ZWT - 1915 - R5600 thru R5819 / R5691 (145) - May 15, 1915
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VOL. XXXVI MAY 15 No. 10
A. D. 1915--A.M. 6043
The New Creature's Conquest of His Flesh..........147
Conflict Between Mind and Body................148
Two Classes in the World......................149
The Special Battles of the Church.............149
"The Crown of Life"--Who Will Receive It?.........150
Development as New Creatures in Christ............151
Systematic Study Necessary....................151
Necessary Food Always in "Due Season".........151
First Lessons in School.......................152
Forgiveness Is Blessed............................152
Conditions for Forgiveness....................153
"Let Them Pray Over Him"......................154
Prayers That Are Heard............................154
Who May Pray..................................155
What We Should Pray For.......................155
"Prophesy Against the Shepherds"..................156
The Second Flock and Its Fold.................157
Re Charges of the Preachers' Union............158
Baptist Preacher Gets Light...................159
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.
LITTLE CONVENTIONAL GATHERINGS
(Continued from April 15 issue.)
In harmony with our suggestion the friends at various places where Brother Russell will be addressing the public are arranging for little, quiet, local Conventions. Incidentally, we remark, that these are often amongst the most profitable. We advise that they be not made public-- that the public be not invited to them, unless, indeed, it would be the particular friends of those who might be in attendance, especially if they were consecrated people. Additional places intending such gatherings have sent us the particulars noted below.
Information respecting board and lodging at economical rates, etc., etc., should be obtained from the Class Secretaries: RIVERSIDE, CAL., May 26--One day.
C. H. Meadors, Sec'y, 156 E. Prospect Ave. PORTLAND, ORE., June 10 (3 days) other days unknown.
C. W. Field, Sec'y, 778 Sherrett Ave. TACOMA, WASH., June 13
A. H. Heath, Sec'y, 3716 N. Proctor St. BUTTE, MONT., June 17--One day.
J. A. Blomquist, Sec'y, 1011-1/2 Nevada Ave. CHEYENNE, WYO., June 19, 20.
Mrs. W. E. Haller, Sec'y, 312 E. 16th St. DENVER, COLO., June 20 (3 days), other days unknown.
Albert L. Fanders, Sec'y, 3956 Kalamath St. OMAHA, NEB., June 22, 23, 24.
A. W. Riemer, Sec'y, 1503 Prospect St., Florence, Neb. SOUTH BEND, IND., June 25, 26, 27.
Bertha L. Vincent, Sec'y, 419 Cushing St. INDIANAPOLIS, IND., June 25, 26, 27.
C. A. Wise, Sec'y, 1120 W. 30th St.
CONSPIRACY ARTICLE IN SWEDISH
Swedish friends will please note that we now have in stock Swedish B.S.M. No. 68 for use wherever Swedish ministers slander the Truth. Mention quantity you can use without waste--free.
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BETTER HEALTH--LONGER LIFE
While it is true that the Lord's consecrated people should look forward with joy to their "change" at death, nevertheless it is quite proper that as long as they do live, they should keep their bodies in reasonably good condition, so that their service for the Lord, for the Brethren, for their families and all men may be as efficient as possible. These are sufficient reasons for our publishing the advice below. Additionally, however, the Lord's people are interested in the welfare of the world and in everything that will assist mankind. Especially are we expecting simple, helpful knowledge of how to live, because we believe that we are already forty years into the great Millennial period, and that light on every subject is being granted accordingly.
* * *
It has long been noted by physicians that many of the ailments of life are due to diseased condition of the bowels. To offset this many are using enemas, sometimes styled internal bath. These help some, but are inconvenient, only palliative, and evidently are not in line with the laws of nature. Proper food should keep the system in proper order.
Only recently has it been learned that there are healthful and also injurious bacteria. For instance, the fine butter flavor of first-class butter is found to result from the presence of a certain kind of bacteria, which now is cultivated and obtainable commercially. On the other hand, that which makes other butter rancid is an undesirable species of bacteria, not only unpleasant to the taste, but injurious to the system. Similarly, in the secretions of the mouth, the throat and the alimentary canal, bacteria live--some good, healthful, others injurious.
It has been found that there is a species of bacteria associated with putridity which is highly injurious. Hence the impropriety of eating putrid food, which is apt to foster disease, especially in persons of low vitality. It has been discovered that such bacteria infest the bowels, producing gas or flatulence and hindering the food eaten from giving back the proper nourishment and strength. This bacteria producing putridity is associated sometimes with constipation and sometimes with diarrhoea. In any event, it is undesirable. A relief from this difficulty has been found--good bacteria which, driving out and taking the place of the bacteria of putridity, tends to make the bowels clean and healthy, and to favor digestion and general health.
This new bacteria came to the attention of the world in recent years through noting that the people of Bulgaria are extremely healthy and long-lived. The cause for their good health was sought and found. Not only do they eat plain food, but the Bulgarians use a great deal of sour milk, which contains the healthful bacteria. Not everybody is aware of the fact that, while ordinary ferments are injurious, the proper ferment of milk is very healthful.
Sour milk is being prepared under various names; for instance, Bulgarzoon, Lactobacilline, Fermilac and other preparations. These cultures are sold in tablet and liquid forms. Put into sweet milk according to directions, they germinate and produce what much resembles buttermilk, but is much better than the average buttermilk. The only difficulty about these tablets is the expense. Below we give directions whereby each reader may start his own culture of this helpful bacteria, Bacillus Lactine, by using only one of the tablets purchased.
The drinking of this milk needs to be continued with some regularity, at least once each day or, preferably, three times, until the bowels are thoroughly cleansed and the culture, Bacillus Lactine, gets well established in the system. It is a peculiarity of this Bacillus Lactine that it passes through the stomach into the bowels without being digested. In very chronic cases it is recommended that the sour milk be used as an enema or internal bath, following a regular water enema, or injection.
(Continued on 2d column, page 159)
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(Continued from page 146)
Directions for Starting Bacillus Lactine Culture
Crush one tablet of whatever preparation is used and stir into one quart of good, sweet milk which has been brought to blood heat. Cover, and put in a warm place until it becomes a firm clabber. This will require about twenty-four hours in winter, less time in summer unless kept in a cool place. Then shake, beat or churn for a few minutes, and put the jar in a cool place. It is ready for use as soon as it is shaken, but improves by standing awhile. Shake or churn as often as served, that it may be perfectly smooth.
After you are satisfied that the buttermilk is as good as can be made with the tablets, discontinue their use, and substitute a good half teaspoonful of the buttermilk for each quart of milk, and treat in the same manner. Should your buttermilk--from overheating the milk, or from any other cause--be injured or become unpalatable, it will be necessary to go through the same process as at first, with a fresh tablet. If regularly, properly made, there will never be reason for renewal of tablet.
"Directions for Use" usually--perhaps always--state that pasteurized milk cannot be used to prepare the buttermilk. Six months' daily experience has demonstrated that this is a mistaken idea.
LA GRIPPE AND TYPHOID FEVER REMEDIES
One of the simplest remedies we know of for La Grippe and Typhoid Fever, especially in their earlier stages, is to put the bulk of a pea of cayenne pepper into a little milk, stir it thoroughly and swallow it. Do this twice a day for about three days.
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A NEW CURE FOR PNEUMONIA
Doctor Park, in the Medical Record Journal, tells that he has discovered a new treatment for pneumonia, which seems to effect a cure every time. His published statement, intended for physicians, is briefly stated as follows:
"In 2 ounces of chemically pure distilled water I dissolved 15 grains each of sodium salicylate and the soluble phosphate of iron. This solution is sterilized by heat, and on cooling there is added 15 minims of saturated calcium-creosote mixture, the whole then being passed through a small laboratory porcelain filter. The injections are made through the skin, with an all-glass syringe, using a 27-gauge needle, into one of the large veins of the forearm. Great care, of course, is taken with the asepsis and also to be sure that the needle is within the vein. If it is properly inserted there will be absolutely no pain. If pain is felt, it means that the needle has gone into the muscle instead, and the injection must instantly be stopped and a new trial made. There may be a momentary flushing of the face and occasionally a temporary nausea. The dose varies from 2 to 5 c.c., according to circumstances. The injection must be made very slowly."
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THE NEW CREATURE'S CONQUEST OF HIS FLESH
"Ye have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of Him that created him."--`Colossians 3:9,10`.
DEVELOPMENT is necessary to the life of the New Creation. In our text the term "old man" stands for the human will, which once dominated the being. All who become Christians in the Bible sense of the term not only accept Christ and trust in Him as their Savior, but devote their old will, their old nature, to death. Thenceforth that old nature is repudiated, and is no longer to control the life of the individual. But the body of the "old man"--the fleshly tabernacle--is still retained after the old will has been discharged and the new will has come in. The New Creature, with new impulses, a new purpose, uses the mortal body as its servant. The new will is now master.
This new will is the will of God, or in other words, it is a will to do God's will. Our consecration is a consecration
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to do the will of God, to be dead to any other will, whether our own natural will or the will of another. This includes the dedication of everything we have or had hoped to have as human beings. It means the laying on the altar our every power, our every ability, our strength, our time, our pocketbook, our influence. Those who make a Covenant of Sacrifice are accepted up to the full number of the Elect. They will, if faithful unto death, receive new bodies in the resurrection.
KNOWLEDGE THE BASIS OF DEVELOPMENT
In our context the Apostle explains how this putting off and putting on is done. This "new man"--this spirit-begotten New Creature--is to develop by acting upon the knowledge that it gains. We had some knowledge before consecration, or we would not have thought of taking such a step. First, the Lord permitted a measure of knowledge to come to us. Then when we had accepted the terms and presented ourselves for sacrifice, the Savior's merit was imputed to us, and we were received of God and begotten as New Creatures by His Spirit, His power; and the good work has been going on in all those who have met the necessary conditions of development.
We must grow in love. The Apostle tells us that we might have all knowledge and yet be as nothing. Knowledge alone will not suffice. However, knowledge is the basis of faith and obedience. Without knowledge we could accomplish nothing. Knowledge shows us the will of God on the one hand and the selfishness that appertains to the fallen human nature on the other. It shows us the love and generosity that belong to the new nature. It shows us the Lord's character--the character that we are to imitate. We are to be "renewed in knowledge after the image of Him that created us"--created us as New Creatures.
As St. Paul expresses it elsewhere, we are to be transformed --formed over. We have a new will from the beginning, but it requires some time to transform our minds. Our minds being accustomed to reasoning along the lines of the flesh, the old nature, it takes some length of time before they are so entirely renewed as to view things from the Divine standpoint. But only as we thus progress can we form a Christlike character.
RENEWING OF CHURCH AND WORLD DIFFERENT
Not only are we to have our minds renewed, but our bodies are to be brought into subjection to the new mind, our new will. Because our bodies are earthly and imperfect through the fall, we can never hope to bring them into complete subserviency to the new mind. There will always be more or less of conflict. But we are to deaden, to treat as though they were nothing, these desires and impulses of the depraved flesh. Thus we make progress, being transformed day by day into the image and likeness of our God and of His dear Son. Those who attain this character-likeness to the Master will in due time be granted the Divine nature.
This change of mind comes only to those who are spirit-begotten; it does not come to the world. The Lord will deal with the world during the incoming Age. Mankind also will need to be renewed; but theirs will not be a renewal such as is granted to the Church. The world will need a new mind, and must learn to overcome all their fallen tendencies, but they will be required to give up only that which is sinful. Their renewal will be along the lines of Restitution, a restoration, to the former condition of the perfect man. They will not have a new mind that is in conflict with human nature, as has the Church. The world will not renounce their human nature; they are to renounce only sin and to bring their human nature, by Divine assistance then granted, up to perfection.
ALL MUST ATTAIN THE LIKENESS OF GOD
In the end, we see, every being who will have everlasting life on any plane will be in the likeness of God--the image of God. Father Adam in his perfection had this
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image; the holy angels have this image; Jesus had this image of the Father; and the Church must have this image. The world, also, by and by, must have this image of God. All must love and serve righteousness. Wrong must always be repulsive. All who attain life everlasting will see Divine Wisdom, Justice, Love and Power, and will thoroughly conform themselves to that standard in all their thoughts, words and deeds. All who do not attain this image of God by the close of the next Age--the thousand years of Christ's reign--will be cut off from life, without remedy.
The Lord Jesus said, "This is life eternal, that they might know Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom Thou hast sent." (`John 17:3`.) To know God means to have intimate acquaintance with Him, to be like Him in character, to be able to view matters as He views them. Only those who have the mind of God will be granted eternal life--whether of the Church now or of the world in the next Age.
THE CONFLICT BETWEEN MIND AND BODY
St. Paul brings to the attention of the Church the fact that all true Christians are New Creatures in Christ (`2 Corinthians 5:17`), and therefore may be spoken of as separate and distinct from their mortal bodies. (See `verses 1 to 4 of same chapter`.) This will never be true of the world in general; it is true only of those who are begotten of the Holy Spirit. The Lord does not judge these New Creatures according to the imperfections of their flesh, because these are covered. They will prove the measure of their love and loyalty by the way in which they fight against sin and the desires of the flesh, and especially against a rebellious spirit in their own flesh.
Each child of God has an enemy in his own body, and the more so because our bodies through the fall have become more or less surcharged with sin. The New Creature wills to do the Lord's will. Hence from the time that the New Creature has an existence there is a conflict between this New Creature and the old body. The Apostle Paul declared that he browbeat his body, kept his body under the control of the new mind; and he intimates that this is the only way to be a follower of the Lord Jesus.--`1 Corinthians 9:27`.
THE FLESH TO BE THOROUGHLY SUBJUGATED
This matter of keeping the body under had a beginning. All our former lives we had been asking our body, What is your will? What is your desire? What will please you? Therefore it is a somewhat difficult matter now to bring the body under the control of the new will and to be able to say, "Thy will, O Lord, not mine, be done." Just as a colt needs to be broken, to be brought into subjection, so it is with our flesh. If it is thoroughly broken, it will remain in subjection. From time to time it will, of course, attempt to assert itself, but it must be conquered; for if it is not thoroughly broken and subjugated, if it is allowed to have more or less of its own way, there will always be danger of a runaway or of some other difficulty, and of final catastrophe.
We are not to take the Apostle too literally when he says that he browbeats his body. His thought is, not that we are literally to handle our body in a rough way, to maltreat it, as some have thought, but that we are to subjugate it, to teach it a thorough lesson. The object of this is that the body may learn to be a good servant of the New Creature. The Spirit of the Lord cannot quicken our mortal body until we have first brought it into subjection. Even if the triumph of the New Creature means the quick death of the body, it must be made submissive; for after we have decided that as human beings our own will is not to be any longer in control, but the Lord's will is to govern, the only thing to do is to set to work to use our body in His service. This will be done more or less thoroughly as we grow as New Creatures. As this battle goes on, if it is faithfully waged, our flesh becomes weaker, and the new mind is renewed day by day. We learn more fully to put our bodies under and bring them into the service of the new will. It should be manifest to all that we are seeking to do the will of the Lord; and that the will of the flesh is dead, and not to be entertained for a moment.
THE TESTING OF THE BELIEVER
The Apostle tells one reason why he kept his body under--lest, having instructed others how they should do, he himself should make a failure and become a castaway. Likewise with every true Christian this is a matter of supreme importance, and should be particularly noted by every one who is a teacher in the Church.
In choosing a Bride for His Son, the Father is making a selection from those who accept the Gospel Message and desire to draw near to Him. The first test is as to whether or not they will make a full consecration to God. The second test is as to whether, after they have made their consecration, they will conquer the flesh and bring it into subjection. The third test is as to whether they will strive always to keep the flesh in subjection, even unto the end of the way.
The Lord is watching our course continually. His eye is ever upon us to see to what extent we are zealous in crucifying our flesh. Those who are in dead earnest in this matter are the ones whom He is seeking. He seeks a godly seed--those who have the disposition of the Master; and the Master's disposition has ever been in direct antagonism to everything sinful. "Thou hast loved righteousness and hated iniquity; therefore God, even Thy God, hath anointed Thee with the oil of gladness above Thy fellows," was spoken by the Father of our Lord Jesus. Moreover, the Master gladly laid down His life in sacrifice to do the Father's will and to save the world.
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And so the Father has, during the Gospel Age, been seeking for the Bride of His Son those who preeminently love righteousness, who hate iniquity, and are glad to be living sacrifices, to be used up in God's service. In proportion as we manifest the spirit which actuated our Lord --a love for that which is right, a promptness to fight against all sin in ourselves, and a spirit of loving sacrifice --we shall be copies of God's dear Son. If we fail to have a proper zeal and energy in this respect, we shall be unfit to be granted the reward promised--"the prize of the High Calling"--and shall be rejected, be cast away.
One who had committed the sin unto death would be a castaway in the most absolute sense. Even the Great Company class must prove loyal of heart and mind and must hate sin, though cast away as regards the "prize." The degree of love and zeal we manifest in fighting against the weaknesses of the flesh has much to do with the attainment of the prize, in determining whether or not we shall be inheritors of the highest nature with our Master --the Divine nature.
We find that in our flesh there is a tendency to revive from its condition of reckoned deadness, and to struggle for supremacy. Hence, as we have said, the new nature must be continually on the alert to maintain its ascendency, to fight the good fight of faith, that we may gain the "crown of life," may be overcomers in the highest sense--
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"more than conquerors." We are in a position of great responsibility.
TWO CLASSES IN THE WORLD
There are at the present time two classes in the world --the fleshly and the spiritual. The fleshly live according to their natural tendencies; the spiritual live by faith, contrary to the flesh. Those who become footstep followers of Jesus are begotten of the Holy Spirit; hence they have been lifted to a higher plane than others of mankind. To them the old things of their past lives have passed away, have been renounced, and all things have become new.
The Apostle declares that if these live after the flesh-- according to their natural inclinations and the desires and ambitions of the world--it means that they have descended again to the plane of the world; and they will die. It is only if we faithfully endure, if we suffer with Christ, that we shall reign with Him. Our sufferings with Christ are not in the upholding of some foolishness--of wearing a certain cut of hair, or a certain style of dress, etc.--but in active opposition to error, in living apart from the spirit of the world, and in energy and faithfulness, according to opportunity, in the spread of the Truth. The Lord's side is to be our side in everything. This brings us into conflict with the world and with the tendencies and proclivities of our own flesh; for we naturally love the things that the world loves.
OUR RESPONSIBILITY AND OUR DANGER
We are not to blame the world for living according to the flesh; for this course is the natural bent of the fallen nature. But it is different with us, by reason of the fact that we have sacrificed the earthly in order to obtain the spiritual. It would be a disastrous matter with us if we should live after the flesh, should sow to the flesh, instead of to the Spirit. It is not possible for us to live fully up to the Spirit, but it is possible for us to make a strenuous endeavor to do so. We can live after the Spirit, though we cannot measure up to the perfect standard. We can do our best; we can make our plans and arrangements in harmony with what God's Holy Spirit would dictate and approve, as God gives us wisdom to discern. This is the only course by which we can reach the eternal life and glory which the Lord has promised to the faithful Church.
We recognize, indeed, that there are two classes which will attain spiritual life; but only one will be granted an abundant entrance into the Kingdom. Those who sow liberally to the Spirit will reap the larger reward. Those who sow sparingly will reap the smaller reward. Those who are striving to live in full harmony with God, and contrary to everything that is in opposition to God, seeking by prayer and the study of the Word to ascertain His will, shall win the promised prize.--`Philippians 3:14`.
But those who have been spirit-begotten, and who then live according to the flesh, are not to expect any reward --not even Restitution. There can be nothing for them but the Second Death. They have had their chance for life and have abused it. Christ came to give one full, individual opportunity to each and all--and only one. God gave Adam an opportunity for everlasting life, but he was then inexperienced with sin and its consequences; hence, he is to be granted in his awakening an opportunity equal to that given the remainder of the world. Christ died to redeem all, and thus to give to all mankind, in due time, a full, fair opportunity for life eternal, after experience with the nature and the results of sin.
The Church are having their trial now. This class, which is now receiving its opportunity, is limited. None can come to the full degree of responsibility, except those who have the clear enlightenment and special opportunities now granted to only a comparatively few. These, after having once been begotten of the Holy Spirit, must gain spiritual life, or else fail altogether and go into the Second Death.
In the next Age the world will be brought forth from the tomb--the death state--in an imperfect, blemished condition. The great Mediator will be in charge of the world's interests, having then made satisfaction to Justice on their behalf. It will be His mission to help mankind up to perfection--all who will. But any who continue to live, or to attempt to live, after the sinful cravings of their fallen flesh will eventually be destroyed; for those who prefer sin, after coming to a clear knowledge of the difference between good and evil, and having access to all needed assistance to rise out of their fallen estate, will be cut off as cumberers of the ground and corrupters of the earth. Those who during the incoming Age would attain eternal life on the human plane must seek to live in harmony with God's Law, with righteousness; and thus they will reach full perfection and restitution, under the guidance and assistance of The Messiah.
THE SPECIAL BATTLES OF THE CHURCH
But much more glorious than even this is the prospect before those who are now faithfully running the race for the prize of the High Calling, held out to the Church! There are, however, enemies yet to be vanquished, and victories to be gained, if we would receive the crown. Until the final battle is fought, we must not relax our vigilance for a moment nor lay aside one piece of our armor.
Considering particularly what are some of the battles of the New Creature, we realize that many of them pertain to the weaknesses of the flesh through heredity--sin working in our mortal bodies, seeking to bring us into captivity. After we have become New Creatures, the gross sins of the flesh gradually become distasteful even to those once in bondage to them. When these are conquered, a great victory has been won. But there are subtle sins that lurk in the flesh of all those who have become the Lord's; and these dispositions hide themselves in such a manner that they frequently deceive the new will, which needs to be educated up to a clear appreciation of the principles of righteousness.
It is an advance lesson in the School of Christ that hatred of a brother is murder, that we are not only to hate the act of murder, but also the murder spirit, and are so fully to cast out this spirit as to have nothing but love and kindly wishes in the heart toward others, even our enemies. Only the more advanced and better drilled pupils in the School of Christ see clearly and distinctly the meaning of the Apostle's words when he denominates anger (fleshly wrath), malice, hatred, strife, envyings, and evil speakings, as the works of the Devil. These must be fought to the finish.
"WE BESEECH YOU, THEREFORE," BELOVED
All the children of God must come to see that "love worketh no ill to his neighbor," nor does it wish ill. We must see that such evil dispositions originate in the mind, in the heart; and as soon as the true soldier of the cross perceives any of these sins manifesting themselves outwardly or lurking in his heart, he will begin a vigorous campaign against them, and will go to the Throne of Grace for the promised grace to help in time of need. Only thus can the child of God keep his record clear and retain the Lord's favor and blessing.
Let each of us then, dearly beloved, apply earnestly to ourselves these lessons. Let us diligently follow the example
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of the beloved Apostle Paul, and "keep under" our bodies, lest we become castaways. Let us keep ever before our minds the thought that we have "put off the old man with his deeds"; and that we have "put on the new man," and are now on trial for life or death eternal; that we are being tested, are being given the opportunity to prove the sincerity and depth of our consecration to the Lord. Surely this will spur us on and energize us to faithfulness. Let us remember that the keeping under of our body appertains to food and drink, to the clothing we wear, to the way we spend our consecrated time, to our every thought, word and deed.
These battlings of the new mind against the flesh are a "good fight"--good in the sense that they are fightings against the intrenched weaknesses and besetments of the fallen nature, against temptations from within and without, that appeal to us as human beings. They are a "fight of faith" because the entire course of the New Creature is one of faith; for "we walk by faith, not by sight." We could never succeed in this fight unaided. Hence we must keep very close to the Lord. We must "watch and pray," putting on and keeping securely fastened to us the whole armor of God. The time is short in which to complete this work in ourselves. Then let us be diligent!
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THE "CROWN OF LIFE"--WHO WILL RECEIVE IT?
"Blessed is the man that endureth temptation; for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love Him."--`James 1:12`.
THE above words of the Apostle James are a part of an earnest exhortation to all the Church of God scattered abroad. "Blessed is the man who endureth [with fortitude] temptation." Those who do not love the Lord with all their hearts, in whom self or some other idol has first place, will be seduced by the world, the flesh or the Devil into some form of rebellion against the Divine Word or Divine providences. They will have schemes, theories or desires which they will prefer to the Lord's Plan and way; and their own theories, plans and ways will be found, when analyzed, to be based upon selfishness and ambition or an evil spirit of envy, hatred, jealousy, pride, etc. It is only such as endure such temptations and besetments with fortitude, by the grace of God conquering and subduing the fleshly mind, that will receive the promised crown.
The Apostle here speaks of the final reward as being "the crown of life." It might be possible to view this matter of the crown of life from different standpoints; for instance, to think of life as being a crowning blessing, on whatever plane of being. Those who will be brought into the Lord's favor during the Millennial Age will, after the close of that Age, if proven worthy, gain everlasting life. In other words, they will be crowned with a life which will be endless. The Ancient Worthies will have this life everlasting. They will be crowned with life. Life, perfect, unending, is the greatest blessing God could bestow. Then the Little Flock will be especially crowned with life; for they will have life on the superior plane, the life of the Divine nature--the nature of Jehovah; life in the very highest form will be their crown. So we think of all these things as being crowns of life when all have been tested and proven to the end of their course.
THE CROWN ABOVE ALL OTHERS
But we have reason to suppose that St. James is here referring to the Church, the Bride of Christ, the most blessed of all humanity. The Church is now especially on trial. This trial of our love, endurance, faith, patience, is for the purpose of demonstrating which of us will be found worthy of the chiefest of all blessings--the Divine nature, which God has promised to those who love Him--love Him more than they love houses or lands or bonds, more than they love wife or husband or parents or children or self, or any other thing. God will have a reward for others, also; but it will not be this highest crown, which He offers to the Bride of His Son alone.
What constitutes the temptation spoken of in our text? The answer of the Scriptures is that the Lord has said there will come trials and temptations--disciplinings--to those who are His, to develop their character, to prove their steadfastness and loyalty. Without trials and temptations our allegiance to God would never be shown. Self-love might be reigning in our hearts, and we would not recognize it unless it were demonstrated. It is very easy to think how much we love the Lord and how much we would like to do for Him. Then comes the temptation to sloth, and to do something for ourselves instead of for the Lord. It is easy for us to think we love His will, and to sing:
"I love Thy will, O God."
Then we are severely tried on that line, and we sometimes find out that our love for His will needs yet farther development and greater fixity.
Our covenant with the Lord is to love Him with all our heart, mind, soul and strength and to love our neighbor as ourselves. We are to live up to this standard in the spirit of our minds so far as we are able by Divine assistance, trusting to the merit of the precious blood to cover our unavoidable deficiencies. Yea, we are to "lay down our lives for the brethren." The temptation comes to love other things more, to love self more than we love God and the brethren. The Lord permits these trials and temptations and difficulties to come to us. The way we meet these, we think, will have much to do in deciding whether we shall be worthy of the highest crown of life.
THE CROWN OF LIFE AFTER THE TRIAL
"When he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life." The expression, "when he is tried," does not mean one trial merely; but our entire experience is spoken of as a trial, a test of loyalty. Our whole life is a matter of trial or testing to see how sincere we are, how fully we love the Lord, what we are willing to sacrifice, in harmony with our covenant. "When he is tried," then, means, when his trial is over. Then he will receive the "crown of life." He will not get it before. That would not necessarily mean, however, that he would get the crown the minute the trial was over--as soon as his sacrifice was completed in death. Jesus slept until the third day before He received His crown. The Apostles and others slept for many centuries before they received theirs.
It does not mean, either, that the very minute or the very day on which the Christian had fully demonstrated his faithfulness to the Lord he would immediately fall asleep or would be instantly ushered into honor and immortality by the glorious change of the First Resurrection. The Lord might have further purposes of usefulness, etc., in regard to His children before their sacrifice would be completed.
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So with every phase of our trial and testing there should be a demonstration of our loyalty. Let the trials come, then, and let them continue to come. No matter what our natural infirmities may be, we shall be granted grace sufficient; and we are expected to be loyal under all conditions, at all times, until the end.
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DEVELOPMENT AS NEW CREATURES IN CHRIST
"Strong meat belongeth to them who are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil."--`Hebrews 5:14`.
THE Apostle here seems to have in mind some who are babes in Christ, some who have immature conceptions of God and His Plan, who lack spiritual development, contrasting them with others who are more developed, who have become men in Christ Jesus--who are "of full age," as St. Paul expresses it, mature in Christian attainment. "Strong meat" belongs to these. The Apostle has given a reproof to some who, considering the length of time they have been in Christ, should have been strong in the faith, in doctrine, in spiritual life, and should be qualified to teach others. Yet still they were children, needing others to teach them again the first principles of the doctrine of Christ, needing still to be fed on milk, even yet not able to assimilate "strong meat."
Beginners who have not long known Christ, who are new in respect to the truths of God's Plan, are not to be choked with strong meat. These may be fed upon the simpler truths, which they can assimilate. They need "the sincere milk of the Word, that they may grow thereby." Some of the Lord's people, who have been longer in the way, in talking with the newly consecrated unwisely begin to tell them the truths regarding immortality, trinity, etc., before they are able to digest them. These are giving strong meat to babes, and are liable to drive them away from the table of the Lord, giving them spiritual dyspepsia, so that they are unable longer to eat even of the simpler food furnished by the Lord.
For those who are only beginners in the good way, there is plenty of food in God's Word of the more easily digestible sort; food which should be helpful to New Creatures in Christ who are just beginning to walk in the narrow path. We are not to understand, however, that they are to continue for quite a period of time to live exclusively on milk. As they begin to grow and develop on a milk diet, they may be given somewhat stronger food, until after a time they will be able to digest the strongest features of the Truth, and to draw nourishment from them. Some develop and are able to digest the strong meat much more rapidly than others. Those who have not been falsely taught regarding Scriptural doctrines, who have not been steeped for many years in the errors brought into the Church during the Dark Ages, are often much more ready and able to grasp the truth on these subjects than are those who have been long under the blinding influence of error along these lines.
SYSTEMATIC STUDY NECESSARY
Those who are of humble, teachable mind, seeking a "thus saith the Lord" for all they accept, not trying to uphold any theories of their own, but to follow only the Lord, can generally, by taking the STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES and their Bible, and taking up the Plan step by step, in a systematic, orderly manner, as it is presented, proving every statement by the sure Word of God, see the truth regarding these fundamental doctrines with little difficulty. In this way they gain a comprehensive view of the whole Plan of God, and can see how its various features fit and dovetail into one another; this would be impossible if they heard first only a portion of the Plan, disassociated from the rest.
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For this reason it is well to urge the newly interested one to read and prove for himself, and not endeavor to explain too much through conversation. Much harm is often done thus by well-meaning friends, in their zeal to have the beginner grasp it all at once, which is impossible; and often their efforts result in confusing the mind of the one seeking the Truth.
SPIRITUAL EYESIGHT A MATTER OF GROWTH
As we look at a little babe, we see that it can crow, can kick a little, can cry somewhat, and to a certain extent can see objects. It has a certain amount of appreciation of things beautiful, of things terrorizing, of things happifying. But it does not see things very clearly nor comprehend them. If we pass our hand before its eyes, it apparently has not a focus. As with young kittens, which cannot tell what is near and what is far off, so with beginners, babes, in spiritual matters. The younger ones in their attempt to study God's Word, are apt to go tripping along through it, and think they see this or that. They cannot be entrusted with important truths at first; for they would be pretty certain to be stumbled.
But as these grow older, they can "rightly divide" the Truth, they can distinguish Truth from error, they can tell what would be hurtful and what would be helpful. Even a child that burns itself at the fire learns to look out for that which will burn, and learns to approach the fire very carefully, very judiciously. As all this is true as relates to temporal matters, and as the sense of appreciation and comprehension develops in the babe, so in babes in Christ, there is a development of the sense of appreciation and ability to comprehend the heights and depths and lengths and breadths of God's Wisdom and Love, and the fulness and grandeur of His great Plan with all its varied features.
NECESSARY FOOD ALWAYS IN "DUE SEASON"
To gain this appreciation, it is necessary, not only to read the Truth, but to think upon it, to make it our own, to strive earnestly to conform our lives to it. It is better, of course, for one to merely read so many pages or chapters of the Bible than to read some worthless thing; but to simply read a certain amount in the Bible without understanding accomplishes little. The Bible needs to be studied; and the Lord has never left His people without teachers of His own choosing, who were able to lead the dear sheep of the great Shepherd's Fold into the green pastures where they could obtain whatever food was needed at that time. As the gradual unfolding of Truth in its times and seasons has added to the quantity and variety of food required by the flock of God for their proper nourishment, it has been supplied by Him through instrumentalities which he has raised up for the purpose in due season.
The real saints of God have never been left without all needed supplies in every age. In our own day more Truth has unfolded than at any previous period of the Church's history. More and richer food is now necessary,
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to strengthen the Church for the peculiar conditions and testings of this day; and more has been supplied. But as we have stated, and as the Apostle in our text shows, there are various degrees of development in the Church of Christ; and some have been accepted from the world in these latter days to take the places of some who have through unfaithfulness lost their crowns. Hence the wisdom that cometh from above is required to feed and nourish these weaker ones properly.
FIRST LESSONS IN SCHOOL
In a school there are lessons arranged according to the ability and comprehension of the pupils. When the primary lessons in spelling are given, the teacher begins with small, simple words, instead of long words. Such words as c-o-w, cow; c-a-t, cat, are given first. A teacher who is wise and understands her business would not think of starting little children out with such a word as "prognostication," or "hippopotamus." The pupil would first be given more simple and easily comprehensible words. Object lessons, by pictures, etc., are also used at first to attract the eye, and thus to assist the child mind.
And so with religious matters. Those who would give proper instructions to others must be qualified to teach. The Lord has placed the various members in the Body of Christ "as it hath pleased Him." To some He has given Apostles and workers of miracles; to others evangelists and teachers and pastors. In the early history of the Church, in its infantile condition, miracles-- object lessons and proofs to the eye, to the ear, the outward physical senses--were necessary, and hence were supplied. As the Church became established, these outward evidences in connection with the Truth passed away.
The Apostle Paul says, "When I was a child, I spake as a child, I thought as a child, I understood as a child; but when I became a man I put away childish things." (`1 Corinthians 13:11`). And so with every true follower of Christ. As he grows and develops, step by step, as his senses become exercised to discern good and evil-- what is true, what is right, what is profitable, what is comprehended in the glorious High Calling of the Church, what is included in full consecration to Christ--he more and more puts away his childish views, his immature conceptions, and becomes educated and advanced in the things of God--the deep things. A beginner, who had not learned to study the Word of God, could take it and get out of it things that would be really harmful to him. One must learn to take Bible truths in their setting--to see what they mean, how they apply, to whom they apply, etc.--or all will be confusion and contradiction. One can bring sweet music from an instrument only when he learns how to manipulate the keys, how to combine the various chords; otherwise only discord is the result.
RESPONSIBILITY OF THOSE LONG IN THE WAY
There are certain principles laid down in the Bible. We need to get a grasp on these principles and apply them in our daily lives. There is the principle of Justice --a foundation principle. This principle must be recognized and practised before we are in a proper condition to build upon this foundation the principles of Love, Mercy, Gentleness, etc., all of which must be incorporated into our lives, our characters, as children of God. We need to learn what justice means, what true love means. The standards of the world along these lines have become much perverted, and we need to be properly taught from the only authoritative source--the Word of God. We must learn how to apply these principles.
Those who have been for some time drinking from the Fountain of Truth, and feeding at the table of the Lord, where the food is pure, unadulterated, nourishing, should be fully established in the first principles of the doctrine of Christ. Much of the superstructure of "gold, silver and precious stones" should be already erected, and the good work of character-building should be progressing steadily day by day. We should be firmly rooted and grounded in Christ, so that nothing can move us. We should be able to discern clearly between truth and error on every important point. We should be so loyal to the Lord and His Word that we shall rejoice in the glorious privilege of proclaiming it at every suitable opportunity. We should know what we believe and why we believe it, and be courageous and uncompromising in declaring the Truth which has so blessed our own hearts and lives.
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FORGIVENESS IS BLESSED
--JUNE 13.--`PSALM 32`.--
SINS FORGIVEN, COVERED, BLOTTED OUT--INIQUITY NOT IMPUTED --THE GUILELESS SPIRIT--WHO MAY PRAY FOR FORGIVENESS
--UNDER THE LAW COVENANT--UNDER THE COVENANT
OF GRACE--UNDER THE NEW COVENANT--SOME SINS
NOT FORGIVABLE BUT EXPIABLE--"LET THEM PRAY OVER
HIM"--MORTAL SIN OR SIN UNTO DEATH.
"Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven,
whose sin is covered."--`Verse 1`.
THE Scriptures bring to our attention the thought that sins may be forgiven in the sense that God will not continue to treat us as sinners, the sins, however, remaining to be dealt with--merely covered. They also show that the time for actually blotting out sins is in the future, not in the present life. To illustrate: The Christian who has transgressed Divine Law quite unintentionally and entirely through inherited weaknesses may promptly go to God for forgiveness through the Redeemer, and is assured that his sin is covered, that God will not remember it against him nor treat him as a sinner, because Jesus Christ the righteous made full atonement for such sin.
There is another class of sin, partly of weakness and heredity, and partly assented to by the mind. This we might term a mixed sin. The Lord, in forgiving this sin, will restore the joys of His countenance to His child and entirely cover or overlook the transgression in proportion as it was unwilful, unintentional, through ignorance; but He will punish that portion which was of knowledge and connivance or assent of the mind.
There is still another kind of sin, which the Bible describes as a wilful sin--against light, against knowledge. This is sometimes spoken of as a sin against the Holy Spirit, because the light of knowledge and Truth is the light of God's Spirit of Truth; and whoever wilfully transgresses it transgresses the Spirit of Truth. Such sin Jesus declared has never forgiveness, neither in this Age nor in the Age to come. (`Matthew 12:32`.) But this does not mean that the individual will be punished for it forever. It simply means what it says--that such a sin cannot be forgiven and could only be expiated. If, however, it were a sin against full light, the expiation would mean the Second Death. We have reason to believe
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that on account of our inherited weaknesses and unholy environment, nearly all sins committed by God's people may be classed as mixed sins--only partly wilful.
In any event, a man who realizes his transgression forgiven and his sin covered must have great peace and joy toward the Lord, and blessing that is beyond description. He may, however, at the same time, carry the marks of those forgiven sins in his body to his dying day; and he may perhaps be troubled with aches and pains and with various diseases as a result of sins that are forgiven--to his dying moment. The sins, therefore, are not blotted out all that while, although they are forgiven. The marks of them are seen in his flesh or his mind or in whatever way they have blemished him.
St. Peter tells us that our sins are to be blotted out fully at the Second Coming of Christ. We can readily see how this will be; for the promise to the Church is that in the resurrection they will be given perfect bodies; that which is in part and imperfect will be done away, and that which is perfect will be theirs forever in the body of the resurrection --"sown in dishonor, raised in glory; sown in weakness, raised in power; sown an animal body, raised a spiritual body."--`1 Corinthians 15:43,44`.
CONDITIONS FOR FORGIVENESS
Much confusion of thought prevails respecting the conditions upon which forgiveness of sins may be expected. This is not the fault of the Bible, which makes the matter very clear and very plain. It is the fault of our confused theologies, which have mixed up everything for us. To understand the matter we must remember that the whole world, as the children of Adam, rest under Divine sentence of death, with no offer of hope directly made to them. The Lord's people have a Revelation from Him, informing them that God purposes great things for the world by and by through Messiah's Kingdom, but that these are not applicable to them at the present time. The mercies and favors of God, including forgiveness of sins, are all confined for the present to those who come into covenant relationship with God.
What is meant by covenant relationship? some may ask. We reply that God entered into a Covenant with the Jewish nation, through Moses as the mediator of their Law Covenant. A part of that arrangement was that on the basis of certain sacrifices for sins--sacrifices of bulls and goats--God entered into a Covenant, or bargain, with that nation. These sacrifices of bulls and goats every year on the Day of Atonement imputed to the nation forgiveness of sins for that year; that all the people might be in relationship with God. Thus they had the right to come to God in prayer in respect to any matter of God's promise or in respect to the forgiveness of their sins, as in the case of David.
But this privilege did not extend to the Gentiles--it was merely an arrangement made with the Jews. And even with the Jews it was only a typical arrangement. It foreshadowed the permanent arrangement of this Gospel Age, based upon the "better sacrifices" of the antitypical Moses--Jesus.
Since the time of Jesus another Covenant has been opened, while the Law Covenant may be said to be inoperative for the present. The Covenant now applicable to Christians is called Scripturally a Covenant of Sacrifice (`Psalm 50:5`), or a Covenant of Grace. It is a Covenant of Sacrifice because all who enter into this Covenant with God sacrifice their earthly rights and interests, accepting instead the spiritual blessings, which God has promised and which they can see with the eye of faith.
Jesus was the first One who made the Covenant of Sacrifice. Holy, harmless, undefiled and separate from sinners, He presented His body a living sacrifice to God, saying, "Lo! I come, as in the volume of the Book it is written of Me, to do Thy will, O My God." (`Psalm 40:7,8`; `Hebrews 10:7`.) Thus He surrendered His will, and with it everything and every power He possessed. During the three and a half years of His ministry, He zealously carried out this Covenant unto death, even the death of the Cross. For this cause God highly exalted Him, giving Him the perfection of the spirit nature, to which he attained at His resurrection-- glory, honor and immortality forever.--`Phil. 2:8-11`.
The work of this Gospel Age is to call out from amongst the sinner race such as may have a similar spirit, or disposition, to that which Jesus had. None, like Him, are holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners; but what they lack in this respect is made up to them by the imputation of the merit of Jesus, so that, as the Apostle declares, they are accepted of God in the Beloved One. And being thus accepted, they are privileged to enter into the same Covenant of Sacrifice which Jesus entered into. With Him, they say to the Father, Lo! we present ourselves in harmony with everything written in Your Book, to do Your will even unto death. It is the same Covenant! and in describing this, the Apostle declares that we walk in Jesus' steps and fill up that which is behind of the afflictions of Christ.--`1 Pet. 2:21`; `Col. 1:24`.
Many seem not aware that only such as are in covenant relationship with God have any right to go to God in prayer, to ask either forgiveness of sins or anything else. Nevertheless, this must be clear to every one who will think on the subject. God declares that He heareth not sinners, and that He has made only one provision whereby any may come to Him. Jesus is the Way, the Truth and the Life. "No man cometh unto the Father but by Me," He declares. (`John 14:6`.) He is the Advocate for those who become His disciples and who engage to walk in His steps; but He is not the Advocate for the world-- merely for the special class, His followers. In due time, at the close of this Age and the opening of the Millennium, He will become the Mediator for the whole world, will make satisfaction for all their sins, and will take over every member of the race under His Divine supervision. His Mediatorial Kingdom is arranged with this in view. Even then, the world will not go to the Father with their sins nor with their prayers, but merely go to the great Mediator between God and men--between God and the world. They will have blessings and favors then abundantly, under the arrangement provided; but they can have nothing now. The only ones who can get God's favors at the present time are those who come by the appointed Way--through the Covenant of Sacrifice.
THE ADVOCATE'S ONLY TERMS
With false ideas in our minds respecting the penalty for sin--with the idea that it is to be eternal torment-- many imagine the Lord Jesus sitting tearfully and dejectedly, waiting for sinners to show the slightest sign of repentance, when He would fly to their relief and accept them without any particular terms or conditions. Nothing could be further from the truth--nothing could be further from the teaching of the Bible. On the contrary, if the sinner thinks of turning from sin to God and comes to Jesus to inquire if He will be His Advocate with the Father and make him satisfactory and acceptable, he is promptly told that he can have this privilege only on certain fixed conditions.
The conditions are stipulated--he must become a disciple
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of Christ. And this means all that the Master declared saying, "If any man will come after Me [be My disciple], let him deny himself [sacrifice his own will], and take up his cross and follow Me." (`Matthew 16:24`.) There is no short cut. There are no other terms, and Jesus does not urge any one to accept these terms.
Misinformed evangelists may, in the name of the Lord, urge and make different terms; but they are that far away from the authorized Message of God's Word. On the contrary, Jesus said to some in His time, "Sit down and count the cost"--be not hasty; know well what you are doing, and fully determine the matter before you undertake the responsibilities of discipleship. It is better not to vow than, after having vowed, to break the vow. It is better not to put your hand to the plow to become a servant of the Lord than, after taking these vows and entering the service, either to turn back or even to look back, as implying a half-hearted service.--`Luke 9:62`.
THE NARROW WAY--THE FEW
Some one may perhaps suggest that if these views were generally accepted, there would be far fewer professed Christians in the world. We agree to this; but we insist that the Christians would be of a better standard, more acceptable to the Lord. The Lord declares, "Strait is the gate and narrow is the way that leadeth unto life [in the present time], and few there be that find it." These few are to constitute the Kingdom Class, the Bride Class, and with Christ are to be the Divine agency for blessing all the families of the earth during the thousand years of Christ's Reign.
Another point that might be worthy of notice is that when we first come to the Lord, it is not necessary to pray for forgiveness of original sin. He informs us that all the arrangements are made, completed, for those who desire to accept His terms and become his disciples. All, therefore, we have to do is to go to the Lord intelligently, thoughtfully, and tell Him how glad we are that He has made these arrangements; and that we gladly accept the terms of discipleship, with the promise that His grace shall be sufficient for us, and with His assurance that all things shall work together for good to the called ones according to His purpose.
It is after these have come into covenant relationship with God that they have need to pray for the forgiveness of their trespasses--their sins of omission or commission conflicting with their covenant of consecration and the Divine requirements. Thus this class is privileged to offer the Lord's Prayer, "Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us." These trespasses thus to be forgiven do not include the original sin. That was forgiven freely for all those who accepted Christ and came under this new covenant-arrangement. The trespasses are our failures to come up to the standard required of the Lord after His grace has freed us from the transgressions that are past.
"LET THEM PRAY OVER HIM"
St. James calls our attention to some of the Lord's people who might become sin-sick to such an extent that they would not have access to the Throne of Grace themselves. Because of carelessness of living, neglect of duties and privileges, disregard of their covenant obligations, a cloud between them and the Father comes thick and dark. They are unable to penetrate this cloud. Their prayers seem not to reach the Father. He is hiding His face from them. Theirs is an extreme case. Through the Apostle the Lord says that if any one shall turn such a transgressor--a Christian who has gotten into such a wrong condition--from the error of his way, he will save a soul from death and hide a multitude of sins.
The Apostle tells the procedure. The sin-sick one should realize his need, so that he would call upon the elders of the Church--the senior Christian brethren. He should confess to them his fault or whatever he believes has had to do with separating him from the Lord's favor. They in turn, as members of the Body of Christ, may intercede for him to the Lord and may anoint him with oil in the name of the Lord; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him, and the Lord shall raise him up to spiritual health and strength again. --`James 5:14-16,19,20`.
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PRAYERS THAT ARE HEARD
--JUNE 20.--`PSALM 141`.--
MANY MAY WORSHIP, FEW MAY PRAY--ONLY THE SANCTIFIED IN CHRIST JESUS--THEIR FREQUENT NEEDS--"GOD'S EAR OPEN"--THEIR PRAYERS ARISE AS INCENSE TO HIM-- LEARNING TO PRAY--WHAT TO PRAY FOR--WATCHING FOR ANSWERS--THE BREATH OF LIFE SPIRITUAL.
"Keep me from the snares which they have laid for me."--`V. 9`.
WHEN we think of the greatness of the Creator, Maker of Heaven and earth and all therein, and when we think of our own littleness, our weaknesses and imperfections, we are amazed that our God has made any provision whereby even the best of His creatures might hold communion with Him in prayer. We should not fail to note the difference between worship and praise, which anybody may render to the Lord, and prayers and supplications, which are acceptable only from the Lord's consecrated people and their children while still minors.
To illustrate: It is one thing that the populace may cheer a governor or a king, may remove their hats or bow their heads, but it is quite another thing for that same conglomeration of people to be received by the king or the governor into association as his friends or to have communion with him, to tell him about their matters, to have his counsel and guidance. So, while God has an interest in the whole world of mankind, a deep interest, it is not the same interest that He has in His Church. And by His Church we mean, not any sect or party or denomination, but those individuals who, regardless of sectarian lines, have entered into a heart covenant with the Lord, renouncing their own wills and accepting, instead, the will of God in Christ. These are the Bible Church, whose names are written in Heaven. (`Hebrews 12:23`.) These are the ones addressed in the Bible as the saints of God, and respecting whom it is declared, "All things are yours;...and ye are Christ's; and Christ is God's."--`1 Corinthians 3:21-23`.
This Church of God, in all the world, is not numerically strong. As the Bible says, it contains not many rich, not many wise, not many learned, but chiefly the poor of this world, rich in faith, heirs of the Kingdom. (`1 Corinthians 1:26`; `James 2:5`.) Their reigning, their power and their control in the world's affairs will not
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come until they shall have experienced the resurrection change, and Messiah's Kingdom shall be fully inaugurated. Then these shall live and reign with Christ a thousand years.--`Revelation 20:4`.
WHO MAY PRAY
Strangely enough, many seem to have gotten the thought that anybody, at any time, may rush into the presence of the Almighty God with his requests. The intimation even seems to be that God is unhappy because people do not come to Him thus. Such views of prayer indicate a lack of Bible study, Bible information. The Bible teaches that prayer is a great privilege.
Jesus declared, "No man cometh unto the Father but by Me." Furthermore, He indicated the restrictions upon those who would approach the Father through Him-- they must be His disciples; and to become His disciples, they must take upon themselves certain obligations or vows. They must renounce their own wills, and accept the will of Jesus. They must lay all upon the altar; otherwise they cannot be accepted, cannot be presented to the Father, cannot be begotten of the Holy Spirit, cannot be styled or treated as sons of God, cannot be joint-heirs with Jesus Christ in His coming Kingdom--cannot have the privilege of sons of God in the present life either-- the privilege of prayer and of Divine fellowship, communion, instruction.
All these special blessings the Bible reserves for those who become especially, peculiarly, the sons of God. Even in respect to these who have become sons of God, Jesus intimates a danger of their losing the privilege of prayer. He says, "If ye abide in Me, and My words abide in you, ye may ask what ye will"--not otherwise.--`John 15:7`.
We believe that misinformation on this subject of prayer has worked disadvantageously to many. The majority, holding intercourse with evil, only occasionally flee to the Lord in some trouble, and that without entering into any covenant with Him or receiving any recognition as sons, and without desiring this. If they were rightly informed, the effect upon their minds at first would be to stun them. They would awake suddenly to the realization that they are without God in the world; that their affairs are not subject to His supervision; but that as part of the world, they are under the general curse, or sentence of death.
The highest qualities of the human mind, which lie at the very top of our craniums, are the organs of worship, reverence, veneration, spirituality. Even the wicked, at times, feel that they will please God by praying to Him and asking Him for some favors. They have not learned that God has addressed them, saying, "Unto the wicked God saith, What hast thou to do, to take My Covenant into thy mouth, seeing thou hatest instruction and castest My words behind thee?"--`Psalm 50:16,17`.
It is high time that the difference between the Church and the world shall be more distinctly discerned, and that the privileges of the Church shall be appreciated. The effect would be to awaken in others a sense of their need for God. Then, in their hours of distress, realizing that they have no God, would they not be the more likely to seek Him earnestly in His appointed way, through the Lord Jesus Christ, and through a full consecration--the only terms upon which Jesus would accept them and be their Advocate with the Father, and secure for them the title and privilege of sons of God, valuable both for the present life and for that which is to come?
INCENSE, PRAYER, BEFORE GOD
The Prophet David, in this lesson, pictures the Christian in his distress coming to God in His appointed way: "O Lord, I cry unto Thee: make haste unto me; give ear unto my voice, when I cry unto Thee. Let my prayer be set forth before Thee as incense." This is the same thought elsewhere expressed in the Bible--that the prayers of God's people rise up before Him as a sweet perfume. (`Revelation 5:8`.) And, by the way, we remember that the incense of old, which typified the prayers of the saints, was composed of a rare mixture of spices, giving forth a peculiarly sweet odor; and that nobody was allowed to make that incense except the priests who were to offer it. (`Exo. 30:34-38`; `37:29`.) Thus again the Lord shows us that the privilege of prayer, of approaching Him in an acceptable manner, is confined to the antitypical priests, called by St. Peter the Royal Priesthood.-- `1 Peter 2:9`.
Only those of the Lord's people who have consecrated their lives to Him, even unto death, are thus represented as members of the sacrificing Priesthood, to whom the Apostle wrote, saying, "I beseech you, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, and your reasonable service." (`Romans 12:1`.) The Lord has pledged to this particular class that He will hear them, yea, that He will answer them--not necessarily according to their natural preferences, but He will heed the spirit of their cry and give to them, according to His Wisdom, the experiences and blessings most helpful.
WHAT WE SHOULD PRAY FOR
Our prayers should be in harmony with our endeavors. Thus in our lesson the Church of Christ are represented as praying the Lord to set a guard over their lips. The thought is that they are striving to keep their lips, their mouths, from utterances that would be injurious to others; and that, on the contrary, they may be helpful to humanity and honoring to God. Also, because they are striving for heart purity and to avoid practising wicked works with evil doers, therefore they pray in harmony, "Incline not my heart to any evil thing, to practise wicked works with men that work iniquity; and let me not eat of their dainties"--assist me in my determination of opposition to all these things.
How appropriate that the Lord's consecrated people should scrutinize their lives when they come to their Father in prayer! How appropriate for them to note to what extent their blessings, luxuries and dainties have come to them contrary to the principles of justice and love--contrary to the Golden Rule! Whoever intelligently thus prays will surely be examining his life to rectify his business relations, so that he may not eat of the dainties which would come from injustice or oppression, but, on the contrary, rejoice in the commonest things of life if they be the best procurable in harmony with the principles of righteousness, the principles of love.
"LET THE RIGHTEOUS SMITE"
The class that are thus in fellowship with God, through prayer and through seeking to be obedient to His arrangements and laws, are so fully engaged that they are able to say, as in this Psalm, that they will take no offense if reproved by the righteous--rather the reproofs of such will be to them like an excellent oil, such as a guest received from his host in ancient times. The true Christians, the class who have the fellowship with God through prayer, have the qualities of heart which the Apostle describes as the fruits of the Holy Spirit; namely, meekness, gentleness, patience, long-suffering, brotherly-kindness, love. (`Galatians 5:22,23`; `2 Peter 1:5-8`.)
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And because possessing these, they are not easily offended, but indeed are glad to have such experiences and lessons as the Lord's providences may direct to them--especially if these come through the brethren, and particularly if the brethren who use these administer their rebukes in a Christian manner--in meekness, remembering themselves, lest they also be tempted.--`Galatians 6:1`.
In such cases, the reproof will be a blessing from the Lord--if given in that spirit and received in that spirit. Neither their heads nor their hearts are broken by such Scriptural reproofs; and they themselves learn to administer admonitions to others in similar manner, so as not to injure, but to help. Their prayers are for each other in what seem to be calamities; and in harmony with the Lord's promise, these seeming calamities and all the affairs of life shall operate together for good to those who love Him, to the called ones according to His purpose.
The American Revision gives the wording here differently: "As oil upon the head; let not my head refuse it: for even in their wickedness shall my prayer continue."
In hyperbole the Prophet declares the distress of the Church as affecting them even to death. "Our bones are scattered at the mouth of Sheol (the grave), as when one cutteth and cleaveth wood upon the earth"--like the fragments made by the wood-cutter, who considers the chips not worthy to be gathered. But while this may be the estimation of God's saints from the worldly viewpoint, not so is it with God, as the following verse implies: "But mine eyes are unto Thee, O God the Lord: for in Thee is my trust; leave not my soul destitute."
But whatever affliction God's consecrated people may have in the present life, whatever rejection may be their experience at the hands of the great or the wise of this world, they have God's promise of glory, honor, immortality, in the future. In Him they trust, and He will not leave them desolate. He has declared, "The gates of Hell (Sheol, Hades) shall not prevail against them"; that is to say, the power of the grave shall not prevail against the Lord's Anointed, Christ and the Church--they shall come forth from the power of the tomb glorious in the First Resurrection majesty to reign a thousand years.-- `Revelation 20:6`.
"KEEP ME FROM THE SNARES"
Satan is represented as a fowler, a hunter, who is seeking after the Lord's people even as earthly hunters are prone to hunt after speckled birds. Before the invention of powder, the hunters more particularly entrapped their prey with snares and pitfalls. While Satan is represented as being the great Arch-enemy, he also is accredited with using agents. Chief amongst his agents, according to the Bible, are those fallen angels of whom he is the prince-- "the prince of devils." But he has amongst men many workers of iniquity. These are his servants whether they realize it or not.
As Jesus declared, "His servants ye are to whom ye render service." In consequence of this rule, we understand that many are professedly servants of God who are deceiving themselves, who are really the servants of the Wicked One; for his works they do, as Jesus said. They colabor for the upbuilding of unrighteousness, iniquity, injustice, and in holding down the Truth and in misleading the people.
The Lord will help His people, He will deliver them from the various snares of the Adversary; and eventually Satan and all his cohorts will fall into their own snares. Thus, in ancient times, when the Egyptians thought to capture the Israelites at the Red Sea, the Lord opened the way for the Israelites and they escaped; while their enemies pursued after them, and were themselves entrapped and overwhelmed.
Similarly, in the great Time of Trouble that is approaching, apparently Satan and his servants will be overwhelmed in that trouble in a manner not expected by them. The Church will escape those things coming upon the world and will stand before the Son of Man, changed in the power of the First Resurrection and called to be with Him as His Kingdom class. But the world will be ensnared in that great Time of Trouble. Yet, thank God, it will be for their advantage as they learn the ways of the Lord more fully, and great will be the blessings of the Almighty coming to them!
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"PROPHESY AGAINST THE SHEPHERDS"
--JUNE 27.--`EZEKIEL 34`.--
SELF-SEEKING SHEPHERDS--FEED THEMSELVES, BUT NOT THE FLOCK--THE TRUE SHEPHERD COMES--SEEKING THE SCATTERED
SHEEP--FEEDING THE FLOCK--CARING FOR THE SICK AND LEAN--REPROVING THE SELFISH OF THE FLOCK
--DAVID TO BE THE NEW SHEPHERD--ONE FLOCK, ONE
SHEPHERD--"THE LORD IS MY SHEPHERD."
"I Myself will be the Shepherd of My sheep."--`V. 15`.
TODAY'S Study is a parable, applicable, we believe, at the present time. It begins with an arraignment of the shepherds, the pastors of the Lord's flock. It accuses them of neglecting the sheep in favor of themselves. It declares that they appropriate the wool of the sheep and devour the best of the flock, but neglect to feed the flock-- neglect to lead them to the "green pastures" of God's Word and to the "still waters" of Divine Truth. The parable pictures the Lord's flock, scattered here and there, some wounded, some torn, some lean and hungry, all neglected so far as the false shepherds are concerned.
We cannot understand this as signifying nominal Christians, but the true saints of God. Nominal Christianity fares well enough, but the Lord does not recognize merely nominal Christians as His flock. They are the tares, not the wheat; they are the goats, not the sheep. The shepherds who neglect to care for the sheep, to provide them with the spiritual food and to assist them to find it, to appropriate it, are often quite busy with the goats--the worldly elements of their congregations. Their church arrangements are often especially for the goat, or tare class. These do not care for spiritual food; they must be provided with entertainments, suppers, sociables, discourses on politics, or harmless dissertations well filled with jokes. Do not they furnish most of the money? Would they not withdraw from the church if spiritual food were dispensed? For these some are providing "smokers," parish houses, well supplied with games, etc.
But the shepherds were not appointed by the Lord to look after the goats and the tare class, but to look after the wheat, the Lord's sheep. They are unfaithful pastors, or shepherds; and this prophecy is a reproof to
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them. The true flock of God is scattered, some here, some there, in many denominations and outside of all. They become the prey of the beastly of the world, and are ensnared into various false doctrines, but "neither did My shepherds search for My flock, but the shepherds fed themselves, and fed not My flock. Therefore, O ye shepherds, hear the word of the Lord! Thus saith the Lord God, Behold I am against the shepherds; and I will require My flock at their hand, and cause them to cease from feeding the flock; neither shall the shepherds feed themselves any more: for I will deliver My flock from their mouth."
THE SHEPHERD GATHERING HIS FLOCK
Many Bible students believe that this Scripture is in process of fulfilment--that we are living in the Parousia of Christ, and that He has been present in the world for some years past, searching out the truly consecrated of His people, and gathering them out of all sectarian systems and from the world, to Himself. Surely it is true that the shepherds are ceasing to feed the flock; for very few of the flock of the Lord's consecrated people any longer seek spiritual food at their hands. They are wandering in a famishing condition, and much in danger of falling into the various snares of the Adversary.
However, the Great Shepherd Himself is with His flock, and is causing His voice to be heard; and the sheep will be gathered to Him out of every nation and out of every denomination. Truly, Jesus said, "My sheep hear My voice, and they follow Me"; and "a stranger will they not follow; for they know not the voice of strangers." (`John 10:27,5`.) The voice of the Lord, of the Great Shepherd, amongst His sheep is to be heard now because it is the time of His Second Presence. He is about to complete His flock of this Gospel Age and to glorify them with Himself in the First Resurrection. Surely, goodness and mercy shall follow them; they shall dwell in the House of the Lord forever.
"Thus saith the Lord God, Behold I, even I, will both search My sheep, and seek them out. As a shepherd seeketh out his flock in the day that he is among his sheep that are scattered, so will I seek out My sheep, and I will deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered in the cloudy and dark day. And I will bring them out from the people, and gather them from the countries, and will bring them to their own land." `Verses 11-13`.
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The Home-land of the Lord's sheep of this Gospel Age is Heaven itself, and His bringing them to it will mean their resurrection change. Then they shall be in the Kingdom with Jesus Himself--still His sheep, still His flock, still His Bride, still His members. But He declares also, "Other sheep I have that are not of this fold: them also I must bring; and there shall be one fold, and one Shepherd."--`John 10:16`.
THE SECOND FLOCK AND ITS FOLD
These other sheep of the Lord, we believe, will include all of mankind who, during the Millennial Kingdom, will be glad to avail themselves of the great provision the Lord has made for them in His Plan. They are other sheep in the sense that they will be of a different nature from the flock which the Lord is selecting during this Gospel Age. The flock now being called and gathered are being begotten to the Divine nature, a spirit nature, and they will attain to this spirit nature by a resurrection change; as it is written, "Flesh and blood cannot inherit the Kingdom of God."--`1 Cor. 15:50`.
The other sheep will be the great flock of the Lord, the great family of Adam, purchased by Jesus. For a thousand years the work of calling and gathering mankind and separating between sheep and goats will progress, as outlined in `Matthew 25:31-46`. The whole world will be granted the opportunity of taking their choice as to whether they will be sheep or goats. And nothing in the Scriptures informs us whether the sheep or the goats will be the more numerous. We are merely informed that all will have the invitation to become the Lord's sheep, to come under His shepherding care; and by so doing and proving their loyalty to Him and developing His spirit, His character-likeness, they will be granted everlasting life on the human plane, the earthly plane.
There the Lord will bring the Restitution which St. Peter mentions (`Acts 3:19-21`), and which will be offered to Adam and all his race, who will not receive the call of this Gospel Age. Theirs will not be so high a call, but will evidently be a glorious one. The whole earth--a Paradise, an earthly heaven--will be their everlasting portion, but it will not be the Heavenly Home to which the Church has been invited. The world's blessing of Restitution to human perfection, to the image and likeness of God in the flesh, will not be the equivalent of the spiritual nature granted to the Church of this Age, but it will be wonderfully grand.
As for the goats of that time, thank God! they are not to be tormented, as many of us once supposed. Rather, they are to be cut off from life, as is implied in the Greek word kolasin. "These [the goats] shall go away into everlasting cutting off; but the righteous [the sheep] into life everlasting." (`Matthew 25:46`.) The Great Shepherd, who is now gathering His flock of this Gospel Age, will remain therefore for a thousand years to gather out fully all His flock of the Millennial Age, to separate them fully from all having the contrary spirit, and to destroy completely all except His sheep. All who really love righteousness and hate iniquity, when given a clear opportunity to discern and to take their stand, will choose the right and become the Lord's sheep. All others, who will to be wicked, will die; as it is written, "All the wicked will He destroy."--`Psalm 145:20`.
"I will feed My flock, and I will cause them to lie down, saith the Lord God. I will seek that which was lost, and bring again that which was driven away, and I will bind up that which was broken, and will strengthen that which was sick; but I will destroy the fat and the strong; I will feed them with judgment"--with a righteous recompense.--`Verses 15,16`.
THE FLOCK CRITICIZED ALSO
Not merely the shepherds, the pastors, the preachers, the ministers, are reproved by the Lord, but also some of His flock not in official positions. In the Day of the Lord's presence, these also will be dealt with, as we read:
"And as for you, O My flock, thus saith the Lord God, Behold, I judge between cattle and cattle, between the rams and the he goats. Seemeth it a small thing unto you to have eaten up the good pasture, but ye must tread down with your feet the residue of your pastures? and to have drunk of the deep waters, but ye must foul the residue with your feet? And as for My flock, they have eaten that which ye have trodden with your feet; and they have drunk that which ye have fouled with your feet. Therefore, thus saith the Lord God unto them, Behold, I, even I, will judge between the fat cattle and between the lean cattle. Because ye have thrust with side and with shoulder, and pushed all the diseased with your horns, till ye have scattered them abroad, therefore will I save My flock, and they shall be no more a prey; and I will judge between cattle and cattle."--`Verses 17-22`.
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The New Order of things incidental to Messiah's Kingdom is here brought to our attention. This already has begun in respect to the Gospel Church. Some who have been considered quite prominent in Christendom, pushing and managing its affairs, and discounting the Lord's true sheep as peculiar people, will be reproved by the Lord in this Day. The poor, the outcasts, the peculiar, are the ones that He styled His flock, and that He was to especially gather and especially feed and especially heal in this time. And is it not so? Is the Lord not feeding His sheep and blessing them irrespective of all sectarianism, and wherever they may be, in every land? Verily, He is searching them out and feeding them; and soon, the Harvest time closed, these will be gathered to the Heavenly fold. Meantime, the good work begun with the Gospel sheep will be extended amongst mankind.
Never again will the Lord leave His sheep without shepherding. We are not from this to understand that He made a mistake when He said, "If I go away, I will come again"; but rather that the leaving of His flock for a time was incidental to their testing, their proving, and development, that those loyal to the Lord, the principles of righteousness and the instructions of His Word might be manifested, even though they were scattered, and that others also might be manifested as unfaithful. It is, however, refreshing to know that throughout the entire Millennial Age, until all the work of perfecting the sheep shall have been accomplished, the Shepherd will be with them. Thus we read:
"And I will set up one Shepherd over them, and He shall feed them, even My servant David; He shall feed them, and He shall be their Shepherd. And I, Jehovah, will be their God, and My servant David a prince among them; I the Lord have spoken it. And I will make with them a Covenant of Peace, and will cause the evil beasts to cease out of the land; and they shall dwell safely in the wilderness, and sleep in the woods."-- `Verses 23-25`.
We are not from this to understand that the Prophet David of old is to be made Jehovah's representative and given the care of the sheep in the future. The word David signifies beloved; and the thought, we believe, is that the antitype of David is meant. Jesus is preeminently beloved of the Father; and the Bride class, the Church, are to be the members of Christ, their Head-- members of the Beloved. Thus the Lord Jesus said of His people, "The Father Himself loveth you."
We see then that The Christ, Head and Body-- Jesus and the Church--are to be the antitypical David, or Beloved of God, into whose care all who are His sheep or who desire to become His sheep during the Millennial Age will be committed. The wild beasts, representing the evil-doers, those who will devour, destroy and do harm, will be caused to cease; and the whole world will become "the fold." No longer will there be need of making a special fold, building the fences against the enemies; for the sheep will be in a quiet and restful condition--"in the woods."
In other words, the close of the Millennium will witness what the Lord has declared, that nothing shall hurt nor destroy in all His holy Kingdom. (`Isaiah 11:9`.) It will witness also what Jesus has declared; namely, that from that time onward, there shall be no more sighing, no more crying, no more dying, no more curse, because all the former things shall have passed away. "And He that sat upon the Throne said, Behold, I make all things new." (`Revelation 21:3-5`.) Even Satan shall be bound, to deceive the world no more until Messiah shall have fully accomplished the work of perfecting the flock.
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RE CHARGES OF THE PREACHERS' UNION
We appreciated very much the article in the March 15 WATCH TOWER entitled, "Preachers Back of Malicious Attack." Of course, all of us were certain that the charges were false, but until the article appeared we had nothing with which to refute the falsity of them. Now we are fully armed.
One would hardly believe that reports could spread so rapidly.
We find here in Texas that the opposition to the Truth is so thoroughly organized throughout the country that every preacher, even in the smallest towns and in the rural districts, has in his possession copies, not only of all the books written in opposition to the Truth, but also of the charges
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made against Brother Russell and of our alleged teachings of a second chance, no punishment for sin, etc. In our Volunteer work we are making it a point to refute these charges whenever opportunity presents.
We are not inclining toward weariness in well doing. We are confident that we shall reap unspeakably glorious results in due time, and we believe the due time is not far off.
It is our delight to bear before the Throne of Heavenly Grace our dear Pastor and all others who suffer for righteousness' sake. And we daily search our own hearts lest possibly we may shrink from joyfully sharing with these whatever the Lord may allow to come upon us. With continued love and prayers for all, we are,
Faithfully yours in His fellowship and service,
SETH T. MOORE.--Texas.
OPPOSITION PROVED TO BE BOOMERANG
DEAR PASTOR RUSSELL:--
A short time ago, having heard your teachings roundly denounced by one or two brother clergymen, I obtained the six volumes of your STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES and began to study and investigate for myself. The final upshot of this inquiry has been that the whole of your views and position as set forth in the above volumes has convinced me beyond all question that modern Christendom is upon a false foundation, and that somehow the "Churches" have lost vital integral portions of that Truth which was delivered once for all to the saints. I have therefore recently felt it to be my duty to resign my position as an Anglican minister, as I am now certain that the "Churches" as at present organized do not, and cannot, truly and adequately represent our Lord to humanity as Redeemer. Why this is so you make abundantly and transparently clear in your STUDIES.
I have been engaged in the work of the ministry for the last thirteen years, and during this time have tenaciously held on to my position in the Church, although for some years I have had the instinctive feeling that in some way things were far from right within the borders of "Orthodoxy." The difficulty was I did not know how to set about to try and remedy matters. Your third volume of the STUDIES, "Thy Kingdom Come," shows clearly that there could be no remedy in these latter days, for the time of Harvest is come, and that the evident decay and disintegration of Christendom is the Lord's method of gathering together His own Spiritual Elect Church. The whole thing has come to me with the force of a Divine Revelation--for such it assuredly is. I can only add that it has been the deep desire within to try and do my Lord's will that has kept me within the "Orthodox" Church until the present. Now, however, that I see, as in a mirror, that He is calling me to come out of Babylon as with a stentorian voice--in view of her wickedness, worldliness, cruelty, hypocrisy and errors--I feel that I must obey Him at all costs. I have done this, and already I feel a sense of inner peace and tranquility coming over me. May God bless and keep you, Brother Russell, and all the brethren with you who are now busy making ready for the Coming of the King!
For myself I just want to do the Lord's will in all things, and will be glad to serve and co-operate with you and the Association generally as may most effectively tend to assist in
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the establishment of our Lord's Kingdom. Kindly use me as you may judge will be best to this great end. I am a married man with three children, but whatever difficulties may arise I have already proved that His grace is sufficient for me. He has shown me the road to take to do His will and He will enable me so to do.
I have made myself known to the brethren in Toronto and they have welcomed me in a most kind and brotherly way. If it should be the Lord's will for me to remain in this city, it will be a joy and privilege to cooperate with them in seeking to further the great end we have in view. At the same time I have the feeling that if arrangements could be made for me to undertake a short, special course of study and training under your direction at Brooklyn it would do me much good and enable me to render more efficient service later on. I will, however, leave myself wholly in your hands and endeavor to begin to serve the Association as you may judge best.
With earnest prayers that your hands may be upheld in every possible way, and that God in His infinite mercy may shower upon you and the brethren generally still greater blessings for the Great Day yet to come, I am
Yours in the Lord, R. A. ROBINSON.--Canada.
MOST WONDERFUL MONTHS
DEAR BROTHER RUSSELL:--
I desire to testify to you that the last twelve months-- for I am now nearly twelve months in the Truth--have been the most wonderful in my life. Looking back I can clearly see how our dear Lord has led me step by step, and given me strength sufficient to walk that narrow path that leads upward to Him. What joy and peace He has given me since I learned to look to Him, and what marvelous patience He has had with me!
The local Methodist minister (I used to be a member of his congregation) has desired me to return to his flock. He has used many arguments and has given me booklets to read; but he cannot answer me when I point out to him that neither he nor any of the denominational ministers were able to show me the path my Savior trod, and it was not until I came in touch with you, through your writings, that my eyes were opened and my ears unstopped to hear the call to consecrate my all to Him. How can I turn my back on one who has done so much for me!
Dear Brother, daily I ask God's richest blessings for you. Will you pray for me--just once--that through His grace and strength I may be able to join you and others of His saints beyond the veil?
With love, your brother, J. C. EDWARDS.--Canada.
MORNING RESOLVE, VOW, HYMN, MANNA, PRAYER
MOST DEARLY BELOVED BROTHER IN THE ANOINTED:--
This year, when reading the MANNA for January 1st, I made a table of the appointments the Lord has furnished us for our building up in the faith, and fitting us to run in the narrow way. I was surprised at the number.
The daily appointments of Morning Resolve, Vow, hymn, MANNA and prayer that we have in common with all the Household of Faith, have been a blessing to me this year as never before. I believe that one reason for this is that I am learning more the value of prayer, and I try always to ask the Lord beforehand to bless the morning service to me. If I forget this, I notice a difference in my response to it. The fact that these appointments, though used daily, never wear out is a proof to me of their Divine origin. I am referring more especially now to the Vow and Resolve. I think there has never been a question that the hymns and the MANNA came from God.
In a Second Volume Berean lesson not long ago reference was made to the Lord's gathering His people together in mental association and spiritual communion. In our home here we are realizing the special spiritual communion with the whole Israel of God that comes from using the same morning service; and I thanked God for the way He had arranged, that through the question books the consecrated were given the opportunity to come into mental association and have their attention drawn to the same thought in each paragraph to be especially emphasized. Thus one could leave a class in Halifax and go to a class in Los Angeles, and be at home in the STUDIES immediately; that is if these classes were up to date. There is nothing else like it on earth; and the value of this arrangement cannot be emphasized too much, as we believe such a wonderful arrangement for the building up in knowledge that we may grow in grace has been under the direct supervision of our beloved Bridegroom and Head, the Chief Reaper in the Harvest.
I send you a large bundle of that most precious commodity, the love that comes because of being a member of the Anointed One. May the God of all consolation comfort and refresh you continually is my prayer.
Your Sister by His kind favor, LILLA S. WARD
BAPTIST PREACHER GETS LIGHT
I am constrained to acquaint you with the news that in God's hands you have been a means of blessing to us who were for some time spiritually cast down. I was aforetime a Baptist pastor and evangelist in England, earnest in my endeavors for the Gospel's sake, and had to suffer because I could not bend to those who thought they had the right to lay down the law. I felt that there was something lacking in their teachings and was in such perplexity that I drifted into indifference and unhappiness.
Heartily disgusted with the worldliness and "isms" of the churches, and worst of all their denial of God's Word, I involuntarily cried, "Send out Thy light and Thy Truth; let them lead me!" "Restore unto me the joy of Thy salvation!"
About this time my father mailed me a WATCH TOWER copy of THE DIVINE PLAN OF THE AGES, but I was so prejudiced--regarding you as one of the modern upstarts-- that I relegated it to the bottom of my box, unread. Again I was presented with, this time, a bound copy of the same book! In curiosity I began to read, and my curiosity soon became deep interest and diligent Bible study and my prayer has been answered!
In God's power I have been able to interest others; my brother-in-law has joined in our studies and desires to add his testimony to mine in gratitude to God for your ministrations. May God continue to abundantly bless you in your noble and fearless proclamation of THE Truth!
As opportunity offers we do our little for the spread of present-day truths and have been blessed accordingly. True, we have had to endure misjudgment and misunderstanding, but we rejoice to be accounted worthy to suffer these things for Him who endured so much for us.
Feeling sure that such testimony will gladden your heart, and rejoicingly awaiting the establishment of the Kingdom,
Gratefully yours in Christ, JOHN A. PERRY.--Australia.
International Bible Students Association Classes
STUDIES AND LECTURES UNDER THE AUSPICES OF PEOPLES PULPIT ASSOCIATION
I. B. S. A. BEREAN BIBLE STUDIES
FOR THE MONTH OF JUNE
Questions from Manual on Series Second of
"STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES"
Week of June 6........Q. 1 to 4 Week of June 20......Q. 11 to 15 Week of June 13.......Q. 5 to 10 Week of June 27......Q. 16 to 23
Question Manuals on Vol. II., STUDIES IN THE SCRIPTURES, 5c. each; or 50 c. per dozen, postpaid.