be abolished by Messiah's Reign of Righteousness during the Seventh Great Thousand-Year Day. We may deal with this subject in a later study.
THE TEMPTATION OF EVE
How Lucifer and holy angels became disloyal to God, and how Lucifer acquired the name Satan, or Adversary of God, we will inquire into later. In this lesson he is shown as seeking to alienate the affections of our first parents from the Creator, and, by tempting them to sin, to bring them under the death penalty, that he might enslave them as servants of sin. A spirit being, he would be unseen to Mother Eve, except as he would assume some kind of a material body. It suited his purposes to possess a serpent and through it to tempt Mother Eve.
The serpent doubtless spoke by signs, as we sometimes say, "Actions speak louder than words." The serpent ate of the forbidden fruit in the sight of the woman and then manifested its wisdom, its sagacity. The woman perceived. She craved knowledge. Why had God forbidden that particular fruit? It did not kill the serpent. Why should it kill her? The serpent seemed wise. Why should not that fruit make her more wise? Could it be that God wished to keep them in ignorance, and for that reason had forbidden their eating of the fruit?
Such disloyal thoughts should have been promptly spurned. Confidence in their Creator should have been complete. But the insidious poison worked. More and more Mother Eve craved knowledge and imagined what wonderful blessings it would bring. She surmised that her husband would not consent, so she ate alone. She was not deceived as respects the wrongdoing, but she was deceived regarding the result. Seeing that the serpent was not poisoned by the fruit, she did not realize that the poison to her was that of disobedience, bringing the death sentence. Father Adam's eating of the fruit was with full knowledge of the result. In love with his wife, he ate knowingly, preferring to die with her rather than to live without her.
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THE MARK OF CAIN
--JANUARY 26.--`GENESIS 4:1-15`.--
"Whoso hateth his brother is a murderer."--`1 John 3:15`.
THE first tragedy of Earth was disobedience to God--the eating of the forbidden fruit. The next generation saw the image of God so marred that murder resulted from a fit of jealousy. Since the Bible teaches that our first parents were perfect, in the image of their Creator, the question arises, How could such noble parentage bring forth a son of Cain's evil disposition? As we look back for six thousand years and consider the reign of Sin and Death for so long a period, we do not wonder that we see so low and groveling samples of human depravity--some fallen more particularly in one direction and some in another. Some we class as almost entirely devoid of every trace of the Divine character, and these we designate "degenerates."
It is not necessary for us to suppose that Cain was "degenerate" in the present day acceptance of that word. Undoubtedly, with so noble a parentage, he must have been a great man in many ways. But he was birthmarked, as we all are, with selfishness. It was after the tragedy of Eden, after their expulsion from Paradise to the unfit earth, after they were cut off from access to the life-sustaining fruits of Eden, after they began to toil with sweat of face in battling with the thorns and thistles of the earth--it was then that Cain was born. The period of his gestation was surely one of much mental distress to his mother. As she murmured respecting the loss of her Eden home and selfishly coveted it, she doubtless marked her child with discontent and selfishness also.
By the time Abel was born, doubtless our first parents had become more reconciled to their fate and more accustomed to their surroundings. Hence it is fair to suppose that Abel was born under more favorable conditions than Cain. We are not by this argument justifying murder, but we are getting our minds to take a sympathetic view
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of the murderer's case, corresponding to the view God took of it, as expressed in today's study. God reprobated and condemned the sinner, and arranged for his special punishment; but none of His messages to the murderer indicate bitterness or hatred on the part of the Great Judge.
So parents, while correcting their children with necessary severity, should allow no sentiment to have control of their hearts contrary to love or the best interests and highest welfare of their children. So the laws of men, in dealing with all forms of vice and crime, including murder, should be as swift as righteous judgment will permit and as severe as seems necessary in the interests of society; but those laws should never be vengeful. They should always recognize the fact that all mankind were born in sin, misshapen in iniquity--in sin did our mothers conceive us. Hence, "There is none righteous, no, not one." There is none in whom the original glory of the Divine character-likeness persists. The vengeance of the law against the criminal should, therefore, be sympathetically enforced, with a view to warning others against evil-doing, and, so far as reasonably possible, for the reclamation of the culprit.
It is with great satisfaction that we note that in our day this humane spirit is more and more prevalent. Our prisons more and more are being turned into great reformatories, in sharp contrast with the treatment accorded to the vicious in a darker past. The charges of judges in pronouncing sentence against criminals, especially against murderers, are often fatherly and tender. There is even a danger of too much leniency. The feeling that a terrible responsibility is associated with the taking of human life, even in a judicial way, is right; but this feeling--a certain weakness, in fact--is manifesting itself in opposition to capital punishment. This, we believe, is generally the result of misunderstanding the Divine Word.
True, in the case of Cain, God did not require an execution of the criminal, but specially prohibited it. Nevertheless, the Divine Law, as given through Moses, stands: "He that sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed." The careful observance of this law, yet with a spirit of kindness and sympathy, and in the least painful manner, but with proper ignominy, seems necessary to the preservation of law and order. Weakness in this respect encourages criminality and also furnishes an excuse for mob law and mob violence--defiance of every principle of righteousness.
Undoubtedly the general misapprehension of the Divine Character and Plan has led up to the weakness we mention, which opposes capital punishment. This wrong view, which Bible students are gradually finding is not supported by God's Word, led us to believe that the murderer, as one of the non-elect, would at death pass into horrible and endless tortures. Naturally and properly, with that thought in mind, we would hesitate to plunge a fellow-creature into such misery. Bible students now are learning
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that we all labored for a time under a delusion, that this delusion came from the Dark Ages of the inquisition, the block, the stake. Our forefathers, imagining God to be worse than themselves, twisted the Scriptures to support their errors.
Now we see that the Bible teaches that the whole world, good and bad, fall asleep in death and will know no awakening, no joy, no sorrow, until their awakening at the Second Coming of Messiah, when He will establish His Kingdom. "Where the tree falleth, there shall it be." Ah, how much truth and common sense is in the Bible statement that all, good and bad, "sleep with their fathers," gathered to their fathers in death! They are gone to the one great slumber-house, the tomb--Sheol, Hades--the prison-house of death. From that prison none can break forth, but all the prisoners there are "prisoners of hope."
Messiah so loved the world that He gave His life as a Man for the redemption of Adam and his race. As a result, as soon as He shall have selected His faithful Bride class, He will establish His glorious Kingdom. Its mission is to open the prison doors and set at liberty the captives. It will bring all to an accurate knowledge of the Truth. Every wilful transgressor against light and knowledge will then receive stripes. But all evil-doers, as members of the one race, were redeemed by the precious blood, and all must have a full opportunity for deciding willingly, either for harmony with God and everlasting life, or for harmony with sin, and for its penalty--Second Death.
"SIN CROUCHETH AT THE DOOR"
Before the murder was committed, Cain was vexed, angry, jealous, soured, because God had manifested His favor toward his brother Abel's offering of an animal sacrifice, while rejecting Cain's offering of vegetables. Cain should have rejoiced with Abel, and should have brought a similar sacrifice himself and had Divine acceptance. God warned him that his spirit of selfish jealousy was sin, and that it like a wild beast crouched before the door of his heart, ready to spring upon him and overwhelm his better sentiments.
God forewarned him that he should conquer this beastly spirit of selfishness and jealousy, and rule over it. How much we all need to learn this lesson! Through the fall we all have baser sentiments which war against the nobler ones. As a beast of prey they would seek to devour us. The will must be exercised in overcoming the beast, and Divine aid is needed. The Christian has this Divine aid in his access to God through his Great Advocate, the Redeemer.
Cain heeded not God's warning. He ruled not the beast. He was overcome by it. His brother's blood cried, figuratively, to God. In other words, all injustice cries out to the God of Justice, and sooner or later the Divine penalty will be meted out. But as we have seen, the judgments of the Lord are "just and righteous altogether." His judgments are left for the Great Mediator of the New Covenant to execute in sympathy and in kindness, during the Millennial Age. That will be the World's Judgment Day. Only accepted believers in Christ, begotten of the Holy Spirit, are now on trial for life eternal or death eternal.
BROTHER-HATERS ARE MURDERERS
The Great Teacher, addressing, not the world, but the Church, declares that brother-haters are murderers in God's sight. In other words, a spirit of hatred is a spirit of murder. Alas, how many have vicious, wicked, hateful dispositions, merely controlled by their fear of the law! Yet it is not the world, but only the Church, that is being specially dealt with thus far. But alas! how many of the professed followers of Jesus occasionally harbor a spirit of hatred, and sometimes manifest it in anger, malice, envy, strife, works of the flesh and the devil!
Christians are accounted as New Creatures because begotten of the Holy Spirit. These are to fight a good warfare against their own flesh and its imperfections. Sin crouches before the door ready to devour them as New Creatures. They must watch and pray and strive against the fallen nature. They must cultivate the fruits and graces of the Holy Spirit--meekness, gentleness, patience, brotherly-kindness, love. If they do not do so, if, on the contrary, they are brother-haters and manifest the murder spirit, they have the warning that they will lose the great Prize--joint-heirship in the Kingdom.
The Scriptural assurance is, "We know that no murderer
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hath eternal life abiding in him." (`I John 3:15`.) Whatever elements of the spirit of murder may still lurk in our flesh must be determinedly warred against, and, proportionately, we must become copies of our Heavenly Father and of our Lord Jesus. Thus we shall ultimately share with our Lord in His great Kingdom, which is shortly to be set up, and to bless the world with the light and the knowledge of the glory of God.
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"WISE AS SERPENTS--HARMLESS AS DOVES"
PRESUMABLY all of the Lord's people remember the Master's words quoted in the title. Yet apparently very few have appreciated them; for otherwise they would surely be putting this advice into practice--seeking to do the Lord's will. When we think of blundering mistakes which others make and which we ourselves have made in presenting Divine truths to others, we are silent. The consolation we seem to find is in the further word of Jesus, that God is sometimes praised by the prattling of the mouths of babes. As children of God we have a period of infancy, of childhood.
St. Paul refers to this, saying, "When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things." (`I Cor. 13:11`.) So we all need to exercise ourselves to some extent in order to counteract the results of the childishness and the mistakes of our earlier experiences in the family of the Lord. Let us not be content to remain children long. Let us rapidly grow in grace and knowledge and love. Let us take such earnest heed to the Master's words, that we may speedily become acceptable and profitable ambassadors for the King Eternal.
How often we have advised the dear readers of this journal not to choke Christian brethren who, so far as knowledge of God and His Word are concerned, are merest babes, no matter if their consecration dates twenty or thirty years back! When such come into our midst, their presence implies that they are hungering for spiritual food. Shall we stuff them to nauseation? Shall we feed them strong meat of Divine Truth which they cannot appreciate and which will choke them? Or shall we act more wisely and give them meat in due season--spiritual food adapted to their condition?
Some dear friends, full of zeal and greatly appreciated both by the Lord and by ourself, are so unwise that they would probably do the Cause more good if they never attempted to expound the Heavenly things to others--if they would content themselves with merely saying, "I will give you something to read which will make that subject very clear to you." On the contrary, there is danger that, when good meetings have been held for the public, and earnest souls are seeking the Lord, hungering and thirsting for the Truth, they may be injured by those whose hearts are the very best, but whose judgments are poor.
THE POINT ILLUSTRATED
An illustration of this is before us in a letter. A friend writes, "I took friends to our regular meetings several times--people who have read some and manifested some interest. With one accord all of our Class began, after the meeting, to acquaint them with all kinds of information, chiefly about the materialization of evil spirits and about Christ's presence, etc., with the result that they were so confused that they did not care to go again. Sometimes the leader of the Class, discerning the visitor, will leave the regular lesson and go into dissertations which seem unwise for the newcomers and unprofitable to the Class.
"The newcomers would have understood and appreciated our Berean Lesson, if the item specially intended for them had been omitted. I was discouraged about taking outsiders with us any more. When no strangers are with us, our Berean Lessons are good and instructive, because we stick closely to them. The tiresome rambling occurs when visitors come. So I am just keeping still and not inviting my friends, believing that it will do them more good to read thoroughly before attending our Class under existing conditions."
This is an exact illustration of a point which we are making and which we have tried to make several times. We do not wish to discourage the dear friends from preaching the Truth. We are merely urging the words of the Master, "Be ye wise as serpents and harmless as doves." Obedience to the Master should control whatever wayward and excitable tendencies may be ours naturally.
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DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--
I am glad to have the favor of writing you a few lines. I often would like to write you, but I know the interest and work of the Harvest press you, so I refrain from cumbering you with less important things. I would like to assure you of my interest and love for you as an humble, yet very greatly used instrument in the Lord's hand for the blessing and satisfying of His own true sheep. Well I remember how the burden rolled away when the scales of ignorance and tradition fell from my eyes and I was permitted, through the STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES to see the light on God's Plan (not man's) for His creatures, and only then for the first time could I truly believe God was love. I rejoiced and was glad and my joy continues increasingly; the sacred yoke of fellowship in His sufferings is easy and joyous. His Law of love is my delight.
Now, dear Brother, the work of Harvest goes on here as best we can with the available labor. A considerable number of STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES have been placed in the hands of the people of Auckland and suburbs during the past six years by diligent Colporteurs. Each year since first the STUDIES were sold here we have systematically put out from about 30,000 to 50,000 tracts and the Truth has been watered by Pilgrims from Melbourne. We were making preparations in hope of having you pay us a visit, and when we learned that it will not be His will now, we were sorry, but bowed in loyal submission. We had hopes that the Truth would have a good presentation and that an interest might be awakened. Many have the books on the shelf, and only an awakening is needed to investigate, we feel sure.
Yours in the grand Hope, DAVID HOOK.--New Zealand.
Oh, what a feast our present Lord spreads before us, via our precious WATCH TOWER. Surely His bounty flows like a river, so full, so free.
The issue of Oct. 1, p. 304, "Fight the Good Fight," abounds with "milk and honey." It is unlike our temporal food, for after having eaten our feast we can return to it again. We must prepare again ere we renew our failing bodies, but this table has the old story always fresh.
As I read back over the past TOWERS, they have so ripened in flavor, I eat, I digest; eat and digest; wondering why they taste so much sweeter now than when I first read them, but the Word reminds me--"growth"--yea, it is all within me. I was not able, had not the capacity to assimilate it all at once. Praise His holy name for such a plan and for such "green pastures" and "living waters!"
Yours in His Service,__________,--Phila.
"I.B.S.A." BIBLES AND OTHER BIBLE STUDY HELPS
First in this list we mention the several volumes of
"STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES" SERIES
--referring inquirers to another page of this journal for prices, etc. We commend also, as aids, the following publications (not all our own), which we supply at specially low prices because of the assistance they will lend to the study of God's Word. We mention these somewhat in the order in which they seem to us to be desirable aids.
OUR SPECIAL "I.B.S.A." BIBLE
Hereafter to distinguish our own special edition from other Bibles, we will refer to it as the "I.B.S.A." Bible. This Bible is becoming more and more indispensable to all readers as they learn how to use it. The translation, of course, is not at all different from that of other Bibles of the Common Version. We specially recommend it for its smallness of size, lightness of weight, and good-sized print, and above all for the helps to Bible students and teachers bound with it; printed on India paper; excellent press work. Its special feature, distinguishing this Bible from all others, is
BIBLE TEACHERS' MANUAL. Part I.
Biblical Comments from Genesis to Revelation, with references to the STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES and others of our publications showing the page where the text is more fully discussed and elaborated. We can scarcely imagine anything more helpful than these for Bible study. It is so easy to turn to the reference and ascertain if the matter has been treated and where and how. It represents four hundred and eighty-one pages of matter.
Part II. INSTRUCTORS' GUIDE TEXTS.
This is a topical arrangement of Bible subjects specially convenient for those who have opportunity for teaching others the Divine Plan of the Ages. Its various Topics are arranged under distinct headings and the various texts bearing upon the subjects are collated. With this help a novice has at his command, well-furnished, "the Sword of the Spirit." It is in condensed form, very convenient, and consists of eighteen pages solid matter.
Part III. BEREAN TOPICAL INDEX.
The Berean Topical Index, alphabetically arranged, presents a large variety of subjects showing references to the STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES and others of our publications treating the same. This feature covers twenty-eight pages.
Part IV. DIFFICULT TEXTS EXPLAINED. SPURIOUS PASSAGES NOTED.
In this, specially difficult texts are brought to the attention and references given showing where they are treated in our publications. Following this is a full list of various interpolations and spurious passages of the Scriptures not in the original MSS., as proven by the oldest Greek MSS.--fifteen pages.
These four features, representing five hundred and forty-two pages, are not to be found in any other Bibles on earth and, in our opinion, they are of almost priceless value. One of our interested readers if he could not procure another would not sell his copy for a hundred dollars--many of them surely would not take thousands for it.
All of our "I.B.S.A." Bibles contain the above, and some of them, the numbers of which end with a nine, contain additionally Bagster's Bible Study Helps, including an alphabetical index of proper names and Bagster's Bible Concordance and Maps--a total of one hundred and eighty-six pages.
We not only supply these Bibles at cost price, but, because of the large quantities ordered at a time, we are enabled to secure a cost price which is really phenomenal. We are safe in saying that, even aside from our Berean Helps, no Bibles are to be found in the world of such extraordinary values. The price is the same whether the order be for one copy or for more. To save danger of misunderstanding we below quote the prices, including postage. The very low prices must not lead you to think that these are manufactured in any slipshod manner. They are first class in every particular. The prices are, many of them, less than one-half of what you pay for such books almost anywhere else.
So great is the demand for these "I.B.S.A." Bibles that hereafter we purpose carrying no others in stock except pocket Bibles and large type Bibles for the aged. We will, still, however, be pleased to serve anyone who desires other Bibles. We can procure for these wholesale rates, usually twenty-five per cent. off, plus postage.
DESCRIPTION AND PRICES--"I.B.S.A." BIBLES
1918, price $1.65, postage prepaid, is a beautiful book. It is small and light. Size 4-3/4 x 6-3/4 inches. It has minion type, red under gold edges, divinity circuit, French Seal. Looks like the genuine sealskin, but it is in reality good sheepskin.
Number 1919, price $1.75, postage prepaid; the same book, the same Bible; the same every way except the addition of Bagster Helps, Concordances, etc., making this size a trifle larger.
Number 1928, price $2.65, postage prepaid. This is the same book exactly as number 1918, except that it has genuine morocco binding; leather-lined.
LITTLE LARGER, IONIC TYPE, SELF-PRONOUNCING
Number 1939, price $1.95, postage prepaid. This is the same book as 1919, the same binding and contents, but it has a coarser print and is a little larger book. Size, 5-1/2 x 7-1/2 inches.
Number 1959, price $3.65, postage prepaid. This is the same book as 1939 except that it has splendid morocco binding, is calf-lined and silk-sewed. Bibles similar in quality and finish are listed in many catalogues at $11.
The sale of these books is not restricted to WATCH TOWER readers. They are valuable aids in Bible study, excellent value in every way and open to the public.
We have a good supply of these books in stock now ready for immediate shipment anywhere. Registered at 10c. Remit with order. We can secure such prices only by paying spot cash and must sell on the same terms.
Anyone ordering patent index on any of these Bibles should so state and should add twenty-five cents to the price.
BIBLE STUDY HELPS--CLOTH AND LEATHER
These are the same as in the latest "I.B.S.A." BIBLES, described above. Cloth, 50c.; leather, $1; postage prepaid.
DAILY HEAVENLY MANNA
FOR THE HOUSEHOLD OF FAITH
The demand for this publication increases year by year. It is a text book for each day in the year, and good year by year continuously; in fact, its value increases as additional autographs of friends are secured. It has a very appropriate comment under each text, selected from the columns of back issues of THE WATCH TOWER.
Our present edition of the "Manna" contains the same texts and comments as all former editions. Every alternate leaf is blank-ruled, for use as an autograph and birthday record. It is printed on fine bond paper. We now have it in three different grades of binding, at very reasonable prices, considering the class of workmanship.
The following wholesale rates postpaid are granted to all WATCH TOWER subscribers:
Purple cloth, silver embossed....................................$0.35
Dark blue cloth, silver embossed, German......................... .35
Leatherette, gold edges.......................................... .50
" blue edges, Swedish................................. .35
" gold edges, " ................................. .65
Genuine Morocco, gold edges...................................... 1.10
We hope this little book will find a place at every breakfast table; and that spiritual refreshment may thus be enjoyed with the natural food, stimulating thankfulness to the Giver of all Good and thus inducing the peace of God and favoring both spiritual and natural health and well-being.
THE EMPHATIC DIAGLOTT
This very valuable work, published under the author's copyright by Fowler & Wells Co., New York City, has been sold by them at $4 in cloth and $5 in half leather binding. For several years a friend, an earnest Bible student, desirous of assisting the readers of our Society's publications, has supplied them through us at a greatly reduced price; now he has purchased the copyright and plates from the Fowler & Wells Co., and presented the same to our Society as a gift, under our assurance that the gift will be used for the furthering of the Truth to the extent of our ability, by such a reduction of price as will permit the poor of the Lord's flock to have this help in the study of the Word.
REDUCED PRICES.--These will be sold with THE WATCH TOWER only. In cloth binding $1.50 (6s. 3d.)--includes postage and, as a Premium, one year's subscription new or renewal, to THE WATCH TOWER. On thin paper, in full morocco leather, divinity circuit, red under gold edges, silk sewed, leather lined, $2.50 (10s. 6d.)--includes postage and one year's subscription to THE WATCH TOWER.
THE TISCHENDORF NEW TESTAMENT
This is the ordinary Common Version in cloth binding. As footnotes it gives the reading of the three oldest Greek MSS., Sinaiticus, Vaticanus and Alexandrine, wherever these differ from the Common Version. This is a very valuable little work, published in Europe, which we specially import. Price, 50c., including postage.
LEESER'S TRANSLATION OF THE OLD TESTAMENT
This is the standard translation amongst English reading Hebrews, by one of their own rabbis. It is not perfect, but is a valuable aid in critical study of the Old Testament. Our special price, in leather binding, including postage, is $1.10.
ANALYTICAL CONCORDANCE TO THE SCRIPTURES
In English, Hebrew and Greek, by Prof. Young (Presbyterian). A valuable work for all critical students. The publishers advise that they are bringing out a new revised edition of this valuable work, with considerable additional matter--historical data, etc., and have advanced the price. We are not permitted by the publishers to cut this price, but we may and do give in addition, postage free, any four volumes of STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES, cloth binding, with each Concordance, or six volumes if purchaser pays expressage. Postpaid, cloth binding, $6.
EXHAUSTIVE CONCORDANCE TO THE SCRIPTURES
In English, Hebrew and Greek, by Prof. Strong (Methodist). This is also an able work and useful in critical study. It has some advantages over Young's; after getting used to it we prefer it. Special reduced prices--in cloth binding, $3; half leather, $5. Carriage prepaid, 65c. extra.
CRUDEN'S CONCORDANCE TO THE SCRIPTURES
A valuable work, but scarcely necessary to those who have either of the above mentioned. English only. Cloth binding, $1, delivered.
SMITH'S BIBLE DICTIONARY
This is one of the most desirable editions of Prof. Smith's work. It is a large volume of 1,020 pages. Cloth binding, $1.30, including postage.
"BIBLE TALKS IN SIMPLE LANGUAGE"
This is the best book of its kind we have ever seen. It presents the Bible stories in simple, but not childish language, and seems remarkably free from the bad theology so common in this class of books. All Christian parents should have a Sunday Bible lesson with their children, and this book furnishes interesting topics, to which may be added as much concordant "Present Truth" as the age of the children will justify. Parents are responsible for their children's training in theology as well as in morals. This will assist in the discharge of this duty, be a blessing to yourself and your children.
624 pages, 250 illustrations; cloth sides, leather back and corners, gilt edges. A subscription book at $3. Our special price, 75 cents, plus 25 cents postage.
Should any desire other Bibles we will be pleased to supply publisher's catalogue, giving full description and prices. We are usually able to secure a discount of 25 per cent. on the publishers' list prices.